God gives the increase!
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” 1 Corinthians 3:6–7 (KJV 1900).
God gave OJPM a tremendous increase in December. The OJPM family of volunteers, board members, churches, staff and friends gave $50,000 in undesignated gifts to our ministry. Going back several years, this is the largest monthly donation total on record.
Thank you OJPM family for your prayers, service and financial giving! There are too many people to mention by name and some would prefer to remain anonymous, but Paul reminds all of us in Romans that we are only the vessels of a sovereign God.
In addition to the record donations in December we also received a pledge of $5,000 a month for 2016 that will cover the financial cuts that I shared in last month’s newsletter. This means the full-time chaplain position that was going to be cut will be retained. This also means that our other chaplains and staff will not have to feel the pinch of the planned financial cut in their salary.
I have heard people say that words cannot express their feelings during times of great joy or great grief. Well, I can think of several words that express my feelings. How about humbled, joyous, thankful, appreciative, overwhelmed, jubilant, excited, amazed, awed and delighted?
I know that God is always on His throne. I know that God is faithful, just, holy and true. I know that I cannot equate my value with positive or negative circumstances, praise or criticism. However, I have to be honest, I am so happy to experience this blessing of God upon OJPM. This means that someone will not lose his job; this means that several people will not have to tighten an already tight belt. Also, this means more sharing of the gospel and more disciples made for His kingdom in 2016.
There are challenges ahead. I heard just this week of an administrator shutting down a sister Christian ministry in some of our local correctional facilities. There is a spiritual battle to be fought every day through prayer and obedient service. OJPM has had to say no to ministry opportunities this year because of financial limitations. I trust there will be opportunities for expansion in 2016 and this will require additional volunteer chaplains and finances.
This has been a tremendous Christmas season for OJPM. Christ’s birth has been proclaimed, God has been honored, families have gathered and love has been shared. If your Christmas was difficult because of the loss of a loved one, financial setback or health concerns I trust you will be encouraged by the Christmas miracle that OJPM experienced.
Diana Chambers is putting the finishing touches on our 2015 financial books. By the time you read this the 2016 book will already be open. In writing this article I looked back at what I wrote in the January 2015 newsletter. It is amazing what perspective does not only for our eyes, but also for our hearts. Join me in worshiping, serving and walking with God each day for a fruitful 2016 so that when we reach another year-end, we will not have any regrets.
Unleashing the captives,