I was just thinking about the many events Karen and I have been part of in recent months. We have been doing things like this together for almost 54 years, and that reminded me of yet another song’s lyrics. Bill Gaither wrote: “The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows, the more that I love Him more love He bestows, each day like Heaven, my heart overflows, the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.”
I alter those words to say, “The longer we serve Him the sweeter He grows.” Jesus did not die for just one person; He died for all the world. He doesn’t just bless one individual — He blesses people of all ages, of all colors and from all over the globe. Yet, those blessings are felt individually… while in the midst of many. These have been some of the occasions I have thought about:
• Central Baptist College c 70 Years. In 1952, what is now the BMA of Arkansas purchased the properties of a former women’s school in Conway. Today, that is the campus of Central Baptist College. Earlier this year, a celebration was held at CBC with many former and current students, as well as administration, faculty and staff attending. As Karen and I visited with old friends and met new ones, it struck us just how great the impact of CBC has been and continues to be. The longer we serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
• The BMA of Arkansas — 73 Years. Last week, messengers and guests assembled on the campus of CBC to conduct the business of the association and to worship together. It was the 73rd annual meeting of this group of churches. Our churches band together to carry out the Great Commission in ways no one church could do alone. For 73 years, the Lord has blessed the combined efforts through state missions, Christian education, ministry to youth and the publication ministry of the Baptist Trumpet.
Over the course of these 73 years, many have already received their heavenly promotions, but the consolidated efforts of the association continue. May it ever be so. The longer weserve Him, the sweeter He grows.
•Central Baptist Church, Prescott — 95 Years. This past Sunday, Karen and I traveled back to the church where we spent 22 years in ministry together. It was the church’s 95th anniversary. W.J. Burgess and 13 others organized the church in the courtroom of the Nevada County Courthouse on Sunday, Nov. 6, 1927. From those humble beginnings, the church has weathered the storms of every sort, but God has proved Himself faithful. Under the leadership of Roy Johnson and Max Sullivan, the Lord continues to bless that church 95 years later. The longer weserve Him, the sweeter He grows!
• The Call to Ministry — 58 Years. On Sept. 27, 1964, in a dormitory room of Williams Hall at Central Baptist College, I finally answered God’s call to the gospel ministry. Talk about a life-changing occasion! Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned what God has wrought in these past 58 years.
To say I have been greatly blessed would be a tremendous understatement. The Lord has taken me around the world where I have ministered in six different countries. He has allowed me to pastor four churches and to plant another and remain her pastor for 18 years. Through it all, I have faltered many times, but God has remained faithful. The longer Iserve Him, the sweeter He grows.
• My Ministry Partner — 54 Years. This coming Dec. 7, Karen and I will have been married 54 years. We were married in Antioch Baptist Church of Conway, with her brother, Jurl Mitchell, officiating.
When God said He was going to provide Adam with a suitable helper, it was because Adam was alone and could not do everything he needed alone. Karen has been more than suitable — she’s been superb! We have been blessed to serve the Lord together, and the people to whom and with whom we have ministered have blessed our lives. The longer weserve Him, the sweeter He grows!
Well, once again, that’s what I was just thinking. May God bless you all!