Thursday, December 18, 2014

slow... is slow...

Good photo from my friend Shana. She took this while out walking one day. The sign spoke to her heart and she realized she needed to continue to pace herself. 

She works for a top fashion design company developing social media connection, sales, seasonal launch, and store design. To say she is busy is an understatement. However, if you track her life you'd notice she takes breaks, attempts to stay anchored in meaningful relationships, still has time to cook some amazing food and have fun. 

Her picture reminds me to slow down, take my foot off the pedal. I discovered most of the  trouble I find myself comes from acting in haste, not giving space to life stress situations and by reacting too quickly. An old term would be "I'm not holding my peace."  In order to hold my peace I have to slow down, push pause, distance myself from certain situations in order to gain some perspective before I speak, text, write on Facebook, or write a blog post.

I wrote a post a while ago venting my frustration, and the un-settled-ness I was feeling. Before I pushed the publish button, I had a slight check, and heard a whisper, "Don't publish this."

I didn't listen. Yep, I was misunderstood, my tone offended, etc. etc. Within a day I deleted the post but the damage had done. Me stupid, me not humble, me reactionary. Me not pushing pause, me having brain freeze forgetting and realizing what is said in print can be misread, misunderstood, twisted, or used as future ammo.

The book of James has some real wisdom.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 NASB)

Stephen, one of my friends, talked to me about this yesterday. He is forming some pretty good thoughts about moving, acting and responding to life situations from Presence / Peace and not reacting from emotion and defense. He thinks it's always good to take a step back and to ask, "How should I respond to this?"

Slowing down on the inside and pushing pause, allows us to slow down enough to seek a higher wisdom, the wisdom from above that brings heaven to earth. My earth, my thinking, my emotions, my speaking, reflected by my response.

Notice the progression of wisdom from above:

But the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable,
full of mercy
and good fruits,
without hypocrisy.
And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

 (James 3:17-18 NASB)

It's a great list to follow; to think upon. Hey, if you get four of the eight, and have peace You are heading in the right direction.

Slowing down also enables us to stop for the one. I'm intentionally walking slower, driving slower, attempting to be not as rushed, hurried or living from pressure. 

Recently, I took my sister to the Greyhound bus station. We were in line, and had planned to arrive early in order to have time to spare. I noticed a young guy in front of us was attempting to process his ticket. He discovered he didn't print out the ticket and had to have printed it out in order to give to the ticket lady to board the bus. Stress mounted as he asked the ticket lady where he could get the ticket printed out. She mentioned Office Depot was just down the street. He asked how long would it take to walk there. She said fifteen minutes. His bus left in thirty five minutes, I could feel the pressure mount. I stepped up and offered the guy a ride to Office Depot and back so he could catch his bus. He was shocked and relieved. You could sense his stress lifting. 

We went to Office Depot, he printed his ticket from their computer and we headed back. When we returned he offered to pay me and asked me why I did this for him.  I refused the cash and mentioned I have a life value. I often stop for the one. He was the one. He was more than grateful, and allowed me to pray and bless him. He caught his bus to Michigan. He going to help his girlfriend take care of her sick mom. 

Slow, is good. Fast, maybe not so good. 

Slow down, you move too fast;
You got to make the morning last;
Just kickin' down the cobblestones,
Lookin' for fun, and feelin' groovy. 
The Seekers.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Simplify Christmas

I'm really encouraged about Simplify Christmas. Here are some details about what we are doing. If you are part of our Vineyard family I'd encourage you to join us as we make a huge difference in our community and beyond.

How often do we think our ability to give to others is connected to our riches? We’re afraid to give because we don’t think we have enough, and we believe generosity is for those who have more than we do. The cool thing is that we’re not generous because we are rich, but rather, we are rich because we are generous. This Christmas season, we’re issuing a challenge. Instead of us focusing on accumulating more “stuff”, we’re going to readjust, refocus, and realign ourselves with the heart of Jesus. We want to intentionally set aside our time and money, and SIMPLIFY what we are doing for us so we can leave a greater impact for His kingdom both near and far. 

This year at The Vineyard, we are helping bring the Kingdom of Heaven in a real way touching two groups of children. Some near and some far with YOUR HELP.


