All posts by Joe Owens

About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!

How Can I Help Hurricane Victims? Make a Flood Bucket!

Everyone in the United States and likely many in any area of the world with mass communication has seen the heart-breaking coverage of hurricanes that ravage the Southern and Southeastern regions of the united States. These powerful storms wreck unimaginable havoc on hundreds of miles of shoreline and even far inland with high velocity wind, life-threatening storm surge and the resulting flooding. I along with several others from my church association recently returned from a disaster relief stint in Southeastern North Carolina.  From my personal experience I can share a way you can be a key contributor to the recovery of those affected by these storms.

Last October, following the disastrous Hurricane Harvey that inundated Houston and the surrounding areas in Texas with Apocalyptic amounts of rain our church saw an opportunity to come alongside the victims by creating something called a Flood Bucket. This is a five-gallon bucket filled with the items necessary to begin the clean-up and clean out of whatever remains following a water event in a home or business.

flood bucket This is a list of the items that are included in a Flood Bucket. You will notice this is from the Baptist General Assembly of Virginia, the organization my church association partners with to do Disaster Relief. This is not the only list by any means, but simply a general linguine for the purposes of this post. You will also notice that their is two columns to the right with item numbers of these items at Lowes and Home Depot.  I know from our experience if you are unable to purchase the items individually or just choose to allow them to assemble this they will.

 

For a couple of reasons, which include the lateness of the season last year our buckets were not used in 2017. But we did put them to use on our trip to North Carolina following Hurricane Florence as we took part in the beginning of abatement of the flood damage. If you would like to read more about that you can do so here Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief.

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We found many uses for these buckets as we pulled necessary items out of them we did not have on our Disaster Relief trailer we pulled down with us from Virginia. We used them to collect debris, as stools when sitting to pull nails and staples and also cut lids in half to use as temporary dust pans until we could get to the store to purchase real ones.

The intent of the buckets is to hand them off to home owners so they can begin to clean up their home if a Disaster Relief team is not available. In such cases as the New Bern area of North Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence and Mexico Beach, Panama City and Panama City Beach which felt the powerful effects of Hurricane Michael this may be exactly the need.

This is a great project for churches, civic groups or even families to get behind. Once completed you can deliver then to a local church or relief group for distribution. We all feel a call to help others in situations like this and this is an incredible way to do just that!

 

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Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief

Last November I finally got the opportunity to go through the training that qualifies you to be able to respond when a natural disaster takes aim at the U.S.A. The happy news was that five others from my church attended the same training. Fast forward to this week and 4 of the six made the 7 hour trip to Eastern North Carolina for relief operations following Hurricane Florence.

Below is a picture of our team on our first job site in Chocowinity, N.C. Our four are the two on the far right, the one in the front middle and yours truly in the third from the left of the back row. We were blessed with a couple of ringers who have shared so much valuable experiential knowledge with our team.

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For more than half of our 11 person crew this was the first time we have been able to enter the field following the type of disaster that changes lives. We were thankful our first experience was more measured, with a locale which only had around a foot and a half of water in the home. The protocol is much the same no matter the amount of inundation however. Sheet rock or whatever material used for walls must be removed due to the concern of deadly mold forming within. In this particular house located in Chocowinity, N.C. we started by ripping out the water ruined appliances.

Next we began to score and remove the walls, sheet rock in this case at 32 inches above the floor.

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In the next photo you can see why there is the concern with the affects of the water in the home.

093This was after only a few days and would only continue to grow. As you can see the carpet was already removed and beneath all the sub flooring was severely saturated. That will dry and after the job was completed we sprayed a solution to not only kill the existing mold, but retard the development of new.

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One of the things I most enjoy about mission work is the great Christian family you are eagerly welcomed to when you go out to share Christ’s love. Of our eleven member team I already have relationships ongoing with 9, but met two new men who immediately became like brothers in the midst of our work. One of the 9 I already knew is now featured in a progress report with the BGAV, or Baptist General Assembly of Virginia, one of the groups in my state that organizes the disaster response.

