God is still God

A message from Communications Coordinator Melissa Reinert...

To say we live in trying times is probably the most understated comment one can make in the year 2020. The world is a scary place right now.

 Not only are we fighting the pandemic Covid-19, we’re struggling with an even deadlier virus – racism. The civil unrest we see unfold on in our communities is frightening. The violence is disturbing. The hatred is heartbreaking.

 I, like many of us have been feeling deeply discouraged. But as I was sitting in the Lord’s Gym Ministries office at Queensgate this morning I found encouragement.

 Our Queensgate Chaplain C.J. was praying over the men in our gym. He was telling God, that He is still God, giving our friends, and myself, reassurance. I pray that this righteous fact is fully understood by all hearts and minds while we navigate these rough waters.

 C.J’s prayer is a beautiful reminder of what Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

 As challenges come, as the world decays, as times change, this is the ultimate promise we hold to. God is still God. He is in control. Just trust.

Service in ministry ‘makes Jesus smile’

Partnerships...

Partnerships in ministry grows faith and builds relationships. Just ask those local churches who are working with us at Lord’s Gym Ministires.

Passion Community Church Lead Pastor Andy Ziegenfuss says: “Serving makes us come face to face with areas of growth in our own lives as well as reach people who may not have a support structure.”

Passion Community Church has been working with Lord’s Gym in Price Hill to provide and help distribute 100s of meals during COVID-19.

“This partnership helps us to be cautious against unintentional discrimination and myopic vision when it comes to our city and the people God loves,” he said. “God truly loves all people.”

Brian Taylor, pastor at Bethel Cincinnati Church, says serving with Lord’s Gym is a great way to connect.

Bethel has conducted outreach in the park.

“Lord’s Gym has allowed us to see that church goes beyond the walls of our building,” he said. “Most importantly we’re making Jesus happy; when we’re serving together, He’s smiling.”

 To join Lord’s Gym Ministries in the mission to transform lives for the Lord, visit, http://bit.ly/LGMvolunteering

‘You Are My Family’

A message from Chaplain Brandon...

We were excited to open the Family Activity Center on June 2 and so were our friends. The Friday before opening, our outreach team hit the streets, sharing the love and goodness of God when we saw our friend Tonya. Upon telling her the good news of reopening the FAC she said, “I’ve missed you all so much, you all are family to me”.  The weight of those words struck me deeply, as I reflected on the countless stories I’ve heard over the years of broken family relationships and how often I hear our friends refer to us as family.  

The first dilemma mankind faced was loneliness; in this perfect garden, before sin, when man enjoyed a relationship with God unhindered by any distraction, offense, and pain, God said, “it’s not good for man to be alone”  Gen 2:18.  God answered this problem with family and still does.

Understanding this energizes us to be intentional in creating a safe place where people can belong, be known, valued, and loved. It is in this atmosphere that we invite our friends into the family of God. It is not just a message we teach it is a lifestyle we live.

 Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian”
Ephesians 2:19

‘I can do it.’

A message from Chaplain Brandon...

“I just keep telling myself, I can do it”! – Markieta, 13 years old

I really fell in love with biking two years ago when I began to train for the Tour de Falls trip. It was a 525-mile trip from Cincinnati to Niagara Falls with Lord’s Gym, City Gospel Mission and a group of youth from the communities we serve. What I really enjoy about getting youth involved in long-distant cycling is how it creates teachable moments that translate into relatable life skills such as goal setting, mental fortitude and reward for hard work.

It was the first youth bike outing of 2020 and the kids were excited to get on the bike trail. As we ate pizza, we shared a devotion with the youth and went over safety guidelines. One of the girls asked, “how in the world did you ride your bike from Cincinnati to Niagara Falls?”

Scott Bowers shared the importance of mental fortitude, tackling challenges you face on the road with a can-do mindset so that you finish strong.  About 10 miles in on our 11-mile ride I look over to Markieta and ask, “How are you doing? she replied, “I just keep telling myself, I can do it”.  She finished strong and the youth felt proud of meeting the challenge, best of all they had a great time doing it!

When I think of the challenges young people are facing today as well as the added challenges the youth we serve face, it’s moments like these that make me aware of how the Lord is shaping and preparing our youth for future success.

Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Don’t Miss the Bell

A Message From Communications Coordinator Melissa Reinert

My older son, who will be 16 in March, is starting to think about what he wants to do after high school. He makes very good grades, straight As this quarter. We are proud. He is on the high-end of the Autism Spectrum and has worked extra hard to accomplish his goals in school. He is very blessed.

I was talking with him the  other day, telling him how important his studies are now and how even more important they will be in college, if that’s the path God takes him. Looking back, I should have told him too, to pay attention. Not just pay attention in class, but what’s going on around you and in your life at this point. Be in the moment. Don’t concentrate or worry about meeting your goal so much that you miss the journey or those special little moments.

Sadly, this is something I did not do.

I spent so much of my time studying. Which is not bad, but it becomes bad when it ensues worry that consumes you. Just an example: At my college, if you graduated with honors, a bell would ring to signify those honors as you walked across the stage.

I spent four years dreaming of hearing that bell ring. I studied. I worked hard. I earned my graduation with honors. I couldn’t wait to hear the bell.

The day of graduation I was filled mixed emotions; so happy to have made it; so sad to leave my friends. I was nervous too. Nervous about walking across the stage and nervous about starting life and reaching my goals.

While thinking on all of this, my name was called, I stood and walked across the stage for my diploma. And you know what, that thing I couldn’t wait for, I had completely lost sight of in that moment of mayhem going on in my mind. The bell rang. I didn’t hear it.

