my resolutions:

love my family in practical ways
connect with God more this year worship / prayer
read the new testament through once a month mix in the psalms
read a new book at least every month
lighten up, laugh more
write more

new year always offers new opportunities here are a few resolutions from around the web...

Bill Vaughan
Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to.

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Did your New Year resolutions make our top ten list?

1) Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.

2) Fit in Fitness
The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3) Tame the Bulge
Fifty-five percent of adults in America are overweight, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year's commitment to shed extra pounds.

4) Quit Smoking
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

5) Enjoy Life More
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years.

6) Quit Drinking
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available.

7) Get Out of Debt
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8) Learn Something New
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year's resolutions to keep. Challenge your mind in the coming year, and your horizons will expand.

9) Help Others

A popular, non-selfish New Year's resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, these nonprofit volunteer organizations could really use your help.

10) Get Organized
On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and links should get you started on the way to a more organized life.

get over it

i guess the ole holiday spirit has run out here at the bowen home usually it takes me a few days to decompress and to bounce back after giving out for a year...at the years end and going into the new i look forward to january to be a time for recharging the ole batteries...i usually read, think and ponder...i also attempt to leave work at work hard to do when so involved...

we are looking for a family life pastor and celebrations coordinator both are key spots...the right person needs to in place not an easy task...we have to consider staff emotions, chemistry, compatency...i often ask would i be able to work with this person...can he / she be viewed by others as a leader they would follow or i would follow etc...all a mix we need to press into the process.

giving...think what it would look like if every person was willing to give something toward the cause...most believers have a free ride enjoying all churches do and provide ...there would be no lack if every one pitched in...the kingdom of God would surely advance, there would be no lack.

in the midst of my decompression i'd better just get over it and live for the day...i.e. last blog entry...amazing how you can write a thought one day and forget to apply it the next.

be where you are

great day yesterday with family...matt, amanda popped by they are doing well...matt may be moving into the toy industry with his drawings and prototypes...i'll be praying he will be blessed...andrew our no two is realizing christmas has lost some of the bling factor...to be honest as a family we usually don't do much for the holidays in terms of gifts...we attempt to have a peaceful day and decorate the home less on the gift giving...except for nathan he is 14 and the youngest...i reckon we gave him the gifts this year...a nintendo ds with 3 games...

as i mentioned yesterday our week of services went better than any of us expected...big turnouts for all...

we also made the local tv news twice for our service to the community...making christmas dreams come true and wrap it up...favor upon us is pretty encouraging...

our staff really went beyond and above all we could ask with great attitudes...little ruffled feathers etc...i look at what we have accomplished as a church these past few years and it is amazing...

battles, misunderstandings, friends and workmates leaving for various reasons but all in all we have a good team placed for the future of the vineyard...i often think we lose sight of what we do have by focusing on what could have been...

kyle lake said 'abandon your plan of escape and be where you are' relevant magazine...

living in the now, learning to enjoy the moment, the sunset, the sunrise and embracing all that is in between all that is life...

'lighten up steve' is my every new year promise to myself...

Merry Christmas

huge crowds at the vineyard...we experimented with a 11pm service that was off the chart...hundreds of people attended over the week or biggest crowd since last Easter...great vibe, music, message and encouragment...we have a real dedicated staff that has pulled out all the stops to make this happen...looking forward to next year having a break this week chillin with some dvds


wrapped up wrap it up

last night was the last day of wrapping at the mall...be blew through the paper,boxes and bows...lots of highlights...great talks...fun teamwork...we made the news last night...channel 7 popped in to interview last minute shoppers...they thought it was great to be wrapping presents for free...one guy threw a 20 dollar bill at us and said merry Christmas...we refuse money and communicate we are showing you God's love in a pratical way...some people are more than a little stunned by our service...there is a rock climbing wall just behind our booth...they kindly lent us their tables for two weeks so we gave the guys the money that was forced upon us...they smiled and said thanks...

