Monthly Archives: November 2010

25 Days Update 1

First click here: 5K for 25 days to learn about this and how you can donate funds.

I am so excited for how this is already being used to encourage people and bring glory to God! I am two days into promotion and $320 has been pledged. That means only $4680 to go or 47 more $100 sponsors. Please though don’t hesitate to give if it is only $5 or $10. The truth is it is going to take everyone’s help to reach the goal and beyond. Another cool thing is that a friend of mine gave me a pair of New Balance running shoes. This is huge because my running shoes are almost three years old!

A couple of promotion opportunities to be praying for are the Dayton Daily News and Starbucks. The store I work at is going to allow me to put up information and this will allow me to find a lot more sponsors. Secondly some editorial writers at the Dayton Daily News have heard about what I am doing and now I am praying they will want to do a piece on it. My prayer is that for God’s glory that the goal of $5000 will be blown out of the water!!!

Theresa Flores is on the board at Gracehaven and this a quote from her about the importance of Gracehaven getting open.

We (Gracehaven) is in such need to raise this money, so we really appreciate it! We just HAVE to get open this spring and only need money to do it. It seems like such a small thing, yet so hard too. But there are young girls out there living in hell right now, and we Have to do it.

Tomorrow starts the running! yeah!

Please be willing to donate to this great cause. E-mail me at 5kfor25days@gmail.com to let me know how mush you want to pledge.

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5K for 25 days

You may find yourself asking, “what does that title mean?” A couple nights ago I got contemplating how I could raise awareness around the issue of human trafficking and at the same time raise some funds to help a ministry involved in fighting this battle. Around 11 pm that night a plan came to my mind and now its time to make it happen.

I need your help though!

First take a few minutes to go to the Love146 website and learn about the human trafficking especially in regards to minors.

Second, take a few more minutes to learn about Gracehaven. Gracehaven is a home in Ohio that is being developed to helped minors who have been rescued from sexually slavery. These girls can stay at the home for as long as they need to or until they are 18. The home will have ten beds and have workers to help these young girls. Also realize this will only be the fourth house of it kind for minors. Two of them exist in Ohio. But please check out the website for more information.

So here is my plan. I would like to raise $5,000 to go to Gracehaven to help them get open. Of course I need your help because I don’t have $5000.

5k for 25 days is the plan. You can look at this two ways. The first is that for 25 days starting December 1 I will run a 5k. The final day will be Christmas day. The second way is that for 25 days of running I am going to raise $5000.

What I need is simply 50 sponsors who will give $100 to Gracehaven. Would you do this please? They need it to get closer to their goal of getting open. I would love to raise more than $5000 but that is the goal. Please if you can’t do $100 but would do less then please do less.

Here is how you can give:
1. Send me an e-mail at 5kfor25days@gmail.com or contact me some on facebook or twitter to let me know that you will sponsor me and for how much.
2. Make out your check to Gracehaven.
3. Mail it to me: 8693 Shadycreek Dr., Centerville, OH 45458.

Also you can hear regular updates on how the 5k for 25 days is going on facebook and twitter.

If you would, please pass the link on for this post to others so they can get involved too. $5000 seems like a lot to me, but I know that if the word spreads enough this amount will be nothing.

On the my blog you can also find some other websites that will give you information about the problem of Human Trafficking. Breaking the Chains is another article that talks about Human Trafficking especially in Ohio.

Friends please consider how you may help so we can give a Christmas gift to Gracehaven!!!!

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The Path to a Healthy Group, Part One

