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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.

What a Ride

A Message From Scott Bowers...

It was April 1, 2001, a week before the Cincinnati Riots, that I left the corporate world and came to work for FOCAS.

At the time, we operated the original Lord’s Gym and Lord’s

Pantry in Over-the-Rhine; and, we were actively involved in serving a remote region of Haiti, which is where Dick started FOCAS in 1986.

So many lives have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and much has changed operationally in 20 years. Today we have three locations and a mobile ministry. Betsy and I could not be more thankful to everyone who has made it possible for us to serve in such a wonderful ministry.

To celebrate, I’m planning to ride (that is peddle) my way across the U.S. along the Trans American (TransAm) Bicycle Trail starting early May 2021. It should take three months to cover 4,200 miles.

I enjoy biking. It is now a popular ministry tool with our youth and leaders. Last year we biked and camped 280 miles together.

I decided in 2018, to set my eyes on the TransAm Trail with the goal of accomplishing it by Dec 2022 when I will be 65. My anniversary year seemed to be the perfect time.

My goal is to hear from God concerning my next 20 years of ministry. I will report each day a word of encouragement and what I’m learning.

An additional goal is to bring attention to FOCAS’ virtual athletic event for youth called the Youth Resiliency Adventure. You can think of it as Scott’s Youth Resiliency Adventure on the TransAm Bicycle Trail.

There is so much more to share with you as I would love to bring you along for the ride via social media outlets and the like. More on this to follow. My personal website is YRAdventure/Scotts-YRA.

You can use your change to help me bring about change in the Tri-State or your own backyard. I am asking for you to prayerfully consider investing a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar per mile or an amount God places on your heart. You can invest at http://bit.ly/ScottsYRAdonate. Select the option Scott’s TransAm YRA to give. Funds raised will support trip expenses and the YRA. I also would appreciate your prayers in the planning and execution of this huge

undertaking, especially in a tumultuous Covid-19 environment.

Stand Firm, Scott Bowers

Welcome to the Board Steve Peterson

Board Update Part 1...

Rodger Mishler and Mike Miller have retired from the board and we welcome Steve Peterson and Johnny Alexander. This issue we will highlight Steve; the next issue, Johnny. We are very grateful to our board.

Steve 56, can relate to many of the men who walk through the doors at the Lord’s Gyms. He once struggled with addiction.

In his 40s, while in Cleveland, Steve lived across the street from a church. Church goers would frequent his porch to speak with and pray for him. “They wore me down,” he laughed. Their kindness and persistence changed his heart.

Steve eventually came to Cincinnati and got on his road to recovery. He began working at Lord’s Gym, after several years of

working out and volunteering. Now he serves on the board.

“This ministry is important to me first because it was there to help me as a client in recovery – helping me grow physically and mentally and spiritually,” he said. “It also provided an outlet to give back what I had been given. It is definitely an important part of this tri-state area and the people it serves.”

Next week we will feature new Board Member Johnny Alexander.

The Promise Behind the Rainbow

Message from Youth Chaplain Danny...

Throughout the Bible we see how God makes his covenants (promises) with the man. One of the first pacts was the rainbow.

Sometimes we take for granted that everyone understands and knows what one of the most visible and palpable signs and covenants of God with humanity means. To our surprise, most of them(16 kids at the Family Activity Center) did not know what the rainbow means!

It was nice to be able to explain what the rainbow means and how that represents the faithfulness of the God we serve.

One of the kids said that there is not much difference between what happened before the flood and the times today. It was certainly an excellent observation! It was also exciting to let him know that we now have a lifeline in these floods of the pandemic, divisions, and moral crisis. That salvation, that solution, is faith and hope in Christ our Savior!

5 Inspiring Quotes

5 Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King...

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

The time is always right to do what is right.”

I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Through the STORM

A message from Scott Bowers...

Last Tuesday was a great night to start 2021 for our bus ministry that God uses to help get women off of the streets in Cincinnati.

For two hours Kim (a volunteer) and I parked the bus on Warsaw Ave. and we fed, talked, and prayed with numerous women. Two asked for help to get off of street and Kim sprung into action calling detox and sober living places.

Pray the women follow through please. It’s when they are most vulnerable. Thanks to all of the people who make this ministry happen. I will follow up on this story later in the month.

Stand firm. Scott

A New Beginning

A New Song to the Lord...

Less than a week ago we celebrated the birth of 2021. With great excitement we exited a difficult year for our world. And with great anticipation, and some anxiety we are breaking in the new year. As we take down our Christmas decorations and put away those long stem glasses, let us not forget to reflect, not only on new beginnings for our world, but also our relationship with the Lord. Start it all off with praise and proclamation of His great love.

 

Sing to the Lord a new song!

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

Proclaim the god news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,

His wonders among all peoples.” Psalm 96: 1-3

 

We invited you to do just that by joining us on our mission at Lord’s Gym Ministries. If the Lord is encouraging you to do so, we’d love you to come and see His mighty works and with us, proclaim His wonder to all people! To volunteer with us, visit,http://bit.ly/LGMvolunteering. To give, visit http://bit.ly/LGMdonations.

