An Encouraging Word
Consider this question as it pertains to the placement of the idea of future. Where is your future? Often, when asked this question, the answer is given from a perspective that is limited by circumstantial evidence beyond personal control and is viewed as separate from the individual and is viewed as in a distant place.
Never confuse explaining the details of your future with where the future is. Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. Perspective is the result of what is believed in the mind and becomes the reality of a life lived. When speaking of your future, it is inherently a projection of thought formed into ideas, explained through words from within you.
If I ask you, what are your plans for the future? You would give an explanation that projects something separate from your present state of being thus defining your future as separate from where you are. The future comes from within the individual and is wherever the individual goes. It is good to have hope for a future that is greater than present circumstances. It is important to know that hope exists in the future as a projection of a vision from within you.
Think about this statement, the future of an apple seed is to become an apple tree, even though the seed itself is a by-product of the circumstances surrounding it, (i.e. dirt, water, sunlight, compost) but it’s potential to become more, is not. The seeds future is trapped within itself. Circumstances have influence on the development of the seed but they do not determine the nature of what’s inside the seed nor the location of what’s inside the tree. Wherever the seed is, the tree is always their inside of the seed. This is called the principle of potential.
Everything created by God, carries the fruit of life, and is already packed with the fullness of life. Every seed is full of what it will ever be. Every baby is full of the material to produce a grown male/female, and you have something lying dormant on the inside that is bigger than your present physical circumstances. Don’t allow your mind to receive the limitations that hardship seeks to place on you. Instead, place limitations on hardship by thinking out of the limitless potential you possess. Previously I said, “Circumstances do not determine the nature of the seed.” This is important to know because inherency of a thing, is the nature of a thing, therefore is inseparable from itself.
Your nature can be seen through the expression of instinctive response to external circumstances. We are creatures of reason therefore understanding self in nature, is illuminated by understanding the nature of source. The strength of a power cord is only as affective as the source it’s plugged into. If stronger light is needed, a deeper connection into the source is required. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. John 15:5
No one else can think for you. You are unique, an original, and a one-of-a-kind. Take responsibility of your mind and decide to access the vast resources from within. You are equipped with everything necessary to manifest something great in your lifetime. Don’t waste it on self-defeating thoughts because your future depends on it! Time is not the servant of procrastination however choices and actions can be. Don’t waste this season of life on doubt, fear and unbelief. Instead seek to maximize the God given limitless potential within. God established eternity within you when He spoke your name throughout the heavens.
Kevin Johnson – Chaplain Covington Lord’s Gym
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
Verbiage above compiled from Scripture (ESV):
Ephesians 4:29, James 1:26, Proverbs 10:19, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 25:15, James 3:2, Proverbs 4:23, Proverbs 15:23
Bob Clarke – Director of Ministry Operations
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1 (NLT)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
Whether we eat healthy or not has a lot to do with our perspective. How do we look at food? Do we allow food and situations to control us? Do we go to an event or special occasion where there is lots of food and overindulge? Do we make the excuse that there was nothing healthy available? Or, do we use self-control and select what is healthy?
When learning healthy eating habits, we should always be ahead of the game and prepare ahead of time. Take something healthy with you at all times. I recently went to a graduation and all that was available was a salad. That worked for me and then ate a healthy meal later. On vacation there were plenty of opportunities to overindulge but, I didn’t and as a result I lost weight and still had a great time with my family. Learning how to not let the situation dictate to you how you are going to eat takes self-control. It takes a decision to want to change. God helps us with that. We must ask Him to give us strength to have a healthy perspective of food, to help us use self-control, and have a mind that is determined to have healthy eating habits and not be controlled by the situations or special occasions we participate in. We can enjoy the healthy food we eat, our families, vacations and special occasions while still keeping our healthy eating habits.
Life is about relationships and enjoying family and friends. It is all about the time and the experiences we share with them. It is not about food. Food is fuel to keep us alive. It is so true that we are what we eat. If we have unhealthy eating habits we are going to feel poorly and eventually suffer the consequences. If we want to be healthy we have to change our perspective on food, use self-control, and learn healthy eating habits.
