Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crazy for Math Madness

Math in general is difficult to do, but math in the morning is insane.  On March 1, 2008, middle school students from all 26 LBUSD middle and K-8 schools were challenged to Math Madness.  It is the first annual, all district math competition in Long Beach.  Gwen Mathews, Assistant Superintendent, asked KCLB to provide snacks for the students and volunteers for the event.  KCLB was able to make 450 snack packs filled with a water bottle, granola bar, and fruit snacks.  We also had many volunteers come to Math Madness to help with the breakfast for the parents and other tasks for the competition.  Thank you to all the volunteers who help welcome the parents and students and to make the event go smoothly.  I was impressed by the excitement of the students and the support of the parents and LBUSD staff (teachers, principals, and counselors).  All the students had a T-shirt representing their school at Math Madness.  It was great to see kids excited for math and were encouraged to study and to achieve in their math skills.  It was pretty intense.  The first round they narrowed down the group to three students representing their math level and grade level.  Proctors told me students wanted to continue to complete the math problems and practice their skills even after they were eliminated in the first round.  The Jeopardy round was also very impressive.  It was like real Jeopardy.  They even had real buzzards.  The students who place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd each received a reward.  Many of the students who participated in Math Madness found it to be a great experience and were looking forward to the next year's competition.  I am also excited for the next Math Madness.  I was a little envious of the students because I wished when I was attending Mary Butler K-8 school that I had Math Madness to look forward to.

Monday, March 17, 2008

An alive, vibrant church in our inner city

Oh my goodness! What have I been missing?! Sunday morning a friend and I visited Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Gundry and 15th. We were a little late arriving and couldn't find a parking place and as we were driving and looking, this smiling man in a van pulled alongside us and told us if we would park in the parking lot his van would take us to the church. The first thing I noticed about him was his genuine, from the heart smile. He and his little boy perform this service each Sunday morning for their church. I found out there are a lot of people like him at that place.... When we arrived the place was packed out and they were praying and worshiping and such music!!! They were having such a wonderful time praising their Lord and there was no way anyone could stay sitting down for it! (there will be a lot of exclamation points in this piece!) As the service progressed you could tell there was a real investment on the part of the congregation and they loved each other, their church and their pastor. His message on sin was one of the best I've ever heard, delivered from such a heart of love and care for his people and connection with God's heart for His people. He made his points with passion, conviction, clarity, humor and sound Biblical theology. The presence of God's spirit was evident and was experienced by both me and my friend! Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr. has an annointing and a heritage in and to the City of Long Beach that's evident. He spoke about the job fair they were having after the service where business owners who are part of his congregation are in booths to advertise their services. Pastor Chaney said he was doing this because of the coming recession and he wants to care for his people by letting others know of their services. He asked us to go to them first and give them a try and if they don't deliver, go somewhere else, but give the "family" the first shot. This young man truly has a shepherd's heart!
The final thing he did that so impressed me was to interrupt his closing prayer by saying that God frequently tells him something about the congregation but this time showed him something about himself. He said he wants to continue to preach with integrity and honor and can't do it in himself and asked each member of the congregation to pray for him at least once during the day. He had spoken on the sin of David with Bathsheeba and was well aware of the pitfalls pastors are prey to and asked his people to stand with him in prayer to keep him in purity for at least the next 45 to 50 years.
My invitation to you is to keep this man of God in prayer as he asked and to visit his church and experience for yourself the love of God. Then either stay and participate or carry it back to your own neighborhood. You will be encouraged and refreshed.....

