Sunday was “Go Blue” Child Abuse Awareness at Bethany Baptist Church. Most people wore blue just as a reminder that we are stewards of God’s precious children. Darlene Sorensen handed each person a small dark blue ribbon to wear on their lapels and shoulders in support of the effort to prevent child abuse.
John and Paula Gardner of Amazing Grace Mission were guests at Bethany Baptist Church, Sunday. John gave a brief history of how the Amazing Grace Mission was started. John’s father grew up with no other plan of life than to be a good farmer. But when God called him to preach, he attended a seminary and became a pastor.
Bro. Gardner had a burden for souls and wanted to do an outreach at the local county fair. During the course of his early life he had shown cattle at fairs. So he had a kinship for those who brought their animals and for those who attended the fairs. He first tried showing Christian movies in a tent, but did not see people saved. Then he had a good singing group come for the week, but still no souls were saved. Then he heard about a fellow who had been having success in seeing people saved at fairs. This man had made a box, cut a hole in the top and put a catchy question on the side. Bro. Gardner copied that idea, put up a booth, equipped it with tracts and banners and saw several people saved that year. In 1983 they put up their first booth at the Indiana State Fair. As time went on, he reached out to other fairs in the state and then as more people shared the burden they have gone out into most of the fifty states. They developed other catchy statements, such as, “Three things God can’t do,” and “Are you 50%, 75%, or 100% sure you will go to heaven?”
The elder Bro. Gardner died in 2009, but now his son, John, has taken the responsibility to direct the ministry. They have contracts with over 400 of the 4000 fairs and festivals across the United States and 12 Foreign Countries, and he gets calls every week to open up booths in other places. They need prayer and the support of churches to provide money to purchase good tracts and they need volunteers to help in the booths.
John Gardner brought a message Sunday morning, from 1 Samuel 14:6 where Jonathan the son of King Saul said to his armor bearer, “…there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.”
Israel was in dire straits. Virtually unarmed, greatly outnumbered, Israel was challenged by Philistines with thousands and thousands of horses and chariots, horsemen, and well armed foot soldiers. Many of Saul’s fighting men had fled and the people in Israel hid in caves and underbrush. But Jonathan did not believe in hiding out, he believed that if God fought for them they could throw off the Philistines. So when he declared his intentions to fight, his armor bearer said, “…I am with thee….” They climbed up toward the enemy stronghold on hands and knees and began to fight. He and his armor bearer slew about twenty Philistines and God brought a “trembling in the host,” the earth quaked, and the Philistines began to beat down one another.
America is in dire straits. The people administering the laws of America have declared schools off limits to God and the life saving gospel message. But as Paul the Apostle took the message of the resurrection of Christ to the market places in Macedonia, we must take the message of salvation to America. People need to know how to be saved and God will take over the battle when we step out in faith to proclaim salvation to the world. Fairs and festivals are good places to begin.