Christ Church Cairo

Christ Church in Cairo, Georgia is a new Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation.

Remembering

In our religious life, do we lean more on indoctrination than revelation? What about Jesus? Which way did He lean and what did He teach?

As Jesus was instituting the Lord’s Supper, He encouraged the disciples to “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). What does Jesus want us to remember? First, that Jesus came to earth to renew His personal relationship with His children. But Jesus was resisted aggressively by those who insisted on rules and regulations over a personal relationship with God. So, in other words, Jesus is saying remember why I came.

Jesus also said, in effect, remember what I have done. What did He do? He paid the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins to give us a home in heaven. Further, He demonstrated, for us, how to live in a personal relationship with God as opposed to living by a set of rules. Rules do not grow us closer to God but a personal relationship does.

To demonstrate this truth, we see, in the Bible, those who lived by rules were the ones who were threatened by Jesus and plotted to murder Him thinking that they were doing God a favor. Jesus came to change the way that we relate to God and to each other. For how we relate to each other reveals how we relate to God. Herein lies the challenge for us today. The generation aged 18-34 watch how we treat each other and are very unimpressed with Christianity. So much so that approximately 93% of this age group have said, “No” to Christianity, and resultingly, are unchurched.

So, Jesus calls us to remember! Remember what He has done for us! And remember what He wants to do in us. Remember that He is always with us, through His Holy Spirit, to: guide us, daily, into all truth and to bring to our remembrance everything that He taught us while He was still with us in the flesh. The remembering process calls for us to stay in constant contact with God; so that He may continue to nurture us to grow us to be more Christlike. This process of continual connection with Him directly affects how we treat each other which is a powerful witness. And our witness reflects how well we remember.

With this current generation turning away from the Church tells us that we are having trouble remembering what Christ has done for us and in us and what He want to do through us. God wants us to be a visible reflection of the invisible God. In other words, we are to be His love with skin on.

Observing the disciples’ lives before they understood, they lived selfishly. After they understood,, they lived sacrificially. Before Saul understood, He persecuted Christians. After he understood, he became the persecuted. But his new personal relationship with Jesus more than made up or it. In his new relationship, he penned these words. “What this means is that those  who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 NLT). And describing his own life, the converted Apostle Paul said, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Obviously, the Apostle Paul’s relationship with Jesus transformed him.

As we remember Jesus, may we also be transformed continuously into His likeness.

Your Servant in Christ,
Ron McCaskill, Pastor
Christchurch, Cairo

Living for Jesus

In 1917, a small handful of men set out to start a world-wide revolution following a man named Lenin who said, "We must train men and women who will devote to the revolution, not merely their spare evenings, but the whole of their lives." Within a few decades, Lenin gathered between 6-8,000 individuals to help bring Communism into reality. They would build an empire that held one third of the world's population (100 million people) in its grip. How did it happen?

As least in part, the answer lies in their devotion to a cause and their willingness to sacrifice their lives for that cause. Their mission and the outcome of their efforts wee undeniably evil. Yet, the rise of the Communist Party is one of the most striking examples in history of the meaning of total surrender. 

Now, where did Lenin get this idea of total surrender? I believe, Lenin was a student of history and possibly read how Christianity spread rapidly in the first three centuries after Jesus ascended, because those who believed in Jesus Christ were totally surrendered to the cause.

In his perverted way, Lenin took this idea of total surrender and applied it to his evil cause. Lenin was able to recruit these individuals to make Socialism the center of their existence. Even the Devil knows how to have good strategies.

But evil makes promises that it cannot keep. And Lenin's empire eventually failed. 

This spurs us to look again at the root of Christian history and to examine ourselves. Jesus called His followers to total surrender (Mark 8:34-38). And as  long as they did, Christianity spread rapidly, converting half of the known world by 270 A.D. Then Constantine legalized Christianity and lessened the requirements of being a Christian. And Christianity has been losing ground ever since.

In this day of Christian decline in America, it is important to ask, "As a Christian, is my relationship with Jesus Christ the center of my existence?" 

Martin Luther King, Jr. said,

                                 "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."

Living for Jesus,  Ron McCaskill

Making A Difference

Even though our mission-church family has been hard-hit by sickness and surgeries, our fifteen members were able to give $3,002.00 to the CFB Global Missions offering! I am so proud of our people who gave sacrificially. We are a mission-minded group of Christians who believe that we cannot out-give God.

We also believe that God is much more active in our lives than we suppose😊. One example of this happened not too long ago. I was busy getting ready to travel to Thomasville to visit the hospital when my phone kept ringing. My time-line kept getting tighter and tighter with every additional phone call. My frustration level began to rise when I realized that I was not going to make my personal time-lines that I had set for myself that morning. I was running late, and I did not like it! Finally, after several attempts, my wife and I finally got out the door and on the way to the hospital. As we were entering the elevator at the hospital, I looked up and saw a woman walking rapidly toward me waving her hand enthusiastically. I kept the elevator door open for the young woman to join us. As she walked closer, I recognized her! She was one of my “spiritual children” whom I had baptized when she was nine years old.  Now, she was grown and married and working in the medical profession at a large city several hours away. After we hugged, I asked her, “What are you doing here?” She responded, “I have been here with my grandmother. She is dying, and she was asking us to find you. We did not know how to get in touch with you; but here you are! How amazing!! I am on my way to my grandmother’s room. Can you come with me?” I said, “Of course!”  (even though we were there to visit several other families). We walked together to her grandmother’s room catching up with each other’s lives as we went.  All three of the grandmother’s children were in her room when I arrived. Tears were shed. When she was able to talk, the grandmother shared with me the reason that she had to see me before she died. The reasons were personal and confidential. (Sorry I can’t share it here). But it was a beautiful cleansing time spiritually.

After we left the hospital and were on the way home, I wife and I began laughing at our own shallowness about not realizing how God was working so I could run into this young lady; and thus, have their family prayer answered that they would find me in time. If I had left the house one minute sooner or one minute later, I would not have run into this granddaughter. This “elevator meeting” would not have happened.

So when things happen that throw us off our schedules, my wife and I just smile at each other and say, “I wonder what God is up to now?”

Praying for increased listenability,

Ron McCaskill, Pastor

If We Will Just Cooperate!

For sometime now, I have been reminding our congregation that God is much more active in our lives than we suppose. The literal rendering of Psalm 23:6 is “surely and goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.” Jesus said it a little differently but no less powerfully when he described the work of the Holy Spirit in John 14:26. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

A latest obvious activity of God in my life took place a couple of weeks ago. My car was in need of mechanical repair and maintenance. So, I set an appointment with a mechanic while clearing my calendar to be able to drop off my car at the designated time. When I dropped off the car, he asked me, “Do you have the transmission kit?” I replied, ” No, You didn’t order it?” “No,” he said. “I thought you did.” I begin to feel my frustration rise as we went into his office to order the kit. “It will be here at 8 o’clock in the morning, ” the mechanic said cheerily.  I responded a little less cheerfully,   ” Then I will be here at 8 o’clock in the morning.” I mumbled to myself as I shared with my wife how we would need to change our schedule yet again to get my car repaired.

At 8 o’clock the next morning, I walked into the mechanic’s place of business and saw Ben, now an adult with a family, whom I had baptized when he was nine years old. “Brother Ron!” Ben said enthusiastically. We embraced and began catching up with each other. Then he turned somber and asked, “Will you go see my Grandmother? She is real low. She is not eating anymore. Just down to liquids and bedridden.” I assured him that I would visit her. He gave me his mother’s phone number, and I called as I left the mechanic’s garage. Elizabeth, Ben’s mother answered. After she greeted me joyfully, she said, “You will not believe this! We had a family meeting last night about Mother, and Irwin said, “We need to call Brother Ron. Does anyone have his number? None of us did, and we were asking around how to get in touch with you. And hereyou call the very next day!” And I responded, “God is much more active in lives than we know.” Elizabeth responded with enthusiasm, “He sure is!” We set a time to meet with the family that night. Since then, my wife and I have laughed several times recalling this incident at how God orchestrated this meeting with Ben.

God is, indeed, an amazing God, ever looking for ways to bless us and to guide us if we will just cooperate!