4 more services until rest...we have purchased Kripsy Kreme donuts to give away after each service to people who are working on Christmas Eve...

all in all a good season of outwardness.

selfishness ouch

just received a phone call from a lady whose husband left her at a store, took all of the money and abandoned her and her 16 year old daughter...that is an ouch that will hurt for many years to come...it always amazes me when i see the depravity of man in action...selfishness at the core of who we are as human beings...a me first attitude of heart and mind...a i want my needs fulfilled no matter the cost to others...

i think of psalms that says what is man that you o lord are mindful of him, made a little lower than angels crowned with glory and honor...how far we fall...how much we need picking up...this is the season and Christ is the reason...He has amazing grace and patience not willing that any should blow their life away but that all should change their minds and follow him...he alone can make us new creations on the inside.

anyway we sent the mom's dad some cash so the family themselves can best decide how to help in the situation...glad i'm part of a pretty good church who look beyond ourselves to help care for the needs of others.

tired old dude

wacked, tired, ready for a break, yawn, only 4 more services and then the needed break arrives...Christmas for christian workers is an interesting time...so many people to reach yet weariness sets in...i prayed today asking for energy, focus and help...it is a time when people are open to the good news...

i need to be up and on...not down and out.

the vineyard staff had lunch together then wrapping up presents at the mall a two hour marathon of non stop wrapping...we are now speed wrappers...2 more days then we wrap up wrap it up...this year was less stressful for me, we hired a full time college student to run the shop and do the hours...over the time he has racked up 94 hours...now that's a lot of wrappig with only one day off...it really helped me in the tiredness, stress area...how i did it the last 2 years is amazing?

...met a lady today whose husband just took a preb. church in the Dayton area...nice lady...sounds like the church needs some outwardfocusedness...I offered to help...

tonight is the first of 4 Christmas Eve Celebrations...we will be lighting candles, singing carols, drinking coffee and giving away Krispy Kreme Donuts at the end of each Celebration for people who attended to take away to fast food places, fire departments, e-rooms etc...for those having to work on Christmas Eve...

things speed up but will settle down in Jan for a few days of r and r...tired old dude out...


A blur of a weekend…1400 people plus 400 volunteers packed Sinclair College for Saturdays Making Christmas Dreams Come True 2005. Out of the four 350 people seatings, only 70 guests per seating were adults, the rest were kids…kids of all colors, and shapes but with one thing in common…poor.

It was a blast to see the smiles on the faces as they walked in to the balloon filled room…Santa’s chair with our pro Santa, 4 different craft opportunities and some very talented face painters…our magicians were a hit as were the clowns who went table to table connecting with the kids and adults.

Every person was fed a 3 course meal presented by our Vineyard table servers…we found out that next year we will offer Jell-O not salad…

Our prayer team was out in force and offered prayer for those who needed it…one lady I prayed for had some kidney problems, as we prayed we asked for healing of any emotional stress, she broke and began to weep as God’s Spirit touched her…Another lady brought 10 kids from her housing area. She leads the kids by forming troupes to act and sing…’it keeps the kids off the streets…this party is a good thing’ she commented.

After the meal every kid received a wrapped present and picked out a present for their parent…as they left to go home they were given a bag of groceries complete with Bob Evans sausages and pumpkin pies. Our grocery people also handed out mittens and hats donated by 377 National Guard group.

One highlight…we always have a few new bikes to give to special children we see. We always receive enormous smiles, high fives and hugs from the recipients.

All who attended commented on how well the event flowed…We had the best team we’ve ever planning and executing the event…Friday night before the event 200 hundred volunteers showed up for our first annual pre-party vision, and information… meeting it was electric…the leaders spoke with passion, with unifying affirming language …it was a move forward for us as a church…the vibe: it is our party, and it is great to be able to have a part to play.

