Monday, June 27, 2016

When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will Be....

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 
1 Cor 4:7NLT



Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 NAS

We are who we are. When we are fully who we are in Christ, and secure in whose we are, we shine bright and give God glory. 

We all have treasure within us. Gifts, talents, abilities, thoughts, personalities, emotions and skill sets have all been entrusted to us. All of us are different. No two people are alike. You are uniquely you, wonderfully created.



My wife is a triplet. Even though the sisters look similar. They are very different. Each have different personalities, emotional make up and talents. They are each beautifully unique. 

What you have within you is a treasure. This treasure within you is so valuable it needs to be guarded, protected. The gifts, talents and abilities are treasures that are entrusted to your care, are given to you for the sake of others. We receive so that we can give what we have received.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23 NIV

Acts 1:8 states when the Holy Spirit comes upon you He will give you power to Be...pause for effect... His witnesses. Notice what comes first... the power to Be... comes before being His witness.

Think about this thought. When He, the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will empower you to Be. 

His power gives you the ability to be fully who you were created to Be... uniquely you.

When His empowerment comes upon you, and when you begin to allow the treasure within to flow out to others, you cannot help but be His witness. 
Steve Bowen


Be not do...

Note: Peter didn't say we would "do witnessing" but we would be His witnesses. 

Being fully you, empowered, with all your gifts talents and abilities 
confidently flowing is when you are a most powerful witness.

As believers we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. The impartation of His supernatural power changes everything. His power enables us to be the very witnesses He created us to be.


In my book Go. Sow. I ask...How much power to do we need?

"How much power do we need? I’m all for more power of the Spirit and pray most days to be empowered. However, I have been around long enough to know I have to be willing to begin to take risks now, in this present time, in order to enter into the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned I often have to be faithful in the small tasks and the small steps before the greater is realized. Beginning in the natural often helps me to move toward releasing the supernatural.  

True power of being, enables heaven to bring to our earth(our lives) the power we need to reach out to people of our earth—our sphere of influence. 

His power often comes upon me when I’m out in the community, face great need, and sense my lack. It is the very awareness of my lack that propels me, in that moment, to reach out for more of His power, in order to meet a need. If I feel weak and small, I still step out in my weakness and smallness. I still serve, and I still pray. Often I sense no feeling of noticeable power when I pray for people yet, amazing things happen. 

One lady recently came up to our group and said, “When Steve prayed for me, I received not one job, but two jobs. I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me, and prayed for me. I just wanted to thank you all for being out here caring and serving us.” 

I wanted to say, “Woman, I who am speaking to you am he.” 

Bowen, Steve (2014-04-23). Go. Sow. A simple practical guide into the arena of outreach. (pp. 178-179).  . Kindle Edition.

Note she stated, "I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me and prayed for me.

What she noticed was not my power, but my being. His love for her was expressed through my actions, and by my attitude. I had no physical sense of power. No awareness of, "Boy I'm bringing it today!"  I simply released the treasure I knew was within me by faith, and Her need was wonderfully met.

Step into being who you are.

Often I have to step into who I am... in order to be

 I have to remember whose I am, and who I am, then act accordingly.

At my core I know I am wired as an encourager. So, in order to be the encourager I am, I have to stir up the gift that has been entrusted to me, and step into being the encourager I am. Sometimes, I literally declare as I step out of my car, or walk into a meeting, "I now step into my gift, and into my calling as an encourager.

When I remember who I am, I can then be who I am.
 It's all about knowing and being.

The stepping into principle happens when I consciously step into being a husband, a friend, a worker, or a leader

Our identity is our foundation for all things. 
Such we are, sons and daughters.

1 John 3:1 NASB See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are

This is who we are, sons and daughters. We are adopted, heirs given full rights as sons and daughters.

We are loved by Him. When we treasure, the treasure within us, we discover a whole new level of securely. We are called to be. Knowing whose we are and who we are brings security into our calling. 

We receive, we give.

Jesus knew whose He was. Before any public ministry Jesus knew whose He was. He was the Beloved Son in Whom the Father was well pleased.

