It Could Have Been Much Worse
Lam 3:22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
We would never minimize the vexations of soul which 2020 brought us. Daily vexation seems to me to adequately describe what we experienced on many different fronts: spiritually, politically, emotionally, and physically. Our hands were shackled from mid-march to year’s end, preventing us from doing what we love to do: reaching inmates and officers in our prisons and county jails. Our God-given liberties are under assault with a vengeance, and that is vexing. The 2020 election is under assault, and that is vexing. Fake news is rampant in America, and that is vexing. Linda and I both came down with Covid-19 the day after Thanksgiving, and that is vexing.
Despite all of the bad news in 2020, we still were personally involved in the salvation of 83 precious souls in 2020, and that is 83 black eyes to old Smutty-face, the devil, even Lucifer. Beyond that, I would add all of the inmates and officers who heard the Gospel, and have not, as yet, received eternal life. Breaking fallow ground, planting, and watering are all victories in the eyes of the Lord. We cannot lose in the soul winning enterprise! And despite all of the fake news, the Truth is still being heralded, God is still in control of everything, we still have eternal life, and brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we can worship and fellowship. We have a Bible which cannot be destroyed or even dented or scratched. And we have both recovered from Covid; for us, it was little more than a bad cold which lasted for a week or so. I still haven’t recovered taste or smell, and Linda had a nasty sinus problem. It left both of us with little “get up and go,” but like I said – it could have been much worse. We are much better now.
And, praise the Lord! We have a three day revival meeting scheduled for January 20-22, 2021, in Sneads, FL, at ACI West. Please do pray that this meeting will proceed unhindered, and that Jesus will be exalted to His proper position by the preaching and witnessing.
We love and respect you all very much for caring for us during these difficult times, these times when we are hindered to conduct prison revival meetings. We look forward to the prisons opening up to us in 2021, when we can once again bring forth fruit to abound to your account. Have a wonderful New Year!
In Exchange for the Soul
Mark 8:36-37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus, the master Teacher, teaches us the value of a man’s soul. If a man could accumulate all the riches of the world, but lose his soul in the process, he is profitless -- a beggar. Our Teacher then shows that no man can give anything, though he owned everything, in exchange for his soul. But what no man could do, Jesus did! He successfully gave His life in exchange for every man’s soul. Of course, the exchange is effectual only to those who believe Him for it. Have you done that (John 3:16)?
On Saturday, the 21st, Richard P. and I met in McCaysville, GA. We shared the blessing of passing out tracts, and street preaching for a couple of hours as tourists came there on the Blue Ridge Railway. There also was an elderly couple from Richard’s church who passed out tracts as well. We didn’t see anyone express interest in the “exchange“, and a few folks expressed their displeasure toward us for even offering it to them. This is to be expected, because sinners do what sinners do! It was a pleasure helping out Richard, as he wasn’t fully recovered from his chemo treatment. He is to be greatly commended for even showing up for ministry in such a state.
Bro. Richard P. and I held two “inside the fence” services at the county jail in Murphy, NC, following the street preaching in McCaysville. These services were held outside, but we were on the same side of the fence with the inmates. I preached both services. The first one was with the ladies. At the invitation, all 12 ladies testified by show of hands that they had already received the “exchange.” However, during the invitation with the men, three of the 15 hopefully trusted the Lord Jesus as the exchange for their souls. The Lord Jesus deserves this, and He gets all the glory.
Also, Rock of Ages missionary Eric P. and I were blessed to preach at Chaplain Chuck C’s “over the fence” meeting in Childersburg, AL. This is a work camp prison with approximately 300 men. All of the men who showed up were “regulars,” and all of them process to be saved. But it was great to preach to them, challenging them to be witnesses on the inside of the camp where we cannot go. Chaplain Chuck C. is also a ROA missionary.
Acts 11:1-4 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
The setting here was a dispute between Peter and the Hebrew saints, who were upset that Peter had mixed with the Gentiles (v. 3). They ignored the most important event – the Gentiles had received the word of God! Let’s focus on the major things and minimize the lesser things! At any rate, Peter gave a report to the saints when he returned from his missions trip. I would like to do likewise for our missions trip this month to Michigan and Ohio.
Harvest Baptist Church of Grass Lake, MI, a supporting church, hosted Linda and me for a Sunday through Wednesday missions conference with two other missionary families. I was blessed to teach Sunday School, and preach the Sunday evening sermon. During the Tuesday night service, I was allowed to give a report of our ministry. We were received well by the saints, and thoroughly blessed with their fellowship. The two foreign missionary families didn’t know each other before the conference, but through fellowship during the week, they found out they were both going to be in the same missions conference the following week in New York State. What are the chances of that happening! We were glad to spend a couple of days with our son, Jerry, and his wife. We also got to spoil our great grand-daughter, Sophia!
On the following Sunday morning, I presented our work, and preached at Heritage Baptist Church, in Toledo, OH. This was our first time there, and following the invitation, they took us on for monthly support right there in the service. That was so unexpected! Then we were off to First Baptist Church of Ashland, OH. They had me in for the Sunday night service of their missions emphasis month. The message was received well, and several commented that they had a clearer understanding of faith promise missions afterward. One dear lady indicated that she was going to double her commitment this year, to the glory of God. This, too, is a supporting church, and it was great to spend some time with their new pastor, Bro. Matt Stollings. Our last meeting of the trip was back in Ionia, MI, with Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church for their midweek service. Once again, I had liberty to preach, and I believe the folks received us well. The following morning, we left for Georgia, and made it home the following day.
At Long Last
Isa 40:29-31 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I found v. 31 to be experientially true in my life this month. Since mid-March I have been “… waiting upon the LORD …” to give me a revival meeting among the imprisoned. He moved powerfully upon born-again Sheriff Mixon, of Haralson County, Georgia, to allow my colleague Richard P., and me to preach a one night only, outdoor service at the local jail. Security was high that night; the sheriff called in seven additional officers, because the whole jail population was invited to come. 108 inmates, male and female, signed up to come, and 90 showed up; the largest crowd I’ve ever preached to there! This was the first time I’ve ever held a preaching service at a jail or prison where male and female inmates were allowed to attend! The ladies were all seated together separate from the men. They had a shortage of chairs, so many inmates were supplied with army blankets to sit on.
Much prayer went into this meeting, and I feel it was a tremendous success. I preached the first message. The Spirit of God gave me great liberty to preach. Richard P. then brought a convicting message, gave the invitation, with 19 men and women responding in repentance and faith to trust Jesus as Savior. This harvest of souls was all-the-more remarkable because of all the officers who were there; a dozen officers, Sheriff Mixon, and Captain Kirby were in attendance. Usually when officers are standing around in a service, the inmates are reluctant to make a public profession of faith, for fear of persecution. So I thank you for praying for this meeting. It’s unclear if we will be allowed another one, but I can tell you that the sheriff was very pleased with the results. Please pray for those who made profession of faith, that they will act in accordance with their new birth.
I was blessed to preach one night this month at Atlanta Baptist Rescue Mission with our church. There were around 30 men in attendance, and three men came forward during the invitation, and called upon Christ in repentance and faith for salvation. Only God can do these things!
Prison Doors Opening?
Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.
I would ask you dear folks to pray for us ROA missionaries, “… that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ …”. We have no need to wonder what such mystery is, for God has revealed it to us: Col 1:27 “To whom God would make known … this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Christ living in us is a great mystery to the lost, but He living in us is the very enabling to we need to effectively speak forth the mystery. We long for prison doors to open once again that we might speak about Christ who died for our sins, rose from the grave and took up residence in us. This is the mystery of Christ which MUST be proclaimed.
God has opened one door of utterance: we have a one-night, open-air revival service on Thursday, September 10th, at Haralson County Jail, in Bremen, GA. This will be our first revival meeting with inmates since mid-March this year! I’m really excited about it! We also have our annual South Carolina Blitz coming up the first week of October. I’ve been told that the final decision by South Carolina prison officials will be made the first week of September. Please do pray for this great door to open by God’s grace. We normally minister in 10 different prisons with around 100 ROA missionaries and volunteers. What an opportunity to “… speak the mystery of Christ …”!
And please pray for our neighbor. On Sunday afternoon, He told me he won’t believe unless he can see the Lord. I explained to him that God’s way was not to show Himself like he wished for, but rather we must live by faith. I didn’t think of 2 Cor. 5:7 (“For we walk by faith, not by sight”) until after I left. As a Godsend, that Sunday night, our pastor used Psalm 27:13 in his sermon. It says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” God says we must believe to see, not see to believe. I’ll bring that verse up to Jerry the next time I see him.
I was blessed to preach at the Atlanta Baptist Rescue Mission on Thursday night, August 20th. The Lord gave liberty, touched the hearts of three men, who came forward at the invitation to repent and trust Christ as Savior. It’s great to know that the Spirit of God is still using me, bless His holy name.
South Carolina Blitz
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
I need to continually remind myself that for all of the chaos the pandemic has inflicted upon America, it has made folks more open to receive a witness about things eternal. Surely, lost people are concerned about meeting God, even if most of them would not say it out loud.
I have enjoyed passing out tracts to passersby. Occasionally, we’ve had extended witness with folks at the gas stations, restaurants, and with neighbors. I’ve gotten to meet many of them on my daily walks through the subdivision. Almost always, I get to direct the conversation to focus on Christ Jesus, and He deserves that. We live in hope that these confrontations will yield fruit in the Lord’s Vineyard. My dear Linda has had several good witnesses with our neighbor across the street. She invited her to our annual revival this month, and she agreed to come! Sadly, she reneged. She will continue to encourage her to be saved. Please do pray for Faye.
Our church held its annual Jubilee revival this month, beginning on Sunday, July 19, and ending on Friday, July 24th. On Monday through Friday, we had morning services, with preachers being called from the floor to preach. I was blessed to kick off the Wednesday morning session. It was the first time I had preached in quite some time, and I had wonderful liberty to do so. Many folks said afterward that they genuinely received help from the message, which is always nice to hear.
Our six-day annual Rock of Ages national conference this year was to be held at Tabernacle Baptist Church, in Greenville, SC, but the pandemic prevented that from happening. Instead, we had a two-day conference at Bible Baptist Church, in Rossville, GA. Attendance had to be somewhat limited, and we held only evening services, but it was great to get together with our colleagues. We had inspiring messages from Bro. Joe Arthur, Bro. Scott Caudill, and Bro. Ricky Gravley.