Prayer meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church

One of the things I believe the Lord has put on my heart is to visit churches in the City during their prayer meetings and/or worship services. I’m not sure what He will do with that, but as I have prayed for many years for the Church in the city (whatever city I’ve been in) for pastors to come together I’ve also begun praying for intercessors to unite. Our web-page for prayer is one effort along those lines and blogging my visiting experiences is another. For me to effectively pray for unity, I probably need to come out of my comfortable “prayer box” and pray with others who converse with their Father differently than I. This blog is about the prayer meeting at 5:00 on Saturday for Covenant Presbyterian Church on 3rd Street in downtown Long Beach.
I first met Pastor Rob Langworthy at our morning City Pulse 2008 meeting. I fell in love with him first because at our 8:00 am meeting he was asking where the chocolate was since it’s one of the major food groups. I quickly brought it out and the chocoholics gathered…
As we spoke further I discovered him to be “the real deal” – sold out for oue Lord. He stood and “watched” as City Pulse went on and his presence was an open invitation to experience the love of Jesus. His church is a giving, vital presence in that corner of God’s world. Once instance of that is their tutoring program every afternoon M-Th for the neighborhood kids and the figure I heard was 250 kids in the program. About half of them attend Sunday School and most of them come without their parents (a point for prayer). On the other end of the age scale, they have a senior apartment complex next door where the residents are not only ministered to by Pastors Rob and Adele, but encouraged to minister outward themselves. I met one of the residents, who is a substitute tutor, at the prayer meeting I attended Saturday. That prayer meeting has been going for many years and the testimonies of ministry, healing and provision were inspiring. Praying with people of all different streams is a wonderful experience. It shatters my “right” way to pray and let’s me discover God’s magnificent creativity and diversity. We sat around a table with a wide mix of cultures, ages and walks of life, with a prayer list (I don’t do lists) and began to beseech the Father of Light in His heavenly courtrooms for “our daily bread.” I heard petitions for sons and daughters, for kids in their middle school program, for people they’re ministering to in their neighborhood, for missionaries in Africa as well as petitions for their local body among many other things. Pastor Rob led the meeting, but I heard that if he isn’t there, it continues under the capable direction of one of the women in the congregation. She is a seasoned intercessor and has been praying for unity among pastors of her denomination for many years. I came away blessed and encouraged at this living testimony to God presencing Himself in a life-giving way in the heart of our City. Personal note: I am so grateful for the prayer list because I can bring it with me to remember some of what we prayed for……
Their website is www.covenantlb.org. I encourage you to visit.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kingdom Causes Emergency Prep Task Force at City Council

On March 11, we on the Kingdom Causes Emergency Preparedness Task Force presented our efforts to coordinate emergency preparedness among neighbors by mobilizing worship centers to be equipped and trained in the event of a large-scale emergency. This was one day after the 75th anniversary of the March 10, 1933 earthquake of 6.4 magnitude which caused millions of dollars in damage and tragically took the lives of 120 people. We have two local congregations fully invested in this effort which is our pilot project. They are The River and Glad Tidings. Representatives from both congregations spoke before City Council and gave their reasons for doing this and the effect it's having on their neighborhoods as well as their congregations. Councilmember Rae Gabelich from the Eighth District presented the item to go before City Council where it was received unanimously. We are preparing to go public with this effort and enroll other houses of worship that want to be trained, equipped and resourced with other City emergency services and the Red Cross to be a resource to their neighbors in a time of city-wide emergency.
Our Glad Tidings team showed out en-masse in full EP gear (they've all been CERT certified) and looked quite official and were an inviting presence to enroll others to be involved in this effort. The representative from The River spoke about their passion for Jesus as their reason for wanting to impact their neighborhood and was very effective in presenting the Christian posture of being salt and light for the city. Brad, as always, set up the room in an engaging manner and was enrolling in his invitation to the council to receive our report and to further coordinate efforts between houses of worship and the city.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I could lift a car!

During CERT we learned light search and rescue and cribbing.  They trained us how to properly search a building in the dark and with no flashlights.  We place our right hand on the wall to guide us around each wall of the building.  During our training,  we had to partner up and search a dark tower that they use in the fire academy to find "Jose".  Jose is a dummy made of rolled up hoses, hence the name "Jose".  It was really dark and scary because some of the assistant firefighters were hiding in the dark to see if we would find them.  We also learned how to safely lift up a car if a victim was trapped underneath.  The fastest way is to use your own strength and lift the car by pressing your back against the side of the car.  But we also learned cribbing as a technique to slowly but safely lift a car or any heavy object off a victim.  We use a bar and anchor to lift the car.  When the car is lifted, we place blocks of wood like a Jenga tower underneath the space one layer at a time.  We continue the same process until we have enough space to drag the victim out of the area.
They also taught us how to properly lift a victim out of a building.  They suggest having two people carry one body by using chairs, doors, or blankets.  There is a single lift.  I wanted to see if I would be able to carry a person just on my own, so I practiced on a dummy (see picture).  Just kidding Brad, I love you!  But, Brad if you need a hand just know that I am willing to carry you through.