Band-aids Don’t Work!

A lot of people come to a church or a pastor and request counsel on how they can become better people.  There is dissatisfaction with the way they are living life, and they would like to do better.  They think that doing better is the business of God.

God is not in the business of making us better – He wants to make us new!  (Tweet this)  Becoming a little better doesn’t really change our lives.  To improve a little better here and there is not God’s intent for His people.  He came into the world so that we might have new life!

Jesus gave a couple of illustrations in Mark 2:21, 22.  He said if you have a piece of cloth and there is a hole in the cloth, you don’t take a new piece of cloth to put it on as a patch on the old piece of cloth.  If you do as soon as you wash it, the new piece of cloth will shrink and will pull away from the old garment.  You still have the hole.  Jesus said He didn’t come to put a patch on an old garment – He came to give us a whole new garment!

Jesus talked about pouring wine into wineskins.  A wineskin is made of leather.  As it grows old it loses its elasticity.  It begins to crack.  It is like a baseball glove.  If you don’t keep it oiled, it cracks.

If you put new wine into an old wineskin, it will burst wide open.  The reason is that the new wine has expanding gases and the old wineskin can’t contain the new gases.  Jesus emphasized that He didn’t come to repair old wineskins – He came to give us a new wineskin.

I read recently where the majority of American roads and bridges were built in the 1950’s, and many of the water systems go back to the early 1900’s.  Cites are experiencing problems with them as they begin to fall apart.

In July 2014, a 93-year-old water main burst beneath Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and sent up to 10 million gallons of drinking water into the streets and sewers.  Residents of Baltimore have about 1,000 bursting pipes every year.  More than a quarter of the city’s water supply in Houston is either lost or unaccounted for because of underground leaks.  Inadequate sewage systems let up to 850 billion gallons of untreated waste water flow into rivers and lakes.

Harvey Gobas, co-author of a report on California’s water system, reports that we are engaged in “the Band-Aid approach.”  He said, “You fix it, it lasts a few years, but you still don’t have a new pipe.”

The Band-aid approach won’t last long on our water systems, our roads and bridges, or life.  God is not in the business of constantly making repairs with the Band-Aid approach.  He came so that every person might experience new life!

Paul describes this in II Corinthians 5:19 when he says, “Whenever a person is a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away and all things have become new.”

Band-aids don’t work.  God doesn’t use band-aids – He births a totally new person!

Leadership

A couple of months ago President Obama nominated Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He is 59-years-old and will be only the second Marine to hold the highest U.S. military leadership post.

He will face a couple of huge challenges.  He will need to oversee the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2016 and conduct a successful air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Dunford has a lot of experience as he commanded the Marine regiment that led the 2003invasion of Iraq.

Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. leads by example.  Gen. George Patton said, “Do everything you ask of those you command.”  Dunford gained the respect of all of his fellow Marines because at 59, he still participates in the demanding physical fitness test as corps commandant.  His fellow Marines say, “He’s the epitome of a Marine leader.”

We lead and learn by example.  Mick Jagger’s ex-wife Jerry Hall told a London newspaper that their four children may have avoided the pitfalls of alcohol and drug abuse because of what they witnessed growing up.  Hall said, “They spent their life looking at Keith Richards passed out on the couch.  That could be it.”  Sometimes a bad example produces a good result.

Leadership is not telling people what to do, but doing it.  Jesus warned people about the Pharisees.  He said they know how to talk, but they don’t walk like they talk.  He said, “What they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds for they say things and do not do them.”  (Matthew 23:3)

Dr. Jim Vickrey, former President of Montevallo University, finished out his educational career teaching speech at Troy University.  In a class on communication he taught and learned a great leadership principle.  He had each student stand up and verbally communicate directions to get to their apartment or dorm room.  Each student stood up and attempted to give specific, clear, concise directions.

The last young man who stood up was silent for a moment and then looked around the class and said, “Come follow me and let me show you where I live.”  Those were the best directions.  The boy got an “A” in the class.

