In 1826, an iron ore furnace was built in a Scioto County community. The people there must have liked Benjamin Franklin, because they combined the two concepts to name their town. Perhaps it has something to do with Benjamin Franklin developing a first cast iron stove.
Most don’t recognize this as a baseball community, but in March 1899, Ed Hock was born in Franklin Furnace. He first played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1920, but he spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds to 1924. He passed away in 1963 while living in Portsmouth. He died at the age of 64. So that is the story of Ed Hock of Franklin Furnace.
Oh, the things we learn visiting Scioto County churches. But the rest of this story is that within the town of Franklin Furnace, some while back, we visited the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene.
We were there on another special day, though, I am sure they could all classify as such. The Bikers For Christ, which does so many fine things for the community, were in attendence, but also participated in the worship service. A special collection was taken for the motorcycle club’s Christmas drive.
I think it was George Knapp who opened the service, saying “come often.” He then asked the congregation to stand for prayer. He gave a reminder of an upcoming Christmas party, and information on a church ladies’ party coming soon. He then said, if you have the Lord, say “Amen!”
Then there were several hymns sung by the congregation, including “Spirit of the Living God” and “We have come into his house.” It was said, “I am glad to see ya, but I have come to see the Lord.”
The church then turned to the hymnals with the song, “He loves me.” The pastor then called members to the altar for prayer. There were open prayer requests with many responses. He also said we all have something on our hearts. I think his reference was that each of us should open our hearts to the Lord. With that, he asked Bob to take them in prayer.
It was time for ushers to come forward to get the plates to pass for tithes and offerings. Observing the church bulletin, I note that the church membership is very generous in this regard, and the church makes its budget report very clear to its membership. I also watch for tiny tidbits on church function to assist others, and I noticed a member walked to the rear of the church counting church attendence for the day.
The pastor referenced, I believe it was, John 1:4, which says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” How can I go wrong with that one? He read a song in beautiful verse, and he went on to say, “Praise God, its real … glad I don’t just write for the Lord. I live for him.”
The Bikers For Christ special service began with James Lester speaking for the organization. He said, “We get a list from recovery or other organizations, then we shop. Parents wrap the presents, with kids thinking the gifts are given by Mom and Dad.” Coming forward again, the pastor said, “Let’s not just be church people, but followers of Christ. Let’s go out and work for the Lord. It is often tough, but we run a good race. I am personally proud to be told that our church is one of the good givers for this program.”
A very nice group was called forward by the pastor: the choir. He said, though, there were a few missing today. Songs today included “Blessed Redeemer and Jesus Messiah.”
Then there was introduction of Roy Bennett to present today’s message.
He delivered a fine message saying, “This is a very good church, its people. We are honored to be here more than you ever know. Your pastor had asked me to speak today.”
He started by praying, “Father, we ask that you will come be with us this morning. Take us off the stage and allow the Holy Spirit to come into this service.” He referred to the Whitegravel Mines Christmas Cave in Minford, saying there is a wonderful picture of Mary as you leave the cave.
He then went on to ask, “How many of you have been broken, felt unworthy? This morning, though, whatever you are going through or have been through, you are not unworthy or broke. The Lord is there for all of us. Through the years the vice many of us speak in our lives, at times, may have brought tears to the Lord. As people get broken, they may forget how special they are in the eyes of the Lord. The broken may feel cast away by those around, but the Lord feels the broken-hearted, and is capable of taking away doubts and fear. Though we fear, the Lord came to heal us.”
Brother Roy, as the pastor referred to him, spoke of the potter. “Sometimes as a potter works on his project of clay, it will fall apart. It is then that he will put the clay back together, kneading it with his wet fingers, reforming the clay into another fine pot, something wonderfully made. You might say we are all made of clay in the hands of a potter. Things happen, but God says I am going to make you into a vessel that can be used.”
“The neat part is that God does not throw away his broken project. He slaps it back on the spinning wheel, working the clay into his completed project, something good.”
There was more, and a closing reference to Paul in Timothy 1:13-14, “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And in the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
God put Paul into the ministry. No matter what we have done or where we have been, God has put us in a potter’s wheel. And so, it is true that we all may be a bunch of misfits, but God says I can use you.
Pastor Andy Ramey dismissed with prayer. It was a wonderful worship with the Franklin Furnace Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene. Why not pay them a visit.
As believers, let us share the Good News of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Each one, reach one. See ya in church.
Reach Randy Rucker at [email protected]