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Luck has nothing to do with getting there!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day / Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit (in the Irish language, also called Erse or Gaelic, Irish Gaeilge, a member of the Goidelic group of Celtic languages, spoken in Ireland) so, if your thinking whether you’ll get LUCKY or reach that pot of gold at the end of your rainbow on this special holiday, Níl aon bhaint ag Ádh mór le dul ann! (in English, Luck has nothing to do with getting there!).

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ]; Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He was also known as the Apostle of Ireland. According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, when he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. Was This Bad Luck? While a slave, he looked after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. Was this Good Luck? After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty, but there is general agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the fifth century.

In later life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th, the supposed date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday.

Luck had nothing to do with the events in Patrick’s life, nor do they in yours. If you know Christ as Savior, you are redeemed back to God the Father and are a Saint as well, according to the Bible. On Saint Patrick’s Day we observe, celebrate, and remember how a young man dealt with evil and unfortunate life circumstances and became the man God had foreordained. From Scripture, we know of so many others like Patrick: Joseph, Jonah, Daniel, and Paul, to mention a few. As a result of God’s Will for Patrick’s life, many in Ireland and around the world were encouraged to press through adversity as well as to place their faith and hope in Christ Jesus for salvation and daily living.

You may be experiencing things in life that make you question your worth, luck, destiny, or even God Himself. Though we all live in a fallen/sinful world, God is always at work in your life as He was in Patrick’s. It’s not about LUCK or being LUCKY, but The Kingdom of God / Ríocht Dé expressed and experienced in the midst of the struggles, disappointments, and confusion of life. If you minister/work with city kids, then you know that it seems there is never any let up to problems and issues in their lives. Sometimes we wish for somewhere over the rainbow for these kids… Can’t they get a LUCKY break?

Níl aon bhaint ag Ádh mór leis! …again, Luck has nothing to do with it!  Jesus said: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom [eochracha na ríochta] of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Take the Keys of the Kingdom to the Gates of Hades, no LUCK needed, and lock up evil, demonic, and satanic mindsets of poverty, hatred, racism, low achievement, and on and on… And then, take those same powerful keys and unlock the Gates of Heaven; the Heart of God the Father; and express His Kingdom to city kids and others.

Speak the Truth that says: You matter! You are a gift to me! You are a delight to know and to be my friend! You make this world better! This world needs you! These are the expressions of the Kingdom, in which everyone needs to hear. This is the power that you possess to change your world and LUCK has nothing to do with getting there.

Matthew 16:18-19 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” ESV

These paradigms apply whether you’re ministering in a community, city, state or the world (nations). There are many testimonies from around the world, when the practical application of these principles are active, resulted in the Kingdom of God in operation on earth.

  1. We are called to disciple nations, not just individuals. (Matt. 28:18-20)
  2. The Marketplace, which is the heart of the nation, has been redeemed and now needs to be reclaimed. (Luke 19:1-10)
  3. Every Christian is a minister, and labor is worship. (1 Tim. 2:1-8; Acts 20:34-35)
  4. We are called to take the kingdom of God to where the gates of hell are for Jesus to build His Church. (Matt. 16:18)
  5. Nation transformation must be tangible and the premier social indicator is the elimination of systemic poverty. (Gal. 2:10)
Ed Silvoso, Transform Our World, Harvest Evangelism

The Methodology is found in Luke 10:5-9

  • Pray and Bless: Speak peace to the people and the systems which influence/impact them (v.5)
  • Fellowship: Engage, listen, from learn from the people (v.7)
  • Minister: Address the felt needs in the Name of the Lord (v.9a)
  • Proclaim: Let it be known that the Kingdom of God is near (v.9b)

What are the possible next steps for you and your ministry?

  • Which paradigms do you readily identify with?  Which principles speak to you most strongly?
  • Which paradigms need the most explanation and/or example of implementation?
  • How would you answer the question, “Tell me about the impact your church is having on your community?
  • What are some natural ways you can begin building bridges into your community?
  • Where do you sense is your first (or next) entry point into your community?
  • What are the internal / external barriers to entering into the life of your community?
  • Which agencies, ministries, or programs would make good “partner ministries” for your church?
  • What are some ways that you can “pray and bless” your city and/or community?
  • Discuss the Ten Paradigm Shifts / 10 Keys of the Kingdom / 5 Pivotal Paradigms of Transformation / 5 Characteristics of Connectors with your staff / board at your next leadership retreat
  1. They are “gift‐centered” people. They see the “full half” in everyone.
  2. They are well connected themselves. They have friendships and are active in their community’s life.
  3. They are trusted and create new trusting relationships. The trust they have grows from the fact that they see the gifts of their neighbors, and they are willing contributors to their neighbors and the neighborhood.
  4. They believe in the people in their community. They are not cynical, doubting observers of local residents. They know that their community is a place rich in resources.
  5. And they are people who get joy from connecting, convening and inviting people to come together. They are not seeking to lead people. They know the power in joining people together.

