|Posted on May 11, 2019 at 3:20 PM||comments ()|
Do you have the praying thing figured out? Are there certain words we should be using? How much faith does it take?
Here’s what I’ve decided. God always answers the prayers of a believer. Sometimes, “Yes,” other times, “No,” and then there are times He says, “Wait.”
I’ve been praying for a long time for people who I love dearly. God needs to intervene in a way that only He can.
I’ve been praying so long. Days have turned into weeks, weeks into months, and, yes, the months have turned into years. I’ve been waiting for a long, long time.
Several evenings ago, I was going to meet Patty for dinner. She was going to beat me to the restaurant, and I hurried to get there to keep her from waiting very long.
As I drove, I prayed. I was so discouraged. I’ve been praying and nothing seems like it has changed. Has God not heard me all these years? I looked out the windshield, the weather didn’t make me feel any better. It was dark, cold and pouring down rain. Just then I saw a person on the side of the highway walking toward me. I quickly passed him, and realized he was wearing a t-shirt. He had his head down as he walked into the wind and his arms were wrapped around himself.
I had already passed him and turning around would have been difficult, besides I was late meeting Patty. I prayed Lord would send a policeman or somebody to help this poor man. I could not get the man out of my mind. Although I had specifically given God some options: a policeman or someone not in a hurry; it was me who was under conviction.
Patty called to tell me she had arrived at the restaurant and was waiting. Let me tell you, God would not let me keep going! I had to turn around. There was no question about what I was supposed to do. I had to go back and help the man who I didn’t know, the one who was going to make me late.
When I got back and found the man, he was absolutely freezing. He said, “I was praying somebody would help me.” I knew that what made me turn my truck around and go back for him, was a God thing.
He was going the opposite direction I was going, but I was under instruction from God to help him. I took him to where he was going and made sure he was safe and warm.
As I drove back to meet Patty, my mind went back to my own concern. The thing that I had been praying about and then God seemed to say: “If I can rescue a freezing man on the side of the road, I can meet your need.”
So, what do I do? I keep praying and waiting upon the Lord. Somehow, I know He’s got this.
|Posted on May 18, 2016 at 5:37 PM||comments ()|
It’s amazing the things that God uses to reach people. Jesus used a chance meeting at a well, a woman in trouble, sickness, death, a conversation on a hillside. The truth is that God can take any situation and turn it into a God moment.
Take for instance a few weeks ago after the 4:00 pm, “Super Bus Church,” I had the bright idea to race the kids. That’s right, I’m 64 years old and I wanted to have a foot race, a sprint! Looking back even at this point, I can see that it probably wasn’t going to end well.
The kids all were excited and gathered around me. We established that we would sprint from telephone pole to telephone pole.The truth is, that in my mind, I was going to win that race! I decided I would be first off the line. I still have some speed in these old legs.The race started pretty well, I was leading. Then as I looked to the finish line, I realized that I had no stopping strategy. What I saw was that just beyond the telephone pole was a small drop off and two large mud puddles. Believe me when I say, “I tried to stop.” Seeing that I couldn’t stop in time, I tried to keep on going and run through the puddle.It must have been a sight to behold. I went rolling head first through the mud puddle. I ended up sitting in the middle of one puddle covered with mud from head to toe. Muddy water was dripping off my nose, but no one laughed, not even the kids. They were pretty sure I had killed myself.These kids, 8-12 were like “911” had just arrived. They seemed to know exactly what to do! They helped me out of the mud hole. They ran and got me a chair to sit in. They all stood around asking, “Pastor are you alright, are you all right?”A new couple in the neighborhood saw the whole thing. I’m not sure what they thought about the preacher mud diving, but they came over with a towel, wet cloth, and a clean, dry shirt.They were so kind to me. As I sat there we talked about what Super Bus was doing there, about our church and how important all these children are to us. We told them that “Our Community IS Our Church.”
