Thursday, October 30, 2014

More than Words by Joey Kincheloe

More Than Words

Her Facebook post, her plea, broke my heart. At least the first part of it did. Then it annoyed me the further I read. This is what it said (I did not get her permission to quote her so I am paraphrasing):

It’s about time that I had some caring people in my life. I mean I didn’t know that kindness, especially from the people that are supposed to love you, would be such a big thing to ask for. I’m fed up with the hatred. I don’t deserve it. I’m done with it.  
Oh, and the first person that says I should go to church or find God, blah blah blah, is getting deleted from my friends list.

This was from a friend of mine from high school. She was a very sweet girl that had a very rough home life and who made some choices that led her to some difficult places in life. She struggled with a teenage pregnancy that really stemmed from a complete lack of love in her life. Searching for love and acceptance that she did not get from home led her to some places that she regrets deeply. The sad thing is, it does not seem as though she has ever found it since she left her home.
I can tell you what she did find. She found a whole bunch of friends, family members, and former church acquaintances that told her to go to church. They told her that God loved her. They told her that she was searching for love in all the wrong places. The problem was, after saying these true statements to her, they left her to fend for herself in a dark, lonely world. These people of faith said the right things, but then abandoned her. They said, “God is the only way to really find what you are searching for” and “That hole in your heart that you’re trying to fill…that’s a God-shaped hole and it can only be filled with God.” 
But they did not live it. 
The folks around this sweet child of God gave her the information but failed to give her hope. And that is why I was annoyed at the second part of her post. God has been given a bad name to her because the people of God failed to act like they should. Her saying that she did not want to hear about God is not because she doesn’t know God is love (in theory), rather it is her communicating that she is tired of the empty words. The beginning of the post proves that. She needs the action that come with the words. 
This very same girl contacted me recently and asked me specifically to pray for her. She knows that God is love. Unfortunately, from her experience, she also knows that many of the people of God do not love her enough to do something loving for her. Shame on us.
We are called to give hope to the hopeless. We are called to give more than words.
Matthew 8-9 shows Jesus going out and giving hope to the world around Him. Just read through the headings of the two chapters and you’ll see him offering hope to those that are hopeless. From touching the quarantined sick (and of course healing them), telling a storm to hush for some frightened followers, pulling a lame man off his mat and giving him the chance to dance, to yanking a girl from death’s grip, Jesus handed out hope. Then he looked at his disciples and said (paraphrase again), “Hey, its your turn. Get out there and do the same.”

When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:36-38

Then Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to preach and heal and generally give hope to a world of people that are hopeless. He gave them a job. The job of showing, not just saying, the love of God to the hurting and lost.
More than words. Words are good and words are powerful. But action…action gives those words even more power and goodness. 

What good is it my brothers if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:14
More than words.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Health Ministry Newsletter-October 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness by Lisa Fleetwood

October is national breast cancer awareness month. Do you know someone who has had breast cancer? Chances are, you do. Breast cancer affects one in every eight women and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Each year over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed and 40,000 will die. Did you know that breast cancer can occur in men as well? It is rare, but an estimated 2150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year .

Here are the fast facts….
About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just over 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 64,640 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.

About 39,620 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2013 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989 — with larger decreases in women under 50.

For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. However, in women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women.


The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A mass that is painless, hard,
and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or
rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass or
lump, or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast

Other possible signs of breast cancer include:

· Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
· Skin irritation or dimpling
· Breast or nipple pain
· Nipple retraction (turning inward)
· Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
· A nipple discharge other than breast milk

Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
Contact your physician to schedule a mammography screening today.
Need assistance? Many facilities offer discounted mammograms. Check out the Indiana
mammogram facility guide to find a location near you.

Little Red Door of Indianapolis offers mobile screenings. Call (317) 925-5595 to pre-register and
qualify for the mobile.

The Good News!
Recent years have brought an explosion of treatment options for breast cancer. Instead of just one
or two options, researchers have developed a vast array of treatment choices that include targeted
therapies and complementary medicine. Certified Breast Cancer Navigators are now available to
guide patients seamlessly through their journey by providing education, resources, support, and
self-care skills. For more information or to speak with a navigator, call 317-355-4114.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Keep On Keeping On" by Frank Black


       On May 10, 1996, 17 people were preparing to make their final assault on the summit of Mt. Everest.  After all their lengthy preparation and expense, their goal was in sight.  The weather conditions were near perfect.  Beginning around midnight they began their final ascent.  GET TO THE SUMMIT !! (the top of the world), was their solitary cry and focus.