The Spirit of God is at work.  There is a good chance that the next great movement of God will involve putting the church back into community where it can be the leaven, salt and light God designed the church to be. 


Next: 5 Pivotal Paradigms for biblical transformation – Pray – Bless – Fellowship – Minister – Proclaim

  1. Tear down walls and build bridges towards transformation
  2. Measure your impact by transformed lives rather than attendance
  3. Equipping indigenous residents to serve instead of a cycle of being served
  4. Becoming a learner as well as a teacher
  5. Resist duplicating ministries to collaborating with existing ministries
  6. Moving from fellowship (only) to a functional, thriving, and unified friendship
  7. Stop condemning the city, blaming the church, and pray with them
  8. Becoming a marketplace ministry rather than only to a local congregation
  9. Rejecting speculation about the community and engaging Truth & Vision
  10. See indigenous residents as assets with gifts and talents needed for transformation of their community

What better way to celebrate and teach your kids about Black History Month than with some great children’s books? The Flying Pig Books in Shelburne, Vt., Read with Me in Raleigh, N.C., and Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. are kid-friendly bookshops across the country asked to offer their favorite titles that families should be reading for Black History Month – and beyond. I don’t recommend all of these 17 suggested books (link below), but I do like and use these books pictured:

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (96 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade, ages 8 to 12 years
  • Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present, by Jamia Wilson, Illustrated by Andrea Pippins, Quarto (64 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years
  • Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, Dial (144 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years

PRAYER: One Race

Father, your Word tell us that every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth have been made of one blood. Regardless of the color of our skin or where we live, we are all of one race the human race. Forgive us — forgive me — for magnifying [myself] which profits nothing.Transform us to be like You, a people who look at the heart and see every person as You see them. Each one of us is made in Your Image. This is astonishing and reason for great joy and wonder. Help us to value every human life as you do, and to put behind us our focus on [ourselves]. Teach us to celebrate our similarities — the important matters of heart and mind and soul and spirit; of common human experiences, the wonder of being filled with Your Spirit, and indescribable joy of experiencing and praising You! Give us Your Eyes to see people as You see them and enable me, by the power of Your Spirit, to love them as You love them… and as you love me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. pg. 33 Make Us One (see below)

Our nation is in turmoil over many issues these days―political, social and health related. But systemic racism and how it touches so much of society is one of the most painful. The Make Us One 31-day devotional prayer guide speaks into this issue. It is designed to open the heart of the reader so he or she can experience inner healing, repent where needed, and move him or her toward heart-transformation. Ultimately it is a cry for God to bring healing over this evil in our nation. Each of the powerful, insightful, scripture-based prayers is written by a national prayer leader or pastor. It has a hard-hitting, clear, prophetic voice for our times, and a message to the Church that it cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer, but needs to live out Jesus’ prayer in John 17, that we would be one. Another resource “hand-in-glove” to Make Us One is One Blood, written by another friend and mentor, Dr. John Perkins.

My RDU Prays collaborator Nikko Peele complied Make Us One for such a time as we are experiencing in our nation. I’ve used these 31-day devotions each morning during the current winter season and as I prayerfully looking into 2021. Helpful. Sharpens my perspective and outlook. You can find Make Us One at https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks… johneblake

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? It’s been exciting to team-back-up with Coach Parrish and Emily Biggs, both friends and fellow Jordan High Falcons, to make a greater impact on the city kids we see all year via CEF Durham. Our ministry work is with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective in reaching city kids in the Durham area.

So, Camps for City Kids typically includes sports, character development, Bible teaching with life skills and social etiquette, as well as helping all campers understand their God-given value, power, and destiny. These camps are held for 4 consecutive days during summer months and school holiday sessions.  Every camp will emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life. 

Building solid athletic skills and strong Christian character during drills and team play are expected of every camper.  Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis are regularly offered, but other sports like Wrestling, Baseball, Football, and Black-top Games have been held in the past are used on demand when collaborating with other groups. Sports camps, clinics, and tennis academies are held in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 camps were drastically altered, yet we engaged city kids virtually with reading, etiquette, Bible, life skills and Power & Light character education. We’re excited and ready for 2021.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® of North Carolina in Durham presented its 2020 Ministry Briefing and COVID-Relief Update on Wed. Dec. 16th via Zoom for CEF supporters and friends. The Board members of the CEF Durham Area Chapter and its Director shared an exciting year-end report and update on how over 7,000 children were reached even during the restrictive COVID pandemic since March 2020.

See January-March 2020 began with strong ministry – April-December everything was adjusted = 7,000+ city kids reached!

