'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' with Tom Kelley
Originally posted on 11/07/2019
I can hardly believe it has been twenty years. This date has long been etched in my memory banks as one of the more frustrating ones in my life. Some days do that. They burn deeply into our memories and do not allow us to forget them. Some are bad memories while others are good ones. This one is neither. This one is just frustrating.
I was working with the Empire State Evangelizing Association, Syracuse, New York in one of their church plants in Cortland. We had been there for almost five years and financially my family and I were struggling. Our quick remark to each other was, "We have a choice of either being warm and starving or eating well and freezing to death.
I had heard of a church in Brooksville, Kentucky that was looking for a minister early in 1985. I sent a letter of intent and swiftly received a reply that they would like for me to come and interview and preach a trial sermon. The date that I was given was January 20. I drove down to Brooksville from Cortland in snow and cold temperatures arriving on Saturday the 19th. Nothing could have prepared me for the next day.
When I got up the next morning I was told by the father of the family with which I was staying that it was a bitterly cold thirty-five degrees below zero. I got ready and went out to start my Chevy van and head on to church for my big day. When I turned the ignition on my van bucked and roared. Immediately I shut it off. I rode to church with my host family and we were part of a group of some twenty people, one tenth of the average attendance. The people just wanted to have communion and go home, so we did.
Only I didn't go home. I couldn't. The next morning my van was towed to a local mechanic who discovered that I had spun two of my main bearings and had to have them replaced before going back to New York. The words of James rang in my ears. "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit.' " James 4:13 I had seen a church of 200 in the Bible Belt and saw financial security for my family. Seven months later God blessed me with a congregation to which I ministered for almost six years. It's best to do things God's way.