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Give Me One Divine Moment

“Give me one divine moment when God acts and I say that moment is far superior to all the human efforts of man throughout the centuries.” -Dennis Kinlaw, commenting on the Asbury Revival, 1970

David Stutzman is recovering from a paralyzing accident. While visiting him at the rehab section of Walnut Hills, he told this story: His father, Andy Stutzman, lived to be a hundred years old. Andy was known as a man of God in our community. He was a minister who had touched many lives over the decades and had a very unique and effective preaching style. A faithful man.

Two days after Andy’s 100th birthday, he confessed to David that he felt that he had not fulfilled the calling of God on his life. He felt that God had called him to the mission field to places like China, India or Africa, but because of helping his father on the farm, and lack of finances, and then marriage and being called by lot into the ministry, he never left this area. He wondered if he had missed God’s calling.

Three days after his 100th birthday, David got a call from a Chinese National TV crew who wanted to do a documentary on Amish culture. The man indicated that in China virtually every person, from the richest to the poorest, has a TV.  Apparently, there is not much available to watch on TV, but the Chinese love to watch documentaries. He asked David to be their guide in Amish country.

When the film crew arrived, David took them to places like the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin; several Amish businesses; a cheese house… Then the Chinese man in charge said he wanted to film a real Amish Farm and Homestead, so David took them to a relative’s farm, a perfect place to film, except that “order” of Amish does not allow filming. However, after David told the story of what was happening, and how many people it would influence, and the fact that the documentary would not be shown in the U.S., the Amish cousin relented (cautiously). Go ahead and film.

The crew had a wonderful time there; they got to see the basement of this large Amish home with artesian well water flowing through it to keep the food cold. All the walls were loaded with shelves of canned goods and preserved food-stuffs in jars. They filmed in the barn full of hay and big Percheron horses—the Chinese love horses! They filmed the windmill, the barnyard, the fields, the state-of-the-art kitchen in the shop where the Amish church meets when it is this family’s turn to hold services…

Then the Chinese man in charge (only 2 of the entourage spoke English) asked to meet “a real Amish/Mennonite Minister.” So David took them to his home to meet his father, Andy. The crew set up cameras in 3 places (or angles). The Chinese man asked David’s father Andy- sitting in his rocking chair-

“Sir, what is that in your lap?”

Andy said, “It’s my Bible; the roadmap to Heaven!”

The interviewer asked, “Would you read something from it to us?

So, Andy proceeded to quote Psalm 37 (by heart!), several other scriptures, some hymns and a poem. He then gave his testimony and explained the plan of salvation in a very simple, understandable way.

The interview was over, the crew left, and several months later this documentary was viewed in China by 1.3 billion (BILLION!) people! It was voted the best documentary of that year and possibly of all time! A week later Andy would have been too sick to film. He died 2 months after that.

This man who wanted to reach the world, but never lived anywhere but Holmes County, Ohio, reached one seventh of the population of the world just 80 days before the end of his 100 year life! He explained the gospel to more people in a half hour interview than he had reached in his 80 years of fruitful ministry in the local church! God is faithful.  Give me one divine moment…

“The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 

“If you sow and don’t reap, someone else will reap; be faithful. If you reap, having not sown, someone else sowed; be humble.” -Steve Wingfield

Time

I like to have our newsletter in your hands by the first of the month. As I write this, it’s June 9th! I’m slightly late. I could use the excuse that I’m busy (which is true). I could tell you of the many interruptions (also true). I could tell you how sick I was (a lie). The reality is- I couldn’t think of a thing to say.  So… I procrastinated. But… finally… I decided to print some quotes about TIME (not the magazine) and its use. Mainly for me, but hopefully for you, too. I hope these are helpful:

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever. – Horace Mann

Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.  -Charles Hummel

God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. The man who would know God must give time to Him. -A.W. Tozer

Asked what he would do if he knew Christ would return in three days, George Whitfield replied:

“I would do just what I have scheduled to do.”

The chief value of an anniversary is to call us to greater faithfulness in the time that is left.

