Sunday, August 14, 2005
Allison Nelson begins University career at McMurry
A reception, above, at Tinney Chapel honored Allison Nelson for a stellar career at Winnsboro High School, where she graduated in May as the Salutatorian.
Tinney Chapel’s Allison Nelson off to McMurry University
“We are expecting to hear great things about you,” said Rev. Duncan Graham, Pastor of Tinney Chapel UMC. He was speaking to Allison Nelson, soon to graduate as Salutatorian from the Winnsboro High School Class of 2005, and already accepted as a scholarship student this fall at McMurray University, a Methodist school in Abilene, Texas. The occasion was a reception honoring Allison on May 22.
Allison will, of course, also play basketball at McMurry.
Pastor Graham presented her with a Life Application Study Bible, NIV Translation, engraved with Allison’s name, Tinney Chapel UMC, and the year ’05 on it: “So you won’t forget the year you graduated,” quipped the Pastor. “There’s also a card with some graduating cash for you. Let’s pray:
“Oh, gracious Lord, we lift up Allison to you, Lord. We love her. We are proud of her, Lord. We just want You to bless her abundantly, Lord. Lord, just give her knowledge and wisdom. Help her to assimilate all the good things that she will learn. And, Lord, use her. Use her while she is there to touch other lives, to bless other people, and, Oh Lord, to accomplish great things. Give her strength, Lord, give her all that she needs to do well on the basketball court, in her studies, in her relationships that she will have, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.
“And there will be some cake and refreshments in her honor over at the fellowship hall between service and Sunday School. So take time to have some cake and punch, and celebrate with her.”
Allison in full graduation garb, above, enters McMurry University, a United Methodist institution, with an impressive collection of scholarships.
Allison enters McMurry University after earning $37,500 in scholarships, including a Presidential Scholarship, worth $6,500 a year, from McMurry, a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, worth $1,500 a year, a Chadick Family Scholarship worth $3,000, a “Power My World” Scholarship, worth $1,000, from Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc., a Raider Pride Booster Club Scholarship worth $1,000 and a Thurma Rhoades Girls Athletic Scholarship worth $500.
Allison delivers the salutatorian address, above, signifying her distinction as the number-two academic graduate of Winnsboro High School in 2005.
Below are some of the accomplishments that helped Allison become an honor student, outstanding athlete and scholarship winner.
Academic honors and date received:
Salutatorian, May 2005
Distinguished Graduate, May 2005
National Honor Roll, 2004/2005
Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 2004-2005
National Beta Club, inducted Oct. 2002
Nominee, National Society of High School Scholars, Apr. 2004
Nominee, Scholar, National Young Leaders Conference. Mar. 2004
Top WHS Geometry Student, May 2002
Top WHS Eng. 1 PreAp Student, May 2002
Top WHS Spanish III Student, May 2002
WHS All As Honor Roll, May, 2002, 2003, 2004
As dual-enrollment student at Tyler Junior College:
Phi Theta Kappa, inducted Mar. 2004
National Dean’s List, June 2004
GPA for 24 hours: 3.75; completing 27 hours by May 2005 graduation
Other school related honors and activities:
Lady Raiders Basketball, Forward, 2001-2005
4-year varsity starter and 1st Team All-District, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Regional Finalist, Feb. 2003; State Finalist, Mar. 2004; State Semi-Finalist, Mar. 2005
All Tournament Team, Leonard Holiday Tournament, Dec. 2004
Cross Country, varsity runner, Aug. -Oct., 2002 and 2003
Yearbook Staff, 3 years, 2002-2005
Business Manager, 2003-2004, Section Editor, 2005
Best Advertising Campaign, National Publications Workshop (1,000+ students), July 2003
Net Ole Regional Spanish Competition, Apr. 2002:
1st place, Power Point Presentation
3rd place, Prepared Speech
Homecoming Decorations, named class winner 4 years, 2001-2004
Sophomore Class Secretary, 2002-2003
Junior/Senior Prom Decorating Committee, Mar.-Apr. 2004
Junior Usher, May 2004
Senior Class Selection: Most Unforgettable, Dec. 2004
Member, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), 2002-2003
WHS Perfect Attendance, 2001-2004
Allison, above, also participated in an impressive array of community, civic and church activities during her four-year career at Winnsboro High School.
