23 December 2006

healing place church - #16

just caught this in the new issue of outreach mag. hpc is listed in their top 25 innovative churches in america (at #16). tony and lindy and jeannie put together a cool piece on innovative churches and it's quite an honor to be included in the list this year.

some of the other churches on the list are ones we've been able to connect with already and i think whatever innovation we do have here is at least in part due to the relationship with them. when it's all said and done, what counts is the one life that is changed because of an encounter with Jesus - if being innovative can help make that happen, then, let's get innovative.

here's the list:

  1. lifechurch.tv (edmond, ok) - craig groeschel

  2. granger community church (granger, in) - mark beeson

  3. northpoint community church (alpharetta, ga) - andy stanley

  4. fellowship church (grapevine, tx) - ed young, jr

  5. mosaic church (city of industry, ca) - erwin mcmanus

  6. seacoast church (mt. pleasant, sc) - greg surratt

  7. community christian church (naperville, il) - dave ferguson

  8. national community church (wasington, dc) - mark batterson

  9. mars hill church (seattle, wa) - mark driscoll

  10. new hope christian fellowship (oahu, hi) - wayne cordero

  11. mark hill bible church (grandville, mi) - rob bell

  12. the potter's house (dallas, tx) - t.d. jakes

  13. crossover church (tampa, fl) - tommy kyllonen

  14. church of the open door (maple grove, mn) - david johnson

  15. redeemer presbyterian church (new york, ny) - timothy keller

  16. healing place church (baton rouge, la) - dino rizzo

  17. the journey church (new york, ny) - nelson searcy

  18. saddleback church (lake forest, ca) - rick warren

  19. north coast church (vista, ca) - larry osborn

  20. willow creek community church (south barrington, il) - bill hybels

  21. imago dei community (portland, or) - rick mckinley

  22. christ the king community church (mt. vernon, wa) - dave browning

  23. radiant church (surprise, az) - lee mcfarland

  24. living word christian center (forest park, il) - william winston

  25. the sanctuary (santa clarita, ca) - marty walker

i've actually already heard of all of these churches. i've been to eight of them.
i have personally been blessed by the innovative approach of 18 of them and all the others i'm planning to check out online soon.

congrats to all of them - and congrats to the people of hpc who make innovation such a natural thing around here.

21 December 2006

in the spirit of the holidays...

back by popular demand...


like you've never heard it before.

20 December 2006

hpc foreheads

ever wonder if the kids in swaziland know about healing place church? check out this pic:

some of the kids at the 2006 children's cup christmas at the carepoints parties (check the foreheads)

I love those kids.

Thanks again to those of you who helped make these parties a reality.

cool story from hpc toy drive

"Making A List"
by Donna Frank

Last Saturday was the culmination of our Healing Place Church Toy Drive, the delivery of Christmas toys to over 200 families in Baton Rouge. That doesn’t include the toys sent out at Donaldsonville, St. Francisville or our Spanish campus, all of which totaled about 2000 toys.

The Toy Drive started a couple months ago when HPCers started buying toys for needy families. Over the next eight weeks the toys were collected, sorted and packed for various groups and families. By Saturday morning the Annex parking lot was covered with toys, maps and Christmas cards. Dozens of volunteers showed up to deliver gifts to families across the city.

The goal of the Toy Drive, like most of our outreaches, is twofold: to meet the physical needs of people who need help, and to demonstrate the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Our volunteers not only put gifts into their hands, they had the opportunity to talk with them, pray for them and remind them that they’re not forgotten.

One of our volunteers knocked on a door and found an eight year-old babysitting her infant sister. They were waiting for dad to come home, but nobody knew for sure when that would be. During their visit, the volunteers delivered the toys and then led the 8 year-old in a prayer of salvation. Praise God. An interesting side-note of this story is that the volunteer almost didn’t come that day to help out. Her sister is battling cancer, and the volunteer wasn’t in the Christmas spirit. She decided to show up only because HPC had been delivering meals to her sister; she thought that since HPC had stepped up, she would too. Because of that decision, there’s now one more name in the Book of Life. What a gift.

