A Clearer View

Pushing some of life’s subtle distractions to the side brings life into greater perspective. Combine that with inviting God to search us and know us and to pull the weeds of sin clears our view so that we can truly fix our eyes on Jesus. As we look forward to Easter Weekend the cross standing in the distance comes into focus, and with every day of preparation we take a step closer.

There is a danger in removing the things that have cluttered our lives. Sometimes the clutter and the weeds have crowded out so much that when we remove them we end up with nothing left. Empty, hollow, and meaningless are not good feelings. So we put our focus on filling back up. On being filled by God’s word and by His Spirit.

In Ephesians 5:18 the Apostle Paul encourages the Christ follower to be continually filled by the Spirit of God. He already resides within the believer, yet too often He is crowded out. The challenge is to give Him full access to every area of our lives. Allow Him to fill our thoughts and direct our actions. He does that when we Make Room for Him to intervene in times of prayer and reading the scriptures.

We get this message from Wenatchee First Aid and CPR Training

Some of the recommended scripture reading:

Psalm 63:1-8 (The MSG – Worth reading just for the steak and gravy reference), Isaiah 55:1-10, and John 7:37-39

Ninja Night And Then Some..

I am not even playin’ when I say life is rockin’ and rollin’ right now! We are planning for Community Makeover at Engage Atlanta. At West Ridge we are starting a New Series Called Make War, getting ready for Last Saturday (April 30th), and partnering with others to try and serve families impacted by storms in the Southeast. That’s just the tip of the iceberg folks! Did I mention I’m getting up at 4AM to watch a wedding with my wife of two people I will never even meet!

Thanks to New Orleans Towing for helping the folks in that area!

I would invite you to click on all the links above and get in the game!

With all of that said you may be wondering, “Where can you find calm in the storms of life?” I have two words for you, Ninja Night!

Straight up! My kids want to be ninjas, and I think that would be cool. I don’t know anyone who can claim that their kids are ninjas. I can’t either, but we are on our way. The last Friday night of every month is Ninja Night at Breakthrough Martial Arts. This is the best Tae Kwon Do instruction on the planet. Mr Jerrod Hicks and his staff are phenomenal with kids. Our kids confidence and strength has been raised from being a part.

Ninja Night is four hours of the best childcare you will find. It is the last Friday of every month from 6:00-10:30 (April 29th this time around). It is $20 per child. They feed your kids, and plan activities for all 4 and half hours. You don’t have to be members to participate in Ninja Night.

They are incredible! My kids ask to go to this, and it gives me time with my awesome wife!

We really like these people, so I am giving them a shout out! I’ll remind you again next time around. Call them and let them know your kids are coming so that they can prepare. The number is 678-333-6949.

By the way, Jerrod teaches the Martial Arts portion of SURGE Camp. The sports and arts camp that the KidQuest Ministry does at West Ridge Church every Summer. Brent Moxey pulls together an amazing group of volunteers from our church and community to make this happen. More on that later.

Be honest. It would be really cool if your kids were ninjas.


Unforgettable Water Need

She had been in school the morning we came to her village on a trip assessing the water needs in some of the most untouched villages in Burkina Faso. There are easily 75-100 children in her elementary classroom. When she gets thirsty she doesn’t go ask her teacher if she can go get a drink of water. Why bother? They will never even know she is gone. She’s not being mischievous, just thirsty.

There is one well in this village. Though we don’t know the exact population it is well beyond the capacity of one. Rather than wait her turn at the water pump, or elbow her way to the front, this sweet, meek little girl goes for a walk. On this day, the distance she walked away from the school and the local drilled well is not the issue. What’s more important is what she found for a water source. It was just a local cistern. A hole in the ground designed to catch some rain from the months before and be used for whatever is convenient like bathing, or watering animals. The bottle she was carrying to fill says it all; this water should not be drunk.

I think of this little girl often. She is another face of the water need all over Burkina Faso. Engage Burkina and our partners are currently raising funds to bring drilled wells to this and as many other villages in this region as we can later on in 2014.

At Engage Burkina we are working to bring hope and the water that sustains life to villages just like this one. We thank the team at columbiaelectrical.com for there help.

