Why we do back to school Backpacks.

Kindness to go backpacks. Why? Families in need often can't help their children. Sometimes they are making a choice between purchasing food or school supplies. Your decision to care helps the less served children of our community.
Usually we begin to ramp up for school in July. I know that sounds early however, parents begin to shop for supplies early August. Our special Back to School Bash begins by the fourth weekend in July in order to ensure their return to the Vineyard in good time to deliver to the schools.
Here’s how it works.

I purchase the back packs for $6 each... then sell them to the Vineyard people for $5.* ($5 is just enough to remind people they have a pack to fill up) I usually purchase 200 backpacks. That’s about our limit.
Interestingly the packs usually sell out in just two weekends.

People then return the backpacks to the Vineyard we place them in a visible area in the building which generates buzz and a sense of accomplishment. Stacking up 200 backpacks makes a huge stack.
Here is the information flyer I use to help connect the dots. 

Back to school backpacks ...
Under privileged children of Kettering, Fairborn, and Dayton are not able to purchase their school supplies. Therefore, each year we partner with teachers to make a small, yet significant investment to help further a child’s education. 

Why$5? Five dollars is really your commitment that says, ‘Yes I want to help.’ 

How? It’s simple.
Take the list on this instruction sheet to any store that sells school supplies like Wall Mart, Target, or STAPLES. Purchase the items then fill the back pack and bring it back to the Vineyard.
Tip: if you have children let them shop with you. As you are shopping talk about the project, why you are shopping for someone else and where the packs are going. 

Tip: people often place some other exciting items in the backpack, key chains, to teddy bears. Be creative, be generous and put some fun in the project.

Supplies list:
3 3”X 3” postits
1 inch 3 ring binder
2 packs of wide ruled lined paper
2 Elmers glue stick
1 box of No.2 pencils
1 box of 2 erasers
1 box of colored pencils 12
1 box of Crayola Markers
1 Fiskar’s scissors
1 plastic folder 2 pockets blue
1 8 by 10 composition book
1 box of Crayola crayons 24 count
1 5 section divider
5 pronged 2 pockets folders
1 4oz school glue
1 dry erase markers low odor
2 pencil holders, zippers with grommets

If you can't afford to do this on your own. Why not gather some friends and team up to make a difference in a kids life. 

If you missed getting a backpack and want to help, just purchase supplies on the list and bring to the Vineyard. We'll make sure your items reach a child.

Kids need shoes and socks, if able please purchase elementary aged shoe and socks.

Here's why...

Ever attempt to run and play in flip-flops?

I went to the school to take pictures for an outreach. During the recess period, I was snapping pictures in the playground a kid runs up to me and asks, "Hey mister, will you tie my shoes?" I replied, "Sure." As I bent down to tie the smiling kids shoes I noticed, new shoes, no socks.(He was wearing flip-flops, now had shoes. The school counselors watch out for kids who come to school in flip-flops. The flip-flops are an indicator of a child in need. Obviously they ran out of socks.) I asked, "Hey did you get your new shoes from the school?" Grinning from ear to ear, he replied excitedly, "Yep!" I finished tying his shoes, He said, "Thanks mister!" and ran off to play. In that moment I felt the Son shine in my heart.

You know, small touches aren't often long term need meeting events, but for that kid, and for that family it was a small thing, done with great love.

Who knows it may have even changed his world.
Ever attempted to run and play in flip-flops?

Thanks for making a difference!

You Just Never Know

You just never know!
Years ago, I met a young doctor named Paul. He was from Canada and he was sitting on the steps of an art museum at the Mound in Edinburgh, Scotland. I sat down beside him and began a conversation. I asked him why he was in Edinburgh and I found out he had come to learn more about his profession and gain some experience. He asked me why I was in Edinburgh. I related some of my story and told him about YWAM and how we shared our faith through drama, song and story with anyone who would watch and listen. He was more than interested. We began to talk about different aspects of faith and belief. I soon found out he was a Catholic but had never gained an understanding of the gospel. He was searching.