When Jesus called people to be His disciples He didn’t describe for them a lot of what they were going to be doing.  He didn’t discuss benefits or have those early fishermen meet with the HR department.  They weren’t people that most companies would have gone after.  But Jesus didn’t vet His team by what they had been – but by what He saw they could be!  Jesus simply said, “Follow me.”  He set the example.  He didn’t ask them to do anything that He was not already doing.

I like the motto of the Army that says, “Follow me.”  That is leadership.

Leadership is about leading – not talking.  Leadership is inviting people to follow where you are going.  Failing to lead by example can create a false chasm between the leader and people.  The result is that you don’t know if people are chasing you or following you! (Tweet this.)

Let’s lead!

The Yet Mindset

All of us face tough times and difficult situations in life.  We are walking down the hallway of life and turn a corner and all of a sudden we are stopped dead in our tracks by something we didn’t expect.  It can either cause us to turn around and run, or serve to help us face life with confidence.

God never puts us in situations that He doesn’t provide the things necessary to face those situations.  The witness of the Bible and history is that people of faith have confidently put their trust in God and discovered that apparent stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones. (Tweet this)

One good way to face this is what I would refer to as the “Yet Mindset.”  I was recently reading in the Book of Habakkuk because of a devotional by my friend Mark Sartain.  Not often do I read that book as devotional literature.  Habakkuk and the people of Israel were facing some really tough times.  They rounded a corner and faced a depressing situation.

Habakkuk declares, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and baron; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty!” (Habakkuk 3:17)  That is a tough situation.

But Habakkuk had a “Yet Mindset.”  He said, “Yet I will wait patiently.”  Notice that little three letter word “Yet.”  After cataloging the tough situation he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.”  The “Yet Mindset” prepares us to wait patiently and rejoice for the upcoming victory that God is going to provide.

The “Yet Mindset” begins in the mind.  It is connected to our thinking.  Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.”  The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5) It is how we think.

We can never change our actions until we change our minds.  We can never make progress in life until we make some changes.  George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

A “Yet Mindset” is about a mindset of confident waiting and rejoicing.  The “Yet Mindset” is not one that just helps us get by the best we can.  It is a victorious mindset.  It is not a mindset that is trying to stay close and play a good game, or even trying to tie the game – it is a mindset of how God wants to give us victory. David writes, “Trouble will last for only a second, but His favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping may stay all night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  “You have turned my crying into joyful dancing; you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”  (Psalm 30:11)

Look how Habakkuk closes out his book.  His last words were the result of his “Yet Mindset” when he says, “The Lord is my strength.  He will make my feet like the feet of a deer, and will make me walk in the high places.”  (Habakkuk 3:19)  Wow!  Feet like a deer and walking in high places.  The “Yet Mindset” declares, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”  (I John 4:4)  Paul had the “Yet Mindset” when he affirmed; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:3)

Let God help you get the “Yet Mindset.

Brit Beats American on July 4th

The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia is the largest 10K race in the world.  Thousands of people participate.  This year’s 46th running of the Peachtree Road Race produced an interesting conclusion. Two runners were out in front of the field towards the end of the race.  One was American Ben Payne.  The other was British competitor Scott Overall.

Ben Payne is in the Air Force and stationed in Colorado Springs.  He was the leader coming down the home stretch.  But Ben made a strategic error.  A few steps from the finish line he put up his index finger indicating that he was cruising to victory.  What he didn’t realize was that Overall was sprinting to the finish and quickly gaining on Payne.  He passed him right at the finish line.

Now the finish was so close that nobody knew who had won.  It took a couple of hours to determine that Overall had won by 9/100ths of a second.

The U.S. lost a 10K to the British on July 4th, 2015.  We had the victory won – but Ben celebrated a little early.  He failed to finish.  I am glad that 239 years ago America did not just start a race.  We enjoy our freedoms today because our forefathers finished the race!