Trying to cooperate more,

Ron McCaskill

A Price Paid: A Price to Pay

On this past November 13, Christchurch Cairo enjoyed Dr. Bruce Gourley as our guest. As a Baptist historian, Bruce had stories! One story that touched my heart was how the Baptists were treated in Virginia when it was still a colony. The Anglican Church was the state church. As a result, taxes supported the church and its clergy. Because Baptists not only opposed a state-sponsored church and actively taught the separation of church and state, they refused to pay taxes. They also refused to baptize their infants into the state church. This put themon a collision course with the law. Baptists were persecuted. They lost jobs and property. They were also jailed, especially the preachers. Dr. Gourley told a story of how one Baptist preacher was grabbed by the hair of his head and dragged out of his pulpit and off to jail. Another story Bruce shared was how “thugs” were hired, by those who opposed Baptists, to taunt the preachers. Some even urinated on a preacher while he preached.

As I pondered these stirring stories, I was filled with a mixture of deep respect, sadness and resolve. Sadness, because so many of every-Sunday-attending Baptists, in my community, stare blankly and irritatingly at me when I talk to them about historical Baptist principles like separation of Church and State, soul-competency, priesthood of the believer, and autonomy of the local church. Deep respect, because Christchurch Cairo not only teaches these Baptist principles but offered a “Baptist Principles’ seminar to the public which was taught by the renowned Baptist scholar, Dr. Buddy Shurden. And resolve, to keep telling the Baptist story understanding that there is a price to be paid.

Christchurch Cairo is working hard to keep Baptist principles alive. Even though it is challenging, in our subculture, it is a challenge worthy of our best. Thank you for praying for us as we strive to be found faithful. Perhaps future Baptists will speak of us, one day, with the same reverence that we remember our spiritual forefathers who were willing to pay a heavy price for our principles.

In Christ,

Ron

Dr. Bruce Gourley Visiting

Sunday, November 13 at 4:00 P.M.

I am excited to announce that Dr. Bruce Gourley, Ph.D. will be speaking at Christchurch Cairo this Sunday, November 13 at 4:00 P.M. Dr. Gourley is a Baptist historian who is currently online editor and contributing writer for Nurturing Faith Journal and executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society. His latest book, Baptists and the American Civil War: Crucible of Faith and Freedom, will, no doubt, be a topic of lecture as well as discussion during his visit to our church.

For those interested in the changes in Baptist life as well as Baptists' role in American politics and history, should be highly interested in listening and conversing with Dr. Gourley. Everyone is cordially invited to this stimulating conversation next Sunday!

Grace and Peace,
Ron McCaskill, Pastor

Feeding the Hungry

We are all painfully aware of the displaced people and families as a result of war and bad weather. People are going hungry to the point of starvation. As our Tuesday night Bible Study group was talking about this, we received an invitation from Ann Horne and her husband to help pack meals to feed the hungry children in these deprived areas. The Hornes have a ministry named “Kids Against Hunger.” They began this ministry about fifteen years ago and have enjoyed continued growth. In response to the crisis in Haiti, they recently sent several thousand meals to feed the hungry children there. Tracking their ministry, they have sent pallets of packed meals all over the world to keep children from starvation.

This past Tuesday night, our group eagerly accepted the Horne’s invitation to help pack meals for “Kids Against Hunger.” Six of our group worked for two hours and packed meals to feed 324 families. With October being World Hunger Month, we were glad to be a part of something significant to help those in need.  As we worked with Ann Tuesday night, I learned that each meal has the minimum daily requirements of nutrients and minerals. And, each meal cost 25 cents! So, for a quarter, I could feed a child for a day! How rewarding it was to know that we were helping a hungry child somewhere in the world.

James 2:15 has something to say about doing nothing to meet physical needs. It is very hard to listen to someone tell you about Jesus when you are hungry. First, feed them and then share the Good News! Then they can listen a lot better as well as believe that you genuinely care about them. So, Tuesday night, our group found rich meaning in showing our faith by our deeds.

Sharing the Bread of Life,
Ron

A Lot Has Happened!

A lot has happened since my last post. Let me share a few exciting events that we have experienced.

1. We just completed a seminar studying the eschaton. Presenting the biblical study of “Last Things” was Dr. Jim Wyatt, a retired library dean from the University of Rochester in New York. Before pursuing a career in Library Science, Dr. Wyatt pastored for a period. This academic approach presenteda depth of study that our people had not been exposed to previously. This level of exegesis was stimulating and refreshing.  No doubt, Dr. Wyatt is popular among our congregation, and we are thinking of additional ways to use him since he has retired to Cairo.