Civic, Community, Church activities and achievements:
Member Tinney Chapel United Methodist Church and Tinney Chapel Youth , Aug. 2001-present
Stars of Hope, active in 2-month campaign painting 100s of yard signs and collecting $1,000s in donations in support of youth with cancer, summer 2002. Program was catalyst for many spin-off fundraisers.
Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center, collected and delivered donations for teddy bear drives in 2002 and 2003 and basic needs drives in 2004 and 2005.
Beta Club’s Stars for David program, fundraising for cancer patient, Nov.-Dec. 2002
Toys for Tots volunteer, worked with Winnsboro Police to distribute donated toys, Dec. 2002
Quitman Public Library, reorganized Children’s Center, Jan. 2003
Beta Club’s Juice Drive for non-profit childcare organization, Feb. 2003
Whispering Pines Care Center, wallpapered nursing home’s dining room, Apr. 2003
Winter Coat Drive, initiated and led drive at my church to collect coats for needy in Tyler, 2003
Coached 8th grade girls basketball team, fall 2004 league
Sixty & Single Valentines Dinner, prepared and served dinner to elderly, Feb. 2005
Allison's research and essay on Ambrose Tinney, above, founder of Tinneytown and Tinney Chapel UMC, helped her win this year's Chadick Family Scholarship. The essay is reproduced below with the kind permission of the Chadick Family.
William Ambrose Tinney: Founder of Tinneytown
By Allison Nelson
William Ambrose Tinney moved his family from Alabama to Wood County, Texas in 1886 and by the time he died 38 years later in 1924 he had left a legacy known as Tinneytown. This burgeoning salt-of-the-earth agrarian community just four miles south of Winnsboro was known for its God-fearing people who had compassion for their neighbors and believed in a strong work ethic.
The East Texas settler, the son of John Calhoun Tinney(1829-1870) and Mary Emmaline Bynum (1831-1873), came from a family of strong convictions. The elder Tinney did not believe in holding slaves and thought that Alabama could work out her differences and stay in the Union. Ambrose was ten years old when the Civil War started. Those like his father, who did not want to join the Confederate Army and hid out in caves, were considered by many to be traitors and their lives were at risk. John Calhoun Tinney finally gave up his neutrality and joined the Union Army in 1863.
Ambrose Tinney’s first wife Mary Belinda Bellomy also came from a family of strong beliefs. Mary’s parents drowned in a river flood when she was only four and she was raised by her grandfather, William Bellomy, who had come to the Alabama territory as a circuit riding Methodist minister. Ambrose and Mary had known each other since they were little. They married when she was 16 and he was 21. He was known to read the Bible to his family every night and she sang her babies the same Christian hymns that her grandfather had sung to her. While living in Alabama they had six children, Andy Glass “Doc”, Hollis Whitebee “Oll”, Rhody Jane (who died at an early age), Mary Frances “Sis”, Charles Lewis “Tink”, and David Robinson “Gould”.
Relatives on both side of the family were already living in East Texas and wrote back to Ambrose and Mary, encouraging them to join them. Mary had inherited several parcels of land from two grandfathers and a great-grandfather and she and Ambrose sold her land and used the money to start anew in Texas. In 1886 they came by train from Huntsville, Alabama to Grand Saline, Texas. Ambrose looked for a place for them. He found good land with water for farming south of Winnsboro in northern Wood County. They eagerly built a new home where another baby, W.A. Jr. “Bill” was born. Then they rented their small house and moved near relatives in the Shady Grove community, where three more children were born: Susan Elizabeth “Lid” or “Lizzie”, John Calhoun “Connie”, and Lona Isabell “Lonie”. With nine kids they needed a bigger house. Using the last of Mary’s inheritance money, “they bought more land, built a larger house and settled themselves in the area four miles south of Winnsboro that would eventually become known as Tinneytown” (McClaren 15). Between 1895 and 1898 three more children were born, Leona Evelyn “Eve-er” or “Eva”, Ed Skeen “Fine”, and George Griffin “Buck”.