A look back at ministry in 2020

Ministering during Covid...

Philippians 4: 4-7 is one of my favorite sets of verses. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV). 2020 has brought plenty of events and situations to challenge how we will react.

For us, we must Rejoice! God is in control as we pray how Jesus taught us in Matthew 6 …” thy kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… Covid-19, isolation, loss of employment, civil unrest, and elections have collectively strained us as individuals, our relationships, and our country. Anxiousness knocks at our door. In some cases, it wants to barge in. However, anxiousness aside, our vision and mission, to see lives transformed by the Spirit of the living God, remains unchanged. We press on by faith and choose to rejoice – by faith.

In fact, how has God used 2020, so far, to bring about life transformation in each of us and his call upon our lives? For us, I believe that God has drawn us closer to Himself and each other from an internal viewpoint. Externally, God has opened more opportunities to collaborate with churches, non-profits, and other organizations whom we might not otherwise have engaged.

While we cannot control the events that impact us, we understand our objective. Hence, that only leaves our reaction that we can control. Let us all rejoice, pray, and experience peace that only God can provide. Stand Firm.

 

Scott Bowers

Executive Director

 

Jesus Heals: Kamya’s Story

Jesus' healing power touched LGM youth this year...

Throughout December, the log will feature stories shared in our special end of year newsletter. Each story about someone who’s been helped by Lord’s Gym Ministries is accompanied by a quick devotional and a challenge that we ask you prayerfully consider.

Kamya, 12, of Price Hill loves coming to the Lord’s Gym Family Activity Center. She’s a regular.

I know she’s safe when she’s there,” said Kamya’s mother Heather. For Kamya it’s more than just a place to “have fun.” The Family Activity Center is a place to grow in knowledge and a place to heal.

This past spring Kamya was caught in the crossfire of a shooting while spending the night at a friend’s house. She was on the second floor when a stray bullet hit her on her side. The bullet traveled through her body and injured her small intestine, spleen, stomach and left kidney.

Lord’s Gym immediately reached out to Heather, offering help and prayer.

When Kamya finally left the hospital she wanted to visit “Mr. Danny and Ms. Lola” at the Family Activity Center right away. She thanked them for praying for her and for their care.

 I like it here because I like get to learn more about Jesus and I get to hear stories about what He did and how He saved people,” Kamya said.

Kamya’s favorite story about Jesus, found in John 9, is how he touched the eyes of the blind man and his eyes “went back to normal.”

Jesus touched me,” Kamya said. “He helped me overcome my fears. Jesus heals.”

Devotional – Scripture: Luke 2:1-7

The greatest of gifts, is offered to mankind simply swaddled in cloths lying in a manger. A humble beginning to an extraordinary life – a life that did not end with death on this earth, but resurrection power. In His death He saved us from sin and in His resurrection He brought us eternal life. It all began with Jesus coming as a little child.

 In Jesus’ time children, according to Christianity.com, were considered to be of little value to the wider life of the community. In Greece and Rome, it was an accepted practice to abandon unwanted children along the roadsides to die.

 The Bible is explicit, however, when it comes to children. They are declared a blessing from God. Jesus, as an adult, had a real heart for young ones. According to Matthew 19:13, little children were brought to Jesus so that He could put His hands on them and pray.

 In Luke 9:46-47, the disciples were grumbling over which of them would be the greatest.

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. He said to His disciples, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

 In a previous story in Matthew, chapter 18, Jesus explains that greatest in the kingdom of heaven is like a little child. Think about a child. They love unconditionally and they believe faithfully. These are things we all need to practice as adults. Jesus says: “… whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

 He goes on to say, in verse 5: “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” Matthew 18:3-5.

 Your Challenge

At the Family Activity Center (FAC) in Price Hill you can serve at-risk youth and their parents. Visit www.LordsGymMinistries.org to learn how you can provide encouragement to these children to become involved in healthy activities that promote positive life skills at school and at home, while nurturing their relationship with God if they so choose.

Finding Purpose at Lord’s Gym in Covington

Hanging with Tree at LGM...

Throughout December, the log will feature stories shared in our special end of year newsletter. Each story about someone who’s been helped by Lord’s Gym Ministries is accompanied by a quick devotional and a challenge that we ask you prayerfully consider.

Even in the midst of madness, Tracey or “Tree” would come to the Covington Lord’s Gym for prayer and to help others.

He was on drugs, but he’s always had a good heart,” said Covington Chaplain James.

Tree, who stands at 6’6, recently made a commitment to himself and God to stay clean.

I love coming to the gym,” he said. “The Bible here is put on a street level, you can understand it. I’ve gained a solid understanding of the Word while here.”

Tree has also been living out the word. For several years, he’s been volunteering at the gym, helping to feed and clothe others in need.

