R.A.M.’s mission is to evangelize and revitalize the rural communities of America by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus Christ through His word and compassionate action.
There are 7957 verses in the New Testament. If we count the verses in I Corinthians 11:17-34 and I Corinthians 14:1-40, there are 57 verses combined that one could make a good case are speaking directly on the subject of corporate worship of the church. Stay with me.
If the N.T. was a conversation and every verse represented one second, how long would the conversation be? Answer: 2 hours and 21 minutes.
How long would the conversation be on the subject of corporate worship of the church? Answer: 57 seconds. (Less than 1% of the entire conversation.)
What’s your point? (You do have a point, don’t you?)
I might have a point, but I’ll frame it in some questions:
Why have so many divisions and fights in the church revolved around less than 1 second of the entire 2 hr and 21 minute conversation?
What are the other 2 hrs and 20 minutes of the conversation about and what would the church look like if there was as much emphasis on those 2 hrs & 20 minutes as there has been on those 57 seconds? Just wondering . . . .
Imagine that new environments stress you out to extremes. You have difficulties interacting with people socially, can be overwhelmed by chaos and lack of routine, and have difficulty explaining your needs to others. That was me at the start of this mission trip with Rural America Ministries. This being a difficult transition going so far beyond my comfort zone, even just for a month within the United States, I knew there would be challenges.
My month with R.A.M. came with great trials and great rewards. This month helped me to work through many internal difficulties and fears by persevering in the face of adversity. Situations led to me being more willing to ask for help and intentionally state my needs. The spiritual benefits of this month ran deep into my soul and spiritual life. I can no longer look at concepts such as stillness, perspective, service, prayer, in the same way. The depth of learning I had during this month will be invaluable in the rest of my college career as a youth and family ministry major at LCU and beyond.
Through the example of R.A.M.’s leadership I was also taught some of the foundations of strong Christ-centered leadership. The leadership modeled to me of prayerful, humble commitment has left parts of my life transformed in deep ways. I was shown that being deeply prayerful before decisions has great power and I am reminded of a quote by Corrie Ten Boom: “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” This prayerful leadership style and Christian walk lets God have far more impact in this world and the work we do.
The consistent focus of daily asking, “How did you see God working today?” began to open my eyes to the plentiful harvest of souls ripe in this world. This Spirit and prayer-led attitude has bled into my daily life even after the trip. Prayer is powerful! I have seen its effects first hand in the lives at the Seymour Church of Christ. Situations I saw where it was incontrovertible that God was actively participating in them: A man and his family falling apart under extreme pressure of circumstances, yet he yearned so much to hear God’s word that his truck stalling out twice in water to get to the study couldn’t stop him. Humble women who sacrificially served the church and others doing such basic tasks as vacuuming the entire church building standing firm as an example of Christian service while being totally unrecognized.
I saw God working in such magnificent ways on this trip, in my life and the lives of those around me. Because of my experience with R.A.M. I saw this verse with entirely new eyes:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” -Matthew 25:34-40
There was much more to Rex than you knew and it was of no concern to him if you didn’t know it. His concern was for his family, the church and the less fortunate. The words of his son David at Rex’s memorial service powerfully expressed the concern he had for his family enacted through many self-less acts of love. The eulogies given by Luke and Chris, Youth Minister and Evangelist for 4th & College, Rex’s home congregation, described a man who came alongside them as friend, brother, and spiritual father. I observed Rex taking great satisfaction in knowing that 4th & College was instrumental in helping High Plains Children’s Home add another residence to their campus in Amarillo. I witnessed he and Annette opening their home and their resources to women Annette ministered to in the county jail because they had opened their hearts to God first. Most personally, I was the recipient of his loyal support as Rural America Ministries took birth in Cordell four years ago. Rex, not only served faithfully on our board of directors, but was instrumental in helping us with our state and federal registration as a non-profit ministry and every year he and Annette would host one or more college students in their home when our R.A.M. teams were on mission in Cordell and the surrounding communities. And consistent with the rest of his life, it was of no concern to Rex if you knew nothing about it. In fact, he would rather you didn’t.
But the Lord knew. Scripture tells us that a man’s deeds will follow after him. Revelation 14:13 reads, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Your faithful labor for our Lord Jesus has followed you into eternity! Rest in peace brother Rex, until we meet again.