The two prison revivals scheduled for the first week in August in Florida were canceled due to a spike in the number of Coronavirus cases there. However, we received word that the South Caroline blitz is still scheduled for the first week in October. This is great news. If it happens, we will be in 8-10 prisons, with around 100 missionaries and volunteers! Please do make this a matter of prayer! We love you, and praise God for your faithfulness to our ministry. Be blessed, and keep looking up!
All things work together for good
Prov 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Without controversy, God has allowed the coronavirus. He has allowed it to be modified by men. He has allowed it to escape (to give the benefit of the doubt) from a poorly run, highly dangerous bioweapons lab in China. God has allowed it to spread worldwide taking the lives of over 500,00 people. It has become political weapon in the hands of evil men. It is the first pandemic on record where our best medical minds have mandated that we quarantine the healthy, thus crippling our economy. All of this God has allowed for His purposes. No one knows why, in my mind. I know, however, that God never makes a mistake, and nothing ever catches Him off guard. I wish I could say I know why God has allowed our prison work to be come to a virtual standstill. All I know is that Jesus had it right when He enjoined us to pray “… thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” One day we will know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12), but until then we “… see through a glass darkly” (same verse). In the meantime, let us continue to walk with God, and love Him with all heart and soul. Psalm 119:128 expresses my attitude toward our God: “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”
Bro. Chuck C., one of our missionaries, had a great idea recently. He contacted a prison in Alabama, and negotiated an “at-the-fence” outdoor preaching service to be held shortly. The Rock of Ages team will be on the outside of the fence with the inmates sitting on the ground on the inside.
I decided to try that approach with Captain K. at a county jail in our area. At this point, his only negative comment was that if he allowed us to do that, he’d have to allow other groups to do the same. I asked that he talk it over with the administration, and give it due consideration. He promised that he would call me with their decision. Well, he didn’t say, “yes,” but he didn’t say, “no” either! Please do pray for a good outcome to the matter! We also have a good possibility of two three-day back-to-back prison revival meetings in Sneads, Florida, in the first week of August this year. This would be our first full-scale prison revival since mid-March! Please keep these meetings in your prayers as well.
We love you, and praise God for your faithfulness to our ministry. Be blessed, and keep looking up!
It’s the LORD’s
1Cor 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
By speaking, the Word created our world. Isaiah 44:24 says that Jehovah God stretched out the heavens and the earth all by Himself (Compare to John 1:3, Col. 1:16). Therefore, the earth belongs solely to Him. He likewise made everything on, in and above the earth. By ownership, God has full right to use anything and everything to suit His purposes. For example, God owned Assyria. In Isaiah 7:20, God calls the Assyrians His hired razor, with which He shaved (brought into judgment) His people. He likewise is allowing his little virus for His purposes. I’m quick to say that such purposes are not known to us. Suffice to say, however, He will be glorified in it all at the appropriate time. I rest in that truth by faith. As collateral damage, His evangelistic work has suffered greatly during this virus pandemic, and He has allowed it to be so. I don’t like that it is so, but God knows what He is doing, and I try never to speak against God! But, we still have the possibility of a 4 day prison revival in Florida, beginning on June 16th. Please do pray that we will be able to preach the Gospel to the ladies incarcerated there.
I’ve little to report by way of prison work, and I’ll not fill this letter with fluff. But please do pray for little Harper C., who is very seriously ill. She is just under three years of age. Also, please pray for Richard P., Howard S., and Johnny I.. Linda and I love you all, and we look forward to once again representing you in the prisons of America.
Ps 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
Most Americans are growing weary of waiting. Waiting, that is, for the virus to run its course. Waiting to get back to work, play, interaction with friends and family. Linda and I are certainly tired of waiting to get back to ministering to the incarcerated. Overwhelmingly, the word “wait” in the Old Testament lends itself to an illustration of an electrician binding two wires together by twisting action. Thus, two wires become one in effect, whereby the non-working wire becomes live by its connection to the live wire. That is the idea of “wait.” By faith, the believer, totally powerless, binds himself by twisting unto His God.
In this case, however, the word “wait” is taken as its normal meaning of patiently being “on hold.” We are waiting for our fishing holes to re-open so that we can practice our craft (Jesus has made us “fishers of men). There can be little doubt that God has allowed this virus to happen for reasons known only to Him. Now we set our eyes on God like the servant sets his eyes on his master; like the maiden sets her eyes upon her mistress. So we look for God’s mercy. Let us continue to ask God for mercy from the devastating effects that this virus has wrought upon our country.
Linda and I have hope of a five-day revival meeting at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, FL, next month. We submitted our paperwork. The prison has not forbid us to come. Now we wait. Our eyes are on the warden; our eyes are on the LORD our God. We look for mercy. Please pray for us in this matter.
I would also ask you to pray for two of our Rock of Ages colleagues that we work with in Georgia. Richard P. and Howard S. both have struggled with cancer in days past. It now seems as though it may have surfaced again with them. Let us pray together that God will have mercy. Let us wait for it, and bless Him when it comes.
