Showing items filed under “Testimony”
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Such is the case with a couple in our church - Sam & Karen Gibbs. I started attending FBC Wentzville in 1983. When I started attending this church Sam & Karen were both members. Sam always taught an adult Sunday school class, and Karen was always involved in the prayer chain ministry. They were both involved in other ministries as well but these 2 activities were like a constant in mathematics - these roles seemed to be fixed.
Sam was an engineer by training and preparation was always important to him. He liked to run transparencies of his lesson material, and the overhead projector was a fixture in his classroom. The material was hashed out verse by verse, and everybody had an opportunity to offer an opinion, make a point, ask a question or initiate a discussion. He was pretty good with his material, but if he ever hit a snag about some issue Karen could generally offer a very lucid comment or point which would clarify everyone's thinking.
I think what impressed me most about these two people was their attitude. Faith was a career; to be practiced one's entire life. With Sam & Karen one never felt that their ministry was an obligation they did for awhile and then hoped somebody else would take over. Their ministry was genuine and you always sensed that they received a greater blessing for having undertaken it than those that received the fruit of their efforts.
At those times in worship when the pastor asked for a personal testimony about how God might have met a need, provided direction, or given comfort you might hear Sam or Karen share. You listened to their testimony and you had an overwhelming sense that they knew God was sufficient for every situation.
Another neat thing about Sam & Karen is that though both loved life and each other. It wasn't all church; they had activities they did together and which they both enjoyed. They both liked golf, they traveled together, they would sometimes fly to a destination (Sam was a pilot), and they enjoyed each other's company.
Sam worked for McDonnell Douglas Corporation which was purchased by Boeing Corporation and during that early transition, a number of senior employees got forced out of their jobs. Sam was one of those employees that probably retired a little earlier than he expected but he took it in stride and went on with his life. Later those employees received a cash settlement as a result of an age discrimination lawsuit. For Sam that might have provided a little bonus, but it might have been the providence of God that he received an early exit. He got to spend extra time with his wife and grandkids and had some free time he otherwise would not have had. Sam had a congenital heart defect, and in later life it caused some health complications. He was hospitalized a number of times, but always seemed to rebound but ultimately complication from a surgery produced his death.
When Sam left Boeing he and his wife both worked at a local funeral home part time. It gave him a little extra money for flying, golfing and doing other things he enjoyed. I got to know Sam best from flying. We would sometimes fly together and I am probably a better pilot for flying with Sam. He always had an extensive checklist and was very thorough about every aspect of flying - preflight, weather, radio frequencies, navigation, etc. He also had a genuine enthusiasm which was easy to like. I sensed this with his flying and also of his interest in end time prophecy. He had a good sense of humor, and shared a story which I consider a classic.
He had signed up to give airplane rides to young kids as part of an Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program. (a program to get kids interested in aviation). The event was staged at a local airport, but more kids had arrived than was anticipated. He, rather than disappoint the kids, was forced to rent the aircraft for additional time which needless to say is not cheap. With reference to his funeral home job he remarked to me, " I had to bury a lot of bodies to pay for that flying." I guess flying is even more expensive than I first thought.
Sam's death was hard on Karen but she persevered. It put a big hole in her life because Sam was such a big part of it. That apparently is something that is not easily filled. Karen had her own health issues but overcame breast cancer. In spite of that, she is still active in the church. Karen is still doing the prayer chain and now is working in the church library. In spite of recent events in her life, she has a peace and dignity about her. She can still offer a warm smile and enjoy a hearty laugh. Her confidence in the Lord is unshaken.
One of my favorite recollection of Karen is of her most forgiving response to my weird sense of humor. On one of the occasions when Sam was hospitalized they thought he could possibly have a brain tumor. They were going to do a scan of his head. I saw her in the hall at church and I asked her about the brain scan on Sam. She replied that they didn't find anything. She got a real look of consternation when a smile started to crease my lips, and then she did a double take. She said, "I should have known with your weird sense of humor that you would laugh when I said the scan of his head found nothing." I confessed I couldn't help it, but then added that I was glad it was not a brain tumor.
As a younger man, you couldn't get me in a church. I did not have a desire to go. Now I know that it is the place that I ought to be. The word of God touches my life, and the people you meet are a blessing as well.
Hebrews 10: 22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Posted by Vance Poland with 0 Comments
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Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15 (ESV)

this past Tuesday and it brought to my mind so many wonderful thoughts. First of all, I was reminded of what it looks like in a person’s life to seek to love the Lord with all of their heart and life and to seek to love others as they love themselves.

