News for October 2020

Missions Trip

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.

News for September 2020

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!

News for August 2020

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.

News for July 2020

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!

News for June 2020

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!

News for May 2020

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.

News for April 2020

Waiting

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!

News for March 2020

Please Stay

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!

News for February 2020

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.

News for January 2020

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!