Archive for the ‘Preaching Appointments’ category

On the Alabama-Georgia Line

August 22, 2017

Saturday, August 19, around 2 a.m., I was busy buying tickets to fly around Asia and back to America. After sunrise with a little intervening sleep, Martha Lynn and I pointed the Pacifica toward the east and drove out of Winona, Mississippi. We were headed for the outskirts of Piedmont, Alabama and to the home of Stan and Carrie Rogers. They were my innkeepers last year, too. His father and mother have kept Bonnie and me in their home for many years before I started staying with Stan and Carrie.

Being a big farming community, it was normal for residents to congregate on the lawn outside of an antique building for a home-style meal and local musical entertainment. Several members of the Lord’s church, themselves farmers, were present—and hence facilitated us being there. Martha got to drive a simulated cotton picker and milk an artificial cow! The festival was dubbed, “Field to Fork Dinner.”

Sunday morning, Martha and I assembled with the Highway Nine Church of Christ. During class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions,” and for worship, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” Some of the members and we dined at the local Chinese restaurant. One couple bought our lunch.

Sunday evening, we worshipped with the Piedmont Church of Christ. Here, too, Martha and I were well received. Martha has discovered that the brethren to whom I introduce her are like old, familiar friends.

Both churches not only encouraged us, but they helped us along financially in preparation for our upcoming trips to South America and to Asia. Parting from the latter congregation, we aimed for Winona and accelerated in that direction—over five hours away on a dark, Sunday night. We tired long before arriving back home in Mississippi, but we shared the task of driving and kept each other awake. We parked the car in our carport about 12:30 a.m. After showering the sweat of a southern, summer day away, we happily slumbered in our own bed at around 1:30 a.m.—completely tuckered out!

Looking ahead can be about as exhausting as looking behind ourselves. We are packing for Florida speaking appointments, our soon trip to Guyana, followed by our 8-week jaunt through three Asian nations. Whew!

August 18, 2017

Water Valley Church of Christ

Wednesday evening, August 16, 2017, Martha and I made our first visit to the Water Valley, Mississippi Church of Christ. We arrived an hour and a half early, and so we decided to drive a little further north to Oxford, Mississippi. The trouble with that was we were almost late for our appointment in Water Valley by the time we grabbed a bite to eat in Oxford. Rush hour and road construction slowed us down, too. Everything worked out with precision. We arrived back at the meetinghouse moments before the first members arrived.

It would be difficult to be better welcomed than we were. Though a small group, nevertheless they made up for it with unbridled enthusiasm. In a casual setting of the fellowship hall and sitting around tables, I acquainted them with our way of life in service to our Lord, stateside and abroad. It is always a pleasure to make new friends out of brethren we had not previously met. I look forward to a long relationship whereupon we build upon the rapport we began to establish.

Brethren encourage us, and we tend to encourage brethren as well by letting them know some of what others and we do to proclaim the Gospel especially in foreign lands. May we all travel, hand-in-hand, along the pilgrim pathway toward the pearly gates and streets of gold, persuading as many as possible to make the journey with us.

We are getting a little anxious as we make final preparations for overseas trips to South America and to Asia. Before that, I have speaking appointments over the next two Sundays at a total of four congregations in Alabama and Florida. We covet your prayers.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

August 7, 2017

Thursday evening, August 3, Martha and I hooked up the cargo trailer and returned to the World Evangelism Building just an eighth of a mile from our residence. We loaded just under 1,500 pounds of literature. We selected two different editions of The Voice of Truth International plus some reclaimed songbooks and a communion set.

Friday morning, after visiting the office briefly, Martha and I left Winona, Mississippi and headed for Nashville, Tennessee and an agent of Caribbean Shipping Service. Instead of taking I-55 northward to Memphis, Tennessee to connect with I-40, we took an alternative route—a little slower and more leisurely with less traffic. After unloading the trailer around 4:30 p.m., we headed to our wayside rest at Rebecca’s home in Collierville, Tennessee. Saturday, we made our way back to Winona.

Sunday, Martha and I drove the short distance from Winona to the outskirts of French Camp, Mississippi and the Huntsville Church of Christ. About half of the congregation, including its preacher, was away at family camp. Hence, I was afforded the opportunity to speak for the Bible class period (“World Evangelism Media & Missions”), morning worship (“Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ”) and evening worship (“Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ”).