You have to understand, but of course cannot fathom it until you are there, how big a deal it is to house, feed and keep laundry clean for 50-70 volunteers for a week. We’re talking three meals a day for men and women expending thousands of calories as they seek to minister in all ways to those hurting. Recently the “call out” for volunteers was extended until mid-December and that was before the latest storm, a Category 4 hurricane named Michael plowed through the Florida panhandle.

 

Much of the worst destruction in north Carolina was around the New Bern area. But the destruction was so severe the nearest staging area was almost an hour northwest in Washington, N.C. We were blessed to be hosted by First Baptist and Second Baptist Church of Washington. Both sites had shower and washing machine trailers to help us clean up after long, hard, dirty days.

Many people hesitate to take part in this type of ministry because they feel they have no skills to put to use. Anyone can help wash, fix food, arrange supplies or even go out and help clean up a home. God equips us for whatever He wants us to do. What we are required to do is to go!

Noise – Daily Post – 03/14/2018

 

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What kind of noise would peak a Christian’s interest? The Enemy has a never ending arsenal of words, and what seems like an eternity of our mortal time to sling them at us. But in the end it is just so much NOISE. Why? Because God put His eternal plan in place even before Satan fell from Heaven and took 1/3 of the angels with him.

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Beyond that you have all the noise from the media trying, as The Enemy’s surrogates, to marginalize Christians at every turn. I find it interesting that there is sensitivity to every other religion, or thought pattern about freedoms but for Christians there is nothing but condemnation. Even the suggestion that belief in God is some sort of mental condition.

As Christians we are directed to make our own noise, but in a way that honors the Father and proclaims the God News of his eternal plan to all we meet. Whether or not the intended recipient is inclined to listen or classify our words as noise is there prerogative. Our instructions are clear: GO and TELL.

For one day the NOISE will be the result of Jesus’ return to earth and the beginning of his millennial reign. I know the silence will be deafening then.

 

Noise – Daily Post 3-14-18

Focused – Daily Post – 09/26/17

focusedWhat are you focused on today? For the past six or so work hours I was focused on what we call an EIR or emergency fix of a work issue. Because of the nature of the process it was important to be focused only on that particular item even when I had other important items I could have tapped along down the road at the same time. In our day of multitasking we think we can just do any number of things and do them well and maybe in some cases we can, but not in all.

In our Christian walk we have to stay vigilant in our focus or we are open to the possibility of temptation which can derail our witness. We must also keep in mind what the Holy Bible tells us about the way we should deal with temptation.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

The bible tells us we WILL be tempted. That much is 100% clear. But, it also tells us we can overcome this temptation, if we stay focused. God will provide us with an escape. God will not tempt us past what we are able to withstand, even if we think He is.

A long time ago my Christian mentor, who is long since enjoying the fruits of Heaven, taught me about the J.O.Y. Principle: Jesus is first, others are second and you serve Yourself last. I had to develop my focus on this principle over time, but now I feel I have it in place. It is really not so hard, you just have to be willing to sacrifice for the better of others.

This is my idea for focused, I plan to bounce around to read others.

 

Daily Post Challenge – Focused

 

 

Glorious (Appearing) – Daily Post – 09/18/17

 

 

Promises can be a great thing, especially if made by someone in whom you have a deep amount of trust. Someone perhaps like the Creator of all, who just happens to also be our personal Saviour. He made a promise to each of us long ago that He would return to earth one day. That is referred to as the Glorious Appearing.

Why will it be glorious? Because when Jesus returns for the Second Coming it will be to redeem all of those who have chosen Him as their personal Savior. Those still breathing and those whose life ended previously. He will return with a trumpet sounding and riding on a cloud. He will defeat Satan and establish His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years.

