An Encouraging Word
Take a look at our latest newsletter. One of the articles is written by our Executive Director, Scott Bowers, who tells about an upcoming event, Giving Tuesday:
On Tuesday, December 2nd, FOCAS Ministries will be joining the national initiative, Giving Tuesday, with thousands of other non-profits who are doing something active to counter the rampant consumerism that is running wild in our country, especially during the holidays. Giving Tuesday is a counter cultural response to Black Friday, when most Americans wake up at dawn to shop. They spend money they don't have for things they don't need, and some of that on folks they don't even like. So, why not give back instead of give more? Why not "pay it forward" ... Click here to read the entire article and learn more about Giving Tuesday.
Merriam Websters definition of thanksgiving is defined as such:
the act of giving thanks
Thankfulness is an attitude of gratitude stemming from the heart. It is a response to some kind of good gesture experienced; conversely, the “act” of giving is service toward others as an extension of one’s self. To me, thankfulness is a powerful expression of selflessness because it requires humility on behalf of the one giving it; and, it causes a vulnerability because it may humble the receiver of what’s being given. Or, the receiver may have feelings of resentment and despair.
I say this because of the countless men I minister to on a daily bases that often share their heart wrenching stories with me. They are men of brokenness and isolation who have never shared a Thanksgiving meal with jubilant family and friends.
Through every priceless moment, I’ve been blessed to share with the lives of all God has called me to touch. I’ve come to understand that thanksgiving goes well beyond a particular holiday; it is cultivated in every situation we encounter throughout the year! I’ve learned that it’s not the day that inspires thanksgiving, it’s the selfless acts of service rendered moment by moment. It is the willing heart and helping hand in tough times that builds thanks and inspires giving. If the celebration of each life is appreciated all year, without regard of self, or expectation of reward (personal gain), then these selfless acts of service can change a life; because, it’s the giving of self. In return - it incites thanks. It’s the same with God and us. We give thanks because God gave first.
Kevin Johnson - Chaplain
As I sat across from my friend from the streets of the inner city he said to me, “I wonder how I would have turned out if I had the opportunities you’ve had”? What a great question. My friend has been imprisoned several times and had a pretty hard life in many ways coming from a broken family with little opportunity and few role models worth following. So how would you expect him to turn out?
Fact is during my tenure serving downtown at FOCAS Ministries as one who was formerly from the suburbs that one of my great lessons learned is that there is little difference between any of us! And what difference there is comes primarily from opportunity afforded some and not others. I for one have been blessed with many opportunities in life that have catapulted me into a place in society that many would call functional and even successful. I was born into a great family, had loving and kind parents, saw many worthy role models growing up, was exposed to many great teachers, coaches and mentors, and thus had a great education. So this boy from the suburbs has turned out in society’s eyes as ok. Why? Did I deserve it? I don’t think so. I think more than anything I was born into it by the grace of God. The land and life of opportunity has accompanied me my whole existence.
But what about for my friends from the city and streets? What about those born on and into the lower spectrum of life? Paul said to the church at Corinth, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” We’ve all been given amazing grace in spite of ourselves. Don’t ask me why? Just be grateful and thankful and live like it!
Tom Lipsey - Director of Development
“…give thanks in ALL circumstances…”, as written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, may be one of those easier said than done comments. Really? Are we really supposed to give thanks in every one of our circumstances? You mean it’s not just one of those nice ideas once a year in November during Thanksgiving? While the pilgrims may have inspired the upcoming holiday, the apostle Paul is challenging us to have a completely different mindset altogether. He sandwiches this comment by actually saying. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Chris Jesus.” Wow!
Personally, this is one of my favorite verses; I can say that I finally know the will of God for my life. Besides that, these instructions (which are not suggestions or good ideas) are pretty straightforward. The challenge for me is, “Will I do it – especially during those not so great circumstances where being joyful or thankful are the last things from my mind?” My prayer for myself is that the Holy Spirit will remind me of this verse at ALL times; so that, I can practice them daily. Even when I don’t FEEL the joy or thanksgiving of the situation I can pray out of obedience that God will change my mindset accordingly.
The next Community Awareness Fundraiser Breakfast Event is Tuesday, September 30 at the Sharonville Convention Center at 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, OH 45246.
Registration/Breakfast is from 7:00am to 7:30 am. The program is from 7:30am to 8:45 am sharp.