In My Steps is the heartfelt story of how Jesus Christ has lived His life within the context of author Bob Clapp’s life. It’s not so much what would Jesus do (WWJD) as it is what is Jesus doing (WIJD). From Clapp’s escape from death in his mother’s womb to the present day, Jesus has made miracles, signs, healings, wonders, and deliverance that can only be contributed to Him living in the author, walking in his steps. Jesus walked with the author through times of intense suffering, bondage to sin, and rejection by churches as well as through great times of revival, souls being saved, and lives being transformed at the touch of His presence. Living in obedience to Jesus and His love in spite of those who violently disagree has often been the order of Bob Clapp’s steps. Throughout all of his challenges, Jesus has been his protector and counselor. Without Him walking and living in His steps, the author would never have survived and moved forward into the much more abundant life He offers. Just as the Vine supplies life to the branch, so has Jesus proved faithful to bringing triumph out of tragedy, joy out of sorrow, peace out of pain, and good out of evil.
Agape Acres is 15 acres of woods, a small creek, foot trails through the woods, two houses, an old barn and a wealth of memories. Forty years ago it was a haven for the Jesus People or Christ Kids as they were called in the East Central Illinois area. Dozens and scores came from all over the area to celebrate the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of people today. The last Saturday of the month became a regular time for what we called “Holy Happenings”, a 9:00 a.m to a 9:00 p.m. experience of food, fun, fellowship and ministry all over the property, but especially in seven points of inspiration: our home, the great commission cross, the pavilion, the barn, the prayer cells, the baptistery and Andrew’s cross. Hundreds of kids (and adults) were saved, filled with the Spirit, baptized, and went out everywhere to spread the faith and love they had discovered in Jesus Christ. Eventually 50 Holy Happenings were experienced over a 7 year period during the early and mid-seventies. When and how did it begin? We were living in Tolono in the 60’s as God began to put the pieces together for this coming ministry. My wife’s dad lived just down the road from this piece of property. He was alone, having lost his wife just a few years before. Peggy wanted to live close to him during his latter years so she could help take care of him in his fading health. Although I was in sympathy with her, I did not want to return to my home town. I was willing to go to Russia, China, Africa, or anywhere besides my home town. “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town” was warning enough to make me highly reluctant to return. We had noticed these 15 acres of woods with a small cottage and thought it would be ideal in that it was close to her dad, but we had heard that many had tried to buy it for years and the owner was not the least bit interested in selling it. On a Memorial Day 1969 Peggy crossed paths with this owner in the cemetery and she told him: “If you ever want to sell that property we would like to have a chance at buying it.” He looked at her very surprised and said “That’s strange, for the first time in my life the thought came to me this morning that I should sell the property.” (Is that God’s timing or what?) Then he asked “What do want to do with it?” She said; “Well, we want to live close to my dad, and we would like to make it into a gathering place for Christians; some sort of campground.” “Well,” he said, “that’s interesting. I had made up my mind that if I did sell it, I would not sell it to some farmer who would cut down the woods and plow it up for planting. It has been used through the years for people and I want to see it continue to be used for people.” (It was a gathering place on the 4th of July around the turn of the century for a few years.) By December 7th of that year, Peggy’s birthday, we signed the papers to purchase the property and spent the next year preparing it for our move from a 7 room house into a 3 room house with no kitchen or bathroom. I was still reluctant to move, but God began impressing on me that He wanted to use us and the property for ministry. He assured me that if I would follow His leading I would see the Gospel go to all those places I wanted to go. The gospel would go to the whole world from this tiny 15 acres. I was certain that was going to happen before we ever moved onto the property. I was preaching in a small Baptist church in Villa Grove during that year and God was pouring out His Spirit and whispering in my spirit “Bob, this is just a beginning.” We made the trip here every week-end and proceeded to turn the little 3 room house into what would eventually become a 15 room house with two baths, a garage, shop and separate apartment over the garage. Every time I walked on the property I was drawn to intense and prevailing prayer. The theme of my prayer was “God, do it again today. Do what you did in the first century. Don’t let yourself be known as a God of antiquity, but a God at hand today.” Again and again, He assured me the Gospel would go into the entire world from this property. The prayers developed into prophecy and I was fully assured great times were coming. Although we had built a basement under a sizable addition and had that addition closed in, we were a long ways from having anything finished when we moved August 1st of 1970. We moved out of the 7 room house into 3 rooms. Furniture and boxes were stacked to the ceiling. Our oldest moved in with grandpa down the road and the two girls we managed to fit into bunk beds. Peggy had a bed on the couch and I made a pallet on the floor that first night. As I lay back from the day’s work to sleep, I broke out in laughter. When Peggy inquired what was wrong with me I replied: “For the first time in my life I know that I’m exactly where God wants me.”
Bob Clapp lives on fifteen acres of woods with his wife of over fifty-nine years with forty grandkids living nearby. He graduated from Lincoln Christian University in 2012 and does some speaking and preaching. He has written many devotionals for area newspapers.
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