Friday, June 05, 2020

George Floyd’s Death And The Ensuing Chaos

(Photos of David Dorm and Patrick Underwood, downloaded from social media.)

These are tumultous times. Like most people, I have been watching and praying as our nation once again reels with pain and violence.

I have seen the George Floyd footage and seen the outrage in the streets—the violence, looting and anarchy—and my heart breaks. COVID-19 brought many of us fear, frustration, confinement, loneliness and loss of routine. Many of us have suffered economic hardship and loss of livelihoods. People were already fraught with frustration. And now this?

Like many of you, I have watched and prayed. Time to share a few thoughts. 

According to the below article in Christianity Today, George Floyd was a redeemed man. He left a mark for the Gospel in Texas where he sought to break the cycle of violence: Floyd’s brother says he would not have approved of violent protests, and that he was a man of peace.

But instead of peaceful protests, anarchy reigns. Looting, rioting, violence, defacing property… Rioters are assaulting private citizens and attacking police who are there to protect the public. Why? I understand that people are outraged by Floyd’s death—held down by a tactical move that lasted over eight minutes and stopped his breathing. But lawlessness is not the answer. 

Some folk were protesting over the fact that Derek Chauvin, the policeman in question, was only charged with 3rd degree murder. Now that’s been changed to 2nd degree murder; but is that better? Does it guarantee Chauvin’s conviction and that he’ll end up behind bars? Apparently, 2nd degree murder is harder to prove which leaves the possibility that the culprit might walk away free. What if that happens? 

To add wood to fire, many believe the crime was racially driven. But was it? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. But here’s what I do know. It doesn’t help to say, “A white cop killed a black man.” That rhetoric stirs up racism. Floyd was much more than “a black man’. His life was worth more than a label. And, yes, the policeman was white. But that fact alone doesn’t prove racism. Studies show that black cops are just as likely to kill blacks. What we do know is that a bad cop killed a defenseless man. 

As a Brit, I grew up in Europe where racism is so much less that I never really noticed it. My friends were all different colors and I loved them all. Frankly, I enjoyed their diversity just as I enjoy seeing the different color hair and eyes God has given people as well as hearing different accents and learning diverse cultures. I find it all beautiful. So does God. 

However, it is indesputable that some people have been victims of racism. This is real, unjust and painful. Maybe it is time to hear them out. Maybe it’s time to try to see through their lens and and understand them. Compassion heals a lot of wounds and helps dampen hateful narrative. Empathy also helps us all to be better citizens. 

While everyone has a right to express his or her outrage by protesting, no one has the right to destroy people’s belongings and ultimately their lives. 77-year-old David Dorn, a retired police captain, was killed trying to protect his friend’s pawn shot. Dorn was also black. But where is the outrage there? Or is it simply that it doesn’t suit the narrative of some who are bent on promoting a certain agenda and creating chaos rather than genuine sympathy? 

And where is the outrage over David Patrick Underwood, another man killed by the rioters while protecting a federal building in California? He too was black. Not that a person’s color makes any difference—not to me anyway—but if you’re going to shout “black lives matter” then let’s remember that this includes all black lives, not just those that fit a certain politcal agenda. Let’s remember, too, that all lives matter—including unborn babies. 

Some protestors do not even know why or what they are protesting. They are simply inflamed. Some claim they heard adults incitng young teens to vandalize and be violent—as if it’s the cool thing to do. Others claim some protestors are being paid to cause chaos. Comedian Deon Cole filmed people strategically destroying a policecar in LA, and posted it on Intagram. He explains what he is seeing first hand—organized, pre-planned vandalization. Interesting to note that Cole is black. And he’s only one of among in the black community who do not stand up for these actions. Most are horrified. Dr. Martin Luther King himself said, “Meet physical force with soul force.” 

The riots have indeed caused chaos, fear, loss of businesses and belongings, and even worse, the loss of lives. People’s hard work is destroyed by senseless vandalism. Financial hardships owing to the pandemic shut-down, and pent up frustration don’t help. Still, there is no excuse. Already hit by the shutdown and now the vandalism, many businesses cannot recuperate, resulting in great loss for entire communities and greater financial hardships. 

Then there’s the increased hatred against cops—many of whom work hard to protect us. Cops are being thrown in the same basket—they’re all bad. But that simply isn’t the case. Sadly, there are bad cops, but not all cops are bad. Most are good, hardworking, God-fearing citizens.  Many risk their lives for our communities, and numerous are those who die serving us—such as David Dorn.

