Never has the meaning of the statement “Nothing tastes like home” meant so much to me. After two wonderful weeks in the Philippines in is amazing how everything permeates your sense of culture. The air feels different. The heat is smothering the majority of the day. The smells vary greatly and often are not pleasant. The visual sights can be shocking as you view living conditions. The food is totally contrary with no similarity to what we are used to having upon our tongue and what we are used to eating hot or warm they serve cold or lukewarm, i.e. eggs. Upon getting home and sleeping in my own bed my children gave a wonderful Father’s Day gift by taking me to BD’s Mongolian BBQ. Oh the taste of home (the States anyway).
Less than a week before we leave for the Philippines. All our funds are in for our participants (or they soon will be). The project funds are covered provided they do not inflate much in cost upon arrival. We have a great team put together and one of the men that are going, Jeff Gilbert, I have asked to document the trip and keep you updated on our progress as we have wi fi to be able to upload and send posts. Remember though that we are going to be remote so if you do not see an update every day, it is because we do not have access to internet at that location. Please go to http://graceworksphilippines2014.wordpress.com/ for our first post which has prayer requests for this trip and shares where we are and what we will be doing. This is where to follow us on this trip as we leave Monday. The next time you hear from me will be on the blog and I look forward to seeing you there.
All for One and One for all,
A major decision was just handed down from the United States Supreme Court. The court upholds the practice of private prayer before town meetings. The decision was 5 – 4 in favor of upholding this practice.
Obviously this was a major victory for every public forum too in that town, state and federal meetings may continue the practice of opening their forums with prayer, that anyone may attend or if they so choose, not attend.
It also had implications for my ministry at the Ohio Statehouse which has had this practice for many years in that they open all their sessions with prayer. Having already dealt with the issue of praying in Jesus name, this was an even bigger trigger point that would have taken us a drastic step further from being a nation under God and would have had implications far beyond what I could even imagine.
In seeing our nation slide a slippery slope away from away from our founding principles, this is a victory to stand upon but do not for a moment believe the fight is over. In fact it is just heating up and they will come again from another angle.
So is it a victory? Yes. But now is not the time to rest. Now is the time to charge and get in the game. Be a Gamechanger!
We have times in our lives that are high as the sky and down times as low as the deepest valleys while the majority of our lives we live in the middle – just doing life one day at a time without giving thought to what tomorrow may hold. Well, this is a short version of what we have seen the last two days that take us to the mountains high: With our trip to the Philippines coming up in one month, we have several on our team who need to raise their own support. Yesterday was a huge answer to prayer as one key couple on the team was not sure if God was allowing them to be part of this trip. It seemed as though God was closing the door because funds had not come in as expected and most certainly needed. We prayed and asked that God would give clarity and they set a time of 6:00 pm last night for God to give clarity. If no money came it, it would be clear that neither of them would attend or only one of them would attend. Within the hour God answered that prayer with absolute clarity. God laid it upon someone’s heart to supply that financial need for both in this couple to participate in this ministry filled trip. Those who gave said, “You know, we are not that good at sharing the gospel but we want to honor God by giving to others who are more gifted and capable.” Well God is honored. Folks it was a big deal!
Another gal who is young in the faith and going on this trip has seen God answer her specific need three times now because of this trip. She is so encouraged as she is seeing God work in her life on a personal level for the first time in real-life terms. God is aware of her and her needs.
Another gentleman found out this evening that his needs were met. He is a great man of faith but again it is just confirming that God’s hand of blessing is upon his life and calling to this ministry.
Someone asked me to meet them in Columbus today as they wanted to hear about the ministry in general and also about the trip to the Philippines. After sharing about the ministry this person asked about our financial needs – for Brianna and me on our trip to the Philippines. They also asked about Gatekeepers Ministries in general. At the end they said, “I would like to write a check to cover the remainder of your financial needs for you and your daughter. While I was trying to maintain my composure by sipping on the Starbucks (medium roast) they purchase for me, they said, “And I want to write a check for $__________ for Gatekeepers ministries.” By this point my composure was gone. People were staring at the big guy by the window with tears in his running down his cheeks wondering what was wrong, I’m sure. I was humbled and loved sharing with my family the wonderful news.
I will write another post about my recent talks with God but you should know they have been life-changing. Now I am talking to God about several things but here are a couple things I’ve been talking with Him about: 1) Caleb, our oldest son is going to Thailand this summer and still needs $1,000. We can’t wait to see how God is going to answer this need. I don’t know how He will but I know… 2) Gatekeepers Ministries needs additions. We need to add people to this ministry as the doors continue to open. We need people on the ground doing the ministry. 3) I’m talking to God about what to do about a car. He gave us a great car for ministry that was provided at just the right time and I have put oodles of miles on and is still in great condition but since I am not on the road as much I need something that gets better gas mileage. I’m talking with Him about that and He will give us direction. 4) I’m talking to God about our children wrapping up school and how they are going to be used this summer. 5) I have been having conversations with God about our final 2% of financial monthly support. 6) I’ve been talking with God about seeing people come to Christ – and they have been. 7) I have talked to God about a new coaching staff at Central State University and it seems as though the doors are continually open. I am having lots of talks with God and He has pretty busy working on our behalf.
To God be the Glory forever and ever, Amen!
We showed up last night for a Bible study with the football team and there was only one athlete in attendance. So as to not make him feel like we were ganging up on him I suggested we go grab and ice cream somewhere and it was agreed upon by Don, Jordan and myself. Then, after assuming no one else was going to show up, we heard voices enter the building and begin entering the stairwell leading to our meeting room. Sure enough, four more came walking through the door. So now there is seven of us all together but I thought to myself, I happen to be driving our mini van tonight which holds seven people (of average size) so we can still make this work, not wanting to disappoint Don and Jordan from our earlier ice cream conversation. So I told them we were going to get ice cream and hearing no objections… off we went. After throwing our back packs in the rear of the van we started off only to receive a call from another young man wondering where we were. Well we threw him in somewhere also and now my seven passenger van (for average size people) was now holding eight. I should have gotten a picture but let’s just say we put ‘a hurtin’ on the van last night.
We told them though, that we were going to get fried ice cream at a Mexican restaurant and we would open the Word as we were eating. Being fine with that, it is just what we did and boy did we ever have a conversation after reading about Ananias and Saphira from Acts 5 and asking if we live our lives as though God is real. The subject matter turned very personal and we spoke about subject matter, right in the middle of that restaurant, that would have made some blush… but they laid it all out there and spoke of issues they were dealing with and wondering how to overcome these struggle (everything from swearing to much, much more).
After we dropped them back off at their dorms, Don and I said to each other, “Just as it starts getting so good – it is almost time to send them off.” Our hearts are saddened. We desire to give them tools to help keep them on track during the summer while gone. You know, I have an idea but need someone willing to write short devotions implemented with scripture, that can be looked at every day on an i phone… Anyone interested in my idea or helping put it together?
God is just so good and my van was glad to have ‘a hurtin’.