It’s In The Eyes

Over the course of the last several months I’ve been experiencing some health issues that have kept me in bed most days.  At times I would get up, look in the mirror and realize that my bright blue eyes had lost their sparkle.  There was a certain sadness that lay beneath and around the corners of my eyes.  I would take in a deep breath, shrug my shoulders and then crawl back into my cozy safe bed.

I’ve been studying in Thessalonians with some very sweet wonderful ladies these last three weeks.  Over the course of this time God’s been doing a work in me that is not easy for me to explain only to say that He has been turning the purifying flame up a little hotter this time so that the dross that is deep down has been able to dislodge and come to the surface so that he can wipe it away.  The important thing to note is that this is an unpleasant, somewhat painful process that we sometimes need to go through to get rid of some ugly so that God can continue to move us forward toward His goal for our lives.

Friends, this week as I was reading about all the stuff that the Apostle Paul was going through during this time I realized that through the floggings and beatings he took, the shipwrecks, the imprisonment, the stoning he remained devoted to Jesus Christ and the church.  No matter those obstacles he did not allow them to become a hindrance to his mission of sharing the gospel.  At some point during this week I felt the wake-up.  I felt like Jesus placed his hands on my shoulders and looked into my weary eyes and said, “enough”.  It is time that you got up, and continue on this path that I have placed you on.  You have allowed the enemy to take up too much room in your mind.  That’s it!  God you are right.  I have allowed the enemy to jab at me day after day, steal sleep from my eyes, occupy my thoughts and weigh my body down with unnecessary burdens.  And I do not want any of it, as a matter of a fact my strength is in Jesus.  It is time for me to get up out of this bed, and boldly walk confidently down the path toward the goal God has for me.

So tonight hubby and I were running some errands and I was driving so he could run in and out of our stops quickly.  As we were at our last stop I had my head down playing candy crush on my iphone as I had done during this whole trip.  I had a feeling come over me and I felt compelled to look up.  When I did I seen this man standing against the building.  He wasn’t very old, perhaps early thirties. He had tried to speak to a couple of people as they were walking by each one shaking their head as they quickly passed him.  I knew at that moment that he was probably homeless and was asking for money.  So when Felix came out of the store, I pointed to the young man and asked Felix to go ask him what was wrong.  I rolled my window down so that I could be a part of the conversation and we learned that his name is Steve and he is homeless and hungry.  His time had ran out at the shelter and honestly there really isn’t any other place for a young single man to go.  We had the opportunity to pray with him and share God with him.  Felix gave Steve his number and the address of our mission and told him to stop in Saturday night and we would have some more food and hygiene products for him.  He was grateful and as we were saying goodbye my eyes caught his and I seen the despair, the  loneliness, the hopelessness, the sadness.  Now, if know us or if you follow my blog you will know that we have worked with homeless people for about four years now.   Most of the time within 5 minutes of speaking with them I can pretty much summarize their situation.  Every now and then, you will meet someone that has a certain look in their eyes that only disappointment and time on the streets can put there.

As we drove home, I began to cry.  I could see his dirty fingernails reaching out in thankfulness for the food.  I can see his brown hair curl around his face but the impact of the hurt I seen behind his eyes I believe I will see in my dreams tonight.  Friends, I encourage you today that no matter what situation you are in, financial, physical, spiritual or emotional not to loose the sparkle of the holy spirit in your eyes.  As you wake up this morning and walk to your mirror boldy and confidently know that you are a work of art created by the master.  You are more than your circumstances.  You are more than your past mistakes and failures.  You are more than your personal finances and all the material belongings you may or may not have.  Your life has been delicately and wonderfully strung together by moments and encounters as you journey along the path toward the goal that God create you for.  You are loved so much.  So my friend, stand up, pull your shoulders back, take a deep breath and reflect God’s glory and impact someone’s life today.

Praise Him!!

