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Humble Disciple

Not giving up on hope.

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I’m not giving up on hope.

The recent tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas has threatened to rip hope from my heart but I will not give in.

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

I’m not giving up on hope…I can’t afford to. I do believe that hope is oxygen for our souls… it breathes life into the empty parts of our life on this planet. Hope helps you believe redemption is possible and that good triumphs over evil.

Dr. Martin Luther King said it this way…

“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”

My response to this tragedy (and others) must supply hope. My comments, my speech, my actions, my opinion must be saturated with the hope that sheds light on truth. Hope consumes the intent of evil and in its place brings peace and the courage to fight on. Solidifying my hold on my rights will not stop the flow of violence nor will the selfish desire for my voice to be heard above the voice of others. My opinion will not change this evil, nor will ranting and raving across party or denominational lines. Only His light, only His love and forgiveness can work that miracle.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

If I lose hope, if I refuse to shine the light of the Gospel, if I lack the will to do good… then I give away my heart to lesser things. I must do the good the Master sends me to do and love with such ferocious passion the evil of this world gives way to its light. Hope overcomes the evil with the goodness of God.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21

But…I’m so angry!

Be angry yes, but don’t let anger distort your vision and your heart. Get angry at evil, at injustice and the cruelty of sin. Speak up but cover and filter every word with the love of Christ. This is the way to counter evil, bringing hope and love into the fight. His love works to change hearts… starting with ours first.

“Dear Children, let us not love with word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

God bless, Jay

Letter to the Church at Market Street

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My brothers and sisters,

Something special is happening to my heart and it concerns all of you.

It seems that in pursuing/serving/ your hearts I have discovered a love for you that is deeper and purer than I ever imagined it could be. I was just praying and thinking of you all, and my heart is melting with tears.

I hurt for you.

I envision the battle you’re in, the load you carry and the multitude of struggles that seek to discourage you daily. You have carried deep sorrow, managed the pain of loss and fight the fierce enemy of regret daily.

All of this, and more, moves my heart for you.

I also see a company of soldiers, an armed family of sons and daughters who have chosen a sacred path and have no intention of turning back. There is purposed determination in your heart; you know who your God is and your love for Him is deep. I love it when you hear His words and you believe them with the tenacity of Honey Badger. Your eyes light up with hope, shining with a reflection of the Father’s heart. That reflection is a life of freedom, the promise of a Father who sent Jesus to battle for our hearts.

I am encouraged for you (and by you)

As we dive into the freedom that Christ has purchased for us, may we remain focus on the battle that is raging around us. The enemy of our soul is unashamed about wrecking havoc in our lives…he lies, he steals and is pumped about destroying anything precious to the Father. Do not be surprised by the pushback and the viciousness of that attack by this deceitful one. For it is written:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

And it is has been said by one of our past Church leaders:

Many of us are hunting mice – while lions devour the land. (Leonard Ravenhill)

It is time to push back the darkness, to not concern ourselves with the smallness of the world and give ourselves over to a life of faith like we have never known before. For it is written:

“Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Hebrews 11:33,34

The truth is that we hunt lions with a bigger Lion!

For it is written:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

Weep no more…Jesus has won the victory

I am honored to be in such a company, overwhelmed to be one of your servant leaders and blessed to know each and everyone of you. You are my brothers and sisters, your hearts are purified by the greatest heart there is and set free by His great love for you. I urge you to never surrender to any kingdom but His and stay valiant in the battle for that Kingdom which offers freedom to all who come.

Yours in Christ, Jay

What Church Is

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My church meets in a building… yep; a beautiful chapel built in 1856, but still a building with walls and everything. I know that may not be cutting edge thinking (meeting inside a structure and calling it church) but it seems to me that a lot of life (at least here in America) happens inside buildings. Oh, I do realize that just because we are meeting inside a historically old chapel (however beautiful) doesn’t define us as a church. Also, does 158 years of people gathering together, in a building, guarantee our present day “churchness? Many of you are shaking your head no… and I would agree… it’s not about the building or the history.

