Category Archives: Social Justice – Just-US

Our Birthday Party!

Promise & I both have November Birthdays. This year I turn 29 and Promise turns 25. It’s here Silver Birthday and so she takes the priority in the celebrating this year. ūüôā Truth be told, I hope she always takes the priority!

As we’ve talked further about ‘what we want to do for our birthdays this year’, we’ve decided that we wanted do something with the celebration of life beyond our receiving. Trust me, we will celebrate, but, we want you to help us with the ultimate celebration this year.

We want to give our birthdays away this year. We want our birthdays to bring LIFE to some that may not celebrate another Birthday if we didn’t give it away to them!

We continue to discover the extreme need in the world for sustainable life giving resources. We’ve heard from our friend Scott Harrison and his team at Charity: Water that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water. That reality has shaken us to do something. We need to not be okay with this happening while we’re alive.


So, this year, we are celebrating our birthdays like never before!!

We are asking for $25 from everyone we know – and every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater wells in developing nations through Charity: Water, an organization that we know and trust. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. How cool is that right?! We’ll get to see our work and giving come alive!! Now THAT is a cool birthday present.

Our goal is to raise $5000 by Promise’s birthday, 11-23-10.

Please consider helping us. We need 200 friends to give $25 to reach our goal. This is so attainable and we want to ask that you wouldn’t wait and consider it, but, that you’d join us now in helping dying people live by giving them clean water this year!! This is a party, this is a celebration, this is our heart…more birthdays for more people!

Click Here for our Charity: Water page.

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Leprosy, India and Awakening…

Videos of the Cornerstone Chandler Team hanging with the Lepers:

One of the most powerful things in this video is at the very end as one of our Pastors, Jeff Gokee, gets in front of a camera to try and talk about what he had just experienced. I was overwhelmed as I watched my very strong, manly, passionate and truth speaking friend get lost for any words to speak. I love the picture and the brokenness in the last scene of the video. Brokenness is what we need to awaken a generation to actually do something for those in need. God, ‘break our hearts for what breaks Yours’!

The next video is an interview that Jeff did with Suresh and a Leper from the colony they were in. Watch her face as they chit chat about Leprosy and then watch her light up about the last question. The UNBELIEVABLE joy and hope for Jesus in desperate people is electrifying. I wept as I saw her ooze of joy for her Jesus. What a saint!

To have the kind of capacity for joy as an outcast from society, a woman shunned from normalcy, the lowest of the caste, ‘the untouchable’ just absolutely blows my mind. I could just sense the Spirit in me leaping for His love for her as I watched the video. I could feel Gods love for this woman and for these people in my heart. POWERFUL stuff! In the same breath I could sense God moving in me saying, ‘You MUST love people like her like I love them’!

To GIVE to Harvest India click the icon below:

What grabbed your attention most in this what you saw in this post? Leave a comment!!

Pray for Kate :: Do Something Now

This past weekend my wife (Promise Tangeman-Wurzell) and I had the chance to go be with the McRae Family. Many of you know of the McRae’s because of their 6 year old daughter Kate who is battling against an aggressive brain tumor. If you aren’t clued in on Kate’s situation check out her website at www.prayforkate.com. Kate’s parents, Aaron and Holly, have become good friends of ours as they moved to Arizona last year to be on staff with us here at Cornerstone. We quickly grew to love the McRae family and our hearts break with them as they plead with God for the total healing of their daughter, Kate.

We were able to hang with them most of the day Saturday for a photoshoot of their family and we had the most amazing time. I’m amazed when we get the chance to be with the McRae’s by the way they continue to process this together as a family. Saturday was a day full of laughter, fun, ice cream, photos, going on secret spy missions with the 3 kids (Olivia, Kate and Will), Will showing his awareness to his fashion on multiple occasions, etc… We finished the day with some Olive Garden at their house, an American Idol contest (where we all judged the performers and sent them to Hollywood) and some heavy talks about their sweet girl Kate. I have to say, personally, Saturday was a day of true Christ-filled community. It was the kind of day Promise and I needed really bad. This family truly is one of the best families we know and we’re so honored to be in their lives in the midst of all that’s in front of them.


Today, sweet Kate has just checked back in to the hospital for her 6th and most intense round of chemotherapy treatment. The treatment, as I understand it, is so intense that they’ll need to be in the hospital anywhere from 4-6 weeks. They’ll be taking her system down to a place where they can reintroduce good stem cells that they harvested months ago and the hope is to reset the body with positive, healthy, cancer free cells! It will be one of the longest stays in the hospital since her brain surgery last July and they will all need huge prayer and huge encouragement during this time.

I write this to remind us all not to forget about Kate and the McRae family. They desperately need our prayers. Kate desperately needs the miraculous healing that Jesus can bring to her body. I want to ask you to take these pictures from my blog and do something with them as they begin this treatment. These pictures were taken this past weekend and Kate looked AMAZING, she has a stunning beauty and joy about her young life. Their family is a great looking bunch too (not to mention that Patrick their GoldenDoodle is the coolest dog on planet earth).

