Relational Grace Podcast

Family Discussion: Podcast purpose and the life and ministry of Pastor Nick Harris

May 31, 2021 Crystal Harris, Deak Harris, Amy Moffiet and Jamie Russell Episode 1
Relational Grace Podcast
Family Discussion: Podcast purpose and the life and ministry of Pastor Nick Harris
Show Notes Transcript

This episode kicks off the Relational Grace Podcast by telling listeners more about what to expect from the ongoing teachings of Pastor Nick Harris who we sadly lost in 2020 just short of his 80th birthday.  We also tell more about what to expect from Ariel Ministries, Pastor Nick and Crystal Harris's ministry, as we move forward without Pastor Harris.  We consider it a responsibility to continue to share his great teachings and foundational message of Relational Grace. Visit the RelationalGraceBlog.com for more supplemental details and visuals.

We use the majority of this podcast to dive into a family conversation with Pastor Harris's wife Crystal, oldest son Deak Harris, daughter Amy Moffiet and youngest son Jamie Russell.  We start from the beginning with a story of abandonment in Tulsa, Oklahoma and move through his adoption, education, career, and ministry.  We wrap up with some key themes we have identified over the last several months that we feel tie our blended family unit together.

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] welcome to , and the relational grace podcast featuring teachings for pastor Nick Harris, who taught us that Christianity is not a religion. It's a relationship today is an exciting episode for us. It's the very first one. And we decided to make this a family affair. And today I have myself, Jamie Russell , my sister, Amy Moffitt , our brother, Dick Harris , and my mom, Chris Harris. First, I'm going to talk a little bit about Ariel ministries , uh , which is the ministry that mom and dad started many years ago, and we're going to continue to evolve Ariel. And I'm also going to talk a little bit about how we're going to keep dad's teachings go. And so , uh , then my sister's going to talk and sister and mom are really going to talk a lot about dad , uh, both , um, his upbringing, his career , um, the whole story. And we're , we're going to have kind of a family discussion about that. And then brother's gonna gonna talk about some things , um, just some, some themes that we've identified over the last several months that we feel tie the family together and are very special tests. So I will say , uh, if, if maybe you're listening and you're like, ah , I don't, I don't necessarily need to know about all the family. I just want to jump into some teachings, go ahead and hop out of this one and go find the first episode on the lame prince . Um, that's a specific teaching that we've found on with the , the chef that , uh, actually became one of dad's first relational grace messages. And as you can tell, we named the podcast, relational grace podcast . Our mission is to continue dad's teaching of relational grace, and that's the real goal. And so that's what we're going to , that's what we're going to do. But today we're going to , we're going to jump into some other things , uh, talking a little bit about the family, talking a little bit about , um, uh , how we all got here and what all dad was able to accomplish in his career. So a few things what to expect from Ariel ministries moving forward. Like I said, continuing to share the relational grace message. Uh, we'll also have , uh, not just relational grace topics, but uh, all the mini sermons and many messages that dad put out over his career. So, so , um, that's really what you can expect from this podcast. We have , uh , uh , maybe 10 manuscripts of books that dad wrote that were never published. Uh, we hope to really dive into those projects, not just in print, but audio , uh, digital formats for download. We have some videos, some really neat ones , uh, that we found we'll publish those over the years. And then we also have like four Rubbermaid bins of just that sermons over the years. He would always be writing on legal pads when I was little, every time you'd see him, he'd be writing on a yellow legal pad. And it's just like, oh my gosh, what could he possibly be doing? Well, he was riding an awful lot of sermons and we have every one of them. And so the idea would be to take some of those and build a library for teachers and pastors to come in and search our library of topics. So we're really excited about , uh, about what we could do, what we could do with that over time. And that's the thing is, is , uh , people think, well, you know , uh , pastor Harris isn't with us anymore, how are you going to keep , uh, how are you going to sustain, having so much to talk about? Well, we're concerned that we won't even get to a 10th of it. We found boxes of cassette tapes. We have spools of DVDs and CDs. We've got high eight video, we've got other kinds of video. I don't even know what format they are at this point and it's a ton of stuff. And then I hope that that people send us things that maybe we haven't found yet. So we're just going to keep collecting and sharing the wonderful teachings that dad had. Some things that you might do. You can definitely subscribe to the podcast for ones first. Great first step, if you like what we're doing, give us five stars that will help more people find us. Um, definitely sign up for emails from Ariel ministries, follow us on Facebook, Instagram. Those are some simple things that we can do to learn what we're doing, and we'll keep pushing more information to you. So enough of, of all that let's get to our family conversation. Uh , so I'm gonna , I'm gonna , I'm going to give it up to my sister here and she's going to kind of , kind of lead us through a timeline where we're all gonna kind of talk about the mini stories and , and the things that this, you know, great group of family that I have here came together. So does he take it away? Thank you .

Speaker 2:

So , uh , dad, which you'll hear us say often we're referring to Nick Harris was born in Tulsa. Um, and it was two days before Christmas in 1940. It's always fun because we got to celebrate dad's birthday a couple days before Christmas. So we spend a lot of time together in the holidays. Um, he was adopted by Raymond and Mary Harris. Um, and Raymond was often referred to by dad as the greatest preacher of all time. He was actually a traveling evangelists with the assembly of God church. And his adoption story is incredible because it actually started with a story of abandonment. So mom, you want to talk a little bit about that story? Sure. That was always the difficult thing for Nick to talk about. However, it did happen. It was true. And basically , um, he overcame that along, like along with a lot of other things through his life. But , um, basically the story is that we were told is that , um, he was left in his house in a house with his two younger sisters. And , um, you know, whether or not it was a , uh, on purpose or what he , uh, uh, his birth mom did say that in , in all fairness to her, she always claimed that , uh, the intention was that babysitter was supposed to be there, but in an it didn't matter because basically they both , um, Nick , along with his two sisters, his two baby sisters were left in a home for three days and three nights. Uh, Nick was four years old and Drean , I believe was around two and a half. And Jan was six months old and in a crib , um, he always talked about , uh, hearing the babies cry and , uh, about it being dark. And , uh, he was afraid and he didn't know how he could , uh , help his baby sister survive , but he did. And , um, he literally would talk about how he could remember getting in the refrigerator. And, well, I don't, obviously he, he may not have remembered it, but obviously he was able to do that because they told him later that he saved his baby sister by , um, uh, feeding her a bottle through the crib and , uh, uh, and Jay and little Jurene , um , they ate from the trash can and just, it was just horrific. And it was very, very, very sad, but Nick's mom used to tell me this story, that little Jan , um , literally her diaper headed here to her little bottom. And I mean, so you , you get the picture. It was very, very sad, but , um , the miracle in the whole thing is that the father , um, as in Raymond, his new adopted father , uh, he had come to visit across the street and he heard , uh, he asked , uh , his relative, how are the kids across the street? And she said, you know, it's been real odd. We haven't seen anybody coming and going, and I don't know where the children are. Well in his spirit, he was literally directed to the house. And , uh , Nick says he remembers he was scared because he could hear someone banging on the door, but eventually it was kicked in. They found all three of them and they were alive and they were scared and they were hungry and they were filthy and all of those things, but that man later became his daddy. And , uh, it's, it's an unbelievable story that, you know, that is so hard to even all of us to even comprehend. But I believe that shaped , uh, some of those , uh , feelings of fear and anxiety that we all have. And , um , anyway, they adopted him. They, they adopted all three of them and , um, mom was never able, next mama was never able to have children. So it was just a gift from God on all, all points. That's awesome. What a great story of a divine appointment. One of the many we'll talk about tonight, right? Um, I'm going to talk a little bit about his schooling. So he graduated from grand saline high school. He went on to D to attend Southwest assembly of God university, where he earned a bachelor of science. He went on to Midwestern state university where he earned a bachelor of arts, and then he went to Tulsa university to get his law degree. And he entered the business world. Now this was in a season in his life where he was actually running away from God. So mom , what found him in that position to be running away from God? When well, you know, and just, just how you said a while ago, soci , um, you know, he was running from God. Uh, and the reason was his, his dad was considered to be as hero. I mean, he thought he was the greatest human being that ever lived. And he also felt like , um, he was the greatest preacher and everything. And he many souls came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ through this man. And , um, one day Nick and his daddy were having some visits, they were visiting and he noticed different things about his dad for a couple of days that hadn't weren't right. And he didn't, he couldn't quite put an figure it out, but he finally said, dad, are you okay? You know, zip, you know, straighten up, fix your shirt. You know, why are you, why are you all messed up? Cause he was , uh , just like Nicholas . He was a clothes guy. And he always, according to Nikki always looked dressed to a T and his dad said, well, I just don't think I'm feeling right. And so sure enough, they took him to the hospital and he ended up that he had had a major stroke, but as they checked him over, they discovered a brain tumor. And , um, it was an aggressive brain tumor. And basically within, I think Nick said six weeks. It was, it was quick. Uh, his daddy was gone. Well, you can imagine this was a, this was a guy about 20 I don't deacon . Do you know how

Speaker 3:

He was?

