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.
The big idea. Everyone on the planet is loved by a loving Father.
Some people may never have experienced a love that is honest, real and caring. You may have been abused. You may have been abandoned. You may have had parents who made big mistakes. You may have had religious people say horrible things to you.
Other people feel odd, out of place, anxious and isolated. Many people are searching, seeking for love, identity, and purpose.
Why did Jesus come to earth?
Jesus came to show the Father’s love for mankind. He came to lavish love on the people of this planet and to reveal the love of God the Father. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14) This is an incredible statement. The religious people of the day twisted his words. They hated him for what he said and for loving and healing people who were in great need. In the end, they crucified him upon a cross. They had no idea Jesus’ death on a cross was the greatest demonstration of love the planet has ever encountered.
Bottom line:Jesus came to the planet to love openly. He proved his love for you and me by dying on a cross so you and I could experience forgiveness and to have a relationship with a Father… a good, good father. If you have had a bad dad this may be hard to grasp… but it’s true.
We’ve all messed up. We’ve all fallen short. We’ve all missed the mark. We’ve all hurt people, God, and ourselves. As a result, every person senses some degree of regret, guilt, and shame.
Jesus died on the cross to take away our regret, guilt, and shame. He willingly laid His life down for us. He took our place and bore the penalty for our acts of selfishness and sin. That is amazing love.
When we ask the Father to forgive us, because of what Jesus has done for us, He immediately does so. His love is unconditional love.
He forgives us. His forgiveness is not based on anything we have done or could do to gain His favor. He loves us and forgives us just because he has an extravagant love for us.
When we believe Jesus is real and alive and we chose to give our lives to him, by inviting Him into our hearts, we become new creations on the inside. Now, instead of missing the mark, we have someone to help us, guide us and lead us as we navigate life.
The Father loves us… just because… He loves us.
Someone talked to you, prayed for you, and encouraged you. They may have given you a card to point you to Loved You Are. They revealed the Father’s love in some way. If you’d like to experience more of His love it’s just a prayer away. Prayer is just talking out loud to the Father.
We would encourage you to talk to God the Father. Let him know how you feel, what you are struggling with, and for what you are thankful. He is always there, and He is listening to you.
Believe it or not, he will begin speaking to you and will begin to reveal your purpose and your destiny.
You can begin to talk/pray by saying something like this.
“Father. Here I am. Today I ask you to show me your love. I ask you to forgive me for all the things I regret. Forgive me for what I have done against you, against myself, and what I have done to others. I thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for sending Jesus to show me your love. Thank you, Jesus, for paying the price for my sin and my selfishness. I believe you are King and Lord. I also believe you have risen from the dead and you are alive today. I ask you, Jesus, to come into my life and to fill me with your Holy Spirit. Now lead me and guide my life. Help me to follow you all of my days. Show me the Father’s love. Thank you.“
We’d encourage you to continue to talk to Jesus and to ask Him to reveal the depth of the Father’s love for you. Also, read the Book of John found in the Bible. It is in this book Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.”
If you’d like to tell your story, email Steve@eyesoutward.com
I’ve been on the ground for a few weeks seeing need and assisting families to move into their new locations.
We are helping mainly Trotwood families. Some families have had to relocate as far as West Chester which is an hour away from Trotwood.
It is evident Trotwood folks have jumped quickly to find help and begin to recover. That’s good news! Many apartment residents have had to be in hotels for many days. They are now receiving help.
One family were in a hotel for three-plus weeks before finding a place to live. They slept on the floor for five days until we arrived. Several people have had a great experience and some have found their new housing in less than great apartments/duplexes.
We are partnering with Living City Project, St. Vincent’s and Miami Valley Community Action Partnership.
The last month we have set up a system that works well both for volunteers and the families in need.
Our partners are providing trucks, gas, staff, warehouse space, house-hold items, and furniture. New beds are being provided from several local firms like Morris Home Furniture.
This week we had thirty teens come from Chicago to Dayton to help. They built flat-packed furniture, helped us move people and cleared some locations of debris.
There are so many people in need! This is a long term situation and we need people to help us help others.
We are in need of funding. Everyone on the Living City Project team is juggling work to provide their personal funds, or the churches we work with are graciously allowing us to be on the ground helping people.
Long term help is much harder to gather than short term clean up crews. To me, it’s an amazing missional opportunity. Sadly, many churches are now trying to get back to church as normal. Several major communities in our area are hurting. They open up as the church serves being the good news. I believe it’s time to shine!
We are assisting three or four families a day. We’ve been running for a little over three weeks. We are ramping up.
There are now many more people on the list to receive their new furniture and basic household items. The bottleneck falls into the category of having not having enough moving crews. It’s evident we are already in need of more volunteers to help. We need more drivers, movers, and more pick-up trucks to transport the items from St. Vincent’s to their homes. This need being met is part of the ramp-up. Please pray we will have fifteen people a day to join teams to serve.
Today we helped three families.
There were five families on the list, however, we didn’t have pickup trucks to take two families their beds. They may receive the beds tomorrow or next week. It depends on how full our truck will be tomorrow.
