RHM January 2015 Newsletter
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:22–25 ESV)
January Newsletter - 2015
Thank you for reading our devotional and being a part of our ministry. This is our monthly update on what is happening here at Refreshing Hope Ministries. We spent our Christmas at home this year with a few family members. It was a quiet holiday season and uneventful. For that we are thankful. Thank you all so much for the wonderful cards and letters that we received and for thinking of us during the holidays.
I believe that 2015 is going to be a game changer for many of God’s people. Freedom is coming to many. Freedom from debt. Freedom from bondage. Freedom from loneliness. I can feel it in my spirit and an excitement in the air. God’s love is going to be poured out in new ways to many that have been dry for so long.
For a while I have prayed about what our next step in ministry should be because Refreshing Hope Ministries is an odd one. When I was young, I wanted to teach the word of God so badly. I went to school and got a degree, but then every single door was closed. There was no room for me in ministry, and then when someone would schedule me to speak, they would always call and cancel right before the day, usually after I had already fasted and prayed for a week. This happened so many times that when people ask me to speak, I giggle.
For the last twenty years of my life I worked on computers, data centers, programming and such, then suddenly overnight the Lord closed that and pushed me into ministry. Now I serve as a pastor to people around the world. He brought me up inside the church, but He is raising me up outside of the church walls. Why and where do we go from here?
For the last few months I have had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind about community. As Christians, we draw strength from each other like coals in a fire. Take a coal out of a fireplace and place it on the hearth and it will soon go out. Put it back in the fire with others and it will glow again. We need to be around other believers. People that will fan our flame when it is getting weak. That is why attending church is so important.
But every day I communicate with people and pray with those who cannot attend church at all. Some are disabled, some are in the military overseas, some are caring for other loved ones, some cannot find a church where they fit in, some are reclusive, some have suffered church-abuse. God loves these people and wants them connected to the body, but they are walking through life alone.
At the same time I have people emailing me their blogs, encouraging poems, scriptures, pictures, videos and so much more. We are thankful that so many people are connected to us, but would like to see them connected to each other as a community. There is a small amount of hope in each of us, add it all together and there is a lot. Here is the vision that the Lord has given me over the holidays:
An Online Church:
Use the power and technology of social media to create a safe, moderated Christian community on the Internet liken to Facebook, where users from around the world can interact, chat, share videos, testimonies, prayer requests, have their own blog and friends and followers. A place to belong where you can always log in and be encouraged anytime day or night. A place where Jesus is lifted high and the Holy Spirit is welcome in every conversation. For those that have a church already, it will still be a place where you can have Christian friends, be encouraged and help others.
Many have always asked us how they can volunteer or help us in some way, but we have not had a place for them other than the prayer network. Now they will be able help us maintain the community. Like ushers in the church, if people cannot be nice, or spammers come in, escort them to the door until they learn to behave. Answer questions. Help newcomers. Lead people in prayer. Pray with them. Possibly this will grow to trustees or elders in the community that are proven to be seasoned and trusted.
It will require a very fast dedicated server installed in a location with a serious internet connection so that it can handle a large active community. We will need our very own custom app for iPhone / iPad / Android devices. We hope to finally have an app that gives you notifications for the daily word and responses to your prayer requests. It is a must today to be mobile friendly so that people can connect from anywhere.
Q: That is an odd idea.
A: Yea, my whole life has been that it seems. God has placed all of this within me and given me the skill to do it. Now here I am with the task in my lap and I am believing that He will raise those up around us to help make the dream a reality.
Q: But online relationships are not real or meaningful.
A: Speak for yourself. My wife, Sylvia, and I met online while gaming. By the time that we met in person, it was like we had known each other forever, and we started making wedding plans. We recently celebrated our tenth anniversary. Maybe that is why I can see an online church working. Online relationships are meaningful and as real as any other to me. You are connecting spirit to spirit.
I am not sure what it will evolve into, only God does. I feel like this is the next step for us and God reveals His plan one step at a time. We will see the next step after we take this one. We can provide a Christian community to those that need it the most and reach them right where they are, in any nation. It will be expensive for us at the start but I know that God will provide all that we have need of because He gave me the vision and has prepared me for this beforehand. Please give us your feedback.
Here is what has been happening at Refreshing Hope Ministries:
- We are already working on the online church project. There is a lot to do, but with the grace of God it will go quickly. Keep an eye on the Daily Word footer and we will keep you updated. We hope to launch the new site by February and may beta test some before then.
- We have had 360 prayer requests over the last thirty days and 1266 prayer replies. Great job prayer partners!
We look forward to being a part of an online community where we can connect with each other daily and share our lives with you in a deeper way. We will laugh together, pray together and cry together. Thank you for your support during this time, we cannot do it without you.
I pray that the Lord richly blesses you and that you are covered with His presence as you read this, in the name of Jesus.
Pastor DionRead more at: www.refreshinghope.org