Prayer letter December 2017

Happy New Year …

John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

This is the first usage of the word “happy” in the New Testament. We see that happiness is connected with obedience: doing “these things.” Happiness here means “blessed.” This blessing from God for obedience is imposed by God Himself. It is imposed upon the doer without respect of his motive. Nor does it depend on the doer’s emotional response. He is blessed even in spite of his lack of it. Note that saying, “Happy New Year” to someone is a short prayer. It is saying, “I’m asking God that you might have a blessed new year.” So, Happy New Year, saints of God!

The Georgia Rock of Ages team conducted 7 prison revivals in December with a total of 43 inmates making profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Our obedience to God’s Great Commission has blessed us this past year without a doubt. Here is a summary of statistics for the Georgia team in 2017:

We worked in 18 state prisons and 13 county jails. We conducted 82 hours of visitation. We held 182 services with 5760 in attendance. A total of 861 inmates and officers made profession of faith in Christ as Savior. Happy cannot describe it!

Let me tell you about G., a young inmate we had a Divine Appointment with in Evans County Jail this month. The jail is very small; 12 inmates was all (that rhymed didn’t it?). We began our meeting at 2pm in the common area of the dormitory. G. was in his bunk with his back turned toward us with his blanket made into a cocoon. He stayed that way while Richard P. and Eric P. preached. Sometime while I was preaching, G. got up and joined the group. I didn’t even see when he came in. When we gave the invitation, no one responded. As we were getting ready to leave, I asked G., “Have you been saved or do you need to be?” He said that he needed to be. So I had the privilege of leading him to Christ. Afterward, he confessed that he had been listening the whole time, even while he was in bed! We had a wonderful time sharing Scripture with him, and he seemed eager to learn. Was he blessed? I think so. Were we blessed? I know so. Were our supporting churches blessed? Phil. 4:17 says so. Happy New Year.

Prayer letter November 2017

1st Advent …

Luke 2:7 (KJV) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Our Lord Jesus was Mary’s firstborn, because Jesus was born of a virgin. He was fittingly born in a sheep barn, for He was The Lamb of God.  In His first Advent, He came as The Lamb; at His second, as The Lion. His first, to be judged; His second, to judge. He came to take away sins, for no other sacrifice was sufficient to do so. Linda and I want to wish a very blessed Christmas season to all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We love you all very much.

Linda and I were happy to break away for two nights and three days respite with some of our sending church family in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was quite a relaxing, low key getaway. We ate way too much, but the fellowship was wonderful. We had several good opportunities to speak to sinners and saints who were unknown to us, but known by our God. What a joy it is to represent our Lord and you wherever we go!

On the last Tuesday of the month, I preached 3 services at Haralson County Jail. There were 3 inmates that made profession of faith in Christ as Savior, one lady, and two men. When I was musing about the services on the way home, it dawned on me that the two men who hopefully were converted were the name sakes of two of our grandsons – Josh and Zach. I took it from that God was reassuring us that He would be answering years of prayer for our children and grandchildren. Linda and I are still standing on God’s sure promise in Isaiah: Isa 44:3 (KJV) “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” God promises an outpouring first on parents, and then on their offspring. He has fulfilled that promise toward Linda and I, and we wait patiently for the outpouring on our children and grandchildren.

Our Rock of Ages team experienced divine appointments at two prisons (Smith State Prison and Rogers State Prison), and one probation detention center (Bacon PDC) this month. We were scheduled to have 3 days of visitation at each, but we were not able to have visitation at all at Smith State Prison. We did conduct 9 preaching services in all, with God making Himself known in each one. In total, there were 11 men saved at Smith, 7 men at Rogers, and 29 men at Bacon. It’s sometimes more fruitful at PDC camps (like Bacon) because there is a much higher inmate turnover. The maximum sentence for a probation detention center inmate is 6 months. These new converts are urged by us to begin Bible lessons through Rock of Ages’ Prisoner’s Bible Institute discipleship program. Please pray for their growth in grace. Maranatha!

