Several folks have been asking what we are up to these days. I thought this short video would bring you up to date. If I can be of service to you feel free to give me a call.
I believe that you will enjoy this guest post by Dr. Jim Townsley. He has promoted church planting for years. He has also trained and helped church planters. The article below is timely and will be very helpful. Read it and pass it along to others.
If you have interest in or would like more information about church planting, click on the link at the end of his article
Lonnie Mattingly – John 15:8
Out of Weakness Made Strong
Pastor Jim Townsley – The Church Planting Helper – Help Line 860-620-7404
From time to time illness effects us all. A cold, the flu, or an injury is an unpleasant part of life that must be faced. However, it is my observation that unusual sicknesses and physical problems plague new church planters and their families. It seems Satan uses his greatest force against God’s best servants and illness is one of the means he uses to hinder the work of God.
Scripture contains examples of godly men and women afflicted by the devil himself. Satan brought a severe injury and illness to Job. Paul had his thorn in the flesh, which seemed to be a physical affliction. Timothy frequently faced illnesses and infirmities as Paul relates to us in his writings. It may be of no consolation that others in the Bible faced sickness, but these examples were given in Scripture to remind us that God can use us in spite of infirmities. When illness strikes you or your family recognize that God has a plan to use this trial for His glory. Consider some of the possible reasons God uses illnesses in our lives:
- Illness slows us down and causes us to reflect upon on God’s purpose in our ministry.
- Sickness humbles us and reminds us of our mortality and our need for God’s help.
- Physical trials give God an opportunity to show Himself strong and able to meet our needs.
- Weaknesses bring us to our knees in prayer.
- Injuries lead us to live a life of faith rather than sight.
I am certain there are many lessons that cannot be listed in this brief article, but they are special to you and your circumstances. How should you handle sickness and suffering when it comes? First of all, continue in the calling God has given you. When trials are severe there is a temptation to quit. Our own pain or the suffering of our family may cloud our ability to think clearly. This urge must be resisted no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. Satan will be pleased to know he has immobilized a Christian servant.
In Hebrews chapter eleven several men and women are recognized as having great faith. The amazing aspect of their is that they had faith during great trials and affliction. The greater the affliction and trial the more glory God receives. “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto
Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Zec. 4:6
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is history’s most widely read preacher. Spurgeon suffered ill health toward the end of his life, afflicted by a combination of rheumatism, gout and Bright’s disease. Today, more material is available by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author, living or dead. The famous missionary David Livingstone once asked him, “How do you manage to do two men’s work in a single day?”
Spurgeon replied, “You have forgotten that there are two of us and the one you see the least does the most.” Susannah, Spurgeon’s wife, became an invalid at age thirty-three and could seldom leave her bedchamber. Yet, she became the woman who found solace in suffering by ministering to the needs of others. Through her efforts poor preachers received books and materials free of charge to aid them in their preaching. When sickness comes the church planter is forced to re-evaluate his activities to accommodate the situation. These changes may not always fit into the mold for successful church planting. It may seem the church the new church will grow without his intense labor. But if he is doing all that he can physically do, then God is able to step in and do what he cannot do. After all isn’t God who gives the increase?
God does work all things for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Many a preacher can look back at life’s trials and say he would never have chosen this difficult path. However, recognizing the leading of God through it all and realizing how much profit he has received by it, he would never change the path of God’s leading.
With a Heart for God,
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Psalms 54 “Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O Lord; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.”
Sometimes when you get a lot of facts, details and ideas all at one time they will slip right by you. Like James said, you will look in the mirror of the Word of God and you will see yourself for what you are. You will see some changes that ought to me made, corrections, and help from the Word of God. Then, after you have read these things, unless you make a concentrated effort to remember and respond, you will forget what manner of man you saw as you were reading. It will all just evaporate from your memory and you will not remember at all what God revealed to you about yourself that needed improvement. Someone said, “The biggest room in the world is room for improvement.”
As you read God’s Word or set under teaching and preaching, it might be a good idea to jot down the things that come to your mind, areas where you need to make some changes in your life. I want what you read today to make a difference in your life tomorrow. I want you to be a victorious Christian. My key word is mentioned twice in Psalm 54:6. The word is “I”. It is a one-letter word. I want you to think with me about that little personal pronoun “I”. You see one of the problems in our society is we have been taught to be self-centered. The average person in America today lives for self. We examine everything in light of what effect does it have on me, how do I see this thing, how does it look to me. We have our share of “I” problems.
