Impact

These last six months have been very impactful for me. As I continue to grow in my walk with the Lord and in life daily I see glimpses of how the Lord uses me to impact others and be impacted by others. When I notice such moments of impact and reflect upon them I often pray, “Lord, You’re good.” I use this prayer to simply express my thankfulness to the Lord and praise Him. I am often reminded that it is a privilege to be used by the Lord to impact others and it is a joy to be impacted by others. Often moments of impact, giving or receiving, are not only composed of actions, but also of words spoken and even observing the joys of other people.

Back in February, the weekend before my birthday, I returned to Cleveland, OH to help my former employer out with the annual Fat Tuesday “Packzi Day” celebration. For those who do not know, I worked at an Italian bakery for eight years. The weekend before Lent we would make THOUSANDS of jelly-filled donuts called “Packzi” (POONCH-Key). This year, I came out of retirement (I joke that I did not quit, but retired) and worked 38 hours in four days. It turns out that this was extremely helpful to my former employer because he was down a couple key employees and really needed the help. Even though it was a hard time of work, I was glad I could help him out as best as I could. I did not realize immediately how much I helped him out until I was paid. This is how he expressed his thankfulness.It was a sacrifice for me to come to help him, but in the end, it was worth it to help a friend out.

There have been many instances this past year of how I sacrificed some time and even money to help someone out. In return I was blessed with finances that were beyond my expectations. I am extremely thankful that people give me the opportunity to work for them, even if its simple work, and they do so in order to financially bless me in return.  There have been many other times where people have simply given me gift cards or money to help me financially. I know in the grand scale of things that God is providing for all my needs and He uses people to accomplish this. Through all of this, I know God has used me to impact all these lives through my time of service to them. And they recognize this impact I have had on them. I thank God that He has impacted them to help me out in my times of need. God is good! God uses His body (all believers) to minister to each other for the mutual growth of the body. He is so good.

As I reflect upon this year I think of other ways God has used me to impact others. One such way is how the Lord has worked in my heart to reach out to other people and develop deeper relationships with them. Prior to moving to Indianapolis almost three years ago, I was not very intentional in developing deep relationships with people but friendships often occurred via osmosis.Now, I try to be intentional in talking and hanging out with specific people in my life, whether it be over drinking coffee, eating food, taking them to do errands or simply sitting down and talking with them to better know them. I want to develop deeper relationships over intentional meetings but also in the midst of  doing ministry together.

I am specifically thankful for Sunday mornings because I get to serve alongside great people that have changed my life. On Sunday mornings at Horizon Central we setup up chairs and equipment for Sunday service. Every week. And put everything away afterwards. Every week. I am also responsible for other little things on Sunday mornings that make up the Sunday Service. I have come to view this work as a privilege, especially because I can do it with great people that I deeply love. I am thankful for the conversations I have with these people during these Sunday mornings. Whether it involves talking about serious issues, sharing life experiences, or quoting lines from TV shows and movies. I treasure such times of fellowship (partnership in service).

My favorite day of the week is Thursday. On this day I am privileged to be a part of the three things I thoroughly enjoy. Typically, I spent the early part of Thursdays working around Horizon Central. I love figuring out the 115-yr-old building and fixing things that I am able to. The second part of the day I am involved in prepping and being a part of Elementary Club (E-Club), an after-school program ran by Eliza Kosobucki, the Elementary Outreach Coordinator for KIDS Inc. It is a joy and challenge (the good kind) to interact and influence 25+ elementary students weekly during the school year. Sometimes it feels like we are referees, but most times it is a delight and joy to talk and play with these students. More importantly, we tangibly demonstrate God’s love to these students and flat-out share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. My favorite moments of E-Club were telling students Bible stories and observing how it impacted them. E-Club taught me to keep intentionally loving people despite their ungodly actions. I learned how to better relate and communicate with students who experience bad days. I was privileged to serve alongside my friends, good friends, and develop the brotherly love that the apostle Paul taught.

The last part of Thursday (my favorite part) consists of going to college/young adult Bible Study at the home of some very dear friends. It is through this Bible study that I have made many friends, some I consider very dear friends and value their friendship immensely. We begin by enjoying each other’s company, eating dinner, engaging in community praise and discussion-based study of God’s Word, and closing the night with variety of activities and discussions. It is through this study that I encountered many great people who love Jesus, love His Word, and love godly community. I have learned much from the studies and through discussions with friends. I may not be an active participant in discussions, but I enjoy listening to my friends speak. I appreciate how God shaped their lives. Every single person who comes to this Bible study is wonderful. Thanks, friends. 🙂

