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Meet John Burke.

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This past Friday was a pretty incredible day in ministry for me and The Knead. As many of you probably already know, we have the joy and privilege of serving in recovery and reentry ministry through a collaborative effort called the Hope Road Project. I just wanted to take a few minutes to share more about The Knead and this effort by introducing you to my friend, John Burke.

We officially launched The Knead last December and it’s with a great sense of excitement and anticipation that we give this update. John was one of our very first clients that began with us nearly 10 months ago. Under the direction of Charles Hickman, this journey started. John knew nothing of baking and cooking other than that which involved the chemistry of ‘cooking’ illegal substances. Let’s just say that since December, we’ve seen John changed by the power of the Gospel and he has discovered many transferable skills.

I’m grateful for the many people who have poured into John… too many to name… that have played a role in his second chance. HE IS OUR FIRST SUCCESS STORY! 

This past Friday, John was officially promoted to Kitchen Manager at The Knead and presented with his Baker’s Jacket. He now leads out in the daily operations of lunch and baking. He has also begun the process of mentoring our newest clients and has settled into a crucial leadership role. His responsibilities continue to grow daily. His passion for seeing others experience the same life-change motivates him. Continue to pray for him on this journey! Thanks to the MANY who have made the vision for The Knead become a reality!


Here is a video of that presentation…



Also here is the text of the letter I read from John’s mother during the presentation…

I write this through tears of thanksgiving in the awareness that God is BIG…IN A GOD SIZED WAY! I share your prayer often and use it again now, ‘God, you know the deal!’ and add ‘please hear my heart, not my words’.

I remember when you asked me to find out what it takes for you to go to Mission Missouri. “It’s the best place to go Mom.” I questioned your motives as to what best as viewed through your glasses looked like. It wasn’t quite what you expected when you got there.

You know I believe God has a plan in which we each get to make choices. You know I support your good choices.

You told me you thought church with this ‘pretty cool’ pastor that comes by The Mission would be good. YAY! So you won’t have ‘forced worship’ with a ‘bunch of DUDES’. I just shook my head, OKAY! I laugh in hind-sight. Have I mentioned God is BIG!!

Even from as far away as I am I start to see changes. Church Saturday night so you can sleep in on Sunday turned into church on Saturday night AND Sunday morning! Then I hear about this thing called ‘Fight Club’. I implode thinking ALL the wrong stuff. I finally ask you about it. You giggle and tell me it’s a ‘secret’. I experienced the ‘PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING’ scripture talks about. Later I hear it’s your men’s group. Then you tell me about what I now know to be GO GROUP! OMG! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY SON!! (Conviction in a completely different way! 🙂

In the mean-time you were working in a job you were frustrated with. You no longer found a negative environment something you wanted to engage in. Pastor Chad offered you an opportunity to ‘help out’ at THE KNEAD and you took it. I noticed you rarely curse anymore! WEIRD!

Something really strange started to happen. You were edgy, fidgety like a caged wild animal. You shared that THE KNEAD needed you and you loved it. The paying job kept you angry and frustrated. How could you leave a job for money to work full time at THE KNEAD? “Mom, does that sound like me?! NO! Well, that’s what I’m doing! Who would EVER believe that?”

I have felt for many years that God was using your poor choices to mentor you for some great work in His name. I have also felt that a GOOD male role model in your life would have made such a huge difference. What does God do? He gives you an entire Bible centered fraternity of members as strong-willed and opinionated as you are! WOW! I am just overwhelmed. Add their families to the bunch and the relationships you have built with amazing people who love you right where you are!

I have heard humility as you shared through your tears the impact THE KNEAD has on yourself, the community of Sikeston and the clients it serves on both sides of the counter. Through your tears I hear your fear of disappointing Pastor Chad, Pastor Chas, Jodi, or Tim. Claim your God-given power son. You are an amazing man! God has carried you from convict to community leader! BIG? YES!

Everyone knows how you love word plays! You had a need. The Knead filled it. Now you knead every day. What you knead fills a need. What was fed to you was far more than bread. It was the Bread of Eternal Life. Your testimony serves the Bread to others.

You truly are living your purpose: ‘John Burke is a proud, successful man helping others by listening to what they have to say.’

I am so proud of you! I love you!!

-MOM

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5questions

This blog is a great follow-up to last weekend’s Renewed Bliss message that was a challenge for men… How to Become a Great Lead-Her. WATCH IT HERE on YouTube or LISTEN HERE for the iTunes Podcast.

1. What is the most romantic thing that I’ve ever done for you?

I think you will be surprised… The answer will most likely be something you totally didn’t expect. When we get married we tend to think about nice places and spending lots of money, but the reality is that the little things go along way to communicate our love for our wife.

2. What is something fun we can do together?

Guys, our definition of fun and hers are usually completely different. One of the things about most women is that they want to feel connected to their husbands… to feel like they matter and are important… and one of the ways they do that is by simply having fun.

Now men — I’m not talking about taking her to something that you like doing… I am talking about asking her what she wants to do… and then making that happen! Trust me, it communicates to her that you care.

3. What is one thing I can do for you this week that will relieve stress from your life?

I truly believe that we honestly have no idea how much stress a lady carries around with her on a daily basis. Then you also have to take into consideration how they were created… you don’t have to understand it… you just have to know… that in their life… everything affects everything. So, we should be willing to do all that we can to relieve stress from her life.

This may include giving her an afternoon to herself… without the kids. It may include you cooking dinner one night… and even cleaning up afterwards. Whatever it takes… do it!

4. How can I pray for you?

It is amazing the number of men who will not ask their wife this question. Men, we are called to lead our homes spiritually, which means we should provide protection and direction.

Now, when she asks you to pray for something specific, please resist the temptation to go ahead and be the answer to her prayer by solving the problem she’s bringing to your attention. She asked you to pray… not lecture. I know we have a tendency to try to fix everything, but she doesn’t want you to fix her problem… she wants you to listen to her!

5. If you could change one thing about our marriage, what would it be?

This one takes guts! Most of us assume or at least hope that the answer would be… NOTHING and that our wife would proceed to tell us that we’re perfect. However, that’s rarely the case.

If your wife shares a concern, it’s probably NOT for the purpose of hurting you, but rather because she truly desires to improve that area of your marriage. It may sting a little, but it will also give great insight into what she considers to be important.

Men, Ephesians 5:25 says we are to love our wives as Christ loves his bride, the church.

  • He never stops loving the church.
  • He never stops pursuing the church.
  • He always comes home for the church.
  • He never cheats on the church.
  • He provides for the church.
  • He never stops thinking about the church.
  • He takes the church seriously.

I am not the perfect husband, but more and more I am realizing that my marriage should not be about what I can get, but what I can give and how I can serve.

As men of God, we should go all out to show the world how awesome Jesus is by loving our brides as He loves His!


This adapted post originally appeared on PerryNoble.com