Tune in for discussion on Friendship

I have an opportunity to join Parker J. Cole’s internet radio broadcast tomorrow.  We will be having a range of discussion on non-familial relationships. We will examine various aspects of friendship and healthy relationship. If you wonder what I sound like or care to tune in for a discussion on the topic please join us at: Parker J. Cole: Friends and Others at 1:00 PM central time.

 

Love is all we need

All_We_Need_Is_LoveLove. It is a simple word. It signifies something we all so desperately want but it is also so very lacking.  Love is the most talked about subject within our culture and everything point to a significant relationship and subsequent children as the apex of love.  Yet, ultimately none of us get it. We fail to grasp love.  We all wanted be care for and are hurt when we are not.  We all desperately want to be loved and to love. It is at the core of humanity. It is why we take on pets for example, to love and be loved.

 Yet, ultimately we fail to grasp love and are really far from it. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves provides a definition of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Our experience of love falls far of that definition.  Here is the reason. The definition involves no focus on self. It is looking outward toward the welfare of others. The essence of love is found in Philippians 2:3 (ESV) Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.   When we love we are emptying of self. We are giving of self. We are focused on the welfare not of self, but of others.  However, we are ever self-focused.

We are wrapped up in our perception of being loved and are quick to voice when we are not engaged in behavior that is perceived as caring or loving. When we get upset, we do so when someone else has failed to engage in looking out for our welfare and did or said something we find lacking.   Such a response is even followed suit in understanding and rejecting God.  Many who reject God look at pain and suffering in the world and their own lives and conclude that a loving God could not allow such.  So they reject God. Some in that rejection will push simply engaging in looking out for the welfare of others.  The refrain is “all we need is love.” Simply look out for others and make the best world today.  Yet, lost in it all is the day to day agony when that desire of love falters.

 The fact is God does look out for our welfare. He never fails.  The rest of us fall far short.  So, yes we all need love, and love is what we all need, but if you separate that love from the author  and source of love it is but illusion. God is the only one who provides full care and love. Yes, the love does provide limits and structures, not out of cruelty, but in understanding what we need and what hurts us. We see that every day with parents and children, choices made and limits set for their welfare often in spite of great protest. Sure, any one of us can demonstrate love to others. We can do good too others apart from God. We can make the best out of life. Yet, it is making the best of what we can. But that falls far short of a life submitted to God, the source and author of love. And none of us have a grasp on God’s love. Our understanding is limited.  Yet, as you grow in understanding God, love grow. Love for God, self, and others. It comes as you grow and as you understand and grow the wounds and hurts from the damages of living life heal and allow true forward movement that in turn demonstrates the care for others found in demonstrating true love. We need love. We need God. You cannot separate the two for God is love.  So yes, all we need is love and that need is only found in God, who is love. So God is what we all need, for God is love.

Freedom House Update: A way to help Kingdom Pathways via IGive.com

It has been awhile since I have posted any updates regarding the Kingdom Pathways run homeless outreach program Freedom House. The governmental issues were able to be sorted at and cleared at a moment when all was about to be lost. Since that time the program has operational with funding primarily through U-Care insurance for men. The funding covers the bare basics and is volatile. There is ongoing need for help from others and donations can be made easily for details go here: http://www.kingdompathways.org/generosity.php.

Why does a program that gets insurance funding need help? Isn’t everything covered? The answer in short is no. Already funding issues that have put things in jeopardy have come up. The program is operating on a bare bones budget and there is need for more staff but there are budget limitations to hiring.

Also there is limits on the individuals served. Right now only those with one insurance provider are eligible. There is no source of funding for uninsured or other insurance options. Given the current budget one persons stay averages out to cost $3400 a month. So in order for one uninsured individual to be placed there would need to be that much income designated and assured.

The program is a faith based program so any material that builds up individuals spiritually needs to come from other sources than governmental funds. So donations for material and training to help facilitate healing and growth is extremely important and can only be done via donations.

Given the nature of insurance there can be funding lags due to technical issues that put program at risk of coming short of budget. God has provided up till now and will continue to do so.

Now one may be reading this but thinking “Hey I would love to help but I just do not have the additional money to give right now.” Well, there is a way that involves helping out in a small way that does not entail any new investment from you. It simply diverts a portion of what you purchase online to the non-profit you support. The only catch is that you need to download a “button” so that when you shop online there is recognition of the purchase and funds diverted. Just follow this link: I GIVE.  Sure the amounts are small percentages but every little bit helps. If you buy things online and want to help, this is easy.  If you follow the link and download the appropriate button, you can help each time you make a purchase. 

Whether you choose to help in that way or not, please do continue to pray each day for the program and the men in the program to reach freedom and healing from addiction and be set on the path of life.

God’s ways are not our ways

In the midst of the quietness of this blog God has been at work including within the life of this writer. The center point of the growth lessons comes down to some simple words that have great depth. 

 God’s ways are not my ways.

God states the fact that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways in Isaiah 55:8.  He establishes that there are differing perceptions and directions. God says he does what He does with His intent and purpose and that it differs from our own.  We can be convinced of something and pursue a direction. We can do what we think is right. We can have best intentions. Yet, God can have something else going on. In this writer’s life there was a moment where convinced that a small group of post college young adults could be turned into a ministry. It went the other way.  Perceptions differed and God worked as he did in that moment of time but not to create some bigger ministry.  In this writer’s life there have been ideas of going to “Christian graduate school” or work in “Christian environments” that did not happen, or at least not happen as thought. Yet, in it all God had  His ways and His thoughts and His intent.

 Now here is a piece of reality. Our own thoughts and ways are self-focused.  We get  wrapped up in our own thoughts and ways, in how we think things should be.  Even when following God and trusting his promises we get sidetracked by the ways of self.  If you read the Bible you will find countless stories of people going about their own way and having their own thoughts and not trusting God or trying to bring about God’s seemingly too long delayed promises on their own. See we turn to our own ways because we think we know best or think we have the best understanding of what is best for ourselves. We have time frames on when it should be accomplished. We often live in the moment of what is happening now without the full recognition of God doing what He intends.

See God always accomplishes what He intends. In Isaiah 55:11 it is made clear that God’s words, what He puts into being always accomplishes what He desires. God’s words do not return void, ever. What he sets in motion will not be stopped, ever.  Now sometimes it may take a long time. Sometimes it may appear differently than it is. We may not always see or understand how God is accomplishing His word and His way, but what God sets out to accomplish, He accomplishes.

Yet, we often miss those facts as we are focused on what we think is good for self. He have our plans or ideas. Even in following God we can try and achieve what God put forward by our own efforts and ideas.  Our ways and thoughts need to grow each day in aligning with God’s ways and thoughts. We need to trust God always does what He says. Always.  What is best for us in spite our own ways and thoughts and the leanings of our evil hearts is growing ever more in line with God’s ways and thoughts. Now, that is the truly difficult part because it involves giving up of self, of our ways and thoughts. We want to grasp on to what we think we need tightly. God tells us even the result of a grasping.  Luke 9:24 (ESV) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  What then is needed is the giving up, the letting go of our preferred directions and thoughts about the way things should go. We needs to simply look to be each day more in line with God’s ways and thoughts. This is ongoing, day to day, letting go of self.

Video: Healthy Growth talk from 2/23/2012 @ New Joy Church

Back in February of 2012 I gave a talk at a Men’s breakfast at local church and had meant to post it and have it available for others to listen to and be blessed by. I neglected to post it but am doing so now. The theme of the talk was highlighting and overview of healthy growth from a spiritual perspective. I also put together a handout that outline the basis of the talk. You can find it here: handout. I hope you are blessed by the presentation. Fair warning I am not a polished speaker and the opening I say “from my heart a lot.”  There was also a moment in talk I lost track where I was, back tracked and repeated a segment. FYI, you will need to view this from a computer as it does not appear the video will show up if trying to view it by phone. If the video does not work for you, you can try directly viewing it at: http://www.dailymotion.com/f1354243611#video=xrn9vm

Freedom House Update 2/1/2012: Progression with ongoing battle. Response of trust, obedience, prayer, and requests

The battle does continue with no resolution on licensing concerns at this point. However, there is a progression going on in the steps needing to be taken.  Currently one property has been approved for Board and Lodge license. The property that has not is a duplex. It is scheduled to have four per unit.  The city has stated that it does not meet requirements for licensure at that number.  The units are at that number at cities request according to zoning laws. Kingdom Pathways has sought to be submissive and obedient to all city requests.  Yet, they have refused licensure on that property due to the number per unit. The part that is hard to understand is that licensure law is written that is one building that has to be over four members not a part or unit, so it should meet requirement for being able to license the one property. However, the city has declined licensure and directed Kingdom Pathways to go through the appeals process.

The other end of things is the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services which requires funding in order to receive the Chemical Dependency treatment funds.  They have been insisting on the licensure for funds even though the city does not require the licensure.  Attempts are being made by the lawyer to negotiate with the state to take inspection reports in lieu of licensure but so far they have declined to accept that condition.  Please pray for a potential favorable outcome here and if not, pray for the movement in the process to those that will make a favorable decision in the appeals process.

It is worth noting that in the process Kingdom Pathways has sought to be obedient and submissive to authority. It has not sought to create publicity, nor find methods of exerting pressure by finding connected members in community to exert influence. Rather, the steps in the battle have been to obey, submit, and pray.

It is noteworthy that in the process, the six resident building has been approved for licensure by the city.  Also, Kingdom Pathways has received a U-Care insurance contract. There will be services starting.  The plan is to start staff receiving training and starting on February 23rd.

Now it is important to make people aware that the financial needs are ongoing. Director Jim Michaud has missed is own personal mortgage payment for the first time ever.  The family has literally given all and put total financial health at risk by taking on personal debt to keep buildings running.

In terms of need, there have been several mortgage payments missed on the two properties. Jim Michaud has been able to negotiate with the banks but payments are expected in February with no ability to hold back payments.  One building has a payment due of $1400 on February 10th. So donations are needed ASAP to be able to make this payment.  The other property has a mortgage due of $2200 dollars on February 20th.  Please go to http://www.kingdompathways.org/generosity.php and make a donation online.  You can also send donations to:

Kingdom Pathways
P.O. Box 4125
St. Paul, MN 55104

You can reach the director of Freedom House and Kingdom Pathways at info@kingdompathways.org.

If unable to give please pray.  Also feel free to send an email with any encouragement or connections to the Kingdom Pathways email. 

Please pray for the obedience and submission to be honored with a negotiated resolution to the licensing issues on the duplex property. Pray for God to bring in donations. Pray for other preparations to start with things becoming operational by the end of February.

If you have considered donating but are waiting for the end result of the licensing please do not hold  back.  There are resources in place to start that will enable beginning but the biggest need is the financial resources, in particular with full funding not being in place for both properties.

It is also worth noting that the plan is develop multiple funding sources, as money from government is often fickle.  Yet, those all take time and need operations to be active in order to obtain.  Yet, God can and will raise up people to meet needs. So currently the steps on the path are to walk in trust and obedience.  The obedience it to both God and man (the established authorities) as go through the due process. The response has not been to go the way of the world but to pray, make requests known, and to obey. Please consider how God wants you to be a part.

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For those awaiting new content that is not simply a Freedom House update, there will be a return soon to new content.  In the meantime please read an old post on God’s provision that is appropriate to this situation: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/some-principles-of-god%e2%80%99s-provision-found-in-1-kings-17/

Freedom House Update and Continued Prayer: Status hanging in balance- Enter the battle help with prayer and support!

Just received an update from Jim Michaud regarding where things are at related to the final hurdle of licensing. Currently the St. Paul City Attorneys and State of Minnesota officials are discussing working out the final licensing issues.  Please pray for this to be resolved quickly. 

When the licensing question became clear to be a huge final obstacle for moving forward felt God indicate that “there are others in the city” as a reference that He will do the work to get things approved one way or another in His way and in His timing.  This Sunday my mother commented that freedom always comes with cost and battle, so should be no surprise that in things moving forward with Freedom House there would be a battle. Ultimately the facility will serve to help folks battle issues with housing, chemical dependency, and mental illness. Lately, have God direct me to several passages and encouragements that what God initiates He will see it through.  So this will get resolved.

I have been asked a couple times about my involvement with the project. I am a current member of the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization responsible for Freedom House, Kingdom Pathways. The website can be found at www.kingdompathways.org.  I will be responsible for training and educating staff related to mental health screening and skills training. This is something God has put on my heart to help.   

Now outside of the licensing obstacle, a huge major barrier is the finances.  Jim Michaud and his family have given everything. They have not felt freedom given the battle to get things running to do much fundraising.  Yet, support ongoing is needed.  I posted before that there was a need of basically 18,000 dollars worth of costs for the first two months. It has been hard to keep posting about that need because of the ongoing battle to get everything in place to receive state funding and be able to fully move forward.   The need is very real, however and dire.  They need help and if do not get support they can LOSE ALL.  Jim and his family have followed God’s lead at expense to self and with ongoing threats of dire circumstances.  Yet, God carries through. But now is the time to give support. Please give even before word is given on the license situation is complete.  Take a step of faith and trust that God will work it out and give to a ministry that will help those hurting and in bondage.  Help the Battle.  Give and Pray.

Here is the breakdown of needed expenses.

One Time Expenses:

* Board and Lodge license Fees: $1,450
* Commercial Dishwasher Purchase and Install: $4000
* Commercial Sink Purchase and Install: $1000
* General and Professional Liability Insurance Down Payment: $700

Monthly Expenses: (Need Help with January and February)

* 426 Oxford Mortgage: $2,200 

* 1038 Aurora Mortgage: $1,400 

* Debt Payments: $1,100 (Jim and Lori facing Bankruptcy if not paid)
(This is the $ that Jim and Lori put into keeping the houses running and operational covering bare minimum. It is NOT PERSONAL DEBT)

* Household Insurance for both properties: $240
* Gas and Electric for both properties: $925
* Phones and Faxs: $240
* Trash for both properties: $120
* Water for both properties: $260
* Comcast for both properties: $229
* General and Professional Liability Insurance: $150

All payments will be tax deductible, reported to, and reviewed by the Freedom
House managing board shown on the website. Donations can be made on-line at
www.KingdomPathways.org, or sent to Kingdom Pathways, PO Box 4125, St. Paul, MN
55104

 

I look forward and praise God for what He will do.  If you care to give to personal need just designate it. If you have any questions for Jim Michaud feel free to email him at info@kingdompathways.org.