Monday, November 17, 2014

30 Things I am thankful for ...

My friend, Mike Lynn, is posting everyday in November ...things he is thankful for.

Here is my list:

I thankful for:

1. My wife, Valerie, ... 17 plus years of putting up with my antics and through the UPs and DOWNs of life ... we get to go through this journey together.

2. My daughter, Kendra. Your compassionate and loving spirit is catchy. Never give up.

3. My daughter, Nicole. You inspire me knowing you are trying new things and amaze me by your walk with Jesus.

4. My son, Brian. You amaze me. From your imagination and willingness to learn. Always be a life long learner.

5. My Family in Canada. The impact of family, values, and staying together through thick and thin. Not perfect but willing to lend a hand. Darryl, Mike, and Dwayne "Andrew" been brothers in it all. Lorie has been an inspiration of the sister I never had.

6. My parents ... you taught me to be myself.

7. My Home Church: Selkirk Christian Chapel. You taught me Jesus. You gave me hope. You were there in the midst of loss. People like the Sherks, Sevenpipers, Donovans, Burkes, Daleys, Hoovers, Kindys, CWF class .... Tanners ... people who accepted me and yet molded me.(Cowans, Touesnards, Blake) The elders there trusting in me. (checking in on me etc) and even the summer youth ministers we had in the 80s/90s. And anyone else who was part of the body there.

8. OCA - Ontario Christian Assembly. You gave me the eyes and opportunity to start being like Jesus. From Camp songs to serving as a camper, staff - etc. Camp was my home away from home and mission field in helping me examine the call.

9. Camp Selkirk - Salvation Army Camp. The staff and friends there helped me be compassionate and the reason why there needs to be youth ministry. Thanks.

10. C.S.S. Cayuga Seconday School- sure High school is hard and boy was I the nerdy kid trying to fit in. But the friendships and people from CSS helped me find my identity and put up with me that pushed me to be the man of God I needed to be.

11. MACU - Mid Atlantic Christian University aka RBC(Roanoke Bible College) sure you changed your name and probably wondered what in the world when I was on campus. You took a chance on a struggling young man and gave hope. The professors and students together showed what it was suppose to be like to be the Body of Christ. The lessons and values I learned are forever in my debt. To that I say thanks.

12. Water Street Rescue Mission. (Lancaster, PA) for one summer I saw what it meant to work with the inner city youth. Staying at the Rescue Mission was both humbling and an honor. Thanks for the lesson of humility and servanthood.

13. Fairview Christian Church (NC) my first part time youth ministry. You taught me patience, priorities, and planning. Lewis Styons was a great encourager and mentor. Dr. Eubanks visiting during one of my sermons was one of encouragement.

14. Teen Haven Camp (Brogue, PA) - one summer camp. One long struggle of what my calling was. Thanks for the memories, opportunity to serve and learn from others.

15. Sterling Park Christian Church. (Sterling, VA) An internship during the summer of which was near Valerie's home and I had much to learn. Thanks to the Wismers, Cunninghams, Butts families and more ... for a summer of teaching, preaching, , roller hockey and more.

16. Corner House Christian Church. My first full time youth ministry. You took a chance on an inexperienced fresh out of Bible School student that wanted to change the world. The elders there were understanding, the staff patient, and the people persisting. Great elders, and friendships. People who I still hold dear like the Christys, Dripps, Coxsons.

17. My Indiana friends. From Anderson University to Ovid to learning things the hard way. I learned that God was bigger than anyone congregation. The friendship and encouragement I got from my friend, Dr. Guthrie Veech, to not give up spoke volumes. The inbetween ministries and working at a Toy Store taught me perspective and empathy. Very humbling. Travis Trueblood was a true friend.

18. Liberty Christian Church (Mechanicsville, VA) I thank you for the opportunity to serve. Working with ministers like Mike Lynn and Dave Snyder. Working with the Christian School. It felt like a first ministry. A new opportunity. Great friends .... like Rick, Penny, Rhett. Great sponsors. Elders : Gene, John and Harry. Letting me be Jesus' hands and feet. Forgiving and loving. A good family.

19. Cary Christian Church (Now the Pointe Church). Thanks for the great staff: Dan, Sandy/Sue, Shari, Ed, Jason, Devon and Sam. Great elders who understood Jesus. Students who willing to be the Church. Cary taught me that change comes and being flexible. Sometimes It was a matter of time. The years at Cary were ones in which Valerie and I just started having our family of 4 to 5 and having young toddlers. Great leaders and people who wanted to change the world.

20. Church of Christ at Hagerstown. The opportunity to be in the preaching ministry. To know what it was to be the "Lead" guy. The surrounding community and learning from area chaplains and ministers in the 4 state area. The people that we still hold dear to our hearts. Our kids started school there and enjoyed the time.

