Posts Tagged With: missions

Raising Funds to Plant Communities

Learn about my work to plant communities.

I believe the key solution to ending poverty in our world is by planting communities where people share resources and services with one another, so that no person is left in need of life’s most vital qualities (water, food, shelter, and friendship).

How do we plant communities which embody the principles of giving and sharing with one another?

Step 1 in planting a community is to build relationships with people who have a common interest in the mission, cause, and function of the community. Since our goal is to eliminate poverty, building relationships with those who are currently suffering from the injustice of poverty is crucial to establishment of the liberation we hope and believe our communities will bring to those in need of water, food, shelter, and friendship.

Step 2 is to locate and receive land, homes, or buildings to be used for the purposes of community shelter, space for growing food, and community gatherings. It is myhope to raise funds by providing free services in return for donations for the mission of ending poverty through community plants and receiving donations by traveling the world to campaign for solutions to global problems.

This is the beginning of my plans to help those on earth who need our help most. I hope that you will join me. Please feel free to say hi and let me know what you think about this solutions by leaving a comment below.

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The Real Church

The real church is not found within a building, or even the people who gather within a building. The real church, if we’re really looking, is found on the streets, in the world, and wherever love is being shared with compassion for one another.

“Church” is simply a word. And we can interpret a meaning of that word in ways which get to the heart of what it should mean. For many, including myself, the initial images which come to mind when hearing the word “church” is of pastors, Christians, and everything I was taught through my religious upbringing to believe that church indeed was. It was the place I would go to on Sunday’s and Wednesday evening to see friends, play games, play music, speak or listen to a message, go to eat afterward, and then go home – that was church.

We could say that “church” itself was simply the gathering with friends, who shared the same belief I had been trained to uphold. But this, I believe lacks in truth of what church actually is. I believe that church should not be as separate from the world. What I mean is, Christians have interpreted a scripture stating “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) to mean that we should be separate, in all aspects. Relationships have divided over beliefs, both within the church and with the world. The people whom people within the church spend their time are most often those who attend the same group. Yet Jesus himself did not conduct relationships in this way. Certainly, he spent a large portion of his time with his disciples and followers, but he also spent his time dining with those considered to be “sinners”, drunkards, and the like. I do not believe he spent his time with them with an agenda to convert them to his religion, but he simply loved them for who they were. Because with that genuine humanity, filled with simple love, dwells the power and grace for people to actually change.

The real church is seen when people share friendship with compassion for one another. When a person who may be judged negatively by society, is treated with tremendous value and honor. The real church does not look to grow their numbers, attract new visitors, or create a better Sunday performance, it possesses no performance at all. There is no show, no marketing, no media, and no strategy. It is simple love being shared between human beings. That is the church I wish to see come alive and thrive in our world. The church of compassion.

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If you think you have nothing to give, think again.

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

Written by Paul in 2 Cornithians 8:1-15 (from the New International Version)

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A One Week Exploration East

It’s amazing what happens when you begin a journey with very little planned; other than going places to love people. Every direction seems to be an opportunity and every place is filled with incredible people who are looking to know God deeper and love others, even though they have never before met.

The first evening, we arrived in St. Louis Missouri where I had been invited by a pastor named Joe James to attend a Prophetic Conference. I found Joe on Bethel’s social network of people passionate about God and seeing cities transformed. I sent an email to him letting him know about us and what we were doing and that we’d simply love to connect. We met in the conference, embraced, and it was as if instantly meeting a family member. In my experience this is a common occurrence between people who have been born with the Spirit of God. As Paul said “we know one another in the spirit, not by the flesh” and this verse has rang very true in my life and in the relationships I’ve made with people along explorations of hope. God is One Spirit. And in His Spirit we are all connected. Even though we haven’t met in the flesh, it’s as if we’ve known each other before in realm where time does not exist. Then, when a connection is made, we share stories of experiences we’ve gone through – in the flesh.

At the prophetic conference the first song the musician played was called “Prepare the Way.” Have a listen to it or watch the video below.

Listening to the words in this song I couldn’t help but feel that this song was directly speaking to me and the mission I have to carry out in this life. That by exploring places with the light God has placed within us, we are breaking ground for the Kingdom of Heaven to come in greater measure as evidenced on the earth. The music was produced by a single gentleman on the piano, however; towards the end a woman sitting behind me began playing a flute. The spontaneity, and beauty in her talent, filled the music with another layer of creativity and greatly impacted the audience. I love spontaneous things that happen and the power music has on each of us.