While some minorities have felt the sting of racism, it seems the racism rant is being used to advance an evil agenda, to divide us and deepen hostility. Sure, racism is real, and we must understand it compassionately, but we cannot use it to label every crime against a black person. That doesn’t help anyone. 

Perspective is important. We must be quick not to judge since we don’t know everything. I hear that Floyd was no saint. Political analyst and commentator Candace Owens sais he had continued issues with crime and should not be lifted up as a role model. (Interesting to note, again, that Candace is black.) But, that does not negate the fact that Floyd was a man who was murdered. He had apparently turned to Jesus and was being used by Him—in spite of the fact that he had still not cleaned up his act. Hey, isn’t that the case with many of us? God works in spite of us. 

Here are my closing thoughts:

We are witnessing total lawlessness. In some states and counties, government officials are not calling it what it is. Rather, they are inciting it. They are adding to the chaos and stirring up hatred. “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). 

Time is wrapping up. We have booted God out of our society on every level so He allows us to run our lives without Him. But this is only a foreshadow of what’s to come with the man of lawlessness, the antichrist. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). 

We cannot be swift to judge or take sides. We do not have all the facts. On the other hand, God call to watch and pray. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41a). 

Floyd’s death is being soiled by chaos and anarchy. He is said to have been “a man of peace.” So how does all this violence honor his legacy? Until people choose peace, real compassion, and good actions, healing cannot come. Of course healing comes through Christ. He brings transformation which empowers us to do good, not evil. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good” (Romans 12:21). 

This time of turmoil can better be put to use by comforting broken hearts and doing the work God set before us. Let’s set about  “…making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

We are all sinners. We live in a fallen world and evil is increasing daily.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The world can only change as hearts are transformed by Jesus through His freely given salvation which is there for whoever wants it. ““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). 

We live in a fallen world and it is only getting worse. The issue is not racism, nor evil agendas although both exist. The issue is the condition of the human heart. The Gospel alone can change that. Let us be busy about our Father’s business and share the good news of salvation. 

Finally, our greatest protest, one that will truly bring change, is done on our knees, not on the streets. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Let’s call on the Father and pray for our nation. 

copyright © June 2020

Janey DeMeo

All Scripture taken from the NIV

Monday, April 06, 2020

Covid-19 Confinement Thoughts

It's almost Easter and we're all confined, stuck at home and some are really scared. Great time to get back to the most important thing in the world: Jesus.

For my many friends overseas or even those who live near me but I am unable to see right now, here are a few thoughts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Check Out This New Artist & His First Single

Reggae-rock-hip hop artist, Francesco DeMeo dropped his first single last year -- and he's getting ready to drop his second. (Pictured here on the right with famous virtuoso bassist Dominique DiPiazza.)

A gifted singer-songwriter, Francesco (pronounced the Italian way, "Franchesco") provides a full-spectrum of thought-provoking lyrics as well as sweet love songs in his many songs. This Way, an Island-style piece and his first release, reflects the latter--a love song.

The video (seen here), with its Hawaiian So-Cal vibe, tells a story that unfolds on a beach complete with surf and flirts. Really dreamy.

Francesco DeMeo's music can be heard on various radio stations and Spotify.

Check out Francesco's story and music on Follow him on Instagram @francescodmusic) and on Facebook ( And Twitter (Twitter @francescodmusic). And subscribe to his YouTube channel.

French born with some Italian and British blood in his genes, many of Francesco's lyrics are filled with pithy hard-core issues he has faced and compelling calls to action and reflection. But whether edgy or romantic, his songs cannot be ignored. Keep your eye on this young artist. He's got some great stuff on the horizon.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Butterflies & Second Chances, a Mom’s Memoir of Love and Loss

Unless you’ve had a severely handicapped special needs child, you cannot know how hard it is—both for the child and the parents. But in order to help these families and pray for them in the right way, we needto know. That’s why memoirs are so wonderful; they allow us to enter the author’s personal experience, to “feel” their pain with them. They help stretch our compassion. That is precisely what Butterflies and Second Chancesby Annette Hines did for me. It enlarged my empathy.

Butterflies and Second Chances, A Mom’s Memoir of Love and Lossbrings you into Ms. Hines life as a young wife and mother with her first child, Elizabeth, who was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease—a degenerative, life-limiting illness. The news shook Hines’ world and rattled her marriage. That was bad enough, but what played out during the early months, then the ensuing years, was more alarming. 