The result of my mud puddle experience was that my friend Bob, has insisted that I hang up my racing shoes and that all my great ideas need to first be run by him. “This is to protect the church from liability and for my own health and well-being.”Something amazing happened. We have become friends with the new couple/family that came to my aid and were so kind to me. Guess who’s been coming to church? Our new friends! Although I don’t recommend it, my first attempt at “Mud Puddle Evangelism” has really worked.I guess the real moral of this story is that God does work in mysterious ways. It also causes me to wonder, how many strange, or difficult situations that we find ourselves in; has God allowed us to be there and somehow be used?
Pastor Ted Hambrick.
|Posted on September 15, 2014 at 3:29 PM||comments ()|
“Not the Right One”
From Pastor Ted Hambrick
When I was 4 or 5 years old my younger brother and I were in the front yard playing when a neighbor stopped to see my dad. Mr. Duke stopped, spoke to me and my little brother and said, “I’m going have you come up and have supper with us and spend the night.” I thought he was talking to both Jimmy and me.
I don’t remember the two of us ever being invited to anybody’s house by ourselves at this time in our lives. Sure enough a few days later Mr. Duke sent his sons down to pick us up, but they didn’t come for the both of us, they came for one of us. So they guessed it must have been me.
I grabbed my stuff and climbed into the old pick-up truck and we went to the Duke home. When we walked in, Mr. Duke looked at me and said, “That’s the wrong one.” I wasn't the kid he wanted. He wanted my little brother. He was younger and cuter, I guess.
The Dukes talked among themselves and decided they might as well keep me since I was there. The truth is at that point I would rather that they had sent me home. I have to tell you the supper that I was looking forward to didn't taste nearly as good as I had anticipated. I guess when you discover you’re the wrong one; it kind of takes the flavor out of the pintos and cornbread. I don’t remember much of what took place that night other than I really wanted to go home.
I slept between the two teenage boys. They didn't talk much, they just went to sleep. I looked around the room and imagined that somebody might come and rescue me, but eventually I did fall asleep. The next morning after breakfast, I climbed into the pick-up truck again with the two teen-aged sons and they took me back home.
You know at home, even though there were a lot of us, I never felt like the wrong one. We were loved and we loved each other.
Later in life when I became a Christian, I felt at home in the Lord’s presence. I knew that to the Lord, I was the right one! I knew He loved me as much as anyone else in the big family of God.
The good news is that YOU ARE the right one, too! He invites us all to his home, to His table and asks us to join His big family: the Family of God!
|Posted on July 4, 2014 at 9:39 PM||comments ()|
Does anyone remember Popeye? I used to love watching that cartoon. Popeye was just this ordinary sailor man until something happened. Usually this brute named, Brutus, would try to steal Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl, as he was doing some dastardly deed.
Not to worry, Popeye would have a can of spinach hidden in his shirt, and it would pop out of his shirt and Popeye would gulp the spinach down. Suddenly his skinny arms would turn into big muscles. He was super charged into this hulk of a hero. He would rescue his girlfriend, foil Brutus’deed and save the day! It was great.
My little brother Jimmy and I wondered what we could do if we could get some of that spinach. We asked our dad if he would get us some spinach. One day he brought us some.
We quickly got it opened and took a few bites of that nasty, slimey stuff and then we waited for the muscles to appear. We walked over to our dad who was sitting in his recliner and we looked out the front door and asked, “Which tree do you want moved?” He kinda chuckled and said, “Just any of them.” Jimmy and I walked out to the biggest tree in the yard and pushed. To our surprise, it didn’t move. We tried again and again, then we looked back toward the front door of the house and dad and Mama were standing there laughing.
Have you ever wondered if God ever laughs at us? I’m sure we’ve all given him reason to do so. How many times have we tried to do the impossible on our own strength? One thing I’ve learned is that the impossible can only become possible when God gets involved.
God has called Patty and I to take the gospel to our world. He has given us a bus! He’s given us a plan! It’s the Super Bus. Then he said, as he always does, “Go!” Go do what? Go do the impossible! Super Bus is reaching people who would not likely come to our churches, yet they still need to hear about Jesus. God is using a bus that goes to the neighborhoods where they live and they love the Super Bus. We now reach about 120 children each month, not counting their families. This summer we are giving out hundreds of books with our reading program. We are praying that the children will read them and that they will be better prepared for the coming school year.
