sleepless in kettering

here it is 2am...can't sleep...just lying awake thinking...went to a funeral tonight...a lady, a mom, a wife, a friend died this past weekend age 58... she lived life in the fast lane... she slowed down enough to begin to attend the Vineyard...something connected...she became a follower of Jesus and began the journey of life change...

at one point when she needed prayer Doug prayed for her and encouraged her to read Psalm 23...often...

Just last week she phoned pastor on call... David was making return phone calls and she was the last on the list... he phoned and prayed with her... two days later she passed away...

her daughter in law often brought her to church during her last months...

one time when nearing the church she stated, "When I'm at the Vineyard I feel so alive!" and she raised her hands.

I think I can't sleep because my mom died at her age...hey, I'm 56...

I live life in a different fast lane... but it's still pretty fast... always pressing ahead, dreaming, thinking, wondering, changing things, and reaching out...

In the morning 6am I will be heading up to Impact World Tour to encourage the guys and gals toward developing Love In Action... Hoping to band together to reach out to our community on the same day in September.

Nudging our community toward Jesus...

It's part of the great commission to go, to serve, to love and reach those who are like the lady who just died

living life in the fast lane sometimes means slowing down enough to think about what really matters and what am I / we are living my / our life for. Awake in bed, my mind thinking about the great commission, God's eternal purpose for his church, what we are supposed to be about

I'm still convinced life is about knowing God and making Him known. It's focusing on the main and the plain hopefully bringing people toward Jesus Christ before the end of their life.

One the funeral I was surprised ... my feelings... most of the people were like sheep without a shepherd... lost. I found love and concern rising in my heart... I'm glad David shared the good news and explained in a non religious way that anyone can begin their journey toward Jesus by simply opening up their heart and inviting Him to change their life...


We had a great week this week after the BBQ...The largest number of people we've had came to the Thursday breakfast and food pantry.

Ok, what's the deal with the BBQ?... the food pantry?... the block parties? of course people will come if you offer them food!

Sometimes remarks like the above cause me to sigh and let out a couple of oy vey's.

During the BBQ night things happened that let us know that what we were doing was something much more than just cooking BBQ.

Story 1.
One old guy of 56 popped over to talk. He is homeless, yet clear eyed, a migrant worker who has travelled all over the we talked he mentioned he is tired of traveling and not having any place to call home, 'it takes a lot out of a man' ...he stopped drinking in 97 and lost over 30 pounds... now can't be around people who cause trouble...Pat, one of the BBQ guys and I prayed for was a powerful time we all sensed something spiritual happening... as the man walked away... immediately a guy who is a new believer in process... grabbed the just prayed for man and cursed him out... I was in shock... I talked to the curser-outer... 'Do you see this land? Do you see the boundary roads? This is a safe place. A place of refuge where people can run to and find safety. While people are on this land they are safe and are welcome here unless they begin to be unsafe toward others. Please do not ever curse out anyone on the land again.' Sheepishly the man apologized...The next day I found out he apologized to the man we had prayed for.

Story 2.
A girl pulls up in her car...2am...hangs around the group...tells her story and leaves her car...The next day she decides to go to the services at the Dayton Campus. It was a good day Doug Roe spoke and asked if anyone wanted to give their lives to Jesus to respond by raising their hand. The girl responds.

After the service there was a baptism where 10 people were baptized. Kevin, the site pastor asked,'is there anyone else who'd like to be baptized?' the answer yep...the girl from the night before jumped in.

Just for the record...when we began to have meetings there were 20 people...after 5 months of feeding the poor, throwing block parties / BBQs etc...there were almost 200 people this past Sunday.

We don't serve for church growth...We serve because that's what believers are supposed to do...However, when we do serve there is growth. It's called fruit. See John 15. and Mark 4.


6 or so intrepid BBQ teams, some driving as far as Michigan came to our Dayton campus just to cook BBQ for the community. 500 pounds of meat was cooked to perfection.

If you don't know how the cooking happens here's what happens

Arrive on Saturday...get smokers fired up with wood, mainly hickory, pecan, cherry...

Also fire up smaller cookers for food, lots of food... to last through the 15 hour process...

They were also competition cooking... brisket, and pulled pork... Mr. White a great guy in the community was the judge.

The weather was great, only 3hrs of thunderstorms and some wind.

Sunday after the service, 10 people baptized, people filed out to waiting tables, at 1pmish, we began to serve the food...BBQ sandwiches, chips, drinks and oreos.

