Monday, November 28, 2016

Make love your aim...

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We spent time in Louisville with my two sisters. It’s was great to be with them.



Phillips.
We are moving forward with the team at Phillips. This past weekend Pastor Jimmy Washington delivered a great Vision Sunday message. His team reached out to the congregation with a live survey during the service. People either filled out the brief survey with their electronic device or on paper. The stats were gathered and then revealed in each service. The stats were very revealing and helpful. Outreach need was high on the list to develop and move into.
Stories. In order to spread the outreach value throughout the church, the leaders are now reaching out. As they reach out their own stories are now being developed. One of the ladies on the team popped in to see the Mayor of Trotwood. She was surprised and delighted to see an outreach gift from Phillips on the Mayor’s desk. She asked the Mayor, “When did you receive this gift?” Seems she was having a hard day. One of the leaders came by to encourage her and to give her the gift. She explained, “I am leaving the gift on my desk to remind myself there are people of hope sharing hope in my community.”

Another leader was in a doctors office and noticed a young receptionist tactfully and lovingly handling some patient conflict. He could tell she was frazzled. After the patient left. He asked her if she would be in the office the next day and she said, “Yes.” He returned with a gift for the receptionist. He praised her for how well she handled the conflict. He thanked her and then presented her with a gift. She immediately began to cry. He comforted and encouraged her. His surprised comment, “Such a small thing, has the power to reveal the love of Jesus. Amazing”



Revive Ohio. Their foundation for reaching people is founded upon the principles found in the Gospels. Jesus was the best example.  

Love
Listen
Discern
Respond




It’s the love component that stirred my heart.

Love enables us to listen, discern and respond.
Love is both an attitude and an action.

Love is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1Cor 13 NASB
  • Love helps us have focused listening… an ear toward heaven, and an ear actively listening to the person we are speaking to.
  • Love enables us to discern the Father’s heart for the person we are talking to. Love also enables us to meet their need.
  • Love gives us the wisdom to respond kindly and appropriately.

Learning to be a person who loves well takes time and practice. This is the challenge for every person who trains others to reach their world.

Methods are easier to learn than learning to be a person who loves well from the heart.
People using a method, rather than loving and interacting with a person is a frustration.

Jesus was probably just a little frustrated. He had two disciples in training who wanted to call fire down from heaven and nuke a town. Wrong attitude. Wrong response to being rejected.

Honoring a person’s space, and honoring their right to end the conversation at any time is part of loving a person.

Questions to ask ourselves. Am I being kind? Am I being patient? Am I seeking my own success? Am I just going through the process of the method, or do I genuinely care about the person I am talking to?

In my book, Go. Sow. the Forward states:
“The people we reach are not projects nor are they targets, they are human beings who are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are created in the image of God, and are deeply loved by God.
Every person on earth has a life story which filters their world view. People are complex, and most have a God history. Their experiences and their pursuit or 
non-pursuit of spirituality is unique; no two people are alike. This understanding is the beginning place. We must ground ourselves in this truth as we seek to share who we are and what we have received with others.
How well people are listened to, understood, spoken to, and loved by you and me is all important. Jesus came to seek and to save. His life reflected genuine love. It’s my hope we too will be reflections and expressions of His love as we reach out to our world.”


 

The Bible, wristband, and the card Revive have developed is color coded and helps explain the good news in a way people can understand and respond. It’s a great tool. 


A man on a swing.                                  Our team had a powerful encounter with a man on a swing. When we headed out we had a map. The map helped guide us. One of the ladies said, “I think we need to go to the green area.” When we arrived there was a man on a swing. He was the only person in the park. We walked up and started a conversation. As the conversation continued we discovered his life was a train wreck… not of his making or choosing. He mentioned three different tragic relational issues. He was sitting on the swing pondering the events of his life. Any one of the issues he was facing would have destroyed most people. He needed hope. That day, for this one man on a swing, was the day he encountered the God of all Hope. He decided to follow Jesus. The Bible and wristband were a great help to communicate the good news. We prayed with him and for him. When we left he was sitting on the swing reading the Bible we had just given him. The hour and a half encounter became one of the most radical encounters I’ve ever had in my life.


This is what we have been called to do. To equip and encourage people to love and reach out to people within their sphere of influence.

Thanks again for your partnership and friendship.
Steve and Pattie.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Hearing the Voice of the Lord...

