Joining Hearts and Hands In Mission with Christ

“He that wasteth his father or chaseth away his mother…bringeth reproach” (Proverbs 19:26)

We’ve reached that time of year again, that we try to really focus in on the family. We come to honor our mothers. We come to congratulate our graduates. We come to acknowledge our fathers. And did you know that predating an official Father’s day or Mother’s day, the second Sunday in June has long been recognized as Children’s Day. We come to celebrate our children.

Even before god gave us the church, he gave us family. Yet never in the course of history has the family been more at risk and less appreciated! So many times we fail to realize just how important the family is! Often is the time we neglect or even reject family.

Both my parents have gone on to glory now. I don’t have them physically with me any more. But if anything, that has caused me to appreciate them even more.

My dad was a self-employed carpenter with just a sixth grade education. Ye he developed ways of working math in his head that would astound you. He could figure fractions and cut out a set of cabinets faster than you could nail them togeher. He could look at a job and figure in his mind everything we would need in the way of materials.

With four children to raise he often worked 10, 12, sometimes even 18 hour days, many times 6 days a week. Yet on Sunday afternoons he still found time to take us on walks through the woods, or would load our bicycles in the back of the truck and take us up on the parkway to ride. He’d talk mom into packing us a picnic and off the whole family would go on a wondrous Sunday afternoon adventure. We’d discover cross rocks or devil’s snuff boxes or jack-in-the-pulpits or the chill as well as the thrill of sliding rock. He had an infectious smile, a song on his lips a wisdom that exceeds education, a love for life and family, and feet that were so ticklish you best never touch them!

Mom made it through the eleventh grade. (That was as far as high school went at the time.) She was the cook, the cleaner, the seamstress, the launderer, the bookkeeper, the nurse, the taxi, the grade mother, the lecturer, the organizer, the tearwiper, the “hug-you-til-it-hurt” caregiver, the somewhere guilt-ridden insecure loving mom who never knew her own mom because she had died giving her birth. I never recall a time that mom corrected you but what she also reminded you she loved you but wanted others to like you as well.

Early in my formative years my parents stopped going to church. Disillusioned by a church that had trouble getting along with each other, let alone a preacher, they simply dropped out for a number of years. But Christian songs were a real part of both mom’s and dad’s life. I have many pleasant memories of the whole family singing songs of faith around the piano. And though we had no official family devotional time, the Bible was still read and seen as a guide for our lives.

Over time Dad started taking us, and then going with us kids, to church. I remember how proud he was when he found out God had called me into the ministry. I remember as well how deep his faith became when he discovered he had cancer. I remember as well how my Mother in her early seventies recognized she had just gone through the motions when she had been baptized as a young girl and came back in commitment to Christ in her later years.

Now why am I telling you all these things? That proverb partially quoted above—found in the 26th verse of the 19th chapter that says: “He that wasteth his father and chaseth away his mother is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach.”

My parents were far from perfect, but they were good parents, who did the best they knew how with what they had! I am so glad I didn’t waste them or chase them away. I owe them a lot for being where I am today! I pray I’ll not cause them shame or bring them reproach. How about you?

Brother Doug

In Due Season We Shall Reap, If We Faint Not

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer – May 4, 2017

“…in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

He is risen? He is risen indeed! And with no disrespect whatsoever, I would add, “And so have many of you!” You have risen, not just from death to new life in Jesus Christ, but also to the occasion. You have stepped up to the plate and shared the good news of Jesus Christ. You have participated in “The Big Invite” and my, oh my, how it has had an impact on our country.

I want to share with you some of the reports I have been hearing as a result of participating in “The Insanity of God” video and/or “The Big Invite.”

Damascus had forty-three worshipers on Easter Sunday morning. Hallelujah! That’s just about twice their usual attendance.

Hill City had approximately 40 visitors on Easter morning bringing their total atendance to 150. Praise the Lord … that’s nearly three times what they averaged in attendance over the last year. And it gets even better, they had 2 saved and 1 re-dedication. Praise the LORD!

New Town gave over 275 invites and had 500 on Easter. But just a few weeks prior they had 700 attend a “Jordons” concert where 7 were saved, and a wild game supper where 7 others were saved! Bless HIS Holy name, God is active and alive in New Town!

Echota, that friendly church on the hill, that usually averages less than 75 on Sunday morning gave out 5000 invitations. That is correct—5000 invitations! In the process they saw 19 non-faith-based businesses give out invitations to their employees. They inspired two other churches to take Echota’s invitation and customize it to their churches. They had people witnessing who had never witnessed before. They added extra seats in the sanctuary in anticipation of increased attendance. (That’s planning in faith!) To make a long story short, they ended up with 200 in worship on Easter and saw 4 baptized. Bless the Lord, oh my soul!

New Zion had 11 visitors for Easter Sunrise service with a total of 41 there. Their “invitations sent” sheet disappeared and everybody had to go back and recall invitations they had given. Nonetheless, they know they sent out at least 75 invitations and had 18 responded by atending Easter Sunday morning. Praise God from who all blessings flow.

Meadowdale baptized 1 and had 3 saved on Easer Sunday morning. Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus our blessed Redeemer!

Belmont set a new record with 250 in early service. They baptized 12 in that service. They were aiming for a goal of 600 in overall worship attendance Easter Sunday morning and eded up with 718 and had 2 more saved in the simultaneous worship services at 11:00 am. They had 60 visitor cards filled-out Easter Sunday morning and made some kind of contact with each one by Monday morning! Halellujah to the Lamb!

Sugar Valley had one of the largest crowds in attendance that Mitch could ever recall. They counted 476 in Easter morning worship and baptized 3 this past Sunday. Glory to God in the highest!

Bethesda hit a new high with 178 attending the early service and then another 227 in morning worship, giving them a grand total of 435. Wesley got to baptize 10, the week after Easer. Glorious is thy Name, O Lord!

Salem viewed “the Insanity of God” video in March and found the altar full with people praying. They had approximately 15 visitors on Easter Sunday morning.

And that’s just what I have heard so far. I’ve been in contact with the state but they have not yet been able to compile the information enough to verify we have indeed invited a million on Easter. But if other places are like our churches here in Gordon County it is looking very promising.

Let me tell you dear ones, the gospel is America’s only hope. And God has left it to you and me to be sure it is shared. How I thank you for doing your part! I challenge you to encourage one another to continue to be about the Father’s business! May we all go out with His love in our hearts and His good news in our mouths!

Brother Doug

That I May Know Him and the Power of His Resurrection

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” (Philippians 3:10)

Well, Easter is almost upon us. Are you busy inviting unsaved, unchurched, neighbors, friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, maybe even total strangers to come to worship with you on Easter Sunday morning? Are you praying that they will not only be receptive to coming, but open to the Gospel message as well? Are you praying that across the State of Georgia thousands will come to know the Lord as their own personal Savior as a result of our BIG Invite efforts?

Have you seen The Insanity of God video yet? I don’t know about you, but I have been convicted and challenged to pray and witness better and more. It is not out of a sense of guilt or obligation but rather an appreciative act of worship to and for a resurrected Savior that I personally and intimately know. But it is also an awareness that I (and perhaps the vast majority of believers here in America) am not operating in the “power of the resurrection” like I, or He, would desire. I am not sure that I am really sharing in Christ’s sufferings, or am being conformed by His death as He desires!

In fact, I am not sure that “conformable” adequately conveys in our language what ought to be taking place in your life and mine. The word translated “conformable” in the passage cited above is actually a compound word in the Greek. It is “summorphoumenos”. “Sun” is the first word, which literally means “by companionship with”, “by association with”, “in process together with”. It means “to be shaped by”, “to be formed or transformed by”. The picture I get is of Christ reaching out from the cross, molding you and me and shaping you and me into His very image. It is an ongoing process where in companionship with Him and the fellowship or His sufferings and the power of His resurrection we are being shaped or formed unto His death.

In other words, we learn to die to self in order to live for Him. We are daily crucified with Christ. And everyday, by faith, we invite Him to live in us and through us. We don’t frustrate the grace of God trying to obtain a righteousness of our own, but forgetting our past failures, by faith and total dependence upon God, we press on to His high calling.

Paul was writing this message as he was sitting in prison in Rome. He was very uncertain of his own future, when he penned this letter; yet it is a compelling letter to a group of Christians who were especially close to him reminding them of how they needed to rejoice in their new-found Christianity irregardless of their surrounding circumstances.

Paul had just admonished these precious saints to find their righteousness through their faith in Jesus Christ, not in their own obedience to the Law. He indicated that he would willingly give up everything he has accomplished in the flesh, counting it all worthless just to be found in Christ—to know Him and His sufferings and the power of His resurrection.

The kind of knowing Paul was speaking of there is the most intimate kind of knowing. It is a personal experience kind of knowing. It is the kind of knowing we saw in the saints from Somalia, & Russia, & China as Nic Ripkin shared their story. It is a growing day-to-day intimacy.

Paul says in verse 11, that if there is any way at all that we are going to arrive at the resurrection of the dead, that is how it is going to have to be done. To live is Christ, to die is gain. It puts a whole new boldness and power to our witness. Daily dying to self, taking up our cross and following Christ. A dead man has nothing to fear or lose. We’ve nothing to lose but everything to gain in the resurrection. That will put a power in our witness that truly impacts others’ lives and draws them to Christ!

What a joy—to know Him and the power of His resurrection! He has risen! He has risen indeed! Can’t wait ’til Easter Sunday morning!

Doug

“For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 56:8)

I have said it for years, but I was intensely reminded of it when I viewed the Lifeway release of Nik Rikpen Ministries’ documentary video, The Insanity of God, “Were it not for the prayers of believers in other nations being lifted on our behalf, American Christians would not be here today!” I want to pick up on that thought and actually expand our Associational Annual meeting challenge or emphasis for the year to a three-fold challenge specifically focused on implementation between now and Easter!

Do you recall what our challenge from the annual meeting this year is? It is a challenge to pray! But to that challenge I’d like to add another. I want to challenge your church to view the documentary, The Insanity of God, some time during the month of March.

Now I want you to know up front that doing so will take some effort on each church’s part. I have already written Nik Ripken Ministries to find out what needs to be done to have a public viewing of the video. There will most probably be a licensing fee and a form of some sort indicating how many viewed the video. (I am guessing on all that right now.) But I do know, it will involve more than just getting a copy of the video and showing it at church.

Don’t let the term “documentary” turn you or others off. This is not some dry presentation of facts; this video will keep your attention! However it is approximately 90 minutes in length so that would entail perhaps a lengthier service than several of our churches would be accustomed. Yet it is also something the entire church needs to see. So you may need to plan a unique timing for a Sunday morning service, or really push your entire congregation to let them know they don’t want to miss this if you plan for a Sunday afternoon or evening. I would plan for a two hour service. It really needs to be more than just a movie presentation. It needs to be a worship service with an invitation. I’ll warn you ahead of time that you need to have some tissues available and be prepared to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. It is that powerful!

Then in light of what you see, I’d like to couple that challenge with yet another challenge that has been issued by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Though later in the spring than usual, Easter is still rapidly approaching and a challenge has been issued from the Georgia Baptist Mission Board for the more than 3000 churches in our state convention to invite a million people to church on Easter Sunday morning! Can you imagine one million people who don’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior all in church in Georgia on Easter Sunday morning, hearing perhaps for the first time in their lives about the resurrected Lord? If only one percent accepted Christ that day that would be ten thousand new believers in one day. That sends shivers down my spine. It almost sounds like something out of the book of Acts! In words that you’ll understand far better once you’ve seen the video, “Is Jesus worth it?”

Now just in case your church does not participate but you have read this article and are interested in participating yourself, I will have at least one video that can be checked out from our office.

Pray! Watch the video! Invite an unsaved friend, family member, or “pure-T” stranger (or maybe even several) to church on Easter. That’s my three-fold challenge for you between now and Easter. Pray! Place some fears to the side! Put your faith into practice! Start living in the Power of the Resurrected Christ!

Brother Doug

Come Over…and Help Us

“…Come over…and help us.”  (Acts 16:9)

Have you ever thought you wanted to do some particular something, but for some unexplainable reason or other things just never fell into place properly for it to happen? Have you ever had a specific plan in mind but then it became quite obvious that God had a different agenda planned? Learning to be sensitive to the Lord’s leadership is perhaps one of the hardest skills we learn as His children, yet it can be the most rewarding. Nothing is more fulfilling than to realize that you have worked in harmony with God to accomplish his divine design.

In the 16th chapter of Acts Paul shares of one such experience in his life. I really wonder if God had to let Paul flounder for a bit because of a poor attitude. Paul had proposed to Barnabas that they return to the churches they had helped to establish earlier. Barnabas was agreeable and thought that they ought to take John Mark with them. Paul didn’t like the way Mark had deserted them on their previous journey and refused. A sharp contention arose between the two so they ended up parting ways at the time.

Three lessons quickly come to my mind:

  1. Even dovoted Christians can make bad mistakes & hurt fellow believers.
  2. If God had to depend upon perfect people he’d never get anything done.
  3. Poor attitudes can hinder our hearing God well.

Paul and his new partner Silas, visited some of the churches. They took on Timothy as the replacement for Mark. Then they thought they would launch out into a new work. But they started toward Asia where Ephesus and Hierapolis would be, but God shut the door. Then the KJV says they “assayed” to go into Bithynia. I don’t know about you, but I don’t “assay” much that I’m aware of, so I had to look a little closer at the word. That word in Greek is “peirzao.” It means “to test through the idea of piercing.” So you might say a fair translation of “assaying” would be that they “took-a-stab-in-the-dark” at Bithynia. They weren’t really sure which way to turn. They had no clear directive from God. They were struggling to understand His will. But again, God closed the door.

I can just imagine by then, that Paul was beginning to do some heavy duty praying. He had never been more unsure of himself in all his life. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Paul didn’t (right then and there) fall on his knees to confess and ask God’s forgiveness for his part in the big blow-up with Barnabas. We do know that immediately after that, God gave a vision to Paul at night of a man of Macedonia asking him to come over and help them.

Paul turned toward Europe rather than toward Asia. Think for a minute. You and I might not be Christians today had Paul not heard from God at that precise moment!

Now I say all of that to say we are launching out into a new year. There are all kinds of opportunities to be used of Christ to build His kingdom, but you and I need to be sensitive to His directives.

As a result of SPLASH I am now getting numerous “Macedonian calls” throughout the year to “come over and help us.” Right now I have an eighty-six year old lady awaiting a handicap ramp. I have a couple needing some help with a roof. I have a hospitalized lady needing work done on her home before she can return.

Most recently, I have had a request from the Healing Hands Clinic for people who are willing to prep and paint and perhaps remove and replace carpet and/or other type flooring.

I need to know of individuals and church groups who might be willing to take on some of these opportunities as they arise. And of course with every one of those opportunities should come an opportunity to share the love of Christ and the gospel message.

Have you heard the Macedonian call today? If so, could you call and let me know. Then we’ll see if we can’t connect you with a mission inspired by the Lord.

Brother Doug

Associational News

New Town Baptist will be sponsoring a Women's Conference on Saturday, May 4, 2019, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm. Cost $10, lunch provided. Frances Worthington will be the speaker ...
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