Why I Turkey…

2013 was a big year for serving the community. When I was with the Dayton Vineyard we touched hundreds of families at Thanksgiving.
It’s a great example of how any church can serve, love, and care for their community at Thanksgiving.

Why I Turkey…

I often ask the question, How can you know and see need unless you position yourself to venture out into your community? The answer, you can’t.

How do you learn to serve? By serving.
How do you learn to love? By loving.
How do you learn to care? By going and seeing with your heart.
How do you learn to pray? By praying.

What we do is not rocket science by any means, it’s just faith that works through love.

Going, seeing, serving, and praying for others is really the only way to receive a personal ah-ha moment. Going, serving, and loving often is the catalyst that sparks a greater commitment toward personal outward involvement, lifestyle change, and thankful gratitude.

Someone asked me: How do you serve the less served week in and week out, it must affect you?

I answer, Jesus said the poor you will have with you always, so I understand whatever I do in a small way, or in a great way, is good enough. I can’t possibly meet every person’s need, but I can stop for the one and pray.

Going out into our community also helps keep me grounded, humbled, and personally grateful for all I have received… like the ability to pay my bills, to have heat, to have running water, to have clothing, to have a family that is somewhat normal, and to have great relationships.

It’s why I Turkey.

Church gives away 500 Thanksgiving dinners

Volunteers surprise families with meal deliveries.

By Mark Gokavi, Staff Writer 12:05 AM Sunday, November 20, 2011
BEAVERCREEK — About 500 families got a knock on the door Saturday morning and received a free Thanksgiving dinner.

The Vineyard Church of Dayton and Beavercreek packed and delivered that many meals to families in Fairborn, Xenia, Huber Heights and Centerville as part of their “Turkeys Giving Away Turkeys” initiative.

Organizer Steve Bowen said hundreds of volunteers put together packages including a frozen turkey, corn, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls and more.

“To see the look on somebody’s face when you show up with a complete dinner and they didn’t know where their food was going to come from, it’s hard to believe,” said Scott Sliver, one of the pastors at The Vineyard.

The Vineyard also delivers regular groceries to families in need in Huber Heights, Fairborn, and Dayton which is a program they help other groups with each month.

“The face of the poor is changing around town,” Sliver said. “It’s really hit the middle class pretty hard.”

We had a blast serving those in need by giving away the 550 turkey dinners.

The people who served were surprised, encouraged and in some cases moved to tears. God space was created by the simple act of kindness. People were able to show care to the person served: by having a listening ear, which often led to giving loving hugs, and significant prayer.

How your church can to participate:

Join together as a family, friends, or a small group to fill up the IKEA bag (we used boxes for several years) located at the exits around the building with items listed below.

Turkey Dinner List.
2 Cans Corn
2 Cans Green Beans
1 Large Can Yams
1 Can Cranberry Sauce
1 Box Au Gratin Potatoes
1 Box Brownies
2 Boxes Mac and Cheese
1 Dinner Bag Rolls
1 Box Stuffing Mix
1 FROZEN Turkey!
Optional:
1 Pie
Fresh Veggies
Roasting Pan
Fun Stuff!

Important Instructions:
If you are going on the outreach…Please leave your dinner in your car then come into our main room for instructions.

Not going on the outreach, and you only want to participate by donating a turkey
dinner …Please drop the dinner off at 9am.

Impact:
  • One mom and daughter had just moved in the day before. They were going out to sell some households so that they could purchase needed items for their Thanksgiving day dinner. They were more than surprised when they received the dinner offered for free.
  • One of our team members was so moved by what he saw in one apartment that he ran back to the truck to pick up a boxed dinner for a lady who only had ice cubes in her fridge. He then spent time caring for her, listening to her story, and praying for her needs.
  • Another family who served had just delivered their turkey and went back to the truck to grab a dinner for another person in need. When they arrived they realized there were no more dinners, so they went to Kroger and purchased a full dinner for a grateful family.
  • Several families who served were not aware of people in such need within their very community. They were surprised, glad they could help, yet at the same time upset by what they saw. They also came away from the experience more personally grateful and thankful.

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.

Hope…Run with Percy.

The light at the end of the tunnel is not an on-coming train!

Hope:

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.

Steve Believe you will abound in hope.
Hope will be poured into my life and my hope will exist in great quantity.
I will be rich in hope, and I will be well supplied with hope.