Believe it or not 1250 sandwiches were gone in an hour and a half.

hundreds of people showed up, and the community vibe was amazing as sinner and saint sat together downtown on Main.

some pictures

Purpose before Process

I've been thinking a lot about focus...and how a fixed purpose naturally leads to developing process.

example: God's purpose for our life is to help us become more like Jesus in thought, word, attitude and service. Therefore when we embrace His purpose, we should embrace His process of becoming like Him...

Philippians chapter 2 talks about this first talking about Jesus and his purpose...

His purpose, to come to earth to fulfill all the Fathers will from birth to cross and beyond...part of His process was to only do what His Father showed Him to do...

His purposeful process:
Come to earth to be fully human...this meant he chose to leave his God-rights, to lay them humble Himself and become obedient to the predetermined God plan...

God's plan, to save humanity from their selfishness. He became obedient and died upon a cross and bear the sin, sickness and selfishness of all mankind.

A casual read of the gospels will reveal the ups and downs in the life of one moment people were flocking to hear him, to see the miracles and the next minute people were wanting to kill him.
His commitment to His life purpose enabled Him to embrace the process.

In the passage ...Let this attitude be in you...What's the attitude? humility, letting go of our rights, esteeming others, living like Jesus

The writer goes on ...
now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

God is working in our hearts, in our choices, in our mind-sets--to act, live out--embrace, and pursue His good purpose.

Part of the good purpose is tied to being the good news to the people in our sphere of influence...

To be an incarnational, a missional person....seeking to serve, and to share the good news with others.

Simply put, the more God's purpose becomes our purpose, the more we will embrace His process in our lives.

Externally Focused Network

great conference...good to be around people who think, breath, model and encourage outwardness.

I'm pretty encouraged...

A few adjustments needed in our Vineyard to help people pursue service and to use the talents, passions and gifts God has given as they live out their time on terra firma.

over all a good couple of days.

All the key speakers were inspiring and passionate.

see sets n service for an overview of the conference.

Go! Denver

Go! is happening this weekend at the Dayton Vineyard it's the big give. We are asking people to give a one time gift and a three year pledge to help us move forward as a church. Simply put we are out of room. It has been an interesting run up to this point. Many meetings, prayers, and lots of energy has gone into Go.

Today after the third service Doug Roe and I head to Denver Co. to attend the Externally Focused Church conference. Doug needs the break and the stimulation. We are developing centers in Dayton that will reach into the Urban community. In September we are looking to launch Catch the V.U.E. Vineyard Urban Experience...entry level serving opportunities connecting with several local doing the stuff community agencies. The trip will help fuel our vision.

What about kindness? Biblical?

Sometimes people say...serving, being kind is not the good news...In fact it's not biblical...It always amazes me what I hear such statements. Usually, the statements come from angry, unkind people. I often want to ask, Could I speak to your wife / husband for a few minutes? I'd ask, Is your husband / wife kind, caring and serving at home? How do they treat you and the kids?

Being kind, caring and open hearted toward others is a heart skill.

My friend Doug Roe states. 'An Evangelist is a friendly open hearted person.'

He says this because Jesus was the most friendly open hearted person to have ever lived. He was a friend of sinners and went to parties with notorious sinners (the message). He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed.

A casual read of the gospels will reveal Jesus as a friendly open hearted person...He usually became ticked at the self-righteous, the self-promoted, the pious, those who turned God's law in to a weapon against people who didn't act, dress or believe like them.

Jesus grew in favor with God and the good deeds that flowed out of his life reflected the kindness of his Father. See Jesus...See God.

So, what about Kindness and Good Deeds?
A brief biblical overview of Kindness, Lovingkindness
• In the Old Testament, the word translated as "kindness" or "lovingkindness" refers to God's long-suffering love—God's loyal love and favor toward His people. His determination to keep loving His people in spite of their sin and rebellion. This attribute of God is revealed through His divine mercy and forgiveness toward all men.

Kindness is not an apathetic response to sin,
but a deliberate act to bring a person back to
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary

• David's plea for forgiveness was based on his understanding and experience of God's unfailing love.

Ps 51:1-2
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love (lovingkindness); according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (NIV)

• Jeremiah the prophet knew that God delighted in those who knew God as a Kind God.

Jer 9:23-24
This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (NIV)

• Hosea was a living picture of God’s unfailing love toward Israel.

