Just Ordinary Folks

Ever notice how God—for the most part—uses ordinary folks and then does extraordinary things through them. The Apostle Paul wrote the following in his letter to the Corinthian church: “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us the wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (I Cor. 1:26-31 cf Jer. 9:23).  Even Paul, himself,  who on his second missionary journey established the church at Corinth, said, “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (I Cor. 2:3-5). God primarily chooses ordinary folks and then does extraordinary things through them so that all the glory goes to Him.
     I was reminded of that this past Saturday as I officiated at a celebration of life service for Nora May Auge, who, at age 95, went home to be with her Savior.  She and her husband, Lou, had moved to the Libby area in 1942. Lou first worked as a ranch hand and then was employed by J. Neils Lumber Company as a sawyer for the rest of his career. Nora May, once their youngest of five children was in high school, worked in the laundry at St. John’s Lutheran Hospital and then the Libby Care Center.  Neither of them had any education past high school, and Lou hadn’t even finished high school.
     Lou and Nora May believed in God but didn’t have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. But then in 1954 Youth For Christ held a two-week rally in Libby. Gene and Ronnie, the two oldest Auge children, wanted to go, so Nora May took them. That night both Gene and Ronnie trusted Christ as Savior after they heard that all have sinned and that the wages of that sin is death—separation from God—but that God had demonstrated His love for us while we were yet sinners by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and to be raised again (Ro. 3:23; 6:23; 5:8).  The next night Nora May also trusted Jesus for eternal life, and the next week, Lou, who had stayed home with the younger three girls, attended and also gave his life to Christ. A number of other parents who had accompanied their young people to the rally had also received Christ. Apparently a couple local pastors who had religion without a relationship also got saved!
     In their desire to grow spiritually, Lou and Nora May started a Saturday-evening Bible study in their home in Libby. They  soon added a prayer meeting and Sunday school for the children and then felt that God was leading them to organize as a church. They formed a board made up of Al Oursland (who taught the Bible study), Lou Auge and Ernie Hamilton (also saved at the YFC rally).  They began a search for a pastor and, through Montana Bible Fellowship, located Clarence Kutz who was pastoring in Wilsall, Montana near Livingston, Montana.  Pastor Kutz, had moved his family from Vineland, New Jersey to Wilsall in April, 1946, to pastor the Wilsall Community Church. His youngest, of five children, Kathy, was just a year old when they moved.
     Pastor Kutz accepted the invitation to come to Libby and became the first pastor for “Faith Bible Church” in June of 1955. In the spring of 1956, the group had outgrown the Auge home and rented the Grange Hall. Then in March of 1957 they purchased property and began construction on a basement where they held their first service on Easter Sunday, 1960.  It was quite a sight watching 75-80  people file through the oversized outhouse-looking entry on top of the basement and disappear!  The first service in the sanctuary was held on Sunday, June 18, 1967. 
     My family moved to Libby from Polson, Montana in 1958. My mother got a fourth-grade teaching job at Old Central School. One of her students was Sherry Auge who’d had a bad experience in third grade so wasn’t looking forward to school. But she got excited to have a nice teacher for fourth grade, and one who was a Christian. She told her folks that they needed to go visit the Nelsons. Lou and Nora May did and became my folks first friends in Libby. They also invited us to visit Faith Bible Church (we were attending the Assembly of God Church) to hear their excellent Bible teacher, Pastor Kutz. We did and got hooked—and I met the pastor’s daughter, Kathy!  We had the first wedding in Faith Bible Church superstructure on Friday, June 16, 1967!
     Lou and Nora May, just ordinary folks who made themselves available to God, were not only instrumental in starting Faith Bible Church, but they also drove up to the Pipe Creek area on Sunday afternoons and held Sunday school in the home of Dave and Beverly James and their 12 children, one of whom, Brenda, became a missionary with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission. She has been serving the Lord for some 40 years! Lou also helped start and build the Pipe Creek Bible Church, helped out at RMBM Camp Utmost near Sealey Lake and helped us at Three Lakes Community Bible Church to build Elohim Bible Camp on the Bull Lake Road.
     Then I think about the many hundreds of people who have passed through Faith Bible Church in its 65 years of ministry and of all the missionaries that have been supported in countries all over the world, and the children reached through Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and  the AWANA program and the teens who are being impacted in the Youth House Ministry.  And it all began with some ordinary folks getting saved at a YFC rally and dedicating their lives to be used by God. The “ripple effect” has been amazing to observe.
     So, do you consider yourself just an ordinary person? Well, then you qualify to allow God to do some extraordinary things through you. Just be faithful and available. You may just be amazed at what God will do. And people’s “faith will not rest in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (I Cor. 2:5).
    Forever His,
            Pastor Dave
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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