In September 2013, I was invited to preach at the Sprinkle Preaching Mission in Mocksville, North Carolina, named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Sprinkle. Dr. Sprinkle had been a Navy Chaplain in World War II. He was creative man who had taken three large artillery shell casings and transformed them into objects to be used in worship. He placed a cross on each of the casings and provided a place for a candle on two of the casing. The third was used to be a flower vase.
He gave these transformed artillery shell casings to his nephew years ago. His nephew is a United Methodist pastor.
His nephew sent these artillery shell casings – now candle holders and a vase, to the church to use for this year’s Sprinkle Mission. Previously the altar set had only be used on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day in his nephew’s church. He wanted to send them “home” to the church where Dr. & Mrs. Sprinkle had served. They were used during this year’s Sprinkle Preaching Mission.
Another interesting thing occurred. On Tuesday night I decided to preach on the cross and offer a small cross for people to carry in their pocket to remind them who they are and whose they are. I had done that several times at Frazer.
That night Bill Thore and his wife, members of the Booneville United Methodist Church several miles away, attended. Their son, Chris Thore, a United Methodist minister friend of mine, told them about the Preaching Mission and encouraged them to attend.
The day before, on Monday, a local football coach had asked Bill Thore if he could help him find some little crosses that he might give to each of his high school football players. Bill Thore had made several phone calls and could not find any. He traveled some 40 miles to attend church, and there he saw exactly what he had been looking for.
It is interesting that when I announced that I would use the little crosses, I was told that a man in Mocksville, Phil Fuller, makes the little crosses. I elected to use his. When I told Bill Thore about this, he contacted Phil Fuller and the next day received 100 crosses to give to the coach.
Doesn’t God have a sense of humor? These two instances demonstrate two important aspects about God. First, He is constantly taking destructive vessels that are used for hurting, destroying, and killing and transforming them into beautiful objects that can be useful for worship. That is what Jesus does with our lives – He takes sinful destructive people and transforms us into the light of the world that demonstrates the beauty of Christ.
Giving out the little crosses reminded me that God always has an answer for every situation. Whatever we need, God greatly desires to supply. The odds of my having the crosses to be used in the worship service on that night, and the Thores’ deciding to attend at that time, and being in a city where a man makes those little crosses – only God could do that.
I am anxious to see what God is going to do next!