Outreach tip…two

Notice others, be aware of the people around you.

Danger Riptide

I was at the beach with my family enjoying the waves, sun, and sand. The red warning flag was flying when we arrived so we knew we needed to be careful. Winston, who is my brother in law, and I were looking at the waves and the people swimming when I noticed a lady on a floating small air bed struggling. Her eleven year old daughter was on a small kick board kicking furiously in an attempt to help her mom back to shore. They were stuck and they were in danger. I pointed out the unfolding drama to Winston. We talked about the situation and decided to wait a minute to see if they could break free. When it was obvious they were in danger we both jumped up and ran into the water.

Winston, who was a more experienced swimmer than me, ran down the beach, dove in and swam straight to the lady using the riptide’s force. I dove in and approached the area from the right. I could feel the undertow’s force pulling me out. I stopped and instantly swam a little left toward shore to get out of the current before I was overpowered.

As I moved toward shore I noticed two young boys who were in the danger zone. Both were barely able to touch bottom. Every time they jumped up they were being pulled further away from the beach by the riptide. I rushed to the kids grabbed their hand and pulled them closer to shore. I handed them over to their grandpa, who hadn’t noticed the kids were in danger.

Meanwhile Winston was with the mom and the girl. He was attempting to calm them down and encouraged them lay back, to relax and allow the raft to keep their heads above water. He assured them he would stay with them and they would all be ok.

Because the tide was turning they were stuck in a stationary rip which was not flowing normally. Winston tried kicking right, left, forward, and backward with no luck. It became obvious he needed more help so I swam to shore and ran to get my phone.

When I ran up to our sun tent it startled my wife. She was deeply engrossed in her book, so much so she hadn’t noticed a thing! She asked what was going on? As I frantically searched for my phone I told her the about the riptide and pointed to Winston and the lady and child.
“Aren’t you overreacting?” she asked.
I thought, “Me, I never over react. Well, maybe occasionally.”
“No!” , I exclaimed as I found my phone and called 911.

A few minutes passed, then I heard the sirens approaching. Two groups of lifeguards arrived on their four wheelers. They ran and dove into the water and swam out to the people in trouble. Everyone was safely pulled to shore. The mother and little girl were extremely grateful we noticed.

A potentially deadly scene was quickly averted because there were two people who had been paying attention and decided to act.

From a spiritual point of view the rescue made me think of all the people in my sphere of influence who are drifting and in danger. The ocean we call life is flowing. Like the people in the riptide, many are stuck in life’s current and in danger of perishing. Most of the time they are living lives totally unaware of the danger. Unless they are noticed and reached by those of us who choose to leave the safety of our beach, they will perish.

The incident encouraged me to be determined to leave my safety zone and to continue seek and notice those who are away from God’s presence.

This scene happened very quickly and lasted probably less than ten minutes. I reflected and wondered:

Why didn’t other people notice?

Why didn’t they move to help?

Why did they sit still sipping their beer watching as the drama unfolded?

There is a psychological profile why some people respond and some don’t in such situations.
Apparently, few people are wired to be responders. Those who do respond usually have some sort of training or experience in their past that pushes them forward.

Winston is an accomplished swimmer and was a surfer in his 20’s living much of his life near the water. He had experienced the power of riptides, he knew the danger and how to escape and survive.

I recently had received some training in self defense and I had been actively seeking to improve my personal awareness, so I noticed the situation. Others like my wife are wired more passively. The good news, every person can be trained to notice people and situations and can develop a willingness to act, take a risk, and help those in distress. It is so important.

Unaware
Aware
Alert
Alarm

Guess where most people live?
Most people live in the unaware zone. They live life adrift on an ocean of routine, and live unaware / oblivious of their surroundings.

She screamed. He wrecked the car. She escaped.

A teacher in the Dayton area was recently abducted. Why? She was targeted because she was unaware.

She was texting while walking to her car and once in the car she continued to focus on her cell phone. The bad guy simply walked up and jerked open her door. He jumped in the driver’s side, pushed her into the passenger seat and took off with the now terrified lady.

She screamed. He wrecked the car and she managed to open the passenger side door and jumped out. The guy escaped but was later apprehended.

Had she been practicing awareness she would have put her phone in her purse before she left the store, looked around as she walked to her car and then locked the doors as soon as she got in her seat. The incident could have been averted if she had chosen to live her life from an awareness perspective.

Now she lives with the trauma of the frightening incident. However, she also decided to learn to become more aware of her space and just completed a conceal and carry course. She is now a smarter and wiser woman.

