Just before my birth in 1960, the Remington family purchased a small farm to give the kids an outlet for all their energy. City life wasn’t going to cut it for this family or maybe the city wasn’t going to survive through this family. Either way, we ended up on a farm that was located outside of a little town named Akron, just east of Buffalo, NY. Our family raised smaller animals like; chickens, pigs, calves, etc. A big garden filled with strawberries and lots of vegetables was a must every spring. Our neighbors, on the other hand, had a working farm. This presented a whole different take on farm life. Bailing hay, milking the cows, pitching dung, etc. were some of the essentials. Field cars, bonfires and sleep outs under the stars were some of the lighter sides. Memories of both, fill the mind with wonderful, lazy days as well as back breaking hard times.
Outside of the farm life, being the baby of the family with four older brothers and one older sister, I had my reputation cut out for me. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint people’s expectations of a Remington. The teens years proved to be very hard for each of the kids. Due to health problems and not wanting to see anyone else go through a near death experience, my parents decided to seek a new life for what was left of the immediate family.
So my parents and I, moved to Arizona half way through my junior year of high school. This was probably not the best time for a move in my estimation. You see, I knew most of our hometown graduating class of 120 students. I was then transferred to a school (Coronado), where the graduating class was over 650 students and not knowing anyone. Again, I didn’t think that this was the best move, but God had other ideas (Isaiah 55:6-8).
As we all know, finding the wrong crowd is easy to do, yet God was just starting to do a work on my heart. Through various circumstances, I ended up at an evening religious program. This program had a class that was just for seniors, so I attended along with others from various schools. It was then that I met my future bride, Claudia. God was using many people around me to get my attention and Claudia was one of them. The lifestyle of her family was different, in a good way. You see, they talked about everything. Her parents were involved in their lives. There was real love, communication, and happiness that was taking place. This was definitely unique to me, coming from a family that doesn’t go too much deeper than the sports and weather. She caught my eye and my heart. Little did I know, that the Lord was next.
It was the late seventies and Gene was one of those people who was called a “Jesus Freak”. Everything he did revolved around Jesus. The music he listened to, playing his guitar, entertainment, social life, I mean everything. This was quite different from what my previous friends and I would do, but yet I saw in his life a peace that I didn’t have. I watched and watched, and sure enough, he was a Jesus Freak. I needed to know more and the rest is history.
Through the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), Jesus became the center of my life in the spring of 1978. Now it was my turn to be labeled as a Jesus Freak. The bumper stickers, the clothes, carrying the Bible everywhere, saying “Praise the Lord” instead of those other inappropriate sayings. Accepting Jesus had made the transformation that was most necessary in my life. Being religious, trying to follow rules and regulations, just didn’t cut it, I needed something real and alive. The grace of God was and still is the only answer, try it, you’ll like it!
Today, Gene is home with the Lord, worshipping at the throne of our God. It was a privilege to know Gene and I am so thankful that he was obedient to the call. He was used by God to help me come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Back to that young lady I met. Claudia and I dated for 3 1/2 years. Highs and lows, good times and bad, ups and downs. Being a Christian didn’t remove all of the problems in this life. Matter of fact, it exposed many of the problems in this life! After we were married in 1981, the problems became magnified. Surprise, surprise! The enemies number one goal is to deceive, divide and then conquer. After two years of arguing and other silly things, the Lord finally got our attention and we went to Christian counseling.
The Lord decided to use some people in a non-denominational church and that is where we started to learn more about the Word of God and how to apply its principles to our lives. After six sessions of discipling (being taught the Word of God), we started to see how Jesus really could make the difference in our marriage. He became the central focus once again. We stopped looking at each other and started to just look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). We implemented memorizing and meditating upon the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-3). The Bible became very real to us (Ephesians 4:29-32). Our marriage was saved and we are so thankful for that.
It didn’t take long to realize that we needed to leave our religion. We found others who desired to fellowship with the Bible as the central focus. This caused quite a bit of strife in the extended family, yet it had to be done. The bottom line was, we needed more of Jesus. We landed at Calvary Chapel of Scottsdale, where we would fellowship for the next six years. After a short season, the Lord opened a ministry opportunity, to help teach couples Biblical principles in premarital classes. We jumped at the opportunity seeing that we had suffered quite a bit and were hoping to help others avoid the pitfalls of marriage (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). A few years later, we had a desire to help marital couples and the Lord answered that prayer. We thoroughly enjoyed being with couples and seeing the Lord do a work in their lives. We never expected that the Lord would eventually develop this area of our lives into a full-time ministry.
Leaving Scottsdale, we started attending Calvary Chapel Tri-City. Again, this was a vital step in our growth as Christians. God used Pastor John Higgins in a mighty way to take us deeper into God’s Word. Finding out more about God’s never ending grace, mercy, love, etc., took us deeper in our marriage as well as ministering to others. At this time, I still had a very good career with Motorola, but the Lord was starting to point us in another direction. An opportunity came to go into full-time ministry with Calvary and basically, it was an easy decision to make. Leaving a 12-year career and starting a new career with eternal benefits was a “no brainer” in my book. So in July of 1995, we had the honor and privilege of coming on staff and working alongside Pastor John. It has been a wonderful and unbelievable experience. Drugs may have wasted my mind, but God has redeemed the time! God has abundantly blessed us in so many ways, He is a wonderful God (Psalm 100:1-5). Looking back, we realize that God has met all of our needs over these years. We know He will continue to do so because of His promises in His Word. God is faithful! To God be the glory!
Over thirty-eight years of marriage, children, spouses, and plenty of grandchildren, the Lord is still the center and focus of our lives and marriage. Problems still need to be worked through, struggles are still a part of this life, yet there is hope in the ways of our Lord and Savoir. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Without the Holy Spirit filling and moving in our lives, we would never make it. It’s not about us, it’s all about Him!
In January of 2003, God called us to step out into another life transition. The Lord used us to help establish a church body in Queen Creek, Arizona. It is just another piece of the puzzle in the picture of our lives. We need continual prayer support and we would ask you to please pray that we would be obedient and listen attentively to His calling upon our lives. We know that the spiritual battle is always there, but God, through His Word, will always prevail (1 John 4:4, Philippians 1:6, 2:13, 4:13).
Claudia and I would like to take this opportunity to say that God has blessed us abundantly above all that we could ask or think here in the Queen Creek area. Through His continued leading and guiding over these past sixteen years, the church has seen blessing after blessing and realizes that God is doing something truly amazing. As we continue to allow the Lord to use us as a fellowship, we hope to reach out and impact the community even more for Jesus Christ. We know that if we stay on our knees and out of His way, God’s work will be completed in us and through us.
To God be the glory!!!
In the precious name of Jesus,
Jim and Claudia