Welcome to The Virtual Pew Newsletter, a lot has been happening but with that said, I hope you take the time to read through the entire newsletter.
As many of you know, the web site for The Virtual Pew has been down. Long story made short, I had the web site for the book, The Keystone Kid put up and thought I had someone to do the site for The Virtual Pew for me. It hasn’t been done but not for the lack of trying. I am back at the place; I need someone dependable that can develop a simple web site, linking to various blog pages and a message board. Something that I can manage, update and change on a regular basis would be great. Either someone who can develop this site, train me on doing the site, or donating an appropriate program to do the site is much needed. Can you help with this particular need? Truth is, since the books publication, I receive daily communications related to abuse, and related to the ministry related to The Virtual Pew. This is an area of need that you can contribute to in one of the above mentioned ways.
I realize it may be possible that you haven’t been to the web site for The Keystone Kid. The url for that is www.thekeystonekid.com I am pleased with the book and it has been doing well. As is the case in many things of the sort, I haven’t seen the royalty checks as of yet, but am aware of a good number of books being out there, either via hardback, paperback, or e-reader versions. I continue to schedule speaking engagements to share the story of what God did for me in either short presentations in as little as 5 minutes where I have the book available, to longer presentations where I speak and share the story for upwards to 45 minutes. There are other topics I am available to speak on. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major retailers, either on line or via ordering through the store. You can also go to Friesen Press and order various versions suitable for various e-readers, including, Sony, The Nook, and more. Amazon has the Kindle version available on their web site.
The book is critical for me now as I have made a decision related to Mosaic Church, the brick and mortar church I pastor. I am reminded of a verse of scripture that states that if a church or ministry can, they should pay their pastor twice their worth. In that same passage though, people forget where it says, if paying the pastor creates a burden on the body, then he is to receive no salary. I have urged Mosaic to relocate to downtown Wichita. In order to acquire the space, since we lost funding from The Church of God, I have voluntarily given up my salary until the church can afford it. Don’t get me wrong, I pray that there are times the church can pay me some, but it really isn’t that big of a deal. Even when the church can afford it, it is still my hope, desire, and prayer that we obtain additional salary from contributions to The Virtual Pew, speaking and so forth and use the money from the church for various other ministries. The truth is, most of the money coming into The Virtual Pew, (albeit minimal) actually goes back out to direct ministry, whether assistance to the homeless, or some other form of direct ministry and help.
You can of course help in a variety of ways by donating either to The Virtual Pew, or to Mosaic Church. I will share addresses for those at the conclusion of the newsletter. Now for those who are curious, the last 2 months I have received nothing from Mosaic, the month prior to that $800 and the month prior to that $600. Of course I also pay my own expenses including mileage. Last month via The Keystone Kid and speaking, I received approximately $500, and the month prior to that, $400, and the month prior to that, $2,700 which enabled me to focus more on Mosaic without having to work on booking myself out to speak. I expect there will be months where larger amounts come in, but all in all, it is clear, God continues to meet our needs. I am also expecting a royalty check from Friesen Press this next month, I am not certain how much that will be but I expect it to be less than $500. I do by the way; have a good supply of books available, both in hard back, and paper back that you can order directly off of the web site or through me. The prices for those are $20 for paperback, $30 for hardback. I have donated a good number of books out, (over 20) and have a few people who have ordered books, with the promise to pay, that have not paid for their books.
Also in the works, not far from completion is the short movie The Long Walk. Currently Rob Cassels, Sam Eakins, Darrell Thompson, and Mark Childress from The Rob Cassels Band are finishing up the original score for the movie. It looks tremendous at this point and we are going to be submitting the film to various film festivals. We will also have a product available to market which will include commentary by the Director and myself, possibly others, it will also include a brief interview with me of what has happened since the book, a interview with a couple who have gone through their marriage whose life was impacted by abuse, and an interview with the pastor who led my mother to Jesus. There is editing and work to be done on the special features of the DVD to be made available for purchase. Pray for all of this though, pray that it will be accepted into film festivals, viewed by those who need to see and hear the story and be touched by the power of forgiveness. Also pray as we seek to shop the short to major companies in order to raise funds for a feature film. For those who have seen this work, they are impressed, and many have stated how God is clearly involved in the project. That will confuse some as the short itself is a variation of the story in The Keystone Kid, and it is not a clearly overt ‘Christian’ project. There is even rough language and difficult situations in it. However, with the special features, and the discussions which will take place at film festivals, it will be clear of the role of Jesus Christ in the story. We will also be listing the Short on Kickstarter at Amazon where individuals can contribute to help support the project financially and get perks for their donations and support.