Here’s what I’m going to ask you to do:

I want to rally another movement of prayer for Kate and the McRae Family. Would you consider taking these photos and doing one or all of the following:

*Blog: Take the pictures here on my blog and use them in a blog post asking your network of people to Pray for Kate and the McRae Family. Let people know they can follow along by sending them and linking stuff on your blog post to http://prayforkate.com :: In the post please ask people to post a blog/twitter/facebook with one of these pictures to invite their network of people to PRAY!

*Twitter: Send out a Twitter post to you networks telling people to pray for #katemcrae as she goes through intense treatment. Send your readers to http://prayforkate.com for updates and attach one of the photos in your Twitter update. Also, ask people to RT (retweet)!

*Facebook: Send out a Facebook update and post one of the photos in your update. Remind people to pray for this family and for Kate. Please tell them to share the photo and a link to http://prayforkate.com on through facebook and ask their networks to do the same

I am confident that this kind of viral blitz is an amazing way to use your online network, however big or small, as a tool to connect people for something worthy. I think people want to be invited in to pray for a girl like Kate and a family like the McRae’s. I think God loves it when we come to Him rallying for each other and trusting Him.

Thanks in advance for loving the McRae’s whether you know them personally or not. It means the world to them in this really tough season. Okay, it’s your turn to make this thing happen. Let’s light up the Social Network platforms moving people to pray, yet again, for Kate McRae!!

Prayer Won’t Be Enough…

This morning I watched a picture montage of the tragedy that is Haiti today. I watched as THOUSANDS of people stood in line in the HOT sun waiting, hoping and fighting over bags of beans, rice and oil. Many of them waited for hours just to be told that there wasn’t enough and the aid group had given out all the food they had. The already hungry people of Haiti are now even hungrier in the aftermath of the earthquake. I was struck with the reality that as Christ followers, when it comes to those in need, prayer alone will not be enough.

I had a couple interesting and diverse comments from people on a Twitter post I put out on the subject. Some agreed, some totally disagreed and said that prayer is sometimes all you can do. Personally, I could not disagree more with that statement. I would love to hear your thoughts on prayer and the needs of the poor. Do you think that it, alone, will be enough from what you know about what Jesus commands us to do?

Below is my response to the person that may disagree with me on this statement. I think Jesus sets the record straight on how we ought to engage those in need. I want to make clear that I am a FIRM advocate that prayer is an essential component to following Jesus, but, on it’s own it will not meet the needs of the poor. Here is my response:

Twitter: Watched a piece on @CNN about the lack of food in #Haiti. It’s not enough just to pray we must mobilize what we have for those in need!

I look at Matthew 25 where Jesus delivers his poignant and final sermon on ‘The Sheep and The Goats’. As you read that passage, NO WHERE, does Jesus mention that if we ‘pray’ for the least of these that it’s somehow serving their needs. Interesting, because I think Jesus (of all people) knew and understood prayer and the power of it. I find it interesting that these were His words in His final sermon:

Matthew 25:34
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

When he says those things, the questions come:

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He makes this next BOLD statement regarding 34-36 to answer the question and it’s interesting that He never ONCE mentions prayer. He mentions physical, tangible ways in which we serve Him when we serve others. The outcome of ‘when’ we do these things comes in this next verse:

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

He then talks about what happens to ‘the goats’ or those that did not live these things out:

46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I’ve heard it said that Matthew 25 is not so much concerned about the ‘ROOT’ of salvation, but, about the ‘FRUIT’ of salvation. It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, you cannot LOVE me and NOT engage in the plight of the less fortunate.

Again, I observe, PRAYER alone will not be enough to meet the call of what Jesus asks of us to develop as the fruit of our salvation. I’m not saying dismiss prayer, but, I am saying we better do more than just pray according to Jesus. My prayer is that Jesus would give me the courage and heart to serve the way He wants me to serve. I hope it’s your prayer too.

I’d LOVE your thoughts on this post. What do you think?

A Sad Day In Kenya!

Many of you may of heard about or even seen the documentary called ‘Invisible Children’. If you’ve seen this film you will remember an amazing woman who, ultimately, introduced Jason, Bobby and Laren to the story of the Invisible Children. Her name is Mama Zipporah.

She is an amazing woman doing a work in Kenya that is bringing the hands and feet of Jesus to some of the most beautiful children in all of the world. She has become the mother of children that have been treated with the worst of the injustices anywhere in the world. She is a Saint, truly.

Much of the work that Mama Zipporah has done comes on the helms of her man, her husband, Papa Isaac (they call him). He’s the kind of guy that gave her his land (in Kenyan culture that is unheard of and totally radical) so that she could do the work God called her and them to do. He’s the kind of guy that works tirelessly towards the mission of justice, as he and Mama have adopted and house over 150+ children on their own.

Our church is very involved with the work that is happening at their home in Kenya called Huruma Children’s Home and we know them personally and love them quite immensely.