In final reflections upon this year I would like to share my experiences at Camp Allendale (Camp AwesomeDale) with KIDS Inc last week. KIDS Inc took 21 students and 6 counselors to Camp Allendale down in Trafalgar, IN for six days. These students live in the near South/South-East side of Indianapolis. This a week filled with outdoor living, crazy fun activities, and moments connecting with God. I witnessed students befriending each other when the day before they did not know each other’s names. I witnessed students being exuberant about serving each other food during meals. I witnessed students angry with each other in one moment and later mending their relationships. I witnessed students being challenged and overcoming many  of those challenges with people they love. I witnessed students painfully sharing their life stories of pain and hurt and then seeing their friends comforting each other. I witnessed students hearing that God loves them and some of them responding positively to His love. I also witnessed our counselors dealing  sometimes sternly, but very lovingly to students when they were misbehaving. I witnessed counselors demonstrating God’s love in word and action to students that did not know that God loves them. I witnessed counselors and students encouraging and helping each other through many situations. I witnessed students and counselors helping me after I broke my right foot* and could not do many things.

Many weeks before camp, KIDS Inc staff, volunteers, and supporters were praying for Camp Allendale and I witnessed the power of prayer during this time. God revealed Himself to students and counselors in many different ways. I spent some of my prayer time just talking to the Lord about personal issues and I am now seeing the fruit from those times.  It was a wonderful privilege to serve these students alongside KIDS Inc. Now I know (by experience) why this is the favorite time of year for some people who go to Camp AwesomeDale. God is Good!

Sometimes in life I take moments to observe and reflect on what is transpiring. God sometimes reveals to me how much of an impact I make towards those around me and how they impact me. I treasure the times when people are intentional in reaching out to me. It means so very much to me that I am acknowledged and loved.

In closing, I would like to share why I intentionally use the word “privilege.” I have a dear friend who frequently uses the word “privilege” in regards to ministering to other people. They use it genuinely. They acknowledge that God has given them the privilege, not right, to serve in various ways. We cannot earn the right to serve God, but He graciously allows us to serve Him. We do not own any aspect of ministry and should not selfishly control it because it truly belongs to the Lord. This friend’s usage of the word “privilege” taught me to view ministry with a more humble attitude. It’s a privilege to serve God and I delight in it.

God is good. 🙂

*On Day 5 of Camp Allendale I broke my right foot by slipping off the side of the asphalt road and landing on the right-side of my right foot. I was running to catch up to some students. I walked on it that night and the following morning. From that point until we returned home, people helped me carry my things, transport me (one friend literally carried me across camp on his shoulders), and provide me with anything I needed. I am thankful for the help of my fellow counselors and students! I love you all.

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Reflections & Prospects

prospect

Much has happened in my life this past year. Many good things and some bad things. Many trials and some triumphs. Many blessings and some losses. Many opportunities and some closures. Through it all, I am very thankful to the Lord for what He has done and how He brought me through everything. I am thankful how used my family and friends to bless me in many different ways. God is good. All the time.

2015 was quite a year for me. Here are some of the highlights and low-lights.

 

I completed my fourth and final semester at Calvary Chapel Bible College Indianapolis (CCBCi). It was the hardest and busiest semester I had in school. I took 20 credits, worked part-time, involved in ministry, helped plan a mission’s trip, and lived life. I was exhausted much of the time. It was hard. I was often overwhelmed and frustrated by circumstances. A pair of verses stood out during this time:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10 ESV

These were not the verses I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. The Lord was growing me during these times to keep going in the midst of busyness and exhaustion and not to give up because life was a bit hard. I recognized the Lord’s work. In the famous words of Calvin’s dad, “It builds character.” The pinnacle of this character-building time came during my mission’s trip to Ukraine.

ccbci ukraine

In short, eleven people traveled to and across Ukraine and did a bunch of cool things. It was hard traveling with many people and many things. There were many hardships during that 2.5 week trip, but there was much fruit resulting from it. I am extremely grateful for what the Lord taught me from that trip and how we as a team could bless and minister to other people. God is so good! I expected to get gray hair from that trip, but alas, I didn’t receive any… =(

I spent my summer in Cleveland, Ohio with my family. This summer was a bit different from others in that I didn’t know what I was doing after it. Typical for most college graduates, I didn’t know what I was doing for-sure after graduation. During my trip in Ukraine I received a proposal from a pastor-friend to be an intern at the church he pastors at. I decided to spend the summer to pray about this proposal.

camry

Over the summer I worked for friends and family to save up money to buy my first car. In June I bought a 1999 Toyota Camry. I spent two years praying for a car and finally got one! During the summer I recognized that the Lord was closing doors and changing relationships with people. It felt like my hometown was not the place where I ought to abode anymore. The Lord was leading me back to Indianapolis (Indy) . In short, I decided and committed to intern at Horizon Central in downtown Indianapolis for one year with the option of staying forever-ish.

