Why I Turkey…

2013 was a big year for serving the community. When I was with the Dayton Vineyard we touched hundreds of families at Thanksgiving.
It’s a great example of how any church can serve, love, and care for their community at Thanksgiving.

Why I Turkey…

I often ask the question, How can you know and see need unless you position yourself to venture out into your community? The answer, you can’t.

How do you learn to serve? By serving.
How do you learn to love? By loving.
How do you learn to care? By going and seeing with your heart.
How do you learn to pray? By praying.

What we do is not rocket science by any means, it’s just faith that works through love.

Going, seeing, serving, and praying for others is really the only way to receive a personal ah-ha moment. Going, serving, and loving often is the catalyst that sparks a greater commitment toward personal outward involvement, lifestyle change, and thankful gratitude.

Someone asked me: How do you serve the less served week in and week out, it must affect you?

I answer, Jesus said the poor you will have with you always, so I understand whatever I do in a small way, or in a great way, is good enough. I can’t possibly meet every person’s need, but I can stop for the one and pray.

Going out into our community also helps keep me grounded, humbled, and personally grateful for all I have received… like the ability to pay my bills, to have heat, to have running water, to have clothing, to have a family that is somewhat normal, and to have great relationships.

It’s why I Turkey.

Church gives away 500 Thanksgiving dinners

Volunteers surprise families with meal deliveries.

By Mark Gokavi, Staff Writer 12:05 AM Sunday, November 20, 2011
BEAVERCREEK — About 500 families got a knock on the door Saturday morning and received a free Thanksgiving dinner.

The Vineyard Church of Dayton and Beavercreek packed and delivered that many meals to families in Fairborn, Xenia, Huber Heights and Centerville as part of their “Turkeys Giving Away Turkeys” initiative.

Organizer Steve Bowen said hundreds of volunteers put together packages including a frozen turkey, corn, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls and more.

“To see the look on somebody’s face when you show up with a complete dinner and they didn’t know where their food was going to come from, it’s hard to believe,” said Scott Sliver, one of the pastors at The Vineyard.

The Vineyard also delivers regular groceries to families in need in Huber Heights, Fairborn, and Dayton which is a program they help other groups with each month.

“The face of the poor is changing around town,” Sliver said. “It’s really hit the middle class pretty hard.”

We had a blast serving those in need by giving away the 550 turkey dinners.

The people who served were surprised, encouraged and in some cases moved to tears. God space was created by the simple act of kindness. People were able to show care to the person served: by having a listening ear, which often led to giving loving hugs, and significant prayer.

How your church can to participate:

Join together as a family, friends, or a small group to fill up the IKEA bag (we used boxes for several years) located at the exits around the building with items listed below.

Turkey Dinner List.
2 Cans Corn
2 Cans Green Beans
1 Large Can Yams
1 Can Cranberry Sauce
1 Box Au Gratin Potatoes
1 Box Brownies
2 Boxes Mac and Cheese
1 Dinner Bag Rolls
1 Box Stuffing Mix
1 FROZEN Turkey!
Optional:
1 Pie
Fresh Veggies
Roasting Pan
Fun Stuff!

Important Instructions:
If you are going on the outreach…Please leave your dinner in your car then come into our main room for instructions.

Not going on the outreach, and you only want to participate by donating a turkey
dinner …Please drop the dinner off at 9am.

Impact:
  • One mom and daughter had just moved in the day before. They were going out to sell some households so that they could purchase needed items for their Thanksgiving day dinner. They were more than surprised when they received the dinner offered for free.
  • One of our team members was so moved by what he saw in one apartment that he ran back to the truck to pick up a boxed dinner for a lady who only had ice cubes in her fridge. He then spent time caring for her, listening to her story, and praying for her needs.
  • Another family who served had just delivered their turkey and went back to the truck to grab a dinner for another person in need. When they arrived they realized there were no more dinners, so they went to Kroger and purchased a full dinner for a grateful family.
  • Several families who served were not aware of people in such need within their very community. They were surprised, glad they could help, yet at the same time upset by what they saw. They also came away from the experience more personally grateful and thankful.

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.

How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

Job 33:14
For God does speak– now one way, now another– though man may not perceive it.

We all are wired differently. How one person hears maybe quite different to how someone else hears. It all about perception. How we perceive, hear according to our history, passion, social adjustments / growth, spiritual maturity, and emotional stability  /makeup. Positioning ourselves to be with Jesus to hear His voice is intentional. Practicing listening enables us to develop a lifestyle of responding to what we hear.

We all hear by Faith.
Rom 12:6 NAS Every man has a measure of faith…

Faith is the inevitable consequence of hearing God’s voice.

James Ryle

Jesus our example:
Jesus had amazing faith and the ability to see (seeing is hearing) what the Father was doing.

John 5:19 NAS
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing ; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

Jn 8:28; Jn 12:49; Jn 14:10; Jn 14:12

That God speaks today is an issue forever settled on the authority of the Scripture and validated in the lives of countless men and women throughout the world. God is light and will reveal Himself to anyone who will look; God is love and will communicate to anyone who will listen…
James Ryle Hippo In The Garden

Rom 10:17(NAS) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Heb 1:1-2 NASB
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

Heb 2:1-4
Heb 4: Today if you hear His voice…respond in faith.

1. God Speaks Through Scripture…
The Word of God. it stands alone as the final authority for all revelation. Our first thought should be…Does what I am hearing line up with the nature and character of God revealed through His Word?

He speaks to us on two levels through the Bible.
1. Historical Truth… the main and the plain. Undeniable instruction. Principles and precepts that apply today. i.e.  Having a renewed mind is the will of God.

  • Romans 12:2 NASB And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2. Personal Revelation… living words to our hearts as we read.Points us to Jesus, the Father, through the Holy Spirit. (See John 13 – 16 to glean what the Holy Spirit’s role is. i.e. He will guide us into all truth… etc.)

Don’t try to force what you are reading into your life…If it is revelation to your heart and life it will fit. Usually what you are reading will be a confirmation or as a precept, concept to help you grow.

This week I read about renewing of the mind. I was curious and intuitively knew I needed to investigate this concept further. I searched for thought connected passages. As a result of my search, I discovered the Holy Spirit has a major role in renewing my mind. Therefore, I am now leaning into the Holy Spirit asking Him to renew me in the spirit of my mind. I am also reading three books to help me grasp the concept,

Three safeguards…
a. Is it Relevant to my situation without attempting to make it fit?
b. Does it bring Revelation or Clarity to my situation?
c. Is it Redemptive or bring me and others closer to Jesus and to His Church?


 

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.