We continue to pray and praise God for your faithful, loving care toward us. We pray for you regularly. We praise God for you helping sustain us during thick and thin times. We wait for the day that we can find fruit that will abound to your account. Keep waiting!
Isa 26:2-3 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
In these troublesome times, many are crying out, “Open ye the gates”! It seems like there are so many closed gates now, and it happened in such a short time! A tiny virus has changed life dramatically all over the world. We daily walked through open gates without a thought, and now many of them are closed. Closed churches, closed stores have become the norm. The headline, “Please stay,” is not a plea for us to abide by shelter-in-place regulations (although that is not a bad idea), but a plea to keep your mind stayed on God. This is especially needful during the domination of Covid-19. If we can stay our minds on the God who is so much bigger than a virus, then He will keep us in perfect peace. Will we trust Him?
Our Rock of Ages team was in revival meetings at North West Florida Reception Center, with one precious soul trusting Christ as Savior. 158 men attended services, and many inmates thanked us for coming.
Following NWFRC, we held revival services at Gadsden Re-Entry, a prison designed to prepare short-term inmates for release from incarceration. This was the first time that Rock of Ages was able to minister there. The chaplain was well pleased with the meetings, and gave us an open door to return any time! A total of 91 men attended the services, and three men were hopefully saved.
It was at Gadsden that things began to heat up with the virus situation. On the second day of the meetings, as we were checking in, the officer asked if any of us had flu-like symptoms or a fever. We knew then that trouble would likely be coming in days ahead. When I returned home on Saturday, March 14th, went to church at our home church the next day, and began preparing to travel to Connecticut to see our great-grandchild, Jacob, and then to head off to Vermont for a meeting at Lighthouse Baptist Church, in Hinesburg, VT. On Sunday night, we decided that it would not be wise to make the trip due to all the changes that were beginning to happen due to the spread of the virus. Please do pray for revival in America. We need God desperately!
Our God Makes No Mistakes
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rock of Ages held its annual Alabama Blitz for four days beginning on February 24th. There were 105 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers who held visitation sessions and revival meetings in 11 prisons and jails in the Montgomery, Alabama area. Each morning, from 9am ‘til noon, we met at Grace Baptist Church, in Wetumpka, for prayer, preaching, and testimonies. After our church-supplied lunches (very good!) we made our way to the various institutions for “fishing.” I’m very happy to report that there were 2158 inmates that attended our preaching services, with 209 men and women making profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you’d pray about helping in this great campaign next year. Give me a call, and I can put you in contact with someone who can help you prepare for it. We had folks from as far away as Ohio and New Hampshire helping us!
On Tuesday morning, Linda and I found out we had been “red flagged” for entry into Tutwiler Women’s Prison, where we were supposed to minister all week. To this day, no one seems to know why it happened, for we have never had any issues before at any prison. Three others were also “red flagged.” Our only option at that point was to minister all week at Elmore County Jail, where we were cleared for entry with no problem. I must say, we were disappointed, but God makes no mistakes!
We had a team of around 20 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers ministering in the jail each day. Linda labored with nine other ladies in dormitory visitation each day. They met the lady inmates right where they live – at their bunks, each afternoon and evening. They passed out lots of Gospel literature, and witnessed one-on-one. Our male workers did one-on-one visitation in the men’s dorms each afternoon, and held preaching services in the dorms each evening. All in, there were 228 men and women who attended services, with 45 professions of faith at Elmore County Jail. God makes no mistakes!
Linda and I also worked together for three nights at Whitworth Women’s Prison, in Hartwell, GA, with 137 ladies in the services, and 13 precious souls hopefully trusting Christ as Savior. I also ministered in a three day revival at Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City, FL, with 63 men in services, and two sinners trusting Christ for salvation. Please pray for these new converts! God makes no mistakes.
You Can’t “Get in” without Repentance and Faith
Rom 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
In an evangelistic service, the preacher and the Holy Spirit cooperate in bringing the lost people in the service to repentance and faith, Acts 20:20, 21. Repentance is NOT a “work.” Repentance is a change of mind in the sinner which brings him to put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Almost always, when I deal at the altar with a lost person, I use our text above. The potential convert must repent, believing that Jesus is “Lord” (God in a human body), and that He is “Jesus” (which means Savior, Matt. 1:21). He must be told that Jesus saves by His work on the Cross, and by His marvelous Resurrection (v. 10). The potential convert must repent (change his mind about God) and put his faith in Jesus, and when he does so, he is saved (note v. 9, “shalt be saved”, and v. 10, “confession is made unto salvation).
I was working with around 100 men in their dormitory at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. After passing out Gospel literature there, I felt led to preach a salvation message to the whole group. While giving the invitation to the men, I explained Romans 10:9, 10 to them, and asked for a show of hands of those who would like to repent and trust Christ as Savior. Nineteen men responded, and I led these men in a prayer (Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Of course, it is not the prayer that saves the sinner, but rather his repentance toward God, and his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. On the 29th day of March, 1970, I repented before I stepped into the aisle, and was saved when I put my trust in Christ as Lord and Savior a few minutes later at the altar. Then I called upon His wonderful name in accordance with His promise in Romans 10:13. Without repentance, I never would have gone to the altar nor would I have trusted Christ.
