Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reflection Time

     It's been one week since I've been home from Los Angeles, CA. I've had a lot going through my head as I think back at what I saw and heard. I shook the hands that were digging in garbage dumpsters a few hour prior, or maybe the hand of someone who just injected drugs into their veins. I hugged the cold neck of a woman who is so far away from home, and the cruel life of homelessness has left her with little to no hope of ever finding her way back to El Salvador. With nothing left to do, I broke down. All I could do is pull my glasses over my eyes, and let the tears roll. It was a long, quiet ride back to the Dream Center that day. The same day we handed out food on Skid Row, and then blankets in a small little park.
     Rosita. The name is still clear in my mind. She's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. The hard life of homelessness has left her with little faith. She sits in the sun, hoping it will warm her of what very little heat it gave off in the bitter, cold winds of the California winter. When I shook her hand the first time I met her, her hands were so cold. I took her a second plate of food, looked her in the eye, and told her clearly, "This is not the end. God has a beautiful plan for you." A few days later, I handed her a blanket, and she looked me in the eyes, and it broke my heart. It was as if she knew what I had said, yet did not believe it. Homelessness isn't something people are suffering from due to irresponsibility. It's become a mindset and a lifestyle.
     I can't help but to think about how fortunate I am - to have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my mouth. I thought I've had it hard my whole life. Seeing the streets of Los Angeles placed a new perspective in my heart. I'm thankful. I've taken what little I've been blessed with for granted. I still have a loving mom and dad, I have my car, an education, and so much more. How dare I be so ungrateful?
     I pray that someone reads this, and realized how blessed they are. Never take for granted something that GOD Himself blessed you with. In no time, it could be taken away. Hug your mom and dad everyday. Tell them you love them. Bless that person in need. Find a need, and fill it; find a hurt, and heal it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My thoughts on today...

     Why does evil exist in the world? What could cause so much cruelty in one person's life to end the life of 20 children and six adults? In times like this, we look to God and ask, "God, how could you let this happen?" We're quick to blame Him for this cruelty. I want to remind every one that there are two forces in this world; good and evil.
     Tonight, there are parents without children, children without parents, brothers without sisters, and so much more. Let this be a moment for us to re-think our perspective of life. Life is merely a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.This is how I see it: It may had not been in God's will for those precious children and adults to die the way they did - that may had not been how God planned their life. However, what if it was in our will for this to happen in order for us to see something broader than what we initially see? Perhaps God is trying to show us something.
     The Bible is clear about this. The heart of men have grown cold. Violence has replaced unity. We're not fighting a war against flesh and blood, but against the forces of this world. Let this be an encouragement to hug your children, tell your mom and dad that you love them. Spend that extra time to make sure that you never leave anyone behind. Love God. Love people. God heals the broken hearted, He's close to them. Tonight, children and adults are dancing with Jesus on roads of gold, no more pain or suffering. There will be a day when we see them again, but until then, let's be the voice for those no longer with us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"If it's easy to do, it's not a sacrifice..."

     I'm completely speechless right now. As I was reading a blog on purity, I came across this quote: "...if it’s easy to do, it’s not a sacrifice." This came from the blogger talking about what worship truly is. A lot of times, when I've talked to guys about purity issues, the main thing I always told them that when temptations strike, instantly get into worship. Turn on some music, get out your Bible and start reading, do something. I never thought to think that "worship" is derived from Genesis 22, when Abraham was called to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In Genesis 22:5, Abraham tells his servants to stay with the animals while he and Isaac went to "worship," even though Abraham knew he was about to sacrifice his son.
     If you know the story about Abraham, you know that he and his wife tried for so long to have a child. It was when Abraham was an old man that God finally blessed him with Isaac. You can almost understand the idolatry that may have fallen into Abraham's life. Although he praised God for the gift, you can almost feel this sense of not liking the idea of having to sacrifice is one and only son. Doesn't that sound familiar? That's what worship is. Worship is sending praises to something that we believe has a significant impact in our life.
     Perhaps you worship your girlfriend/boyfriend, because she/he is always around when it's convenient, and when it's not. Maybe you worship your job where you spend countless hours making so much money that you don't even know what to do with it. Or, maybe it's spending hours on the internet looking at things you know wouldn't be approved by God. Yes, that, too, is worship. Worship is replacing God on His throne with something that removes God from His throne, and earthly things take that seat.
     I'm rambling, but something has stirred inside of me. "If it's easy to do, it's not a sacrifice." It's easy to push in a worship CD, and grab your Bible. Anybody with physical capabilities can do that! What's not easy is realizing that when you're worshiping, you're sacrificing yourself for something greater than yourself. It's not about you anymore, but all about the King. Dethrone your idols, and put God back where He belongs. It may take sacrifice, but in the end, the ram is provided!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For My Guys!