       Did they reach the summit?  Yes, they did.  Their goal had been reached.  But had it?  What have I left out?  What had many in the group forgotten? This is summed up in what one of their experienced leaders said, “The summit is really only the halfway point. Any impulse I might have felt toward self-congratulation was quickly extinguished by overwhelming apprehension about the long, dangerous descent that lay ahead.”  Another leader was more blunt about it by saying, “With enough determination, any idiot can get up this hill, ….. the trick is to get back down alive.”

       Perhaps you know this true story; but after reaching the summit, things drastically changed.  Through some delays, some errors in judgment, and an unexpected severe weather change; their descent began. With fatigue, oxygen deprivation, looming darkness, minus 70 degree wind chill, hurricane force winds, and zero visibility - disaster loomed.  In all, 9 people died on the descent – this included some of the hardiest climbers and previous conquerors of Everest. For these 9, was their goal achieved?  NO!  They didn’t successfully conquer Everest – which includes both the ASCENT AND THE DESCENT.

       Why am I reliving this story?  Because it’s a valuable lesson in life for all of us.  It’s about preparation, work, goal-setting, leadership, completion – which encompasses PERSEVERANCE / PERSISTENCE. Perseverance is about continuing; about “keep on keeping on” – whether you’re a student; a worker; on a sports team; dealing with aging; or all of us in our Christian lives. 

       So many things can get in the way of our persevering: fatigue; boredom; unexpected obstacles or detours; influence of others; health or aging processes; stagnation or inertia (slowness of process –
“nothing seems to be happening”); anticlimactic (like descending the mountain); etc. Our God who made us knows all this about us. That’s why there are many Bible passages dealing with “perseverance”.
·         Hebrews 10:35-6 – “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
·         Colossians 1:11 – “Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance (perseverance) and patience……..”
·         Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We need to persevere in many areas of life but none more important than our Christian journey!  Just like the other promises from God, claim the one for PERSEVERANCE. Pray to receive this.  This goes for us of all ages.  An especially critical time is for those of you between 18 and 25 – when you finish High School and may be on your own for the first time.  Now you must decide for yourself.  It’s a time when you listen, think, study, explore; BUT sincerely pray for our God to direct  you during your quest.  Another important time is when the aging process intervenes (perhaps 40’s and older).  You may feel stagnant with life – and your religion.  Now it’s time for you to pray for perseverance; to follow others who are persevering well; to read and study more in order to learn; to get more involved (even if you have to force yourself) – all these and more in order to stimulate your mind and your activity.

You know I like quotes, so I’ll conclude with a few:
·         “God sometimes moves mountains one pebble at a time.”
·         “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins ……..not through strength, but through perseverance.”
·         “May God grant you the wisdom to discover the right, the will to choose it, and the strength to persevere.”

                                                      F. Black – Oct. 13, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Thirsty Land by Chris Kirby

A Thirsty Land by Chris Kirby

What’s the most desperate you’ve ever been for water? Have you ever gone a full day without something to drink? What’s the furthest you’ve gone to get water? What’s the dirtiest water you’ve ever had to drink? When is the last time you had to worry about where your water would come from? Take a second and do an exercise for me. What are all the ways you use water in an average week? The list gets pretty long doesn’t it? And yet, we almost never “worry” about water in Indy. There are places in our country where they worry about water. For instance, there is currently a 3rd water tunnel being built from Lake Mead (formed by Hoover Dam) to insure water for Las Vegas because the lake levels may soon slip below the current intake pipes. There is a pipeline being contemplated to divert water from the Missouri River to Denver (that’s 600 miles!) to ease the stress on the Colorado River. Georgia is disputing that their border with Tennessee should be shifted north to the 35th Parallel. According to Georgia, it was incorrectly surveyed a mile too far south in 1818. Why worry about a strip of land 200 years later? The Tennessee River, that’s why. By shifting the line north (or settling for a small strip of land to Nickajack Lake), Georgia could access the river and divert billions of gallons of water via pipeline to Atlanta, which has future water concerns due to extreme population growth.

The consequences of these droughts and overuse are frustrating and even scary. The effects range from limiting water usage for things like watering lawns and recreation to much more serious threats. There are forest fires in portions of the West that are normally too wet for fires. Meat prices increase when cattle have to be thinned in Texas. Fields sit idle, dried, and desolate rather than producing crops to feed people. The consequences of droughts have a ripple effect too. Food prices nationwide increase when California can’t plant and grow healthy crops. Remember our drought a couple of years ago? The price of corn and everything dependent on corn increased. Areas downstream from big cities suffer shortages of water when rivers are overused. There are serious ramifications that raise big concerns.

However, the majority of kids in the direst drought situations in America walked to their sinks, pulled up on the facet, and brushed their teeth this morning after taking a shower. Their parents brewed a pot of coffee to survive the morning and probably poured out the leftovers in the afternoon. Throughout the day at school, they used the restroom, washed their hands (hopefully), and stopped by the water fountain for a swig to refill the ole’ bladder. In the afternoon, when they fell and scraped a knee, mom took them inside, cleaned it off in the tub, put a bandage and a kiss on it and headed to kitchen to boil spaghetti for dinner. But that’s not true around the world. Today, there will be thousands of children who die just because they don’t have clean water for drinking, sanitation, or growing ample food. Millions of people will spend all day transporting water by foot. Many times the water source is completely unsuitable sources. You and I wouldn’t dream of drinking from these cesspools shared with livestock, muck, and trash producing terrible toxins and illness. That’s sometimes the only option for folks in certain places on the globe. Many times, it is children doing the job of transporting water. Therefore, education is skipped all together. It’s difficult to find time to walk 7 miles round trip several times a day to get water and sit in math class, you know?

I could go on about the consequences of this dire situation, but I will stop here. Why share at all? It’s a bit of a bummer to write about. I’m sure it’s a downer to read about this issue that we don’t face every day. It’s not a feel good story. However, I think we are called to be aware of issues like this.  In fact, we are called to aware AND to take action. In one of our recently young adult Tuesday night groups we discussed James 1 and spent quite a bit of time discussing verse 27-

27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
We are called to live out an active and vibrant faith fueled by compassion for those who are most vulnerable. Orphans and widows are obviously part of that group in many societies even today. However, I believe the primary point of this passage is to remind us that as true disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to hold up all people who are not in a position to support themselves. We are called to inject hope where there is despair. We are called to be advocates for those with no voice. We are called to provide resources for those who are in need. We are called to protect those who are defenseless. We are called to do something that matters in the world. Quite simply, we are called to interject the heartbeat of Jesus in places that desperately need life.

The world has lots of terrible examples of false religion to choose from. Oppression comes from the powerful in many religious settings. In some circles, hatred flows from the mouths of preachers about those who they disagree with. People of faith will debate what caused poverty while children die from the consequences. In even more extreme cases of false religion, hatred spills over into violence. It’s not new. These atrocities in the name of religion are old as time. It’s no wonder that religion is viewed so negatively in our culture. That makes it even more pressing that we carry out the call to be ambassadors of the gospel to those who are in need. The world needs to see faith in action so Jesus can be witnessed as he intended. It’s not enough to see the need of the weak and turn a blind eye, debate its causes, or political ramifications. If we are going to carry the name of Christ, we must be genuine in portraying His nature to a watching world.

This is why the Youthreach went out a few weeks ago for a “Water Campaign”. We handed out bottles of water at White River State Park and Southeastway Park. Partly, we wanted to give water to thirsty people. However, there was also a website on the label with info about the great need for water around the globe and how to support those in most dire need. My hope is that every person who received a bottle went home, checked out the website, and donated money to build a well for a community in the developing world. By doing so, they would have saved lives of some of the most vulnerable in our world. In reality, I would see it as a victory if one person was educated and did something about it!

But, it’s not just about water. Ebola is breaking out and ravishing already poverty stricken corners of the world. Kent went and ministered to the most vulnerable through medical missions when he found himself in the middle of the outbreak. However, there are other ways to respond as well. Nicole and Samantha created a fundraising and awareness program to support those ministering on the front line to save lives. Our food pantry sees the hungry and underserved in our community and provides food. Our children’s homes provide safe haven for kids who may not find it anywhere else. Others in our church serve the homeless in our city. There are ministries that serve those who are abused. We could list more. Here’s the point: I hope we will continue have open eyes to those who are the most vulnerable, both at home and around the globe, and then have the compassion to bring the light of hope into the dark situations created by need, hurt, and uncertainty.

For More Information-
Visit Living Water International at to find out more about the need for water around the world and how you can help.

Visit the  site to order a shirt if you haven’t done so yet. Funds support Samaritan Purse’s efforts in Liberia.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Good People Make You Want to be a Better Person by Terry Gardner

Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.” I Cor. 4:16
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.  I Cor. 11:1
Good People Make You Want to be a Better Person
By Terry Gardner
Human beings learn by imitation.  When we learned to talk there was no formal training, we simply imitated the adults around us.  We paid attention to what they said and to the meaning of their words and soon we began to talk.  We all learn far more from what we see our parents do than we learn from their words.  “Actions speak louder than words” because actions have more influence than words.

We not only learn by imitation as children but we continue to learn the same way as adults.  Paul understood this lesson and therefore he warns us not to be deceived “Bad company corrupts good morals.”  I Cor 15:33.  We learn from and want to be like the people with whom we hang out.  They will rub off on us and before we know it we’ll act like them.  If they are good, we’ll be better people.  If they are immoral, we’ll go down that path.

How many of us have imitated some feature of our parent’s personality that as children we hated?  Then one day, we look in the mirror and find ourselves doing the exact thing our father (or mother) did, that we promised ourselves we’d never do!  The training we receive as children is very powerful.  We will all imitate something.  Too often we imitate the poorer qualities of our friends, parents and other role models.  The purpose of this essay is to make clear that we all have a choice to make and we can choose to imitate the better angels of our family and friends.

A number of years ago a senior executive was retiring and I was tasked to find him temporary office space.  He had the typical office of a senior executive, it was large with a fine view.  He told me he only wanted a small office space.  I suggested we go look at such a space so that he could actually see the size of the office he had described.  As we entered the small office, I looked at him and his face had fallen.  Then he smiled at me and said, “Terry, I didn’t think I had an ego, but I guess I do.”  I replied, “We can get you a much bigger office.  We have the money budgeted.”  He then replied, “Terry I’d never waste the money for something like that.  I’ll get over my ego.”  Humility means you take your thoughts captive and do the right thing even when you could “afford” to do something else.

I had lunch a few years ago with a prominent businessman with whom I had been closely associated for ten years.  Something came up about where he had gone to law school.  “Harvard,” he replied.  He had never mentioned this fact before and it was still no big deal to him.  If I had graduated from Harvard Law School I’d be tempted to have a crimson “H” tattooed on my forehead.  Humility means that I am “not to think more highly of” myself “than I ought to think.”  Rom. 12:3.  No one is better than anyone else because of where they went to school, how much education they have nor what job they do.

Several years ago a man named Ken Estep came into our assembly.  He was terminally ill and a little angry.  It had been a long time since he’d really followed God.  He did not have any money and there was little he could do to assist God’s work in Indianapolis.  Ken had a lot of needs.  James reminds us that we are not to be a respecter of persons or judge people by how much money they make nor by how they dress.  James 2:1-4.  The Hebrew writer tells us that in doing good to strangers some “entertained angels without knowing it.”  Greg York and others ministered to Ken until he passed from this life into the next one.  Good people who make me want to be a better man.

During the last month the message that the Brantly family wanted delivered was to keep the focus off the family, off Kent and “on those suffering with Ebola and give God the glory.”  Kent shared with us the Sunday before last that those we describe as “heroes of faith” were all ordinary people doing great things by the power of God.  Humility means we give God the glory.  Remember Moses was kept out of the promised land because he took glory that belonged to God for the miracle of the water from the rock.  Keep in mind too that if we make individuals heroes then we come to think that we can’t do what they did.  Jesus took twelve ordinary men and “turned the world upside” with them because the power was in God, not in them.  The twelve apostles were ordinary men who did extraordinary things by the power of God.  We are all ordinary men and women and each of us can do things that are great in God’s estimation if we will follow him where he leads and do our best to make sure that the Glory goes to God.  If we’ll focus on the examples set by good people we’ll all be better.  Imitate good people as they imitate Christ and always remember the source of all goodness is God.