A good friend of mine, Kevin Kate recently went on a mission trip to Haiti. Kevin is in my men’s group and has a real heart for missions and outreach. I know he had been praying for an opportunity to GO and make a difference. Here is what he did:
Kevin was part of a team that fixed a water well that had caved in. They went to Terre Blanche in Haiti. The well will serve a school of a bout 600 students, the local trade school, local church and the clinic which will serve 1000 people when the medical team from the U.S. goes there. The local population can also use the well. The local people had to travel a great distance to get water and this is a huge blessing to that entire community. On average the well will provide clean fresh drinking water for nearly 2,000 Haitian people each day.
Kevin had some great stories about how God provided what needed to make this project happen. When people like Kevin take a risk and GO out into the world, God does amazing things. I know there are more people like Kevin that God has been calling to take a risk and jump into something bigger than themselves. Start praying today that God will give you direction and then Courage to go and do it. It may be in Haiti or Egypt or maybe in Mississippi or Dover or Millersburg. You can make a difference just like Kevin did.
Way to go Kevin!
This Saturday marks the second month of Angel Food Ministries. Once again we will distribute frozen and non-perishable food to hundreds of people. The neat thing is anyone can participate. There is no minimum income levels, so anyone that wants to save some money can join in. I don’t know about you, but I like saving money.
For Vikki and I it has caused us to cook more meals at home, which means more leftovers for lunch and other meals. We all spend money on food every month, Angel Food allows you to save money, plan your meals and help the church. You help the church by ordering, because $1.00 from every order goes into our Helps Fund.
On Saturday night is Group Link. This is an environment for people wanting to check out or get into small groups here at NewPointe. We have around 100 people registered. After this weekend we should have close to 100 active small groups at NewPointe. That represents around 1,000 people in community.
Vikki and I are excited about starting our new group and adding a few new couples. Our small group has been a lot of fun over the last couple of years. We have developed friendships and grown relationally and spiritually.
I believe we are designed to be in community. When we are isolated just in our immediate family we don’t function like God designed us. We find it harder to trust people, to serve people and to love. You see, on our own we become an easy target for the enemy. We are isolated and can easily fall into sin, loneliness, depression and hopelessness. But if we are connected in a community where we build relationships, learn about the Bible, pray together, care for each other, have fun together and serve together, then we are stronger. It does not mean we won’t struggle or fall into temptation or hopelessness, but it means we don’t have to face that alone. We have friends that can pray for us, listen to us, help us and just be with us if needed.
If you are not in a small group, I encourage you to start to pray that God will provide a way for you to experience community. Pray that God will open an opportunity and then for courage to go ahead and jump in.
This is my second post in a series on worrying. Since this is something that nearly everyone deals with to a certain degree I think it is worth the blog time.
In chapter two of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to stop Worrying and start Living” he talks about a quick sure-fire way for handling worry situations. This method was developed by Willis H. Carrier who started the Carrier Corporation. It contains three steps:
Step 1. “I analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out what is the worst that could possibly happen as a result of this failure.
Step 2. After figuring out what was the worst that could happen, I reconcile myself to accept it, if necessary.
Step 3. From that time on, I calmly devote my time and energy to trying to improve upon the worst which I had already accepted mentally.”
That is a simple formula that can help you to overcome much worry and anxiety. When we are worrying we are focusing on the problem and thinking negatively in a very focused way. Our minds bounce around and it keeps us from thinking clearly. This exercise allows you to look at the worst, accept it and then begin to think clearly. Once we get our focus off the problem, our perspective changes.
Many times we think the thing we are worried about is so much worse than it actually is. We make up multiple worse case scenarios that drive us bonkers. Once you come to the conclusion of the worst and accept it, you can think.
That is why it is never good to make important decisions under stress or worry. In that state of mind we are not thinking clearly.
I would like to throw in another step.
Step 4. Ask God for help! When we bring God into the equation it changes everything. This really should be the first step, because God will help you through the other three.
