As I was riding home on the Harley a couple nights ago I was reflecting on the changes that have taken place in our ministry. God always adjusts us, if we are willing, to meet the needs of those needing to hear the gospel message. Our Six Seasons founding principles state that we can virtually use all methods to reach into peoples lives where they are, and indeed we have done so. We have used motorcycles (and trikes), snowmobiles, boats, canoes, street rods and classic cars, and horses connect with people. While methods have varied there is one thing that has not changed: the message is always Jesus.
I guess what brought on these thoughts was the upcoming Great Northern Classic Rodeo. This will be our 17th year of ministering there. We have seen the turnout for our Cowboy Church service grow from a few to over a hundred last year – this in addition to the fruitful one-on-one ministry during the three day event. Marilyn and Zeb have been a valuable part of this work, both ministering in music by playing their instruments and singing during the services with Chuck Shaul on his guitar, and by Zeb’s use of his horses in the three arena performances as well. While they will be greatly missed, we will continue to build upon the groundwork laid. We all must remember that each one of us does our part in our passing through on planet earth. God has called us all to specific tasks and has equipped each of us accordingly. Our obedience pleases Him, and when we’re done He will raise up others to build upon what we began as we go and join Him. And God’s work must continue as the time is very short for people to come to know Him before His return. So in that light Rich & Becky Johnsen will be joining Chuck this year ministering in music. Please pray that this effective outreach will continue producing lasting spiritual fruit.
Changes are not only limited to vehicles used, or in the people carrying on the ministry as others ‘graduate’ to heaven, but in the people doing the ministry as well. I have come to realize that my own qualifications of ministry have changed. At the Classic Cars on the Lake show in Lake Nebagamon I had just parked Marilyn’s Mustang when a very nice 1964 Impala, driven by an older lady (my age) accompanied by her forty-something daughter, parked beside me. The daughter commented on the color of the Mustang asking why I chose that burnt orange color. I replied, “That was my wife’s choice.” She then asked where my wife was and I informed her that she had died last October. With that statement she instantly changed. Her eyes teared up and, pointing to the Impala, explained that it was her fathers. He had died during the winter and this was the first time her mom was driving it to a car show. She was accompanying her mom for moral support. She then gave me a big hug, and we talked on – going into the spiritual aspect of life, what it means, and our choice of destinations.
A similar thing occurred at the Aitkin, Minnesota Drive-in/Fly-in Car show. A man heard that I had just lost a son and informed me that he had lost a son also, at the age of 18. I asked him how long ago this happened and he replied, “Twenty two years ago. But it seems like last week…” as he teared up, and then proceeded to tell me more about his son. The door was open. I’ve discovered that when people know that I’ve experienced what they have they know I understand. There is a connection. They are willing to talk about it and are very open. So while I didn’t look for this qualification (the tuition is very high), I am learning to use it and welcome the opportunities it provides. Indeed, all things do work together for good to those who love the Lord.
Since the Aitkin show is a combination auto/ aircraft event Reuben and Jessica and their three children joined me, flying one of the planes he uses to train his flight students. I told him he was cheating as it took them 1/3 the time to get there in the air than it did me on the ground. And he didn’t have to watch for speed traps (it seems the police have discovered that big boys like to play with their toys coming to and from these events and their extra presence is noticeable). It was a blessing to have my grandchildren attending an event for the first time.
Becoming known in the street rod community is becoming beneficial as I was called personally by the sponsors of a new show inviting me to attend. The one day experience allowed me to share Christ in depth with two individuals and one couple.
I’ve preached in many parks, campgrounds, fairgrounds, and churches over the years, but this is the first year I’ve preached in the hay mow of a barn. It occurred in July in Joel & Renae Groskreutz’ barn where I ‘Connected the Dots’ between current events and the Bible’s prophetic words. About thirty people were present for the two hour session. The interest was very good and the message well received. In fact, it was so well received that I they met again in the barn two nights ago with twenty one new people joining them. I appeared on a sheet for this two hour session – via Skype. Handy tool. My phone and email was very busy the following day as people called asking more questions. This indicated to me the need for this teaching as people are not being informed of these things by their pastors. The words that came to my mind were, “Seek and you will find…” (Matthew 7:7), indicating that even though most churches are not covering these topics, the seeking individual will find his anweres, even if he has to find it in a barn. Nothing new here as far as God is concerned: His Son was first introduced to the world in a barn.