Message the same, method’s change.

Walk in the wisdom of God

as you live before the unbelievers,

and make it your duty to make him known.

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity.

For then

you will be prepared to give

a respectful answer

to anyone who asks about your faith.

Paul often asked for prayer. He asked for boldness and wisdom. He wanted to be empowered. He wanted to have wisdom for every opportunity. He wanted to communicate the good news clearly in every situation. Col. 4:4; Eph 6:19-20.

My friend Doug Pollock identifies Paul’s pursuit and practice of reaching people as “Spirit-led evangelism.” Paul prayed, listened, and acted accordingly in every situation.

You can find Doug at www.Godsgps.com. He is the author of God Space. Where spiritual conversations happen naturally. He s a gifted communicator, thinker, and practitioner.

Paul was motivated by his love for Jesus and his love for People.

For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us because we are absolutely convinced that he has given his life for all of us. 2 Cor 5:14 TPT

Love is patient and love is kind. 1Cor 13NAS

Paul’s method changed in different situations, contexts, cultural settings, and opportunities.

How he communicated also changed in different situations, contexts, and cultural settings. (He stated this was his… delightful assignment, the stewardship entrusted to him. Col. 4:4 TPT; 1 Cor. 9;17NASB

His message was always the same. Jesus. Him crucified, buried, and resurrected. Jesus is both Lord and Christ.

Here are a few thoughts gleaned from Paul’s outward focused life style:

He often used reason.

He used the power of explanation to reason.

Reason: the power of the mind to think, and form judgments by a process using logic to understand. (This process implies: Seeking to understand the culture, the positions, and the roles of the people he was speaking to. Having conversations and dialogue. Showing respect, and honor. Living a Christ-centered life-style.}

Many times he used Scripture to reason with people. In this context, the people knew Scripture. They were in religious culture.

And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. Acts 17 NAS

Mars Hill

He used his understanding of a cultural context to explain the gospel within the cultural context. He did not use scripture with the philosophers, he proclaimed Jesus.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him.

Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?

For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.

Check out his amazing message on Mars Hill.

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”

So Paul went out of their midst.

But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Sometimes he told his story. When Paul was confronted by skeptics or the rulers of his day he did not begin a theological debate. He simply told his story. (See Acts 22 and 26.)

And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?

“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth… (His story continues. Note the conclusion and the power of story upon the governing authorities.)

Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26

Sometimes he demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit through healing, signs, and wonders. He also spoke about receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:1-10

In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.

At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. Acts 14

God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. Acts 19

All of the time he was serving people, being a living example of following Jesus. For Paul, the messenger was the message.

He defined himself as a servant.

In writing to the Corinthians he made the following statements about Apollos and himself.

“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, NIV

Paul had a confident understanding of both his position and his role in bringing the Corinthians to faith. He, like Apollos, saw himself as a servant of the gospel through whom people came to believe. Their role was to clearly present the gospel in such a way the people of the city could have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.
Secondly, they shared their faith as the Lord enabled them. God assigned to each a task.

Paul served as the planter of the seed through preaching, testifying, signs and wonders, and serving for eighteen months. He also lived among them and represented Jesus by his actions, his attitudes, and his words.

Many of Paul’s letters speak of serving with or serving among the people. In Philippians 2 he speaks of the attitude all believers were to have… the attitude of a servant.

Sometimes it’s refreshing to study key characters in the Bible and how they encouraged people toward believing. Paul wasn’t perfect. However, he did lay down his life for Jesus as he sought to be both spiritually intelligent and culturally aware.

Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers, and make it your duty to make him known. Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity.

For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.

News Pandemic News

Many of us are staying at home. We are limited in our movement and venture out to purchase supplies and are taking every precaution. If you are wired like I am you will notice even taking all advice to distance and clean it seems impossible. We clean everything, change gloves, wear masks and have a plan in place to clean every item we bring into our home. I mentioned this to Pattie and stated, “We need God to help us. We need His protection. He is our only hope.” So we’ve been seeking to stay safe the best we can and lean into His promises for He is faithful and true.

