As the Easter season draws near, the Lenten Luncheons are being held every Wednesday, beginning this week at First Christian Church in Vandalia with the Rev. John Glennon of the Parkview Methodist Church as the first speaker.
We will endeavor to give a brief introduction to the upcoming speaker each week, along with an invitation to the Lenten Luncheon to meet the speakers and hear their messages. The theme is “Discipline of the Saints.”
Meet the second week’s speaker, Daniel Ricketts of First Assembly of God.
Daniel Ricketts is the youth pastor of the First Assembly of God Church. He and his wife, Lora, have been members of that congregation for nine years, working as volunteers for part of that time and serving on the staff for two years. They have a 2-year- old son, Colin, whom he describes as “a lot of fun.”
Daniel is a soft-spoken 32-year-old man with a friendly smile and a quiet confidence in his faith and his mission – to use his experiences and hard-learned lessons in the world of drugs to give guidance, hope and encouragement to young people today.
He speaks unhesitatingly of his and Lora’s testimony.
“The Lord brought us out of drug addiction when I was 23 years old,” he said. “We weren’t in church at all. I wasn’t looking for God, but He found me where I was.
“He came to me and changed everything, turned my world upside down. When I look back at the way I was before, before the Lord, and where we are at now, it’s a night-and-day difference,” he said.
Daniel remembers his mother’s prayers for him. “My mom prayed a lot of years over the way I was living, and God was faithful and answered her prayers,” he said. “That’s one thing I saw in that situation, the power of prayer, the way God was able to move the way He did, and answer her prayers. It’s because I had a praying mom.”
A Little Personal
“I believe her prayers were vital for me, as a non-believer, to come to the Lord, in the dramatic fashion that things developed,” he said. Daniel’s mother is the late Judy Ricketts. He grew up in the Vandalia / Fillmore area.
He has set goals for the young people.
“We have a great group of students. We have a handful of senior high students who are about to graduate, and about three of them are looking very seriously at Bible College. My goal with them is to be able to sow unto them and know that they are potential leaders in the future,” he said.
“Then we have a whole other group of junior high students behind them that makes it interesting, because you have the dynamics of the older students who are several steps ahead of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, maturity-wise.
“What has been neat about it is to see the older students allow God to use them in the lives of the younger students,” Daniel said.
“Our goal is basically just to point the students to Christ and show them that God is sufficient, that they can be fulfilled through Christ and through a relationship with Him to grow into the person that God has created them to be.
“I don’t think that many adults are really necessary aware of the pressures that our teenagers face today,” he said.
The youth and adults of the church are preparing to go on a mission trip in June to Washington, D.C., to work with an inner-city ministry, basically a homeless woman shelter.
Daniel will be speaker at the Lenten Luncheon next Wednesday, to be held at noon at the First Church of God.