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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.

Saved by God’s Grace: Meet Shelly and Kevin

All are welcome...

Shelly and her husband Kevin got caught up in addiction and ended up homeless.

 

“I wanted to die,” she said. “I couldn’t see a way out.”

 

Now she sees the Light and it’s Jesus.

 

“I felt no one cared,” she said. “Then, I found Lord’s Gym. We were welcomed in. We were loved. This is my home and my family. They connected us to resources, helped us get clean, gave us food and clothes and are helping us get our life back together.”

 

Now Shelly and her husband are volunteering at the Lord’s Gym Family Activity Center in Price Hill. Shelly was also recently baptized there.

 

“This place is amazing,” said Kevin. “It’s really given us a sense of purpose. We’re volunteering and doing something to help them help the community. It’s a great feeling.”

 

Shelly said one of her other favorite things to do at the gym is to study the Bible.

 

“The Word got through to me here,” she said. “I’m closer to God than I’ve ever been. The Lord Gym is a great blessing. God brought us here. This is the Lord’s home. It was a part of His plan. I don’t deserve this but it’s all God’s grace.”

 

To experience life transformation firsthand, volunteer. Visit http://bit.ly/LGMvolunteering. If you are being lead to support Lord’s Gym Ministries, visit http://bit.ly/LGMdonations.

A Fun Testimony

A Quick, but Solid Reminder from Chaplain Danny...

That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60

Last week one of the boys at the Price Hill Family Activity asked: “Who would win between God and Zeus?”

Before I could answer, another kid stood up and said: “The only one that is the real… God!” 

The boy replied, “That’s true!”

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

Learning the Scriptures at the Family Activity Center

Training children in the way...

…and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15

One of the initiatives that we have begun at the Price Hill Family Activity Center is that at snack time or every time a child or teen want a snack, they must tell us the “password” of the day, a short verse from the Bible that we say to them every day. So, these kids are repeating that same verse three and four times a day! Then we explain what that verse means and some of them have remembered the verse of the day.

 

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

A Friday on the Bus

Through the STORM...

Sherry and Tonya joined Brandon on the STORM Bus for the first time several Fridays ago for an “eye opening experience.”

About Sherry and Tonya

Sherry is a licensed therapist with Addiction Services Council and Tonya works with First Step Home.

“I love working with women,” Sherry said of her job and why she boarded the bus. “I work with men too, but my passion is serving women. They have so many needs and so much going on with them. They feel defeated, don’t have anyone left or any sense of hope. I want them to know they are not alone.”

Sherry has worked at Addiction Services Council for six years and has more than 20 years in the recovery field.

Tonya, a mother of three, has a business degree, but ended up working in recovery after she saw a need at her kids’ school.

“Seventy-percent of the children in our district were on the free or reduced lunch program,” she said. “So many needed so much, they had no shoes, no jacket, the basics. That’s hard to see and I wanted to do something about it, more than just meet the needs, but get to the root of the problem. I learned that most come parents were hooked on either meth or heroin.”

She stared working at First Step in March and is “now part of the solution.”

On the bus

It was a busy Friday on the bus. Several women were met with hugs and prayed over. One, received assistance to get into treatment. Another, Sherry and Tonya saw drift into the despair of addiction.

Sara (name changed) boarded the bus with a hard heart and was physically overwhelmed by lack of sleep. She also had been drinking.

“It’s not easy to see,” Tonya said.

Still, they opened their eyes and their hearts. Both Tonya and Sherry spoke kindly to Sara, doing their best convince her to get the help she so needs and deserves. Sara was adamant. She wasn’t ready.

They sat with her for 20 minutes, offering comfort and friendship, until Sara once again left for the streets.

Reflections

“This was so eye opening,” Sherry said. “You really see what they’re going through. You have to also meet these women where they are, recovery takes a while. It’s all about baby steps. Any movement forward is a celebration and sometimes you have to start again. It’s a process.”

Tonya said that addiction is a vicious cycle.

“It’s not just about detox and getting clean and getting a job,” she said. “These women have to be taught how to do life.”

And so that is the mission for Sherry and Tonya. It’s the mission of the bus and it all starts with a hug and a prayer – knowing someone cares about you even when you can’t care for yourself.

 

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

Watch the Community Awareness Event NOW

Experience how the hope of the Gospel doesn't disappoint...

Scott here.
In case you missed our Lord’s Gym Ministries Community Awareness LIVE Virtual event, here is a link for you to watch it at a more convenient time: www.LordsGymMinistries.org.
Also, while we mention that viewers can invest via the donate button in the upper right corner of www.LordsGymMinistries.org, and TEXT “Register” to 513-540-4005, viewers can still mail in a personal check made payable to:
FOCAS
PO Box 5099
Cincinnati, OH 45205
Thank you for viewing and sharing it with your friends, family, and church. Consider sending me an email or text (513-300-0285) to let me know what you think of our 30 minute presentation of the impact God is having through the ministry – especially in light of Covid-19. Stand firm.