Turning your focus to Jesus Christ and eternity changes your perspective. This world and these worries are only a mist, here today and gone tomorrow. When we keep our eternal perspective it helps us to deal more effectively with our problems.
Whatever you are facing today, you don’t have to face it alone. Face it as if Jesus was standing right beside you, holding you up and spurring you on. Face the worst and accept it, then work on improving it. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
A couple of months ago my wife and I were in an antique store shopping. I love looking at old books, and I happened to find a book by Dale Carnegie. The title is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. It was written in 1944. I started reading it last night, what a treasure! I think I paid $3.00.
Part one is about fundamental facts you should know about worry. This stuff is so good I want to share it as I read. Here are the nuggets from the first chapter:
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” by Thomas Carlyle.
Carnegie talked about having “Day-tight compartments”, which means to seal off the doors of the past-dead yesterdays- and the future-unborn tomorrows. Then you are safe for today. Similar to water-tight compartments to protect what is inside from water that can corrode things.
He talked about starting out the day with this short prayer from Jesus, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Asking only for today’s bread and not next week or next month or last months moldy bread. Carnegie also quoted Jesus who said “Have no anxiety for the tomorrow.” We are to think about tomorrow and make plans, but should have no anxiety or worry about tomorrow.
“Good thinking deals with causes and effects and leads to logical, constructive planning; bad thinking frequently leads to tension and nervous breakdowns.”
He also said “One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows.” That was in 1944 and it is still very true today.
We can’t live in the past and we can’t know the future and when we focus on those we wreck both our bodies and our minds.
“So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: From now until bedtime.”
He also talked briefly in chapter one about viewing everyday as a new life. That simple thought can help us overcome loneliness and all kinds of fears. It can give us a new enthusiasm for new life every day!
John Maxwell wrote a book called “Today Matters” and that is what this is all about. Focus on today, what can I accomplish today? What project or task can I complete right now? Taking one thing at a time and doing it with excellence is the key.
One final thought: “Think that this day will never dawn again. Life is slipping away with incredible speed. Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.” The Bible says “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
A friend of mine recently got a tattoo. It is a cross with James 1:22 under it. It looks good and it made me think. Not just about tattoo’s, but about that Scripture. This morning I was reading it, and wanted to share it with all of you.
This is from the Message translation verses 22-25 “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God-the free life!-even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”
Did you catch that? Read it again.
Only when we actually do what he hear do we get delight and affirmation. So many of the people I talk to are doing their own thing and not what the Word tells them to do and then they wonder why they are struggling. Putting into action what we hear and learn is the difference between freedom and bondage. Many people would rather live in bondage because they don’t want to do what they know is right.
Real freedom comes when we put into action the things we are learning from the Bible. Are you looking for Financial freedom? Spiritual freedom? Relational freedom? Emotional freedom? Physical freedom?
The NIV translation says it this way “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says.” That is right, do what it says. The Bible shows us how to live in total freedom, yet we choose bondage when we don’t put it into action.
What action do you need to take today in your finances, your marriage, your work, your thought life, your parenting, your friendships, your time with God, your body?
Sorry it has been awhile since my last posting. This has been a very busy week for me. Here are some highlights.
On Tuesday night we had about 20 people come and load the three trucks with all the food boxes from Go ’07. It only took us 50 minutes to load all the boxes. We actually had closer to 1,350 boxes. Thanks to all who helped.
On Wednesday morning we delivered the boxes. Jerry Weaver took a load to the Love Center in Millersburg. I took a load to the Salvation Army in Dover. Several people came to help unload there. Thanks, Steve Elloit, Sue Gerber, Gene, Patty, Dusty and Melissa Bolek. I also want to thank Mike Davis for allowing us to use his Harley Davidson box truck to make that delivery. It was nice to meet the folks from the Salvation Army.
The next delivery was to Newcomerstown and then to Uhrichsville. We had over 650 boxes on the MRV Siding truck. Thanks to Todd Kandel for letting us use his truck. I ended up driving the truck, a few close calls but I made it. Sue, Gene, Patty, Dusty & Melissa came along and helped unload at both places.
