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