Food... yet more than food.

This picture taken Saturday when we served over 300 people.

For the past two years we have been serving the less-served of the Dayton area, partnering with The Hope Foundation. We supply bags, warehouse, storage area, truck and ministry partners. It's a great partnership.

Every Tuesday a few guys head down to The Food Bank and load the truck with tons of food. On Wednesday at 5:30pm, we pack hundreds of bags of groceries that will go to Fairborn, Jamestown, Ceaderville, Huber Heights, Beavercreek or Dayton.

At each location every family registers and receives 2 bags of groceries, plus 1 bag of protein, (5lbs sometimes 10lbs, we receive steak, chicken, roast, pork loin etc.) often veggies and fruit.

On the first and third Saturdays we meet at 10am(some vols come at 9am to help set the day) load the truck, and drive to our location to meet the people and to distribute the food. On the fourth Saturday we meet at the Dayton Campus at 9am and distribute the food.

At this time of writing The Hope Foundation is the largest food distributor in the Montgomery County and Green County.

What we offer is more than food. We offer:

Hope - People who have nothing need hope. Our commitment to long term, short term help brings hope to the people in need.

There are two camps, one camp says, 'Short team help is a waste of time, only long term help will truly meet the need.' The other camp says, Long term help takes too long and only helps a few people. We believe we need both, a commitment to long term short term help, and a commitment toward long term investment. We need both to help bring relief to people in poverty and to help people out of poverty.

Jesus stated, 'The poor you will have with you always.' 

This means we can serve the less served with a little, or with a lot. Both are more than good enough. Your little you give to serve others, is much more than those who do nothing or give nothing.

One man challenged me, he said that Christians were all hypocrites(internally I agreed, all are, me included) and that they did nothing to help the real needs like feeding the hungry, or helping kids in poverty or meeting medical needs.  In the conversation I stated what I was doing to help to meet some needs. I can't meet all the needs but I could meet some.

My wife and I had adopted Quiche Indian kids in Guatemala for over 20 years, we consistently serve helping the poor with food and clothing, and we helped send medical supplies to Haiti. I then asked him what he was doing to meet the needs of the poor? Seems he was doing nothing.

Not to be smug, well maybe I was, but I did think, 'I like what I am doing better than what you are not doing.' We continued our conversation I discovered he had been burnt by some 'Christians' who weren't very Christ-like and was pretty jaded. Been there?

Often we discover we arrive at just the right time. One man with tears in his eyes asked, 'I heard you were cutting back and not coming to Dayton anymore?' I assured him that we were gonna be here for as long as possible. He then replied, 'I don't know what I'd do without your help.' He was one of those innocent ones of our city who needed hope and reassurance.

Relationship -  Three times each month we build relationships with the people we serve. Most of the people who come to serve consistently know the people they serve by name. They know what the person has asked prayer for, and have a connection with the families being served. It's refreshing to hear serving people talk to a person by name. 'Hey, Joe how's it going?'

It's amazing that some people have given us a hard time for our connection to the people we consistently help. Framed in 'you are not really being real to the people and you are not developing long term relationships.' The truth, long term relationships are being developed and people are serving specific individuals and caring consistently over time.

One couple has built a relationship with a prostitute. They know her name, spend time with her, purchase new clothing and generally are her lifeline to sanity.

A Listening Ear- Listening to a persons story encourages the heart more than we understand. Everyone has a story. But not everyone has someone who wants to hear the story. Listening shows respect, gives honor and establishes a sense of self worth. Listening also shouts, I care for you.

When we first opened the Thursday breakfast I was talking to one of the men. When we were finished, I held out my hand to shake his and said, 'Thanks for the conversation.' He gripped my hand and said, 'No sir, thank you for listening, it means more to me than you will ever know.'

God Space - We believe that when we go He is with us and in us in a tangible way. As we set up, and begin to serve we invite God's presence to be among us. Often when we talk to people we discover they too are aware of His manifest goodness usually felt by a sense of peace, calmness, joy and comfort.

When prayer is offered we repeatedly hear stories of how God has met their needs. Whether it be for healing, relationship restoration, jobs, etc.. They can point back to the day the prayer was prayed, up to the time the prayer was answered. 

A few months ago a wife was concerned about her marriage. It had been rocky and she asked for a specific restoration of her relationship with her husband. A couple of months of further prayer continued. She then recently reported that she and her husband had just renewed their vows and they are once again connected.

What can you do?
If live in the Dayton area you too can come and offer hope to the less-served of our community. Just show up on Wed night 5:30pm to help pack, or on the Saturdays 1st and 3rd at 10am Beavercreek 4051 Indian Ripple Rd. and on the 4th Saturday 9am Dayton Campus 1222 N. Main St.

Wednesday morning is the time we set up all the food to be bagged. Pop in at 10 am at the Joseph Project Food Pantry 4051 Indian Ripple Rd to help set up tables and to set up the food and count the bags. Every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm we pack the bags for the weekend.

If you don't live in Dayton... Why not begin from where you are, with what you have? Your little, or your a lot, will make a difference.

Martin Luther King

This year was the 8th year we have served the marchers on MLK day. We chose to hand out hundreds of hand warmers. It was a 35 degree day with a wind of about 10 miles and hour. As always it is a pleasure to meet so many intelligent, caring, sharp people of all races. The people we met were passionate about the change over the last 30 or so years. Yet we can all say we have land to possess, and personal prejudices to lay down.

