Monday, July 18, 2011


I have barely been at Sunshine a month, and yet I feel as if I am taking some of the largest most difficult steps in my Christian walk. Every day I spend here challenges the things that I have taken for granted or neglected completely as a Christian. Daily I ask myself if I have truly placed God first in my life. I see how the staff at Sunshine have exemplified this by making their ministry one that does not end when they leave work. I realize that the Sunshine staff live as the disciples of Jesus did, not by bread alone but by every word of God. It’s the Word of God that drives and sustains their actions, not career goals, desire for wealth, or power. I have begun to examine my own walk and the example that I display to unbelievers. Is my Christianity something that I fold up and store away where no one else can see it when I’m not at church or around believers? Or is it one that encompasses every part of my being, leading every thought and action?

Jason Warren
Youth Outreach Summer Intern
Jason will be a freshman this fall at Lane College.

A Fantastic Experience

My experience at Summer Blast has been fantastic. Being able to help each child to grow academically and in Christ is a wonderful feeling. Everyday the kids keep me on my feet. They are always energetic and playful so there is rarely a boring time of the day. One of the things I really love about the kids is when they remember verses from the Bible and tell them perfectly. It really warms my heart when I see that, because that lets me know that God is working in their lives.

Even though it is wonderful working with the kids, it is also sometimes stressful. Sometimes the kids can get out of line and make a person want to pull their hair out. However, the stressful things they do still does not outweigh the joy of being there. Everyday I look forward to going to work and being part of the children’s lives.

Justin Ross
Youth Outreach Summer Intern
Justin will be a sophomore at UIC this fall.


Transitions have never been easy. Sometimes they can be inconvenient, painful and disappointing. The sad thing is all of these adjectives I used are often true. Lots of times we look at our lives and how we got where we are today and ask ourselves if it was worth all the drama and trials we’ve had to face. The truth is yes. Not only do transitions cause discomfort, but they create huge amounts of growth in the process. That growth promotes maturity, wisdom, patience, understanding, grace and security in Christ.

I have had the privilege of undergoing major transitions in my life for the past five years. The first one was in the September of 2006. I was 19 years old and needed to get away from the city of Chicago. I was young and afraid of change, but I wanted to grow deeper in my relationship with God. At that time, that meant I needed to get away from what was familiar. I had too many bad influences in my life and I was too weak spiritually to overcome them by myself. Therefore I went away to a discipleship school called Master's Commission USA. Through this process God began to radically transform my life.

During that season of time, several things happened. I lost all my grandparents in one month. I had major cultural encounters that shifted my viewpoint of others. My view of God became larger than I could ever imagine. I also had plenty of opportunities to showcase my talents in front of tens of thousands of people. Most importantly, I realized how privileged I was. God had a plan for my life. I do not deserve anything. I am a “nobody” that Christ died for. My story is not in any way special or self glorifying. The challenges I have faced in the past are not at all horrifying, but simply a testimony to the call that God has on my life.

The biggest transition I am about to undergo is being betrothed to my wife to be. I am so humbled that I get to marry such a strong woman as Sarah. She helps me in my weaknesses, and I help her with hers. She has been so patient with me and extended so much grace that I don’t deserve. It has been a bumpy road at times, but the biggest thing that I have learned from our relationship is AGAPE love - to love selflessly and unconditionally. To show agape love, it also means to not assume things, but rather to ask. It means to not judge prematurely, but rather to extend mercy. Transitions can be painful, but the reward is immense. God’s glory is shown, and men will know it (just like in Romans 8:28 all things work together for the good). In another example, when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit (Genesis 45:5), he expresses how God had a plan to use him to save millions of lives. He had to go through countless hardships that helped him grow and strengthen his character.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation know this, it will never last.

PSALM 30:4-5
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night,but joy comes with the morning.

Mike Avery
Mike is Sunshine's Club 2-5-2 Director and the founder of the D3 Movement.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reaching Our Full Potential

As a ministry team here at Sunshine Gospel Ministries we have been meeting together weekly to discuss Radical Together, by David Platt. Only a few chapters in, yet I have been wrestling with one of his thought provoking questions. He challenged his readers to consider the ministries their involved with, and the money they spend. He didn’t ask whether the ministry is good but if it is the most effective way to share God’s word. Platt says it like this, “We have to put everything, even good things in the church, up for reconsideration before God, releasing them wholly to him and asking him to show us his priorities and purposes for each” (Platt, 9). That simple statement really challenged me, to evaluate how I go about my ministry, am I really doing it the most effective way with the resources I’ve been given?

