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!!

Love

women in flowers

Good Morning Beautiful Women of God!  This blog is especially for you today.  My daughter had a couple of unpleasant conversations with two “Christian” women this morning and it caused me to start thinking about women of God.  Oh, how precious we are to our Lord!  He loves us so much.  When we were created God said it is good.  As I look out this morning I see the sun shining brightly through the trees.  I can feel the warmth on my skin and I smell the most beautiful aroma from flowers growing nearby.  Then a thought hit me; Wow!  I am being loved on this morning by my Lord.  I’m not certain that I actually pause long enough to notice that God is loving on me with all the beauty that He surrounds me with.  Sometimes as women life can really knock us down.  There are so many varying degrees of who we are supposed to be.  We have the feminist movement that tells us we can do anything that men can do; sometimes even better.  Then we have some ultra conservative movements that tell us we can’t even make a noise without our husband’s permission.  What are we to do and feel as a woman living in today’s messed up confusing world?

As I’m soaking in the beauty of God’s creation around me I am thinking about how as women of God we live out being not only God’s ambassadors but that we were actually created in His likeness.  We have the attributes of God within us.  When He created both male and female we were both created in God’s image.  Do we display this image to other women?  Are we being the best women that we can be?  Are we honoring God with our speech; our actions?  I told you that I have a lot going on in my mind today.

This blog’s point is leading me to the heart of a woman.  We can tell what indwells within a woman simply by the words that come out of her mouth.  We can tell who she is spending time with or who she is NOT spending time with by the way she treats others.  How do you measure up today in comparison to His image today?

I agree that we have a special set of struggles and circumstances that we go through in life as women.  Some women are widows, single parents, divorced, broken and wounded.  Some women are in abusive relationships because they don’t see any other way out.  Some women are very happily married and are thrilled to enjoy the life that they have.  Whichever situation you find yourself in today I implore you to take the time to stand outside and feel the love of our heavenly father.  Stand for one moment and soak in the warm sun on your skin.  Take a deep breath in and enjoy the fresh air or maybe some glorious scents from flowers close by.  Women we are a special created being.  Step into all that God has created you for today.  Find rest and peace knowing that God not only has you wrapped in His loving arms but that everything around us speaks of His goodness.

Ladies you are each beautiful wonderful women created for a specific plan and purpose.  Are you walking in all that has been prepared for you today?  What is coming out of your heart?  Rest in Jesus and His love.  Allow Him to consume you to your very core ladies.  Take time today just to spend time with Him.  Love on Him and allow Him to love you back.  Ladies, others will know if you have been with Him.  Ladies, others will know where your heart is and who you keep company with just by your words and actions.  So take the time out from your busy day spend some of it with God then take that love, that peace, that warmth to someone else and give it to them.  Praise Him Today!!!

Blessings in the Toilet

toilet

 

This past week my hubby and I have been serving at InnKeeper Ministries while Bob & Jan are out of town.  Over the last 10 years we have stayed here many many times, we even renewed our vows for our 15 year wedding anniversary here.  We have been guests and we have been workers.  However, this time has been different.  As we were cleaning rooms after the last guests left I was cleaning in the bathroom and became so overcome with emotion.  I realized that after all of these years this time we are here serving other servants of God; God’s shepherds.  As I was cleaning the toilet of all places I prayed and thanked God for this blessing.  I have such an amazing feeling and such deep gratitude for the honor of being able to serve in this place and to be able to help two of the most selfless, wonderful people we know.  I can certainly say that over the last 10 years of knowing the Hartenstein’s that they are a family after God’s own heart.  They love God, their family and others with such a willingness to be and do anything that God calls them to.  I am thankful for the many years that this couple, Bob and Janet Hartenstein have poured into us.  Janet is certainly the entire package of what a godly woman is, she is my mentor and I know hubby feels the same about Bob.

Today my blessing came while cleaning the toilet!

Finally Friday – It’s Time To Come Undone!!!

needle

Compassion – suffering with someone with the desire to help them, this is what my husband told a youth group we pastored 16 years ago.  I thought I understood the meaning of compassion back then but I had not even begun to comprehend it’s depth of meaning.

Life for us has been crazy this last month with the closing of the café, my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the experimental medications the insurance company has made me go through before I can take the one my doctor actually thinks will help me.   So for me, this week wraps up a four year long journey as we will lock the door to Offerings Holy Grounds Café for the last time this Saturday.  What a journey it has been.  Just penning these words springs up a well of tears filling my eyes.

