Saturday February 2, 2013
“Stepping Up” Men’s conference
Trinity Lighthouse Church
ACT LIKE MEN!
With fists raised in the air, this was our motto… Our “war cry” for the day! What does it mean, to “ACT LIKE MEN!”? It means NOT being passive. It means being COURAGEOUS. It means taking responsibility in your life. It means being aware of your weaknesses. It means knowing your strengths & using them to OVERCOME those weaknesses. It means identifying TRUE priorities & putting your relationship w/ GOD & FAMILY first… everything & everyone else? Take a number!
Sure, there was LOTS of testosterone in the air as 65+ men (ALL of whom were searching for answers, direction, accountability, encouragement & reassurance) came together and kicked off the conference w/ a Heaven’s Thunder-ized dose of “fuzzy-electric-guitar-chugging-bass-thumping-drum-pounding-piano-wailing-fist-pumping” worship to get everybody into gear! But hey, we’re GUYS! We like that sort of stuff!
But as we shifted gears & moved into the sessions we “got our bearings” and our journey was underway. With each step of the process, we not only got closer to what GOD intended for us to realize… learn… & achieve, but we also distanced ourselves from our OLD selves. Some parts of the journey were more treacherous for some than others, but that’s when it became time to “circle up” & talk with those in our group. Discussing/sharing concerns, fears, short-comings & personal experiences made it easier to get through those difficult stretches where the trail seemed to take a slippery turn or a rocky ascent. When this sort of bond takes place, you become aware that you’re not alone & that the obstacles ARE able to be conquered & that your destination is not only attainable but within your grasp.
“Stepping Up” not only takes a “step of faith” but it requires being courageous & “stepping out” of one’s comfort zone. Once you do that, you realize that the reward is worth the risk. So take that first step &… ACT LIKE MEN!
Reflecting on 2012 and how God enabled us to touch so many lives… MORE than we could have EVER anticipated!
Dear friends & loyal supporters,
We would like to take a moment to reflect on 2012 and how God enabled us to touch so many lives… MORE than we could have EVER anticipated! 2012 was all about NEW things for both Thunder Outreach and the Heaven’s Thunder Worship Team; from NEW relationships to NEW frontiers & horizons to NEW doors being opened and NEW goals being realized, God made Himself NEW, not only to us as a team, but to those whose lives we touched.
We started the year off in late winter by teaming up w/ the Reading Royals for a couple of visits to the Sovereign Center. One as a co-sponsor for the 7th Annual “Battle of the Badges” hockey game between the Police & Fire Dept’s of Reading, the other for a Faith & Family Night where we were blessed to have the opportunity to deliver some high-energy, faith-based, positive & uplifting music to the post-game crowd. The month of March moved us into some NEW territory as we visited Pastor Matthew Heckman & his flock @ Kochenderfer UMC up in LEBANON COUNTY. This relationship was enhanced by a second visit later in the year as we encouraged them to “Seek first the kingdom of God…”
As we moved into spring NEW relationships were sparked as we visited Ministerio Cosecha Divina (Divine International Harvest) and their Pastor Jose Hernandez. What we DIDN’T know is that God was preparing us to bridge the gap between multiple churches within the Latino community of Reading, PA for a “city-united” event in September called “Not One More Tear”, where we shared the stage w/ several Latino bands, ministers, pastors & worshippers as people came together to pray for an end to the violence in this city! If you would have told us 2 years ago that we would be working, ministering & worshipping hand-in-hand with the Spanish community we would have told you that you were loco!!! The HEART for WORSHIP & the LOVE for their community that these people have is incredible!
Things heated up for the summer as we worked w/ the Relay for Life 2012 campaign to bring something NEW to the Boyertown event. We were given the opportunity to minster, encourage, uplift & comfort so many people from all walks of life in a way many had never experienced before… through the power of praise & worship. The power & presence we felt that day was something we had never experienced before. What a blessing!
We rounded out the summer with a couple of visits to the Pocono Mountains. First we visited Pocono International Raceway where we worked w/ the PRO (Pennsylvania Racing Outreach) Team as they continued their outreach ministry to the NASCAR fans. Next we supported Grace Community Church in Lansford, PA as they held their annual block party outreach event. Pastors Jeremy & Victoria Benack have a heart for their community and it shows! They are doing a GREAT job of reaching the people in their town!