     It seems these days that men are facing their biggest battle yet. You see it everyday. Media tells guys they're to be one way. Culture says it's another way. What ever happened to being the man that GOD has called you to be? A man of honor? Of strength? Of wisdom? 
     Recently, I found myself reading the book of Micah, and came across a piece of Scripture that blew me away. It said something like this:
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God " Micah 6:8
     That pretty much sums it up. When I read that verse, I thought about my struggle as a man. I follow Christ to the best of my ability. I seek His face day after day. I may seem like I have it all going on, but I don't. The challenges of a day consist of not looking at a woman with lust, not striving to envy wealth, and to honor and respect those in authority over me. 
     I recently found myself among a group of godly men that have kept me accountable in my life. This group of guys has become a group that I confide in, and know that they'll encourage me, and will pray for me. Accountability is key! In Ecclesiastes, it says that when we're together in this battle, we can conquer all. It is crucial to have men (or women) in your life that will hold you accountable, whether it be with purity, finances, or other areas of struggles in your life.
      I'll leave you guys with this. 
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor..." Romans 10:12
God bless you guys!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Physical Faith!

     Want to know about faith? Faith is something you can't see. You don't feel it, either, nor do you taster. Faith is the belief of something that has no evidence of existence, at least from a physical standpoint. But, what if I told you that you can see faith... physically. You can see it in nature, and more than anything, in people. Here's my story:
      This past Sunday marked a HUGE moment in my life, although it may seem small for others. As I'm asleep in my bed, with my alarm set for church, my dad comes into my brother and I's room, and asked me a question I never thought he'd ask. "What time does your church service start?" I almost fell out of my bed. Was I dreaming? Pinch me. No, this is real life. My pops has always claimed to be a Christian, but had never been the one to initiate an invitation to church. After asking me the question that left me dumb-founded, he turned to my brother and told him to get up and get ready for church. "We're going to church." Seriously? IS. THIS. REAL. LIFE?? 
     Although my pops didn't go to my church that morning, he did go to his wife's church, where his father-in-law is the pastor. That's a start! 
     This leads me to my point of physical faith. From the moment my dad woke me up to the time I walked out of the door to go to my church, I SAW my dad enthusiastic, energetic, and almost like a giddy kid in a candy store. He looked... happy. His face lit up. His attitude was on top of the world. He was the definition of JOY! And, even afterwards, he told me he truly enjoyed the service (yet trying to get used to all the welcoming handshakes and hugs). 
     Physical faith is evidence that someone's life is truly changing. You see it. Others see it. It's contagious! I see my dad changing, and I see the vision I've had come one step closer to completion! Before I die, I WILL see my family serve TOGETHER in the house of the LORD!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Let God be God...

     Ever since I joined the ministry back in 2007, I've come to realize just how passionate I am about people. I find myself constantly "carrying the burden of others" as the Scripture tells us to do in which we fulfill the law. Throughout the process of trying to fulfill the law, I begin to allow certain situations, or people, to become an addiction. Many times, we can become SO involved into someone's life that we get in the way of what God wants to do in their life. We stand in His way. 
     The mom from "Diary of a Mad, Black Woman" once said "God has the power to show you who God is." Whenever I heard those words, I was left speechless. We deprive Him of that power when we try to take that position in someone's life. I'm having to learn the hard way, since I'm hard-headed, that I cannot be there for everything. I'm slowly learning that just because I'm not constantly around the people I want to help doesn't mean I can't live life to the fullest. 
     If you ever want to lead a successful life as a leader to many, you have to learn how to rest. "Rest? What's that?" I know, I ask the same question everyday. But, if you're constantly going and going, and never take time for yourself, you'll find yourself in a place of constant exhaustion, and you'll never effectively lead anyone. I hope this encourages others like it does me!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God is FOR you!

     In the chaos of life, we tend to get caught of in our own world that we can't focus on what is right or wrong. A lot of times that can lead us to act and react in ways that we normally would. It's part of this process we call life. I hope this story will bring some encouragement to your life, and hopefully show you that no matter what, God is FOR you, and never against you.
     I recently had the opportunity to engage into the best experience ever: mentorship. I've been in youth ministry for quite some time, and I have mentored many young men through the process, but I never saw the type of results I would see through this experience. It all started at a coffee shop; a bond was made; a friendship was developed; and now a young man's life is pursuing his Kingdom calling.
     Asking him in advanced, Harrison Aslami gave me permission to write what I am going to write. Harrison wasn't your typical 18 year old student. Even after many run-ins with the law, distrust issues with his parents, and relationships that never should have been pursued, he was smarter than he thought. Throughout his life, he dealt with many things that a normal 18 year old shouldn't have to deal with. Through it all, he always came out stronger.
     This summer sparked something inside of him. In the process of mentoring him, he made the decisions to follow the Lord, and to even give up his education at the University of Alabama to pursue ministry at a Bible college, Highlands College. This move was one that he knew would better his life, but it didn't come without obstacles first, as he has seen many since he moved to Birmingham.
     A few weeks ago, after a summer of sobriety, he relapsed and found himself smoking marijuana. Since it was apart of his life before, it was hard for him to not go around it. Not only was he struggling with this, but also a lack of understanding of God, and whether or not He was real. These questions caused him to lash out in a way that he knew would bring him closure; weed. What makes this story amazing is that he admitted to me the next day he had smoked. With an open heart, I told him that I wasn't mad at him, and that God doesn't condemn him. It's not how you fall, it's how you get back up.
     On September 18, Harrison found himself at a Hillsong Live concert, from row, dead center stage. With a simple "I'll be right back, I've gotta go to the bathroom," he was gone, leaving the concert. What happened that night, I won't go into details. All I know is that he found himself at a bowling alley, drunk. Harrison also admitted of other things that happened that night (the details that I've withheld), and pursued ways to better himself after this incident.
     The point of this blog is to say that no matter how many times you fall, God is still there, and He's the one who will help you up. It doesn't matter how far in the wrong direction you are, it takes ONE step to move into the right direction. You would think Harrison would be mad at God because his stuff was stolen from a bookstore (about $1,500 worth of stuff). After talking more with Harrison, I've come to find out that he's not the slightest bit of mad, but perhaps slightly disappointed in the thief's actions. Since that time, he was able to get a new laptop and backpack.
     With the beforehand actions, you would think that Harrison would get kicked out of ministry school. With other actions, you would think he should be in jail. But, he's neither. He's still in HC, and pursuing God now more than ever. I say all of this to say that your sin doesn't disqualify you. If anything, it qualifies you for God's grace and mercy. But, that doesn't mean we continue to sin. We turn from our sin, and seek God more and more everyday! Grace doesn't come through the repetition of sin; it comes from the repentance of sin!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So unworthy--

     This morning, I find myself listening to "God So Loved" by United Pursuit Band. I can't help but to think of the most popular, famous Scripture of John 3:16. Just the mention of that Scripture can have you quoting it like it's nothing. But, while that's the reality of it, I've come to find out that we lose interest in what that Scripture actually says. I know in my life, I've dishonored God's word when a pastor reads from John 3:16, and I just sit there thinking "I've heard this so many times." Or "This verse again?" Have you ever felt that way?
     In this time and age, we're not seeing the miracles that the Scripture talks so clearly about. I wonder why that is? I heard a pastor once say that it falls on how we honor God's Word. There's third world countries who've never heard of Jesus that are seeing more miracles than those living in the Bible belt knowing Jesus their whole life. Why? Because when someone whose never heard of Jesus hears about Him for the first time, the honor is so strong that they're able to see things happen. When I heard about Jesus, it wasn't for the first time. I grew up around it (but, don't think for a second it inspired me to be a Christian). 
     The point I'm trying to make is that we dishonor God's Word so much that we allow it to just take a backseat in our mind, and we don't think twice about what we're actually reading. We're reading the God spoken, God-breathed, God inspired Scripture! That's major! If we could only grasp what people went through to get this book in our hands, it'll be enough to prove His existence. 
     So, here's the test:
"For God so loved the world, 
that He gave His ONLY Son, 
that whoever would believe in Him 
would not perish but have everlasting life." 
John 3:15

What's new? Remember the first love? Keep that fire, because it'll spark plenty of flames in your future!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I remember September 11th.