You will be filled with hope. You will over-flow or teem 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 Defined.

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?


Questions?

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 center word for purpose.
There is no faith without hope and no love without hope.

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? 

Jesus!

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. Perseverance enables us to keep on keeping on, to lean forward by faith, and to look 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.

Bowen News, Encounters.


Christmas is fast approaching. I love this time of year, winter, snow, lights, and family. We will be heading to Birmingham to be with Pattie’s family. We call ourselves the Gisbo’s on Christmas Vacation.


Guidance and where we are heading. We traveled to Pensacola a while back. We were testing doors and seeking to find our path on this adventure. While we were in Pensacola it became very clear we had to return to Ohio. We knew we had a few loose ends to take care of before we could fully step into what God has for us. My sister was one of the take care of’s. My sister who has lived with us for three and a half years moved out this month into her own place. We are so glad she is taken care of and her future is now secure.
We are still finding our way forward. We are investing in a couple local churches and a non-profit in the area. Pattie is still working at a school in the area. In January I’ll be speaking in a couple of conferences and in the new year leading a couple of teams outside the USA.


Encounters… I’ve been thinking about Encounters…those special moments in time when the Holy Spirit makes His tangible presence known.

In Luke, Jesus is about to breathe his last breath. Just before He declares,”It’s finished!”, the sixty by thirty, four inch thick veil in the temple is rent from top to bottom. The renting of the veil signified the finished work of the cross. What 

Jesus did for us now gives us confident access to the Father.
What’s more amazing… He now, because of what Jesus did for us, …has access to us.
Ephesians 2:13;18 NIV
 

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Eph 3:11;12 NASB the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
(See Hebrews 6,8,9,10)


His Presence Saved Me. Years ago when I was a troubled teenager. I went into the chapel at St. Joseph’s to talk to God. My parents were divorcing. I was broken. As I was talking to God, suddenly His Presence came into the room. I remember I left the room in a hurry.

Years later, I was messed up. I had overdosed the night before. I was driving back to Pensacola when suddenly Jesus began to speak to my heart. He said, “Steve, this is your last chance.” I knew if I prayed and asked for help  I was going to have to leave my past and press into following Jesus. I prayed, “God help me!” When the words left my mouth, suddenly His presence filled my car. I knew at-that-moment everything was going to be ok.


Recent Encounters. Throughout the years I’ve had more that a few suddenly’s.
A few months ago a friend and I were in Virginia. We were walking up a staircase to go into a meeting when we both felt the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. We suddenly encountered His Presence. We paused and stopped for a moment in the stairwell and looked at each other in amazement. The awareness of His presence and the sense of His love for us was wonderful. We walked to the top of the stairs. When we opened the door, the door ahead had a simple handwritten sign that said … Encounter Joy!

The meeting was beyond awesome! A lady who had been in a wheelchair for years walked out of her wheelchair! Last reports she is doing well and the doctors are dumbfounded.

Yet, my heart wondered about the staircase encounter. I wondered what would have happened if we had chosen to stop, pause, listen, and receive? I wondered what would have happened if we had laid aside our hurried agenda? I wondered what would have happened if we had slowed down and sat on the steps to be with Him and had taken some more time to linger in His presence? I wondered.

Communion was Communion. A week or so ago I was meeting with a leadership team. We talked for a while, then dove into the whiteboard. Arron Simmons, who was leading, suddenly stopped writing and said,  “We are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s wait a few minutes before we dive into our work for today. Let’s pause, listen to some worship and take communion together.”

As we were taking communion suddenly His tangible presence touched all of us at the same time. We were filled with awe and wonder. We did press pause. We put the planning meeting on hold. We lingered in His presence. His presence did increase and we were all very encouraged.

Our work flowed and we accomplished what we came to accomplish. I later thought, “The moments of worship and receiving was the most important part of the meeting.”

I also wondered, “What would have happened if we had laid aside our work for another day, and had taken full advantage of our advantage?”

These two recent encounters with His presence made me want to create space in my life. When I notice His presence I want to intentionally pause. I want to learn to seize those moments in time. I want to slow down and enjoy His suddenly’s, His access to my heart.

Thanks again for your friendship and partnership.

Steve and Pattie
People have asked how we are making it. Pattie is working and we have a few gifts that come in to help cover living expenses. We are amazed at His faithful people who care for us.