With FALL came “the light @ the end of the tunnel” as once again we partnered with VF Outlets @ their annual Hot Rod Classic car-show/food-drive. This year’s theme was the 70’s and man was it groovy! Next was the “Light in the Night” event @ Fairgrounds Square Mall where we ministered to & blessed over 3,000 kids in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. With support from both the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club (Chapter-4) and WORD-FM we were able to “PUSH BACK the POWERS OF DARKNESS!!!” and provide a family friendly alternative to Halloween.
I guess that about wraps it up for Thunder Outreach in 2012. So, what did you do this year? If you’re looking to get MORE involved in community outreach please contact us @ www.thunderoutreach.com. We would LOVE to have you as part of the team!
Thank you for your support & God bless,
Click on the link to see a short "YOU TUBE" video about how Thunder Outreach shares God's Love in our Communities1
LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND!
Easier said than done? ABSOLUTELY! Can it be easier than we often times convince ourselves it is/isn’t? DEFINITELY!
The key is to first be THANKFUL… Thankful for what we have been blessed with or maybe thankful for what we haven’t had to endure. Just taking a look around us can often times help us
Saturday September 22, 2012
“Not One More Tear”
The Power of ONE!
There’s a song by U2 that has always spoken to me in a deep, thought provoking way. It speaks about the power of ONE… What ONE man can accomplish… GOOD or BAD. How ONE person can have a DEEP, lasting impact on not only their immediate circle of friends/family but those around the world.
To have that kind of IMPACT is something many strive for but few truly attain. It’s not as hard as one ß(there it is again) might imagine but it does have its requirements. For starters, you MUST take that FIRST STEP! The first step can & will be the hardest but, each step that follows will become “easier”. Maybe not easier in terms of completion or accomplishment but easier to see… to feel… to understand its importance & how each following step works with & builds off of the preceding step(s).
Next comes responsibility; If you have been tasked with a duty (and we ALL have, whether we like it or not) you are going to be held accountable to see it through to completion.
The BIGGEST requirement is PATIENCE… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Heck, God’s work through his own son, Jesus, took 30+ years to accomplish. Let’s be real for a second… He’s God & if he wanted to do it @ the >snap!< of His almighty fingers, He could have. But where would the impact, the connection, the roots, the depth, the passion be in that? Jesus became who He was because of His walking amongst us… His touching us… Him being touched by us… WOW!
Are we not called to do/be the same to the world/community we live in? To be IN (but not OF) the world… To “walk alongside”… To touch those around us… To be “touchable” (reachable/accessible) by those who need to know someone is there for them in their time of need… But in order to do this EFFECTIVELY we, as the BODY OF CHRIST, must come together as ONE. That was the theme for this event. That the city of Reading, PA would join as ONE BODY, under ONE GOD with ONE HEART & ONE PURPOSE… to change the city of READING, ONE man, ONE woman, ONE child, ONE street corner, ONE block, ONE school @ a time!
Once we all get that concept, the victory shall be ONE!
Saturday August 4, 2012
Pocono Raceway Family Campground
Long Pond, PA
I GET IT, LORD…
Ever have one of those moments of doubt, where everything you’ve planned & prepped for seems to be getting more disorganized with each passing moment? Where every step you take seems to be followed by 2 steps backwards? Where every obstacle you cross, every mountain you climb seems to be followed by another one, more ominous than the last? Yeah… me too. And let me tell you, it can get downright frustrating! But then, just as you start to second guess yourself (and God) and are about to “pull the plug” you get a sign… a hint… a glimmer of HOPE that re-aligns your focus (not to mention bolsters your FAITH!) & says; “Continue on. I’m here. I’m in control. You are called to do this. Now DO IT!”
That was pretty much the foundation for our most recent event when we joined together w/ the PRO (Pennsylvania Racing Outreach) Ministry Team for the big 3-day NASCAR weekend @ Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. From work schedules, to out-of-country visitors to family vacations @ the beach to childcare to car-pooling to the weather… every corner we turned only led us down another dark & twisted alley of uncertainty & doubt. Doubt so deep that God Himself had to remove it from within me by messing with my Pizza! “What did he just say?” YEP! You heard me right… The “Head Chef” messed w/ my pizza! Just as I was @ the point of throwing in the towel & about to settle for trying again next year He sends me a message… LOUD-n-CLEAR! (I love when He does that!)