This can apply to many areas of life. Especially spiritual. Sometimes as we’re following the Lord; striving to run a good race, we loose sight of what’s important, God’s direction – our relationship with the Lord. We get so wrapped up in where we’re going and how we’re going to get there that we miss His voice.

As you’re busy about His business on this Earth, take time to hear Him. Don’t miss the bell.

Invite your friends (even those who don’t believe)

All are welcome...

Youth Chaplain Danny said that everyone at the Price Hill Family Activity Center is grateful for the volunteers who have joined our staff in serving our friends.

“We have put them in the front line of action and they have been impressed and impacted,” he said.

Danny made note of one volunteer in particular, Jason, who is “not yet” a believer. He has been serving for the past three weeks through his connection with Passion Church.

 “He has been overwhelmed with the show of love towards our friends,” Danny said.

 What a wonderful way to plant a seed.

We all have someone in our lives who we’re trying to reach for the Lord. What better way to do that than invite them to see the Lord’s love in action. The next time you make plans with your friend; we encourage you to ask them to spend a few hours with you and us at Lord’s Gym Ministries. You’ll be amazed by the transformative power of God, not only in your loved one’s life, but in your life.

 

To join Lord’s Gym Ministries in the mission to transform lives for the Lord, visit, http://bit.ly/LGMvolunteering

A kind gesture plants a seed of hope

"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves [with him]" Psalm 126:6

Mesha was shivering on a cool afternoon in Price Hill.

Chaplain Lola noticed her while serving the community at the Family Activity Center (FAC).

“Would you like something to eat,” Lola asked.

“Yes!” Mesha replied happily.

A warm meal didn’t seem to be enough. Lola was also able to find and bless Mesha with a warm coat.

Mesha hadn’t been to the FAC in a whole and just recently moved back to Price Hill. She said she is excited about visiting the gym again and can’t wait for the gym to officially reopen. She plans to take boxing classes with Coach Jeff during the adult hours.

 “She was such a sweet person,” Lola said.  “I’m looking forward to getting to connect with her more in the future.”

It was just a few simple gestures really, a warm meal and a warm coat, but the impact they have can be tremendous.

Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 25:36-40: “ I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’”

Mesha is now reconnected with us and a seed has been planted in her heart. When she returns, we’ll continue to nurture that seed. We’ll shower her with kindness and share with her Jesus’ love in words and actions.

To join Lord’s Gym Ministries in the mission to transform lives for the Lord, visit, http://bit.ly/LGMvolunteering. To give, visit http://bit.ly/LGMdonations.

Hope Is Good; No Good Thing Dies

A message from Chaplain Brandon

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Shawshank Redemption

The first night I met Allison (name changed to protect privacy)  she had just been strangled by a john to the point of passing out. She was terrified and needed a safe place to just be. She found it on the Lord’s Gym bus with a group of loving believers.

Over the next few months, we developed a strong friendship and used every opportunity to impart hope that God loved her and had a better life.

Allison grew up with an addicted mother, she spent many years in and out of foster care but always wanting to be back with her mom. As a teen she ran away from her foster home to be with her mom and remained. Not long after, she found herself addicted to heroin and started to prostitute to supply drugs for her and her mom.

Her life was full of broken dreams and constant terror; so wrapping her mind around the possibility of something different then what she had experienced was extremely tough to grasp but we didn’t give up.

About three years ago she came to me ready for detox, she had hope that things could change and she took the first step.

Allison has been clean for three years and what I am most proud of her for is never giving up in the midst of the struggle. For Allison the last three years have been extremely challenging but the hope she holds on to has imparted courage to move toward the promises of God.

God’s Life-changing Power

A life transformed...

It was the people who go out into the streets to minister and feed people who changed Gerrit’s life.

“These people, like those at Lord’s Gym, gave me a solid foundation to grow in Christ and get into the presence of God,” Gerrit said.

Gerrit, 33, has been in recovery for a year. Life before, he said, was a “living hell.” All of it was he created with bad choices. He started using drugs after his parents divorced and when he was 14 he got kicked out of his home.

“It was a life without Jesus and that was not what God had intended so of course I was miserable trying to fill the God sized hole in my heart that only the Holy spirit could fill,” he said.

 Lord’s Gym in Price Hill was a safe place Gerrit could go. It was place where you he wasn’t judged.

“Many times, I was starving, and they would just so happen to be open and I could eat without having to steal,” he said. “They are a blessing. I’m truly grateful for their gestures of kindness and compassion.”

Gerrit overdosed eight times in Price Hill.

“God always made sure there was someone there to help me at my most desperate times His mercy and grade and beyond comprehension,” he said.

Today Gerrit is an intern at Heritage House. God has restored everything the Devil stole from him:  Love, joy, purpose family, friends and peace.

“That hole in my heart is now not just filled, it is overflowing,” he said. “Thank You God for making a way and never giving up on me.”

A Simple Bag of Snacks is a Big Message of Hope

A Message From Chaplain Danny.

We thank God that we were able to return last week to work and to be able to bless our friends. Between Wednesday and Friday we served about 134 meals. On Thursday we went out to deliver to several people in need, including several young people from the center and the football team. We fed about 27 kids last week. The testimonies of gratitude are many (all to the glory of God) but I was struck by the particular testimony below.

Last Wednesday a young man in his 30s asked me if I could bring bags of snacks to his four sons and two nephews who were staying at his house. I wrote his address and promised that the next day I would bring the bags to the boys.

When I arrived at his house on Glenway I left the bags on the porch. I knocked on the door and his wife opened it, she didn’t know who I was, but when she saw the bags her facial expression changed. When I identified myself, she called her husband and with joy he almost broke social distancing to hug me. With teary eyes, he thanked me for keeping my word and because their food supply for the children had already run out. God’s timing always just right.