-William Manning

A converted Hindu was given a Bible and a clock. “The clock will tell me how time goes; the Bible will tell me how to spend it.”

                                                             Don’t Tell Me

                                    Don’t tell me what you will do When you have time to spare;

                                    Tell me what you did today To ease a load of care.

.                                              
                                    Don’t tell me what you will give When your ship comes in from sea,

                                    Tell me what you gave today, A fettered soul to free.

                                                         -Greenville Kleiser

Time. This summer will be my 55th high school reunion! It seems like I graduated just a couple of years ago. I am on the reunion committee, so in looking up “lost” alumni, I “found” one my classmates, Connie Hoy, whose great-grandmother lived across the road from us when I was a boy. Great-grandma was 96 years old the year Connie and I were in first grade. She was born in 1859. In 1861 President elect Abraham Lincoln traveled from Springfield, IL to Washington. D.C. on a whistlestop train tour on his way to his inauguration in March of that year. At one of these stops, probably Coshochton, two year old Kate Hoy was lifted up by her father and Abe Lincoln reached over the traincar platform guardrail and patted her on the head. When I was very young, visiting the Hoys, Kate Hoy patted me on the head!

Did you get that?! I was touched by a person who touched Abe Lincoln!! Abe died in 1865! One hundred and fifty seven years ago! Yes, I knew someone who met Abe Lincoln in person! Maybe ancient history isn’t so ancient! Maybe “long ago” is not all that long ago. Is time relative, like Einstein said?

Time. Redeem it. The days are evil. (Eph. 5:16) And the days are short. History may not be as long ago as we may think. We should use time wisely.

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more… I’ll be there.

Until the next time

Nick The Greek

I had heard of Nick the Greek ever since I started in prison ministry (32 years ago), but I had never met him. He was a gang leader, a drug addict, a hit man, a thief, an all-around thug who got radically saved not long after he started his 20 year sentence at Mansfield prison. I met him last Fall at, of all places, an Amish funeral! He came to funeral of Dan Schlabach, a supporter of the Greek’s Inside Out Ministries. Dan’s son, Dwain, was a CGM board member.

Nick gave me his book, Too Mean To Die. What a story! I want to share two of the craziest witnessing events I have ever heard. It could only work in prison and only with a newly saved former corrupt, vulgar gang member. Let me summarize from Nick’s book:

“You really believe that stuff, Greek?”

“Yeah, I believe it,” I said, and I tried to show him some verses to back up what I was saying.

But he just brushed me off and started cursing and using God’s name in vain.

“You keep talking like that, and you’re going to have to deal with me,” I said.

Now, it’s not that I used the best language myself. It was taking me a while to clean up my foul mouth. The first English words I learned when I came to this country were curse words. But I couldn’t stand this man cursing the God who had just saved me from a life of destruction.

He kept on spewing forth this nonsense, so I reverted back to the old Nick. I held my Bible up like I was reading it, and when he was distracted I hit him- pow!- right on the nose with my Bible. His nose collapsed, his eyes closed up and they had to take him to the prison hospital.

A day or so later I walked up to my cell and this same guy was lying on my bunk with his head all bandaged up. He looked like a dead man. I feared big trouble, but when I walked in ready to fight, he said, “Greek, if you believe in God that much – to do this to me- I want to know your God!”  Long story short: I led this bandaged former enemy to Jesus!

Not long after this, I was assigned to a cell with a man who was not too sympathetic to any religion, especially Christianity. “No problem. You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.”

But this guy was on my back from the moment he started bunking with me. I think he assumed that anybody who was into Christianity was a weakling. He kept riding me, making fun of my Bible reading and of my belief in God. I tried to ignore him, but it got harder and harder. I didn’t want another situation like the broken nose, but one day he finally went too far. I grabbed him around the neck and stuck his head in the toilet in our cell and started flushing away. Everytime the guy came up for air, I’d push him back down in the water. When I saw he had enough, I stood up and said, “Now, you ready to listen to God’s word?”

He said, Yeah, he would like to know more. I couldn’t believe my ears!