21. Bonnie Brae Church of Christ. Family. The joy of ministry. The elders who check in and are serving Him. The willingness to try to be the Church and Jesus' hands and feet to those that need it. Thanks for allowing my family and I the opportunity to be a part of the family and on the journey here with you.

22. Oak Hill Christian Service Camp. Teaching my kids about Jesus. My daughter, Kendra, just last week mentioned "I can't wait until summer." "Why?," I asked. "Because I get to goto Oak Hill and learn about Jesus and see ...."

23. Lamb's Basket. A food pantry ministry that was taught me servanthood, and being organized and working as a team. Many hands make light work. The coming together for a common goal is a picture of the Body of Christ working together. I am thankful our church gets to partner and serve such a great mission and opportunity to be literally Jesus' hands and feet.

24. My cat, Hope. Animals hold a special place for anyone. Sure we joke about eating "Cat." but deep down I am thankful for my pet for letting me pick on her, and really to know what it means when she thinks she is in "Control."

25. God's creation. I am amazed by nature. Looking for deer out my window to the weather, and the leaves falling.

26. Music. Singing a song. Listening to music ...especially worship music. Something I should never take for granted.

27. Coffee. You and other caffeine drinks (Which shall remain nameless aka Mt.Dew) have saved my sanity at times from long study sessions to Christian coffee houses to fellowship times and before church would start or even the day.

28. Hobbies ... like reading and watching hockey. A release in stressful world.

29. My needs are being met. I have clothes, food and a house. God does provide and for that I am thankful.

30. Thankful for the Lord. His Grace and Mercy. His Word. The gift of His Son. The opportunity to serve and be a preacher. The opportunity and honor to work along side great godly men and women.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pray for the Persecuted Church

The persecuted church or the underground church needs our prayers.

I had a recent disagreement with someone who tried to say the "Churches in Houston" were being persecuted because a mayor asked for their sermons. This is a far cry from what is happening in the church across the world. The persecuted church needs our prayers.

According to Release International (Source The Lookout Nov. 2, 2014 pg. 4 "Prosecuted and Persecuted" Dr. Barry Thornton)

"More Christians have been martyred in the 20th Century than in all previous centuries combined.

About 170 000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year. That's 400 people dying for their faith each day!

Currently more than 100 Million Christians are being persecuted worldwide.

Christians are being persecuted in 131 of the world's 193 countries (Pew Forum Study)"

According to VOM
(Voice of the Martyrs) there are 53 countries in the world and 14 restricted places that the gospel cannot be preached. (I have a banner that cites the places that I display now and then for the church to pray for their brothers and sisters in Christ)

What does this have to do with me?

1. Pray for the church.

2. Don't take your freedom in Christ or freedom of religion for granted.

3. To say someone asking for sermons or certain restrictions are being persecuted does a disservice. Harassed or bullied ...yes. Honor and pray for those taking a stand.

4. Educate yourself what is happening with Missions Around the World. Pray for those missionaries serving in tough areas.

5. Give. Give of your time, talents, treasure to help the Underground Church.

Who is with me?


Now Caitlin Can ...




Now Caitlin Can is a book about a little girl that gets a new lease on life through the generous donation of a kidney. This small children's book illustrates the need and reason why people should donate organs. This book also holds a special place for me. I do not know the author personally but do know the family that donated. The young teenage boy's father and I had worked together in Maryland. Currently he is the Chaplain at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, MD.

This book illustrated the need for compassion, and giving even in the midst of tragedy. I had recently lent this book to a friend who is now going to be put on the kidney transplant list. Pray for her. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dealing with Loss.



How does one deal with loss?


Here are a few suggestions:

I. Look Back .... look back at the good times and bad. Cherish the memories. Scars may always be there but looking back sometimes helps with the healing and looking ahead.

II. Leave. Leave as in grief the loss and leave the past behind. It is ok to dwell on the loss but don't get so caught up that it makes you absorbed and not to move forward. It might be you have to leave certain areas, or items ...because the loss is too painful. It is ok to cry, give things away, to laugh. everyone deals with loss differently.


III. Learn from the loss. Sometimes the hardest question is Why? And not always we will have an answer but when we learn it helps us to think what can I do to help others.

IV. Love. love each other. So often I have heard people in dealing with loss "Oh, I can't go to church anymore because it is too painful" That's when you need the church the most. to encourage, lean on, love on you .... let you know God is there. The God of all comfort.

Others you would add? how do you deal with loss? Still have the scars?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Teen Haven Camp

Flashback Summer 1993 ... I had the honor of working with Teen Haven Camp ..and with Vinnie and the crew there.