Vicky Gentry – Administrative Assistant
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4
“The Lord is my shepherd, I have all I need” Psalm 23:1
I did some research on "sheep" in the Bible. We, as Christians, are sheep. We are called to follow Jesus, our Shepherd. I like how John 10:4 states that, “When he (being the shepherd) has brought out all his own (meaning his sheep), he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice”.
The chapter goes on to say that the sheep won’t follow a stranger because it is a voice they do not know! How cool is that?!?! Then I began pondering that. Do I know the voice of the Shepherd or am I willing to follow a stranger because I don’t?
The Bible tells us in Psalm 100:3 to “Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”
Oh, so it is that easy. We know that the Lord is God and that He made us and that automatically makes us His! WRONG!! It isn’t that easy. It requires a little more from us to know the voice of the Shepherd.
Matthew 16:24 tells us that as Jesus was talking to his disciples He said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me”. And even before we do that, Romans 10:9 says that we must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, then we will be saved. And the best news of all is that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
Following Jesus does require a little on our part. We are to call on His name. We must understand that we are sinners and Jesus was raised from the dead. We must be able to say that out loud. By doing all that, we learn to do away with ourselves because it is all about Jesus. We must take up our cross set before us (which could be a multitude of things). Then, as the sheep hear the shepherd, we too, will hear our Shepherd.
When we can clearly hear our Shepherd, we can follow Him and not a stranger because we will not know that strangers voice!
Thanks be to God!!
Maintain the Faith Family,
Larry Spellman – Chaplain Family Activity Center
Recently I was reflecting with Dick Taylor, Founder, about FOCAS (Foundation of Compassionate American Samaritans) turning 30 years old. I asked him why he chose the words: Compassionate and Samaritans? He said, “It was the most intense example in the Bible of how we should treat each other.” He added compassion to intensify an already powerful parable of Christ’s sacrificial love.
The story of the Good Samaritan, in the book of Luke, is told by Jesus to an expert in the law. He asked Jesus who is his neighbor? (He had just answered Jesus’ question about the law to “love your neighbor”.) Jews and Samaritans didn’t like each other? Here’s Jesus casting the Samaritan in a positive light, as being compassionate, brave, and generous to a stranger. Jesus tells the man to go do the same – show love like the Samaritan:
Recognize a person in need.
Get personally involved.
Don’t be afraid.
Invest your time and resources.
Since 1999, I have seen countless FOCAS staff, volunteers, donors, AND patrons embrace this spirit of a compassionate Samaritan. They recognize needs, they get involved, they go to the more dangerous parts of town (and Haiti), they invest their time, talent, and treasure. They repeat, and repeat, and repeat the process. Thank you for being a compassionate Samaritan.
Scott Bowers – Executive Director
Abuse comes in many forms but the power of a spoken destructive word can break the spirit and crush the soul. Physical wounds may heal and leave scars but words that penetrate the heart can echo throughout the eternal being of a person. This type of wound is almost impossible to recover from when left unattended. For many who read this section, I know it hits home with you and you can relate in many ways. I understand the difficulty of attempting to break free from haunting memories that seem impossible to be released from but I can assure you there is hope in the right word. There is a spoken word for your hope that is found in the word of God. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the contrite of spirit.
Building blocks of the soul begin with affirming words received in the heart established in the truth of God’s word. When was the last time you stopped to be grateful for your ability to speak life to yourself and others through God’s word?
Words are often taken for granted like breathing. It’s often not given much thought until you can’t breathe. So is it with our words, when words are spewed out based on sudden emotional strain, or opinionated based thinking, insensitivity can be the result followed with a potentially destructive outcome.
Everything begins and ends with the creative force of words. This is why our words must be given careful thought and consideration before releasing them into the atmosphere. Matthew 12:35-37 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Words are like water, they can just about penetrate anything given enough time and pressure. Speaking life over yourself is water for the soul and builds perseverance for the spirit. The lack of speaking the right words over yourself can result in doubt and a lack of faith in the face of adversity. Speaking life is a part of creating a way of thinking that develops a perspective and perception of seeing adversity as opportunity to establish the life you choose.
