We thought we would attend church close to home recently. The church sign read Sunday School at 9:30 A.M. Therefore we assumed the church service would begin at 10:30.
Cars all around and no one arriving for church was not a good sign. I peered through the door window as it appeared preaching was going on. As I walked away I noticed my presence did not go unnoticed.
A gentleman came out as I was walking away. I told him that we had determined the church time would be 10:30 and he said we don’t have Sunday School anymore. We go straight into our church service early.
I explained that we had some eleven o’clock churches we could still attend today and that we would be back. As I shook his hand, apologized and introduced myself he said I read your columns and am familiar with your mission. Please come back and I assured him we would.
As it sometimes works out, the Lord had other plans for us on this day. Therefore we were early for an eleven o’clock start time that brought us to the Sixth Street Pentecostal Church where a long-time friend of myself and Beverly attends with her family.
We had for some time planned to make our way to worship with Natalie Shigley here. Her father, Gary Shonkwiler was Pastor here for over forty years. The church Pastor for the last couple of years has been Larry Blevins, though he has named Gary as an honorary assistant even keeping his name at the podium.
It was Larry who stopped everything to greet us in our entrance interrupting the Sunday School Service. Natalie introduced us saying they are the ones visiting Scioto County Churches.
To be exact our visit on this day was our one hundred and twenty fourth visit to different Scioto County Churches having successfully written about one hundred and twenty-one to date. But there are many more and our mission continues for as long as our health allows or the journey is completed.
It was a joyous visit to the little Sixth Street Pentecostal Church. Pastor Blevins told a wonderful story about Timothy who walked into their last Sunday morning service surprising the congregation.
This was not the first time the Pastor had met Timothy. He had first met him visiting the homeless under the viaduct bridge across the Scioto River. Having invited him and others to there church they were surprised when he actually walked into the door attending their entire service.
Timothy going to a pew in the front area raised his hand with a praise saying he loved the Lord. At the time that an offering plate was passed he had deposited a half pack of matches and pop cap. To the church who proudly showed this offering, I guess you could say that it represented an offering of a widow mite. The Pastor said that he hoped Timothy would once again return someday!
Pastor Larry said that prayer is very important! He said that he prays before church, during church and after church. He is not offended if someone is praying for him. He pointed out that prayer brings a cleansing fire to his life (something like that).
He spoke of time having changed so much. As a boy he said that we spent a lot more time outside, on bikes, playing neighborhood ball, building things. Young people today spend so much time borrowing phones and tablets, playing the games with their fingers. Churches and participation within has changed as well.
Most importantly we need God 365 days a year. No matter what our current situation we should praise him. He said, “when I am high on a mountain or low in a valley I praise him.”
God will take us through our battles though I remind you he never promised any of us a rose garden. But at one point he said that rather than coming to church to ask for something we should come to church thanking the Lord. He said that God is ever caring.
Throughout the morning there were many testimonies. One that was very touching was the testimony of a mother who had lost a daughter due to a murder. She spoke of her prayers and the prayers of others that helped bring her through this life crisis.
It went into a quick trial and a life sentence was given the guilty party. In the final sentence and comments from affected family members, this lady forgave the assailant and told her she hoped she would find the Lord in her life.
It is amazing the musical talent you find in the little churches. Today on the drums was Dave Palmer, the Pastor’s wife Ruth Blevins played the piano and sang while the Pastor strummed the guitar.
One of my favorite songs of the morning was “Patches things up”! It went something like this: It seems that every time I need him,
my Lord is always there.
When no one else seems to have the time, Jesus always cares.
I wonder just what I might do if I called his name one day
and the heavens above just opened up and I heard my Savior say.
I’m through patchin it up. Very beautiful song!
In one of their prayers led by the Pastor on his knees, in the background was played the “Sweet hour of prayer.” Very touching effect.
Ruth Blevins delivered the morning’s sermon. She said that on some occasions when the Pastor is out of town she finds herself delivering the sermon. Today, of course, she did so in his presence.
The first time she was given the church key to open for a service she found that she didn’t even know how to turn the lights on. Then the security alarm went off and she had no idea how to turn it off. At the time she was worried the city police would arrive. All worked out and she was able to conduct a successful service.
She said that in her messages she often finds herself talking about Heaven but that today her sermon would be about Hell!
She spoke some while reading scripture from John and Luke. She pointed to the importance of finding forgiveness in one’s heart. Unforgiveness can be a very negative thing in our life that might keep us from heaven.
She woke this morning with inspiration that there would be lots of water in heaven and that hell would offer the opposite to each of us. The love for people came into her heart along with the message she delivered today.
She said I don’t want to go to hell and wouldn’t wish it on a worst enemy. I only want all to go to heaven.
She questioned, “do you love him this morning?” I am not going to hell, but to heaven. All must make their own decision!
There was prayer and beautiful hymns throughout the morning. A prayer cloth was prayed over for someone not there on this day undergoing surgery. Later news on that surgery was good!
The church keeps a prayer box and prayer board upfront. They pull out names from the box each week. Each request is placed on today’s list and then their names go on a prayer board for continued prayer!
It was a blessed day at the Sixth Street Apostolic Church. If you live close to this little Portsmouth Ohio church, we encourage you to drop by and pay them a visit. Better yet….join this family of believers on a regular basis. We need to fill the seats of Scioto County Ohio churches.
As believers, let us share the good news! Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! Each one.…Reach one! See ya in church!
Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.