Fragrant Offerings

    Sometimes, a need demands an infusion. While attending a Trustee Meeting in Ohio at Cedarville University over a week ago, I was suddenly hit with the same flu-type bug that had battered a number of our family. Fever, nausea, and a relentless headache kept me from attending the first day of the meeting and compelled me to call the school nurse practitioner. She told me, “You must go to the Emergency Room in the Springfield Hospital...and do it now!” She insisted that I needed to be thoroughly checked out and probably receive IV fluids. It is amazing what an infusion of nausea medicine and other things to replace the lost electrolytes can do for your strength and health! Within a few hours I felt better and able to attend meetings and serve as Chairman of the Doctrine Committee.

    After the difficulties of our recent hurricane, described as “an atmospheric daisy cutter that claws away cities,” we were able to escape the kind of carpet-bombing storm that raked Puerto Rico and flooded Houston. However, there were many needs and opportunities for ministry. We were also greatly blessed by gifts from churches like The Chapel in Akron, Ohio, Emerald Coast Fellowship in Lynn Haven, Florida, Parkway Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Lenexa Baptist Church in Kansas. We also received help from the ABWE Missions Organization and an offering from students of the Dayton Christian School. I have friendships with the leaders of most of these groups and was greatly blessed by their generous aid. Interestingly, The Chapel was founded by Dr. David Burnham, who often attends our church when he is not traveling in missions along with his son, Jonathan. I have served on the board at Cedarville with the Pastor at The Chapel and have been close friends with other pastors. Our own Bill Hanson works with ABWE as a missionary builder.

    Such gracious friends blessed Paul as Epaphroditus delivered “gifts which were a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). Your generosity is also sweet and refreshing.

    Of course, outside infusions are  for emergencies but do not substitute for faithful, regular, and sacrificial giving. If you received my letter requesting aid in our catch-up offering, please pray about “seeking the fruit that increases to your credit” (Philippians 4:17) and brings blessing to the kingdom. It makes all the difference in whether we are laid out in spiritual sickness or built up in success.

     

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