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.

Key Outreach Tips …

I remind myself I need to be in a place in my life where helping someone has to override my sense of being uncomfortable.  It’s all about their need for God’s love versus my need to stay in my comfort zone. 

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, ears to hear, and a heart that seeks to understand.  I’m working on responding acting on what I see, hear, or sense.

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

One summer, Pattie and I headed out to the Fraze, an open-air amphitheater near our home, for Blues Fest.  Some great bands were playing and we were enjoying the time together.  When we arrived we decided to buy some BBQ.  We checked every vendor to see what they were serving and finally came to the last booth.  As I walked up I noticed the lady serving.  I suddenly had an impression I should encourage her.  Specifically I should tell her, “Your future is going to be greater than your past.  As I was pondering just how to navigate and communicate the impression I noticed she had a few tattoos.  Then I noticed she was wearing an arrest monitor on her ankle.  The impression now made sense.

I payed for my food and then said, “You might think this strange but sometimes Jesus gives me encouraging words for people.  I have an encouraging word for you.  Your future is going to be greater than your past.

I gently held her arm as I spoke and continued speaking to her about her life.  I spoke into her destiny.  I told her how Jesus could change her life,  wash away her past and propel her into her future.  I then invited the Holy Spirit to come and touch her life.

She looked up at me and said, “You are making me cry.”

I replied, “Jesus is here. He can change your life just like he changed mine.  I then briefly told her how I was a heavy drug user 35 years ago and Jesus had changed my life.

She paused and stated, “You have no idea how much I needed this today.  Thank you.”

We grabbed our BBQ, moved past the growing line behind us and walked to a patio to eat.  Pattie asked me to explain how I knew what to say and how I processed it all.  It’s not rocket science but it does take practice, and a willingness to respond and to experiment.

Here is what I told her:

I practice noticing and attempt to live life from an awareness perspective.  

I seek to notice what’s going on around me and I seek to be aware of what’s happening from a heaven to earth perspective.  I am the earth where His will wants to be done.  

Often when speaking to groups of believers I ask them to place a hand on their heart and to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done as in heaven, in this earth.”  At the end of declaring the prayer I then ask them to pat their chest and say, “This earth.  We are the earth where the Kingdom comes from heaven to us…earth. Kingdom Life then flows from us to others.

I attempt to listen to God prompts, those small impressions or thoughts which may seem to be like my own but are not.  

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” (John 10:27, NAS

Sometimes what I hear is His voice.  I experiment and practice listening.  I’m learning which is His voice and which is my voice.  I learn by responding to what I think I hear.  Many times I discover it is indeed His prompting, His voice.

Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts.  For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 8:34, NAS)

I seek to respond to what I see, hear, or sense and take risks.

Faith is spelled RISK.  Really faith is spelled obedience.  Taking the risk is the hardest step.  I remind myself I need to be in a place in my life where helping someone has to override my sense of being uncomfortable.  It’s all about their need for God’s love versus my need to stay in my comfort zone.

More often than not, when I take a risk and respond to His whisper a person is encouraged, healed, and nudged closer to Jesus.  Sometimes they are ushered into the Kingdom.

One day I went to the gym.  When I arrived I noticed a beautiful African American woman who had two half sleeve tattoos on her arms.  They were amazing.  The flowers and stems were as beautiful as the woman.  

As I pondered, I sensed I should tell her she had sown many good things in her life.  Also I felt I needed to tell her she was a fruit bearing person and she just needed a little time and patience because good fruit was going to emerge from the things she had sown.  So I took a risk and went up and said, “I sometimes get encouraging words for people.  I have one for you.”  So I told her what I sensed.  When I finished she stated, “You touched my heart. I could cry.”  I commented, “Encouraging words are good aren’t they?  She smiled and I went back to my routine.  

I ask God to direct my steps.

Psalm 139 is an amazing psalm.  He knows everything about me.  He knows my thoughts, my words, when I rise up, when I go to work, when I come home.  In spite of what He knows about me He chooses to lay His hand on my head and to bless me.  It’s a humble knowledge where I experience the beyond the beyond.  

Where I go, He goes.

In Him we live and move and have our being. ” (Acts 17:28 NIV)

Often I arrive at the right place at the right time for the right person.  I was driving home one night and had an impression to go to Hancock’s fabrics to pick up some outdoor material for my 96 VW Cabrio convertible top.  I popped in and purchased the material.  

As I was leaving I thought about going next door to buy some Sushi.  The next impression didn’t make sense, I was not to go buy Sushi but go directly to my car.  So I walked out the door headed directly to my car.  At that moment I saw my ex-personal assistant get out of her car and begin walking toward me.  I said, “Hi! It’s great to see you. 

The conversation was a God set up.  I found out she was having her second child and she had almost died having the first.  I prayed for her and her new child to be.  We had a great talk and she left.  

My next impression, “You can go buy sushi now.”

Right time right place for the right person.  I later found out she had a healthy baby and she went through the delivery with no problems.

I like what one person prays every morning. Each new day he tells Jesus he is open for business.  If he hears God’s whisper, he then decides to have the guts to respond.  When he responds, people are often touched by God’s love and grace.

A Dream

I had an interesting dream. In the dream I was sharing how Jesus healed and spoke to people today. I told the leaders who were gathered several current Jesus is alive today stories. At the end of the dream they all asked me for chapter and verse. In the dream I cupped my hands over my mouth and declared, “Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!

Jesus was / is the most friendly open-hearted person on the planet.  He lived His life noticing people and situations then acting on what He saw or heard from His Father.  

Our adventure begins when we see like He sees, hear like He hears, and respond like He responds.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV)

Practice:

  • Begin to view life through an awareness lens.
  • Take a few minutes. Look around.
  • What do you notice?
  • What do you see, sense, or hear?
  • This week practice awareness.
  • Begin to respond to what you hear, sense or see. Take Risks

My friend, Doug Pollock, Athletes In Action Evangelism director, has written the book God Space which explains the ethos behind creating God space.  It is a must read for everyone who wants to communicate the Good News in such a way it can be heard.

February Love Month.

We are having some fun at the Upper Room Worship Center! I love being with this crew they are creative, encouraging, outofthebox thinkers and love people. It’s been fun resting and learning as we are launching into our new adventure.
This month is Love month we are encouraging people to use one of the calendars below to practice kindness. Actually that’s the only way people see and experience kindness. Action. Doing. Stepping out. Loving people. Being kind.
Why not join us, practice for a month and see what happens to the world around you. Use the Calendar or be creative and develop or practice your own thoughts. 
We also have  serve and love boards in the foyer of the church. People can pick up a card to serve or go to the kindness board where people can pick up a heart and love someone in the community. 
It’s all fun and very missional.
 Here is brief Update also some thoughts on purpose.