HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW AND THE BETHLEHEMS OF THIS WORLD

DEE8E508-100E-4B65-BD2F-E37D2B30832F_4_5005_cMy father taught by example. Unlike his number one son, dad was not one to stand in front of a group and orate. I only have one memory of him doing so. It was doing my elementary Sunday School days at the First Baptist Church in Waterloo, Ontario. Sunday School would commence with a corporate time of singing, and then we would go to our assigned classes. It was during one of these corporate sessions that my dad spoke. He had made a teaching prop at home, a sectioned lightbox with words painted on the glass atop each section. He had wired a switch so he could illuminate the appropriate section during his teaching. I do not remember the words painted on the lightbox or what he taught. I do remember his theme, “His eye is on the sparrow.”

This theme is the title of a hymn. Its origin is Jesus’ statement in Luke 12:7,

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

The lyrics to that hymn seem entirely appropriate for the season we have had to navigate in 2020. Growing up in the Baptist Church, I remember the congregation singing this hymn from time to time. What is especially memorable about the congregants’ rendition of this classic hymn was the exuberance with which they sang the chorus. Here are the lyrics:

His Eye is On The Why should I feel discouraged, 

Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Chorus:

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

His eye on the Bethlehems of this world as well. The Bethlehems of this world are small, off the beaten path, places where followers of Jesus birth and nurture His Body, the Church. This Christmas season, we have received several testimonies that highlight His attentiveness. God continues to demonstrate His affection for His people in small places. Allow me to share three of those testimonies.

The Mitume Slum in Kitale, Kenya

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'” (Matthew 25:21)

King Springs Royal School (KSRS) in Mitume is branching out. Upon the government’s recommendation, a Canadian-based NGO that focuses on educating children in slums will be constructing and equipping a second campus for KSRS. Based on the outstanding track record of KSRS for educating the children of the Mitume slum over the past decade, the government made this recommendation. Anthony and Bedina signed legal documents. 

2A75940E-AC9E-4520-9D58-5EBC6EBE48B0_1_201_aThe Canadians purchased a two-acre plot for the campus. Pastor Anthony successfully navigated three weeks of training, preparing him to oversee the new school’s construction and equipping. According to KSRS incorporation documents, the school may have up to 5 campuses. 

Lakeside Community Church in Dexter, Oregon.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”                          (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Former residents of Lakeview, Mike & Kathy White, have faithfully shepherded this Open Bible congregation over the past couple of decades. They have an impressive track record of imparting faith, hope, and love to this rural community. Dexter is an unincorporated community of about 2,000 souls located 20 miles east of Eugene. Mike and Kathy have especially excelled in loving these precious souls. That is the mark of a genuinely successful ministry.

Recently church leaders were made aware that leaks in the roof of their facility were more severe than first thought. They decided to start putting aside a few hundred dollars a month to save for installing a new roof.

B67166DF-CD07-4478-B399-66CDAC375ED1_1_201_a

A quarantining member of the Church recently called and said they were mailing a special offering. The envelope arrived. When opened, it revealed a check for $1000. The next envelope, having a Tennessee return address, was opened. It contained a check for $20,000! The check was from a young, twenty-something man who had gone to school with Mike and Kathy’s oldest son, Michael. He participated in Michael’s wedding last year. This young man reported, “God told me to send that money to the church, NOW!!!!”

The Dwelling Place in Roseburg, Oregon.

“Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Psalm 35:27)

Our friends and ministry colleagues, Tim and Sandra Lawrence, have heeded their call to ministry by serving in several Bethlehems. The past season has been especially challenging for them. Sandra is battling a rare neurological disease. Tim has stepped up and taken on more caregiving duties for his wife. We remember Tim and Sandra stopping by our home to say hi during the decade of the 90s. They were touring on their motorcycles. These days Sandra navigates via a motorized wheelchair.

Often Tim shares encouraging prophetic words with us. Recently he heard a prophetic word for himself, “The fun has begun!” Being the generous man that he is, he shared this word with us. He texted, “I pray this year will be fun for you and Joanne like in the days of your youth.” The day after Tim received this fun word, a woman gifted Tim with a car, a Dodge Stealth upgraded with a new engine and transmission. The woman who gave it to him said it was to be his fun car. This woman did not know that when Tim pastored in South Bend, Washington, in the early 90s, he had a large poster of a Dodge Stealth. Tim had said to himself at that time, “Someday I’m going to have one”! Today he has one. How fun is that?

B65F5C90-C939-4D0A-A785-AB20C11588AD_4_5005_c

Tim texted, “Life has been so serious for so long that it’s going to take some relearning to enter the fun zone.”

It is gratifying to know that Papa God not only encouraged Tim to have fun. He also provided a perfect fun tool! Papa God is good papa!

DECLARING A FUN 2021 FOR US ALL!


2 thoughts on “HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW AND THE BETHLEHEMS OF THIS WORLD

  1. I enjoy your writing. How good of the Lord to take such good care of the Bethlehems and those who serve in them.

    Exciting news about the Mitume Slums! A decade ago, would you have imagined that they would have not one school, but several?

    Happy New Year and wishing you much fun in 2021.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.