Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Messenger is the Message.


What is God Space? It is a space that we create by faith. It’s an atmosphere or an environment where God’s goodness, power, presence, love, and kindness can touch another human being..

The messenger is the message.

My friend Marc Dupont often declares this statement. I've observed his life for many years and he attempts to live what he says. His message has power because he is the real deal. Marc, the messenger is the message. http://marcdupontministries.com/

Acts 2
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 


I love this statement, "all Jesus began to do and teach." I am so glad He is alive and doing amazing things among us, and teaching us today.

3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 


The text implies Jesus showed up in their midst from time to time.

Imagine, you are with the disciples, then Jesus suddenly shows up. "Hi, guys." Some probably wondered, "When will He show up? Will it be today?" I'm sure some were startled. Maybe someone said, "Jesus, you gotta stop doing this suddenly showing up. It startles me. No I didn't know what I was saying. Please keep showing up." I think we all love it when Jesus shows up and amazing things happen. 

Acts begins by proclaiming the Kingdom of God and Acts ends with Paul continually declaring, and teaching about the Kingdom. The principle of first and last.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 


“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Notice He didn't say we would do witnessing, but we would be His witnesses and witnesses with power.

A witness: a person who has seen, heard, or experienced something: to have personal or direct cognizance of a fact, situation, event or a person. A witness is one who attests, authenticates, testifies (to), vouches (for), one who certifies. A witness is one who sees, declares what they have seen, heard and experienced as true.


Trouble
A man receives healing when Peter and John were going along their way. It's interesting most healing, miracles happened as people were simply going along their way.

One thing followed the disciples... trouble. Trouble from the religious. They are being warned, stop talking, stop healing, stop being. One aspect they did recognize, and they took note.

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

This is how people become a witness. In order to become a convincing witness we have to have first hand experience of being with Jesus.

John summed it up in his writing.

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:1-4 NASB)

Jesus often said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father." Why? Jesus often separated himself from the business, and busyness of ministry and went to be with His Father. Jesus had a habit, He often went  to the garden to pray, and to the Mount of Olives. What He received from the Father He proclaimed and demonstrated.

The importance of Being.  


The messenger is the message. We reflect who we are, and who we have been with. 

This is why it is so important to receive first hand knowledge and experience from Jesus in order to Be.

The Father is the great investor. He invests into us because He loves us. He gives to us because it is in His nature to give. He wants to give to us. He gives us talents, abilities, skills, and gifts to exercise according to the faith He has given us

Matthew 7: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,

how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you; sow who you are into others for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Pastors, leaders, and many believers often do, and do and do. It is most important that we position ourselves to receive, and have a hunger to receive more.

The reality: You can’t give away what you have not received.




It’s tied to the law of inflow, outflow.

Receiving and giving is like breathing. Living in... gaining strength, energy, insight, and grace, then living out... to share your strength, energy, insight and grace in toward the people of your world.





No inflow = no outflow.
 

If there is more outflow than inflow, it will lead to your downfall.

Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
Freely you have received; freely give.


The paradox: often we receive more when we give to others from our overflow.

Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Context: Love, forgiveness, care. Giving and receiving is tied to stewardship. We are entrusted to steward what we have by giving what we have received

Give honor; you will receive honor.
Give love; you will receive love.
Give friendship; you will receive friendship.
Give life; and you will receive life.
Give blessing; and you will receive blessing.
You are blessed in order to be a blessing. 


Nations will be blessed because you are first blessed; if you give away what you have received.

Big Idea:
Your consistent time worshiping, loving and receiving from Jesus is what is most important.


Over time we begin to serve and give out of our overflow.

Psalm 73:25 (NIV)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.


We don't spend time with Jesus in order to have power, love and healing. We spend time with Him because of who He is. As we spend time with Him, we then begin to reveal Him.

The by product of our time with Him is often love, power, insight, and blessing in action.

