Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"THINK"




My earliest memories of South Dakota go back to about 1952 in my Grandpa's blacksmith shop in Mt Vernon just west of Mitchell. During trips, I saw the "Think" signs on all the roads around South Dakota. I soon learned that they marked the place where someone died in a accident.

I didn't know any names behind those signs until 1964, when two of my high school classmates were killed at a remote rural intersection.

I still travel those roads several times a year for ministry, pheasant hunting and to visit friends, ministry partners, and lots of cousins. The "Think" signs still draw my attention, causing me to wonder why other states don't use these sobering reminders.



Last week I was driving I-90 just East of Mitchell on a ministry trip...
I knew about where to look and found them between mile markers 347 & 348.


Many of you instantly know the names behind these signs and, like me, your heart stirs in an emotional mix of memories, feelings and still unanswered questions...

When I stopped on the side of the road to take these pictures, I took time to remember Ty & Terri Schenzel and Ryan & Emily Hrubes in prayer. I never did get the name of the man who was driving on the wrong side and hit them head on... 
Instantaneously promoting Ty, Terri and Ryan into the presence of the Lord Jesus.










I don't want to be morbid, but you can still see where the fire burned so hot it baked and cracked the concrete. As I remembered and prayed, I felt like this was now sanctified ground. Sanctified means "set apart to God", much like a church sanctuary is dedicated as a place we set apart for God's purposes.

Could we agree together in prayer that everyone who passes over this little piece of interstate and sees the four "Think" signs would be prompted by God's Spirit to consider their own mortality and eternal destiny?


There are always several Divine purposes at work simultaneously when loved ones are taken like this. After 45 years Sheryl and I still have times when we remember our first daughter, Renee, who was with us 9 months in Sheryl's womb and just 8 hours after birth... no newborn cry, no opportunity to hold her or get a picture.

Whenever we hear of a couple who lost their baby, we can reach out to them in a way only parents who have lost a child can. I remember praying "Lord, our first-born is with you, so I am asking and believing that our other children will be strong and healthy." We had some close calls but are so thankful for healthy kids and nine grandkids. I seldom get upset at a crying child, because when you hear that cry... They are breathing!

I remember standing with Ty at a First Responders PrayerWalk on the site where a Hope Center Kid was murdered, and I could feel the pain in his heart. Thus, I sense there may be a broader message when we see the front and back of the "Think" signs side by side... You can look at these signs in either order and make a connection to part of the vision, purpose and plan from God's heart which was to become the Hope Center.

















First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks, The Hope Center, Christ For The City International, and many other ministries are called to save lives not only in this world but into the next...

Sheryl and I have the privilege to be part of a team that prays at the Hope Center with the staff, collectively and individually, for an hour each month.


Prayer Requests:
Sheryl and I leave tomorrow for another trip to Northern Minnesota. Friday morning, we will be meeting 
near Brainerd with my childhood friend Lanny, his wife Mary and three other couples Lanny invited to join us in prayer. Many of you may remember that he was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Please join us in praying aggressively for this couple, who have been a huge support not only to us over the years, but to many others serving the Lord around the world.

Sunday and Monday we will be checking in with our long term ministry friends up along the North Shore who are coming out of a time of personal and ministry crisis.

Sheryl and I are so grateful to have been able to serve the Lord vocationally for over 45 years, and we are especially thankful to each of you who have faithfully partnered with us through prayer and financial support. You have personally cared for us in too many ways to mention here! 


Over the last several months, several of our financial donors have had to cut back or drop off because of their own financial situations. but continue to partner with us in prayer and encouragement. Please pray with us that the Lord will raise up others to help meet our ongoing needs.

Thank You for praying and caring as the Lord leads. Everyday we feel the Lord is restoring, refueling and equipping us for our part in the challenging days ahead.

Blessings,
Dave & Sheryl

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


To Family & Friends:
Sheryl and I just returned from a special ministry trip up north to care for some leaders and dear friends in crisis. Many of you were praying and God presence was so strong in our times together.

We can share about one visit. Lanny LeDoux is our longest term ministry partner and has faithfully prayed with great wisdom and authority. Lanny was a classmate of Ray Mayhew at Bethany and about a month ago was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Barring a Divine Healing he may have as little as a year to live.

We are committed to stand with Lanny and Mary as they have stood with us. We joined with several of his close friends to share and pray in this first session and hope to meed again at the end of April.  

Sheryl has been encouraging me to separate our ministry updates from my cultural commentaries and causes. But being classic ADD, I don't easily separate these things. I would rather write about what is affecting our culture and what God is saying and doing during these challenging days than write a support update...even if it means at times writing more about what others are doing.