Over the last 25 years we have focused on reaching the urban area of Dayton with a Christmas party that has touched thousands of families. This year, 2014, we are continuing our focus on the children who are most at risk in our local school systems. Every family that is in need is known by the school counselors and principals. These families are given a pass by the principals and counselors to come and shop at our Simplify Christmas Store, December 17 – 20, 2014. 

With your help we’ll make sure that hundreds of kids in need receive presents this Christmas. Please begin now to purchase toys the families in need, ages Baby to 12 years male and female and sign up to serve at our store.

Things to expect:
Families, Families, Families. Hundreds of tickets have been given to school counselors, and principals. They will select the children who are most in need. Their moms and dads are coming to our store. They may also bring their kids.

People show up early. So plan accordingly, late lunch, early dinner, please be here before 6pm during the week and 9:30am on Saturday.

Snacks, hot coffee, and hot chocolate are for our guests. Please eat before you come. We will have coffee, hot chocolate and some snack food in the our secure room.

Ministry Partners room. Studio L will be our check-in / secure room for the evening. You can leave your coats, purses, etc. there and pick up a name tag. 

Here are the roles for the sessions:
Volunteer Hospitality
Check-in our ministry partners and maintain a relaxing atmosphere so they can take a break and enjoy some food, drinks and fellowship.

Warmly greet people who are arriving to the Family Life Center entrance and direct families to the store, food area, and Kidz Zone.

Guest Check-in
Welcome every family to the store while completing a simple check in process prior to connecting them with a guest guide. You will have a pack of post-its and will write either girl  or boy and their ages. This will help the guest guides go to the right gender and age gift table. Also, please ask the parents where they received their store passes, then write the location on the ticket as you take it from the parents. Keep the tickets until the end of the session.

Guest Guide
Accompany the families through the store, helping them find and carry exactly what they’re looking for, and having meaningful conversations along the way. Guide parents to the wrap up area. Pray for the family.

Arts & Crafts in the Kidz Zone
Engage the children with arts and crafts and provide a safe place for them to play while their parents shop for their Christmas gifts. 

Gift Wrap 
Wrap gifts, if there are enough wrappers, or place gifts in large bag. 

To sign up go to

                                   THE FAR

We are partnering with Naomi’s Heart Mission, a group of missionaries working in the Philippines, to assist them in serving the 5000 children they help every week. Only $25.00 will feed 300 children a rice porridge called lugaw.  They supply this twice daily at their Academy and also out in the community through the Community Service Ministry. Imagine if we all came together, what we could do to change the trajectory of a life.

Your monetary gift of any value is more than gratefully received. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Turkey's giving away Turkeys

Turkey's giving way Turkeys.

This year we are shifting our focus from jointly going and helping people for Thanksgiving. We encourage you to gather your family, or a group of friends and serve a family you know that is in need. It's more organic, and hopefully more relationally connecting, as you serve with your family and friends touching a family in need whom you know. 

If you don't know of a family in need, simply pop in any local low income apartment, knock on a door with a dinner and surprise someone.

Giving Away Turkey’s List.
2 Cans Corn
2 Cans Green Beans
1 Large Can Yams
1 Can Cranberry Sauce
1 Box Au Gratin Potatoes
1 Box Brownies
2 Boxes Mac and Cheese
1 Dinner Bag Rolls
1 Box Stuffing Mix
1 FROZEN Turkey !
1 Pie
Fresh Veggies
Roasting Pan
Fun Stuff !
  • Several families who served last year were not aware of people in such need within their very own community. They were surprised, and glad they could help, yet at the same time they were upset by what they saw. They also came away from the experience more personally grateful and thankful. 

Twenty or so years consistently serving our community.

For the last twenty or so years we have consistently served, the less served of our community offering food support, encouragement and prayer. At the present time we help over eight hundred families a month. Our on-site food pantry helps four hundred families each month, each week we serve breakfast at our Riverdale Campus to one hundred and twenty or so people. We also help fifty children with backpack weekend food assistance partnering with the Hope Foundation and Fairborn Wright Kindegarten every week. Needless to say we are fully committed to make a difference offering short term care to those in need within our community.

Amazingly, we have taken hits from people who believe what we do by offering short term care is a crutch. They believe helping people with long term short team care keeps people in poverty. Although, in theory it is partly true, in reality, not.

My question, "What are people supposed to do in the mean-time?"

Believe me it is "mean-time." 

