40 Stories

http://eclipseofthemoon.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/van_gogh_-_starry_night_.jpg

“The Starry Night”, 1889, Vincent van Gogh

1.8.13 speaker: John & Beth Musagala (Hope in the Land Ministries)

(1.8.13) Below are the words of Ben Hartings recapping the awesome words of encouragement and inspiration spoken by John Paul “JP” Musagala and his wife, Beth. JP calls me Boss, but I think it was evident who God has crowned “Boss” in his effort to make a difference and spread the gospel in his homeland of Uganda. I hope you enjoy the read and that you are encouraged in doing so. -Shawn

youtube video clip of Hope in the land Ministries (JP is the man speaking)

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John Paul with the Zanesville rotary Club

Watch This…

Starbucks…It’s coffee.  It’s tea.  It’s an occasional sandwich and sweet treat.  And don’t forget the mocha latte.  But, it’s more than that.  Or to phrase it better it became more than that for me today.  Today, I discovered that Starbucks is a place of intersection.  A place where lives intersect.  Where spirits on fire, encounter fresh dry wood.  A spark ready for a just a slow breeze to set the spark a flame.  But a place of intersection where we also meet that old wet, soggy log that just needs a bit of heat, fire and time to prepare it for a fire.  Those logs need a spirit on fire too.  At those places of intersection, where logs of all colors shapes and sizes pile up, there needs to be a fire to start the flame.  Today, I discovered a spirit on fire.  At Starbucks.

JP spoke to our group today.  Sent from Uganda across the world to meet Jungle Man, Boss and Henry…Just to name a few.  JP came from the humblest beginnings discovered Christ in his life in his early life, became a servant of The Lord in his home country and only came to the US upon marrying his beautiful American bride…The intersection of God in his life.  God put two hands together, a Caucasian women and an African man, and God said… Watch this…

JP came to America.  He came with his wife. But with intentions to go back to Africa.  With more resources.  More money and more men.  More Godly men to help out his call to service to those in need in the Jungles of Uganda.  But he was first a faithful husband and father.  He provided for his family through his job.  His job at Starbucks.  And God said… Watch this…

JP went to work.  He was a spirit on fire.  Surrounded by kindling.  He served coffee, latte’s and mocha’s all day long.  With a smile and a welcoming spirit.  In this place of intersection, God planted JP.  And what did God do?  He piled up the kindling….First he met Boss.  He and JP had never met until JP served him his coffee one morning.  JP made himself available and Boss introduced himself.  The two quickly became friends and the fire grew. JP needed help.  His friends in Uganda needed help.  His nation needed help, so God said… Watch this…

Boss met Henry.  Henry is also African.  Henry is a great man of God.  Humble in all circumstances.  Yet a man with a family of great influence…Power…and wealth.  Henry’s family lives in JP’s home country, Uganda.  Boss said, JP meet Henry.  Henry meet JP.  But God said…we need more fire.  JP…Why don’t you serve some coffee to the Jungle Man?

JP met Jungle Man at Starbucks.  He served him coffee too…or maybe a mocha grande.  In this place of intersection, God put the man of the African Jungle, JP, right next to the Jungle Man, Jack Hanna.  JP (or as Jack calls him, Johnny) made himself available to Jack and God said, go make more fire.  And they are.  They are igniting the rain forests of Uganda with God’s love, forgiveness and healing.

JP is my inspiration today.  JP was working at Starbucks.  He was in a place of intersection.  Serving coffee to thousands of people a day.  And he said, “God, I’m here. I don’t know how you will use me today, but I’m here for you.  Intersect my life.  I will be the fire.  You provide the kindling.”  And God said… Watch this…

Where are you today? Are you at a place, a place where you will meet more than one person? At the mall, at work, at Starbucks? Who will intersect your life today?  Will you be the spark?  The kindling piles up every day. Be the spark.  Be the fire.  And God will say… Watch this…   

-Ben Hartings

http://www.hopeintheland.blogspot.com

Dr.John

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2.5.13 Speaker: Dave Beavers Jr. (GODfidence)

(2.5.13) Below are the written words of Ben Hartings recapping the awesome words of encouragement and inspiration spoken by Dave Beavers this past Tuesday. “Con”fidence is a con. Put your trust and faith in God and start to walk with GODfidence knowing that God is truly in control of everything in the believers life. -Shawn

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Dave Beaver Jr.