The story behind Fine’s real name reflects Ambrose’s sense of humor. Mr. Ed Skeen, the owner of the general store on Main Street in Winnsboro where the Tinneys shopped for groceries enjoyed joking with his customers who were expecting babies. He was always suggesting that they name a child after him. Since Ambrose and Mary had already named so many of their children after relatives, they decided to just oblige Mr. Skeen and named their seventh son Ed Skeen.
Including a still born birth and Rhody, their baby girl that died in Alabama, Mary had had 14 pregnancies in 25 years. The strain of having and caring for such a large family played havoc with her health. Her struggle with kidney disease ended with her death in May 1899. Her young baby “Buck” was only eight months old. Needing immediate help with such a big family Ambrose asked Mary Precise, an older woman the family had known for years, to come and live with them. They called her Aunt Mary Precise.
Before Mary’s death, she and Ambrose had begun to talk with neighbors about a church for their new community. They had always invited traveling preachers to hold services in their home and both wanted “a community where hard-working, God-loving people could come together for work, fellowship, and worship” (McClaren 16). Ambrose proceeded with the dream they shared. On February 22, 1900, he deeded an acre of land a short distance from the Tinney home place for a church building which was built by the Tinney men, Will Bellomy and son Charlie, Ford Newton and son Jim, and a few others. In Arvinell Newton McClaren’s book Going to the Chapel, she describes the original structure: “The tall, unpainted one-room structure had a wooden floor and a high ceiling. The simple sanctuary had two large support posts in the center. Coal-oil lamps hung from wires to provide light and a big black wood-burning stove in the center front gave heat” (McClaren 16-17). Ambrose’s great granddaughter Julie Tinney reported that “in the church’s early years, members tied their horses to trees during worship” (Tinney 4). As was customary in churches at that time, the men sat in the pews on the left, the women sat in the pews to the right, and couples that were sparking sat in the center section.
Since the church had been built for the people of the community, none of the builders wanted it named after themselves; so they chose the name Blackwell after the first traveling preacher to preach there and Chapel after Holland’s Chapel in Alabama. They affiliated Blackwell’s Chapel with the Methodist Episcopal Church North. It kept this name from 1900 until 1928. The congregation affiliated with the First Methodist Church in Winnsboro in 1928, and from 1928 until 1955 it was known as Tinney’s Chapel. A 1954 tornado damaged the church to such an extent that a new one was built in 1955. Since then it has been known as Tinney Chapel. The church commemorated its centennial in 2000. McClaren noted that at that time there were 663 descendants of W.A. Tinney, not all living in Wood County. As another century began, another Tinney, grandson Donald Eugene Tinney, and his wife Corrine donated another acre of land to Tinney Chapel on which a family life center was built and consecrated on January 9, 2005.
In addition to his leadership role in founding Tinney Chapel, Ambrose also served the community in other ways. He was commissioned as Road Overseer of Road Precinct 56 in Wood County’s Precinct 4. His job called for mustering the manpower needed to fill in mud holes on the dirt road between Winnsboro and Hawkins and remove tree limbs that fell on the road. An official notebook Ambrose used, his Road Overseers Commission, listed the names of those who were “designated and required to work said roads in said precinct.” Tally marks beside each name showed how many times they had been called upon. The Commission also noted that he had the authority to summons “all other hands in said Road Precinct between the ages of 21 and 45.” Ambrose reportedly made frequent trips to the county seat in Quitman 15 miles away to meet with the commissioners court.