Leadership is influence and therefore you are the lead influencer of your growth group. If you are anything like me you may find yourself asking what do I do? How do I influence them? What areas do I focus on? How is this group going to get healthy? In order for growth groups to be healthy, growing both spiritually and numerically leaders need to have a path to follow, stepping stones if you will to guide the group. A tool by which they can evaluate the direction and progress of their group.
There is one thing that is bound to happen without a plan in place. More than likely as a leader you will hear the expectations that are placed on you and you will become overwhelmed. After becoming overwhelmed we then become discouraged because you believe there is no way you can live up to the expectations. As a result you simply begin to emphasize the things that fall within your strengths. If you are a really friendly person and love to hang out with people then more than likely your group will be strong on caring for each other but really weak on the teaching aspect. Or maybe you love to teach, ex- plaining the word of God to your group and as a result your group will be really strong on truth but perhaps weak on outreach or care of group members. The goal is balance, having groups that are equally focused on praying, care, outreach and teaching. When this balance comes groups will become healthy and reach their potential for growth.
This series of articles intends to lay out an organic path to help your group move towards balance and health. The reason “organic” is used is because the goal is not to give you every nut and bolt on the how to’s but rather to give you the overarching principles. The leader then can take and apply these principles to their group with its setting and uniqueness’ and find the most success. The encouraging thing is that this path does not require a certain kind of leader. Whether you are and intro-vert, extrovert, organized or disorganized is irrelevant. What matters is whether or not you work hard to implement these different aspects into your group.
The path we have laid out has two major sec-tions, first covering leaders and then covering the group. When we talk about the leader we want a pray-ing leaders focused on empowering disciples.
I was talking to a pastor about small groups and he said one of the greatest benefits to groups is the ability to develop leaders or as stated above to develop “empowered disciples.” The leader also needs to be connected to and dependent on Jesus for the ability to lead or else we will have groups that are not Spirit led. The growth of disciples will only be real if it is the work of the Spirit in our lives.
The second part of the plan focuses on the group. This part has been further broken down into the the following five categories:
A Praying group: Groups need to be praying together. They need the Lord to be at work in their lives and they need to ask. Groups need to pay attention to the climate of the group by the types of prayer requests that are brought up. We learn the burdens of the heart through the requests of the people.
Word Focused: The word of God will help us grow in the way that God wants us to grow. Groups will not be about what we think but what God thinks. People’s needs and situations need to be ministered to by the Word of God.
Covenanted Together: Acts 2 tells us about the early church and the commitment they had to one another. They were so committed that they met daily and were willing to sell their possessions to give to others. Members of groups need to be taught what commitment looks like and the leaders need to model it for them.
Caring Environment: Groups is the primary place that we care for the needs of one another. Everyone needs to grow to under-stand that if they are not connected to a group then there is a good chance that needs that arise in their life may go unmet. They will go unmet not because we do not care but because they are not committed to a group. Groups will always be best situated to celebrate with those who celebrate and to hurt with the hurting. Each week members should walk away knowing that they are loved and cared for.
Reach Out: The church is called to share the gospel and to spread the kingdom of God. The groups need to be mobilized to do that. This can happen through service projects in the community or by reaching out to their neighbors in love and praying for opportunities to share the gospel with them. Groups can also hold events that are conducive to inviting those not connected with the church. Then praying that they would experience the love of God and want to become a part of the group.
This is an organic path that leaders can implement to help their group become healthy. This is hard stuff but as each area is encouraged and grows within the group the leader will be greatly rewarded as they see members loving God and each other more. Take some time and begin to think through your group. How is it doing in each of these areas? Begin brain-storming ways that you can help your group grow in the areas that seem weak. Ask members of your group to think through these areas and to give you feedback as to where they believe the group is strong and week.
Over the next few weeks each of the areas mentioned above will be laid out with more detail and with suggestions on how to have your group grow in these areas. One final encouragement is in order. If you as a leader is not regularly praying for your group as a whole and for each member then that is the first thing you need to do. Leader invite God to lead your group, beg Him to invade the hearts of every member, that your group might see the mighty acts of God and bear every good fruit that He has planed out for them.

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Gospel Lions

Last night I sat down and watched Robin Hoodand really enjoyed the movie. Honestly though I wasn’t surprised. Most movies that have action and adventure I enjoy, the kid in me comes to the surface. I especially like those kind of movies when I walk away inspired to live life better. Movies like Gladiator, The Patriot and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy are some other good ones that have at the same time entertained and inspired me. Those are the best movies.

While watching Robin Hood I could not help but be inspired by how the common folk came together to be a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunatly this didn’t work out to well for them in the movie and Robin ended up being outlawed but the idea moved me still. The quote from the movie that resonated with me as soon as I heard it was, “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions!” Pastors are in the business of helping lambs become lions by the grace of God. Each week we need to rise up and pursue the raising up of disciples who are engaging their communities with the boldness of lions so that some might come to Christ. Without this passionate pursuit we can expect that the people in the pews will remain lambs who are comfortable with being a part of a club. While pondering this there were a couple of things that came to mind that must happen in order for the lambs to become lions.

1. Growth in the gospel- I know that we would say the people in the pews have said the sinner’s prayer and and trusted Christ as their savior. My response to this would be are they learning everyday what it means to live out the gospel? Are they growing in the knowledge of the holiness and greatness of God? As they know God more do they understand more how depraved they are? Then are they turning to Christ again everyday praising Him for the work He has done? This will result in men and women who are falling more deeply in love with Jesus everyday because they are growing in their understanding of the significance of the gospel. The gospel provides the motivation and the power to live for the glory of God. In 2 Peter 1:3-11 we learn that the gospel has given us everything we need to be fruitful as believers. If believers are going to move from being lambs to being lions they need to understand the implications of living the gospel and begin living it. This means if you are a leader in the church that every time you teach you must make sure that the gospel is central. This is why Martin Luther said to beat the gospel into their heads continually.