To make a long story short; I order a CARRY OUT pizza from Pizza-Hut (are we still allowed to eat there?). They say “15-minutes”. I get there in 15-minutes. I pay. I wait… & wait… & wait. As I am waiting I’m pondering the whole situation & how it ISN’T coming together as hoped & I’m asking myself (and God) “Maybe we’re NOT supposed to do this event... Maybe I should just pull the plug.” Then it happens… after waiting 20 minutes LONGER than I was originally told, a man walks in, steps up to the CARRY OUT window (no more than 5-feet away from me), pays for his pizza & walks out… “Significance?” you ask. He does this while wearing a BRIGHT PINK T-shirt that says, you guessed it… “POCONO RACEWAY!!!” Then, as he turns to leave, they call my name & give me my pizza! Are you kidding me??? Really??? Ok, I get it Lord! I guess we’re going to Pocono! J
Now my FAITH is thru the roof! Suddenly work schedules are changing, car-pool plans are coming together. Even the weather threat is subsiding and it’s not even SATURDAY yet! But wait… He’s not done yet! As we are driving up the turnpike, approaching Pocono Raceway, we start to see clouds. As we get closer, they get BIGGER. As we pull in, it starts to rain, but there are still a few cracks in the clouds where we can see BLUE skies waiting for us. Turns out it’s just the edge of a passing storm and is gone in 10 minutes… Whew! Thank You, Lord!
But then we get the news: there’s a BIGGER storm coming w/ 40MPH wind & lots of rain, neither of which is good for an outdoor event… especially one that requires LOTS of sound equipment & the electricity to power it. So we do the only thing we can do… we join together with the PRO Team & we PRAY. We pray for safety. We pray for the weather (as thunder is rolling in the distance). We pray that God’s will be done. Now it’s in His hands… As we concluded our prayer time, we look above the canopy and see 1 small spot of blue sky directly above us and we claim that as a sign… A sign that HE is in control & is going to make a way where there seems there is no way. Needless to say, it barely sprinkled for MAYBE 5 minutes. Then it all blew out & the sky turned blue.
On our way home Mark makes an interesting point… if ALL of the issues we dealt with leading up to this event hadn’t happened… if there were no bumps in the road… if it had been smooth sailing… How could we have given God ALL the glory for what happened? It would be too easy to just say “Thank You, Lord for a nice day!” and go on our merry way. But where is the testimony in that? Where would the HOPE & encouragement be to those reading this that, even when things seem frighteningly grim & the odds are stacked against us, HE still cares & still comes through.
If yesterday was only about us trusting in Him & Him putting us in a position to give Him ALL the GLORY… That’s fine with me. Reminders are good. They help us re-focus & put/keep things in perspective. They keep us humble. They bolster our faith. They put us @ His mercy which isn’t such a bad thing. I get it, Lord… I get it.
Saturday 23, 2012
Relay For Life Event
Boyertown Senior H.S.
In 2011 we @ Thunder Outreach had the opportunity to help the “Miracles from Him” team headed up by Jeff & Sheryl Sperring. We assisted @ the “Miracles from Him” team-tent and had a blast sharing/showing God’s love to those we came in contact with in an easy, gentle, no-strings-attached way. In fact we had such a great time that we knew God had something bigger for us in 2012.
Fast-Forward to 2012…
Thanks to Jeff & Sherry and the “Miracles from Him” team, along with much support from Jim Davidheiser, Heaven’s Thunder was permitted to perform @ the 2012 Relay For Life event. Not only were we permitted to share our brand of positive, fun, uplifting music but we were privileged enough to do so as a lead-in to the 9:00PM luminary service! WOW! What an opportunity! From survivors to care-givers to those still fighting… To be able to share the positive message of God’s Love with those people going through a time of need, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well, was such an awesome opportunity and privilege!
Thank you Jeff & Sherry! Thank you Jim! Thank you Relay for Life Board of Directors & Staff! We felt so loved and accepted to be a small part of an event that is such a HUGE blessing and encouragement to so many people from all walks of life! Thank you ALL!!!
Saturday/Sunday… June 9 & 10, 2012
Arise Revival Series
Spring City, PA
Saturday, June 9, 2012: FIRE!
One of the most satisfying aspects of ministry is when you are able to “get out of the way” & allow God to use you as a vessel… Especially when the Lord fills your mouth with words that bring encouragement and confirmation of words previously spoken that you had NO knowledge of!