All left over gifts were set up on tables at the Vineyard for parents and grandparents who couldn’t afford a gift for their kids…one lady weeping commented ‘I just love this church’…

Blur…weeks and a tough 4 days of behind the scenes, bag packing, toy wrapping, balloon inflating, and room set up, problem solving…my days sometimes 5am to 8pm and beyond. A blur…but a good kind of tired. Not a bad weekend for a pretty good church.

Making Christmas Dreams Come True 2005

gearing up to pull off the Making Christmas Dreams Come True 2005 party at Sinclair College downtown Dayton. we have raised most of the funding for the party and all the presents are wrapped, bagged and ready to go. just packing the groceries tonight and loading everything tommorow and moving balloons, crafts, facepainting, presents, signs etc to the college...faith helps me believe we will receive all the funding. last year we cleared the bill. i'm trusting the same will happen this year.

a win for me is how many people we touch with God's love and how many people we have involved in serving...this year we have over 300 people signed up to serve at the party. there is a great leadership team in place ready to receive the vols and the 1400 less-served from the community.

we are having a special vol...meeting on friday night to cast vision, give information, break up into our serving teams and to receive some instructions...here is the Why:

Serving our way into the hearts of our community is a priority of the Vineyard. The noise we make by our serving can speak louder than our words. Being the good news is often the way people become receptive to hear the good news. So, when talking to the kids, and the parents let them know Jesus cares by your serving and your by attitude of grace. Lastly, look for opportunities to offer prayer.


the male passage of life...sigh

what a day...started out going to the doctor for the ole prostate check and blood work. ..i woke up late and had to rush out pulling on a hat to hide the bed hair look...good news 'yep it feels aok' i said that's great news...he then wanted to shake hands as he left the room, i said 'i don't think so...for those of you who don't have a clue about male health it is a ritual men over 40 must endure on a yearly basis...two of my friends had to have isotopes placed to deal with early stages of cancer...both recovered and are glad they were checked...so i reckon the male yearly passage is worth taking...

wrap it up went well today...had some good talks one family from kentucky talked about the taking Christmas out of Christmas and it is now happy holiday not merry christmas...i mentioned there is a place in psalms that says the nations are trying to remove the king from his throne...the king laughs and says it aint gonna happen...when they left the lady said 'merry christmas'


been listening to U2 lately and really get a lot out of the music and lyrics...makes me think, ponder and worship...I played a clip from their elevation tour a few weeks ago it show the group singing, thank you Jesus, etc. I then mentioned Bono is on a journey...I've been pronouncing Bono Bo no with a long o. A nice lady came up an said we've been following U2 for years and want you to know it is not Bono with a long o but Bano with an a sound...I thanked her for the information and thought yep i'm from kentucky and never could speak right...my wife often correct my puncuaton...similar to reading letters and numbers backwards...

while wrapping presents i spoke to one of the vols and found out how she and her husband decided to attend the vineyard...mainly the kids...they wanted the kids to learn about God...she mentioned the vineyard had a safe place and the kids liked what they saw and did...a good thing...

Pattie and i also went to a play at the victoria downtown dayton...fun day, interesting play about a nun and christmas...i liked how she timed her punches...it was a comedy and she was the only player except for the audience participation...the participation part would go down well here... good to get a break...

that's a lot of wrapping

yesterday was the first day of gift wrapping at the mall...good vibe, great talks and wornderful vols...we hired a student to run the booth to help me have some free time to work on the making christmas dreams come true party...we are also wrapping every gift that comes into the vineyard...we need tons of gifts to meet the need...every year we have to have some faith to believe for the increase...usually we have more than enough to go around...a few people are giving good sized $ gifts to help purchase the tickets...as always it is a hetic season...so i need to remember the Reason for the season...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

lot's of snow fell yesterday right before we were scheduled to have dinner and go to a play with some friends. 4inches of the stuff.

my dog loves the snow he runs around, digs, and generally has a good time...this is his second winter with us.

last night i couldn't sleep so up at 4am to do the budget for 2006. I do not like calculators on the mac or on a desk...numbers drive me crazy...i think i'm mildly backward and can't spell but read numbers back to front 8's be come 9's and 3's...probably a common problem in the general population...

