Going

Going Deeper

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Going deeper began to be about living within the understanding that this was something quite bigger than meeting a need and being done; it was a call to treat and love each person as a family member.

Glen Shelley and his house church are making moves in the city of Dayton. They are living missional lives right here, right now.

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What began as packing and delivering backpacks to the homeless downtown before Christmas has turned into a regular, heart-invested, intentional pursuit of the people of Dayton.

“After our first time doing the backpacks we met a man named Darrel and a few others and we decided to ask them to visit our house church,” explains Glen.

Taking time to get to know these people led to having meals with them and ultimately culminated in a separate house church on Monday evenings simply to love them well.

Glen sat with Devin and Eric, two of Glen’s house church brothers, around a table at Panera Bread, sharing their story with me, and the passion became contagious.

“It has been a catalyst for going deeper in relationships with them,” says Glen. “We met a gentleman named Darrel; he needed food, but it was clear that he needed companionship just as much.”

They came to find out that Darrel was sleeping under a bridge. It was in the collection of these pieces of their lives that Glen and his house church knew they needed to, and desired to, be much more than simply people who dipped in and out of their lives.

“They are not projects. Each person we meet and take time to know has expectations – they can be hurt, they can be disappointed; they are real humans and they need real human love,” says Glen.

Their house church was faced with a serious question head on – what does it mean to go deeper?

Going deeper began to be about living within the understanding that this was something quite bigger than meeting a need and being done; it was a call to treat and love each person as a family member.  

Since this outreach began and this house church has been formed, they have found themselves being asked to think outside of themselves.

“I got a call at 9 PM from someone that needed a ride home, but he was in Indianapolis. It had to stop being about my comfort level being disrupted and more about showing someone I cared,” says Glen.

So they piled into the car and drove to Indianapolis and brought him home. If there is one thing they’ve learned through this act of obedience, it’s that the viewpoint should never be “us versus them,” but always all of US.

Glen and his house church have seen more than anything that everyone has a story; “these people didn’t wake up one day and choose to be homeless. They are not ‘less’ by any means – there are circumstances and fragments of a storyline being written that lead people to their current situation.”

“We don’t want to pound anything into them; we just want to love and care for them. We just tell them, ‘we just wanna love you,’” says Devin.

It started with backpacks. It became fellowship and shared meals; relationships are being built and poured into and now, they are able to see integration to larger fellowship. Members of the house church are starting to come to Apex and pursue baptism, as well.

“When we are not with them on Mondays, there is constant communication,” explains Glen. “They need to be picked up, they might need money for bus tokens, sometimes they simply need someone to talk to, to listen, to hear them.”

As a final thought all three men have come to, and rest, at this powerful point – they’re real people and they have real needs.

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? –Isaiah 58:7

 

 

Author: Steph Duff

Photographer: Hilary Tebo

Taking God Out of the Box

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“We have been wowed by God. It’s our hearts’ desire for other people to be wowed by God, too.”

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      Jim and Sandy Corbin found themselves to be empty nesters when it all began.

           “I remember being at church and hearing someone speak about missions and I felt something stirring within me,” explains Jim.

He was shortly thereafter called to Rwanda, but Sandy stayed behind.

           “Before Jim went on that first trip he was all about lists,” says Sandy. “And then he returned home and I witnessed a complete transformation within him.”

Jim is a self-proclaimed list maker. He would set out each day, on his first mission trip, with a list of things he needed to accomplish and not one item was able to be checked off the list.

           “I finally realized this is not about me, this is not about my plan. It’s God’s. It’s His will. Always.” says Jim.

He began to feel and see a boldness creep into his demeanor and come forth.

           Jim and Sandy have been travelling missionally with E3 Organization since 2010. E3 is an organization that strives to evangelize in new cities, share the Gospel, and leave villages and their people equipped to lead churches and house churches. The Corbin’s have travelled with E3 to Rwanda, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Peru; they take one trip a year and are there for one week at a time. They go with teams and serve local pastors.

           “The idea is that the pastors would then go to neighboring areas to share the Good News. It is all formed around a discipleship methodology; in order to create house churches, what must we do? We model the process of discipleship – Model, Assist, Watch, Leave,” explains Jim and Sandy.

The Corbin’s recruit and train a team before leaving and then the team trains people in the cities and villages they visit – their goal is to reach unmet and unreached people groups and to create a cycle of Gospel teaching and sharing.

“There will be people that we won’t be able to reach,” explains Sandy. “They will only be introduced to the Gospel through the natives that we are able to work with. By following the model E3 trains us in, we are allowing people to be the teachers.”

           “One of my favorite things about the groups we take is that we are family units; every trip we’ve been on has had children. We have had kids as young as 13 and adults up to 70,” explains Sandy. “And each person is working while we are there. We are each given a translator, or mission partner, and we are each responsible for sharing the Gospel and what Jesus has done for our lives.”

