Quick Update

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Our old house is proving to be in greater need of care than anticipated.  Originally we thought it would only need cosmetic work, then we saw neglect, and now it seems that there is serious damage due to the faulty support.  Once the walls were removed, it became obvious that the exterior wall had been moved off the foundation several inches.  The weight of the upper story had shifted the house and pushed outward.  The fix?  Not only do we need to support the upstairs (properly as there is none existing right now), but we must also pull the exterior wall back onto the foundation.  Many contractors and engineers have been consulted about this and though no small feat, it must be done or the house may collapse during the next wind storm.  So…wish us luck as we get this old girls legs back under her!

Oklahoma Church Has Ninety New Believers in Four Days

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This is an article that was published by The Wesleyan Church Department of Communications.  I’ve copied it so that more people might be able to read of how God is moving in a small midwestern town.

Original Link:  http://wesleyan.org/doc/news_article?id=1670&src=news#.Tmre-yHnQTw.facebook

Oklahoma Church Has Ninety New Believers in Four Days

Aug. 31, 2011 – Ron McClung (Wesleyan Information Network)

Ninety conversions in four days! That’s what happened at Alva Wesleyan Church on August 21-24, 2011. Pastor John Smith said, “Eighty-member churches don’t have ninety converts. God does that!”

Thousands of churches across America call evangelists to come for special services, often called “revivals.” In the case of Alva Wesleyan, located in a city of slightly less than 5,000 in northwest Oklahoma, it actually happened. On Sunday, August 21, this congregation that averaged 86 in worship attendance last year had 88 souls present. Eighty-seven were present Sunday evening. Eighteen went forward to receive Christ and ten were baptized that day. On Monday evening, 106 were present and several more were saved. On Tuesday, 130 people, wondering what God would do next, came to the service. By the end of the evening, the total had risen to 41 saved, 15 baptized.

On Wednesday, the sanctuary, which seats 135, was packed. Another room was set up with a screen and projector so more could see, and 290 persons came to the service. Some parked as much as four blocks away. Before the evening was over, the total had reached 90 professions of faith in Christ, with 26 baptized.

Evangelist for the special services was Ken Freeman, but the pastor was quick to point out that the revival is the result of prayer. In addition to speaking at the church, the evangelist gave his lecture on “Choices 101” at the high school, middle school, Vo-Tech school, and a nearby prison. His lecture encouraged students not to give into peer pressure and to live a life that makes a difference.

As people exited the church on Wednesday evening, an 81-year-old member of the church told the pastor, “I have to walk four blocks to get my car and bring it back to pick up my wife. What a great problem to have!”

Pastor Smith said, “Obviously, we have a lot of follow-up and discipleship to do and a lot of baptisms yet to perform.” He said four individuals feel they are called to some form of ministry, as a result of the revival.

When asked who these new believers are, he said about fifty were adults and forty were children or young people. The majority, he said, were unchurched.

Pastor Smith came to the church seven years ago when about 25 people voted to call him as pastor. Two years ago, the church bought five acres on “the busiest intersection in the county.” A house on that property became the location for a food bank to minister to the community. Between May 2010 and June 2011, the church distributed more than 220,000 pounds of food. Much of it came from the regional food bank in Oklahoma City, about 150 miles away. A grant enabled the church to purchase a 20 by 8 foot walk-in freezer. Additional food came from Wal-Mart’s Feed America program.

The revival continues as 110 people attended this past Sunday, with three more praying to receive Christ. Pastor Smith said they have started a new Sunday school class and a new college ministry as a result of the revival.

Ron McClung, mcclungr@wesleyan.org

Dreams and Realities

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I don’t really know when it started happening, possibly with the birth of my first child, but I have a tendency to wake up around 2 or 3 am and not go back to sleep for about 2 hours.  There are many times that I lay there and desperately try to go back to sleep, and then there are times that I feel God has woken me up just to have a quiet time together.  Of course you know the tale…start praying and immediately fall back to sleep!  But I actually do try to resist that.

Well, this morning was no different.  It was 3 am, and there I was, wide awake. So I started pray-thinking.  I start praying, then I start thinking and putting things together in my mind.  In fact, this is when I do most of my blogging.  The reason no one ever reads these blogs from the wee hours of the morning should be obvious, I’m not getting up to go type them!  Anyway, as I was thinking, I started remembering a verse from scripture that says, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:12. 

The first thought I had was to determine what “fear and trembling” was.  If you were raised in church, you can probably jump to the answer that was taught to you in Sunday School.  Most teach that we take our salvation seriously and revere the Lord at all times. This is all well and good, but how practical is it?  I’m one of those people that needs a detailed road map to go anywhere!  I even plan the route to the grocery store.  I organize the cans in my cabinets, the supplies in my desk, and the exact shelves where my clothes go.  Yes! You might say that I’m a bit OCD. 

But just what is this particular trait called OCD?  Some may refer to it as a disorder, but others might say that it is zealousy paying attention to detail.  Is that bad?  Being this way, I am always checking to see if I have written something right (I’ll probably edit this 3 times) or if I have adequately planned for lessons, etc.  My main energy goes to making sure there are little to no mistakes and that everyone knows what is going on.  In fact, there may even be an element of fear involved in my planning processes.  Can you see where this is leading me?

So if there is an element of fear involved in the OCD details of life, shouldn’t there be the same zealous attention paid to the details of my spiritual life?  If I care how my cupboards look, do I care as much how my soul looks?  Do I painstakingly focus on my everyday walk with Christ? 

For me, through the mad ramblings that take place early in the morning, “fear and trembling” began to resemble being OCD.  It became that same obsession with organization and appearance.  Paul said “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”  My speech, conduct, dress, attitudes and everything else  need to be scrutinized with the same careful eye that I give everything else in my life.  After all, these other things really aren’t that important. 

The conclusion to my early morning mass?  Be OCD about JC!  He’s worth it!

My New Old House

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After 4 months of bantering back and forth with the loan company, we finally closed on our new house. I say new for it is new to us, but truth be told, it is rather old. The best that we can figure is that it was built around 1915 or 1917. The style is questionable too because the house has been added on to about 4 times. We like to think that it is somewhat a shingle style with a little folk victorian thrown in!

Our goal in purchasing this house was first for the space. We have 4 children of our own and a neice living with us. The house we currently live in has a very small living/dining area and when the table is extended to include everyone, it reaches into the living room and blocks the outside door. The bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen all extend from this central space, which means that no one has any privacy! As for the back yard – there isn’t one to speak of. We have 2 dogs that take up the space. The second reason we chose this house was as an investment. Every home that we have owned in the past, we have almost doubled the price of at the time of the sale. This gives me hope for turning this old house around.

On our first day, we successfully ripped down the 1970’s panelling that covered the plaster walls.  We had hoped to do just that and  then paint it.  Unfortunately, the plaster was so cracked in places that the only choice we were left with was to tear it off too.  Another surprise was finding that the large front window didn’t have a header over it.  That may have been okay for a small window in the early 1900’s, but for the 6 foot pane of glass that now sits there, the structure is inadequate.

On the second day of deconstruction, a friend noticed a flash in the wall as breaker was switched on.  That flash revealed wiring that closely resembled a spider’s web.  Where it lead, no one knew, and why the house hadn’t burned down before this, only God knows!  Short story long, it looks as though we will be rewiring the bulk of the house.

What originally was supposed to be an interior designer’s playground has turned into an architechural battlefield.