The speaker on this night of the conference was Mary Lindow, “…an unusually versatile talent with a humorous and joyful expression and also as a willing servant of the Lord…” Mary gave a message filled with so much revelation into the heart of God that I couldn’t if I began to write about all of it I would have a 300 page book (perhaps I should do that?). She is a trained classical musician who would sing spontaneous prophetic songs over individuals in the audience – and her words greatly impacted many. Her music at times was as if you were sitting in a theatre watching a musical.

When the conference ended I approached Mary to thank her for her message and ministry. She instantly asked if she could pray for me and gave me words which have brought much light to my future direction and things I will do in the future. She said that I would fly “under the radar” and would accomplish much that was unseen, delivering supplies to people in need in areas where access was unavailable. These simple words have brought about a great deal of pondering.

We left the conference about 11 pm and went to Denny’s with Pastor Joe. Joe is from Wales, which is most likely my number 1 place I would like to go (I’m not welsh but my name is welsh and I’ve always felt drawn to go there). Joe shared his story with us about what God had delivered him from and the freedom he now carries for others. He wouldn’t fit the “norm” of what many of us might think of as a “pastor.” He has tattoos and instead of focusing on simply building a huge church, he is focused on being a place which exudes the presence of God. With that mindset it doesn’t matter how many people you have, the impact will be mighty. He said “the world doesn’t need just another church, it needs God.” I believe his church will be something different and unique, something that the city of St. Louis will be completely transformed by.

Joe invited us to stay in his spare room for the night and take us to breakfast in the morning. His kindness was overwhelming and so encouraging to us for continuing our journey the next day. We ate breakfast, shared more stories, and were soon on our way to Chicago!

Day 2
In Chicago we came to the home of Rene’e and H.T. Neighbors. There’s always an excitement in meeting people I haven’t met before. They were parents of a friend, so I did have some knowledge of who they were, but there is still that anticipation of what people might be like when you actually meet them. This would turn out to be another time of meeting people who had such a simple and genuine love for others.

Mrs. Neighbors ministers to women in prisons and is a tremendous prayer warrior. She spends hours in the morning with God, learning more of who He is, and thus; giving more of who He is to others. The first night in Chicago the four of us went to dinner and shared some great conversation. H.T. is a rock solid man of Godly character. I was amazed that after 24 years of marriage (I think it was 24), I would have thought they were as in love as they the date they met (probably much more in love now). When I asked what their secret was H.T. simply responded with “God.”

The next day we went to Chicago to connect with a ministry called Jesus People, USA. “In 1972 JPUSA began when a ragtag group of Christians wanted to change the world for Jesus. Now more than forty years later, they are still at it. What started as simply inviting folks in for a meal became a feeding program. What began as a phone call from a mother looking for housing eventually became a shelter, and now a complex of ministries dedicated to housing and resource services. Working together, ordinary people have been able to accomplish extraordinary things.”

We met the young lady at the front desk and quickly struck up conversation. She was actually from Moore, Oklahoma and we shared a good friend in common. We asked if there were opportunities to serve and were introduced to Tim, who said they did have some dishes that needed to be washed. We spent the next hour or so washing dishes, seeing the people who would come through the kitchen for a meal, and met some of the residents.

Day 3
We left on the morning of day 3 headed for Philadelphia. On the way I was invited through Facebook by the pastor of Gateway Victory Church in Wooster, Ohio, Keith Smith. We were invited for a quick meet & greet and prayer. We arrived at his church where had agreed to meet and as soon as I saw him I knew this was a man of incredible love for people. He had spent years growing up within a church, but everything changed once He found that God was a powerful God and had so much love, healing, and supernatural abilities for His Kingdom to invade earth through those who believe. He had discovered a book which greatly impacted him called When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson. Here is a short video from Bill speaking about “Living an Empowered Lifestyle”:

After sharing our stories with Keith he invited us to join him for a meal with a house church called Wayne County House of Prayer. His House of Prayer is place where people come together to become equipped in their gifting and transform their city for God. I have rarely been in an environment where the prophetic and spiritual intensity was as thick. The entire time we spent in this house was such a ministry to us, and it was an honor to make friends in the small town of Wooster. As soon as we arrived in this town I felt something I had not felt before. I met a man named Matt Clark, who is a rare breed. His curiosity has produced tremendous insight into things of the spiritual realm. I greatly loved getting to know him and see his heart. He shared so much encouragement with me about who I am and what I am doing. It’s great when someone shares truth of the beauty that is within our hearts with us.

