The United States of America – Still Blessed


flagIt  has become increasingly faddishto pontificate on the shortcomings of our great country. From the White House on down those who believe they alone hold the moral high ground and are so much smarter than the rest of of us, they have created a cabin industry of blaming America for everything imaginable. I cringe each time President Obama gives yet another “blame America first” talk while skillfully reading from a teleprompter. Fortunately the facts do not support the rants of socialist leaning pointy heads who think government is the answer to every question and America in the genesis of every world problem.

The hope and promise of America still is alive and well. Not only is it burning in the hearts of most Americans but people the world over still dream of being able to come to our shores to experience the opportunity of a better life and to share the freedoms that is our national birth right and history.

We, American citizens, are still the bravest, hardest working people on planet earth. Our common creativity and work ethic has given the world invention after invention and products and services that have made countless lives better.

The harshest critics of U.S. government policies and our American culture still pay the big bucks to send their children here to have them educated. From the whole earth those who can afford it come to the United States for the best health care on earth.

We are still the most generous people in the history of the world. Our giving both as a national government and privately is unrivaled in human history. Just in the last few weeks several people I know have gone abroad to help the less fortunate in amazing ways. And I just read in Christianity Today that charitable giving is still very, very strong in the face of the gloom and doom that is piped into our homes by the hour.

Our men and women have paid with life and limb to liberate millions from the tyranny of evil men and their oppressive regimes. We have done what no country has done that I am aware of and rebuilt the countries of our former enemies to the tune of trillions of dollars and the sacrifice of our people.

And, from our shores the good news about Chrsit has gone out to all the world and continues til this day. I am very aware things are changing, but we American believers have been the light on the hill for the worlds masses. We should never forget our history and the possibilities of our future.

Although our freedoms are eroding, we are still the freest people on earth in the history of man and our hopes and promise we still hold out to the worlds masses who will come here legally and with good intentions.

Do I think we are perfect as a people or deserve better than the downtrodden of other lands, absolutely not. Over the decades many of our citizens have adopted the morals of dogs and the erosion is growing. We, like all people, have made huge mistakes both in U.S. policy and implementation and as citizens. While that is true, I am weary of the constant barrage of nay sayers  whose delight is to innumerate all of the perceived ills and flaws of our people and our government.

Do we deserve God’s blessing for these past 233 years? NO! Are we somehow God’s chosen people? NO! Are we, or should we be a Christian nation? NO! No, we deserve what we have not received, that my friend is called God’s mercy. How long will this national experiment  that was dreamed by our forefathers survive? Only God knows.

With all of our faults, our warts and bumps, mixed with our good, there is no people on earth who are more free, more blessed, and have more to be thankful for. America is truly the home of the brave and the land of the free.

May God bless America.

A proud American,
Royce

Mission Church Needs Air Conditioning


new_roof_0208The Hemley Road Church of Christ in Bayou La Batre, Alabama desperately needs air conditioning for their church building. They are growing, (about 20 baptisms this year), had 80 for worship last Sunday, and are cooled by one large fan. The heat on the bayou by Mobile Bay is a muggy, wet heat and almost unbearable in the hottest months of summer.

This church has no means of getting air conditioning except by praying, trusting, and telling friends of their needs. (All biblical) Can you help? Do you have an A/C company? Do you have a friend or church member who does? Will you ask them to consider this project? Or, can you give a gift toward the $12k needed?

Any gift can be directed to either the Whites Ferry Rd church in West Monroe, or the El Campo church in El Campo, Texas. Either address is very easy to find by “googling” the name. Just designate your gift to “Bayou La Batre” or “Hemley Rd” and of course it is tax deductible.

Daphne German said to me recently in a phone call, “We either need air conditioning or a hundred funeral home fans!”. Daphne lives in a rent house on the church property with only one small window unit in one bedroom. Can you imagine cooking and other activities in the other rooms?

Please, please pray, please ask, please help.

Royce

***UPDATE*** God has provided the necessary funds to install one unit for the main building. One is still needed for the house and of course utility bills will increase sharpley once the large unit is installed and put to use. They still need help! Praise God for His faithfulness to provide every need.

Not everyone can give,…but everyone can pray!


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In the stark darkness of poverty, addictions, broken homes and broken lives, a glimmer of light shines with help and hope. It is a small light, only a flicker at times, but it keeps shining and hope keeps rising. The unloved are being loved, the hopeless are finding hope, and the sinful are being made righteous. 

