The Tiny Triplet

About 5 weeks ago I was heading to Brazil, Indiana to see a friend who at the time was very ill. However, before I could leave I needed to stop at my daughters house to do the chores. It was a cold early spring morning and there was a heavy wet snow covering the ground. I knew that one of the nannies that Neil had given me was due to give birth very shortly, and as I went through the chore routine I noticed that the nanny I spoke of did not come out to feed as I distributed grain into all the feed pans. Now there are only two reasons a nanny does not show up for grain; either she is dead or she is in the birthing process. The latter was the case. As I looked under the make-shift shelter we threw up; there she was with three kids lying around her. The two larger kids were cleaned, but the third kid was still wet and practically frozen. A quick assessment of the other two kids told me that all three kids were in grave danger from the cold, and none of them had gotten any first milk. I grabbed the smallest kid and gently placed that mess of new life under my sweat shirt and headed for the garage. Fortunately, we had just cleaned the portable brooder and the heat bulb was still in place. I found an old rag, placed the kid under the heat lamp and began to talk to her while I dried her off. I called my daughter on my cell phone and told her the situation. I ran back to the shelter grabbed the other two kids and by the time I got them back to the garage Jami was already working with the tiny goat. Brian showed up next and brought the nanny into the garage and put her in the stalk rack we had built for the truck.

For the next half an hour I watched Jami work her amazing gift of nurturing as the triplets responded to her voice and the warmth of the heat lamp. I got to see all three kids standing on their own strength before I headed for my friends' house.

It is two hours to Brazil from here and I wondered all the way how things were going.

When I arrived at Buck's I called Jami to check on the situation, "Perfect", was her reply, "but dad, one of them is so tiny; she is so cute!' Immediately I knew two things: one; that the tiny triplet would not have the strength to compete for life with the larger and stronger siblings, and two; the tiny triplet had already captured my daughters heart. This was going to be an interesting adventure.

In the five weeks that have followed this birth in triplicate, the most common sight on the farm is to see Small in the arms of some member of the family. There were many days when it looked like Small was not going to make it, but on each occasion Jami knew exactly what to do. It just seemed like she simply willed that tiny goat to live.

Yesterday as I sat on a bale of hay holding Small and feeding her special treats out of my hand it occurred to me that Small was given to us to teach us a lesson. Each of us are weak and vulnerable, and were it not for the special love and kindness from Jesus, we wouldn't make it either. Jesus went so far as to offer His life so that we can live. We have extended extra care and attention to Small so that she can live a happy life and that is exactly what Jesus has done for us. As I stroked my hand down her back, Small nestled her tiny head up under my beard as if to say I Love you. Isn't that the same thing we often say to Jesus as He cradles us in His arms letting us know how much He cares for us.

We all agree on the farm that Small is a special goat, and although tiny she is too big to keep to ourselves. The Lord willing, you can all meet Small out at the Church camp this summer. We want to share Small with young folks who need to know they are loved, and share the story of Small.

As I write this article, I am amazed that such a tiny animal can have such a large purpose. Oh, my! Could that be another lesson?

FROM OUR FARM TO YOUR HEART, Gary

Notes from Gary - November 2016

Experiencing Noah's Ark

When we heard people talking about going through the Ark (the model they built in Kentucky), we were so excited and hoped to someday be able to go ourselves. After talking to our daughter and son-in-law, Kym got on-line and checked it out and revised our vacation plans to include this tour. When you first arrive at the exhibit you are in a parking lot and tie view of the Ark is blocked off. After purchasing your tickets, you are loaded onto a bus and driven to the sight. And what a sight it was. I cannot really describe how HUGE it was, but it wasn't just the size of the BOAT but the thoughts that went behind its creation. God's plan was perfect. We saw, read and experienced things I had never even thought about.

1. Rain-what was that?

2. Working to build the Ark for 120 years? Think of the faith that Noah had. I'm sure that friends, acquaintances and others made fun of him, yet he stayed faithful. He and his sons just

kept right on building the Ark.