You can help us at http://engageburkina.com/donate
Paul Richardson
Engage Burkina

Things I Couldn’t Tweet From Burkina Faso

Internet access was not as easy this time around in Burkina Faso. That meant less tweets. I take lots of notes on these trips, so if I could tweet as often as I do in the US here are some things I would have shared.

Meeting my Compassion Child was an amazing experience. I can’t imagine a better way to spend $38 a month. Next time I’m bringing the boy some shoes.

The Pastor at the LAC (Agabuse) has as big a heart for Student discipleship as anyone I’ve ever met.

Dang, it’s hot!

After doing 26 wells in the first two years we have request for 124 more with ‘more on the road’ as our friends on the ground say. We have request from over 300 km away. That’s what credibility will do for you.

“You have no idea how many people will be converted from the digging of one well.” (Pastor Tomas, Central Church, Ougagadougou)

More than 500 people have trusted Christ in the last year from the animist people group we have adopted called, ‘The Pugli’. We hope to build churches in more than three dozen villages among this group

The men that pastor these bush villages are no joke. We can learn a lot from them about leadership, dedication, and expanding the kingdom.

Can’t help but wonder how much impact my African American friends in the states would have on these people.

500,000 people died in Burkina from a famine that happened less than 5 years ago. Why doesn’t anyone know about that?

I can’t believe how hot it is!

Every woman in the US should come build relationships and encourage women here. It would be empowering for both parties.

Looking forward to putting Tony Morgan’s books in French and seeing how these principles transfer over

Answered prayer is the first step in creating ministry strategy

Our friends in the bush just spent a month salary feeding our team three meals. That’s humbling.

Great test of friendship and the people you work with is traveling like this. It’s a little strange to me, but I still like all these people.

A frozen Tampico is the nectar of the gods. Thanks to Linderman Builds – Outdoor Fire Pits

The more people come over here, the more impact we will have in Burkina and in our own families and churches.

Bigger Than You

The other day I went by a home on the Cobb/Paulding that had been devastated by last September’s flood. It is now late February. Nearly five months have gone by. All the belongings from the home are out in the yard, and once again… it is raining. I come to these homes representing a church, considering how we can help, and God whispers ‘It’s bigger than you’.

There are hundreds of families in Paulding, Cobb, and Douglas County, GA that are trying to live in homes that they can’t afford to put back together. Most of their valuables left in a dumpster sometime last fall. I believe the local church is the best vehicle of Hope that has ever been created. I also believe we have entered into a season where God has opened the eyes of church leaders so that they would see that the challenges faced by communities are bigger than any one church.

This little note is a reminder that we are continuing to ask churches to come together so that all of us can lead the way in helping to restore what was lost. West Ridge Church and our church partners at Engage Atlanta are all partnering together with Samaritan’s Purse to help rebuild homes in this community.

When there is this much work to do it can be paralyzing to the point that you never get involved. Let me make it simple, and give you some basic ways you can get involved using the skills, talents and resources that God has given you:

  1. Volunteer to work – Tuesday – Saturday is the work schedule that our friends at Samaritan’s Purse have established. If you would like to volunteer, and bring some friends along, call 770-222-2125, and ask for extension 372. You’ll probably get a voicemail, but we are checking it. It helps us to plan for volunteers in advance for these kinds of projects so give us a call. If you are out of state you can volunteer on the Samaritan’s Purse website.
  1. Volunteer to feed – Every week from now until the end of April we have volunteers here from all over the country. We are trying to save construction funds by using local groups to feed these incredible volunteers. If you would like to help with this, please send me a note by using the contact form on this blog. While I’m at it, if there’s anyone with connections to ticketed events around Atlanta we would like to hook up these volunteers. We have tons of college students giving up their Spring Break in March and April to be a part of this. I hope they get to experience a little fun in the ATL while they are here.
  2. Contract Labor – A lot of money can be spent on HVAC, plumbing and electrical just in labor. If you are a licensed professional and are willing to volunteer your skills, please let me know.
  3. Adopt a home – Engage Atlanta has been inviting churches to adopt a home. Several in our local area already have including Burnt Hickory Baptist, Cedarcrest Church, Bethany Christian, and others are considering it. If you would like more information about that, let me know.

Looking forward to sharing the stories of what can happen when a whole group of people find what they have in common and make a difference.

Everyone Belongs,