Monday, December 29, 2008

"Run, Forrest, Run!"

"Run, Forrest, Run!"  These were the words I said as I performed the wedding ceremony of Claudette (Hogan) and Forrest Sims over eight years ago.  I'm glad he didn't take my advice!  Claudette was in my youth group as I began my ministry over 15 years ago.  It's great to see her living out her Christian life as a Christian wife and mother of two beautiful children.  

They have just moved to Clarksville, TN and were traveling from Enterprise to Clarksville today.  We met them at a Chick Fil-A as they came through Nashville.  Christian and Preston had a great time playing on the playground with their daughter Riley (age 6)  and their son John Thomas (age 3).  It was great to catch up with them a little and reminisce about the days at First Baptist Level Plains.

Temple Baptist Church - White House, TN

For the past two months, we have participated when we could at Temple Baptist Church in White House, TN.  We have attended on Sundays  when I wasn't preaching or speaking somewhere else, and we have been every Wednesday night since October (except the week of Thanksgiving when we were out of town).  Our children have been embraced by this church as they have become involved in Sunday School, G.A.'s, R.A.'s, Children's Choir, and Youth Group.  They allowed Christian to have a part in the Christmas program presented by the Children's Choir, and John Robert is in Gatlinburg right now on a youth retreat.  This church has even survived Preston becoming partners in crime with the pastor's 7 year old son.  This church has truly welcomed our whole family and made us feel a part of their body. 

Yesterday, I had the privilege to preach in the morning service, and last night Charlotte and I shared about our call to missions and some of what we will be doing in Costa Rica.  God is using Temple Baptist Church to reach the community of White House, TN.  They took approximately 75 youth on the youth retreat, and the church is growing as people are coming to know Christ as Lord and Savior.  H.D. Jones is the pastor and it is obvious that he loves the Lord and he loves this congregation that he is leading.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Spiritual Giant

Today Charlotte and I went downtown Nashville.  We went to the Souther Baptist Convention office.  In front of the office is a statue of Billy Graham.  In the picture you can see how he dwarfs us - not just in the sense of size, but also in spiritual maturity.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The People You Run Into

Last night the family went shopping for last minute Christmas gifts. We were at Target in the dollar area (family and friends don't worry we were not buying your gifts in that section) when Preston struck up a conversation with an older man. The man was 86 years old and a retired Southern Baptist pastor. He is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. When I told him I was also a graduate of NOBTS, he began asking me if I knew people that he went to school with in the 40s. He also was a pastor in New Orleans for 8 years in some of the areas that I have ministered in over the years. I really enjoyed talking to this man of God. I shared with him about going on the Mission Field to Costa Rica. He and his wife said that they would pray for us. They took down our information. It truly feels special that a couple that have had such an amazing life in the Lord will be praying for us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

To South Carolina and Back

We packed a lot into this weekend. Charlotte and I left Friday afternoon headed to South Carolina where I preached today at Stone Bridge Church in Powdersville, SC. We left on Friday so that we could take an extra day to celebrate our upcoming anniversary which is December 28th. On the 28th we will have been married 17 wonderful years!

On Saturday we took our time getting to South Carolina. We stopped along the way to do a little Christmas shopping and then went to Greenwood, SC to visit Charlotte's aunt and uncle. We were also able to see her cousin and his wife and their two children. We had a great visit with them. We are trying to see a lot of friends and family before we leave for Costa Rica.

After visiting with them, we then went to Sammy and Melissa Clary's home in Easley, SC. We went out to eat with Sammy and Melissa and their 10 year old son Isaac. It was truly wonderful to see them. They have been through so much in the past three years. Isaac was very sick and had a bone marrow transplant in April of 2006. God has performed many miracles in their lives and Isaac is doing very well.

Today I preached at Stone Bridge church. Everyone at the church was so friendly. The church is a one year old contemporary church. It was awesome to see what God is doing in this newly formed body.

I also had the opportunity to attend the early service at another church - Marathon Church. My friend Sammy was preaching in their services today. This church is also contemporary and has three services. It was neat to see some new and unique ways they are doing worship.

We are tired, but had a fun weekend. We are now gearing up to celebrate Christmas this week!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Great Weekend!