It’s easy to get tangled up in the materialism of Christmas, but what it all comes down to is salvation. Jesus’ entire purpose, from His birth to His death, was to make a way for sinners (you and me) to be reconciled to God. I can’t think of a better way to honor His birth than by bringing the gift of salvation to others.

Merry Christmas and all glory to God!

amen, donna. amen.

if you're a reader, here's a new blog to track...


when you get a chance you oughtta start tracking this one every now and then.

the folks over at leadership network are awesome and i've gotten to meet a bunch of them and i am thoroughly impressed with each of them. i'm looking forward to seeing how this blog develops.

19 December 2006

six months' worth of pics

i've got a new photo gallery on picasa with some pics from my last six months - check it out here.

i just unloaded my sd card from my phone and some from our family camera. lots of the pics were stuff i intended to blog about but just never got around to. so i've just put together a gallery of pics and captions instead of trying to go back and do full posts about each.

man, i love what blogging and photo-galleries do for me.

14 December 2006

hail hath fury

check out this crazy post from my momma's blog about a hailstorm they went thru yesterday in swaziland.

here's a couple excerpts:

"...for 20-30 minutes we were battered and beat with hail stones ranging in size from golfball to baseball. Crashing onto the roof and smashing into a zillion little ice chunks. Destroying everything in its path...."

"....I'm sure there are dazed cows everywhere--still wondering what happened."

and this is one of the small ones...

thanks, Lord, for protecting my family out there.

11 December 2006

rhett's a baller

here's a video of rhett (the youngest ohlerking by a few minutes) shooting some b-ball at the house.

dang he's cute.

09 December 2006

leadership network article on hpc

i admit it, i'm proud of my church. i think there's a right type of pride to be had. maybe it's more of a "wow, i love getting to be a part of something that's doing so much right" type of "pride" - regardless, i confess.

leadership network (a great bunch of folks based in dallas - including greg ligon, julia burke, and yes, even my boyee geoff surratt although he's not technically in dallas) has helped us with some of our strategic planning on being a multi-site church, and now on our medical outreach ministry. they've got a story about hpc on their website. check this out:

"From those looking for a warm welcome to those facing hard times emotionally, physically or financially, Healing Place Church offers a welcoming space to experience God’s love. This church is acting out that love at home and abroad in some inspiring ways." here's the full article:

leadership network article on healing place church

06 December 2006

Christmas at the CarePoints

Here's a report from Kristen Young after last Saturday's Christmas at the CarePoints in Swaziland.

This year I started out my Christmas a little differently. Usually, that start of Christmas for me includes the big shopping day - the day after Thanksgiving - (a great tradition by the way).

But this year was different. This year, I started out by being reminded what Christmas is really all about. It's not about the tree, the lights, the food or the presents. It's about birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's about doing His will and loving the sick, the poor, the hungry. Thank you, Lord for reminding me of that this year.

On Saturday, December 2nd, that is what the whole day was about. (It was the day of Children's Cup's Christmas at the CarePoints.( We started bussing in children at around 7:00AM, until we had about 2500 kids there. A local high school facilitated the event.

The property was absolutely beautiful. A huge green field overlooking the mountains. The children played tug of war, had sack races, got their faces painted, sang Christmas songs and ate the best meal of their lives. These kids felt important. They felt loved. They understood, most likely for the first time, what Christmas is and who Christmas is about. I'm sure for that one day, they felt like a million dollars.

You see, I enjoy all the things that go with Christmas, but I never want to lose the focus. After seeing these sick, dirty, starving little children laugh and play and actually feel completely safe where they were, I hope that this year, I will keep the focus where it belongs, on Jesus Christ.

Thank you to everyone who helped to sponsor the event.

You gave these kids the best day of their lives.

i'll ditto what she said - THANKS to all of you who gave and prayed for the day to make it what it was. Please if you think of it this saturday, pray again for the mozambique version of the party. won't be as big, but the kids at our one carepoint there are gonna have the time of their lives and learn about Jesus and the real reason for Christmas.

05 December 2006

you just THOUGHT you'd seen juggling

this is some crazy talent. i'm way impressed.

master juggler

thanks chris, for the link.