Speaker 2:

He was, you know, 20, I was going to say 23, 26 in that age. And , uh, uh, it, it shook Nick to the core and it caused him, it caused his faith to be definitely harmed and , and wounded. And , uh, basically he became a very angry human being and , um, he could not, he, he used to tell me, he said, I could not figure out how there were human beings on the straight , uh , drunks and people that do unkind and ungiving people still alive. And yet God would take. And he in his upbringing was, there were a lot of rules and there was a lot of law going on. And I mean, his daddy saw to it that he lived every rule that there was. So therefore it was hard for him to understand how , uh, these bums on the street could be left and, and the God would take this unbelievable human being. And so Nick turned on the church for seven years. He literally walked away and said, I will never darken the door of a church. So that's the story of that. I mean, so how did he end up back in the church? Well, that's another, I mean, seriously, you guys, this guy, his , the story is almost hard to, hard to avoid , but, and I used to always say , um, uh, somebody needs to write a book, you know, on his life, but what were you going to say, Jamie? I was thinking

Speaker 1:

When we were talking about dad's education , um, fascinating, he had a photographic memory and he could even kind of tell you at what points in his life, it was completely photographic where he wouldn't forget anything and when it would start to drop off. And I think during this time he, he had it completely and it wasn't until many years later that he could tell that it was, it was dropping off. So very, very brilliant man, just a sponge of theology and history and everything. So very cerebral. So as he is going through these questions in his life , um, I can only imagine how much was really being processed. Right . And ,

Speaker 2:

And the truth is, you know, he tells like , uh, he, he would , uh, he would, he would love to debate Christians. It reminded me of Paul. That's why we called him Paul Jr. Right . He loved to debate with Christians because he wanted to prove to them what idiots they were and that they were on the wrong path. And it's just, it's just unbelievable. But one day , um, he's sitting in his living room and I guess this is in Tulsa and deacon . I think you were born by then. And , um, he was sitting in his living room, waiting for the Dallas Cowboys to come on. He was a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys. And , um, he ran as he was turning the channel. He ran across a preacher and this preacher pointed his cues to say pointed his bony finger in my face. And he said, therefore, there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ Jesus. And at that point he was stunned by this guy. And he told , um, he told his wife, he said, you know what? He said, I , uh, I want to go down to this church because he said, this guy delivers a sermon, like a law brief. And I find that very, very, very interesting. So they did, they loaded up and went down to the church, sat at the back of first United Methodist church in Tulsa, Oklahoma sat had to sit in the back. And if you all have ever been there, it's a huge, huge church. And he walked away that, that Sunday and said, ah , nothing to it. Just like , it's like what I thought. And , um, uh, so he walked away. Well, the following evening , um , he hears yes , a knock at the door and it is this darling couple. I wish I could remember their names. Um, but anyway, he was the , uh, uh , he would go out and call on people who had been attacked . He would have at first-time attendees that at the church. And it was a, he said it was a snow, I mean, a blizzard outside, there was snow and ice and it was an absolute mess. And they knocked at the door and he goes, what is it? He opened the door. And they said, well, we just wanted to let you know, we appreciate you coming to church. And you know, we'd love to have you, Nick said, I didn't even invite them in. And they are standing in a blizzard outside. And he said, but you know, I was a different human being at that point. And , um, anyway, so he says , uh, they leave and everything. And he, he said, I remember questioning myself and said, what kind of human being would do that, that was so rude and so mean. And so anyway, a couple weeks later , um, he's at work and like Amy addressed a while ago, he was an executive, a men's buyer for the frogs department store, downtown Tulsa. And , um , he had a Jewish boss and , uh, I can't remember his last name, but his first name was Izzy. I'll never forget it. And he said, Hey, Nick. He said, I got to , I got to take these 12 little Jewish synagogue boys down to a Protestant church. Do you happen to know if one and he goes, matter of fact, I do. I, I need to go back there. So , um, he called the pastor that week and he told him what the mission was that he was bringing , um, his boss who had these 12 little synagogue boys. And they were , uh, they needed to , uh , participate in a Protestant church service. And so the passage, or we're gonna reserve you right down, front, right on the front row. And so here comes , uh , so that following Sunday here comes Izzie along with Nick and these 12 little synagogue boys. Then they sit down on the front row while the sermon starts. And, and , uh, that's when God just decided to knock him in the head. You know what I mean? And , um, uh, his mama used to say, I'm sick in that hound to heaven on you. Well, that hound to having caught him that day. And I , I mean, he said I started crying and I could not control myself. And he said, I cried and I cried and I cried out loud. And he said, at one point his , he elbowed me and he said, Nick, are you okay? Is everything okay buddy? And Nick said, back to him, said Izzy for the first time, because Nick had prayed a prayer that's I knew I needed to say that Nick pray to pray a simple little prayer. And all it said is, God , I don't know if I believe in you or not, but I do know that if you're there, I want you to come into my heart and change who I am. And he said at that very moment, it was like lightning struck. And he's, that's when he started to weep and he cried and he just, and that's when Izzy elbowed him and said, buddy, are you okay? And he goes, is he for the first time in my life? I'm perfect. I am made whole. Yeah . And so that was the beginning. And then do you know that within three months he packed up his little family and , uh, he moved and I think the bishops sent them to Carmen , Oklahoma and gave him a little church. And he talked of that little church and he said that little church bless their hearts here. I was, I knew what I knew, but I didn't know much, but he said they loved him and they took care of him. And , uh, that was the beginning. So I love it. I love it. He heard grace for the very first time, the very first. And it became his story in his message forever. That's right. Um, at that point, because he was so Sabrina cerebral, he began studying, he , um, went to Phillips university and got his master's in divinity. And he was on the road to full-time ministry ready or not. So he was working and going to school. He was in Carmen , he went to Lamont. And then the story of our family began in a little church called Albright United Methodist in Ponca city. So mom, oh, dear. Tell us about that story. I feel like I'm doing all the talk in here, guys. You're going to be great . You're going to be next. Um, oh my gosh. This is a story. Believe me. Well , um, yes. Uh, we got word that , uh, you know, in the Methodist church , uh, in may , uh, you receive your new pastor. If he's, you know, he's coming in and you find out you're going to be getting a new one. And , uh, we knew that the new pastor was gone. It was in town. And so I , uh, loaded up and got ready to go to church. And when I got there, I walked in and , um, this man is in the pulpit and I had never, I , I promise it was just incredible. I had never heard anything like this in my whole entire life. And , uh, it was the most exciting. And, you know, Nick just had a way of taking a simple parable, a simple story, a simple sentence in the Bible, and being able to expand on it and, and, and making it so simple for anyone to understand. Now you have to remember at this point in my life, I was, I mean, I was maybe saved and going to heaven, but the truth is it was Nick Harris that sent a gentleman to my house, to our house. Um, uh , uh, his name was FOI Conrad, by the way. And , uh, we totally , uh , accepted Jesus into our heart. But before that, I was always a good girl and I was always faithful and I loved a lot . I was good. And I don't know how to say that, but anyway , um, but anyway, so this man is up there and I'm listening to him and all of a sudden, I can't wait to get, get a Bible. I can't wait for Sunday to come. I, I look forward to church and everything. And , um, so that's, how was my first encounter with Nick Harris? I mean, I just never in my life, I really thought it was God almighty. I mean , I , I seriously, I thought he was it well, many years go by or not many, but , uh, years go by and life experiences happen. And , um, there were a few, there were quite a few and I gave birth to Jamie Dawn and , uh , this little guy sitting right here. And , um, uh, uh, so at that time I had Amy, my daughter, she was four and you sissy. And then I had Jamie Dawn and , uh, Nicholas had deacon and , um, uh, we became a family. I mean, there was two divorces involved. Let's just call it what it is, right. There were two divorces involved. And , uh, there were some hard times, but eventually God had his way. I truly believe God had his way. And , uh, we formed a awesome little family and four days later, seriously, you guys, I'm not kidding. We , uh, got married knowing that Nick was to be moved to Fairview America. I always called it Fairview American Fairview , Fairview, Oklahoma. And we got married on a Friday and we walked in to a church, moved in, in Fairview , uh, on a Thursday. Now this little town was so excited, just like I had been excited about , uh, when we got a new pastor, they were so excited to have this new family with three children. So no one had clue that we'd been married four days and that our three children had three different last names right now. Seriously, that was a story for sure. So once again, there were issues, there were things talked over and talked about, but God's, grace was incredible. And Fairview America became one of our absolute favorite places that we ever lived. And , um, um, at that point, just like you'll tear in Nick, all of Nick's teachings about the blood cabinet , just like that. Um, my two children became Nick's two children, deacon Nick's child became my child and we never looked back. There is no such thing as a stepchild in our family. We never used the word. We do not believe in it. Right. And , um, yes, there were other parents and yes, there were other children, but our family has stayed together and have , uh , we are truly a blended family. And so that just gave us another thing to be in ministry about. Right. Because we were many people have looked and said, I only was able to do this because I saw that you all did it. Yeah . And if we don't talk about it, you know, so this podcast is always going to tell the truth and we, Nick and I recognize that divorce is a sin. I mean, we knew that from the very beginning, but you know what we did, we ask each other to forgive us. We ask our churches to forgive us. And if they could forgive us, then we were going to get on with building the kingdom of God. And every single church did just that. So yeah, you guys did an amazing job with a very difficult task of a blended family and I'm , I'm blessed because of it.

