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.

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.

God speaks to us …Dreams


During an outreach one of our guys helped a lady with her groceries and walked her to her location. When they arrived he simply asked, “How can I pray for you today?” 

She replied, “I had a dream. My father was a pastor, he passed away years ago. In my dream my dad visited me. He stood still silently looking at me. In the dream I asked, “What do you want. He didn’t speak. He just kept looking at me. I woke up.”
 

She asked, “What do you think the dream meant?” He replied, “What do you think your dad was wanting to say to you?” She replied, “I think he was asking me to get right with Jesus. Can you help me?” 
What a dream, and what a question!

She wanted to be forgiven and to follow Jesus. My friend encouraged her, prayed with her and introduced her to Jesus. He later told me it was the shortest discipleship course he had ever explained.
I find it interesting. God was at work long before we arrived. 

Her dream reveals God’s passion and love for people. It also reveals how God never forgets our prayers for our family and our friends. Years had passed; the father had died, now the Holy Spirit was beckoning this daughter to Himself. He used a dream that opened her heart to the good news.

Dreams speak to the heart. Dreams give direction, encouragement, warning, and insight. There are many biblical examples. Daniel, Joseph had amazing dreams that saved nations and changed the hearts of men.

For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword. Job 33:14-18 NIV

I was in Costa Rica last week. For some reason I found myself struggling mentally, and spiritually. I was concerned. I turned inward looking for the reason why. Had I done something wrong? What is this feeling? I felt insecure, troubled and slightly fearful. I wrestled most of the day. Most people would not have known I was struggling. I knew.

That night I had two dreams. The first: A well known prophetic person was walking with me. I had a talk thanking him for his patience with me. He looked at me with a smile and kindness and put his arm around my shoulders as we walked. I wasn’t afraid. I felt secure. I was at peace. Confidence claimed my heart. 


The second: The dream was long. I was dropping in on a skateboard. It was fun. When I couldn’t find my helmet I was frustrated. The last scene I was up on the ramp thinking I could put my helmet on. It was another persons and It was too small. I was frustrated.

I woke up. I knew the first encouraged me in my walk with the Holy Spirit. He was near me, walking with me, encouraging me.

The second dream encouraged me to put on armor. Fix my helmet firmly upon my head. Only my helmet over my mind would work. My battles were my battles, and the battle was in my mind.


In response I shifted my mindset and my heart set. I literally placed a new helmet upon my head and leaned into the Holy Spirit. I was set free… Two dreams strengthened my heart. The rest of the trip I was more confident and secure.

Dreams encourage the heart. I’m a visual person. I am so glad for the movies I receive as I sleep.