He lived out of His empowered Being. He was secure. He was humble. He was loving. 

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

Jesus modeled the principle. We follow. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He empowers us to Be.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The power of Kindness.



Serve others, good deeds a lifestyle value.

The focused power of God’s love expressed through our acts of kindness often opens hearts to the good news. Our good deeds reflect God’s love for an individual and for our community in a tangible way. 

Good deeds, create good will, that opens hearts to the good news. 
Rusaw, Swanson The Externally Focused Church

Jesus went about doing good. His nature was reflected by His action. 


I can never imagine Jesus as someone who was continually angry or grumpy or had a fixed scowl upon His face. Nor can I see Him as being self promoting or self seeking. These attitudes are against the very nature and character of God.
 

I understand Jesus is a generous person who has an infectious sense of humor. It is certainly clear people wanted to be around Jesus. He reflected a life which was characterized by grace, peace, kindness, love, joy and spiritual power. 

He was the most friendly open-hearted person on the planet! His life was attractive. He was known as a friend of sinners.

Believers are also called to reflect God’s nature toward others. We are called to be friendly open-hearted people.


We live this out through our attitudes and our actions, by being generous people who are rich in good deeds. 

Believers are servants who are committed to serve others just as Jesus served. 

John stated,
“Whoever claims to live in him, must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6, NIV

Evangelism is more than developing a certain method,
it's more about developing spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Reaching others is about seeking to know what He is doing, and what He wants to do in the life of the person we are talking to. 
 

We had planned an outreach for our Dayton Supernatural School of Ministry students and made some simple bags filled with granola bars, peanuts, peanut butter crackers, Cracker Jacks, breath mints. The bags were a bridge to help us connect with the people we about to encounter.


When the students returned. Most had amazing stories. 

At the end of our time together Pattie and I grabbed a couple of friends and headed to Olive Garden for a late lunch. We took two gift bags to give to the waitress at the end of our meal. 

We arrived and began to talk to the waitress and ordered. During the time I leaned into the Holy Spirit expecting to receive a prophetic encouragement for the waitress. Nothing. No sense of anything to say. I continued to wait, observe and look for a sign or a prompt. Nothing. I remember thinking, "This is a supernatural school outreach. I'm supposed to be able to hear, see, or receive a God prompt for people. I'm leading and I'm receiving nada, zero, nothing."

At the end of our meal we told the waitress we had a gift for her and her team. We gave her our gift bags and thanked her for being such a pleasant, joyful person. When she received the bags suddenly she began to become visibly excited, thanked us, went around the table and hugged each of us and exclaimed, "This is the nicest thing I have ever experienced!" I questioned, "Really this is the nicest thing you have ever experienced?" She exclaimed, "Yes! Here at work. Yes! This is the nicest thing." 

She then turned and quickly to give gifts to all of the people working on her shift. She returned and said, "The prep chef says, "Thank you so much for the granola bar!" 

I was stunned. I pondered what just transpired. I asked Jesus, "What just happened? I was ready to pray for healing, or to receive a word of encouragement and I received nothing. What are you doing?" 

In an instant I heard, "I'm showing you the power of kindness in action." 


We tipped big; thanked the waitress and headed home. 

Lesson learned. There is power in an act of kindness. Small things done with great love can change our world. Tip: Practice kindness in action.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Begin from where you are with what you have.





    Question: How much power do we need before we go?
    I’m all for more power of the Spirit and believe me, I pray almost every day to be empowered. However, I have been around long enough to know I have to be willing to begin to take steps of risk, steps of faith now, in this present time, in order to enter into the power of the Holy Spirit. 


    I’ve learned I often have to be faithful in the small things, and take small steps, before the greater is realized.
   

   Beginning in the natural often helps us to move toward releasing the supernatural. It’s bringing heaven to earth, as we reach out to people of our earth—our sphere of influence. 

    The power often comes when I’m living life, facing great need, and I sense my lack. It is in the very awareness of my lack, that propels me to reach out for more of His power. However, my lack of power does not keep me from reaching out and encouraging the people in sphere of influence.
    

