Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsTo God be the Glory!

To God be the Glory!

Divine Appointment — Do you believe God works in the daily affairs of His children? I am one who can testify that He certainly does. Way back in 1998, I was pastoring Fairview Baptist in Jonesboro, and we were holding a revival with Todd West as our evangelist.

One night after having dinner, Todd and I were walking through what was then Indian Mall, when we ran into Ed Stephenson, who was, at that time, the executive director of State Missions, and his wife, Sarah. We asked what had brought them up to our area and they responded that Don Seat, pastor of Macedonia Baptist in Jonesboro, had contacted them about the possibility of planting a church up in the Ash Flat, Horseshoe Bend area. I remember telling him that would be great as we spent much of the fall hunting in that area. After continuing on our way, Todd turned to me and said, “You ought to go start that mission.” I told him no way, I was born in Jonesboro and had no intentions of leaving. Besides, I was pastoring at the time.

Divine Sleeplessness — That night, I could not get that “you ought to go” out of my mind. Early the next morning, I told Vicki I was heading for the hills and did just that. After spending the day looking around, it was back home and another restless night. So, the next morning I was off to the hills again.

Long story short, Vicki and I set out for the communities of Hardy, Highland, Cherokee Village and Ash Flat to begin a new church plant — without the slightest idea of what we were getting ourselves into. In fact, after a couple of months, I was ready to give up and move back to Jonesboro.

Divine Conversation — Like Moses of old, I told the Lord I was sorry, but I could not plant a church because I did not know anyone, and I wept in defeat until He took control of the discussion. He explained to me that if the mission succeeded or failed it would not be my fault. He explained that, “If you plant the seed, I will take care of the increase.” That day, God lifted the second greatest burden I have experienced, superseded only by when my sins were forgiven. I have often shuddered to think just how close Highland Hills came to never existing.

Divine Results — This past Sunday, Jerry Jolly and I were invited back to Highland Hills as they celebrated their 19th anniversary. Walking in and seeing an auditorium nearly full brought the memories rushing back. I was truly humbled that God allowed me to have a part in such a wonderful work and had convinced me to stick it out.

Divine Outreach — In the early days of the church, Highland Hills extended an arm to Hershel Conley and The Bridge Baptist Church in Mountain Home. In turn, the Bridge has extended an arm to Johnny Shew and the Faith Chapel Mission in Flippin. 

All I can say is being in the center of God’s will is the safest and most purposeful place to be.

From Our Missionaries

Misión Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock: Juan Carlos Posadas writes, “We started a Bible study last week at Ramón and Rosa’s house. They had invited their co-workers and 14 people were together studying the Word, including Ramón, Rosa and Mireya (the hosts), Rocio and her two daughters, Cristina and her two teenage sons, Francis, Berenice and her little son.

At the end of the meeting, we invited them to the Friday night prayer meeting and most attended, except Ramon, Berenice and their son. Pray that these people will stay faithful in the Bible study and that more people can be added.

“On Friday, six men from the congregation went out to the Bible Expositors Retreat. We gathered about 50 people who came from Central Arkansas and North Mississippi. We reviewed the inductive Bible study method and heard preaching from second-generation Hispanic church planters from North Mississippi. It was a special blessing to hear from these brothers. The food was prepared by the sisters of the First Baptist Church of Caldwell. They are magnificent cooks and we thank God for their lives and their gift of service.

“In our Sunday meeting, we continued the series of studies based on I Peter. This time, the study was based on I Peter 2:4-10 with the theme of election.

“Thank you for praying for us. There are many families in the congregation under the siege of the enemy, and we need to strengthen our faith.”

Ebenezer, West Little Rock: Ruben Isturiz writes, “Glory to God! For the first time, I did not go alone to a training or men’s retreat. This time, I went with Luis Lopez and Geronimo Martinez. In the past, it was very difficult since the men of the church are usually working.

It was a blessing to go with them and see the thirst to learn more about Inductive Bible Study. I got to give part of the workshop, and it was a challenge to communicate methodology in a simple way.

“Ebenezer continues to pray for those who do not know about Christ. They also continue to pray for the different social contexts they frequent. Help us to to identify those around us with the purpose of praying for them and that God will give us opportunities to share the gospel. 

“At the Arkansas Baptist Missionary Theological Institute, we have already taught 12 hours of classes. Juan Carlos Posadas is teaching ‘Principles and Methods of Interpretation,’ and I am teaching ‘An Overview of the Old Testament.’ We have 11 students from four Hispanic congregations, and I can see the thirst of each student to go deeper into the Bible. That is the best reward I can have. Thank you for praying for Hispanic missionary work. To God be the glory.”

