|Posted on May 18, 2016 at 5:37 PM||comments (23)|
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 (10)|
“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 March 6, 2014 at 3:13 PM||comments (7)|
“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 (13)|
|Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:49 PM||comments (25)|
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 (13)|
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.”
|Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:44 PM||comments (239)|
From Pastor Ted Hambrick
"Patty says I’m a Loser"
That’s right! She says I’m a loser and she’s a finder. She’s right! I can’t believe how much I lose. I lose tools, shoes, my car at Walmart just to name a few things. I would say I’m getting old, but this is a lifelong condition.
Recently we had a RV donated to our ministry. I sold it on Saturday and when the man asked for the keys, I began my search. I finally had to tell him I couldn’t find them, but I said, "When my wife gets home, she’ll find them in ten minutes."
I spent all afternoon and most of the evening searching drawers, clothes, under furniture, in my car and every inch of the RV.
Patty got home Saturday evening and she assured me she would find them tomorrow after church.
Do you know where she found the keys? In a drawer that I had searched at least 3 times. She’s the finder. (She's also a keeper !")
Just a week before the key episode, I got up on Sunday morning, shaved, showered, threw up the bed. Down South, throwing up the bed is when you don’t actually make it up, you just fix it to where you won’t be embarrassed if someone goes into your bedroom.
I laid down on the bed and went over my sermon, had breakfast, got our living room ready for church.
I suddenly realized I hadn’t seen my 5 pound chihuahua all morning. I called him. He usually comes running.
Bart is always with me. He sitting on my lap, following me around the house and sleeps in our bed. I opened the front door and yelled for him. I looked in all the rooms and closets and I looked over towards our bed, There was a little lump in the middle of it! A close looked revealed that the lump was breathing. Yep! I had made Bart up in the bed. That Just proves I am a loser.
Jesus, however, is a finder!
John 4:4 says, “Now he had to go through Samaria.”
The truth is he didn’t have to go, most Jews went around Samaria. There was something that compelled him to go Samaria. There was a woman at a well who needed to be found.
Isn’t it wonderful? Jesus is our finder.
|Posted on March 13, 2013 at 12:45 PM||comments (33)|
From Pastor Ted Hambrick: "Can't Never Could Do Nothing!:
I think it was determined early in my educational experience that I wasn't going to be a rocket scientist. I had a problem staying with the task long enough to learn the material. I was quick to say, "I can't." My older brother Bobby frequently tried to help me. When he would hear me say, "I can't," he would say, "Can't never could do nothing." It's bad grammar, but the principle was true. When you say, "I can't," what you're really saying is: "I give up!"
I haven't quite figured out this "getting old" thing. I don't know whether or not at a certain age you think, "Do I just stop and wait on Jesus or do I keep on going until I can't?
At about 50 years old, I decided that there were a lot of things I couldn't do physically, I was too old. The truth is I just quit trying. Some of the younger people around me treated me like a feeble old man. The truth is they were just trying to be respectful.
One day I was visiting my family in Nashville, Tennessee and my little brother Jimmy told me that I had ready decided that I was old. He declared he wasn't going to get old until he had to. On the way home I thought about what he said. I decided to live differently. I wasn't going to get old until I got old.
It was about that time, my son challenged me to hike part of the Appalachian Trail with him this spring. The only problem was I had already decided there were so many things I couldn't do physically. How could I carry a 40 lb pack and hike 10-15 miles a day on a trail? At that time physical exercise was walking to the mail box or picking sticks up off the front yard.
The thing I did was to accept the challenge from my son and I began to take hikes. I began to walk and hike. When I found something I couldn't do, I tried anyway. Then the next day I would do more and try harder, until I could accomplish the task. Soon I was doing a lot of things I had been convinced that I would never be able to do again. I was amazed how stong I felt. I also felt many years younger. It's been almost a year since I took the challenge. In a couple of months we will be hiking the trail.
The "can'ts" have become, "I can." I don't worry about not being able to do it. I can now do what I thought was impossible. This week I ran 4-5 miles and I biked 16 miles. I haven't run in 30 years. I've also been working with the weight machines at my gym to build muscle.
Where would I be if I had answered my son's challenge with, "I can't? I would still be too old and I would be staying at home in May instead of living a dream.
God calls all of us to do things that are beyond us. When we look at the challenge and say, "Lord, I can't," we are really saying, "Lord, I won't."
Here is how you should answer the Lord. The correct answer to the Lord is always, "Yes!" "No," is always a wrong answer. Answer and then try!
Give God your best effort. He will help you. Here is a biblical truth that I have found. "God does not call us to do the impossible, without making it possible.
|Posted on February 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM||comments (11)|