I wonder, "How people can have the energy to look for work or have a clear mind to study if they are worrying where the next meal is coming from? How can they have the where-with-all to function if they have haven't eaten in a couple of days?" 

Think family, think single mom, bills to pay and kids.
Think you, your kids, no food or being hungry for a few days? 

Yes, we often meet families who haven't eaten in a few days. 

For an experiment don't eat anything for twenty four hours and drink only water. Check out how clear you think, and how much energy your have, without food in just twenty four hours. Just eat rice and beans for a week, or try to live on three dollars a day for three days.

Each and every week I hear real life stories from the people we serve. The stories we hear often break our heart.

This past week a lady came into our party in Beavercreek. Before she could even sit down, she broke. She wept. She could barely contain her pent-up emotions in order to tell her story. Her brother died six months ago, and her mother, who has Alzheimer's, was now in a nursing home. The activity of caring for her mom over the last four years had finally taken it's toll upon her life mentally, physically and emotionally. She no longer had the energy, nor the ability to care for her mother. Her sense of exhaustion, personal guilt, emotional and mental pain was overwhelming. 

What did she need during her "mean-time?" Yes, she need groceries, but she also needed more than food.

She needed to be in a safe, loving place where she could tell her story; receive empathatic listening; verbal encouragement, and Holy Spirit comforting connection.  For her, on that day, she needed short term care. I'm personally glad we were there for her.

Think about it. 

Most of us who are living in the good ole USA are just two paychecks away from being in a situation where we will be one of those who need assistance from someone. We also may find ourselves in a trying situation where we are mentally, and emotionally spent.

Often when I'm criticized I ask, "What are you doing to help people in your world?" Most often the people reply they are not doing anything, nada, zlitch. Not helping the hungry, or sponsering a child in hunger, nor volunteering their time to help someone, anyone. So I reply, "I like what we are doing, a lot better than what you are not doing."

I often ask the question, "How can you know and see need unless you position yourself to venture out into your community in order to experience and see people the way Jesus sees people?" The answer...You can't.

Going, seeing, serving, and praying for others is really the only way to receive a personal ah-ha moment. Going, serving and loving others is often the catalyst that sparks a greater commitment toward personal involvement, lifestyle change, and a thankful attitude. 

Someone asked me, "How do you serve the less served week in and week out, it must affect you?" It does affect me. It does me good.

Going out into our community consistently helps keep me grounded, humbled, and personally grateful for all that I and my family have received... like the ability to work, pay my bills, to have heat, to have running water, to have clothing, to have a family that is somewhat normal, and to have some great relationships.

Jesus said, "The poor you will have with you always", so I understand whatever I do in a small way, or in a great way, is good enough. I can't possibly meet every need, but I can stop for the one, pray and give encouragement." 

How do you learn to serve? By serving.
How to you learn to love? By loving.
How do you learn to care? By seeing with your heart.
How do you learn to pray? By praying.

What we do is not rocket science by any means, it's just faith, that works through love.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Revealing the Kingdom practical tips.

A while ago we went to one of our stops to care for people in need. We load up our truck and help about 120 families with food and offer encouragement and prayer. Often when we pray exciting things happen.

One young man came to the outreach and was bouncing off the walls. He couldn't stand still. He was shaking and was very agitated. He received his bags of food and then received prayer. One of our guys who had just heard of someone being healed of cancer during one of our outreach stops was now going to pray for bouncing, shaking man. He thought if God can heal cancer surely God can help this guy. So he prayed and spoke peace over the young man. As he prayed and declared peace, the shaking slowly stopped and a sense of God's peace enveloped them. The young man stopped shaking and stood quietly for a few minutes and then exclaimed, "I have peace. I have peace."

Jon, who is a vet on our team, met a young man in the line who was waiting to sign up for our help. As the conversation progressed he discovered the young man was a felon, didn't have a job, and no hope of getting a job. Jon encouraged the guy to keep on looking and if he found a job to be faithful to work hard and get to the job on time. John then asked if he could pray.

So he began to pray and asked specifically that God would give the guy a good job that would match his persona, and that the job would come to him without a doubt that it was God giving him the job. Jon said 'amen.' At that moment a white car pulled up, a man got out of the car, walked up to the young man and asked, "Do you need a job I have some openings?" They talked and the man left his card with his info with the young guy. The people in the line were stunned.