Speaker 4:

Oh , you bet . Absolutely. And we, you know, if you look at us today with, with everything that's, you know, over the last six months , um, or I guess five months, whatever it is, I , you know, that , um, who do we, who do we run to ? Yeah. And that's, that's pretty amazing. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's family. Well, we did, we had an amazing season in Fairview. However, it didn't last very long. It didn't last as long as any of us wanted, I don't think. Um, but God called us away. He had a plan, he had a plan and he brought us to first United Methodist church in Oklahoma city where you and dad served the longest season of ministry together 24 years, 24 years. Um, he was given a very difficult challenge with first church. Um, so tell us a little bit about what it was like coming into , um, downtown Oklahoma city. Oh my goodness. You know, if you, if you talk about the personal side, you know, coming from Ponca city and then going to Fairview, you know, you put your kids out on the front porch or you let them ride the bicycles to school and you know, you, or they walk to school. And I never, I had no idea that when I got to Oklahoma city, that I would have to face sending any bath was going to have to go like clear over Northeast class in somewhere. And she's going to have to be on a bus and, and deacon, he wanted to play football because he was the best football player ever. And , uh, he was going to have to go to , um,

Speaker 3:

What was that's pretty rough school. Yeah. Just say that. Let's just say that . Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

It was not, it was not good. Well, anyway, so , uh , yeah, coach Nicholas had gone to the coach and had a few little words and it turns out we decided that mom would get a job and , uh , dad would work harder and we would send a dig to , um, uh , Bishop McGuinness where he would be able to play football. And so then we decided, well, if we do it for one, we're going to do for all three of them. And we did, and we worked and we did whatever we could to say to it. The kids had a great education, but anyway, that was the, that was on the personal side. But as far as the church goes, yeah, that was, that was difficult. That was hard because first of all , uh, the church at Fairview and the church in Ponca city would literally sit down inside of first church. I mean, I remember being overwhelmed with just the size of the building. And then , um , I knew that Nick could do it. I mean, there was no doubt in my mind, but I, it was, we were hoping we'd have a little help doing it. And at the very beginning, you know, he'd always use to tell the story he looked out and I'm sure you'll probably hear it on some of these , uh, some of these messages that we're going to be sending out because he loved to tell stories about those days. But , um, anyway , uh, he looked down and, you know, the average age was around 70 and there was probably about 120 people in that huge sanctuary balconies and all. And , um, there were three children

Speaker 3:

And guess, guess

Speaker 2:

Whose they were, they were ours . And so , um, uh , yeah, he always told the story, you'd call for the children's sermon and the children to come forward. And they were all three his so , um, but anyway, so we've , you know, and, and so it's difficult when , uh, an older church , um, you know, there's all the, oh , the ins and outs, you all know the ins and outs and committees and all those kinds of things. And you get kind of set in your ways about the way things were. And so you have this young little pastor, of course he wasn't young. He was 30 years old. I think when we first came to first church and , um, um , I think that's a ride or a ride . Yeah. And I think it's,

Speaker 1:

We're saying that this was in 81, 81 and so downtown. Yeah . Not,

Speaker 4:

Well , you wouldn't, you wouldn't be downtown

Speaker 3:

Past six. O'clock absolutely not . Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And it was , um , it just very empty , ran down everything. I mean, the Renaissance that's happened in Oklahoma city. Of course this whole time has been amazing. But back then, boy, it was, it was not safe. And, and trying to minister bring people from the suburbs back downtown , uh, was very, a very big challenge.

Speaker 2:

Right. And so , uh, he just knew that he had to work real, real hard, and he knew that he had to give people used to say, I have to give people a reason to pass by all of these beautiful, outgoing , uh, urban churches. Why would they choose to come downtown when there are all of these issues? Well, it was the word of God, right? I mean, that was it. And he was a preaching machine. I mean, I'm telling you , but , um, he literally y'all , uh, he, he stood in the pulpit that very first Sunday looking down at those little old people and whom I love dearly, I do , I did, they're all gone now, but

Speaker 3:

Anyway, they were

Speaker 2:

Precious. And , uh, I looked down, he looked down at him and, and he looked up at those empty balconies. And here I am sitting with the three kids and he, he literally says, I see the bow and it is recorded. And we, it was even put in a newspaper clipping that I have today. And it, he said, I see the balconies filled and I hear the pitter patter of children's feet. And I'm telling ya , I said to him lighter , have you lost your mind? However, do you know that in seven years, that absolutely happened. Here we go again with the seven years. Right . You know, he , uh, it absolutely took place. And , um, he never took credit for those words though . Yeah, no, no, no, no. That was , that was God's plan .

Speaker 4:

Well, I mean, even just talking about, I've got goosebumps and I remember that service. I mean, I, that, that I'm like what, yeah . Right. You know, but , but you , you, you heard him say it and you believed it and you, you knew he was hearing from God, right ? No , th th this was not some marketing scheme. This was, I am speaking. I've just heard from God. And it happened , it did

Speaker 2:

Happen. It did happen. I think the most powerful tool he used to make that happen was the loaves and fishes Bible study because he had all of the business people down there on the weekdays, any opened up the church and fed them a lunch and taught. And that was Tuesdays and Thursdays just, it started on Thursday only until after the bombing. And then Tuesday , we had to have more services. But what I remember about loaves and fishes was going downtown. We'd stop at camps, camps, and we'd pick up the , um , Camino cheese and the ham salad. And we would go, and we would look , we, I mean, I'm talking about us. The people at this table would go down and make the sandwiches and a bag of chips and serve them. And , and dad would do his thing. And more and more people heard that fire and grace and ,

Speaker 4:

Um , he did. And I, you know, I, I want to point out that, you know, in those years, that at , at first church, you know, mom and dad, it , you know, as we would say in the military were , were the point men, the point woman , if you will. But you know, the three of us also, you know, I mean, how, how many nights where we down at that church and how many, you know, so on and so forth and, you know, and how that impacted our lives. And if you look today at , uh, you know, the three of us and , you know, in , in some way, or some form are in the ministry and , and are things that, you know, in a lot of ways, we could've never darken the doors. Right. But here we are. And we understand, and what , what the church really is about. And that's, you know , you know, mama , I think that's a credit to both, you know, you and dad, you know, that, that,

Speaker 2:

Well, we tried to allow , uh, you guys the space to , um, uh , well, let's just call it what it is. A lot of grace, you know, I think so many times , uh, well , meaning ministers and , uh, mamas , you know, they work real hard to instill , uh, Christianity and their kids to the point that the kids walk away. And so I, I had seen it and , uh, I knew that that was real, especially with PK kids. And , um , I , I, I didn't want that to happen. And so if you give, you know, if you give the kids space to, to figure it out on their own, but there was never a question, you know , uh, and, and Nick was the same way. And you guys had , would ask him questions. He always had answers for you. There was never any pressure. Um, you were expected to do certain things, but there was a grace in other areas. And , uh , think that, I think that's so important for parents to , to think about. Well, and I think there was an authenticity about both of you, you were who you were at home at church at the ball park, you know , anywhere we were, you were the same person and you weren't putting on the show, he wasn't putting on a show. You were who you were. And that, I think that the child, that was just who you were so well.