The Journey’s End in Newcomerstown has a very organized well run ministry. It has been great to get to know them down there. Janet Gore is the director and she called me later in the day to say they had gone through all 350 boxes and sorted everything. They are now well stocked. The folks at Uhrichsville’s Twin City Christian Center were also very helpful and are doing a good ministry to many families. It is encouraging to see ministries like these in action helping meet peoples needs in an organized fair way.
Thursday was a traveling day as I went to visit a guy near Akron and then on to the Cleveland area to pick up a friend. I got a chance to listen to four messages on prayer by Bill Hybels. Very good stuff.
Friday night was a rehearsal and dinner for the Wedding of Lucas Boylan & Jessica Gotchel in Malvern. Saturday morning was a counseling session with a couple and then on to the wedding.
The wedding was interesting, because it was in a Catholic church in Malvern. I worked with Father Vic Cinson. Lucas & Jessica come to NewPointe, but Father Vic is a relative and they wanted the service at the home church. I learned some new things about weddings, a few I may use and others I won’t. Father Vic was very gracious in allowing me to co-officiate. Danny was there to play music and overall things went well. Danny can sure play the trumpet, Wow!
I was getting a little nervous when Father Vic was not there with only a few minutes before the start of the service. He was doing most of the service. He showed up at the last minute and everything went fine. My part was to do a couple of readings and the nuptial blessing. Pretty simple. Congratulations to Lucas & Jessica!
After we got home I went on a 13 mile bike ride and then watched the Browns win their pre-season opener.
Today I am preaching at the Walnut Creek St. Johns United Church of Christ. This is the church that my wife Vikki and I went to after we got married. This will be the second time I have gone back to preach. I am talking about Prayer. Maybe I’ll blog on that later.
On Saturday I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of Jeremy McCaully and Johnna Saylor. The wedding was held at Schoenbrun Moravian Church in New Philadelphia. The church holds around 150 and we ended up with nearly 200 people.
On the song to bring in the grand parents the electric went out. Needless to say it started getting warm in there. We decided to keep going and hope for the best.
The mother’s came in and lit the unity candles and the wedding party entered. After the bride got to the front, I welcomed everyone and was just about to pray when the lights and air conditioning came on. Praise God!
The rest of the service went well, except one of the groomsman had to leave because he was starting to see stars. He made it without passing out.
This was a fun wedding with lots of smiles and laughter. Jeremy & Johnna are such a great young couple, it was good to get to know them. I pray that they have a long happy life together.
The reception was at the Senior Center in Dover. Great place for a reception or party. The food was good and the conversation fun. I even got up on the dance floor to do the “electric slide”. I know that is not very pastor-like, but it was fun. Denise Royer joined me on the dance floor, you go girl!
In my message to the couple I talked about dance steps from the Bible that will help their marriage. Those dance steps are “Choose your words wisely”, “Settle your disagreements quickly”, and “Practice forgiveness”. Those are foundational dance steps to learn in a healthy marriage.
On Monday night my small group got together to help some ladies move. Carol and her mother Marie called the church looking for help to move from Sugarcreek to Walnut Creek. I checked with my small group and they all could make it on Monday night.
This is the third time we have helped someone move. We have also done numerous other serving projects together, such as drywalling, replacing windows, and other general repairs. Serving together has brought us closer together. Our group has been together for almost two years and we will be starting two groups in September. I am excited about meeting some new people and serving with them.
Helping Carol & Marie was very rewarding. Carol served in the military for 21 years, but was in an accident that caused her to not be able to continue. She moved here to take care of her mother. We showed up with four pickup trucks and started hauling things away. The neighbors even came out to see what was going on. The manager of the old apartment gave me her card and thanked me for helping out.
They were both very grateful for the help and Carol even made a donation to the church’s Helps fund. The reward you feel after helping someone in need is worth the effort of giving time and energy. The church is God’s plan to reach the world and show them His love. I hope we did that in a small way on Monday night.