McClaren notes, “On his trips to the county seat, Ambrose, who was not forty-eight years old, also found time to court twenty-six-year-old spinster Lizzie Gamble in Alba” (McClaren 20). He married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Caroline Gamble in 1900 and brought her home as his new wife, assuring Aunt Mary Precise that she was a part of the family and must stay on with them. Between 1902 and 1913 Ambrose and Lizzie had seven children: Julia Lillian, Fannie Mae, Madie Ethel, Frank Love “Tom”, Laura Ruth, Hallie Maude “Bush”, and Dolly Fay. Unfortunately, baby Ethel only lived for one month and Ruth died shortly before her seventeenth birthday.
Above all, Ambrose Tinney was a man of the soil. Known to be a highly successful farmer, he grew cotton, corn, sorghum and oats. His son, the late Frank Love “Tom” Tinney believes, “The original home place might have been as much as 600 acres originally” (Boyd interview). Not all of it was cultivated as it included quite a bit of timber. They raised horses and mules. “Everybody plowed with one or two. We did have a plow that was made for three horses,” Tom Tinney remembered. “It was a pretty big turning plow.” They also had hogs and goats, milking cows, a garden, and 20 acres of fruit trees. “Everybody had a job. Just whatever you were big enough to do,” said Tom Tinney.
Five miles away from the Tinney home was the Vernon school. It was a two-room, two-teacher country school in Wood County sitting on property owned by Wid Gearner. Although documents could not be found, Mrs. McClaren believes from her research that the original country school was built around the 1880’s, probably before 1890. Ambrose would load up the school-aged children in a wagon to take them to school in the morning, but in the afternoon they were to walk home on their own. He was busy working in the fields and expected their help before dark. But when they purposely got sidetracked on the way home, he became extremely frustrated. In order for his children to get a good education and still make it home in time to work in the afternoons, Ambrose came up with the solution of rebuilding the Vernon school about a mile from their house. Again he donated land to the community. This time he deeded three acres for the school, working out the details with the school board. He secured the help of his son-in-law Jim Newton to tear down the Vernon school and rebuild it on the Tinney land. The school bell rang at its new location in the fall of 1911.
Joe Dan Boyd, the son of Ambrose and Lizzie’s youngest child Dolly, remembers his years at the Vernon school. He described it as a rural school “which housed eight grades in two Spartan rooms of a whitewashed schoolhouse topped by a majestic tower for the clear-ringing school bell” (Boyd). It had a large outdoor playground. “The children entered up the wooden steps at the center front of the building and through large double doors that led them into the cloakroom, where they hung their coats” (McClaren 43-44). The teacher‘s desk in each of the two large classrooms was raised from the rest of the room. Behind it was a blackboard. “The students’ desks were made of iron with the wooden seatback of one desk attached to the front of the next student’s wooden box-like desk. A sloping desktop had a groove for pencils at the far edge of the desk and a hole near the right back corner of the desk for inkbottles” (McClaren 44).
The last few of the Tinney grandchildren along with children from a few other families were still in school by 1942, but the enrollment had dwindled drastically. Many of the former students were now in uniform, fighting the enemy during World War II. In the spring of 1946, the Vernon school closed its doors. “ I was going to that school when it closed,” Boyd recalls. “There were less than 20 students in all eight grades, not enough to justify its continuing.” The children of the community had to attend Winnsboro’s public schools five miles away the following year. The schoolhouse sat empty for a few years, but about 1949 Arvin Newton dismantled the school and used the lumber to build two houses, one of which became the home of Mrs. Irene Ray, the Vernon school teacher.
Ambrose Tinney was a strict disciplinarian. “Anytime Papa cleared his throat, that was the end of the fuss or racket. He didn’t have to say a word,” Tom Tinney recalled (Boyd interview) He was said to keep a tight rein on his children. “Us kids didn’t get to go to town very much, except for clothes or shoes,” said Tom Tinney. They continued to live and work at home until they married. Their social life centered almost exclusively around family, church, and school. Not surprisingly the young couples stayed in the community to begin their own families. “Seems like a lot of them got married at about the same time,” Tom Tinney said. About six of them married in one year and Ambrose gave them all a horse and a cow. All the property surrounding the intersection of what is now FM 312 and Wood CR 4620 in every direction was owned by Tinney descendants so it was only natural that the rural community became known as Tinneytown. This common nickname was used extensively from the 1920s through the 1950s. Although never incorporated, Tinneytown was considered a geographic entity. It was known to be the home of God-fearing people with a strong work ethic---the salt of the earth.
