Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Beans Get Spilt

Jasper Speaks:

So we are off tomorrow to see if God's will is for us to return to Missouri. Please be praying for us. Pray for safety in travel and that God will make His will known to us. Below is what we have come up with to share with the church. The Pastor asked us to stay with the theme of Thanksgiving in the service (how cool is that by the way).

Jasper: We understand that the Pastor has been sharing how to have a thankful mindset as we prepare for thanksgiving this Thursday. We would like to share with you some of the blessings that Christ has given us by His grace. When we think of grace, I think I speak for both of us in saying God’s grace was first evident in our lives by our being born into Christian homes. God has blessed us with incredible, godly parents who have not only told us about Christ’s love for us but even from childhood, daily showed us that love. We are so thankful that God’s grace was upon us by allowing us to have Christian families. We are also thankful that God made his love real and personal to both of us bringing us to a place of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. For me that time came when I was ten years old. I still remember kneeling beside my parent’s bed with my mother at my side. She had just explained to me how I could have my own relationship with the creator of the universe. That night I confessed my sin, trusted in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and gave my life to the will of Jesus Christ. I was filled with a joy I didn’t understand and immediately wanted to share with everyone, the decision I had made.

Kendra: For me that moment came when I was 14 years old. I had been involved in church all my life and I knew all the right answers. I had lived a good life and had always tried to do what was right. Still, there was something missing. I was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and at an event one evening my leader shared how he had a similar experience in his life before really came to know Christ. His testimony touched my heart. That night I bowed my life in full surrender to God and His plan for me. I admitted to Him that I was a sinner and I needed Him to come into my life and take control. It is a decision I have never regretted.

Jasper: I am thankful that the summer before my freshman year of college I felt His call for me to serve Him in ministry. I wasn’t sure what type of ministry at that time. I trusted that if I was faithful to God’s call, He would work out the details. After I graduated college I worked for a semester with a small church’s youth ministry. I am so thankful that God gave me that opportunity. I am thankful that God allowed me to minister to students like Landon Howard. Landon was from a poor, single parent home. He was a challenging student for me. He asked the hard questions and I thank God that Landon pushed me to find the answers. I thought about him often as I went away to seminary. I still did not know how God would use me in ministry but I continued my training with a heart that was open to His will for me. In March of that semester, I received a call that Landon had been shot and killed on a street corner where he had been robbed. I knew that the students I had grown to love would need help to get through this difficult time. I returned home. As I spoke to Landon’s mother, spoke at his funeral and ministered to his friends, I could feel God shaping my heart. He was calling me to service with teens. I knew it without a doubt. I am so thankful for the life of Landon Howard because God used him to plant a seed of passion in my heart for the life of teens. Through the years I am so thankful that God has watered that seed and continued to give me a heart for students.

Kendra: I too am thankful that God placed His call on my life. I have always had a love for music and God has shown me how I can use that love to draw people to Him. I studied Church Music in college and as a result in my junior year I applied to be a church pianist at a First Baptist Church of Lemay in St. Louis. It was there that God began to use my abilities for His service on a regular basis. I am thankful that at that church God introduced me to the man who would become my husband. Jasper was serving as the Minister of Youth and Education there while I was the pianist. We began to serve together in the youth ministry and soon God had joined our hearts together as well. I am also thankful that while we served at FBC Lemay, God let us be a part of many student’s lives. Students like Lydia Gerard. Lydia came from a difficult home life. Her parents weren’t Christians and she was desperate to find someone who would love her without condition. She began attending our mid-week youth program with a friend. At first she didn’t seem very interested but slowly she became more involved. I am thankful that Jasper was able to share with her God’s unconditional love and she asked Christ to be the leader of her life. Soon she was sharing her faith with her family and ministering through the drama team in our youth ministry. God had taken a soul that was dark and hopeless and filled her with light and hope.

Jasper: I am also thankful that God promises that He will be with us wherever we go. We saw His grace at work in our lives when He called us to Hollis Center Baptist Church in Hollis, Maine. We have learned that we must truly trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. We have seen God’s grace in the way he has worked not only in our lives but the lives of the students with whom he entrusted us. Students like Ben Wilson. When we met Ben he was a class clown. He was a great person to be around yet we saw something more in him than just fun. We began to invest time in him. We encouraged him to spend time in God’s Word daily and to seek out ways to serve others. Soon we saw a passion for the things of God spring alive in His life. He has served God on mission trips and in our church. He has led several people to Christ. Just about two years ago he accepted a call into youth ministry himself and has started to pursue that goal. We are thankful that God has blessed us with being able to serve Him by investing in the lives of students. Today we are thankful that God is allowing us to share about his tremendous grace with you.

Kendra: We are thankful that God has given us an opportunity to share with you not only our faith stories but the stories of just a few of the many young people he has blessed us with in our lives and ministry. We are thankful that He is faithful in all things. We are thankful that we don’t have to worry about what lies ahead because God is always before us.

Jasper: We rest in the truth of God’s promise as given in Jeremiah 29:11. Here God’s Word says I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. We are thankful that God has a plan for our lives as well as the life of Troy First Baptist Church. God has given us so much more than we deserve. Most of all we are thankful that He has given us eternal life through His son Jesus Christ. As we think on this season of thankfulness, we realize that we can never be thankful enough for all he has done. Thank you for letting us share with you this morning.

No comments: