Hearing God's voice snapshot...


Hearing God’s voice snapshot.

Job 33:14 (NIV)

For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.

God does speak. From the beginning, He spoke… Let there be… and there was. He speaks in many fashions and in many ways, though we may not perceive it. 


He who has ears let him hear. Jesus
He often speaks to us in the way and manner that we are created. Some see, others hear, others feel, and some just know.

He speaks to us according to how we are wired.

I’m so glad some of the see people often see beyond the natural into the supernatural. Other friends hear differently than I hear. They hear much deeper and clearer. I often hear by seeing. Some of my friends are feelers, and others are knowers who intuitively know. Everyone is different and hear differently yet all hear.

I often hear by seeing. Some of my friends are feelers, and others are knowers who intuitively know.

Everyone is different and hear differently, yet all can hear.

Practice is the action word. With practice, anyone can become better.

One ingredient is faith. Without faith, there is little practice.

 

Romans 10:17 (NASB)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing…
I believe we can ask. Ask, “Jesus begin to speak to me. Help me to perceive how your speak to me, and help me to have ears to hear. Help me to see, hear, know and feel you as you speak to me.”


February Love Month.



We are having some fun at the Upper Room Worship Center! I love being with this crew they are creative, encouraging, outofthebox thinkers and love people. It's been fun resting and learning as we are launching into our new adventure.

This month is Love month we are encouraging people to use one of the calendars below to practice kindness. Actually that's the only way people see and experience kindness. Action. Doing. Stepping out. Loving people. Being kind.

Why not join us, practice for a month and see what happens to the world around you. Use the Calendar or be creative and develop or practice your own thoughts. 

We also have  serve and love boards in the foyer of the church. People can pick up a card to serve or go to the kindness board where people can pick up a heart and love someone in the community. 

It's all fun and very missional.
 Here is brief Update also some thoughts on purpose.









You've just been kissed! February Outreach.



How's it works... One year we were focusing on teachers. So we made their day on Valentines Day by delivering 100's of special Valentine cupcakes to the schools. Teachers need appreciation and the outreach help us build bridges and also meet a need in a practical way.

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 or black 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 kids ministry helps spread the DNA 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 the Saturday before 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 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

2 weeks out: have kids or teens pack the bags
Week of: have packs placed at all exits
Valentine 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

Saturday the day before 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. Divide up into teams Load up and head out.
After project head to Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks for download and great java.

 

Steve Bowen

Bowen News, Encounters.





Christmas is fast approaching. I love this time of year, winter, snow, lights, and family. We will be heading to Birmingham to be with Pattie's family. We call ourselves the Gisbo's on Christmas Vacation.



Guidance and where we are heading. We traveled to Pensacola a while back. We were testing doors and seeking to find our path on this adventure. While we were in Pensacola it became very clear we had to return to Ohio. We knew we had a few loose ends to take care of before we could fully step into what God has for us. My sister was one of the take care of's. My sister who has lived with us for three and a half years moved out this month into her own place. We are so glad she is taken care of and her future is now secure.
We are still finding our way forward. We are investing in a couple local churches and a non-profit in the area. Pattie is still working at a school in the area. In January I'll be speaking in a couple of conferences and in the new year leading a couple of teams outside the USA.



Encounters... I've been thinking about Encounters...those special moments in time when the Holy Spirit makes His tangible presence known.

In Luke, Jesus is about to breathe his last breath. Just before He declares,"It's finished!", the sixty by thirty, four inch thick veil in the temple is rent from top to bottom. The renting of the veil signified the finished work of the cross. What 

Jesus did for us now gives us confident access to the Father.
What's more amazing... He now, because of what Jesus did for us, ...has access to us.
Ephesians 2:13;18 NIV
 

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Eph 3:11;12 NASB the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
(See Hebrews 6,8,9,10)



His Presence Saved Me. Years ago when I was a troubled teenager. I went into the chapel at St. Joseph's to talk to God. My parents were divorcing. I was broken. As I was talking to God, suddenly His Presence came into the room. I remember I left the room in a hurry.

Years later, I was messed up. I had overdosed the night before. I was driving back to Pensacola when suddenly Jesus began to speak to my heart. He said, "Steve, this is your last chance." I knew if I prayed and asked for help  I was going to have to leave my past and press into following Jesus. I prayed, "God help me!" When the words left my mouth, suddenly His presence filled my car. I knew at-that-moment everything was going to be ok.



Recent Encounters. Throughout the years I've had more that a few suddenly's.
A few months ago a friend and I were in Virginia. We were walking up a staircase to go into a meeting when we both felt the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. We suddenly encountered His Presence. We paused and stopped for a moment in the stairwell and looked at each other in amazement. The awareness of His presence and the sense of His love for us was wonderful. We walked to the top of the stairs. When we opened the door, the door ahead had a simple handwritten sign that said ... Encounter Joy!

The meeting was beyond awesome! A lady who had been in a wheelchair for years walked out of her wheelchair! Last reports she is doing well and the doctors are dumbfounded.

Yet, my heart wondered about the staircase encounter. I wondered what would have happened if we had chosen to stop, pause, listen, and receive? I wondered what would have happened if we had laid aside our hurried agenda? I wondered what would have happened if we had slowed down and sat on the steps to be with Him and had taken some more time to linger in His presence? I wondered.



Communion was Communion. A week or so ago I was meeting with a leadership team. We talked for a while, then dove into the whiteboard. Arron Simmons, who was leading, suddenly stopped writing and said,  "We are getting ahead of ourselves. Let's wait a few minutes before we dive into our work for today. Let's pause, listen to some worship and take communion together."

As we were taking communion suddenly His tangible presence touched all of us at the same time. We were filled with awe and wonder. We did press pause. We put the planning meeting on hold. We lingered in His presence. His presence did increase and we were all very encouraged.

Our work flowed and we accomplished what we came to accomplish. I later thought, "The moments of worship and receiving was the most important part of the meeting."

I also wondered, "What would have happened if we had laid aside our work for another day, and had taken full advantage of our advantage?"

These two recent encounters with His presence made me want to create space in my life. When I notice His presence I want to intentionally pause. I want to learn to seize those moments in time. I want to slow down and enjoy His suddenly's, His access to my heart.

Thanks again for your friendship and partnership.

Steve and Pattie
People have asked how we are making it. Pattie is working and we have a few gifts that come in to help cover living expenses. We are amazed at His faithful people who care for us.

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.



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.


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.