Plentiful

 

harvest field

 

Matthew 9: 36-38  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Eastside Mission had it’s kick-off community block party outreach yesterday.  I must say it was absolutely amazing to be back on the streets after 8 months of “being still” and waiting on God.  During the 8 months God was growing, stretching and preparing us as He was about to expand our borders.  After 4 years of inner city street ministry on Main Street in Hamilton we thought God had really given us a HUGE mission field.  Now, reflecting back we realize that was our time of preparation.  

Back to yesterday, we had all kinds of fun activities for our introduction into the neighborhood. Pastor Felix and I spent the time by getting to know our neighbors, meeting their families and talking about their needs and the community needs.  At one point, I remember standing a midst all the busyness of serving and lovin’ on people I had a count of 175 people that we were blessed to serve this day.  We have approximately 1700 people within immediate radius, we passed out 560 total flyers and served 175 men, women and children.   As I’m standing there and process all of the conversations I was having, watching the kids playing I am feeling overwhelmed with all the needs.  Trust me, the needs in this area are many!  As we suspected there is a lot of heroin and addicted mommies and daddies.  Many generations living together in small houses and not being able to make the ends meet.  

For some time leading up to the kick-off and even more today we have been posting pictures, sharing needs, asking for volunteers and I’m starting to feel myself getting stressed about how in the world are we going to accomplish this.  This is 4x what we did and served over on Main Street.  God what in the world are you thinking?  So as I’m starting into that familiar tailspin I pick up my bible and I start reading about Jesus going into a city and Him telling the disciples that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few.  Man God is so awesome 2,000 years ago He knew that there would be a great need for workers in the harvest field.  God knows we are facing many needs financial, volunteers, supplies, etc. but God ALSO knows that the laborers are few; therefore, as He is guiding me in His word to ask Him to send out workers into His harvest field.  Because bottom line – He has given Pastor Felix and I the charge of stewardship over this mission and building His church among these un-reached people and whether He sends us 2 or 20 we are going to praise Him, serve others and glorify our God as we pray for God to send the laborers.  Won’t you take a minute and join us in praying for this harvest field and the workers to serve in it!!  God might also be calling you to take a step out, he may be calling you to step outside of the church you are comfortable in with the friends and family you love and do some water walking!

Praise Him!!

Moment by Moment

woman_in_stress

I am sitting in my sewing room listening to KLove on the radio and trying to install a zipper on a cosmetic bag that I am making.  I have only sewed one zipper before and after ripping the seams out 4 times and starting over I can say that  I am really getting frustrated.  A commercial played on the radio from the movie Son of God where Jesus was talking to Peter and Peter asked Jesus, “What are we going to do?”  Jesus replied, “Change the world.”

I know you must be thinking what does all of this have to do with sewing zippers.  Well, at that very moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “take a breath, say a prayer and then tackle this zipper with gladness and an opportunity to learn.”  Really?  I did just that.

Renewing our minds is not only a daily activity it can be a moment by moment task.  Therefore, I encourage you, if you are working on something at your job that has you frustrated, if you are waiting on patients or customers that are pushing your last nerve, stop for a moment, take a breath, say a prayer and then approach the situation with a willingness to learn and grow.  With each day and each obstacle there is an opportunity to glorify God.

With the remaining twelve and a half hours left in this day step outside of yourself and strive to serve others, actively go out of your way to make someone smile, speak kind words to everyone you encounter, approach your task with gladness and embrace this gifted day as an opportunity to reflect Jesus.

Praise Him!

Monday Morning Motivation

monday morning

What a Magnificent Monday Morning.  Glory be to God!  As you reach over to silence the ringing of your alarm clock sticking your arm out from the warmth and comfort of your cozy bed your thoughts go to, “I hate Mondays”.  I’ve had such a great weekend, why does the weekend go by so fast?  You slowly and begrudgingly place your feet on the floor and start making your way to the coffee machine.

This morning, I want to encourage you as you inhale the warm aroma of your freshly brewed hot coffee to exhale and purpose in your mind that this is going to be a magnificent Monday. You can change the course of your day just by renewing the way you approach your day in your mind.

