Tulsa Workshop

17 03 2013

Well, it’s almost time for the Tulsa Workshop, my favorite time of the year. It’s like a giant family reunion where I get to see friends from all over the country. This year looks to be the best ever with Francis Chan speaking. (Thank you Wes Woodell for your efforts to make that happen.) If you plan on hearing him you better get there early as they expect standing room only. Chan will speak Thursday night and again Friday morning.
I look forward to speaking with Wes Woodell about how to reach the 20-Somethings. We will be speaking once on Thursday and twice on Saturday. There are a number of books out there telling us how that generation is not receptive to the Gospel. But we will be explaining how we are seeing that generation reached by a number of CMU ministries. We will share what it takes to reach out successfully to the 20-somethings and make disciples that will last.

While you are there please stop by our booth #105 so we can say hello and give you an update on all the exciting things our ministries are doing.

See ya there!

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It’s a God Thing!

27 10 2011

Over the course of the last two years I have experienced many moments that I can describe as “a God Thing”.  Moments where I thought one thing was going to happen and God stepped in and did something else.  One of those moments came very quickly.  I was standing at the front door of the church (greeting  people) when my cell phone rang.  I moved away from the door to take the call and it was the minister at another church calling to invite me to meet with the elders about our mission.  He gave me the date of the meeting and I told him my wife and I would be
there.  As soon as I hung up the phone I realized that I had already booked an airfare that would conflict with the time I had just committed.  I said to myself; “Oh great, this is going to cost me $100.00 to change the fare.”  Then I thought;  “Oh well, God will supply”.  So I walked back to the door to continue greeting people and the first person to walk up to me said; “God put it on my heart that you needed this, so use it for whatever you need.”   In my hand was a one hundred dollar bill.  The lady engaged with other people before I could even thank her. (I later shared the events with her).  Shocked I looked up and said to God; “Wow, that was quick. You didn’t even give me time to ask.”

That was “A God Thing”!

As I was thinking about that moment I remembered a story that a man at the Tulsa workshop had told me a few years ago.  I was sitting with him and had commented on the amazing job he had done in planting two churches.  He then said; “It’s a God Thing”.  He said he had a story that inspired him to do church planting.  Here is the story he shared with me:

A number of years ago, I met a man who was running a homeless shelter.  This shelter was first class, feeding over a hundred each day.
I told him how impressed I was with this shelter and he said; “Well thank you, but we now have over twenty of these shelters in cities all across the mid-west and we’re working on more.”  He said; “It’s a God Thing”.

He asked him to explain.  The man said; “I didn’t start out to build homeless shelters.”  Here’s my story;  I was in my 40’s  and had done quite well.  I had a good education and had worked my way up in business.  I had a $500,000.00 home, a wife and two children.  We drove Mercedes
and went to church regularly and were involved in our youth group.  But, I wasn’t happy.  I wasn’t fulfilled.  I was just… going through the motions.

One day I was driving downtown, on my way to a Bible study,and got stopped at a railroad crossing.  I started looking around and saw this woman sitting near the tracks with her head in her hands…crying.  For some reason I felt compassion towards her, which was unlike me.  Something inside me said; “Go help her”.  So I pulled my car over to the curb and got out (very unlike me) and went over to her and said;   “Are
you ok?”
  She looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said; “No! I haven’t eaten in three days and I have no money”.  So I begrudgingly reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet to give her some money and all I had was two twenty’s and I thought;  Great!  Now it’s going to cost me twenty bucks and she’ll just blow it on booze…thanks a lot.  Then she said something that
surprised me;  “Oh please don’t give me and money”  I said, What?  She said; “These bums around here will just beat me up and take the money” (and she looked like she had been beaten up a few times already).  Then she pointed at McDonalds and said; “Would you buy me some food?”

So we went into McDonalds and I bought her some food.  When she finished she asked me if I would buy her another order.  I just figured she
wanted some for later.  So I said; Sure.  Get what you want.  Then she said something that really surprised me;  “Thanks, I have a friend who hasn’t eaten either.  I’m gonna take her this food.”  (Here was one beggar taking another beggar food.)  Tears came to my eyes, but she wasn’t through with my heart yet.  She looked straight at me and said;  “You know, This was a God thing! I had my hands over my face praying and  cry out to God; Please send me some food, and you came up.  Thank you!”  I was barely able to squeak out;  No –  thank you!

She left in a hurry down an ally and I never saw her again.  After I composed myself, I got back into my car and drove to the Bible Study.
But God wasn’t done with my heart yet!  I get to the Bible study late and the first thing the teacher does is asked me to read a scripture;  Luke
10:25-37 (the parable of the good Samaritan).  After that study I knew what I was going to do with the rest of my life and I haven’t looked back since.  And, by the way, I’m now happy.  I’m fulfilled.  My life has meaning!  It’s a God thing!

God will do mighty things in our lives when we get out of the way.





AMAZING THINGS

4 04 2011

Joshua 3:5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
We have concluded an amazing two weeks. The details will follow below. These events have made us acutely aware of this word ‘amazing’ and its full meaning in our lives. As most of you who have read this blog have known, we have been soliciting your prayers on our behalf as we are making a full transition in our lives including occupation, location, residence, congregation, ministry, support, and family separation. As we have stretched our faith muscle and learned more about trusting God, we have experienced quietness, waiting, and the unknown. In all these experiences we attempted to embrace them with integrity and give glory to God in all things. As time has now progressed and events begin to unfold, we want to praise God and give Him all the Glory for his ‘amazing’ answers and provisions.

Prayers were answered concerning the sale of our house in Tampa the day before we left for Oklahoma to attend the Tulsa workshop. In less than 12 hours our plans to trust God with leasing our property changed into a completed contract. In the next week we began searching for our new place to live. As events unfolded we were searching for a two-bedroom apartment; we were surprisingly and graciously invited to lease a large home within the constraints of our budget formerly occupied by very dear family members. As we stood ‘amazed’ at God’s provisions and the hearts of benevolent people, we were simultaneously blessed to meet some incredible contacts (meaning people whose hearts are sold out to God for Kingdom work focusing toward campus ministry). We continued to be encouraged as we met so many people who were so excited and encouraging about this new work. We were able to pray with dear friends who faithfully believe in this work and diligently pray for its success and our spiritual health. Now we are taking a break, moving Grandma, and readying ourselves for our big move.

So how do you describe this feeling? Of course, God is a Promise Keeper. Of course, God provides all our needs. Of course, God is Sovereign in all things. But what we REALLY want to say is—GOD IS AMAZING! As parents we would never intentionally neglect our child, but what great joy there is in seeing your child jump for joy at the provision you have made. We want everyone to know how AMAZED we are, because God is doing amazing things!

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The words of this page cannot fully express our amazement—but we will not let it go unsaid! Our efforts will never complete the glorious work of His Kingdom, but ‘listen to our hearts’! Our cup overflows!