Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Do not despise small beginnings....... Zechariah 4:10 (Living Bible)
But you, Bethlehem ~ though you were little among thousands of Judah yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel. Micah 5:2
Above is the picture of the little block church from the wrong side of the tracks my great-grandmother built after she gave her heart to the Lord. Great-grand's testimony continues to be an inspiration to me. She had been bound by alcohol and was a bootlegger for many years. One day when she was running low on her "brew," she decided to take a trip to Kentucky to purchase some more "white lightening." She planned on bringing it back to Iowa and selling it. On her way to Kentucky, she decided to stop and see her brother, who lived in southern Illinois. Little did she know that this bootlegging road trip would lead to her Divine destiny.
When she arrived at her brother's house, she immediately sensed something had changed. He went on to tell her that he didn't drink any more. He had found Jesus.
Grandma was too shocked to speak, but couldn't keep her mouth shut when he informed her that they were having revival meetings at his new church and invited her to go.
"CHURCH? I've never been to church in my life."
Her brother wasn't affected by Grandma's lack of interest. He began sharing about the friendly people, beautiful music and powerful preaching. He promised her that it was what they had been searching for their entire lives.
To hush him up, Grandma decided she would go, sit on the back pew and slip out as soon as she could. After all, she needed to head to Kentucky to pick up that moonshine because her funds were dwindling.
As soon as Grandma sat down in that church service, her heart began to melt. She sat mesmerized as the saints sang. When the preacher got up and spoke of Jesus dying to forgive sinners, Grandma's heart was receptive. An altar call was given and Grandma responded. The minister and several of the ladies prayed with her to receive Christ. They asked her if she had a prayer on her heart.
Grandma choked, "Lord, make me worthy to be called Mother."
Well, this experience changed everything. Grandma didn't go to Kentucky to pick up the moonshine. She returned home with the NEW WINE. When her customers came to her door, they were forced to listen. A few of them embraced her new found faith for themselves. They built a church and began ministering to young and old alike.
I was one of the young ones that attended some of those church services. My spiritual foundation was partly built there. I was a shy child and lacked confidence, but there were rumblings of the Holy Spirit in my soul. I distinctly remember hearing His voice in the depths of my soul.
"Would you be a pastor's wife?"
"Will you devote your life to My work?"
"Will you labor for Me in My vineyard?"
I especially remember singing the lyrics of an old hymn in a service in this same poverty-stricken church when the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart.
Jesus, use me.
Oh, Lord, don't refuse me.
Surely there's a work that I can do.
Even though it's humble,
Lord, help my will to crumble.
Though the cost be great I'll work for Thee.
I also remember the struggle inside of me. I didn't want to sacrifice. The ministry didn't offer the lifestyle my dreams were made of. I also remember the day I surrendered to His Call and I can honestly say that I've never been sorry I heeded God's Call.
In the late 70s, the little block church was torn down. Its members moved to a little tin building in the tiny village of Floyd, Iowa. (Population 350... SALUTE)
In 1981, my pastor-husband and I were serving the Lord in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. One day our phone rang and it was my grandmother. (My great-grandma's daughter) She said she had been praying about a pastor for the little tin church since the former minister had moved away. She said that she felt the Lord had shown her that my husband was to be the pastor.
For several weeks my grandmother called. I kept telling her that we were at the church where God had called us.
She said, "Will you at least pray about it?"
I assured her we would. And when my husband and I prayed, we recognized His voice.
"Will you go to Floyd, Iowa, for Me?"
"Will you be My servant and go where I send you?"
"I gave My all for you.... Will you give Your all for Me?"
We surrendered to His will for our lives. No ifs, ands or buts stumbled us any longer. That decision was made twenty-eight years ago. God has blessed the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Floyd, Iowa, above and beyond what we ever dreamed. We have learned a valuable lesson. God needs little leaders. Those who are little in their own eyes, but are spiritually keen on just how big their God is. Oh, may we decrease and Jesus increase in our lives.
To see some of the blessings check out our webpage at www.floydslighthouse.com. You'll be glad you did.
We don't regret a mile,
Posted by Dixie Phillips at 10:21 AM
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