As your taste buds come alive with the anticipation of the hot, creamy, smooth first sip of coffee allow God to energize your mind.  Some of you don’t like your job, some are okay with their job but spend the week wishing it was Friday.  Perhaps you are not employed.  Whatever your circumstance may be, allow God to direct your steps today in a positive manner.  Stop your stinking thinking and your complaining and embrace this day as the gift that it is.

Serve your customers, patients and employers as you are serving Jesus himself.  Each person you encounter may be Jesus in disguise treat them as such.  Take your disappointments and renew your mind by embracing them as an opportunity to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Savior.

Place a smile on your face by picturing Jesus lovingly looking into your eyes and guiding you as you type each letter, take someone’s temperature, assist your boss, load trucks, deliver food, fill teeth, whatever it is that you do.  He is saying to you as you do to these you are doing to me.  Love them as you love me.  Embrace your day as an opportunity to live it as fully as you possibly can.  Make each moment count, take every thought captive and bring it into line with God’s plan for us to have joy and peace.

You have a choice on how you will live today.  Embrace it with love, joy, peace, excitement and an opportunity to love and serve God and others.  What a glorious day the Lord has given us.  Let’s make this Monday Magnificent.

Praise Him!

Reflections

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Sitting in the  rocking chair at the café this morning the sun is streaming through the front windows.  I am reflecting on 3 years of service here in Hamilt

on, Ohio.  It has been an incredible journey and I might add a bumpy one.  3 years ago Felix and I stepped out of our very comfortable jobs to follow the call of our God.  He sent us to Vincennes Indiana to show us what He wanted us to do in this city.

While at a reunion, one that we had not attended in 17 years we were led to a quaint little café called, Offerings Holy Grounds Café.   When we walked into the doors the sweet ladies were busily closing for the day.  Our presence was still welcomed and we were invited to take a look around and told there was a prayer room upstairs.  As we landed on the top of the stairs and entered into the prayer room there was this amazing mural, breathtaking actually.  At that very moment we knew our lives were about to change.

Long story short within 10 days of that day we had a fully furnished and functioning café ministry that was started with no money and no furnishings.  God supplied it all!!  Incredible.  3 years ago we had no idea what lay ahead for us.  This café was not a lifelong dream of ours, far from it.  Friends, we were happy, content and financially stable loving our family, our lives and our jobs.  Then God . . .

We have seen people come and go, addicts restored, people die, extreme poverty and pure evil.  We daily rise out of bed and thank God for the opportunity to serve Him and the people living in a very dark place.  In the last three years we have lost our home, been unable to pay bills, gone hungry and through it all we’ve been incredibly blessed.  We have seen God’s hand move so undeniably that if we had time together to share some of our God stories you would agree.

We shepherd a street church on Sundays and we have received more heart blessings than heartaches.  Last week was my 43rd birthday and I received a cake, my girls from the neighborhood sang to me and hugged me, told me they loved me – wow!  We are struggling to keep this ministry afloat and last night we had a neighbor come in after hearing the word on the street that we are going to close.  This man that has NOTHING besides huge life issues handed Felix $4 to help keep us going.  When Felix told him no He insisted.  This little inner city mission is making an impact in this city.  I was brought to tears just thinking about what all he had to give up just giving us this $4.  I am absolutely blown away by emotion and feeling so loved and encouraged.

We are a federally recognized non-profit ministry.  We serve food, coffee and Jesus on a daily basis.  We love our homeless, addicted, sin sick neighbors and we are investing the LOVE OF CHRIST into each of these people one day at a time, one meal at a time, one soul at a time.   Friends, if you believe in us, in this little mission please consider financially supporting us and dining with us at the café.  We are a café with a cause – we are not for profit and as a matter of fact we have moved into the neighborhood so that we can be closer to our mission field.  We need encouragement, prayer and financial support.   Please pass this blog on to your friends, family, pastors and church members.  We are looking to speak to community groups, women’s and men’s groups, and churches to raise support to help us to continue bringing Jesus Christ to the streets for a kingdom impact!

Praise Him!

If you feel led to send us a donation please mail to Offerings Holy Grounds Café 215 Main Street Hamilton, OH 45013.   www.offeringsministries.com  Like us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/OfferingsHolyGroundsCafe