Traveling Companion

prof bibleRecently I had the opportunity to speak at the Global Impact Celebration of the First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I finished the five-day conference at 12:15 on Sunday afternoon. The van was packed and ready for a five-hour trip to Bayou La Batre, Alabama, where I was scheduled to speak at 6:00 that evening.  The week’s travel necessitated staying seven nights in four different places. I am absentminded on my best day, but with such a hectic schedule I am prone to forget and leave things behind.

When I arrived home in Wilmore, I had left behind a most valuable possession – my Bible. I have many Bibles, but this one has been with me many years. It contains notes and sermon outlines that render it invaluable to me.  I was near panic when I sat down to reconstruct the events following the last time I remembered having the Bible.  I determined that I had left it at the Eldridge’s house on Dauphin Island, the last place I had stayed before heading home. The house has graciously been provided as a place of refuge for Sue and me when we’re in the area. I called Pam and asked her to check for the Bible the next time she made the 25-mile trip to Dauphin.

A couple of days later, Pam called and had the Bible. She commented that the Bible showed a lot of wear and tear.  She said, “It looks well-traveled. It would be interesting to know where all its been”.

Those words were the catalyst for a lot of memories. That old Bible has been my ‘travel companion’ across the USA and around the world. China, Japan, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Tahiti, Jamaica, Samoa, St. Croix, Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, Ireland, England, Hawaii, Tahitii, and a myriad of other places flooded through my mind.

In all places and at all times this Bible has served as “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” ( Psalm 119:105 ).  This ‘travel companion’ has been by my side through out life’s journeys. And I am sure it will be with me to the end. I want its companionship on every expedition I take. I love God’s Word! (Click link for previous blog post.)

You may ask me why my travel companion is so essential. Let it speak for itself:

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. God’s laws are pure, eternal, just. They are more desirable than gold. They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them” (Psalm 19: 7-11 – TLB). 

Do you have such  ‘travel companion’? The voyages of life can be fraught with danger!

~ Brother Roy

The Calaboose

The word “calaboose” is of French/Spanish derivation. The dictionary defines calaboose as: “a jail; especially, a local jail”. Let me share the reason for my new found interest in the term “calaboose.”

The road to Herschel's home

The road to Herschel’s home

I recently had the privilege of traveling with David Spencer, who is our partner in church planting ministry in Eastern Kentucky, and Joe Hardman, a NHIM Board Member. We were journeying to the “Calaboose” area of Wolf County, KY.  After we left the town of Campton, we made several turns, each seemingly onto a narrower road.  Finally, we turned onto a narrow gravel road leading to the rather remote home of Hershel Lykin.  Hershel greeted us from his bed in the front room. He is bedfast. A deteriorating spinal condition has confined him to bed, only occasionally getting up for short times in his wheel chair.

Hershel’s physical disabilities have put him in a place of confinement commensurate to the name of the area where he lives. He is in the ‘calaboose’, a personal local jail. No longer able to attend church, Hershel longed to be useful in the Lord’s service. His spirit is strong, and he has a fervent desire to work for the Lord.  February 19th, 2013, was a signal day in the life of Hershel and our Eastern Kentucky ministry.  David, Joe, and I were at Hershel’s home where friends and family had gathered for a special service. We sang hymns, shared scripture, and worshiped together.  We then laid hands on Hershel and commissioned him as our Minister of Intercessory Prayer.

Physical disabilities attempted to lock him away in a calaboose of pain and isolation, but praise God it could not incarcerate his Spirit.  Hershel is discovering that Satan’s efforts to restrict his ability to contribute to ministry may actually be turned to great benefit. Genesis 50:20 provides important insight. Joseph had suffered greatly at the hands of this fallen world. Speaking to those who had inflicted much pain and suffering on him, Joseph said, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Herschel (holding his commission as Minister of Intercessory Prayer), Seth, and Melissa

Herschel (holding his commission as Minister of Intercessory Prayer), Seth, and Melissa

God is using Hershel’s situation to a double benefit. First, his prayers are going out touching lives and empowering our ministry.  The second benefit comes because his mind is occupied with his important role as an intercessor, and that helps muffle the pain.

Hershel’s friends Melissa and Seth were at his Commissioning Service on February 19th.  On Sunday Feb. 24th, Melissa and Seth went forward at Bear Pen Worship Center and committed their lives to Christian service. What a beautiful exclamation point to this ministry!

How many of us are missing a great opportunity for service? Circumstances may attempt to put us in the ‘calaboose’. Pain, disability, or isolation will tell us we are of little use in the Kingdom of God. We need to know that whatever our physical status may be, our spirits can soar as “the Lord gives freedom to the prisoners” (Psalm 146:7). Will you accept the challenge of being an intercessor?

~ Brother Roy