3.  Who cut all the wood? How did they reach 3 stories in order to build each floor?

4.  Who gathered the food? How did it stay fresh?

5. Who gathered the water? Where did all the jugs come from?

6. How did they grow food on the Ark?

7. How did they get rid of the waste?

8. How did they breathe?

9. How did they stay afloat?

10. Where did the light come from? How did they keep from getting depressed?

11. Who picked out which animals would get to go on the Ark and live?

12. Did they calmly walk to the Ark and get on board?

13. Did God close their mouths and make them all happy and get along with one another?

14. What was the noise level like on the Ark?

15. What could it have smelled like?

16. What did they do for entertainment? (it says that they each had 850 animals to take care of each day). Could you imagine. No time to watch TV, no internet, no Facebook, no games-just God's work each day from beginning to end).

17. Did any of the animal's fight? Did they try to kill or eat one an­other? (The information was that neither man nor animal ate meat at this time).

Just walking onto the Ark was an experience. Watching the video of tie re-building of the Ark brought tears to my eyes. It was amazing matching modern day people and equipment build what it took Noah 120 years to do. But the most amazing thing was even with all of the modern day equipment it still took man 13 months to recreate God's design. I know that I'm not explaining this well but it was a lot to take in.

I think what I walked away with most from this experi­ence was not what I wrote above but WHO GOD really is. God is perfection. He is so far above us in every­thing, i stopped to think about what I could have done to get this project off the ground and the answer was noth­ing, yet I spend my days going about my work and daily life like I am in control of it all. How small minded. I think about something I have written or done and I think I did well and am proud of what I accomplished, YET, it all came from God. There is nothing that I can make, build, draw, write that doesn't in some form or other copy what God did. I cannot create anything, I can only use the tools and resources that God provided. God did this all for me. He did it all for you. All we have to do is ask and it is ours. It is free. It is life giving.

While I think that this was a wonderful experience, we don't have to travel to see the GLORY of God. Look out your window. Put down the remote, your cell phone, turn off the computer and look outside. Look at God's creation. He did this all for believers.

If God made the Ark in its perfection, that was just for a time, how much more wonderful is Heaven for it is for ETERNITY.

In Christ! Gary & Jo Milton

Notes from Gary - July 2016

Before I begin my newsletter article, I just want to extend a luge thanks to all you folks who do so much for the church, Thanks for all the planning, projects, labor and generosity. We is a staff are aware that your gifts to the Lord are in addition to the long hours you already put in making a living. May you and God's kingdom be blessed through your kindness.

Lessons from the Barnyard

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do some thing I have wanted to do since I was a young boy. I have always loved livestock, and am fascinated by the many colors and patterns of plumage on birds. It has been my desire for some time to raise some turkeys. My first experience with them came from three turkeys that Jon and Tracy Mowrey gave to me. Later I purchased five broad breasted Whites from David Andris, and these were the first turkeys I raised from chicks, this year I was talking to Henry Callahan about turkeys for the camp so he purchased and donated twelve birds for the camp, "Two weeks later I purchased ten more to add to the flock. If our math is the same as mine, that equals twenty-two birds. Folks I don't care who you are, that's a lot of turkey.

In the process of the next couple of weeks, due to poor decisions on my part, five of the flock departed this world and are now residents in turkey heaven. We are now down to seventeen turkeys, and thus begins the lesson from the barnyard.

Whether you realize it or not, turkeys grow very fast and for large birds, fly amazingly well. These youngsters had outgrown their pen indoors and had to be moved, They were all gathered out and it was warm so the logical move was to put them out of doors; so I did. Turkeys form a bond with the one who cares for them and they will follow that person anywhere. We had prepared a place for them with lots of green grass, plenty of food and water, so let's just say that their new environment was a virtual turkey Garden of Eden.

