You will not believe what I experienced today. We finished up our 9:30 worship service here at Oak Grove RV Park and then went across the street to the KOA park for the 11:00 AM service that Don also does. While folks are coming into the building, we walk around and talk to as many as we can. I was in one place and Don in another when I heard him say, "Corsicana, Texas?" I looked around just as the lady he was talking to did the same. Since Corsicana is the area where I grew up, I was very curious if I might know who was visiting Branson from there. Well, I not only knew her.... she's my cousin!!! Let's see, 1993 was probably the last time I saw her, so with a squeal of delight I rushed over to hug her neck and of course, we were the last to take our seats with a promise to visit more after church. What fun to get to visit with Wanda Lois and her husband, George. Picture? I was so excited about seeing a relative from my childhood home, I forgot all about my camera. Not happy with me.
This is our last Sunday in Branson and it was awesome. For future reference, probably Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. are the busiest months in Branson and would the best time to serve as chaplain here. Not to say that the last 4 1/2 months haven't been good, they have been and we've been blessed and we know that God has used us to bless others.
Don preached from Luke 16:19-26... the parable about the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Once Life is Over. It was a great word from God about the reality of heaven and hell, and about what it's too late for. once
you're dead your life on earth is over.
Once you're life is over....
... you can't salvage anything, can't take your stuff with you, so send it on ahead by sharing with those in need.
... you can't seize opportunity to give your life to the LORD.
... you can not lead others to Jesus Christ.
An example Don gave to make this point was a very moving story about a friend from the past who had served as a deacon for thirty years, taught Sunday School, etc. He became ill with cancer and battled it for over a year. Near the end, Don visited him in the hospital and asked him if he was afraid to die. His reply: "No, I'm not afraid to die, I'm ashamed to die." Curious, Don asked, "What do you mean, ashamed to die?" He said he had been a Christian most of his life and he had never led anyone to the Lord or prayed the "sinner's prayer" with them; he was ashamed to come face to face with Jesus empty handed. Don knew that his good friend's heart was breaking so he knelt and asked God to give his friend two more week to live and serve Him. In exactly two weeks, Don's friend went Home to be with Jesus, but in that two weeks he had told everyone that came to his hospital room about the love and saving power of Jesus Christ, directing many people to a personal relationship with his LORD.
Once your life is over it's too late to help others to be prepared for heaven.
That's the condensed version of the sermon. Wish you could have been here. It was really good and Don noticed that several folks were wiping tears at different times during the sermon. We know that God will use this message to change lives and encourage others.
Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday we will be in chaplaincy training classes again... all day.... 8:00 to 5:00. There are about forty people attending. Some are chaplains and chaplains-to-be. Others are folks who will be associated with the Free Clinic of the Ozarks here in Branson. I'm here to tell you that there are quality people volunteering there... sharing their lives NOW before it's too late. It's a joy for us to be in this class with them and get to know them. We've met Dr. John Moore's sweet wife, Cathy. She's just as lovely as we expected her to be and we instantly fell in love with her. Dr. Moore was able to join the class Friday afternoon and will be with us in the final three classes. I wish everyone could be in this class and hear the wisdom and the heart of all these wonderful people who want nothing more than to do whatever the Lord wants them to do as they go about their everyday lives and look for ways to give back through service to the world around them. They are so excited about the lives they are going to touch through FMCO. God is so good.
OK, I know this has been a little long, but it's been a few days since I last posted. We're going to be really busy going to class, getting ready to move to Coffeyville, moving and getting set up there. Please pray for us.
Please pray for Don. It seems like he may be battling a cold. He's medicating.
Until next time, God bless you.