           Jim and Sandy both find incredible and amazing grace to see God at work outside of each of their comfort zones on each of these trips.

           “These trips allow us to take God out of the box we’ve put Him in,” says Sandy. “You get to see the greatness of our God when you step out of what you’re always saying yes to. There is something about worshipping with others and hearing them sing in their native tongue and only knowing what they’re saying because you’re both witnessing and feeling the Holy Spirit.”

Sandy often asks herself, ‘what in my life do I need to bless others with?’ and she finds that God always answers. Two months after they returned, hearts heavy with missing the people they had spent time with and loved on, God placed a family of refugees in Dayton near them and they’ve since been able to love on and emotionally support them.

           “My focus is no longer just, ‘what can I spend on myself?’” says Jim.

Sandy shakes her head as her husband says this and affirms his feelings. “It’s not about what I have to do, but what I get to do.”

           Jim and Sandy are passionate about reaching people that are seemingly unreachable, but they are equally as passionate about leaving a legacy. “This is about illustrating to those around us what is important.” They always return with their faith deepened, boldness abounding and a desire to return another year to spread the Good News of our God like wildfire.

“We have been wowed by God. It’s our hearts’ desire for other people to be wowed by God, too.”

 

 

Author: Steph Duff

Photographer: Hilary Tebo

God's Timing and The Great Commission

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At times, we may feel stuck in American culture but in the end, people of all nations will glorify God.

Like many young Apex couples, Riley and Katie had the opportunity of meeting one another through house church a few years ago. Riley was working at the Air Force Base as an engineer and Katie was attending Cedarville University working on her degree in nursing. Katie had always been passionate about visiting and learning about other cultures and wanted to use her degree in ministry overseas someday. In fact, she almost took the Perspectives course once in college, but decided to wait due to time conflicts with her schedule. Little did she know God had big plans for her (and Riley) down the road.

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Riley and Katie built a friendship after getting to know each other in house church. Once Katie knew Riley was interested in a dating relationship, she spent some time praying about it during her time home in Boston. Although she was somewhat worried about dating someone in the Air Force knowing she had a passion to go overseas, she felt a true peace from God, knowing that ultimately He was in control. After dating for several months, they were married in 2014.

This past Winter, Riley and Katie signed up for the Perspectives course at Apex. For those who are unfamiliar, Perspectives is a 15 week discipleship class that will change the way you view the world around you. It helps you develop a vision for the heart and purpose of God. Through the course you are given opportunities to discover how you can take part in what God is doing in the United States and distant lands.

Riley and Katie were both blown away by the stories of the speakers in Perspectives who have seen and experienced amazing things overseas. It was evident to them that God is doing big things all over the world and that we are called to be a part of it. At times, we may feel stuck in American culture but in the end, people of all nations will glorify God. This truth pushed them to continue developing a passion for things that are important to God - such as other cultures.

Perspectives ended in April and in May, The Livermores received some information that would ultimately change their lives. Riley and Katie had applied for an assignment in Israel as the next step in Riley’s Air Force career. Only a few short weeks after finishing a course that changed their hearts towards other nations, Riley and Katie found out they would be moving to Israel.

In the summer of 2016, Riley and Katie will leave life as they know it and move to Israel - a place rich with Christian history. They are excited to live among the local people, build relationships, receive language training, and worship Christ in another culture. They are not quite sure what church will look like yet in Israel, but they have already started praying in hope for the unreached people groups of Israel and that God’s mission would come true.

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Riley and Katie both want the people of Apex to know that Perspectives is not only for people who are or want to go overseas. This course is a great way to open your eyes to what can be done in Dayton, too. Taking this class will open your heart to God’s heart - caring for ALL the nations. You will be challenged, you will be convicted, and you will be motivated - motivated to live differently. We are blessed to be a blessing to others and that is the best calling. Katie grew up in church and attended a Christian university and learned so much through this course and was given a deeper purpose. She recommends it to everyone!

Apex can pray for The Livermores in three ways. First, for all of the unknowns of moving to a foreign country: such as where they will be living, what work will look like, where they will find Christian community, and how they will learn the language. Second, that they would not fall into comfort while they are there but that they would grow in obedience and follow God’s calling. Pray for their initial transition, wisdom, and that they would stay focused on meeting people of the Israeli culture. Lastly, pray that in the upcoming year before leaving for Israel they would not “check out”, but that they would seek out opportunities to invest in International students here in Dayton.

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The take-away from this story proves that God’s timing is always perfect. His sovereignty is always in full effect. Even when we cannot see it ourselves, God is working and He has a plan. The most fulfilling life is one that is fully engaged as a part of the great commission and Riley and Katie are living it!

 

 

Author: Jacqueline Brown

Photographer: Jacqueline Brown

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