July 2018
From Pastor to Pasture

We just don’t dream big enough!

When we first started the Cattle for Christ cattle herd in Alabama about 11 years ago, the ministry was already 6 years old and had never owned or intended to own a live cow. When I prayed for God to take the love of cattle away from me and I sold my One Way Angus herd in 1997 to go into ministry, I figured I would never be in the cattle business again. In fact, because God had answered my prayers and replaced my passion for cattle with a love and passion for the lost and hurting people around the world, I really had no lasting desire to be in the cattle business again.

However, I do have to admit a good-looking heifer would often catch my eye. If I looked too long, I would find myself dreaming about which bull I might breed her to, to make her daughter just a little better than she was!

The vision God gave me when we started the ministry of Cattle for Christ in June 2001 was to provide a ministry approach and strategy to create a vision and ignite a passion within the agricultural community, uniting them to be involved as an industry to take the Gospel message and the love of Jesus Christ to all of the world. Cattle for Christ would provide effective, efficient, strategic, accountable and sustainable ministries for cattlemen, ranchers and farmers to work together as one body to accomplish this mission, and producers could give financially to make the work possible. Livestock producers could donate the proceeds from one or more animals each year, row crop farmers could donate the proceeds from one or more acres per year, etc.

This would fund our work, both at home and around the world, take the guesswork out of mission donations for the producers and allow all of us as an industry to be involved in something much greater than ourselves or could accomplish as individuals.

This is still our goal and our primary approach, but God still had something bigger in mind.

In 2007, I felt the Lord was leading me to start a Cattle for Christ herd. We had no land (except my 6 acres of unfenced Bahia), no laborers, no equipment, no money – we did not even have a water hose to water the cows. Within 36 hours of sharing my vision to start a CFC herd during a private phone conversation with my board chairman in Kentucky, we had three heifers donated and nowhere to put them.

The idea was that cattlemen, farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and other ag-related industries could have greater opportunities to be involved in our ministry. When they could not give cash, they could still be an integral part by contributing what they did have: cattle, corn, cottonseed, equipment, supplies, vehicles, hay, feed, seed, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, ear tags, minerals, labor, expertise, etc. The herd was not intended to replace cash given by producers but to provide more options while also promoting the industry we all love.

By 2011, we realized we really had not been dreaming big enough. We had approximately 300 head of mostly registered Angus cattle donated by producers around the country or raised from the donated cattle. With the help of many neighbors and our corporate sponsors, we were artificially inseminating cattle, doing embryo recovery and transfer, and producing some of the best genetics in the breed.

The problem was, because we had not been dreaming big enough, we had built fencing with only 10-foot wide gates, small catch pens and small grazing paddocks. We never dreamed the Lord would bless us the way He has. We never dreamed we would have a 130-horsepower tractor with dual wheels, a 17-foot disk, a 15-foot bushhog, a 16-foot grain drill or 40- foot trailers. We never dreamed we would need 200- 250 acres of grazing or have 300 head of cattle when we had our Moving ‘Em Out for Missions Dispersal Sale in September 2011.

We surely never dreamed we would be back up to over 250 head of both commercial and registered cattle today! We also never dreamed the Lord would use Cattle for Christ and all of our ministry partners to have some kind of eternal impact in over 57 countries in just 17 years.

Every time Jack and I have to modify a gate; change or add to a catch pen; look for new pastures to be donated or rented; solicit hay, feed and equipment; gather volunteer help to work the cattle; or solicit the needed funding, we are reminded we never dreamed big enough.

When I am traveling and coordinating new work in the Middle East, Africa, India and other regions around the world, I am reminded I never dreamed big enough.

Then, I think about eternity. I think about the true meanings of redemption, the resurrection of Jesus and their eternal impact on all people and all of creation (good or bad), and again – more than ever before – I realize none of us are really dreaming big enough!

Revelations 21-22 has become one of my favorite passages in Scripture because it shows more than just a glimpse of what God has prepared for His people in eternity: a new heaven, a new earth and even a new body for His people to dwell with Him and with one another forever and forever. Everything there will be good, and no evil will enter in or impact His people or creation ever again. We will be with God, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes – never again to experience pain, sorrow, sin, sickness or death. To be with the One who created all the universe and all that exists, who had a plan for our lives and created us in our mother’s womb, who died for our sins to give us life and who is the very definition of love is enough to be ecstatic about and make us long to be there with Him.

But then, if we really look at what He tells us about the place He has prepared for us, we really realize we have not been dreaming big enough.

We often think about Heaven or eternity as being an out-of-body experience or floating on the clouds or, at best, some kind of paradise we can visualize. We think we have only one life to live and, if we want to enjoy life and see the world, we better do it now because our time comes to an end. In reality, we will be able to see and do immeasurably more in the new heaven and new earth than we could ever do in this life because everything we see here has been affected by the sin curse. When we get to heaven, all effects and evidence of sin will have been removed.

There will be a new heaven and new earth, and they will be for us to explore and to enjoy.

I do not have space in this article to do this justice, so you will have to read it for yourself. Just think about the city of New Jerusalem where God, Jesus and His people will dwell and where all believers will come and go.

The Biblical description and beauty is surely beyond our comprehension, but try to imagine this. The size of just this city is stated in human terms, meaning we can believe them to be literal, as "12,000 furlongs. Its length, breadth and height are equal." That is 1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles wide and 1,500 miles high!

To make it more comprehendible, that is 2,250,000 square miles just on the ground floor. For example, if each floor were a generous 12 feet in height, that would be 600,000 floors, each 2,250,000 square miles in size.

If you were one mile away, you still could not see the top of the city. If you were 10 miles away, you might see the top. At 5,000 miles away, the city would still appear 130 times larger than our view of the moon! The International Space Station orbits at 240 miles above Earth’s surface, yet this city would extend to over twice that height! The ground floor of the city alone would cover a land mass extending from the Appalachian Mountains to the California border and from Canada to Mexico!

If you look at the Bible, I believe there will be animals there. Why not?

There will be activity (12 gates for people to come and go, the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honor into it). There will be transportation of some sort because there are streets of pure gold. There will food to eat, activities and mansions He has prepared for each of us individually. Heaven is not likely to have a lot of identical residences. God loves diversity. He tailor makes His children and His provisions for them. When we see the places He’s prepared for us – not just for mankind in general but for us in particular – we’ll rejoice to see our ideal homes. There will be everything for everybody. And that is just inside the city – not to mention the rest of the new heaven and new earth!

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." (I Corinthians 2:9, English Standard Version). Nope! If we are followers of Christ (and only if we are followers of Christ), we have not been dreaming big enough!

 

Glenn Crumpler is is president of Cattle for Christ International, Inc. He can be contacted at 334-393-4700 (home), 333-4400 (mobile) or www.CattleforChrist.com.