Prayer letter October 2017

Living Water …

Rev 22:17 (KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

In the physical realm, man cannot survive without water; in the spiritual world, man cannot survive without Jesus, who is “the water of life.” One must “come” to Him for life or perish. The verse imposes no limit on how often the believer may drink of Him, so drink often, child of God! To “come … take the water of life” is a metaphor for faith, and faith is putting dependence upon Christ. Notice it is the “Spirit and the bride that say, Come.” Are you part of the bride of Christ? Are you co-laboring with Him in the great Invitation?

Bro. P. and I held a 3-day revival meeting at Smith Women’s Probation Detention Center, in Claxton, GA this month. On the first night, when we arrived, there were some 30 chairs put out for the ladies. When the meeting started, there were 109 lady inmates that showed up! The next night, there were 120 inmates in the service, and on the final night, they ran out of chairs, and 20 or so ladies had to sit on the floor. Every night the altar was jam packed, and the presence of God was palpable. In all, 96 ladies got right with the Lord, confessing sins, and dedicating themselves to Christ for service.

Linda and I were part of the Mississippi Blitz at Central MS Correction Facility, in Pearl, MS this month. In all, there were 16 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers. We conducted 8 services over 4 nights with 505 inmates attending. We did 10.5 hours of visitation in the dormitories and in lock-down areas. There were a total of 55 men and women who made profession of faith in Christ during the revival. Many of these signed up for the 71 course PBI (Prisoner’s Bible Institute) program through Rock of Ages Ministries. This is part of our discipleship ministry for inmates. It is designed to help them grow in grace following their conversion to Christ. Linda was so blessed to be in this revival. She was able to speak to L. on death row on the final day. L. has been on death row for over 12 years. Someone led her to Christ 2 years ago. She faithfully reads her Bible, has a close relationship with the Lord, and demonstrates a sweet spirit. Please pray for dying grace for her.

Thank you for enabling us financially to dedicate ourselves to this glorious ministry. We are blessed to represent you. Even though you may not be able to go, we can go for you, and add precious souls to your account!

Prayer letter September 2017

Happy Birthday …

Gen 25:34 (KJV) Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

What a shame it is that the Bible records first mention of the wonderful truth of birthright in such a shameful way. But alas, such is the depravity of man, and God does not gloss over it. In the New Testament, the best birthright comes with the second birth, the new birth, which makes the believer a child of God. In short, it makes him joint heir with Christ, such that what Jesus owns, he owns. It doesn’t get any better than that! God has made Jesus to be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption to every born again Christian!

When dealing with new converts, I always try to remember at some point to remind them to write down in their Bible that day of their conversion, the day of their new birth. While preparing this letter, these things were on my heart because of a young man whom God allowed me the privilege of leading to Christ at Baldwin State Prison in Georgia this month. The interesting thing about him was that prior to the preaching service, everyone sang the Happy Birthday song to him. Not only was it his birthday physically, but it became his birthday spiritually! In all, there were 7 men who professed faith in Christ in the 2 nights of meetings there. Let’s pray for them to become fishers of men there as they serve out their sentences.

Whenever we have prison meetings, we always try to have services at the local county jail also. This month, Richard P., Eric P., Eddie G., and I held 8 preaching services at Baldwin County Jail in Georgia on Saturday. There we held 2 services with the ladies, and 6 with the men. These jails have large turnover of inmates, as opposed to most prisons, which have a more static population. Typically, in the jails, there are more inmsyrd who are new to being incarcerated, making them more fearful and broken than those in prison. Be that as it may, we were able to lead 49 men and women to Christ as God made Himself known in their midst. In each dormitory we left a good stack of Gospel booklets and tracts for the inmates. We also were able to distribute two boxes of Rock of Ages study Bibles to those inmates who had no Bible. Would you pray for these new converts to become mighty men and women of God?

Linda and I were in Michigan for the wedding of our grandson, Josh, on the 30th of September. On the 27th, we preached the midweek service at Harvest Baptist Church, in Grass Lake, MI. Harvest is one of our supporting churches. We had a wonderful with them, and hopefully they were blessed by the preaching of God’s Word. We love you, and thank you for your prayers and support. We are blessed!

Prayer letter August 2017

Hurricane Harvey …

Job 37:11-14 (KJV) Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. 13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. 14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Clouds, wind, and rain are more wise than man, for they always “… do whatsoever he commandeth them …”. These participate with God, their Maker, in three ways: “… for correction, or for His land, or for mercy.” I cannot say with certainty which of the three gave rise to Harvey; perhaps God’s purpose was for all three. America certainly could use God’s correction, and definitely needs His mercy. America has mountain-peak levels of division now, and it appears that she is forgetting some of that now for the sake of the victims of Harvey. I pray that this might be the prelude to revival in America, that God might “… heal their land” 2 Chron. 7:14. May God’s perfect will be done through the devastation of Harvey. Let’s continue to pray for those in his pathway.

Linda and I attended the Rock of Ages national conference which was held at Gantt Street Baptist Church, in Cayce, SC, from Sunday, July 30th through Friday, August 4th. There was great fellowship, Godly music and anointed preaching each morning, afternoon, and evening. We had to leave the conference on Thursday morning because my diverticulitis had been troubling me (doing fine now, praise the Lord).

I’m happy to report that Emmanuel Baptist Church in the great state of Georgia took us on for monthly support this month. Linda and I were blessed to present our burden for inmates at the church, and God blessed wonderfully. This new support came at just the right time, and we are very grateful.

Linda and I ministered with Bro. and Mrs. P. at Whitworth Women’s Facility (prison) in Hartwell, GA for 3 days this month. For each of the 3 evening services, Officer L., a lady officer, was our escort to, during and from the services. As we were leaving on Sunday night, God impressed me to speak to her: “Are you saved or do you think you need to be?” She immediately replied, “I need to be.” We had the joy of leading her to Christ as we knelt together before Him. Afterward, Bro P. asked her, “What impressed upon you the need to be saved?” She answered, “I listened to the preaching for three nights in a row!” Please do pray for this new convert to Christ. We also ministered the Gospel of Christ at Emanuel Probation Detention Center for a three-day revival with 31 professions of faith. I also held 8 services at Haralson County Jail with 17 men and women professing trust in Christ as Savior. Thank you for allowing us to represent your church in God’s Harvest!

Prayer letter July 2017

Missionary Rehearsals …

Acts 14:26-27 (KJV) And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Rehearsal is one of the joys of being a missionary. In v. 26 above, Paul and Barnabas were sent out as deputies of the Antioch local church. Their marching orders were given by Divine Writ 5 times in the first 5 books of the New Testament. We call those marching orders the Great Commission.

After their missionary journey, they return to their sending local church, and rehearsed with them what had happened. To rehearse is to report in detail events that happened. This is biblical. This is right. This is necessary.

Several local churches have made us their deputies, and sent us out to do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission. We have been sowing and reaping in prisons and jails as Rock of Ages missionaries for just short of 3 years. Pastor, would you be pleased to have Linda and I come to your church to “rehearse”? We would be honored if you would call us to schedule a rehearsal.

We spend some time in Michigan with family this month. We are scattered all over the country, and it’s a great joy to get together once in a while! There were 17 of us in all. The Lord sure is good!

This month, we sowed and reaped at Bay Correctional Institution in Panama City, FL, with 5 men professing faith in Christ. I also had two meetings at Haralson County Jail, one service with the ladies and another with the men each time. There was 1 lady and 5 men who trusted Christ. These new converts are in need of our prayers. Would you take time to pray for them?