It’s about Jesus

I serve (happily) as an under shepherds (under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus), with the title of pastor, which doesn’t define me completely either. In reality, I am a joint follower of Jesus Christ with about 60 other totally needy (and beautiful) folks. We’re a mixture of introverts and extraverts, creative and linear thinkers, men, women, children, all shapes and sizes…all extremely needy individuals.

We all need Jesus

To me that’s church, not the place, not the format, not how we do church…just people, needing Jesus together. This modern day ekklesia (assembly) is an organic expression of life with Jesus. Trying to express what He is doing in our lives and expressing our gratefulness (corporately and individually) for that work.

We need Jesus for that

We have some in our group needing the simplicity of sitting (even in a pew) and listening, quietly taking in truth and just as quietly, expressing what it means to them. There are others craving the dynamic give and take of interactive dialogue, with questions and thoughts expressing how His truth challenges them. Navigating these needs (and others in between) and allowing room for growth can be only accomplish by pursuing Him together…that’s where I see church happen.

We still need Jesus for that

My hand is really comfortable holding a pen but my foot (although capable) is not. And walking on my hands is extremely more difficult than the normal way of walking using foot power. Yet, when a hand uses things like a foot uses and a foot uses a thing like a hand uses, things can (besides sounding like a Dr. Seuss book) get interesting. We have tried new ways to make community and church more inviting and life changing…sometimes it’s a beautiful expression and sometimes not so much. But it’s not about trying to reinvent church…the Church doesn’t need reinventing…just our view of it sometimes.

Man, do we ever need Jesus for that!

A family, an army, a bride…just a few ways Christ describes His Church, each a powerful reminder of how diverse His expressions through a body of believers can be. How do we then teach and reach each other through that diversity? Can we “conspire” (breathe together) with one another and be the Church?

Yes, we need Jesus for that!

“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:18

God Bless!


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We opened the doors and they came, nearly 120 of them, entering the brightly lit venue in the small town of Staatsburg, NY. They came for a feast, they came out of curiosity and they came for company, as one lone elderly woman said to my son Isaac as he held the door open for her…

“It will be nice to sit at a table and talk to someone.” She said with a smile on her face.

Some were dressed as if they were dining at a fancy restaurant, others in business casual attire and more people than I could count, in clothes that had seen better days. The beauty of all this was that they came through the same doors and shared dinner at the same tables.

Several local churches, businesses, and civic organizations banded together to serve a Thanksgiving meal to our community. The fact that we all were humble and compassionate enough to drop egos at the door to work alongside each other was the first miracle. The meal itself… well, that was a delight to behold.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35

The dinner was a sit down meal; the tables (beautifully decorated) had name tags and place settings. Each person was welcomed and escorted to their seats by smiling faces and warm hearts. The seating was prearranged to have a mixture of people; inviting lively conversations among folks who may never had opportunity to talk to each other before. Remember the lady looking for one less lonely night? Well, she got her wish.

The night had the Father’s heart written all over it. One lady told me that prior to this meal, her dinner was going to be a peanut butter sandwich, now her eyes beamed with gratefulness over a plate overflowing with good food. Yet, there was more to it, she was surrounded by community, a community sharing goodness together.

Everybody’s spirit was feasting as well…the Father knows
the power of community.

There are so many enemies to community building, so many foes trying to keep us all apart. When we share our hearts, we share the best part of ourselves, the part the Father has redeemed and set free. Free people have no hesitation opening their heart and sharing because they are imitating their Heavenly Father.

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

The art of thanksgiving is contagious! What we (all those who volunteered to serve) got to see was the look of blessing on people’s faces. We shared in the stories of hearts willing to express their thankfulness for being treated with special grace and kindness.

That’s quite a powerful table setting!

I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Ed. Note

The planning for the first Hyde Park Community Thanksgiving Dinner began many months ago, but you’ll have to ask Kregg Gabor when the vision for this event began in his heart to know the true beginning. Kregg serves as pastor for the Hyde Park Methodist Church, this dinner, this blessed event came from a God birth vision deep inside him, one he was all too happy to include whoever willing to serve the community in on. He will humbly take no credit but he deserves a lot for obeying God and spearheading this event…thanks Kregg!