I had a great time in Virginia with Stephen Bell from Riversong Church in Springfield. We taught in a YWAM School and in a Korean Discipleship School. Our topic How to hear the voice of the Lord. A great topic. One thing is certain, we are uniquely wired as individuals and we all hear differently. Frustration usually occurs when we compare ourselves with others. We need to learn how we are wired and how the Holy Spirit speaks to us.


bashos-trail A few months ago I met a man who was frustrated. He wasn’t hearing the voice of the Lord clearly. I asked, “Where do you go or what do you do when you feel closest to Jesus.” He replied, “When I’m out taking a walk. I love nature.” I replied, “Go there. Become aware of what you are seeing, what you are feeling. Open your heart and listen. Most likely it’s there you will begin to hear His voice.”

John Wesley’s mom would go to her place when she felt overwhelmed. She would sit in her rocking chair, flip her apron over her head to meet with Jesus. Remember? She had many children running around needing to be cared for. She found her place of connection in the midst of chaos, sitting in her rocker with her apron over her head. Where is your place?Dew upon the ground. One lady was standing away from the group watching what was happening. (An amazing outflow of the Holy Spirit touched the group. A lady in a wheelchair was receiving a huge measure of healing; others were receiving emotional breakthrough, One lady had experienced depression for 10 years and was being set free.)
dew-grass
We prayed for the lady viewing the action. We told her every person receives and responds differently. Some laugh, some praise, some clap, some are silent, some cry etc. As we were talking with her we noticed the Holy Spirit was indeed upon her, yet she was not aware. He was landing upon her gently, like a fresh dew landing upon the grass. He knew her emotional need. She needed a gentle touch. When we explained what we saw she relaxed, and she received. Later during the testimony time she began to weep as she shared how much her encounter with the Holy Spirit encouraged her. He knew her. He knew how she was wired and He knew what she needed in that moment.
 
The whole purpose of hearing the voice of the Lord is to know Him better. When we hear Him, we can have a relationship with Him. Having a relationship with Him, we can then make Him know to others. Freely we receive. We can then freely give.
 
I keep asking that the God of our  Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better Ehp1:17-19
 
Youth. 
Stephen spoke at a youth event.  Sharon, the leader, has been gathering young Korean teens together for many years. The fifty teens come from many different area churches. They are trained, encouraged and sent back to their local church. One of the leaders has trained many guitarist and worship leaders. It was an amazing meeting!


Korean People.  
Teaching in the Korean school was really fun. Most of the students being trained were over sixty. There was a lot of hunger and humility in the group. The last night was powerful. Korean men usually do not show emotion and are rather reserved. We received several accurate words of encouragement for the men. They were very encouraged and had tears running down their faces. The Korean people are a wonderful people.
Not many people know I had trained many Korean pastors and leaders while working at Cincy Vineyard. I started a weekend intensive. They would come for three days, be trained and head back to their area. They would always bring gifts for Pattie.

10288751_799975156795741_1780454312117669225_n
Phillips Temple. I’ll be starting to train the leaders at PhillipsTemple in Trotwood in November. The leaders have a great foundation of prayer and the Word. Pattie and I have popped up to worship with them a few times. We always come away encouraged. I believe they are shifting the atmosphere in Trotwood. They have a desire to reach out to their community. This should be an exciting season for me and for the church.


If your group would like to have a session learning about hearing the voice of the Lord. Let me know on the connection section.


Pattie and I are seeking to become missionaries again, hopefully by May. We don’t know what it looks like or how we will raise monthly support. We value your partnership and care for us.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Traction...

newtraction400-2 
 

I had a great talk with Bruce Terry pastor of Liberty Church in Birmingham. He is one of the most encouraging men I know. He is also very smart and transparent. He talked about the book Traction... and the EOS system. It was an interesting talk. We talked about leaders and how the church is shifting to release talented people into the marketplace. Wise leaders understand they have the opportunity to train, value, honor, encourage, release and celebrate people into who God called them to be.

We talked about team. How visionary leaders need people to facilitate /  implement the vision. (EOS an implementer)

He mentioned that the person / persons who lead to implement the vision, are just as needed, just as important and just as valuable as the leader. When there is no one who can practically and creatively implement the vision, the idea, is powerless it remains merely a concept.

Beginning with the end in mind, the implementer develops a plan by zooming out to see the big picture, then zooming in to see the action steps needed for the big picture to become a reality. The action steps are then developed and given to creative people who understand process, who love to solve problems, and who will enlist people to fill major roles. The challenge for visionary leaders is to value, honor, encourage and celebrate the people within the implementer leader role.

