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.”   

Seeking peace? Seek the Kingdom of God

Jesus says: "Do not worry."

If anything, the last few weeks have taught us it is that the scriptures ring true: “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

It’s not an easy time. We are under attack physically and spiritually. The news and social media posts are all so much to take in. People are sick. The numbers are growing. More may get sick. What if it’s my family? What if I can’t go to work? How will I pay my bills? How will I buy food? There’s no more food at the store… the worries go on and on and on. There seems to be no end. But there is. We just must STOP. We aren’t going to have all the answers today; that’s why there is tomorrow. STOP.

STOP and look to Jesus.

This is a critical time for the world and an even more critical time for the Lord’s Kingdom.

People are watching. They are watching what you say; what you post; how you conduct and how you distance yourself.

By all means we have to take natural precautions and we have to obey the laws. But as citizens of God’s Kingdom we must also  listen and obey the Lord.

In Matthew 6:25, Jesus tells us: “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body… Is not life more?”

Indeed.

Life is about love. Above all, we are called to love God. Secondly, we are called to love our neighbors as our selves. If we’re worried about ourselves being fed, clothed – taken care of – then we should be feeding, clothing – taking care – of those around us.

 Even in this time of great fear, we can be a blessing. We can be a beacon of God’s everlasting love.  And, we need to do these things without fear because we are children of the almighty God; Master and Creator of the world. He’s Master over our lives, over our circumstances, over any and every sickness known and unknown to man. He’s Lord overall.

Jesus tells us in verse 26, of Matthew chapter 6: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

Our heavenly Father knows all that we need. And He calls us to “seek first” His Kingdom and  His righteousness.

So, our friends, our volunteers, our supporters, our team: “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Take it day by day. We don’t have to solve every problem at once. Live day by day. Cherish your family; enjoy taking a walk in your yard; pet your dog or cat; love your neighbor. Reach out. Be a blessing. Remember, God is always with you.

The Ongoing Story of Our Lives

A Message from Bob Clarke

Each of us is living a unique story.  None of our stories are the same. Similar perhaps, but not the same.

You have an unfinished story, as do I. There are ups and downs, twists and turns and many surprises around each corner. Everyday our story line crosses paths with other characters in their own developing stories.

Early on, the plot line in my own story caused me to seek an understanding of the bigger picture of all of our combined stories. I became aware of the greatest Story of All.

In the beginning, the Self Existent One, GOD made all things and all things were good. Rebellion was allowed to enter the picture corrupting the whole human story.  But GOD, our Father, so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be Savior of the world.  Today, Jesus, whom GOD has raised from the dead, is at GOD’s right hand ruling and reigning as the Anointed One (Christ), Lord and Savior. Through the Spirit of God, Jesus is presently transforming human stories one at a time.  

In 1971, on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, my story was forever altered as two others shared the good news of God’s redemption with me.  In 1993, my story took a twist and turn as I joined with Dick Taylor and others to create a place of refuge and connection called the Lord’s Gym.  Through this effort I’ve been astounded by the thousands of paths crossed and thousands of stories altered by Jesus’ redemptive work.

Life for me takes another twist this March of 2020 as I retire from the Lord’s Gym team.  I’m thankful for all the friendships and wonderful memories from the Lord’s Gym that are now part of my story.

I await the adventure and grace in the next chapter….

Here is a spoiler…I know in the end GOD wins and love prevails!

‘My Life is a Nightmare’

A message from Chaplain Brandon in Price Hill

Today was one of those days I remember the Why.

Robert came into the gym needing a listening ear. He came in distraught over health issues, angry at himself for his alcoholism and frustrated with life in general. He needed a place to pour out his heart, he needed a place where he wouldn’t be judged, he needed a safe place to just be and he found it at the Lord’s Gym.

“My life is a nightmare, but I don’t stop praying or believing and I won’t stop coming here because it gives me hope,” he said.

He told me with the issues he was facing, the temptation to just sit at his house and isolate was extremely strong but he was determined to make the 2-mile trek because it was good for his soul. We prayed, conversed, and after all that I saw him connecting with other gym members.

Shortly before he arrived, Chris came up to me and said: “I am ready for detox can you still help me?”

As we were waiting for a call back from the detox center he started opening up about being HIV positive, his troubled childhood and his addiction. He shared about the heartbreak of growing up with rejection from his father, how he was a very angry man who showed no care or concern for his kids.

When Chris opened up to his family about being HIV positive they shunned him even more. He knew his addiction to drugs was just to mask the emotional pain he has felt since childhood but that he was a place in his life where he didn’t want to mask it any longer. He shared how as a child he felt this desire to be a preacher. We were able to listen, hug, encourage him and pray that God would bring freedom, healing and restoration to this man’s life.

A few hours later, Laura came into the gym to thank us for being there for her in her darkest moments. She shared that she has been off the streets and clean for seven months and was experiencing life in a whole new way. She not only wanted to thank us but she offered to sponsor 20 of our local youth to go to an Aviation Day Camp, which we graciously accepted.

Through the Price Hill Lord’s Gym God is inspiring our friends that there is hope and He is transforming hearts daily.

Our vision: Transformed lives changing individuals, families, neighborhoods, and generations for the glory of God.

Jump In the Fire

A Message From Melissa Reinert, Communications Coordinator

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always come with getting burned

But you got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire…

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

They’re so hell bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire”

Last week, we made note of a spiritual side of a classic Garth Brooks song. Those non-country music fans, please hold on to your hats (well, you’re probably not wearing a hat if you’re not a country fan), but still bare with me. We’re about to do this again.

This time we’re going to take a look at “Standing Outside the Fire,” released way back in 1993. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Country Charts in 1994. It was also a success internationally and reached the top 30 of the UK singles charts, a rare feat for a country singer at that time.

This song also has a deep spiritual meaning and it offers a challenge to us who call ourselves Christians.

In the song, those who get by on their own, who never take the fall and risk everything for love are thought to be “cool” and “strong.” Those, on the other hand, “who chance the sorrow and the shame that always comes with getting burned” risk everything for love and are considered “weak” and foolish.

These mis-perceptions are still held almost 30 years after these words were written. We live in a society that admires the loners and questions the sanity of those who love freely. But loving freely aligns us with God’s will. After all, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to save whoever believes in Him (John 3:16).

And so, as believers, we’re called to be like those who are referred to as the “fools,” the “weak” in these lyrics.

God doesn’t want us on our own. In fact, He’s always with us, wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9). And He asks us to walk along side others. Not only are we to reach out and help where needed, but we are to “chance the sorrow and the shame” and love them – yes even the unlovable – even if we get burned. And honestly, you will sometimes. You are, however, in good company. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us: “… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

When it gets too hot, dancing in the flame, remember that Jesus first loved you. Seeing “the slightest chance love might exist,” Jesus forsook it all and bared your sins on the cross. So, now, you CAN love others, if you are willing. Are you?

Are you willing to swallow your pride, give up your “status” and go to the darkest corners of the world and love others the way Jesus loves you?

I encourage you to live “so hell bent on giving, walking a wire, convinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire.”

Be Their Lighthouse

A Message From Melissa Reinert, Communications Coordinator

There’s a ship out, on the ocean
At the mercy of the sea
It’s been tossed about, lost and broken
Wandering aimlessly
And God somehow you know that ship is me

‘Cause there’s a lighthouse, in the harbor
Shining faithfully
Pouring its light out, across the water
For this sinking soul to see
That someone out there still believes in me…”

I’m a big fan of country music. Especially that from the 90s. Garth Brooks is one of the most unique entertainers in the industry. I remember how popular he was when I was a kid. In 2000, the year I graduated high school, he released a song called “Until You Come Back to Me Again.”

The lyrics are powerful and very spiritual. In college when I struggled with various circumstances, I often listened to this song for encouragement.

Today, I still find hope in this song; it’s now two-fold. One the one hand, I’m still that ship, tossed about at the mercy of the sea. The Lord has blessed me with many lighthouses (my family and friends) who have shined such wonderful light in my life.

On the other hand, I’m a lighthouse to those “tossed about, lost and broken, wandering aimlessly. With the Lord’s help and conviction, I’m shining faithfully, pouring light out across dark waters for sinking souls to see. They see that I believe in them. That I care. That, in the Lord, I have a deep love for them.

Today, I want to encourage you to listen to these lyrics and reflect on your own opportunities to to be a lighthouse in the harbor – shining to bring home – lead to Jesus – those sinking souls.

During that reflection, I ask, that you consider shining your light on our friends at Lord’s Gym Ministries. Become a part of this ministry through praying, volunteering or giving. Be a voice that keeps them, as the lyrics continue, “hanging on. A voice “raining down, against the wind.” Life’s circumstances can be like the ocean can be dark, cold and overtaking. Be a lighthouse.

Meeting Price Hill Youth Where They Are

They Know We Care

According to John chapter 4, Jesus left Judea and departed again to Galilee, but He needed to go through Samaria.

What did Jesus have to do there? Meet a Samaritan woman – an outcast adulterer – who would be drawing water in the sixth hour. This is a significant meet and greet, far from just being at the right place at the right time.

Jesus speaks to the woman compassionately and with a gentle firmness. He discusses her life. Her sin. “You are right to say you have no husband. In fact, you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband,” He tells her openly and honestly.

He immediately sees where she is and knows just what to say in order to move her to where she needs to be. He uses her thirst for water to get her to understand what she is truly seeking. Doing so, He reveals her ultimate need for a savior.

With care and truth, Jesus meets this woman exactly where she is and points her towards where He wants her to go. “Go and sin no more,” He says. He freely gives her the opportunity for a transformed life.

This is how we are to approach those who seem all too often unlovable. It’s something Chaplain Danny encountered a few Mondays ago.

One of the girls who started coming to the Family Activity Center, has a bad attitude and problems with aggressiveness,” Danny said. “We took her out from the center a few weeks ago when. She’s always saying that she is ‘from the hood’ and she feels proud of that.”

This girl is often hard-hearted and difficult.

But she changed her attitude,” Danny said. “We allowed her to return again to the center, not only her but also her older sister and other friends.”

Last week she told Danny that he was “wierd.”

He asked: “Why? Is my Puerto Rican accent, my shoes, my way of dressing?”

She didn’t answer.

Another week passed and week she told Danny he was weird again. And this time she explained why.

“Because you care.”

In other words she is saying that Danny’s behavior is different from everything that surrounds her. Much like Jesus’ behavior around the female Samaritan outcast. With compassion, concern and mercy, Danny is showing this child just Who Jesus is. And he’s doing this meeting her where she’s at.

Although her behavior is not the best, she knows that there are people who are willing to help her,” Danny said. “There are people who want to get her out of that mentality of the ‘hood.’”

A Gym That Ministers to the Heart

A Note From Queensgate Chaplain C.J.

This amazing man WON my attention with his testimony from the first day I met him.

Spiritually broken and frustrated with God because life’s disappointments, he joined Queensgate.

Kevin is a 3 time CANCER SURVIVOR, and although he doesn’t completely see it yet, a REAL evangelist! No one is a stranger to him. He has a huge smile, big heart, and he’s gaining his strength back each time he visits.

Today Kevin mentioned he’d only been here 4 days this week – but continued to say that he doesn’t know what he missed more (when he couldn’t come)… his workout or the WORD OF GOD devotional MINISTERING to his heart each visit.

Spirit. INSTANTLY. Quickened… 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
*insert SHOUT here* 🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️

 

The Thought Behind The New Look

Lord's Gym Ministries introduces new logo

The Lord’s Gym Minisitires new logo, a red, white, and black shield was freshened up by a multi-generational design team. It’s meaning is significant as follows:

  • It’s a shield. Psalm 28:7 reads: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (ESV)
  • The white contrast text shines forth from darkness.
  • The skyline represents our urban call.
  • The red represents that we are covered by the blood of Christ.
  • The addition of the word “Ministries” acknowledges that we are more than a gym.
  • The slant represents where we are currently called to serve and distinguishes us from any other “Lord’s Gym” or possible “Lord’s Gym Ministries” operating in other parts of the country.