As Jon walked the man back to his apartment. He asked, "Did you know that guy?" The young man replied, "No." and asked Jon what he should do? Jon replied, "Call, The, Man."

The above stories are describing prophetic people who create God Space where God things can happen.

A prophetic person in this context, means a person who unveils, or to reveals that which is unseen or unknown about God to another person; to reveal to others that which is not seen or understood concerning God’s nature, love and character. A prophetic person endeavors to create God Space so that people see in a new way. God Space is a place / a connection where God things can happen where heaven touches earth.

What is God Space?
God space is a space that we create by faith. God space is a tangible atmosphere, or an environment, where God’s presence, goodness, kindness, knowledge, love and power is present to nurture life in another human being.

God Space, when created, reveals the goodness, generosity, mercy and love of God found in Jesus Christ to the people within our immediate sphere of influence.
How do we become a person who unveils / reveals the Kingdom of God to others?
By learning to refocus ourselves.

Upward...the first place to start is to look upward. to worship, spend time in God's presence. to ponder, pray and to listen. 


Outward...taking risks to reach out to another person when we receive a God hunch, impression, or prompting. The connection point / touch point for God Space created is usually a conversation followed by prayer connection.


Ex 33: 14 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." 15 Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 "For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?"

John 14:16-17
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Heb 13:15 NAS Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. … for with such sacrifices God is pleased.


God Space, when created by a group of people of called out ones often re-defines / reveals / unveils Jesus to the people in our community.

Christians define themselves by what they believe.

Pre-Christians define us by what we do, the attitudes we express and what we say.

Heb 13:16 NAS And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Believers are called to reflect God’s nature toward others in practical ways through words, attitudes, and actions.

As we honor those around us God Space is often created. Questions begin to flow from the person or from the community being served. Who are you? Why are you? Where are you? What are you?

One lady who was dumbfounded after receiving healing recently asked, "Who are you people?!"

Matt 5:16 NIV In the same way, let your light shine before men, that (in such away) they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 2:1 NAS Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

Words without action is rhetoric.

Philippians 2 New Living Translation (NLT) Have the Attitude of Christ

Paul asks three questions.

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? We all respond with... Yes!

2. Any comfort from his love? Our response is again... Yes!

3. Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Again we respond... Yes!

Here is the curve ball question.

Are your hearts tender and compassionate? This question certainly makes me pause and ask, "Is my heart tender and compassionate?

Compassion and mercy usually touches our heart when we have a deep revelation of God's goodness and mercy. Compassion is also reveled as revelation of what He has done for us, or when we see through God's eyes the plight or need of another human being. So we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. 

True compassion always leads to action.

The truth: Forgiven much we Love much.


Ps103:15 NAS
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;

Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;

Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion;

Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

We are reflections to our world of His love for us and toward us. 

I don't think we really know how much we reflect God's love and presence, which is upon us, toward others.

Acts1:8 NLT But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

God's power is revealed by His manifest presence. As we seek to be and to walk with Him moment by moment, His presence remains upon us, with us and in us. 

Often a conversation, or serving someone, or having a God hunch opens the door for God Space where God things can happen. We seek Him for Him who He really is.

The result of spending time with Him, we become like Him, where His presence is felt, and His power is released. Most often this happens during a conversation, or an inquiry about a God hunch / impression is released and prayer is given. Sometime our words of declaration have power to heal, restore and encourage someone.

God space is a space that we create by faith. God space is a tangible atmosphere, or an environment, where God’s presence, goodness, kindness, knowledge, love and power is present to nurture faith in another human being.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

See a need and meet it.

There’s a story about a man in the south that planned to reach the children’s hospitals in his area. The man had a heart for the hurting, and knew from experience that when a child suffers the whole family, and extended family suffer.

 He began to ponder, ‘How can I show the families I care?’

One day while walking through the local mall he noticed the unnoticeable, some kids hugging their new stuffed animals. He then began to wonder what it would look like if every person from his organization brought in a new stuffed animal to give to the sick kids in the hospital? What he envisioned was a good. So, he acted.

The next week during a staff meeting he held up a stuffed animal and invited the people to help him bring a little light into a child’s life. He encouraged them to purchase new stuffed animals and to bring them to the office. The people responded to his vision.