03 December 2006

a question about suffering

saw this tonight in a post over at brian orme's blog:

The common question is, “Where is God in the midst of pain and suffering of the world?” The better question is, “Where are you, Dan, in the midst of the world’s suffering?”

think about it.

james and lu bowen - cupbearers extraordinaire

james bowen is in the nebraska sweatshirt (go huskers!) and lu is on the right in the #21 sweatshirt. the rest of them are part of the children's cup family in swaziland.

my little sister susan (a hero of mine, too) got this note from lu bowen, a lady who spent some time with my sister in africa while lu was there this year with her husband james. james and lu are incredible people with a huge energy to help children's cup. we need a thousand more like them.

check out this excerpt from lu's email to susan (my sister) about talking to a group of ladies back in nevada about her trip to help children's cup in africa:


Hey! Well, I did my talk in front of many women. It was the coolest thing. I saw women there that I had not see in years and they were in tears that I had remarried AND gone to Africa.

As I got up to tell my story about wanting to come to Africa since I was 12 and then my former husband Don's disease having purpose for Africa, they cried. I don't know if I told you the part where Don looked like an AIDS victim and I had to go in there and take care of him with the stench of diarrhea and the stench of death. It was very difficult. I sat in the car one day arguing with God telling Him how I didn't want to go in there and "Isn't there someone else to do this job?" The Holy Spirit said to me "Lu, how do you expect to serve Africa if you cannot serve your own husband."

I knew that this phase in my life was not in vain. Don wondered why he had to suffer so badly and why didn't God just take him home and I recalled what the Holy Spirit said and I said "Don, maybe this isn't about me and you, maybe it's about Africa. Maybe you are helping me to help Africa." He smiled and said at least it will help someone.

I promised him I would not let him die in vain and I would take him with me.

So, back to the stage at WOW (women of the well). The video ran and they cracked up at the first few scenes. Then it got serious and some of the parts in the video were real life fun stuff and one is where a toddler in Maputo was taking something in his hand rubbing it across another kid's head. It is really cute. Everyone laughed at the reality that these are real kids. They loved the video and when the slide presentation started, they would ahh and ohh and sigh.

I touched on the extremes of sexual abuse to awesome joy and worship. It made the women cry. The ending photo is the one of all of us out to dinner and I told them how you all sacrifice and live your lives as His hands and feet and how proud I was to know you and miss you all very much. I talked about how you all miss the restaurants at home and chocolate.

At the very end of my talk, I said "I am not going to ask you to do anything I haven't done. Even in my poorest days, I emptied my purse out even if it was a dollar and some change. I gave. Now I am asking you to give the most you can, not the least you can. Whether it be a dollar or a thousand dollars. Give! These kids have nothing and the missionaries need your support. They all took the wish list on the tables and the small groups are starting to take collections. It was awesome.

I also got feedback from how powerful it was to actually see the quilt block one of the kids made. I had his photo on the video holding up his drawing and I held it up as his photo was up and the women cried. I asked for people who could sew to help me make a quilt. I have two volunteers.

When I got home, I had three envelopes to open. The first one was a dollar. The second one was $100.00 and the third one was $1,000.00. I laughed at God's detailed humor. It literally was One to One Thousand. I love that God's detailing is for our pleasure so we know that HE was listening.

God bless lu and james and give children's cup a bunch more like them!

excuse #15

the final excuse people give for not going to the mission field (according to the excuses list from keith green essay, "why you should go to the mission field.")

"I'm just not ready to make that kind of a sacrifice and commitment."

keith's response:

Ah! That's just the point. That's probably the underlying reason for almost every one of the above objections. In fact, you might just as well have said, "I'm not willing." You need to decide whether or not you are a disciple of Jesus - that is the question. If you are His disciple, then "you are not your own...you have been bought with a price." (I Cor. 6:19-20) And if you truly love Him, then you will not feel bondage, you will feel incredible excitement at being chosen to represent Him in the world! To be a servant of Jesus Christ, an ambassador, a missionary, is the highest calling a man or woman can attain to!

Now what are you waiting for??

i love the last line there - Now what are you waiting for?

Jesus is in Mozambique. Anything can happen.

isaac williams gave me this the other day. (isaac and his wife carol are heading to africa in a few weeks to pastor the new healing place church campus in portuguese-speaking mozambique and to run the children's cup carepoint in the same location.)

