here a little there a little

The Black Man
Giclee Print

...I am a coach...I help others play in the e:game...

with the e:training coming up makes me think about what do I actually do...mainly, I'm an encourager, storyteller and a person who helps others believe they can be a significant influence in the life of another person.

I create venues of service, on-ramps into our community where we as a church can go beyond ourselves to serve, to love and to care.

What we do really does make a difference.

Sometimes what we do makes a huge impact upon a life. Most of the time, it's the small things, the hidden things, the positive attitudes, or a conversation cloaked within a personal story that makes a difference

Last week I met a great guy during my Thursday @ vineyard on main...I shook his hand as I sat down, we began to talk about his life. He is a plumber, laying low during the winter in Ohio, 'it's cold in Ohio.' on un-employment who popped into the center for breakfast.

He came to the center after hearing 'the word on the street'...
'these people really care, they are authentic'. We talked about his life where he's been, what's happening now and landed on the topic of motivation...What motivates people to better themselves? and What motivates people to stay in a rut and drift through life?...It was a great learning experience...

One comment threw me...he shared something I took for granted...the impact of a handshake...pause...'You don't know what it means to me for someone like you to shake my hand and listen to my story. It means much more to me than this breakfast.'

My goal, is to live an authentic caring life, in such a way, that my life in some small way may reveal the love of Jesus. I hope that my life... and what I do...may create an environment/atmosphere where faith can begin to dwell... that motivates others to reach out.

you just never know

You never know when someone somewhere will open their heart and tell you things only a priest should know or when someone needs some practical help that opens their hearts to the good news.

This happens to me...often.

You just never know...Confession

Yesterday I went to the gym(my wife ensures me that working out is good for me) rode the ole bike for 7 miles up and down programmed hills while reading my moleskin notes of the past just to see if I wrote something worth remembering.

I usually wear a tee-shirt, a long sleeve tee-shirt, a sweat-shirt and a warm up jacket and shorts. As the work out progresses I tend to remove a layer of clothing. After the torturous bike ride I do a circuit of weight lifting just for muscle tone then head to the dry sauna.

The sauna is a the good part...usually I listen to podcasts, or to a book of the bible or to some songs for 20 minutes.

Yesterday, I sensed I should forgo the ipod.

When I arrived there was a guy in his late 60' or early 70's. We began to talk...He, for some reason, started talking about Billy Graham and how he was a man of integrity and how his life-style contrasted with the TV preachers of today...

He said he liked Billy Graham because one time in his early days a newspaper showed a picture of him riding out of town with a bag of people's a result Billy G. formed a trustee board and just took a modest salary. (modest for a guy who traveled the world etc.)

He also mentioned Rick Warren who lives off %10 of his income and gives away his book royalties. And how the 5 TV preachers were in trouble. Points duly noted.

Suddenly as we were talking he pauses and says, 'I need to confess something to you. I was a man who had the Spirit of God really in my life, I was raised poor and only have a 4th grade education and have done well in my life.' He didn't know who I was, that I was a pastor, etc. he just needed someone to listen.

He then proceeded to confess some of his life failures, his weaknesses and sins and how his sin had damaged his marriage of 46 years. 'She still won't forgive me for what happened in 91.'

I then asked if I could pray for him and his wife. He said, 'yes'... We prayed together. After the prayer I encouraged him to reconnect to his early faith and that the connection was only a prayer away and to talk to his wife perhaps God would answer our prayer and she'd listen. With tears in his eyes he said thanks...and left.

Over the years I've learned that when people really open their hearts like this guy and receive prayer they often feel very exposed and need some space. So I waited a short while before I headed to the locker room pondering the encounter.

You never know...Gas

The day before I was driving to pick up my sister to take her job hunting. I noticed a guy carrying a gas can in his hand. He looked very cold. I zipped my car into a parking lot and motioned the guy over and offered to take him to the gas station.

His name was Earl, as he sat down he said, 'I can't believe you are stopping to help me? I help people all the time but you are the first guy to help me.'

He then told his story how he has always helped people, giving them rides etc.