Hear the recorded meeting of testimonies and a Christmas Greeting from the board members. The year-end report was given by me, the director. Here is the LINK for the meeting (use this 7k^c4fx$ to view). To read a more detailed report with graphics and pictures click on NEWSLETTERS and look for 2020 Ministry Report. I’ve posted, below, the graphics for my 2020 ministry report.

We have always followed a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area, which is in concert with the mission statement of Child Evangelism Fellowship for 83 years. For 27 years, Child Evangelism Fellowship staff and volunteers have reached city kids in the surrounding Durham area. Through our Good News Clubs, sports camps, and collaborative events with dozens of ministry partners, we’ve been able to share the gospel with children of all ages. Thousands have accepted Christ as their Savior over those 27 years and many lives, families, and communities have been changed. Biblical discipleship and character development are happening weekly in schools and neighborhoods. Prayer Evangelism integrates everything we do.

Prayer Retreat at St. Francis Springs Center in North Carolina

So, after a great start with direct ministry with kids, training volunteers, preaching in the jail, and completing character development classes in schools, everything came to a screeching halt. There were new realities and soon to follow a New Normal. Despite the current situation and changing circumstances across the nation and our state, we simply did what we have been doing, but made some dramatic adjustments and became more innovative and creative. To reach 7,000+ in 2020 here are the adjustments we made and ministries we pushed forward with the help of our volunteers and our CEF Education and Creative departments.

  • Connections, ideas, and access of communication sources we could leverage for all teachers, kids, and families to use in finishing up the already started ministries before summer began.
  • Created, mobilized, and ramped up our prayer networks across the area via prayer walking, PrayDurham and RDU Prays initiatives, engaged in Prayer Walks for Justice & Peace, as well as enrolled in the Ekklesia Excelerator course with other Kingdom-building friends, leaders, and CEF volunteers.
  • Conducted summer camps (reading, 5-Day Club, etiquette, life skills, and character development, but no sports) via Zoom with close to 80% attendance daily for six weeks.
  • Weekly visits in communities, where we minister regularly, with breakfast, care packages, Wonder Why? booklets distributed, singing, and prayer with city kids and their families (per current COVID guidelines)
  • Bike distributions, with a helmet, vest, and bike light for all city kids attending Good News Club in one downtown community (see picture below)
  • COVID-Relief supplies, food, and devotional books were distributed for all city kids and families in another public housing community where we have weekly outreach and clubs. This was accomplished by the community’s CEF ministry team, a financial grant from the Duke-Durham Fund, local churches, food banks, and residents collaboratively meeting the expressed needs of this community throughout the summer and fall. (see picture below)
  • Continued to engage conversations and study with others locally about Race and Justice issues via Christianity Deconstructs Racism and Together We Stand.
  • Team leaders connected Good News Club TV and other learning resources to their students.
  • Drive-thru Back-to-School and Christmas events with our ministry partners as we distributed Christian books, Bibles, and Gospel-centered literature (seen in the video below and see picture below).

Graphics and pictures of ministry adjustments in 2020 and ministry outreach history of the CEF Durham Area Chapter

After 44 years of coaching: Coach Parrish has a challenge

Hey! I’m reaching out to all of my former players from Githens Junior School to JHS, SHS, RHS, and JHS again as well as all JPS and PS campers. I’m thanking all of you for all of my GREAT MEMORIES from the start – 1968 – to the end – 2012 – of my coaching journey. On behalf of one of our guys, John “Doc” Blake, a JHS ‘73 student and sport trainer, who went on to become a Sport Medicine and strength coach caring for East Carolina athletes, then at SHS, RHS, JPS and PS athletes.

Today “doc” is the director of CEF in the Durham area. I’ve served on the CEF Board of Directors and led summer sports camps with CEF until Andy’s accident. So, Andy and I, along with Emily and “doc” are challenging each of you to sponsor kids to attend the next camps, which doc Blake and CEF will be offering this Fall and next Spring. This will be a great opportunity to give back from your athletic experiences to a young kid that needs direction during their early development. 

I still love all of you who ran those suicides, which helped in developing your physical and mental toughness to win. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Finally, I would love the opportunity to reconnect with you.  Just use any of the many media means to contact with me.
Coach Larry Parrish

Summer training via CEF Ministries of North Carolina Durham Area Chapter and Camps for City Kids are underway (virtually for now) #Zoom #GoogleMeet #teens #interns #dns_readingcamp #citykids #cityreach cyiatraining #summermissions

Reading and academic sessions, Bible (CEF 5-Day Clubs), etiquette classes, life skills, character development (Power & Light), and some health & wellness mixed in weekly provides a full schedule of relevant and helpful opportunities for students who will be starting a new school year in grades 4-8th in August. These camps run for 6-weeks June 15th-July 23rd.

Sponsorships are still needed for kids to attend our summer and fall camps. Tax-deductible donations are received at Camps for City Kids.

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