Giving – Two things you want to teach your children: Prayer and Giving. I believe it is mammoth to teach them these two principles of life. You need to model both for them. Ever since my son was born, I’ve lovingly preached to him, “Son, give more, don’t be a taker.” We are like God when we give. Not only is America full of takers, but it has bled over into the church. The Pareto Principle is alive and well in the church, 20% give 80% of the budget for ministry. You are either going to be a giver or a taker in this life. Givers are beautiful people and takers are ugly. You really can’t be a Christ follower if you are not giving. You will never know peace in your life if you are not giving. You are not growing in Christ if you are not giving. Rationalization of not giving is rampant among so-called believers in Christ, and God is not blessing pseudo-Christian living. Giving is something you can’t hide because it comes out in your lifestyle, attitude, and language. What is more revealing than the way you spend your money or use your resources? Nothing. It tells everything about you. Give me 5 minutes in conversation with someone and I can tell if they are selfish and self-serving by the way they talk. Because of credit, virtually everyone in America is rich, so it’s easy to hide behind a certain lifestyle. Giving is ingrained at an early age. Your parents taught you how to give or take. Which one was it? Moreover, it is difficult to switch when you become an adult from either one. Just try to tell a giver that they can no longer give and see what happens…they will give more! Some Christians are takers when they think they are givers. They give by attitude, and feelings toward the pastor and ministry instead of by conviction, responsibility, and obedience to God’s Holy Word. Hopefully, you are a giver, and hopefully, you are obedient to God. My sister, Cheryl and her husband Charles are givers, and live obedient to Him. They tithe their paycheck every week. Why? On Sunday, February 12th, 1967, Cheryl was three years old and on her way to church. She was carrying her “envelope.” Back then we had these envelopes where you could your “religious” stuff for the week. You could also enclose your offering to be given in church each Sunday. Cheryl had her usual .10 in the form of two nickels tucked into the envelope that she licked and sealed that morning or the night before. She got into the car with my grandmother that morning on the way to Sunday School. Inadvertently, it fell out of her little purse or Bible, and in her haste to get to her class, she forgot about. If she remembered, it was too late because she had no idea it was lodged undiscoverable between the car seats. Fifteen years later, my grandfather sold that 1965 lime green Chrysler…to my uncle. He cleaned it out and there it was…Cheryl’s envelope. He gave it her, and to this day she keeps it as a reminder of how she gave when she was a little girl. It’s a tremendous lesson in giving, and how to teach your children to give. One little caveat…one of the nickels is missing. I suppose you could come to a thousand conclusions about that, but I think the lesson is not in the amount, but in the action. She’s a giver.

Little Books – Dowey Digest.8.21.17 – Here’s the deal: Your children are going back to school as these lazy dog days of summer segue into a breezy colorful fall. Or, they are pretty much grown, in college, out of school, or starting their first real full-time job, maybe getting married, having children, etc. You find yourself moving from leadership role of parenting to regular cheerleader mode. However, you still have a desire to affect their lives in a positive manner. Was taking them to church or sharing with them the things of God enough? Is it over? How do you keep influencing their lives for the good? How do you keep impacting their lives for God in a relationship with Christ? If you missed out on their growing up years, how do you contribute something of significance to their impromptu focus on adulthood? Bad news: Your old lecture style doesn’t cut it for the young adult these days…they can not only shut their ears and go to their room, but they can now go to their own home…if they are not living with you. My current assessment – Contemplating the question: Am I a good dad? I know Missie is a great mom…but let me…maybe…help you by sharing how I am answering that intriguing question in my way of continuing to help shape my son, Jack, for the Gospel and for life itself. By virtue of the impact of two of my 7th grade teachers, I journal. Although, I don’t do it daily, I invest in nice, leather bound books, to write in, and I have many. Several years ago, Jack was moving into college life, and my influence was diminishing. Then, as I thought about it, I came up with the fact that one day I would be leaving this planet, and what would I leave my son? Floating around in my head are my dad’s words and my grandfather’s stories of wisdom. What knowledge or guidance would I leave my son? Here’s how I solved my dilemma and I keep on parenting without annoying Jack. After all, I want him to grow as a man and make his own decisions. After all, making a choice is a must if he is going to grow up. I committed to writing ten journals to Jack in my lifetime. I may make it to ten, I may not…it’s my goal. I shop around for the perfect diary looking book, not wincing at the price tag, the more expensive and exotic the hide and cover, the better because it shows I am committed to completing my project (I put my money to where my words are)…they will contain the words to my son that I want him to have…even after I am gone. They may be worthless to others, but I am believing, thinking, and banking on that they will be gold to him. I have planned to present them to him about every two years. I have given him the first one and will complete the second one at the end of 2017. In it, I write about life, my life, his life, our family, experiences, trips, and our lives together. I scribble down thoughts, encouragement, and write out prayers, and Psalms, and other verses of God’s Word that are important to me. I explain some of my decisions and some of my faults. Some of it is pretty, some of the little book is raw, some of it silly. And my promise to Jack is one of privacy: These are words between a father and a son, “No one will look at these words except you Jack.” It is so serious to me, and such a unique thing for us that I will not photograph the inside words nor can I share them with you. And here’s one last word, my point of gratification: Recently, Jack was traveling to Europe, and he had his backpack on and Missie was commenting on it and later she told me, “In it are several private things, his Bible, a note or two, something from me, and the first leather journal you gave him.” Okay…at least here’s a picture of the outside…Jack bought this one for me to write to him!

Asia

Mr. George Muller was an incredible man of faith and trust. He ran an orphanage and cared for over 10,000 children in his lifetime. He never begged for money, yet the money to care of the orphans came in miraculously time after time. He would let the need be known, and pray, asking God to provide. Simple Ministries is going back to Asia, site and exact purpose of the ministry is under wraps because of the sensitivity to government demands. Bibles will be given out, pastors will be trained to study and prepare to teach and preach the Gospel, and for the first time, the Gospel for children will be shared. We are looking to have $20,000 in the next 6 weeks. We are asking God…will you ask with us? http://www.provesimple.comFullSizeRender 80

China Summer 2015

China 259By now you have discovered that giving out Bibles in China is a signature project for Fresh Church. My wife and I started Simple Ministries last year to organize our passion for giving out God’s Word all over the world. God has allowed me as pastor to lead distributions in central Asia over a dozen times now. I plan to go back many more times, God permitting.

For hundreds of years mission work on the other side of the planet was reserved for a select called few. To learn a foreign language took almost a lifetime and the traveling was a nightmare. However, the world has gone “glocal”. Local churches and her people can go global very quickly. Not only can we hop on a jet and get to Shanghai in 18 hours, but via the phone and Internet you can communicate instantly. Relationships can be formed, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared.

Follow me as I lead our church to do incredible missions by simply being fresh. Sometimes the freshest thing you can do it is to make it where people can read and study God’s Word. Let’s continue to make an impact and contribution to the Kingdom of God by going and giving. China 2016 is right around the corner for us! http://www.provesimple.com

Family Bible

It’s hard to explain, but I have a passion to see the Word of God placed in the hands of poor Chinese living in rural China. I believe God’s Word changes the world…period. We could give them food with our money, but after they eat it, then it’s gone. We could use our money to provide them the stuff that we think is important in America…like the latest fashions (my goodness they need clothes!), the latest technology, our love for entertainment, or some of our religious views (they had that and God got rid of it). No…the Bible is God’s Word and it’s sharper than any two-edged sword and it never, no never returns void. In other words, it produces, it convicts, it changes, and it will always be TRUTH.  I’m begging you, as friends, soon to be friends, heck, I don’t care if you don’t like me….but please give to buy Bibles for people in this world.

Here’s my latest attempt to convey my thoughts and heart…it’s a short video with The Blind Boys of Alabama with Willie Nelson singing an old time song. For more information on our next trip please see our website at Friend Church. http://www.friendchurch.com