February 17th, 2008

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General Baptist Rural Church Conference

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

I spent Februrary 16 with about 125 members of churches in the MoArk Association of General Baptists in Malden Missouri. The topic was the up-to-date rural church. I had a great time. I encouraged them to make use of the materials under Practical Helps to study what their churches are currently doing and to consider changes. I also called their attention to the fact that the first four chapters of the report of the most recent Missouri Rural Church Study are now posted on the site. I hope that we can add a chapter each week until all 12 are up.

General Baptists are a Baptist “sub-denomination” with churches in the midwest, mostly. Their national offices are in Popular Bluff, Missouri.

On Sunday, February 24th, the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church near Boligee, Alabama will be dedicating their new building. It replaces the one that was burned by arsonists just over two years ago. It should be a blessed event. We will be taking about 1,000 children’s book which have come to us to pass along to this church. In planning their new building the ministry of a library of the children of the community was identified.

Hispanic Church Growth

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

During the recent primary elections there has been a good bit of discussion about immigration. Certainly it is a complicated issue. What follows is only tangentially related to this, but it presents another facet of what is happening with the influx of Hispanics into America.

Several Spanish-speaking congregations have been planted in our area during the past decade. They have formed an “association” which transcends denominational labels. They are working together to hold weekend revivals in communities where Hispanics live. They share their gifts and graces. \

Recently about 50 persons from five of these congregations met in our building on a Friday evening for a time of worship and fellowship. They called it a reunion. I served as the host. Things got started about 9pm. Things went on until almost dawn. Singing. Praying. Preaching. Worshiping. Feasting.

What smiling, happy faces. What love for one another. What acceptance. People in a strange land. People who know that many of the natives do not want them here. People, many of whom, experienced salvation here.

During the evening I felt as though I was witnessing another chapter for the book of The Acts. God is planting and nurturing a new church planting movement here and across the nation. What a joy to witness it.

Depending on God. Mt. 7:6-11

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

An early missionary to the Native Americans, Isaac McCoy, seems to have modeled this style of life as well as about anyone about whom I have learned. He worked with the tribes in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois early in his career which began in 1817.

He found them being exploited by greedy traders. He established boarding schools for the children, trained persons as farmers and blacksmiths, and advocated for the rights of Indians. Food and funds are always hard to obtain. He faced oppositions from many sources.

He faithfully, and ultimately successfully, advocated for the Indians to have a state of their own, out in Kansas and Oklahoma. This involved the removal of over 100,000 Native Americans from the east to the west.

McCoy came to be recognized as a leading expert on the life of Native Americans. He was offered, on several occasions, positions with the government which would have allowed him a very good wage and the opportunity to live in a city. He refused. He stayed focused on what he felt God had called him to do. His autobiography contains many stories about how God had provided for himself, his family and his ministry. This did not mean that he never had any problems. He suffered a lot. But he always testified to the greatness and the goodness of God.

The lesson of this passage is neglected by many of us. We depend on other power sources.