ARM Blog

Dear Family and Friends of ARM,

We have had an incredible year of ministry. 1,500+ people touched by ARM ministry in the Methodist churches of Barbados, 1,200+ in church renewal events in the US, 1,121 at the Aldersgate Conference, 1,000 at the Aldersgate conference in the Philippines, 303 people at events at the ARC, 297 through regional fellowships, not to mention the folks that called or dropped by the office needing encouragement or resources. Through your generous giving throughout the year we are able to continue to provide these ministries.

As a reminder, we do not receive any funding from the United Methodist Church. Unlike the local church where a weekly offering is taken to provide for the needs of the body, our vital source of income is from the generous gifts of our partners and thru offerings at events. We need your help. At this time we find ourselves short to meet all of our obligations. 

While you are considering giving, please know we have several donors who are willing to make a matching gift dollar for dollar up to $60,000. So, right now, the first $60,000 given would double the impact on those who will receive the life-changing ministry through ARM! Your year-end gifts will provide for the operational needs of ARM including the salaries and benefits of our anointed and impactful staff, the maintenance of our facilities that hospitably serve our guests, and relevant technology that efficiently serves the people ARM reaches. God can use you to make all the difference... to those who are on the edge of giving up, giving out, and giving in. Are you willing to leave a mark, a legacy, by giving to ARM? God will be glorified in and through it all. 

Because it is a matching gift, only what is received is matched. The good news is we have received 17,648.00 towards our 60,000.00 match gift goal (as of 12/22/2015).  If we don't receive a year-end gift, we also don't receive the matching dollars!  All I ask is that you would pray and ask the Lord what He would have you give above your regular offering. 

Click to Give Your Matching Gift

My first Aldersgate experience was in 1998 in Dallas, TX. My wife Betty, son Christopher and I were witnesses to God’s amazing outpouring on this ministry. At a time when ARM was asking the question, “Is our season over?” God revealed Himself in a mighty way to say “I am not done with you.” I have that same quickening in my spirit as Gary Moore did in 1998. God is about to move in a mighty way! At a time when there is much uncertainty about the future of this world, I feel God has set us apart for a time such as this. We are blessed that Gary had the foresight to make a video about God’s mighty move and outpouring on and in the life of this ministry. We have placed that video on our website to encourage you as we press into the move of God for this season. Just go to at AldersgateRenewal.org/impact If you have trouble seeing this on our website let us know and we will send you a DVD with this amazing story.

 

Thank you for your love, prayers and support of this ministry.

 

Mark Barrow

 

Executive Director

 


Two Other Ways To Give

Phone

Call 1-877-857-9372

Mail

Mail your gift to:
Aldersgate Renewal Ministries
121 East Avenue
Goodlettsville, TN 37072

I don’t know exactly what it is about Christmas that children seem to have built within them.  It’s more than parties and gifts.  It’s more than more church services and the children’s pageant.  They have the idea that Christmas was sort of made for them.

When I was growing up in Kentucky, all the family came to our house for Christmas.  On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the family would gather (there were about 21 of us).  There was plenty of food, lots of talking, hustle and bustle all around, and all of us kids watched the tree closely.  I had one aunt who taught me how to unwrap a gift, check inside and re-wrap it so that almost no one knew it had been tampered with.  What a great time Christmas was!

As I grew in my understanding of Christmas, I knew there was more than just gifts and the family gathering.  Christmas was about the gift … Jesus.  I look back now, through the eyes of my grandchildren and see the wonder of it all for children. 

When they hear the story of the first Christmas, it brings something out of them… joy.  Somehow, in the midst of what Christmas has become in many places, the children bring the old story to life – bathrobes, sticks, cardboard stable, dressing up like the animals, and of course, the baby doll for Jesus.  They replay the scene and the realization comes – this is Jesus’ birthday story.  And the singing begins and it’s almost like singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus – Joy to the World; O Come, All Ye Faithful; Angels We Have Heard on High; and The First Noel are the songs we sing to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

As Christmas morning arrives, children run from their rooms to see what gift(s) they have under the tree and maybe outside the door.  For a moment it is like celebrating a birthday…Oh, we are!  Jesus’ name is lifted. We see reminders of His birth – angels, stars, shepherds, animals, and the like on our trees.  We might even hear O Little Town of Bethlehem playing in the background.  We have celebrated Jesus’ birth again.

“And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Jesus.”  (Isaiah 9:6, my addition)

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth this year, look into the eyes of the children.  They know.

May your homes be filled with peace.  May your family get-togethers be filled with joy. May your celebrations be filled with laughter.   And may you sense the love of the Savior’s presence among you.

b2ap3_thumbnail_book.pngA few years ago I was under Spiritual Direction with a blessed saint. She had traveled with God many years and had much wisdom and understanding. One day during our session she allowed me to read from one of her treasured books. I asked if I could take it home.  She thought for a moment and agreed with this admonition, “Be careful with it, it is out of print.”  I took it home and finished it within the week. I asked if she knew a source to purchase a copy. She reiterated it was out of print. The story goes along with me in a Berean bookstore getting supplies for a project at church. As I went to the register to check out, there on a shelf was the book…the book.  I picked it up and added to my load. The book was new. The cashier looked it up, not found.  She called the manager to find the price, not found. He looked in the archive; the book was out of print. He asked where I found it, I showed him, and he replied, “God must have wanted you to have this book.  Here it is, no charge.”  I was more than happy. My Spiritual Director and I praised God for providing this book for me at that time in my life.

In the Scriptures we find verses, even passages that seem to jump out to us at different moments in our lives. God is providing what we need for a specific situation we are going through or that is coming. The Holy Spirit enables us to remember them.  Even when we didn’t mark them at the time, we seem to find them easily. When we do, we praise God for God’s guidance and provision. Our God is faithful.