I am glad the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t put together a document on which they could negotiate and potentially back out.  They signed a document that they knew would cost them dearly, but it would represent the very foundation on which this nation was built.  They faced extreme opposition within this country because no one thought that the states could gain independence.  But we had leaders who were willing to put their lives on the line and finish!

Our early forefathers put together our first flag.  It was the symbol of what this nation stood for.  It has been subsequently modified 26 times.  In 1958 President Eisenhower commissioned a contest to modify the flag to include the 50th state.  Interestingly, a 17-year-old high school student, Robert Heft, decided to participate and made it his class project.  His design of the American flag was accepted, which we display today.  Interestingly, he made a B- on the project.  Today we need to make an A+ on finishing the task for the principles on which this nation was built!

A lot of people have gone to battle under that flag.  Over a million Americans have died.  They were willing to finish the course!

I had an opportunity to go to Parris Island for a few days and view firsthand what our Marine recruits go through.  It is a huge challenge.  They take boys and girls and make men and women out of them.  But they have to finish the test before they move forward as Marines.

At Parris Island there is that huge statue of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945.  250 marines went up the ridge, and only 27 came back down – but they finished the task.  Many of them were just young boys.  They didn’t quit when the going got tough.  One was interviewed and asked how it happened and he said, “We were knocked off the ridge six times, but we came back seven times.”  They finished!

More important than a 10K road race is the race for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness today.  The Brit runner beat the American runner in Atlanta on July 4th, 2015.  The Americans beat the Brits on July 4th, 1776.  Will we finish victoriously?  Read II Timothy 4:7.

How will you finish?

Promise Keepers

Ben Moser graduated from high school last month.  He was an outstanding student.  He was very popular as he was the high school quarterback.  Ben made a promise when he was in the fourth grade to his friend Mary Lapkowicz.  He promised he would take her to his senior prom.  Now Mary has Down syndrome.  Moser had always looked after Mary.  He included her in games and social functions.

Mary had to transfer schools in the sixth grade.  The two fell out of touch and didn’t see or talk to each other for several years.  But last month Moser remembered his promise.  He was able to contact Mary and ask her to be his date for the senior prom.  Mary got a flower, a lot of balloons, and all her friends were there.  Some people were surprised at Ben’s selection for a date – but only those who didn’t know him well.

Ben could have had a date with any girl in school but he had made a promise to Mary – and he kept his promise.  When quizzed about it he simply said, “I promised her.  I kept my promise.  It was the right thing to do.  You should always do what’s right.  It is as simple as that.”

God is always faithful in His promises.  He never breaks a promise.  You can stand – put your whole weight – on His promises.  The Gospel hymn affirms “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.”

Samuel reminds us that the promises of the Lord are always true.  (II Samuel 22:31)  David echoes this reality of how God’s promises are true in Psalm 18:30.  The greatest promise God made was in the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.  Through Jesus God promised that we all might all have life and have it abundantly.  God’s promises are not just for this life, but for eternal life.  John says, “This is a promise which He himself made to us – eternal life.” (I John 2:25)  James makes it clear that God makes a promise that through Him we can “be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him.” (James 2:5)

God always keeps His promises – the real question is whether or not we keep the promises we make to Him. (Tweet this)  How many times have we been in a tough situation and made promises to God that if He would get us out of that situation, we would do certain things.  Do we keep those promises?

We make a promise when we are baptized and joined the church.  The promise is to confess our faith in Jesus Christ and to be faithful disciples.  In the United Methodist Church we make that explicit by promising to be a part of the church through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.  Those are promises.

Each of us who was ever married has made a promise to our spouse.  It was not a conditional promise, but an unconditional promise.  That promise specifies that we take our spouse “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.”  That is a huge promise!

One of the great ministries of my lifetime is Promise Keepers.  Thousands of men gathered to focus on keeping promises.  At Frazer we carried a caravan of buses to Indianapolis and to Atlanta to participate.