Prayer letter June 2017

The Promise of Power …

Acts 1:8 (KJV) 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 promise of power for Christians in Acts 1:8 is repetition of the promise given in Luke 24:49. More than likely both refer to the same event that took place right before Jesus ascended back into heaven. Last words are very important, especially when spoken by Christ Jesus just before leaving earth for a very long time. We need this vital truth as much as did the disciples that day. We have God’s promise of supernatural power for declaring the Gospel of Christ worldwide. Are you tapping into it? Daily? I would not dare to stand before inmates or prison officers without dependence upon such power.

This power of Christ was wielded on several occasions this month.

We conducted what turned out to be a three day revival meeting at Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, GA. Normally, GSP is a four day, Monday – Thursday revival, and would have been, except there was a mix-up. We were under the impression from the administration that due to Ramadan, the meeting would start on Tuesday morning, not Monday morning. When we showed up on Tuesday, we found out we were a day late! However, the Lord of all grace abounded through us, and a total of 13 men called upon the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation through the combined effort of 4 of us. The next day we began a three day revival meeting at Long State Prison. This was my second revival meeting at LSP. On my first revival there, after three days of preaching, no one made profession of faith. That was the first (and hopefully the last) time that has happened. This time, we were blessed to lead 4 men to Christ for eternal salvation. The services were very well attended, in no small part due to our being able to visit the men in their dormitories before each service. This was the first time at LSP that we were allowed to do that. We also held a two day revival meeting at the Paulding County RSAT facility in my home town of Dallas, GA. We were allowed to do visitation in 3 of the dorms leading up to one preaching service. Thankfully, we saw 4 men step out by faith to receive the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12).

I would remind you that new converts stand in need of much prayer. The evil one is always on their trail stirring up doubt and unbelief. However, we stand on another promise from God: 1 John 4:4 (KJV) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Please do pray for Christian growth by all who heard the Gospel from our lips.

Prayer Letter May 2017

Right Time, Right Place …

Acts 8:27-29 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.

Our universe consists of time, space, and matter (Genesis 1:1). Therefore, since God created the universe, He is outside of time, space, and matter. It amazes me how He can so coordinate events in time and space in such a way that His will is accomplished. What unbelievers would say was “coincidence,” with God is “providence.”

I left home Friday morning, arriving at Bacon Probation Detention Center around 4 hours later. Upon entering, we made our way into A dormitory, and dispersed amongst the inmates, most of whom were sitting on their bunks. Just hours before, a young inmate was under conviction of sin. He had spent time in prayer, asking God to send some Christian along to help him. I approached this young man at his bunk, and began speaking with him. After questioning him for a few minutes, it was obvious by his answers that he was not a born again man. After showing the plan of salvation, he knelt with me, and hopefully received Christ into his spirit. Afterward, as we rejoiced together, he seemed greatly relieved. It was then that he told me how he had prayed earlier that day, and that my coming to him was a direct answer to that prayer! Hallelujah!! Thank God for His providence! A divine appointment, indeed.

The next day, in a different dormitory, I came upon a small group of inmates sitting on two bunks talking. I began speaking with them. All but one claimed to be saved already. I witnessed to the lost man for quite a while, and finally “drew the net.” However, he didn’t get in! I urged him not to wait, but he said he wasn’t ready to be saved yet. That night, though, he came to the revival service. He stepped out, and came forward to receive the Lord Jesus during the invitation. I had the joy of leading him to Christ. Divine appointment!

We also had revival meetings this month at Rogers State Prison, and Smith State Prison, all in Georgia, with several souls saved during visitation and preaching services.

Our son, Dr. Jerry, was rushed into emergency surgery in Grand Blanc, MI on the 13th. The next day, we left for Michigan, and spent the next 4 days with him. He came very close to losing his right leg due to a very bad infection. Two more surgeries were required before sending him home. Please do pray for him.