Strength is a result of choosing to speak the right words over our circumstances, which accelerates the process of unleashing your mind. The next time circumstances press against you to the point of breaking, remember these words, your break down leads to your breakthrough. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Never stop the good confession of your faith over your life. The power of a consistently spoken word produces desired results in due time. A can do attitude changes everything, here are a few confessions to practice on yourself;
• I am a man/woman of purpose
• I am equipped to do great things in life through Christ
• God’s love has empowered me to change the way I see myself
• I was born to succeed
• I am victorious not a victim
Kevin Johnson – Chaplain Covington Lord’s Gym
We live in a world where negative influences are a problem to every individual that lives on this earth. What are those negative influences? They are orchestrated by spiritual forces that are not seen by the physical eye. These spiritual forces work in the spiritual realm, which in turn, affects the physical. We have an enemy that has been around a long time and his name is Lucifer. He carries two titles: devil (accuser) and Satan (adversary). He has been raising havoc on mankind for centuries, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians. 6:12). Read the whole chapter.
So in understanding that we are in a spiritual warfare, we as believers, have weapons that are spiritual, not physical, to use in this spiritual fight. The writer, Paul, stated it best, in 2 Corinthians 10:4,"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” We are going to identify the weapons we have access to as believers, of which there are four:
1. The Holy Spirit - He is here to lead, guide and direct us for He lives inside of us. He will always speak and reveal truth to us.
Scripture references: John 14:16-18, 26; John 15:26 & 27; John 16:7-15
2. The Word of God – This is our manual to navigate us through life issues and decisions. It also helps us to understand who God is, so we can understand who we are in Him.
Scripture references: Psalm 1; Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:16 &17; Hebrews 4:12
3. Prayer - Prayer is essential for us as believers, for that's how we communicate with the Heavenly Father and He communicates with us. Prayer also helps us to release how we are feeling, so God can move in our life.
Scripture references: Philippians 4:6; Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 John 5:14 & 15
4. Fasting- Fasting is abstaining from food, skipping a meal or going all day. Fasting is where you are denying the physical to make an impact in the spiritual.
Scripture references: Matthew 4:1-11; Matthew 17:14-21; Luke 4: 1-14
These weapons that we have talked about are here for us to use, so we can deal with everyday life. Jesus knows what we are dealing with in this world, for He had faced them too, for Hebrews 4:15 states, "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Also listen to what Jesus says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Use the spiritual weapons that you have access to, for when you do, you will see results!
My next blog will be about the strong holds from 2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5.
Everyone stay blessed!
Rob Dothard – Chaplain Lord’s Gym Queensgate
Ephesians 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.
About 10 years ago, my wife and I were casting vision as Youth Pastors to our adult and teen leadership team. We shared how God desired us to start Bible clubs in local public schools. Only God could make this happen. We were living in Northern California, a very liberal community where separation of church and state was taken very seriously. One of our adult leaders made a comment, “That will never happen.” Over the course of a few years we launched several successful campus Bible clubs at various schools in the community.
As we took the leadership role a few months ago as youth outreach chaplain in Price Hill, my wife and I began sharing the vision of reaching the entire family of the youth we serve, even connecting with them at their house. Someone made the comment, “They will never want you at their house.” Just this week, we were dropping off some shoes a generous donor gave for a family we serve. As we were at the house dropping off the shoes, their mother asked what my family was doing for Labor Day weekend. She insisted that we celebrate with them at a family BBQ they were having at their house.
I want to encourage all of us to never limit God. Even when well intentioned (or maybe not) people try to discourage you. Remind yourself that the God you serve is ABLE to do more than all of us could ask or imagine. He is that GOOD!
Brandon Welch – STORM Chaplain
Many years ago I shared what I thought was an encouraging incident in my life with a group of rowdy youth...most of them in the 8 year old range. As I was speaking...it didn't seem to me that the young boys sitting in the Lord's Gym were paying attention to what I was saying and there wasn't much response. They seemed much more interested in the pizza that was soon to be served.