    After our conversation he invited me to dinner where we continued our talk. A few days later, I returned to his house with a book about a young Catholic man who encountered Jesus in a personal way. The book helped Paul greatly and watered the seed already planted in his heart. Over the next few days Paul and I continued to meet.

The time came when I needed to return home so I encouraged Paul to connect with a great church in the city. A few weeks later I received a letter from Paul that he had gone to the church, connected the dots, and had given his life to Jesus. Paul stayed true and later married a great Scottish girl and moved back to Canada.

During the first stages of the rewrite of my book I received an encouraging phone call from Paul. He wanted to catch up all these years later. He was appreciative of our connection and my role in leading him toward faith. Now his daughter is in Edinburgh launching a new YWAM base. She is a blond, dread­-locked, barefoot dancer who loves Jesus and is pursuing her destiny by bringing others into the Kingdom of God. I was so grateful to hear of God’s generational purpose for Paul and his daughter being fulfilled.

    This story illustrates how the process principle works. I was able to water the seed already planted in his heart by the Catholic Church. He was probably at a –50 on the scale. He had a concept of God. He had an awareness of his need, and was searching. Perhaps as a result of our time together and reading the book he moved to a –10. By the movement of the Holy Spirit upon his life, hearing life messages, and experiencing the love of the members of the church, he may have been moved to a –5. At just the right time a specific person was able to introduce him to Jesus and God brought the increase. Paul discovered faith in Jesus Christ and was born again now a +1 in the Kingdom of God.

Paul is an example of how many people come progressively toward saving faith in Jesus Christ. I believe this is the norm. We are co-­workers with the Holy Spirit. Our role is to sow and water seeds in faith. 

    I’ve learned I can relax into my role of being one of God’s co­-workers. It's His role to bring the increase. My role is to learn to be a positive empowered co­-worker nudging people toward the Kingdom as I am enabled. Sometimes my role involves a power encounter. Other times it’s my role to serve a person with a simple act of kindness, or it’s my role to have a caring conversation.

To learn more you can purchase the book go. sow. here 


Faith that works through love...

 Faith: the action that pulls upon the Kingdom of heaven.

I was fishing with a few friends on a lake in Scotland. I was reading a book about the invisible Kingdom. I read a passage from the book to my fishing buddies, how faith reaches into the unseen and brings what we need into the seen. As soon as I finished reading the passage, a trout jumped out of the water, landed into the boat and flopped down to my feet. We all were suddenly aware a Kingdom principle was being supernaturally highlighted. We were stunned. I was the only one who caught a fish that day. Faith is the action that pulls what we need into the now.

Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries it shall be done.
Charles Wesley

Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him. NCV Heb 11:6

Faith believes that God is, and that He is good. He rewards those who seek Him. Our ultimate reward is knowing Him.

 Measures of faith:
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 NAS

Everyone has a measure of faith. All of us are given talents and treasures that are to be used / stewarded to encourage others.

Romans 12 lists the different gifts: serving, speaking, leading, encouraging etc., all are to be expressed according to the measure of our faith. My faith measure may be less than your faith measure. However, what is most important is that we actively use and develop the measure of faith we have been given.

The Exercise of faith: Faith grows as we exercise our faith; as we put our faith into action. To exercise our faith we speak promises, wait, stand fast, pray, worship, serve, go, love and hang on.

Sometimes active faith is exercised when we find ourselves in difficult situations when we actively hang on, or wait, or stand firm. 

It is not the strength of our hand holding on to God that keeps us safe.
It is the strength of God's hand holding on to us that keeps us safe and maintains our salvation. Adam Vaughn

I was in a hotel room in Pensacola FL. laying on the floor calling out to God. My family were in Scotland. I came to the USA to seek a non-existing promised job and I realized I had to bring my family back to the USA in three weeks with no house, no car and no job. I was hanging on, and crying out. In the midst of this emotional roller-coaster I learned a lesson.

 In a moment I realized faith is spelled trust. I understood that I wasn't hanging on to God, He was hanging on to me. My daily reading that day was about faith being spelled trust, when I decided to trust, faith entered my heart. Later that day I received a phone call from a friend and I had a job. I was able to phone my family and give them the good news of God's faithfulness.

