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Wonderful Savior, thank you for incarnating on earth to save the world. Through your redemptive earthly life that began on Christmas Eve and finished on the cross, you have made it possible for me – and all of humanity – to connect with God for eternity. As 2 Corinthians 9:15 declares, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

I would still be lost in sin without my relationship with you. Thanks to you, I’m free – free to live with faith rather than fear. I’m grateful beyond words for all you’ve done to save my soul from death and give me eternal life, Jesus. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, and guiding me.

Matthew 1:23: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).

John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Christmas Eve Prayer

Lord Jesus, Light of the world, John told the people to prepare for you when you were very near. As Christmas grows closer day by day, help us to be ready to welcome you now. Amen

Contributions to Child Evangelism Fellowship of North Carolina (Durham Area Chapter) are tax-deductible by the IRS as a 501c3 org.  Funds, Stock, and Sponsorship donations to CEF Durham towards funding Camps for City Kids are also included.  Give via USPS mail: CEF Durham PO Box 1288 Durham, NC 27702 / Give via website: gospeltokids.org

We are grateful and appreciative of all acts of love and provision from God’s people. As a result of your prayers, financial support, the many acts of kindness through John’s illness, and the ministries of CEF Durham, we continue to be strengthened and encouraged through this season. Medical bills have so far been paid, volunteers have stepped up for daily radiation runs for John, ministry activities are continuing through the diligence of our board members and volunteers, plus so many of God’s people have kept us in prayer – reaching out in such timely moments. Even with obstacles that we face, CEF continues to move forward in reaching God’s precious children. I’m thankful for this “2021 Thanksgiving Day Week” and from CEF Durham and see other updates from John Blake https://johneblake.blog I’m grateful for continued prayer and financial support to the ministries, board, and local churches for the communities, schools, and city kids in the local Durham Area Chapter of CEF.



CEF Durham Director and Board

I’m completing my 4th week of radiation and daily chemo. Though I’ve lost some hair, cannot speak clearly (surgery and radiation), and have low energy days, I’m doing well, PTL! Dec. 13th will be my last treatment at the Duke Cancer Center before the Christmas holidays. Then, I’ll have a dental and thumb procedure before a scheduled MRI diagnosis (re: tumor) in January 2022. We’re believing and trusting that the MRI will show all clear… SEE MORE

Community-based strategies for biblical transformation…

https://www.facebook.com/CEFDurhamArea

Updates: Nov. 20th per Treatments and Recovery Status

I’m completing my 4th week of radiation and daily chemo. Though I’ve lost some hair, cannot speak clearly (surgery and radiation), and have low energy days, I’m doing well, PTL! Dec. 13th will be my last treatment at the Duke Cancer Center before the Christmas holidays. Then, I’ll have a dental and thumb procedure before a scheduled MRI diagnosis (re: tumor) in January 2022. We’re believing and trusting that the MRI will show all clear. Once the MRI has been evaluated, my Oncology team will plan for our next steps.

We are grateful and appreciative of all acts of love and provision from God’s people. As a result of your prayers, financial support, and many acts of kindness through John’s illness, we continue to be strengthened and encouraged through this season in our lives. Medical bills have so far been paid, volunteers have stepped up for daily radiation runs for John, ministry activities are continuing through the diligence of our board members and volunteers, plus so many of God’s people have kept us in prayer – reaching out in such timely moments. Your prayers have sustained us, giving us a peace and calm throughout this journey, allowing us new insights into others that walk this path, as well as bringing joy to our daily lives. In the midst, we have welcomed a new baby granddaughter, “Birdie”, and again praise God for His undeniable gifts and blessings in our lives. A big thanks from both of us and God’s blessings to you all.

Since my past blog, Carolyn and I spent a week at Ocean Isle Beach. We had a wonderful time with our 3 grown children, spouses, 3 grand kids, and our fourth grandchild was born November 19th. It was a restful time of recovery after brain surgery, allowing us fun, ocean, surf, conversations, and many great meals around the pool.