At Christmas time a few years ago he noticed that stores throw away the left over poinsettias. He formed a group of friends that now travels to the stores, flower shops and picks up the flowers and takes them to nursing homes, hospitals, and to shut ins. He mentioned that Hertz like the idea and they donate the vans. 'I'm the kind of guy, who along with my wife, like to help others.'

He also kept mentioning that he'd pay me back etc. We pulled in to speedway, I used my card and told Earl to fill up the gas can while I went inside. I then purchased a $15 gas card...

Dave, a friend of mine, walked in and stated, 'You're doing an act of kindness aren't you?' I said, 'Yep.' Dave said, 'I want to have a part here's a $20.'

Once I got back into the car I handed Earl the gas card and the $20 and told him the story about Dave who wanted to have a part in helping. I went on to tell Dave's story, that Dave was part of a group of believers who believed serving others is what Jesus wanted them to do. They have a food pantry called FISH. They are unique in the way the run the pantry. They take phone orders and deliver the groceries to those in need.

Earl then talked about his past church connection and how he was turned off by what he saw. He mentioned he was a 'people watcher' and watched people to see if they enjoyed church or just went through the motions. His experience told him that many were just going through the motions. 'Why would anyone want to go to a church and be miserable? ' Good point, Earl.

I then told Earl about the we believe that our practice should reflect our beliefs...and told him a few of the ways we serve our community as we drove to his truck.

He thanked me...shook my hand... and said 'Don't be surprised if you see me again.'

I waited with my flashers on until he drove away.

You just never know... when someone may need to talk or when someone may need some practical help. You just never know?


kiss dayton!

Five years, that's a long time...every Valentine season for five years we've Kissed Dayton...

Today a few of us gathered...talked about what 2nd Saturday Outreach is all about, and talked about the re-tooling of the day in the near future

Today we Kissed Dayton...a few small Hershey Kisses in a small bag, along with a red carnation. We went to two local strip malls, one in Fairfield, and one in Centerville...We had a blast.

People were open, curious, laughed and caught the vibe. One group went to a Spa/Hair place they offered the carnations and gave the packs saying, 'We're the Vineyard and you've just been Kissed.'

One of the team noticed the lady getting her hair cut didn't receive a flower. So being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find the team 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? What's in a gift of a small flower?...a message...a small action that sends a signal...someone cares for you. Somehow, the action done with genuine love touches the heart. It's a mystery.

Jesus said...
"This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.Mark 4:
26-28 NIV

As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.
Mark 4:9 NIV

Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor." John 4:35-38 NIV

Servant Evangelism is primarily the hard work of outreach. Scattering seed. Somehow the seeds we sow are placed into the ground of a human heart.

How does the seed grow? It just does. God makes the seed grow. The action connected to the act of service done with genuine love is a powerful seed. It's a spiritual mystery.

I've noticed unbelieving believers usually don't get love in action. They don't understand... and most probably have never consistently endeavored to sow acts of kindness. The process and joy of seed sowing is actually more caught by doing. The understanding takes place as kindness is practiced, not by understanding a theory.

A process

Last week, Doug asked for those who had never ever given their lives to Jesus Christ to raise their hands. Many hands were lifted up. Later he gently asked those who lifted their hands to come to the front for prayer. One girl in her 20's came forward. She gave her life to Jesus Christ and began her new journey into LIFE.

What was the process? Many people sowing many seeds into her life. Someone planted the seed, someone watered the the end, God brought the increase as Doug made a simple appeal that invited her to make a positive decision.

Outreach is a mystery...but that's how the process works in real time. Personally, I'm glad to be playing in the game.

by the way...
Positive comments flowed in our follow up small group time. in action

We are glad to be involved with Impact World Tour an outreach to the youth of the Dayton area. The tour uses culturally current outreach ....bmx, skateboarding, music, power lifting, and dance.

Part of the outreach will be in action. Churches joining together to serve the community together on the same weekend. see

Several cities have made an impact in their area as they served together.
The movement began about 8 years ago in a small town in western Canada called Abbotsford. The movement is called Love your city. see

Love Portland

Love Louisville

Good deeds create good will that opens hearts to the good news.

It is our hope that hundreds of people will serve our community with God's love with no strings attached and that thousands of people will encounter God's love in action.