Now as to Mosaic Church, the brick and mortar church I pastor. I alluded earlier that we had relocated. Mosaic has a unique history. In its early days, (prior to my arrival) Mosaic met in an arts community of Wichita called Delano. It had an effective impact on the community but eventually the church moved to a school. After 3 school transitions, the church was ready to dissolve. I came on board and shortly thereafter we relocated to a community that seemed to fit our current needs. As we came close to outgrowing that facility I recognized the need to get back to the mission God had called us to. We had seen tremendous success in two areas of ministry that our people seemed to support and we were seeing it impact others in the community. The two areas were ministries to the homeless and the arts community, specifically the filmmaking community. We decided to look for property in the downtown area. Gay Quisenberry, who was the manager for Rich Mullins assisted us in the quest. We located a building downtown that had sat vacant for 10 years. A long story there, but after 3 months of issues, we finally moved into the facility.
The Downtown Mosaic location encompasses approximately 6,000 square feet. We are less than 1 block away from the largest homeless gathering in the city of Wichita and less than 2 blocks from the center of Downtown. We have a month to month lease on the property. There is a rumor that an outside agency made an offer on the building, but it is only a rumor. We will counter offer on anything that is actually offered. So far, all indications are this is a rumor. We continue to move forward knowing that God will provide. We have had 2 services in the building, and this last week, we had our first pot-luck meal since moving out of the location on George Washington Blvd. We had over 40 in attendance if counting the approximate 10 homeless individuals who showed up. Our desire is to have other churches, businesses, ministries, and individual’s partner with us. We need groups to provide food on a weekly basis on both Saturday and Sunday to reach out to the homeless. We feel strongly of the need to find a way to fit everyone from the downtown community, including the homeless into a physical brick and mortar church where they can fit in and are a part of the family of God. We desperately need other groups to partner with us. Please pray that the churches of Wichita would come together to do the work of God together.
One of the other things we are also exploring at this point is the possibility of developing a clubhouse concept, (based on the Fountain House Model) for the homeless. Here, as opposed a day shelter, we would assist in the development of what we call the Work-Ordered-Day and assist in helping persons obtain affordable housing, and appropriate jobs through a Transitional Employment program that helps in relearning work skills. We need volunteers for this program, and after some commitment, we will be able to get funding. The operation of the program will help the homeless regain their life, not just sustain their condition.
Mosaic is also allowing the use of our space for various groups including: Novus Orsa a group that originally helped us with our homeless outreach. A part of the Vineyard Church in Wichita they assist in helping young homeless persons obtain housing. Others using our facility include, Axis Four Films an Independent Film Company, The South Central Kansas Film Co-Op, and Gay Quisenberry. Gay is also helping us with events, including concerts, theater, grants and more.
My wife Mary Jane teaches at Derby Middle School and is in the process of looking at retirement. We don’t know where that will take us, so please pray for us. I realize the blessing I have in my wife. Also pray for our son Nathan. Some of you know the complexity of that request, I will simply say, it is our desire for our son to return to the God who loves him. We want him to dedicate his life to the King of Kings. We keep our granddaughter Aaliyah every weekend and we are blessed to do so. She comes to church with us and we realize the importance of our time with her. Our daughter Marathana, and our son in law Brett are expecting their first baby, a little boy in June. She works at Hesston College in Hesston Kansas, just north of Newton Kansas where she lives. She is the Director of Communications for the college and is actively involved with her husband in their church. We still have our White German Shepherd, named Kersey and just adopted a little Yorkie named Buster. They both bring some joy into our lives and our granddaughter loves them.
I continue to write, and lately, it seems like I have done a lot of movie reviews. Some of them I can recommend others I can’t. I can say however, I have tried to review each movie with the intent of you learning something that you can share with someone whether you have seen the movie or not. I always do my reviews as a seed that can point people to God.
I continue to covet and value your prayers for the work God has called me to. It is an honor to know that some of you have partnered with these ministries over the years; I suspect there are people who have touched that we don’t know about. My faith tells me that some day we will. I am aware of people who have been touched, come to know God and in a relationship with him because of this ministry. For those of you offering prayers of support, and/or financial help, I thank you.
God bless you and remember; God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!
Links of interest follow the signature,
You can follow me on Twitter at Mike Furches or The Virtual Pew and friend me at Facebook at Mike Furches. Also, don’t forget about the Facebook page for Mosaic Church, The Virtual Pew, and The Keystone Kid.
When A Homeless Man Worships
Last Tango in Paris
Walking on Water
The Wildest Dream
Step Off, AKA Battle the Movie
Night Catches Us
The Best Slide Guitar Player I Ever Knew: A Suicide Story
Waiting for Superman on DVD
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