Some questions I began to comb through as I evaluated my own life were; who does God say is my neighbor? Is my life-style and work, my free time, my spending, my giving used in the best way for the glory of God. So how can I make my resources and time most effective for God? Once I thought through these I began to write down some things I could change. They didn’t have to be big changes. I started off with my money. Not having much money makes it easier to know where I spend it. The biggest money expense after rent is food. Now I love to go out to eat and I tend to go at least 3 times a week, so I decided why not cut back to one meal with others and one by myself. So one less meal a week and I made one meal with the purpose of fellowship. Last year I worked on my tithing realizing that I struggled to give God just 10% I decided to donate to a cause every month in order to make sure I was giving at least 10%, if not more monthly. Since then most months I’ve also found myself more available to give to others and churches with the extras the Lord has provided me with. Finally, I re-evaluated how I spend my free time. When I looked at my journals over the past year I noticed that I wasn’t daily in the Word. Some weeks I was missing four days. Yet most days I was watching a movie. So I decided daily I will spend time in the Word instead of watching movies. I decided to read more books. So this summer I began that challenge and yes I’ve watched some movies but without missing a day I’ve been in the word and I’ve read seven books. Even the little things in our life might need to be re-evaluated to allow ourselves to be more available to God. I hope this may encourage you all to evaluate your own lives to and walk in this journey along side me!

Jonathan "JR" Roberts
Youth Outreach Summer Intern
JR will be a sophomore at Moody Bible Institute this fall.
You can check out JR's personal blog here


Friday, July 8, 2011


I am really encouraged by what God has been doing at U-Turn this year! We started out with 3 teens in January, and now we are at a consistent 12 teens! Not only are they consistent, but they also are really growing in their walks with the Lord. They are faithfully showing up, asking challenging questions, and encouraging us (the leaders). One of our guys, Demetrius, will regularly come up to me and quote a song lyric or scripture that he is encouraged by. Another named Damani, will consistently ask me deep theological questions as he prepares to attend Moody in the fall. Just the other day I turned on a popular Christian hip-hop song and all the teens went crazy and started singing the lyrics word-for-word! What a testimony to the Lord that they are singing that instead of the garbage the media is feeding them. Needless to say, I’m more blessed by them then they could ever know.

CW Allen
High School Ministry Coordinator
You can listen to music from CW Allen here.

Coach John's Mid-season Reflection

I am honored to share what God has done in my life while coaching my first basketball team (with the help of Dave, Demetrius, and CW). I first met my team on May 19th, as I walked into Sunshine for the second time. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was nervous, scared, and overwhelmed all at once (lol). As soon as I met my team, God truly changed my heart to care and mentor these young men. As the season has progressed, God has matured me and taught me not to be selfish anymore. I knew these young men were hurting and needed some fresh air from the neighborhoods they live in. So I prayed to God and told him I will not give up on these young men and I will try my best to be a positive role model and friend to the team God has put me in charge of.

As the season has gone on, we have grown as a team and I have loved every bit of it! We still need a lot of work and patience, but that will form over time. As for the season record we are not doing so well. We have not won a game yet. However, I'm not frustrated. All I can think of is continuing to pour nothing but positive words into their lives and help them to play hard and never give up. This season so far has taught me to care for my team and make sure they receive God's Word. I also want to teach them how to treat people, work together, and become positive young men.

John Gross
Youth Outreach Summer Intern
John will be a junior this fall at Moody Bible Institute.

*Sunshine has a junior high and senior high team in the Miracle Basketball League.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Mid Summer Reflection

A Mid-Summer Reflection

During the past few weeks with the Sunshine staff have been some of the most challenging and yet most wonderful weeks I've had in a long time. The summer staff have grown close and are able to have fun and talk deep with each other – it is truly family. Because of this bond that has formed and has continued to grow, the interactions with the children and teens have been memorable.

During the week of June 20th through the 24th, we took the kids and teens in separate groups up to Union Michigan to Sunshine Cove Camp. The first three days were full of games, wonderful chapel lessons, and developing relationships with the 2nd-5th grade boys and girls. The second half of the week was spent at camp with the Jr. High and Sr. High. I loved this time as well, because the girls in my cabin were very open with situations going on in their lives. We had some really wonderful talks about hardships we go through as teenagers, in their homes, and as Christians. One night the chapel was about Christians across the world that have been tortured and martyred for their faith. This was a hard and thought provoking chapel for the girls in my cabin. We had a very good chat that night about what they go through at home because they seek to follow God and desire to do right. This time blessed me and it was good to learn more about each girl in order to continue relationships with them, and also it helped me know how I can love and pray for them more effectively.

I have had a passion for Sunshine and the inner city for almost ten years, and I am honored and blessed at how God has allowed my relationship with people at SGM to grow and deepen over the years. This summer has confirmed even more what God has called me to do for His kingdom in my short time on His earth. Continue to pray for the children and teens – that God will grip their hearts and invade their lives!

Natalie Webster
Youth Outreach Summer Intern
Natalie will be a sophomore at Moody Bible Institute this fall.