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.

Thanksgiving Bowen News!

Wow! Thanksgiving Outreach! We touched over 200 families this year! 

Phillips Temple pulled out the stops and gathered more dinners this year than the last two years! The teams sorted and packed and delivered. We partnered with Wingate Apartments and with Westbrooke Elementary School. The apartment management supplied apartment addresses and notified people we were showing up. The teams headed out served, loved and prayed for the residents.

Upper Room also gathered together and headed out touching many families in low-income housing. They knocked on doors offering a surprise gift… a full Thanksgiving dinner! They prayed for several families. The feedback has been amazing!

We are wrapping up Tornado moving with a mega move on December 14th.

It’s been a long season of moving and praying for the people displaced. We’ve moved over 300 families! I’ve been in over one hundred homes, prayed for a lot of families, and lifted tons of furniture. The good news…
The families were encouraged and I lost weight!


 It will take many years before everyone returns to normal living. There are scars are left on the land and upon the people affected.
We are recovering.


The principal of the school where the F4 touched down said, “Our kids are stressed out. We are seeing their emotions surface. We are coping.

Some of the kids act out, others withdraw, and all have a reminder of their night of terror every time they drive through the neighborhood. The emotional trauma will take time to overcome. Please pray for all the kids and their families.

The 2019 Christmas With a Cause outreach theme will be Neighbor 2 Neighbor: Giving Hope for Christmas. 

Hope Church will partner with Gateway Cathedral in Trotwood.
Gateway Cathedral sits in the Westbrook Village neighborhood, which was in the direct path of the Memorial Day Tornadoes. The Gate served as the distribution hub for the community in the weeks following the storm.

The goal this year is to raise resources, which will be distributed among 40 families devastated by the Memorial Day Tornadoes to help them celebrate Christmas with their families.

Hope, along with the City of Trotwood, Trotwood School District and St. Vincent de Paul have identified 40 families from the Trotwood community impacted by the tornadoes. They will be helped by this CWAC campaign.

Living City Project is partnering in a small way with Hope Church, Thrivent, and The Gate to provide Trotwood families resources they can use for the Christmas season and beyond. Thrivent is partnering with Tipp City Schools to collect toys and gifts for the kids affected by the Tornados. Living City Project will then collect, help sort and deliver the gifts to the families at the celebration at The Gate.

Check out the promo.

Amazing, yet mixed emotional time with Pattie’s family.

We celebrated Pattie’s mom Elsie’s life at our family reunion in Mobile AL. We planted a tree in her honor and memory. It was very moving to have five generations gathered. I’ve never experienced such a gathering. We told stories, laughed, cried, talked, hugged and had a meal together. The tree is planted on the land where Elsie lived for many years. Having everyone there was a precious moment for all of us. 

Thanks for standing with us and praying for us.

If you’d like to give for year end giving we’d appreciate it very much.

Steve and Pattie.

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.

The power to be…

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 
1 Cor 4:7NLT


Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Tim 1:14 NAS

The greatest treasure: His Presence within us, upon us and with us.

We are who we are. When we are fully who we are in Christ, and secure in whose we are, we shine bright and give God glory. 

We all have a treasure within us. Gifts, talents, abilities, thoughts, personalities, emotions and skill sets have all been entrusted to us. All of us are different. No two people are alike. You are uniquely you, wonderfully created.


My wife is a triplet. Even though the sisters look similar. They are very different. Each has different personalities, emotional makeup and talents. They are each beautifully unique. 

What you have within you is a treasure. This treasure within you is so valuable it needs to be guarded, protected. The gifts, talents, and abilities are treasures that are entrusted to your care, are given to you for the sake of others. We receive so that we can give what we have received.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23 NIV

Acts 1:8 states when the Holy Spirit comes upon you He will give you the power to Be…pause for effect… His witnesses. Notice what comes first… the power to Be… comes before doing.

Pause and think about this for a moment. When He, the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will empower you to Be. 

His power upon you gives you the ability to be fully who you were created to Be… uniquely you.

When His empowerment comes upon you, and when you begin to allow the treasure within to flow out to others, you cannot help but be His witness. 
Steve Bowen

Be not do…

Note: Peter didn’t say we would “do witnessing” but we would be His witnesses. 

Being fully you, empowered, with all your gifts talents and abilities 
confidently flowing is when you are a most powerful witness.


As believers, we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. The impartation of His supernatural power within you, upon you, and with you changes everything. His power enables us to be the very witnesses He created us to be.

In my book Go. Sow. I ask…How much power to do we need?

“How much power do we need? I’m all for more power of the Spirit and pray most days to be empowered. However, I have been around long enough to know I have to be willing to begin to take risks now, in this present time, in order to enter into the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned I often have to be faithful in the small tasks and the small steps before the greater is realized. Beginning in the natural often helps me to move toward releasing the supernatural.  

The true power of being enables heaven to bring to our earth(our lives) the power we need to reach out to people of our earth—our sphere of influence. 


His power often flows from me when I’m out in the community, face great need, and sense my lack. It is the very awareness of my lack that propels me, in that moment, to reach out for more of His power, in order to meet a need. If I feel weak and small, I still step out in my weakness and smallness. I still serve, and I still pray. Often I sense no feeling of noticeable power when I pray for people yet, amazing things happen. 

One lady recently came up to our group and said, “When Steve prayed for me, I received not one job, but two jobs. I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me, and prayed for me. I just wanted to thank you all for being out here caring and serving us.” 

I wanted to say, “Woman, I who am speaking to you am he.” 

Bowen, Steve (2014-04-23). Go. Sow. A simple practical guide into the arena of outreach. (pp. 178-179).  . Kindle Edition.

Note she stated, “I was so grateful that he took the time, and listened to me and prayed for me.” 

What she noticed was not my power, but my being. Who I am. His love for her was expressed through my actions, and by my attitude. I had no physical sense of power. No awareness of, Boy I’m bringing it today!  I simply released the treasure I knew was within me by faith, and Her need was wonderfully met.

Step into being who you are.

Often I have to step into who I am… in order to be

 I have to remember whose I am, and who I am, then act accordingly.

At my core I know I am wired as an encourager. So, in order to be the encourager I am, I have to stir up the gift that has been entrusted to me and step into being the encourager I am. Sometimes, I literally declare as I step out of my car, or walk into a meeting, “I now step into my gift, and into my calling as an encourager.” 

When I remember who I am, I can then be who I am.
 It’s all about knowing and being.

The stepping into principle happens when I consciously step into being a husband, a friend, a worker, or a leader

Our identity is our foundation for all things. Our identity flows from His Presence.
Such we are, sons and daughters.

1 John 3:1 NASB See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are

This is who we are, sons and daughters. We are adopted, heirs, given full rights as sons and daughters.

We are loved by Him. When we treasure the treasure within us we discover a whole new level of security. We are called to be. Knowing whose we are and who we are… brings security into our calling. 

We receive, we give.

Jesus knew whose He was. Before any public ministry, Jesus knew whose He was. He was the Beloved Son in Whom the Father was well pleased.

It’s also interesting, Jesus had a custom. He often slipped away to the Mt. of Olives to be… in the Presence of His Father. Life flowed from the overflow. He didn’t meet with the Father for the overflow. He met with the Father simply to be…His Son, to enjoy His relationship with the Father. Everything flowed from His sense of being the Father‘s Son.

He lived out of His empowered Being. He was secure. He was humble. He was loving. 

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

Jesus modeled the principle. We follow. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, lives within us and is with us, He empowers us to Be.