That kind of promise is one you can internalize and feel good about forever, which is exactly how long you will spend with our Creator in Heaven.

 

 

Daily Post Challenge – Glorious

 

 

Thorny – Daily Post – 09/14/17

 

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I love the days when my mind can translate a Daily Post prompt into something I can use on my faith blog. I just think in these days of so much destruction by nature and discord in our lives we need a word from God. No matter your trouble God has written an answer for you within the covers of his love letter, the Holy Bible.

So what about thorny, what has this triggered in the treacherous confines of my noodle? The Crown of Thorns, of course. The instrument of mocking the mighty Roman Empire chose to humiliate the one man who could give them refuge from a death much worse than the one He knew was coming, which is separation from our heavenly Father. The Romans, in their ostentatious pride, thought they were inflicting their authority in even another way with this simple instrument.

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I had the blessing of seeing the Passion of the Christ, the feature motion picture that tells the story of Jesus’ last days on earth. While I had learned about the Crown of thorns prior to that, seeing it dramatized as it was really brought home the reality of what agony that surely brought to Christ in His human form. What an instrument of torture this would be.

When we, as Christians, consider the kind of experience Jesus, the single Son of God, knowingly submitted to for our benefit we should be incredibly moved. Since he was fully God and fully man, he knew exactly what would happen long before the Romans came up with their brilliant plan. At any time he could have summoned untold Legions of Angels to his defense, but he did not. He wanted us to see just how much He loves us.

I’m not sure any of us fully recognize just how deep the love Christ smothers upon us can be. We are totally loved just as we are. He sacrificed himself over 2,000 years ago for people not even thought of within earthly minds. Do you have any thought of what will happen two millenniums from today? I heard it described by our pastor in this way: You will never be loved more or less by Jesus than you are at this moment. Everyone craves love, so if you have not accepted Christ’s offer to make your life radically different maybe you should let Him show you His way.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Thorny

 

 

Is It Okay to Ask For Prayer?

Not only is it okay to ask for prayer, but if we don’t we are not availing ourselves of one of our greatest tools as Children of God. No matter who you are, or how together you think your Christian life is you still have human factors waging war against you all the time. Do you think Billy Graham asks for prayer? What about David Jeremiah or Charles Stanley?

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I think choosing what you want to write about on your blog can be fascinating. Now certainly there are cases when the scope is narrowed, such as when I take on the regular weekly fiction challenges where a photo subject gives you a loose frame. Also, when I post a Flower of the Day photo I have to excuse the furry squirrels from the equation.

But today when I returned from lunch I saw this tag and it sent my metaphorical wheels in my head turning like wild! If I could figure out a way to charge my phone a little every time I took a photo with it I would never have to worry. But it is because I find so many things interesting that I not only want to capture the image, but share the thoughts tied to it.

There is a set of verses in the bible that talks about the “stiff-necked people”. It is Acts 7:51 and while it more accurately relates how stubborn and obstinate folks are when it comes to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them I cannot help but draw a comparison in my mind to those who do not think prayer is important.

At my church we have frequent occasions where we share the prayer requests on our hearts and minds. Predominantly these are requests relating a need of someone who is not present or is a relation or friend. Just this week I asked for prayer for our friends in Belize, where we do a significant amount of ministry because a potential hurricane was brewing in the Caribbean Sea.

But, on occasion, someone will ask for prayer if they feel the need. Now you must understand as in most churches we are a close-knit group and know quite a lot about each other and feel comfortable sharing our weaknesses or needs. I understand that is not the way everyone is made. some people are private and do not share, even when the need is great.

Leaving the opportunity to be blessed by the prayer of another or a group of others behind is to surrender one of God’s greatest blessings. We are in this mortal life together and need others to survive and thrive. So my answer to the question at the top is YES. I feel it is perfectly acceptable to ask for prayer.

What about you? Will you ask for prayer when you need it? How do you feel when someone prays aloud for you?