Speaker 1:

And I think too, you know, I think there's something to be said for hard work. You know, dad worked hard and he really taught us to work hard. If you think about it, dad was teaching loaves and fishes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He had a staff Bible study on Wednesdays, Wednesdays, Wednesday night on teachings to the church at that evening. Uh, on Wednesday night, he had a Sunday sermon and a Sunday Bible study that he ran a Bible class. Am I missing one? Well, in

Speaker 4:

The early days, we also had Sunday service, Sunday night services.

Speaker 1:

And that services not to mention , uh, later when he started the radio broadcast.

Speaker 3:

And so he recorded those

Speaker 1:

On whenever they could. Uh , and so just the , the amount of content the man generated , of course, content creation nowadays is a , it's just a thing. Right . But dad would just, I mean, he, I don't know how

Speaker 4:

He did it. I want to brother, I want to con I don't know what to write , uh , affirm the , that, that work ethic. You know, I mean , if you look today at, you know, the, the three of us and, you know, we're , uh, I mean, we're, we're hardworking people, you know, and, and mom, you know, I mean, here she is, you know, in, in, in her years and mom gets up and mom's got to move. I mean, you know, she just, it's just, it's in our, it's in our DNA, if you will. And, you know, we, we, and, and I just think that's a great, you know, a great lesson, you know, to, to pass on and , you know , um , you know, that, that comes from dad and mom

Speaker 1:

And, and, and to mention all the committees, you know, cause that was one of the things you have to had , you have to in the Methodist church, there's so many committees. And so dad had to be at every one of them. And so he , he wasn't at home , uh, very often , uh , in the evenings. Uh, but, but yeah, I , I will say that kids should not be as good at pool as we were, because there was a pool table on third floor and I was an exceptional ping pong player.

Speaker 4:

I am five foot six, and I spent how many hours in that house? Oh yeah,

Speaker 1:

Jim , it was only half court and brother

Speaker 3:

Was really good. So

Speaker 1:

We definitely spend a lot of time down there, but I wouldn't trade it

Speaker 2:

At world. No , it was a great season. So we all know and have all with dad on a trip to Israel or multiple trips. Dad had a passion for the land of Israel and pretty much any historical site in the world, but let's, let's hear some stories about Israel. What do you guys remember about your trips?

Speaker 1:

Well , uh, the man was a , uh, I think there's still posters of dad in Israel as the top American tipper ever. He would give away all the money. And so they would take you to all the best places and treat you. But , um, but yeah, he, no, he, he would just land and be, it just be a man on , on fire. And I just didn't know how people would keep up. Cause he'd just walked so fast and he'd get pretty intense too. I mean, dad was, we haven't talked about the intensity, right? He was so intense and he'd get mad at you if you weren't running fast enough after him. And he'd have all these, you know, 20, 20 people all behind him. But , um, but it was all about how much he could share with everybody each day. If you could just fit one more stop in , if you could just put one more stop. Um, and I won't talk the whole time about this, but, but the , um, uh, the whole , you know, not someplace, but this exact place, he would take you to the exact place the Bible referenced . And so I always think about that. Um , when I think of Israel,

Speaker 4:

Right. You know , I , and I want to point out because those trips, you know, there's a lot of pastors that take people to Israel. But when , when you have a man who can tie the historical record with the biblical record and paint that picture, perfect. The people walked away from those trips going, my life has changed. I didn't just go see, you know, Calvary or the Bethlehem . Right. Wait a minute. These people's lives were changed. Mine was changed. Okay . So you never

Speaker 2:

Read the Bible the same. Exactly . You see it? Yeah. I can. I used to me and my mercy, you know, and, and he just, he became an animal when he landed. I mean, those wheels would get down on and at the airport and he just became a different human being and he was bound and determined that every little person that was with him was going to walk away changed. And he , um, uh, he, he never stopped. I mean, it didn't matter. And he , Jamie, isn't it true? He ended, you guys have traveled with him. I mean, he literally would, sometimes it would be so important that everybody saw everything to the point that when he got into the room finally in the hotel, he would literally fall asleep with his clothes on.

Speaker 3:

But it's an all, it's an all,

Speaker 2:

I mean, the last trip to Israel, we literally had men carrying him. Yes. So he could teach like from place to play, he couldn't walk. Yeah. He , but he kept going, he would not stop. He was bound and determined. And what was fun about him in the later is that he always wanted to make sure everybody saw everything he had ever had . And what, after 30 trips you seen about everything, but he always

Speaker 1:

Educating the tour guides. They didn't know all this stuff. He knew it was hilarious. Yeah. And

Speaker 2:

They would sit and go, whoa, I didn't know that, you know, and , uh, Nick insisted on always, he, he, you know, when you go , when you traveled to Israel, you have to have a God it's, you have to have a guide. I mean, it's , uh , you can't get in without it. And , uh , and then , uh, you, and so, but he would always pay them. Like Jamie said, he'd always pay him under the table because he wanted to make sure they kept their mouth shut because Nick wanted to do all the teaching. And , uh, he, he wanted to teach and he would study you guys. Uh , well , he studied all the time, but before he went on trips, he would gear up. And I mean, he would have notes and these little books, and I have found them in his study. He's just got hundreds of these little, little books that he carried with his Bible and be able to walk , uh, and , uh, walk the land and be a good , he just, he just w it was so important. And then later after about my fifth or sixth trip, I didn't really care if I saw anything else. I'd seen it all as far as I was concerned. However, I loved watching everybody else. See it for the first time. I mean, their little faces would just light up and I mean, just blinders, you know, be taken off their eyes and they would see it. And then when we get home, they'd all, you know, open their Bibles and be able to picture the places that, where we were and , uh , the sea of Galilee, or if it was in Capernaum or, you know, just , uh, the hill where loaves and fishes took place and all of those beautiful places. And , uh, he just had a way of making it all come alive. I think my favorite memory was the last trip that I went with him, which was his last trip to Israel. And seeing him see Magdalene , because it had just been discovered, had just been unearthed and it was getting to see him see something for the very first time. He was just so excited to see it all. And it was a very neat place. And of course, he'd get home and he'd start planning the next time. Okay. Six months, I've got to get back. You know, I got to ,

Speaker 1:

That was fun. Cause we, dad and I took a lot of trips in the last several years. And , um, he took me to see places he had already seen. And so he was wanting to show him to me and tell me all about it. And it was great, but we went to Paris and he had never seen it. And so that was kind of a really great experience for me because he was seeing no Dom like inside it for the first time and just all these different things, the palace of Versailles, which is a funny story, but, but just, I mean, some of the amazing stuff , um, but he just soaked it and, you know, I have to say, I didn't really , um, always had a little bit of a struggle relating to dad. Um, but , uh, we were able to really relate with travel and history and even just the photos we would take, we would talk about the photos that we took. And , uh, and so it was , it was really great, you know, he , he definitely , um, he just loved it and he loved taking people. He loved to sh you just show people everything.