I believe something BIG is happening in Wooster. Something that people will go to from all over the region to find – the Spirit, love, and power of God.

We awoke the next day with the intent of making it to Philadelphia. We arrived 45 minutes west of Philly in the town of West Chester, PA. The next morning we attended East Gate Church from an invitation I received from Timothy Berry, whose ministry is called Berry Blessed Ministries. At this point in the journey we had reached a wall, a point to choose whether or not to continue our exploration, or head back to Oklahoma. During the service the decision to head back became the decision where peace was found. The people of East Gate Church are pursuing healing for their region and have a great desire to impact the world. Their pastor shared stories of healing which took place on his recent visit to Australia, and it was an honor to join them for Sunday morning services. I met a man and his wife who, during musical worship, invited us to partake in communion with he and his wife. This man held so much passion within his heart, and was strong because he had become weak. He carried tremendous power to change environments with his actions and his soft-spoken words.

After the service we chose to head back to Oklahoma. We drove straight through, and arrived back in Oklahoma 1 week after leaving. Explorations of Hope rarely have a pre-defined length of time, and we go as the wind blows and as doors are opened to take. There are so many things that happened along this one-week journey which I believe it impossible for me to capture with words in a blog post. The connections which were made with so many in this week have tremendously impacted me, as I hope we impacted others with friendship, prophetic words, encouragement, and inspiration of dreams. I will never forget some of the things imparted in the Spirit, the intangible things which natural words cannot fully capture. The kindness that others showed us in support of our exploration will never be forgotten. Kindness when shared, in such ways that can seem so unnatural in the way the natural “survival of the fittest” world, change something in our world and have lasting impact as we carry that kindness to others.

So, now, I am back in Oklahoma. I believe this will be a short visit back to my birthplace, and I am looking forward to sharing the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. I believe the next exploration will happen very soon, though I am not quite sure on direction. Doors open in an instant, and when they open, I go.

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Sleeping on Sunset Blvd.

CBS Studios Hollywood v1Last night, I chose to sleep on the sidewalk on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California.

There are homeless people sleeping on the streets literally about every 10 – 15 feet. Why? It would be easy for those who haven’t experienced it to say they are lazy or they should all get jobs at McDonalds, but many hold that viewpoint because they’ve never experienced homelessness and lack compassion in their hearts – and the lack of compassion in our society is the true source of homelessness.

When we see a problem, why is it for many of us our initial response is to find who to blame? Let’s put aside that as it adds nothing to the solution. Let’s put on compassion, open our heart, open our home, open our wallet, and start making a difference in someone who is worth just as much as anyone else. See beyond the appearance. Love, – D.R>

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The Ol’ Hippy and the Hol’ Spirit in the Woods of Oregon

I approached my campsite in Florence, Oregon and met a man in his 70′s with long, dazzling white hair, who was reading a book. He introduced himself as “Sky” and we began to get to know each other a bit.

Sky had traveled around the world 4 times, most often without any money. He was a street musician from the 60′s era who would go from place to place playing guitar on the streets to earn his food money for the day. I spent three days of time with this person and all he spoke of was the love and freedom of God. He presented truth in an incredibly simple and non-judgmental manner that was truly refreshing. He spoke of the Holy Spirit and the limitless possibilities of what He is capable. We shared stories of what we’ve seen God do in our lives and the lives of others, shared meals, and shared revelation we’ve both received. It was an incredible three days in Florence.

There was also a homeless man there. I say “also” because Sky wasn’t homeless, his home was the earth. It was interesting viewing these two different people, in seemingly similar living circumstances. Sky had no doubt that everything he needed was always provided for by God, and he spoke with confidence in the truth. The other man was bitter towards the world and spoke of the struggles and difficulties of being homeless. I am in now way meaning that being homeless on the streets cannot be a difficult way to live, but the interesting dynamic was that Sky greatly enjoyed life, while the other man was struggling through life.

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