It’s hard to see something you are not
looking for.

Life in the Kingdom is really about learning to live life continually aware of God’s presence and what’s happening around you. Every believer should practice awareness and practice noticing the unnoticeable; then respond. I’m glad God has graciously been training, me, given me the eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to understand. I’m working on responding, acting on what I see, or sense.

Part two of two to follow.

Outreach tips… one.

I believe everyone can learn to create God Space.
What is God Space?

God Space is a space which we create by faith. God Space is the tangible atmosphere or environment where God’s presence, goodness, kindness, knowledge and power is present to nurture faith in another human being.

In other words, we bring Heaven to earth.
God Space can be created as we serve and love the people of our community. The connection to Kingdom love and power is often the act of serving itself, or when we have spiritual conversations, or when we pray with a person.

Here are some clues to help you practice creating God Space.

Learn to be a friendly, open-hearted person.

Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality:

I was addicted to myself. All I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-Don, all Don, all the time.

I think we can all identify with his statement. Sometimes our station is tuned to the me station. I do know we can choose to change the station and can learn to be a friendly, open-hearted person. A key part of the process is becoming aware, we are not “other aware.” We can then learn to be otherly. We learn and grow by actively loving and caring for those in our sphere of influence.

Define what you think a friendly open-hearted person looks like. Jot down your thoughts.

Perhaps you wrote, a friendly open-hearted person: smiles, shows interest in someone’s life, listens, cares, encourages, or says the right thing at just the right time. A friendly open-hearted person is a someone who is genuine, who serves others, and is always open for conversation. A friendly open-hearted person has time for you. The number one quality of a friendly open-hearted person… they listen giving their full attention.

Now take your list and practice what you have written. This is how you become a friendly open-hearted person. Practice! Practice is how you learn to do any new skill well. If your radio is often tuned to ME.ME. you will have to practice, and practice a lot.

I know I am wired to be task oriented non-relational and I am somewhat introverted. I am an introvert / extrovert. So I have had to practice. I’m getting better, but I know I need to practice in order to become who I want to become.

I began to practice by seeing the art of being friendly and open hearted as a learn-able doable task. I know, it’s sad. But I do know it’s something I can step into and practice. Surprisingly I’m getting better.

I practice saying Hi to a lot of people. I practice listening to God’s voice and I practice slowing down and listening to people. I practice noticing people and situations. I practice offering prayer and care toward others. I practice serving others with a focused heart. I am also a recovering non-hugger so I now practice hugging a select few.

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. (Luke 6:31, NAS)

Some other questions you might want to contemplate include: How do you know when someone is friendly and open hearted?

What do they do? How do they act?

What are some tips you would give to a friend toward becoming a friendlier, a more other focused person?

Now apply your tips to your life. Practice being a friendly open-hearted person.

Jesus was and is the most friendly open-hearted person. Read the Gospels. Notice how He treated people. Think about how He treats you.

He is a friend of sinners…

Thanks Dayton! Still moving!

We’ve been busy helping others.

So many people have been encouraged! At the current time, we have helped over two hundred eighty people by moving their furniture into their new homes.

Here’s how it works:

  • People sign up at the Community Action Partnership.
  • People receive a furniture voucher.
  • People go to St.Vincent’s to pick out their furniture.
  • On the day of delivery, we go to Living City Project and pick up Home-goods:Microwaves, cleaning supplies, blankets, pillows, toasters, ironing boards, and irons, plus other needed items.
  • We deliver the furniture and homegoods to their new location.
  • We encourage and pray for the family.

It’s been an interesting exercise. Moving is hard work. I’ve lost six pounds and don’t need the gym!

We’ve noticed when we pray the Holy Spirit shows up. People often cry,  and receive encouraging words.

When we ask for His peace to be released to fill the home it happens.

All are grateful for prayer and encouragement.

Stories

Their stories are heart-rending and amazing at the same time.

We helped C. He is a simple man. His brother, who has PTSD from his time in the Army, recently moved in. All they owned was destroyed or looted during the Tornado that hit Trotwood. He was very grateful for the items he picked out at St. Vincent’s. He and his brother are safe and are rebuilding their lives.

Two young moms from Trotwood found housing in a subpar apartment complex. The Town House next to theirs is a total burnout. Wrecked cars, trash, and moldy furniture are laying in the street.

They were grateful for their new couch and the house-hold items we brought.