The day of the move arrived so I opened the coop door and said "Here, turkeys." At the sound of my voice they all flocked against me and we started the short migration to the pasture, they followed single file clucking and chirping their way to the promised land. I opened the gate and led them into their new home where they were introduced to the spacious pen, the lush grass, fresh water, and a trough full of

Big R's finest broiler feed. I watched with delight as the turkeys settled in to their new home. Soon, it was time for me to head back to Milford to begin the duties for the day.

Early the next morning, I headed back to Rossville to do the chore and was anxious to see how the turkeys fared their first night out in the world. To my surprise there were two turkeys having flown over the fence, separated from the rest of the flock. Immediately I was disgusted at how ungrateful those crazy turkeys were. Why just on the other side of the fence was everything they could possibly need or want. Turkeys don't have a Christmas list so their needs are pretty basic; food, water and space. We had fully planned all that they needed.

I thought to my self, "What am I going to do with these two birds?" My first inclination was to march up to them and kick their tail feathers right off. Suddenly it hit me! How many times have I been on the wrong side of the fence with God and He didn't kick my tail feathers off, No, He forgave me and set me back on the right side of the fence with Him. Wow! The depth of His Grace to me is so extravagant how could I not show a little grace to these dumb birds. Now, everyday I lead those same two turkeys plus fourteen more back to the safety and provision of turkey paradise thus sharing the example of Grace that is continually mine through Jesus Christ.

Now if you have just done the math you will find that two plus fourteen do not add up to seventeen; but that is a lesson for another day!

 

In Christ, Gary

Notes from Gary - Sept 2016

May 18th, 2016 -6:15 am I got a call form the United States post office with an urgent request to come pick up a parcel I had ordered. I was already up and dressed, in fact, and had just gotten back from doing chores in Rossville. I hung up the phone, jumped into the truck and raced to the Post Office. As soon as I opened the door I could hear the peep, peep, peep of the precious cargo I had ordered.

For many years I had read about and dreamed of having some Belgium Antwerp Quail of my very own and finally the day had arrived for me. Now you must realize that the Antwerp Quail has no redeeming quality to be considered a foundational part of the poultry industry. One would even be hard pressed to justify the meager amount of feed that they consume each day. In fact, there is no possible way for me to break even or rationalize having them in a program that must pay for itself. The little roosters soaking wet will barely reach one pound and the hen even less than that. Their eggs would take a full dozen to provide breakfast for a single person. I guess as I sit here writing about them the only way I can relate them to other chickens or bantams is that they have feathers and act like chickens. To be brutally honest they have no real value to any poultry operation.

But the second I opened the lid to the shipping crate and saw those five tiny chicks I fell in love with them. Their cute little faces were wrapped in delicate muss under their bill. Deep black eyes, sharp and alert, took in every movement around them. Their colors were breathtaking hues of bay and chestnut, and they carried themselves in a stately manner resembling royalty. They were noticeably calmer than the rest of the chicks in the order, and decidedly braver.

Each day I would schedule a few extra minutes to handle and talk to my five little friends. I would offer them special treats of tiny pieces of fresh clover or a small bug I could catch. I was thrilled with my new pets.

One day when they were about ten days old, I opened the door to the brooder I kept them in and to my surprise one of the little roosters ran right up to my hand and jumped in it. I was so amazed and delighted at this new juncture in our friendship, that I spent most of my time that day doting upon him. From that day forward I have had a special bond with "Chicken", and to this very day I can drive out to camp where "Chicken" is staying right now, call his name and he will come up to me and allow me to hold him and pet him. He is the only one of the entire flock who will willingly let me do this. Every chicken in that flock has watched me hold "Chicken" and shower special attention and treats upon him, but none of the others have dared to follow suit.

Now, can you guess which chicken is my favorite out of the whole flock? It is not rocket science is it?