If God is saying anything to us, it’s “Dream bigger!” We have 6 Super Bus locations and 2 other communities that have shown interest in Super Bus. We have added a new team for Johns Island, but new communities require new team members. However, we are not concerned or worried, God continues to meet every need.
Please remember us in prayer, and thank you for your continued support.
Pastor Ted Hambrick
p.s. Would you like to start a “Super Bus” where you live?
|Posted on April 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM||comments ()|
We are taking our Super Bus to minister to children in one of our Trailer Parks at 12:32 tomorrow April 26 and 27. God has blessed us with great success in reaching these children. Sunday at 4:00 we will be having a community worship event in the park, and reaching out to the families of the children.
Pray for God's guidance and presence in this exciting opportunity.
|Posted on March 6, 2014 at 3:13 PM||comments ()|
“The Day They Came Running”
As a pastor I often try to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus. When he went to some places, they asked him to leave. The religious leaders despised him and called him names. After Jesus became well known to the people, would spontaneously surround him. I’ve often thought that as soon it was learned that Jesus was near, people would hurry to go to him to hear him share the Good News. It’s not a stretch to believe that people would get excited and run to see him. We know that Zacchaeus climbed a tree to hear and see Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see people so excited to hear about Jesus that they would come running?
Patty and I had a wonderful experience a couple of Saturdays ago. We were taking our Super Bus into a new community. This mobile home park has had 3 murders there in the last couple of years. Regardless, we felt God’s direction and so we moved forward. On Thursday evening Patty and I went through the park announcing that we would be there the following Saturday with the Super Bus. We explained what we would be teaching and doing.
When we drove into the community on Saturday, a woman came running toward the bus, hollering for us to wait up. She asked what time were we going to start and could she come and help? That was great! We’ve never had anyone to do that. So we left her and went a little further. Then another woman followed by a little boy came running to stop us. She also wanted to know where we were going to be and she wanted to help, too!
Then we were stopped by a young man. He said, “I’ve seen this bus in here a couple of times. What are you doing? I told him about our Super Bus Ministry. He seemed pleased, bid me farewell, then went on his way.
Patty and I and the two new friends who we met earlier were at an empty lot. We were setting up tables, our shelter and the bus.
The young man who had stopped the bus came to talk to me. He said, “Pastor if I wasn’t drinking, I wouldn’t be talking to you. I’m extremely shy.” Then he said, “I’m an alcoholic, I’ve tried everything, AA just everything.” I told him about Jesus and how I had seen the Lord deliver people. I asked if we could pray for him. He agreed. There in an open field, he held my hand. On the other side he held Patty’s hand and both Patty and I held the hands of our new friends. Our new friends held the hands of the children who had arrived early. We prayed for deliverance and hope for our new friend, Willis.
When all the children arrived (most came with their parents), we played games, did a craft and shared Jesus.
In closing, Patty had all the parents and all the children and me following her in a line dancing and jumping and celebrating Jesus in a song. We were not in a church building, we were in a vacant lot. We were where everyone could see us, but we didn't care. It felt so right. It felt like church.
I just imagine if the Lord was looking on He’d think, “Now that’s a beautiful sight.”
What a day!! It was the day that they came running!
|Posted on February 25, 2014 at 7:10 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:52 PM||comments ()|
Sometimes you find God in the strangest places. For instance, yesterday there was a hummingbird trapped on our screened porch. He had flown in through an opened door, but try as he might, he couldn’t find his way back out. We’re not sure how long he had been fanatically searching for an escape, but I could tell he was exhausted.
I took a dust mop and tried to guide him toward the door, but I couldn’t get him to go that direction without possibly hurting him. I finally was able to catch him and I held him in my closed hands until I got him outside. I opened my hands expecting him to fly away, but he didn’t. I first thought I must have injured him or even accidently killed it, but no, he was breathing. I held him in the palm of my hand for some time, wishing that he would take flight, but he sat very still.
It started to rain so I put him on a wooden fence post. I got a plastic bag and fashioned a cover in such a way that if chose to, he could fly away. The rain turned into a storm with loud thunder and bright flashes of lightning. From the house I strained to see if he was still there. I wondered how my shelter was holding up. Through the storm I couldn’t see him.