Lots of Prayer and Support

Support from hundreds of friends, ministry partners, and Christians we didn’t even know, have strengthened, encouraged, and walked with us in the Peace and Light that only the Lord provides during such challenges. We feel your prayers and lift you, our partners, as well, many times at 3:00 AM as God wakes me. We continue to practice Prayer Evangelism for family, city, ministries, and our street/neighbors.

Medical Update

While we were away at the coast we spoke with Dr. Cook, my surgeon, where he reported that pathology revealed a gliomablastoma tumor, a nasty/fast-growing type, and will be treated aggressively with radiation and chemotherapy. While at the coast, I had some issues with edema in lower legs/ankles, which was evaluated at a local medical center in Shallotte. The ultrasound exam all came back negative for any blood clots. Though we lost one day at the beach, the remainder of week was spent resting and enjoying family, waves, walking, and keep my feet in the sands everyday.

Dates:

1.   Oct. 4th—Sutures were removed from my scalp with good results/healing.

2.   Oct. 6th—For 4-5 hours we met the Oncology team of doctors, nurses, care providers, that briefed us on the treatment plan as well as offered a couple of clinical trials at the Duke Cancer Center. 

3.   Oct. 8th—Our Radiation Team met with us and set my next scheduled visit for a “mask”-fitting, with a similar to an hockey guard, on Oct. 14th, to use during the strategic radiation sessions beginning the week of Oct. 18th.

Treatments:

The big challenge for my journey is that the gliomablastoma grade 4 tumor is a fast growing type, thus treatment must be aggressive. My initial phase of the treatment plan will last for each day, M-F for 6 weeks until December, which includes radiation, chemotherapy, labs, MRIs, and exams to determine its Game Plan is success.

God’s Game Plan:

1. Meetings, consultations, and enrollment in 3 clinical trials were held with the team

2. MRI to strategically pinpoint radiation locations

3. Radiation sessions M-F for 6 weeks

4. Chemo with an oral pill for 42 days along with/before  each radiation session

5. Weekly exams/consults with the team at Duke Cancer Center

6. MRI results of the treatment plan during the initial phase of the Game Plan

CEF Durham currently reported its Sep.-Oct. 2021 ministry update

1. All school-based Good News Clubs and Power & Light programs are hold temporarily due to COVID restrictions from area school systems

2. Select weekly adjusted clubs in neighbors and community events are driving our outreach ministries, including distribution of food and supplies to city kids and families

3. CEF has engaged in prayer initiatives locally and beyond: Pastors w/ministers, Judges/Courthouse, RDU Prays, Transformation NC, Ekklesia Excelerator #2 (international course unrolled until 2022, and 1000s others praying for John Blake/CEF

4. Prison ministry and discipleship has been restricted in the jail due to COVID

We have access to The Quiet Space at the Duke Cancer Center for prayer, meditation, and peace.

Faith Perspective and Medical Prognosis

Many times my faith and my medical prognosis are beautifully functioning together, sometimes when a path surprises or doubted, yet any path uses it brings be back to the place I needed: FAITH. One another way to say it, following a plain glass vs stain glass perspective of a lifestyle and for making decisions can become a stronghold within a one’s life or living the victorious life through God’s wisdom and freedom. I’ve found breakthrough with contemplation, medication, praying, and walking a labyrinth, using steps of faith at each day while treatments at my appoints at Duke.

I walk this type of a Labyrinth, while at Duke Cancer Center, often as I walk, pray, and contemplation my treatments that day.

A labyrinth is a path, which leads a circuitous route, to the center of an intricate design and back out again. Words of biblical hope, faith, and healing are circled within the labyrinth which focuses as you pray as you walk. A prayer labyrinth is used to facilitate prayer, meditation on words found, and is to seek spiritual transformation. This helps develop my own daily rhythm of experiencing the Manifold Presence of Christ. I incorporate both prayer, listening, keep believing realistic expectations from the Holy Spirit, as which also allows me to walk the labyrinth when I’m visited at the Duke Cancer Center (accessed on the ground floor). I listen to our doctors and the cancer tumor team and the Holy Spirit. I’m using everything that I’m learning from the plain glass and stain glass perspectives, ask for wisdom from above, know that my challenge before me, I’m on a journey, but I have the right treatments or game plan: God’s Game Plan.