Boyd, Joe Dan. “Raised Tinney.” Copyright 2003.
Boyd, Joe Dan. “Recollections of Frank Love “Tom” Tinney. Interview copyright 1965.
McClaren, Arvinell Newton. Going to the Chapel. Copyright 2003.
Tinney, Julie. “Tinney Chapel History.” Unpublished college history report. August 16, 1984.
<> I would like to give a special thanks to Joe Dan Boyd who provided me with many materials including copies of the deeds of land donated by Ambrose Tinney for Tinney Chapel and the Vernon School, numerous Tinney family photos, and pages from a book Ambrose Tinney used as road overseer. I am particularly indebted to Arvinell McClaren. Her book was my primary reference source for this essay and she kindly shared with me additional information she had learned since it was published. She also shared photos from her book as well as the genealogy chart of the descendants of William Ambrose which is found in my addendums.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Wrestling With God At Tinney Chapel
MORNING WORSHIP SERVICE, 9:00 A.M.:
Holy Communion was served this morning.
Pastor: Rev. Duncan Graham
Greeter: Roger Schneider.
Sound: Bob Deitering.
Ushers: Gerry Privette & Roger Schneider.
Song leader: Angela Wylie.
Piano: Pat Hollingsworth.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Take Time To Be Holy, Sanctuary, Amazing Grace.
Special Music by Tinney Chapel’s quintessential choir, directed by Pat Hollingsworth, featuring solo by David Stanton:
The Cross Of Love With You are My King & Lamb of God.
Singing in the choir today: Ronny Ellison, David Wylie, Derrell Hollingsworth, David Stanton, Linda Hallman, Josie Garrett, Christi Noble, Stacey Stanley, Molly Stanton, Alice Deitering, Angela Wylie, Bobbie Hollingsworth, Emmaline Hallman, Wanda Hardin.
Call to Worship & Opening Prayer
Morning Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:
Tinney Chapel Pastor, Rev. Duncan Graham, began today by asking the children: “Are you a sinker or a floater?” They didn’t know, so he passed on a hint: “What happens when you get in water: Do you sink or float?” Then, more generally: “How many of you out there are sinkers? Floaters? OK, we have some of both! But that’s kind of a loaded question. Suppose I had Charles Brewer’s Number Three washtub out here, full of water: If I put a spoon in that water, would it sink or float? Sink? That’s right.” Just then, an unidentified voice asked: Plastic, wood or metal spoon? At this, the Pastor changed tactics, and asked the children what would happen if he put a lead fishing weight in there: Would it sink or float? “What is lead?” asked one of the children, which evolved into a discussion of fishing techniques, old and new, before the Pastor started his message for the children.
“I want to tell you a story, “ said Pastor Graham. “One time, Jesus had been teaching the multitudes, and when He finished, he went out by Himself into the mountains to pray, sending the Disciples ahead of Him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. While they were going, in the middle of the night, He came walking toward them on water. He was a floater! They got scared when they saw Him, thinking they were seeing a ghost. But, Jesus said, Be not afraid, it ‘s me!
“Peter cried out, Lord, if it’s You, then command me to come to You on the water, and He said: Come,” added Pastor Graham. “And, so Peter got out of the boat, stood on the water, and was going toward Him. Suddenly, Peter got to looking around, and saw how high the waves were, how rough the waves were. The wind was kind of high, and it was blowing, blustery, and so Peter looked at all this, and suddenly realized: My word, what am I doing here? This is something: I’m going to be a sinker. About that time, sure enough, Peter started sinking. Jesus grabbed Peter by the hand, pulled him up, back on top of the water again, and asked Peter: Why did you doubt?