I was shocked when three years later I was talking with some older youth in that same room. One of them brought up the story I had shared years before just as he had heard it when he was eight waiting for his piece of pizza. So three years later my little story re-emerged to encourage that older group.
Sometimes we have no idea how what we say or do is being received. Even when we are directing our conversation to one specific person...others around may be soaking in what is said to their betterment or detriment. We may see no immediate result but the thoughts spoken may stick with them for years. Words are powerful. May we choose them wisely.
Bob Clarke - Director of Ministry Operations
Would you like to help raise funds for FOCAS ministries in a really easy way? All of us have to go to the grocery store, right? Well, if you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger Plus Card, every time you use your card FOCAS will earn rewards if your card is set up with FOCAS as the recipient of those rewards. It’s that easy. Kroger will pay up to $1,000,000 on a quarterly basis to participating organizations based on their percentage of spending as it relates to the total spending of all participating Kroger community Reward organizations.
All you have to do is enroll your Kroger Plus Card online at Kroger’s secure website, www.krogercommunityrewards.com . All of the details are on the website and it is very easy to do. Then the next time you go shopping at Kroger, you can know that you were a part of helping the less fortunate here in the Greater Cincinnati Area. Giving to FOCAS and the community doesn’t get any easier than that!!
Thank you in advance!
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10
Join us as our Guest for Breakfast as we Celebrate FOCAS' 30 Years of Ministry
Please RSVP - Limited Seating
Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016
Time: Breakfast 7:00 am to 7:30 am
Program: 7:30 am to 8:45 am
Place: The Madison Event Center
700 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011
Featured Speaker: Jim Breech, Bengals Great, will share lessons learned from his Super Bowl experience.
Just a week after so many overdoses in Cincinnati, the search and rescue team went back out on the streets on their usual Tuesday night timeslot. Their first destination was Price Hill where just a week before some of those they reached out to were among those who overdosed but were revived. It was a different kind of night. Many girls were out. Some were talking about the overdoses and you could sense the fear and anguish. We heard that three girls had died. (A) was a user and allowed many of the girls to stay at her place. Another girl, (N), the team met just a few weeks previously. We just reached out to the girl she was with that night and she did not mention her death. She came onto the bus with a different girl.
We were also told that a man had raped 3 girls. He would take them to the cemetery and tell them that if they didn’t do what he said he would kill them. One he threatened with a knife and the other he threatened to do her bodily harm. We were also told a girl’s body was found in a car with her hands and head taped up. There was a note left that said, “Got her!”
With all of these horrific situations going on in the streets, one would think, “Why are these girls still out there?” You would think this would be enough to scare them off the streets and wanting to be clean. Well, in all this sad news there is hope. Most all of the girls this night were very open to prayer. We got the opportunity to love on these girls and show them the love of Jesus Christ. We did hear some good news from two of the girls. (K) has been off the streets for a month and a half. She has a place to live and a boyfriend. She said she is doing well.
(D) had been clean for 17 days. That all happened after her sister who had been clean was shot up with drugs by her boyfriend and she died. (D) was desperate to get clean and turned herself in at the Justice Center for an outstanding warrant. That was her way of getting clean and off the streets. She also told us that her Grandma passed away. Despite all she has been through, she is doing well and told us she still has her apartment but has plans to get a house.
And so, the team keeps going out to reach out to and love on the girls on the streets week after week. Food and drinks are served and clothes/hygiene packets are given out. The bus and what it brings to the ministry is a portable safe haven for these girls to come onto for a moment where they can settle in for a short time and get some things off their chest. It’s a place to get a hug and a prayer from a team who cares so much about them. It’s a place to see the love of Jesus and not be judged like the world does. This ministry is not for the faint at heart. It’s a team that does not give up on the girls but, it continues to give them love in hopes that one day they will want and seek help to get clean and off the streets.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
From time to time, all of us face problems (heartaches, disappointments and loss). It seems like trouble makes a visit to everyone’s home at one point or another. Most of the time it is uninvited, but that doesn’t seem to matter at all. Trouble just rolls right on in like he owns the place and it won’t matter if he is on the agenda or not. None of us are exempt, and neither are our families. When we are troubled, our Father God stands ready, willing, and waiting to come to our aid with protection, healing, deliverance or whatever we need.