Speaker 2:

What was the trip? You guys went just you guys and dad , uh, London, Christian , Christian,

Speaker 1:

Your son. Yeah. Yeah, that was, oh my

Speaker 2:

Gosh. Pictures are adorable. Well,

Speaker 1:

And, and to, to stack on all of his other responsibilities, one thing I was going to joke about was dad would also have to go do the hospital calls when the babies were born, he'd go see the babies. And I would always ask him, you know, who the baby looked like, and he would say, Winston Churchill in London. We had a lot of Winston, Churchill history

Speaker 3:

Loved it . And he passed,

Speaker 4:

You know, that's something yes. And , you know, taken on . Cause I, you know, I think , um , I just finished my sixth biography on, you know , Winston Churchill and, you know, and I think when I read there and I think about all the stuff in London and, you know, up when we went to the cathedral for the, to see the Magna Carta and the trip to Dover, right. Where are we, where are we? But, you know, and, and, but, but, you know, I think, but I think out of all of that, understanding that if I could say this as unbiased as I possibly could, he's the smartest human being I have ever met. And th that his and his ability to teach it, you know, I mean, there's a lot of people who have the knowledge in there, but to turn it in and then to process it and to get it out and to teach it if you're in London or if you're at Golgotha. Right . I mean, it just, it it's part of what made his ministry and who he is so profound. Right. You know, and, and, you know, so, but I think that's important to point out about dad , you know, I've, I've,

Speaker 1:

I was talking to sissy about this, but , um, dad, a lot of people don't know dad was extremely artistic, could draw. I mean, the things he would sketch and I was supposedly the artistic one, but he was, he was great. Um, and I often thought, you know, gosh, he could have been a great artist or whatever, but I think he was, but I think he did it with, with words and with teaching and with , um, everything he did for us with, with travel and just the different ways he taught. So, and the way he told stories , um, even, even mom referenced , um, how he , um, liked this sermon. He, he, he had seen or heard because it was like a law brief was being delivered. And, and, and as we've read his sermons in the boxes of that, we have literally they're, preachable in the way he , he wrote them. Um, and it's pretty, pretty amazing. It is . Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, dad had a passion for Kenya. He felt like he was called to minister to the people of Kenya. So he , um, partnered with Kalma McCarter and each one feed one and built a medical clinic, a tabernacle, and eventually a school. And , uh, I was able to go with him to Africa and see it in person and what a gift that trip was to see him see things that he had built and sent people to build. And , um, he really loved the people of the Rocca that was super important to his ministry and support supported them to the end. Oh, he's still, yes. We still are actually. Yeah , yeah, yeah. That , uh , oh my goodness. I, I remember , uh, when cow came into the Nick, you know, Nick was one of these that didn't, well, the secretary said, there's somebody here that wants to see you. He always tells that story about cow . And here came this little guy and he just, he had an idea and he wanted to go to India or Africa. And , uh, he, the more he talked, the more dad connected with cow and he said, well, I don't want to go to him . I won't support you to go to India, but I will support you to go to Africa. I never knew that. Yeah. Yeah. Now Cal Cal did continue with India, but first church just didn't support the support, that track. We supported the other one. And , um, oh my goodness. We, we did so many fun things , uh, supporting that ministry. And we eventually sent 11 guys. I believe it was 11. It may have been 12. Uh, we sent, we worked real hard to raise the money. We sold pizza . Okay . Yeah. We sell pizza . We had garage sales, we did all kinds of things in order to raise the money, to send these 11 guys to Africa, to build a house, they were going to build one house. And I have pictures of that house. And , um, because little cow and Linda, that's his little wife precious. Linda's still with us, but cow's gone on. And , uh , their children literally pitched a tent in the middle of a place called Baraka. And that's where they lived. And Nick just wouldn't hear of it. And he said, we're going to , and I hope I'm getting these stories, right. But I know that eventually we sent those men to build them a house. And , um, to this day, that house is still there. However, there is now a full clinic. There is a full tabernacle. There are, I believe it started for four or five different , um, educational buildings where these children are now are still there. Uh , we had, we literally fed them at the very beginning, out of a train car. You know, one of those rocks, mocks train cars, and the little children would come and we would feed them that we would buy the maze and the soy beans and all that kind of stuff and had a cook and they would cook and these kids would come and we would feed them. And then we started closing them . And then we, but it all started with the clinic. That's where we started. And , uh , but, oh my goodness. Now it's , it's just become something I it's hard for me to even go. Even it's hard for me to even imagine now what's happening. I got to go to Africa, you know, it was my dream to get to go. And , um, uh, we were at the chapel at the time and , uh, Jim Goodnow and Terry Bell and I were able to go and , uh , we paint Terry and I painted and, oh gosh, it , it was amazing. But to see those little kids and , uh, that was one of the things I was afraid. Um, you know, when we left first church , uh, what might happen with the babies? Uh , because I , I , I , I called them the babies because I knew they counted on us to, for medical attention and , and to be fed. And , um, I mean, they literally would come out of, we called them the sticks. Yeah. I mean, they, you, you would know anybody's there. And then all of a sudden it's just children are coming because they knew they had, they would have dinner and breakfast. And , uh, but anyway , uh, yeah, so , um, the, we, so where was I headed ? Well , you

Speaker 4:

Were going on, on when, when you guys left first

Speaker 2:

Church left first church. I'm sorry. Um, we didn't know exactly what was going to happen with that, but as we built Ariel chapel , uh, we chose to take on that ministry. And , um, once we took that on, as our mission, Ariel chapel began to take off even more so, and we've supported that group ever since, but what's awesome. Now is Nick's goal had always been, if we can just help them finally reach a point where they can take care of themselves, you know, teach them to raise their own food, teach them, raise up doctors to take care of yourself, raise up teachers to teach your children, you know, and, oh my goodness. After all of these years it's happening now. Yes . Uh , each one feed one is an unbelievable ministry. We're going to continue to support it through Ariel ministries and , um, uh, it is, but hopefully we'll be able to talk more about the Rocca itself. It's right. Outside of Nairobi and , uh, many , many

Speaker 3:

Good eight hours drive a couple of bumps here and there a couple little

Speaker 2:

Ditches, but , um, anyway, yeah, it's, that was a unbelievable ministry and yeah. And true passion of his. Yes, absolutely. Now you can't talk about Nick Harris, our dad, without talking about the greatest tragedy in Oklahoma city, the bombing , um, 1995, there was a bombing in downtown Oklahoma city. And that bombing was at the Alfred P Murrah building, which was diagonally across from first church, the church we had been at for many years. So let's talk about what that looked like, what that meant, how that shaped, what was next?

Speaker 1:

No , I know , um , uh , you know, kind of briefly, I know that dad would always say he was supposed to be recording his radio broadcast. Right. And they recorded in sanctuary. And , uh, had he been in there more than likely he'd have been crushed by some , uh , huge wood-frame stained glass windows? Um, either glass that blew in or just from what fell? Cause I mean the fuse crushed , but anyhow , he was, he was actually downstairs , um, and talking with one of the employees and he just, he told me that it's like he was in the basement, but it was like the floor rose up four feet and slammed back down and the ceiling tiles fell on him and everything. And so , um, and I don't need to tell the whole story, but I do know that he made it out of the building , uh, quickly. Cause he w w the office he was in was real close to an exit door. Right . So he made it around and couldn't, didn't know what in the world leaving look, will . They kind of see and hear the fire and everything, and ran around the front of the building. And , um, he told a story about kind of an officer, but he was just coated in white chalk from the concrete and his ears were bleeding and he immediately turned around and just started climbing back in because he said his people were in there. Right. And , um, and of course, dad's just kind of in shock about what's happening, but , uh, I think dad could hear the cries from the YMCA or Sri where I think we had maybe people that were there. I don't , I don't can't remember there were children there. And so dad would help with, with the children. And, and then , uh , I do think that when the second scare that there could have possibly been a second bombing that actually got his car out, which the car was like imploded the hood, the roof was mowed out weird. It was really crazy. But , um, but anyhow, so, and, and I, you know, we all have our own stories about it. I was a senior in high school and , uh , didn't really even feel the ground shake . I was switching classes, but a kid in class said something's something has happened. Yeah . That's what I remember your brother. I know you were overseas.