It is simple – keep your promise.  Be a Promise Keeper!

Funeral Focus

Funerals are a reality in our culture today.  This isn’t really any different from years past.  Everyone will die.  All cultures have some form of expression and focus to acknowledge the death of a person.  The Christian focus is on a celebration of life to come.

The attendance at funerals is always interesting to see.  I am oftentimes surprised, both positively and negatively at the number of people who attend.  Will Rogers once said that the biggest factor determining the number of people who attend your funeral will be the weather.

An interesting thing just occurred last month in a rural part of China.  The Chinese government is forbidding strippers from performing at funerals in the country.  They have called the burlesque send-offs “uncivilized.”  Evidently family members hire strippers to attract large crowds to funerals.  They think a large attendance at the funeral is a way of guaranteeing good fortune for the deceased in the afterlife.

Part of this new crackdown by arresting strippers and their employers is a result of the “Culture Ministry.”  The Culture Ministry said, “This type of illegal operation disrupts the order of the cultural market.”  They should also have said something about social morals.

Britain has also recently had an interesting twist to funerals.  In order to get more people to come, you can hire weeping professional grievers for wakes and funerals.  You order them from “Rent-A-Mourner.”  The cost is $68 per head.  The rented mourner will read up on the deceased’s life story “so they converse with other mourners with confidence.”  That is sad.  Yogi Berra always had a lot of interesting things to say.  One of his best was, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

Some funerals in today’s culture are interesting.  They are often eloquent eulogies and high tributes to the poor soul in the casket, or urn.  Upon hearing the eloquent things said about the deceased, some attendees wonder if they are at the right funeral.

A good Jewish friend shared with me recently about his father’s attending a funeral of a friend.  The presiding Rabbi told of so many extremely good qualities (greatly exaggerated) of his deceased friend that he told those sitting around him that he needed to be excused.  When asked why, he said, “I want to peep in the casket to see if that’s my friend.  I might be at the wrong funeral.”

Abraham Lincoln once listened to all the good things said at the funeral of one of his generals. Lincoln observed, “If he had known he’d get a funeral like this, he’d have died much sooner.”

The important focus about a funeral is not how good the deceased looks, or the quality of the music, or the cost of the casket, or the flower arrangements, or the eloquence of the eulogy.  The focus is not about how many people are coming, but where the deceased is going!

Jesus said, “”I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25) Paul sounded the victory for the Christians, “O death, where is your is your sting?  O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Focus – Christians never see each other for the last time.

Imposters

I love doctors.  Whenever I go to a church to speak I always like to know where the nearest doctors are.  At my age, that is an important thing to know!

I am glad I have good doctors.  I surely don’t want somebody posing as a doctor who really doesn’t know and practice medicine.

A Florida teenager recently went into the St. Mary’s Medical Center in Palm Beach wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope.  He was just pretending to be a doctor.  He actually was there for a month before he was discovered!

One day a patient just made the comment that he saw a very young-looking doctor in the exam room.  A real doctor, Dr. Sebastian Kent, confronted the young man and asked him who he was and he said “Dr. Robinson.”  When he started asking a few questions he knew that he was an imposter.

Dr. Kent said, “I thought I was really getting old, because these young doctors look younger every year.”  It doesn’t matter to me how young or how old you are, I want to know that when you have a stethoscope and lab coat that you are the real deal.

It is amazing how easily fooled we can all be.  About six months ago a Harvard researcher wanted to see if he could publish something that had no relevance to truth, but would appear sophisticated.  He used a random text generator to write about a phony study.  It really was just gibberish.  He presented it for publication.  Would you believe that it was accepted by 17 medical journals!  He entitled the study “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”  17 medical journals!

A few years ago Ferdinand Waldo Demara, Jr., was arrested – for the twelfth time.  He was known as “The Great Imposter.”  He actually was a school dropout, with no credentials or qualifications.  He had posed and worked as a university vice-president, psychology professor, a Trappist monk, assistant warden for a Texas prison, an auditor for a bank, flew commercial airlines for two months, and as a surgeon in the Canadian Navy.