The whole social setup and “street” rules in prison present problems for a Christian inmate. Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek. It’s a fine line to walk…

Folks, I love these stories, but please do not use these methods in your local church. I recommend The Four Spiritual Laws or The Roman Road. Be passionate to win people to Christ, but broken noses and swirlies may only work in prison. And then, only on special occasions.

                                    He who is wise wins souls. Prov. 11:30

The Power Of A Song

I just sent the manuscript of my new book, The Power of a Song, to Carlisle Printing. I have been wanting to write this book for over 20 years(!).  I’ve had chapters written for at least half of that time. I finally hired an editor (Elaine Starner) to help and to goad me along the way.

I don’t know how long it will take now, but while we wait the month or two it takes to typeset, proof read, edit and print a book, let me paraphrase one of the chapters to give you a taste of what is in the book:

Chapter 16   FROM DEPRESSION TO DANCING 

Ben (not his real name) grew up in a dysfunctional Amish family. His father was in a mental institution. The family was so poor that Ben began stealing food from local grocery stores. He ran away from home and slept in barns and abandoned buildings. When he was caught and arrested, the Smiths (not their real name) went to court and asked the judge if they could be Ben’s legal guardians. The judge agreed. They took Ben home and he became part of the Smith family. He attended the local school where he was a good student and a star athlete. After graduation he went to college in North Carolina, got married, had children, made plans to go to the mission field… and then Jimmy was born. Jimmy was a special needs child (Downs syndrome). His birth changed everything. Ben went into depression.

When the Smiths heard that Ben was suffering from depression, they bought a CD that I recorded in Pennsylvania Dutch and drove to Ben’s home in South Carolina.  Here is Mrs. Smith’s description of what happened:

We drove 1500 miles to hand deliver the Dutch CD. We could hardly wait to start the player. We ran into the house and turned on the “Dutch” music. Ben sat straight up in bed. He began to laugh and laugh. Soon, he was on his feet, dancing. “I can understand that language!” he declared. “I have not had any relationship with my Amish relatives since I left home! I need to go home and visit my family!” This CD activated in his heart a whole new joy. He came alive with that wonderful music. He renewed his walk with the Lord, he went back to work… his family and marriage were saved. All because of a music CD in Pennsylvania Dutch! 

Jimmy, the child who was so ill and took so much care, is now in a Christian school for special needs children. Several months ago we were driving around with Ben and Jimmy, and while we were driving Jimmy quoted the first five chapters of the gospel of John by memory! Tears were streaming down our faces. Jimmy said, “Don’t cry. It will be alright.” Then he sang one of those Dutch songs, something about chickens, I think. We all laughed until tears fell again!

This book, The Power of a Song, is a collectioin of stories of how a song changed a person or the atmosphere of an event, or even history. In this case, a song changed Ben.

“You have turned my mourning into dancing.” Psalm 30:11


There are 21 stories (chapters) of life changing incidents involving a song in this book.

Let me know if you would like to preorder a copy.

“Music is amazing because it helps heal both the performer and the listener.

Everyone benefits from music. An equal opportunity healer!” – Unknown

“There will be no singing in Hell.” – Martin Luther

This World Is Not My Home (Whew!)

The old song, This World Is Not My Home, has become more real to me in the last year and a half as we see friends and aquaintances dying from COVID and the related affects of it (blood clots, strokes, sudden deaths, etc…).

The pandemic is real, but the way it is being handled and dealt with has eroded my trust in the media, the medical profession, the so called “scientists,” and even some friends who think so differently than I do. It has not affected my trust in the politicians as my faith in them was already right close to zero. It’s hard to get lower than that, but they are working on it.

From day two of the shut down (March 18, 2020) I thought something was fishy. (I don’t know why I didn’t think it on day one.) I’m not a medical person, but it seemed to me that what we were doing was like killing a poisonous spider on our face with a sledge hammer. The “cure” was as bad or worse than the disease.

As my trust in earthly institutions erode, my trust and hope in Jesus has been strengthened.