Two single moms were from the Westbrooke area. One of the hardest-hit areas. Over 400 children were displaced.
I was very glad the two of us had a great woman with us today to listen and to offer support to the single parent moms we served.
Yup! Two of us loaded and unloaded a filled to the top large box truck. One couch took 30 minutes to get inside of an apartment up two flights of stairs! We had to unscrew the banister rail. Note to self…bring power screwdriver!
Here is a happy and safe Phillips Family we helped last week.
The light at the end of the tunnel is not an on-coming train!
The last few weeks I’ve been battling.
Circumstances, death of a love one, stress from destructive Tornadoes, tiredness in my relief efforts, a sense of failure from disappointing life investment outcomes…
My bounce isn’t as high as it used to be. I’ve had to lean forward into Hope. I’m shifting my mindset yet again and running with Percy.
Towards a Psychology of Hope is a great article. (click link for full article.) “We all know that hope is a good thing, even an essential thing: there is no life without hope, or so the saying goes. Psychologists believe hope might be the most important feeling, state, or emotion we can experience. Hope is a skill you can acquire. It is active—you can cultivate and nourish it.
It is self-perpetuating—hopeful people tend to be more resilient, more trusting, more open, and more motivated than those less hopeful, so they are likely to receive more from the world, which in turn makes them more hopeful—which is why it’s so important.”
Now May the God of all hope Fill you With all joy and peace in believing So that You may abound in Hope By The power of The Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13:NASB
I’m re-applying my life verse.
SteveBelieve you will abound in hope. Hope will be poured into my life and my hope willexistingreatquantity. I will be rich in hope, and I will be well supplied with hope.
You will befilled with hope. You will over-flow orteem with hope.
You will have all joy and peace in believing.
Pray: God of all hope, fill me with all joy and peace so that I will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit empower me with Hope. Thank you now for filling me.
Look forward in hope:
Hope is a confident expectation of good things to come. Hope looks to a future bright. The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. Hope believes the best is yet to come. Jer 29:29 NASB For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 23:18 (NIV) There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Hope is future, Faith is now. In hope we see ahead, in faith we believe for our hopeful future now.
Hey 11:1 NASB Now faith is the assurance / confidence / substance of things hoped for, (Faith is) the conviction / evidence of things not seen. What things not seen?
What are you and I believing, looking for, hoping for?Refreshment? Motional stability? Spiritual connection with Holy Spirit, the Fathers love and the Sons faithfulness?
We can activate our faith and hope toward whom we are believing.
We develop a positive mindset by reading hopeful articles and the Bible. We fuse hope and believing by offering thanksgiving and cultivating gratitude. Spending time slowing down to rest. Positioning ourselves to worship and believe.
Hope is the seed bed of faith and love.
These three remain: “Faith, Hope and Love…these three but the greatest of these three is love.” I Cor 13
Hold on to hope long enough until hope becomes faith.
Hope is the connector and the seed bed that creates faith and love. Faith and love spring from hope.
Col 1:5 NIV The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up / secure for you in heaven
It’s important to speak hope, to declare, to believe and to rest in God’s love. Ps 62:5 NIV Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from him.
Lamentations 3:24 (NASB) The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore, I have hope in Him.” The biggest question, “Where do you and I place our hope? Who is our hope?”
Where is your hope, your expectation placed?
Hope, by definition is a person, or a thing, in which expectations are centered or focused upon. Who are you trusting / looking to? People? Places? Things? Jobs? Governments? Leaders? Feelings? Circumstances?
Pattie and I often have to shift our mindsets, our focus and our declarations:
“Our hope is only found in you Jesus. We declare ___________ is not our Savior. Where we go, or where we stay will not save us, nor provide for us. In You, and You alone is our hope. All of our hope is found in You. Thank you Jesus, our future is secure. Thank you for providing for us, guiding us!”
The Reality. Jesus is our only hope. Hope is embodied in Him. He is the hope of glory. Our hope is secure and steadfast…
Heb. 6:18-20 NIV We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strong / encouraged.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf.
Jesus is the better hope.
Heb 7: 9 NASB for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Heb 7:22 NASB so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. It’s interesting and encouraging…The eye of the Lord is upon those who hope and who hope for something tangible, yet supernatural, His loving-kindness.
Ps 33:18 NASB Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who hope for his Loving-kindness.
“Our trials are turned to gold.”Keith Green.
Trials do one thing well… if we hold on, if we don’t give up and if we continue… Trials produce a hope that does not disappoint. In hope… we hope.
Rom 5:1-5 NASB Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.(hope) 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Running with Percy.
There is something to be said about perseverance. Perseveranceenables us to keep on keeping on, tolean forward by faith, and tolook into the future in hope.
Sometimes we need to run with our friend Percy. Running with Percy produces a hope that does not disappoint. It’s important to faint not; to not grow weary and never give up.
Trials of life show us what we are made of. Trials reveal our metal. They test our metal.
We are the hopeful ones. We have a future and a hope. It is secure. We can draw from heavens hope and give what we have received away.
We can have joy and peace and abound in hope. The connector… in believing. “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
His oath, His covenant, and blood Support me in the whelming flood; When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found, Clothed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne! On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.