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.

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In Search of a Preacher and the God of the Unexpected – Part I

Bridge to CarnegieFor a few months as I drove past the Carnegie, OK turn-off on Highway 152, I would feel a strong inclination to hang a left and drive the 13 miles into town.  Carnegie was not unknown to me.  My dad had grown up there.  His parents and grandparents were from there.  My great-great grandfather, John Weaver, had owned and operated a grocery store in the town.  When I was a boy my family would drive to Carnegie to attend the Weaver Family reunion at the Carnegie City Park.  My memories of that reunion include a small hand operated Ferris wheel that we used to play on.  It had two “baskets” opposite of each other suspended from arms of sturdy steel that 2-3 children could sit in.  On the side of this playground wonder-ride was attached a large metal disc probably 8 feet across from top to bottom that spinning by hand would send the baskets loaded with children round and round,  up and down on the Ferris Wheel.  The faster you could spin the wheel the faster the Ferris Wheel would turn along with the stomachs of those in the baskets.  That ride was one of the few attractions and memories I had of Carnegie.  But it wasn’t enough to pull me towards the town that summer day I yielded to the growing inclination to visit Carnegie again.  It was something much stronger than playground equipment.

Up until that day my work with RAM involved mostly the town of Cordell; another 20 minutes west of the Carnegie exit on Hwy 152.  God had done some amazing things in Cordell as I witnessed people being saved and drawn into His Kingdom from divergent walks of life; teenagers to senior citizens to everyone in between were responding to the grace of Jesus.  The church was increasing in its understanding and embracing of God’s will and mission.  I had developed a good relationship with the congregation’s youth minister and was intentionally mentoring him to become the evangelist for the church.  He had been reluctant at first to make the transition, but was slowly beginning to gain the confidence and desire to do it.  The timing was right for me to start turning more of my focus elsewhere and unexpectedly for me, it began with that turn-off at the intersect of Hwy 152 & Hwy 58.

When I drove into Carnegie that day I went to the little building where I knew the church met.  I had been in that building years ago, once again, back when a child.  I remembered the painted mural of the Jordan River on the back wall of the baptistery, greens, blues and browns, trees, and leaves and water.  I couldn’t enter the building to see if the Jordan still flowed behind the pulpit.  I had heard conflicting rumors about the status of the Carnegie preacher. They had a preacher; they didn’t have a preacher.  The door was locked and there was no car out front to suggest a preacher was still on the payroll.  Now what?  Who should I talk to in hopes of finding an answer to my question?  I called my dad.  He grew up in Carnegie.  He would know who to call.

“Ask my cousin,” my dad informed me.  “They live out on the west side of town.”  “Thanks Dad,” I said and off I headed for my second cousin’s farm.  When I pulled up into the drive of their place a woman stepped out on the porch to assess who the stranger was in her driveway.  I quickly got out of the car and introduced myself as Doug Weaver’s son.  That got me immediate access into her living room and within a few minutes we were in the middle of friendly conversation and my explaining why I showed up at her house.

“Well, if you are trying to find the preacher for the Church of Christ you need to speak with the Marshalls,” my cousin told me.  “They own and run the NAPA store . They’ve  been a part of that church for years. They’ll know.”  “Thank you,” I graciously told her.

“Their son Bryce was our son’s best friend.  They were joined at the hip!  If you wanted to find one you only had to find the other one.  They were always into something!” she told me with a smile.  I thanked her again and got in the car and headed to the NAPA store.

The NAPA store sits on the corner of the main intersection of town.  When I walked into the store I immediately noticed a young man at the counter.  He was probably in his mid-twenties. His hair was cut short, nearly shaved.  I noticed he had a small silver earring, not in the lobe but the cartilage of the top of his ear.  That looked painful!  I approached him with a smile and told him who I was and that I had been directed to this store where I could find the Marshalls and hopefully the answer to my question.

“I’m trying to find the preacher for the little Church of Christ here in town,” I said.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

“Sure,” I said expecting some much anticipated direction.

“Come back in the back to my office.”

I followed him to the back of the building,  in between shelves of NAPA car parts.  There was no mural of the Jordan River on the walls.  We ended up in a little cubby hole area with a desk and nothing much else in the room.  He sat down in a chair next to the desk and as I sat down in a chair across from him against a brown-paneled wall he said to me, “I’m the preacher.”

The Right Question

Questions
“So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. “ – Acts 1:6-8

How many times did the disciples just not quite get it? How many times did Jesus think, “Guys, track with me.” How many times does He still think the same with us today?

This exchange occurred after Jesus had spent 3 years teaching about the Kingdom of God publicly (and who knows how many hours privately with His disciples) and climaxed with His crucifixion, resurrection and another 40 days preaching about the Kingdom of God. You would think that after all of this, of all the questions they might have put to Jesus next, it would not have been, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Why that question? Was anything sinking in?

But, they did. And I have to ask, “Are we any different today?” As recipients of God’s revelations, week after week, year after year, both from His word and His work in our lives, are we still asking the wrong question? Too often, like the early disciples, we focus on insignificant theological details that God has left unexplained and miss the obvious.

Like He did with His disciples then, Jesus is still refocusing us on the real issue; the legitimate need of the hour. The world is lost and needs witnesses who will testify to His saving power! We who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, have also received “power” in our lives that makes us legitimate witnesses of His saving grace. Today, let us resolve to be living witnesses; speaking and acting as people who are “on track” with God, asking the right questions, and giving the world the only answer worth dying for: Jesus Christ!

Praying for An Evangelist

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”          Ephesians 4:11-13

Rural America is in need of Evangelists. Men who take the message of the cross to the people; house to house and in the market place (Acts 5:42; Acts 17:17) rather than advertise its proclamation and then wait for the people to come to the pulpit.  Men who share more than the greatest story ever told. Instead, they are witnesses (Acts 4:20) of the life-changing power of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ because they speak from personal experience.  They are men who make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20) rather than church-goers and then mature and equip those disciples for service and leadership.

The church that meets at 4th & College in Cordell, OK is prayerfully searching for such an Evangelist.  They are looking for a man who will view himself as a missionary to  rural America;  a man who will join them in their mission to fill Cordell and Washita County with the truth and grace of Jesus Christ and restore the Kingdom of God in America’s heartland.  They are praying for a man as described below:

  • A man who relentlessly pursues a walk with God in humility, devotion and personal and private worship.
  • A man known to be filled with the Spirit by his reliance on the Spirit in transforming his character, empowering him for his ministry, and leading him in his pursuit of God and His will.
  • A man who communicates the Word of God with integrity, accuracy, boldly, and with a conviction of one in whom the Word is deeply rooted.
  • A man who relates well to all people and has not forgotten he too is human in need of God’s grace.
  • If a family man, a man whose wife respects and supports his ministry.
  • A man whose public life is a reflection of his private life.
  • A man who is good with children and recognizes that without them in the church today there will be no church tomorrow.
  • A man who is effective in leading people into a saved relationship with Christ AND also effective in maturing them as disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • Similarly, a man who is effective in equipping disciples for leadership and service in the body of Christ.
  • A man who is a team player.
  • A man who will make a 3-5 year commitment to the church and its mission to build the Kingdom of God in Cordell, Washita County and beyond.
  • A man whose ultimate loyalty is to His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not to any man, institution or human tradition.

If you are this man, or know of such a man, and would like more information or wish to submit a resume, you may do so by forwarding your inquiries or submission to: raministries@live.com, att: Evangelist Search.