Another young lady from Riverside did find a nice apartment. When we arrived she had nothing. All she had was a vacuum cleaner, some dishes and her clothes in bags. The roof on her apartment was ripped off and everything she had was lost. She was amazed she survived.

She had been sleeping on her floor in her furniture-less apartment for several days. We were able to deliver her mainly new furniture and household goods. She was very appreciative and very grateful.

Serving people in poverty at it’s the deepest level can harden a heart, or change a life.

Experiencing the realities of the lack of affordable housing is sometimes hard. It’s especially heart-rending when you see small children living where they are now living.

There are a lot of reasons people are in poverty. It goes way back in our history. It’s the history we often don’t want to think about or acknowledge. Discovering the truth can make the comfortable …uncomfortable.

Seeing and experiencing people being trapped, and now their lives being messed up, certainly brings a different perspective.

Several young men who have served with us have been changed. One parent told me their son no longer complains and now has a different attitude at home. Another young man told me he realized his issues were small compared to those he served.

There are over 150 families on the waiting list. Most are still in hotels or living with their families.

Salem Church of God recently purchased fifty tables and chairs from IKEA! They will be building the items on October 16th then delivering to St. Vincent’s. That’s fifty families helped!

Pray Living City Project receives large checks from businesses or foundations to help St. Vincent’s to purchase needed furniture.

Declare Dayton

On Sunday, September 29th, hundreds of believers from all over the Dayton area came to worship and give thanks as a community. It was a great night! We worshiped, danced in the rain, and prayed for several people for healing and for salvation. It was wonderful to experience! (The rain removed the heat and only lasted twenty minutes.)

Recently I’ve experienced worship at higher level. Several area church leaders allowed the Holy Spirit to moved during worship. They didn’t preach. They encouraged the people to press in. Jesus was lifted and honored. So good to experience this and know it’s happening in the Dayton area.

September 11… Bowen News…

9 / 11

I remember getting ready to leave our house when the news suddenly shifted to NYC. We were in shock as we watched the events unfold.
It’s the same feeling I’ve had over these past few months. Tornadoes devastating our communities, then a mass shooting in Dayton, which left our community stunned, wounded and wondering.

We live in troubled times. Jesus and He alone is our hope… all other ground is sinking sand.


On September 29th Declare Dayton will gather believers from all over the Dayton area to worship  and give thanks as a community. We are believing the Father’s blessing to flow over our community as we gather together to worship Jesus.


Living City Project(Declare), St. Vincent’s, Miami Valley Action Partnership and many others have continued to assist people moving into their new apartments or homes.

There is a low income housing crisis in our area.

So far we have supplied furniture and home goods to over two hundred and fifty families. Most of the people we serve had been staying in hotels. Some people were in hotels or with families for over two months before finding a suitable place to live.

There are still hundreds of people in hotels or staying with family.

One family we served had thirteen family members living together for several weeks before finding two other places to rent.

We’ve listened, cried, served, laughed and prayed for the people in our community. We will continue. Every day there are new stories that touch our hearts.

I have personally been in over one hundred homes. That’s a lot of joyful moving as we love and pray for the replaced families!

This weekend Living City Project and St. Vincent’s will be serving thirty-five families.


We will also have a push to serve our community with kindness, and continue to clean up Trotwood. Phillips Temple will be assisting the cleanup and will be helping a single mom to clean up her yard and do some work on her house.

I am very grateful for my time at Phillips Temple. I now know I would not have had the confidence nor the courage to do what I am now doing in our community without their graceful support and input into my life.


We had an amazing time in Mexico!

The Upper Room crew Aaron, Armondo, Nancy Josh, Me, Jason. We were graciously hosted by Pastors Armondo and Nancy.

I’ve not been on a trip that had so much unity, power, and encouragement in a long time. We all were on form as we spoke to the leaders and to the congregation. Many people came forward for ministry. Jesus was lifted through their amazing worship! 

They are resourceful, resilient and creative.

Their ministry to a very poor area has gathered ninety-seven kids in just two months! We will continue to support Upper Room’s twelve-year relationship in Piedras Negras.

  • Aaron’s relational input to the leaders and to the church brought encouragement and strength.
  • Josh’s teaching on relationships and how to handle conflict was like water to the thirsty.
  • Jason did an amazing job photographing and videoing our trip. He had four birthday parties in one day! Maybe.

Wearing many hats.

I continue to be busy seeking to be where I need to be. Every day is different. Every situation has its challenges and blessings.

My work in the community with Living City Project, Upper Room, and

Phillips Temple continues to be exciting and encouraging.


Pattie and I value your prayers and support!