We have met so many people.  We have seen the good, the bad and the truly ugly.  I have so many stories that it would take me all month to share.  One that comes to my mind to share is of a blonde haired woman that lives a life of prostitution and crack addiction.  I had only known “Misty” for about a week when I found her crouched out in the back parking lot trying to smoke crack out of some kind of make-shift pipe.  She was frayed from end to end, disheveled and rocking back and forth.  I remember walking up to her and standing there for minutes with her never even looking up to see what I was doing.  My heart was feeling physically heavy as I lowered myself to my knees in front of her.  All the while she never once looked at me; she continued to try to put crack in this so called pipe while she continued to rock back in forth.  I can still feel the pain deep inside of me this day as I recount this story. I sat there for a minute or two and just watched her not knowing what I should do.  With a deep breath I stretched my arms toward her and I cupped her weary face into my shaking hands.  As I cradled her face her eyes met mine and at that moment I had become totally undone, never to be the same again.

Have you ever had an encounter with such suffering that it totally rocked your world?  I did that day.  That day I felt so much suffering and pain that I began to understand the meaning of compassion.  Right there that day it hit me; compassion feels bad.  It hurts, it’s dirty, it’s messy, it’s . . . awful.  Compassion is walking away from an encounter that you know has changed your life forever and you realize that life as you knew it would never be the same.

Friends, we live in a world full of pain; do you feel it?  Or have we become so desensitized by all the news stories and so self-centered that we will walk right past a person begging on the streets.  Or as we pass the poor we drop our eyes so that we don’t have to look at them.

By now, most have put in at least a 40 hour week already work.  So now we can have this weekend to enjoy and kick it up as we please.  I understand this; I lived it for most of my life.  I worked long hard hours at a job that was okay just so I could pay a mortgage on a house that I no longer live in and travel to a tropical state for a two week vacation once every year.  I was living the dream; right?  No, I had bought into a lie.

After four years of street ministry I have got to admit it’s dirty, it’s hard and it’s painful.  But my friends, I could not go back to the comfortable life that I once knew.  I have been called to follow Jesus, the one who gave up the comfort of heaven and had compassion on me.  As I was holding Misty in my arms Jesus was holding me in His.  Jesus was whispering into my ear, He was saying, “Kimberleigh lay down your net and follow me.”  Suffer with her, have compassion “with” her, feel it.  He showed me in that very moment that I would shed many tears for the little children that I would see running around in the alleys barefoot, dirty and hungry.  He showed me that I would feel the deep heart wrenching pain of holding a drug addicted prostitute in my arms.  He showed me that the road that I had stepped onto was narrow and the path that I was about to take is dirty, full of busted beer bottles, heroine needles, crack pipes and cigarette butts.  Sitting in a little church, pastoring teens I would never have imagined that I would be here today serving the poor and broken in my community I would have avoided it at all costs.

Before you approach your weekend and all the activities you have planned I ask you to spend some time alone with God.  Listen for His whisper.  It’s there.  Your path and purpose have all been laid out before you were even created.  Turn the world down for just a little while and turn off its lies of if we work hard enough, make enough money, and buy all the latest and greatest gadgets that we will be happy.  What is He calling you to do, where is He calling you to go?  We live in a world full of pain and suffering but few have actually engaged it.  Most of us, walk past the beggar and the drunkard and lower our eyes.

Four years ago, I had an encounter with my Savior that caused me to become radically undone and since that time I have held many women while they cry.  I have seen pain and hopelessness in their eyes.  For me, I know that my life will never be the same.  There is no way to put those pieces all back together, the dirt has been under my nails for so many years that OPI can’t cover it.

Just for this weekend, before you go out to eat buy someone else a meal first.  Before you buy that new outfit you’ve been waiting for buy one for someone else.  And when you walk down the street smile at the person you are passing.  I encourage you to become UNDONE!!

Praise Him!!

Come on we have work to do

 

warrior woman

 

Last night we were blessed to receive free tickets to see Son of God.  My favorite part of the movie was immediately after Jesus ascended Peter stood up and said to the others, “come on, we have work to do”.  I have had that image in my mind of what those 1st days without Jesus must have looked and felt like to the disciples.

 

As I drifted off to sleep last night I was praying to have God instill even more urgency into me to reach the lost in this world.   Being street preachers, I have these names and faces of addicts, homeless, prostitutes … our friends in my mind.  I see and feel the lost hope, despair and total utter darkness that these precious friends of ours live in daily.  Actually, just a couple of days ago one of these women who had lost all hope was contemplating suicide. 

 

I realize that a lot of my blogs sound like war cries but until the warriors for Christ come to the battlefield I feel like I am supposed to.  We have so many warriors that have not put their armor on in years and stroll into church on most Sundays and listen to a sermon to get up and leave it there.  Where have the warriors gone, where is their urgency.  Last year, I literally saw 2 people die in the streets.  There is no time for us to wait around.

