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The Outback steakhouse on 23 Mile Road, near my neighborhood, is no longer. It is closed and all boarded up. I can’t tell you exactly why, but I can surmise it’s just yet another victim of our dismal economy in Michigan and Macomb County.

When we moved here a dozen years ago, it was like a business couldn’t find a place to set up. Everywhere you looked was development. Every restaurant had long lines. Not so anymore.

The I-94 overpass for 23 Mile Road is a curious site. At all hours of the day and night, rain or shine, heat or blizzard, people are walking back and forth across the bridge. It’s not for fun. The bridge is designed for cars, and our township has an aversion to sidewalks and street lights.

A popular pastime in metro Detroit is to complain about our commute to work. I can bet a lot of these people wish they had a car with which to get to work.

It is admirable that a teen would value their job so much that they’d walk a few miles to get there.

To see a single mother walking back from her job at Burger King at 1 in the morning stirs different feelings.  Last week I saw a mom and dad with a little baby in a stroller bringing back groceries from Meijer, walking in the dark to their apartments.

So when another store closes and gets boarded up, how can you not think about all the people who depended on that place for their income? How many moms, dads, teens are now left without any kind of job? Does that bother you? I hope so.

We live in the land of plenty, yet around us are real needs. We must live with our eyes open. That goes for churches as well as individuals. I know many churches in our area reach out to those in need.

I’m just asking that you and your church be especially sensitive to the unemployed and the underemployed. I bet they need a lot of help. And it’s far from being just about money.

By the way, if your church is doing something to help the jobless, please let me know about it, so maybe they can know about it.


As I said earlier, Lakepointe Church is gathering steam in the few short months since it has arrived. With summer gone and vacationers home, Lakepointe has some plans. Here’s one to look for. Students from 6th grade through 12th grade are invited to the kickoff of AFTER SHOCK.

It’s Oct. 10 at Lakepointe. Jared is stoked about AFTER SHOCK. Did I mention there’ll be food there? Never offer free food to a journalist.
For more:
After Shock
email jared at:
or be old fashioned, and call: 586.991.1012

Ever wonder how you can reach out to the world around you? Dave Kubiak, edge director at Kensington’s Clinton Township campus, clued me in on this brand new initiative. It’s called Laces Out. It’s so new, some of the website is being built as you read this, so make sure you come back to the site a few times to get the full picture:

Grab some popcorn and mark this Tuesday, Sept. 28, on your calendar. I’ll let the trailer do the talking.

Here’s more about the event from Kensington:

“Kensington is involved in reconciliation work in the West Bank. Our teams partner with Bethlehem Bible College in promoting peace and assisting the Christian churches there, under the leadership of BBC’s president, Bishara Awad. Now Bishara’s son, Sami, is coming to Detroit to host the new film Little Town of Bethlehem at Wayne State on Sept 28.This award-winning documentary tells the stories of two Palestinians – Ahmad Al’Azzeh and Sami Awad – and one Israeli – Yonatan Shapira. Representing their Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths, they’re using nonviolent methods to resolve conflict and work towards peace. This free PG-13 film starts at 6pm followed by a panel discussion and open Q&A. The WSU Welcome Center is on the corner of Woodward and Warren Ave.”

I’ve got some more info on Michael Franzese’s visit to Lakepointe. In addition to the Oct. 2 even described below, Michael will also be the guest speaker at Lakepointe on Sunday morning, Oct. 3, at 10:30.

I had a fun visit today with Pastor Scott Blanchard and Family Pastor Jared Sabo. Lakepointe is gaining its footing and has some exciting things in the works. Jared’s skateboarding career, btw, was short-lived.

“Former ‘Prince of the Mafia’ Michael Franzese speaks on his unexpected journey to faith.” Now that’s something you don’t read often. Franzese has a fascinating story to tell. What better place to share his story than at Lakepointe Church in Macomb Township. Franzese tells his story at the Outdoor Enthusiast Dinner and Auction, which is Saturday, Oct. 2 at Lakepointe, which for now is meeting at Iroquois Middle School. The cost of the event is $20. Those proceeds will benefit MCREST.

Here’s an interview from ABC’s Nightline to whet your appetite.

Make it a point to check out Lakepointe.