Perspective: God at work

I love to watch God at work. His thoughts are beyond our thoughts, and His ways beyond our ways. We think He is silent, but silence on our end often means He is speaking on the other end. Across the years, I can assure you that God has used no place on Earth to speak to me as He has at Falls Creek. He called me to ministry there, and time and again, I have had the fresh wind of the Spirit breathe life into me. He has done it again. Two weeks ago, our Leadership Team decided to hold our meeting at Falls Creek so we could tour the new buildings that are in the final stages of completion. I admit that as we walked through these beautiful and remarkably functional facilities, I found myself overwhelmed by the goodness and provision of God. I stood there amazed that God would be so good to Oklahoma Baptists. Always on my mind, and the desire of my heart, is the completion of the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign that includes the buildings under construction and the removal of the debt on the R.A. Young Tabernacle. As we were finishing our business and getting ready to head back to Oklahoma City, I received a call from Marty Harkey, Chief Development Officer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. As I stood in the middle of the street in front of the new buildings, I heard Marty tell me a most remarkable story. He was opening the afternoon mail when he discovered a check for $500,000 payable to the Centennial Campaign to help eliminate the debt at Falls Creek. A wonderful couple, who desire to remain anonymous at this point, provided the gift. While they have had family attend Falls Creek, the gentleman said he had not been privileged to attend himself. This couple had been reading about Falls Creek in the Baptist Messenger and felt led to give so Falls Creek could be debt free. To God Be the Glory! Great things He has done! With this gift, and present cash and pledges made, we are now only $307,000 from reaching our Falls Creek Centennial Campaign goal of $4,762,142. All the buildings, including the R.A. Young Tabernacle, will be paid in full! Amazing! I have no doubt God is at work speaking to someone or several others who can give year-end gifts so we can celebrate the completion of the Centennial Campaign. There even may be someone God is calling to write a check for the full amount of the remaining debt. Many years ago, when we started on this incredible journey of faith to revitalize and renew Falls Creek for new generations of children, youth and adults, this statement was made, “Our great desire is that when people see what has transpired they will say, ‘The LORD, He is God! May all glory and honor be to Him alone.’” Every gift, large and small, has been and will be from His hand. Thank you to this sweet couple for their generosity! Thank you to all who have given gifts large and small! And most importantly, thank you,...

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Perspective: We can do it together

We have known it to be true that generations have watched the Hand of God at work at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. Year after year, for almost 100 years, God has used these conference center grounds as a place of encounter and blessings. Lives have been transformed for eternity, and the number of pastors, staff, and missionaries who have heard their call at the Creek is legion. In more recent days, God has opened His hand to provide facilities that will serve present and future generations of children, youth and adults. God has been on display and has received glory through obedient and generous servants. Now, we are within sight of the Centennial Celebration (2017) of the mighty work of God at Falls Creek. We are also near the achievement of remarkable advancement in facilities and of seeing them debt free by, or before, the Centennial Celebration. The Falls Creek Centennial Capital Campaign has begun. The campaign is divided into two phases. Phase One goal is $4.77 million, which will complete three new buildings and eliminate the debt on the tabernacle. In a remarkable display of the grace of God, $10.72 million has been given or pledged to complete the new buildings. Last week, we were privileged to announce that as the Centennial Campaign begins, a matching gift of $2.3 million has been given. Thus, every $1 becomes $2 and will be applied to the $4.77 million goal of Phase One. Phase Two has not had construction costs fully assigned. However, this phase will provide for a recreation pavilion, a central plaza and the renovation of three lodges. We have already had $500,000 pledged toward the renovation of Lodge I. I am convinced Oklahoma Baptists will unite to meet the Phase One goal of the Centennial Campaign well in advance of the Centennial Celebration, which would mean that every new building at Falls Creek would be paid in full. The tabernacle that has meant so much to our ministry will have the debt retired! Now that would be cause for a celebration! But do not forget that this campaign is not about money, it is about ministry—it is not about buildings, it is about changed lives. The advantages of the new facilities are many. The Thompson Family Lodge will provide adult housing for a multitude of events. With the remodeling of the lodges in Phase Two, the conference center will have the capability to host significant adult gatherings with top-notch lodging facilities. There will be opportunities for marriages to be strengthened through retreats and times of rest. Personal retreats will be possible that result in an individual’s walk with Jesus being revived. Staff retreats for churches will be well accommodated. Sunday School conferences to train leaders can be held. Falls Creek will have the capacity to host family reunions and retreats. One of the most important uses of the lodges will be to provide housing at low or no cost to pastors and ministry leaders needing a nice place to rest and reinvigorate their spiritual lives. The Mathena Event Center will be a multi-use facility. This event center will allow for worship experiences where the Gospel is proclaimed for groups under 1,500, as well as rooms for break-out sessions. This building will allow simultaneous events and groups of more than 1,000 people to be on the grounds at the same time. Falls Creek will then have a dining facility to feed thousands who attend large retreats. One of the major side benefits of the event center is in its dome design, which is rated by FEMA as a...

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