Sunday, April 24, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:32-34
At the beginning of the week Chad and I felt blessed. We didn’t have any outstanding bills and the fridge was stocked with groceries. Chad worked Monday and Tuesday at a church in Norman resealing a concrete floor, earning us enough money to keep gas in the car.
Last night at dinner we had our nightly dinner guest. The little boy from across the way came in and took his place at the table. After dinner the boys went out to play. They came right back in with friends and said, “the kids were wondering if you were going to make cookies tonight?”
We had cooked all the cookie dough, but still had a case of applesauce from Sam’s which we handed out until it was all gone. Finally at around 8:00, we had to lock our door to slow what had been a constant stream of children all evening.
This morning the weatherman was calling for storms about the time we would be teaching this afternoon. Even if we wanted to brave the storm we had no food or anything else for the kids. I was doing good to make lunches for the boys to take to school.
Needless to say we were generally discouraged. It would be nice to wake up and have everything in order to do all the “great” things we want to do. It would certainly be easier to give food away if we knew how it was going to be replaced, and to spend time in preparation instead of worrying.
I took the boys to school and prayed all the way home. Chad had a meeting with a pastor in town and I stayed home with Ruby to get our house in order. We waited until around 11:00 then called our volunteers to cancel the Bible Club.
The pastor Chad met with said he would call Chad later with some news. On our way to pick up the boys from school he called and said their church wanted to pay our rent for the month of May. This was a huge encouragement and burden lifted off of both of us! Our apartment has become a place of ministry and we’re thankful for it!
We came home from school and I went straight to the kitchen to make brownies. I thought, even though we weren’t able to have Bible Club across the street we could have afterschool snacks for the kids in our complex.
Just then my phone rang. It was a friend from Amarillo who moved to Oklahoma City not long before we did. She asked how we were doing and said, “I’ve been blessed with some extra money and the Lord laid you on my heart.” She followed it up by saying, “You’re not discouraged are you?”
I told her we had cancelled tonight, but were going to do what we could. She said, “Why don’t you come over here and visit with me for a while. I want to give you something.”
SO. . .I did. I got back in the car and noticed we had just enough time to make it to Sam’s, buy some food and candy and get to the apartments on time.
So . . . that’s what we did. Chad went to our apartment and loaded up our equipment. I went to Sam’s. We had great food for the kids and still had enough money left over to fill up the tank in our car and buy groceries for ourselves.
Chad and I pray everyday for God to bless in abundance so we can be a blessing. We know God can and is making a way to do great and mighty things through us. Right now we’re learning to trust.
To follow the Lord’s principle of giving in Luke 6:38 takes courage! “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Obeying God’s principle of giving is the only way to realize His eternal rewards. While we work towards to "big picture" for Truth Baptist Church we realize it requires a daily dependence of our Heavenly Father. We have committed to working as hard as we can and using the resources God provides each day as far as they go. To be faithful with as much or as little as He sees fit to bless us with.
Tonight with the sun shining through the clouds and with thanksgiving in our hearts we praised Jesus for His provision, for His grace and for another week to tell The Good News.
Friday, April 8, 2011
By Chad Clement
Have you ever had your life stripped down to the bare bones? Usually it takes a cataclysmic event to separate us from the possessions that we love, like a divorce or a house fire, maybe a death in the family. You find yourself in a place where the things that you relied upon, your life tools, are no longer at your disposal and it’s just you and your decisions. We all like to think that we would excel in this situation, but you never really know until you face it.
I like to use Michael Phelps the Olympic gold medalist as an example. Michael may have a tour bus, handlers, personal trainers, PR people and others helping him, but at some point he has to strip down to his Speedo, stand on the blocks and prepare to be tested. Nothing else matters at this point but preparation form and speed.
Six months ago, my family was pretty normal. We were serving and giving our lives away to serve inner-city children. My wife Anna was the principal of the school that she founded that provided free Christian education to desperately poor children. I was serving as the Children’s Minister and together in the summer we were feeding 2300 kids a day and teaching 10 weeks of bible school in the park we built. Ok, so maybe that’s not “Normal”, but outside of work we were like most couples with three children, busy raising them and enjoying life.
However, there was a problem in paradise, God was laying on my heart to plant a church to duplicate the work we were doing. I thought perhaps we might return to Dallas where I was familiar with the inner-city areas. To be honest, the depth of our roots, the momentum of our lives and my resistance to change deterred me from getting a shovel and digging up my family and moving them to a situation that seemed less secure.