2. Our mission is being commissioned as a new church start by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at the annual meeting in June! We are so proud to have enjoyed the help that CBF has given us in finding new ways to reaching people for Christ.

Since some of our church leadership attended a “Dawnings” conference sponsored by the new church start department of CBF, our people have grown to love deeply the spiritual depth of CBF. We find immeasurable meaning in being a part of such loving, inclusive people whose one agenda is to reflect the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
 
3. We continue to focus on international missions as our main goal of being in existence. The first eleven percent of the offerings given to our mission go to the following mission efforts: 1) Baptist World Alliance, National Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Georgia Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University. We also support the local indigent fund of the Ministerial Alliance of Grady County (Cairo, Georgia).

4. Our mission has also joined the local Chamber of Commerce thus reflecting our desire to serve the community as well as to be a part of the community events.

5. We also have a new worship location! We are now worshiping at The Tired Creek United Methodist Church site located on the Upper Hawthorne Trail just north of Cairo (about one mile) on highway 112. The church closed in 1995 and the building was sold to Woodmen of the World. They allow us to rent the church building. The church altar which was built in 1840 is still being used by us! It is truly a sacred place of worship.

6. We continue to enjoy our discipleship study on Tuesday nights at 6:00 P.M. at 1900 Lakewood Drive SE in Cairo. We have enjoyed up to five(5) different denominations studying the teachings of Jesus with us. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting; and we are growing together in the Lord!

If you have any questions about our ministry, please call Dr. Ron McCaskill at 229-220-3618. We are an inclusive congregation, because we believe that Jesus loves everyone and everyone is welcome at the feet of Jesus (John 1:12).

In His Service,
Ron McCaskill

A New Home for Our Church Family!

Wow! We actually have a church building to meet in now. We had been looking at this building for several years, but did not pursue renting it. Finally, after one of our members drove by and realized that the building had been freshly painted, he decided to look into the possibility of us renting it.

Let me back up and give you a little history. A group of Methodist Christians built this building in 1840 close to the Tired Creek. So, they called themselves "The Tired Creek Methodist Church." In 1875, they relocated to the present site. This Methodist congregation flourished for many years. But as the cycle of many churches go, the membership declined and finally closed several years ago. The Woodman of the World bought the building around 1995 and began using it for their monthly meetings as well as renting it to groups for special occasions. They replaced the roof, air conditioned the building, did some rewiring and added a kitchen. As you can tell from some of the pictures, they left the church altar in its original place. Also, some of the original pews from the 1840 church are still there. The church building is simple but beautiful. To run one's hands over the kneeling rail at the altar and realize that you are putting your hand on something that was hand-made in 1840 for the purpose of people praying and caring all their burdens to the Lord leaves you with a sense of reverence.

So, we worked out a rental agreement and began worshiping at The Tired Creek United Methodist Church this Sunday past. We rededicated the building as a church and shared Holy Communion thus beginning our new journey at our new worship site. This is an exciting time as we explore the opportunities before our church family.

Living In His Presence,
Ron

We Have Moved!

Our church has moved to a church building! New Beginnings Baptist Church, located at 290 2nd Avenue NE, has agreed to rent us spaceat a cost of $150 per week. Our meeting times will remain the same for the time being. Tuesday night Discipleship Study will continue at our home. We are so delighted to have this extra room. As we focus on young married with children, we will have Bible Study space to teach them. Moreover, we had a piano given to us by the First Presbyterian Church in Bainbridge. I had it moved to New Beginnings this week. They did not have a piano. So, now both congregations can use a very nice piano!

Please remember to be with us each Sunday at 3:30 P.M. at New Beginnings to continue our New Church Start sessions which will last through the last Sunday of September.

We have exciting days ahead!

With You in His Certain Victory,

Ron

The Plan

When I was in seminary studying for my Master's, my theology professor walked straight to the chalk board as he entered class one day and started writing. He wrote, "Plan your work: work your plan,” Then he turned to the class and quoted what he had just written. He paused and let it soak in. His emphasis was, "Life and ministry does not just happen. You have to make plans."

