Fallon, NV April 3-10, 2016
I like to share these trip updates, but I really cannot describe what is happening in Fallon, NV. Unless you are military personnel, you may have never visited or heard of it. The Naval Air Station there is the base for the most advanced tactical fighter training in the world. And surrounding that base is a small town community similar to thousands of others across America. It is always amazing and powerfully moving to see a local church, the body of Christ, give their lives for a community. I wish you could just go there to see it for yourself. Simply, God is moving in that place and Jesus is clearly demonstrating Himself in and through a group of people to the community around them. There is a special unity among this church family --- and it truly is like family. It is not always common to see a church where people love to linger and visit with one another after the service is over. It is even more uncommon that people stay 1 or 2 hours or more to fellowship after a service, and when those are multiple nights in a row. We had revival services Sunday through Wednesday (and what powerful times those were as we shared Jesus from the book of Jude --- amazing truth!), and I would find myself needing to eventually find a chair to sit on at some point after the service just because my feet were getting tired or sore. But what a refreshing thing to be among a group of people that so loves one another. And is that genuine love of Jesus Christ that is overflowing to the community through their compassionate ministries. I don’t know what to say about the weekly food distribution on Thursdays as I have never seen anything like it. I can simply post some photos to attempt to give some sense of the magnitude of ministry that is taking place week in and week out. 350 families were served on this particular week.
But the Thursday distribution is the culmination of the work that goes into it by so many not only on that day but throughout the week. The ministry of the thrift store continues to grow, now in two locations. Pastor Paul Slaton’s prayer has lately been, “God, give us the lost.” It is stirring to see how God is doing this and the way He is reaching people and transforming lives from every walk of life. I know I say this every time, but if there is a group out there looking for a place to minister for a few days or for a week, I could think of no better plan than going to Fallon, NV (and don’t forget the recreational opportunities nearby in Lake Tahoe!). It is a place to see the kingdom of God at work in a very real way.
Carey and I then began services on Thursday night and continued through the following Sunday out at the Stillwater Indian Church on the Paiute Shoshone reservation just outside of Fallon. I believe this was our fourth consecutive year to have the spring revival services with this special group of people.
On a related note, we are thanking God for His touch on the life of Sandra Plants, wife of Pastor Tim Plants at Stillwater. On Tuesday April 19, one week after we were there, Sandra suffered a massive pulmonary embolism in her lungs, causing her heart to stop three times. She was revived through CPR, and then transported to the hospital in Reno, where she has shown miraculous progress, being able to now breathe on her own, sit up at moments, and do some talking. We continue to pray for Sandra’s full recovery, and for the continued work of running the race, carrying the flame, and handing off the baton through their lives. I pray the same for you and for each of us. As Paul wrote about to Timothy, may we continue to fight the good fight, finish the race well, and keep the faith.
Running together in Christ,
Chandler, OK March 20-23, 2016
It is just a long drive from Tennessee to Oklahoma. There are no two ways about that. From my house, I go about 11 miles and then turn left on I-40 . . . and then just keep going straight west. Part of the joy of that drive has become having my son, Carey, with me, and he has now been to Chandler, OK with me several times over the past few years. We have favorite stopping places along that route, including the Golden Corral buffet in Conway, Arkansas. I missed him as he was not able to go with me this time due to some school work that he needed to get done, along with his desire to attend our homeschool conference here in Nashville. But it always brings a smile to me when we talk on the phone along the way and he asks me where I am and he can picture the different landmarks or locations. He is a well traveled young man!
It is sometimes a stretch to keep up with the classes and work in the midst of travel and preaching, but I am really thankful for this work, and God is moving in amazing ways in the lives of students. But that is the subject for another post!
On Thursday morning, I left Chandler, drove down to Shawnee, OK, and turned left on I-40 to head eastward toward Tennessee. Another long drive (and no stopping at Golden Corral this time), but I could not help but think of some of the journeys that the Apostle Paul made, and that this is what the early church was all about: people running together, seeking after Jesus, and growing in Him. My heart was filled with thanks again for His blessing and the privilege of what He has called me to,
God’s timing is always perfect. It was sometime several months ago, probably last fall, when my friend Ryan Bash and I finalized some dates to again come to his church in Milford Center, OH, a small town just outside Marysville and not far from Columbus, OH. This would be my second consecutive spring to be there. Little did we know at that time that Ryan and his family would be accepting a call to pastor a church in another part of Ohio before these dates came on the calendar. Therefore, my scheduled time at Trinity Chapel in March would be in the midst of an interim period when they are still awaiting a new pastor. After some communication with the church leadership, they heartily affirmed that it was their desire to go ahead with these revival services during this time. The enthusiasm in the church was so evident from the moment I arrived. One of the traits of Trinity Chapel is the warm and close-knit family feeling among people of all ages. It was encouraging to see how they have bonded together and stayed so active in ministry in their community during this “interim” time. It would seem that these special services could not have been timed more perfectly. The attendance was remarkable, and the response was even more significant. The entire demeanor and attitude of the congregation was one of openness and sensitivity to the truth, and I watched as people just responded to Jesus and the Word. It truly seemed to be a time of God moving and encouraging this church family. There was such a sense of joy and excitement there as I saw their faces and listened to their words. I praise God for that. I drove toward home with a renewed sense of the perfect timing of God even and especially when it is something we cannot see or anticipate. It gives me great peace and joy to know that this is way He always works, and I thank Him for the privilege of getting to see that once again at Trinity Chapel in Milford Center, OH. I am thankful for His calling and what I get to do.
Running together in Christ,
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father