Tag Archives: CommuniD BBQ

No rain

This is the second weekend in a row where it was raining in the morning and they were calling for more rain throughout the day… and God held back the clouds!! In those 2 Saturdays we’ve seen over 500 people share a meal together at 5 #CommuniDBBQs in 4 locations with 14 partnering groups. Because our God still calls the storms… And creates space for His Body to form and love at a common table. My God… YOU ARE AMAZING!!

Easter in the Park

I have a friend. For this post, I’ll change his name. Let’s call him John. This is not because this post will be inflammatory by any stretch. It is simply because I haven’t asked him if I can share this story.

John is born and raised in Detroit. John is in his early 20s. John is on parole and he won’t tell me what for. John is homeless. Though he has family in the area, he can’t live with them. He often stays with friends so he doesn’t have to sleep on the streets. John runs drugs sometimes to make money. As a young, African-American felon on parole in Detroit, this is his only foreseeable option. No, it’s not a good thing to do. But I’d like to see you do something different in his situation.

John is smart. John is witty. John enjoys being the life of the party and revels in the spotlight. John loves reading Psalms and has several memorized. John also enjoys singing. On at least one occasion, John has led others (including myself) to the throne in singing worship at a CommuniD BBQ in Detroit.

The Saturday after last Easter.

I was at the CommuniD BBQ in Detroit. I was sitting with John and we were eating. I asked John if he did anything special for Easter; went to church, had dinner with his family, anything. This is what he told me,

“Well I worked Saturday night (which means he was running drugs). I got off about 8:00 Sunday morning. I knew it was Easter and that’s a really big day for churches. So I figured none of the churches would be here with people in the park. I had a pocket full of cash from working and nothing to do. So I went to the store, bought a loaf of bread, some ham and some mustard. And I came here to the park and made sandwiches for anyone who was here and we just kind of ate together.”

As he told me this, I was more than moved. I was speechless. I was thrilled for him. He was sharing with others as there was need. He was focused on others instead of himself. He was living out the call of Jesus in his life. Yes, he got the money from running drugs. But how many of us make our money from indulging and profiting off of the gluttony or materialism of others? This friend of mine was beginning to take steps in the way of Jesus and I was inspired by him.

Our conversation went on from there and was good. I’ve thought about that story and shared that story many times over the last year.

This past Saturday night I was in Charleston, SC. I was talking with a guy in his early 20s who has been dreaming of creating community like elevate Detroit and Micah 6 Community are. He’s never seen anything like what he’s been dreaming about. He’s never heard of it and he’s never heard of anyone else doing it. Needless to say, our conversation was a powerful one. He was thrilled, inspired and excited to learn of others doing similar things to what he’s been feeling called to create. It was inspiring and so encouraging to me to get to be a part of that with him.

I told him the story of my friend John that I shared above. And then I said, “You tell me. Who was more like Jesus that day? We, the church people worshipping God in our buildings with our worship services? Or the homeless drug runner that gave all he had to share what he could with others in need. Where was Jesus that morning?”

Then it hit me. Easter Sunday was right around the corner. And it was about to happen again. “I knew it was Easter and that’s a really big day for churches. So I figured none of the churches would be here with people in the park.”

Ouch.

And where would Jesus be?

Ouch.

And what were my plans for Easter?

Ouch.

So here’s the plan… Let’s not be the same church that worships a homeless man on Easter and neglects the homeless man we claim to be friends with and love.

This is not a CommuniD BBQ on Easter Sunday. This is a worship service at 2nd & Selden. And we need your help.

We will sing songs of worship to our resurrected savior.
We will hear a short Easter message.
We will share communion.
We will share a light lunch.

We need help on Easter Sunday, but we also need help getting ready in the days before. If you’d like to be a part, please call: (313) 444-0463.

For more information, join the event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/241288699301917

— We need chairs. Bring your folding chairs, your lawn chairs and your dining room chairs.
— Lunch will be ham and cheese sandwiches and bottles of water.
— Please don’t bring extra food than that. The focus will be easy to distract from celebrating the resurrection of Christ. And we don’t want that to happen.
— We need people to get together Saturday evening and make the sandwiches ahead of time.
— We need someone who will take pictures and video. Actually, we need a couple people.
— We will need people who will serve communion.
— We may need someone who can lead us in singing worship (waiting to hear back from someone now).

Being Jesus

“Everyone needs compassion. A love that’s never failing.”

I love this song. It’s one of my favorites.

I’ve probably sung it a hundred times.  Maybe more.

This is Friday night though. Normally I may sing it on a Sunday.  I may sing it on a Wednesday.  But I bet this is the first time on a Friday.  Certainly the first time the night before a CommuniD BBQ. 

Read those two lines again:
“Everyone needs compassion.  A love that’s never failing.”

We all do don’t we? I know I certainly do.

Tomorrow, when we each get together at 2nd & Selden, let’s look at each other and everyone we see throughout the day with those eyes.

“Everyone needs compassion.  A love that’s never failing.”

The next line says, “Let mercy fall on me.”

Lord, let mercy fall on us. And let us pour it out as an offering to you.  Let each of us experience your mercy and unfailing love through each other’s compassion freely shared amongst every one present at 2nd and Selden.

Mack and Outreach Love

I spent this afternoon at the CommuniD BBQ in Detroit. It’s August 13th, 2011. Today’s high is 80°F. Mostly sunny. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Today I met a man named Mack. Scratch that… today I met a friend named Mack. I’ve actually met him many times before, but never remembered his name. After today, I will never forget his name.