In an effort to revisit our ministry plans, I have spoken with Andy Hale, who in turn, has spoken with others, about the best plan for our work. In an effort to help fledgling missions grow in the Cooperative Baptist family, our leadership has birthed a "plan of action" to help missions. This plan is longer and more detailed than the original plan that our Leadership Team voted to participate in through the Dawnings project. To give you an idea, the email that I received from Andy outlining the program being offered to us is twenty eight pages outlining eight sessions. This also involves the mission pastor attending a three day workshop for orientation/training. These twenty eight pages will be visited at our next Leadership Team meeting.

Of course, we don’t want to work a plan just to be working a plan. We want to focus on a way to connect and build relationships with the non-churched. When we look in the book of Acts, we read that the first century disciples went from house to house talking to people about Jesus. In other words, they planned their work and they worked their plan.

Finding ways to connect with others in a gospel-hardened culture is difficult; but where there is a will, there is a way. We will find a way to” make disciples" (Matthew 28:19) as Jesus commanded.

As we ponder our future, I am encouraged by Jeremiah 32:26-27. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?"

Trusting in Him,

Ron

Jim Wyatt’s Topics for July 5 and July 12

Sunday, July 5

Catastrophe????? or God’s Call!

Have you ever wondered what happened to the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?”  Or, the other Biblical neighbors of the Jews – the Canaanites, Moabites, Ammorites, Jebusites, et al?

Why did those religious and ethnic groups completely disappear from history while the Jews of Judah continued to exist in spite of many defeats in wars, exile to a foreign land – Babylonia – for about 70 years and , finally, being forcibly expelled from their land by the Romans who also destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, the center of their worship? After all these  catastrophes, how did they, alone, manage to maintain such a vigorous religious and ethnic identity through the next 2,000 years of persecutions, pogroms and the Nazi “Final Solution” that they were able to finally regain the land of Israel and are a force in the area today?

We will look at how these Old Testament catastrophes defined and shaped Jews and Judaism – forever!  We will also consider how these events and their lessons learned helped to define and shape Christianity.

  1. The Fall of the United Monarchy at the death of King Solomon. (Readings: 1 Kings 11:26 – 36 & 40; and 1Kings 12:1 -17)
  2. The Fall of Israel (the northern kingdom) to the Assyrians and that exile (Readings: II Kings 17: 1 – 6)
  3. The Fall of Judah to the Babylonians and that exile (Readings: II Kings 24:10 – 19)
  4. The two rebellions against the Romans (1st century A.D. – 60s – 70s and 2nd century – 130s), the destruction of the temple and total exile from Israel.

 

Sunday, July 12

THE BIBLE – a Modest Proposal on HOW to READ and HEAR the messages of the Bible.  We will consider what may be some new thoughts for you about the presentation of biblical passages/documents for both private and public devotions. (Readings: Amos 5:21 – 24; Micah 6:6-8; Hosea 6:6; Psalm 23 – one of the most meaningful passages in the Old Testament  -  read all of it; Psalm 137: 1 -6; and Matthew 5:1 – 12)

REMEMBER: You are not limited to the passages of scripture listed – you may wish to read more to get a broader perspective – feel free to read as much as you can!

We Have A Coach!

Our Leadership Team met and discussed the offer from Andy Hale, a church plant coach from national CBF, to be our coach for ten sessions. Our team agreed that this would be beneficial for us. So, I have contacted Andy and he is excited about helping us explore ideas about reaching the unreached and nurturing their faith in Christ! He has already given us an assignment to read three books to stimulate our thinking. Two of the three books have spoken to us. Ten Most Common Mistakes Made By New Church Starts and The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting have been helpful. Moreover, following the "Dawnings" model (Dawnings is a retreat sponsored by National CBF to help churches re-dream their dream for their church), prayer is a vital part of our ministry efforts. So, we are reading books, talking to Andy and praying. Let's see what God will do afresh among us. I am excited for the journey.  I am working with Andy for us to have conference calls on Thursday mornings.

In Expectant Prayer,

Ron

 

"Comeback Player of the Year"

In 2009, professional baseball pitcher, Tim Hudson, was trying to pitch again for the Atlanta Braves after taking a year off to rehabilitate from major elbow surgery. Could he do it? Tim's wife Kim told him, "Just do the best you can and leave the rest to God." After much soul searching, and hard work,he returned to the team. The result: he was selected as comeback player of the year in 2010 after posting a 17-9 record.

