Friday, March 25, 2005

Dear Elizabeth Adams

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
Liz received this letter from U.S. Senator James Inhofe this week.

"Your work at the Cross and Crown Mission provides individuals everywhere with an example of the difference one young person can make through hard work, creativity and selfless dedication to helping others in their community. I am very proud of the leadership and compassion you showed as you volunteered your time and energy to this organization."

What, where, how and who!

On the stage
Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
This picture shows Paul before he spoke Thursday night in Tulsa. On each side of him are the longtime workshop directors Terry Rush and Marvin Phillips.

When Paul took the stage before the audience of a couple of thousand attendees, he told the story of how God led him and his family to the mission.

It was a prayer journey in which he asked God at each stage ...
what do you want me to do?
God revealed he wanted him to pray for people.

Then where do you want me to do it?
God led him to the building at 9th and McKinley.

The how?
God provided volunteers, materials, finances.

and, ultimately, who?
Though Paul himself was inexperienced to work with people with addictions, in poverty, in prostitution ... that's who God sends to the mission.

God's power in our limitations.

More about the talk later. But someone commented that he could go on the speaking circuit and never repeat the same sermon because of all the "God" stories that have happened at Cross & Crown. An endless, glorious repertoire.

Paul closed with saying God can take our limited vision and open our eyes to his indescribable glory!

Monday, March 21, 2005

His Glory in Our Limitations

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
Paul Whitmire will be an evening keynote speaker this week at the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop. The theme of the conference, held at the Tulsa Expo, is Open Our Eyes to His Glory.

Paul speaks Thursday at 7 pm with the title of his talk, His Glory In Our Limitations. Please pray for Paul and pray that God uses him mightily to His purpose and glory.

No doubt, it is in our limitations where God gets the best and most use from us!

Family Night

After School
Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
The Thursday afternoon After School program is taking a break this week in order to have a family night this Thursday night from 6:00 - 8:00 at the mission. Several house church groups from Bridgeway are assisting with family night as part of Holy Week observances. Call Ron if you want to help!

(After School returns next Thursday at 3:30 pm)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Straight from the headlines

The Daily Oklahoman today (3/12/05) ran this story about Elizabeth Adams, inspired by the post on this site a couple of weeks ago. Thanks God for the publicity!

Cross and Crown meeting community needs

By Carla Hinton
The Oklahoman

Elizabeth Adams could barely contain her excitement as she approached the woman holding a sign on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Interstate 240.

"I don't drink. I don't do drugs. I just want to get home," the sign proclaimed.

Adams, 16, reached into her pocket and pulled out a business card and a gift card for a local fast-food restaurant.

"God bless you," the woman said as she took the two items from the teenager.

Adams knew the restaurant card would provide a meal for the woman. However, the other card held an important link to food of a different sort — the word of God along with tangible necessities.

Adams is sending the homeless and the down-and-out to the Cross and Crown Mission by giving them business cards containing information about the ministry at Ninth and McKinley.

The teen's project brings a smile to Paul Whitmire's face every time he hears about it.

"My favorite thing about this is that she saw a need, and she addressed that need," said Whitmire, director of Cross and Crown.

"She didn't have to have a committee meeting. She didn't take it to a preacher and say somebody needs to do something about it.

"That's what God is waiting on, is for us to be available to do His work."

Countering scams with love

People with signs emblazoned with pleas for help — "Stranded," "Will Work For Food," "Need Work" — have become the norm at busy intersections, and it can be hard to determine who legitimately needs aid.

After all, it is no secret that some people on these roadside corners are unscrupulous scam artists bent on taking money from kind-hearted strangers to buy alcohol, drugs or non-necessities.

Adams, a sophomore at Classen School of Advanced Studies, created her Cross and Crown cards with all of this in mind.

The Oklahoma City teen volunteers at the mission, including working in the organization's clothing room. She and her youth group from Quail Springs Church of Christ also visit the mission Sunday nights to serve a meal and participate in the ministry's praise service.

Adams' mother, Lindy, said she and her husband have been talking to their daughter about the importance of giving back. Last year, they gave her an envelope to store money for charitable giving and were delighted with the project she created with her funds.

Elizabeth Adams said she had always wondered what she should do when she saw people asking for help at busy intersections.

"I had been thinking about this idea for a long time. I was just never able to go through with it."

Availability is key

Perhaps one of the reasons Whitmire admires Adams' idea is because it closely mirrors his experience in the neighborhood where the Cross and Crown is housed in a former church building.

Whitmire said he had a business, Suzanne's Antiques, several years ago on Western Avenue. One day, he asked a friend to drop him off at a stop sign in the neighborhood near the church. There, he planned to pray "a selfish prayer — a prayer for myself."

Whitmire said he has no idea why he chose that particular street, but he wasn't there long, praying silently, before two prostitutes ran to him asking for protection from their pimp. Whitmire said he and his friend ended up putting the women on buses headed for their relatives.

He said over several weeks, he went back to the stop sign to pray and was always interrupted by someone who needed help. Eventually he saw God's plan at work: He needed to make himself available to help people in the area.

"I think God planted us here. My ministry is here," he said, gesturing to the bustling Cross and Crown on a recent weekday morning.

Through a series of what Whitmire calls "miracles," he and a bevy of others acquired the old limestone church at NW 9 and McKinley, near the stop sign where his prayers first led him.

Prayer works

The ministry, celebrating its fourth anniversary this month, started out offering a clothing closet and food pantry for the poor. The mission has grown so that it now includes an eye clinic, medical clinic, infant room, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, computer classes and other aid programs.

Whitmire, with longtime volunteers Martha Bryant and Doug Hooten, said the one thing the mission has in abundance is the knowledge that prayer works. Funded by individual donations, the mission's needs have always been provided for by a loving God who answers prayers, he said.

Hooten, the mission's director of donations, said one of the first stops for visitors is the prayer room, where people are prayed for before their tangible needs are assessed.

"The food and the clothes is extra," he said. "The prayer — that's the main thing."

Those who find their way to the mission via Adams' cards will find a welcome, Bryant said.

"There are a lot of places you can go to get food and clothing. But this is a place where you can come and get clothed in God's love. You can get food that is everlasting — the word of God."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Paul, Jake and Jesus' hands

People ask why the statue of Jesus in the sanctuary of Cross & Crown doesn't have any hands.

Paul explains that when he acquired the statue, it came with the hands unattached. But he did not reattach them.

"We are the hands of Jesus," he said. "It is our privilege to do his work."

Someone else at Sunday night's praise service had another idea about those hands ... "we don't see His hands, because they're covered up, holding us!"