     If I feel weak and small, I still push through my weakness and smallness. I still serve, I still love, and I still pray and declare.
    

     Sometimes I feel / I sense no power when I pray for people, yet amazing things happen.
    One lady recently came up to our group and said, “When Steve prayed for me I received not one job but two jobs. I was so grateful he took the time and listened to me and prayed for me. I just wanted to thank you all for being out here caring and serving us.” I wanted to say, “Woman. I who am speaking to you am he.” I remember praying with no fire-works, no great surge of assurance...I simply prayed.


    What was the power? Yes, there was an answered prayer. She received two jobs not one. However, this was not the only act of power she noticed. 


     “I was so grateful he took the time, and listened, and prayed for me.” The power, she defined was taking time, listening and praying. What did she notice? The power of love and care in action.
     Her excitement and her gratefulness encouraged me to keep on loving, keep going, keep serving, and to keep praying.
    

     Whether I’m aware of His power or not, good stuff still really does happen.

    The truth, as in most spiritual exercises, reaching others for Jesus begins as a spiritual discipline. A passion for outreach is often developed through our consistent practice. As we practice, outward focused-ness becomes a lifestyle.


    I often say, “You cannot begin to care, unless you first become aware. How do you become aware? By being out there.” 


    Study the great revivalists and healers of the past and present. Many began to serve, go, pray, heal, and reach people long before they had it all together or had received a greater measure of the Holy Spirit.


    Some of our hero's of faith saw hundreds healed and hundreds come to Jesus long before their power encounter. Yes, the power, and their experience with the Holy Spirit propelled them further ahead, and yes, more people were brought near to the Kingdom, but they, just like everyone else,
had to begin from where they were with what they had, as they leaned in for more. 

Everyone, has to decide to begin with what they have, from where they are.

 
    Bethel Church, in Redding, California is an example of a great church which has consistently served and actively loved their community over many years. Their city is changing, and they are leading many people to Jesus. Why?     
     They are passionately in love with Jesus and seek to honor His Presence as a lifestyle. 

     They encourage people to release what they have received into the lives of the people of their community, in their sphere of influence. 

     They have been actively going, serving, praying and loving the people of their community for many, many years. They, like everyone else, had to decide to begin to go from where they were, with what they had.

The early disciples traveled with Jesus for three years before the Holy Spirit fell upon them.
    Before the day of Pentecost, they were involved in healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God effectively. Well, sometimes not so effectively.
    

     When the Spirit’s power came, they reached more and more people, and undoubtedly had greater success. Jesus knew this would happen and this is the reason He told the disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. However, the waiting for power did not nullify what they had experienced before their empowering. They began from where they were with what they had.

    We exist first and foremost to love Jesus, and to know and experience the presence of the Father’s love. We then learn to love what He loves. He has love for His world.
    We exist for His pleasure, for His Kingdom, and for the people of our world.
    As we are getting it together, we need to realize for whom we are getting it together—the people who are away from God’s presence. This is the will of the Father.
    

    The Church exists to reach our world.
    It exists to be a place where people can be added and discipled. The Church is where new believers learn to love and worship Jesus and where they learn to use their gifts to serve others. It’s where they can become conscious of His divine purpose. It’s where they receive power as they join others to reach out to their world.
    The Church exists to be a blessing to the Father, and to be a source of His love and power for His world. 


Excerpt from Go. Sow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Revival Streams


Noticed ... there are many Revival streams... all are different... 

some don't like to mix with other streams... 
some think their brand is the only brand... 
some like to mix... 
some are loving... 
some are antagonistic... 
some believe signs and wonders... 
some do not... 
some think helping the poor short term is a waste of time... 
some think, long term helping the poor out of poverty people, don't care about immediate need... 
some think acts of kindness are pathways to peoples hearts.... 
some think acts of kindness are a marketing tool with no power... 
some think empowering people for life style evangelism is the way... 
some think big meetings is the way... 
some have the attitude our way is the only way... 
some believe prayer... 
some believe action... 
Many believe their version of the gospel is the right version...
I could go on forever...