Tim's story caused me to think of our work at Christchurch. We had set up three goals, about four years ago, around which to build our ministry. With limited success, we are going back to the "drawing board" to "rehabilitate" our ministry. We have invited Andy Hale, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church-plant consultant to walk with us. Since we had a team from our church attend the "Dawnings" conference, we are eligible to utilize their help as well in revisiting the best way(s) to connect with the people who are not attending church any where.  Presently, Andy has our leadership team reading three books to stimulate our thinking and creativity. Of course, living where we live puts us in a unique situation. All the more reason to solicit other minds to help us think through different ideas to reach the non-churched and utilize unique ways to connect with them. We are revisiting every possible avenue to put new wine into new wine skins. We have committed ourselves to do the best we can and leave the rest to God. Who knows... with these wonderful, insightful people working with us, we just might be voted "Comeback church of the year!"

Let's all invite some non-churched folks to our worship on Sunday afternoons and Bible Study on Tuesday nights and begin a relationship-building process and leave the rest to God. We can never tell what might happen if we just keep "putting the ball over the plate."

Praying Diligently,

Ron

The Most Wonderful Time of Year!

At Christmas, we sing a song made famous, in my young years, by Andy Williams. In my memory, I sing with Andy, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Yes, Christmas is a most wonderful time of year, but is it THE most wonderful time of year? Looking closer at the most significant events in human history, I propose that Easter is the most wonderful time in all of history. Why? Because we are not looking at a baby in a manger, but an empty tomb! Just three days prior, this tomb held the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth. To prove that Jesus is who He says He is, Jesus conquers death! Over the following forty days, He appears to groups reaffirming His identity as God incarnate. The Gospel of Matthew, in chapter 28, records a group of witnesses observe Jesus ascend to Heaven. What all does this mean? It means:   1) Jesus is God in flesh; 2) Jesus has paid our sins debt and provided a home in Heaven for all who receive Him as Savior and Lord; 3) We no longer have to live in fear and doubt about what the future holds for us.

Indeed! Easter is so significant, that it has altered one of the Ten Commandments. "Observe the Sabbath Day and keep it holy" is not in the New Testament. Jesus brought nine of the Ten Commandments over into the New Testament and left the Sabbath observance out. Why? Because He knew that something greater than the creation was going to take place. Followers of God, in the New Testament and beyond, worship now on Sunday to commemorate the resurrection! Easter has changed the course of destiny for the human race. So, Christians worship each Sunday to celebrate that the tomb is empty!

Celebrating,

Ron

Good News!

After meeting with the deacons and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, the pastor stated that he wanted to help us however his church could. How grateful I am that Fist Baptist Church of Tallahassee is now walking with us! Further, the church's mission committee is exploring ways to help us reach the unreached. This partnership is an amazing blessing for us!

Moreover, The Reverend Andy Hale, Church Planter Consultant for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will serve as our advisor and consultant as we move forward.

Beginning this Sunday, March 1, we will begin our journey together with Andy through a telephone conversation (face to face). The conversation will be with our Leadership Team beginning at 3:45 PM at the church site. He will help us to refocus and to re dream our dream. This promises to be a stretching experience of thinking new thoughts as well as deepening our Christian witness.

Re dreaming,

Ron

 

 

Mission Proposal Presented to First Baptist, Tallahassee

This past Monday night, Fran and I enjoyed supper, fellowship and prayer time with the diaconate of the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee. We had been invited by their pastor to share about our ministry and to request that FBC Tallahassee become our mother church. At the appropriate time on the schedule, their pastor shared about me and our ministry and our request. Then, I was invited to give an overview of our ministry and vision. Questions followed. The atmosphere was positive and the level of interest seemed strong. A couple of days later, I saw one of their deacons (the one with the most questions), and he complimented me on my presentation. He indicated that there was a positive feeling among the deacons about this proposal. So, now we are in a discussion period among the deacons. In the meantime, we will wait and pray for the Lord to reveal His will to us and to them.

