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Archive for January, 2013


30 Jan , 2013

I was in a workshop on Saturday at Providence Baptist Church, led by Dr. Brian Fikkert, one of the co-authors of When Helping Hurts:  How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor.  I am excited by the conversation that this book is framing among local churches seeking to be engaged locally and globally in alleviating poverty as a calling from God.

Brian suggested that in order to alleviate poverty that you need three things:  1. God  2.  God and 3. God.  And he shared that it should be clear to Christians that the alleviation of poverty here and now is something we should be all about.  He quoted this scripture from 1 John:

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”   1 John 3:17-18

Brian shared that the Raleigh-Durham area ranks high on a national survey of “bible-mindedness”–#22 to be exact– and he suggested that “things should look different for the poor where the people of God are.”

So, churches of Raleigh and Wake County—come join us!  There are people in our community in need of housing and Habitat for Humanity is a proven ministry that makes a difference in people’s lives in an empowering and not dependency-producing way.  Let’s get moving and show our community that the Church in action is a powerful force showing God’s love throughout the community!


23 Jan , 2013

I was blessed to be able to attend Monday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama to his second term as President of the United States.  I grew up in Washington, DC, but had never attended an inauguration in person before.  In his short speech, President Obama highlighted these words from our Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Familiar words to be sure.  But this is what caught my attention.  The President suggested that while these basic rights are self-evident, they are not self-executing.  Here’s what he said,

“Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.  For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on earth.”

In my early years with Habitat for Humanity, I had a recurring nightmare that one day, no one showed up to volunteer.  The President’s words helped me think of the voluntary decision people make every day to extend a hand to help those in need of a home.  We believe that having a decent place to live is a large part of a free and happy life, but we know that if we don’t act, that this basic right does not just magically appear for everyone.  It takes work—hard work—on the behalf of many and, at Habitat, we are blessed to witness that love that flows forth daily from our community.

So I thank you all for the voluntary decisions you make, through Habitat, that literally changes the lives of families in need in our community and is a part of the “never ending journey” that the President speaks of in delivering on those bold truths so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence.


9 Jan , 2013

On Monday, about a dozen of our staff members attended the funeral of a regular office volunteer of ours, Steve Calhoun.  A few years back, Steve was laid off from his job of many years.  He decided that rather than sit around and do nothing, he’d spend some time volunteering with us.  He was soon after diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and put up a brave fight—never giving up—until he passed away last Friday.

“Superfantastic” was a word that Steve used often.  He was a very optimistic guy and this term fit him well and his reaction to things.  Despite a severe lack of energy, Steve and his wife, Cindy, came by to see us several days before Christmas when he knew his time was short.   They brought us some holiday goodies to thank us for what we do.

Steve was a “superfantastic” volunteer—one who understands best what we do here at Habitat is build relationships by building homes.  Steve touched many people in his time as a volunteer with us .  When I spoke with Cindy briefly at the service this morning she said that, “Habitat was his (Steve’s) calling.  He just didn’t know it,” in the context of wishing he had discovered us sooner.

RIP, Steve Calhoun.  We are blessed to have been part of your journey.


2 Jan , 2013

A few months back, I wrote in this blog about a book that our staff was studying called, When Helping Hurts. I am greatly encouraged by the narrative that this book presents to people of faith about the gospel mandate of alleviating poverty.

On Saturday, January 26 one of the book’s authors, Dr. Brian Fikkert, will be leading a full-day seminar at Raleigh’s Providence Baptist Church.  I get excited when I think about Christian leaders from our county getting focused around alleviating poverty in our midst.  Here is the registration information for the event from Providence’s website:


In my 33 years of Christian ministry, I’ve never been more encouraged than I am with this dialogue that is starting to occur within the Church.  May 2013 be the year that we take seriously God’s calling to eliminate material poverty in our affluent community.

Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
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