“Now, the point is that there are times in life when we all try to float, and times in life when we find ourselves sinking,” explained Pastor Graham. “And, we realized that we have to have help, and that it will only work as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we take our eyes off Jesus, that’s when we start sinking. What I want you to realize at this point in your life is that, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, thinks are going to be well, even amidst stormy times when the waves are trying to overcome you or the sea is trying to swallow you up. That’s the time to keep your eyes on Jesus.
“Let’s pray. Gracious, heavenly Father, we thank you for these young lives,” began Pastor Graham. “We ask, Lord, that You bless them abundantly and always be with them. But, help them, Lord, to always remember to keep their focus on You above all else. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Tinney Chapel UMC Pastor, Rev. Duncan Graham, chose as his sermon title, “Wrestling With God,” which was based on Genesis32:22-32
“Jacob wrestled, according to the understanding of many, with God, virtually all night long,” began Pastor Graham. “I’ve thought about this quite a bit over the years, and have wondered many times if this was really God that Jacob was wrestling with. First, what does it man to wrestle? Was he literally in bodily contact and struggle, trying to put the hammerlock, or something like that, on God? What, exactly, does it all mean? Are we talking about something that happened in the physical sense? Or the spiritual sense? You look at all these things, and you begin to wonder just exactly what went on there that night. What happened between Jacob and God, the Almighty God?
“If you think about God as being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then you wonder: How could this be that (1) Jacob would wrestle with Him, literally, and (2) how would it be that God could not immediately overcome him in an instant? Obviously, we know that if God is all-powerful, He could do whatever He wanted to, in a moment’s time. He could vaporize Jacob, for that matter, with just a thought. So, what was going on here? What’s happening?
“Obviously, if God is all-powerful and present everywhere at all times, for Him literally to have been in that one place at that one time, He would have had to have taken on the form of a man or an angel, to wrestle with Jacob, and be there with him, while He is also present in all the other places in all of His vast Creation,’ suggested the Pastor. “So, again, the questions that arise in the mind when we consider these things! Well, Jacob, according to what we read here really continued all night long with this wrestling match. And just would not quit and would not give up, until, finally, we read in the Scriptrue, where The Man says to him: Let me go because it’s daybreak. This has gone on all night long!
“But, Jacob says to Him: No, I won’t let You go until You bless me,” adds the Pastor. “And, so, The Man says: What’s your name? This is significant because, here again, if this is God—present in this being---then we know that God knows his name already. So, He is asking the question for a purpose. The question He asks is what is your name? Jacob says that his name is Jacob. Then He says: Your name will no longer be Jacob, but now it will be Israel. Now, the name, Israel, literally means: Struggles or strives with God!
“So, it becomes significant not only in the fact that Jacob himself has been striving with God, but that Israel as a nation will continue to strive with God from that point on, I suppose, until the return of the Messiah, “ added Pastor Graham. “Because, in many ways, I think they still strive with God, even today if you look carefully at that nation and what goes on with them. It’s a continual striving.
“But, what we find here is that this name has changed, in that he has striven with God and has overcome,” added the Pastor. “Or, has won the goal, or the blessing or the place that he was seeking after, all along. If you remember the story of Jacob, you realize that Jacob, from his childhood on, has desired that blessing and that covenant with God that normally would have gone to what we consider the firstborn. That is to say: It passed from Abraham down to Isaac, who was the firstborn of his wife, not his maid servant, Hagar, but his wife, Sara. It passed from Isaac down to Jacob, who was the second born. But he had the desire for that blessing, that covenant, that relationship that, evidently, Esau didn’t have. Esau means hairy, and hairy Esau seemed to take that covenant and that family heritage very lightly, in that he was willing to give up his birthright for a bowl of porridge, on the one hand.
“Then, of course, Jacob and his mother also saw to it that he also got the blessing of his father, kind of undercutting Esau on that particular score, there, but Esau didn’t seem to care as much about these things, initially, as did Jacob,” explained Pastor Graham. “Therefore, Jacob was constantly striving to be sure that he got these things. Now, that represents, in some sense, a relationship with the Almighty God that was important for all of these promises to take place. And, so Jacob, through all of this, received these things, while Esau did not.