     It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 6:30 AM. I'm awoken by the booming voice of my father, "Wake up, it's time for school," in the sing-songy way he used to do it. Why'd he say it like that? It never made sense to me, plus he worried me saying it like that. So, I jump in the shower, gel my hair, get dressed, and pretty much, I'm looking pretty good, if I should say so myself. So, it's out the door, in the car, and heading to school! With my headphones in and listening to my new CD player I had gotten, I was feeling on top of the world. It was a beautiful days outside, I was happy, and more than ever, I had made the decision to ask my first girl to be my girlfriend (the cootie shot finally wore off). 
     Advisory class was never fun. We met for thirty minutes, then proceeded to our next class. That day was no different. I clearly remember sitting at my desk with my soon-to-be girlfriend, nervous, palms sweating as I slipped her a piece of paper. "I would like to be your boyfriend. Will you be my girlfriend? Check __Yes or __No." Simple as that. While waiting on my response, I couldn't help but notice that numerous students had been checked out. What? School has only been in session for like an hour? No fair! Cuz, I'm still here. I also couldn't help but notice that a crowd of teachers had surrounded the television in my teacher's classroom. I got out of my chair, looked to see what they were watching, and all I saw was a silver structure and smoke. My initial thought, "Oh, nice. A new factory has opening, and the smoke signaled the official opening." Wrong.
     I sat back down in my seat, and I noticed a paper on my desk. My answer! Score one for Cody, my first girlfriend! About that exact same time, I'm checked out. Score two for Cody, checked out early. I walk down the very empty halls to meet my dad, and I find him distraught. He calmly explains what had happened, and that's when I realized America was under attack. As we drove home, I'm mortified by the news on the radio. I couldn't believe someone could be so evil.
     When we arrived at home, of course we turn on the television, and see footage of terrorist burning American flags. It was a complete outrage. Quite frankly, I was scared.
     In March 2012, I had the honor of flying to New York to work with the New York Dream Center. The NYDC is committed to helping out the inner cities during times of crisis. While on that trip, I got to visit what is now called the Freedom Towers. Bigger than ever, they scale the horizon of New York with a reflective beauty I've never seen before. They may have fallen easy, but they came back stronger. I also got to visit the memorial site of where the two towers stood, now thirty feet waterfalls. I'm amazing of the beauty of the sites. Around the pools are the names of the deceased... Hundreds... Thousands. Wives. Husbands. Co-workers. Friends. All gone in an instance.
     Yes, I remember September 11, 2001, a day that changed America. God bless America.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You ARE Blessed!

     Something has been on my heart a lot lately. I've realized in the midst of expectations, a lot of times we're let down. We "think" we deserve something, or we're doing all that we can to pursue our faith to the fullest extent. In reality, we're doing just enough to get by. Let me further explain.
     The blessing God has for your life is something that HE sees fitting for your life, not something you'd realize. As Pastor John Bevere once said, "God may send a blessing that you need in a package you don't want." Think about it, we know what our flesh wants. We live on this earth; we're merely human beings. We're fleshy people with fleshy desires. But, our desires do not align with God's sometime. God's desire is for us, yet desiring ourselves may seem a bit conceited- but that's a different story. The point I'm trying to make is that we don't realize that we're already blessed. 
     In my own life, I've had the blessings that I've wanted, and the blessings that God has already provided. Here's some examples:

Blessings I Want:

  • My car has been in the shop for almost two months now. Being that I do not like to rely on people much, I've been desperate to get my car back. 
  • Financial peace- Working in a dead end job doesn't help this area. My potential to tithe is slim due to the job I have, and the pressure to provide for myself as well.
Blessings I've Already Been Given:

  • After a few semesters from school, God has blessed me with the opportunity to go back to school. I never thought I'd get a second chance, but God is in the miracle working business. Being in debt, and on academic probation, the process was grueling to plead my case. It was worth it in the end when I walked into the doors to Shelton State to further my education.
  • Since my faithfulness to the ministry of the Kingdom, God has blessed me in that- even when it feels like a huge burden- my car is being fixed! And, I should have it back anytime now. There's more to this, but that's confidential, and between myself, God, and the people helping. I'm just truly blessed to be involved with these people.
  • In December, I have the opportunity to go to Los Angeles for a mission trip. From the talks I've had with people, I've been blessed with their friendships, and they've committed to sponsorship, which is a huge blessing. LA, here I come!
God is truly amazing. Don't live off the blessings you want, but realize that you ARE blessed! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

God is amazing!

     The title says it best. God is truly amazing. I don't know how I can possibly say more. In the months since my last post, so much has happened. God has opened the door to so many different opportunities. He has truly blessed me. Here's a small highlight of some new things happening in my life recently.