Friday, October 17, 2014

A Celebration


this past Sunday I had the honor to partake in a celebration of Delaine Hilborn and her family and have renewing of vowes for her daughter, Coral and her husband, Angel. It was a good time.

Continue to pray for Delaine. Thanks.

Learning from Cows

Flashback Friday: Water Street Mission


I spent the summer of 1992 there serving the Day Camp and later 1993 the Teen Haven Camp they had.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Top 10 Things to Give for Minister Appreciation Month

Top 10 Things you can give for Minister  Appreciation Month




By Gerrard R. Fess


October is Minister  Appreciation Month. The following are some suggestions to help show your leadership that you care. As a fellow minister  some of these suggestions were given to me and helped encourage and show that I was valued as a member of the church body.


1. Gift cards – cards from local grocery store, home value places,, I-tunes etc. Be creative. 


2. Groceries. Get what their grocery list is or what they usually buy. Some churches in the South I’m told do what is called a “Pounding” and basically what a pounding is a challenge to fill the cupboards and fridge to the brim with stocks of food. Imagine saving $$$ on groceries. Very practical idea.

3. Free babysitting and complimentary funds for a date night.

4. Money – always works. Sometimes you don’t know what the family’s bills, struggles or what they need – it might be they need more clothes for the kids but the budget is tight so some extra funds come in handy.

5. A hand written card. Nothing says Thank You like getting the personal touch of someone saying thanks. Even an e-card would do too.

6. Subscription services to magazines (Leadership, Rev, Journal of Student Ministries, Group), online services and websites, podcasts. There are some online services like preachingtoday.com that have a subscription and might help with their ministry. Maybe get a wish list here of magazines or online services they’d dream of subscribing to.

7. Gadgets. Help the leadership maybe update their software, laptops, PDAs, cell phones. Maybe even have several families go in to help purchase some of this higher dollar items. This not only shows love but an investment in their ministry. It is only a matter of time that some leaders have to quit using Windows 2000 and eventually go MAC. even having an E-reader like a kindle or nook.

8. Books – get a wish list of books you church leader has (note the favorite authors) or would like to buy. A good leader is a lifelong learner and always could use more reading resources and books. E-books too!

9. Extra Vacation days. Help organize more time off or see that they can get renewed by having their own personal retreat. Perhaps there is someone in your congregation who has a vacation home to offer, or see what your local camp ministry offers or other resources.

10.  Help send them to that seminar or convention that they always wanted to go to. Conventions can be expensive. Making sure they get there, have all the funds and don’t have to worry about how this affects their own personal budget or the church’s – set them at ease. There are many ministers, pastor, youth leader, marriage, conventions out there.

Honorable Mention:
-Do any of the above and more on any other day other than Minister Appreciation Month will go a long ways too.

-Specifically pray for your church leaders. Ask them for prayer requests. Send them a note telling them that you are praying for them.

-Have a special ceremony to recognize them in front of the church body.
-Celebrate those holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. Recognize the anniversary of the number of years that they been at the church. Promote and celebrate longevity.

-Take them out. Treat them to dinner, lunch, a fun activity. Sometimes it is the little things that say a lot. Be creative and have fun with showing love.

Some resources:

What is minister appreciation month?

Difference you can make!



Books:
Genuine Ministers – Marshall Leggett
Becoming Your Favorite Church – HB London, Neil Wiseman.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The 4 As in Life

I got thinking about life and what most people want and are excited about: Especially in the Christian life and this journey we call: Faith. So here are 4 things I see that we need in life.

1. Assurance. We need to know that everything is ok. We need to know and have the confidence that what we are trying to achieve is the right thing to do. As someone once told me "If you can't do the right thing; do the next right thing."

2. Affirmation. Everyone wants to be loved, encouraged and told they are doing a good job. Affirmation goes a long way. The little notes, cards, gifts make it all worthwild. I know when "Minister Appreciation" comes in October I look forward to it ...and being told that I'm doing ok. Everyone wants that encouragement. This is one of the primary reasons we get together as a church to "Not forsake the assembly, and to encourage one another."

3. Assessment. We need to be evaluated. How are we doing? Are there any areas we can improve on? Doing this gently and in love. Sometimes the truth hurts. I don't always like to be assessed. I get evaluated all the time ... by people listening to my sermons ....Some are homeruns; others are not. But always prayer, seek God and let Him do the speaking through His Word.

4. Being Anxious. There are some days I just can't wait to start the day. Other times, where I feel like "Oh, boy is this going to be good or bad ..." And then we, like the Apostle Paul, can look forward to heaven and our Eternal Home. This world is not our home ...we're just passing through.

So What things do you think can help us keep focused and press on towards the prize