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Move Over November

I did not know the origin of the word “November.”  So I looked it up.  And now I have to tell you, because it is so incredibly obvious!  Just look at the months around it.  “Sep” is found in the Septuagint AKA 70. “Oct” is found in that eight-sided shape and “dec” is in that grueling ten event sport called the decathlon.  November comes from the number nine.  Which makes sense in that it is the ninth month….. of the ten month Roman calendar.  The creators of our current calendar (Greeks) borrowed those last  four month names and tagged them at the end of their upgraded twelve month calendar.  Sadly, they did not place them in their appropriate seven through ten slots so we could celebrate Christmas two months earlier!

So in celebration of the true ninth month promoted to the eleventh I present to you nine cool things God did in November!

  1. We enjoyed a return trip to a church we had visited before we officially started traveling as missionaries. This time it was to present our ministry at Missionary Baptist in Carlisle, Iowa.
  2. Two pastor friends allowed me to ride with them to Oswego, IL for a two-day pastor’s conference where we experienced incredible fellowship and heard excellent teaching on church revitalization.
  3. I was able to work on some fine tuning for my personal relationships with a couple of Relational Wisdom coaches.
  4. Deer season opened the weekend we spoke in Baxter, MN. It was a long trip but we were able to break it up with lunch at a Brazilian restaurant with one of our ministry partners in the Twin Cities area.
  5. Walnut Park in Muscatine, IA hosted a five-session series on Relational Wisdom. We were thrilled to meet up with more ministry partners in Cedar Rapids on the way!
  6. I was honored to spend two class sessions at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa speaking to students in the Pastoral Theology class about relationships and the ministry.
  7. Colorado is a great place to be for Thanksgiving (we visit grandkids) and we were thrilled to return to Airport Boulevard Baptist in Aurora to present our ministry, talk about peacemaking and see our old Iowa friends, the Sanders.
  8. The day we were ministering in Aurora the church north of there, where our ITM pastor and wife have served since May, called their new pastor with a 100% vote!
  9. While Marti spent extra time with the kids and grand-kids, God allowed me to fly to Nevada to provide a two-day teacher in-service training on the Relational Wisdom curriculum at a Christian School.

There were other things that God did this past month including safety on the road for all our family to gather in Colorado — just so Marti could get a family picture.  I guess we celebrated Thanksgiving and stuff too. Owen family picture 2019

Thanks for following our journey and for praying!  We are looking forward to less travel and fewer exciting things in December.

Fall Update

Our Ministry Update to the Council of Baptist Church Planters was filled with exciting news of God’s provision.  Our report was enhanced by the testimony of Marty and Susan our first ITM pastor and wife.  They are joining BCP as missionaries so that they can do intentional interim ministries full-time.  Emmanuel Baptist of Toledo utilized me as a workshop leader for four separate sessions during their One Purpose weekend (September 13-15).   It was exciting to be part of such an impacting ministry.  The people at Emmanuel did an exceptional job of hosting those in their community.

Our sister church in Nevada, Iowa invited us to speak on the 22nd.  We received a warm welcome and were humbled by their generous investment in our ministry.

We enjoyed an opportunity to join the fall conference of the Nebraska Association of Regular Baptist Churches.  Four pastors from the fellowship preached through the book of Titus.  We ended the weekend by sharing with Temple Baptist Church of Lincoln, Nebraska.  The church offered a cookout for their neighborhood while we were there.  It is encouraging to be see churches reaching out.

Walnut Park of Muscatine scheduled us to cover 5 sessions on Relational Wisdom on two separate Sundays (October and November).  We were encouraged with the great reception of the first two sessions and look forward to returning in November.

October also allowed us to return to Ohio where we were able to share with First Baptist of Bowling Green on Sunday and attend the Tri-State Conference (Ohio, Michigan & Indiana Fellowships) hosted by Emmanuel of Toledo.  We met several pastors and experienced challenging messages.  We also looked at homes in the Elyria area to prepare for a 2020 move.

We closed out the last weekend of October with a 2 hour video seminar with 10 church leaders pursuing Christian Conciliation Certification.  I was one of their trainers for the 4 day Conflict Coaching and Mediation Course back in July.  This seminar was an intensive on asking questions in the coaching process.

This fall we were able to speak at two churches that are currently without pastors.  It is humbling to share with them as they go through transition.  Our hearts are tender toward their situation and pray for them as they seek their next pastors.  We realize that in 2020 our Sundays will be filled with more churches in transition and fewer churches for ministry presentation.

In addition to speaking, God has allowed us to continue our counseling/consulting of pastors and church leaders (approximately 20 hours over the past two months).

Partner raising is still a priority for us and we rejoice that God has provided 80% of our partnership goal!  We are excited about the number of partners He has raised up to join us in this ministry to churches.

Worth the Battle

It’s Zucchini season; the prolific vegetable that gardeners can’t seem to give away! I grow Zucchini every year and I struggle to keep a plant alive. In the spring the vine borers destroy the plant at the root base. Then the squash bugs come out full force to finish them off. I battle these sneaky and allusive bugs by hand picking them, drowning them in a bucket of water and olive oil, then feeding them to the chickens. Despite the adversities, this year we seem to have won and are blessed with a nice supply of Zucchini to enjoy. Recently, I tried a new recipe – Keto Zucchini Fritters. This is a low-carb version of what would resemble Potato Latkes with sour cream.