I'm off to wrap presents and to grab some more candy canes to use with the card above for Kindness to Go for this weekend services.

off to the races.


another on the fly day at the vineyard...we are gearing up for several events that tend to leave me out of breath at the end of the day. Making Christmas Dreams Come True 2005 is a huge party for 1400 of the less-served of Dayton...amazing ammount of planning, small details to large plans...we always need help to pull this off.

Wrap it up! starts Friday at the Dayton mall.

not to mention kindness to go, 4 services for Christmas and a baptism.

Baptism here is a blast. 20 people so far are signed up to take the plunge. One lady told her story this past weekends class for new belivers, A Starting Point. She related how her life totally changed after her baptism from stress to peace, from fear to joy, from wearieness to rest...it was some story divorce, foreclosure, suicidal thoughts to a new life in Jesus Christ. Those being baptized I'm hoping will experience some major changes as well.

Oh, yeah I fell...more like bounced on ice yesterday! a bit sore but plodding on.

Wrap It up!

busy day home at 7pm...went to mall today to set up the wrapping station...it looks good...interesting comment from a passing couple...'oh a church is wrapping presents wonder how much they are going to make, hmmphs'...makes you wonder how they were influenced and by what church. Wrapping for free is a spin that helps redefine church, Jesus to the community. we were asked by the mall people to extend the 12 days of Christmas to 15 days...i'm working on a new song called the 15 days of Christmas.

another thought...I'm thinking about writing a leadership article called wopping gophers...it's the chucky cheese game...the one you have with a rubber mallet and you pop the gophers as they pop up...one pops up you wack it and three more pop up...church leadership is something like that concerning problems...hit one problem and 3 other problems pop up...lot's of what i do is thinking on my feet and solving pressing problems...lately to be honest it has been kinda refreshing to work with a team and problem solve on the fly...

a side note the Life Enrichment Center will be launched from the vineyard in Jan as a seperate 503C...it has been an interesting 4 years...coaching...keeping people alive and in relationship...some interesting issues...like...some people thinking we stopped investing in the ministry when $ every week are given plus lot's of prayer, time investment etc happens... one of the gophers i reckon...glad there is some flexability among the leaders


Met with some upcoming church planters yesterday...It is encouraging to me that a group of young 20's are wanting to go for it and plant a new Vineyard. Springboro Ohio, one of the fastest growing areas in Ohio. It was good to talk, listen and encourage.

One thing I mentioned to the team is the whole thing of God's favor being on a life, a church, a group. Favor is something many people don't ask for or think about. To be honest I have only ever done anything because of God's favor. Hindsight is 20 20...Looking back I think I missed seeing God's favor even though it was there all along the way. In the hard spots, in the misunderstanding times, when leaders who should have gotten world view and huge opportunities and potiential couldn't see past the nose on their faces, when I was in fetal position just moving back to the USA with no job, a family, when I was not known for who I really am by my friends and people I worked with etc. In all of it God's favor indicators were on...pulsing...improving the situations, opening doors, etc.

Favor...is a wonderful thing.

regrets, some

good day today...took some bags filled with gronloa bars, breathmints etc to local shops...Doug P from AIA went along for the ride...good talks with lots of people...one lady mentioned I almost didn't go to work today...now I'm glad i did.

Doug talked to a men's group about discovering purpose in all we do...a good talk with some interesting spins.

Also, one group went to the Nursing home near work...200 carnations went to the people there. going there personally is a challenge...too close to eternity and the downwardness of humanity dealing with age and sickness. to be honest i didn't think i'd make it this far 53. makes me ponder...regrets probably some, continuing to run with passion... plodding on

Able to stimulate people last week with a talk mainly about the decisions we make and how those decisions for good can touch a life and motivate a person to perhaps do some great things some day...just because we redifined church, or touched a life with a small thing...the things we do with kindness is like throwing a small pebble in a pool and watching the ripples extend...