Historically, FBC Tallahassee has been a very mission-minded church. I served one of their church starts (Thomasville Road Baptist Church) which has become a church averaging approximately 1,000 in weekly attendance. Presently, FBC Tallahassee is starting "Life Groups" in the area which are focused on making disciples. These groups meet away from the church campus in homes, businesses, etc. What our ministry is doing falls into their vision and focus. Hence, the strong interest in us. Thank you for praying for and with us as we see where the Lord leads us in this next step of our work together.

Making Disciples,

Ron

 

Looking Ahead!

The New Year stirs memories and dreams. When our children were small, we were returning to New Orleans after Christmas. New Year's resolutions were the topic of discussion when our four year old turned to his seven year old brother and asked, "Heaf, what is your New Year's revolution?" Not only could our four year old not pronounce his brother Heath's name correctly, but we laughed at his confusion between the words resolution and revolution. So, I explained the difference to him. After a while on the road, the children fell asleep, and I was left wandering, "What IS the difference between these words? If one follows through on one's resolution, then it most likely will cause a revolution in that person's life or even beyond!" As adults, our children remember that time and laugh. And after a time of kidding each other, the conversation always leads to deeper topics of setting goals and working to bring dreams into reality.

This January is a time for our church to begin to dream again. As some of our members attended the Dawnings conference during 2014, I was struck by a definition shared by one of its leaders. "Dawnings is a shift from a church-shaped vision to a God-shaped vision and shifting to how God wants to shape us."  As we seek God to shape us as well as His church, I believe that we will never rise above our level of praying. So, please begin to pray now for a significant event that we have in January: I will be meeting with the diaconate of The First Baptist Church of Tallahassee to explore the possibility of this church being our "mother church" or mission sponsor. Some amazing possibilities are before us!

In Diligent Prayer,

Ron

 

CHRISTMAS IS HERE!

Christmas is my favorite time of year, because people take on a different attitude. I have noticed that during this time of year, people smile and speak to strangers in a gracious manner. They hold the door for older people or ladies with their hands full of packages. As Christmas carols fill the air in the stores, you can almost track a change of attitude VISUALLY! People's faces seem to relax and an expression of hope begins to glimmer in their eyes. Looking more closely, I realize that love begins to rise like the ocean tide in our mind-set. And when love takes over, beautiful things happen among us. Every Christmas, we will hear stories about someone reaching out to some one else in need and a miracle happening! The uplifting effect that it has on all of us is exhilarating! It affirms once again the power of love to transform us into better human beings.

Indeed, this is the story of Christmas. Christ has come, in the form of a baby, to express the immeasurable love of God to each of us. And when we hear the music of His love, it transforms our hearts from being self-centered to genuinely caring for others. As for me, Christmas helps me to look, with a different attitude, at each person as an individual deeply loved by God. And if God loves each of us that deeply, then there must be something beautiful in every human being. Christmas encourages me to look for that beauty, and the Spirit of Christmas enables me to find it. Now, if we could just maintain that loving spirit in our every day lives. How often have I heard the saying, "I wish that Christmas would last all year, because everyone shows loves toward each other!" As the Catholics in New Orleans say, "BINGO!" That is the reason why Jesus came.... so our hearts would be changed from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh and to love others as He loves us.... all year round! So, let me say, "Merry Christmas! and,

I Love You!

Ron

 

I Love Wise Sayings

I love wise sayings. Two of them have captured my attention lately. The first is, "You cannot have change without change." And the second is, "When God changes anything,, He always improves it." God is generating some beautiful changes among us. The first improvement is that Andy Hale, the church plant consultant for The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, has agreed to work with our church. He will coach our leadership team through prearranged Skype sessions to aid us in finding ways to connect with new people. At our next leadership team session, we will select some proposed dates to Skype with Andy to glean from his wisdom and insights as we move forward. The second improvement is a possibility of having the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee to become our mission sponsor. Their pastor and I have begun dialoguing, and there is excitement in the air. I will keep our church informed as the ramifications of this relationship begin to take shape. Of course, this is a step-by-step process as we mutually agree upon the level of our affiliation. As a mission church we would still retain our separate identity.

Global Missions Offering Emphasis
While we turn our thoughts toward Thanksgiving and Christmas, we also turn our hearts toward the 130 foreign missionaries that we have serving around the world. Our Christmas mission offering provides their support. So, thank you for making a sacrificial gift this year.


Your Servant in Christ,

Ron

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