Chester Spencer lived from his birth on March 4, 1883 to November 1938. As a Major League Baseball outfielder, but with only eight career games, he had four hits in 27 at-bats. His style was different than most, in that he batted left and threw right-handed. He played for a team called the Boston Beaneaters.
In 2007, a fiercely competitive National Corn Hole Championship was said to have been held in a Southern Ohio Village. What does a game which hinges on a bag stuffed with beans and a Chester Spencer playing for the Boston Beaneaters have in common. Well, fact is that both were a product of South Webster.
On a moist but beautiful spring day, Stephanie Neff, Beverly and I visited this very familiar village for the purpose of attending the South Webster Baptist Church. The lineup of greeters there may have topped all we ever saw. I felt like jumping in line myself and greeting those who walked through that door.
As is often the case, we felt the Lord must have led us here to catch this message that church pastor Ed Taylor shared on this day. I wish I would have gotten his opening remarks word for word, but I did not. However his words continued to lighten our day throughout the service. It did include, however, a thank you to the congregation for being here this day.
The pastor shared an assortment of announcements. He mentioned activities of the church ladies’ Missionary Circle, and told of upcoming activities of the group to assist in missionary support. He also pointed out that men of the congregation serve a banquet for the ladies, and all got a kick out of that. He said Mothers Day is very special in the church, and he explained the planned activities.
But then he got into a discussion on a regular project of the church. That would be community visitations. Though he said we make our contacts, but people come in their own time. His sermon on this day would cover more on this later.
He said an upcoming service would feature the book of Revelation, and that on Aug. 12, the church would be conducting a homecoming service with special singers and preaching by Mark Hawn.
Some while back while dining at Kenny’s in South Webster after visiting another local church, we shared a fried chicken dinner with one of Beverly’s long-time friends, Marjorie Maynard. She told us she goes to South Webster Baptist Church, and we got an invitation to attend. We had pulled into their parking lot numerous times getting a handle on their start time. Well, today we felt led, and here we were with Margie sitting right there in her church. We were glad for that.
In a prayer for the children’s offering, which raises money for the homeless and a Waverly children’s home, it was said that “we like to give praise and glory and thank you for taking care of us.”
Song leader Jim Dooley came forward, leading in the song “Jesus never fails.” Then it was time for the general offering, with the prayer highlighting joy of the church being able to come meet, worship and sing blessings to the Lord, furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jim led another song, “Leaning on the everlasting arms.” His directions called for women only to sing the second verse, and for all to stand on the last verse to move around and greet others within the congregation. All seemed very familiar with the procedure, and the Beverly, Stephanie and Randy worship team shook a lot of hands.
Then we got to hear a lovely song service by children of the church, directed by Sunday School Youth teacher Judy Slack. The singing youth included Alex Plummer, Holly Plummer, Hunter Slack and Raylee Slack. Songs included “Lord prepare me, What a glorious day that will be,” and, at request of the congregation, “The little white box.”
Steve Rawlins stood and gave a testimony, saying he was thankful that Jesus Christ went up on that cross, laid down His life and died for us. Because of that, I am so happy for my mom and dad who have already gone to be with Him, as they loved to worship the Lord.
Steve requested the church follow him in the singing of “Blessed assurance.” However, his fine baritone voice carried well on its own, but it seemed all knew exactly where to join in singing the chorus. The next verse he sang alone, with the congregation joining in again following. One part of the song, Steve pointed out that a part of the song his mother particularly loved was “loving my Savior all the day long.” Which, of course, was part of the chorus.
The pastor came forward and said, “I hope you have your Bibles, because we are a Bible church.” He said many in the church enjoy going out every Thursday night for community visitation. He said, “Not a lot of people have more dogs than I have, but they can be a challenge during visitations.” He said, “I politely tell John, you get out, and if they don’t get your leg, I will get out. God wants us to be a positive influence on the world.”
Pastor Ed pointed out Matthew 3-12, and discussed how the Beatitudes are important in our lives. Those who are saved should be making an influence on your community. Jesus talked to the poor in spirit, telling us we should be dependent on God for everything, and not only ourselves. He said he likes to come over to church an hour before start time, praying and telling Jesus the needs of our church. God wants us to be gentle, not boastful. Jesus talked about hunger and thirst, but the discussion was more in relation to our spiritual needs. Jesus talked about showing mercy. Aren’t you glad he showed mercy to you and to others?
Jesus talked of the pure of heart, and He pointed out in 1st John 1-9 about being inwardly cleaned of all sins. He suggested that Romans 9-10 were verses for the unsaved. He said it tells us in the word of God to be peacemakers, and to show others how they can find Jesus Christ. As the folks of this church go out on Thursday nights, we are being peacemakers.
Those who have Beatitudes in their lives are the ones who are going to do some shaking and shining for Jesus. You are the kind of people who will make a difference in lives. People of this church are a positive influence on this community.
The pastor spoke on fellowship, saying, “What is done in this church, take it outside. Let our light shine.” Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. We are salt shakers for the Lord. He said he wasn’t an expert on salt but that he can read. Salt serves as a preservative. Layers of salt poked around meat will preserve it, a practice from our pioneer days. Our church should be acting like salt to protect our community.
Many have lost their love of Jesus, leaving pews empty today. It has never grown old with me, and I am excited my sins are forgiven, and I want to someday sit down with the Old Testament saints.
I also know that if salt has lost its flavor, it is good for nothing. Christians must not fail to add flavor. As all know, salt adds flavor to watermelon, and without salt, a boiled eggs is bland. Salt preserves, but also adds flavor. We can add flavor by shaking the word of Jesus through our community. I have found that the effect of salt spreads, making everything on your plate better. As believers of Christ, we should spread these flavors. We should be salt shakers for Jesus.
Ed went on to say that salt makes us thirsty. We need to make people thirsty for Jesus. We need to drink more water, share the living water with those around us. Once you put salt on your food, the effects cannot be stopped. A believer’s salt cannot be stopped. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. When we are saved by God’s love and given love by God’s grace, faith is the avenue by which Christ works.
The Lord wants me to be an influence, and the only way I can do that is by being a salt shaker for Him. We must be lights of the world. This is not Ed Taylor saying this, but Jesus. Let your light shine by your good works.
In his final prayer, he included, “I want to be that salt. We love you, thank you for Calvary and the old rugged cross.” Such a wonderful visit with the folks of the South Webster Baptist Church. If you want to be a part of something special, we encourage you to pay them a visit. For a complete pictorial of today’s visit, go to medium.com and search Randy Rucker.
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 Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.