Last Sunday (June 22nd) La Moyne and I were blessed to be at a 'Family Reunion'....
church family that is.
First Baptist Church of Nicoma Park, Okla. invited us to be there since I served as their Pastor from Jan. 1971- Aug. 1975.
The church was started in June of 1928 and I was born on July 20, 1928...
so the church and I are both 80 years old this year.
The Worship time and the luncheon which followed were great...
but the fellowship was even greater! Many of the 'saints' we knew were missing as they have already entered into Heaven, a greater fellowship!
We missed them, but rejoice in the fact that we know 'where' they are!
La Moyne (in her wheelchair) and I (with my cane) were ably assisted by our daughter, Kristin.
Kristin was in Kindergarten when we moved from California to Nicoma Park, so we were thrilled that she was able to come from Texas and be with us. She got to renew her friendship with two of the five Sprinkles sisters who lived across the street from us, so it was a fun day for Angie, Kim and Kristin!
Herein lies a 'Blessed Memory':
In the summer of 1970, we were back in Oklahoma visiting family. A pastor friend encouraged me to contact this pastorless church, so after praying about it and preaching for the pulpit search committee, the church voted to call us as pastor.
When we returned to our church near San Francisco, we didn't have a peace about our decision, so I called the committee and told them that we could not accept their call to come to Oklahoma.
The committee would not take 'no' for an answer and continued to stay in touch with us as they still felt the Lord was in our coming...and that they would keep praying.
Looking back, I realize that they were practicing a very significant point in faith...
and that is the Perseverance of Faith.
Throughout the Bible, the men and women of God had strong Persevering Faith.
In December we wrote to the committee saying....
"If you still want us, we now feel that God wants us there".
In Jan. 1971, we made the move to Nicoma Park which is a suburb of Oklahoma City.
It was a special place to raise children~
Kristin was in Kindergarten...
Kyle in Grade School....
Kevin in Jr. High...
Craig in High School.
Though they missed their friends in California, our children loved the small town-country atmosphere and the 'freedom to roam' there.
In fact we'd like to share one of our favorite memories of living in 'The Park'.
Our son Kyle came home from school one day and announced that he had traded his bicycle for a Welch pony!!!!
(Mind you, we lived in the parsonage next door to the church with NO place for a horse!)
Kyle said, "Now Mom don't worry! I've already checked with Mr. Fitzgerald and he's got a place for my horse in his barn AND has a nail for my saddle ...when I get one!"
To shorten the story, the boy who traded his horse for Kyle's bicycle didn't know that the pony was 'with foal' (pregnant).
When he learned about that, he decided he wanted his horse back.
Kyle said, "No....a deal's a deal".
So when 'Pepper' gave birth, Kyle gave the new colt to Kristin and she named it.....
Since Nicoma Park is a rural area, Kyle and Kristin were able to ride all over Nicoma Park, so they were not pleased at all when 5 yrs. later, I accepted the call to serve Bethel Baptist Church here in Norman.
I'm not sure they've forgiven us even yet, as they had to give 'Pepper' and 'Cinnamon' away...to Travis' cousins who lived in nearby Choctaw.
Just one of many precious memories we have of our time in Nicoma Park!
It was a joy on Sunday to see the growth, both in Spirit and in numbers!
The majority of those on the committees that bro't us to Nicoma Park were missing.
However we sensed in the old (and in the young) a great Spirit of Persevering Faith under the leadership of their pastor, Dr. Mark Walters.
I hope that you are part of a warm church fellowship like that~
I have shared with you readers before that my favorite subject is 'Faith'...
and the object of my Faith is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Bible is full of those who had Persevering Faith....and those who did not.
In Matthew 15:22:
A Canaanite Woman from that region came to Jesus, crying out...
"Have mercy on me Lord, Son of David, my daughter is tormented by a demon."
Jesus did not initially answer her.
After she knelt before Him, Jesus said...
"It isn't right to take the children's bread and throw it to their dogs."
But the woman Persevered with humble Faith and replied...
"Yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their Master's table."
I think Jesus was testing her Faith to see how 'real' it was.....
and because it WAS real, her daughter was healed.
This account shows how Faith and Perseverance work together.
Let me say here that the 'timing of the Lord' is always best...
so healing may NOT come as we would desire, but it is in God's Hands.
In Luke 22:32 Jesus said:
"Peter, I have prayed for you that your faith fail not and when you are converted...
share this for it will strengthen others."
Jesus KNEW that Peter would deny Him at times, but Faith would see him through.
The next time that YOUR Faith falters, remember...
'FAITH HONORS GOD AND GOD HONORS FAITH', so Persevere!!
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose."
Remember "Prayer is the Key to Heaven (and God) but Faith unlocks the door."
"Feed on His Faithfulness"
Remember God is not in the business of 'Spoiling Saints', but Discipling Disciples'.
(Please read the whole chapter and see the Persevering verbs!)
Abraham saw little hope, but still 'hoped on in Faith'.
They knew that what God had promised, He was able to perform..
and at 100 yrs. of age, they had a child.
We must always remember that the 'Day of Miracles' is not over!
At the luncheon following the Worship service, several former pastors were asked to share some memories/thoughts. I shared about our family's love of 'The Park'...
then La Moyne and I sang "It Took A Miracle".
As we were leaving, one of the Deacons (Bill Tarkington) helped us out to our car.
It thrilled us to know that Bill (a cancer survivor) continues to witness and serve...
AND gives God the glory for it.
Bill is a true example of 'Persevering Faith'~
'Have Faith in God' (Words and Music by B.B. McKinney)
"Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered,
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the lord, trust His word and be patient,
Have faith in God. He'll answer yet.
Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there.
Have faith in God though all else fall about you;
Have faith in God, He provides for His own:
He cannot fail though all kingdoms shall perish.
He rules. He reigns upon His throne.
Have faith in God, He's on His throne,
Have faith in God, He watches over His own;
He cannot fail, He must prevail,
Have faith in God, Have faith in God.