Faith Chapel, Flippin: Johnny Shew writes, “We had a very good week at Faith Chapel. Our numbers were a little down because we had several out sick, one knee replacement and some out traveling. But we had several return visitors and a good week, all in all. 

“We are still working to count the costs for a new building. I met with some contractors for bids, and that will continue next week. There is so much to do, and Bro. Paul is helping me make sure nothing is overlooked. It just takes time. It would be overwhelming if we were doing it out of our own strength, but we know the Lord is building His church here in Flippin. We are just His laborers, and we will follow His leading. I have prayed this prayer many times lately: ‘Lord, please lead and guide us in this building. We do not want to build a monument to ourselves; we want to build a house of prayer, a house of worship, a house to study Your Word, a house of Christian fellowship, a house to gather in for all of these things. But we know our mission is outside the walls we are building as we spread the gospel in this community. Please bless those efforts.’

“Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue because God is answering them.”

The Table, Springdale: Clinton Morris writes, “More fruit has been seen from our Monday Night Event. We had two guests show up at the church service from our Monday Night. It is so amazing to see God at work in these people. They are so excited and encouraged to invite people, because we never know when more people will say ‘yes.’ 

“DeAnna and I are going to the Recharge Oasis Conference this week. We will also be going to Temple Baptist Church of Jonesboro on Sunday to give an update of the plant. 

“Drew will be leading all aspects of The Table service this Sunday.”

Faith Journey, Benton: Bryan Clay writes, “I had the pleasure to be able to enjoy and work alongside the fine folks from The Master’s Builders for a few hours as they spent their final week at Celebration Baptist Church. They work tirelessly and share their devotion to God’s work through their skills to help build God’s kingdom, one church at a time.

I am looking forward to the time when they will join with Faith Journey in building the building that God has planned for our mission. 

“Throughout these last couple of weeks, God keeps putting Acts 2:42 on my heart. That verse speaks to us about studying the Scripture, devoting yourself to prayer, breaking bread together and fellowship. Please be praying for these things for Faith Journey as we continue to follow God’s direction for the mission. These are the things we need to have to build a solid foundation for our church.”

Misión Gracia Soberana (Sovereign Grace), NWA:Roberto Marcelletti writes, “On Sept. 24, we enjoyed our anniversary with a day of many memories, of celebration as a family and also of reflection on what marriage represents in the light of the Word of God says in Gen. 2:24: “Therefore the man will leave his father and mother, and will be united to his wife, and they will be one flesh.”

The man needed an ideal helper to be able to perform all the tasks that God had assigned him on earth, Eve was a gift from God to Adam, just as Patty is a gift to me and your wives are to each one of you. It is the gift by which we are complemented. Christian marriage is primarily about God. He designed it for His glory and for our good. The Bible says that ‘what we have received by grace and from grace we give.’ What have we received from grace? We have received mercy, kindness, patience, forgiveness and, of course, love. That is what we must give to our wives, who, like us, is in a struggle with their sin. God is using it every day to form the image of Christ in me.

“Week after week, God surprises us with what He is doing in the Sovereign Grace Mission in the NW Area. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I am dedicated to evangelization with the good news. A woman accepted Christ as her Savior and I was also able to pray for 15 people and am sending them text messages. 

“We also went to visit a family that had come to town and had nowhere to congregate. Next Monday, they will begin their discipleship. Friday, at our Bible study meeting, a new family arrived who joined the group and next Wednesday they will begin to disciple. 

“Sunday, I was invited by our mother church, Epic Church NWA, to present our church planting project. It was also the first time we invited the people we discipled, and the first time we were going to congregate together and 14 people arrived. It was wonderful to be all together worshiping, praising our Lord. We ended all together singing what we have already been able to start seeing — ‘I’m gonna see a victory.’

Pea Ridge: Jake McCandless writes, “We had our first Collective Worship Gathering on Sept. 25, and it was incredible. We had 27 come, including 4 first-time guests! It was an incredible night of worship led by our mother church, Epic Church NWA’s worship team.

Three of our connection group coaches shared. Three of the first-time guests were from a family we had been covering in prayer since beginning.

This gathering wouldn’t have been possible without so many coming alongside of us. We had sound equipment that had been given to us from Fellowship in Bella Vista, Temple in Rogers, Epic Church NWA in Springdale and That.Church in Cabot. Lighting was from That.Church in Cabot. Chairs were also given to us by Temple. Funding from the BMA of Arkansas and the BMA of the Ozarks allowed us to promote on Facebook, purchase signage, and other needs. We plan to keep these gatherings monthly and continue with our Connection Groups weekly.”