Have you ever wondered, “How many people come to an ARM event because they are looking for something they have not found yet?” They may not be sure they have come to the right place, but they’re willing to try. After a few moments in the event, they sense the Holy Spirit, they feel the closeness of God, and they receive what they have been searching for. This happens at most ARM events.  Because of your faithful support of ARM, you are a part of making events available for people…just like me, who came to an Aldersgate Conference to see if God would really do what my aunt prayed over me. And, He did. Praise God. 

 

May God continue to provide for all who are seeking (searching, wandering, exploring.)

I was on my way home from a wedding rehearsal dinner.  I came around a curve in the road and there were 5 deer standing in the road, and a deer in the field beside the road.

They stood there with a look on their faces like – “What are you doing here?”  I think I probably had the same kind of look on my face.  I sat there for a few minutes waiting for them to decide to move on.  They didn’t move.  I gunned my engine a little.  They all turned and looked my direction – still no movement.  Then, in the bushes two fawn jumped out into the field and then all the other deer jumped into the field also.

When something unexpected happens to us, how do we respond?  Most of us have had the experience of stopping one thing, changing directions, and then, doing something else.  

Does God bring unexpected things into our lives?  

I believe God does this.  When we are not seeing a clear vision of where God is leading us, God has to get our attention…and something unexpected happens.  We have to stop and pay attention.

Occasionally, even though we are doing what we believe is the right thing to do, God may have another direction for our lives.  This may cause momentary angst, but when we gather ourselves, we can re-focus on God’s direction and follow. 

This is exactly what happened to me this summer.  I was pastoring a church and God was blessing the ministry there.  Then something unexpected happened, a new position opened with ARM.  I prayed, sought counsel from trusted friends, prayed more and then applied for the position.

Since that time God has opened more and more of what God has wanted to do in my life, through ARM.  I’ve had to re-focus on God’s direction and follow.  Now, here I am with ARM still learning what God is revealing day by day.

Now, I don’t have a full-proof plan to help us cope with all the unexpected, but I do have some ideas for us to ponder.

First, when the unexpected happens, don’t get frustrated, pray and ask a question – “Why is this happening right now?”  Then, consider the situation.  Another question comes to mind – “What can I do about this situation?”

Next, pray more.  Ask if God is a part of this unexpected thing.  Seek God’s thoughts about the situation.  What do we need to learn?  Have we listened and followed God’s direction?

And, pray for God’s will for us in this situation.  We may need to be doing something else for the kingdom.

Finally, thank God for helping you through the unexpected.  Being grateful for God’s provision is a step toward who we are supposed to be.

Unexpected things are going to happen.  If we allow, God will guide us through all of them.

ARM has unexpected things happening from time to time.  In our ministry’s history, God has given new vision, renewed fervor, increased boldness, and brought us together with a sense of God’s presence among us.  With God’s grace we maneuver through each circumstance and praise God for the ways He directs us. 

In the ‘normal’ order of things, parents are the ones that are supposed to teach their children lessons.  However, this summer on our way to our family vacation, my two daughters taught me a valuable lesson in faith.  A lesson that I think if every believer and church practiced, the world would be a radically different place to live in.  Let me share with you what took place. 

Early in the summer Jocelyn and I planned a surprise trip to Disney World for the girls.  Our hopes were that we could make it a complete surprise for them, and we were able to pull it off.  During the weeks leading up to our trip, Jocelyn and I were able to make all of the arrangements without the girls finding anything out.  The night before we left, we packed the car and had everything ready to leave for an 8 hour car ride to Orlando.  When the girls got up that morning, I asked if they wanted to go try out a new DVD system I had purchased for the car.  They agreed and hopped into the car, not knowing where we were heading.  Our plan was once they started asking where we were going we would play some games and allow them to earn clues along the way until they figured out our final destination.  When the movie finished we were a little more than an hour down the road and my youngest asked if we could go home, since the movie was over.  I said, “Well since we’ve come this far why don’t we just keep driving and go on a vacation.”  The girls were shocked and started asking some questions and making some observations.  The first was, “We don’t have any of our stuff or clothes.”  Jocelyn replied, “We’ve packed all of that, everything you need we have.”  My youngest asked, “Are we going to stay in a hotel?”  I responded yes we were.   The next question, “Is there a pool at the hotel?”  The answer was yes.  Then I waited for the next obvious question, the one I was chomping at the bit to hear, “Where are we going?”  Yet, that question never came!!!  In fact it wasn’t until we stopped for lunch almost 6 hours into our journey that someone finally asked the question.  

It was during those 6 hours of waiting for the questions that I learned what faith really looks like.  Time after time in the scriptures this is the way God calls His people to live, in simple faith.  For my girls the destination was obviously not that important.  They had a couple basic questions, about stuff and needs, but in their minds we had taken care of all of the details, and they could just enjoy the journey for what it would be.  That my brothers and sisters is what faith looks like.  

Is it possible that with all of our questions of, “when, where, how, why, how about now, are we there yet…etc.” God is simply saying, “Relax.  Calm down. I have indeed, thought of everything. Just enjoy the journey with me.”  What an incredibly freeing way to live life!  I believe this is the inherent promise we find in the gift of the Holy Spirit, that indeed we have not been abandoned, but that God is with us.  I wish that each of us and every church across this nation would come to know the amazing freedom that comes in living into that type of faith.  On behalf of the Board and Council, I am thankful for your faithful support of ARM, in financial support, prayer support, volunteer support and countless other ways, as well.  Your support of the ongoing work of ARM gives more and more people the opportunity to experience the blessing of living in faith.  Thank you!