He was a clever imposter.  Once in Georgia the police were preparing to arrest him.  He showed up with a badge and false identification papers from Texas.  He had an authentic arrest warrant for himself and requested that the Georgia officers let him accompany them to arrest Ferdinand.  That gives new meaning to the phrase “Where’s Waldo?”

Sports’ has its imposters.  Last year Ridgeway High in Memphis was eliminated from the State playoffs when they discovered that a senior forward was actually a 22-year-old man who had had a woman pose as his mother and submit a fake transcript to the school.

Don’t be fooled in life.  There are imposters in all facets of life.  Satan is the biggest imposter.  Look out for “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  Timothy warns that “evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse.” (II Timothy 3:13)

There is no place for imposters in the Christian community.

 

Lifelong Learning

Learning is a lifetime process.  Whenever we cease to learn, we begin to die.

In May 2015, Anthony Brutto graduated from West Virginia University.  He is 94-years-old.  He started college in 1939, when tuition was just $50.

After going to college for three years, he was drafted and served in the Army Air Corps as a mechanic.  Brutto wanted to get his education, so he returned to college, but had to drop out when his wife became ill.  He worked as a machinist for most of his life before recently deciding to go back and get his diploma.  He said, “It was always important to me to graduate.”

Anthony said that he never quit learning, but he wanted a degree that showed that he could still learn.  He was asked about a master’s degree, but he indicated that he was 94-years-old and wanted to take a break and do some learning on his own.

Priscilla Sitienei is a 90-year-old Kenyan who never had a chance to go to school as a child.  At 90-years-old she decided she needed to learn to read.  She has just enrolled in a local elementary school where she is studying math, English, physical education and drama along with several of her great-great-grandchildren.  Priscilla said, “I want to inspire children to get an education.  Too many older kids are not in school.  They tell me they are too old.  I tell them, that I go to school and so should you.”  Learning is a lifelong process.

Contrast Anthony Brutto and Priscilla Sitienei with Tanishq Abraham.  In May 2015, Tanishq graduated from American River College in Sacramento, California, along with 1,800 other students.  The amazing thing is that Tanishq is only 11-years-old!

Tanishq said, “It feels good to graduate.”   He earned three associate’s degrees in math and physical science, general science, and foreign language studies.  That is not bad for an 11-year-old!

He was home-schooled by his mother.  He graduated from high school at age 10.  He had already been taking classes at American River College since he was 7-years-old.

That is a pretty good range of graduates, Anthony and Priscilla in their 90’s and Tanishq Abraham at 11.  I expect all of us would fit somewhere in between.  The important thing is they all were learning at their given age.

One of the challenges for graduating in 2015 is that this year’s graduating class from college in the most indebted in history.  Students graduating this year owe a total of $56 billion in student loans.  About 71 percent of all college graduates took out loans.  The average loan was $35, 051 each.  Compare this to twenty years ago when only 58 percent of students took out loans and owed less than $20,000 at graduation.

This indicates that students better make a good application of their learning.  Education is not just facts that we learn, but how we apply them in specific situations.  The smartest people are not always those who have the most degrees, but those who apply what they learn.  Paul told Timothy “Study to show yourself approved a workman who is not ashamed…” (II Timothy 2:15)

Keep learning!

Time Management

A man walked into Ben Franklin’s bookstore and inquired about a certain book.  The clerk said, “The book is $1, Sir.”  The customer continued haggling over the price, but the clerk assured him that that was the correct price.  The customer insisted on talking with Ben Franklin directly.

