Saturday morning, July 30, 2011, was a a wonderful time in the life of Renewal Ranch. We celebrated our first graduating class. From our first nine residents, four of them completed the intensive six-month long journey. The graduates are Atlas Stavely, Charles Washington, Michael Taylor and Shepherd Palmer.
As so often in the past, the Dooley's led us in praise and worship to Jesus, our King, for this incredible display of His love, faithfulness, healing and redemptive power. All praise and glory go to Him.
Hearts were touched as we watched residents lift their hands in adoration and thanksgiving. This is Atlas displaying his open surrender and praise to our God.
Our hearts were overwhelmed as we watched our Michael displaying a heart full of joy and celebration.
Dr. Larry Pillow reads words of affirmation written about and to Atlas, Charles, Shepherd and Michael. After these words, each graduate spoke and then had the opportunity to have one family member or friend speak.
Atlas' friend, Kenneth Priest spoke about Atlas, Charles' fiance, Shannon Young offered words of love and encouragement to him, Shepherd's father, Dale Palmer, gave us glimpses of the love and concern he has experienced for Shepherd through the years and Bill Taylor, Michael's father, spoke words of affirmation over him. Many tears were shed by all present during this emotional and uplifting time.
You have learned that through trusting Christ, you may have ultimate peace.
You are a man of quiet strength that exudes the peace of God everywhere you go.
I appreciate how you’ve surrendered your present and focused your future on the Lord.
God has a place for you as a leader.
You have discovered how to peacefully rest in the sovereignty of God.
I’m excited to see the transforming power of God in your life.
I’m even more excited to see His plan to use you from this point forward.
A quiet leader who leads by example, a truly godly man.
My beloved brother Atlas, may you continue to do right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)
Atlas is a man shown supporting the world upon his shoulders. Atlas, you have demonstrated the capacity and the dedication to fully uphold what God places in your sphere of responsibility.
The devil tried to kill you but God delivered you!
Romans 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things,
at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
A man of courage and conviction.
“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;
they will be life for you and an ornament to grace your neck.” Proverbs 3:21-22
You came with an openness to learn and found the hope that only our Lord Jesus Christ can provide. What great things God is and will be doing through your willingness to serve Him wherever He leads.
You have found the key to joyfully living in Christ.
You are a man of courageous persistence that hungers for more of the Father.
I admire your humility and determination. God is going to use you in wonderful ways.
You are truly a man after God's own heart. You do everything as for the Lord rather than man.
Look back at the obstacles you have already crossed. One day you will look back at those ahead of you.
A picture of dedication and perseverance, a man who truly loves the Lord.
My beloved brother Charles, May you continue to walk courageously and boldly
knowing that you can do all things through Christ who helps you. (Phil 4:13)
Charles, a name from the Germanic word "Churi" which means "free man."
Charles, you are proof that Jesus sets men free!
You are renewed in mind, body, and spirit.
I Peter 5:2 - Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseer,
not because you must, but because you are willing as God wants you to be.
A man of humility and heart.
“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she [wisdom and understanding]
is more profitable than silver and
yields better returns than gold.” Proverbs 3:13-14
God's transforming power is very evident in your life because of your honesty and transparency. You glorify Him every day through your love which shines so brightly and your diligence to do His work.
You recognize that God is all-powerful and you should wait on Him even when the reason is not fully understood.
You are a man determined to offer up the whole of your life as a praise offering to Jesus.
I admire your integrity and consistency. God has great plans for you in ministry for Him.
You have discovered how to use your God-given talents to glorify Him and point others to the cross.
King David used his talents to provide worship from his generation until
Jesus comes again. I pray you give your gift to God to be used for His glory.
A man who has been truly gifted by God with an awesome talent who is using it to the fullest to glorify the Father.
My beloved brother Shepherd, May you continue to trust in the Lord with all your heart and not rely on your own understanding, and may you acknowledge Christ in all your ways so that He will guide your paths. (Prov 3:5-6)
Jesus tells of a shepherd searching diligently till he finds his lost sheep. Shepherd,
the heart God put into you shines forth in the way your work, inspiring others.
The Lord is your rock, your refuge.
Psalm 95:1-2 - Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.
A man of peace and passion.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all
your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Prov
You brought many talents and a strong work ethic to Renewal Ranch, but seeing them being
redirected to glorify God has been a miracle. You are a leader among men and I expect God will
continue to do a mighty work in you because of your willingness to serve Him.
You faithfully put on the full armor of God by walking with Him daily in His Word.
You are a man who truly follows the greatest commandments well, loving God and loving people.
I admire your maturity and wisdom. I believe God is going to use you to impact many lives.
You have discovered something that eludes many people - the gift of enjoying God.
God has certainly gifted you with a servant heart to be used to glorify your Master as you share Christ with others.
A godly man with a spirit of service to others.
My beloved brother Michael, May God continue to satisfy you each morning with
his unfailing love so that you may sing for joy and be glad all your days. (Psalm 90:14)
Michael, your name is from a Hebrew question-word meaning "who is like God?"
You have set an example for us all in your thirst for what God is like.
You are soaring on the wings of eagles!
Proverbs 9:10 - Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit is understanding.
A man of faith and fortitude.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
The biggest transformation I have seen in your life is outward joy. It is contagious and glorifies God.
You are the Barnabas of our first class, a caring encourager.
James Loy, the executive director of Renewal Ranch, gives the charge to the graduates.
The people lay hands on and pray over our precious graduates. Oh God, it is our prayer that You would watch over each of these men, fulfill their hopes, dreams and desires as they place their lives totally in Your keeping.
We pray that Your Holy Spirit would have complete control of their lives and of ours, dear Father. Thank you for the miraculous work You are doing at Renewal Ranch and lead us to follow after Your footsteps and Yours alone.