Footnote Disclaimer: As a result of my brain surgery (Sep.17, 2021) my speech and writing have been affected. During future blogs, I’ll try for others to edit my drafts to provide clarity and understand for my message. Thank you for your patience. Subscribe: johneblake.blog (button)

“God’s Game Plan”

Back quickly in July 2021, during CEF summer ministries and our Camps for City Kids, I suffered multiple seizures during two individual weeks and separated two visits to a hospital. But in September 17th, a team of Duke Neurologists, removed a brain tumor, now recovering, and will be followup treatment at the Duke Cancer Center in October 2021.

The surgery was success to incisive an “inch-size” tumor, yet some of the tumor cells in blood vessels, which Dr. Cook could not remove all. The pathology confirm a 4 grade glioma tumor. Follow up with chemo and radiation will before during the months. In the meantime, I’m in eating nutritionally (more calories than I’m use), take lots of meds, walking Scout, my wife (Carolyn: CHAMPION) caring me daily, getting much rest (naps: never my not then) and get my strength for the “God’s Game Plan”.

Recovery is day by day, progressively, slowly, and some days really strong, however still I’m missing my workouts and the fitness program I developed 4-months ago. Yet, the “Journey” is the same and I have the best “God’s Game Plan” to manage me. See below. Doctors, as mentioned, will have the ready to have the sutures removed in 2 weeks and treatments begins. I’m so happy I’ll to be allowed to travel to a needed family beach trip this coming week at OIB Kahuna, which we love so much!!!

Well… now there will a “new challenge” for me, for our various ministries, but the mission will be fulfilled. Our CEF Board and Advisory, which have taking up to lead and sustain ministry will the Durham area for city kids. Thankful that God gave me a huge special opportunity in CEF for 30 years to serve the Lord! We together see it’s a “Journey” beginning, new challenges on the way, an exciting experience, and walking continue into each day, each year.

Highlight of various ministries in the Durham area

Updates and information from the sites. Leadership board and advisory members listed:

Jan Perry – Dr. Bill Allard – Paula Droege – Michael Harley – Lou Brogden – Jamison Berthold – Ruth Shepard Poole – Dr. David Johnson – Charryse Fredrick-Omari – Gloria Rentrope

“Let the Lord have His way in your life every day. There’s no rest, there’s no peace, until the Lord has His way. Place your life in His hands. Rest secure in His plan. Let the Lord, let the Lord have His way.” CEF Song Lydrics

Additional things I’m passionate and engage

That the two past months, I’m almost night 3:00-4:00 am praying for a specific people and reasons… I been praying from the Luke 10 passage, which the patterned Jesus’ instructions to disciples, when He told to go into a marketplace and/or community: Bless, Peace, being with the Manifold Fellowship with in Christ’s Presence, and lifting the needs of people, and proclaiming the Kingdom in variety ways. I’m remember past and current relationships and the sectors of our city. So much to say more on this, must here…

I’ve involved a the Ekklesia Excelerator 1 level course, now level 2, since 2020, now 2021-2022. I’m about affinity around education, we’ve meeting every 2 weeks/monthly worldwide. This has been transformation in my life and thrust can continue and grow spiritually and that my brain heals as well to fully engage.

Ekklesia: When we think of the word church, we think of it as a specific building, as a group of people, even as a long service to sit through. We hardly ever think of it as world-changing–and neither does society.

During this Excelerator courses, I’ve developed and nurtured Transformation Life Plans for my self, family, ministry, city, etc. which experiencing the God of Kingdom in the ministries, home, and neighbors.

