Greetings of Deep Appreciation for the love and acknowledgment of our 40 Years spent with the wonderful people of Heritage Fellowship,
The month of October is special to me for many reasons in October 1961, I surrendered my life to Christ in Tucson, Arizona. The next 20 years were filled with learning experiences and discovering how to hear the voice of God. Twenty years later, in 1981 I heard the Lord saying, Cincinnati. It was then GayNell and I found ourselves moving North to Northern Kentucky. The first three years we thought we were going to freeze to death. If you remember that was the years following 1978 and the Big Freeze, temperatures in the winter were subzero for weeks and shoveling snow became an undesirable hobby. I spent the first three years at Heritage hid away in my office in the children’s building. I would spend all of Saturday and late into early Sunday morning, sometime only to go home and change clothes for the Sunday services. Kyle, told his Mom that the office was going to be my tomb. I knew there was a price to be prayed and God was gracious to hear us and lead us in paths of righteousness for His namesake.
Through the years I have coined a few phrases born out of the long nights of prayer and intercession. Recently, I realized that Favor is a Force and the favor of God has been making a way for us through the past 4 decades. I started preaching shortly after I was converted and when you do the math you realize that when I came to Heritage I was turning forty and that was forty years ago. I celebrate 60 years of preaching this month and 40 years of serving the people of Heritage, as your pastor.
One of the greatest joys I have ever had is to have Kingdom Business of Bismarck, North Dakota express their appreciation to Heritage by presenting a humbling gift to the church body, for your faithfulness in allowing the ministry of our fellowship to reach beyond the walls of the church. Ken and Cara continue to teach me the beautiful value of giving. It is a part of the culture of the First Nations and it is a privilege to walk with them in ministry. God has truly blessed us with friends that complement our mission’s callings throughout the world. We are presently in the midst of facilitating through David Mudd and God’ Outreach in Owensboro, Kentucky the distribution of several million dollars’ worth of new clothing to several ministries throughout the U.S. The first week of November we are all systems go in packing and give away of over a million dollars’ worth of clothes on our church campus the week before Thanksgiving. I cannot think of a better time to be a part of something so monumental. We will need your help and only God deserves the glory. Having been a part of over 9 million dollar’s worth of new clothing in Bismarck over the last 4 years we know the impact it can have on a community. I want to thank you beforehand for your help in blessing the community only eternity will be able to tell what the true results are of our cooperation with the mercies of God Himself.
I realize that this weekly letter goes out to people of all ages and I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge that Heritage was not born in a day and the memories we cherish as a church are as real today as they were yesterday. To my older friends I wanted to acknowledge that if it were not for you Heritage would not be what it is today.
Thanking you for 40 wonderful eternity filled years.
Still your loving Pastor’s, Cleddie and GayNell,
Through the years you may have heard me say, FAVOR AIN’T FAIR, well THAT’S MY STORY AND I’M STICKING TO IT. From 1978 until 1981, while in my seasons of prayer, the name of the city Cincinnati, would come rolling out of my spirit, like unction of a prophecy. I thought to myself, Man! someone in Cincinnati must have a real problem. This happened for three years and it happened often. Finally, one day I asked a friend if he knew someone in Cincinnati. He immediately went to my office phone and made a call and handed me the phone. I had a brief conversation with a gentleman on the phone, mentioning to him that for some unknown reason I had a burden for the area. That was all there was to the conversation, all of these things took place in the summer of 1981. On October the 8th, GayNell and I came to speak at Heritage and I can honestly tell you that I only came because at that time I had a burden. GayNell, will be quick to tell you, another side of the story. In the next six weeks we came with a caravan and began to make our way to the Greater Cincinnati-Tri State area and forty years later we can say with David, “the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, I have a Godly heritage.” Actually, The Passion Translation reads like this, Psalms 16:6. This what I call the, Favor of the Lord and Favor is a Force.
I cannot even imagine how many times I have sung this song as an invitation, with the lost and the found. In the past I have accompanied congregations young and old as we sang this as a song of dedication to the Lord. We have sit alongside, bank robbers, thieves, men who in self-defense had taken other people’s lives and people who had at one time been so vile I cannot even attempt to tell their stories. In the past I have listened to women who have lived lives as checkered, as the woman at the well, who would have sold their soul for a meal. It has been my joy to see hearts moved by the Good News, walk away from the Bad News of their bankrupt lives, they had spent like a tale that was told. Gripped by conviction they had come to the end of themselves and had made Christ their choice, never to return to the “R” Rated story of their past. They made it personal and it became their song of freedom. But just where did this story begin.
Succinct is not a word that we use very often but I thought it might be worth the time to visit it this week. I think I just heard someone high in the grandstand of my mine cheering. A good illustration of succinct is as follows: “Everyone was happy when the politician made a succinct speech that did not last all evening.” Jesus was the master of succinct sentences. Have you ever thought about how Jesus dealt with the taboo topics of His day? Oh Yes! He had to deal with big government, corruption, suppression (of the poor), racial injustice. Jesus was even so bold as to deal with the woman at the well who to say at least was dysfunctional. He actually called her, “Lady”, and I am sure she had not been called that for a long time.” Some say this was the day in history when men began to change their attitude toward women. Yes, Jesus was life’s game changer and often it did not take a lengthy sermon to get it done.
God’s best blessings to you who love and have been faithful to help Heritage in its mission to minister to those whom God sends our way.
To all the Kingdom Builders who amaze us week after week, in our Go Into All the World Mission of obedience to the Great Commandment,
To all the Members and friends of Heritage Fellowship,
Top of the Morning to you, this letter is sealed with a prayer for you to have a grace filled day. I woke up early this morning with these verses and thoughts on my mind,