At our annual Florida banquet on February 23, Tino Wallenda, of the famous Flying Wallenda Family, spoke to our audience from a chair that was balanced on a pipe about four feet off the ground (for 25 minutes!!). The pipe simulated the high wire. One of the lessons he gave us was that a high wire walker must focus on something that does not move. You cannot look at the traffic or the spectators or anything that moves as you walk the wire or you will lose your balance and fall to your death. The lesson is obvious: Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the same today, yesterday and forever.

When Tino goes into prisons, he often invites inmates to walk the 15 foot long pipe that he has set up between two chairs, about two feet off the ground. Usually the champion inmate makes it about half way across the pipe before he falls off. Then Tino gets on the pipe and tells the inmate to “get behind me and put your hands on my shoulders. Now let’s go.” And the inmate makes it all the way across the “tight rope” with his hands on Tino’s shoulders. Every time! Follow Jesus. Lean on Him. He will lead us though this treacherous life.

Pandemics; wars; economic collapse; lying polititians; shortages;… Our only hope is Jesus.

                                                                                    Chorus:

This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.          Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like You.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.        If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord, what will I do?

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,               The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.                  And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Post Script: A neighboring farmer was planting corn. He kept his rows straight by lining the radiator cap of his John Deere tractor on a fence post or a bush at the far end of the field (this was before GPS on tractors). On one particular day he looked back as he planted and noticed that the row as curved as a rainbow! He looked again at the “bush” he was lined up with and realized that his “bush” was a cow! She was slowly walking east. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be fooled.       

                 “Many will come… claiming, ‘I am He.’ Do not follow them.” Luke 21:8

You’ve Been Reading My Mail

(December 2021 Newsletter)

Dear Friends – Thank you for budgeting the time to read along for another year. If you are a Christian believer, I hope that your investment of 10-15 minutes twelve times this past year has served to fortify your faith. If you are not a believer I hope that your thinking has been challenged. If you were to say to me, “Well, I’m willing to read about what you believe, but to believe is not to know,” I might respond: “Okay, suppose you ask me for the address of a mutual friend and I said, ‘Here’s the last address that I have on file for him. I’m not absolutely 100% certain that this address is still accurate, but I have not heard that he moved, so I believe it is.’ Would you say, ‘Then just forget it?’ No! We all use the term believe for things that we’re confident about, but perhaps can’t always 100% prove.”                                

We hear a lot today about how important it is to “follow the science.” Well, why not follow the evidence when deciding what’s true about life? Juries often decide cases on the basis of a preponderance of evidence. So when I say “I believe,” what I mean is that I’ve become rationally convinced that the Bible is reliable, that Jesus lives, and that Christianity is true. My faith is an intelligent Bible-based faith, not a blind faith. Let me encourage you to get off the fence. Consider the evidence. Stake a thoughtful faith claim. Invite Jesus to rescue you from sin and insecurity and let Him be real in your life.

The above paragraph was written by Daryl Witmer of Maine, who is a Christian apologist. When I read his newsletter I said to myself, “That’s exactly what I want to say!” so I asked him if I could reprint it. “No probem,” he said. In fact, he quotes other folks in his letter. He printed the quote below from Frank Turek, also a Christian apologist. (An Apologist is“a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.”)


Jesus of Nazareth is arguably the most influencial human being to ever walk the earth. If you’re going to call yourself a pursuer of truth, you have to at least read what He allegedly said and did. He’s the center of human history, and you’re not going to look into Him?!


******

ANOTHER YEAR!

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20


The children of Israel were in captivity in Babylon. “...and we are not saved (rescued).” Charles Spurgeon spiritulized this verse to remind us and warn us to take stock of our lives and get our house in order. The end of the year is a great time to take inventory and make plans. Here is part of what he said about the above verse (Jer. 8:20): “Not saved! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life, and yet at this moment not saved? You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, and yet you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved. You will be without excuse…”                           
Spurgeon goes on to plead with us to make sure that we have made things right with God. In the words of the old hymn that I learned from Johnny Cash: “The old account was settled long ago.”

