Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guys Night Out

About 15 to 20 young men from the neighborhood gathered around. Mike asked questions about school and such. One had graduated a year before; another young man said he was an anxious senior ready to get the year over with. Some dropped out; some were hoping to get into a job-core program. One young man said he was working to take care of his kid, and planned to enlist in the army to learn a trade. Two teenage girls passed by and I heard one say to the other, "You see? All my fellas are sitting here. They are crazy."

Out of nowhere, at least from my perspective, D-Will was present, and he rapped a little. The young men seemed captivated by him. Mike even rapped. I hadn’t heard Mike rap in years!

Mike told everyone next Thursday was going to be “Express Yourself” night, which means the microphone will be open to anyone in the neighborhood who wants to say anything. Should be interesting.

After the tables and chairs were brought in and I was getting ready to leave, I noticed Toby talking to four guys. One young man tried to explain how tough it is for him and his friends. He said older guys are in charge of the streets and there was real fear. He said he hated waking up, getting dressed and worrying about what the day would bring. Bullet shells on the pavement, drugs visible and prevalent, he said life is hell on earth.

I spoke and prayed simultaneously. I told him he doesn't have to go through life alone and that there was nothing like knowing God Almighty is with you. I said God does not dismiss his pain or circumstances. He cares. With many other words and personal stories I spoke, and he smiled.

“As you can see I’m very passionate about this.”
“I can see that,” he said smiling, slapping me up.
I held on to his hand, “But I am dead serious man. God loves you more than you can ever know. He can change everything.”
He looked down at the ground, then back at me.
We looked at each other for a solid five seconds before I let go of his hand.

I drove home in silence thinking about all of those guys. Some of them freely expressed a sense of hopelessness. 
I remember the feeling. 
Oh Lord, how You love them!


Friday, August 27, 2010


The lady at the end of the video is crushed-you can see it.  To come out of her house and seek to interact with her neighbors on a deeper level should be thought provoking for anyone. She knows if something is going to change, it has to start with her.

There was an intensity among the REMIX family last night, an urgency in the Spirit. We prayed much, and stayed out longer than usual. Some of us knew that poor family, knew that young man; and it happened a couple streets down from where we gather every Thursday.

People are stirring. A spiritual fight is taking place-it has been for ages. To become a Christian is to be enlisted, anything else is a lie. It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, but we must come out of ourselves and serve, love, pray, and war for others.

Driving home I saw an illuminated church sign that read: The Best Vitamin For Christians is “B”.

It benefits us as Christians to shine and serve others in hopes that they too can enjoy the wonders of Christ. Like a vitamin, it is healthy for us to sit with, pray for, and lead the lost to Christ. He has wired us, His Body, this way (John 4:34).

Many people are sitting in church wondering, “Oh God, where are you? Why do I feel so blah? All I want is to be with you!”

Listen carefully. He has left the ninety-nine safe and secure, and is running after the lost one.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Obligated to fulfill my civic duty as a juror, I sat in a large waiting room flipping through a Nicky Cruz book, thinking about last Thursday night. A large African American man in an orange shirt crossed the street holding hands with a woman. Cuevas asked if anyone wanted prayer. The man raised his hand and said repeatedly, “I’mma backslidden preacher.” Mike and Julia Peace drowned the couple with words of life and strength. The guy wouldn’t stop crying. Mike held him in a bear hug. I fought back tears at the sight.

I turned my attention to Tobias and a young lady wearing bright green mascara. She told him she felt like an outcast in church. “I love the Lord, I read my Word, but it’s like they stay away from me because of the way I dress and look.” Tobias encouraged her and I thought, “Here is an articulate, artistic (she writes poetry and sings) treasure of God missing from church. I hope this hits you like it hit me here in this waiting room: her name is Passion.

If passion is missing from the church, all you have is a social club. If passion is missing from the church, soldiers become spectators.

A man once said to me, “What you guys are doing here is that new thing from God.” I nodded, but this is what I should’ve said, “No, bro. This is as old as John chapter four. This has always been the agenda. This has always been His Passion.”


