Today we got to sleep in a bit. We attended service at Calvary Chapel Baton Rouge and were surprised that there were teams from other Calvary Chapels. The teams were from CC Westgrove, CC Foley (Alabama), CC Old Bridge (NJ), CC Missouri. It was a blessing to be all there as one in Christ serving the community.
It was a blessed time for Pastor Gary and he really got to be ministered to. He got to sit and listen and be fed. He didn’t have to concern himself with the things he would normally be accountable for back home.
The message today was especially impacting and thought I’d share a bit about it and how we were shown how the message was being lived out in the lives of a couple we got to spend the evening with.
The message was from Pastor Ben of CC Baton Rouge and his teaching was also a testimony about how the flood has impacted his life. He lost everything – his house, all the contents, and a couple of his vehicles. He mentioned that people now come to him and say, “are things a bit back to normal now?” His message then began, “God brought me out of normal a long time ago.” May God never let us go back to what we think normal is! In this circumstance of having absolutely nothing other than what he packed in the car for his wife and children – thinking the flood would never reach the height that it did.
God gave him and a new opportunity to evaluate what normal was. That in this cleansing, bring stripped of all his “stuff”, it is easier to put things back in a new order than what it was. There’s nothing in the way, nothing to keep you from seeking God first – no distractions.
He taught from Matthew 6:19 – 21, 6:26-34. His focus was God’s glory, God’s provision, and mentioned about our treasures, the “stuff” we accumulate here on earth and worry about maintaining, protecting, replacing, etc. Our joy should be in the Lord. Given where we as believers are headed, we spend eternity with Jesus and our praise, worship, focus, emphasis will be only about Jesus.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
Only one thing we must do is seek Jesus, He is the King and the kingdom and in our acceptance as Jesus as our Lord, our Savior, He makes us righteous, He makes us new. Without Him we can nothing and in Him miracles will happen. Your heart becomes His heart and you will be used mightily.
We leave church and drive about 2 hours to meet up with a couple – Don & Sondra Tipton of Friend Ships Ministy. Their ministry started 33 years ago. They had become new Christians, and from the moment they accepted the Lord, the pages of the bible became real to them. The words stoked a fire inside of them, about helping the poor, helping them everywhere and anywhere. They left their jobs within weeks of becoming new believers and moved into a ship. A ship that was donated to them! Not a small boat, but a big ship – a cargo ship of sorts. Here’s the test of faith as the verses above point out. They didn’t embark on their first humanitarian voyage until four years later! They sat in the San Pedro port for four years dealing with all of their friends, family, and pastors, discouraging them from doing what they knew the Lord was calling them to do. Long story short, here we are with them today 33 years later and they have six ships! Six! All of which were donated to them, and a whole bunch of other items to go along with running an International Christian Humanitarian Organization. While sitting at dinner Don said, “all I did was seek God first, prayed, read His word, and laid everything at His feet, and He provided just like the bible teaches us, and I give all the Glory to Him, ALL!” As we dropped them off back to their shipyard, he pointed to the ships and all the stuff in the shipyard, saying that this is all God’s and all of it is paid off! Every piece of equipment, automobiles, trucks, trailers, forklifts, building materials, and the land all of this sits on are paid off! He emphasized none of this had anything to do with him and everything to do with Jesus and being a faithful servant! Not living a normal life by the world’s standard but living in God’s normal, a life to others would seem nothing short of crazy.
Oh I forgot another item. Pastor Gary mentioned doing a thanksgiving dinner for the community of Denam Springs. The Tiptons asked how many people he was talking about. We had no idea other than the census info we pulled up on google which shows about 10,300. Their response was yes without even blinking an eye. I don’t believe for a second that Don said yes because he had the equipment or resources. His quick yes is because it’s God who will provide and make a way for this to happen. He also remembered at the end of the night that someone had recently provided 14,000 kabobs and thought that might be a good thing to include for the dinner. (Pic below is their 43 ft. cook trailer, mobile kitchen )