A song we have been singing.
You are Faithful and true.
Our eyes are upon you.
You are Faithful and true.
Your promises are true.

Coming up to Passover several of my friends are encouraging us to lean in. Kick up our prayer life.  Change our thinking and our lifestyle. Let go of small things that really in the light of what’s going on mean little.

Paul the Apostle once stated, “Having food and clothing we are content.” In view of all that is happening among the poor and countries who have little food, hygiene, or clean water, we have little to be ungrateful for. We live so much higher than most of the people in our world.

Gratitude is an antidote.

I’ve worked in communities where people are grateful for just having an opportunity to live another day.
One lady I know just finished battling cancer. During her battle she often stated on her Facebook page, “Jesus I thank you for another day.” No complaining just gratitude. It’s interesting she continues to say the same every day. She understands and practices thankfulness. It’s who she is and what flows out of her life.

Taking our advantage of facing every day with gratitude helps us to refocus and to embrace what really matters: our relationship with God, family, and friends.

This season of pause is here for a reason.

I’d encourage you to take advantage of your advantage. Take time to pray, read, worship, ponder and be grateful.

If you have embraced the good news, I’d also encourage you to be a messenger of hope. Pray for those you meet. Offer a listening ear. Figure out how to serve and connect safely with others. Your neighbors, friends and your family need to hear from you. Make that call. Offer assistance to the poor. Give to your church and missionaries.

Thanks for your prayers and continued support.

Steve and Pattie

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Valentine’s Week Kindness-to-go!

How’s it works. We serve teachers (by taking a special display of kindness) and have hundreds of Valentine Packs available for the people of our church.

Every year we focus on teachers. So we make their day on Valentine’s Day by delivering special Dark Chocolate, and Hershey Kisses to the school staff rooms early on Valentine’s Day.

One year we purchased special cup-cakes. Teachers need appreciation and the outreach helps us build bridges with the schools and also meets a need in a practical way.

Here’s how we set up Kindness-to-go and the outreach the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.

We pack hundreds of packs. A special connect card goes into each pack along with three Hershey Kisses and a red foil chocolate heart. We also have instruction sheets to help guide the outreach.

The tables are located at all exits, red or black table cloths and fun balloons create a fun vibe.
The two weekends just before Valentine’s day. Our teens and children’s areas pack thousands of Hershey Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special ‘You’ve just been kissed!’ or “Hugs! Everyone needs one!” connect card. People grab several of the bags as they leave the weekend services and go about kissing and hugging the people of our community during the week.

If the kids, or teens help pack the kisses it spreads the DNA of kindness to all ages.

A couple of years ago I went to the gym on one of my usual gym days. (My wife tells me it’s a good thing.) When I arrived I asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ She smiled and said, ‘Nope, not today.’ I then gave her a pack said, ‘Well you’ve just been kissed.’ She laughed and exclaimed, ‘You’re from (she named the church) right?’ I replied, ‘Yep. We are kissing people all over the city this week.’

Saturday Outreach.

On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, we head out to a couple of strip malls near the church. We take the packs of kisses and several buckets of carnations. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’

We then count out the flowers and Hershey packs…and say, ‘We are from (the name of the church) and you’ve just been kissed” or “Everyone needs a hug!”

Usually, some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a carnation for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’

Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe. One group went to a high-end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their flower. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today. Flowers and kisses were also handed out to the ladies who were becoming beautiful-er.

One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn’t receive a flower. So, being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team grab a flower 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? It makes me wonder what one of her days looks like? It makes me wonder if she was ever loved, or had a caring boyfriend, or had a husband, or is now connected to an uncaring guy?

What’s in a gift of a small flower and a pack of kisses?

I think serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed-out world. Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, someone cares for you.’ The action performed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.