Hosea 2:14
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly / kindly to her. (NIV)

(An amazing revelation of God’s Grace and Mercy! check the context!)

In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as "grace" best represents the idea of God's kindness or lovingkindness. Biblical kindness is revealed by God’s consistent day by day unfailing grace. Because God has been gracious toward believers, all believers should endeavor to treat all people with kindness, grace and tolerance.

Luke 6:35.
(Jesus) But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (NIV) Jesus

Matt 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. NIV

• Faith In A Good God Is Essential To Living A Positive The Christian Life.

Heb 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV) (We believe He is... and... He is a good God.)

Acts 10:38
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. (NAS)

Rom 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? (NIV)

Gal 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Who the Holy Spirit? What does He do? This passage describes His personality as active love, joy, peace patience, kindness...

Eph 2:6-7
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Titus 3:4-5

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (NIV)

• What's The Point?

Understanding God's Grace and Kindness has everything to do with how we view / live life and how we treat people as we attempt to reach our world.

What we think about God is the most important thing about us. We will eventually be shaped by the image of God we carry in our minds
Mike Bickle Passion for Jesus
• Points to ponder:
How do you view God? What’s your image? How has your view of God been shaped? Why?

Think of a time when you experienced undeserved grace, mercy and love. How did that event change you or touch your heart.

How is your presentation of the good news based on your perception (how we view and see) of God's nature?

  • How can we reveal God kindness in tangible practical ways?
The Bible Encourages All Believers To Be A People Who Practice Good Deeds.

Rom 2:6-7
God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.(NIV)

Gal 6:9-10
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)

1 Tim 6:17-19
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (NIV)

Titus 2:11-15
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope —the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (zealous for good works.) 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (NIV)

Titus 3:8
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (NIV)

Titus 3:14
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. (NIV)

1 Pet 2:15
For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (NIV)

1 Pet 2:12
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.(NAS)

Good deeds are a reflection of the good good news believers have received.

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

Rick Rusaw

Why serve?

Because it affects the heart.
Acts of kindness expressed by genuine love reaches the heart. By offering to do simple acts of kindness your church can begin to gain access into the lives of the people they are attempting to reach. Most people will remember your deeds of kindness much more than the words you speak. Acts of love + Words of love = incredible power.

Because anyone can serve. It's doable.
Most people are not gifted vocally as evangelists. Most people are fearful and timid. However, both young and old can express God's love and kindness through a simple act of humble service. Serving others helps to remove most of our e:fear factor.

Because it will begin to produce an outward focused spirit to come upon the Church.
As you begin to serve you will discover an amazing thing… As you go out to serve you will begin to notice people and notice needs. Going and serving begins to shift our way of looking from inward: me, us and ours to outward: the needs of others and their need of a savior. Seeing need often produces a willingness to go.

Because it is obtainable.
Most projects can be accomplished in a couple of hours.

Because Serving others creates opportunity.
Most Christians do not have on ramps into the lives of of the people within their sphere of influence. Our greatest talking to strangers. Their greatest talking to strangers. Serving someone is a natural bridge. Their question is usually, "Why?" This question can open the door for relationship and further conversation.

Because it begins to create a humble and servant-like attitude in our lives.
How do you learn to serve? By serving. Serving others involves humility and an enlargement of heart toward other people. Serving others produces a healthy other-centredness.

Because it is simple, quick, and high volume sowing.
Little training is needed. How much training does it take to say to a person, "Hi! We are a church in your area. You looked too thirsty to pass up. Would you like diet or regular?" Many seeds can be sown in a few hours. People need to begin to take first steps into e:opportunities.

Because for the most part it is non-offensive and culturally relevant.
Serving others breaks down barriers and builds bridges between your church and your community. The principle is go, serve, give, then adjust. You will never know what will work...until you begin to do something. Ready...Fire...Aim is the principle.

Because it is good for the church.
As we go and do deeds of kindness there will begin to have a sense of accomplishment and adventure. Because serving others is Low risk...High grace...

Because it blesses the Heart of God.
Obedience to the great commissioner gladdens the heart of God. As we go, serve, and reach He will begin to enlarge our hearts with His care for our area, and He will release His favor into our lives.

It's Team building.
It allows shy people to get their feet wet.
It's Non-aggressive.
It doesn't require a huge amount of training.
It provides a safe place for over-ambitious people.
It doesn't just rely on vocal gifting.