As the stuffed animals arrived, the animals were hung by fishing line from the ceiling, they were placed on every available shelf space, placed in the hallways...everywhere. On the given date, the staff took the animals to the hospitals and gave them to the kids.

The result: a fun, upbeat, serving opportunity occurred which connected an inspired vision to action. As a result they were able to care, love and show practical concern for the kids and families they served.

A few years ago I was able to attend LifeServe Conference in Loveland, CO. During the conference Doug Pollock and I drove up into the mountains, stopped on top over 12,000 feet, on a balmy 65 degree day. The view from the top was breath taking. We then headed down the mountain, our mission... find Elk.

When we reached the bottom of the mountain we turned right onto a dirt road and noticed several parked cars so we pulled over. People were gathered watching a small herd of elk. The big boy was guarding the cows and the wanna be bucks were in the next field.

We walked over to a small group of rocks and noticed two men taking photos through long telephoto lenses..

Doug asked if he could have a look through the camera. After a few minutes of casual banter Doug mentioned that he had a elk head mounted on his wall in his log home in Ohio.

The ladies who were there exclaimed, 'You didn't shoot it did you!?'

He replied, 'Nope. I'm an author and speaker. I received the trophy as part of my honorarium.'

One guy asked, "What kind of books do you write?" Doug replied, "I write books that help Christians share their faith with others in a non-belligerent manner.
Have you ever known an obnoxious person who burns their bridges while attempting to share their faith?"

Another man instantly stated pointing to a friend, "He does. His friend used to be a Catholic and for some reason went to a fundamentalist church and "met Jesus" he came home locked his wife in their bedroom and told her she was going to hell if she didn't change her faith. He's like that all the time now. No one wants to be around him."

An interesting discussion proceeded. We discussed the Catholic faith; how the guy should have acted toward his wife and what true faith looks like in the life of a believer. Phrases we used described a believer as a person who loves, a person who shows kindness, a person who exhibits care and a person who is friendly and open hearted.

Then a man in the group pipped up. "I also am an author. I write books for kids. I used to be a contractor and I have built several children's hospitals all over the USA. Somehow, I now have a heart for sick kids.

My books are unique, in the midst of wild-life photos, there are places where kids can color and each book has a space where the child’s parents or guardians can write the kids name in the story as they read the book. I often pop in and read my book to the children. I recently read the book to a little girl and she wanted me to read the book again and again.

The goal of the book is to help children make it through their tough hospital stay. I recently wrote another book titled Going Home."

Then he stated, "I really don't know why I write the books. I've invested $10k of my own money."

Doug then spoke to the man and kindly stated, "The reason you are writing your books is because the compassion of Jesus is in your heart and your are compelled to make a difference in a child's life."

The statement was like a God's love affirming gift that entered into the man's heart. In response to the statement, he began to openly weep. 

Everyone in the little group knew something special had just happened. A caring man's heart had been revealed.  Later, when we walked to his car, he gave us a book and thanked us for the conversation.

I think this is how people who care for others make a difference in their world. I also believe that this process can be duplicated through personal practice. Each step is simple, and each step can be nurtured.

See a need and meet it.
Both men in the stories above saw a need and were inspired to meet the need. They pondered how to meet the need. They then acted on what they thought they should do to insure the need was met.

Step into the process:
Notice. Begin to live life in an aware / alert state. Most people live their lives in an unaware state of mind, and never notice the needs of others. The art of noticing is a clue to help you make a difference in your world.

Receive inspiration. Inspiration is the spark that breathes life into an idea. It is an inspired process, or a God breathed idea that can come suddenly. Spending time in God's presence is also a way to receive inspiration. I believe most of our best ideas are created as we step into the God's presence as we worship, pray and wait.

inspiration |ˌinspəˈrāSHən|
the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.
• the quality of having been so stimulated.
• a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.
• the divine influence.

Ponder / Wonder. Wondering and pondering is a process of problem solving.  I'm inspired. Is this a God breathed idea? What would it look like if? Dare to dream, wonder and ponder. How can I best meet this need? How can I develop this idea? Is this doable? What are the steps I need to make? Who do I need to talk to? Where and how can this idea be out worked? Will this make a difference to my world?

Act. Action is always needed to really make a difference. Until action takes place, the idea remains merely that, an idea. Those who take a risk, step out of their comfort zone and act are usually those who make a difference in their world. 