It seems that little is known about mitochondrial disease because of its rarity, which makes it unworthy of much-needed research and resources. (After all, most people haven’t heard of this disease so they would likely not donate to research.) But when you see a child suffer with this debilitating sickness, and when you see a family struggle to survive because of it, it is clear that more needs to be done. 

After numerous problems with finances, marriage, the added stress of endless cycles of traipsing Elizabeth to and from hospitals—something that was especially traumatic for the child—Hines saw the need for a total revamp of the system from medical to advocacy and everything in between. 

The system needed an overhaul for children like her daughter. Hines later passed the bar exam and became part of the solution. She created the Special Needs Law Group of Massachussetts

Elizabeth did not remain an only child. And although her younger sister, Caroline, did not suffer from the same ailment, she was not spared of deep pain. Her mother’s preoccupation with Elizabeth’s needs crippled Caroline with a sense of isolation, even abandonment. But not everything that happened to Hines and her girls was negative. God had some incredible surprises in store for the family. 

Entering Annette Hines world of pain and trauma is eye opening. I encourage anyone who cares for children, and especially those who know families with special needs children, to read this book. It will change you. 

Published by Lioncrest Publishing, Butterflies and Second Chances, A Mom’s Memoir of Love and Loss can be found wherever books are sold. 

This article also appears in Assist News

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © August2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shrewd Samaritan—Faith, Economics, and the Road to Loving Our Global Neighbor

This book took me by surprise. As founder of Orphans First, I was already passionate about concretely loving our global neighbor—but economics, not so much. That word seemed scary. But I was blown away by what I learned from Bruce Wydick in his book, Shrewd Samaritan—Faith, Economics, and the Road to Loving Our Global Neighbor. 

Most of us want to do more to help the poor, but we often don’t know the best way to go about it. Should we give, go, serve and whichever we feel led to do, where are our efforts best used? Where will we make the greatest impact with what we have to offer? 

Bruce Wydick explores these questions by sharing his prolific research on the diverse impacts of giving. He walks us through the thinking process to help us discover the way or ways in which we are individually called to care for our global neighbor. He gives us the tools to analyze whether our best impact would be in donating time, talent, funds...or all of these. 

Not every form of giving has the greatest impact. It is useful to evaluate the best possible way we can do the greatest good with our limited abilities. And then just do it!
The catchy title, Shrewd Samaritan, is a combination of two parables taught by Jesus. We know them best as The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and The Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-9). As Wydick points out, we all understand the Jesus’ message in his parable of The Good Samaritan. But the Shrewd Manager, that flies over our heads. Why would Jesus commend a dishonest, deceitful trickster? What does he want us to learn from him? 

The author tells us, “…money is temporal, but people and relationships are not. He goes on to explain that the Greek word used for worldly wealth in this parable is “mamonos” (“mammon” in the old King James Bible translation). It means more than money; it means our possessions. That certainly adds a deeper meaning. We are accountable to steward our belongings wisely. 

Remember how the word “economy” scared me? (All those numbers and spreadsheets.) Well, not any more. Wydick points out that the word “manager” in the Greek is “oikinomon” which means economics. Now that I like. 

Shrewd Samaritanis full of helpful examples illustrating diverse ways a person can impact the lives of the poor. He demystifies the call to help and makes it appealing. 

The book is published by Thomas Nelson and is in bookstores everywhere. Bruce Wydick is author of several books and professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. 

This article also appears in Assist News Service

I highly recommend Shrewd Samaritan. As director of Orphans First, I plan to reread often.
Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © July2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Unplanned, the R-rated movie everyone should see

Unplanned, out in theaters this week, is the R-rated movie everyone needs to see, including teenagers. I know, I know. R-rated is bad. Really bad. So why do I think everyone should see it? Hmmm. It could change lives. It could save lives. It could spare people from heartache. 

Unplannedis based on the book of the same title by Abby Johnson. This is her story, her own personal experience as someone who used to work for Planned Parenthood. Abby was a Christian who believed she was doing good. (Hard to believe, for sure, but to understand her mindset, you must see the film.) 

This movie is not a documentary, but a true story that uncovers what really happens behind the closed doors of Planned Parenthood, and what young girls are told about their fetuses. Let’s look at why this movie might be R-rated. 

