September 2009

Remember the first time you saw the advertisement.  The exceptionally happy male voice told you how much you have missed because you could not be snuggly warm when you use a blanket to cover your body as you relax watching TV.  I’m sure, like me, you looked with interest at first; then laughed at the silliness of the whole thing.  After all, a large house coat turned backwards would be the same thing.

Then something happened.  People took the ridiculous and made it campy.  While the manufacturers were probably serious about their idea, they have made a bushel of bucks marketing the newest craze of silliness.  How long will it last?  Who knows. 

All of us have things that we value that no one else may find valuable.  The other day in a conversation with a mother, she was trying to explain to me the concerns of her son.  His disability is not common.  Yet, it appears that she puts interesting value regarding some of his behaviors that others would simply find as misbehavior.

Mothers are not the only people who find value in people’s behaviors.  However, these folks are rare.  As I looked at this mother last week, I could see a reflection of God’s love flowing from her.  While I’ve never wanted to be soft on misbehavior, I saw a kind of love that I would like to immolate.  

The next day, I found myself riding with a member who was not misbehaving but who was directing my actions in a way that was bossy.  I usually don’t appreciate his instructions.  Without even thinking I began to smile at his gentle complaints.  Later, I realized that I had not become irritated the way I normally would.  This mother’s actions had influenced me for the good.

I pray that in some way I can be that kind of positive influence on others, especially our members.  Has someone influenced you in a positive way this week?  Do you think you may be a good influence on someone else?  Do you think God is working in your life when this happens or in the other person’s life?  Or both?

This past month, I’ve seen our contractor, Brad Shea, of AbleHouse get out his level about 10 times each day.  Shea is one of the few med-waiver licensed contractors in the State of Florida.  He is a craftsman, not a carpenter. 

When my husband asked him to hang a picture on his wall in the bedroom, I was appalled.  He wasn’t here for that.  But he cheerfully got out his level to hang the picture.  Now I have hung thousands of pictures and I have NEVER even thought of using a level to complete the job.  Shea hung the picture and then used his level to be sure that the picture was hanging straight. 

Again and again, I saw him using the level to prepare for a job and to complete a job.  After seeing his skill in using the level again and again, I came to understand the value of the level.  AND more important, I saw that it really wasn’t a hard tool to use.

Last night, I had the terrible job of hanging paintings.  Mostly, I pick a spot and hammer into the wall one of those picture hanging devices and the job is done.  Yet, I have three sets of paintings that are a series.  I love the paintings done by my daughter, Carol, but I hate the hanging ordeal.  They never hang level.

I tackled the hardest one first, eager to see how I could use my level to make the process successful.   Within minutes, I had miraculously hung the first set.  The three paintings of the shuttle igniting and lifting off from the pad hung proudly level and stable on the wall.  I easily tackled the other sets and had the same success.

Often, members of the mentally challenged community don’t seem to have much emotional stability in their lives.  They are creatures stuck forever with the tempest of junior high emotional whirlwinds.  Perhaps, the greatest thing a Christ-centered ministry can bring to your members is the ability to cope with stability regarding the everyday hurts and concerns of life.  Bible teaching,  prayer and example become a leveler in all of our lives.  Providing access to these leveling forces in your members’ lives can be one of the most valuable assets you can impart into their lives.

Here are some ways you can help them access this important tool.

  1. When dealing with a members who is emotionally distraught, do not under play their emotions.  While they may be acting out, you should assume that the emotions are genuine.
  2. Remain calm.
  3. Keep your voice steady and quiet.
  4. Do not scold them for their emotional outbursts but provide them with an example of quiet peace through your actions and reactions.
  5. Be firm.  Quietness and calm doesn’t mean that you are to be a push toy. 
  6. Remove the person from the group, should their behavior become too disruptive.
  7. Isolation from the rest of the group will probably take care of the emotions, if the behavior is intended to draw attention to herself.  Isolation never means locking someone in a closet or any other extreme tactics.  It means quietly walking the person away from the group perhaps to the other side of the room. 

