Upper Room Daily Reflections

Saturday, June 20, 2015

WATER DRIVE STARTING July 1 Folks, the agencies, programs and helping service we support are beginning to run low on bottled water for those they help. Drop off Locations Needed!! If your business or organization is willing to be a drop off point for our WATER DRIVE please let me know! Our volunteers will pick up weekly so you won't be overrun with cases of water! Contact Pastor Mark! - FaithThroughWorksFellowship@gmail.com www.FaithThroughWorksFellowship.org

Friday, May 8, 2015

A bed to sleep in and a kitchen table to have dinner at….It’s the simple things in life that build confidence and provide security. The average family we assist is a single mom with 3 children all under the age of 10. They have worked hard to gain independence, emerging from programs of improvement and are finally empowered to independently raise their family with a sustainable income and steady, secure job. Please help us help them with a hand up! We need your donations of gently used furniture and furnishings. 100% of your tax deductible cash donations go towards beds and other needs of the families we help. Please consider helping us today. Please help Furniture Bank help others not as blessed as we are right now. www.FurnitureBank.us

Sunday, April 5, 2015

He is risen, nothing to fear. …… This Easter Sunday I am humbled with the newness that the Risen Christ brings to our lives. Being reminded of how His death conquered all that drags us down and truly brings me back to the roots of our faith and our freedom. The daily routines, issues, challenges, and habits of our lives can easily distract and pull us away from the life changing truth that is ours on a daily basis. “The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said …."  Matthew 28:5-6 Lord, Thank you that Christ is risen! Please help us today to walk in the power and grace of the risen Christ. Please let us always seek Your will and not be stifled by our own, Amen. “we had to stop doubting the power of God.” Big Book pg 52 Have a blessed Resurrection day y’all!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Why do we call it Good Friday if that’s the day that Jesus died?

 What’s good about that? To be honest, even after I became a Christian, I didn’t really understand the significance of Good Friday. After I became thirsty for His truth and started to grow in my faith, through learning and daily study of God’s Word. I learned the significance of Good Friday, the actual day that Jesus was crucified, it became clear to me. Now, whenever I really think about it, my understanding is renewed, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Good Friday is good because that is the day that we celebrate and honor the fact that Jesus Christ chose to die for us. Celebrating Good Friday means you understand the importance of Christianity and what this day means to us believer and our faith.

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

Recognizing the importance of Good Friday, along with the celebration of Easter on Sunday, is a part of my faith.   It’s important to me that I be able to show and share the importance of this day to my family and others. This day says we cannot save ourselves. Without Christ’s selfless act, without His choosing to give His life, we would be living by the law, and not by grace. That’s the reason Christians put so much emphasis on Good Friday and Easter as such  important holidays. It is a large part of the “why” behind the celebration of our salvation.

“Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to His eyes and we hear these words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That’s us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing, so divine, that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner–whoever he or she may be.” Robert G. Trache

Please join me in celebrating Good Friday and may you and your loved ones enjoy this Easter time and receive God’s grace and blessings.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Furniture Bank friends,
Your donations are needed! We have been receiving many requests for help these past few weeks. We have now received so many requests that we are now forced to create a wait list because we do not have enough furniture and furnishings to help the requesting families. Please know that we can use your gently used furniture and furnishings. Every penny donated to Furniture Bank goes toward helping the individuals and families in need. Please let us know if you have a donation. Please help Furniture Bank help those not as blessed as we are right now. www.FurnitureBank.us
Let the blessings roll!
Pastor Mark

Monday, December 29, 2014

THANK YOU!!!! Your support, encouragement, and help has allowed Furniture Bank to grow again this year! We helped over 50 families in 2013 and were able to assist over 100 families this year! Our work has just started, and we need your help and assistance more than ever!  There are over 5000 people in Maricopa County that qualify as homeless families. Please know that over 99% of your gifts and donations go directly to the families we serve and assist. Please help us help Homeless Families! Contribute to the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit program (ARS 43-1088), you can earn a dollar for dollar tax credit on your tax return while supporting children and families as they escape homelessness and move back into homes and jobs. For more information visit www.furniturebank.us

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pastor Mark's Journey

I can't... HE can... I am glad I let HIM!

23 years ago on December 17, 1991 I finally took the first 3 steps that saved my life…I finally admitted that …I can’t,… He can, (AND DOES!)… Thanks God for letting me! 23 years of blessed sobriety.

“You will lose the old life to find one much better.” Big Book pg 120 “everything connected with that old way of life has to go. And then take on an entirely new way of life a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:-24 Thank you God, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Salvation Army for showing me a new freedom and way of living based upon a spiritual tool kit freely given.

23 years ago I was a broken man, addicted to methamphetamines and hopelessly alcoholic. In jail again for my 12th DUI I was to be sent to prison. I was 30 years old and had estranged everyone from me in my life. As I stared into the piece of tin that serves as a jail house mirror I suddenly realized that I no longer knew this person staring back at me. I got on my knees, and said the only prayer I could at the time, “God help me.”

Things began to change immediately. My cellmate kept inviting me to the AA meetings and until that day I never wanted to attend. The meeting started with a very short man who was not in jail jumping up on a table and shouting, “If you guys keep on doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting!” It was the shortest AA meeting I have ever attended because that was all I heard. I began reading the AA Big Book, and attending the meetings along with the Christian Overcomers Outreach program.

​After a few weeks, I went for my prison sentencing, but my Public Defender did not show up. 2 weeks later I went again to be sentenced and the Prosecutor did not show up. It would be 6 more weeks in the jail before I would be sentenced to prison. I stayed active in AA and in the Christian fellowship Overcomers Outreach. My heart changed because Jesus was my Savior and I finally accepted the fact that I had to change and that my behaviors had gotten me here and I must pay the consequences.

When I finally went to court to be sentenced, there was a different judge on the bench and he shared a letter that was written on my behalf by an anonymous member of AA telling him I was changing and asking him to give me a chance at a rehab program instead of prison. The judge stopped the sentencing and asked me if I would like to spend 6 months at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Sacramento. I knew that God had heard my cry for help and that I needed to keep following Him!

I willingly went to the Salvation Army. They loved me until I could learn to love myself. I threw myself into learning about God and became active in AA and in serving the homeless and addicted. I was awarded a scholarship to go back to college and got my Human Services as well as my CADC counseling certificates for drugs and alcohol. I began running the Phase 1 recovery programs for Salvation Army and helped to manage the homeless shelter.

Through my quest for lasting sobriety in AA I met my beautiful angel Tami, who allowed this strange man with a pony tail who worked at the homeless shelter and rode a bicycle to fall in love with her and eventually marry her. God gave us His gift in Kai 16 years ago. We have traveled this journey together now for 20 years and have had ups and downs like we all do, but NO MATTER WHAT we have loved God and one another without a drink or a drug.

For the past 23 years the Lord has placed homeless, hopeless, addicted, and spiritually hurting people in my path. I have found my passion for serving others through working with those who struggle with the very things I have faced and overcome in my life.

In my walk with the Lord, trying to be the best example of Jesus that I can be, I have started many groups based on the 12 spiritually based steps that AA uses that came from the Bible. I have also worked with many individuals to help them overcome the hurts, hurdles, and hang-ups that keep them in emotional and spiritual pain, blocking off the healing spirit of the Lord.

I have learned in my journey that we can only truly heal when we share our gifts and help others. “Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God's various gifts of grace.” 1 Peter 4:10

Over the years I have helped others as a part of their healing and helping journey to learn to work with the homeless, hurting, and helpless by sharing God’s grace through humble and helpful service projects.

I have formed solid and productive relationships with many organizations in the greater Phoenix area in my quest to serve others. Over the years this has developed into a ministry that I have built with my wife and daughter, along with many friends who share our passion to serve and help those who are not as blessed as we are right now.

For the past 23 years I have lived one day at a time looking to serve and help. God saved me from alcoholism and addiction and taught me to be free through serving others. I believe in and truly try to live what the Bible promises that it is through giving to others that we receive. God has given me more than I ever deserved. The Big Book has taught me that Faith without works is dead. The least I can do is to try daily to pay Him back through serving others. Thank you Jesus for saving me! Thank God for the Salvation Army, my church families over the years that have helped me to realize my role in God’s story, and Alcoholics Anonymous!

Today I am an Ordained Pastor for the Church of God Anderson. I have founded Faith Through Works Fellowship. www.FaithThroughWorksFellowship.org

Through this nonprofit ministry I will continue my mission and further God’s work to help those in need.

Please come and join me as we seek to share our gifts from God through serving and helping others.

​Let the blessings roll!