R-rated means Restricted; kids under seventeen years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to see it. The criteria for a film to receive an R-rating include any of the following factors: adult material, nudity, sexual content, profanity, extreme violence, drug use… Unplannedhas no profanity, no sexual content, no nudity, no drug use, no adult material per se…In fact, it is the story of what many girls under the age of seventeen do every day—without telling their parents. Abortion. Andabortion is violent. 

In most states in America, a girl thirteen years or older can get an abortion withouther parents’ consent or even their knowledge. But she cannotsee Unplannedwithout parental consent. She can have an abortion but she must not know what an abortion really incurs. (Some have suggested that the R-rating was given to prevent young people from seeing this movie for fear it would swat them from pro-choice to pro-life—something that would be especially inconvenient for the abortion industry whose existence depends on them meeting their quota of abortions.)

Political hypocrisy! 

The characters in Unplannedare superbly credible. Robia Scott, former actress in Buffy and the Vampire, plays the antagonist, Cheryl the director of Planned Parenthood. Cheryl is poised, coercive, convincing, cold and cruel, quite different from Robia’s real-life personality. 

Interestingly, as a follower of Jesus, Robia had walked away from the compromising world of Hollywood to follow the call of God in ministry. Fifteen years later, a random person introduced her to Unplanned. Says Robia, 
“I loved the idea of portraying truth. But I was still hesitant when I saw the script because of the character I was being asked to play, and the intense dialogue. Do I really want to take this on?I asked. Then I thought, “For such a time as this” and was quickly compelled to see this role as an important piece to tell this story.” 

Just as God prompted Robia with, “For such a time as this,” so it is with the timing of the movie’s release. Producers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon had procured the rights to this movie six years ago. But year after year, they received a check in their spirit that this was not the time. Until last year when they felt release to move forward. 

Talk about timing. This very year, abortion has moved from early abortion to full gestation (partial) abortion—and even to infanticide in some states. This movie is pivotal to open people’s eyes to what is taking place in this country!

Things to note: 
·     Unplanned isnota low budget Christian movie. It is top-notch Hollywood quality.
·     Unplannedis not even a “Christian movie” per se. It is simply the true story of Abby Johnson. 
·     Unplannedis not a gory sensational documentary. It is not a documentary at all. And although parts of it are drawn from documentation and are disturbing and shocking, the film is nonetheless “entertaining” because it tells a story of a woman, a family and real people—a believable story. 
·     Unplannedhas surprising elements and twists—not the least of which is Abby’s incredible deception and blindness. She is a Christian, wife and mother working for Planned Parenthood. Hard to believe until you see her story. 
·     Unplanned may change your perspective about abortion workers and kids and women who choose abortion. It may stretch the boundaries of your compassion. (It did mine.)
·     Unplannedis not a feel-good story, but it doesleave you on a huge note of hope and encouragement. And hopefully disgust—enough to make you want to encourage more people to go see it. 

Things to do:
·     Please do all you can to go see Unplanned this week in a theater near you—and bring your friends and family. Your mind might already be made up, but by going to see the movie you are making a statement that increases the film’s impact. Your attendance counts. Movie theaters will likely show the film in more theaters, and show it for more days if enough people attend. 
·     Bring friends. This increases buzz and buzz will draw more people to see the movie. Thus, your presence and others’ can save babies’ lives, mothers’ lives, abortion workers’ lives, and even convert blinded pro-choicers. 
·     In spite of R-ratings, bring as many teens as you can. They especially need to see this movie. It could open or change their minds on this issue and prevent them from making decisions that could scar them forever. 
·     Pray for this movie. It can potentially change lives.
·     Pray for the cast and all those involved in the making of this film. Their lives could seriously be at risk as they uncover deep darkness.
·     Pray for policy makers to see this movie.
·     Pray for churches and godly people to back up this movie and promote it.

For more on the movie, go here.
To learn more about Abby Johnson and her ongoing ministry, go here

A few more tidbits:
·     Abby Johnson facilitated 22,000 abortions. 
·     At least 28 abortion clinics have been closed. 
·     Some 500 abortions workers have left the industry. (Many have found help from the and “Then There Were None” ministry. 

     This story also appears in Assist News

Ready to see this movie now? Round up your friends and go this week while its in theaters. 

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © March2019


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It Never Rains In Southern California--But Across the Border it Pours.

Back in the seventies, Albert Hammond got it right when he sang, "It never rains in Southern California". He added that when it does, it pours.
And pour it has—for months. In fact, Los Angeles received more rain in the first 45 days of 2019 than in the entire year of 2018. And it is still not over. The forecast declares there is more to come. 

