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This Blog Has Moved

September 9, 2009

Visit me at http://paulrichardsononline.com/

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Walk Inside

September 4, 2009

Earlier this week I went out for lunch fully intending to go through the Drive-thru and get back to the office. Upon seeing the line of cars I changed my mind and went inside. I actually do this quite a bit. Going out to lunch and moving from sitting at my desk to sitting in the car is not exactly rejuvenating, so I will get out of the car for a walk. I was reminded of a little lesson I thought I’d share.

I was inside for approximately 8 minutes. In that time I was approached about an opportunity for our church to reach out to a group of folks in an area we don’t have great exposure, was invited by a local high school to partner with them on a couple of items, thanked for helping out on the Community Makeover, and given the chance to invite someone to West Ridge who doesn’t attend church anywhere. One morning this week I didn’t ‘Pay at the pump’ for the gas in my car. As I continue to build relationships with the local gas station employees I was given another opportunity to talk church and life with someone who is clearly not a follower of Jesus.

Ok, I don’t do this all the time, but I will continue to try to do it more than not. If I always stay in my car then these conversations never happen. Outreach or Sharing Christ is not a program, it’s a lifestyle that stretches us as disciples of Jesus.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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I’ll End Up Asking For This Again

September 4, 2009

Mercy. How often do you ask God for that one? Long-life? Health? Provision? Protection? Success? Those are more typical. But David repeats this request a couple more times in this Psalm.

Psalm 86:3 have mercy on me, Lord, 
for I call to you all day long.

To ask for mercy is to know you deserve something other than what you are getting. It’s to acknowledge in your heart that you deserve judgment. You deserve punishment. David seems to try to keep that thought on the forefront of his mind at all times. To ask for mercy is to be humble before God. It’s another way to keep your view of yourself in the right perspective.

I remember speaking one time on the subject of the Flood in Genesis 6. The first thought most of us have of the flood is that it is one of the most wrath-filled stories in scripture, and it is. Yet there’s the boat, bobbing like a cork on the water. Its inhabitants were spared, and they had done nothing to deserve that. There it is floating like Moses in the Nile with no idea where it might stop. For me that ark is a Basket of Mercy, floating over top of the judgment it deserved. That’s really true of me. As I ‘call to God all day long’ I put my faith and trust in him to find mercy…and perspective.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Everything we own belongs to God

September 3, 2009

I’m publishing a note from our friends Larry and Karen Wolters in Burkina Faso. Several of you at West Ridge Church have stayed in or eaten meals in this house in Ougadougou. What happens when historic rains comes to one of the driest places on the globe? Have a read and a look.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands”.

When our family made the move to Burkina Faso, we left behind our lives that were full of “things”. These “things” were objects that we could certainly live without. As a matter of fact a bit of embarrassment fell upon us as we saw all of the “things” we put out in our yard sales as we sold everything except that which could fit into the 20 ft container we were shipping to Burkina Faso. It was a reality check for us all. When we arrived here in Burkina we made a conscious decision to not accumulate “things” and lead a simpler lifestyle. One Christmas Abby received three new pairs of flip flops and upon receiving them; she had to surrender three old pairs of shoes to give away. Every year we clean out all of our cupboards to make sure that we are not accumulating “things” again. We seek not to have too much and not to become too attached to what we have. Yesterday, when we woke up to the rains falling, this whole idea of attaching ourselves to “things” resurfaced. As the water entered our house, all I could think about were the “things” we had that would possibly get ruined. As Micah and I ran throughout the house frantically blocking entrances with towels, the tears fell. At one moment Micah grabbed me, and said “Mom everything is going to be ok”. He put his arms around me, and cried out to God to help us, to give us wisdom, and to calm our souls. God answered and friends came to help us to bail out and to further protect our home. Our night guard stayed to help. His home was possibly flooding, and his wife was home alone, but he would not leave us. When things appeared to be under control at our house we went over to the C&MA office across the road, and found that it was at least a couple of feet underwater. Office equipment, supplies, files, all ruined. Hours of work lay ahead of us. The tears just kept falling as I continued to focus inwardly. It was a long day, and not one I would care to relive. Today, God humbled me, and helped me to regain my focus as the news of the numerous tragedies surfaced. There are people that have nothing more than the shirts on their backs. I became ashamed for fretting over “things”. There is a feeling in my stomach that I wish would just go away. God is working in me and I am thankful for His help. Thanks for listening…… I needed to vent. Please remember that the needs here are abounding. Your prayers are needed.

Karen

Here’s a link to their facebook pictures…~Paul    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=8534281&id=775495363#/photo.php?pid=8534282&id=775495363

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Trust In You

September 3, 2009

One of the things that happens as I pray scripture is that God uses his word to transform me.

