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Celebration & Mourning – September Update

As I write this newsletter from 30,000 feet I am struck with serious mixed emotions. The tragedy in Las Vegas was horrific and sadly another demonstration of how far we have slid in our culture in large part because of the absence of a focus upon our creator. At the same time I am so grateful for an incredible month where we have had the privilege of ministering the life and love of our wonderful God to so many.

I will have more to share regarding my take on the mass shooting as I am preparing a TargetPoint article titled The Manipulation Of The American Mind. For now, please allow me this brief update for what God has been doing through OTM this past month.

It began at a conference center in Lake Williamson, Il on the weekend of the 15th. Several hundred men gathered for the Midwest Foursquare Men’s Retreat, a gathering I have had the privilege to address several times over the years. There are about 140 churches represented in this district and they are doing a great job of advancing God’s kingdom in this part of our country.

The theme of the conference centered around DESTINY—Our Power, Position and Purpose. What made this event so special for me was the perfect alignment of their theme and the mission of OTM. This is the very center of our sweet spot when it comes to our message.

I talked about our Power is FROM God—our Position is IN God and—our Purpose is FOR God. We had an incredible response from the men. Many left with a new sense of purpose and destiny and a bag with some new and improved tools to discover God’s plan for their life. It was a very special weekend for me as these men also ministered to me in some special ways.

From here I went to the Springfield area to be with my special friend, Tom Cheshire and prepare for my opening session for his Pastor’s Conference the following Tuesday. About 35 pastors and leaders came for a powerful morning of fellowship and teaching. I opened the conference with a message God had been developing in me since I first put the event on my schedule a year ago.

I remember telling Tom that I am more persuaded than ever of the need for our pastors and leaders to be encouraged and better prepared personally and spiritually to serve. I talked honestly with them about the relationship between obedience and power. The centerpiece idea was taken from a famous Oswald Chambers quote that says, God will not do any more through you than you first allow Him to do in you.

In addition I used a lot of personal examples from my own journey to drive some important points home. The BIG takeaways had to do with being more disciplined about getting sin under control and not allowing it to bind us, and then drawing close to God (James 4:8) through daily scheduled times of reading the Word, prayer and worship. I sensed they had a deep appreciation for what I shared.

On a side note please let me say how important it is for us to be in daily prayer for our pastors and spiritual leaders. My friends, they are right there on the front lines taking hits spiritually that you and I may not be experiencing. They are just like you and me—they suffer from the same temptations, frustrations, doubts and misgivings that hit you and me. They need our love and encouragement…often.

On the 21st we had our first Temecula Valley OTI kick off. There were 25 men who came out of the 40 or so on our list. It was a great opening day and our pastor, Britt Sipe, opened us up by praying for our gatherings. I am looking forward to how God is going to grow the men in our group and bring many more into the kingdom. The Men On Target curriculum has become a proven instrument in making disciples over these past 15 years.

Finally, Cindy and I had the privilege of speaking to about 100 women at a MOPS gathering at our church. We talked about the differences between men and women and also gave a brief testimony about the power of letting go. Cindy did an amazing job sharing her heart regarding what God has taught her in this area over the years.

Cindy and I are just traveling back from a week in St Charles, IL with our daughter Kim and her family—a much needed few days away. We will be spending the last half of October in Colorado Springs with our daughter Kristen and family and working out of their home. During that time Cindy and I travel to Edmonton, Canada to speak at the NAME Canada National Marriage Conference.

Pray that Cindy does well with her oxygen needs in Colorado Springs—we are still believing God is going to heal her completely from needing oxygen assistance at that altitude.

Finally, please continue to pray for the families and friends who lost loved ones in Las Vegas. Also pray for the hundreds still recovering from wounds, many who are still critical.

Cindy and I remain so grateful for your prayers and financial support.

May God richly bless you,