That being said I just received this email:

Today at 3:00pm in Kenya, Papa Isaac, Mama Zipporahs husband died suddenly of a heart attack.  Our heart is so very very sad for Mama and all the Children.   Papa was a tower of influence of Christ in that community and especially to Mama.  We are trying to figure out how to help her and the children right now.   So please pray for them and also Shauna (who is from Cornerstone working full-time @ Huruma) who is not sure how to help.

If you want to send a prayer or note the following are there email addresses:
Mama –¬† mamazipporah@yahoo.com
Caroline (Papa and Mama’s biological daughter) – naisy80@yahoo.com

I believe they would be encouraged by your prayers and support.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. PLEASE PRAY. pray for Gods peace to rush in and hug them close.

2. If you have ANY platform to raise awareness and/or donations for Huruma Children’s Home and this situation DO IT (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Websites, literal Stages or any other creative way)! You can link them to my blog entry or directly to the Huruma Website. Email me if you have any questions brianwurzell@gmail.com

3. GIVE. Give them whatever you can. If you have a $1 or $5 or a MILLION and you can give…GIVE!! Because Huruma is such a grassroots movement (they don’t have the backing of World Vision or Compassion, etc…) Papa was a huge source of generating income for them, beyond some donations from a few relationships they have. any donations that you might be willing to make in the honor of Papa Isaac…which I think would be an INCREDIBLE expression of love to them in these day can be made by clicking the following logo (let’s blow them away with financial support, let’s build their dorm in his honor):


Please remember Mama, Caroline, the children of Huruma and the workers in these days as they grieve this very hard loss of a man that brought much joy, strength and balance to their home. Pray that the mission and work of Huruma would continue and that they would find so much love in the midst of their pain.

Listen to the words of this Psalm in light of it all:

Psalm 103

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children-

18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.

21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Sonoma, Special Olympics and good family…

This past weekend I got to be with my love (promise) and my family in beautiful Sonoma County California. I have an Aunt and Uncle who live in Windsor, CA and they’re both doing some really amazing things to give back to those on the fringes.

 

You see my Uncle Steve, who I only knew in my 1st year on this earth (if that counts for knowing him), lived his life with Down Syndrome. He died when he was 13 back in 1982. From the stories I’ve heard about this kid he was a RIOT! There was never a dull moment with Uncle Steve and he lived as happy as a kid could. It was cool to hear some of the stories about him from his siblings this weekend, truly just a joy to everyones lives!

 

Well, my Aunt Susie and her husband Barry have taken on a project in his honor and this year marked the 10th anniversary of the ‘Steve Wurzell Memorial Tennis Tournament: Benefiting the Sonoma County Special Olympics’.¬†

 

My Aunt writes for the Business Journal in Sonoma County and I believe she is really using the platform she’s been given/worked hard for to work towards bringing a ray of hope to these people who live mentally, physically and emotionally challenged. Barry is also a lawyer in the area and is a huge support to what they’re doing.

 

The tennis tournament draws business leaders, corporations, wine industry types and, quite honestly, rich people to come out and give back. Friday they do a big tennis tournament that these folk compete in for some trophies and I’ll just say these people are pretty into winning a trophy. Later that night they do a HUGE event at a local winery called Rodney Strong. Each person buys a seat at dinner for some wild price and it’s a FANTASTIC night of honoring these amazing people who live their lives with some challenges.

 

ALL of the proceeds go back to COMPLETELY fund the Sonoma County Special Olympics. COMPLETELY FUND! anyways…I think that’s pretty amazing.

 

I was talking with my Aunt, yesterday, and she said that she set out 10 years ago with a vision to get funding for these kids, but, could have NEVER dreamed that they’d now be responsible for FULLY funding this program that for many of these kids is one of their only lifelines.¬†

 

One of my favorite parts about the event on Friday night was that they brought out the Special Olympians in a procession complete with Police Escort, torch, t-shirts, medals and US (the FANS). As the brought them in my Aunt had something even more special arranged for them…A HELICOPTER FLYOVER from the sheriffs department. I mean she done did it and she did it good!!! it was amazing. they came in through the dinner tables, we high fived them and they went to the stage where they just got cheered for and loved on. My Aunt took the time to write something very unique about each of the Olympians and would make it very personal to EACH of the kids. It really was quite amazing and it made me proud to know that we run the same blood.

 

I have to be honest though…it’s got me thinking…what am i doing to contribute to the Kingdom of God? I really believe that what my Aunt is doing is Kingdom work. She spends her time, money and heart with these kids and their caretakers (not to mention she has 5 of her own kids) just pouring everything she has into this program for these kids.

here’s a link to an article written about the sonoma special olypmics:

READ ABOUT IT

 

What’s got you thinking and dreaming today, this week, this year? short or long term. sound off!

 

 

Here’s some pics from the weekend too:


Leadership Summit – Catherine Rohr

I learned of a new ministry and opportunity for us to reach those that Jesus reached. namely, the¬†imprisoned! Catherine Rohr from an organization called Prison Enrepreneurship Program (P.E.P.). Let me just say it’s a fantastic organization and if you don’t know about it…get to know it!!