Christian Examiner Puts CFM On Front Page

*** Originally Posted: by Melody Rossi on Tue, 01/11/2011 – 3:56pm

The award-winning Christian Examiner, the largest Christian Newspaper in the country, is featuring Cloud and Fire on the front page of  its “Year in Review” issue this month.  The article highlights some of our gang prevention and intervention work with inner city youth, including  a very nice mention of our job readiness workshops.  But more than that, the article captures the essence of our philosophy—we take one step at a time.

Read the full article here.

I absolutely believe that walking in faith means that most of the time, we just can’t see what is up ahead and we have to trust the Lord to lead us.  I have always loved the story of Moses (thank you, Charleston Heston!), and every since I had a life-threatening illness, that story has defined my walk with God. There are very few times in life when the road is mapped out ahead of us.  Most of the time, I think we have to just trust God.  Here’s a quote from the Christian Examiner that says it nicely:

When I was sick and trying to reinvent my life, I discovered that we find God’s will by just following Him one day at a time. He doesn’t usually tell us the destination. Instead, He asks us to take one small step of faith after another. When we do that enough times, pretty soon, we find ourselves just where He intended us to go all the time. This ministry is founded on that principle—just follow where God is leading.

As we serve inner city youth, we are just following God’s leading one day at a time.  And, that is what we ask the youth to do, too. Just do the right thing today—even if you can’t worry about tomorrow yet, just follow God and seize the opportunities He puts before you.

We have had our own “year in review” around Cloud and Fire, too.  We want to crystallize what we do, and put into one simple statement the life-changing impact that this little ministry has on young people who are trying to put their lives back together.  Here’s what we have landed on so far:

Helping urban youth take the best next step.

Tell us what you think!

Making LA The Greatest City for Christ

One of the greatest joys of working in ministry is partnering with the Body of Christ.  Cloud and Fire Ministries is a grassroots organization that is gaining recognition because of our efforts at solving the gang problem in Los Angeles. But the truth is that without our partners, especially the churches that provide so many volunteers and resources, we could scarcely accomplish anything.  Partnerships mean everything to us.

One of our favorite partners is Bel Air Presbyterian Church.  Pastor Mark Brewer wants to make Los Angeles the greatest city for Christ.  That’s a tall order, but he is making tremendous strides in that effort.  Rev. Brewer has challenged everyone in his congregation to get out of the pews and out into the city by volunteering at agencies that serve Christ in tangible ways.  He says, “If you aren’t going to serve somewhere, go somewhere else.  I need your parking space!”

Many of Cloud and Fire’s volunteers come from Bel Air Pres. The church has set the pace for its congregants, and they are taking their pastor’s challenge seriously.  They give us so much—their talent, their time, and their prayer support.  Many of them also become donors, and help us carry on our mission by providing much needed funding. But I believe we can give them something, too.  It seems to be a principle that churches lose power when they stay inward focused.  They need the strength that comes from serving the poor and coming face to face with those who are suffering.

This Sunday, I will have the pleasure of speaking to a group of Bel Air attendees after the 11 a.m. service.  We will explore the gang problem in Los Angeles, and talk about the ways God is leading us to make a difference.

Cloud and Fire Ministries provides both gang prevention and gang intervention services to youth. Unlike many organizations, we are based on an atmosphere of love and warmth.  We address the needs of young people, help them transform their lives, and help them experience God’s love. We work with youth who have experienced trauma, who have been abused, who have been in gangs, and who have served time. We also help youth who are just regular kids looking for something to do after school. No matter what the category or background of a youth—love works!  Cloud and Fire is based on love, and provides a second family for young people who are looking for somewhere to feel safe, to feel that they belong.