Part of acting is casting your compelling vision to others. Casting your vision will help you recruit team players, to raise funds. You may need to set up web based support, information, and how others might participate. 

Seeing a need and meeting it is often the first step toward changing your world. I like and practice stopping for the one. Helping someone, by listening, encouraging, giving and praying often inspires me to continue to care for people.

 I'd like to invite you into the adventure. You never know you just might change your world.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

How to hear God prompts and respond.

This week I spoke to a lady at Sam's Club. A few weeks ago I had to renew my club card and noticed a lady. Her hair was different, in a good way, and had amazing blue eyes. While noticing her I had a flutterby impression. She is an artist and needed encouragement. So I waited until an opportune time. 

The timing was right on Tuesday of this week. She was the check out lady at the door who checked invoices. So there was space in time.
When I walked up I handed her my invoice then asked, "Are you an artist?" 
She replied, "How did you know? That's amazing!"
I mentioned I was studying at a supernatural school and was practicing encouraging people. I told her that she had a gift and not to allow her creative gift as an artist to go dormant, but to let the creative spark to flow. I mentioned I work with a lot of creative people and we've found the spark flows when we get together. I also, mentioned I was a follower of Jesus. 

We had a good talk and she was very encouraged. I know I'll meet her again and will then ask about her dream to be an artist, and what that looks like and encourage her to pursue her dream.

I know the conversation was short but I could tell my interest really touched her heart. 

How do I hear?
I sense impressions God prompts. Usually in my heart.

I often hear with my eyes. I notice small things, like clothing, ear rings, what people are wearing. Sometimes, the dots connect and I'm able to pray more effectively or encourage a person.

I sometimes have double takes or see someone more than once. I've learned to pay attention to double takes seeing and then seeing again or hearing and hearing again. Usually I then ask the Holy Spirit what He is doing or what He wants to do I then simply respond. 

The response and action to what I hear sense is the spark that usually enables me to speak to a person. As I speak words simply flow. I almost always ask the question, does this make sense to you?

In my book Go. Sow. I tell stories and how the process works for me. How I hear, mainly impressions, and how I act. Here's an excerpt.

It's hard to see something you are not looking for.

    Life in the Kingdom is really about learning to live in the awareness of God’s presence. Every believer should practice awareness and practice noticing the unnoticeable; then respond. I'm glad God has graciously been training me, given me the eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to understand. I'm working on responding, acting on what I see, or sense.
    This past summer, Pattie and I headed out to the Fraze, an open-air amphitheater near our home, for Blues Fest. Some great bands were playing and we were enjoying the time together. When we arrived we decided to buy some BBQ. We checked every vendor to see what they were serving and finally came to the last booth. As I walked up I noticed the lady serving. I suddenly had an impression that I should encourage her. Specifically I should tell her that her future was going to be greater than her past. As I was pondering just how to navigate and communicate the impression I noticed she had a few tattoos. Then I noticed she was wearing an arrest monitor on her ankle. The impression now made sense.
    I payed for my food and then said, “You might think this strange but sometimes Jesus gives me encouraging words for people. I have an encouraging word for you. Your future is going to be greater than your past.”
    I gently held her arm as I spoke and continued speaking to her about her life. I spoke into her destiny. I told her how Jesus could change her life and wash away her past and propel her into her future. I then invited the Holy Spirit to come and touch her life.
    She looked up at me and said, “You are making me cry.”
    I replied, “Jesus is here.” I then briefly told her how I was a heavy drug user 35 years ago and Jesus had changed my life.
    She paused and stated, “You have no idea how much I needed this today. Thank you.”
    We grabbed our BBQ, moved past the growing line behind us and walked to a patio to eat. Pattie asked me to explain how I knew what to say and the process of it all. It's not rocket science but it does take practice, and a willingness to respond and to experiment.