One of my friends is getting ready to make a difference here in Dayton. He needs people to help him move into a new arena of service. One very influential man wants to help. Why? Seems my friend has been noticed and watched for over five years by the man. He mentioned that he had seen my friend in action. He saw his heart and his selfless lifestyle. He wants to get on board because the message my friend speaks flows from his life. 

We are the message. What we have received we give. The messenger is the message.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You've just been kissed. Kiss Dayton.

You've Just Been Kissed



How's it works...

Here's how we've done the outreach in the past.

special connect card goes into each pack
tables are located at all exits, red table cloths and fun balloons create a fun vibe.
The two weekends just before Valentines day. Our teens and children’s areas pack thousands of Hershie Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special ‘you’ve just been kissed’ connect card. People grab several of the bags as they leave the weekend services and go about kissing the people Dayton during the week.
packed by our VKidz spreading the value of kindness
 Instruction sheet helps people know what to do

 A couple of years ago I went to the gym on one of my usual gym days. (My wife tells me it’s a good thing.)

When I arrived I asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ She smiled and said, ‘Nope, not today.’ I then gave her a pack said, ‘Well you’ve just been kissed.’ She laughed and exclaimed, ‘You’re from the Vineyard right?’ I replied, ‘Yep. We are kissing people all over the city this week.’



Here's another example of what we've done:

On Valentines Day we head out to a couple of strip malls near the Vineyard. We take the packs of kisses, and several buckets of carnations. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’

We then count out the flowers and Hershey packs…and say, ‘We are from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’

Usually some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a carnation for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’


Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe.


One Vineyard group went to a high end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their flower. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today.'Flowers and kisses were also handed out to the ladies who were becoming beautiful-er.


One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn't receive a flower. So being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team grab a flower and run back to the shop...when she gave the lady the flower, the surprised and delighted lady exclaimed, 'You've just made my day! Thank you.'

Really? Made her day? Makes me wonder what one of her days looks like? Makes me wonder if she was ever loved, or had a caring boy friend, or had husband, or is now connected to an uncaring guy?


What's in a gift of a small flower and a pack of kisses?


I think serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed out world.Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, someone cares for you.’ The action preformed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.

My friend Scott, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’ 

Process for Kiss Dayton:
4 weeks out: have connect cards printed (www.marketplaceprinting)

4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (snacc foods Cincinnati)

4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags (BGR bags West Chester OH)

4 weeks out: order boxes of Carnations for pick up (Cleveland Plants and Flowers Dayton)

2 weeks out: have kids or teens pack the bags
 
Week of: have packs placed at all exitsValentine Day Outreach
3 days out: pick up flowers, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day

3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers

3 days out: make name tags
3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in a larger bags for transport or containers

Day of Valentines Day Outreach
Gather at 10am

Give Instructions: go to shops, go to check out or customer service, ask, How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and flowers give to workers, Say,
‘We’re from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’ Also, be open to God's leading and offer pray with people as *God space is created. Divide up into teams Load up and head out.
After project head to Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks for download and great java.

 

Steve Bowen

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mindset, Mind set, It matters.

This last year was an interesting one. Began in February. Jesus began pruning me. I didn't find out what was going on until June. Then I began to see and understand.

It's been difficult, painful, and confusing all at the same time. When the penny dropped, "O that's what's going on." I decided I would continue; even kick up my time in the Big Room. Worship, wait, read, lay on the floor and play my guitar. I am contending for His Name and for His Fame. I have a ministry to an audience of One and am learning that He is all I need.  He is the One who rescued me and everything else is considered rubbish. (not there yet)

In the mean time, and it's been a mean time. I've fluctuated, getting some of  what I was supposed to get ... humility... and then being almost in despair. I can identify much with many Psalms. 

On a interesting note. I've seen more power in my life to help people and I have seen more healing and encouraging words flow.

Three Friends speak the truth i love:
Three people spoke into my life in this season. Jimmy, from Scotland, was real helpful. I'm grateful he is a kind straight shooter. I'm still learning I'm not "dead meat" yet. It's taking some time. Maybe that's why we are encouraged to take up the cross daily.

