I can’t believe that 2018 is almost over. This year has absolutely flown by and it’s only right to take some time to reflect on all that the Lord has done. It’s important to give thanks to the one who has worked so mightily in our lives time and time again. Psalm 100 tells us to, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Be thankful unto him and bless his name.”
Thank you Lord for all the families that we serve. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to cross racial boundaries and build relationships based on kindness and trust. Thank you, Jesus for loving our boys so much and for giving them an example and a guideline to look to when they want to do what’s right. Thank you, God for healing wounds and transforming hearts. Thank you, Holy Spirit for guiding us and leading us into a closer relationship with you.
Thank you for Liam who is gaining self-confidence as he progresses in literacy. For Eddie who is learning to control his anger and live peacefully. For LaBryan who is grabbing hold of the importance of forgiveness. Thank you, Lord.
And thank you to YOU. Everything we are doing in the name of Jesus Christ is made possible by your support and prayers. We appreciate you more than you know.
Merry Christmas to all. We pray you have a wonderful holiday season with those you love the most.
More of Him. Less of us!
Making a Generational Impact
I was reading this morning in 2 Timothy and was reminded of the importance mentoring relationships plays in the Word of God. This faith that we have calls us to the fantastic opportunity to be disciples who themselves know how to make disciples. A strong foundation of faith is best passed on through the context of positive and consistent relationships focused on Christ.
That’s the power of life-on-life relationships. Trust is built when you show up time after time after time. That trust gives you the authority to speak truth into the life of that person and to show them the way everlasting. And that truth can change everything. Truth has a name and his name is Jesus.
We're in it for the long haul too. It’s not just about you and the person you are investing in. It goes so much further than that. What we are doing will affect generations upon generations. It is our heart that the young men in our program will grow up to be Godly husbands, fathers, and leaders who pass on their faith. We want their children to be blessed because of what the Lord is doing today through Forerunner.
Thank you for helping us show up on a consistent basis. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to invest. We get to show our families Jesus on a day-in-and-day-out basis and we couldn’t do that without you. Keep praying. Keep connecting. Keep supporting what the Lord is doing through Forerunner.
More of Him. Less of us!
2 Timothy 1:13
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me...
2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
Forerunner is All About Family
Who is the most important person in the life of our young men? That's right. His mother. We love our Forerunner moms and build relationships with them through our monthly events. We build relationships through our events in two ways: having fun and talking about Jesus.
We value joy, laughter and smiles. We want to be a blessing to our mothers and we think the best way to do that is to give them a night where they can drop off their kids with our staff and enjoy a fun night with their friends. Whether it be a game of fishbowl or a Christmas gift card exchange, we know how to have fun with our moms here at Forerunner.
We are also all about Jesus Christ. We want to present a clear picture of the man Jesus Christ and give his Spirit an opportunity to do what he wants in the hearts of our mothers. We know he is the only thing that will truly bring life to the fullest and that’s who we want to focus on. It is our dream that this evenings where we discuss Jesus will turn into discipleship relationships and a desire to know our Lord in a more intimate way.
I Care About What You Care About Because I Care for You
Welcome to the busy holiday season. There are so many things that are vying for our attention this time of year. So what's the answer when one of our Forerunner's invites his mentor to his band performance? It’s yes… because when you show up to things that your mentee cares about your actions show that you care about him! Yes, it might only be an 8th grade band concert. It might be a 4th grade basketball game or a 1st graders soccer game. But it is so much more than that! Our kids notice when you show up. Our showing up means the world to them.
More is Caught than Taught
We're all about books and lectures. We love listening to a good podcast or being moved by an inspirational movie. We'll even pick up a self-help book from time to time. But the only thing that will teach a boy how to become a man is spending time with other men. Manhood is something that is bestowed. It is passed down. When our Forerunners spend time with their mentors, they are “catching” what it is like to be a Man of God. They pay attention to how you walk, how you talk, and how you carry yourself. They notice how you react to things and you attitude. They find out what you care about and what helps you live life the way that you do. It is our goal that our mentors live a life that will cause our Forerunners and their families to say “There is something different about that guy.” When that opportunity presents itself, I hope we can say “I am different. Let me tell you about the One who changed everything for me…”
I've had this verse stuck in my head for over a month now. It isn't the most common of passages, but I can't seem to get over it. It goes something like this:
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
This passage, found in Isaiah 58:10-12, has given me so much hope over this last season. We here at Forerunner pour ourselves out for our young men and their mothers. We satisfy their desire to be loved and supported. We work tirelessly to raise up the foundations of all our kids so that one day their kids won't know what it is like to live in a father-absent home. We believe the Lord is using us to repair the broken and to mend hurting hearts.
His provision causes me to give thanks. Thank you, Lord, that you guide us continually. Thank you that you make us strong in times of need. Thank you that you never fail us and give us exactly what we need to prosper when we need it. Thank you for always taking care of us and our Forerunners.
My hope in writing this is that you too would be encouraged by the Lord and all that he has done regarding Forerunner. Just this past week, we had one of our 8th graders get baptized with his mentor watching. We also had a Mom's Night last week where we got to pray with some of our wonderful Forerunner mothers. It was incredible. God is moving, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Whether you are a mentor, tutor, donor or prayer, He is using you to make an impact in the lives of our people.
All of this couldn't be possible without you and your support. Keep praying for us. I believe prayer works and has the power to make the impossible possible. We are grateful for you and all your support. Thank you.