Monday morning, Martha and I, along with the help of Paula Bates and Betty Choate, began processing the July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Tuesday, we will finish up and mail it. Squeezed in amidst preparing the newsletter were a few other necessary activities, including purchasing $1,500 of airline tickets. Martha and I will fly to Guyana, South America on September 2 for two weeks of teaching church leaders.

Monday evening, Betty Choate, Martha and I attended the Gospel meeting hosted by the Old Union Church of Christ. Brother Paul Franks spoke to a full house of brethren from several area congregations. We hope to return Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for the Gospel meeting.

We still need to finalize our itinerary for our fall mission trip to Myanmar or Burma, India and Singapore. We may possibly also visit Sri Lanka. Of course, we need to make sure that we are ready for teaching various lessons in South America and Asia. There is never enough time!

Fill-In for a Fill-In Preacher

August 3, 2017

Sunday, September 30, Martha and I made an early morning departure from Winona, Mississippi to assemble with the Quitman, Mississippi Church of Christ. We left town about 6 a.m. and arrived about 9 a.m.—three hours later and in time to set up equipment and display materials. As often is the case, we were the first ones there and had to wait for someone to arrive to unlock the building.

Brother Therman Hodge was the designated fill-in preacher in the absence of Quitman’s preacher, Stephen Higley. He was away, speaking for a congregation of the Lord’s church in Benton, Kentucky. However, it wasn’t convenient for brother Hodge to speak due to some matters to which he need to attend, and so, I happily agreed to fill-in for the fill-in preacher.

For class time, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During morning worship, I preached, “Imitating the Conviction of Jesus Christ,” whereas for the evening worship, I preached, “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.”

We were guests at the only restaurant in Quitman I was told—but a good one! That afternoon, we lazed and relaxed in the home of brother Austin and sister Robin Dickerson. We were well received as always is the case, and we met knew friends from among brethren we had not previously met.

After evening worship, Martha and I made the long, 3-hour ride back to Winona. Along our homeward path—a 4-lane derivation from our earlier, morning course—we banqueted at the McDonalds along US 45 on the outskirts of the metropolis of Macon, Mississippi.

Wednesday night, we met with the Coffeeville, Mississippi Church of Christ for the final day of this year’s Gospel meeting. Brother Joe Ruiz was the able speaker, and five souls responded.

Between Sunday and Wednesday, we busied ourselves with office work day and night, at home or in the office (e.g., The Voice of Truth International, etc.). Monday, we spent all day tending to yard work and car care. In addition, parts of Monday and Tuesday were spent painting and applying decals to Martha’s new toy—Pittsburgh Steelers decorated corn hole boards.

Thursday, I have devoted myself to corresponding with foreign brethren. I’m trying to line up missionary efforts in both South America and Asia among five countries. Tentatively, we will spend the first two weeks of September in Guyana, South America teaching college-level classes to church leaders. Then, Lord willing, we will travel to Asia for up to eight weeks, possibly laboring in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore and India. Dates are already set for three weeks of instruction in Myanmar and one week in India. Martha has been typing for The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online. This and that is sandwiched between everything else. It remains with me, “I long way to go and a short time to get there!” Do you know from what movie that is a quote? Oh, yes, our next Rushmore Newsletter arrived today from the printing company. As soon as possible, we need to get it processed and mailed.

This Week

July 27, 2017

Sunday morning, July 23, Martha and I assembled with the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, Mississippi. During the Bible class hour, I made my PowerPoint presentation about “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship, I preached about “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” In the evening, we visited the Elliott Church of Christ, also in Mississippi.

Wednesday, Martha and I drove nearly an hour from Winona, Mississippi to Kosciusko to meet with the South Huntington Church of Christ. We were well received and pleased to audit the Summer Series session that night. We were surprised to see brother Andy Dulaney, an elder of my overseeing congregation—the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi. We had seen him on Tuesday at his dental office when we were there for routine cleaning, but Wednesday, he was teaching the special class. Brother Andy spoke about “Shepherding,” a very edifying and unique biblical presentation. Also on Wednesday, I finally was able to publish to the Internet the July edition of Gospel Gazette Online. We continue to receive new, free subscription requests as well as comments from around the world; thousands of articles appear in the Archive in addition to numerous new articles added monthly.

Last week, Martha completed preparation of the next Rushmore Newsletter. This week, it went into production at a printing company in Minnesota; read it before you can hold it by going to it digitally on the Internet. A printing company in Michigan was contracted to reprint a postcard concerning the vast array of books, magazines and tracts that we produce at World Evangelism. Incidentally, The Voice of Truth International is printed currently in India. Other printers in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Missouri print titles for us from time to time.

