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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.

Outside the Comfort Zone

A message from Communications Coordinator Melissa Reinert...

I can’t swim.

Yes, I’m 38 years old and I never learned. Living in the city with little money and extremely overprotective parents growing up, learning to swim was an opportunity that never crossed my path.

I admit, as I got older, splashing in water wasn’t an activity I was particularly comfortable with. So, I never learned. It never seemed to be an issue until last week. I learned that we were going kayaking for a Lord’s Gym Ministries team building exercise.

“That sounds fun,” I thought. Then I remembered. I can’t swim!

I let our executive director know right away. And, although I was nervous to be on the waters, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to grow with my team. So, I made it clear that I was still willing to go.

I wasn’t really nervous until the shuttle van ride up to the launch point. I guess it was then I had some quiet time to really think about it. And think about it I did.

“What if we capsize? What if I fall out just trying to climb in (I’m not the most graceful of movers)…” the doubts soared.

Still, I was determined. Not because I’m brave, mind you, but because I was wanting to meet the challenge. This year we’ve been focusing on our culture and part of that has been discussing how we meet challenges that bring us outside our comfort zone.

In ministry, if you aren’t pushed outside of your comfort zone more often than not, I think you might be doing something wrong. Come to think of it, this really applies to all Christians, because our entire life is or should be a ministry.

To calm my fears, I responded by giving them to God. I asked the Lord to be with me – all of us – and keep us safe and allow us to enjoy this exercise. Whenever I feel anxious, I always go to Isaiah 6:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I just keep repeating over and over, “perfect peace,” and I’m at rest.

Let me tell you, once we launched, I discovered a new happy place. The scenes were breathtaking. The activity, challenging but fun and worthwhile. It was a very wonderful day, probably one of the best I’ve ever had with my team. I loved every bit of it. I’m so glad I went.

And, I’m not sure when I’ll get the time, but I’m planning to learn to swim. It’s another challenge I need to meet outside my comfort zone.

Start A Child Off

A note from Executive Director Scott Bowers...

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

 It was Shawna’s first time out with our biking ministry. We went to Miami Whitewater Park and did the outer loop. She helped with taking photos, enjoyed the nature preserve, and took warmly to the other youth and adults. It was only later did I learn that she has a violent side when she is at school and with a different crowd. I could not reconcile these accounts of the same person. It only reminds me of the importance of creating an environment with people and activities that connects with youth and Jesus. Our biking program does this in large part thanks to your support! This program, on the heels of Covid-19 is only getting better.

 Unfortunately, we had to cancel our 525-mile bike trip to Niagara Falls with City Gospel Mission. So, we set our sights on smaller, yet significant, multiple overnight and shorter self-contained bike trips along the Underground Railroad. It passes through Cincinnati and Milford headed to Canada. Since early May, we started recruiting and training kids to embark on this educational and physically demanding journey as laid out by Adventure Cycling. This is where we can use your help to advance our program.

 To minimize an extended adult support team, address C19 concerns,  and  increase higher  expectations for self-responsibility and support from the youth, we are equipping each of our vintage bikes to carry key camping  supplies: panniers/racks,  individual tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, mess kit, food, water, and limited personal items. Riding 40 to 60 miles a day, each youth will be responsible for their personal care and comfort with adult supervision. The cost to outfit each bike and participate in four weekend excursions is $874.38. I am looking to equip 15 bikes and riders. 

 Would you prayerfully consider equipping one bike and youth’s camping accommodations for a summer of education, adventure, and spiritual growth? Other equipping options include $473.19 for half, $218.60 for a quarter or other amount. You can directly impact the life of a youth by expanding their world and life experiences. Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration.

To give, visit http://bit.ly/LGMdonations. Be sure to write: “Appeal Letter Reply”

 Stand Firm,                            

Scott Bowers

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.

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