Jesus está aqui e qualquer coisa pode acontecer.

that's portuguese for "Jesus is here and anything can happen."

church giving roses to strippers

i got this from alliece cole the other day (a few weeks ago, honestly) but in my absence from posting, i haven't gotten to putting this up until just now. it makes me proud to be a part of healing place church - not because it's such a great thing our people are doing, but because it's such a simple and direct outreach to some people who "the church" typically ignores. check this out:

We had a blast Friday night from hooters to the Alamo to the strip clubs. The manager of Kittens told me that we could come back anytime----that if we were willing to give out roses he would let us in… the Escapade bouncer was stunned we were the church and we wanted to give to the girls…

A couple at the Alamo asked for 2 purple drinks each—that they hadn’t eaten in 2 days---we brought them a box of food on Saturday.

I met a guy - Shedrick (his street name is "Toy"). he's a cross dresser—wanted a rose. I told him no. He said, "oh they are for the real girls?" I said yes—then asked him did he like his life—he hung his head and said no..yet another reminder of the need in the streets for the outcasts…

One of the girls at escapades stopped one of our team and asked her did we have a Sunday school for her children—that she has been wanting them in church…

I have a vision down the road to be giving the men at the strip clubs --cards about the men's breakfast at Frank's which is across the street from Escapade and Kittens. Like we are on one side of the road passing out the men’s bible study info to get them to cross the street! Another idea in the works is having a breakfast at Frank's after the ladies get off work.

It was so cool to be able to reach people in the inner city and point them to the new Baton Rouge Dream Center and then go down South Airline and point them to the HPC Highland campus. 2 addresses—covering both sides of the city.

Keep Praying for Pepe

just got this update from teresa rehmeyer (children's cup's medical director in swaziland):

Pepe was discharged from the hospital today, after 2 and ½ weeks. I think that she was just happy to be out of that place, and I don’t blame her. Finally, she is free of fever, and eating well, without vomiting. She is still taking TB medications and going for daily injections. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

for those of you who have been praying for pepe - thanks! praise God for this good report!

some of you may not have heard about pepe, so here's a little bit of the story for you:

Pepe is a six-year-old little girl. Her mother died about a year ago leaving her with a very sick father who can no longer do anything for himself because he is very close to death. He is dying from AIDS. She has nobody!!!

I would love to tell you her favorite color, her hobbies, what her favorite subject in school is but the fact is that this little girl’s life has been so harsh that she hasn’t been able to even consider these things.

Pepe has suffered from such horrible malnutrition and neglect that she is only the size of a three year old. She spends most of the day drinking out of little dirty streams of water and asking for people’s garbage to rummage for something to eat.

When we first found Pepe she was extremely ill. She was continuously crying from the infections in her throat and mouth. (Mostly from bad water).

It is a miracle that she is still alive. You can tell by the look on her face that the horrible experiences she has gone through have left their scars.

She is so in need of love. When you hug little Pepe she just holds on and on as to say please don’t you leave me too…

The really sad part of this is if we don’t pay for the help she needs someone else will. But these people want to take advantage of little Pepe’s innocence.

Please help us help Pepe and the hundreds of little ones like her that need someone to provide for their little basic needs and love them.

Our “Care Points” are reaching almost a thousand children everyday like Pepe with food, education, medical help, and most importantly the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

We are trying to help. Pepe desperately needs warm clothing, medical attention, and vitamins to nurse her back to health.

and here's the post on teresa's blog where she let us know pepe was going into the hospital:

On the 19th of October, we had to admit PePe to the hospital, she had a high fever, bad cough, sores in her mouth and throat, and she was dehydrated. When I went to her homestead to see her on the Wednesday evening before, her heart was racing and she was extremely hot with fever. Her father said that she had only drunk about ¼ of a coffee mug of water all day. She had eaten one egg and one banana. I instructed him to start offering her a cup of water every hour. He was just letting her sleep and not waking her to offer her food or water. I told him that if we didn’t get some fluids down her, she would have to go to the hospital. When I returned the following morning, she was no better, maybe even worse. I told her father that she needed to go to see the doctor immediately. When the doctor looked at her chest x-ray and examined her, he decided that she needed to start on TB treatment, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics.