The Kingdom of God is far bigger than what any one church, ministry or person is doing and when we pray and bless others God doesn't forget our needs. Pray for one another so you may be healed. "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

I am convinced God has prepared Sheryl and me for a role in helping prepare believers for the challenging days ahead...and while I am working on a blog to speak into those things, it is a ways off, so for now our ministry update still serves both purposes.

Thank You for your prayers and partnership in serving the Lord Jesus.

This morning I responded to some items in the Omaha news with a letter to the editor of the Omaha World Herald. I don't know if they will use it but am including it below.

Blessings,
Dave & Sheryl
April 5, 2016:

"Car runs red light, hits mail truck, driver suspected of DUI"
"Passenger freed from truck wreck, driver faces DUI charge"
"Awaiting sentencing for motor vehicle homicide, arrested for armed robbery"

These are three overnight headlines from just one TV station this morning in Omaha regarding DUI related crashes.  Am I the only one feeling that DUI related incidents have increased significantly the last few years? When I was younger there was a saying "Nothing good happens after midnight." Now it is mostly after 2:00 AM ever since Omaha gave the bars another hour a few years ago.

I found an interesting 2010 OWH news article: Update: Mayor Supports Extending Bar Closing Time To 2am The reasoning, to quote then Mayor Suttle: "This is an opportunity for our city to stay competitive with other metropolitan areas and puts Omaha on similar footing as cities such as Denver, Colorado, that have a 2am last call,”

The article goes on to say that "All the states that border Nebraska let bars stay open until 2 a.m. Those in favor of a later closing time say we're losing money to our neighbors across the bridge."

In another quote Mayor Suttle said, “This proposed ordinance makes our community more competitive in attracting events that bring people to our city, which grows our local economy. This change is an opportunity for our city that we should not let pass us by.”

Do these arguments sound familiar...just like the current ones with Nebraska legalizing gambling and marijuana?

Here is a link to the current battle over marijuana: 'The diversion of marijuana into my state has been fierce': Nebraska AG testifies in D.C. about effects of Colorado pot legalization

And you can get good info regarding the current battle regarding gambling from my good friend Pat Loontjer with Gambling With The Good LIfe

So has anyone done a study on the increase in DUI related costs in property, income, human life and for families since changing the bar closing times?

So now we not only give drinkers another hour any night of the week to get completely plastered before getting behind the wheel...hoping they get safely home to families harmed by their drinking... we are actually considering letting them do so while legally high and after losing family income at casinos... just so our city and state can get a bigger percentage of the cut...

Musings from a concerned Nebraska Grandpa... Dave Gehrls

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Personal & Ministry Update

We’ve attended too many funerals in the last few months, and sadly most were younger than we are. Some you may know: Ty & Terri Schenzel, Josh Woodruff, and Mary Gunthert. Funerals provide opportunity to celebrate the lives of our loved ones, as well as to reconsider our own eternity and to realign our values and priorities for this life.

At most funerals today family and friends share pictures and memories, often with both tears and laughter -- which is good therapy for all.

It is not uncommon to hear some interesting stories and facts about people that you’ve never heard before! Many times, we’re truly unaware of much about how people lived their lives.

At my uncle Merlyn's funeral last May, I learned that as a Marine he witnessed the flag-raising atop Mt Suribachi on Iwo Jima in 1945.

I don't know about the rest of you, but at funerals my mind inevitably wanders into what will be said at my own funeral!

I received a phone call this week from one of my childhood friends who has faithfully prayed for us and supported us throughout our ministry. They had just received the news from staff at Mayo Clinic that he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). As I was praying for him and remembering our times together, I was reminded of my own close call last June, and once again my mind wandered to what would be said about how I had lived my life. Suddenly a new thought erupted into my head...

"Why are you concerned about what is said at your 'homegoing', when you should be concerned about what the Lord Jesus says at your 'homecoming' in heaven." 

Gulp!   My heart's desire is to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant?"

One of my life mentors, Paris Reidhead spoke about returning from missionary work in Africa and having an opportunity to visit the coliseum, where Christians were martyred and gladiators fought. As I remember the story, he was standing in the coliseum looking up at the elevated protrusion which is called the Bema, where the king or judges sat.

As Paris stood in that historic place, he was thinking about 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."

He recalls having something like a dream or a vision where he was standing in a long line of people leading to a great pair of doors where they entered one at a time. Positioned beside the doors were angels who handed a package to each person just before they entered.