Speaker 4:

I was in the great wall, Sheridan in Beijing, China. I was supposed to come back the next day. And of course in those days, that was before China had really totally blown the way grown the way it is, but I'm , you know , one of the three channels was CNN international, you know? And so I'm, I'm in the bed clicking through, you know, the three channels and all of a sudden, I see, you know , the news flash and you know, of course this is before cell phones, all of that. And I couldn't get through. And, you know, I was on applying the neck . I was supposed to be on applying the next morning to come back. I'd been out of the country 12 days or something like that. And it was not until I hit the LA airport where they had a wall of payphones that I could get to a payphone. So this is 24 hours later. Right. That I got a hold of mom at the house to know if, you know, you were okay. Dad was okay. You know, all of that. And I said, when I landed in an , in Oklahoma city, I drove , uh, directly downtown. Right. And so, I mean, that's, that's my story. And, and, and, and, you know, I would say this, that it, it took me 20 plus years to finally go down to the Memorial and I just couldn't, I couldn't do it. And , um, you know, and then when I did, and I saw the survivors wall. Yeah , yeah. And, you know, saw my dad's name on it. You , our dad's name on it. And I mean, I'm just a wet noodle, but sorry to get into all that detail. But, you know , I mean, that, that bombing the leadership that, that it , he didn't, it's shocking. And , and, and, you know, Amy, you often say this that, you know, he didn't really like to talk about it. Okay. And it shook him. I mean, they used the north lobby, you know, for the morgue. Right , right. But he never skipped a beat. No , he didn't . He didn't , he stepped in and went, boom. And he kept his flock. He, he, you know,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I , I truly believe with all my heart that all of those years at Albright and the years at , um, Fairview and the years, and probably Carmen in Lamont, Bubba , but , uh, those were all preperatory. And the idea that we left Fairview, and we didn't really want to, to come to a downtown dying downtown church. Um, sorry. I, I think all of that was God's that was divine intervention. As far as that little church, that little group of people would not have survived those 20 years prior to the bombing. Uh, and dad's leadership, Nick's leadership in building that church up to a 0.3 services. Let's talk about it. Three services on Sunday, a radio broadcast that was to the, to the world. I mean, there were a lot of people , uh, and uh, many people saved in Oklahoma city, probably people who were in the Murrah building. And , um, uh, so that when that bomb did go off, because , you know, we have, we serve a God that knows everything, but , and , uh, I truly believe that , um , he knew that something evil was going to happen and he needed a man that he could teach and was willing to be obedient and would be able to lead his sheep. And , um, I think that's the only reason that first Methodist survived dead and believe me, we did survive that vomit . Matter of fact, we, we grew during those six years, six years to seven years of being out of the building. But, you know, whenever I think of the bombing, it, those years were , uh , that, that was, that was tough time. But , uh, like Dick said , uh , Nick's leadership was phenomenal and he didn't skip a beat. I mean, he, he was devastated. I didn't see a whole lot of him during those couple of weeks. Well, till we ended up going to Israel, if you remember, there was a Israel trip scheduled, but , um, I, when I think about the bombing, I think about the different miracles because, and we could talk about that for hours. I mean , um, the idea that , uh, Gus Alfonzo, the sound guy totally forgot Nick. I mean, he'd been doing that radio broadcast for years and they always met at nine, nine o'clock. Nick stood on the platform, guesser was up in the window and Craig was in the office. He was in the, he would have been in that office on the corner, which was a [inaudible] , I mean, that was blown away. And , um , Lance, he was, he would have been in his office. And , uh, so anyway, the idea that there were seven people in that building and not one of them now, our little janitor, you know, he got a cut on his leg, but , uh, he was okay. But the idea that all of those people survived that , um, because literally as dad said that whole floor, I mean the entire, the entire church building raised up and went back down when Chris Skinner, you know, was with dad and thank God that she said, Hey, pastor, I've got some ideas, let's go down the stairs . I mean, it was all just, it was, it was just absolutely providential prophet ninja . Yes you have.

Speaker 4:

I think people have to understand that the building, that, the sanctuary that what is now what Harris hall that, that was the, the building itself was condemned. Yeah. Afterwards. Yeah. Okay . And that, if peop, if, if folks who were working in the church would have been where they were supposed to have been Craig, Lance dad, you know, I mean , you just go down the list, they wouldn't be there. And so, I mean, I do think that there was that it , that it was divine out of an evil thing. Yes. Okay. Out of an absolute evil thing and let let's , let's talk about Craig here for a moment. Yes. My goodness. If Craig would have been sitting in his pastor and think about the anointing and the call upon his life and what God, and what God's done with him through these years. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Let's, let's clarify. So we're, we're, we haven't gotten to that, but let's, we'll we'll yeah . Good segue in, you know , uh, Craig Rochelle, you know, pastor at life church was still working at first church. Um , at the time literally the office we were talking about is on that Northwest corner facing the Murray building. Right . It had stained glass windows all the way around. And , uh, and yeah. I mean, it would have been,

Speaker 2:

He w he wouldn't be with us, how at it seminary that day. Yeah . Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Life church wouldn't exist. The Bible app version, you version wouldn't exist. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And how many, I mean , how many, how many, how many churches, how many live churches are there? Yeah. You know, I mean, we're talking about a large group of people that were, would have been, would not have happened, you

Speaker 4:

Know, where you're going, where, you know, part of that is where the number of people that came out of his ministry. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

No, that's, that's , uh , uh, that's another great thing that we , we really have to mention. Um, and I think , uh, um, uh, my sister shared a video that , um , I'm sure we'll keep, we'll continue to share. Um, we're dad talked a little bit about the 48 pastors that came from, from his ministry

Speaker 2:

Directly from him. They had pastors come out of their ministry. So it , the family tree goes really wide. It does.

Speaker 1:

But I think that was, that was a gift he had, he could, he could see the , the talent.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . He could spot that talent and leadership and, and called it out. He called it out in people too . He saw it maybe sometimes before they, before they did. Yeah, that's right.

Speaker 4:

And it continued to the last time he was in the pulpit, you know, I mean, we, we, we have Kyler. Yes . You know , and , and there were others there that, I mean, that was just, that was a gift that he had where he could look at somebody and go, yup . He's called in the ministry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. He would recognize it. And he would usually find some sweet, fun, little way of saying, well, you know, are you going to finally give it up? Or, or, you know, he , he would say, have you, do you feel a certain feeling or are you , um, he would always say, when they start hanging around the church a lot, when they just want it , you know, they just want to sweep the floor or, you know, wash the windows or do something. Then he would say, yeah, something's up with these guys. And of course he knew because they just had a thirst and a hunger for the word of God. And Nick was just able to recognize that, because that was something they had in common, you know? And , and he always encouraged them to go and he didn't hold them to himself and say, you gotta be with me forever. He encouraged them to go and do what God called them to do. Right . And encouraged them and was always there beside them every step of the way, chewing them on that's right. You need unique gifting. Okay. So let's go back to the bombing. We've had the bombing, we've rebuilt talk about one of my greatest memories was we had, we had been in a different church in Trinity Baptist for years, remote location while we rebuilt our building. And , and like you said, the , the bombing story is amazing and there's a million stories to tell, and we're going to let him tell it in a future podcast. So watch for that episode, it's going to be great. But , um, we were able to go home from Trinity Baptist and we did a March. What do you remember about that day? Oh, gosh. I was just looking at a video that I found , um, a week ago or so. And I mean, I called Jamie Dawn and I was just hysterical. I was just crying. It was just,

Speaker 1:

I thought someone had had an accident. I really thought, oh gosh,

Speaker 2:

No , I , uh, I saw something and I thought, well, I'm going to put that in my computer and play that. And here we are. And , uh, great music, you know, w w w I don't know if you all know, but Trinity Baptist took us in. And , uh, they took us in and gave us a home for basically , uh , three years. We, he would ask for possibly six months and that turned into at least three years. Um, but the day came when it was time to go home and the , the first building was complete. And , um, hold on , gosh, it was gorgeous. It was just so beautiful, but , um, it was ready for us to all come home. So we , uh , had a whole weekend planned and , um, we started the walk home and literally, I'm not kidding. We met at the, at the church at two in the afternoon. And , uh, Amy, Beth, I believe Amy, you were pregnant with my Joseph and you had time . Yeah. And you had a little Christian and a little red wagon. And , um, we all walked home and we, it was what is that two and a half miles or seven miles, two and a half miles, our entire church body. Now, some of them, you know, like my mom and, and different ones went ahead and waited on us on the church steps. Oh my gosh, I get goosebumps thinking about it. But anyway, we walk that walk and , uh, kind of zigzag . We had a motorcycle police officers that led the way and they blocked off streets. And , um, oh, we sang songs and we just, it was just a glorious day. And anyway, but as we approached the building, you know, as we could see it in the, you know, cause the beautiful steeple and , uh, across from the Memorial, you know, and , um, as we approached the building, people started clapping and it was, it was just amazing. And Nicholas took a , um, I think it was like a fog horn type thing, you know, and, and , um, uh, greeted everybody and everything. But then there was the , the day of the dedication and we stood out front and we knocked on that door. The Bishop, the Bishop of the Methodist church stood inside. And , um, we knocked on the door and when we did the Bishop opened the door of that church and all six doors, I believe there's six , um, opened all six doors and this entire congregation marched in and the choir was set up in the choir loft and , um, and Terry had us sing . It , had them singing, bless the Lord. Oh my. So, oh my gosh. I mean, it just makes me almost cry. It was absolutely the most glorious time. It was like little sheep had finally found their way home and it was so glorious and so beautiful and so much more than what we had had before and what God had meant. I mean, what the devil had meant for evil, God had turned good and it was amazing. And I mean, we celebrated all weekend long. We had a big old picnic across the way, and I think we served over 600 people. And , um, and then we had, then we had the dedication of the building where the president CA um , was it the president of vice-president the , oh, yes, that was the dedication of the Memorial, but it all took place all close by and Nick was able to speak at both of us and everything. And so we all had a part of that, but anyway, yeah. So that was, that was an amazing, amazing time. I think it's important to mention that dad didn't just lead our church. He really was a spiritual leader for your city in that time. Um, and it was, it was a great, great season. Well , we continued to do ministry at first church for many years after that. And then dad retired. That was kind of funny.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that was funny. That was a really short season because