Faith is spelled trust: Here is the daily reading portion that I read from Effective Faith by J.O. Sanders.

Faith is trust…We trust only those whom we know and love.

 Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present, and the invisible as seen. There is no such thing as faith without trust. Trust may be defined as resting on the integrity or friendship of another. To trust someone is to have confidence in; to rely on them. Trust is effortless confidence based on the character of the one in whom trust is given. True faith always issues in full trust. In relation to God, it is the trust in his Love and his trustworthiness and power, it is a calm confidence in his moral character.

Hebrews 10:23 Phillips
In this confidence (trust) let us hold on to the hope that we profess without the slightest hesitation—for he is utterly dependable.

Jesus spoke to his disciples and told them to stop being perpetually anxious and worried about their lives.

Why? Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.

Unbelief: Jesus marveled at unbelief.

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. Mark 6:4-5 NIV

Unbelief is one of the elements that robs us of our faith. The question, "In whom do I not believe?" 

With God all things are possible. That's the key phrase, with God

Without God impossible, with God all things are possible.

Great faith: Jesus marveled at great faith.

The centurion said, "Just say the word and my servant will be made whole." He understood authority; the power of a command, and understood who Jesus really was. He believed that when Jesus spoke, His word of authority would bring healing to his servant.

Jesus often asked questions, "What do you want?" He would often then say, "Be it according to your faith."

He responded to corporate faith. Four friends brought their friend into the house through the roof. Seeing their determined active faith he stated, "Rise and take up your pallet.Your (all you all's) faith has made you whole."

When Jesus faced difficult situations He removed the negative people, cleared the environment, and created an atmosphere of faith.

Faith feeds on the promises of God. Faith feeds on the pledged word of God and flourishes in the atmosphere of His presence. The presence of God is the atmosphere of faith.  J.O. Sanders Effective Faith

 Where Jesus is present, there is faith.

 Faith speaks: 

And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Mark 11:22NIV 

The woman with the issue of blood had suffered much. She heard that Jesus was passing by. Her need and her faith moved her to seek Jesus; to press through the crowd and to touch the hem of His garment. As she was pushing through the crowd she was continually saying to herself, "If I can just touch the hem of his garment, if I can just touch the hem of his garment, if I can just touch the hem of his garment I will be made whole. She touched His hem and power flowed from the source of all healing. She was made whole.

Faith grows by being occupied with who God is and with what He has spoken. J.O.Sanders Effective Faith

Faith is like eyesight.

What we fix our eyes upon is what we see. We don't see our eyesight, we see the object upon which we fix our eyes upon. It's always good to look to Jesus, to turn our eyes upon Him, for He is the author and the finisher of our faith. His promise: He who began a good work in you, will complete the work He began in you.

Open my eyes help me to see,
Open my ears that I might hear,
Open my heart that I may believe,
Who you really are, who you really are.

Spontaneous Song Steve Bowen

Faith works best when God's love is flowing.

God's love for us, awakens love in us. Mike Bickle Passion for Jesus

It is the love for God which inspires our faith.
Love is faith, for love believes all things.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 
1Cor 13:13 NIV

The only thing that counts, is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 NIV

When we receive God's love for us, His love releases faith in us, so that we can express His love to others. That's why it is so important to open our hearts to His love.

We love because He first loved us. I John 4:19 NIV

I am a recovering non-hugger. I am now learning how to hug people into wholeness. I hug until I feel love flow. When love flows sometimes people are restored. Almost every time people feel loved.

The other week I was able to help a homeless man. We had a great conversation. I discovered he had HIV and bone cancer. I prayed for him. I also began to speak into who he was. That he wasn't defined by HIV or cancer, but he was defined by who Jesus saw him and said him to be, a son of the Father. We both wept as I hugged Him. The hug was one of those healing hugs, where you can sense love and healing flow. It came from a source somewhere deep inside of me. The love of the Father released faith to flow into this mans heart in order to bring the emotional healing he needed. 

Faith always works best in an atmosphere filled with God's love.