A life saved

A Message from Chaplain James in Covington...

One of the outreach workers at the Welcome House found Wayne on the streets a couple weeks ago.  He was fresh out of jail, and someone had stolen his bag that had his greyhound ticket to get back to Louisville in it. Not knowing where else to turn, they dropped him off at the gym.

We were able to love on him, get him some clothes, food, and begin to minister to our new brother.  One of our volunteers from our local church even agreed to drive him back to his family in Louisville so he could briefly reconnect and get some important documents for him to begin working. That same volunteer (Joe) brought him back to Covington and even took him to the DMV to get his ID the following week.  

Wayne then began attending Bible studies and decided to fully surrender his life to Christ. We were blessed to be able to baptize him!  

Finally, he is starting his new job through the JobCenter and has been supplied with boots and bus passes to get him started.  We will likely be able to facilitate him entering the sober living house across the street from the gym, as well as pick him up for church weekly.  

God is good!

Look what you can WIN

YRA Adult Prizes...

Did you know that there are prizes for both youth and adults who cover the farthest distance in the categories of walking, running and biking during October’s Youth Resiliency Adventure?

 

Here’s a peek at what adults (over age 18) have a chance to win.

  • The adult who walks the greatest distance wins a pair of JBL Harmon Bluetooth Earbuds.
  • The adult who runs the greatest distance wins a Garmin Vivio Smart HR.
  • The adult who bikes the greatest distance wins a Fuji Candy Apple Red Finest Bike.

Join the Youth Resiliency Adventure; and, make moves to make a difference during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month! Visit www.YRAdventure.com to register now.

The Youth Resiliency Adventure month-long virtual athletic event for youth and adults to either Walk, Run, or Bike a personal distance goal during the month of October. 

The Youth Resiliency Adventure, promoted on social media with the hashtag, #YRAdventure2nAddiction, was created to raise funds to prevent youth addiction, increase awareness of youth addiction, and encourage healthy physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.

Youth Resiliency Adventure offers prizes

Prizes for youth...

Did you know that there are prizes for both youth and adults who cover the farthest distance in the categories of walking, running and biking during October’s Youth Resiliency Adventure?

Here’s a peek at what youth (age 18 and under) have a chance to win.

  • The youth who raises the most funds will receive a $1000 savings bond.In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by who went the greatest distance.
  • The youth who walks the greatest distance wins a pair of urbeats3.
  • The youth that runs the greatest distance wins aFitBit Versa Lite Edition.
  • The youth who bikes the greatest distance wins a Fuji Red Ace 650 Bike.

Join the Youth Resiliency Adventure; and, make moves to make a difference during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month! Visit www.YRAdventure.com to register now.

The Youth Resiliency Adventure month-long virtual athletic event for youth and adults to either Walk, Run, or Bike a personal distance goal during the month of October. 

The Youth Resiliency Adventure, promoted on social media with the hashtag, #YRAdventure2nAddiction, was created to raise funds to prevent youth addiction, increase awareness of youth addiction, and encourage healthy physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.

Reflections: This Year’s Bike Rides With Youth

From Scott Bowers...

Our scheduled summer youth activities have ended as our youth head back to school in the era of Covid. One of the hallmark activities of our summer was our biking; mixed with field trips and camping. You played a vital role! Thank YOU.

 Many people helped us financially in buying equipment, purchase a van, and go camping and on field trips. Many showed hospitality  to our youth; and, it did not go un-noticed. I am grateful for the extra-effort you made in welcoming us and making our stay unforgettable. Both the youth and adults commented not realizing just how expansive the Underground Railroad in Ohio, especially Southwest Ohio, was.

Personally, I am now a fan of the Reverend John Rankin and Mr. John Parker from Ripley, Ohio. Reading the book, “Beyond the River”, really made the area and the exploration of the area that much more meaningful. Springboro was amazing too.

Our youth celebrated the many trips they made. For many, it was their first time camping, riding a more sophisticated bike, carrying their camping gear on their bikes, and learning how to ride as a group. I think if you asked them the one word that they had to remember while riding as a group it would be “Predictable”.

For safety purposes, they had to be predictable! That meant they had to ride with intentionality and to use the proper signals – especially when passing people on the trail. “On your left”, became the common phrase on the trail. It did not come without our share of bumps and bruises.

Most important, was the time we had together just hanging out with the kids, and creating a safe place allowing them to be kids – away from the violence of their neighborhood. Most of them commented on the beauty of the Loveland Bike Trail and surrounding area that many saw for the first time.

While roasting s’mores, we had a theological discussion. While swimming, we heard that some in our group did not want to go on living.  While eating ice cream, our 10-14 age group informed us they learned about sex via Porn-Hub. Not only did they learn it; some claimed they put it into practice.