When the thunder, lightning and rain finally moved into the distance, I went out to check on the little bird. He was gone. Had he fallen off the post? I searched the ground around him, he hadn’t fallen. It seems that he rested during the storm. When the storm was over he was again able to take flight. Maybe the little bird flew to its nest or to awaiting babies. Who knows where it went?
When I held that tiny, little bird in my hand I felt such an overwhelming compassion and concern for his well-being. In my own heart I felt God speak to me and remind me that I am in His hands!
|Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:49 PM||comments ()|
All summer we were going into our community with our Super Bus Summer Reading Program. It was designed to keep children's minds focused on learning during the long summer vacation.
Every two weeks we provided the children with a selection of books and they could choose one to read. The rule was that they had to bring it back before they would get another book. The program was greatly successful with many of the children receiving several books throughout the summer. Each time we arrived in their neighborhood the children came running.
Ty was a 12 year-old who had failed to be promoted to the next grade. His mother told me that he only missed passing by 2 points. Then she said, "They should have given him the 2 points." I asked, "Are you sure you'd want them to give it to him?"
Ty joined our summer reading program. I thought that if I could just get him to read, it would help him catch up. I made a deal with him. I handed him "Tom Sawyer" and said, "When you finish this we'll do something special." I told him about my favorite bike trail. I said, "We could go, it's about 10 miles long. It's really cool." He said, "I thought we might go out to eat. I really like Kentucky Fried Chicken." I said, "Sure I like KFC too."[
The next Super Bus Reading Day, he hurried to tell me all about the book. He told me about Tom and the slave, Jim. He told me how Tom helped Jim escape. Then he said, "But I'm not done, I'll read the rest tonight."
That has been several weeks ago. Every time I see him he tells me he's just about finished.
Summer's over. School has begun. I really would like to take Ty for some Kentucky Fried Chicken, but that would be like giving him the 2 points and passing him anyway.
Character is built when we face the consequences of our actions. Rewarding wrong behavior just encourages wrong behavior.
I sure would have enjoyed watching Ty eat KFC and listening to him
tell me about all of the Tom Sawyer book!
|Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:46 PM||comments ()|
It’s amazing isn’t it! There are times when you are doing your very best and nothing seems to be happening. Sometimes it even feels like a lost cause.
In El Cajon, Ca. we saw a need to minister to the un-churched children and teens of our community. Each Wednesday we ran our van and a bus into the community to pick-up whoever wanted to come. What we discovered was that many of the children were absolutely great, but there were a few that could give you gray hair.
My friend, Don and I agreed that we would teach the teen class. I knew the kids from riding my bus and had built a good rappor with them. They liked me and Don and we liked them!.
On one very difficult night, the teens came to church in rare form. They would not quieten down. I pleaded with them. Nothing happened. I used my low voice of authority. Nothing happened. I raised my voice, and if anything it got worse. I could not get a sentence out without a major disturbance stopping me.
I closed my book and I said, "Get on the bus!” They ran out of the room and fought to get on the bus first. Someone asked, "Where we going pastor?" I said, "I’m taking you home! You refused to behave. I’m done with you! I’m taking you home."
There was a long silence. Then one girl spoke up from the rear of the bus: "Pastor, don’t give up on us. Don’t give up on us.”
She stabbed me in the heart with her words. I didn’t want to give up on them. I just did not know what else to do.
The next week we went back and picked the kids up for one more opportunity to share the life changing gospel.
I have since heard the pleading voice of the young girl, many times over the years. There have been times when things haven’t gone as I had hoped or planned, times where I’ve just wanted to quit. I've felt, "Beside what difference does it make?" Then I hear, “Pastor, don’t give up on us.”
A few years after I left California, I later heard that one of those teenaged girls on that bus was killed in a drive by shooting. I pray that the time that we were together, talking laughing, and even pleading for their attention, did not go “Void.” I pray that they will remember the people who gave them a ride on the bus, taught them, played games with them and loved them. I hope they remember that the message the pastor and volunteers shared was the message of Hope.
“Pastor don’t give up on us.”