As I made my way last Wednesday afternoon to Myrtle Beach, SC for a "Fields of Faith" event at St. James High School, I had no idea what God was about to do. I was simply driving to my place of assignment, where I had been asked to share my story as a part of an annual student-led event sponsored by FCA. Mine and my sister Shari's friend Jamie Hammons is the Student Pastor at Journey Church there in Myrtle Beach, and he had invited me to come. His student band led us beautifully in worship, a skit and powerful testimonies, and then I stood to tell the story I have told thousands of times over the last 32 years of ministry. As they had prayed over the first Fields of Faith four years ago that 200 students would come, they had over 1,000. This year, over 2,300 students, volunteers and adults packed the stadium in spite of so many obstacles that could have kept them from coming. Hurricane Florence had left schools closed for three weeks, and Homecoming had been moved to that very week. Yet, they came. And as the altar call was extended by Jamie, I stood by and watched 238 students come forward to publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ. Tears welled in my eyes and poured down my face as I stood holding hands with two precious girls on either side of me who had just served as a part of the evening. Even as I write this, tears are brimming again.
I thought of my mom as I stood there shivering from the cold, but my heart so warmed and tender at the sight. I will never forget the day she told me that she had come to the place of truly being able to say thank you to the Lord for allowing her /us to be chosen to have lost so much, sacrificing Shari, even if only for one person to come to trust Jesus and have their eternity secured in heaven. Just one. I looked up to heaven and thought, "Mom, if only you could see this." On a football field surrounded by amazing sold-out students and their leaders, God truly did "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Right now my church is in the middle of a series entitled "Testify." We each have a story, a testimony. And God has called us to live it out loud. There was nothing that I did last Wednesday night to bring about those amazing results. I simply did what I was asked to do, testify. But God is the One who did the work! He will be faithful to do what only He can do when we are simply willing to do our part.
After 32 years of packing, unpacking, preparing, practicing, traveling, getting up early, staying up late, driving, flying, never having a "normal" schedule or weekends off, it is worth it. It is the call God placed upon my life when I was one of those young people. A junior in high school when I clearly heard His call on my life during an altar call in my home church and I stepped forward.
Friends, testify. If you are a school teacher, live your love for Christ and those students to the fullest. A stay-at-home mom? A man or woman in the workforce? A grandmother? A student? Retiree? Your story matters. Tell it in the way you live your life and in the words you say. To the glory of God.
And Jamie, my precious brother and friend, it was so sweet to reminisce with you about the days gone by when we were all in high school, about you and Shari driving to school every day that year, laughing at such fun memories. As I told you at the conclusion last Wednesday night, I want to say it again. Shari would be so incredibly proud of you, your story of redemption, passion for students, and the difference you are now making as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I am. It was my great privilege and joy to serve alongside of you. Let's continue to press on, brothers and sisters, until He calls us home.
For His glory alone,
***Available Dates for 2018***
I have a few Sundays left in November and December and would love to come share my ministry at your church. If you are interested in one of these dates, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your date.
Sunday, November 18th
Sunday, December 2nd
Schedule your December/Christmas concerts NOW!!!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year to sing and I would love to come share my Christmas music with you and your church. Do you have a Thanksgiving or Christmas church-wide event, ladies' holiday banquet, senior adult luncheon, or opening for a Sunday special music or Christmas concert? While I do have several Christmas events on my December schedule, I do still have a few more openings. I would love to hear from you and celebrate Christmas with you.
Email me at email@example.com to get your church on the calendar.
Your Presence for Christmas 2014
It would be a great stocking stuffer, teacher gift, co-worker secret Santa, or family gift!
11. Frosty the Snowman-Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (guitar solo)
12. Silent Night
13. Bethlehem Morning
Ministry at a Glance
Thank you, Northside Baptist Church, Lexington, SC, Lamar United Methodist Church, Lamar, SC, Steadman Baptist Church, Leesville, SC, Ashley River Baptist Church, Charleston, SC, Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church, Swansea, SC, East Lumberton Baptist Church, Lumberton, NC, Journey Church and Fields of Faith, Myrtle Beach, SC and SC Family and Community Leaders Conference for welcoming me in October.
Highlights of the month of ministry on a personal note were having my music student Jenna Scruggs join me on a song at her church's Homecoming service (Steadman Baptist), getting to see and visit with my college friend Kim Caldwell Powell (Ashley River Baptist), and speaking for my friend/hairdresser Chelsea Calvert's very first beautiful (and delicious!) ladies' ministry event (Andrew Chapel UMC) where my former student Meg Zelling joined me. It is truly my great privilege and joy to minister alongside each of you and I am grateful to have been asked to serve you and your ministries.
On the Homefront
Life here at home was sweet as we welcomed my favorite season, fall. Which of course means my annual trip to the SC State Fair with my beautiful aunt/treasured friend Aunt Sue for our usual fair (pun intended) of pronto pups, Fiske fries, fried mushrooms, an elephant ear, and fresh squeezed Netterfield's lemonade. Good thing it only comes once a year! Jennifer Dale (my former schedule coordinator, you all may remember) and I thoroughly enjoyed taking in The Getty's concert at First Baptist Church of Columbia, along with Yvonne Howard and Melissa Bird, and then Yvonne and I loved attending Francesca Battistelli's concert over at Mt. Horeb UMC in Lexington. It's always fun to actually get to go to concerts when you are usually the one presenting them. And with cooler temps, that means Sammy can join me on trips to the bank for an extra treat, as he and Zoey continue to enjoy my delightful music students every Monday-Wednesday. Speaking of them, I especially loved Friday night lights with two of my students and their folks, Jocelyn (color guard) and Jamison Belec (drum line) as they performed in White Knoll's half time show, who got 2nd place in state. Did I mention I love fall?
On the Road Again
NC Baptist Secretaries Conference
First Baptist of Lexington
Senior Adult Thanksgiving Lunch
Tabernacle Baptist Church
Christmas Ladies' Night Out
Hodge-Podge Allison Hodge, Administrative Assistant
Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries Randy and Allison Hodge Abby (6), Hannah (4), Ryan (1)