Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stop for the one...Speedway

Heidi Baker's great book Birthing the Miraculous talked to the principle of stopping for the one. Combined with practicing noticing, stopping for the one is proving to be an exciting adventure. Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to connect and love several people simply by noticing and stopping. 


I was paying for some gas at Speedway when I noticed there was a lady checking out wearing hospital wristband. I decided to open the door for her and walk with her to her car. I asked her what happened for her to have gone to the hospital. She replied "I had a motorcycle accident. I was in the hospital because I had some blood clots and they were attempting to reduce them."

 I ask her if I could pray for her, she said yes. As I began to pray with her I put my arm around her shoulder. I spoke to the blood clot to clear out her blood system. Then I spoke to the stress that she was under would begin to be lifted. As I began to speak to the stress she began to weep. I then had a word of knowledge that I felt was important for her. So I said, "It's not your fault." She began to sob shaking crying into my shoulder. I spoke words of encouragement and comfort and encouraged her to let it go and not carry so much of other peoples problems etc. I sensed the comfort of Jesus flow as we prayed. She gave me a hug, said "thanks mister" and we parted.

Someone once said,  "I cannot do what you do Steve." 

The reality, anybody can do what I do. All it takes is to begin to practice noticing people in your sphere of influence, then have the guts to respond...stopping for the one. Anybody can pray a comforting prayer, and anybody can love another person. I'd encourage you to begin to ask for eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to believe and a willingness to respond.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why we do back to school Backpacks.

Kindness to go backpacks. Why? Families in need often can't help their children. Sometimes they are making a choice between purchasing food or school supplies. Your decision to care helps the less served children of our community.
Usually we begin to ramp up for school in July. I know that sounds early however, parents begin to shop for supplies early August. Our special Back to School Bash begins by the fourth weekend in July in order to ensure their return to the Vineyard in good time to deliver to the schools.
Here’s how it works.

I purchase the back packs for $6 each... then sell them to the Vineyard people for $5.* ($5 is just enough to remind people they have a pack to fill up) I usually purchase 200 backpacks. That’s about our limit.
Interestingly the packs usually sell out in just two weekends.

People then return the backpacks to the Vineyard we place them in a visible area in the building which generates buzz and a sense of accomplishment. Stacking up 200 backpacks makes a huge stack.
Here is the information flyer I use to help connect the dots. 

Back to school backpacks ...
Under privileged children of Kettering, Fairborn, and Dayton are not able to purchase their school supplies. Therefore, each year we partner with teachers to make a small, yet significant investment to help further a child’s education. 

Why$5? Five dollars is really your commitment that says, ‘Yes I want to help.’ 

How? It’s simple.
Take the list on this instruction sheet to any store that sells school supplies like Wall Mart, Target, or STAPLES. Purchase the items then fill the back pack and bring it back to the Vineyard.
Tip: if you have children let them shop with you. As you are shopping talk about the project, why you are shopping for someone else and where the packs are going. 

Tip: people often place some other exciting items in the backpack, key chains, to teddy bears. Be creative, be generous and put some fun in the project.

Supplies list:
3 3”X 3” postits
1 inch 3 ring binder
2 packs of wide ruled lined paper
2 Elmers glue stick
1 box of No.2 pencils
1 box of 2 erasers
1 box of colored pencils 12
1 box of Crayola Markers
1 Fiskar’s scissors
1 plastic folder 2 pockets blue
1 8 by 10 composition book
1 box of Crayola crayons 24 count
1 5 section divider
5 pronged 2 pockets folders
1 4oz school glue
1 dry erase markers low odor
2 pencil holders, zippers with grommets

If you can't afford to do this on your own. Why not gather some friends and team up to make a difference in a kids life. 

If you missed getting a backpack and want to help, just purchase supplies on the list and bring to the Vineyard. We'll make sure your items reach a child.

Kids need shoes and socks, if able please purchase elementary aged shoe and socks.

Here's why...

Ever attempt to run and play in flip-flops?