Relationships Change Lives
We need each other.
We were never meant to go through this life alone.
We need each other to make us laugh. We need each other to comfort through hard times. We need each other to encourage when life gets hard. This applies to everyone: rich, poor, black, white, young, old. We all need each other.
When we don’t have anyone, we are prone to isolation. Loneliness sets in. Being alone. And what happens when we are alone? Well, we are an easy target for the enemy. His goal is to separate us from the pack. The enemy wants to destroy anything that removes aloneness. Community, friendships and family... he wants those gone.
But I believe the very thing that the enemy wants to destroy is the very thing that the Lord has called us to provide. The enemy wants to steal kill and destroy, but the Lord wants to bring life and life to the fullest.
At Forerunner, we provide relationships. Relationships with young men growing up without fathers around, and relationships with the single mother and her family. It’s our prayer that those relationships ultimately point others to Jesus Christ so that our friends can build their own relationship with the One who saves and the One who gives life to the full list.
You help us make that happen. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your donations. You’re a part of our family and we thank you for that.
More of Him. Less of us.
Relationships Change Lives
I don’t really think I need to add anything else.
Thank you for helping us serve our Forerunners. God is moving… and it’s our joy to watch him work through our ministry. Your support plays a major role in allowing us to do God’s call for us. You are appreciated. We are grateful.
Relationships Change Lives
One of my good friends has a saying that I have come to love, “Life is a people game." What he means when he says that is that good people make or break an organization. We can teach almost anyone the ins and outs of mentoring, but you can’t teach someone how to love and serve kids like Jesus, and you can’t teach someone how to selflessly minister and care for the fatherless. People like that are rare. They don’t come around too often.
Lucky for us, we found one. Caroline Gibbons starting working for Forerunner part time in our K-2 Foundations Program last fall. She displayed all the qualities that we look for in a Forerunner employee. She was faithful and hard working. She loved our Forerunners for who they are not for what they do. She was encouraging and upbeat. Simply put, our Forerunner’s and their mothers felt the love of Jesus every time they interacted with Caroline. We decided her character and skills were too valuable to lose and asked her to hop on board full-time as our K-2 Foundations Program Coordinator. She will also help out with Forerunner’s operations and communications. Please help us welcome Caroline to our full-time staff. I know she will be a blessing to our staff and our Forerunner families as she helps us become the best ministry we can be!
The Place to Be!
We love providing experiences for our Forerunners. Anytime we have an opportunity to open up a door for our young men to guide them into something new, we try to make that happen! Meet people who are different than you. Do something you’ve never done before. Travel outside your comfort zone. We believe the Lord can unlock so many things as we venture into the unknown. And look at those smiles! T Bar M was, once again, a huge blessing to our Forerunners and their mothers. Our boys had an absolute blast while Mom got a week to herself back in Lake Highlands. We sent some of our younger Forerunners to Sports Camp in New Braunfels, TX while our junior high Forerunners spent the week at Camp Travis near Austin, TX. No phones. No TV. No worries. Just a whole lot of fun in a safe, Christian environment. We can’t wait to go back next year! Thank you for providing a way for our Forerunners and their moms to experience the blessing of T Bar M.
KAA - You Know!
KAA is a camp specifically for inner-city kiddos that is located near Branson, Missouri. It was started by the same crew that started Kanakuk camps, but branched off to be its own separate entity a few years back. Because of you, our generous supporters, we were able to send some kiddos to KAA for a week. It is a wonderful time for our Forerunners to get out of Dallas and experience camp life! Camp has a special place in my heart. There is just something special about it. It was at a Christian camp during my high school years that the Lord began the process of stirring up my heart for more of Him. We prayed that our Forerunners would have fun and grow in their relationship with Jesus. We had four of our Forerunners re-dedicate their lives to Christ and we were able to encourage them in their spiritual journey. We had a wonderful time exploring the outdoors, meeting new friends, and hearing the Gospel from their incredible camp counselors. Thank you for making the dream of camp a reality for our Forerunners!
Welcome to June. Welcome to the hot. Welcome to the summer. As we look back on the school year, we have a number of things to celebrate. Here are a few:
- Every child in our after-school programs received 384 hours of intentional love, care, and support. We spent this time building relationships with our young men and investing in their academic growth, character development, and spiritual maturation. Trust the process.
- We gave our moms a night off almost every single month through our Forerunner Mom’s Class. We spent this time building community among our mothers and our Forerunner friends. We heard the Gospel. We shared testimonies. We laughed and cried and everything in between. We even had one mom express interest in being discipled. That’s a huge win. Relationships change lives.
- We matched up ten new mentors with their Forerunners. That means ten kids who are growing up without a father figure present now have a positive male role model to look up to and to guide them into manhood. Invest. Love. Transform.
- We were able to send every one of our kids to at least one summer camp. We partnered with T Bar M camps, KAA Kamps, Dallas Parks and Rec, and Heger Watersports Camp to give our kiddos something positive to do throughout the summer months. This is also a way to give mom a well-deserved week off of parenting.
Let us celebrate what happened this year. Let us praise the Lord for his faithfulness. Let us continue to work hard serving our neighbors while we keep our eyes on him. It takes a village and everything that you just read could not be possible without your support. Your financial contribution allowed the vision that the Lord gave us to become a reality. You allow us to be “Jesus in tennis shoes”.
Hear us when we say… thank you. You are appreciated. We are grateful.
More of Him. Less of us!