Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Virtual Pew News #11 Goodbye House, Hello Ministry

A lot has been going on as of late and I thought it about time for another newsletter from The Virtual Pew. This one will be a little more personal than some in the past.

First off, a lot in the area of ministry has been going on. Over the last three days for example ministry has included the following:

Daily contact to no less than 10 people with ministry needs. Just yesterday for example here is a listing of what I did.

I responded to 20 emails requesting specific areas of ministry, ranging from an abusive marriage, to an individual who recently went through a divorce and is being criticized by a church and minister. One of the spouses in this family was involved in pornography. I actually get around 2 requests for advice a day from someone where pornography has been an issue.

I also responded to two individuals who are not Christians, who have been hurt by Christianity, and at the same time, while they have been outspoken against Christianity in the past, as a result of the ministry with The Virtual Pew, they are now at the place where they are considering Christianity as an option.

I started and managed the new group at MySpace, The Virtual Pew. This group, in less than a week is now approaching 400 members and has daily posts and comments that are ranging from discussion on Homosexuality to The Appropriateness of Pro Wrestling. This group is still growing and it has amazed me at the ministry and responses I have seen both posted on the forum, and those sent directly to me. For those wanting to visit the group you can click here: http://groups.myspace.com/hollywoodjesus

I also worked locally with a family having some serious marital issues. I don’t know where the church is when people need it sometimes. People who are supposed to care but let individuals, marriages, and children fall through the cracks. What is so bad in this situation, is that after seeking help from others involved in the church. This couple finally turned to me. I am doing what I can, but it is difficult, it is difficult because the family has apparently already separated and contacting them is not easy. I will try again today to do what I can. I continue to wonder what could have been done if those contacted early on had actually responded to this couples cry for help.

I finally had business cards made yesterday. I know it seems like a little thing but I assure you, something I have been having to find time for, for some time.

I posted the article, I Found Jesus At The Taco Bell, regarding an experience I had after church on Sunday. It is amazing at how God gives me stories. I think he gives us all stories, it is just that some of us have to open up our ears and listen. That particular story had thousands of hits yesterday. I received email from Africa, London, and hundreds of responses in the states. It was the 9th most viewed blog in the Religion and Philosophy category at MySpace yesterday out of hundreds if not thousands of blogs.

You think the day was busy? All of the above happened pretty much in the afternoon as the morning was busy spent on two other areas. First I was online speaking with a dear friend serving our Country in Iraq. I won’t go into any more detail here than to say he stated to me yesterday that yesterday was the first time he was able to express some of the issues he is dealing with. I will tell you, if you aren’t praying for our young men and women serving our country, you should.

That wasn’t my only interaction with soldiers in Iraq though. Another dear friend contacted me regarding some serious issues that had occurred at home. The issues are so serious that he is getting an emergency return to the United States and will be home within hopefully the next 4 or 5 days. I will say it is serious, and between being on the phone with him, and interacting with local authorities I was reminded in a special way that my morning was a morning where the Iraq war was having a dramatic impact on my day because of the association I and The Virtual Pew has with numerous soldiers in Iraq. Truth is, for both of these individuals, there are no services state side to help with their issues. I know that if there are issues like this for these two soldiers, there are likely thousands more who don’t have the help they need.

That was the day just yesterday, a couple of things that normally are addressed weren’t addressed yesterday. I normally have daily interactions where I am offering help to individuals having issues due to drug usage or abuse. Neither did I have any financial issues addressed from folks. Normally these are daily occurrences, but were silent from yesterdays activities.

Now a report on finances; I have good news and bad news and at the discouragement of some I am mentioning it anyway. Last month, April, we met our monthly financial needs. So far this month, and in fact the last 3 weeks we have had no income or donations come in. There is always that concern, but always the knowledge that God will speak to the hearts of some to help meet the needs of this ministry. Last month it was a church who realized the positive things this ministry is providing and they made a donation to help meet the needs for the month. Between that and the donations of around 10 others we were able to get the needs met. Of course that don’t mean the needs will be met for the next few months so I again, ask you to prayerfully consider ways you can support this ministry.

Upcoming activities:

A lot of things are going on. I just announced this morning that The Virtual Pew, as a part of the ministry we have to the wrestling community will be making 3 scholarships available for needy wrestlers within the Kansas Wrestling community. Those individual applicants will turn in essays describing their need, as well as the benefits they believe comes from being involved in the sport of wrestling. An independent group of judges will determine the winners of this. We will provide scholarships for summer wrestling activities to persons in need in the amounts of $150, $100, and $50.