When we call on Him with heartfelt prayers, He will answer us every time. “Casting all your cares upon Him; for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
When we run into problems or misunderstandings in our relationships (family, friends or our job), we must address the issues sooner rather than later. Most problems are easily solved when they are new or small and it keeps things from blowing up and getting out of control. Ignoring problems without addressing them is tempting, but irresponsible at best, and can make things seem much worse than they really are.
A pastor once said it like this: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. Unsolvable without God’s wisdom, that is.” It has been said that when God sends you on a journey, He will direct your path and light your way, even if it’s one step at a time. From walking the mountains and valleys in my own life, I have found that to be quite true. “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
“Lord, sometimes our problems are simply too big for us, but they are never too big for You. We will turn all our problems over to You, Lord, and we will trust You today, tomorrow and for all of eternity. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”
Larry Spellman – Chaplain Family Activity Center
Merriam-Webster’s definition of rejection is the act of not accepting, believing, or considering something; the state of being rejected.
Many of us in life have felt the pain of rejection. Maybe your Dad walked out on you and your family at an early age, or one of your parents was an alcoholic and was abusive and was never really there for you, or maybe your parent was there and present but never hugged you, told you they loved you or encouraged you in any way.
We have a Savior who has experienced rejection just like we have. In Isaiah 53:3 it says, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
When rejected and hurt by others we can turn to our Savior for help. In Psalm 34:17-20 it says, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. And we don’t have to do anything to make him love us. Over 2000 years ago He died for us! That is LOVE! We just need to accept Him and His love!
Vicky Gentry – Administrative Assistant
Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-26 speaks of this, as it addresses the notion that people attempting to get God to do something for themselves, express faith as if no work of their own is required. When seemingly helpless or hopeless circumstances arrive in one’s life, desperation consumes the soul and distorts the proper perspective of faith the believer should have. The absence of work with the expression of faith results in a delayed or often hopeless outcome. You may ask why or how is this true???
There were two very significant moments and statements in history that solidified everything regarding the believers’ faith and actions. Genesis 2:2 and on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
When God finished His work, Adam’s began. There's no record of Adam having to ask his Father to do anything for him. God had already provided everything Adam needed in advance. Adams responsibility was to access what God had pre-established for him on earth. Notice, it is through work Adam has the ability to manifest what was provided because his faith was already functioning as a result of his relationship with the Father. Adam’s faith working was a result of his citizenship in heaven influencing earth not a religion.
The second significant event was Jesus, hanging on the cross and he said these words, "It is finished". His finished work on the cross re-established our access to the pre-established work of Yahweh on earth. A good question to ask is how does this change my faith life through prayer request to God? Don't approach Him to persuade Him to do something for you that was already pre-established, approach Him to access what’s already at your disposal. Remember the just will live by faith.
Kevin Johnson – Chaplain Covington Lord’s Gym
We are very excited to announce that the Lord's Gym Baseball Training Camp started about three weeks ago. The kids’ ages range from 6-17. We meet at the Lord's Gym every Thursday from 10:30am - 12:45pm.
The Cincinnati Spikes baseball players from Mason, Ohio are coming to teach the kids how to play baseball. But that's not all they are teaching them. They show them how to work together as a group, do problem solving, and to treat all others as equals.
I myself can say I have seen a huge impact on the kids and I’m encouraged with their development. They are being more respectful to themselves and others. They are helping each other out and working as a group. But, most of all, what I have seen in most of these kids is such low self-esteem. But, they are doing things that I did not think they were capable of. Now these kids walk with a new meaning in their life. The parents are even seeing the change. I hear story after story from the proud parents.
These kids have something to look back on and remember, but they also have a role model to go to and that is the Lord's Gym Family Activity Center, which is all a part of God's Plan!
