Life is definitely hard but is it really that complicated?
Life is definitely hard but is it really that complicated?
We’ll it was sad to have to cancel our 1st Expo ever today in CFL but everyone has been very supportive and understanding of the weather circumstances.
With the weather forecasts getting so bad, Leanne and I actually drove up to TN on Thursday as being without power, AC, etc. is not good for me. Hopefully, we’ll be heading back to FL in the next few days assuming the storm does not track back around again.
As we all seek to regroup in so many ways from the impacts of hurricane Matthew, I hope the following verse encourages you as it has me:
Now glory be to God Who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of– infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20
Here is a copy of the announcement for more specifics.
After LOTS of prayer and seeking counsel from others, it is with a sad heart that we have decided due to weather and safety concerns regarding hurricane Matthew that we are canceling the outreach planned for this Saturday. Leanne and I are very much on the side of “with God all things are possible” but believe it is His best for the Expo and all involved to not do anything that might result in injury or undue hardship on others in this situation.
Although the weather for event day is still projected to be good, the day before when we set-up things is when the hurricane’s impact is to be at it’s highest for the Central Florida area. It would not only be unwise but unsafe to attempt to set-up anything in these forecasted conditions. Setting up at 2am to 8am on Saturday morning is also not an option due to the unavailability of the needed number of people to accomplish the task. Several support groups that help execute the Expo on Saturday are also not available due to weather related issues and we have received feedback from others that many participants as well as volunteers may be dealing with aftermath and clean up challenges Saturday which has further confirmed our decision that it is best to cancel this year’s event.
We have reached out to the City of Ocoee about rescheduling but the park is booked through Thanksgiving. In turn, regrouping to have the Expo one of following weekends is not an option. It takes six months of planning and preparation to execute each outreach together so putting the logistics pieces back together and reorganizing volunteers in such a short time even if we had a site would be a monumental task.
Finally, we will be sending out an eblast to everyone preregistered as well as our whole area contact list informing folks of the changes today and tomorrow so please help us communicate this folks you know who were planning to be involved. Feel free to email us with any questions and we’ll keep everyone in the loop on the process specifics.
Thank you to everyone for the prayers, feedback, concern and support. God is good. Please stay safe and dry, too!
What a great game Friday night! The BLUE team won this year 34-20 but the MVP came from the GREEN team so things balanced out. The free throw contestants including a group from Hope Haven (after they were welcomed into the concert next door for an hour) really displayed both determination and heart in the half-time competition, too.
From the many volunteers who helped in so many areas and the Christ’s Church staff who gracious hosted us to the players from Brooks REHAB, Christ’s Church, Raiford Road Church, etc. and the many free throw contestants, God graciously blessed all of us who attended. We really missed not having any cheerleaders this year and could have used a few more fans in the stands but the ICAN-GAROO and CFA Cow mascots added some great sideline fun as did ICAN-Woman, Jenette.
Also, RPM Automotive, CFA and Moon Pie were awesome sponsors providing great prizes for folks as well as some nutritious water and delicious food and assuming all the pledges are honored we’ll have raised $2,349 which is almost double what was brought in last year. PTL, as this was the purpose of the event and will help us reach more folks living with disabilities in JAX with the love and Gospel of Jesus at the Expo in April!
Leanne and I so appreciate the support so many of you all have provided through your prayers, giving, networking and service and hope you know that you are being the hands and feet of Jesus helping Him touch and change lives as only He can.
Hope you enjoy the photo collage!
Wow, what an amazing day God gave us Saturday in ETN! The forecast was for rain but while I heard stories of rain in areas around us, just wonderful cloud cover keeping the temperatures moderate at the park. God really showed up surrounding the event with His gracious hand.
He brought out 953 attendees, too which is 38 more than last year. We also, had lots of buddies to meet the needs and while teardown took a while with our small crew, God got us loaded up before the skies opened up and poured out the rain on the area.
From the trailer FULL of items for Belize to the many smiles on the faces of both participants and volunteers full God’s joy, it was a great God blessed day. Below is a photo collage so you can see things first hand a bit. #ETNEXPO
You know, one of the sweetest words in the Bible is redemption. It is so rich in connotation and meaning. It addresses who we are, who God is and how much He loves us. What else matters, right?
Here are a couple of definitions in case, you are not sure of it’s meaning in Biblical context:
Redeem: When a family member pays a price to buy someone or something back. In the New Testament, our brother Jesus redeems us from our sin, or sets us free, by his death on the cross.
Redemption: Redemption simply is reestablishment of Christ’s ownership of our lives. Redemption is a past, present, and future activity. When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty owed for our sin, breaking its power to condemn us now and forever.
I love the connections made to family and ownership as well as to the past, present and future. Jesus obviously is at the center of it all as He is the one that has paid the price to buy us back through His sacrifice on the cross. He is our kinsman redeemer for those of you who know Jewish customs and traditions.
You see, we have all chosen to walk away from God, sinned and in need of God’s forgiveness and redemption which together is salvation in Christ.
For reference checkout Isaiah 53:6: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” That pretty much sums it all up.
The great news though is that by repenting and turning back to God we are not only forgiven and redeemed but we are completely cleaned, restored and made new again. It does not stop their either as part of our redemption is that we are also born again into a new covenant with God base on Jesus’ righteousness and sealed forever by the Holy Spirit never separated from God our Heavenly Father again.
Now that’s a pretty sweet deal. :)
Ever wonder how to do the impossible? Ever wonder how to accomplish all God has set before you? Maybe for you (as it often is for me), it’s just making through the day that is the monumental task you cannot imagine accomplishing.
Whether it is the every day juggling of family, work and friendship priorities, a huge, ultra important project or test coming up or just getting out of bed to live the overcoming and abundant life God wants for you, the answer is the same.
You need to walk on water.
Now I’m not talking about walking on water in the conventional sense like Peter did in the Bible but rather rising above your circumstances and walking above the things of this world in a place of overcoming joy and matchless peace.
Oddly enough both are accomplished the same way. What enable Peter to do such an amazing thing? Faith and focus. He had faith in Jesus knowing that with Him all things are possible. He also, had a laser tight focus on the source of his faith: Jesus. When combined a miracle occurred.
A similar miracle can occur for each of us as we combine our faith in Christ with a tunnel vision focus on Him. Again, we may not actually be treading on waves of water but rather waves of the world.
Now most of us reading (or in my case writing), have faith in Jesus as our Savior and even Lord. However, most of us (including me), don’t have our eyes on Him daily much less truly focused on Jesus moment by moment.
Trust me I know it’s hard in today’s world with every kind of advertisement blasting junk at us all day. And, oh the news. That’s a positive pick me up. The information age has become the age of information overload, too. It’s like we have waves of negativity crashing all around us. But keeping our eyes, ears, mind and life focused on Jesus is what enables us to rise above all the junk. It’s essential to walking on water.
Remember what happens to Peter when he starts looking around and notices the wind and waves? He sinks like rock! Fortunately, Jesus is always there for us and He reaches out to rescue Peter. Isn’t that true of so many of us. We’ve let our eyes, ears, minds and lives wander to where they should not go and the only thing keeping us from drowning is the gracious hand of Jesus holding our heads above the waters of life.
Today let’s all start a new trend. Rather than putting our focus on the latest news, trending stories or top headlines, let’s put it where in belongs: on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. As the hymn says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”. And then what happens: “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.
Here are a few verse to encourage you along the way.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Colossians 3:1-3 1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Although this year’s NTX Expo had some great God moments, my fondest memory isn’t from the outreach itself. In fact, it was 3 days before when we were sharing with a local VBS missions group who was stuffing our goody bags.
About half way through the morning shifts of classes, a church member who I’d met the year before at the same church VBS approached me and told me about a young girl who she was caring for from overseas.
She said the girl was sent to the US by missionaries for the third time to have more surgeries to further correct her contracted limbs. I don’t remember the cause of her disability but she was born with both her arms and legs tightly contracted leaving her unable to use either. The woman told me the surgeries had helped but that the young girl still has many physical challenges including not being able to walk on her own.
The love and compassion she had for the little girl was very evident and it inspired me to see God’s care for “the least of these” through her actions. In turn, I was a bit surprised when she asked if she could bring the little girl to meet me. I thought, “Why me, I’m no doctor or surgeon”? I mean there is nothing I had to offer to help her physical challenges. I can’t even move my own legs or fingers.
Then the woman explained that she thought if the young girl could meet me and see how God was using me for His Kingdom (yes, even me), she might be encouraged to know that God could use her, too.
Well, when she brought the little girl in the room, the love of Jesus in her eyes melted my heart. She was exuding the joy of the Lord and it ministered to me beyond what I could ever imaged her being blessed by meeting me. I was especially touched as I held out my hand to show her how my fingers did not work like her’s and she responded by reaching out and smiling.
You know, I may not see that little girl ever again this side of heaven but I know that God will use her in a mighty way on this earth. It may not be easy but with Jesus in her heart she will bless many folks much more that she did me that day.
Happy Independence Day. I hope you enjoy this short video song called “I have a Maker”. It’s a classic that really illustrates the heart of God. :)
Well, 25 years ago on June 8th, Leanne and I said “I do” and other than when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, it is the best decision I ever made. She has been a blessing and more importantly my best friend since day one. Even before we were married God used her to show me aspects of His love that I had never known and enrich my life with a forever friendship that was and still is beyond my highest hopes and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Now before you go, ok enough with the sappy sweet stuff, please know that our lives are not perfect and while we strive everyday for excellence in Christ, perfection will only come with Jesus in heaven. However, just as with our relationship with Jesus the grounding anchor of our marriage is the truth of real love that is a commitment and promise to always be there and together.
So to commemorate this wonderful milestone, I wanted to share a short poem I wrote with some of my artwork to hopefully encourage everyone reading in your journey of life.
Also, for those of you who missed our celebration at set-up of the NTX Expo, I hope you enjoy the picture they took of us with our big cake. :)
Wow, what an awesome day God gave us Saturday!
Yes, at 100+ degrees, it was the hottest Expo we have ever had but from the youth who came from Clovis, NM and helped with set-up and tear-down and the large Gateway Church buddy group to the pontoon boats that showed-up and the first time rockwall appearance God provided all that was needed for us to not only survive but THRIVE in the atmosphere of His love and light. :)
Thanks to the pond stocking there were even lots of fish caught in the mid-day heat to go along with the many horserides, hayrides and kayaking trips and of course the faithful volunteers who hung in there till the end were a true blessing. To top it all off there were 2 people who prayed to receive Christ at the Gospel bracelet station making everyone’s efforts more than worthwhile!
We are still finalizing counts but our early estimates are that God blessed us with around 900 attendees on top of the 5×8 trailer full of items to take to Belize next year! Hope you enjoy the below photo collage and get a glimpse of all that was done Saturday in the sun and more importantly under the Son.