Friday, July 20, 2018

Springfield Today, September 27, 2017

September 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Springfieldians,

I’ll never forget hearing a story told by now retired General Superintendent Jim Diehl. He was the speaker at a conference I went to and he told of being in Haiti three or four years ago holding District Assemblies over there.  At that time there was great civil unrest in Haiti.   There were riots, a revolution of sorts.  The U.N. had formed a blockade, which was causing economic hardship.  There was an international peacekeeping force there.  And it was that situation and atmosphere that he flew into.

When his plane landed he was taken by truck to where he would be staying.  And he said over there you have to understand they didn’t have roads, more like ruts or trails, so he was bounced and jostled for a few hours – until they arrived as what he described as a compound.  It was a walled in area and that’s where he would be staying.  At every crossroad, as he made his way to the compound, there were heavily armed international troops that were trying to bring peace to that area.

That night he said he couldn’t sleep and so he got up and decided to walk around the compound.  He knew that was the only safe place he could walk.  There was a bench there and he decided to sit down and a few minutes after that a British officer who was a part of this international peace keeping force walked up and started a conversation.

He found out this officer’s name was John Knight, which was unusual because one of our other General Superintendent’s name is John Knight.  They laughed about that and talked some more. This officer told how he was always being sent to the hot spots of the world and so he had been in Angola and Kosovo and Bosnia.  He was never at one place for a long period of time.  Dr. Diehl told him why he was in Haiti and then seemingly out the blue this British officer began to speak about spiritual things.

He said he was really interested in learning more about Christianity, but because he traveled so much and was never in one place very long, he didn’t ever attend a church and really didn’t have an opportunity to learn.  And then he asked Dr. Diehl, “Do you have a Bible you could give me?”

Dr. Diehl said all he had was the Bible he preached from and he didn’t feel as if he could give that away, but then he remembered in his suitcase he had a little New Testament that had been given to him by a group of pastors, it had his name engraved on the front.  And so he said to that officer, just a minute I have a New Testament in my room let me go get it for you.  He went and got and brought it back and handed it to this officer.  They had a little more conversation.  And they went their separate ways that night.  Dr. Diehl said it was an unusual meeting, and he knew he would probably never see or hear from that man again, and he kind of wondered what God would do with what seemed like a chance meeting.

Four years later…four years!…Dr. Diehl was in Kansas City – that’s where our church’s headquarters are – he went to his office and started to go through his mail that had piled up, and there was a manila envelope that had an international stamp on it and he opened it up.  Out dropped his little New Testament and a letter.

The letter started out by saying, you probably don’t remember me, but we met three or four years ago in Haiti and you gave me your New Testament.  I’m returning it now.  I don’t need it, I have my own.  He went on and told of some of the places he had been and what had been going on in his life since their last meeting.  And then near the end of the letter he said this about himself, “You can rejoice in a sinner repenting.”

And Dr. Diehl said, “All of a sudden what he had thought was a chance meeting he realized wasn’t a chance meeting at all.   And he thought back to those times when he wondered why he had gone to a war-torn country and risked his life – but now understood why.  There was a man, a British officer, named John Knight, who needed an invitation to come to the table, so to speak.  There was someone that was hungering for the bread of life and thirsty for the water of life – and God was using Jim Diehl and His Word to be that which would invite this man to come to the table and to have that hunger and thirst satisfied.

And then Dr. Diehl said, you just never know what God might do through you if you’re willing to be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  There are hungering and thirsty people all around us and it may be your act of kindness, or generosity, or the conversation you have that will serve as the invitation to that person to come to the table.

Are you ready and looking for your “chance” meeting today or this week? Let’s open our spiritual eyes and see that one God is wanting us to invite to His table.


What You Need to Know…

Sharon Hiatt writes: The Aumiller family would like to thank you for the flowers, cards, and prayers after the passing of my dad, Francis Aumiller. My mom and dad have spent many years serving God in Springfield and Auburn and they loved this church. They are together now – praising God in Heaven.  God Bless!

Hugs From Home donations will be accepted through this Sunday.  Bring items from a list found at the Information Center to the church.  A committee will be packaging and sending out the goodies to our college students!  Please also keep them in your prayers.

Fall Missionary Rally – Springfield First Church, Wednesday, October 4, 6:30 PM  Andy & Judy Bennett, missionaries to Papua, New Guinea will tell us about what God is doing in the mission field.  Cookies and beverage will be served in the foyer following the program.

Legacy Five in Concert at ONU on October 5, at Grandparents Day from 9 – 3 PM.  See Jim Mills if you’d like to drive up with him.

Pumpkin Festival – Saturday, October 7, 5 – 8 PM in the gym and on the grounds.  Many pumpkins, lots of games, great food and tons of fun.  Invite everyone you see.  This supports our Children’s Ministry!

Men’s Fellowship now meets at Jerry Stone’s home at 1724 N. 21st, from 6:30 – 7:30 PM every Thursday.


Please Pray for:

Tom Goin’s family as his mother passed away recently

Ellen Daily’s upcoming visit to a heart doctor

Hurricane and earthquake victims

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