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Calling All Fighters

If you’ve watched the news at all last week, chances are you’ve heard about the shocking gang violence this summer in Chicago’s inner cities. I came across a man on TV calling on the community churches to somehow help the young men, women, and families caught up in the bloody whirlwind.

I saw this right after another Thursday night on Arnett Blvd. where a Remix leader named Cuevas shared his story. He told everyone listening how it felt living under a bridge as a young homeless man. He said he woke up on the street one night after drinking himself to oblivion. With blood dripping from his face, his body aching, he realized he had been beaten. He couldn’t remember who did it or why.

Believe it or not, Cuevas still wanders the streets. Now he talks with people about the power of God. He offers to pray for them right then and there, leading some to Christ. Delivered from a dangerous and violent life, Cuevas is now a fighter for the people of his city. But the truth cannot be more evident-we need more fighters.

We ought to chew on this for a while: across the nation we the Church are being called upon to come out of our expensive boxes to interact with our surrounding neighborhoods, particularly in the inner cities. Jesus told his disciples to pray for more laborers...I'm praying.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


At the end Mike asked the Remix family to make a line up at the front and encouraged people to come up for prayer. I had the privilege of being in a group praying for a guy who was, as he said, “coming back.” People came up, took our hands and asked for prayer.

The food and juice were practically gone, it was muggy, but the people lingered. “Look man, they don’t want to leave,” said Tobias. They asked for more Kool-Aid. I started refilling the jug when a teenage girl offered to help.

“Sure,” I said.
She pulled something out of her pocket. “You want one?” She held out a yellow NOW and LATER.
“Sure. What kind is it?”
“Oh, that’s the good stuff. Thanks.”

Later that night I sat on my couch, staring at the piece of candy. I took the NOW and LATER with me to work. I pulled it out once in a while. The Holy Spirit was showing me something I knew would never leave me.

Can it be that for some people, talking to you is the closest they’ve ever been to interacting with Almighty God? Can people who do not know or love God sense Him moving among them through us? Is there anything more important than this?

This is what I learned: that girl responded to what she sensed that night with kindness towards me. Somehow I know her simple gesture moved the LORD of Hosts.

One more question: Will what you are occupied with NOW matter LATER?


Monday, July 5, 2010

What Mike Said The Day After

"FOR THE FIRST TIME in my spiritual life, I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do. I haven’t experienced anything that is now happening, haven’t seen anything quite like this before. This is a different way of experiencing God. When people see something that’s different or unique, a lot of times what they are seeing is a ministry that will let the Lord work. We’re not watering anything down. We are coming at people in a natural way and they are getting to taste the goodness of God. What really incites me is seeing people much younger than myself doing their thing for Christ. They see a need and fill it. Last night was an epic evening for us who are involved in the Remix, and for those who had an encounter with Jesus at the Remix. It’s getting serious man, and I like it!”


At least ten people gave their lives to Christ last Thursday night. Whether you served food, played an instrument, grabbed the mike, or quietly interceded for the folks around you, big ups to all who participated in such a special night.


We are taking measures to make sure that those who came (and will come) to the Lord are supported, strengthened, and are growing.  “We don’t want people just to come to Jesus,” Mike said, “We want them to walk through Jesus.”


Mike has some ideas and would like to talk with us Thursday before we start. 7pm we will meet. Do your very best to be on time.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pray For Bacon

We set up inside the café spot because of the threat of rain, but I had to put one speaker outside. “If it looks like it’s gonna rain, we’ll pull it back,” I said. I sang and Mr. Snead handed out tracts, talked with guys walking by, and prayed in the Spirit.

People started entering as they heard the music along with our invitation to grub. As REMIX leaders served pizza and juice, the kids seemed eager to eat. I’m convinced that some families look forward to this dinner every week.

Tobias crossed the street with his wife. We slapped up and I gave him a microphone. He sat on top of the speaker and flipped open his Bible. He talked and rapped and a bunch of guys stood listening. Some laughing, some with smirks on their faces, but they were all there listening, engaged, asking questions. This wonderful interaction lasted for ten, maybe fifteen minutes.

As the large group of young men (eight or nine guys) walked away, one stood back and pulled Tobias aside. I turned on my microphone and sang about standing before God when life on earth is done while silently praying, “May this song stay with them, stick to them, haunt them!”

We gathered inside the café to review the day and close shop. I was getting ready to pray when Tobias stopped me and said, “The young man that stayed and spoke with me gave his life to the Lord.” We all were so excited about this! I asked what his name was and Tobias told me, but to be honest I quickly forgot. Yet I will venture to say we will never forget his nickname.

“Bacon.” Tobias said. “He is known by his friends as Bacon.”
“Well,” Mrs. Snead said, “tonight God brought home the bacon!”

Heaven rejoices for Bacon. We laughed, cheered, and thanked God. We burst into songs and shouts of worship.

We were getting into our cars when shots were heard in the distance. Which reminds me: if you don’t mind, please pray for Bacon this week.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some of What I Saw

When I first joined, there were a few neighbors who didn’t appreciate the noise we were making. The cops were called. Then last week two guys were shot in broad daylight 50 feet away from where we hold the REMIX (two hours before we started as a matter of fact) and we haven’t heard a peep since. I guess the sound of a bunch of folks singing and rapping about the love of Christ is preferable to gunfire.

Crucified then rose again.
Everyone must answer to Him.
He gave His all then rose again.
King of kings my greatest Friend.

I sang this over and over again along with:

True love is found only (3x)
True love is found only in Jesus.

Passerby’s stopped to listen, cars slowed, people sat on their porches, crossed the street, gathered around. People across the street at one house seemed to really enjoy what was going on. One lady was dancing so hard it was a little funny.

I was surprised to suddenly see a group of people handing out tracts-clearly in evangelization mode-coming towards me as I sang. I had never seen them before. With wide eyes and bright smiles, they seemed ecstatic to see us. We shook hands and hugged like we had known each other for years. They walked on, but in that moment we strengthened each other. We were on the same Team.

The chairs filled and the folks of Arnett Blvd. sat and enjoyed some food and juice. People always show up, but I was particularly impressed by how many families came out. Cuevas was rapping when I saw a large group of seven walking down the street towards us. They stood on the curve close to the street. I quickly went over and asked one of the three young men (they were clearly brothers) if they wanted chairs. He said yes, and came with me to grab some. By the time that family was seated another family came.

I felt a sense of holiness as REMIX leaders did simple stuff like get more Kool-aid or pizza for people. What I saw were priests moving about. I wonder how God saw it.

A couple of teenage girls came up for prayer after Julia Peace and Tobias of INF shared from their heart. We prayed for them. Tobias led them in what is usually called the prayer of Salvation. I tried to imagine what might be happening in Heaven at that moment.

I made it back home in time to watch the Lakers defeat the Celtics in what I thought was a very entertaining fourth quarter.

Go Lakers?
Go Jesus.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Not everyone wants to go to church. But the truth is God isn’t confined to our buildings. You know what? If you read your Bible closely you’ll find God has some interesting thoughts about this subject. Here’s one: We are the building.

We are a moving, breathing, singing, rapping, praying and loving “building” parked once a week outside 336 Arnett Blvd. The people of God have set up camp on the west side of the city of Rochester New York, “and we’re not going anywhere,” says Michael Peace-the man in charge of what we like to call the REMIX.

Thursdays at 7:30pm we put out café tables and chairs. We set up a sound system and a drum set. Mike orders pizza, and we feed, serve and love on the community.

That’s the point of it all, isn’t it? Share the Holy love we’ve been given. Share, by listening and introducing folks to the power of prayer. Share, by taking a stranger’s hand, compassion filling your heart. Here’s the most important part: we do it every week. Every Thursday we set up camp and light our fires. It’s only been a few weeks, and many have been drawn to our heat.

So what happens when the beautiful family of God sets up camp outside the confines of church walls? I intend to tell you all about it.