This month, at ACI East, in Florida, we had a total of 215 men in attendance with 6 saved over three days. At Emanuel PDC, in Georgia, we had 100 men in attendance with 24 saved over three days. I didn’t have the final totals of the Central Mississippi revival, but there were at least 40 men and women saved.
My dear wife, Linda, led two lady inmates to Christ during the invitation at the ladies’ services. It is a wonderful privilege to have Linda working closely with me in the Lord’s Vineyard. We thank you very much for supporting us while we go fishing for inmates! Would you pray for these new converts? Thank you!
Happy New Year from the Fultons
Exod 12:1-2 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Our Lord here changes the Jewish calendar forever. He makes the 1st day of Nissan to be New Year’s day for the Israelites. The reason for this massive change? In the month Nissan God institutes the Passover. Passover is so named because when God would see the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the doorposts and lintel of a home, he would “pass over” that household without taking the life of the first born child. He killed the first-born child in any household if the blood of the lamb was not applied to the door. From New Testament insight, Jesus is the Passover Lamb for every born-again believer (1Cor 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us). God has provided The Lamb, and through Him the Blood. Likewise, He has commissioned His children to urge lost souls to apply the Blood to the doorposts of their hearts, so that He can “pass over” them, saving them from eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. May the Lord help us to zealously carry out His Great Commission in 2020.
Merry Christmas from the Fultons
Luke 2:9-14 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men..
There was one and only one Angel that announced the Saviour’s birth. He is called “the angel of the Lord.” He appeared throughout the Old Testament, and His identity is Jesus, Himself. So the Herald Angel in our passage is Jesus, Himself. Jesus announced His own birth to the shepherds. Right after that, the multitude of angels showed up praising God, and glorifying Him. Other interesting facts to note are these: Jesus was older than His mother and the same age as His Father at the time of His birth. Also, after Mary delivered Jesus, Jesus delivered her!
The Lord permitted me to labor with Him in four prison revivals this month. The first two were in Missouri. In visitation services and preaching services, there were 82 men who made profession of faith at ERDCC prison, and 16 who hopefully were saved at Charleston prison. In Florida, we had 5 professions of faith at Jefferson CI. I was blessed to hear several saved inmates tell us that they received lots of help from the preaching! At Rogers State Prison, in Georgia, we held a three day revival, with 18 men hopefully saved in the preaching services. The first day was a total wash-out; the preaching service was canceled for some unkown reason, and when we showed up for visitation, no officer came to escort us to the dorms, so we had no visitation, either. Such is life in the prison ministry on some occasions.
Have a blessed Christmas and New Year’s celebration!
Prison in the Bible
Gen 39:20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
This is the first verse in the Bible where the word “prison” is found. Oddly enough, Joseph here is a type of Christ, incarcerated in innocence. Within the penal system in America, history tells us that a hopefully small percentage of inmates are wrongly convicted. Some inmates have spent scores of years in prison, only later to be found not guilty of the crime(s) they were convicted of. Ohio resident Ricky Jackson, the longest-held US prisoner to be cleared of a crime, received more than 1 million dollars from the state for his wrongful imprisonment. Yet I must say that every Christian was held in a prison of his own making according to Proverbs 22:5.
October was a busy month for Linda and me. We attended the four day South Carolina Blitz where around 100 volunteers and Rock of Ages missionaries conducted revival meetings in eight prisons and one jail. 1531 inmates attended services with 218 hopefully receiving Christ as Savior. At the blitz, Linda and I were blessed to labor with 12 others at Columbia Care Center, a prison hospital, for lack of a better way to describe it. It is privately owned, and a large percentage of the “patients” are mentally challenged to one degree or another (I felt right at home there!). We had 259 patients attend our services with 20 men and women making profession of faith. We left there, and drove to Ashland, OH, and preached both services of a missions emphasis Sunday at one of our supporting churches. From there, we drove to Grand Blanc, MI, and spent two days with our son Jerry, and his wife, Kelly. We also got to see our great granddaughter, Sophia Rose Fulton, and her mom, Brittany. We then to Grass Lake, MI, and gave a report to another supporting church which concluded its missions conference that night. We left Michigan on Thursday morning, and I preached in a three day revival meeting at Bacon PDC, in south Georgia, beginning the next day. Eighteen men professed Christ there. From there, we were off to Mayo CI in Florida for a three day revival beginning on October 17th, with one conversion to Christ. Then beginning on October 22nd, Linda and I traveled to Live Oak, FL, for a three day revival at Century CI, with 3 men hopefully trusting Christ as Savior. As always, we would ask you to pray for these new converts, and for the already-saved inmates who received help during the meetings. Thank you for co-laboring with us!