Keto Zucchini Fritters (serves 4)

Ingredients:

3 cups grated zucchini

½ cup almond flour

2 Tablespoons onion powder

1/3  cup onion, finely chopped

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

½  teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

1/3 cup avocado oil

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Instructions:

  1. Grate the zucchini.
  2. Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Mix salt in by hand and let set for 5 minutes. This will draw out some of the moisture.
  3. Squeeze as much of the moisture as possible out of the zucchini with your hands and place into a medium size bowl.
  4. Add the eggs to the zucchini and mix together.
  5. Mix the remainder of the ingredients then add to the zucchini. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Heat the oils in a large pan over medium to medium/high heat. The oils should completely cover the bottom surface of the pan.
  7. When the oil is hot, stir the zucchini mixture then measure out a ¼ cup of the batter, dumping it into the pan, gently pushing it into a flatter shape resembling a thick pancake.
  8. Cook for 4 minutes on each side adjusting the heat to your liking. You may need to add a little more oil for the additional fritters to keep them from sticking.
  9. Drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel and add additional salt or seasoning to your liking. Then serve topped with Greek yogurt and chives. Yum!

 

Nigeria Trainer Reunion

On July 15 Scott is traveling to Southern California to meet up with the team he joined in November of 2016 to teach Christian attorneys in Nigeria.  The team will reunite to train pastors and counselors Conflict Coaching and Mediation skills.  Below is a report that Scott submitted in January 2017 to those that supported the Nigerian trip through the CrossWalk Ministries.


Thank you for supporting the CrossWalk Mission project to Nigeria.  Continue reading “Nigeria Trainer Reunion”

Next?

This past Sunday we were in our 30th church representing Baptist Church Planters and the vision of CrossRoad Baptist Church.  Each time we meet new people and catch up with friends.  We are amazed at the connections between churches as families have branched out.  We have also discovered at least two situations where someone had unintentionally endured our presentation twice because I had been in their church and another they were visiting.

This past Sunday we were treated to an opportunity to meet with the church’s missions committee.  How encouraging it is to gather with those that commit their time and energy to helping their church partner with missionaries.  Equipped with several of our previous prayer updates (they did their homework); they asked many great questions.  It was a positive and uplifting time!  We were glad that they too were impressed with what God has been doing bringing so many partners in such a short period of time!   Then they asked what percentage we needed to achieve before we would be “launched.”  That is always a tricky question, because we feel like we are already launched and that we are already ministering to churches.  But we know what they mean – “what’s next?”  Now we need to focus on partner raising until we reach the 40 for 30 promotion goals.  (see our progress here).  At that time, we can focus on recruiting, training and coaching more ITM pastors and their wives and our ministry will start to multiply.

Would you consider being part of the 40 for 30 and help us get to that next step?

Raw Material

baad7718-cfd5-4437-a406-5b5f51a0f8a3We had a free night this past Sunday so we stopped in at the church where Scott and I started our ministry together in our early 20’s, Faith Baptist in Fort Dodge.  Their interim pastor Dr. Brown shared a verse that reminded me of God’s work in our lives. 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  I am eternally grateful that this church was willing to invest in Scott as a teen, and again with us as a young couple while still in Bible College.  They showered patience and love on some raw materials back then.  Now in the “Fall” of life I’m thankful He is still working and shaping this earthen vessel so that I can display the power of God!

RW360 + IPM = ITM (Melding my Ministry Worlds)

There are two entities that have shaped my thinking about my current role at Baptist Church Planters.  Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM) is a long-standing training ground for intentional interim pastors.  They have placed over 1500 pastors over the years.  Marti and I attended one of their two-day trainings in April of 2018.  Their systematic approach to helping churches in transition is built upon a proven five step approach.  They have hundreds of active interim pastors and wives that converged on the Trinity campus in Deerfield for additional training this week.

The keynote speaker at IPM is a man I have followed since 1999, Ken Sande.  Ken taught a pre-conference at one of the Biblical Counseling annual meetings I attended.  I fell in love with the peacemaking materials instantly and pursued certification as a Christian Conciliator.    In 2012 the Relational Wisdom 360 ministry was developed because of Ken’s desire to get upstream of conflict.  Sande’s knack for organizing and illustrating biblical principles was evident in these tools as well.  I am honored to be a certified Relational Wisdom instructor.

God is gracious to allow us to see these ministries collaborating to strengthen interim pastors and their wives.  It is our heart’s desire to offer these vast experiences and practical teaching to ITM pastors and wives to help Baptist churches across the nation.

Ministry Opportunities

We love that we can minister to pastors and churches while we raise partner support!  This past week we encouraged three pastors, taught a four-hour Biblical Peacemaking Seminar to over 75 church staff, and shared Biblical Peacemaking principles and the importance of our ITM ministry.  God used CrossRoad Baptist, our sending church, to put us in this strategic position.  Without their investment in us we would not have some of these opportunities.

Now that we are officially “launched” we need to put more emphasis on closing the gap so that we can continue having these opportunities.  We are currently at 64% (thanks to our early investors) and would like to move up another 20% over the summer through our 40 for 30 promotion.

We would love to have you as a financial partner!  Check out the 40 for 30 link or contact us if you are interested.

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