Elom and Pattie

part of the team

coffee to get warm

Me, recently I realized that I have a tendency to 'profile' people... put them in my box, or jump to my opinion concerning who they are, why they are who they are, and how they got to be where they are.

I'm asking for a change of heart.

Usually, after talking at length with a person my 'profiling' proves to be in error. Here's an example: Someone came to me recently urgently wanting to be Baptized, I replied, 'Well, we will be having a baptism in March. The person then stated, 'I need to be baptized before Jesus returns!'  My profiling, locked the person into a person who was unstable, after all Jesus most probably won't return until after March.

Then the person stated, 'I have cancer.' humm! Now I have a different perspective, more illumination, my profiling box was broken. They were no longer in my box labeled as an unstable person, but the reality, they were a desperate person.

The truth, I was the unstable person. So, I admit I need to be more open hearted less judemental.

The highlight of the outreach was meeting one 82 year old lady. She was a hoot. We laughed as she told us stories of her life and how she raised her kids who were now a doctor and an architect. She laughed as she told us 'We have come a long way, she then dropped the punch line with a twinkle in her eye, my daughter works in a an office... and now... she's over 20 white people. Times have sure changed.'

The night before the march, Pattie and I watched the documentary of the assassination of MLK and the story of James Earl Ray. Quite a contrast of belief systems and destiny. Again, I was moved by Martin's last talk the night before the his tragic end.

Your Karma Is Leaking

Thinking about modeling, and being an example... It's really who I am before the Lord first, and then man. It's about how one conducts his life in both arenas. 

It's more about internals than externals. Believe it or not it's more about our attitude than our actions. Our actions, to some extent reflect our attitudes.(you can't judge a book by it's cover, but as you read a book you discover hidden treasures). Our words (more realistically what's mixed with our words, sarcasm, boredom, impatience, frustration, anger) reveal our hearts. 

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart. Jesus

Ideally, internal grace, love and mercy will be reflected by our words and our actions, if we are truly people of grace, love and mercy. The truth: We reflect are who we really are. 

If we are angry, we will leak _____________. If we are discontent, we will leak _________________. If we are frustrated, we will leak ______________. If we have a competitive spirit. we will leak ________________. If we are proud and self centered, we will leak ____________________.

If we are positive, we will leak ___________. If we are loving, we will leak __________. If we are graceful, we will leak _______________. If we are merciful, we will leak _______________. If we are forgiving, we will leak ___________________.

I think this is why Phil 2 was written... Paul writing says, Let this attitude be in you... He goes on to describe the attitude (humility) and how the action of the attitude should be revealed.

Truly understanding grace, should make us more graceful and reflect to others gracefulness. Truly understanding the love and mercy of God should cause us to be in awe of who He is and reflect to others what we have gracefully received.

Paul wrote,
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that (how) we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.

Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 

Out of the interior life of the leader flows a certain kind of aura, ethos and culture. I call this the leadership “leak.” It is the leak from the leader and leadership team that creates what we call ethos or organizational culture. What is going on inside us automatically flows out. 
Ron Martoia,  Morph! The Texture of Leadership for Tomorrow’s Church 

I read the book Morph! a few years ago... I do know all leaders leak. They leak good things, and they leak bad things. The leaders goal should be to consistently leak good things, and to create a positive, uplifting, inclusive atmosphere / environment where encouragement and faith can dwell.

The challenge of every leader is to slow down... to evaluate ourselves honestly... to take a risk and ask our self the questions, What am I really leaking? Do I build up? or Do I tear down? Am I positive? or Am I negative? Am I patient? or Am I impatient? Am I full of grace? or Do I lack grace? Am I engaged? or Am I unengaged? Being self aware is a good place to start.

A good prayer to pray... Lord show me what am I leaking?

Sometimes I am aware, other times I'm not aware. This is why I need a good wife, honest friends(ask a friend, what am I leaking?) and time before the Lord. 

I like Paul's list of positive leaks... It's called the fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


“Grace is what God gives us when we don't deserve it, and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve”

John Wesley taught that people must be Christians in both word and deed, which were to express the love of God. He believed that Christians must grow in God's grace, which first prepares us for belief, then accepts us when we respond to God in faith, and sustains us as we do good works and participate in God's mission.

'And, First, with regard to works of mercy. "Take heed,"that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: Otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

-- Although this only is named, yet is every work of charity included, every thing which we give, or speak, or do, whereby our neighbour may be profited; whereby another man may receive any advantage, either in his body or soul. The feeding the hungry, the clothing the naked, the entertaining or assisting the stranger, the visiting those that are sick or in prison, the comforting the afflicted, the instructing the ignorant, the reproving the wicked, the exhorting and encouraging the well-doer; and if there be any other work of mercy, it is equally included in this direction.'

“Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending”
Herman Melville

“Teach me to feel another's woe,To hide the fault I see,That mercy I to others show,That mercy show to me.”
Alexander Pope

“The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed- It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”
William Shakespeare

“I would lose my way again, be led hopelessly astray again, just so I can pray again...For the mercy in you.”
Sabian Depeche Mode

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.”
Thomas Merton