I am also planning on doing a presentation this week at a festival in Wichita called Posipalooza. This event held at the College Hill United Methodist Church at 2930, E. Fisrt Street will feature speaking presentations and music. I will be speaking in the morning on Faith In Film, Using Culture to Discover Spiritual Truths from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM. I will then assist my wife Mary Jane and Son In Law, Brett Prothro in performing a concert at approximately 12:00 PM. We will perform for approximately 30 minutes. Then that night I will be conducting a Faith In Film Group here at the house.

We have started a Faith In Film Group that is meeting 2-3 times monthly. In this group we are discussing various themes involving the arts. This week we look at our first feature length film, a documentary, The Yellow Brick Road. The meetings have been lasting approximately 3 hours, start at 6:00 PM and this weekend we will be having a cookout. Those coming and wanting to eat will need to bring their own food, and we will do a pot-luck style of meal. We have had as few as 3 and as many as 12 at these meetings. We continue to pray that God will use them and they will grow. So far the response has been great. For those living in the the Wichita area the address is 400 S. Georgie Avenue, Derby Kansas, directly off of Highway 15, behind the bowling alley, at the corner of Sunnydale and Georgie Avenue.

I am also scheduling my summer speaking tour. I will be speaking at The Mennonite Church USA International Conference in early July in San Jose California. I am scheduling speaking engagements on the west coast and California for the last week of June, first week of July. I will also be speaking in the Midwest and Northern Plains for the remainder of July. I am looking at August at trying to hit up some ministry locations in the Southeast or other areas. I am really praying at this point about doing some on hands ministry during this time. Anyone wanting or desiring something of this sort, or living in one of the above areas who is willing to help find locations of ministry, please contact me. I am also planning on spending 2 weeks this year at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield Kansas. Last year was so effective and the response has been so positive that we are going to try and be there for a longer period of time this year. This is also a time where I receive some strength and refreshment.

Now on a personal level:

We don’t know for certain, but it looks like we are certainly loosing our house in Oklahoma. How we are loosing it we don’t know. To say the least we are heartbroken over this, the primary problem if you can call it a problem, is that we were forgiving of several “Christians” who lived in the house and did not pay the rent. In fact, over the last three years that amount came out to costing us around $10,000. We simply got too far behind on our payments, even with the help from our former church. We have been blessed for the last 9 months to have a wonderful family living in the house who has paid their rent on time every month. They are interested in buying the house and we are trying to do a fast track sell to this family. We sent out the paperwork yesterday, but will have to send a sale contract to them within 2 days. We either have to have the loan assumed by this family, or pay $4,300 by the 15th of this month, and then pay $1,300 a month thereafter for approximately 1 year when the mortgage payment will go back down. We currently rent the house for $830 a month. While we could afford a monthly payment of $1030 a month, as long as we have good renters, we can’t afford the $1,300 a month, and frankly only have about $1,200 of the $4,300. The house is appraised right at $120,000 and our buy out is $98,000. To be honest, it don’t look good on saving the house, our prayer is that if we can’t save it, that our current renters will be approved to assume the loan. We trust God, and know God will continue to take care of us, but sometimes it is hard.

Also on a personal note, we have been having some issues at home. I won’t go much into that other than to ask your prayers. Bottom line our son was wrongfully accused of some things this last school year. He did one stupid thing, we know, but after he was accused of that one thing, he became a target for two other areas. I know for a fact that on those the school was wrong as I was with him when another student gave him a gift. It was later determined that gift was stolen, my son didn’t know it and within 24 hours of finding out it was stolen he was returning it to the school. I won’t go into any more detail other than to say he was suspended for 15 days from school. Again, I was present during the one event, and after seeking legal counsel, we know our son didn’t do anything wrong, but was still punished. Those 15 days and other factors added to some serious stress in our home. It is likely our son will have to go to summer school as a result of the activity and punishment. There are other factors there that have affected our family, bottom line though, it hasn’t been easy. We had a long sit down the other night and spoke about the importance of staying in the Word, staying in prayer, and seeking fellowship with other Christians. I am again playing in the worship band at church, and am encouraging Mary Jane to become active in a women’s Bible study in the area. Nathan is attending Youth Group on Wednesday nights and we have started the process. I have also made the commitment that I will work harder to make sure that work stops at 5:00 and that the remainder of the day is family time and we do things together.

Well that is a lot of what has been happening since the last newsletter. There is no doubt that God is using The Virtual Pew. There is no doubt that needed ministry is taking place. There is no doubt that without The Virtual Pew, there are people who would be struggling more than you and/or I would ever know. For those who have supported us and this ministry in the past, thanks you have no idea how much we appreciate all of your love, for those who haven’t that is okay, but stay in prayer as to when you can or if you should.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.
Click to subscribe to my blogClick to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.
Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

1 comment:

Moya said...

Great work.