Fitness

I’m Always Here to Help! These are more than words. This is a promise. Always here, means by whatever means available. To Help, means to leverage any resource of scientific knowledge, coaching experience, and tools appropriate for everyone of my fitness clients to get into the best shape of their lives. Well… fitness clients will have to give hold for a while and my ballistic workouts will be weak, but… docjohnblake

If you have not heard and for those who have already heard: This is an update from the Blake home about John’s condition as he recovers from multiple seizures he experienced back in July. We hope and pray this will only be a short-term leave from all activities, especially related to CEF ministries. In the meantime, we ask for your prayers and support towards his recovery and also for the continued work of Child Evangelism Fellowship in the Durham area. Together, with a great team of volunteers and the Durham Board of Directors, all Good News Clubs, the Power & Light program in schools, Camps for City Kids, and various PrayDurham efforts will continue. We trust that we will have more years to come with our grandchildren, which are pictured above, as well as another one is due on John’s birthday in November. We’re thankful for the many years you’ve supported us and this ministry. Please continue to stand with us during this challenge as well.  Matthew 19:14John & Carolyn

Challenges: A Few Words from the Coach

Hi! I’m reaching out again to all of my former players, campers, coaches, as well as my friends.  I’m thanking all of you for so many GREAT MEMORIES from my rich coaching journey. Today, Andy, my wife Alana, and I continue the face our life challenges  day-by-day with determination and faith.  I also hear that our camps for city kids have resumed after COVID restrictions were lifted for us to offer summer camps.  Doc Blake let me know that all 80-100 campers were fully sponsored.  Thanks for your help! 

As the director of CEF, Camps for City Kids, and other efforts to help kids and youth, doc wants to continue these efforts with the current campers and many more into the late summer and fall of 2021.  Most of you know what a camp experience can do for kids. Perhaps you were impacted at camp also.

So, help me again by giving back so that a young kids can benefit during their early years of development. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Enjoy a few pics from this summer and help me help doc by sponsoring kids for these camps. 

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? This is John “Doc” Blake (JHS’73) and it’s been exciting to team back up with Coach and Emily Biggs (JHS’74) to make a greater impact on city kids. CEF works with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective for us to reach city kids in the Durham area.

Camps for City Kids this summer has include: Tennis, Basketball, Soccer, Bible, Character Development, Reading, a variety of academic skills, social etiquette classes, as well as a few field trips, all the while helping each camper understand their own value, power, gifts, and destiny.

This summer’s 6-week Reading Camp has been meeting Monday-Friday June 14 – July 22 offering reading, other academics, etiquette skills, 5-Day Clubs (Bible Studies), Power & Light character education, sports mini camps, and field trips. Our summer staff is doing an awesome job adjusting to challenges, innovating, and facilitating live as well as online classes. We appreciate Mr. Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Mike Glenn and the DNS staff, Madison Daniel, Charryse Fredrick-Omari, Joshua Tankard, and Mrs. Jackie Omotosho, and our newest intern Nafisa Van Den Akker very much!

Contributions to Child Evangelism Fellowship of North Carolina (Durham Area Chapter) are tax-deductible by the IRS as a 501c3 org.  Funds, Stock, and Sponsorship donations to CEF Durham towards funding Camps for City Kids are also included.  Give via USPS mail: CEF Durham PO Box 1288 Durham, NC 27702 / Give via website: gospeltokids.org

New website, purpose, and mission

Purpose & Mission

PrayDurham seeks to cover the streets and strategic sectors of our city with prayer through a collaborative of churches, individuals, and intercessory prayer groups. This site is a venue for encouragement, motivation, and a challenge to the Church at Durham to fulfill the Law of Christ, to bless our city with Godly peace and mercy, to pray and serve with our city — not merely for our city. We follow the teaching of Jesus for engaging our city through Prayer Evangelism.

Prayer Evangelism

Based on Luke 10 and Matthew 16 we follow the Words of Jesus for expressing the Kingdom of God in our city through prayer and service. The 10 Keys of the Kingdom guides how we engage the social, educational, and government sectors of Durham.

Including this blog site, these websites are designed as resources for those ministering to city kids, directing programs for children, and those looking for strategies to express the Kingdom to communities, schools, and children anywhere.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® (CEF®) of North Carolina in Durham has a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area.  We have a calling to serve city kids, block by block, in resource-challenged communities of Durham with Gospel-centered activities using the 10 Keys of the Kingdom for biblical leadership development.
Building solid academic/athletic skills and strong Christian character are goals of our camps offering Basketball, Soccer, Futsal, Tennis, Fitness, Blacktop/Field Games, Cross Training/Bible, Life Skills, Etiquette, and character development education.
Values-based character education principles and strategies to help al N.C. schools to flourish. Special events to motivate and kick-start workshops and seminars are scheduled when requested by a school or organization. Workshops are offered in a series of 1 hour sessions, each adaptable for all school-age groups, faculty, and other audiences. These workshops, conducted in school classrooms, will challenge students at a very strategic time in their development. All workshops, seminars, and follow-up activities use discussion, object lessons, high-energy games, and relevant applications.

