Dig Out, Dig In

We are going to be moving so we have been sorting out, throwing out, moving out, selling, donating, getting rid of. And also finding.

Finding? Finding things from the past that meant so much or have such wonderful memories. We are faced with, “Do I throw these out? Would the kids find them worthwhile and interesting?” It’s not easy to get rid of them but do they have any value? Sentimental or financial.

I have found many things having lived in England, Newfoundland, Ottawa, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, where we got married and had our first daughter. Then Medicine Hat, where we had our second and our son. Then the Lord directed us to Newfoundland. January last year we moved our second daughter and three children to near Halifax. Plus Josephine has six sisters and three brothers in Nova Scotia.

Some things I’m finding touched my life greatly in the past. And some of them are touching me again in a different way. Things that had an impact on me are things that may mean nothing to someone else.

One item having a great impact on me are cassette tapes. (remember what they are?)

Tapes of personal testimony from Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship days. Tapes of teaching/preaching from Sundays at the Full Gospel Church in Medicine Hat. Tapes of Mike Adkins, Buzz Goertzen, Joanne Cash-Yates, and Bill and Melva Putnam when they visited our church.

And then there are the ACOP annual conferences. I remember Dr. David Cartiledge, General Superintendent from Australia. He spoke at the conference in Regina in 1944. What he said inspired me then. It has inspired me again.

Right now I’m listening to the June 1994 conference at Eston Full Gospel Church. The speaker? Rev. Jim Cymbala from Brooklyn Tabernacle. Do any of you remember that conference? Best one I ever went to. His preaching and teaching were so naturally down to earth it was supernaturally heavenly. The personal things he shared. The practical advice. Above all, the wisdom from the New Testament. What he read is written and spoke about on the pages of the bible. But we often overlook or ignore it.

Why? Part of his explanation was we are so busy that our focus is elsewhere. We have lost sight of God’s Great Commission and are following man’s agenda. Does this sound condemning? Is this finger-pointing?

No. It is just the reality of what happens. And we often don’t realize it is happening.

So what can we do? I am finding an answer in four words: Dig out, dig in.

Dig out those tapes or CDs you have that had such an impact in 1987, 1992, 1994, or whenever.

Dig them out and dig into them. Back then we believed we were hearing from the Lord when we listened to those speakers. And that means we will hear from the Lord again when we listen to them again.

I don’t know if somewhere in the ACOP archives or in past conference memorabilia those old tapes and recordings are still available. Imagine being able to listen to Br. Frank Small preaching or teaching 91 years ago. To hear him telling what the Lord had told him to do and the direction the Lord wanted ACOP to go. We can get an idea of this from the history recorded in Our Apostolic Heritage. I always find it interesting and challenging when I read this book. To see where “we” came from and then to examine ourselves to see if “we” have stayed or strayed.

How I remember David Cartiledge and Jim Cymbala and what they brought to us. It had an impact on my life and the ministry the Lord brought me. I wasn’t a pastor or an assistant pastor. I wasn’t a musician or a worship leader. But the Lord directed me and led me and used me. I did wander from the path He had for me sometimes. And that doesn’t mean I “fell away” or “backslid”. It just means I had not stayed where He brought me to. But He patiently waited and encouraged me and never stopped loving me. And He brought me back to His path.

Back in February the Lord directed me to start a podcast using teachings He had given me over the last 10-12 years. I’d never heard a podcast and didn’t have any knowledge of them. But it was His time and His leading and His directing.

Now, having found these cassette tapes, and being blessed by them again, I sense I am starting on another journey. Maybe it’s one I should have been on many years ago. Maybe it’s the Lord’s timing now. Either way, something is going to happen. And I will give Him all the glory and thanks and praise.

Oh yes, that was something else Br. Cymbala spoke about. I suggest you try to listen to him. Maybe someone you know has the tapes who attended back then. If not, I have them and would try to put them on a CD for you. Those of you more technically advanced than me may know how to digitalize them and send them without worrying about file size.

God bless you and keep you safe.
Paul Johnson

Calling all authors…we welcome your short stories, articles & other contributions to this feature. Email to communications@acop.ca. The creative works posted on Writer’s Corner have been developed and written by ACOP members, and may not reflect the official position of ACOP.