During our talk Bruce mentioned he realized the importance of The Parable Of The Talents in the context of recognizing and releasing talented people. Bruce translated the parable into the church situation. Jesus was talking about people within the local church with gifts and talents. The burying of the talents happens when leaders don't recognize nor release people into the role they were gifted and called to fulfill.

Understand Jesus had clear vision. He gave instruction, and He had implementers, the disciples.

When you go into the city you will find a man carrying a pot. He will show you an upper room, prepare there. Have the people sit in groups of fifty. You will see a colt...
Can you imagine what these events would look like if the disciples didn't prepare /  implement what Jesus instructed them to do? No last supper. No triumphal entry. Chaos at an outreach.

gift

When people, as gifts, are unwrapped, taken out of the box and are valued, honored and celebrated, they tend to grow and enhance an organization.

Summing it up.                                                                                                                  
In order for a vision to become a glorious uplifting reality, implementers (people who volunteer, or who are hired) should be valued as gifts to the leader and the organization. When the leader recognizes the gift, they then have the opportunity to release the person to be all they were created to be... the vision unfolds, everyone wins, and growth occurs.

Tip: Don't keep people in a box. Unwrap the gift.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Upward, Outward: Missional Community.



36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew22:36-40NIV

Epidemic...
A friend of mine has traveled extensively and spoken to numerous pastors and church leaders. As a result, he's discovered there is an epidemic. It seems there is a vacuum in many hearts; the vacuum is often discovered when believer's feel / sense there must be more to life than what they are living. They may be encouraged to pray, worship, journal, read books, attend conferences, attend church or meditate upon scripture to fill their void. In reality, the vacuum they are sensing may be a purpose deficit.

All inflow, with no outflow, creates a sick heart. You and I were created to flow outward, to do good works.

Eph 2: 8-10NIV
  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We are saved by grace through faith not by works. However, we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

Good works don't save us, good works reveal us. 

If you and I are not giving our lives away by serving others... somewhere... we, at our core, are purpose impaired.

The below diagram illustrates:

                                                                                                                                                            

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive. 
Everything in life flows from our connective relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything. He is the source of our identity. Knowing Whose we are enables us to draw near with confidence.

In Him, we live and move and have our being. Our heart connection is so important. We draw near, and He draws near to us. His promise is true. 

All life flows from our relationship with Him. We draw near to give: to give our hearts, to give our lives, to give our worship. 

I give my worship because He is so worthy, so gracious, so loving, so forgiving. 

It's amazing... as we give, we often receive. (I personally believe we receive more than we are aware when we spend time in His  presence.) 

What we receive is a by-product of our worshipful giving. I give my time, I give my life as worship. He, in turn, pours His love and grace into my heart. When we receive, we then have something to give. Knowing Him, I can then make Him known. (I John 1:1-9)
                                                                                                                                                                 
Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 
The great Investor invests into our lives so that we are built up, and have something to give away to others. 

He gives us love, joy, hope, faith, grace, power, talents, giftings, gifts, and passions for others. 

As I make Him known, through active love and service, He in turn, gives something back... a sense of destiny, a sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment.

It's in the very act of giving, laying our lives down for others we receive. We receive encouragement when someone is genuinely encouraged and cared for through our service. We also can sense God's favor as we give away what we have received. When we bless others, we are blessed.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

My friend Shana has a new photography business. She decided to dedicate 10% of what she earns to help people in need. Yesterday, she went shopping for groceries and toiletries. She then headed up to Trotwood to deliver the groceries and supplies to women in crisis. She stayed awhile encouraging the women and children. 

                                                                                                                                                                       
Here is a snippet of her story.
 "There are days when my envy for what others have makes it hard to breathe and others when my heart aches for what others do not. Every day I work hard to be a humble servant, putting others ahead of myself in my relationships and in my business. All the money in the world would mean nothing to me if I couldn't help others.
Today was hard and beautiful all in the same, I was able to gift a car full of groceries to the Mustard Seed Foundation in Trotwood, a home for teenage mothers. These girls are facing challenges on so many levels and I am so thankful this home exists. I was greeted with warm smiles and big hearts and I left behind a little goodness and grace." 

Her passion intersects with God's purpose.  

Her passion:To care for people. Her purpose:Release her creative gifting to care for others, both in her chosen profession as a photographer and giving to people in need.

Guess where her tank is filled? Shana's life passion is connected to her life purpose. She genuinely cares for her clients and for the people in need in her community.