Speaker 2:

Dad retired. He doesn't know what that means back to work ethic. I can't just sit around and then , um, came the beautiful aerial chapel, which was his heart, his pride and Jewishness little people. And , um, he began aerial chapel in Norman. And , uh, he prided himself on teaching period. Yes. There were no programs. There were no committees. There were absolutely no committee , the dream ministry that dad always wanted. He got to do at the end. Uh , tell us a little bit about Ariel chapel. Oh gosh. We could talk about that also for hours, but basically it was , um, uh, it's it's we started, we truly thought we had heard from God that, well, first of all, the retirement, like you said was short-lived because I knew we couldn't keep him down and it matter of fact, his mama , but right before mom Harris passed away , uh, she basically looked up in his little lies and said, son, God is not finished with you yet. And that was absolutely the truth because , um, she knew we were kind of wandering and kind of lost and, and he, he, he had so much to give and it wasn't, it wasn't time. So , um, any way we, didn't a little bit of , um, filling in for pastors for about a year. And then one day , uh, we realized with the help of Brian Bishop , um , basically his partner in crime, I might say , um, uh, that, that it wasn't, it wasn't over, you know, that there was something else, but we really felt , he really felt like we had heard God say that , um, he was too, he was too , it was going to be a school. It was an academy. Matter of fact, all of the logos and everything we created was Ariel academy. And , um, it was going to be one of those , um, because what we had heard the Lord we thought say was that , um, go to where there's students already in place. There was something about it being in place, which was Norman, Oklahoma. And so we, I think in our minds, what we thought the Lord was talking to us about was that it would be , um, we would have students from OU come and that they would learn, they would do apologetics and those kinds of things and, and everything well, that did kind of happen. Um, for a while, you know, students would come and they hear him preach and everything that did kind of , uh, but of course we didn't offer any social, other things and everything. So, but that's about the time that we , uh, learned that our children in Africa were not being taken care of you . No , no, no, no problem. Anywhere. It was just that, that was no longer the vision, you know, for first church. And so that's, we said, that's okay, we'll take it right. And so we realized at that point, the moment, the very moment, and this is true, everybody, you better listen. You know, if there needs to be a mission in order for a successful ministry, you need to be giving, you know , uh , to another place other than your body. And so anyway, we realized, wait a minute, the children, the teaching is to happen , uh , here, but the children are not the students. You know, they are your kids in Africa. So that's why we started, you know, making the trips and making sure they were being educated. And we built buildings over there for them to go to school. We got teachers, we paid for teachers and , and everything. And so that's where that kind of took off. Well anyway. Yes, Amy, absolutely. Ariel chapel became that . He's hard . And , um, I think I would almost say the joy of being able to do it, the white Jesus did it. And that, that you, you loved on them . You taught them, I'm talking about little sheep, little people. And , um, and if there was a need and there was income to do it, I was given permission to write a check. We didn't have to go through committees. We didn't have to make a decision on the color of the carpet I decided to. And , um, but we , we did it together. We prayed together about it. We were always given a clear path on what we were supposed to do. Um, when there was an issue we dealt with it and , uh, we, everything was volunteer. Uh, thanks to a beautiful , I do need to mention this , uh, you know, there was a couple that literally paid Nick and my salary so that we could survive so we could live. And therefore everything that came into the chapel went out from the chapel and there were no salaries involved. Now, you know, we had our praise and worship leaders and we had our sound guy and people like that, whom we loved and they're our family , uh, that we paid him a little bit. But in other words, the money that came in was not spent on salaries. It was spent on what the needs of the church. And it was absolutely perfect. I mean, he loved it. And , uh, Jamie, for years, I can remember Jamie would say, dad, you're working so hard and you're making this drive to Norman. And, you know, and of course, you know, coach was kind of the , uh, we call it , he would always laugh about it. Even Craig Rochelle laughs about it, but he would call him the European race driver. He was a maniac, let's just say this crazy driver. And so we were always worried that, you know, making that drive two and three times a week, that, that I used to really believe that maybe that's the way I would lose him. But , um, anyway , um, so Jamie would say, dad, oh my gosh, you're preaching to 60 kids, 60, 70 people. And you could be sitting in your pajamas, sending at your desk, reaching thousands, you know, and dad would say, Nope, I love my people. They're my beloved . I told

Speaker 1:

A story about , uh, to the chapel when we were, when we were talking to the chapel , um, in one of the last , uh , services, but I actually wrote up a plan like I had, I had a plan for a podcast for dad and I knew he just needed nudging. I knew he had used technology over the years from, and if I just could , could explain it to him enough, he would get it. And , uh, I sat down with him and as I even remember being kind of nervous, like I just need him to agree to do this podcast. And he was nodding his head at me, but his eyes were still watching Andy Griffith. And I knew at that point he was not going to do a podcast, but here we are and we're gonna, we're gonna make sure .

Speaker 2:

And we're so thankful for the sound technicians at Ariel chapel because they recorded everything. And then , so that is where a lot of our content will come from for this podcast. I said to Curtis, one day, I said, when I was back there, kind of cleaning out, I said, Curtis, you know, do you think, I mean, do you think we have some of his sermons and stuff? And he goes , uh, yeah. And I turned around and he goes, do you see these? And literally they are Jamie , are there every single year? Yeah . He found out that there are 30 whatever. There are, there were enough CDs on each spool. It was one year. And so literally we have 14 and a half years. So we have 14 and a half cylinders of every single sermon the man ever preached. It's awesome . And some of 'em are video and some of them are audio. I mean it, yeah, it's, it's just, it's incredible. And then I was down at first church, just yesterday, visiting with the pastor down there and he goes, oh, by the way, Chris, if you alike, I've got an entire box. And I went, what? And I turned around and here's this six by four by three , uh , box of cassettes, cassettes from first Methodist.

Speaker 1:

We'll say that we might not always have the best audio quality that's right . It may not be in stereo, but , uh, but definitely no we're gonna, we're gonna do our best to clean them up as we share them and, and let them live on. Yep .

Speaker 4:

You know, I think I'd like to say, you know, part of Ariel, what is, because it's not a was right, right . It's an is right. And that the message that dad, he , his , his relational grace message, you know, we, we have a conviction about this, that this is a message, you know, we've talked about dad and we, we love dad. I , I, you know, I mean, he's my hero, but this is bigger than dad, right? Yes , it is . Right. And this is about getting this message of relational grace out into the world. And, and brother, you , you know, you've got a vision and we all do, but you know, because of

Speaker 2:

It's driven, Jamie is driven. He's

Speaker 4:

Driven about it. And because of your career and all the things, you know, we're, we're able to sit down and , and do this. I mean, here we are sitting around this table and we're doing a podcast

Speaker 2:

In a podcast. I don't even know what a podcast is,

Speaker 3:

But I know that Jamie Dawn does. And

Speaker 5:

Exactly. And then, you know, we, we, we really,

Speaker 4:

That , I think that's important aerial ministry is, and, and it's, and it's going to be, and, you know, and that's what, that's what this is really

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, and if, if, if dad had a vision of an academy, you know, imagine years from now having a library of thousands of dad's teachings available for searching and, and to, to give to pastors as materials and references and things. And so I think we can still, those visions are still can still appear you . And so , um, you know, mom, it's always been amazing knowing how, how you all were provided for how , how dad's ministry was provided for. And , um, I was just amazed. I, I was researching podcasts a little bit about my , my background. I've been in digital marketing for over 20 years and watched all this stuff evolve. And so I , I, I th th to think about being delivered all this content and just saying your only job is to push it out. That's perfect for me. So that's exactly what I can do. Um, but , uh, but I was researching this podcasting unit that we're using right here. And, and I was like, well, it's kind of expensive. I'll tell mom about it. And, and , uh, and I said, you know, it's, it's so much. And , and mom's like, well, that's funny. Cause a guy, you know , after you mentioned, we were going to start a podcast, a guy at church gave me just that, that same amount of the check. And I'm just like, that's the way it always works. And so , um, so you know who you are, we very much appreciate it and we're going to use it , um , to the best of our ability that we're using.

Speaker 2:

Well, that was known for teaching. He was the greatest explainer of the word. And we're going to let him do just that weekend week out on this podcast. Yeah . The message of relational, grace will go forward.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. We are going to hear from my brother a bit, he had some thoughts on the themes that pull our family together over the years. And so , um , I'm excited to hear what he has . Well ,

Speaker 4:

You know, dad , dad had a scripture you always talked about and you know, it's Romans 8 28, you know, and we know that God causes all things. Not some things, not a few things, all things to work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to his purpose. And if you think back through for, from Ponca city, when we became a family and through the years, he, he, God has taken all of that to turn, to turn those things to good and for his glory. And I think that's a common thing, you know, that both in his ministry and in our family and what he espoused to us as children, you know, the, the other one, you know, that for me is a , both a son and an , and as a man , uh, you know, through, through the things and life that I think is a common thing is grace. And that you can't, you can't earn it. And in our family, you couldn't earn it. Yes. There were things he was proud of. Right. Okay. But you couldn't earn his love. Okay . He L he loved us through our ups or downs and, you know, and, and, and that, yeah , he both in, in his ministry and in his personal life, I think that that's a theme and that's a thing that brings us together. Um, you know, the, the other one that I would say here before I get to the last one is, you know, talking about faith, you know, I think of the story and Carmen that, you know, when, when, you know, he didn't, you know, we didn't have anything. And, you know, he was sitting in his office in that little church in Carmen , Oklahoma, and, you know, and he was basically telling God, I got you , you said you were going to do this. You know, and God told him, we'll write a check. Hmm . Well, and told God will, it's hot. I'll go to jail. You know, but , but, you know, and God said to him saying , are you going to be obedient? Well, you know, that dad wrote that check and, you know , went and put it in the offering there, you know, that night, well, the next morning after service at the back of the church, you know, greeting people and he feels a man, something slide into his, you know , uh , into his coat pocket, then he felt something else, you know, and, you know, to discover there's, there's a $500 check. And of course those days that was an astronomical amount of money. And then there was a note that said, go down to amount. I can't remember the place, but basically, you know, to the local butcher, there'll be, you know, a half of a half a beef for you. And there'll be one there every six months. And then the other note was, I want you to go to whatever the clothing store was in , in Enid . And I want you to get, you know, I want you to get your kids clothes and, you know, and dah, dah, dah , dah, you know, and if you look to , you know, I mean , that theme was with him throughout his entire ministry and in our family. I mean, I moved here in 1981 just after the Penn square bank went, bust, moved dead to a church that if we're really honest, that the Methodist church really moved him there to put the nail in the coffin time, because he was kind of the black sheep evangelical. Yeah . Right. Just a little bit of a rebel. Yeah . I don't, I have no idea where I get it from. And, and, and, but he was obedient any , any even, you know, yes, his flesh would rise up, but he always chose the follow faith. Right. You know, and, and God always provided, he provided for us, my mom went to work, but there were times, I mean, I, you know, when I hear mom tells stories, you know, I just go, wow. Yeah . I mean, that's the only thing I can say. And, and the same thing at the church, you know, I mean, he provided, I mean, here's this church building that, I mean, frankly, it was, it was falling apart even before the bombing, you know, and then the bombing happens, God takes what was meant for evil and turned it to good and look at what's down there. Yes. Right . And , um, you know, and then, you know, even, you know, in, in his, in, in, you know, in him, you know, in these passing still hard for me to say, but you know, I look and I look at mom she's provided for, yes . Dad had the faith for that. I, you know, and I just , I , I see that. And I see that in isolation ,

Speaker 1:

Um , I was listening to one of dad's, you know , um , sermons recently. And , uh, and he said, he said, the single most important word in your Christian walk is faith.

Speaker 3:

Yup. Yup. You

Speaker 1:

Know, and I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat going, wow , what's the word? What's the word? I don't know which one it is

Speaker 4:

Interest cause I , over the last month or so I've really been praying on and chewing on faith, you know, and you know, the just shall live by faith. Well, you start looking at that and you go, well, we walk by faith, not by sight. And you go that, and then you look at Hebrews 11 through faith and you look at Hebrews 11 one and you go, you know, faith is the substance of things not seen or hope for. Right. Well, we live on that. Right. We live on the evidence of things, not saying , and that's what dad taught us. And that's what he taught his flock. And that's about also about what we're doing here. Right. Right. Is this ministry and going here, this relational grace. So I, you know, the last thing I think I'm gonna say, I'm gonna talk about adoption. Okay. And you know, w part, part of this is, you know, a, I remember Brian Bishop at the, at the, you know , dads , um , you know, at the, at the graveside and you know, it is that, you know, here we sit and Amy, you know, your , your dad, but you never knew him, you know, Jamie, you know, your dad, but how dad adopted you. I wouldn't be who I am. Exactly. How Amy, how dad adopted you. Yep . Okay. How mom adopted me. Okay. Well, you know, we later in life, you know, life happens. Right. And, you know, and there's some things that , that you discover that we all discover. And, you know, for me, you know, I mean, cause I was all , you know, early on, I was kind of the golden child and you know, all of those things, but, but you know, were some things that we discovered later in life, we go, he chose all of us, you know, he, he chose us. Dad chose me. Yeah. You know, and, and, and frankly, he didn't have to. Yeah . I mean, now that we , right, he chose you, he chose you, he chose you. He chose Brian Bishop . Uh , you know, and I mean, the list goes on and on shows him and , and , and that's where I want to go back. We go back to the start of this podcast and we think about that abandonment. And we think about, you know, I mean, I never got to meet grandpa Jackson. I mean, you know, our grandpa here , I , I didn't, but to go, it started with that man. Right. Kicking that Dorian and, and, and in a form becoming the hound of grace. Yes . Okay . I am kicking this Dorian and I am going to find my child and he did. And that theme resignates throughout, throughout all of our lives and anybody who has ever come in and out of these ministry now that's his thing. And that's what connects us. And that's what I love. And so proud of, you know, of, of, of this table and ministry and, you know , those kinds of things. So I thought I really

Speaker 2:

Do . And you know, that , that idea that, that he would say, and Amy, you may have to help me with the scriptures, but, you know , uh, we've been adopted. Yeah. Yeah. We've been grafted in and , uh, airs with, what is it airs in joint heirs with Jesus Christ, you know? And , um, so it , it is, it's really been amazing. It's caused all of us to start thinking about those things, you know, and it's been amazing , uh, that it's been pointed out that, that adoption theme and , uh, his just it's, it's connected everything. Yes. And , um, it's going to be exciting to see where this goes. I decided,

Speaker 1:

Well, you know , absolutely. And , and I think , um, I think dad would, if you can see this room right now, he would be so proud. You'll be very pleased, you know? So thanks everybody for listening to our podcast today. This has been our first one ever for both for some of us. And it's been great. It's been great. Share dad. It's been good to share everything. He taught us. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. If you want to help spread the word, please give us a five-star review and tell your friends to subscribe to we're available on apple podcasts , Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Don't forget to connect with Ariel ministries on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our email list@arielministries.com. That's Ariel spelled a R I E L. We look forward to keeping you updated on upcoming episodes and projects. Maybe you knew pastor Harris, and we'd like to share a story or a photo, or maybe this podcast touched your life in a special way. We would love to hear more. Please send us a note via our contact usPage@arielministries.com.