Psalm 86:2 says this,

“Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God;”

As David pens the words, “Guard my life” he does so with great boldness. When I sit down to pray the words, “I am faithful to you”, or “I trust you” I have this check inside of my spirit that seems to say, “Really?” It becomes a time of evaluation. Am I really faithful to the God who has been more than faithful to me? Do I really trust him with everything? Would other people look at me and describe me as being faithful and trusting to God?

As I pray I ask God to increase my faith and increase my level of trust. As that happens, I am transformed.

Let me hold nothing back, “You are my God.”

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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An Update from Warehouse of Hope

September 2, 2009

This is my update for Warehouse of Hope. I am so amazed how the economy affects everyone. It is personally affecting my family unlike we could ever imagine. But we are blessed because it isn’t affecting us in the extent that I can’t keep diapers on my daughter or food on our table. It is affecting us that we live paycheck to paycheck but we have our bills paid. People don’t realize that living paycheck to paycheck is a blessing. Atleast you still have a paycheck. Do you realize that people come into this warehouse that their kids come in to get school clothes and they look like they haven’t had a new pair of shoes since they have been a live. They bring in babies that they can’t even afford to put diapers on. These aren’t people that don’t work and don’t try these are people like me and you who have lost their jobs due to the economy and are struggling to keep their homes. They have very little money for food and clothes so they come here for us to seek help.

Ask yourself, do you really know what it’s like to be hungry? These people do. They don’t just think “it’s lunch time let me go to the kitchen to get something to eat.” They don’t think that because they have been in their kitchen 5 times and they know there is nothing there. These people are glad school started back because atleast they know their child will get one nutricious meal a day.
True hunger goes far beyond skipping breakfast, but from skipping meals for a day or two. True hunger is more than a rumble in your stomach; it is a place of quiet desperation. Most of you may have been there at one point in your life but most of you have no idea what that is like long term.

Warehouse of Hope is being hit by the economy tremendously. The deposit here to pay to get the food here, our lights on, and our bills paid are lower than they have been in 2 years. Not because we are helping less people but because people that come in here now are lucky if they have the gas money to get here much less the money to give a donation.

We need your help. We are asking you to search your heart and determine if you and your family can give $12 for 12 months.  That is a really small investment in a really big cause. You are more than welcome to donate  more but I’m starting out small only because I know that everyone is having to make sacrifices in this economy.  If we had 100% participation and signed up 1200 donor families, it still only covers approximately 50% of the projected ministry expenses.

As a friend of mine once said “It’s not our money God blesses us with it so use it to bless others and God will bless you even more.”

Just keep in mind when you are sitting down to eat dinner with your family that you are blessed more than most because you have not only a family but a meal to sit down and share with them. Thanks for taking your time to read this. I really hope you will spread the word so we can continue to bless others. If you need any further information please email me. Or you can mail your donations to:

Warehouse of Hope
100 Hunter Rd.
Douglasville, Ga 30134

You can use your donation as a tax deduction also. Keep in mind we also accept any clothes, canned goods, small household items, books, furniture, and kid’s toys. If you don’t feel like this is something you want to do, please consider emailing it to everyone on your email list who might be interested.

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Praying Scripture

September 2, 2009

Somewhere around 10 years ago Brian Bloye took the West Ridge staff to Birmingham, AL to listen to John Maxwell talk about Spiritual Leadership. During that talk Maxwell talked about a spiritual activity that forever changed my prayer life. It was the idea of reading scripture, personalizing it, and then praying it back to God. Over a week ago I revisited a Psalm where David seems to pray everything I ever want to say to God. I have tried to pray it every day for over a week now. It is Psalm 86.

It begins this way: Psalm 86:1, Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

It gives me such great perspective to pray that back to God from my heart to his. There are moments in life where we really feel we need God. Unfortunately, there are a lot of moments where we are on cruise control, or feel like we are fine on our own for today, thank you very much. This prayer reminds me, whether I feel it or not, that every day I need  God. It’s not pitiful or self-loathing, it’s the right perspective. Jesus said it in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In John 15:5 Jesus also says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” That makes me a needy person.

One other thought from my perspective, “What is the greatest way to really feel needy every day?” Pray God-sized prayers. It’s easy to pray for things we intend to try and take care of on our own. What are you praying for the Kingdom of God that you know beyond any doubt that if God doesn’t intervene you will fail? This is not a question for church staff or vocational ministers. This is not just for those who are praying through personal difficulty right now. This is a question for every disciple of Jesus. What are you praying  for the Kingdom of God that you know beyond any doubt that if God doesn’t intervene you will fail?

I hope you will have the courage to pray ‘needy’ prayers today.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul