Doug Oliphant expands territory with Everyday Cross

by: SUBMITTED - This small wooden cross is already making a great difference in the lives of many Christians.Doug Oliphant of Lake Oswego started Your Everyday Cross Ministries because his bookshelf collapsed.

Oliphant had previously been under the impression the bookshelf was as solid as a rock. As he was cleaning everything up, however, he noticed a book he had not been able to find, “The Prayer of Jabez.”

Since then coincidences have been piling up, and now Oliphant is confident his new ministry — a small wooden Christian cross worn around a neck — can help others the same way it has helped him: bolstering a personal commitment of faith.

“While I was picking everything up, there it was,” Oliphant said. “It has been like this all the way. Every step we take seems to be in sequence to events.”

“The prayer of Jabez” contains the lines: “Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory.”

Oliphant took this phrase very personally. After praying about the matter with his pastor, the Rev. Bob Sanders of Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, Oliphant said, “It awoke within me the desire to wear the cross.”

However, after viewing many unimpressive websites on the topic, Oliphant began to dismiss his idea. Then he thought of his friend Vince Tylman, a master wood craftsman. Tylman made a small, beautiful cross out of redwood, and Oliphant had a new ministry. He requested that Tylman make 30 more crosses for his prayer group. No charge was made for the crosses. The only requirement made for receiving a cross was the obligation to wear it every day.

Since then, Oliphant and Tylman have given away several hundred crosses, and in return they have heard many testimonies of how the little cross has affected lives, people telling of the comfort of just touching the cross or how it enabled them to pray for God’s help, support, love and forgiveness. One of them was a friend of Tylman who was suffering from cancer.

“When he put the cross around his neck there was almost something magical that happened,” Tylman said, relating how the man soon thereafter encountered a woman he knew who was close to death and how pleased she was to receive his cross.

Another story was about a man who wanted to give an Everyday Cross to his dying father, only he was afraid his father would not accept it. But not only did his father accept it, the cross also brought about a reconciliation between father and son, and the father was buried with the cross around his neck.

This growing number of stories was nice, but Oliphant was thinking much bigger: a ministry that would give crosses to thousands of Christians across the United States. People unacquainted with Oliphant might believe he is thinking way too big. Except he had already accomplished something quite similar with the Lake Oswego flower basket program. Oliphant’s idea to hang flower baskets in Lake Oswego took off in cities across the country.

“The Lord made this program possible because we had learned how to make a program national,” Oliphant said. “Our goal was to give it to any city that wanted it.

“We fully expect the Everyday Cross program to go national. We’re convinced we can do it with the Lord’s help.”

Oliphant has an excellent crew for the project. The Rev. Keith Dickerson, pastor of Hope Community Church, has some key contacts for spreading the program. Tylman has devised a cross-making kit and will offer his expertise in training. Several ministers have joined a committee because, as one pastor said, “It has struck a nerve.”

Oliphant wants to make something clear about Your Everyday Cross Ministries.

“It is not designed to be an evangelistic tool,” he said. “The cross is a reminder of what the Lord has done for us. You can put your hand on the cross and have an ongoing conversation with the Lord.”

For more information about the Your Everyday Cross, call Oliphant at 503-635-2880. Additionally, Oliphant has produced a DVD about the ministry.

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