Rays of Sonshine: Gaile Lanier

This month’s Rays of Sonshine is someone who loves working with people living with disabilities and has made a career of providing programing to folks with special needs in the Jacksonville area. In fact, she manages the Bethesda Lake park where we hold our annual Jacksonville Expo and conducts year round activities for those living with disabilities locally. Despite having a slight hearing impairment, she has a winning “Philippians 4:13” attitude that matches her joyous smile and is our most enthusiastic Expo supporter in the area. :)

What we so love about Gaile is that she not only welcomes us at her facility but that she supports what we do 110%! There is obviously the business side of renting the pavilion and cabins, paying fees and getting permits but she goes beyond the basics to help us as an exhibitor, volunteer and networker. Currently, she is even contacting local churches and organizations close by the park trying to secure extra parking for the 2018 outreach. Wow, what a blessing!

All in all, like our other Rays of Sonshine what really makes her special is her love for Jesus and seeing Him transform lives and communities. So thank you, Gaile and may God expand His kingdom and bring heaven to earth more and more in Jacksonville and beyond. :)

Hopeful Thinking

You know according to the Bible, hope is a very important thing. In fact, it’s part of the big three listed in 1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope and Love. Yet, we don’t talk about hope much. Everyone knows love is supreme and faith is mentioned almost every Sunday in sermons but what about hope?

I know it is difficult to have hope these days but without it life is a hard row to plow. Hope is essential to giving endurance to faith which ends in love. It is like the fuel that gets us going each morning and keeps us going through out the day.

So how do we have hopeful thinking each day? Well, I’ve found the best way to keep my hope levels on the rise is to focus on God’s character, faithfulness and promises. To that end, I hope you enjoy the scripture art below.

Rays of Sonshine: John and Lisa Deeds

Well, this months Rays of Sonshine post highlights two people who we’ve known for nearly 20 years. They are dear friends and long time advocates for people living with disabilities including serving on the Access-Life board of Directors for over 6 years from 2011 to 2017. They have served on 3 of our mission trips to Belize and helped lead the planning for the North Texas Expo since it’s beginning in 2012. However, what makes John and Lisa so special is not all that they do (which is a whole lot LOL) but their heart for people.

The so love helping people living with disability in their times of need. They do it everyday, too as the own and run a durable medical equipment store in Hurst, TX. They see, meet and make friends with individuals and families members living with disabilities on a daily basis. In turn, reaching out to these folks through Access-Life has been a natural fit. Helping them know that God loves them, has a good plan for their lives and wants them to live abundantly fill with His joy is a natural extension of what John and Lisa already do through their store and work.

Isn’t that a lesson we all need to learn and relearn every day? Letting God’s light and love shine through us leading others to true life only found in Jesus. A Life that gives hope, peace and joy. A life that is about overcoming and living abundantly making a difference for God’s kingdom and bringing heaven to earth each day. So let us each of us honor God with every word we say and every deed we do and please join us in celebrating this month’s Rays of Sonshine: John and Lisa Deeds.

ETN Expo Update

What an awesome day God gave us Saturday at the ETN Expo! God blessed us with 865 attendees this year including participation from 11 churches in Jefferson, Hamblen, Grainger and Knox County.

While the boat rides, bank fishing, archery kayaking and horses were once again popular mainstays, the addition of a rockwall this year was a new activity and big hit with folks. I was specifically encouraged by the dad of a boy with a disability who when thanking me for hosting the event told me they tried to get their son to rock climb several years ago with no success but on Saturday he climbed the rockwall to the top making for a memorable day.

All in all it was a great outreach from the free hot dogs and snow cones to the sand cross craft and tie-dye t-shirt decorating and I hope you enjoy the above photo collage as a reminder of God’s goodness. Feel free to forward, post and share it, too!

 

Joy, Joy, Joy

You know the Bible says the joy of the Lord is our strength. I’ve known this truth for years and even believe it. However, not until recently have I really began thinking about it in a practical way. A way that actually has a daily impact on my life and the way I live. I don’t know about you but I definitely need God’s strength to get through each day. I need the strength that only Jesus gives to be motivated, energized and empowered to accomplish all the good He sets before me daily.

So where does this God given help come from? Joy, Joy in God! Dwelling on Him and His goodness. Thinking on Him and His holiness. Walking with Him in the light of His love. Living each moment focused on the hope we have in Jesus and the wonderful promises He has given. At least that’s when I find my joy tank full and my motivation gauge on the rise.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to our thoughts which then dictate our attitudes and in turn our feelings. They are all linked together so when we are anchored by joy in Jesus we have the fortitude to move forward through each day for and through Him.

I think Colossians 3 verses 1-3 sums it up best: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Living in the Light of His Love

Reading this verse and thinking of God’s goodness and how this is what He truly wants from us: to climb up in His lap, rest in His arms, carried thru each day by Him, safe to enjoy the good blessings He gives each day. Simple faith, simple life, simple joy. That’s walking with Jesus.

Deu 12:7 “There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.”

Rays of Sonshine: Jerry Carter

This month’s Rays of Sonshine has really put some miles on the road since getting involved with Access-Life in 2013. In fact, while he lives in East Tennessee, He has spent almost as much time in TX and FL helping the ministry as in his home state’s backyard.

So how does he do all of this? By transporting our big trailer full of outreach equipment, docks, tents and supplies from TX to TN and then back to FL each year. That’s right he travels almost 2,000 miles annually helping get Access-Life things from one location to another.

The blessings don’t stop there though, as despite living in the 3rd quarter of life, he is one of the hardest workers we know across the ministry’s 3 state area. He actually, out lasted all our volunteers at set-up and tear-down during the recent Expo in North Texas, too. Of course, He shines brightest in the Volunteer state where he not only helps with the trailer transport, general set-up and tear-down and water and ice distribution but he also grades our gravel shore line and helps build our wooden boardwalk so each participant can have access to the boat rides, kayaking and fishing areas on site.

Whew, makes me tired talking about it so I’ll close by saying thank you to all our volunteers who do so much across TX, TN and FL and a special thanks to Jerry who travels across all three states to be this month’s Rays of Sonshine!