What I failed to recognize was that the only thing secure in this life, the only thing that can’t fail, is when a child of God is obedient to the voice of God. Every plan and scheme draw up by men, including myself has the potential of failure. The failure comes when we refuse to listen and obey.
I have to say that in our case God was gracious to our family. He didn’t sit quietly aside as we moved on in our direction in disobedience. He pulled us up out of the ground like a sapling and took us where He pleased. From the perspective of the sapling we just saw roots breaking, leaves falling off and bark being stripped away. It is a traumatic event for a tree to be transplanted, but the careful arborist knows the right season and series of steps to ensure future health.
After many sleepless nights, agonizing over the loss of so many things we thought were precious to us, God has corrected our priorities, planted us in moist fertile ground and we have begun to bear fruit for Him.
We are in a little apartment south of Quail Springs Mall, surrounded by lost and hurting people, who God loves enough to send us to minister to them. He loves the children who normally get a free lunch at school, but in the summer that turns into a question mark, followed by despair. He loves the mothers, who are the second or third generation of women living in poverty. He loves the fathers, who just a few days back were little boys frightened and confused because they had no father to teach them or provide for them.
If you have never known God’s love, come this summer and witness as He shows His faithfulness and pours out His love on these families. If you know God’s love, this is your chance to be fruitful. Come this summer and experience the joy of working shoulder to shoulder with the Lord of the Harvest in His fields. We will be feeding 600-1000 lunches a day, teaching the bible and breaking the chains of sin with the truth of God’s word. Take it from one who has been stripped bare; it is a privilege to be completely poured out for His purposes.
My mother never left my father’s side. As determined as Dad was to fight for his life, my mother was as determined to strengthen and care for him. She never complained during Dad’s extended admittance to the hospital, still I knew mom needed a break. One weekend I drove from Amarillo to Oklahoma City to help.
When I arrived, I offered to spend the night at the hospital and let mom get a nights rest at a near by hotel. Mom informed me that the doctor would come in the next morning and give a report on an important blood test. She instructed me to call and let her know what he said.
The next morning the nurses came in to get Dad dressed. He had his shorts and shirt on with wires and tubes running all through his sleeves. We helped him sit up on the side of the bed. He didn’t want to take the news from the Oncologist lying down.
Immediately I asked myself if I could do the same. Given the same circumstances with what appears to be a hopeless situation. Could I testify to the Love of the one whom I had entrusted my life?
Almost a year after my father passed away, the life I knew and loved took a dramatic turn. My husband, Chad and I found ourselves leaving a ministry we had invested our everything in to with nothing but the hopes that God would heal our hearts and allow us to serve Him in a mighty way again.
We packed up what we owned and moved back to Chad’s hometown in Oklahoma. One night, shortly after the move I couldn’t sleep. Chad had taken a job delivering oil rig equipment and I was waiting for him to call and check-in.
I was thinking about what our lives had been reduced to. As a young girl I’d surrendered my life to be a missionary. Chad and I both thought we had been obedient. So why was God allowing our family to suffer like this? “What a waste!” I thought. “Chad and I should be clicking right along, doing the work of The Lord. Instead we’ve lost everything; even, at this point, the desire to serve.”
It is the heart of Truth Baptist Mission to teach the word of God, minister to the physical needs of the residents, feed children, and lift up the name of Jesus. Over spring break God provided a way for us to feed 200 lunches a day and have an evangelistic outreach on the last day. Eight children gave their hearts to Jesus that Friday.
Monday, April 4, 2011
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“We must have money. We can’t build spires ninety feet high without it, we can’t decorate our churches with elegant windows without it, we can’t issue costly programmes for our social meetings without it . . . How are we to get it? You may touchingly plead for the heathen abroad. You may paint a picture terrible and true of the state of the home heathen at our doors. You may work yourself into hysterics over these and other intensely real realities but you won’t get the money. So another plan must be devised. We shall get up a fancy fair.”
Amy went on the write, “Oh yes! WE shall get the money for our poor dear little church, and everybody will have the pleasing consciousness of having devoted themselves to the noble cause of screwing, wheedling and extorting money out of a selfish, thoughtless public --- for the cause of God!”
We can then compare this picture to Moses and Aaron building the Tabernacle, a dwelling for The Spirit of God. In Exodus 35 verse 4 we read, “And Moses spoke to the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, ‘This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: Take from among you an offering to The Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to The Lord : gold, silver and bronze.”
In verse 29 we see God’s people respond. “The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to The Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded done.”
Truth Baptist Church
12701 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Apt. 173
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120
Referenced: A Chance To Die By Elisabeth Elliot, Exodus Chapter 35