“Now, as Jacob leaves Beersheba, and the land of his family at that time and goes back to his mother’s relatives, namely Laban, and all of that group, back up north toward Haran, he goes again and strives with his Uncle Laban over many years in order to gain, first of all, marriage to his beloved Rachel, and to acquire herds and flocks,” added Pastor Graham. “Also, Leah was thrown in there, along with their maid servants, etc., and so, through them all, Jacob had 12 sons that became, of course, the 12 Tribes of Israel.
“With all that as a background, we see Jacob constantly striving with men throughout that period of time, beginning with Esau, beginning with fooling his father, and continuing with Laban,” added the Pastor. “And, all that striving went forth, that Jacob involved himself in, until he acquired what he had desired so much. Then, on his way back, he stops again at the place where you will recall he had that dream where he saw God at the top of the ladder and the angels going up and down.
“He had placed a pillar there, and anointed it with oil and called it Bethel, meaning the House of God,” emphasized Pastor Graham. “And he does the same thing when he comes back. He stops at the same place, sets up another rock, anoints it, and again calls it Bethel, or the House of God. So, through all of this, we see Jacob struggling with God and man, and overcoming.
“Now, the issue for all of this today is for you and I that we need, always, to keep in mind: We need to struggle with God,” added the Pastor. “We need to struggle with God in order to gain the blessing. It’s not that God wants to withhold it from us. But, I believe what we really see here is that God is testing to see how persistent that a person will be in order to gain his blessing. God will never give His blessing to the person, or persons, who are not willing to struggle and strive for those blessings.
“Once you have struggled and striven, for all you are worth, all those blessings become all the more precious,” said Pastor Graham. “All the more desirous. But, until you do, until you do that striving, you will never receive the great blessings. You see, Jacob gave himself totally to the task of struggling and striving. He knew that, tomorrow, he would face his brother Esau, and had probably heard by this time that his brother, Esau, was coming with 400 men that belonged to him. And, Jacob might have thought, probably did, that they were coming to wipe him out, pay him back for taking his blessing and his birthright. Actually, Esau was coming out to welcome him! Jacob didn’t know that!
“But, he knew this: He knew that he needed that blessing of God in order to see it through these difficult times and struggles,” added Pastor Graham. “So, he would give himself to it. I am reminded so much of the time that Jesus told about the unfortunate widow, and you can read that story in Luke 18 beginning in verse 1, and the interesting thing is that, Jesus began that narrative of the unfortunate widow by saying that He was teaching men that that they ought always to pray and never give up!
“Always pray and never give up,” emphasized the Pastor. “You know, so often, we are accustomed, maybe, to running to the altar, or quickly uttering a prayer at home, or something of that nature, that might last a minute or two, and we’re gone! We tend to think that God will say yes or no, and we are very often quite willing to accept no. I am going to suggest to you today that we ought never to necessarily be willing to accept no. If it’s not something that’s an abomination to God, then we ought never to accept no.
“We ought to strive with God in prayer,” declared Pastor Graham. ‘We ought to wrestle with God in prayer until we get the answer that we are seeking for. If you look at the history of the church in the world, you will find, time and time and time again, that the great moves of God only came after much travail in prayer. And that ought to tell us a great deal about what God desires, and requires, of us if we are going to experience the greatest blessings of God in our lives or in the lives of others around us that we see needs in, in the world.
“I've so often heard people, although not as much now as many years ago, indicate that, well, I’m just suffering for God: If God wants me to suffer, then I’ll just suffer. As though God is putting all kinds of illness and sickness upon us just in order to see us suffer! That God seems to be a God Who takes great pleasure in watching people suffer. And yet, the Word tells us that Jesus took stripes on His back for the healing of our disease and our sickness. Why in the world would He take those things on His own back if He wanted us to suffer?
“Or, we see Jesus saying the thief comes but for to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have Life, and have it more abundantly,” emphasized the Pastor. “If He wants us to have Life, and have it more abundantly, then shouldn’t we be willing to travail in prayer to overcome all the obstacles of the enemies and the things that so easily beset us? In order to enjoy that wonderful abundance of Life that tells us He came for us.