Exhibiting emotional stability is the key to teaching this skill.  I overheard a friend tell her overwrought teenage daughter, “You can get happy in the same skin, you got upset in.” 

What are some of the ways you have found to help your members become more emotionally stable in hard circumstances?

Jesus wants me to love others

Luke 10:27B

Central Theme:  Loving others is action and active. 

Introduction–Show the statue of loving is sharing.  Love for others must be active.  Tell about Denise and her love for her mother.  She is caring for her mother even though her mother is not being loving to her–that is real love.  My next door neighbor whose son becomes violent with her.  She is loving him–real love.  .

                    Have a member read Luke 10:27B.

       I.     Tell the story of the good Samaritan.

              A. A lawyer asked, What must I do to live forever.

              B. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself.

               C. Lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor.”

      II.     There are three attitudes we can have about loving others.

              A. We can ignore a need–as the preacher did.

              B. We can see the need but not do anything about it–as the deacon did.

              C. We can take the time and energy to do something about the need.

     III.     What happens with each of these.

              A. If we ignore the need or we don‘t do anything about it:

                   1. Another person will get the joy and blessing of helping.

                   2. We will save money and time.

                   3. But someone could die.

              B. If we see the need do something about it–.

                   1. God will bless you.

Conclusion  Love is sharing but it is not letting your dog lick your lollipop.  Love is taking care of someone who does not love you.  Love is being there when the person does not know you or care for you.

From: Nikki Glynn []
 Subject: Funding for people with disabilities – money for conferences/workshops

 Good afternoon.

 I am the Marketing Director for Florida CARE. We were awarded grant money
 through Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. to assist people
 with disabilities and their families attend educational opportunities.
 There is still funding available!!!

 I would like to distribute the below information to deserving people and
 their families. Can you help me to get the word out?  Please distribute
 this to anyone who this might help.

 Thank you!

 Nikki Glynn

 People with developmental disabilities and their families are offered the
 opportunity to apply for financial assistance to attend conferences,
 workshops and other learning opportunities through a grant awarded to The
 Florida Center for Advocacy, Research and Education (Florida CARE) through
 the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc.

 This project will enable individuals with developmental disabilities and
 their families  to become better self-advocates and enhance their quality
 of life through improved knowledge of many aspects of the disability
 system.  In addition, this knowledge will facilitate their inclusion and
 participation in numerous planning and decision-making committees, forum
 and leadership in organizations in their communities.

 More than 35 people with disabilities and their families will enjoy this
 opportunity. These individuals will come from different demographic and
 targeted groups around Florida and will be selected through an application
 process.  Interested families should go to and
 complete an application for consideration.  There is also a calendar
 listing upcoming opportunities.

 Florida CARE passionately advocates for people with disabilities by
 providing corporations, school districts, groups and families with
 employment coaching, transitional skills, ADA compliance tips, diversity
 planning and outreach, disability awareness and hiring techniques.

  Nikki Glynn Public Relations

                              904-237-9303 ph

                              904-378-8708 fax

This is an e-mail from another head of ministry, regarding our time in Chicago

Those in attendance felt Chicago was a good place to meet.  The plan is to meet on a Friday next year.

 Also some of us arrived at the Hilton restaurant a little early; and there was not a place to sit in the lobby at the Hilton.   We ended up going across the street to the Shuttle Bus Complex, Door 2.  This is where buses shuttle people from the airport to their respective hotels.  It is a large area with only a few people in it.  There were lots of tables and chairs.  You could also buy limited food stuff there (pizza, hot dog type of stuff).  It is not nearly as nice as the restaurant named Andiamo, but it would be a lot cheaper and more private.

 Many of the people there had someone they wanted to invite next year.  There was some discussion regarding who this type of meeting was geared to reach.