As I share this little experience with you I realize that we are a lot like "Chicken" to God. Honestly we have no leverage, attraction, or value that God would benefit by having us in His family, but for whatever reason He desires to pay the cost of ownership, pay for the shipping, prepare the place for us to dwell, develop a friendship with us; and shower us with the special treats that are only given to those who rest in His hand. There is no way we can justify a place in His family; there is no way that we can guarantee a profit in His flock.

But you see, we are God's because He dreams about us and He desires to own us because He loves us.

As I delight holding "Chicken" in my hand, I smile knowing that God takes just as much delight in me as I rest in His hand.

Just another little lesson from the barnyard for my friends.

 

In Christ, Gary

April 2016 Edition

The Bible speaks to us in ever deepening rhythms as the living breathing

word does its' work in growing us to maturity. If indeed the goal of the Holy

Scripture is to guide us in development as we attain to the full measure of

Christ, then the feeding upon that word must be regular and in increasing

measure. The first readings of scripture by the infant believer may only

yield the elementary truths that are the cornerstones of our faith. However,

as the Holy Spirit broadens the capacity to understand, the deep roots of

faith and hope run deep to the bedrock of God's heart. We begin to have a

new perspective of who we are and what we are about.

In this world there is no end to the distractions that can derail the develop­ment of God's pure truth in our lives. That is why it is paramount that we - put living truth into living practice. For example, we cannot buy a can of green beans and leave them on the shelf and expect to receive any nutri­tional benefit from them, We must open the green beans and eat them to realize the nourishment value they contain, The same is true of biblical information we glean. If we simply store God's life truth on the dusty shelves of our minds failing to implement it, then we will never experience the joy of abundant life God intends as the reward from it. Without action we lose interest and at the very least find ourselves depressed and spiritu­ally starving. How can one know the joy of giving unless one gives? How does one know that God's promises are true unless one puts them to the

test? How does one learn confidence without practice? It really is no

stretch of the imagination to see that without becoming one with the word in

expanding understanding and broadening application we simply remain in

diapers never getting to do big boy stuff.

One great picture of this concept is found in the record of Lazarus found in

the Gospel of John, chapter 11, vs. 4: "This sickness will not end in death.

No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." If

_ you were Lazarus would you think this sickness is about dealing with your

own personal challenge, or that God was accomplishing His purpose

through Lazarus' personal challenge?

When most of us experience a personal ordeal, we, like Mary and Martha, ask Jesus to come along side to help us through it. Rarely do we recog­nize that God is continually working His glory through us, nor do we recog­nize the greater dimension of resurrection and life residing within us.

When we belong to Jesus the ways of this world and its thinking are dead to us. In Christ we have become living vessels surrendered to the perfect

will of His perfect plan. In Christ, terminal illness such as Lazarus had should not be viewed as the tragedy the world sees, but as light pointing to

God's glory. In Christ, death is not in the spiritual dictionary, nor in the

vocabulary of the saints except in the context of death to the world, Saints

are totally about life! The record of Lazarus is written so that we may learn

the truth of God in us,

In many respects the Christian will cross countless bridges in his thinking

before he ever comes to them. In so doing when he is challenged by them

he will be prepared to be a steadfast witness of who Jesus is in his life.

 

The lesson we learn from Lazarus is not the faithful endurance that pro­duces patience, but the bold joy of revealing God's glory through our pre­sent trial. Death cannot have the redeemed, for the redeemed cannot be touched by the world. Is it any wonder that Jesus wept for those who did not understand what He offered?

Christ's Vessel-Gary

Brent Zastrow - Senior Pastor

Gary Milton - Associate Pastor

Cassandra Villegas - Youth Pastor

Kyle Allen - Worship Minister

Ed Highfill - Jr. Worship Director

Communion served weekly at each service. Shut-in communiton available. Please contact the church to schedule.

Nursery for newborns to 3 year olds is available during both Sunday morning services.
Four years old through first grade may attend Wee Worship during 10:30 service.
Second through fifth grade may attend Jr. Worship during 10:30 service.