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.

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.

Hearing God’s voice snapshot…


Hearing God’s voice snapshot.

Job 33:14 (NIV)

For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.

God does speak. From the beginning, He spoke… Let there be… and there was. He speaks in many fashions and in many ways, though we may not perceive it. 

He who has ears let him hear. Jesus
 
He often speaks to us in the way and manner that we are created. Some see, others hear, others feel, and some just know.

He speaks to us according to how we are wired.

I’m so glad some of the “see people” often see beyond the natural into the supernatural. Other friends hear differently than I hear. They hear much deeper and clearer. I often hear by seeing. Some of my friends are feelers, and others are knowers who intuitively know. Everyone is different and hear differently, yet all hear.

I often hear by seeing. Some of my friends are feelers, and others are knowers who intuitively know.

Everyone is different and hear differently, yet all can hear.

Practice is the action word. With practice, anyone can become better.

One ingredient is faith. Without faith, there is little practice.
 
Romans 10:17 (NASB)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing…
 I believe we can ask. Ask, “Jesus begin to speak to me. Help me to perceive how you speak to me, and help me to have ears to hear. Help me to see, hear, know and feel you as you speak to me.”