MY ABUNDANT LIFE                                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 10-21-18

John 10:10 …I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Abundant–present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient: richly supplied; abounding

That pretty much says it all about a life that is spent trying to follow the leadership of the Lord. His blessings have been present in great quantity. His provision is more than adequate. His grace has been oversufficient. His mercy has been richly supplied and his love has been abounding. I have failed miserably in my life and sometimes for long periods at a time being cold and indifferent with God. Thank God for his loving kindness and longsuffering. When I would allow it, he would always love me into submission and obedience. When I stubbed up on him and wouldn’t receive his loving offer, he has had to use the rod of correction on more than one occasion.

I began to think about the blessings he has given through ministry. I have got to see 29 of the 50 states and 22 of those have involved ministry in some way. I have seen the human spirit at its best in the worst of situations such as hurricanes and floods and also have seen it at it’s worst in those same situations. I have seen God’s provision and grace in all kinds of circumstances and have experienced it many times. I have also seen miracles performed by God both in my life and in the lives of others. I have experienced living in both the valley and on the mountain top spiritually speaking. I have experienced depression and heartache beyond my ability to understand and also learned in those times some of the depth of God’s grace and seen it abound where it looked non-existent.

One of the greatest blessings is the people I have met through ministry. There was Mr. and Mrs. Foster who always insisted that I stayed for dinner when I visited their church just because I was their pastor’s friend. There have been numerous babies from Rodney Parks to Casey Church, Phillip Webb, Adam Howard, and most recently Samuel Gabriel. Little did I know that these little ones were only honing a desire that God had placed in my heart to be compassionate and help little ones and their moms. All of them except Sam are grown with kids of their own now. There was also my pastor Bruce West and his wife Stella who have known me all of my life and have practically accepted me as their fourth son since I entered the ministry. I can’t fail to mention my parents because as a wise deacon, my dad counseled me through a lot of questions. My mom gave me the best advice about preaching that anyone ever did. She told me once that there was way too much gospel to be preached to be harping on everyone’s bad habits and conduct. I still have to preach on those things but that advice helped me to do it in love rather than judgment.

Since I began mission work I have gained many friends along the way. There are all the folks at the agencies and schools that we deal with. Some of which have become very good friends aside from ministry. Then there was my dad again, who by somewhat volunteering me to make a trip to Nashville for food, had a part in unleashing the desire toward missions in my life. My pastor at the time I started was Rusty Rector. I remember on the way home from a trip to Harlan he asked me just exactly how far I wanted to go with my mission work. I replied that I would love it if the Lord let me do it full-time. Well, three joint replacements and four screws in a shoulder later and here I am. Then there was Bill Bradley the director at Hearts With Hands for years that laid the foundation and built the name and reputation of that ministry. He became a close friend because we both shared the same desire to help people. There was also Robert and Kevin at Christ’ Hands in Harlan. They started their kitchen right about the same time we starting making trips to Harlan. We have stayed in contact for years and have become great friends and kind of grown up in mission work together. Now with the addition of Bryan as a full time manager, their ministry has expanded far beyond what Robert and Kevin could have ever envisioned. I know I am skipping over a lot of people for sake of time, but lately there has been Barb Mains, Wanda Wall, and Donna Wright at Help 4 Kids. They have been such a blessing by providing me with material goods that saved me a small fortune and allowed me to do more in missions than I ever thought possible. Now because of my association with them, I have met Dianne Bartlett and Sheldon Livesay who have taken on the task of providing food and other items to their entire town which is drowning in poverty and joblessness. Because of them I met a young man named Ryan who thought God was calling him to Africa as a missionary. He found out that God just allowed him to go there just to light a fire in his soul toward mission work. He now works in his home area in conjunction with Dianne and Sheldon to help the people in his area as well as preaching the gospel and pastoring. There are some people such as Ryan, and also Eric in Burgaw, NC that I have just clicked with when I met them. I also have some friends like Arnold Worley of Transporters For Jesus Ministry and Jamie Roberts and several pastors of my supporting churches that I can call on with any need any time and they will do their best to meet it.

God has also blessed H.O.P.E. Ministries with wonderful board members, both past and present, that have helped make the ministry what it is today. I also have a unique family that not only don’t fuss about me tying up so much of my time with missions, but spend their time with me doing all they can to help.

I know all of this may not mean didley to anyone else but sometimes it just does a person good to take a real close look at the blessings God has given. When you come right down to it, those blessings seem to wind up being people more so than things. After writing this, I am even more thankful for all the people who have been a part of My Abundant Life. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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