In a community with little to offer hurting people,, the light of love and the good news about Jesus is shining from the little flock at the Hemley Road church of Christ. Out of their poverty they are feeding the hungry, repairing homes, and building broken lives. Few of those old enough to work have jobs and finances are very thin. Only their faith in God keeps the light shining. 

Each Sunday morning two large vans comb the communities rounding up dozens of excited children who look forward to something to eat, smiles and hugs, and learning about the love of God. Just the expense of keeping the two church vans going and the electric bill is more than the church’s meager offerings. Very few of the adults have jobs and are barely able to survive. Yet, in the face of incredible odds that they can’t make it, they do, and somehow these faith filled people keep the light shining in the darkness.

On Easter Sunday morning dozens of happy children took the stage and sang some songs in “big church” then went to their worship time. After the services there was a frantic but happy Easter egg hunt and every little one was as happy as could be. Before I preached on the resurrection of Jesus and the hope it gives Billy Spaulding and I presented several baptismal certificates to young people who have trusted Christ in recent months and have been baptized

 The church operates a food panty, a Grief Share ministry, an adult Bible study on Sunday night, dinner and a movie on Saturday night, and picnics at the beach frequently. Every event, every stop of the church vans, every Bible lesson, is an expression of love and an opportunity for those with no hope to find the hope of the good news about Jesus.

The immediate needs are $4,000 for the annual insurance premium for the buildings, air conditioners for the church building ($8,000 to $10,000). Then there is the weekly fuel bill to operate the vans, food for the hungry children, supplying the food pantry, teaching materials and crafts, the electric bill ($1200 per month when volunteer workers are there in the summer), the water bill, etc., etc.

Everyone can’t give, but everyone can pray. Will you consider sharing these needs with your Sunday school class, or small group? Will you ask God to keep the light shining in Bayou La Batre, AL? And, will you ask God if you should help? The El Campo church of Christ in Elcampo, Texas provides some support and others do what they can, but the survival of this great work for God desperately needs friends who will open their check books to assure that the people of the Bayou continue to have the Light shining in their dark world. Thank you for reading and for your prayerful consideration.

(Donations can be sent to the El  Campo church of Christ, 410 E. Calhoun St. El  Campo Tx 77437, or directly to the Hemley Road church of Christ, 8270 Hemley Rd, Bayou La Batre, Al.  All donations are tax deductable.)

Royce,

Hemley Rd Church Puts New Baptistry to Use.


blb_bldgThis past Monday I received an excited phone call from our partner in the gospel, Daphne German from the Hemley Road church of Christ. On last Sunday they had their first baptism of the year, and in the church’s brand new baptistery. A 51 year old widow was baptized by brother Billy Spalding. What joy the church shared as they witnessed this event.

The baptistery is not trimmed out yet, but it held warm water (a very positive thing since the church has no heat, or A/C for that matter) and this was the first of what will be many, many baptisms at HRC. The baptistery was a love gift from a sister church at La Place, Louisiana. When they learned that their brothers and sisters in Bayou La Batre were in need they responded. Many thanks to the church in La Place for their expression of charity.

Since its inception after Hurricane Katrina, the Hemley Rd church has had no less than 10 baptisms each year. For a congregation with only a few mature believers they are doing a wonderful job of getting out the gospel and loving the people of the Bayou. They have an on going food pantry, still repair citizens houses and give tons of clothing, food, and furniture each year, facilitate an on going Grief Share ministry, and put the gospel in shoe leather in their community.

Never have I met any Christians who are more determined, live more sacrificially, and are more filled with faith than Christ’s ambassadors at HRC. Against overwhelming odds and in the face of severe opposition they have continued straight ahead. They live by faith and are bringing hope and deliverance to the folks of the bayou through their Christ centered ministry and message.

I thank God for our friends at Hemley Rd church in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. They have many needs, not the least of which is an air conditioning unit for the church building, the fellowship building, and the house on the property. Last summer when the temperatures were in the high 90’s they fed children, had classes, and worshiped with only a couple of fans to move the air. They have ministered all winter without heat, but have continued because of the warmth of their hearts.

Do you know an HVAC contractor who loves God? Tell him about the needs at HRC. Why not stop fretting about the decline of the DOW index and invest that money in something with an eternal benifit? At a minimum, please put these dear people on your prayer list and lift them to our Father.

I couldn’t be prouder of my forever family at the Hemley Rd church of Christ in Bayou La Batre. Many thanks to them for being examples of what a church should look like. May God continue to bless them and you.

For the very good news about Jesus,
Royce Ogle