  • The time has come to put the past behind me. Whenever I was in elementary school, I wore hearing aids. It was the worst thing ever. It caused no air to flow throw my ears, and with zero pressure reaching your inner ear, you start to talk nasally. Because of it, I got made fun of in school. People would always tell me I talked funny, and rather "loonie" as some may call it. Since then, I've further the process of getting new hearing aids made, and making sure that people's opinions no longer have an affect on me. Galations 1:10 encouraged me to fix my priorities as far as what people say and what God says. What God says is a lot more important, and God says that I am created in His image, therefore I am His righteousness, and nothing can seperate me from Him. Because He has delivered on His promises, I find the confidence to move forward for many reasons. One, I can hear. Two, I can understand more. And, three, I can experience what others are experiencing by not missing out on potential life-changing opportunities. 
  • I go to the most life-giving church ever. Since starting Church of the Highlands about a year and a half ago, I've found my purpose in ministry. With the strategic classes and internship, I have seen my calling put to test as I am placed in position to lead people with excellence. Excellence is the assurance of top notch quality with great results. With the mindset of excellence, you see lives change. I've witnessed it first hand. 
  • Finally, the people in my life have made life worth living. Yes, the LORD is first and foremost, above all, yet if God builds His Kingdom relationally, then it matters who you have in your life. Recently, I had the honor and privilege to take a youth man under my wing, and lead him in the ways of the LORD. Although I'm not perfect, nor fit for the position, God used me to help him in a huge way. Risking it all, even to incarceration, I made sure that I did whatever I could to help this kid out. It paid off. He got saved, completely covered in the grace of God, and is now pursuing ministry at Highlands College (the college my church founded). Seeing his life changed changed my own life. It was the spark I needed to know that being involved with people can not only help them, but it can help yourself, too.
     With all that being said, you can see why God gets all the glory. With man, all this would be impossible. But, with God, ALL things are possible. And let me leave with this one verse:
"...because God is by my side, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8
Walk in this confidence daily!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update from New York!

     Words cannot describe how blessed I am to have come to New York on a mission. Since I've been here, I have marveled at the lights of Time Square, grieved in the sight of the Freedom towers, which is also the site of the now demolished World Trade Centers. I have seen the high lifes of District Soho, which is a very upscale neighborhood. I've been to Central Park, and seen John Lennon's memorial. This all seems fun, and to be honest, it was. But, New York has a flip side, and I saw it yesterday during Harlem outreach.

     During Harlem outreach, the NYDC came together and offered the poor and less fortunate a bite to eat, and some hot chocolate for the bitter coldness. In Alabama, we had about two weeks of coldness. I've been wearing my jacket everywhere I go here. Anyways, as we were preparing to hand out food, an ex-convict started stirring up chaos with another man in the line, and we had to seperate them before they fought. We got the ex-convict some food, and led him away to talk with him. My part during the outreach? Dispense the soup, which was basically chicken flavored Ramens. I absolute loved and enjoyed meeting new people, and being able to give them food- something they literally hunger for. I thought I had seen it all until I met a man named Jose.

     Jose had come through the line for food, and I handed him some "dry soup," which is just soup without water. He walked away, and had another member of the NYDC pray with him. But, God kept him there longer... and for a reason, too. As the NYDC crew loaded up and took off, Chris and I began walking back to our apartment (only a few blocks down from Harlem). Jose was still standing by, and I had noticed he had actually walked away. When I saw him bring out a tissue, I knew something was wrong with him. Chris and I approached him, and started talking to him more. The life he lives of going from one shelter to another, constantly running out of medication, struggling to stay alive- it broke my heart. I wanted to pack him up, and bring him home back to Alabama. He is desperate for a job, but because of his "social status" and many disabilities, he's only able to rely on welfare.

     I tell his story to say this- I never realized how good I actually have it until I met Jose. Here I am, with a steady home life- struggling, yet steady. And, this guy has no idea IF he'll get a bed at the next shelter, where they happen to just turn you away to the cold if they're full. I have an okay food supply. This guy relies on outreaches like the NYDC to feed him. The guy NEVER begs for money, and even tried turning away the money I gave to him. He's a humbled man, yet knows he's struggling. So, as we were leaving, I got to pray for Jose, and just bless him. As I walked away, my heart started to break. The last words I told Jose were "If I never see you again, you're face is forever engraved in my heart." And, he was off.