Mack is 26 years old. He will turn 27 on October 1st. Mack is African-American. He is probably 5′ 10″ tall; a little heavier than average build. He’s a good size to hug. Mack has a sweetness about him. It’s a childlike innocence. To meet Mack is to like him. To talk with him is to love him. I cannot help, but see Christ in his smile. It’s beautiful. He is beautiful.

Mack is currently homeless. Mack stays in a shelter in Cass Corridor. Mack comes to the CommuniD BBQs just about every week. He has for some time.

Today Mack read me a song he wrote. He has chords written out and everything. The song is called Outreach Love. Mack wrote Outreach Love to describe his experiences at CommuniD BBQs at 2nd & Selden.

I hope to be able to post the lyrics to his song soon. For now, I’ll say two things about it:
1. I was in tears after hearing it.
2. The only line I remember goes something like, “No one looks at me like I’m broken.”

To anyone who may read this… success. If the last four plus years of BBQs through winter and summer alike had no other benefit whatsoever, but to give Mack the experience of being seen by God as not being broken… success. Because in Christ, Mack is made whole. In Christ, I am made whole. In Christ, Mack is not broken. In Christ, I am not broken. In Christ, Mack is healed of his brokenness. In Christ, we are all healed of our brokenness.

God,

Thank you for Christ. Thank you for Mack. Thank you for Christ in Mack. And thank you for Christ in me. Thank you for healing our brokenness through Christ and His body… us.

I hope to post full lyrics to Outreach Love soon.

P.S. Get ready for one SERIOUS birthday party on October 1st.

Mack, Heather, Morgyn and friend last summer (8/7/10)

2 of 2 Posts of Thoughts on the Detroit Reverse BBQ

Last Tuesday was a fantastic afternoon. 50 students and leaders from Detroit Reverse walked from Wayne State to 2nd & Selden. There were about 250 people at the BBQ total. A homeless man named David helped show about 5 students how to grill and together they cooked the food for everyone. All told there were 400 hot dogs and 240 hamburgers cooked and eaten by everyone there.

All of the students did an awesome job connecting with people and engaging in conversations all over the park. It was both encouraging and inspiring to see kids from the city and suburbs alike side by side moving, doing and loving in the Kingdom of God in Detroit. If those students are at all a sign of things to come, this city and region are in for much greater things than this.

What started 4 years ago as a wild idea thrown out amongst friends was met with a shrug and a “let’s try it.” We had no idea what God had in mind.

Today that wild idea has transformed into a movement of the Holy Spirit that is helping to reshape the way you, I and a lot of our brothers and sisters in Christ see the world, our region and most importantly, God’s people. None of it would happen without every one of you stepping up in all sorts of roles and helping wherever God calls us.

I am so honored to serve our precious Christ alongside each of you. Truly, thank you for obeying your calling, joining arms with each other and myself and fighting the dark one for the hearts and lives of God’s people and God’s city.

1 of 2 Posts of Thoughts on the Detroit Reverse BBQ

1 of 2 Posts of Thoughts on the Detroit Reverse BBQ last Tuesday…

I dropped my truck and the green trailer off at the park Tuesday morning at about 8:30. I recognized a man (unfortunately I can’t remember his name) talking to a woman from coming to the BBQs pretty often. I went over to say Hi to them, make sure they knew about the BBQ that afternoon and ask them to look after my car while I was gone.

Upon walking up to the pair, before I could even say anything, the man asked me if the BBQ was that morning or in the afternoon. I told him the afternoon. He asked what I was doing there already. I told him I was just leaving the vehicles there and that I had to go to Wayne State for awhile before I’d be back for the BBQ. He said, “Well you don’t need to worry man. We’ll watch your @#$! for you. No one’s going to mess with it. We just finished sweeping the park up getting ready for you guys (at which point he pointed to the large pile of dirt next to him that had clearly just been swept). We picked up the trash too, but you know how people trash it around here. It’s picked up for now though.” He went on to point to a truck parked along 2nd Street and said, “Mama and Papa are over there working on fixing the benches too. You know they’re the ones that are always fixing the wood on all these benches for you guys.”

Now, go back and read that last paragraph again. Let the implications sink deep into your thoughts and hearts. A homeless man was at that park with a broom early enough to have finished sweeping it by 8:30 in the morning. Why? To clean the park up for “us.” And he wasn’t alone. There was another man and woman there working on replacing the wood on benches over by the tables. Again, why? For “us.”

Let us not think for a moment that we from mostly white suburban churches are the only ones working at resurrecting Cass Corridor or any other place we go. Let us never forget that we who don’t live in that neighborhood are the guests. We’re the guests. The homeless man is not a guest at a BBQ. He is the host. We are the guests coming over to a friend’s home and bringing something to share at the Kingdom party that our friend is hosting every Saturday.

Becoming Less

Yesterday was amazing.  Spent the day with Detroit Reverse.  They made a film about me that brought me to tears.  I’m humbled beyond words.  I’m amazed and so thankful at the work God has done in and through me and those around me.  I don’t deserve it at all.  Alexa Courtney, Amanda Sadlier, Pat Zeigler and the team did an amazing job making it.  Thank you so much to Amanda Vizzini, Lindsey Fischer and John Azoni for saying such kind words and doing what you do.  In the afternoon we had a CommuniD BBQ with Detroit Reverse students.  It was a powerful experience for all of us.  Getting to talk with the students afterwards was truly moving.