Hello, friends! Before I say anything else, I want to say thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement! Your love and belief that I have something to add to the world keeps me going. I am so grateful for each one of you!
As many of you already know, the no cost grocery market at The Hope Center had to temporarily close in May due to lack of resources. I am happy to report that we were able to reopen the market on June 2nd! It was so good to see our neighbors-and they were happy to see us as well. Many of these folks have come to depend on the market to fill a crucial gap in their monthly budget and they were relieved to be able to shop the market again. We’re stocking the tables this week for another market this Sunday morning!
I’m ecstatic to report that we only have twelve (count ’em, 12!) monthly mortgage payments of $1,250 left until the old church building that houses The Hope Center is PAID IN FULL! Hallelujah! It will be such a relief to be out from under that payment. If you’d like to save me countless grey hairs and sleepless hours by helping us pay off the $17,500 balance early, please click here.
I had planned to release my book at the end of October through CreateSpace (the self publishing division of Amazon.com), but I got word today that my publisher of choice wants to see the manuscript and there seems to be a decent chance they might actually end up publishing it which would obviously help the book find a much larger audience. Nothing is official yet, but I’m really grateful for their interest and will keep you posted on further developments as they happen.
Speaking of books, my friend, Karl Forehand, asked me to take a look at an advance copy of his book and offer my thoughts on it. I read the book, “Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart”, and really loved it. I wrote up a few sentences recommending the book that I thought might be used for social media publicity and was completely shocked when the publisher ended up including my endorsement on the back cover of the book along with endorsements from Brian Zahnd (Word of Life Church, St. Joseph, Mo) and popular podcaster Seth Price (“Can I Say This at Church?”). I can’t tell you how honored I feel to be included in that great company. You can purchase “Apparent Faith” here on July 1st!
We just released Episode 08 of The Messy Spirituality Podcast on Monday. The podcast has been an incredible experience thus far. In the last two months, episodes have been downloaded about 2,000 times by listeners from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, South Africa, Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, Mexico, Sweden, Taiwan, France, and the Palestinian Territory. Our top U.S. state for listeners is California. It absolutely astonishes me that anyone, anywhere would take time to listen to something I’d create, but I’m so grateful that they seem to find it worth listening to.
Our little worship gathering on the 4th Sunday morning of each month at The Hope Center continues to grow. Slowly but surely new neighbors are showing up and finding a laid back worship experience rooted in the love and acceptance of God for every member of the human family. I posted the audio of the message from our most recent gathering here on the site if you’d like to listen.
The work-from-home job that I’ve had for the last 14 months came to an end recently. The flexibility offered by that position allowed me the time to work on my upcoming book, get the podcast off the ground, and devote considerable time to The Hope Center. Please pray with us as I make the transition to my next vocation.
Finally, I’m feeling more and more directed to expose and reimagine the criminal justice system here in the United States. There was a time in my life when I was a dyed in the wool “tough on crime” conservative when it came to matters of law and justice, but today I see every human being as a child of God, created in God’s image, with inherent dignity and value-no matter what mistakes they’ve made. The prison system in America is dehumanizing and offers little in the way of rehabilitation that restores. It’s time for real and lasting change in our criminal justice system that moves away from mere punishment toward justice that restores. Change is coming and I want to be a part of it. More on that later.
Thanks again for your incredible support. I honestly couldn’t do what I do without you.
Love and prayers for you,