     Here I am, a block from the Freedom towers now, sitting in a Starbucks, and I'm realizing how blessed I am. God has blessed me with so much.

     I'm looking forward to coming home, and seeing everybody! I know this blog was long, but I'm glad you read it, too!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update from New York!

      Since I've been here in New York, I haven't really been too busy. Today was my first day actually doing any type of outreach, which I loved more than anything. But, until today, I've been able to see a lot of New York, and it's made me realize a lot of things.
    Honor here is not heard of. For instance, whenever I was boarding a seven train to head to our outreach, there was a very talented man playing an accordion by the tracks. The music was beautiful, and filled the air with the sound of soothing jazz. Whenever the man finished playing, no one even noticed. He looked around, expecting some sort of applause at all, but got none. It instantly broke my heart. I wanted to go over and let the guy know I enjoyed it more than he knew, but my train approached as I was heading to him. Although no one paid attention to him, he did make a little bit of money, which I think is amazing. But, money is temporary happiness.

     New York is full of people looking for love and belonging. A lot of people come here expecting to live this high class life without taking in the true streets, and what is actually going on. Being in Spanish Harlem this week has made me step out in faith, and see New York for what it truly is, a place of hurt and despair.

     Today, as I helped at the Chelsea outreach, some of the people there began to get heated with each other over the food we were handing out. It hit me then- these people are starving. Not in just a physical way, but in many other ways. I have grown to see the yearning these people have. Overall, the people were amazing. I got to meet a few of the people who lived in the Chelsea housings, and they were so happy and humbled. The majority of them, at least. I met one man named Philip, a Hispanic/Puerto Rican man, who had lived in Chelsea his whole life. I grew to love this man, because he had a servant's heart to reach out to his community.

     Well, I don't have much else to say, but I do miss home. I hope everyone at home is having an amazing time. When this weekend comes, enjoy the Angels, and then serve whole-heartedly at church Sunday. What you're doing is setting the level for the generations behind you, so that when you do pass the torch, the plan is already clear.

     I love you guys! Please continue to be in prayer for me as I roam these streets, showing the love of Christ.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Third Day in New York

     Sorry for the late post of my trip. So much has been happening.

Sitting in one of the NYDC staff meetings, I learn that these people are SO passionate about this city. They have outreaches literally every single week. It's truly amazing, and I'm blessed to be a part of it. Pastor Brad Reed, the pastor of NYDC is actually at All Access right now in Dallas, so his wife, Stella, has been leading the meeting, and I can tell they have an amazing heart.

Sitting in Pastor Brad and Stella's apartment is luxury from what I've seen so far. Space is scarce in New York, and it's considered luxury if you actually have a little bit of it. The housing is so close together, it's easy to stalk someone here. Not that I am, but I have seen inside of people's houses, and privacy is not to their advantage. It's amazing that people don't even mind.

So far, I've been able to see the majority of the city. My first day here, I saw the Empire State Building, which isn't as big as it's portrayed. I also got to sit in a Hillsong NYC service, which was amazing. We were nearly turned away because there was little space. I come to find out that they actually have to use two different venues for there weekly services. Their Sunday services are in a theater in downtown Chelsea, NY, and they have about five or six services. I go to Highlands, and after two services, I need a nap! It amazes me how they handle it all.

My second day here, I saw Times Square, Ground Zero and the Freedom towers, and many more places that I can't even remember. I ate at a McDonald's in Time Square that was three stories tall. RIDICULOUS! Talk about people hungry for obesity! I'm kidding. But, it was really nice.

I've ridden in a subway for the majority of my travels. It's so sad seeing some of the people on these trains, knowing they're homeless, hungry, and just desperate for love, affection, attention, anything that they can get. Yesterday, I encountered a man on a subway, twice, begging and crying for money, food, anything that could e spared. Even begging for the smallest cent that could be given. A penny would've made the guy happy. My heart broke for this guy, knowing I had no cash, only my debit card.

I can't wait for Highlands to get to experience what I'm experiencing here. God is needed so bad in this city. I walk down the streets, and brush shoulders with complete strangers, and I instantly feel the hurt, pain, suffering, sorrow, every possible depressing thought you can think of. But, I remember this, God IS the God of this city. The Scripture says that "Blessed is the nation whose God is LORD." And, I see this City, and declare that over them.

I'm excited to see what the rest of this trip will reveal.

I miss you guys, and pray God is continuing to do thing in y'all's lives.