Prayer Letter April 2017

Feed and be Fed …

1Cor 9:13-14 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

There is some wonderful teaching in the above passage regarding tithing, but it is not for this time to expound upon. Rather, I’d like us to see the concept in v. 14 of “feed and be fed.” Those men of God who teach and preach the Gospel are feeding the flock. But those ministers must also “be fed.” I was highly blessed to “feed the flock” this month in Ohio, where God allowed me to preach a four day revival meeting at First Baptist Church of Ashland, where Bro. Butch White is pastor. This was a blessed time for Linda and me, and I trust for the church as well. I believe the Lord met with us in each service. Several members gave testimony of getting help from the Lord, and one precious lady was saved in the Sunday morning service. A few weeks later, Linda and I would “be fed” at our sending church, White Oak Springs Baptist Church, in Dallas, GA, where Bro. Keith Lee is pastor. We were fed by Bro. Duane Moore, who preached our annual, four day Faith Promise Missions Conference. Linda and I were moved to substantially increase our monthly faith promise commitment to missions. Yes, missionaries should tithe and faithfully support God’s missions program by sacrificially giving of their finances!

I worked with Bro. Tim M., and three other Rock of Ages missionaries this month in Florida. We held a three day revival at the North West Florida Reception Center, in Chipley, FL. On the last day of the revival, we were in danger of not having a meeting due to bad thunderstorms passing through the area. The officers will not move inmates if there is lightning happening or is expected to happen. Thankfully, the weather cleared up, and we were able to have services. Six men were hopefully converted to Christ in this revival.

We also held a three day revival at Century Correctional Institution in Century, Florida. This meeting was not without some rocky times. There were two mornings when services were delayed for over an hour due to heavy fog. The officers will not move inmates if visibility is greatly limited by fog. Then, on another occasion, our afternoon service was put on hold due when the prison’s inmate count was not correct. This type of thing does happen from time-to-time; we just have to tolerate it, and go on! In all, there was 1 inmate who believed on Christ as his personal Savior during the revival.

Prayer letter March 2017

Missionary Ministry: Doing it Right …

1Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Our verse gives us God’s inspired definition of godliness: “God was manifest in the flesh …”. This is a marvelous verse to show forth the deity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. It further shows us the right way for doing missionary ministry (or any other Christian ministry for that matter). The way is to let the indwelling Christ show out through our bodies. That Jesus each day may live through my yielded-up body is my great desire. I want to do it right, as I’m sure you do as well.

My first trip this month took me to Albany, GA. Richard P. and I held a three day revival meeting at Dougherty County Jail there. This jail is as large as some state prisons, with a maximum capacity of 1230 inmates. Each day, Richard and I would split up, and conduct services in the men’s dormitories every morning and afternoon. Each dorm has a small activity room where we set up chairs and preach the Word. All totaled, after preaching in over 12 dormitories, we saw 48 men hopefully receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their spirits. While there, I went by the former location of Albany Baptist Church. They had been so kind as to allow us to stay in their missions apartments in the past, but the building was destroyed in late January by a tornado. I met Pastor Eron White at the site with a crew of volunteers who were working hard to clear the debris in preparation to rebuild. Please pray for the church to be strong during this time, and for God to raise up a new building for them to His glory.

From there, we were off to Autry State Prison for a two night revival meeting, with a preaching service each night in the chapel. There was a good spirit in the meetings, and 17 men professed Christ as personal Savior. After returning home for a few days, I was back with Richard for a two day revival at Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville, GA. These men were very open to the preaching, and 14 sinners hopefully became saints when they responded to the invitations. After coming home for two days, I traveled to Crestview, FL, to conduct a 3 day revival at Okaloosa Correctional Institution with Bro. Tim M.. I preached the first night at the Work Camp to around 20 men. No one responded to the invitation, but we believe most of the men were already saved. The next night, after going through security checks, and arriving at the chapel, we were told that due to a shortage of officers, there would be no service. By noon the next day, the chaplain let us know that there would be no service that night. This happens on occasion, but thankfully not that often! Pray for us, please.