There was a time on Earth when in the books of Heaven,                        Long ago, yes long ago…

That an Old Account was standin’ for sins yet unforgiven.                       I said the Old Account was settled long ago.

My name was at the top there was many things below.                             And my record’s clear today, he washed my sins away.

But, I went unto the keeper and I settled it long ago.                                 And the Old Account was settled long ago.

May your accounts be settled! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

STAND YOUR GROUND (or WHEN YOU CAN’T BE BOUGHT)

(November 2021 Newsletter)

I love stories of people who held their ground, who did what they thought was right regardless of the outcome, who couldn’t be bought. I want to be one of these.


MOTHER TERESA

Several businessmen were walking down the street in Calcutta, India when they stopped to watch an old lady cleansing the sores of a leper who was laying on the sidewalk. One of the businessmen said as he watched her swab the blood and pus off of the leper’s face, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!”

The kind lady paused, looked up at him and said, “I wouldn’t either.” It was Mother Theresa !

She couldn’t be bought.

E.V. HILL

Rev. Hill was invited to have the prayer at the inauguration of President Richard Nixon. He was honored and excited and was telling his family, his church and his friends about this great honor. Then he was informed that he was not to invoke the name of Jesus in his prayer. “Why not?” he asked. “It’s offensive,”  was the reply. E.V. Hill said that would be like putting a letter in the mail with no address.

 Here is what he told the government official:

“I have never had such a great honor: to be asked to pray at the inauguration of the President of the United States! My children will tell their children that grandpa was asked to pray for the President of the United States of America. My grandchildren will tell their children that their great-grandfather was asked to pray at the inauguration of the President of the United States! Then they will say that grandpa didn’t accept the invitation because he refused to dishonor his Savior.”

NOTE: E.V. Hill prayed at Nixon’s inaugeration. In the name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

He held his ground.

JOHN WOODEN

Bill Walton was player of the year as a sophomore on the UCLA undefeated National Championship basketball team in 1972. Coach John Wooden had strict rules about how his players dressed and wore their hair. When practice started again in October, Bill showed up with long hair.

Coach Wooden: “What’s this, Bill?!”

Bill Walton: “Coach, you have no right to tell me how to wear my hair!”

Coach Wooden: “You’re right, Bill. I don’t have that right. But, I have the right to determine who is going to play, and we are really going to miss you this year.”

Bill Walton ran out of the gym, hopped on his bicycle and sped down to the barbershop. He jumped in the barber chair in front of other customers and yelled, “CUT IT OFF! QUICK!”

He made it back to practice and went on to earn 2 more Player Of The Year awards, and an NBA career.

Coach Wooden held his ground.

JERRY REED

Nashville’s best musicians just could not get the guitar licks at an Elvis Presley recording session for the song “Guitar Man,” so they called the man who wrote it, Jerry Reed. He sat in and in a couple hours the song was recorded. Elvis was elated! His musicians were happy, his producer was happy… And just as Jerry was going out the door, he was presented with papers to sign. “What papers?” “It’s Col. Tom Parker’s rule. You sign half of your publishing rights away.”

Jerry Reed said, “That’s not going to work, brothers!”

“Well, that’s Tom Parker’s rule. You sign or the song does not get released.”

“Look,” said Jerry, “it was a high honor to be in an Elvis session. I’ll never forget it, but you’ve been trying to record this song all day, I came in and now it’s recorded. Elvis is happy. He’s elated! So you can just go over there right now and tell him that this song will not be released. See ya!”

The song was released. It became a country and pop hit. Jerry is the ONLY one who ever got all of his rights to a song that Elvis recorded. Nashville still loves it that Reed got one over on Col. Tom Parker.

He held his ground.

COME AND SEE, GO AND TELL

(or… where have we been?)

November 2021 Newsletter

Amish Country Theater, Berlin Square, Round Lake Christian Camp, Rosco Village Methodist Church, Nazareth Man House in Goshen, Indiana, Logger’s Cook Off Church, Wayne County Fair, Plain City Annual Fund Raiser Concert, Fredericksburg Homecoming, CGM Annual Banquet, Smithville Ruritans, Changed Lives Ministries Banquet, Hochstetler Reunion, Berea Church Picnic, Longenecker Church, Crafter’s Fair in Shipshewana… and that was September!

Prisons are still closed to outside groups except for regular weekly Bible Study volunteers, and then only one or two people at at time may enter, but we are keeping busy with other events as you can see in the preceeding paragraph. This week I will again email as many prisons as I can to hint around that we are available. Chaplains have been overwhelmed and overworked for the last year and a half, so even if/when they open up, we want to keep our name on their front burner. Pray for the chaplains, the inmates and the outside groups that are ready and willing to go in.


The following thought, “The Hope of the World,” is from Dennis Kinlaw’s devotional, This Day With The Master, pg. Sept 24. Dr. Kinlaw was president of Asbury College when I attended there (in the last century). I thought of this because in our current world situation, I am tempted to look to the wrong places for help. Dr. Kinlaw reminds us that our only hope is in Jesus:

THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

The hope of the world is not in power, position, or wisdom, and it is especially not in money. The hope of the world is in those people who are clean.

Isaiah 52:11 says,

Depart! Depart!…
Touch no unclean thing;
Go out from the midst of her,
Be clean,
You who bear the vessels of the LORD.

If you are to be the witness for Christ that He asks you to be, if you are to have a future with Him, you must be clean. The future and the hope of the world is wherever God is, and God dwells with and in His people when they are clean. He can get rid of our sins and take care of our failures and create in us a place in which He would feel comfortable living. Once we allow Him to do that, there is no end to what the Spirit can do with our lives.

You may be trying to possess Him. You may be trying to have Christ and keep some pollution in your heart. It will not work. If the future is to be realized, you must let Him cleanse you so you are clean, pure, and holy. He wants possession of every area of our lives, and if you surrender your life to Him, you will find yourself with a future.

What Christ receives He cleanses, and what He cleanses He fills, and what He fills He uses. The hope of the world lies in the people who give themselves to Him for cleansing and filling.

FEAR, CAUTION, PARALYSIS

September 2021 Newsletter

The last year has been “fearful times.” It has caused me to think about the question in Ezekiel 33:10, “How shall we then live?” We have been mandated by the government and the medical community certain ways to live: what to wear; where to go; where to not go; what medicine to take; what not to take; what we can say and what we cannot say…

One thing I don’t want to be in this fearful time: Fearful.

The COVID pandemic has filled us with fear. There is reason for this fear. The pandemic is real. I have lost six friends and several aquaintances because of COVID. They may have had underlying health issues, but they would not have died if they had not contracted COVID. It’s serious.

But I have lost almost as many friends during this time because of car accidents, cancer, heart attacks and who knows what other reasons. This may sound calloused, but, death happens. Everyday. I grieve. I cry. It makes me sad. But fearful?! I refuse to live in fear. I have friends who have hardly left their homes since March 2020! Fear has ruled their lives for a year and a half! They are paralyzed.

When I built silos in 1975, many friends cautioned me: be careful, people fall from silos. (A friend fell and was killed that summer.) It’s dangerous. You are being foolish. You are tempting fate. So many people told me how dangerous it was that I decided to look for something “safer.” While the silo crew was working at a feed mill in Baltic, I noticed that a feed truck was sitting in the same place for several days. I went in the office and asked if they needed a driver. “Yes, we do! The driver of that truck swung the auger out on a farm last Tuesday and he hit an electric wire and was killed.”

Dude! I walked out of that office thinking that I’d just as soon die falling off of a silo as to be electrocuted operating a feed truck! (I even heard of a man who died from an infection that he got from a paper cut! Is any job “safe?”)