I went to the school to take pictures for an outreach. During the recess period, I was snapping pictures in the playground a kid runs up to me and asks, "Hey mister, will you tie my shoes?" I replied, "Sure." As I bent down to tie the smiling kids shoes I noticed, new shoes, no socks.(He was wearing flip-flops, now had shoes. The school counselors watch out for kids who come to school in flip-flops. The flip-flops are an indicator of a child in need. Obviously they ran out of socks.) I asked, "Hey did you get your new shoes from the school?" Grinning from ear to ear, he replied excitedly, "Yep!" I finished tying his shoes, He said, "Thanks mister!" and ran off to play. In that moment I felt the Son shine in my heart.

You know, small touches aren't often long term need meeting events, but for that kid, and for that family it was a small thing, done with great love.

Who knows it may have even changed his world.
Ever attempted to run and play in flip-flops?

Thanks for making a difference!

Friday, July 25, 2014

You Just Never Know

You just never know!
Years ago, I met a young doctor named Paul. He was from Canada and he was sitting on the steps of an art museum at the Mound in Edinburgh, Scotland. I sat down beside him and began a conversation. I asked him why he was in Edinburgh and I found out he had come to learn more about his profession and gain some experience. He asked me why I was in Edinburgh. I related some of my story and told him about YWAM and how we shared our faith through drama, song and story with anyone who would watch and listen. He was more than interested. We began to talk about different aspects of faith and belief. I soon found out he was a Catholic but had never gained an understanding of the gospel. He was searching.

    After our conversation he invited me to dinner where we continued our talk. A few days later, I returned to his house with a book about a young Catholic man who encountered Jesus in a personal way. The book helped Paul greatly and watered the seed already planted in his heart. Over the next few days Paul and I continued to meet.

The time came when I needed to return home so I encouraged Paul to connect with a great church in the city. A few weeks later I received a letter from Paul that he had gone to the church, connected the dots, and had given his life to Jesus. Paul stayed true and later married a great Scottish girl and moved back to Canada.

During the first stages of the rewrite of my book I received an encouraging phone call from Paul. He wanted to catch up all these years later. He was appreciative of our connection and my role in leading him toward faith. Now his daughter is in Edinburgh launching a new YWAM base. She is a blond, dread­-locked, barefoot dancer who loves Jesus and is pursuing her destiny by bringing others into the Kingdom of God. I was so grateful to hear of God’s generational purpose for Paul and his daughter being fulfilled.

    This story illustrates how the process principle works. I was able to water the seed already planted in his heart by the Catholic Church. He was probably at a –50 on the scale. He had a concept of God. He had an awareness of his need, and was searching. Perhaps as a result of our time together and reading the book he moved to a –10. By the movement of the Holy Spirit upon his life, hearing life messages, and experiencing the love of the members of the church, he may have been moved to a –5. At just the right time a specific person was able to introduce him to Jesus and God brought the increase. Paul discovered faith in Jesus Christ and was born again now a +1 in the Kingdom of God.

Paul is an example of how many people come progressively toward saving faith in Jesus Christ. I believe this is the norm. We are co-­workers with the Holy Spirit. Our role is to sow and water seeds in faith. 

    I’ve learned I can relax into my role of being one of God’s co­-workers. It's His role to bring the increase. My role is to learn to be a positive empowered co­-worker nudging people toward the Kingdom as I am enabled. Sometimes my role involves a power encounter. Other times it’s my role to serve a person with a simple act of kindness, or it’s my role to have a caring conversation.

To learn more you can purchase the book go. sow. here 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Faith that works through love...

 Faith: the action that pulls upon the Kingdom of heaven.

I was fishing with a few friends on a lake in Scotland. I was reading a book about the invisible Kingdom. I read a passage from the book to my fishing buddies, how faith reaches into the unseen and brings what we need into the seen. As soon as I finished reading the passage, a trout jumped out of the water, landed into the boat and flopped down to my feet. We all were suddenly aware a Kingdom principle was being supernaturally highlighted. We were stunned. I was the only one who caught a fish that day. Faith is the action that pulls what we need into the now.

Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries it shall be done.
Charles Wesley

Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him. NCV Heb 11:6

Faith believes that God is, and that He is good. He rewards those who seek Him. Our ultimate reward is knowing Him.

 Measures of faith:
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 NAS

Everyone has a measure of faith. All of us are given talents and treasures that are to be used / stewarded to encourage others.

Romans 12 lists the different gifts: serving, speaking, leading, encouraging etc., all are to be expressed according to the measure of our faith. My faith measure may be less than your faith measure. However, what is most important is that we actively use and develop the measure of faith we have been given.

The Exercise of faith: Faith grows as we exercise our faith; as we put our faith into action. To exercise our faith we speak promises, wait, stand fast, pray, worship, serve, go, love and hang on.

Sometimes active faith is exercised when we find ourselves in difficult situations when we actively hang on, or wait, or stand firm. 

It is not the strength of our hand holding on to God that keeps us safe.
It is the strength of God's hand holding on to us that keeps us safe and maintains our salvation. Adam Vaughn

I was in a hotel room in Pensacola FL. laying on the floor calling out to God. My family were in Scotland. I came to the USA to seek a non-existing promised job and I realized I had to bring my family back to the USA in three weeks with no house, no car and no job. I was hanging on, and crying out. In the midst of this emotional roller-coaster I learned a lesson.

 In a moment I realized faith is spelled trust. I understood that I wasn't hanging on to God, He was hanging on to me. My daily reading that day was about faith being spelled trust, when I decided to trust, faith entered my heart. Later that day I received a phone call from a friend and I had a job. I was able to phone my family and give them the good news of God's faithfulness.

Faith is spelled trust: Here is the daily reading portion that I read from Effective Faith by J.O. Sanders.

Faith is trust…We trust only those whom we know and love.

 Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present, and the invisible as seen. There is no such thing as faith without trust. Trust may be defined as resting on the integrity or friendship of another. To trust someone is to have confidence in; to rely on them. Trust is effortless confidence based on the character of the one in whom trust is given. True faith always issues in full trust. In relation to God, it is the trust in his Love and his trustworthiness and power, it is a calm confidence in his moral character.

Hebrews 10:23 Phillips
In this confidence (trust) let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation—for he is utterly dependable.

Jesus spoke to his disciples and told them to stop being perpetually anxious and worried about their lives.

Why? Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.

Unbelief: Jesus marveled at unbelief.

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. Mark 6:4-5 NIV

Unbelief is one of the elements that robs us of our faith. The question, "In whom do I not believe?" 

With God all things are possible. That's the key phrase, with God

Without God impossible, with God all things are possible.

Great faith: Jesus marveled at great faith.

The centurion said, "Just say the word and my servant will be made whole." He understood authority; the power of a command, and understood who Jesus really was. He believed that when Jesus spoke, His word of authority would bring healing to his servant.

Jesus often asked questions, "What do you want?" He would often then say, "Be it according to your faith."

He responded to corporate faith. Four friends brought their friend into the house through the roof. Seeing their determined active faith he stated, "Rise and take up your pallet.Your (all you all's) faith has made you whole."

When Jesus faced difficult situations He removed the negative people, cleared the environment, and created an atmosphere of faith.

Faith feeds on the promises of God. Faith feeds on the pledged word of God and flourishes in the atmosphere of His presence. The presence of God is the atmosphere of faith.  J.O. Sanders Effective Faith

 Where Jesus is present, there is faith.

 Faith speaks: 

And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Mark 11:22NIV 

The woman with the issue of blood had suffered much. She heard that Jesus was passing by. Her need and her faith moved her to seek Jesus; to press through the crowd and to touch the hem of His garment. As she was pushing through the crowd she was continually saying to herself, "If I can just touch the hem of his garment, if I can just touch the hem of his garment, if I can just touch the hem of his garment I will be made whole. She touched His hem and power flowed from the source of all healing. She was made whole.

Faith grows by being occupied with who God is and with what He has spoken. J.O.Sanders Effective Faith

Faith is like eyesight.