Devotional – Scripture: Luke 2:8-20

According to Randy Alcorn, author of “Shepherd Status,” at the time of Christ’s birth, “shepherds stood on the bottom rung of the Palestinian social ladder… The same status as tax collectors and dung sweepers.”

Shepherding was once a noble occupation, however, during the time of the Patriarchs. The wealthy sons of Isaac and Jacob, for example, tended flocks, as revealed in Genesis 30:29; 37:10.

When the Israelites came to Egypt, they discovered a different way of life. Egyptians were agriculturalists, Alcorn explains. “As farmers, they despised shepherding because sheep and goats meant death to crops. Battles between farmers and shepherds are as old as they are fierce.” 

Egyptians considered sheep worthless, their art and historical records portray shepherds negatively.

In the course of 400 years, living among the Egyptians the Israelites’ attitude toward shepherding was prejudiced. “Shepherding became a menial vocation for the laboring class,” Acorn says. “These men could not fulfill judicial offices or be admitted in court as witnesses.” Some shepherds of course earned their poor reputations, while others fell victim to stereotyping. Self-righteous religious leaders labeled shepherds as “sinners.”

Yet, these lowly souls were the first to hear the Good News of Jesus’ birth. God didn’t choose the supreme religious leaders or the elite class to be the first to know of the Savior’s birth. Instead, He announced the coming of His Son to the simple shepherds. Again, this was a bold move. Makes you think.

Who are the “shepherds” of our time? What about those with little social status but all the judgment – addicts, drug dealers, prisoners? Yeah, those “sinners” we don’t associate with.

 Your Challenge

Lord’s Gym Ministries has a mission to serve those lowly lost souls. We operate the Lord’s Gym at various times during the week at three locations, Covington, Queensgate and Price Hill. The gym is a weight-lifting, work out, and long-term discipleship program designed to teach at-risk men principles to avoid destructive lifestyles while nurturing their relationship with God. Come. Meet these men. Offer them hope by sharing Jesus with them.

 

A New Woman in Christ

Amanda's story...

Throughout December, the blog will feature stories shared in our special end of year newsletter. Each story about someone who’s been helped by Lord’s Gym Ministries is accompanied by a quick devotional and a challenge that we ask you prayerfully consider.

A woman, trapped in human trafficking and living on the streets of Price Hill passed by the Lord’s Gym STreet OutReach Ministry (STORM) bus heaving with tears. It was a cool January day and she had on a thin shirt. She was done. What little she did own, had just been stolen. No hope. No place to go.

Amanda, a volunteer immediately jumped off the bus and made her way to the woman. Amanda wrapped her arms around the woman. The sting of the cool breeze subsided as the woman rested in Amanda’s arms. Amanda understood. It wasn’t that long ago she had received the warmth of love that changed her life.

At age 7 Amanda recognized deep “hunger pangs for love.” She felt alone. Her dad was an abusive alcoholic. Her mom was addicted to gambling. Amanda was sexually abused by four different people from the ages of 5 to 14. At age 22, she took her first pain pill “From then on I continued using whatever opiates I could find.,” she said. “I was on suboxone for eight months and also had went to a methadone clinic for four years and ultimately used heroin for three years.”

Life continued to be hard and Amanda found herself sliding on a downward slope. She was arrested twice. She began stealing from her parents and started selling her body for money and drugs. Just before she hit the bottom, she found encouragement and love at Lord’s Gym.

At Lord’s Gym, I was encouraged and loved. In those early days of recovery and that meant everything,” Amanda said.

Recovery has been a “painfully beautiful journey. Finally, that big hole of emptiness I had felt since age 7, was filled with Jesus Christ,” she said.

Today Amanda is working in recovery and volunteers with STORM, going out on the bus.

I chose to volunteer because I want to help women get free from the bondage of addiction and give back what was given to me, love and encouragement,” she said. “My favorite part about going out is loving the ladies right where they’re at, like Jesus does.”

Devotional – Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

The news Gabriel brought to Mary was surprising. She was just a young woman in a time where women were not considered to be of high importance. How could she take on such a role?

To really put yourself in Mary’s sandels, take a moment to travel back to her time. According to www.bbc.co.uk, Jewish women in first century Palestine had “very limited legal and economic rights.”

In this society, women were the lowest in their household. Yet, God chose to bring the good news of Jesus’ coming first to a woman. It was

unexpected. And it was done in great love and power.

Centuries later, in America – the land of the free – women are considered to be equal among their male counterparts. Still, there are struggles. Some women deal with mistreatment by turning to drugs and living on the streets. Some even fall victim to human trafficking – their bodies sold for another’s profit.

They may seem to be the lowest of the low. But just as the Lord loved women in the times before Jesus’ birth, He loves these women even more dearly.

 A Challenge

Follow Gabriel’s lead this Christmas season, bless these women with the good news of Jesus. After all, they are indeed the one’s for whom Christ came. Learn more at www.LordsGymMinistries.org.

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