Partly because I am cold-blooded (no comments from my family, please), I love to get warm. Anything will do: blankets, hot water, wool clothing, or especially a fire. I was thinking about this as I huddled around the fire in Paul and Tammy Slaton’s yard in Fallon, NV on this visit. We had gathered there for a Sunday night service outside in the yard, and had food and fellowship together, including smores around the fire.
toward those who are being drawn into the fellowship. This is indeed happening in a special way in the church in Fallon, but I have come to believe it is not to be unique. This is how the body of Christ is to operate. People are inviting others to church, while other people are being continually drawn to check out what is happening in this church because of their ministry to the community through the food pantry and such. I go to Fallon twice per year, and the last time was in April. Yet, I did not know at least 25% (conservative estimate) of the people present on Sunday morning. People keep coming, and seeds continue to be sown and watered. The stories of what God is doing is almost unbelievable at times, but real. But the people in the church would tell you it is not some plan or program --- it is just Jesus. It is just the way He works and it is His normal. This happens to be a lot of what I preached about from Jude this time, and the response was better than ever. What an encouragement that was, and Jesus really worked in my life as well through the Word in these times together. Of course, I also got to preach again on Thursday morning at the food pantry to a group of people that consider that their church. Nearly 400 families were served that day at the food pantry, and it was a joy to take up my regular post of helping people load food into their vehicles outside.
I have heard about Richmond Southside Church of the Nazarene for many years from my dear friend Dave Kochheiser and his family, who are a part of this congregation. I have always been amazed and impressed to hear about the creative and intentional ways that this church reaches out to their community. When we first walked into the church on Friday evening to begin this weekend AWAKE revival, we were immediately struck by this intentionality in everything about the church and its warm and appealing environment. We were so warmly greeted and embraced by Pastor Wynne Lankford, the entire church staff, who were so helpful, and the congregation. What a joy to get to know these brothers and sisters in Christ and to be a part of this weekend that they had so thoroughly prepared for. Pastor Wynne had me make 6 different videos of 2-3 minutes in length that were shown in the services the previous Sunday and then sent out to the congregation each day of the week leading up to the weekend. These helped prepare us all with a prayer focus for the weekend, and I am thankful to Steve Pennington at Trevecca Community Church who edited and prepared these excellent videos for me. It seems that the videos also helped create some connection with the congregation even before I came.
There were a couple of even more special blessings to me personally. First of all, it was an opportunity to spend some special time with the Kochheisers and share in some fellowship together. Most all, it was a rare opportunity for me to have my sweet daughter, Chaili, with me on a trip. Carey gets to come with me fairly often, but Chaili is not often able to during the school year because of her schedule. Being a senior nursing major this year, we were so
Have you ever had one of those experiences that caused you to realize that time continues to pass by (in other words, “I’m old”)? Nearly 22 years ago, I was at the church of my friend, Pastor Dave Phillips, for some revival services in Apple Valley, CA. Dave and Chris have three children, the youngest of whom is Wes, who was around 9 years old at that time. What a blessing it was to receive an e-mail several months ago from a pastor named Wes Phillips. I was amazed when I learned of the connection. Wes has been the pastor at the Church of the Nazarene in Bowling Green, MO for two years after being a pastor to families at another church in Missouri.
I praise the Lord for the positive sense of what He is doing in the life of this body of believers, and how He seemed to work through these services to add to that and take us further. I am excited to hear what will happen in this community in days ahead. I am further grateful for these new relationships. Time indeed does move on, but what a blessing to know Jesus and be exactly where He has placed us for such a time as this. Excited more than ever as we continue . . .
Running together in Christ,
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father