I've driven almost four thousand miles over the past three weeks. Hard to believe; hard on the "getting older" body (tomorrow marks another birthday)! But warming to the heart.
Last week I was in Ohio. Wednesday and Thursday we had very interesting meetings in Massillon. Our good friend Edward Yarber is the bishop of Canton Grace Fellowship. He has been teaching right division at the Adult Sunday School Class of Grace Community Church for the past three months. Edward goes there for the class and then hurries to CGF (about 10 minutes away) for their morning service. When he asked about using GCC's church building for meetings, they volunteered to co-sponsor them.
I spoke both evenings on Mid-Acts dispensationalism and the distinctive ministry/message of Paul. Their responsiveness was overwhelming. They actually "cleaned out" most of the material on the Literature Tables I had with me! It is wonderful to see such hunger for spiritual light!
We had a "radio rally" type meeting in Columbus. David Reid heads up the Columbus Bible Church, which sponsors Daily Bible Time on a local radio station. We get good response to the broadcast and wanted to see if some folks would come to a "live" meeting. And they did! One lady, for example, who has been listening for almost two years gave testimony to having her life transformed by the message of grace she has learned. Numerous others were of the same mind. Two ladies actually drove from Indiana to attend, having heard about the meeting via FaceBook! Two other ladies drove about half way across the state to attend. Interest in and hunger for the light on God's Word that right division offers is a great motivator! It was a privilege to help introduce some of our listeners to the local ministry where they can fellowship and grow in grace.
Then we were in Beavercreek at Mid-Acts Grace Fellowship on Saturday and Sunday. The saints there were went overboard in their hospitality and interest. Their response to the six messages on The Gospel Driven Life was refreshing. Matt Hawley is doing a tremendous job leading this assembly. They have weathered numerous storms over the past few years and are a strong, grounded group of determined grace believers who value the work of the ministry they are engaged in. Folks came from as far away as Cincinnati--as well as Indiana and Columbus (as well as wonderful friends from Chillicothe). The happy spirit of these folks was a touching benediction to my weary spirit.
One great privilege for me in trips like this is to get to spend some time in the homes of some really wonderful saints. Ed and Sharrie are by nature a barrel of fun, but more importantly, always active in the ministry. While there I not only spoke both evenings but had a live radio interview and preached in chapel at Heritage Christian School. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with longtime and special friends, Ted and Sue Fellows of nearby Berean Bible Church, Minerva.
The Reid boys were great entertainment for me, demonstrating their Lego and Wii talents. Mom and Dad are ok too, but being the dad of three boys myself I always have a soft spot for others in that category!
It was my first time to spend time with the Hawley family and I quickly discovered that they could make me feel quite at home. It is important for a man in the ministry to be backed up by a godly wife and Matt is blessed in this area. Their three young children (well, one has four legs so they might claim only two as their actual prodigy) were great company.
The icing on the cake, sort of speaking, for the weekend was calling home Saturday evening and having Cynthia tell me how Alabama won their football game with Florida. My precious wife is an enthusiastic Bama fan; well, that's too mild of a description. Hard as it is to picture, I must admit she is a fanatical fan. And a happy one too! So I drove home Sunday afternoon knowing I'd find her in good spirits!
The Women's Fellowship of Shorewood had an evangelistic luncheon Sunday. They had a good number of visitors to hear some outstanding testimonies and a good gospel message. When I arrived at the church building Sunday evening they had already finished resetting the fellowship area for the upcoming children's program scheduled for next Saturday. So, they'd been busy while I was gone--and with Alex to preach, don't really miss me anyway! There lots for me to be thankful for these days.
I'll turn another year on the calendar tomorrow. Today (December 7) is Pearl Harbor Day. We must never forget. I fly to Detroit in the morning to do five more TV programs. I can't think of anything I'd rather do on my birthday than "preach the Word."