Prayers of our Homeless

Prayer Board UMC 2014I was fortunate enough on New Year’s Day to have the opportunity to kick off the new year with a group of Elevation Church volunteers at Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, playing bingo and preparing and serving a traditional New Year’s Day meal for over 300 of our homeless neighbors.

That morning we asked the neighbors if they had prayer requests for the new year and many were quick to take the time to share with us. In looking through the prayer cards today, it feels overwhelming to try and tackle praying over all these requests by myself. So, I’m reaching out for your assistance if you feel inclined to assist.

I have posted the prayer requests below (names redacted) with hopes that you’ll join me in praying over them. Pick one or two or pray over the whole group. Every little bit helps.

For those that choose to join me, thank you!

The prayer requests: 

“Pray for my family and to pass classes.”

“Health for my body.”

“Mom – relationship. Family – restoration. Home – need one. Heaven – soon.”

“Strength to keep moving on.”

“Need a 60% VA benefit amount soon.”

“Praying family be safe. God looks over them. Guides my footsteps and forgives my sins.”

“Pray for my first granddaughter. Pray for my relationship. Pray that I not have the financial problems that I had last year.”

“Heal from nervous breakdown.”

“Pray for those in need, that God would provide work for those who want to work.”

“For housing, good health, prosperity.”

“To get out of my situation that I am currently in and to let God lead me this year. Don’t let the negative things get into the way of my goals. Also for my relationship with (name redacted) grow strong. Positive and happy just for God to work out for my family.”

“Peace, harmony, housing permanent, family.”

“Seeking stability for my life. Seeking a job that will secure my well being. Prayer to stop drinking as much. Prayer to get back to the church and get closer to the Lord.”

I am a diabetic and I also have heart disease, and ask God to make me healthy again so I can continue the Lord’s work. God is my only friend that really hears my cry to him.”


“Pray for (name redacted) girl friend in Florida Correctional Center.”

“For me to do God’s will and walk in his path. To have stable housing and continued care for my mother!”

“Restoration for my family, finances, shelter and sincere relationship with God. Also for God’s fair in my and my family’s life.”

“Good health. Long life. Keep faith with God.”

“New job at (redacted). My own apartment. Financial stability. Car/drivers license. Getting into college and making straight A’s.”

“My little girl, (name redacted).”

“Pray for comfortable and affordable housing and finance and to be a blessing to everyone.”

“Job in this year.”

“Interview and, God’s will, get the job and change his life.”

“My spiritual health to stay clean.”

“That all stiff, anger and negativity and negative activities and circumstances be moved. My expectations are to live a stress free and drama free life, not just this year but for every year. I ask that everyone’s prayer is answered in due time. I ask that my family, friends, and my relationship become more abundant. And prayer that I become who I wish to become (all positive).”

“I pray for God to keep me in his favor as I head forward in this new year. I pray for God to protect my family.”

“To get a job and to heal my boyfriends arthritis.”

“Prayer request housing, employment, financial support, family and friends.”

“I would like to get a mobil detailing and bumper repair started if it’s God’s will.”

“Kids graduate. Great education. Brother’s mental strength.”

“To find a job, be self sufficient for the new year. Be able to help others.”

“World peace and better economy.”

“Man will understand who the real Christ is and be born again.”

“Prayer for people and wealth and be happy. Good health.”

“For my mother to have a good and healthy year with lots of smiles.”

“I need prayer for my family in the name of Jesus for a place to stay.”

“I would like prayer for me to be spiritual with God and that God show me the way to be as one with God, and for my kids to be back home with me this year and I pray for my family.”

“Pray for a house we found to pass inspection so me, the wife and kids can move soon.”

“Asking prayers for many break throughs.”

“In 2014, I hope I start a new year out well: school, family, friends, sports and music. I hope my dreams come true this year, work toward my goal, focus in school and keep grinding with football and music. Also I want to give back.”

“Pray for me a better job. Pray for me better living conditions. Pray for me a good running cheap car.”

“To live a proper life and to find a house cheap enough.”

“Get out of being homeless and get my own place.”

“Pray for family happiness and a good new year.”

“Find a job and keep me in good health.”

“To get a place to stay of my own and a better job and help getting my family better at loving.”


“Pray for me a better job.”

“I want to pray for a fresh start stepping into a new year and hope life picks up for the better. I pray that I find a job with a steady income that makes what is out of reach affordable/available for me in the future.”

“Deliverance from drugs and alcohol. Job, housing, closer walk with the Lord.”

Agony of a Sports Fan

547310_10150934019883948_817001050_nMy final RT on Twitter last night from Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) said it all: “Words I heard over and over in Broncos locker room: Devastated, disappointed, sad.”

Oh, the agony of defeat.

Anyone that knows me in person or follows me online knows I live and breathe Cincinnati Reds baseball and Denver Broncos football. For 40ish years, that’s what it’s been. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. From my Dad teaching me how to read box scores in the early 70’s to tweeting with media members in the press box at the stadium today.

I’ve celebrated world championships with the Reds three times in my lifetime and with the Broncos twice — including seeing Denver’s first-ever Super Bowl win in person in 1997. And I’ve experienced heart-wrenching losses at Mile High Stadium. The 1996 playoff loss to Jacksonville and 2005 loss to Pittsburgh (when Jake Plummer fell apart) quickly come to mind.

But nothing prepared me for the back-to-back baseball and football seasons I just experienced. After 97 wins, a division title and a 2-0 series lead, the Reds completely fell apart and lost their playoff series to the eventual champion Giants. The devastation from that series left me numb for days afterward.

I know some of you are saying “seriously dude, get a life” at this point. If that’s you, just go ahead and stop reading. You’ll never understand. Just know this: I don’t spend time watching TV shows, I rarely watch movies and I don’t ignore my family at the expense of watching sports.

My friend Jim Mitchem (@jmitchem) said yesterday: “The greatest theater production of all time pales in comparison to the drama of sports” because “sports is unscripted. Unscripted drama is more dramatic.”

Through the ups and downs of a 162-game regular season, you live the daily drama. You begin to identify with the players. You have a little extra pep in your step after a big win. You feel a little down when you blow a lead and lose.

The comes the excitement of the postseason. Two huge wins and then… bam. Reality. It’s over. What do I do tomorrow?

And then…

Here come the Broncos and Peyton Manning to provide that magical word: Hope. After a 2-3 start, they reeled off 11 straight wins and captured the AFC’s #1 seed for the playoffs. Only for yesterday to happen. Leading by a touchdown with 69 seconds remaining, Denver completely falls apart and eventually loses in double overtime. Stunned. Again. Crushed. Again. Numb. Again.

Then, in my lowest moment after the game, I receive the following tweet from @BrianBaute: “I hope this helps cheer up @bohussey – #Reds pitchers & catchers report to Spring Training one month from today.”

Play Ball!

So Much More…

“That moment when you realize you should be doing so much more…”

On the surface, a simple tweet sent during a morning of helping connect an Elevation Church volunteer looking to get proper care for a homeless gentleman with the right person to help at Urban Ministry Center.

But deep down, a simple tweet with significantly more meaning than is captured in those 12 words.

God has blessed me with a skillset and multiple opportunities to help those less fortunate in our community, but I feel strongly in my heart I haven’t made the most of those gifts.

In his sermon this week, Pastor Craig Groeschel from posed the question: “What story does God want you to tell?” A pretty big question when you realize you don’t know the answer.

So there’s my dilemma… am I living a story worth telling? Seriously, a story worth telling.

But the good news is it’s not too late to begin because the decisions I make today will determine the story I tell tomorrow.

So, today I ask God to help me author the right story. The story He wants me to tell. The story that will truly make an impact in our community.

New Year’s Cheer

Originally written for

Elevation Outreach kicked off the New Year in style celebrating with our homeless neighbors at Urban Ministry Center on New Year’s Day.

From playing bingo to preparing and serving a traditional New Year’s Day meal to collecting prayer request cards, it was a day full of New Year cheer for everyone involved.

More than 30 Elevation volunteers, including a large group of eStudents from the University campus, gave their time, energy and compassion to make the start of 2013 special for the 360 neighbors on hand at UMC.

After a hearty lunch that included chicken, ham, collard greens, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and cornbread, many of the neighbors filled our prayer board with special requests for the new year.

Urban Ministry Center serves as a point of entry to services offered by a network of agencies that work closely to provide necessary opportunities for the homeless population.

Special thank you to Jon and Angie NoblezadaRose Rhodes and Brian Baute for investing in our community with the University eStudents, and to Tess Phillis and friends for their assistance at UMC during the holiday season.

Charity is Sexy: CLT Gives Back

“Santa’s helpers are here!”

As we knocked on the door, you could hear a six-year-old little girl shout these words with pure excitement. The excitement of a young child whose Christmas wishes came true thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Charlotte social media community and the #SCLThoops crew.

We set out a few weeks ago to create special holiday memories for two local families through our #CLTgivesback initiative. Many hundred tweets and Facebook postings later, with all the donations made and gifts purchased, we greeted the two families with $4,497 worth of presents and gift cards in hand.

What took place at that point is very hard to put into words – tears, hugs, prayers and definitely huge smiles all around. The true spirit of Christmas was never more evident.

“…thank you all for your wonderful gestures. We appreciate everything and thank you so much,” said one of the mothers, as she beamed with joy and excitement after the family opened their gifts. That mother, and her kids, were so excited they decided to open everything right then and there.

Thanks to our support and provision, these two families will forever cherish the memories of this holiday season.

Molly, from Matthews Help Center, after seeing the gifts for the first family, told us that “a couple families hit the jackpot every year.”

Charlotte, through #CLTgivesback, you created this year’s jackpot.