But while most SoCal dwellers have little to complain about, there are those that face serious problems during this season, including the homeless and those just the other side of our border in Mexico. 

The rain damage in California is nothing compared to the detrimental ramifications of endless rain in Tijuana. The sheer poverty of many of Tijuana’s inhabitants—especially those who live in hazardous structures made from wood, plastic or caste iron—makes them highly vulnerable. Many are victims to flooding, cold, disease, mud slides… To make matters worse, vendors close down so food is harder to come by. And for those who rely on dump heaps to rummage for their food, the situation is dire. 

Of course, there is also the migrant crisis in Tijuana where some 7, 000 people from Central America and other nations huddle under plastic makeshift tents in the Benito Juarez Sports Center. The endless rain has led to many sicknesses, not to mention a lice crisis and general lack of hygiene and comfort. While many migrants are young men, there are also about 1,000 children (including teens). 

Like the Mexicans born into dire poverty, the little ones are the most vulnerable. 

Thankfully, about forty-five minutes away by bus another center has opened up with many more resources and provisions. Buses already began taking groups of migrants to this new, dryer and more comfortable center.  Meanwhile, it is reported that thousands more migrants are heading this way, which will only increase the dilemma—particularly in light of the huge population of desperately poor people who have lived in Mexico their entire lives. 

The population of Tijuana is estimated to be about 1 500 370, of which huge numbers live in dire poverty and squalor.It is easy to forget that many Mexicans struggle to live every single day—to find food for their families, clothes, shoes, school supplies.... The plight of the children—many of whom are illiterate and thus condemned to continue the cycle of destitution. It is no wonder that so many fall prey to the drug lords and make drug peddling their way out. As always, the children are the greatest victims. 

It was particularly the children that grabbed my heart back in 2005 or so. They were God’s catalyst to the start of a new children’s Orphans First program over the border. 

When my husband and I came to California in 2004 after church planting and ministering in France for two decades, we enjoyed the privilege of teaching at the Calvary Chapel Bible College. With students eager to taste missions, we began taking exploratory day trips to Mexico. It was an adventure. It reminded us of our years in France, when we frequently crossed the border to Italy to eat gelato and minister. Here in SoCal, Mexico is our closest border and the tacos sounded appetizing. But as much as we enjoyed the delicious food, we were shocked to discover a third-world country—right on our very doorstep where some of the richest people in the world live. It bothered us. 

My husband and I know the third-world very well (Eastern Europe, Western and Central Africa, India and more. Louis had mentored young pastors while I, as founder of Orphans First, focused on women and children. By God’s grace, we launched children’s homes India, and programs for slum children in several countries. Since God had now planted us in SoCal, it seemed like a no-brainer to start something in Tijuana. We would just need to find a local partnering church. So we began praying. 

Several years  later, God led us to Calvary Chapel Pedregales and we began the conversation. Before long, the church was ready to partner with Orphans First and launch an afterschool-feeding program for a few kids. Now, several years later, 40 children attend our program with many more begging to come. (Sadly, we are unable to take in more until we have more volunteers.)  These children come from very volatile at-risk backgrounds.

The Orphans First program provides food, clothes, shoes, school supplies, after-school tutoring, counseling, medical support, books, toys, Bible teaching and a place to play and feel safe. The work is a beautiful reflection of Christ’s love—but not without challenges. 

Several of the children suffer from PTSD because they are abused. Most are malnourished. Almost all of them have bad teeth. (Thank God we have a dentist who works with us, but we need more.)  Most of the kids do not have a dad. Some have neither parent and live with a grandma or neighbor. All are underprivileged. And many are traumatized after seeing people killed. Children have seen relatives or neighbors shot to death—including one of our older boys who saw his mother shot and killed. 

This is all because of the seedy lifestyles so many are lured into—drug peddling and prostitution. None of this is healthy for children who are often neglected and left to fend for themselves. Some children’s situations are so bad, I am not at liberty to write about them for their own protection. Heart wrenching. 

So, while it rains in Southern California, and we are uncomfortable and cold, just a hope and a skip away on the other side of the border, it pours. May God help us not to ignore the pain of others and not to turn a blind eye. Yes it is overwhelming, and we feel helpless to do something. But everyone can do something. Prayer is a good start. 

Find out more about Orphans First children’s programs here.

This article also appears in Assist News here

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © February2019