Thursday, April 30, 2009

A little child shall lead them

Carrie Graham, our Children's Pastor, sent this report from her ministry to me this week:

Here is a great illustration of the scripture found in Isaiah 11:6, "A little child shall lead them." One of our Tomoka families had to take their four year-old daughter, Sarah, to the emergency room a few weekends ago. Sarah informed her doctor that he did not need to give her a shot, but instead just needed to pray with her because Jesus was going to heal her. The doctor looked at Sarah's mom, Shirley, and said, "I've never prayed before in my life, but I guess I'm going to tonight." He held Sarah's hands and she prayed. They told the doctor they went to Tomoka and Shirley said the next time they were at church that they saw Sarah's ER doctor from a distance. Shirley is convinced their trip to the ER was not for Sarah, but instead was for the doctor...."a little child shall lead them."

Monday, April 13, 2009

God's power revealed during fast

A couple attending and serving at Tomoka Christian, Bill and Paula Anderson, recently accepted the challenge to spend time fasting and praying. They have an amazing testimony to share after their experience.

I would like to share with you some praise reports due to 40 days of fasting that we completed. We had never before fasted for an extended amount of time together. God is so faithful. On our 40th day, our daily devotions were from Philippians 4:8, "If there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things."

Over the 40 days, we saw God work in our family's lives. We experienced many answers to prayer. Our two oldest daughters had not been employed full time in over a year. During the fast, they both were offered full-time positions. Also, our in-laws were able to leave our household to move to their own place.

When Bill was ill a few months ago for a long time, we fell behind in all of our bills. The greatest concern was our mortgage. Praise God, we are now current, which only happened in the last week of the fast. We have truly experienced that when we are faithful, He is faithful. God has done so much more for us that we cannot express all of His goodness and mercy.

We did not fast seeking worldly reward, but accepted your challenge as a way to grow closer to our Savior. We did truly grow spiritually — beyond our expectations. Our worldly needs being met was certainly a bonus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You never know until you go!

A member of the Tomoka Christian family, Carl, recently went on his first mission trip. Below is a first-hand account of his life-changing experience.

There is nothing like experiencing a mission trip to realize spiritual growth.

I confess my complacency in keeping my growing faith in the box within the walls of our church. The truth is that the cup was not quite full by remaining there. One needs to step out of the box and stretch your faith out there on a mission trip. Then you know what it really feels like to have your cup full.

I stepped out of the box and went to Red Sands Mission in Winslow, Arizona, on the edge of a Native American reservation. I left with 12 disciples, and I was filled with questions such as, What will I do? How will the Lord use me? I was scared!

We arrived, and the beginning days were made up of working on a home for a missionary and ministering to the Native American children. It was great sharing worship and much fun and laughter with the children.

Deep inside, there was one day I honestly was dreading. It was the day we were to minister to the homeless. I prayed diligently about that day. My concern was, What will I do? What will I say? How will I respond to these people? How will the Lord use me?

The day arrived and the 12 disciples went to town. We arrived at a field where they were supposed to have lived. We found no one there. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I still felt scared. We moved on and came upon a large alley, and we saw 15-20 people there. Those who had been on the trip before jumped out and proceeded to the alley. I sat for a minute and prayed, "Lord I need you now!" I felt much like Moses. "Help me," I prayed. "I lift this all up to you. Please show me the way and use me."

As I finished my prayer it was like a hand behind me was pushing me out of the van. Like Peter, it was time to get out of the boat.

I walked down and looked into the faces of those hungry, hurting people. It was not so much hunger for food. It was brokenness and hunger for the good news. I laid hands on the first person. From that moment, the Lord took over completely. I went from one to another. I seemed to be consumed with His presence within me. His spirit filled my cup to capacity, I knew then that I would never be the same. My hope and prayer is that those I touched will also be forever changed.

On that trip I made my growing faith become a verb for the first time. This awesome God whom I claimed to serve has served me tenfold more. Now it was my turn to serve Him, to be His hands, His feet and His message!

My testament to the 12 at the end of our stay: "I'll be back!"

Remember, you never know until you go!