Our Silent, Colorless World
Prov 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
In reality, our world is completely silent and colorless. Sound originates in the brain. And sight originates in the brain as well. Color is perceived by light reflecting off the surface of objects. Equal amounts of red, green, and blue (RGB) light reflected off an object appear in our brain as a white object. When all RGB light is absorbed by an object, it appears in our brain as a black object. If an object absorbs all red and green light, the object is displayed in our brain as being blue. If an object absorbs all red and blue light, it appears to be a green object. When all green and blue light is absorbed, it appears to be red. In any case, objects have no color outside the brain. Sound is only sound in our brain. The components of sound (sound waves) are completely silent, and only generate sound in our brain. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound when it falls? No, it does not, because sound only originates in the brain. Sound waves (which are silent) are made of vibrating air, which are changed into vibrating ear drums, which are converted into vibrating bones, which are converted into vibrating skin membrane, which are converted into vibrating liquid in the inner ear, which cause tiny hairs in the cochlea to vibrate, which cause electrical signals to send a signal to the brain, which is interpreted as sound at a certain pitch.
Beloved, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! We have “hardware” receivers to receive color and sound in a colorless and silent world! Praise His holy Name! Do you ever take time to study some of the fascinating things God has designed and implemented in our bodies? Have you praised Him for them lately? Tim M., Keith J., and I had a good prison revival at ACI East in Sneads, FL, this month. It was by far the best attended revival we have held there! The format was a little different than most; at the chaplain’s request, we held Character Under Construction sessions each day in the Faith Dorm. The Faith Dorm is made up of inmates who apply to be housed there after they qualify. There a several different religions in that dorm, and each inmate must attend a “seminar” four times a year to remain in the dorm. Our revival services qualified as one of the seminars. The lessons taught in the Character Under Construction classes are on Power Point slides, but in this case, due to computer/projector issues, we had to teach without benefit of the slides. Of course, teaching the material offers lots of opportunity to slip in some preaching as well, and we saw two inmates trust the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. My thought was that if I was called out for preaching, I could always say I don’t know the difference between preaching and teaching! We had several inmates who testified that they received much help from the three day “seminar.”
Sowing and Reaping
Gal 6:6-8 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Richard P. and I held a three day revival at the Women’s Probation Detention Center in Claxton, Ga (the fruitcake capital of America). It was my first prison revival since my shoulder surgery, and all went well. The ladies were urged to earn a Rock of Ages study Bible by bringing out the most visitors to our closing meeting on Sunday night. Twenty-one ladies sowed some time and effort into bringing out a total of 72 first-time visitors that night. We were ecstatic when 10 of the 72 inmates made profession of faith in Christ! What a reaping! How would you feel if you sowed some time and effort into bringing a visitor to a service at your church, and that visitor made profession of faith? Sow a little time and effort, and reap an eternal soul. Twenty-one ladies signed up to attempt to earn a Bible, and all 21 ladies reaped one (Bible). Some of the 21 also reaped one or more eternal souls to their account because someone they invited came and was saved. God is good all the time!
I had a setback two days after my rotator cuff surgery. On August 1, Linda took me to the ER. I was experiencing shortness of breath to the point that I thought I was smothering. A CT scan revealed that I had thrown two Pulmonary Embolisms (blood clots) into my left lung, a very dangerous situation, but God spared my life, and I am back doing what I love to do, bless His holy Name! I will be on blood thinner medication for the rest of my earthly life since the doctors say I have naturally thick blood (and maybe a thick skull as well). Also, I’m doing physical therapy on my shoulder, and am starting to get much better range of motion, praise the Lord. I can now tie my own shoes, and my own ties! I’ll be in a sling for a total of ten weeks, but I’ll still be able to do my prison work.
I’m scheduled to be in the coastal city of Savannah, GA area on September 3rd, for a three day revival at Montgomery State Prison. That is the very day that Hurricane Dorian is supposed to hit Florida. Should it turn northward, we could be in for some trouble. We are praying that the meeting will not be hindered in any way.
The Glory Awaits
Rom 8:16-18 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
At our sending church, just as our Tuesday night (July 23rd) revival meeting started, Bro. Vaughn, our first speaker of the night received word that his daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and two granddaughters were in a horrible car accident just 35 miles from their home in North Carolina. Around 45 minutes later, he was told that his two granddaughters had been killed. As I thought about it, Romans 8:28 came to mind. What a tremendous promise! Please do pray for the Vaughn family in this time of their grief.
We lost our three day revival meeting at ACI East, in Sneads, FL, this month. Just as we were arriving at the prison, we received word from the chaplain that the whole prison was in lock-down. Minutes before we arrived, an inmate had stabbed three officers. Thankfully, all three survived, but the sin of one man may have caused an unknown number of inmates to miss being saved. Only God knows.
Richard P. and I had many Divine Appointments in Leesburg, GA, at Lee County Jail, and Lee State Prison. We preached in eight dormitories at the jail, with 22 men calling on the Lord for salvation, and six men were hopefully saved at the prison during our three-day revival meeting there. The attendance grew each night, and the altars were filled each night with folks getting help from the preaching. Please do pray for these new converts!
On July 30th, I will be having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. The surgeon said I would be six weeks in recovery, wearing a sling during that time. I will try to do as much ministry as I can during that time, with the help of your prayers. Please pray for my rapid recovery!
The same yesterday, and to day, and for ever
Acts 8:26-29 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
I stand convinced about the reality of Divine Appointments. The above passage is just one of many such appointments orchestrated by our Lord in the Bible. In v. 26 of our text, it is the “angel of the Lord” who sets Philip in motion, and in v. 29, it is the Spirit of God who zeros him in on the eunuch. So, this “appointment” was totally Divine in nature, the angel of the Lord being Jesus, and the Spirit being the Holy Spirit.