Keep us in your prayers and thoughts,
Larry Spellman – Chaplain Family Activity Center
There is a question that is pondered in hearts of believers. That question is, "What is God's will for my life?" That question has been asked many times, by those of us that really want to know the answer. We are going to look at 1 John 5:14-15 and bring out three points.
1. John says in 1 John 5:14, ".....this is the confidence....." We must understand that God wants us to walk in confidence that is in Him. He wanted that for mankind in the beginning. The definition of confidence is, "having an assurance in someone or something."
2. 1 John 5:14 also states, "....if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." What is His will? How do we get to know His will for our lives? The answer is very simple. His will is knowing His word. When you start to understand His word, you start to understand the will that He has for your life. You will find yourself in His word. Praise God!!!!!
3. The last point is in 1 John 5:15, "....we know..." Knowing His will for you, is a great feeling, because you don't have to keep wondering, for God Himself is leading you. Having confidence in Him, that you have the right to walk in, for He made it possible for you to do so.
As a child of God, walk in the will of God and you will see the results of walking in His will.
Everyone stay blessed!!!!
Rob Dothard – Chaplain Queensgate TLG
The science is clear that there are plenty of studies that confirm the absolute importance of eating well to have a healthy life. Eat good food. Eat vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and much less processed food. If one eliminates white sugar, white bread and soft drinks from their diet...there is great potential to increase quality and length of life.
To live a healthy spiritual life requires a different kind of food. What feeds your spirit? What nourishes your inward being?
The thoughts you entertain and ponder influence and inform the core of who you are and eventually what you do. What one spends time listening to, watching and reading impacts your thought life and spiritual direction. To be nourished spiritually requires dedicated time thinking upon truth and things that are praiseworthy, loving and good. Good sources are people full of wisdom, peace, faith and love speaking into our lives. I would say the best spiritual food is Scriptural truth. Meditate and chew on that.
So...eat well...my friends.
Bob Clarke – Director Ministry Operations
Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The second we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we are considered a new creature. The Holy Spirit comes into our spirit along with the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They are all there inside us but it is up to us to take steps to grow those fruits so they can be evidenced in our lives.
We must change our old ways of thinking by renewing our mind with the Word of God. We must study the scriptures to understand God’s will for our life and who we are as this new creature. The best way to have this new way of thinking to settle into our spirit and for us to believe what the Word says about us is to speak it out loud. In Genesis, it tells us how God formed the worlds and all creation by speaking forth words. Words are powerful. They can either speak life into us or death. Words will build someone up or tear them down. So speaking the Word, which is full of God and life, will change our lives. Speaking God’s Word will transform us and our way of thinking. The more we speak these words of truth, the more we will begin to believe them. We will not only change our way of thinking but we will change our actions. We will begin to see the fruits of the Spirit that have already been planted in us by the Holy Spirit.
Vicky Gentry – Administrative Assistant
How would you describe FOCAS ministries? What comes to your mind? FOCAS is an acronym that stands for The Foundation of Compassionate American Samaritans. In July it will officially turn 30 years old. Amazingly, Bob Clarke, our Director of Ministry Operations has been involved with FOCAS since the early 90’s, and I have been here since the week before the riots broke out in April of 2001. However, my first encounter with FOCAS and Dick Taylor came in the summer of 1999 when my family joined FOCAS on a two week mission trip to Haiti. That’s where I like to remind myself when God recalibrated my heart as to what is important – people.
The word that strikes me in our acronym is the word Samaritans. The term challenged me to better understand the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. Briefly, Samaritans were not well thought of at the time, yet it was a Samaritan who helped the poor Jewish man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Earlier, a priest and Levite had a chance to get involved but they walked past the helpless man. Simply put, Jesus was describing the definition of who our neighbors are. He used this parable when explaining the definition to a lawyer who asked him who his neighbor is. (Luke 10: 25-37) In the end, Jesus says to the lawyer – “Go and do likewise” vs 37.
Fortunately, a person does not have to go to Haiti to learn this. We, as the body of Christ, can cross cultures into our own backyard and inner-city to meet and serve neighbors – neighbors who have been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. To learn more go to www.focas-us.org and click on the video tab to meet some new neighbors.
Scott Bowers - Executive Director