Ben Franklin stopped his work and walked out into the store.  The man said, “What is the price of this book?”  Franklin answered, “$1.25.”  The man was confused and said, “Well it was only $1 a few minutes ago.  Tell me again what is the price of this book?”  Ben Franklin said, “It is $1.50.”  The customer said he didn’t understand why the price of the book kept going up.  Ben Franklin said, “The reason the price is higher is that you keep haggling over the price and you are wasting my time and time is the most valuable thing I have.”  Bear Bryant said, “If you hang around people who waste time – they will waste your time.”

Time is extremely valuable.  It doesn’t matter by what increment we measure time, each increment is valuable.  Someone has suggested that we can understand the value of time in different increments by the following exercise.

  • To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
  • To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gives birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask people who are waiting for an important announcement.
  • To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask the person who missed the plane.
  • To realize the value of ONE SECOND, as the person who avoided an accident.
  • To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who finished second at the Talladega 500 or won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Because of its immense value some of us try to save time.  We use that term quite often about different ways to save time.  That is helpful, if we know what we are going to do with the time we save.

There is a story of a Chinese student who was riding with an American driver who was determined to beat an approaching train at the crossing.  The American driver said, “Unless we beat that train we will be delayed by 3 minutes.”  Very foolishly the driver was able to beat the train to the crossing and barely missed a crash by a few seconds.  Observing that foolish stunt that the American driver pulled, the Chinese student asked the driver, “Now what are we going to do with the 3 minutes we just saved?”

Use your time wisely.  Will Rogers said that we can spend half of our lives trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

Be careful not to be fooled by looking at the amount of time something takes to determine how many meaningful things happened in that length of time.  This can be especially true in sports.

Look at your average baseball or football game.  An average three-hour baseball game contains only 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action such as pitches, balls in play, running, and throws.  Out of the three hours, there are only 17 minutes and 58 seconds of real action.  That is better than the average football game, which is determined to have only 11 minutes of action time.

Manage wisely one of the most valuable things you have – your time.

 

March – May 2015 Recap

Dear Friends,

You form the base of people who support this ministry financially and prayerfully.  I want to share with you how your resources have been used during the last three months – March, April, and May.  Here is a brief recap.

  • Preached in 9 different churches in 4 states including Methodists, Baptists, and Assembly of God.  Each church is unique.  I preached at the largest attended Methodist Church in our Annual Conference – Frazer and at my brother George’s church in Auburn on two different Sundays.  I preached in the Hardaway Baptist Church for the 170th anniversary.  The church only has worship once a year for homecoming, but they over 150 people present.  I preached in one church that was celebrating the reworking of its stain glass windows, and I preached at a homecoming at my Dad’s former church in Panama City.
  • Spent two weeks in India training pastors.  India Christianity cannot be described by additions to the church, but by multiplication!  I spent a week in Delhi and a week in Chennai.  There were hundreds of pastors present, many of whom have started multiple churches and won hundreds of people to Christ since I last was with them last September.  I again preached in Chennai at a church that had over 43,000 people present on Sunday in seven different worship services.
  • Officiated at five weddings.
  • Officiated at four funerals.
  • Had unique experiences to speak at the Troy Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting Awards Banquet and at the National Day of Prayer Mayor’s Conference for the Mayors of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and the Gulf Coast, and a Men’s Rally in Andalusia.
  • Consulted with two churches and served as a coach for two pastors.
  • Prepared and published 13 devotional blogs for newspapers and email lists.
  • Recorded and aired 60 radio devotionals and also posted them on Facebook.
  • Spoke at 11 different business events.
  • Participated in conference calls with pastors and lay leaders who are developing a strategy for the United Methodist General Conference which meets in 2016.
  • Consulted with 3 different non-profit ministries.
  • Spent 4 days in New York City with 3 grandsons who have turned 13 in the past year.  This may have been the most exhausting days trying to keep up with them, but also the most enjoyable, productive, and meaningful days.

I have some great opportunities coming up this summer.  Please thank God for the opportunities that He is providing, and pray that our ministry will be responsive and faithful in meeting these opportunities.

Thank you so much for your support.

For the Cause of causes,

John Ed Mathison