Here is what I told her.
    I practice noticing and attempt to live life from a being aware perspective.    
    I seek to notice what's going on around me and I seek to be aware of what's happening from a heaven to earth perspective. I am the earth where His will wants to be done.
    Often when speaking to groups of believers I ask them to place a hand on their heart and to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done as in heaven, in this earth.” At the end of declaring the prayer I then ask them to pat their chest and say, “This earth.” We are the earth where the Kingdom comes from heaven to us…earth.
    I attempt to listen to God prompts, those small impressions or thoughts that may seem to be like my own but are not.
    Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”(John 10:27, NAS

    Sometimes what I hear is His voice. I experiment and practice listening. I'm learning which is His voice and which is my voice. l learn by responding to what I think I hear. Many times I discover it is indeed His prompting, His voice.
    “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 8:34, NAS)

 I seek to take risks.
    Faith is spelled RISK. Really faith is spelled obedience. Taking the risk is the hardest step. I remind myself that I need to be in a place in my life where helping someone has to override my sense of being uncomfortable. It's all about their need for God's love versus my need to stay in my comfort zone. More often than not when I respond to His whisper a person is encouraged, healed, and nudged closer to Jesus. Sometimes they are ushered into the Kingdom.
    This week I went to the gym. When I arrived I noticed a beautiful African American woman who had two half sleeve tattoos on her arms. They were amazing. The flowers and stems were as beautiful as the woman.
    As I pondered I sensed I should tell her that she had sown many good seeds in her life. Also tell her she was a fruit bearing person and she just needed a little time and patience because more good fruit was coming from the seed she had sown. So I took a risk and went up and said, “I sometimes get encouraging words for people. I have one for you.” So I told her. At the end of my word for her she stated, “You are making me cry.” I commented, “Encouraging words are good aren’t they? She smiled and I went back to my routine.

    I ask God to direct my steps.
    Psalm 139 is an amazing psalm. He knows everything about me. He knows my thoughts, my words, when I rise up, when I go to work, when I come home. In spite of what He knows about me He chooses to lay His hand on my head and to bless me. It's a humble knowledge where I experience the beyond the beyond.
    Where I go I’ve discovered He goes.
    “In Him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28 NIV)

    Often I arrive at the right place at the right time for the right person. I was driving home one night and had an impression to go to Hancock's fabrics to pick up some outdoor material for my 96 VW Cabrio convertible top. I popped in and purchased the material.
    As I was leaving I thought about going next door to buy some Sushi. The next impression didn't make sense but I sensed I was not to go buy Sushi but go directly to my car. So I walked out the door headed directly to my car. Then I saw my ex-personal assistant get out of her car and begin walking toward me. I said, "Hi, it's great to see you."
    The conversation was a God set up. I found out she was having her second child and that she had almost died having the first. I prayed for her and her new child to be. We had a great talk and she left.
    My next impression, "You can go buy sushi now.”
    Right time right place for the right person. I later found out she had a healthy baby and she went through the delivery with no problems.

I like what Bill Hybels says in his book, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond. Each new day he tells Jesus he is open for business. If he hears God's whisper, he then has the guts to respond. When he responds to what he hears, people are often touched by God’s love and grace.
    My friend, Doug Pollock, the evangelism Athletes In Action Evangelism director, has written the book God Space which explains the ethos behind creating God space. It is a must read for everyone who wants to communicate the Good News in such a way that it can be heard.
    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV)

    Jesus was the most friendly open-hearted person on the planet. He lived His life noticing people and situations then acting on what He heard from His Father. Our adventure begins when we see like He sees, hear like He hears, and respond like He responds.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hope Over Heroin

An amazing time with Hope over Heroin! We were able to pray for many, many people. Some for healing others for meeting Jesus.

A friend and I were able to pray for three ladies; all three received words of encouragement. My friend received a word of knowledge about some lumps and pain on the left side of one lady. As we prayed it was like she was put in a sauna. She received a major touch from the Holy Spirit. My friend asked them if they knew about Jesus?... or... did they know Jesus personally? All three then invited Jesus to forgive them and to come into their lives to know Him personally. Awesome!

I had a great talk with two people while walking to the event. James was homeless and had cancer of both in his bones and in his liver with four months to live. I was able to lead him to Jesus and pray for his healing. It was interesting he was shaking as I prayed for him and as he invited Jesus into his life. The lady he was with had pain in her left hip; after praying for her leg to adjust over two inches she was healed with no pain. Both were thankful.

So much good happened. Some of our DSSM students were creative and prayed for many people. Miracles, healing, encouragement and hope flowed! 

I don't have the stats for the event yet but there were thousands in attendance and many came forward for prayer and many were baptized. It was an amazing event. My hope is that we don't just view this an event, but continue to go into the inner city to reach those in need.