Deaf Day of Prayer

In 2009, the Lord cast an idea to me. A vision….Deaf people from all over…coming together…to pray…. different churches….different denominations…different people…coming together to do the ONE thing that we are expected to do…PRAY.

And not only just to PRAY, but to pray for each other…in spite of all the doctrinal differences…prayers still are lifted up to one God, one Savior.

In January 2010, I announced the first Deaf Day of Prayer and began inviting people that I knew in the area as well as the states bordering mine. For three straight weeks, I aggressively prayed, invited, prayed, invited, and prayed. The result? 142 people showed up….22 different churches….14 different pastors of Deaf churches. What an awesome experience!

We had a regular worship service led by Deaf, music by Deaf, prayers by Deaf, and I gave a challenging message on PRAYER.

I presented the challenge to PRAY more WITH people, not just for the people….whats the difference?

When you pray for someone…it sometimes becomes an “inactive prayer” or in the words of the Deaf people, “taking cheap.” But if we pray WITH someone, the prayer is in action right there, on the spot, in front of that person.

The challenge was laid out….and to this day, I still hold to my own teaching. Whenever I see a prayer need, I will pray on the spot to that person or in a message, or in an email or on the videophone in front of that person. Isn’t that the way prayer should be done?

In 2011, Mount Pleasant Christian Church adopted the idea and hosted a Deaf Day of Prayer in August of that year. I was invited to lead worship music and to close with prayer for the leaders and pastors in the area.  The Deaf Day of Prayer hit home for many of them….and the challenge was laid out again.

Now in 2013, we are praying that someone hosts the Deaf Day of Prayer once again….with the way our economy, our government, and our leaders are reflecting some of our neglecting of God’s Words…..we need to be be on our knees praying more than ever… we have a potential candidate for this year’s host. But it should not stop at one…. please be in prayer to maybe host a Deaf Day of Prayer at your Deaf Church or Deaf Social event.

If you would like more information about what it takes to do this sort of thing, please email me or call me via videophone. I would be happy to help. May God bless you!

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What Last Year Taught Me?

As I reflected back on some of the events of last year, I am reminded of something my mentor once told me: “Everyday, you are a piece of history for yourself, for your family, and for maybe, someone else out there.” i am reminded and thankful for all of the things that I have been able to do not only for my only experience but to help some people in the process.

2012 wasn’t a year of sunshine and spring air. It had its shares of downs and rain too. While I am always grateful for the many lessons I learned, I would like to extend those lessons to my readers.

#1 Need comes in different forms

Almost every place that we traveled to, we ended up being used to help someone in need. Whether it was a young pastor who was experiencing hard times, a married couple who was not on track with God, or someone who was in a hard situation…God doesn’t give us the role of “weekend pastor” just for the congregational event, but also one-on-one. I am appreciative of the ministers that I had dinner one-on-one with at every church that I served at. I am appreciative of the teams that serve these churches week in and week out. I am appreciative of the people who focus 100% on the needs of others but at the time time, still reach out for help themselves knowing that God strengthens those who call on His help. I am appreciative of the never-ending shortage of prayer and support that the Lord uses through us for the needs of others.

#2 My life has a purpose to someone

While being at home, I didn’t really “serve” much throughout my local city. The church that I attend had social events where I serve as a tech-person. It doesnt really fit my “spiritual gifts” as a teacher or pastor but it is something that I can do to help until something better comes along. While my heart’s desire is to “teach or preach” to Deaf people locally, that door has not opened yet. And while that door hasn’t opened yet, my sense of “purpose” hasn’t really felt big. But I am reminded that its the little things that matter the most. Visiting friends and keeping company. Hanging out with the guys and having a coffee with them. Simple text messaging conversations to brighten up each other’s days.  My life has a purpose to someone and it doesn’t require standing in front of a group of people or teaching a lesson. Its all about relationships.

#3 Making myself more available

2012 was my first FULL year, after leaving a full-time pastoral position, of being available. I made a purpose to be available as much as I could. Whether it was to meet someone one-on-one, couples counseling, or just to help someone with their needs….I tried more harder this time to be open more. The biggest disappointment for me was the fact that I still was not able to do MORE for God in the areas that I knew I could serve Him better at. Our church started up a Bible Study on Wednesday evenings but it did not seem to hit home for me and my wife, so we decided to not continue to go and allow God to show us what He wanted us to do and maybe God will move us to serve elsewhere. I also have had more time with my family, more time to coach my little girl’s sports and also to spend more time with my son and his basketball needs. This is a big thing for me and will continue to broaden that as much as needed.

 

So thats for 2012 lessons…. what am I to do for 2013?

Church. As of now, me and my wife are currently going to be praying and visiting other  churches in the Metro Louisville area. The church that we have been attending is a great church. Alot of good friends there and great outreach program. But we feel the Lord is moving us on to create new opportunities somewhere else. We have already visitied some churches already and will continue to look more for a church home that will open its doors to a new work.

N.A.M.B. (North American Mission Board) is working with me on starting up a new Deaf church in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. We already have a potential pastor in that area, a potential church home, but we are now waiting for the pastor to select his team. Once the team is selected, then NAMB will likely ask me to come weekly on Wednesday evenings to teach Basic Church Planting lessons for the team to learn together before the church launch. This is an exciting thing and I am praying that God will bless this new work.

212jam Ministries is blooming. While most of 212jam is revolved around music, I am finding more and more Deaf groups inviting me for the preaching / revivals / conferences part MORE than the music / concert parts. This is fine and acceptable. It just goes to show me that God is changing some things and I need to prepare for it better. In this year alone I have 11 speaking / preaching roles and 5 music / concert roles. The newest and most exciting part are the Deaf Mens Conferences in Minnesota & Columbus, Ohio area as I have prayed for the opportunity to challenge our Deaf men someday and instead, God gives me two opportunities.

It is my prayer that 2013 teaches me more valuable lessons than the years before. May God continue to use me, my family, and our witness to all those we cross paths with. God bless you!

 

How to Be a Godly Example? – Listen to Warning Signs

You know when I was 18 years old, I bought my first car. It was a 1986 Chevrolet Eurosport. Black and silver with red trim. Now the car wasn’t all that great, but to me it represented freedom! I was 18 years old, with a car, and no limits. I was excited. I drove around for the first few months and then BAM…it happened. “A blinking light” Have you ever had those before? Especially the one that says “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” That’s the one that I got. For days, I tried to see what was wrong but didn’t find anything. So I got to thinking, ‘it’s a malfunction that triggered the light to remain on. So in trying to not be annoyed by the light, I got a piece of electric tape….and covered the light on my dashboard. Mission accomplished. I have ignored the annoying issue and I can be on my way. Awesome!  But evidently, that didn’t work. My car would need a major repair later on. All because why? I ignored the warning signs.

You know, in our Christian lives….in our daily walk with God….God gives us “warning signs” as well. Now they not be a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light but these warning signs are brought before you for a reason. The real reasons for the signs may not be revealed until later but they do ask you to do something, rather than ignore it. God may be asking you to do several things: (1) Its time to make a change (2) Its time to seek for help in your situation (3) Its time to ACT before it’s too late.

One of the first earliest warning signs that God gave to us was from Adam & Eve’s time. Where the Lord warned them both not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:16-17)…but while they knew of the warning, they ignored it which led to “sin”.

The next example was used through their children, Cain & Abel in Genesis 4:2-8.

2 “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 “In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.”4 “But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering”5  “but on Cain and his offering, He did not look with favor. So Cain was angry and his face was down.”6  “The the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?” Why is your face so down”7  If you do what is right, you will be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is
waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong, but you must control it”

And we all know how that story ended up…

8  “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Lets go out to the field.” And while they were in the field Cain attacked and killed his brother Abel”

God sent a warning in Verse 7. He said “Cain, if you do not do what is right, SIN is waiting for you and it wants you to do wrong..you must control it”… But Cain missed the warning…he didnt control himself, and eventually it led to sin…Cain had put some “electrical tape” on God’s voice, so to speak.

  • This is why marriages a destroyed….God warns us about something….and we ignore it
  • This is why friendships are destroyed….either one or both miss the warning signs
  • This is why families are broken up….we do not pay attention to the “blinking lights” to warn us

The lights and the warnings are recognized AFTER its too late….

So how do we as Christians listen and recognize our “warning signs?” There are several ways:

(1) Gods Word at the right time

Have you ever noticed sometimes when you go to church, you had just experienced something bad and you are seeking a way to get over it. And when you get into church, the pastor preaches a sermon that felt like it was exactly designed for YOU? God speaks to us at the right time, when we need it.

Or sometimes, when we are around friends or family…who do not know what we are going through at the moment. And a conversation pops up that is exactly the same as your situation and God uses the people in that room to give you the answer you need. God speaks through people to speak to us at the right time, when we need it.

(2) Example of Others around us

It is interesting. Long after Cain had murdered his brother, Abel. Long after Cain himself had passed away. People in the New Testament were warning people NOT to be like Cain. In 1 John 3:12, “Do not be like Cain who belonged to evil and murdered his brother”

People were warning others not to follow Cain’s way.  Sort of like today, “Dont do things your way, do it the way God would want you to”  Have you ever had friends who did something and it turned out to be a big mess? And when it was your turn to do the exact same thing, you started to do the same routine that your friend did UNTIL someone warned you, don’t go that way…go a different way.  We learn from the mistakes of other people and follow the examples of the ones who do right in God’s eyes.

(3) Positive Words from Others

Many of our friends sometimes see the “warnings” before you see them yourselves. For example, a relationship that is starting to become serious, your friend finds out that your date is misusing you for wrong reasons. Should we value the feedback of our friends? Sometimes they hurt, sometimes they help. But God uses people to share positive words with us to help us improve something.

Or maybe God uses people to give you the right words at the right time. Or maybe God uses people to help you to realize whats more important at that time.

When I was 9 years old, I had written my father a letter that was for Father’s Day. While I was at church with my mother, my dad would stay home and had no interest in church. In Sunday School, the kids were asked to write a letter to our fathers.  Here is what mine said:

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad”

“I want you to know that Jesus loves you”

“I want you to go to heaven with me because if you don’t I will miss you”

“All the other’s kids dads go to church, why can’t you come too?”

“I love you so much”

“Love, Steven”

God had used me to give a warning sign to my dad. To invite him to church, to witness to him, and to show love. later on that year, my dad had come to church and he had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.

Sometimes God will send a pastor to help or a friend. But sometimes God will send a child too. Maybe your own children.

What are some of the “warning signs” that your friends KNOW about and has warned you about but you have continued to ignored?

  • Drinking problems that is coming in between your relationship with people?
  • Gambling problems that is causing financial stress on your family?
  • Bitterness and anger towards a person that is causing you health problems?
  • Having no accountable partner for your porn addiction problems?
  • Marriage problems that is causing you to be more distant from each other?

Many early warning signs are there and easy to recognize, do you have some “electric tape” on it to ignore it?

(4) Bad Experiences that God allows to Happen

This is something that no one wants to experience but unfortunately, it has to happen sometimes.  Ignoring the warning signs , we will end up experiencing something bad and God tells us, “this is only a small part of what it will be like if you continue to ignore me”

For example, you have a great job…..It takes all of your time, you are always tired…never having time for family, friends, church….your wife/husband is always upset about you working more hours…and then it happens…you lose the job. While you may be upset at God for the moment…maybe we need to understand that maybe God allowed it to happen before it got worse for you… God gave you early warning signs when you was not at home as much as you should have been…your family missing you, your kids missing you….your responsibilities at church were not being done because you was too tired or had to work that day. God knows whats best for you and allowed you to not go any further in that direction. He took you out and brought you into a new path.

Proverbs 20:30 says it all…”Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways”

Sometimes God allows small damage to happen before the BIG damage happens..

here are some questions for you to ask yourself today to help you think maybe you are ignoring some “warning signs”

  1. Is your life so busy, that you need to slow down?
  2. What is the top priority in your life now?
  3. When’s the last time you had a real one-on-one time with God?
  4.  Are the friends you hang out with, are they “godly” people?
  5. Do the friends you hang out improve you as a Christian?
  6. Are you spending your money the way God wants you to?
  7. Do your friends know that you are a Christian? or are you like them?
  8. Parents…are your kids hungry for your attention?
  9. Are your kids missing you at home?
  10. Whats preventing you from spending more times with your kids?
  11. Are you teaching your kids about the Bible?
  12. Are you praying with your family?
  13. Marriages…is your relationship stressing?
  14. What is causing that stress in your relationship?
  15. Have you sought help for your situation?
  16. Are you ignoring your problems to make each other happy?

Friends…God is speaking to you now….

“But if you do not do what is right, sin is waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong. but you must control it” (Genesis 4:7)

How do you control it? How do you get past your feelings? How do you relieve all of that stress?

This can be done in two simple steps:

  1. TRUST IN GOD
  2. Remove your “electric tape” off of God’s warnings.

Ready….Set…..Go….  may you be blessed in your next step….

Summer Updates of 2012

Awesomeness”  Thats the word I would use to describe this past summer and all that God has done through me, my family, and the 212jam ministry that He has blessed me with. I wanted to take the time to go into each ministry opportunity and explain what was done, and what the results were.

Kentucky Baptist Conference of the Deaf was in Campbellsville, Kentucky at the Campbellsville University on June 8-10th. It was my first time back since 2006. I was asked to lead worship music for the weekend. It was great to worship with old friends again. I got to have a real heart-to-heart talk with several Deaf pastors while there. Me and my wife, Mandi attended alone and it was a great opportunity for us to “minister” to other “pastor & wife” teams.  Brother Ricky Milford of Alabama did a splended job on presenting the message on “Each One – Reach One” challenging each one of us to reach one person and spend extra time with that one person to train and mentor in the Lord. I came home with a passion to do so and began exploring ideas on how to help the conference to improve. I also had a burden for the Youth in our conference. So for next year, I will be volunteering to take care of our Youth in next year’s program.

Masters Hands For Christ Deaf Church on June 15-16 in Swartz Creek, Michigan was the first Deaf Revival of the summer. John Bielien was the pastor who invited me. I knew him and his group from the Deaf Cafe years and we bonded greatly through mentoring and constant communication through the years. The church was very friendly and took care of us well. We stayed in a house right next door to the Deaf church which was awesome. The purpose of the Revival was to teach “committment” to several things: (1) Follow (2) pray (3) Worship (4) Build.  I also did a 212jam Concert as well.  All of these (except Sunday morning’s worship) was behind the Deaf church under a tent.  So in retrospective, I had my first ever tent revival, YAY! We left with the knowledge that relationships were strengthened and committments had been renewed. Praise God!

Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf was held in Bolivar, Missouri on July 22-27. Me and my wife attended only with the purpose to create new networking opportunities and to reunite with old friends. Workshops were provided throughout the week but only attended two of them which interest me. One was focused on the future of Deaf Ministry work. The other was on ASL Music. I had set up a booth for my 212jam ministry and it create new opportunities for ministry elsewhere. I had many come to me for needs for different areas. This was also the place where I had my first ever music video made on campus. Awesome!  We left with a burden as well to seek out ways to improve the conference and to pray to God where we can help within it. I also volunteered my time for 3 years to help with the Youth there as well. Being immature at heart for 3 more years shouldn’t be too hard, smile!

In His Hands Deaf Ministry @ Crosspointe Church of Nazarene in Salisbury, Maryland on August 3-5 was a one of a kind opportunity. This was a Leadership Retreat focused fully on PRAYER. There was about 15 or so in the group and we learned how to pray, who to pray for, and why to pray. We did team-building exercises that everyone seem to enjoy. I did a mini-concert with 4 songs to help lead the last segment into a deeper prayer focus time. We closed off with teams of two praying for pages of prayer requests that I had collected from the weeks before. I had noticed the people became prayer-warriors after reading these pages and learning that people out in our community are in need of a Healer. It was a heart-changing experience for many, including myself. At the sunday morning service, I handed each person a wooden block. The wooden block represented something in our lives that we needed to let go and let God take care of it. It was great to see many confessions come out of it and much renewal in the Lord happened. Later that evening, the pastor and his family treated us to an evening at Ocean City, Maryland which was beyond beautiful.

Liberty Deaf Camp was held in Madison, Ohio from August 12-17th. Me, Mandi, and my three kids attended the camp. I was honored to pastor the camp all week which consisted of about 180 people all week. The theme was “Focus On God” and I used various scriptures from a guideline that the camp gave me. By Tuesday Night, the Lord started working on the hearts of these young kids. Decisions were made little by little to follow the Lord. Three important words that was taught and reminded all week on how to Focus On God (1) Be Action (2) Be Strong (3) Be Example.  Wednesday evening, I had shared my personal testimony which impacted the evening. Many came forward to express their need for a Healer, their need for forgiveness, and their need to express a similiar testimony. God really worked that evening!  Thursday brought together 41 total decision: 21 decisions for salvation, 9 rededications, and 11 baptisms. Of the 11 baptisms…one of them was my daugther, Kamayla (August 16, 2012) will forever be a special day as I baptized her that evening.  We left camp with a joyfyl feeling and look forward to seeing God’s work more in the future.

God has done some extremely awesome stuff this summer through 212jam.  I look forward to seeing more of His Work soon.  May the Lord bless you and your ministry as well, as you continue to serve Him!