My friend Scott, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’ 

Process for Valentine’s Outreach:

4 weeks out: have connect cards printed
4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (SNACC foods Cincinnati)
4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags.
4 weeks out: order boxes of Carnations for pick up
2 weeks out: have kids, teens or a team pack the bags
Weekend of outreach: have packs placed at all exits

Valentine Outreach Saturday before Valentine’s Day

3 days out: pick up flowers, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day
3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers
3 days out: make name tags 3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in larger bags or containers for transport.

Saturday the Outreach Day before Valentine’s Day…
Gather at 10am
Give Instructions then divide up into teams Load up and head out. Also, be open to God’s leading and offer pray with people.go to shops, go to check out or customer service, ask, “How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and flowers give to workers, Say, We’re from the (name of Church) and you’ve just been kissed.” Or, Everyone needs a Hug! We are hugging you today!”

After the project go to a coffee shop for download and great java.

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year!

2019 was a very full year!

We had a year of great challenge, heartbreaking loss, positive encouragement, strategic relational connections, and amazing blessing. We are looking forward to 2020.

Each year I look at my life in the light of what I know I have practiced.
When I first started a few years ago I was surprised I had developed several positive life-practices.

I John 3:18-19 TPT

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that the truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action, which will reassure our hearts in his presence.

The demonstration of our our love in action gives us the evidence we are Christ-followers. Faith + Demonstration = a life captivated by the Father’s love.

Our works/practices don’t save us. Our works/ our practices reveal us.

Most probably your practices flow from who you are and from what you value.
If you are like me, and don’t like the fruit of some of your practices you can change your focus. I choose to focus on and practice the positive.

Tip: Write down your own practices. What consistently flows from your life? What bears good fruit? What doesn’t?
Tip: Focus…Push into the good! Let go of the not so good.

Believe for a good harvest.
Mindset shifts are important.
Sow believing.


Galatians 6:5-10 TPT

Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.

For what you plant will be the very thing you harvest. 

The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted.

If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. 

And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! 

Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others.

I Practice:

  • Slowing Down. Hebrews 4…I know I have a tendency to move too fast.

I slow down by consciously walking slower and by taking the time to pause and reflect. I’m practicing living from faith rest, which means choosing to position myself to Be in His Presence. This time investment helps me to remember I’m always a son first… messenger second. Outflow flows from the inflow. I choose to slow down and slip away on most days.

  •  Being a friendly open-hearted person. I choose to encourage one person every day.

I’ve discovered I usually encourage more than one person during my day.

  • Serving others in love. This is my lifestyle passion and development.

Use your gifts to serve others. Sometimes serving others means getting your hands dirty.

  • Awareness. I was moving from an unaware-mindset toward a being-aware mindset.

I wanted to grow by being self-aware, socially aware, being emotionally intelligent, and being spiritually aware. I’m currently learning to be aware of my environment: where I am, and being aware of who I need to be in a situation.  I mistakenly asked, “What do I need to do in this situation?” The right question, “Who do I need to be in this situation?”

Knowing I am unaware is my first step toward living a life of awareness.

  • Responding to God prompts. Responding to those small intuitive “flutterbys”.  What do I see/hear/feel?

I’m seeking to develop a lifestyle that is open for business. My daily prayer,  “Jesus lead me where You want me to go, and help me to encourage who you want me to encourage.” I want to understand how He moves/leads me toward responding by listening to the Holy Spirit and to people. Listening, really listening, then responding is my practice challenge.

  • Praying for people. Prayer is our connection from heaven to earth.

I pray with my eyes and my heart open. I pray for people in the now moment. When someone says “pray for me” I pray then. I also often, ask “Can I pray for you?” Nine times out or ten people receive prayer when I ask. Prayer is the connection from heaven to their earth. Many times people cry, and/or sense His presence when we pray together.

Practice doesn’t make you perfect, it makes you better.

My prayer for you is that you would grow in your understanding of His great love and grace. I pray you would continue to practice your positive practices.