Make love your aim…

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We spent time in Louisville with my two sisters. It’s was great to be with them.


Phillips.
We are moving forward with the team at Phillips. This past weekend Pastor Jimmy Washington delivered a great Vision Sunday message. His team reached out to the congregation with a live survey during the service. People either filled out the brief survey with their electronic device or on paper. The stats were gathered and then revealed in each service. The stats were very revealing and helpful. Outreach need was high on the list to develop and move into.
Stories. In order to spread the outreach value throughout the church, the leaders are now reaching out. As they reach out their own stories are now being developed. One of the ladies on the team popped in to see the Mayor of Trotwood. She was surprised and delighted to see an outreach gift from Phillips on the Mayor’s desk. She asked the Mayor, “When did you receive this gift?” Seems she was having a hard day. One of the leaders came by to encourage her and to give her the gift. She explained, “I am leaving the gift on my desk to remind myself there are people of hope sharing hope in my community.”

Another leader was in a doctors office and noticed a young receptionist tactfully and lovingly handling some patient conflict. He could tell she was frazzled. After the patient left. He asked her if she would be in the office the next day and she said, “Yes.” He returned with a gift for the receptionist. He praised her for how well she handled the conflict. He thanked her and then presented her with a gift. She immediately began to cry. He comforted and encouraged her. His surprised comment, “Such a small thing, has the power to reveal the love of Jesus. Amazing”



Revive Ohio. Their foundation for reaching people is founded upon the principles found in the Gospels. Jesus was the best example.  

Love
Listen
Discern
Respond

It’s the love component that stirred my heart.


Love enables us to listen, discern and respond.
Love is both an attitude and an action.
Love is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1Cor 13 NASB
  • Love helps us have focused listening… an ear toward heaven, and an ear actively listening to the person we are speaking to.
  • Love enables us to discern the Father’s heart for the person we are talking to. Love also enables us to meet their need.
  • Love gives us the wisdom to respond kindly and appropriately.


Learning to be a person who loves well takes time and practice. This is the challenge for every person who trains others to reach their world.

Methods are easier to learn than learning to be a person who loves well from the heart.
People using a method, rather than loving and interacting with a person is a frustration.

Jesus was probably just a little frustrated. He had two disciples in training who wanted to call fire down from heaven and nuke a town. Wrong attitude. Wrong response to being rejected.

Honoring a person’s space, and honoring their right to end the conversation at any time is part of loving a person.

Questions to ask ourselves. Am I being kind? Am I being patient? Am I seeking my own success? Am I just going through the process of the method, or do I genuinely care about the person I am talking to?

In my book, Go. Sow. the Forward states:

“The people we reach are not projects nor are they targets, they are human beings who are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are created in the image of God, and are deeply loved by God.
Every person on earth has a life story which filters their world view. People are complex, and most have a God history. Their experiences and their pursuit or 
non-pursuit of spirituality is unique; no two people are alike. This understanding is the beginning place. We must ground ourselves in this truth as we seek to share who we are and what we have received with others.
How well people are listened to, understood, spoken to, and loved by you and me is all important. Jesus came to seek and to save. His life reflected genuine love. It’s my hope we too will be reflections and expressions of His love as we reach out to our world.”


 

The Bible, wristband, and the card Revive have developed is color coded and helps explain the good news in a way people can understand and respond. It’s a great tool. 


A man on a swing.                                  Our team had a powerful encounter with a man on a swing. When we headed out we had a map. The map helped guide us. One of the ladies said, “I think we need to go to the green area.” When we arrived there was a man on a swing. He was the only person in the park. We walked up and started a conversation. As the conversation continued we discovered his life was a train wreck… not of his making or choosing. He mentioned three different tragic relational issues. He was sitting on the swing pondering the events of his life. Any one of the issues he was facing would have destroyed most people. He needed hope. That day, for this one man on a swing, was the day he encountered the God of all Hope. He decided to follow Jesus. The Bible and wristband were a great help to communicate the good news. We prayed with him and for him. When we left he was sitting on the swing reading the Bible we had just given him. The hour and a half encounter became one of the most radical encounters I’ve ever had in my life.



This is what we have been called to do. To equip and encourage people to love and reach out to people within their sphere of influence.


Thanks again for your partnership and friendship.
Steve and Pattie.