The Lord divinely commissioned us several times this month. One such “appointment” was at Emanuel Women’s Prison, in Swainsboro, GA, where Richard P., his wife Janna, Linda (my wife) and I conducted a three-night revival meeting. The Lord moved each night in the services. Most of the inmates were excited about the preaching and testimonies, and the Lord gathered 32 ladies into His family, if their professions were genuine. The attendance grew each night, beginning with 65, and ending with 122. Along with the evangelistic messages, we delivered sermons focusing on spiritual growth for the ladies. Each service was two hours in length, so we preached six messages in total.
The Lord opened a door of opportunity also at Emanuel PDC in Twin City, GA. The warden spent the entire afternoon with us as we engaged inmates in their dorms. In all, 19 men made profession of faith in the six dorms we visited. Afterward, the warden assured us that we would be allowed access to the men in their dorms in our future revivals there. This will be in addition to our regular revival services in the evenings. What a Divine Appointment! Please do pray for these new converts!
Acts 20:20 Vision
Acts 20:20-21 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Prov 5:21-22 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
I struggle to keep these two great truths before me regularly. Paul, by inspiration from God, teaches that practicing repentance and faith is profitable. It is profitable for me to practice it daily, and to teach others to do so as well as the Lord gives opportunity. Failure to implement Paul’s teaching here is to fail miserably in vision. I must learn to see like Paul saw, and you must do likewise, for Jesus is worthy of it. The Proverbs passage teaches us that God sees all lost men as inmates; inmates in a prison of their own making; a prison house of iniquity which binds men unto their own devices. Our vision must be corrected to see like God sees. Let’s determine to see like God sees, and go after “inmates” wherever we find them. By your help, Linda and I go after inmates in brick-and-mortar prisons; be sure that you go after them from house to house (we do also). We are blessed to have you help us in this great matter. Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support.
Please do pray for the Stinnett Ballew family. He left this world at around 5:30pm on Friday, May 31st after 50 years of faithful service to our Lord as pastor and evangelist. Only in heaven will we fully know the extent of his great ministry. God greatly used him in stirring up the saints for world evangelism. He was well known and loved for his preaching on faith promise giving for missions. He will be sorely missed.
I’m better now, but I hurt my back this month, and missed the Emanuel PDC prison revival in Swainsboro, GA. However, God allowed me to participate in the Baldwin State Prison revival and the Century CI revival, with a total of seven men saved.
The Contrast …
Jesus saw vastly different results to His ministry on different occasions. On one occasion, He could do no mighty works because of their unbelief. On other occasions, His ministry was received with open arms. We had vastly different results this month as we ministered in two different prisons in two different states this month.
|Men’s prison in Florida||Women’s prison in Georgia|
|Six services in a three day revival||Three services in a three day revival|
|3 ROA missionaries and 1 volunteer each service||2 ROA missionaries for each service|
|Zero professions of faith||52 professions of faith|
|Same inmates year after year||Fast turnover of inmates (maximum sentence 6 months|
Most all of the inmates at the Florida revival were already professing Christians. No one made profession, but several of the saints testified that they received much help from the services, and there was a good spirit there. However, at the Women’s prison, there was a tremendous spirit of repentance there, and much eagerness to hear the Word of God. One lady testified to me that the church that regularly comes in to hold services talks about the same thing every week – human trafficking and drug use. She said it was so refreshing to hear preaching about Jesus!
On Tuesday, April 16th, at Haralson County Jail, one of the young inmates gave a wonderful testimony. He put his hand up while I was preaching, and I gave him permission to address the folks. I normally never stop my preaching, but I felt led to do so, because the young man had only been saved since our last meeting there. He said that he agreed totally with what I was preaching about at the time, and said it proved true in his own experience since he had been saved! It made me want to charge Hell with a squirt gun!
We had another glorious 4-day prison revival in Missouri, with around 20 hours of visitation, and eight preaching services. There were three Rock of Ages missionaries, and at least two volunteers working each day. We had a total of 190 men in the services, with two professions of faith. We, by the grace of God, led 45 men to Christ during visitation. Only God can do these things! Do pray for these brand new saints to grow in grace. Our Lord is worthy of their worship, praise, and service!
Important Inmates …
Gen 39:20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
Well, here we have a high-class prisoner, indeed, being a wonderful type of Christ on so many fronts. Both Joseph and Jesus were imprisoned, and neither were guilty. There were certainly men who were imprisoned before Joseph, for the prison was already there awaiting him. However, Joseph is the first man whose incarceration is mentioned in the Bible, as far as I can see.
Tim, Matthew, Howard, and I conducted six services over three days in Jackson CI’s Main Unit, in Florida this month. We had a total of 397 men in the services with seven men making profession of faith in Christ. Jackson Ci forbids us to visit inmates in their dorms, so we conduct Character Under Construction classes in the mornings, instead. These are the same lessons that Rock of Ages missionaries use in the public schools, except we use much more Scripture while teaching them. On the final day, I was teaching on the subject of God, when an inmate raised his hand, and asked, “How can somebody know if he is saved or not?” What an open door! He then made profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and that’s what it’s all about. Only later did I learn that he had been on the FBI’s most wanted list. I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time – I might have had a heart attack!