What we fix our eyes upon is what we see. We don't see our eyesight, we see the object upon which we fix our eyes upon. It's always good to look to Jesus, to turn our eyes upon Him, for He is the author and the finisher of our faith. His promise: He who began a good work in you, will complete the work He began in you.

Open my eyes help me to see,
Open my ears that I might hear,
Open my heart that I may believe,
Who you really are, who you really are.

Spontaneous Song Steve Bowen

Faith works best when God's love is flowing.

God's love for us, awakens love in us. Mike Bickle Passion for Jesus

It is the love for God which inspires our faith.
Love is faith, for love believes all things.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 
1Cor 13:13 NIV

The only thing that counts, is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 NIV

When we receive God's love for us, His love releases faith in us, so that we can express His love to others. That's why it is so important to open our hearts to His love.

We love because He first loved us. I John 4:19 NIV

I am a recovering non-hugger. I am now learning how to hug people into wholeness. I hug until I feel love flow. When love flows sometimes people are restored. Almost every time people feel loved.

The other week I was able to help a homeless man. We had a great conversation. I discovered he had HIV and bone cancer. I prayed for him. I also began to speak into who he was. That he wasn't defined by HIV or cancer, but he was defined by who Jesus saw him and said him to be, a son of the Father. We both wept as I hugged Him. The hug was one of those healing hugs, where you can sense love and healing flow. It came from a source somewhere deep inside of me. The love of the Father released faith to flow into this mans heart in order to bring the emotional healing he needed. 

Faith always works best in an atmosphere filled with God's love.

Friday, June 06, 2014

When Less Is More

Go. Sow. A simple practical Guide into the arena of outreach. Book Link.

Thinking about when less is more, or how less leads to more. The Minimalist movement is an interesting movement. They understand that more is often discovered in the less. So they adjust their lifestyles. They seek to have less in order focus on having more. More peace, more clarity, more focus and more being. They've discovered as they have less, and do less, they have more time for relationships, faith, and time to do what they really want to do.

When less is more.

Being less discouraged ='s being more determined.
Being less distracted ='s being more focused.
Being less fearful ='s being more brave.
Being less stressed ='s being more peaceful.
Being less negative ='s being more positive.

Being less confused ='s having more clarity.
Less talking ='s more listening.
Less striving ='s more resting.
Less doing ='s more being.
Less law ='s more grace.

Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more;
love more, and all good things will be yours.”
~ Swedish proverb

Did you know there are over 52,000 self storage places in the USA which is a 22 billion dollar industry, and there are more of these places than there are McDonald restaurants?

One man noted, "Clutter is the cholesterol of an American home."

One thing we have is stuff, and we have a lot of stuff. We build bigger houses to hold all of our stuff, and then we fill our garages with more stuff instead of our cars. Then we rent storage units to store all the important overflow stuff. What do we have? We don't really know, but we know it's all important stuff.

Having stuff is ok, unless your stuff has you. 

1 Cor 7:31 NLT
Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.

When is less more?
When we are faithful in the small things…

God is the great Investor.
John 1:17 "From the fullness of His Grace we have all received one blessing after another."

We have all received the gifts of talents, treasures and…time.

According to the parable of the talents we will be commended if what He has invested in us pays dividends. In other words, what He has given to us is to be invested into the lives of others. If we do, we will receive a well done.

 Jesus..."Well done good and faithful servant, you have done good. Enter into the joy of your King."

Something happens in our hearts when we give away what we have received. 

The other day I was able to help a homeless man. We had a great conversation. I discovered he had HIV and bone cancer. I prayed for him. I also began to speak into who he was. As I prayed for his healing, I told him his health did not define who he was, Jesus defined who he was. We both wept as I hugged him. The hug was one of those healing hugs, where you sense love and health flowing. He told me I had made his day. I replied, "No you have made my day!" I walked away receiving far more than I had given.

"More blessed are they that give, then those who receive."

  Jesus… "if you are faithful, trusted with a very little, you can also be trusted with more."

This is true in all of life. It is especially true concerning spiritual riches like love, power, presence, and peace. When we are faithful to love, heal, and to bring God's presence and peace to others, love, power, presence and peace increases in our own lives.

So faithfulness is the less, that leads to more…

Being faithful in the small things, leads us toward our destiny... our purpose.

You cannot change your destination overnight. You can change your direction.---Jim Rohn

Our decisions do determine our destiny. 

One decision can lead to enormous blessing, or to enormous regret.

We base our decisions often on our feelings rather than seeking wisdom. In the flow of life we face numerous decisions daily. Some small, seemingly insignificant decisions can change the course of a persons destiny. It's important to pay attention to your heart.

A few weeks ago I went to Kinko's to have some cards cut for an event. I dropped off the cards, returned, and found the address missing from the back of the card. I realized I should have checked the cards before taking them to Kinko's. I returned to work and had more cards printed correctly. I then took them back to the shop to be cut, and set a time to pick them up.

I returned later that afternoon to pick up the cards. They weren't ready. The cards had been forgotten. Hummm? 

I had a decision. To be upset or to not be upset. I've been practicing being calm in such situations. When I'm tempted to complain, I think about Heidi Baker and dirt. Most of the time my up-set-ness, especially over bad service, the food not being cooked right etc. pales in view of what she has gone through. I've never fallen backward into a dirt poop filled latrine.

Decision. Do I wait 45 minutes, or do I return in the morning to pick up the cards? I almost decided to come back in the morning but felt a slight God check in my heart. So I decided to wait. 

During the wait I visited a couple of shops, got a hair cut, and then returned for the cards. I walked out of the shop toward my car. At that moment a husband and wife pulled up next to me. The husband asked me if I could help them. They had just visited their son at the VA their car had broken down. They had spent all their money getting a new S belt for their car and needed gas money.

I said, "Sure follow me to the filling station." As the man was filling his car I heard the whole story. Their son, 23 years of age, had just passed away at the VA hospital. He had been wounded in Afghanistan and an ensuing infection had claimed his life. 

He was their only son. I listened, loved and prayed for him and his wife. She wept. I told them about a Father who understood their pain and their sense of loss. He too had lost a Son. I prayed for the Comforter to come and to be with them. They were more than grateful and thanked me for caring. I walked away in stunned wonder.

As I pondered what just happened. I thought about how many dots had to be connected for this meeting with the family to happen? 

A trip to Kinko's... back to Kinko's... seeing misprinted cards... reprinted cards... then back to Kinko's... cards forgotten... a forty-five minute wait... then a life encounter with a couple in need. To orchestrate all of this to its conclusion is impossible. It's simply mind blowing to think how many of my decisions were prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to / acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

What you sow is what your reap.  
Think about your decisions. Which of your decisions led to regret, and which decisions led to gratitude?
It is clearly evident you and I need wisdom to make right decisions

I just finished Andy Stanley's book The Best Question Ever. Well worth the read and the application.

Here is a main thought from the book.
"In view of my past issues; my current state of being; my season of life, and considering my future, is this the best and wisest thing for me to do at this moment?"

In order to hear clearly we must push pause.

In order to gain wisdom we must de-chatter our lives. Chatter: is the consistent ambient noise that crowds our lives. We have to find time to be in a quiet place, to push pause and to slow down and focus on the inside of our being. Wisdom comes from above. When we ask for wisdom, we can expect to receive the wisdom we need. We simply need to be in a faith place where we can hear His voice. Wisdom also, comes from trusted people. People who we know that love us and have our highest good at heart. Those faithful people who will shoot straight with us and help us see what's ahead.

I had a dream where an important leader was speaking to me. I could not hear him clearly because he was whispering. There was just to much chatter around me. I remember straining to hear what he was saying. I did hear, "You are a creative, and you need to plan personal space to think." I realized having created personal God space over time does pay off. I was encouraged to keep creating time zones for reflection.

 Socretes stated, "Beware of the barrenness of a busy life."

I conducted a funeral for a man who was an amazing builder. His family and friends spoke well of his life. One thing was certain he was a man who wanted to make sure things were done correctly and right. One time his sons had to install a water heater three times before he was satisfied. At the end of his life he reviewed his connection with Jesus, his faith. He wanted to be clear, so he made sure he reconnected and was connected to Jesus.

At the end of our life we all will most probably ask ourselves, "What difference did I really make?" I think, Jesus will ask one question, "Did you love well?"

At the end of all our lives our stuff won't matter, only three things will matter.

Our faith, our family and our friends. 
Our investment into our faith, our family and our friends is all important. We have one opportunity to be who we were created to be.

"Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping…into the future."  Fly Like and Eagle Steve Miller Band. 

When a second is gone, it's gone. When a moment is gone, it's gone. It's important to live life from a point of being in the now, having gratitude, making the most of every moment. 

It's far better than living life looking back in regret. If I had only... done, said, loved, served, prayed or decided.

Regret is a trap. Paul the apostle, stated that he forgot the past. He let go in order to take hold of his life's purpose and to press into his future.

God invests in us so that we can invest into others. Where we invest our time, energy, talents and resources reveals what really matters to us. 

The time you invest into the people you love always adds up to something that matters. 

It’s where and what you focus upon that matters.

In order to see less become more, it's important to stay focused… on what really matters.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5: 15–16)

When does less become more?
When we:
Are faithful.
Remove the chatter.
Invest in others.
Focus on what really matters.


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Go. Sow.

 Book Link


The people we reach are not projects nor are they targets, they are human beings who are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

They are created in the image of God, and deeply loved by God.
Every person on earth has a life story which filters their world view. People are complex, and most have a God history. Their experiences and their pursuit or non pursuit of spirituality is unique; no two people are alike. 

This understanding is the beginning place. We must ground ourselves in this truth as we seek to share who we are and what we have received with others.
How well people are listened to, understood, spoken to, and loved by you and me is all important.
Jesus came to seek and to save. His life reflected genuine love. It’s my hope that we too will be reflections and expressions of His love as we reach out to our world.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Digging potatoes...a way of life.

digging potatoes

servant:1. a person working in the service of another 2. one who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another: your obedient servant. 3. one who serves another

How does a person learn to become a servant? It's simple he or she begins to serve.

I remember being in Scotland, just arrived at our YWAM base. I had a BTH degree. I was expecting much and anxious to travel and to share the good news.

One day during my Disciple Training School I was pushing a wheel barrel after spending many hours digging potatoes in a cold damp black soiled field to help feed our community of believers.

I began to think and ponder, "What am I doing? I have a degree in theology. Here I am in a rainy muddy field digging potatoes, not just potatoes, but cold, dirty stinky potatoes. This is crazy. I came here to change my world not to dig potatoes."

I remember I was aggravated and my heart was beginning to burn with frustration. As my frustration grew I finally threw the wheel barrel down, spilling the potatoes on the ground. Looking up at the rain filled sky I shouted, "God I have a BTH degree in Theology, I'm a graduate. What am I doing in this stinking field? What are you doing with me? I came here to reach a nation."

As soon as the words left my mouth I heard a friendly familiar inner impression, "I'm shaking your head knowledge into heart knowledge." Stunned, I stood still. I did not move. In that instant I understood. Hearing His voice I was humbled. So, I bent down picked up the potatoes put them back into the wheel barrel and sheepishly took them to the shed. I returned to my muddy field. I kept digging potatoes. However, I was changed. I served with a much better attitude.

A year went by and I continued to serve, to do what needed doing. One day I heard another impression. "You've learned how to begin to serve, now I'm going to propel you forward into what I've call you to do."

Lesson relearned re-do.

I arrived back to the USA after 18 years of proven ministry. Guess what? I had to start all over. No one knew me. Know one knew what I had accomplished, the people I'd touched, the messages I had spoken, nor the price my family had paid.

I had to learn to dig potatoes all over again in a different field for 18 months. During my 18 months I was kicking against the process. I was missing the blessing. I was learning or not learning to manage, mainly working in administration.  I was serving a pastor of a distressed church. He was stressed and I was stressed. We had words and I had attitude. It stunk. Not all the time, but it stunk. It was routed in pride. I'm now ashamed of my attitude, my words and my behavior toward a friend. I have apologized for my arrogance and pride. At the time I was wanting out of my situation and missed many valuable lessons that were designed to equip me for my future.

A way out.

A friend visited our city to help us with a major outreach event. During our time together he asked me to help him with his world-wide ministry. He wanted me to organize his travel, set up contracts, manage his time at conferences and at the church. I was also, mandated to help keep him alive as we traveled from A to B and to get us there with all the needed materials.

In that moment of invitation I realized I did not learn what I was sent there to learn. I had been resisting, not learning and now understood what the season had been all about. It was God's way to train me, humble me and prepare me for my future which needed a totally different skill set. I was going to have to manage, plan, administrate a lot.

I agreed to the new job. The next day I quickly ran out to the nearest bookstore and purchased a book, Managing for Dummies. I was the Dummie. I read the book from cover to cover and carried the it to my next post.

I moved on to Cincinnati to travel as a man-servant, Kato, booking flights, listening, being a friend, carrying bags. Digging potatoes. I'm not sure I learned all I needed to learn during that period but I did begin to serve, not perfectly but better.

I remember being in New Zealand. I had to set up projectors, encourage people, sell books and was pretty worn out. One day I was pulling the equipment around in a field totally discouraged and ready to quit. That night my friend spoke to a couple thousand people. He was on form. The message was amazingly powerful. Loren Cunningham of YWAM happened to be in the audience. He was moved by the message. He went on the stage and embraced my friend. He then encouraged the crowd to become doers, servants and to begin to reach out to their world through acts of service. I once again was humbled. I adjusted my attitude and began to serve again.

I'm digging potatoes with a great team of fellow potato diggers.

Years later, I'm serving in Dayton. Part of my job is to plan fun, upbeat, outreach endeavors and events to help the people focus outward.  However, I've had to adjust my attitude much, and continue to learn how to serve with a good heart and a good attitude.

I've discovered digging potatoes is a way of life. Serving is actually death. Death to self for a greater purpose. It never ever stops. It's a process. Serving others is the way of the process that works humility, grace and love into my heart. It continues to be challenging, mainly when I begin to think I'm a big deal.

Last week, I had a blast cleaning a freezer that had a pool of stinking biological unsafe putrid rotted meat product floating on top of wet bread crumbs.

Why? One of our key ministry partners told me he was going to clean the freezer. I thought. "Nope. He's served his time." It was actually kind of fun, kinda. The freezer was well cleaned. I was a digging potatoes for a great purpose, the love for my friend, for all the people who would later receive frozen food and for my King.

Guess what I've discovered? Digging potatoes is the way toward becoming a servant...

After serving, day by day, week by week, month by month and year after year I think I've learned (or am learning) an important lesson...

It's how you serve that really matters, the heart attitude, learning to serve with a willing heart that is full of genuine love and joy. My fellow potato diggers and I often find ourselves in situations where our attitude is all important. It's most important during the times we serve the less served in the rain, snow, wind and heat as we touch our city with God's love.

Genuine serving happens when we have the realization that we, no, I am no big deal. Those who know they are no big deals can become truly surrendered servants who have learned they can do anything, small or great for the glory of God and to the honor of His name. Serving helps us to understand our identity is not tied to what we do, but tied into Whose we are, sons and daughters.

Jesus washed the disciples feet. How? He knew Whose he was, who He was, and what He came to do.

Mark 10:45 NLT
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Key verse:

Ephesians 6:7
NIV. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,

NLT. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

EVS. rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,

NAS. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

KJV. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

HCSB. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men,

ISV. Serve willingly, as if you were serving the Lord and not merely people,

How long does it take to become a surrendered servant? A moment in time, yes, but also it takes a life time. It's a process. He is working in us conforming us into the likeness of His Servant Son.

Most probably you'll find me somewhere digging potatoes.
It's now who I am and what I do.
It's how I'm learning to become like the Servant King who humbled Himself, came to earth, and reached out to save me... a dirty muddy potato.