Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Deputation Thoughts

The following are just a couple of thoughts that helped me when we were on deputation from 2009-2011. There are varying views on how to approach deputation, and there are good men who hold to all of these views. I certainly don't claim that my view is in any way superior to anyone else's; these are just some approaches that proved to be successful for our family.

1. It is not necessarily a bad thing to be in one church for the a.m. and p.m. services. I found that it gave me a better opportunity to know the people and spend time with the pastor. I enjoyed the Sundays when the pastor required me to be there for the whole day. Usually, I would teach Sunday school in the morning, and preach and present in the evening. Also, most of the time in these situations the pastor would take us out for lunch, and we would get more time to get to know him. I really enjoyed these types of meetings, because if this church is going to be a partner with us in ministry for decades to come, I would like to spend at least a little quality time with the pastor and the people. Sometimes when a missionary is only involved in one service, it seems like a "roll in, roll out" situation with no real connection. Not always, but sometimes. You just have to feel the situation out. There are times that it is obvious that the pastor only wants you in for one service. In those situations, you don't want to push yourself on him to stay for an additional service.

I would say that our meetings were broken down into three categories:

  • Regular meetings for only one service, either Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or Wednesday evening- about 38 percent of these churches partnered with us for financial support.
  • Regular meetings for both morning and evening services on a Sunday- about 50 percent of these churches partnered with us for financial support.
  • Missions conferences- about 81 percent of these churches partnered with us for financial support.

2. My preference was to stay in a missions conference from the first service until the final service, without missing a day in between, even if I was not scheduled to do anything. Why? First, it gave us an opportunity to really get to know the pastor and the people. I made good friendships all over the country with people that we met at missions conferences. I never felt that I was wasting my time by staying for the entire missions conference. I loved walking away from a church with the feeling that we had gained true partners in ministry, not just support money. Second, it gave my family a few days in one place where they could get some rest and get into a routine, at least for a few days. This was especially helpful to my wife, since we traveled with two children under the age of three. Third, when we were in a missions conference from beginning to end, we felt that we made some wonderful memories with the pastor, the people, and the other missionaries. We were in many conferences where a real spirit of camaraderie was developed amongst the missionary families. Fourth, it gave us an opportunity to serve and be an encouragement to the pastor and the people. Fifth, spending more time with people naturally endeared them to our hearts, which makes it easier for us to pray for them. Sixth, the more time we had with the people, the better opportunity we had to influence them for the cause of Christ. We were in some conferences where I believe God used us to really help some people take steps in the right direction.

These are just some thoughts.

But Also in Power

Paul, by the moving of the Holy Ghost, penned these words to the Thessalonian believers: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achai."

Incredible. These Thessalonian believers became what every pastor or Sunday school teacher wants his converts to become. Notice the progression: we see that they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; then they became followers (disciples) of Paul and of the Lord; then they became examples to the churches in Macedonia and in Achai of what a church should be. That is what we call fruit that remains!

But how did this happen? It certainly wasn't an accident. Another question: why don't we see this more often in our own ministries? I believe this passage in 1 Thessalonians 1 gives us some vital keys to having a vibrant, growing ministry.

1. The first key is that the gospel did not go to these Thessalonians in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost (v. 5). This is huge. How many times have I gone to the door while soul winning, said all the right things, had the perfect smile on my face, and yet walked away knowing that nothing was done to further the Gospel in that person's life. Now, I recognize that not everyone is ready to trust Christ as his Saviour. I also recognize that every person has a free will to choose whether or not to trust Christ, even when the Holy Spirit is working in that person's heart. But I have to admit that many times I have brought the Gospel in word only, and not in the power of the Holy Spirit. Little time was spent in prayer in the morning hours, begging and pleading with God for His power.

2. The second key is that these Thessalonians saw what manner of men Paul and Timothy were. (v. 5b) In other words, Paul and Timothy lived godly lives. They lived what they preached. And not only that, but they lived in such a way that the Thessalonians could see them. It is not enough just to live a godly life; we must live our lives in the plain view of other people, so that they can see how the Christian life is to be lived. It is directly related to one of the qualifications of the bishop. Can you guess what it is without reading ahead? Hint: it is found in verse 2 of 1 Timothy 3. The answer is "given to hospitality." This literally means, "fond of guests." I believe that the lives of Paul and Timothy were open books for the Thessalonians to read. I believe if Paul had an office, he would have had an open door policy for new believers to come and and ask questions about the Christian life. Of course, there must be a balance. We must not do the work of the ministry at the expense of our families, and I am not implying that. But we must be willing to tear down unnecessary walls of selfishness so that we can mentor new believers and model the Christian life. Again, Paul said, " ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." Paul modeled the Christian life so that the Thessalonian Christians could see it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Four-Month Stretch

We leave Saturday for a four-month long stretch of traveling without returning to Georgia. Here's where we're going:

Faith Baptist Church- Pikeville, TN- May 1-6 Missions Conference
Gospel Light Baptist Church- Rogers, AR- May 9- All Day
Calvary Baptist Church- Connersville, IN- May 12
Grace Baptist Church- Attica IN- May 23-26 Missions Conference
Bible Baptist Church- Jacksonville, AR- May 29-June 2 Camp Meeting
Landmark Baptist Church- Louisville, KY- June 6-11- Presenting Sunday, and staying for their Vacation Bible School for the rest of the week.
Bible Baptist Church- Norwich, NY- June 13, a.m. service
Bible Baptist Church- Sydney, NY- June 13, p.m. service
Emmanuel Baptist Church- Hooksett, NH- June 16-20 Missions Conference
Sequoia Baptist Church- Visalia, CA- June 21-25- Flying out for their teen camp
First Baptist Church- Caldwell, NJ- June 27- All Day
Community Baptist Church- Groton, CT- July 11-16- Presenting Sunday, and staying for their
Vacation Bible School for the rest of the week.
Community Baptist Church- Pascoag, RI- July 18
First Baptist Church- Monticello, IL- July 25 All Day
Southside Baptist Church- Effingham, IL- August 1- a.m. service
Greenland Baptist Church- Beecher City, IL- August 1- p.m. service
Maranatha Baptist Church- Rantoul, IL- August 8- All Day
Calvary Baptist Church- Urbana, IL- August 11
Calvary Baptist Church- Gays, IL- August 15- a.m. service
El Vista Baptist Church- Peoria, IL- August 15- p.m. service
First Baptist Church- Clinton, IL- August 18
Go home for a breather before the busy fall schedule- August 22

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Have you ever hit the "ignore" option on your cell phone when someone was trying to call you?

Webster defines "ignore" in this way: "to refuse to take notice of."

What are some reasons we choose to hit that "ignore" option on our phones? Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. We are simply too busy to take the call. Now, this does not mean that we dislike this person who is trying to call us. In fact, we will probably call this person back at our convenience. But basically what we are saying when we hit that "ignore" option is that this person is simply not important enough to interrupt our activity. Again, we may not necessarily have a dislike for this person who is trying to call; he is simply not important enough to cause us to stop what we are doing and take his call.

We may ignore his call, and five seconds later receive a call from someone who has great influence upon us, who is important enough to cause us to stop what we are doing and hear what he has to say.

2. This is a person we are trying to avoid. We simply do not want this person's input or influence. We have no intention of calling him back, because we do not want to speak with him-period.

I'm sure there are many more reasons to hit "ignore", but I believe these are the top two reasons.

It causes me to think about a verse in the Bible, where Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in..." This verse was written to a church, a body of believers, not to the unsaved. Jesus was saying, "Hey, remember me? Your Saviour. Your first love. I want to have access to your life. I want to be a welcomed guest in your home. I want to be the number one influence in your life. But I'm an outsider."

Here is reality. Jesus stands and knocks on the door of our hearts. We have a choice: will we open the door, or will we just ignore?

Have you ever hit "ignore" on Jesus? Is it because you are just too busy to respond to Him? There are other influences that you answer, influences that are truly a priority in your life. But when Jesus is trying to get your attention, you are not willing to stop what you are doing to answer. It's not that you dislike Him; you just don't hold Him in high enough esteem to allow Him to interrupt your schedule.

Or is it because you are trying to avoid Him? You know He is going to correct you for some sinful habits. You know He is going to make some changes. You know He is going to make you uncomfortable. You hear Him knocking, but you pretend that you're not home. You ignore Him.

I have ignored Him too many times, but I don't want to repeat that terrible mistake. I hate to be ignored, especially by someone whom I have helped. Christ has helped me more than any person. How could I ignore Him?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Be Good to Him

(Aunt Marty is pictured here, sitting down. My Aunt Linda is standing with her, wearing the red sweater.)

I always loved Aunt Marty very dearly, although my time with her was always limited. We always lived several hours apart, and only saw each other at family gatherings every couple of years. But she was a part of my life. She saw me grow from infancy to manhood, and every memory I have of her is a precious one.

I knew she was a Christian, and that she loved the Lord; but because I never had much time to spend with her, I never knew the depth of Godly wisdom that she possessed. But I saw a display of that wisdom on February 7 of this year. It was the last time I would ever see her in this world.

We were in her home town, Columbia, South Carolina, for a meeting on deputation. Had she not been in such poor health, she would have come to hear me preach that Sunday. She so badly wanted to see my children, Elisabeth and Judson. So, after church, we stopped by for a quick visit. She was struggling that day- it was everything she could do to sit up in her chair. But she was elated to see the children. After a few minutes, it became obvious that we needed to leave so she could rest. She kissed the children goodbye, and I helped my wife take them out and put them in their car seats.

"I'm gonna come back in and have a quick word of prayer with you, Aunt Marty," I said as I walked out of the room with one of the children in my arm.

My wife stayed in the van with the kids, and I walked back in the house, not knowing that this would be my last visit with Aunt Marty- and not knowing that she was about to say something that would impact my life.

As I entered the room, she was doing something I had never seen her do- she was crying. She knew her time on this earth was short. I sat beside her and prayed with her, holding her hand. After I said "amen", she gripped my hand as firmly as she could.

"You have such a beautiful family, Chad," she said.

"I know, Aunt Marty. God has been good to me."

The next four words she spoke will stay with me as long as I live.

"Be good to Him."

O, that I could live my life for the sole purpose of being good to Him! What power is in those four words! When I reflect on my short life, so many days have been spent doing the opposite of being good to Him. Those days are the darkest of my life. The best days have been those in which I have endeavored to put a smile on His face. O, that I would heed Aunt Marty's advice every moment of every day! May I live my life to that end.