When you are fully dead, stuff doesn't bother you, or at least doesn't bother you as much.

If you are not dead, ego and emotion and self rise. I've been amazed how much self / ego / pride / death is in me especially when offended by situations, people's remarks and digging potatoes. See full post on digging potatoes: stevebowen.blogspot.com/2014/04/digging-potatoesa-way-of-life.html

Steven had a good word for me concerning my mind set. He encouraged me that my mindset needed renewing and changing. My mind was set on the wrong set of values. In other words, he told me I needed to repent in a nice way. 

Repentence is is changing your mind set which changes your attitude and actions. 

So, the next day became one long session of coming to Jesus and coming clean. You know it all, you see it all, you hear it all. I changed my mind by confessing and repenting. I'm working on a new set to think upon. I'm also reading Steve Backlund's book Victorious Mindsets thanks to Steven passing it on.

Marc and I then had a chance meeting which was really a set up. We talked for a couple of hours. He is developing some thinking around the danger of consulting your soul instead of connecting to the Life Giver. Easily done, especially if you have a series of pity parties, compaining fits, or don't tell your soul, mind, will and emotions to get a grip, or if someone offends you and you want rise up and get your own back. He emailed an article to me which I found extremely helpful and timely which is at the bottom of this ramble.

It interesting all three basically said, and are saying the same thing and bringing encouragement and correction to me in a way I can handle it. Two spoke to me face to face and spoke to me gently.

Jimmy lives in Scotland so, he kindly messaged and encouraged me.

All three I know personally, and I know they care about me and want me to end well. Ending well?... Actually I'm hopeful the best is yet to come. 

What I'm trying to say is that listening to people who care about you is important, as is the process of learning humility and allowing Jesus to have his way. Sometimes we think it's man doing bad things to us, when in reality it's the discipline and love of our Father.

Jesus spoke to his disciple "as they could hear him." Sometimes we become so entrenched in our own self and our sense of entitlement we can't hear anyone, much less change our mind. It's taken awhile but I think I'm now on track. I know these guys will let me know if I'm not and I'm grateful.

Here is the article: 