Dave’s story is the intersection of natural and supernatural.

He was a natural young teenager…courted by the church, tempted by the world.  His courtship with the church began early in his life.  Dave accepted Christ into his life and began to build a group of friends through which he could grow with in his faith.  He found four other brothers. They became his posse, his bubble into which he could collapse and allow Jesus to grow.  But temptation does not stop. The natural world is toxic.  It lurks around every corner.  And for Dave, the temptation was too much. The frontal assaults of temptation led him astray, first into alcohol, then into more exotic drugs. His four brothers stood firm.  Trying to pull him back from the edge.  But alas, temptation drew one, then two and eventually all five brothers in.

This did not change Dave’s relationship with the church…or so he thought…he still attended small groups, led various initiatives for the church and all five brothers attended church each Sunday…They were the picture of the Christian American Teenager…But deep inside, the temptation grew and the natural world pushed out the supernatural.  Then tragedy struck. First one teenager died in a car accident – a story of young man having too much to drink.  Then, a suicide, another tragic death and finally, another suicide. Dave was the only man left. This young men had ceded to temptation, led his brothers astray, it overwhelmed them and he was it.  Dave had had enough. He was done – ready to give in and take his life. He blamed himself for leading his brothers astray.

So he loaded the gun, said his last words and…and…

Dave was intersected by the supernatural that day.  The gun would not fire.  A life was saved. “For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1.  He was not condemned.  He was saved. In that moment, his life would change, forever.

Dave accepted the call of Christ from his death bed of suicide…nearly 20 years later Dave is a pastor in the Wesleyan Church, is a renowned Church planter having completed 7 inner city church plants in 8 years, is a sought after speaker and is an MMA fighter (yes, that is Mix Martial Arts fighter – the cage matches you see on TV).  In his life he has found Confidence – No – He has found GOD-fidence through his relationship with Jesus.  By being available and accepting Jesus’ call. He lives and breaths this in his life.  “If it is God’s Plan for your life, in Man’s eyes it is doomed for failure.” – He lives this every day. From a death bed of suicide to prolific church planter, preacher and MMA fighter for God.

Dave makes himself available and in his life, the natural and supernatural intersect every day.

– Ben Hartings

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3.5.13 Speaker: Pastor Dave Holdren (Do You Want What God Wants?)

(3.5.13) The fortymen group welcomed Pastor Dave Holdren to speak to us about God’s will for our lives and some of the universal truths about the characteristics of His will. Pastor Dave, as he likes to be called, is a central Ohio native who has served congregations in Athens and Columbus, before coming to Dayspring Wesleyan Church in Marion, Ohio in the summer of 2009. He and his wife, Marlene, have two grown daughters and six grandchildren. Dave loves motorcycling and racquetball. His pastoral experiences were both long term and prosperous. His churches enjoyed excellent growth and gained great outreach in the communities they served. Dave loves to reach the people for Christ who have not been very excited with “church”. Therefore, the entire Dayspring experience is suited to a wide range of backgrounds, life relationships and situations. He loves pastoral work because, “you have the honor of going through life with people”. He and Marlene led the Cypress Wesleyan congregation in Columbus into a long period of campus development and growth that included a 2,000 member congregation, school, preschool, daycare and a wide ranging, large sports ministry, all on a 110 acre campus. He loves the Marion area, and believes Dayspring should be a “regional” congregation that becomes a magnet for drawing people to Christ and leading them into a life of continual growth and effective service to others. The gospel of Jesus Christ is full of the optimism of grace, which is why he loves his work and the ministry of Dayspring.

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Pastor Dave Holdren and his beautiful wife, Marlene.

“Do You Want What God Wants?”

One  of the common struggles in most men’s life is having victory in relationships. Over the centuries much evidence has been documented on the inability of men to have success in relationships within marriage,  as parents, with other men and ultimately with God. One of the common threads within this failure is the inability to sacrifice our wants and needs for the wants and needs of others.  As Christian men we struggle with this fact too. Many times men find it difficult to participate in God’s will for their life. The most committed of Christians struggle with this issue not so much because of a lack of belief in God, but because of the issues of faith and trust. Believing in God for a Christian man is an after thought. The true struggle is the areas of faith and trust. More specifically, will I decide to have faith in God in all the areas of my life and will I decide to trust that God’s will for my life is the best path I can travel?

As you listen to the wise words of Rev. David Holdren (www.fortymen.podbean.com) you will soon realize that any relationship, and more importantly our relationship with God, is more about the journey than about the destination. The true beauty of any relationship is the learning how to trust and have faith in another person. The same is true in our relationship with God. The real issue isn’t if God can be completely trusted with our lives, but moreover will we be willing to put our faith and trust completely in Him. How much do we really believe that God has a specific plan for our lives, and that His plan is the best for us? Do we believe God is worthy of directing our lives and worthy of our full commitment to follow Him? These are questions each person must ask and answer for themselves.

As we ask ourselves the question about our willingness to follow God’s will for our lives we must first begin to understand what God’s will looks like.  As you listen to Pastor Holdren you will hear him carve out four characteristics that display what God’s will looks like in each of our lives. I hope you enjoy and as always… Be Encouraged!

-Shawn Bailey

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4.2.13 Speaker: Dr. Robert Pema (When Your Life Gets Flipped Upside Down)

(4.2.2013) Arboretum had the distinct pleasure welcomed Dr. Robert as he shared with us what it looks like to have your life completely flipped upside down. Dr. Pema shared his heart felt testimony to the 40men group in a sincere and truly authentic way mapping out what God’s transformative power looks like in his life. Dr. Robert Pema is a board certified Otolaryngologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Dr. Pema has implanted the pillar implant since its inception and has implanted the most in central Ohio. If the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is in question, Dr. Pema utilizes the latest technology in in home sleep studies. This allows the patient to be diagnosed in his or her own environment, and not in a sleep lab which is less conducive to sleeping.His educational background consists of a B.S. from the Ohio State University, Doctor of Osteopathy from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Otolaryngology residency at Doctors Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, and Resident Trainer, Otolaryngology Residency, Doctors Hospital. Dr. Pema is affiliated with Doctors Hospital, Mt. Carmel East Hospital, The Ohio State University Hospital system, and Central Ohio Surgical Institute. With all of Dr. Pema’s accomplishment it is his work as a missionary in El Salvador that has brought him the most fulfillment as he leads multiple medical teams to this foreign land to perform surgeries and give medical treatment that we take for granted in the United States. Dr. Pema is married to Dr. Colleen Pema, and he is the proud father of a 13 year old boy and 9 year old boy/girl twins.

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Dr. Robert Pema

“Flipped Upside Down”

“When life get’s flipped upside down, do a hand stand…” What happens when your life get’s flipped upside down?  How would you react?  Fear, anxiety and stress certainly set in. But what about embracing the moment.  Feeling the deep inner peace that all is in a greater plan for your life?  How about…doing a hand stand?  When Dr. Robert Pema’s wife Colleen started to pull him away from his comfortable suburban life as an ENT doctor, he was concerned…He was nervous…and in many ways, he was upset.

Don’t pull me like that…I’m standing…on firm ground, with a good job, a nice income and I like the suburban, comfortable life I’m leading.

She asked, just one time honey, will you go to church with me?  Just one time…And Dr. Pema said yes.  He began to follow, first his wife. Just once, he followed her to church.  And he thought that was it.  Just one time, now she (or should I say He) will let me go.  But that was not it, the ground started to shift underneath his feet.  Just one time…Honey just one time, go with me to this bible study.  Go with me.  Come with me.  Yes, Dr. Pema said.  Just one time.  I will go.  And now she (He) will let me go. But the ground shifted once more…The Lord was working in his life.  He started to respond, more than just once.  He responded first every Sunday.  Then every day.  He could see a change.

His life was changing.

Dr. Pema accepted the He that had been pursuing him…he accepted Jesus Christ.  And when Dr. Pema accepted him, his life was flipped upside down.  And he was nervous, scared and stressed.  But rather than run away…He embraced it, and did a hand stand.  He stood with Christ.  Dr. Pema decided to reach out and be the hands and feet.  There were people in need of his services, of his expertise in countries all across the world.  Particularly in El Salvador. So he went.  He went with fear and trembling…yes, Lord, just one time I will go… and he went.  And Jesus met him there.

So Dr. Pema’s life has been changed, but for the better.

He is no longer standing on his hands, no longer doing a hand stand.  But rather, he is back on solid ground.  But this ground is not shifting.  It is not built on sand.  It is built on the Rock – the Rock that most builders reject, has become his cornerstone – the Rock of Jesus Christ.  Now Dr. Pema doesn’t just say, just one time…He says, how many times Lord?  How many times do you need me?  And he has been back to El Salvador six times in 3 years.  He wishes he could be there more. Not because of admiration or awards.  Because Christ has called him there.  He called him there just once, and Dr. Pema said yes.  What is the Lord asking of you today?  Whatever it is, say yes, if only just once.

Follow him today.

-Ben Hartings

………………..

The fortymen group, Arboretum, had the extraordinary privilege to listen to Jerry Lucas speak encouragement into the lives of those attending yesterday, May 9, 2013.

Jerry Lucas graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Ohio State University. Not only a scholastic achiever, he excelled as an athlete as well. Jerry became the only basketball player in collegiate history to lead the nation in field goal percentage and rebounding for three years, thus becoming the only three-time recipient of the Big Ten player-of-the-year award. This achievement still has not been duplicated or surpassed. Chosen seven times as an All-Pro during his professional basketball career, Jerry was named one of the 50 most outstanding NBA players of all time. Being inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1979 was perhaps his crowning achievement as an athlete.  Recently, Jerry was chosen as one of the five most outstanding college basketball players of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated in its article entitled “Team of the Ages,” which appeared in the November, 1999 College Basketball preview issue.

jerry-lucasJerry Lucas: Sports illustrated (Jan. 11, 1961)

“Religion vs Relationship”

“I am religious.”
“I am in a relationship.”

Which of those two sounds more exciting?  Religion is by it’s very definition a belief system, or a system of beliefs.  It’s an intellectual structure of the way you think about a personal God.  It is like a textbook – while very important as a store of knowledge and reference materials, it is not dynamic.

A relationship on the other hand is about connection.  Connection from one person to another.  Physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual connection.  It is dynamic. It is electric. It is attractive. It is contagious.  It is all consuming.

Jerry Lucas may be best known as one of the best basketball players ever to grace the face of the earth, but that is not how he defines himself.  His definition is not about basketball.  Mr. Lucas is a believer.  He believes in the Christian faith.  But, in his own words, he is not religious.  Rather, Mr. Lucas is in a relationship.  When Jerry found Christ, he picked up the bible and dropped everything else.  In your marriage, if your wife comes calling, what do you do? Do you drop everything…well maybe not exactly everything, but you certainly listen…you drop everything and listen…correct? That’s what relationships do.  They demand everything.  Your mind, body and spirit.

By the time Jerry was in his early 30’s, Jerry had honed his physical skill at basketball an his mental skills in memorization and intellectual study.  But he had left one part of his life out.  His spirit.  So when Jerry picked up that bible, he literally dropped everything else.  He retired from the NBA, turned down multiple offers in broadcasting and left a potential for a worldly fortune behind.  What Jerry did was not as a result of a religious belief system – No, it was because of a relationship.  A relationship he had found with Jesus.  Jesus called him, and he followed.

Jerry followed a unique path thereafter. One blazed not by sight, but by faith.  It led him in odd, interesting and sometimes completely strange directions. It estranged him from friends.  It took him down the road less traveled.  But Jerry followed the call. He left it all behind. To pursue Jesus.

And here he tells the rest of his story…

-Ben Hartings

“The Little Stream”, 1890, Vincent van Gogh

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