Today was an office day for sure. Numerous differing activities occupied our hours (e.g., planning for the 2018 India Missions Conference, adding subscriptions for The Voice of Truth International, preliminary preparation for the next issue of The Voice of Truth International and many small tasks). A lot of little stuff behind the scenes transpires every day that backs up and leads to the more visible aspect of our ministry. There is nothing we would rather do with my life, stateside and abroad, than serve our Lord in every way we can. Many Christians and congregations make it possible for us to do what we do. Thank you.

Courtland Church of Christ

July 10, 2017

Thursday and Friday, July 6-7, the annual World Evangelism Team Meeting convened in our office/warehouse facility in Winona, Mississippi. Brethren from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida assembled for two days of fellowship, good food and sharing updates as well as future plans in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I devoted Saturday largely to working on volume 93 of The Voice of Truth International. Martha and I also affixed some of her family photos to walls in two rooms. Every adjustment to our living quarters involves changing or moving something from the way things were before when each of us was happily married to our former partners, who sadly have passed. It was raining outside, and it was drizzling a little bit inside, too.

Sunday, it was our good pleasure to meet for Bible class and worship with the Courtland, Mississippi Church of Christ. I presented for class, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” During worship periods, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” This small congregation makes a big impact on our missionary endeavors with ample encouragement and generous financial participation with us. In addition, we were guests of their monthly fellowship meal. Last week, we also enjoyed a fellowship meal with brethren in Nile, Mississippi. Brethren can cook, and they are not afraid to do so!

This evening late into the night, I managed to catch up on some of my recordkeeping of monetary gifts, sermon and lesson register, and pending appointments to confirm. While I was attending to all of that, Martha and Rebecca were baking and icing cupcakes—white ones with vanilla topping and chocolate ones with, yes, chocolate frosting. I played Nehemiah the food taster and sampled them. Somebody had to do it! In addition, Martha made some more peanut butter as well as chocolate fudge. All of this was in preparation for a youth group coming to work with us in the World Evangelism Building on Monday and Tuesday.

Aside from that, I need to complete the packet of Martha’s application for a visa for India. I need to make numerous phone calls tomorrow throughout the day and evening to make speaking appointments for the next couple of months. There is never a shortage of things to do, and there is a long list of tasks awaiting their turn for much needed attention. Alas, we have job security as long as we live—that is, something worthwhile to do irrespective of whether it is monetarily feasible. You and I—all we who are Christians—serve our Master, Jesus!

Moving Right Along

July 2, 2017

Mahdia, Guyana, South America 2017

Wednesday evening, May 28, Rebecca, Martha and I assembled with the North Lexington, Kentucky Church of Christ. For many years, this congregation has been an encourager and a participant with me in my foreign missions. This was my first visit to the congregation since my dear Bonnie passed away in 2015 and I subsequently remarried her best friend, Martha, on New Year’s Day in 2017. As always, we were wonderfully received by those who are dear friends as well as Christian brethren and helpers in our evangelistic labors.

Thursday was a very long travel day back to Winona, Mississippi. Rebecca said the poor ole van sighed relief after we parked the trailer at the World Evangelism Building. Friday was divided between unloading the trailer both at the warehouse and at the house, as well as spiriting Martha away to a follow-up eye appointment in Grenada, Mississippi. Saturday, we reloaded the car for our next outing and put away some of the debris from unloading the trailer at the house.

Early Sunday morning, we departed Winona for the remnant of Nile, Mississippi. All that remains of the village is the meetinghouse of the Nile Church of Christ. During Bible class, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” For worship on either side of a fellowship meal at the church house, I preached, “Imitating the Conviction of Jesus Christ” and “Imitating the Focus of Jesus Christ.” I had not been to this congregation before, but several of the members knew me from my Internet online presence, etc. Someone said I looked just like my picture. Interestingly, our recent visit to the Belington, West Virginia Church of Christ resonated with Christians at the Nile church. Once again it has proven true that Christians that I have not met previously are merely friends with whom only now I am acquainted.

We got to sleep in our own bed last night and tonight, too. That hasn’t happened much since we were wed January 1 between stateside and overseas travels. Six weeks we were abroad in Guyana, South America, and we just returned from 31 days on the road. Other appointments have kept us away from home off and on the balance of the first six months of 2017. Is it any wonder that Bonnie had and now Martha has as the ringtone for their phones, “On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson?