An Encouraging Word

FOCAS US Ministries

FOCAS US Ministries

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1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins."

Many people make mistakes. Some are small and some are huge. When situations or mistakes happen I believe we should remember that no one is without fault and many of us forget what a mess we were in mentally, emotionally and some physically. I'm reminded of what King David said in Psalms 40:2, "He found us in a horrible pit and pulled us out." We should always remember to extend mercy to all others and walk in love.

Your brother in Christ,

Larry Spellman - Chaplain Family Activity Center in Price Hill

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John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." Jesus calls us His "friend". There is no greater love than the love God has for us. Jesus laid down His life for us! In 1 John 4:19, it says, "We love Him because He first loved us." We owe Him our love !! Our love is imperfect and it waivers but His love is steadfast. He is always there for us. He is the greatest example of love. We are to model His love. 1 John 4:11 says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." We should daily be sharing the love of God with others. If others see His love in us they will get a glimpse of Him. To some we are the only Jesus they will ever experience. So, let's do our best to let His love shine through us so others can begin to know and experience Him.

 

Vicky Gentry - Administrative Assistant

 

 

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From Bob's journal...

 

We should choose to look for the good in others.  There are plenty of experts out there looking for the bad and boldly verbalizing their discovery.

 

When we find good in others we should acknowledge it. Acknowledging the good in others, at the right time, is like appropriately watering a thirsty plant. It will contribute to healthy growth.

 

 

 Bob Clarke - Director of Ministry Operations

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It is fitting to thank the LORD, and to sing praises to your name, O sovereign One! (Psalms 92:1 NET)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give him thanks! Praise his name! (Psalms 100:4 NET)

We are told that it is fitting to sing praises to our God. We are told to come into His presence with praise. When is the last time you came into His presence with praise? Many times we come into His presence seeking His hand and what He can do for us.  Before we start asking for things, we should come into His presence and give Him praise for who He is and for what He has already done for us.

Do you have people in your life that only come around when they want something? How does that make you feel? Wouldn't it be nice if those people would occasionally let you know how much they love you, appreciate you and thank you for your friendship and what you have already done for them?

Today we are challenged to come into His presence with praise. Let God know how much we love Him, appreciate Him, and value Him. Come into his presence and give him praise for who He is and for what He has done.

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in the sky, which testifies to his strength! Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him for his surpassing greatness! Praise him with the blast of the horn! Praise him with the lyre and the harp! Praise him with the tambourine and with dancing! Praise him with stringed instruments and the flute! Praise him with loud cymbals! Praise him with clanging cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Psalms 150:1-6 NET)

 

Jim Turner - Chaplain STORM

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I think there are a few powerful reminders about last night’s Ohio State Buckeyes win over the Oregon Ducks.

 

#1 – Leadership matters! Coach Meyer has taken that team in a short time to a national champion.

 

#2 – Depth of leadership counts, especially in your 3rd string quarterback. The whole team/organization won, but if they did not have a capable guy in the waiting, they would not have won their last 3, and most critical games.

 

#3 – That QB was ready as soon as he was asked to step up and contribute. There were not going to be any second chances.

 

It’s something to think about! Go Bucks.

 

 

Stand firm.

 

Scott Bowers

Executive Director

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This month, especially as we kick off the New Year, we will Praise God for everything – good and bad! Psalm 8 begins and ends with the statement, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Note the exclamation point, which is used to punctuate the sentence both times. The punctuation makes all of the difference in how we should express this thought. The exclamation means to  suddenly “cry out” or exclaim the statement “vehemently” according to Webster’s New World Dictionary. So, hit the pause button this day and at this moment exclaim to yourself and those around you the majesty of God’s name. Let this thought permeate your soul and meditate on it throughout the day.

 

Stand firm

 

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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"I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built."  Pause and thank God that He is our Rock!

Thank you for using FOCAS to put into practice your time, talents, and treasures. We look forward to serving with you in 2015 and seeing what God will do.

Blessings!

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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I ask a question, "Why should we give?" There are three points, I would love to bring out. First, giving is unselfish. When you are giving, you are not thinking about yourself. Next, someone else is involved. Giving has you thinking about someone else that is in need. Last, the reaping principle comes into play. When you give, God's principle of sowing and reaping is activated in your life (Galatians 6:7-10). So when you look at giving, it is an act of God. For God gave unto us eternal life through his Son, Jesus Christ. God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Everyone be blessed!

Pastor Rob Dothard - Chaplain Lord's Gym OTR

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"For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."  Pause and let's reflect on our salvation in Christ Jesus whose birth we celebrate.

 

Thank you! Pray that everyone involved with FOCAS Ministries will keep Jesus Christ the main thing in all we do.

 

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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It has occurred to me that I cannot give what I don’t have. I don’t have anything that I did not receive.

Perhaps it is in the continual flow of receiving and giving that we experience the best of life. And the better part is in the giving. After all, it is recorded that Jesus said, “it is better to give”.

This very day many things will flow into my life for my good…all gifts from the One who loves me most. I will have the opportunity to creatively re-gift. All the things that sustain my physical existence…air, water, sunshine…give me moments of life to be given back to God in thoughts and service. The resources I use for self-maintenance, with the right attitude become ways to give back…because if don’t responsibly self maintain…I can become an unnecessary drain on someone else. I can take the gift of time and give a listening ear to someone else. I can take money that's come my way and convert it into numerous options for humanity. Great joy and fun can be found in thinking through and praying about ways to give secretly…which I understand our Father in heaven applauds.

Today is filled with all kinds of re-gifting opportunities.

 

Bob Clarke - Director of Ministry Operations

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I’m reminded of Matthew 26:6-13 the passage that tells about the woman with the alabaster box.  I would like you to ponder these verses during the Christmas season.

Jesus saw that the woman did not give out of her “extras.” She gave from the depths of her faith that God would provide! I conclude by saying, Jesus said, “wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” He sees what we give but, what blesses the Lord is “why” we give!

Merry Christmas!

Larry Spellman – Chaplain Family Activity Center

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."    Pause and let's together, thank God for being our light.

 

Thank you for helping to make a difference one life at a time...

 

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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"For the Lord takes delight in his people..."  Pause and let that sink in as you celebrate the birth of His Son!

 

Thank you for your faithfulness.

 

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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We are now in a season of giving and exchanging gifts. Giving is an expression of love. God showed and demonstrated His love toward us by giving His only begotten Son even when we didn't earn it or deserve it. This was an act of love and was truly the best gift of all and it is a gift that keeps on giving.

There are numerous ways that we can be givers during this season that may not even require monetary gifts. What if this season we intentionally gave people letters of encouragement, thanks or appreciation? After losing our 19 year old son just 17 weeks ago, I think one of the greatest gifts that someone could give us during this season would be the gift of time, fellowship, and words of encouragement.

Clif Marshall, close friend of ours, who has trained over 250 NFL players, came by our ministry the other day to deliver to my wife and I a Christmas present for our family from he and his wife Stacy. When we opened it we literally were blown away by their gift. It was a beautiful picture frame with 2 of our favorite pictures of our son who passed away with the song Amazing Grace on the bottom half. There was also a card with a nice monetary gift but I have to be honest that the picture frame is exactly what we needed and it is a gift that will keep on giving every time we walk in the door. The money was nice and we do appreciate it, but it is long gone.

There are so many people in your world today that are going through the hardest days of their life and you have the power to show them your love and give them the gift that keeps on giving.

So before you go out and spend all your money on gifts, sit down and think and pray about what the person is going through and what kind of gift they really need that will keep on giving.

Jim Turner - Lord's Gym Street Outreach Chaplain

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Would you like to help a child in Haiti through FOCAS Ministries? I normally will not use our blog spot to promote a giving opportunity; but, today, Dec 2nd, is nationally unique. We are coming out of a month of giving thanks and have entered a month that is traditionally filled with giving gifts and good cheer. No doubt, you are thoughtfully thinking about who you should give to after clearing such hurdles as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Today, there is a national spot light on Giving and it’s reflected in a concept called Giving Tuesday. It is a counter cultural response to Black Friday. Consider the following about GivingTuesday.

  • In 2013, the movement garnered 300 million impressions on Facebook.
  • The #GivingTuesday hashtag reached 2 billion people and was tweeted as much as 700 times/minute, resulting in national and international trending.
  • The average online gift in 2013 was $140.05, a 40% increase over 2012.

Today, December 2, you can prayerfully join the worldwide movement and make your donation at www.focas-us.org to help our children in Haiti.  Thanks for the consideration!

Merry Christmas!!

Scott Bowers - Executive Director

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1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) tells us, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Are we to give thanks only when everything is going our way, when we are happy, when we are healthy? This scripture says “in everything give thanks.” That means in good times and bad. When we are on the mountain top or down in the valley we are to give thanks to our heavenly Father. Giving God thanks while in the valley will lift us up. It takes our focus off our situation and puts it on Him. Focusing on God gives Him permission to work in our situation. By thanking Him we our telling God, “We trust You.” He is then free to move in a mighty way and do His will. He knows what is best for us and will always work on our behalf when we thank Him and put our life in His hands.  Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Even in the worst of times there is always something to be grateful for. We can be thankful for all God has done for us. He gave us His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up everything so we may live. He became poor so we could be rich. He died so we may live. By his stripes we are healed. We just need to receive and acknowledge all He has done for us. For all this we should give thanks!!!

 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Vicky Gentry – Administrative Assistant

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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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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

 

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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 othersI 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

 

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“…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.

 

Scott Bowers

FOCAS Ministries

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