It was agreed:

  •  Ministry heads have unique needs that are not shared by volunteers or even ministry staff.  There are staffing concerns, budgets to be raised, fundraising, liability responsibilities, board interactions that present unique concerns for heads of ministries that are not shared by others, even staff.
  • This is not an appropriate venue for Sunday school teachers or those interested in disability ministry. 
  • This is not a training or mentoring event.  There are many fine conferences and training events like JAF’s Through the Roof conferences, Friendship Ministries Annual Conferences, and local conferences to say nothing of the annual conference at McLean Bible Church.  
  • This is a time for those who are responsible for a ministry to just be with each other. 
  • There will be no agenda,  no trying to make something happen. 
  • With that in mind, please do invite others that you think should be there. 

Larry Campbell will be responsible for gathering the details for the 2010 Fly-In .  Campbell’s e-mail is .  Larry will need to have some feel for the number of folks likely to attend.

Andiamo means “Let’s go.”  That was an appropriate place to be for our first luncheon get-together for some heads of ministries to persons with intellectual disabilities.  We gathered in Chicago, to eat lunch together.  With no agenda and no program, twelve men and women gathered to share with each other and pray together.  They came from Canada, Florida, Wisconsin, Idaho.

There was a common thread with everyone who gathered–a deep concern about the evangelization and discipleship of the mentally challenged community.  As we went around the table and introduced ourselves and our ministries, it became obvious that some people had become close friends through their mutual determination to forge a friendship because of their shared ministry–though they live on opposite ends of the country.  In addition, there was a common sense of purpose that made instant bonds happen where there had been none the day before. 

For three to five hours, we laughed and whined and compared notes.  Lots of questions were waltzed around the room.   There were basic questions about the population we serve.

  • Is the mentally challenged community a sub-culture?  All of us passionately believe that we are dealing with a sub-culture.
  • If it is a sub-culture, similar to the youth culture or the Afro-American culture, doesn’t that mean that segregated ministries makes sense?
  • However, in segregating our members for the general population of the church, aren’t we robbing the Church from the great gifts that our members have to offer?
  • Is our calling to teach and evangelize our population or educate the church?
  • If we don’t educate the church, will we ever be able to effectively teach and evangelize our population?
  • How will we raise the level of awareness of the church to the tremendous need for effective evangelism and discipleship to our population?

Those questions led to inquiries dealing with raising up new leadership–a second generation of ministry leaders.

  • How will we reach and bring into our ranks new leadership from the young men and women who are seeking avenues of ministry?
  • How do we most effectively train new leadership?
  • Is one seminary course REALLY enough training for a future, full-time minister?
  • How can we most effectively use the internet to reach this new connected generation?

There were questions about effective ministry.

  • What about counseling for individuals who are mentally challenged?  Is it effective?  What does that counseling look like?
  •  What do we do with the people who are leaders within the mentally challenged community? 
  • Are they cognitively and emotionally able to take on more in-depth leadership roles within our ministry structures?

In the end, we decided to meet in 2010 in Chicago on a Friday.  We will fly into Chicago O’Hare Airport and meet at the Bus Shuttle Complex, Door 2.  Larry Campbell will make all the arrangements. 

Then we hugged and took pictures.  In the meantime, Tony Piantine of Camp Daniel will be in Orlando in January 2010.  He’ll be teaching at a conference there.  He thought that perhaps some heads of ministries may want to have lunch at that time, also. 


Today several heads of ministries from across the US will be gathering in Chicago to share and fellowship with each other.  This meeting is a direct outgrowth of an entry in March.  Tony Piantine, the head of Camp Daniel Ministries, read the blog and suggested that this meeting happen.  He took over the reigns and made it happen.  Other people worked in the background to gather folk but it has been Piantine’s brain child.

There will be between 10 to 13 people attending.  It will be interesting.  I hope to bring some of the result of our mud throwing to you.

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