That’s what happened Saturday evening when our praise & worship time moved “off the page” from the songs we had planned and rehearsed to new songs & new melodies we were not familiar with, yet somehow had a bond with in our hearts. The word “FIRE!” struck a chord in our worship time and it was later found to be something that had become a sort of “theme” for this congregation over the last few months through both spoken words & visions.
Sunday, June 10, 2012: REACH OUT!
Sunday morning the Spirit continued to flow through both the worship and the message delivered by Pastor John Shantz. “REACH OUT” was the prevalent theme for the worship time & once again new words & melodies came forth as we pressed into God & reached out for Him, even if only to touch His garment. The further WE reached, the more we saw & tasted of Him and His love, his mercy, His grace that he has waiting for us.
Saturday/Sunday… June 2 & 3, 2012
Pre-Relay for Life Event Weekend
Church of the Good Sheppard
Saturday, June 2, 2012: OBEDIENCE
Often times, when we are planning or gearing up for a special event, we have pre-conceived ideas of what WE would like to see happen. Whether it be hundreds of people showing up & rejoicing as they stretch out their hands & hearts in praise for our King… legitimate physical healing(s) that can only be attributed to our Creator, our faith in Him and His never-ending LOVE for us… or deep, heartfelt experiences & encounters with God that tear down the walls we have erected while simultaneously strengthening the foundation in our lives that He can continue to build His kingdom on. No matter what it is that WE envision, that WE pray for, that WE determine as being something God “should” do (as “GODLY” or “HOLY” as it may be) it’s still OUR notion, OUR desire, OUR mind’s conception… and that doesn’t always line up with His plan(s).
Yet when you are obedient to His voice… HIS calling… HIS moving, the end result is always better than what we could have written or scripted. Sometimes obedience is a “TEST”… Almost as if God himself says, “Let’s see how they react when this happens…” and we are faced with something we are so sure, so positive, so awfully certain is NOT what God would have designed that we begin to question ourselves, our motives, our desires. At that pivotal point we are faced with a decision to make; Do we pack it in? Call it quits? Go through the motions, as they say? Or do we stop… breathe deep & praise our Lord & Savior with all that we have?
Saturday night, June 2, 2012… We stopped. We breathed deep &we praised! Not for the handful of people who came out to support a kick-off event dedicated to the Boyertown Relay for Life but for the one who gave his life for us, Jesus Christ. Little did we know that our obedience and perseverance that evening in what appeared to our earthly eyes to be a less than impressive evening was in fact laying ground work, tilling hard soil and charging the atmosphere for the next day’s harvest.
Sunday, June 3, 2012: SQUARE-1
For there to be an end result, there must be a first step. You can’t FINISH the race if you don’t START the race. This applies to pretty much everything in our lives, both good & bad, and so it was with Jesus & His ministry. Whether it is his teachings, his acts of love, or his miracles, if he is not OBEDIENT & does not take/make the first step in any of these, there cannot be a 2nd… a 3rd… and so on.
Not only did Mark speak about Jesus’ first miracle in his message this morning but he also shared the message of salvation and how you have to TAKE that first step in order to “confirm your reservation” in Heaven. He encouraged those in attendance to think back through their years of going to church & try to remember if they had ever made that commitment & accepted Christ as their personal Savior. Too often we think we are automatically “IN” just because we have been going to church for X-amount of years and have never been given the opportunity to “accept Him into our hearts”.
At the end of the service a young man, a local firefighter, and his wife came forward asking for Mark to lead him in prayer so that he too, just like his wife, might become saved and be able to call Jesus his personal Savior!
Like the song says: “One lost. One found. One saved… Now they’re dancing in Heaven again!!!”
Posted by Juli on March 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm
What an awesome night at the Sovereign Center with special guest Mark Malizzi and Heaven’s Thunder for Faith and Family Night! I always love watching a great hockey game… especially when I’m on the ice and at the players’ benches photographing the whole thing!!! Tonight happened to be Slapshot’s birthday so twenty area mascots came for the celebration. This included a mascot game at half time which was quite entertaining, followed by a mascot dance. It was definitely a heated matchup between the Reading Royals and Elmira Jackals that ended with a great performance by Heaven’s Thunder. This band had their whole setup on two rollbacks which made for a great stage at center ice. Thank you Sovereign Center for another fantastic night!