2. Love for People- At another point in Robin Hood, Robin is talking with the young boys who were essentially poachers and thieves and He told them that if they wanted to be more than theives that they needed to have a cause. Have the people in your church come to understand the great cause they have been called to? 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 teaches believers that they have been called to the ministry of reconciliation. God has given us a cause that is worth dying for. If you doubt that then simply ask yourself why is it that Jesus died? He believed the cause was worthy to die for. We are commissioned to go to the world with the message that they can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Believers need to see and understand how broken the world around them is, if they don’t they will forget how desperately people need Jesus. Another thing we should be doing is praying often that the people in our churches would have an enlarged burden for their community. As they grow to love people more and understand their call to take the message of reconciliation to their hurting community they will begin to grow from lambs to lions.

You want to see the church work to have gospel change in your community, to move from being lambs to lions then work hard at helping them to grow in the gospel and to grow in their love for people. When these two things happen they will have the motivation and power needed to radically impact their community for the glory of God. You will have lions!

Yep all that from Robin Hood. I am thankful for the time to watch it last night.

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The Ordination

In about two and one half weeks I will be getting ordained. To be honest I have really mixed emotions and have had those emotions since I first thought about getting ordained. Truly the name of this blog, “Wrestlings” describes my thoughts on being ordained. If I didn’t have to be ordained in order to get my license to marry then then I wouldn’t be at the point of being ordained.

Throughout my time at seminary I never really planned on getting ordained. If you know me then you realize that I am not a big fan of formal occasions, which is why I didn’t go to my graduation from seminary. So the thought of being ordained was just another formal occasion to me. Secondly I always viewed ordination as getting the approval of man to support the calling of God on your life. My rebellious spirit said I didn’t need that, I was confident in God’s calling on my life and that was all I needed. For a few years I boldly proclaimed I had no need to be ordained. Dumb and arrogant on my part I know.

Then the change of heart came. The government in Ohio makes you be endorsed by a denomination in order to get a license to marry and with the Southern Baptist Convention the church is given the responsibility of ordination. This led to me approaching Mark Simpson, my pastor to see about getting ordained. As I worked with him on this, my stance towards ordination changed dramatically. This change I owe in large part to Mark’s hard work and the respect that he has towards the process.

The process that Mark put together helped me to see the value of being ordained. The first thing I realized was that ordination wasn’t so much about being approved by man but rather men encouraging you in the calling that God has placed on your life. When I think about the men who will be apart of the ordination council on November 13th I realized these are men who have watched me in ministry and have the ability to speak into my life in regards to the work they see God doing. They can encourage me by helping me see my strengths and by exhorting me to work on my weaknesses. I already found myself encouraged on the night that the church approved me being ordained as I heard a couple comments people made about their whole-hearted approval of the event.

The other part of the process is writing a doctrinal paper. This is a hard thing for me to do because there are other things I would like to be doing. I have told Amy a couple of times that although writing the paper is tough for me the process of writing it will be very valuable. I believe the reason it is so hard to be motivated doing the paper is because I don’t remember facts to well so my fear is that within a couple weeks of writing the paper I will forget much of what I wrote. That is simply how my mind works. I know that it is not a lack of valuing doctrine that makes the paper hard. I strongly believe in the value of doctrine and how believers need to make the effort to know what they believe and why (1 Peter 3:15). I thank God for this paper and how it is challenging me.

Now that my heart has changed and I am excited to be ordained. So what is it that continues to give me mixed emotions. Sitting in front of peers who I have ministered among is what makes me nervous. I know they are going to seek to encourage me but it still makes me nervous. I have a deep fear of failure and for me I see this as another opportunity to fail. I know that is quite pessimistic but that is me, love me or leave me! The other thing that gets me a little worked up is being the center of attention. Oh my the thought of a service that will be to honor what God has done in my life in regards to ministry makes me a little sick to my stomach. These are the times that my introvert tendencies come out.

Despite these mixed emotions overall I am really excited about being ordained. I know this sounds a little funny but this ordination is another step in growing up. The responsibility of the call will hit me between the eyes on that night for which I thank God. Please be praying for my family and I through this ordination and as we continue to seek God’s direction in our life. I may not know where I will be serving long term but I know that my life will be poured out in service to God. The ironic thing is it is only by His power that I will effectively minister for Him.

In the end I thank the Lord for how He has used the state of Ohio to get me to pursue ordination and I thank Him for Mark and his respect for the process of ordination.

In Acts 13 we read about Paul and Barnabas being sent out by the church at Antioch. The Holy Spirit led them to do this but they took the time to pray for Paul and Barnabas and in essence to honor what God was sending them to do. They understood the need that Paul and Barnabas had for the Holy Spirit to work through them. On November 13th when I am ordained it is a moment for me to declare that I am dependent on the work of the Spirit in my life to be fruitful in ministry.

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