We also held three evening services at Jackson CI’s Work Camp. There were two professions of faith, one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. The first convert sought out Tim afterward. He said he had been waiting a whole year to apologize to him for causing disruption in a service he had conducted! The second convert (that I had dealt with) was so glad he was saved, he told one of the officers (guards) that he had just been born again. While the officer was leaving the prison, she came over to us in the parking lot while we were preparing to leave, and shared with us what the inmate had said to her. She said, “We have a happy camper in there!” Wow. What a glorious privilege to be a co-laborer with God! Please do pray for these new converts. One final note: today is my 49th spiritual birthday!! We love you all, and pray for you regularly.
Phil 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Our text contains the missionary Paul’s prayer letter sent to one of his supporting churches – the church at Philippi. Our brother, in v. 11, speaks of “want,” or lack. He is not “crying poor,” although in v. 10 he does mention their pause in financial support, but then commends them for resuming it. How sweet it is when churches lend financial support to their missionaries. This sent-love does not go unnoticed with our God, for He puts fruit to the account of such churches, v. 17. We notice that contentment can be had with or without adequate finances, bless His holy Name!
My car was packed, and I was five minutes into my trip to Florida to help in a two-day revival at Graceville Correctional when I received word that the revival had been canceled; the whole prison was on lock-down. But still content, that opened the door to conduct a service at Haralson County Jail, where Linda and I watched four lady inmates trust Christ as personal Savior. All of the ladies were touched as Linda gave her conversion testimony.
One could not help but be content as Rock of Ages conducted its annual Alabama Blitz in Montgomery, Alabama. With over 100 Rock of Ages missionaries (including Linda and I) and volunteers working in nine prisons and jails over a three day period, I report that there were 1682 men and women inmates who attended our services, with 192 souls making profession of faith in Christ as Savior. Only God can do these things, but He does it through His children who surrender their bodies to Him. I dealt with Bill who came forward at the invitation on the last night of the revival. After questioning him carefully about his willingness to repent and trust Christ, with tears in his eyes, on his knees, he began to pray, asking Christ to save him. He walked away content, and so did I.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The essence of this verse is that we are to be witnesses at home and abroad. “Both” at the same time. Of course, we labor “abroad” through support of our local church missions program.
Linda and I attended the annual Coordinator’s Meeting in Commerce, Georgia from January 7-11. These were long days: 8am ‘til 3:30pm with a break for lunch, followed by an evening service each night with two speakers, except we finished up on Friday after lunch. I’m not a prophet, nor the son of one, but I knew I was going to get sick, for lots of missionaries were hacking and sneezing. But, on the next day, I left for a three-day revival meeting in Snead, Florida at ACI, East. The meeting began on Sunday morning. After I preached, I started getting sick. By Sunday night, I was dragging myself around with severe body aches and dry cough. I was so sick on Monday morning, I packed up and went home, missing the last two days of the revival. By the next Sunday, I felt well enough to go our church. There is life after “Man Colds”! It was worth going to the Coordinator’s meeting – we experienced a wonderful time of refreshing and challenge from the Word of God. Linda and I left with new grit in our souls to win souls through Christ.
Locally, I ministered at Haralson Country Jail twice in January. Each night, we have four back-to-back preaching services. This month there were seven men and women who made profession of faith.
In “Samaria” Linda and I participated in a four day revival in Pearl, Mississippi, at Central MS State Prison, with 63 men and women hopefully trusting Christ as Savior. We had a team of around 22 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers. We witnessed in the inmates’ dormitories, and held preaching services each day at three different locations in the prison. It was sweet working with this team, and we had great fellowship in between services. Only God can do these things, but without your faithful support we would be greatly hampered. Thank you for co-laboring with us!
Business and Pleasure
Mark 6:31-32 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
Our Lord admonishes His disciples to come apart lest they come apart. For me, age brings with it certain baggage – what that means is that I can’t do as much work as I used to! I’m grateful for the things we are able to do, however. Linda and I had a few days after Christmas to “come apart” spending with family. All four of our children came to Georgia for a time of refreshing and fellowship, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Locally, we held two days of services at Haralson County Jail, in Buchanan, Georgia. Each time I go there, we have four services – one ladies’ service, followed by three men’s services. This month three ladies received the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Inmate turnover has much to do with the number of converts, and turn over has been slow at this jail of late.
On the prison scene, we held three prison revivals in Georgia: Long State Prison, Georgia State Prison, and Paulding County RSAT. Long State is a branch of Smith State Prison, and is reserved for Protective Custody inmates (former prison officers, former police offices, former lawyers and judges, etc.) who would not survive well in normal prison populations. There were no professions of faith during this meeting, but several inmates received spiritual help, and we received many good comments about the revival. At Georgia SP, there were 13 men who trusted Christ as Savior. All of these converts were made during cell-to-cell visitation; none were saved in the preaching services. At Paulding RSAT, we held a one-day revival, with 14 men professing Christ as Savior during an evangelistic preaching service; none were saved during visitation. Please pray for these newborn babes in Christ that they will grow in grace and wisdom.