Thank you for stepping up in a massive way to not only spread the word, but contribute, and create a holiday experience, that these families will, surely, never forget.

Click here to see a video of the event.

SCLThoops Gives Back

For the past 18 months or so, I’ve been getting together with a group of guys each Saturday morning to play pick-up basketball. The SCLThoops (South Charlotte hoops) group came together through Twitter and the Charlotte Observer did a great job telling that story last year about this time.

Recently we decided we wanted to take time one weekend to give back to our community. We reached out to Ryan Grammatico from Right Moves For Youth (RMFY) and he presented the idea of assisting RMFY with restoring the West Mecklenburg High School weight room.

Yesterday, 18 guys from SCLThoops worked side-by-side with youth volunteers from RMFY to clean and paint the weight room, reupholster weight benches, clean and paint weight equipment and much more.

If you have watched any of the ESPN Rise Up series, then you have seen what an impact it can make on a school for their school to receive an upfit. Hopefully our efforts allowed the students and athletes at West Meck to feel a sense of ownership and pride in their facility.

Leading up to and during the event, we used the hashtag #SCLThoopsGivesBack on Twitter to generate interest in volunteering with us and talk about the effort.

One of our crew, Ken Buck, put together a quick video capturing our first SCLThoopsGivesBack effort and also took lots of pictures of what we hope will be the first of many times lending a hand to our community.

Please reach out if you’d like to join us in the future for volunteering or just shooting a few hoops…

Lending A Hand

Many of the New Year’s resolutions I heard or saw online this year included something like this: “I will give back to my community.”

With the first month of 2011 behind us, I wonder just how many of those that wanted to give back have actually acted on that resolution.

There are thousands of people in our community that need our help. Volunteer opportunities abound. Yet is seems like “life gets in the way” all too often.

I’ve seen some passionate Tweets from people already lending a hand over the past week like Andy Denton at A Child’s Place, Aleigh Acerni at Charlotte Community School for Girls, Kathy Rowan at Thompson Child & Family Focus and Bobby DeMuro with the kids at the Ada Jenkins Center.

At Goodwill last week we shared an amazing story from our GoodGuides youth mentoring program on FOX Charlotte. Just ask Lelia King about the tears of joy flowing from a young woman’s face when talking about the impact working with a mentor just one hour a week has made on her life. Better yet, watch the story and see for yourself.

I personally have made the decision to lend the skills God blessed me with to help the Teen Health Connection in Charlotte share their amazing story with the community.

I’m sure there are many, many more stories of people lending a hand across our community. Yet, so much more assistance is needed and the percentage of those helping is so low.

So I ask you today: Will you lend a hand?

The Right Place at the Right Time

I would never have guessed this would be my first blog post but, as I found out yet again, God has his own agenda.

Last Sunday, I stayed home from church nursing a cold and letting my girls get some much-needed sleep. For whatever reason, I spent some of that time opening a WordPress account, securing a domain name and messing around with WordPress. As is typical, I had a couple hundred other things I should have been doing but found this much more interesting.

As a bit of a back story, I have been attending the same local church since the mid-1990’s. I have always loved the atmosphere and the fact I could apply the messages from the pastor to my daily life. However, the last couple series of messages haven’t inspired me as much as before and the church’s current initiative, while very worthy, has left me less than energized.

The church is joining forces with an international non-profit to work for freedom for children all over the world suffering from human trafficking and slavery. The church is donating the entire offering received on Sunday, Dec. 19 and Friday, Dec. 24 to the organization. This is an amazing gesture as I’m sure the total offering will be more than $150,000.

However, I’ve struggled internally with our church sending all this money overseas when we have so much need in our local community. For example, within a 10-15 mile radius of the church, there are multiple “tent villages” with our homeless brothers and sisters sleeping out in the cold. Through my work at Goodwill, I hear daily about the tens of thousands living in poverty in our community. Shouldn’t we be making in an impact here — and, of all times, now while we’re fighting a three-year recession?!

For several weeks I’ve been feeling a push to visit Elevation Church’s new campus in Blakeney. So yesterday, I made the jump, attended my first service and knew God had placed me in the right place… at the right time. From the first notes of the opening song, I felt chills up and down my arms. Imagine my surprise a little later when Pastor Steven Furtick presented a check for $20,000 to the Matthews HELP Center as one of many contributions this week to local outreach partners. Just a small piece of the church’s $1.2 million they contributed to our local community in 2010.

Do I think it was a coincidence I was at Elevation to learn about the church’s impact on our community? Not a chance. Did I hear a passionate message about gratitude from Pastor Steven that I started applying to my life as soon as I walked out the church doors? Yes, I did.

I don’t mean this as a knock on my former church or even a blessing for Elevation. It’s really a testament that God has a plan for us. Every day. You just have to be willing to open your mind and your heart and listen. If you do, he’ll make sure you’re in the right place… at the right time.