Paris realized that in this vision his life was over and he was saved, going to heaven and waiting in line for a personal meeting with his Lord. The package the angel gave him was the sum total of his life, both good and bad, that was going to be tested by fire, revealing what was pure gold or straw that only looked like gold.

As Paris entered through the great doors, he got his first glimpse of Jesus, and he was caught up in awe and wonder. While he worshiped, another angel took the package from his hands and carried it to a fire grate under Jesus’ throne. He realized that what was to be revealed was not so much a gold crown to be worn proudly around heaven but rather his life offering to lay at the feet of his Lord and Savior who died on the cross for his sins. After a few minutes the angel used tongs to retrieve his package from the fire grate.

Paris was so caught up in worship and wonder before his Lord that as the angel came back, he just held out his hands to take the package without taking his eyes off Jesus. Then the angel said "Cup your hands." After a few seconds he looked down at his hands to see the gold offering of his life to the Lord Jesus and was shocked as he saw ashes... ashes...with a few specks of gold. He dropped his hands and realized that he was standing on a carpet of ashes..

His life was over, he was in heaven, but he had nothing but an offering of ashes to lay at the feet of the Lord Jesus. 

He then woke up by the shaking of the cab driver that had taken him to the coliseum. As he continued home from his mission work in Africa the cry of his heart was
"May I live my life in such a way that I have something more than ashes to lay at the feet of the Lord Jesus."


Looking Ahead:

Just over a year ago I felt impressed to begin moving into a time of intentional transition. One friend recently called it the season of moving from activity and doing, into the season of providing wisdom in the gates to those who are younger! I am 68 and retirement is not realistic yet, so I asked the Lord to help me by my 70th birthday to be at my place on the wall for the next 10 years without having to make any major moves. Everything is on the table except Sheryl! We told the Lord that we would explore any open doors...

I am convinced that my bypass surgery last June was part of God's plan to help get my health restored for the next phase. I remember waking up at 4:00 AM with chest pain that I knew was not normal and remember saying to the Lord, "I know you don't need me, but I would like to finish my assignment." Early last Fall, I realized that I was trying to come back too fast from that surgery when some additional instabilities surfaced. I’m now adjusting to new heart meds and diet restrictions. I’ve committed to doing my therapy so that I can wisely finish well...Pastor Murdoch, in his late 80's, is my inspiration!

So far we feel God has best equipped us to minister in and from Omaha, and in light of that, we have no desire or plans to move away or leave CFCI after 20+ years. 
  • We do feel led to shift more and more to mentoring and resourcing the next generation of Godly leaders. We are currently mentoring a number of ministry leaders and partnering with other ministries. Many of these situations are confidential, and therefore not shared in our public newsletters.
  • First Responders PrayerWalks has great favor in Omaha, and I am developing several people to help lead in addition to Pastor Bruce Williams and myself. You may see a bit less of me in the news, but I will be organizing behind the scenes. Last week at the annual Omaha Martin Luther King luncheon with the Governor, the Mayor, many other civic officials, pastors and community leaders, First Responders was honored with their action award...
  • Sheryl is beginning a new Bible study here in our home next week, and is calling it “Knowing God and the Mission.” To date, there are about 15 women who have committed to be part of this group, which will focus on knowing the Names and Attributes of God, and specifically how they relate to our practical everyday life situations. It’s a totally open group, representing a great cross-section of women, and anyone is welcome to join us! Contact Sheryl@gehrls.net for details.
  • Because of my surgery, we have not been back to Tijuana for over a year, but Pastor Jesus shared that the whole TJ Pastors network was praying. We would like to try to make a visit later next spring. Please pray about designating some donations to help us set our next trip to Tijuana? Also, we would welcome those who would like to come as part of our ministry team.
  • We are in the early development stages with several new mentoring\ministry partnerships that we feel will bring significant blessings to our city and in the mid-west. We’ll keep you posted as those develop more clearly.
  • Last fall we had a very positive meeting with what may become a network of ministries, churches and individuals that feel led to help prepare for persecution. We are currently about a month away from having a blog up where people can share spiritual leadings, insights and resources. This is something I feel the Lord has equipped me to help lead. If you are not on our membership list, just send an email and ask. 

We appreciate so very much each one of you who have partnered with us in ministry either financially or by praying for us.