“I believe that Jacob’s story is told to us for the purpose of showing us that we need to wrestle with God ourselves,” concluded Pastor Graham. “Each of us, individually, and all of us together, need to wrestle with God in order to see that His great works come to pass on our behalf! Jacob becomes a nation, in a sense. The nation of Israel. Jacob has many, many blessings bestowed upon him. And, when you consider even the miracle that one of his sons would go down to Egypt to be prepared for the time of famine in order to keep Jacob and his family alive and well-cared for, you have to realize that God has a way and a means and a plan for taking care of those who have travailed with Him.
“We, dearly beloved, have been called through Jesus Christ to travail with God,” he added. “It won’t come easily. It will require the very greatest and deepest that we have within us. But, we can be overcomers in the Name of Jesus Christ. Just as Jacob was!
“Let’s pray: Oh, gracious, hevenly Father, today I pray that You will fill us with a great desire, a great desire to be overcoming people. The great desire for the blessings of God that only He can give. The great desire to experience a life that reflects the Glory of God in this world. Teach us, Lord, to strive and struggle effectively, persistently in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS TOPICS:
WISE ONES, Frankie Brewer: Meeting Human Needs.
LADIES BYKOTA CLASS, Peggy Boyd: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
TINNEY CHAPEL MEN, Bill Knoop: Faith for Earth's Final Hour, by Hal Lindsey.
OVERCOMERS, Jenna Nelson: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
YOUTH, Ronny Ellison: Life Lessons from 1 & 2 Peter, by Max Lucado.
CHILDREN, Linda Hallman: Elijah & Elisha.
REMNANT, Joe Dan Boyd: Spiritual Disciplines, Characteristic # 3 of Becoming A Healthy Church by Stephen A. Macchia. The Remnant Righteousness handout is below:
Life Lessons # 276 from studying Characteristic # 3 of Healthy Churches, “Spiritual Disciplines,” via Stephen A. Macchia’s Becoming A Healthy Church.
1. We expect & use resources to encourage & equip all ages to develop and maintain personal rhythms of daily spiritual disciplines.
2. Our relationship with God always impacts directly on our relationships with others.
3. We support one another in relationship by always being available in confidence, and by interacting only in positive, uplifting ways.
4. We understand the value of walking with Christ, and expect to be taught to nurture a personal & reflective devotional life.
5. We expect accountability via small groups.
6. We seek godliness via faithful living, prayer, study of Scripture, display of the Fruit of the Spirit and doing everything in love.
7. We seek to live lives of obedience, imitation and discipleship.
8. We participate only in choices that attend to our souls & enhance companionship with God.
9. We remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
10.We nurture ourselves both as doers of the Word and as being in Christ.
11.We tune our ears, find the time, & learn to listen for God’s Voice in order to respond to God’s Love & Word in silence & solitude.
12.In quiet submission, we seek to learn from Christ how He wants us to live our lives.
13.We seek immersion in meditation, contemplation, reflection and journaling.
14.We seek lives of balance and moderation.
15.We seek the Heart of God & Mind of Christ.
16.Via prayer, study & reflection, we boldly seek improved communication with God.
TODAY’S DATE: 08-07-05<>
ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT SUNDAY: 08-14-05
Study Parental Discipline via Proverbs 10-31. This includes the following Proverbs, listed below in the order we will discuss them:
Proverbs 22:6; 29:15; 20:30; 22:15; 19:18; 29:17; 13:24; 23:13-14.
Afterwards, reflect upon these things:
1. We are to start a child in the right direction.
2. If done correctly, the child will adhere to that training when old.
3. The word translated "child" comes from a Hebrew word that can refer to the whole age range of children from infancy to young adulthood.
4. The King James Version says, "Train a child in the way he should go." The New Revised Standard Version says, “Train children in the right way.” Which do you prefer?
5. However, the Hebrew construction can also be interpreted to mean, "Train a child according to the way he goes." What do you think of that?