The discussions flowed as if they were talking about the weather. In retrospect, I am grateful for the candor of the discussions that occurred while riding bikes and camping. Our youth trust us enough to confide in and let us into their world. We are permitted to respond with equal candor in challenging their assumptions, experiences, and worldviews with biblically based insights and probing questions. In short, serving our youth can be complicated.

Over the summer, our devotionals followed three main points layered in scriptures. The points were taken from FOCAS’ culture of expected behavior and what that behavior looks like. In short, we targeted the following three ideas:

 1 – E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome or objective)

 2 – Discipline over Default

 3 – Do the work!

Many of our rides and camping trips involved the rain. (Rain or shine, we pressed on.) Our event, or circumstances, was the rain, with the destination as our objective or outcome. The only thing we, or the youth, could control was our individual response. We used the rain and biking to teach our youth how to manage their response(s). The Proverbs speak to the richness concerning the virtues of discipline, self-control, and work. These topics were introduced into a sub-culture that defaults to taking the easy way out, entitlements, and low expectations. Using God’s word, we challenged each other to identify how we approach tasks and our responses to the planned and unplanned “events” in our life. 

Lastly, our thinking must translate to action that makes a difference. The work can be hard. It can take a long time. However, we must do the work if we want to realize our intended outcome or objective. Otherwise, we fall into doing it the way we have always done it; or we fall back into a default mode of behaving.

These simple truths, wrapped with scripture and life examples, challenged the thinking of our youth. You made these activities and assets available to create an environment for change. God can use these activities and the relationships formed,  to impact individuals, families, generations, and neighborhoods for His Glory!

As our summer comes to an end please know that you helped to make it a more meaningful one with your actions, kindness, and generosity. Museums, historical societies, docents, campgrounds, and many people fearlessly accommodated our youth in the midst of a pandemic. Everyone’s collective generosity helped to contribute to a very active and safe summer. In all, about 30 different youth rode with us.

Does it make a difference? The first week of August, one of the mothers mentioned to Brandon Welch, our Street Outreach Chaplain that they are not a religious family. She said they don’t go to church or talk about spiritual things. Her son, one of our most consistent riders, asked her for a Bible.  I asked the kids what are some of the lessons they learned from riding and hanging out at the Lord’s Gym this summer? Not all jumped at the answer.

However, there was one young man, 14 years old, who stepped up. We had just finished talking about Joseph who was sold into slavery at the age of 17 – a teenager, by his brothers. While his life situations (Events) seemed unfair and demoralizing, he never lost faith in God or discontinued obeying God. He even found the strength to flee from Potipher’s wife who tried to seduce him. At the end of his life he showed how he always chose the right responses to his most difficult situations. He showed discipline and did not take the easy way out. He concluded that God worked things out for good!

One 14-year-old was paying attention. He said he learned two things this summer. 1. We choose how we are going to respond to situations.  2. We can choose the easy way or doing things like we have always done; or, we have to have discipline to do the right thing even if it is hard. I sat there and just smiled.

We went riding, and finished out our last scheduled ride of the summer with a stop at the creamy whip. Upon calculating the mileage, young Cortez, at age 10, did not miss one ride when we began the first week in May. Four months later he would ride 209 miles, more than any of the other youth. He told me he wants to ride more! Thank you for making the summer a meaningful one for our youth.

Stand firm.

Scott Bowers

Executive Director

 PS – Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 30th, at 7:30 am for our Virtual Lord’s Gym Community Awareness Event. Also, check out our virtual athletic event the Youth Resiliency Adventure at YRAdventure.com. I am asking for you to share this information with your friends, family, church, and work to help us get the word out.

How to Live as Disciples of Jesus Part 3

Part 3...

The last two weeks we have looked at the first parts of Micha 6:8b; how to do what is right and to love mercy. This Old Testament Scripture sums up well how we’re supposed to live as disciples of Christ. Again, the verse reads: “…this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

This week we’re going to take a look into what it means “walk humbly with your God.”

Walk Humbly

We have the perfect example in Jesus as someone Who walked humbly. Mark 10:45 says that “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

According to Webster’s Dictionary, humble, means “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.” So, to be humble, we must be rid of self. And we have the perfect example in Jesus. He walked humbly every where He went, always looking for a way He could help others.

So, what are somethings we need to do to put our walk in ordrer?

First, we should ask the Lord for a humble heart.

Next, we need to humble our minds. Romans 12:3 says: “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by faith God has given us.”

Jesus told His disciples in Mark chapter 9, that they must take last place and be the servant. That’s hard to do if you think so much of yourself. Remember your place. It is God Who created you. It is God Who saved you. And, it is God Who called you to your purpose – to be like Jesus – to be servant.

And for the final step, we need to get serving. We are to humble our hands. James 3:13 says: “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Full Circle

Walking humbly with God is the basis for loving mercy and doing what is right.

To walk with the Lord means to go along side Him, to have relationship with Him. Cultivating our relationship with God gives us the power and passion to live a life with an abundance of good and an abundance of love. Our relationship with God is the foothold of our servanthood.

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

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