I wonder what would happen if we laid down our stones, and rejoice however the good news that leads to revival is proclaimed?

Do you feel the mountains tremble? 
Delirious?

Did you feel the darkness tremble
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokeness.

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope
Songs that bring your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice.

Philippians Chapter 1 NLT
(Philippians 2 pretty well describes our should be attitude.)

Paul's thoughts on the matter.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more,
and
that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.

For I want you to understand what really matters,
so that
you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy
and rivalry.
But others
preach about Christ with pure motives.

They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News.

Those others
do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ.
They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

But that doesn’t matter.
Whether their motives are false or genuine,
the message about Christ is being preached either way,
so I rejoice.
And I will continue to rejoice.

I wonder what Jesus thinks?
I think I'll take Paul's advice and rejoice and continue to rejoice.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Papa's got this...





Why?
Why we are transitioning.
Over the last few years we've had a stirring in our hearts to step into what we have been called to. Primarily our gifting is expressed through encouragement, equipping people in the practical how to's of outward focus, and encouraging leaders. After long a season of hidden-ness we have emerged knowing we must fully embrace what He has given us and begin venturing beyond the Vineyard.

What? 
We will be heading out in June.
Equip, model, train and release people into everyday missional lifestyle. 

This would include developing and encouraging people for a lifestyle of practicing naturally / supernatural expressions: hearing God's voice, prophetic insight( seeing differently / becoming aware), radically responding, healing-connected to loving well and how to develop bridges into a community.

Travel to encourage leaders, churches, organizations and missionaries, and to teach train, encourage, impart and activate outwardfocusedness.

How?
Build relationships with friends, leaders and organizations. Receive invitations, and / or travel to places of need.

Over the last few years we’ve tested the process. Leaders and missionaries in particular, really need to experience the Father’s care and love though a person.

I traveled to England, Scotland and Ireland. We also traveled to be with a few leaders and churches in the USA with the express purpose of encouraging leaders / staff with no other agenda than to spend time and bringing encouragement. 

Our investment in Brooksville FL, Vineyard Christian Church, was very encouraging both to the staff and the key leaders.

It’s amazing to watch what happens when a leader discovers they are the agenda, and then realize they are on the Fathers heart. 

I’ve also discovered that three to four days is about the right amount of time for the process to flow. 

During our time together we spend time with the leader / leaders, flow with their agenda, and allow space for encouragement. We speak on Sunday's, or during a session with staff, or have a night or two of training. (This is optional and would only step into this arena if invited.) 

A couple of years ago I traveled to Costa Rica. On the plane I received a name. I later found out he was a key leader for South America.  His countenance visibly changed as he began to tell his miracle story as we walked through his church building.

If possible I will always travel with Pattie. I will travel with an intern or a leader.


Timing is everything
We are simply taking one step at a time.


Our transitional process has been interesting.  
See my post: http://stevebowen.blogspot.com/2016/02/im-noticing-current-common-thread.html


Transition is simply moving from one place to another, or shifting from one stage in life to a different stage, or leaving one season by stepping into another season.

Transition also inherently has moments of panic, belief, encouragement, let down, disappointment and faith. In the end, it’s all about trusting a good, good Father. He is in control. He is behind the scenes working His kind intention according the counsel of His will. 

His will, according to His kind intention...
 His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.
Eph 1:9;11 NASB  

How you can help?

Please pray with us as we move forward. Pray for a smooth transition off staff, and that the transition would be well received by the church. Give thanks for unlocked doors.


Believe for resources, and for key people would emerge who would travel with us. Most internal travel would cost around $1000 per trip for two. External travel would vary, ball park would be $2500 per trip taking another person. The funding is mainly for travel expenses and for blessing the leaders with meals, putting gas in their cars, leaving a monetary gift etc. We are seeking to be a blessing, not draining people’s energy, time and finances.

If you would like to support us financially for living expenses, or for travel you can give to Steve Bowen / Eyesoutward.

or you can give direct by Paypal see link top of sidebar..