My wife teaches literacy enrichment.  
Her passion:Child development. Her purpose:Teaching literacy. 
She wants to love the kids as Jesus loves. She has done this well. She is loving, creative, joyful, kind and open hearted. Guess what? Kids love being with her. Her love for Jesus overflows in creative teaching.



  Note: Both are not "full time" church workers. They are full-time Jesus followers.


Where does your passion intersect with God's purpose?
                                                                                                                                                               
Together:A Missional Community.

When we, together, worship, love, serve and care for others we become a missional community; a community on mission. 

I've heard it stated, "If you pursue community you may develop community, but you may not be on mission. However, if you(all ya all), as a group of people, pursue mission you will form a community."

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive.

Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 

Upward:Give. Give thanks and praise for what He did in you and through you and through... all ya all. Community on Mission=Missional Community.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bowen News




Bowen News

We are excited about some happenings.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to encourage a young lady at Frisch's Restaurant. I noticed her when we were paying the bill. I knew she was a person of mega influence

How did I know? I had an inner impression that I've come to know through practice, as a Holy Spirit prompt. She reminded me of another person I recently noticed as an Influencer. 

I pulled my car around. I pulled up to the window and asked, "I sometimes receive encouraging words for people... Would you like an encouraging word?" 

She was so open. I shared what I felt she needed to hear about being an influencer etc. I mentioned, "I'm a follower of Jesus  and He wanted to encourage you today."
She had a huge smile and I could tell what I said resonated within her. She asked my name and thanked me. She then turned around and began telling the other team members what had just happened. 

I've discovered people are very open and in need of encouragement. The Holy Spirit loves to drop thoughts of encouragement into our hearts. We just need to be open to hear His nudges and respond.

Vaughn Family
Adam Vaughn and family were given three promo videos that E.J. Wiltemire put together. The videos have helped The Backwards Missionaries raise their profile and allow people to view their ministry connection in Costa Rica. I'm extremely grateful for the people who gave to us to pull off this idea. Jesus is so much smarter than I am. He has great ideas. 


See video here https://youtu.be/HJInTmUCEGo


Overtoun House Fun Stories.
Bob and Melissa have received the 3D rendering of their Castle / Home. It's been fun to see Bob send the rendering to the teams who have worked over fifteen years to bring the home to completion.





You can view Joel Menken's, of Imagine Video, 3D rendering by following this link. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=LKm2aTYeep3https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=LKm2aTYeep3

When the home was being constructed in the 1800's, over one thousand workers camped out on the grounds. They used the ash from their fires to insulate the floor spaces. When the teams renovated the floors the dust went everywhere.

To top it all off, when the workers made the plaster they mixed horse hair as the binder. When the teams removed the plaster the hair went everywhere. Unknown to Bob and the team, fleas lived in the horse hair. Guess how they found out? You guessed it, a summer Flea invasion!

Bob told me that the largest team was ninety nine people. Can you imagine having all those people in your home? Melissa is a hero.

They have received their multi occupancy permit and are now in the process of creating and implementing care procedures for women at risk. Their goal is to create an environment of love and acceptance to help the women heal, develop job skills and re-enter into the community successfully. If you are a professional counselor and would like to live in a castle contact Overtoun House.

Bowen's
Pattie and I are grateful that my sister who lives with us will be moving into an apartment of her own. I know she is excited. She will be receiving the care she needs and will be taken care of.

We are launching our new web site soon. We continue to press into the vision of encouraging leaders, missionaries and churches. Pattie is working as a literacy teacher in a kindergarten in the Kettering schools system. She will travel with me when she can.




I'll be sending the link to the new web site soon.

Thanks again for partnering with us in our adventure.

I'll be heading to Virginia at the end of the month.

I'm also helping a few churches in the Dayton area. Encouraging, and advising concerning outward-focused missionalness. This has been fun and refreshing for me.

Steve


If you'd like to partner with us please use Donor Box.
 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Repost The power to 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

The greatest treasure: His Presence within us, upon us and with us.

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 His witness.

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

His power upon you 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 within you, upon you, and with you 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 flows from 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. Who I am. 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. Our identity flows from His Presence.
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.

It's also interesting, Jesus had a custom. He often slipped away to the Mt. of Olives to be... in the Presence of His Father. Life flowed from the overflow. He didn't meet with the Father for the overflow. He met with the Father simply to be...His Son, to enjoy His relationship with the Father. Everything flowed from His sense of being the Father's Son.

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, lives within us and is with us, He empowers us to Be.