Like a giant sentinel an old pine tree stood keeping watch over the peaceful village. Long before the white man came, the hill on which the old pine grew was a council hill, or place where the Indians met to talk about their affairs or tribal business. There had been a period of peace among local tribes. Something arose causing conflict between these two tribes and a period of war. There was much hardship and sorrow as a result until the two tribes decided to make peace. Two tribal chiefs met on this site to negotiate peace and each decided that they should create a sign of peace that would remind the tribes to maintain their friendship. They determined to plant a pine tree as this sign of peace and that it would always represent that as long as the tree would be green and beautiful. Then, so would their friendship grow and thrive. A great ceremony was held to plant the selected tree tribal leaders had chosen. So that little pine tree became a pledge of peace and never again was there war between the two neighbors. On a recent Sunday we attended church on Pine Street located in New Boston Ohio. The church was the Union Full Gospel Fellowship also known as Unity Church.
As Sunday school students were dismissed to classes. Pastor
Richard Stiles opened the adult Sunday School service saying that
God does things in his own way. He spoke of the children of Israel
wandering for 25 years, Abraham being tested by God. The people
were also tested. As children of God we still become impatient.
He spoke of Abraham and Sarah having named their son Isaac
which means laughter. I understood him to say that at the time of
another great test Isaac was 37 years old. I guess I always thought
him to be much younger.
Then as now God wanted his people to know he is God. God also
knew Abraham to be a faithful man but through an angel put him
to the Supreme test of offering his son as a sacrifice. As with
Abraham others of us are tested in our lives. Everything is not
easy. Through Abraham’s example we learn to trust God. We learn
obedience to God and there are times we need to prove our
obedience to him. We need to pray that God gives us this same
faith in our lives.
We go from church to church and thankfully they are all different.
Otherwise I would have written one column and would have beendone. We enjoy them all with this one being no exception. And we racked up meeting more people of faith. Some we knew and some we didn’t. There was a surprise when Josh Howard, a local attorney and friend walked up and said welcome. I said something like I’m surprised to see you. He said, yes we are having church. Yes we were! Did I mention that there are at least three generations of Howard’s who go here. There is of course Josh, John and a sister Rebecca. I believe I heard some Bible names in Josh’s sons, Jude and Jesus. And then Josh’s wife is Amy. Unfortunately I didn’t get the names of all of John’s children’s or his wife’s name. I met a Helen Maddie who came up and spoke and I had already met the father of Josh Howard, Jack who had been a former Pastor, now an assistant Pastor and who gave a prayer that I brief in his saying, “thank you Lord for this opportunity to be in your church. We hope to exult your word.” I learned later that Jack was a founding Pastor of Unity and along with the church congregation they purchased across the street multiple properties, to build the beautiful full service community building across the street. You get the idea, it was a major project requiring a lot of dedication and work to accomplish. Later in the service I met an interesting fellow, introduced as Brother Morgan Taylor, a church evangelist. He is 86 years old and was a Florida lightweight boxing champion. A few years ago he delivered 227 sermons in one year. Songs in the morning service included, “My hope is built,” Hold on to God’s unchanging hands and a special song.” There was discussion and a story related to Luke 15.
prayer requests for members within the congregation and for
those who would soon be affected by the hurricane.
Music of the morning was phenomenal and continued throughout
church. This is a church with much talent in many ways. I
understand that Wes Cooper, was a guest piano player and he also
sang a special song of the morning I already mentioned. On the
drums was Johnny Cooper, horn; Bill Turner and other singers
were Alma Howard, Amy Howard, and Donna Turner plus one
fellow I unfortunately did not get his name.
In the morning service closing prayer (abbreviated) Jack Howard
prayed something like this, Holy Father, we know what your word
is saying to us. Hallelujah. We thank you for being in this house.
Take care of the congregation. Help us to have great faith. We just
hope we can keep trust in you. Give us direction in our lives. Take
care of us. We shall behold him face to face in all of His glory. We
all want to go to the lovely place we sing about, talk about and
pray about. Jack said that the most important thing is to believe in
the Lord. He concluded saying that the biggest blessing is
knowing God! So then it was time for church.
Pastor Stiles began by saying a lot of his message today would be
directed from various books of the Bible. I am highlighting some
of my notes in his important sermon
He said that no matter what people go through Jesus is greater than Satan. God did not promise that everything would be perfect. We have the authority of God as Jesus is the unbegotten son of God! He also said that where there is no vision the people will perish. He said that the choice is ours. If everyone were obedient to God we would find our churches full and running over. A Pastor leads a church to better ground but God is the keeper of our souls. He supplies our vision. If we put him in control of our lives things would be better. We should all put on our full armour of God along the highways and byways of our country inviting others in. God has given us the energy and vision to do something for the Lord. When our vision is blurred we cannot do what we were called to do for the Lord. Jesus is the problem solver. He is never late. Pastor Stiles mentioned the psalmist David who loved God…. but he lost his vision because of his allure to flesh. We are a body of believers we should be unified with a life fulfilled. Don’t wait to be like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness complaining about this or that. Though humble, Moses led his rumbling people through the journey, though he may have been discouraged amidst these sometimes unfaithful people Moses trusted in God , letting not his heart be troubled. He wanted to lead his people to a homeland of milk and honey
As it was with Moses, the Pastor wants to see his people
nourished. But we have to come together. God will bless us and
will move us but we must be more patient, maintaining our vision
as a church and laboring together ingredients. Divided we will not
be able to stand. God has out stretched his hands to us and we
must not deter the things God has in store for our church.
I regret I did not get the name of the lady who sang a beautiful
closing hymn about, “Kneeling at the cross.” There were two
subsequent prayers, one given by a lady named Joyce and then a
closing prayer by Agnes Howard. What a lovely church on a
beautiful street and attended by wonderful people. I hope you will
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]