Satan had “I” problems, Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou had said in thine heart, I will ascent into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Why did Satan got kicked out of heaven? Why is it that the devil was chased from his place of prominence in which God had intended for him to serve (perhaps as one of the ark angels)? Five times in this passage the devil said, “I”. His whole attitude and existence centered around what he said he was going to do. He was all enamored with, caught up in, and infatuated by that first person pronoun “I”. He was looking out for number one.
A lot of people have “I” problems. I found an old anniversary picture of my wife and I. In that picture I do not have glasses on. I was in the transition period. That time when I only wore glasses to read and the rest of the time they stayed in my pocket. People do not want to admit when they start having eye problems. During that period of time I would carry my glasses in my shirt pocket, I was over helping clean the gym. We were getting ready for some event. We had these carpets to be laid on the floor. I put it down and said, “Man, these carpets need to be smoothed out.” I saw a lump in the middle of the carpet and so I went over and stomped on it trying to get it to go down. Then I said, “Where are my glasses?” They were under the carpet. It was a great day.
Another example of this happened when my parents took my brother John, his wife Sophie, Nancy and myself out for their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary supper. My brother was in his eye sight transition where I was about six years prior, so he was not wearing them regularly. We got to the restaurant and he had left his glasses at home. You should have seen him trying to read the menu! He borrowed mine to try to use them as a magnifying glass. We all have (eye) I problems of some kinds. The “I” problem I am talking about is a little play on words, but the truth of the matter is it has everything to do with how you look at things. It has everything to do with your perspective.
We all have “I” problems. We all have that tendency to see things from our own perspective and not from God’s perspective. That was the devil’s problem. He was looking at things the wrong way and it got him in a heap of trouble. He got kicked out of heaven. He has been an adversary of God, God’s work and program ever since. He is your enemy and my enemy. It all started with that one letter word “I”. I is the center of sin and pride. It would do us all well to look in the mirror of God’s Word and see ourselves as God sees us.
INVITATION – ALTAR CALL???I am copying and promoting a post from my friend Dr. James Rasbeary. Bro. Rasbeary pastors the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Wylie, Texas. He is a church planter and an articulate defender of the fundamentals of the faith. On his web site there are many helpful tools for those who would serve our Saviour.
The following article, “Why Have A Church Invitation?” is much needed. In my travels I have found that the public invitation in many churches is one of the least thought through times of the service. In fact at times I find it to be a weak afterthought.
As folks arrive at church, I believe that the invitation begins with the sign out front and the greeters on the parking lot. Every ministry should be working toward a positive response to the invitation given inviting folks to respond to the Gospel message.
Of course we must be Holy Spirit led and He must work in the lives of those we would see saved. At the same time, I believe we should be the cleanest, most prepared, believing, trained instruments we can be.
You can follow his good work at www.broraz.com. I also recommend you follow him on twitter @JamesRasbeary.
As stated in our last article, “Why Have A Sunday Night Service,” there are two types of traditions in the New Testament:
- Traditions that keep men from the truth of God’s Word. These traditions are to be avoided (Gal. 1:14; Matthew 15:3; etc).
- Traditions that keep men in the truth of God’s Word. These traditions are to be advanced (2 Thess 2:15; 3:6).
The problem is that we sometimes forget WHY some traditions were started in the first place, and what purpose they serve. Today, many short-sighted men are selling sound traditions at garage sale prices. Like Samson when he tossed aside the jawbone of the donkey, they think that these have served their purpose and are no longer needed (see Judges 15:14-19). Little do they realize that there is still a great deal of potential in some of those old “jawbones.” When thirsty Samson returned to that old castaway jawbone, he found life-sustaining water sent directly from God.
Many in our Baptist churches do not know why we do some things that we do. In recent days I have been more conscious of the need to EXPLAIN some of the why’s of Baptist church life. This is especially important for new members and new converts, many of whom have no church background (I can relate, having never stepped into a church until I was 15 years old).
A distinctive mark of traditional Baptist church services has been the “invitation” or “altar call.” The purpose of this invitational time was primarily to see the unsaved come to Christ. It is also the time in which many present themselves for baptism, church membership, or other public decisions, or simply to take a moment to pray. Many a prodigal has “hit the aisle” under Holy Ghost conviction to get things right with God. Many Baptist churches had “mourner’s benches” of some type or another where people would pray; most churches now use the platform steps as a place to kneel. The fact that many modern Baptists go to church to “worship God” without ever bowing their knees before Him publicly (Ps. 96:6) should give us pause for consideration (obvious health restrictions noted).
The enemies of evangelism have always mocked the “invitation” and continue to do so. Upon examination, such almost always have a perverted gospel in which people cannot really get saved simply and immediately in a church service. Upon further examination, you will find that such rarely, if ever, see anyone saved or baptized, and no wonder.
Allow me to give you ten thoughts to consider concerning church invitations:
- A church invitation is in line with our scriptural obligation to invite sinners to “Come.” Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The Holy Spirit does not say, “Wait.” He says to the sinner, “Come.” The church is told to say, “Come.” This is an invitation! If someone is sitting there thirsty for the water of life, let him “come!” If someone wants to be saved NOW, tell him to “Come… take the water of life freely.”
- A church invitation is in line with God’s invitation for sinners to comeNOW. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Are you sinful? Come NOW. Are your sins red like crimson? Come NOW. God’s invitation is urgent and immediate – something to take care of TODAY – 2 Corinthians 6:2 “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
- A church invitation impresses the lost with the urgency of salvation. James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Someone sitting in the church auditorium Sunday may not live to the next Sunday. At least give him an opportunity to get it settled before he leaves the building.
- It is obvious that some sort of invitation was given on Pentecost. Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These men wanted to get the issue settled then. Peter told them what to do, and to do it NOW. And they did. Acts 2:41 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” How did this happen? How did 3000 souls receive the word? How did these 3000 souls get baptized without “coming forward” to do so? There were tens of thousands of people present on Pentecost. Many heard Peter’s message; some separated from the crowds to make an IMMEDIATE DECISION. Is this really so different than what happens on a smaller scale in many Baptist churches all across America every Sunday, when the preacher preaches the gospel and some sinner comes forward, in essence saying, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
- A church invitation puts the lost person “on the spot” and demands an immediate decision. At the very least, an impression is made.
- A church invitation is not the only way that sinners can come to Christ, but it is a way. Many churches have gone wrong in thinking that the only time sinners can be saved is during a church service at the invitation time. This is entirely unscriptural. Others think that people can’t possibly get saved in a church service but must be dealt with for hours or even several days at home. This is also unscriptural. A church invitation is one more method we have of winning souls to Christ – but it is notthe only way. Many times I have seen people raise their hands, but were unwilling to come forward. In talking to them privately, I found that they earnestly wanted to be saved but were afraid. Others have come forward and been saved during the service. The important thing is that people have an opportunity – whether the invitation is given in church or outside of church.
- A church invitation allows us to deal with people while they are obviouslyunder Holy Spirit conviction. In other words, strike while the iron is hot.
- A church invitation must be worked carefully and properly. My father, at age 16, walked forward in a Baptist church during a revival and was taken immediately back and baptized, without ever showing him a verse of the Bible. He went another 30 years on a false belief that he was saved because they told him that he was, and he had been baptized. Thank God, he is saved now. Every church needs well-trained soul-winners as altar workers – there and ready to help people immediately when they come forward. Each person needs to be dealt with individually. I believe it is dangerous to have 1 person trying to deal with groups of people, especially children. It is not hard to understand salvation, but we must be careful to present it clearly and concisely.
- A church invitation is also an opportunity for Christians to respond immediately to the message preached.
- A church invitation has proven itself in most, if not all, of the great soul-winning Baptist churches for several generations. Whether some like it or not, people respond to them and get saved.
Many make fun of church invitations. They laugh at “every head bowed, every eye closed,” etc. Yet many of them were saved directly or indirectly through a church invitation. They or their parents or someone likely responded to an invitation at some point. I’ll take the old-fashioned, scriptural invitation. It’s not the only method we use to reach the lost, but it is one we use, and will continue to use.
Thank you for taking the time to read this somewhat lengthy article. Much more could be said. Please, if you are going to preach the gospel, give an invitation – whether you present the gospel to 1000 in an auditorium, or to 1 on their door step. Give people the opportunity to “come now.” God bless.
If you know anyone with students in grades 10 through 12 or graduates that might be interested in Bible College I think this would be a most exciting weekend. Shawnee Baptist College is one of fundamentalism’s best kept secret. The internship program with students working with different staff members each semester. Our graduates have a well rounded education academically and at the same time hands on experience in several ministries making them well rounded and prepared to do the work of Christ through His local church without creating problems. In reality most of our graduates are excellent at conflict resolution. They make great associates, teachers and pastors.