 

We are living in a society that is self absorbed and independent when we come from a Kingdom that is unified and relational.  Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive – – we have lost our give and we have become hoarders.  Followers of Jesus Christ we need a revival a coming back to Him and I’m not talking about big meetings and religious excitement coming from a pulpit.  Revival is God revealing himself to us.  God revealing His glory, His love, His power to us that we run from the church buildings and abandon our programs and run straight into the darkness and grab people by the arm, lift them out of the gutter, drag them from the street and bring them

Jesus!  Now, that’s revival.  Not some emotional stirring with lots of religious excitement that goes on for days.

 

Friends, Jesus came to seek and to save those that are lost.  When we have a true life changing experience with Jesus we want what the Father wants and we do as Jesus does and we go into the world.  Where has He placed you, who are you seeking to bring Jesus to?

 

Praise Him!

Broken and Naked Before God

 

 
He Without Sin 017    John 8:1-11

My text is from the story of the woman taken in adultery.  It was the time of year during the Feast of Tabernacles, where every Jewish man and woman went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast that commemorates their ancestors living in tents as they wandered thru the wilderness.  Now this story takes place early in the morning.  Jesus is outside the temple teaching a group of people when all of a sudden the scribes and the Pharisees show up dragging behind them a naked woman.  This woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  According to the Law of Moses she is to be stoned to death.  (Lev. 20:10 The man who commits adultery with another’s wife even his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.)

Let’s take a look at the brokenness – as we journey throughout our life we encounter many situations that cause us to become broken people.  Perhaps, we were introduced to drugs and/or alcohol and became addicts.  Or we were physically or sexually abused as children.  We become extremely far in debt, we cheat on college exams or taxes.  How about we catch our spouse, the love of our life, having an affair or a porn addiction.  Just take a look back over your life or your current situation and I’m sure you can name a few things along the way that has caused you to become broken.  I know I have.  At some point in our life we have failed somewhere or someone; we have blown it, we’ve made a wrong choice or two.

So  here we go back to John 8: 2-5 But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  They put her in front of the crowd.  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone here. What do you say?”

These Jewish leaders were trying to trap Jesus.  These men were happy because they figure they’ve got Jesus where they want him.  They know she’s guilty.  She knows she’s guilty.  And Jesus knows she’s guilty.  Everybody knows she’s guilty.  Never mind, that these scribes and Pharisees have already just broken the law themselves because they did not bring the man to Jesus . . . nope, just the woman.

So check it in verses 6-11.  They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” The he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

This is so good.  Picture this it’s early, Jesus is teaching a group outside the Temple and here the leaders come rocks in their hands dragging this naked broken woman caught in adultery.  Friends, these men are armed and ready.  (Vs. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with this woman.)  I LOVE this! Jesus turns it all around on them.  As the Jewish leaders were ready to prosecute this woman with rocks in hand Jesus turns it around on them by asking them to let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone and when they are confronted with facing their sin they leave one by one dropping their rocks to the ground.  Halleluiah! Praise God!

Then here is where grace comes in.  When they have all dropped their rocks and left and Jesus stands up and looks this woman in the eye he says (vs. 10-11) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  “No, Lord,” she replied.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  WOW!!  Now that’s what I’m talking about Jesus and His love for sinners; grace, grace marvelous grace.

That is grace my friend.  Was this woman guilty?  Absolutely.  Was Jesus the only sinless person there qualified to throw the rock at her?  Oh yes.  But He doesn’t He says to her Go and sin no more.  So why is this important; there are several reasons.

  1.  Why doesn’t Jesus condemn her?  She’s guilty right.  So as this woman stands before Jesus broken and naked it’s not going to be very long before Jesus goes to the cross, the only sinless perfect man was about to die for this woman who was not.  This is too good friends.  This is my Jesus!!!
  2. I want you to notice He also wants our commitment.  He says Go and sin NO MORE.  He gives grace my friends but He does NOT excuse our sin.  He doesn’t say go and do whatever you want you are covered by my grace.  He says, SIN NO MORE.  Listen, Jesus gives us grace and forgiveness but He hates sin.  Have you ever heard the saying, Hate the sin but love the sinner?  It’s like this Jesus says, Woman, I don’t condemn you but I do not like what you did so go and don’t do it anymore.  Get it?

If you are sitting here saying well, I know this is wrong and I shouldn’t steal this candy bar but I will just do it and then ask for forgiveness; then you don’t get it.  Forgiveness is not a get out of jail free card.  I will do this today and then confess it later.  Nope.  Check it once you come to God with your brokenness He will put you back together and you will not want to go against anything other than to strive to be Christ like.

Today where do you stand . . . are you like one of the Pharisees that are holding the rocks ready to throw them at other people while you stand there in your own sin.  Or perhaps you are like this woman; broken, guilty and have never quite gotten over it.  As you stand there naked and in front of Jesus with your life broken and shattered lying all over the ground are you ready to come to Jesus and give Him ALL of these broken pieces.  Listen friends, with confession and repentance Jesus still stands today ready to forgive us and not condemn us.   The next step is up to you.

Reflections

150

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