Held April 2nd Downtown Durham. Dozen Volunteers. Gospel. 100s of cars.

Recently, at the Easter drive-thru event, a dozen children and adults, who volunteered with CEF, distributed and ministered to city kids from Durham. Hundreds of Easter baskets, Gospel booklets and tracts were distributed. Families were reached and ministered to while in their cars. As a result of our friendships/partnerships with the Durham Rescue Mission and the City of Durham Community Engagement, six other neighborhoods were directly engaged and received the same items as during the drive-thru event. These items are pictured above and below. Each basket and booklet were given to city kids with a personal touch and prayerful ministry on April 2nd and 3rd.

Actually, over 6,000 city kids have been ministered to embracing the Gospel of Salvation during events like these this year and specifically during the past 6 months of the COVID pandemic.  Since the Fall of 2020 until now, 6,636 have participated in various community-based, clubs, and event-type ministries that CEF Durham offers.  Thanks for praying and for giving so that ministries like these can flourish, even during COVID restrictions as we’ve all endured.

Sponsors City Kids to attend our sports camps which emphasizes putting God first in every aspect of play and life. We build solid athletic skills and strong Christian character. Suggested: $100/kid

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, the last week of the Christian solemn season of Lent that precedes the arrival of Easter.

In the Bible, as well as from sources outside of the Bible, we see that the use of “palm branches” was often tied to “victory.” The Bible first shows us this in conjunction with the “Feast of Tabernacles.” As a part of this celebration, the Israelites were commanded by God to construct and live in “booths” (for 7 days), which were made from “the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook” (Lev 23:40)(also see: Neh 8:14-18). This was done to commemorate the way the people of Israel lived after God gave them “victory,” and brought them out of Egypt.

     While not recorded in the Bible, history tells us that waving palm branches was also done to celebrate kings and conquerors. We also know that in Greek athletic competitions, victors were often given a palm branch, which they would wave to celebrate their “victory.” Palm branches are a part of Christian worship on Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, as it is sometimes called. This event commemorates Jesus Christ‘s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, as foretold by the prophet Zechariah.

Palm Branches on Palm Sunday

  • In the Bible, Jesus ‘ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem with the waving of palm branches is found in John 12: 12-15 (see below); Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; and Luke 19:28-44.
  • Today Palm Sunday is celebrated one week before Easter, on the first day of Holy Week.
  • The first celebration of Palm Sunday in the Christian church is uncertain. A palm processional was recorded as early as the 4th century in Jerusalem, but the ceremony was not introduced into Western Christianity until the 9th century.

The Bible tells us that people cut branches from palm trees, laid them across Jesus’ path and waved them in the air as he entered Jerusalem the week before his death. They greeted Jesus not as the spiritual Messiah who would take away the sins of the world, but as a potential political leader who would overthrow the Romans. They shouted “Hosanna [meaning “save now”], blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Cross made out of palm fronds… see how to make on YouTube

Jesus’ Triumphant Entry in the Bible

All four Gospels include the account of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem:

The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.​” (John 12:12-15)

Palm Branches Today

Today, many Christian churches distribute palm branches to worshipers on Palm Sunday, which is the sixth Sunday of Lent and last Sunday before Easter. On Palm Sunday, people remember Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, praise him for the gift of salvation, and look expectantly to his second coming.

Customary Palm Sunday observances include the waving of palm branches in procession, the blessing of palms, and the making of small crosses with palm fronds.

Palm Sunday also marks the beginning of Holy Week, a solemn week focusing on the final days of Jesus Christ’s life. Holy Week culminates on Easter Sunday, the most important holiday in Christianity.

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