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“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Standing Firm

Welcome to the Lord’s Gym Ministries’ blog. Here you will find updates on the good things God is doing in Cincinnati and the Greater Tir-state area. You’ll also find words of encouragement and learn about how you can have a part in God’s grand plan for our community.

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.

That Old Redemption Story

A Message from Melissa Reinert.

Over the weekend I took part in a three-day Bible study to prepare my heart for Easter Sunday. Last night’s reading was especially thoughtful and impactful. It involved Peter’s denial which is ultimately a lesson in the Lord’s beautiful redemption.

In Luke 22: 54-62, we see Peter following at a distance as Jesus is brought into the high priest’s house. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard, Peter sat among them. A girl staring intently at Peter, accused him of being a disciple.

Peter denied it.

A little while later, another made the same accusation.

Peter denied it.

An hour later, another “confidently affirmed” that Peter knew Jesus.

Peter was even more adamant: “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”

Immediately, while he was still speaking,  the rooster crowed. And in the most heart-breaking manner that I can imagine, the  Lord turned and looked at Peter. Peter immediately recalled what Jesus had told him just a short while ago: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

Peter turned to solitude and wept bitterly.

I thought to myself, I can’t begin to imagine the sinking deep-cutting pain Peter must have felt at the look of Jesus. But then, I remembered, I’m a sinner too.

I have not always lived pleasing to the Lord. I’ve done things that scream: “I do not know Him.”

Then I thought of that look. That look of betrayal, that look of abandonment that Peter must have seen on Jesus’ face. Oh, how many times have I caused that expression on my Lord’s face.

Like Peter, I felt helpless. Hopeless. My sin has once again taken Jesus to the cross. But, the glory of Easter Sunday, is that Jesus didn’t stay on the cross. No. In three days, He rose from the dead.

And shortly after His defeat of death, he met with Peter. In this conversation Jesus gently dealt with Peter’s sin and offered Him forgiveness and purpose – to feed His sheep and follow Him.

I think of how Jesus has forgiven me and given me the opportunity to follow Him and share His love. Oh, it’s a great feeling that trumps all defeat of sin. Indeed, redemption is a beautiful thing.

 

‘Look for the Helpers’

A Message From Chaplain Brandon.

We have entered into some dark days but my heart is filled with hope because of the light of Christ that shines through our volunteers.

Two of those volunteers are Leon and Tuwanda.

They both are passionate about serving the Price Hill community, especially in the midst of such uncertainty. On our way to feed the Price Hill community the other day Tuwanda said: “I love coming to serve, it gives me the opportunity to put a smile on people’s face.”

She went on to to say that she looks for those who are really down and uses her quirkiness to brighten their day.

Leon, who has served alongside me for four years, finds a special purpose in ensuring the kids of the Price Hill community are fed and cared for. A few Thursdays ago we made several deliveries of food and hygiene to single mothers in Price Hill.

I just watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” a movie about the life of Fred Rogers and a line in that movie struck my heart and reminded me of these two faithful believers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

An Update

A Message from Scott.

Here at Lord’s Gym Ministries in the Greater Cincinnati Tri Stare Area we continue to operate in serving our friends who are the most vulnerable. First – “thank you” for your prayers and help as we serve together during these challenging times. In complying with the governor’s orders, our gyms are closed and our other indoor ministry activities are suspended temporarily. Since we maintain religious facilities and provide ministry in the context of social services, we have made a few changes to executing ministry. 

Working Together

Coordination is the operative word here as we work with other ministries such as BLOC, Urban Outreach, City Gospel, and churches to share our resources and time. We are even in contact with some of the schools in Price Hill to see how we can be of help. Our essential staff and volunteers provide “Grab and Go” bags of food that can be distributed to our friends and youth from our Family Activity Center in Price Hill. Loitering and fellowship are not permitted.

 On The Move

For those who cannot make it, we (Tom, Danny, Brandon, C.J. and Lola) load up our truck and van and drop off food to our families in need. James, Greg, and Mo are coordinating the services to our homeless friends in Covington at the Covington Convention Center. People can get showers at our Lord’s Gym in Queensgate through James and Greg’s coordinated efforts. We are very grateful to the churches, individuals, and foundations who have reached out to us to provide encouragement and resources that are both material and financial. (Go to www.LordsGymMinistires.org if you would like to make a donation.)

 A Day In The Life

Today, was an incredible day of mobile ministry, according to Price Hill Chaplain Brandon.

 “We were able to deliver snacks, dinners, hygiene, cleaning supplies, and the most coveted item in America – toilet paper – to several families in Price Hill,” he said. “Most of which are single mothers or grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren.

God is good and He is making a way to shine His light in uncertain times.

Reaching More People

Yesterday, across town, God showed up in multiple ways, opening doors to relationships and new “eyes and ears” to Lord’s Gym Ministries, according to Queensgate Chaplain C.J.

 C.J. had established a relationship with the hotel manager of the InnTown Suites on Colerain Avenue and told them about our mobile mission. The hotel manager immediately made a sign-up sheet for struggling families at the hotel to receive care packages. 

 Within a day, eight  families had signed up. The care packages will come this Friday. Several families had already picked up cleaning care packages from Lord’s Gym Ministries.  

 People began to ask where these “blessings” were coming from.

 “I had the opportunity to tell about how the Lord’s gym ministries is engaging the community,” C.J. said. “God is good and his mercy endures forever.” 

 Our Culture

While practicing social distancing and other appropriate safety precautions our ministry continues to serve some of the most vulnerable in Greater Cincinnati. It comes down to our vision, mission, and culture.

 In the last 9 months, FOCAS has adopted and implemented a cultural framework from Tim Kight’s Focus 3 organization out of Columbus. The formula is simple. It is E (Event or Situation) + (plus) R (our Reaction) = (equals) Outcome. Our reaction is the only thing we can control!

Today, as always, our Outcome (vision and mission) has not changed. The Event/Situation is the C-19 virus which we cannot control. That leaves our Reaction, which we can choose to control. We will comply with our government leaders and continue to faithfully serve as much as possible within those constraints. While there are many things to think about when processing our reactions, things we want to emphasize is our faith in God, our attitude (don’t Blame, Complain, or Deflect), and staying engaged and disciplined day by day in response to the unfolding unique situation before us.

 Pray Continuously

Above all, join us in prayer as we seek God’s protection for our country, our leaders, each other, and our staff. Please follow us on social media (Facebook – FOCAS/Lord’s Gym) if you would like to stay connected and receive updates.

May God richly bless you as you stand firm.

Scott Bowers

Executive Director

What You Can Do

A Message From Tom Lipsey.

Not surprisingly many of you are inquiring as to how to help during this Covid-19 crisis. First of all thank you for asking and for praying for us and our friends during this challenging time.  

 

I suggest a few ways to provide immediate support: 

 

  • Non-perishable foods items (Please contact me directly at 513-885-5665 to coordinate your delivery.)
  • Kroger gift cards for groceries
  • Money for our benevolence fund which is being taxed at this very moment as many will have important needs during this prolonged season (i.e. food, medical, utilities, etc.).  

As I said before thank you very much for empowering us to be there for the less fortunate. 

 

And remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25: “Whatever we do for the least of these You do to Me.”   

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