Unusual events accompany Christian Leadership Academy visit
The writer is pastor of the Tulsa Church of God, which is associated with the Churches of God Outreach Ministries.
By Lawrence Gregory
TULSA, Okla.--During the week before a public lecture the Christian Leadership Academy of Hot Springs, Ark., presented April 24 in Tulsa, a series of unusual events occurred that indicated to many people that God's approval was on our joint venture: the cooperative undertaking supported by the CLA and several Sabbatarian churches here in Tulsa.
In April several Tulsa congregations cooperated with the Christian Leadership Academy in presenting a public lecture titled "A Time for Answers" (see The Journal, April 30).
The lecture included the question "Which day does the Bible really say is the Christian Sabbath?" The sponsoring congregations were the Church of God (Seventh Day), Claremore, Okla.; and several Tulsa groups: the Seventh Day Bible Church; the Branch Jerusalem Seventh Day Church; the Living Church of God; the Church of God Tulsa Fellowship; and the Tulsa Church of God.
During the week before the meeting, some unusual events took place that confirmed to many of us that God's approval was on our combined effort to present the truth of the Ten Commandments, and specifically the history of the Sabbath, to the Tulsa community.
On Thursday, while CLA founder Alfred Harrell, Lee Davis of Beebe, Ark. (also with the CLA), and I were making the rounds of newspaper and TV stations to arrange interviews and news coverage of our meeting, they related to me an interesting experience they had had on the previous day, a Wednesday.
After handing out fliers all day Wednesday, they were eating dinner at a Denny's restaurant. A couple at an adjacent table overheard them talking about the day's activities and their efforts in bringing the gospel to the Tulsa area.
The couple joined the conversation, which lasted more than two hours, and expressed serious interest in what Alfred and Lee were saying. Then the man related to Al and Lee a dream he had had the previous night.
In his dream he saw two brothers with two sacks, one with pumpkin seeds and one with watermelon seeds. He perceived in his dream that what they had was good, and he wanted some of the seeds for himself. The man and woman were interested in the words of Al and Lee and even gave them their names for future contact and paid for their dinner and tip.
Dr. Harrell and Mr. Davis told this story to me on Thursday with amusement, uncertain as to its meaning but impressed with the couple's sincerity.
Then, on Friday evening, Al and Lee joined us (my wife, Janice, my daughter, Karen, and me) for dinner at our house.
At 6:30 p.m. we were watching and discussing Crossfire on CNN news. After a while Lee lost interest in the show and at random selected a book from one of my shelves and began to browse through it. Soon he began to chuckle over what he was reading.
He then walked over to where Al was seated and knelt beside him to read portions out loud to him, interrupting our program.
So I shut the TV off and stood by them as he read a part of the book about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the planting of Israel in America.
About that time I was thinking, Who is this guy to come into my home and laugh at one of my favorite subjects, the identity of the House of Israel?
Then he read the punch-line paragraphs that confirmed to us that God's approval was on our campaign. This is the quote from America: Its Destiny, by John L. Schuyleman, published in 1935, that induced our wonder. From page 15:
"In other words: the seed of our civilization, which is not Mohammedan, Confucianism, nor Brahman, but basically Christian, was borne across the Atlantic and planted on our coast, as one might carry pumpkin seed, or watermelon seed from one continent to another and plant it there.
"In the course of a century, we find the seed of Christianity--the culmination of the spiritual idealism conceived by Abraham in 'Ur of the Chaldees'--firmly established on our Atlantic coast in thirteen different localities, under the name of 'Plantations.'
"Our forefathers, perhaps, did not fully realize that they were: 'The planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.' Isaiah 61:3. But they were. He planted and watered them, and caused them to grow and prosper, until today America is recognized as the most idealistic nation on earth."
So you can see why we were so impressed. On Wednesday a stranger related to Alfred Harrell and Lee Davis his dream of two men passing out pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds. On Thursday they related the story to me. On Friday Lee Davis, as a first-time visitor to my home, in the first book he took at random from hundreds of books, in the first few minutes, read the particular phrase "as one might carry pumpkin seed, or watermelon seed from one continent to another and plant it there."
What are the odds of these things happening per chance?
Furthermore, the stranger in the conversation in the Denny's restaurant turned out to be a Sunday-keeping minister who has extended to Alfred an open invitation to speak to his congregation. As Alfred says, "It was very interesting."
The significance of these series of events might not impact others as much as it did us in confirming that God was pleased in our working together with other brethren in this gospel venture. Regardless, all the glory goes to God.
We expect that fruit will grow from these seeds of truth that were sown in Tulsa. Maybe your congregation can cooperate with the Christian Leadership Academy also in sowing the same seeds of truth in your area. I recommend you consider it.
Write the CLA at P.O. Box 20096, Hot Springs, Ark. 71903, U.S.A., or email@example.com.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God