If it doesn’t work … It’s probably American.

 
It’s been a good two weeks. I’m in Warrington, England with my friends Mike and Jane. They were pastors of a church I helped plant in Scotland. They sold everything and moved to Warrington a few years ago to plant a new generation church called Oasis. 

Oasis is amazing. I love the energy, the way people are encouraged, and how they reach out to the community. Many of the people who now attend were reached, met Jesus, were then baptized, now are disciples and function as band members, creative arts people, outreach participants or serve in other ways.

One of my Bible college professors stated, “If a principal works in any culture it’s God. If the principle doesn’t work in any culture, it’s probably American.

Serving their city works.
Oasis serves the community mainly through acts of kindness. They have served the people of the city from day one. In this culture nothing is free, and there is always a catch. When people receive a small gift, a coke on a hot day, a small bag of treats, or chocolate to celebrate Warrington people are impacted. The simple acts of kindness reaches the heart. They ask questions. Many receive prayer. Some meet Jesus then begin to attend Oasis.

We’ve gone out to the main shopping area in the town center. As we’ve served more than one person asked, “What’s the catch?” We were able to share why, have great conversations, and pray with people. 

One day the police came down after seeing us serving on CV monitors. Their response, “Oh, it just Oasis.” 

I prayed for a police woman. I simply stated, “I’d like to pray for your protection. Would that be ok?” She replied, “Thanks that would be nice.” We prayed for her. Invited angels to be with her. Declared protection over her. We declared she’d have eyes to see and ears to hear and God’s presence would be near her.  We noticed her smile, gratitude and genuine up beat response. “I’m protected now. Thank you.”

One lady who had pain in her back was shocked when her pain level moved from an eight down to a two. Most people we prayed for encountered the love of Jesus through the  presence of the Holy Spirit.

Several people mentioned they would like to pop in and check Oasis out. 

They have a family service at 11am. At 6 pm a new generation service starts. This service is mainly made up of 20’s and 30’s. The style is fun, upbeat and has an amazing house band who lead worship. Last week there was a tangible sense of God’s presence as we worshiped.

Since I’ve been here there has been a shift into prophetic encouragement and prayer. People are now stepping into the next phase of outreach. As they pray for people they are receiving insight, knowledge and encouragement for the people they serve. This connection to the Holy Spirit is wonderful to see and experience. 

Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson wrote a best selling book The Externally Focused Church. My favorite line from the book. “Good deeds, creates good will, which opens hearts to the good news.” 

Oasis … They are serving their way into the hearts of people… Tiz working in Warrington, England.

This is what Pattie and I do. We encourage, and in return we are encouraged. If you’d like us to come to your church or support us in prayer of giving. Simply click Invite Steve or Donor Box link.

Revival Streams

Noticed … there are many Revival streams… all are different… 

some don’t like to mix with other streams… 
some think their brand is the only brand… 
some like to mix… 
some are loving… 
some are antagonistic… 
some believe signs and wonders… 
some do not… 
some think helping the poor short term is a waste of time… 
some think, long term helping the poor out of poverty people, don’t care about immediate need… 
some think acts of kindness are pathways to peoples hearts…. 
some think acts of kindness are a marketing tool with no power… 
some think empowering people for life style evangelism is the way… 
some think big meetings is the way… 
some have the attitude our way is the only way… 
some believe prayer… 
some believe action… 
Many believe their version of the gospel is the right version…
I could go on forever…

I wonder what would happen if we laid down our stones, and rejoice however the good news that leads to revival is proclaimed?

Do you feel the mountains tremble? 
Delirious?

Did you feel the darkness tremble

When all the saints join in one song

And all the streams flow as one river

To wash away our brokeness.

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing

Songs that bring your hope

Songs that bring your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice.


Philippians Chapter 1 NLT

(Philippians 2 pretty well describes our should be attitude.)

Paul’s thoughts on the matter.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more,
and
that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.

For I want you to understand what really matters,
so that
you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy
and rivalry.
But others
preach about Christ with pure motives.

They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News.

Those others
do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ.
They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

But that doesn’t matter.
Whether their motives are false or genuine,
the message about Christ is being preached either way,
so I rejoice.
And I will continue to rejoice.

I wonder what Jesus thinks?
I think I’ll take Paul’s advice and rejoice and continue to rejoice.