Sights and Signs of Life

With summer in full swing, the days are long and full of fun activities. God’s presence can be felt like the warm sunshine each day. Joyful noises of birds singing, people laughing and an occasional rain shower fill the air. However, if we are not looking for these beautiful sights and signs of life, we can miss the comforting and good gifts God gives us every moment of our lives.

That’s right God is constantly covering us with His tender care and lovingly carrying us through the journey of life until we are at home with Him forever in heaven. Some days seem long and there are even season’s when we don’t see or feel this truth of God’s love. However, not only is God there protecting, guiding and blessing but He and His promises are always faithful and true.

It is in times like these we often need some extra nudges to see God’s blessings and goodness all around us. We need to be reminded that God is so good and that He is pouring out His love on us in so many ways. The song “Count your blessing, name them one by one” is not only for children but everyone regardless of age.  It’s a sure way to brighten up a day and fill it with some “Sonshine” that will put bounce in your step and song in your heart.

In case you need some visual prompting to think and believe God’s best about the day, check out the attached pics below. :)

2018 North Texas Expo Update

Our 43rd Expo overall and 7th annual outreach in North Texas is in the books and as usual God was faithful in giving us all we need plus more this past Saturday bringing countless smiles of His joy to the faces of the 1,056 folks who attended. From the extra large pontoon one volunteer rented to the variety of great food our volunteer team provided including a few BBQ sliders and Jalapeno poppers to go with the hamburgers and hot dogs, God was there pouring out His blessings. All in all, God covered the entire event with His holy, wholesome and good presence not only meeting our needs but giving abundantly beyond so that everyone was blessed as they blessed each other that day.

It reminds me of how God blesses each of us so we can be a blessing to others. In fact, one of the churches that brought out 175 volunteers to serve as buddies to the participants calls their volunteer ministry “Bless”. The great thing about God’s economy is that those who serve others are often blessed in return beyond what they give making our event an example of a heavenly win-win. You can never out give God and that applies not only to your finances but your time and talents, too.

The verse that often comes to my mind before, during and after each Expo is Deuteronomy 12:7 which says: ” There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.” What a great word picture it gives to those who have worked so hard to put together the outreach of the rewards the actual event day will bring. This is God’s hope for our lives here on earth that until we reach our ultimate home of heaven we will serve Him enjoying the blessings He gives us each day.

We hope you enjoy the attached photo collage and pictures of God working, blessing and rewarding folks this past Saturday at the North Texas Expo and that you’ll be encouraged knowing God is bringing heaven to earth everyday and in so many ways through the lives of His people who have been blessed to bless others. If you’d like to see more pictures from this and past North Texas outreaches you can go to our North Texas Expo page on our website at: https://access-life.com/north-tx, too. :)

2018 West Palm Beach Spring Fling Update

Leanne and I are in North Texas currently getting ready for the Expo here on June 9th but God worked through some great volunteers to execute our first ever Spring Flings in WPB this past Saturday. It was the final of three that were held this year and the largest to date with around 150 participants and volunteers attending!

While there were no ponies to paint in WPB like at the earlier Outpost activity in North Texas, the bingo and ice cream more than made up for the missing animals as you can see from the attached pictures. In fact, this event was a great example of how just a few folks eager to reach out to people living with disabilities with God’s love can make a huge impact on their community.

As the ministry grows, Leanne and I cannot execute and attend each activity so it is great seeing others step up to bring about ongoing ministry to so many in need of wholesome fun, real love and the hope that only Jesus can bring.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the WPB Spring Fling and/or other photos from local Outpost activities there feel free to go to our WPB Outpost page at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-wpb. :)

2018 East TN and North TX Spring Fling Updates

This past Saturday, the ministry was privileged to host not one but two Spring Flings. One in East TN at Shady Grove Methodist Church and One in North Texas at Valley Ranch Baptist Church! That’s right twice the ministry and twice the blessings all in one day. :)

It was the fifth time we held a Spring Fling in East TN but the very first one ever in North Texas. However, we had some great servant hearted and seasoned volunteers at both. Each event was attended by about 60 participants and volunteers and while the activities differed along with the locations, God was still present blessing each and everyone there!

We hope you enjoy the smiles in the photos here but feel free to check out more East TN Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-etn or more North Texas Outpost activity pictures at https://access-life.com/outpost-in-ntx.

If interested is starting a ministry Outpost in your area and hosting an activity or two please let us know and we will do all we can to help make things happen on our end. :)

Pray, Pray, Pray to Brighten Your Day

You know, prayer is one of the most under utilized resources we as Christians have here on earth. It is not only the way we communicate and fellowship with God but it is how we engage Him in bringing more of Heaven to earth each day through our prayers of petition.

Prayer fills us with the peace, love and joy needed to make it through each day and our requests bring about miracles both small and large. God alone is the miracle maker who does more than we could ever hope and imagine on a daily basis and we get to often be a part of things through our prayers.

Prayer is an open line of communication to heaven and a direct pipeline bringing down heaven’s blessings to earth. It is a two way street though offering up praises and heartfelt words and listening to words of encouragement and guidance.  Prayer is the most powerful gift we have as Believers. Yet we often go days between conversations and replies to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.

When we do take time to prayer, we are more hopeful, more confident and even happier as we walk through our day holding the hand of our Savior, Jesus. It’ll not only brighten your day but light up the world around you, too. So if you need a lift today, pray. I know you will be glad you did. :)

 

Wholesome Thinking

I wanted to share a great devotion by ‘Seeds of the Kingdom” I read [text is below] on wholesome thinking.

I know all of us here agree that we need to be wholesome in our thoughts in order to honor God but what I find challenging is keeping my definition of what is wholesome centered in what God says in the Bible given the bombardment of things contrary to what God says is good from schools, businesses, theme parks, tv, the media, culture and society.

There are so many subtle and not so suble graphics, images, words, mascotts, characters, lifestyle choices and just plane yucky stuff sugar coated, dressed up and twisted to sound and look ok all under the umbrella of tolerence, entertainment, compromise, sensitivity, open mindedness and moderation that it is hard to know what’s what these days.

However, as Christians we are called to be separate and set a part and not mixed-up in all the yuck. In fact, we are called to be the salt of the earth protecting people, the culture and society from decaying just as salt protects meat from going rotten. The great news is that Jesus has given us all we need to stand for Him, evangelize the lost and bring our cultures in line with how God wants us to live and I believe is starts with prayer and is lived out through wholesome thinking as outlined by the devotion I came across below.


Scripture: “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.”
2 Peter 3:1, NIV

“Recently I was praying with a group of friends and skimming through my Bible at the same time looking for inspiration. Suddenly my eyes lighted on our verse for today – a verse I had never noticed before, even though I must have read it many times!

In this verse Peter was telling his readers the somewhat unusual reason why he had written his letters, not to urge them forward to some great act of spiritual commitment, or to correct their sinful actions, or to teach them some important new truths – even though all of these are implicit in different parts of his letters – but to stimulate them to wholesome thinking.

Peter knew what he wanted to do – he was concerned above all that God’s people should understand a principle that would stand them in good stead for the rest of their days. Practical advice on a particular issue is often important and valuable – but if you can teach people a principle to live by you have given them advice that will hold true for hundreds of occasions.

Everything we do in life – whether it be good or bad – always begins with a thought. Then as we think about it, we decide to do it and finally we involve our body in the action that began as a thought. Now, if our thinking is always wholesome, then it’s obvious that the actions that follow will also be wholesome. But if in our minds we dwell on the ungodly, the unwholesome, the crude, the selfish and the greedy, to quote but a few possibilities, then our consequential actions will also be a reflection of what we’ve been thinking. What a contrast between the two sets of actions!

Peter’s advice holds good for us now. No wonder Paul encouraged us to take every thought captive, for if we control our thinking then our ways will truly be guided by the Lord into the ways of righteousness and the ways of blessing.”

Prayer: Help me Lord to always think about godly things and to stop myself thinking about the ungodly so that my actions will be in line with whatever is pure and holy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

5/6 UPDATE:

I saw the following prayer as the conclusion to another online devotion I read on the importance of wholesome activities and thought it was a fitting footnote to this post.

Lord, thank You for people who are around me who seem to flow with goodness.  (name them)  Help me to receive joy from wholesome activities.  Bring people around me who will encourage me to do good and wholesome things each day.  Amen.

2018 West Palm Beach Expo Update

Our 8th annual Expo in West Palm Beach and 42nd Expo overall was this past Saturday and God blessed us with a new all-time high for any of our outreaches of 1,307 attendees! As the event has grown, set-up and tear-down have become a larger and larger task each year and this year having over 50 tents including 33 for resource exhibitors was also record for any Expo to date. However, as always God gave us all we needed to accomplish the goals He set before us and the 160 kids from Palm Beach Atlantic’s Workship program with the youthful energy that many of us seem to be running low on from time to time were a huge help on both Frida and Saturday.

Also, with the extra large pontoon brought down by friends from Central Florida, we had more boats and seating capacity than ever in West Palm Beach and in turn, gave more rides than in any previous year there. We served virtually every food item we had on site, too. From the over 500 hamburgers, 1,000 hot dogs and 2,500 bottles of water to the thousands of snacks, apples, oranges, chips and moon pies, both participants and volunteers were well fed at the Expo.

All in all, it was such a joy to see both participants and volunteers fellowshipping and enjoying some wholesome fun in the light and love of God presence that day. However, what has Leanne and I excited the most are the glimpses of ongoing ministry starting to happen after years of planting seeds. Seeing annual participants and volunteers begin to build friendships, church and other faith based ministries for people living with disabilities surfacing and the growth of leaders on our outreach team are all so encouraging. We are even helping facilitate some local fish grants and a Spring Fling in May through the local ministry Outpost team.

It reminds me of the words of Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” So many folks have faithfully prayed, given and served in West Palm Beach since 2011 and it is such a blessing to see the fruit of their labor and the even greater harvest of hope, faith and love to come if we don’t grow weary. Which then reminds of the words in Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” All in All, we have to rest in the Lord and have our strength continually renewed so we won’t grow weary but finish strong.

Finally, it is Leanne’s and my hope and prayer that you know how much we appreciate all our ministry partners and your commitment to share the love and gospel of Jesus with folks living with disabilities from TX to TN to FL and even Belize. Whether you are the hands and feet of Jesus through your prayers, giving or service THANK YOU for answering God’s call and coming together as His people to shine His light and shower His love on those who join us at each outreach. :)