If you were blessed to have spent any time around Clem at all you would have noted in short order that he had a true love of his Lord and Savior Jesus. It began with the smile that invariably would spread across his face and penetratingly reach out and touch your heart. It would continue as he seemed to be “fishing” for ways that he might be a blessing in your life. He always wanted to help others, and if he discovered a way to be of any help to you at all he would pursue it no matter the time required or the effort needed. And whenever you left his presence...his attitude and sweetness would linger over you for hours if not days with an ever motivating encouragement and belief that the Lord is good...all the time.

He was a strong man. He, like all of us in this broken world, had to make tough decisions and wade through the brokenness of this old world that he has now left behind for the loving presence of His Lord and Savior. Whenever he needed strength, he knew where to receive it. He would turn to the Lord, turn to the Scripture, consider what the Lord would have him to do, and when that was discovered that would be the action he would take. His faith has continued to strengthen throughout the years even as the outer man was becoming feebler.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is becoming feebler, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV)

He was honest...he could be trusted...he was selfless...he was caring...he made the most out of the talents, treasure, and time the Lord extended to him...he was indeed a hard worker...he was joyful...he was patriotic...he was humble...he was friendly...he was faithful...he was a loving husband...and a loving father...and a loving grandfather...and a lover of Jesus...willing to witness of the saving power of the Lord to any who would listen. His prayers were thoughtful and the purpose of his life was defined by the Lord he loved.

He’s still impacting me this morning. No doubt...he was a sinner...just like I am...none of us are perfect down here...sometimes we do the wrong things or say the wrong things. But he is an example of how the life of faith is to be lived, growing in the Spirit of the Lord and becoming more like Christ every day...and enjoying with gratefulness and thanksgiving all the Lord had done for him while pursuing with vigor all the tasks the Lord ever set before him.

It made him a happy man...Christians should be happier than we often are or often appear...Clem was happy in the Lord and it was a powerful witness to all who encountered him...lost and saved alike...and his witness continues on today and will continue in the days ahead as we remember with fondness the treasured moments that he shared with us.

I’ve thought about what the life I’m living is unfolding to be. Are the fruit of the Spirit as evident in my own life? Have I the humility that one should have for being saved when one does not deserve it? Through the years have I developed sweetness in my spirit...and cultivated a spirit of giving to others whenever it is needed? Have I enjoyed the life that the Lord has given me or have I lived a worldly life, full of busyness and man-made ambition...instead of living my life in a Christ honoring manner in a broken and hurting world? Good questions for all of us, aren’t they?

The good news is, we still have time to praise the Lord for all that we have, and love Him each day with all of our heart, and intentionally love others as we love ourselves. You know when you live that way, like Clem did, it becomes more than just a catchy become a witness to the life changing power of God in the heart, in the life of a broken and lost demonstrates how a life can change its destiny along with its direction and begin to reach the potential that God has planned for each one of us.

What a team...for his loving and faithful wife Esther is cut from the same cloth...a wonderful example of what a shared partnership of faith can do in a shared life of marriage.

We will continue to pray for his family as they adjust to not having him present here, now, but with the full expectation that they will see him again.

We will continue to pray that the Lord will work in each one of us in the same manner as he worked in Clem’s life, that we might also bring glory to God...and we will also look forward to seeing him again in the presence of the Lord. Yes, we will recognize him and know him...if you think he was smiling down haven’t seen anything yet.

Yep, I’m smiling right now! Bet you are too.

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 0 Comments