Recent weeks have seen new personnel in the Finance & Accounting department at Christ For the City, and it has come to our attention that some of you do not always receive receipt letters for your support donations. Please be aware of a couple of details in your donations?
  • First, let us know if you do not receive a receipt and we'll look into it.
  • Second, please include a note with your gift that says "Gehrls Support".
  • And, third, if you are sending in a donation other than your regular monthly support, like for the Tijuana trip. Please let us know so that we can watch for it to make sure it goes into the correct account. This is especially true if you are a first time donor or occasional donor.
One final way you can help us is to let us know if you are aware of anyone who would be interested in hearing more about our ministry. As we age, our donor base is also aging, so we continually need to find new ministry partners. We would love to share what God has been doing with us, and in our city.

Please click on the "Partner With Us' tab above for more info.

Blessings




Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Obama's Visit to Omaha

Live TV is showing Air-force One landing right now at Offutt AFB for President Obama's visit and rally in Omaha following his State of the Union speech last night. Media and crowds are gathering all over his expected route and police are on highest alert.

Many of President Obama's policies and Executive Orders have grieved my heart and I have frequently spoken out and criticized, mostly to friends and acquaintances. But God used a word by Pastor Loren Sanford about a month ago to convict my heart about how I speak about our president. Our valid concerns and criticism can unintentionally lead to bitterness, or un-Christlike attitudes in our heart. A sentence in Pastor Loren's word below burned into my heart:  

"Bitterness can produce only bitter fruit. The anger of man can never produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:20). Or Proverbs 16:7,

The media is covering the visit from landing to departure with interviews of those who support and oppose what is said by our president. There will be various groups protesting or showing support. Social media will be rampant today with opinions pro and con...many with harmful words and accusations. 

Many of us have valid concerns and criticisms of our presidents policies and Executive Orders.  Please read this word from Loren's blog and ask the Lord to give us all His heart and wisdom at this time.

Blessings,

Dave Gehrls
Christ For The City Omaha



PMbanner.jpg
OVERCOMING OUR BITTER IMAGE
December, 2015 #86
The night of November 28 I had a powerful dream. In my dream President Obama was in town in what seemed to be a large shopping mall to make an announcement about the deaths resulting from a terrorist attack. As they attempted to film him, he kept breaking down and weeping, overcome with grief and a broken heart for what had happened. Each time, the production crew would be forced to shut down. Quite suddenly the Lord filled my heart with overwhelming love for this man, Barak Obama, and then called me to stand with the president as he made the announcement in order to support him emotionally and to openly demonstrate love and unity before the nation. I chose a moment to approach him when only one Secret Service agent stood by him for protection. As the president stood behind the podium, I walked right up, unopposed, took his hand and said, “Mr. President, I've never agreed with your policies but I'm here to support you. Would it be all right for me to stand with you before the nation?” Overcome with gratitude, he grasped my hand, broke down and nearly cried. I saw myself with my arm around him under the lights and cameras. He seemed to engage deeply and latched onto me like a drowning man reaching out for help. He agreed that I could stand with him so I began telling the stage hands to remove the lectern so that people could see us standing together with nothing to obscure the view.

I’ve pondered the meaning of this dream for weeks now and I can come to only one conclusion. We cannot prevail for the kingdom of God in this hour by spewing the kind of negativity and hatred I hear coming from the mouths of Christians on a daily basis. Our calling is, and always has been, to radically and completely love even those with whom we strenuously disagree or whom we regard as enemies.

This does not mean that we deny or overlook evil. This does not mean that we must surrender to ungodly philosophies. It does not mean that we must give up foundational principles of Scripture or even of the constitution of our nation. It does not mean that we cannot speak out regarding the issues of the day. It only conditions how we do so and with what kind of tone. Love does not require that we approve of or accept wickedness. I am father to three and grandfather to ten. I know that no matter what my children do, whether or not their behavior reflects our family values and beliefs, the intensity of my love and the sacrifices I am willing to make for them never diminish. Can we not grant this same kind of love to any and all in the name of Father God as we represent Him who loves more deeply and completely than we ever can? Is that not why Jesus died in our place while we were yet sinners?

Bitterness can produce only bitter fruit. The anger of man can never produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Or Proverbs 16:7, “When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Will we be peacemakers or will we allow ourselves to be seduced by the spirit of religion that clothes hatred in robes of righteousness and falsely teaches us that we must be angry or hateful in order to win?

Do we truly believe that light exposes darkness? Do we really believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to convict? Do we truly trust that love wins because love is light and light overcomes darkness? If we did have genuine faith in these things, then how might it change our behavior and our approach to those with whom we disagree? Love may cost us something. It certainly cost Jesus. But are we willing to make the sacrifices? And doesn’t this require that we cultivate real faith in what we say we believe? We have a bitter image to overcome in this world. It’s time we actually did it.