Prior to moving to Indy again, I was in a relationship with a girl for a few years. It started off well but as time progressed we grew apart. We spent most of our relationship physically apart and grew emotionally apart. I spent my first week in Indy at CCBCi helping wherever I could and establishing friendships with new students. By the end of the week, me and my ex-girlfriend decided to formally end our relationship. It was a longtime coming, unfortunately. Ultimately, I believe this was the Lord’s direction for my life.

After this and in the coming months I settled in Indy and established friendships with many new and wonderful people. The Lord brought many new opportunities to serve Him at Horizon Central, with KIDS Inc., and at CCBCi. I’ve been greatly enriched by the relationships I made with children, college students, and adults through Horizon Central, Horizon Indy, KIDS Inc., CCBCi, and IUPUI. I especially thankful for the friends I made through the College Bible Study at the Kosobucki home.

 

 

At Horizon Central I am interning as the new Building Manager of a 115 year-old former school building (School #18). I am learning how the building operates, what needs to be fixed (and fixing it), and knowing the people who go through this old building. This is an ever on-going process! And I love it! There have been some hardships, but many blessings. Building maintenance is only a part of what I do. It’s also about building relationships with people: insiders and outsiders.

I also spend much time volunteering with KIDS Inc., the non-profit my brother Jake is the director of. I specifically serve in the weekly outreaches to elementary-age children (Elementary Club) and teenagers (Hang Time / 18). These outreaches have grown me very much and I treasure the time I spend with these inner-city people.

In addition, I work part-time at Horizon Indy cleaning the facility. I am privileged to work alongside friends at CCBCi. Through this opportunity I  earn money and continue to build relationships with dear friends.

As we enter the year 2016 I hope to continue strong in the work the Lord has me involved in. I hope for new and wonderful opportunities to serve and build relationships with other people. It is my hope that this internship at Central will develop into a long-term position (with financial provision). I hope that I can be more involved with KIDS Inc and see fruit from ministering to inner-city young people. I hope to have more developed relationships with college students at CCBCi and IUPUI. I hope to see growth and development at Horizon Central, to the building and more importantly, in the lives of the people. Finally, I hope to see more spiritual development in my own life. I desire to love and obey Jesus more and more each and every day of my life. I desire to live a consistent holy life in thought and action. I desire to be more relational with people. I am eager to see what the Lord has for me in 2016.

In closing, I am sharing a part of a verse that spoke to me on this New Year’s Day.

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” – Isaiah 7:9b ESV

Happy New Year everyone! Grow in the grace and love of God!

Old Buildings & The Human Heart

The Catacombs Cafe

Many people know I recently moved from Cleveland, OH to Indianapolis, IN to take a position as the [intern] Building Manager at Horizon Central.  I’ve been here for over a month now and have learned a lot. I’m learning how the building is used, the people who attend the church, and how the building itself operates.

Abraham Lincoln School #18 (as it was once known) is 114 years old. As with age, the building has many nuances, quirks, and problems. Over the past month I’ve been learning all of those things and will continue to learn them for a long time to come. As I enumerate all the problems of the building that need to be fixed, I can get a bit overwhelmed, but also excited to fix some of them. The main reason I can be overwhelmed is not that the problems exist, but frankly, the lack of funds to fix them.

Like many urban churches, funds do not come in large quantities as many suburban churches. Horizon Central has learned over the years to trust in the Lord for provision and be wise in how we operate. When I see the lack of funds and get overwhelmed by the problems, I remind myself that my heavenly Daddy knows my needs and I begin to bring my requests before Him. I pray for His will to be done with Horizon Central. A couple of weeks ago I began to pray for $1 million. Not sure why on that number, but I pray for it, hoping it’s my Daddy’s desire in my heart. I tell people I have a rich Father. He can provide the funds according to His divine wisdom and means.

Just today the Lord revealed something to me about this building and the human heart. The human heart is in many ways like the aged School #18. Because of sin, humans are filled with deteriorating problems that only get worse over time. We need to accept the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in our lives and allow Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Only then can restoration and revival happen. Life is utterly bleak apart from Christ. Jesus, who is our hope and peace, longs to transform our lives and unite us to His Father. He desires to make us new.

Despite the problems and lack of funds, I’m reminded that God has Horizon Central operating in Indianapolis for a reason and He’s not done with us yet. We’re praying that God will make Horizon Central the church this Fountain Square neighborhood needs. We want to bring more people to Jesus and help them grow in their walk with Him. I bless the Lord for the opportunity to be here to serve the people of this church and community.

Please pray with us for God’s will to be done at Horizon Central; how we can minister to this neighborhood using the resources and facilities God has graciously provided to us. Please for that $1 million to come in to fix and restore School #18 to better working order so we can minister to unbelievers and believers.

In God’s grace and love,

Jesse