RHM Newsletter 31
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 WEB
Thank you for reading our devotional and for being a part of Refreshing Hope Ministries. This is our update on what has been happening here during the last couple of months and I hope that you will take the time to read it. There are a lot of exciting things going on at Refreshing Hope.
Jesus is the reason for all seasons and we should stay close to Him all year, but we especially love the Christmas season. Yes, I know there are those that hate Christmas, as if they were the offspring of Mr. Grinch. But at our house, we celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus. He was born on the earth, and none of us know exactly when, so one day is as good as the next. My wife Sylvia was born on Saint Patrick’s day. When that day rolls around, I am not concerned about Saint Patrick, for it has now been overwritten by my wife’s birthday. Likewise, we celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus here, whether it is or not.
When the Lord first put me into ministry, Ezekiel chapter 34 kept coming to me. A month before, I could not tell you what it said. Suddenly, after becoming a pastor, it was everywhere. When a person emailed it to me, I printed it out and and thumb tacked to the wall beside me to think about later. The next morning when I came into work, it had come loose and was laying in my chair, like it was my assignment for the day. This kept happening, especially this section:
Ezekiel 34:1–6 (NKJV) — 1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
The Holy Spirit impressed on me that I am called to reach those that the church overall does not want: the broken, the lost, the weak, the sick, the ones who have suffered church abuse, have been driven away, and forgotten. Many of them will never set foot back in church, but we will go after them and they will encounter Jesus right where they are. It wasn’t my idea, but His from the beginning. He has called me to be a different kind of shepherd, a broken one, from a broken family. I had nine stepdads and understand the dysfunctional side of life.
Now Refreshing Hope is working to spread the good news of Jesus around the world, and we have readers in many nations. We are here for such a time as this. Never before has a generation been able to send a message around the entire world instantly, but now we can. We are able to reach people right in their homes, people who are disabled, hurting, lonely…broken people, like me. We are creating a place for them to belong, a safe place where no one will condemn them. We are able to bring live, interactive church to those who don’t have one, right where they are.
Interactive Bible Study: Each week we are going through a chapter of the Bible, one book at a time. I try and bring out who is speaking, who they are speaking to, what are they speaking about, and where are they, detailed with maps, pictures, and as much historical information as I can gather. Then I prepare a quiz with twenty questions taken from the chapter and put it on the site for you to take. We are currently in Luke and plan to go through Acts next. You can join in by clicking “Bible Study” on the top menu.
Live Meeting Changes: We have been meeting on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons for our live services for the last several months, after the first of the year, we are going to be changing that to one live meeting a week on Sunday morning at 10 AM EST beginning January 7th 2018. You can join us by clicking “Watch” on the top menu. The Bible Study, which has been presented live during our meetings will continue, just on Sunday instead of Saturday.
T-Shirt Store: We set up a shirt store early this year so members could buy a Refreshing Hope shirt like the ones I have. We priced them all at cost, which was already high enough because they were “print on demand” items. It costs us every month for it to remain up and no one has purchased shirts in a while, so we are assuming that everyone that wants one, has one. After the first of the year, we are going to take that down. If you do want one, get it before January 1st, but don’t buy them just to support us because we make nothing off of them.
Network Upgrades: Starting this month, I began upgrading our network infrastructure here. We have been running on 2008 model Dell R900s, which have been a great blessing, but are really power hungry machines and beginning to have mechanical problems. Machines like that are very expensive to buy, cool, and to maintain, so I began to look around at alternatives. Technology has greatly changed over the last decade, and even in the last couple of years, and a modern smart phone now has more power than a ten year old computer. So after a good bit of research and testing, we are going to micro-size the network here. The existing servers cost about $77 a month each to run in electricity, the new ones should cost around $.75 cent. The old ones weigh about 85 pounds each, the new ones you can hold in one hand. They are small but mighty. The new one in the picture has an 8 core processor, 2GB of RAM, mirrored SSDs and it is faster than the older R900. Web servers no longer have to be large to be fast.
Year End Giving:
The Lord has again faithfully taken care of us this year and each time that we have had a need, He has provided for it - no matter how impossible it looked, though sometimes the path goes a different direction than we think. I am happy to say that RHM is a debt-free ministry and that we are not driven by financial needs, but I do want to mention this:
As a supporter of RHM, you may have plans to contribute at year’s end. If that is the case, then we welcome your support. We would be glad to receive your year-end donation, which will allow you to “render a little less to Caesar and a little more to the Lord.” RHM is a non-profit organization and your donations here are tax deductible. If you wish to send a year-end contribution, please be sure that your gift is made by December 31 to be credited in 2017. You can donate securely online here:
I just want to say thank you so much for those that take a moment out of their day to encourage us, send us a card or a gift, and those that support us. We could not do any of this without you. I know that God has great things in store for RHM and we so appreciate each of you that have stood by us through the hard times. Our prayer wall is covered with your cards and letters:
If you do need prayer, just click on the Prayer link on the website menu (you will need to be logged in). Here also is the direct link: http://www.refreshinghope.org/pages/prayer. For our prayer warriors, if you are interested in joining our prayer team, please do contact us.
Many thanks to each of you for being part of Refreshing Hope Ministries. We pray for each of you daily, and are very grateful for the group of people that God has put here.
Pastor DionRead more at: www.refreshinghope.org