July 8, 2015
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Lewis Culpepper, Tuckaleechee UMC, Tennessee
GOD SENT ME AN EMAIL – NO, REALLY
When I was 10 or 12 years old, my neighborhood friends and I used to build huts in the backyard. We actually, one time, built a little church. It lasted a few weeks, and I was "the preacher" to my congregation of 4 or 5 friends.
I actually think we were all saved during these make believe services, but I made it official by going down front as a junior high school student in the Presbyterian church (my public profession). During the next 40 plus years through college and a banking career I felt prone to wander, but the hook in my jaw was always pulling me back.
Upon retirement three years ago, my wife and I started doing our morning prayers and devotions together. My prayer was often that God would use me in some way in His service during retirement years. True-fully, we don't always expect a direct answer, do we?
A short time after this theme of prayers, I received an email one day from a church that had no reason or way to have my email address. Instead of deleting I actually read it. They were offering a course: SHARING HOPE IN TIME OF CRISIS by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For only a God reason, I decided to pay $80 and sign up. A month or so later the day came. Reluctantly I went because I did not want to waste my $80. It was an amazing course, and at the end we had an opportunity to apply to be a BGEA Rapid Response Team Chaplain. I applied, took the other required courses and was accepted.
My wife and I both were thinking: What is he doing? This is so far from my normal confront zone. Even on my first deployment driving to LaCombe, Louisiana, after hurricane Isaac, I am thinking "what am I doing?” A longer story, but on the way God allowed me to minister to a family as somewhat of a trial run to give me confidence of what He had in store for me.
Now seven deployments later and an opportunity to present the Gospel to many people, a number of which accepted Christ as their savior, I continue to be amazed at how this all started when God sent me an email!
P.S. I am a member of Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Up Next Week…
Genise Austin-Holliday, First Lakeland
A participant in this past year’s Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM), the disciple shares her memories of growing up and being mentored in the church.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011