The Danger of Despair

Author: 
Steve Gallagher

Since time immemorial the devil has used discouragement to weaken believers’ defenses against the temptation to sin. Discouragement—which can befall the godliest of saints—can easily lead to self-pity. Once a person begins to feel sorry for himself, he becomes easy prey for the enemy. The lives of Asaph and Cain demonstrate two different and opposite ways to respond when things go wrong.
Asaph, a Levite, was appointed as worship leader by King David because of his great love for God and his ability to lead others into His presence. And yet, Psalm 73 recounts the story of how he became discouraged one day and nearly got himself into real spiritual trouble. “My feet came close to stumbling,” he later confessed, “my steps had almost slipped.” Asaph almost slid into a pit of depression and despair when he began to focus on “the prosperity of the wicked.”
“They are not in trouble as other men,” he lamented to himself, “nor are they plagued like mankind.” Asaph could not reconcile the fact that “the wicked” seemed to be blessed, while he seemed to have nothing but troubles. “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.”
Asaph’s discouragement nearly set his feet on the slippery path of self-pity. With his attention focused on the prosperity of the wicked, he began to question the goodness of God. One more precarious step in this direction could have been disastrous, but Asaph was a man who knew his God. “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God…”
Many years later, the prophet Habakkuk would struggle with the very same question. Ultimately, he too found the way out of discouragement by getting his eyes back on the Lord. “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,” he wrote, “yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” (3:17-18)
Godly people discover that the way out of the discouragements of life is always by focusing their minds back on “the beauty of the Lord.” They understand that this world belongs to the enemy; that they were created for another world. Thus, rather than turning inward to self, they turn to the Lord in the midst of discouragement. Asaph’s entire perspective brightened when he got his eyes off himself and onto the Lord. “Whom have I in heaven but You?” he exclaimed. “And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Asaph’s and Habakkuk’s responses contrast strikingly with that of Cain. He, too, faced a difficult situation, but rather than respond in the right way, he became increasingly embittered over God’s dealings with him.
Cain was clearly a religious man, evidenced by the fact that he willingly arrived at the appointed time with an offering. Unquestionably, his sacrificial gift came at a very real and personal cost. Nevertheless, the Lord rejected his offering for one very important reason: Cain’s religious life was not founded upon faith, submission and love to the Lord, but in self-works.
“The way of Cain,” as Jude later coined it, denotes the underlying attitude of entitlement—that each act of sacrifice is a great gift to God deserving recognition and praise. There are many in the Church today who exhibit this self-centered agenda. When God withholds His blessing, or allows suffering of any kind into their lives, they start feeling sorry for themselves. “Look at all I have given up for the Lord,” they trumpet indignantly. “I go to church every Wednesday and twice on Sunday. I’ve paid my tithes for many years. And this is the thanks I get?!” Rather than seeing all that God has done for them, all they can see is what they have done for Him. Blinded by self-righteousness and self-pity, they view themselves as His benefactors, instead of sinful wretches unworthy of grace and mercy.
God, in His infinite holiness, must reject, and always has rejected, such self-centered religion. When He refused to accept Cain’s offering, we are told that Cain “became very angry and his countenance fell.” In other words, he plummeted into a depression. He sat down in a heap of self-pity and sulked—the first biblical instance of someone throwing a temper tantrum.
Cain’s attitude can be summed up in the distressing words of the unprofitable servant (in the parable of the talents): “I knew you to be a hard taskmaster.” And so God always seems to those who live in self-will. They fully expect Him to bless their plans and when He doesn’t—or when things go wrong—they rise up in anger with Him. He seems like a “hard taskmaster,” a demanding boss who cannot be satisfied. This attitude, if persisted in, leads to self-pity, which in turn, paves the way for deeper, more grievous sins.
The Lord saw that Cain was in great spiritual danger. In spite of the blasphemous accusations churning in Cain’s heart, the Lord graciously reached out to him. “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” At that point, Cain’s situation was still comparable to those of Asaph and Habakkuk. Had he responded with the same faith, obedience and humility they exhibited, he, like them, would have climbed right out of his pit of despair.
The Lord then proceeded to show Cain exactly what to do, reinforcing His instruction with a warning of the danger he was in: “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Simply put, God was giving Cain a chance to repent of his attitude. If he continued in prideful self-will, he would be powerless to resist the provocations toward evil of the enemy lurking nearby. Cain, regrettably, chose to remain locked in a prison of SELF, nursing his “grievances.” Self-pity turned to anger, which quickly gave place to rage. And rage, pursued to its end, led to murder.
The temptation Cain faced, and ultimately succumbed to, was toward violence. Self-pity distances a person from the Lord and increases his vulnerability to the enemy’s lures. Once a person throws a pity party, he will find that he has very little strength to withstand temptation.
The next time you find yourself discouraged over some difficult situation, turn to the Lord. You will find that as you “set your mind on things above,” you will be lifted right out of the doldrums! On the other hand, if you start giving over to self-pity, beware that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you.”

Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
Copyright © 2014 by Pure Life Ministries. Permission is granted to use, copy, distribute, or retransmit information or materials on this page, so long as proper acknowledgment is given to Pure Life Ministries as the source of the materials, and no modifications are made to such material.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Sticks and stones, words...


 1 Samuel 16 David was going along with his servants and with his mighty men. As they were walking a man suddenly appeared ad began to curse David to throw rocks and dirt. David's men, and his servants all saw what was happening to their king. They also were stoned and had dirt thrown upon them. One of his mighty men wanted to chop the guys head off. David replied, "Let him be, perhaps he was to sent to curse me and perhaps God will hear him and bring blessing upon me." The cursing, rock, and dirt throwing man followed them from a hillside continuing to curse and to throw stones and dirt. They arrived dirty, weary, and bruised. David then refreshed himself.

Ever had rocks, dirt and curses thrown at you?

David a man after God's own heart.

David humbled himself, did not retaliate and acknowledged God. He knew that His God was swift to bless. In the midst of cursing and being pummeled by rocks, and dirt he still believed God was good. When they arrived at their destination David cleaned himself up and refreshed himself. I personally believe he paused to worship. 

Following Jesus may sometimes mean we will have stones and dirt and cursing thrown at us. Our response is all important. 

Jesus 
"Love Your Enemies
You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 
so that 
you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; 

for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28 NASB)

The word mistreat can mean: despitefuly use you, insult you, hurt you, revile you, or accuse you falsely.

Jesus our example
But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, 
that you should follow in his steps. 

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:20-24 NIV)

Jesus endured much, think about His journey toward the cross, verbal abuse and anger was hurled at him continually yet, He humbled himself and kept (this was an on going act of faith) entrusting Himself to the One who judges justly. 

You who are without sin cast the first stone.
A woman was caught in sin, accused, condemned and ready to be stoned. The men were right according to the law to stone her for her actions, however mercy prevailed from the merciful One. Jesus said to her accusers "Whoever among you is without sin cast the first stone." They all left one by one. I often wonder how long He wrote in the sand? How long did it take for the men to realize they too had sinned and were worthy of being stoned?


Go low.
A year or so ago I heard through the grapevine that someone was defaming me, speaking bad things about me; generally running me down. People would come to and would begin to tell me what was being said. I would say, "Stop. I do not want to know." 

My spirit was troubled, my emotions at times were ragged, and I was very concerned. I decided to humble my soul and to pour out my heart to Jesus. I often prayed, "You see it all. You hear it all. You know it all." I chose not to confront and to entrust my soul to Him who judges justly and to extend mercy. I also prayed for mercy and grace for the person and spoke blessing.

Often, I simply worshipped, and many times I just laid on the floor. During this time I was attending a major conference. In the sessions of worship I knew I needed to go low so I found a place and laid on the floor.

During this season I also discovered He knew everything about me. He saw it all. He heard it all. He knew it all. I was humbled, convicted, yet loved. 

During one of my times of worship I saw the humility of Jesus while singing and meditating on Phil 2. I was undone. God became flesh and humbled Himself every moment He lived on the planet, then He went to the cross... for me. He was, and is the Humble One.

Such humility I see.
Such humility amazes me.
Such humility for all to see.
Such humility amazes me.
Such humility You gave it all for me.
Such humility, amazes me.

Stones, dirt, cursing and vengeance  are common. Humility, mercy, and trust, not so much.

As hard as is might be, especially when we are on the receiving end, we are called to something higher. KYLO

Monday, December 29, 2014

New year Less is More

A New year coming. I wonder if it will be new season? It's funny we put a lot of energy by honoring dates, seasons and times. Yet, we really don't know what is ahead of us. New years resolutions usually last about a day. One thing I do know plodding on, plodding on, doing what you know to do often leads to a positive place.

I regress to a post from a few months ago. When Less=More. Think I'll continue to focus on the principle.




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, more time, 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 stored away for a rainy day.

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. 


A few months ago 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 over night. You can change your direction.---Jim Rohn

Our decisions do determine our destiny. 

One decision can lead to enormous blessing, or lead 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 our 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 


Read 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 living in the now, having gratitude, making the most of every moment. 

It's far better than living a fast paced 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 wisemaking the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5: 15–16)

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

I'm looking forward to 2015. I'm going to continue creating space for the One who has led me this far. I told Pattie, "We only have one plan, and His name is Jesus."



 



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,
gentle,
reasonable,
full of mercy
and good fruits,
unwavering,
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.

WHAT SIMPLIFY IS ABOUT
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.

THE NEAR

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.

Greeter
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 www.daytonvineyard.com

                                   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.