NEW SONG CHURCH and MINISTRIES
8242 Pecos St
Denver, Colorado 80221
303-430-8100

Contact Loren for conferences etc:
​loren@newsongchurchandministries.org

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SHOPPERS ARE RETURNING GIFTS WORTH $70 BILLION

We've enjoyed Christmas. Now welcome to the post-Christmas shopping season. Consumers are busy returning $70 billion worth of purchases given to them during the holidays. Among the most-returned gifts are fancy jewelry, olive oil, and anti-aging products. The last item is especially interesting—apparently we don't appreciate presents that assume we're older than we think we are.

Here's a gift that will never be returned: God promises, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Scripture is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). It is "the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). The prophet could testify that "your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart" (Jeremiah 15:16). As Jesus said to his Father, "your word is truth" (John 17:17). 

Passed on from the denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary  -Dec 28, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Change: 2016

With a New Year upon us once again, our minds naturally move to considering change – most often demonstrated by making New Year’s Resolutions.  The New Year seems to be a time to consider all the things we wish would be changed in our lives. Somewhere along the line, most of us have made New Year’s resolutions regarding weight loss, time management, family time, launching a new career, or being more regular about going to the gym! We pull out all the self-help books we received for Christmas and gather the low fat cookbooks. Within a few days, we’ve half-heartedly embraced all manner of strategies hoping to change ourselves.

Change in our lives is inevitable, and most often it is thrust upon us whether we’re prepared for it or not. As we look at the world around us and consider the coming year, we see change in every direction. Our culture is in warp-speed change, absorbing ideas and lifestyles as the new norm that would have been scandalous 50 years ago; careers exist that were unheard of 20 years ago; smart phones have been around less than 10 years, and technology has changed so rapidly that we now call people rather than places. Communication is instantaneous; photos are available instantly online; new words have entered our vocabulary and are now commonplace – facebook, hashtag, instagram, internet, texting – and email is fast becoming the slow way to communicate.  Many have experienced huge changes in jobs, housing, finances, and life circumstances as the culture and economy have been thrown into seeming chaos.

Change – a time of transition inherently defined by pain, confusion, and uncertainty, often expressed as fearfulness and insecurity. During times such as these, it’s important to remember that God has much to say about change. While Ecclesiastes 1:1-8 speaks of a time for everything under the sun,  Genesis 8:22 reminds us of the promise God has made to all of mankind that “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Some things will never change!  Malachi 3:6 assures us “For I, the Lord, do not change;”  and Hebrews 13:6 reminds us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes and forever.” Keeping our eyes and heart focused on the Truth of God’s Word provides us an anchor in the midst of social upheaval. We can walk according to Hebrews 13:5 knowing that “He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you (Amp. “I will never relax My grip on you!”) Here is our stability in times of unparalleled social change.

During 2015, our family has experienced change – some fun and some not so fun! Our first grandchild graduated from High School and headed off to college. Two more grandkids got drivers licenses and cars. Several of our adult kids made job changes. Dave and I walked through his open heart surgery and recovery, which was totally unexpected. Sheryl’s ministry responsibilities have changed several times this past year.  We’ve even torn out a wall in our house!

As we look ahead to 2016, we see some challenges.
Sheryl will no longer be working with Urban Plunge, but will be shifting ministry focus to doing more personal mentoring times, writing a discipleship course, and helping to set up a new ministry internship program for college students. She will also be starting a small group to study the names and character attributes of God in depth. This, in addition to continuing to create prayer shawls – well over 400 so far.

Dave will continue to work in urban ministry in the area of violence intervention and prevention strategies, focusing on stirring the church to cultural awareness and city prayer strategies. The prayerwalks have provided much opportunity for personal care of people who normally wouldn’t come to a church – literally becoming the church in the streets. Like Sheryl, Dave is also committed to mentoring and resourcing the next generation of Godly leaders.

We deeply appreciate each of you who have been a part of our financial support team – some of you for many years now. Our work with Christ For the City International is sustained by our personal donors, so our paycheck each month is dependent upon those who are invested in our ministry and share both the challenges and rewards with us. As we age, many of our donors are also growing older or experiencing their own economic change….which impacts our ability to continue in full-time ministry.

If you have never been a part of our ministry, would you prayerfully consider becoming a part of our team? We know you get many year-end giving appeals, so are asking only that you observe the fruit of our ministry over the past years and give as the Lord leads you. 

Contact and Donation info is in the column to the right and more details in the "Partner With Us" Tab above.

May He multiply your seed for sowing many times over!

Dave and Sheryl

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015


Many Thanks From The Gehrls House to Yours