When we walked into the children’s ward, PePe looked afraid. When we put her in a bed, she began to cry, and say that she wanted to go home. The nurse had us move her to another bed in a more private room, when she realized that she would be on TB treatment. So I carried her to the room crying that she wanted to go home. By the time I made it to the room and sat her down, I had to go outside before I started crying myself. That hospital is not a nice place. It is very dreary, dirty and run down. The only bright spot about the children’s ward is the new curtains that were made by Barbara Conti (Patrick’s mom). They are such bright cheerful colors and they really help to brighten the place up a bit.

Susan (one of the cooks from the care point) has been helping to take care of PePe on and off for a while. She stayed with PePe the first night. She then had to go out of town due to a death in her family. So, she found someone else from the community to stay with PePe while she was gone. The care giver must take care of the patient and give her the drugs for AIDS twice daily when they are due. All that the nurses do unfortunately, is pass out other medications.

PePe’s father came to visit, the first or second day that she was there. Susan told me later that he made the statement that he was tired of taking care of this child. Susan told him that she would take care of her, if he would let her. He doesn’t want to take responsibility for taking care of her, yet he doesn’t want her to go with someone else.

It has been almost a week and a half since she was admitted to the hospital. During the first four days she received IV fluids, IV antibiotics, and one unit of blood, because she was very anemic. Now, she is able to hold food, fluids, and her medications down without vomiting. She is no longer receiving IV fluids. She gets an injection each day for TB and she is also taking pills as well. The doctors said that she would need this treatment for 60 days, but that she could go home after a couple of weeks hopefully and just come back daily for the injections. The problem is that we are not sure that her father is giving the medications for AIDS consistently and now we add TB meds that need to be given consistently.

I try to go by and visit her every day or every other day. When she sees me, she starts crying to go home. I saw her on Saturday, she is still fairly weak, but at least she is sitting up now. I took her for a short walk outside of the children's ward and she started crying again that she wants to go home. On Friday, Nthombie and I went to see her and talked with her for a little while. We asked her if she knows what happens to us when we die. Her answer was very sad. She said that we are put in a box and then put in a hole in the ground. I then told Nthombie to explain to her that only our body is placed in the ground, but that our spirit goes to be with Jesus. Nthombie explained, using a stuffed animal angel that we had given to her when she went into the hospital. Nthombie is one of our teachers, she has a special gift from God to talk to children. PePe seemed to understand and be satisfied with that. She is still coughing a lot and I can still hear her lungs cracking and popping when I hold her in my lap. I don't know if she will ever be 100% again, but if we can get her to a point that she can have a good quality of life, and not be in pain, I will be happy.

Please keep PePe in your prayers that God’s will be done in her little life, and that we can show her the love of Jesus in everything that we say and do for her.

01 December 2006

Children's Cup in the news

got this link from jay miller and aaron broussard (from the family church in lafayette louisiana). they've been in on the new mozambique church/carepoint project that healing place church, joyce meyer ministries, mission of mercy and children's cup have been working on for several months now.

check out the whole article here.

here's an excerpt:

"The government and industry there are literally forcing thousands of inhabitants to become refugees to make way for business," Miller said. "These people are the government's rejects, the throw-aways. We're there to plant seeds of hope, give them love and help provide education."

Still, assistance from The Family Church doesn't end with the CarePoint construction.

The nondenominational church also plans to return in 2007 with construction workers, counselors, medical personnel and other volunteers to help build homes, offer spiritual counseling and treatment for various ailments.

way to go, tfc! y'all are awesome!

san diego - outreach convention

ok, there's a lot more to say about the trip i went on with johnny green and jp brumfield to san diego a few weeks ago, but then again, i still haven't posted all i wanted to about the trip to africa back in september. so, i'm just posting what i can while i have a second to post it.

san diego was a pretty cool place - largely due to the weather and the people from outreach magazine. but a huge factor was the apple store in the outdoor mall we went thru.

bonus: instead of having to see my cheesy self-portrait picture for this like i usually post, jp brumfield has provided us with a picture he took of me creating my standard self-portrait. just to mix it up a bit. thanks, jp. i'll never forget san diego - and the walk thru the city with you. :-)