It is more blessed to give than to receive
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (New International Version 1984, Acts 20:35).
December is a time to reflect and one of the most significant things in my life this past year was the passing of my dad. My dad was a banker his whole life. Bankers are known for lending but my dad was a giver.
The last several years I have thought from time to time about why my dad was generous. The Lord impressed upon me that I needed to share some thoughts when the day came that I stood at my dad’s funeral. Below are some of the thoughts I shared at his service.
The first reason I believe he was generous was because he was thankful.
He was always giving the Lord credit for his rise out of a humble beginning, not having attended college and yet reaching the levels of success and significance he achieved.
“Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name” (New International Version 1984, 1 Chronicles 29:12–13).
He knew he had received much blessing from the Lord and so he knew he needed to pass it on.
The second reason I believe he was generous was because he had a clear theology of stewardship.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (New International Version 1984, Matthew 25:21).
That God owns and controls everything
That our resources come from the Lord
That God expects His children to be good stewards of His resources
That God expects His children to seek His counsel on how they use His resources
That a child of God is to be thankful to the Lord in little or in much
As a child, my dad gave me coins to put in the offering plate. As I grew older, he mentioned that part of my allowance should be given to the Lord. When I received my first official pay check he sat me down for a visit and tithing became more specific and concrete.
The third reason I believe he was generous was because of regret.
My dad was not perfect. Because I have tried to be generous as a way of making up for my short comings, I can see this in my dad. Giving was his love language and at times his way of saying, “I am sorry and I love you.”
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God is a generous god. Generosity is one of the fruits of Jesus’ presence in a life. I am glad my dad was a generous man!
During this Christmas season of giving and receiving, I trust you will grow in your own generosity, especially as you realize how generous God has been to you through His Precious Son, Jesus Christ.
Unleashing the captives,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name” (New International Version 1984, 1 Chronicles 29:11–13).
Thank you Lord!
2017 has been a year of God opening the windows of heaven and financially blessing our ministry. I believe I feel similar to King David in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 when he was overwhelmed with the generosity of the people as they responded to the need for resources to build the temple.
The people made the sacrifice, but David realized it was the moving of God’s hand in the lives of the people. It was the Lord who had blessed the people with their resources and it was the Lord who moved them to be obedient and to give freely to His work.
After several years of wandering through the financial desert and having to cut back in almost every area of our budget we are now in the fertile land where we can fully fund our day-to-day ministries and plan for expansion.
Thank you JASCO Giving Hope Foundation!
Steve Trice, founder and chairman of the board, JASCO Products Company, has been a faithful supporter of our ministry for several years. In his vision to help OJPM expand its donor base, he presented us with a $100,000 matching gift challenge through the JASCO Giving Hope Foundation. This challenge would match any new donor’s money or any existing donor giving more than they had in either 2015 or 2016.
In the last newsletter, our Open Hearts, Open Doors matching gift campaign total was at $83,000. This past month we reached the $100,000 goal! This is a miracle that was supplied from the Lord working directly through Steve Trice’s vision.
Thank you friends of OJPM!
It is a matching gift. That means this miracle happened as well through the friends of our ministry that gave sacrificially to turn this $100,000 into $200,000. Speaking of sacrifice, it is fitting that a donation from Carolyn Lang’s estate put us over the top in reaching this goal. Carolyn, an OJPM volunteer since 2004, passed away this past August. Carolyn had such an Open Heart to see Open Doors that she put OJPM in her will. What a legacy of faithful service!
One more note of thanksgiving. Because of our strengthened financial position, we are opening up OJPM ministry in two counties. Bryan County jail OJPM ministry started November 1st with Site Chaplain Tommy Green in place and Lincoln County jail OJPM ministry will start sometime this month.
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name!
Unleashing the captives,
A night of challenge and celebration
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the
Spirit” (New International Version 1984, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Our 26th Annual Volunteers Appreciation Banquet is in the books and it was quite the time of challenge and celebration!
Each volunteer and guest received an attractive OJPM challenge coin that is imprinted with the statement of what drives our ministry: Transforming People on Both Sides of The Bars, 2 Corinthians 3:18. This challenge coin is not only a striking gift but I hope that it will also serve as a pocket prayer reminder.
Four characteristics of our volunteers are printed on the insert of the plastic sleeve. Willing obedience, Great Commission boldness, spiritual discernment and physical courage describe each and every one of our volunteer chaplains. These characteristics also make up a great prayer list for our volunteers as they minister in the county jails each day.
The coins were our way of saying ‘thank you’ for the hours of tireless service our volunteers give the Lord through OJPM. They are also meant to be a prayer coin that can be carried in your pocket or purse as a constant reminder of the spiritual battle in which we are involved.
Tom Pace, CEO of PaceButler and author of Mentor: The Kid & The CEO, challenged us with the power of forgiveness. He related how he gives second and third chances to people reentering society and how one guy stole $450,000 from his company. Tom thanked our volunteers and noted that they must have forgiving hearts to be used by God in our ministry of forgiveness.
William Dodson, former Oklahoma County jail inmate and trustee, gave his testimony and thanked OJPM and its volunteers for caring enough to come and share the gospel with him. He particularly singled out Senior Chaplain Jorge Vara and his involvement in his life.
If you would like one of these beautiful and inspirational challenge coins, they will be available at our fall training on Saturday, October 21st from 8:00 a.m. to noon at Genesis Church, 623 N Broadway Ave, Suite A, Moore.
Unleashing the captives,
We all are a step closer to the grace than yesterday
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’” ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” ‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God’” (New International Version 1984, Luke 12:19-21).
Last month I reached the big 6-0!
As I get older the conversations with friends tend to be about retirement. People ask me when I am going to retire and what I am going to do. I need to ask my classmates about that since for some strange reason they all seem older than me :).
For me, the question remains the same for my upcoming years as it has for the previous years, “What does God want with my life?”
As I reflect back over 60 years there are many good times and some bad. Not everything has turned out the way I had prayed or wished, but the Lord has been very gracious and merciful with me. He has been faithful!
Recently I read Luke 12:19-21. This passage was a good reminder that joy and contentment do not come from material possessions, but from the Lord. This passage also gave me insight into the hearts and the passions of our volunteer chaplains who could be “[taking] life easy,” but who have decided to be “rich toward God.”
What does “rich toward God” look like? It looks like the faithfulness and commitment that you see in the lives of our volunteer chaplains who visit the county jails each week with one prayer on their hearts. “Lord, I am tired. Lord, it is getting harder and harder to make this trip. Lord, help me to know what to say. Lord, use me today to give hope to one man or woman. Lord, use me to deliver your gospel message of transformation through your Son, Jesus Christ.”
This passage and our volunteer chaplains have challenged me to make sure that my prayer is that I can keep serving the Lord and others whether for another year or another generation.
Pray for continued courage and strength for our volunteers. Also, pray that the Lord would send some younger volunteers to replace the faithful workers we have who like me are not getting any younger.
Did you think I made an error in the title of this article? I actually meant to write, “We are all a step closer to the grave than yesterday.” When I reread what I had written I noticed that I had written grace instead of grave. I quickly changed it to grave, but then decided that grace might be the better word.
I challenge you to embrace God’s sovereignty, the hope of the
resurrection, His grace and even the grave. It is coming! Be ready! Be rich toward God!
Unleashing the captives,