Our missionary staff in Costa Rica thought I was tempting death because I had a motorcycle. “You’re going to get killed!” “Costa Ricans drive like maniacs” (Fact check: partly true) “You have no regard for your life!” (Fact check: false). I finally told the staff that if I would have had the level of caution that they are telling me I should have, I never would have come to Costa Rica! I was told Costa Rica was dangerous (Fact check: probably not true). “People kill each other down there. Don’t you watch the news?!” “There are diseases there! Snakes! Sickness!” “We’ll never see you again!”

I heard the story of a very fearful, cautious man in Miami who was afraid to take a walk because of the dangerous, heavy traffic. He went to the tourist bureau and asked what was the safest time to walk in Miami? The answer? Sunday morning. Why? Because it’s not a work day; all the Catholics are in church; all the protestants are in bed and all the Jews are down at the beach. So, the man took a stroll during the safest hour of the week: Sunday morning. He was run over and killed by a Seventh Day Adventist! 🙂

Folks, living is hazardous to your health. Be cautious. Be diligent. Everyday something bad could happen. But fearful? We don’t have to live in fear. Silo builders have safety procedures. Feed trucks can be utilized safely. Cars have seat belts. Germs and viruses are in the very air I am breathing as I type this letter. There is danger all around us 24/7. These are perilous times. Sickness, accidents, wars, turmoil, family issues, church stuff… be concerned. But fearful?! Not me.

“Fear not,” occurs 365 times in scripture. That’s one for every day of the year.

“Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise…” Eph. 5:15 BUT! – “Fear not.” -Jesus

A DIVINE APPOINTMENT

August 2021 Newsletter

From Showing Up, pg. 3 by John Schmid

“I don’t even know where my children are…” said Sue from her prison cell. Volunteer Brenda Duvendeck was trying to strike up a conversation with her during the Bill Glass Prison Weekend of Champions in Northwest Ohio back in 1994, but Sue was not in the mood to talk. To get a conversation going, Brenda asked if she had children.

“Yes, I have children, but I don’t even know where they are. They’re in a foster home somewhere.”
“I used to keep foster children,” Brenda said. “What are your children’s names?”
“Desiree, Lavon and Miranda,” said Sue.
“I kept three children with those names last year! We went to Lake Erie several weekends and the Cleveland Indians games,” Brenda offered.
“YES! They wrote to me that they went fishing! Are you Brenda?! Do you have any pictures of them?!”
“Yes, on my refrigerator! I’ll bring them tomorrow.”
“Please do,” Sue almost shouted.

The next morning Brenda returned to the NW Ohio Prison with the photos. She hurried through security went directly to Sue’s cell and showed her several photos of three happy looking children sitting in Brenda’s front yard after a fishing trip. Sue burst into tears.
“Oh my children, my children! Desiree, Lavon, Miranda! How big they’ve grown. They look so happy. Oh, my children, my children…” and then more sobs.

Coincidence? No. A divine encounter. God set this up so that hardened, depressed, down-and-out Sue could reconnect with her children, and who knows? Connect with God.

I never heard what happened next. Did Sue commit her life to Jesus? Did she become a Christian? Where is she now?

Twenty some years after this happened (2015?) I was singing at an outdoor event in Shipshewana when I noticed a woman in the crowd who looked like Brenda. I took a chance, and from the stage I said, “Brenda?” She looked up. It was Brenda, the prison volunteer! “Did you volunteer with Bill Glass in the ‘90’s?” She nodded.

Before I sang another song, I said, “Folks, let me tell you a story about this lady in the third row,” and I went on to tell about inmate Sue and how volunteer Brenda talked to her through prison bars and discovered that she had kept her children. When I finished the story, I asked, “Sue, did I get it right?” She nodded yes, that was real close. “Have you kept in touch with Sue?” I asked. She shook her head, ‘no’ with a touch of saddness. I still pray for Sue every now and then, when I think of this incident (like right now as I write this).

Bill Bright said, “A successful witnessing experience is when you present the claims of Christ to a person and then leave the results up to God.”

Since we don’t know what happen to Sue, we have no choice but to leave the results up to God. I think He can handle it. But He wants to use you and me to share His love and salvation with the world. “Go into all the world… and I will be with you…” Matt. 28:19