This weekend, we were once again, "On the Road Again." This time we were in the Atlanta area. We had the opportunity to speak at Legacy Baptist Church Sunday morning in Dallas, GA. This church is five years old and meets at Chatahoochee Tech. The pastor is Rev. Alton Wilson, who is truly a man of God. This church welcomed us with open arms and allowed us to share with them. After church we had a wonderful time of fellowship with Bro. Alton and his wife Mrs. Jean, and Brian and Rebecaa Mize and their twin boys who are members of Legacy and good friends of ours.

That evening we had the pleasure of being at Olive Springs Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. This is the church that I pastored for four and a half years. It is the church that God used to confirm my call to missions in many ways. We had a wonderful time seeing friends who mean so much to our family. It was a time where I could share from my heart and let them see what God is doing in our lives.

I have a special prayer request that I want everyone to be praying about. While at Olive Springs, I saw a good friend of mind - Daniel Reyes. Daniel's life has truly been transformed. He has been through some hard years in his life and accepted Christ in prison. I met Daniel when his family began attending Olive Springs. Daniel began growing in his walk with the Lord. At one time Daniel was working for a man who had some illegal business activities. Daniel knew as a Christian he could not continue to work for this man. He quit without having another job because he knew that was the right thing to do. God did provide for him to begin working for a Christian man. Daniel works with the youth at Olive Springs and is now a deacon. He is on fire for the Lord. He shared with me that over Christmas his family will be traveling to Texas. They will be with family members who for the most part are not Christians. He has a greater motivation for going than just to spend time with his family over Christmas. He and his wife Adela are going to Texas to share the true meaning of Christmas with their family. They are going to tell their family about the changes God has made in their lives and they are going to tell them how they too can experience the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. I told him that I will be praying for him everyday they are gone. They will be leaving this Friday (12/19) and will be returning on Friday (12/26). Please pray for safety as they travel and pray that the Holy Spirit is already working in the lives of his family members to prepare them to be receptive to the message Daniel and Adela will share.

Let's all be like Daniel in being ready and willing to share the true message of Christ this Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Winter Time Blahs (posted by Charlotte)

It has been a rainy, cold and downright miserable week - at least as far as the weather goes. But isn't it funny how sometimes we let things as trivial as the weather affect our inward condition? This week has been somewhat slow. Cavin and I have done a lot of our secret shopping. We have eaten out, shopped at the mall, looked at motorcycles, and mailed packages - all to see how good the customer service was and to send a report in to the company. This is what we have been doing since we have been in Nashville to make extra money. We have had a lot of fun doing it, but (thankfully!) that is not our calling in life. We know that God has called us to missions, and we are very anxious to get on with it! It seems like we have been talking about it for so long, and yet here we still are! As Preston says, "We keep talking about it! Let's do it!" Yet, we know that God is preparing us. The lengthy process through the International Mission Board has helped us learn patience. We have not given up when things were hard. We are also having many experiences right now to speak to churches and individuals and help them understand about praying, going and giving - and maybe God is speaking to someone through us about what their calling is in regard to missions. We sometimes need to be reminded of what our calling is. Just today, God reminded me of my calling as I read Acts 10:34-36 "God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." That's the reason missions is so important - so that people from every nation can know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On the Road Again... (posted by Charlotte)

"On the Road Again" seems to be our theme song right now. We have once again made the trek to Enterprise. Cavin will be speaking tomorrow at County Line Baptist Church in the morning service, and at First Baptist Pinckard which is near Dothan, Alabama tomorrow evening. It has been great getting to share with people about what God is doing in our lives. We will actually be speaking in four different states this month for four different weekends - Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This trip we left the kids in Tennessee. It really makes traveling much calmer and easier!

We got in kind of late this evening, but it worked out that we still had time to get together with some good friends - Jeff and Jeanine Fields. We had a great time talking and laughing with them. Jeff is the Minister of Assimilation and Small Groups at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Enterprise. He also went with Cavin on the trip to Costa Rica last month. Jeff and Jeanine truly love the Lord and are faithfully serving Him. It was great to spend some time with them.

Tomorrow afternoon we are going to get together with some other great friends - Holly and Parrish Dalrymple, and their two children Jackson and Will. Holly and Parrish are the type people who will do anything for you, and are always there when you need them. The day we moved from Enterprise, we called them because we had filled up the U-Haul and had no where to put the rest of our stuff. As always, they were willing to help. They came to our house and helped us load up everything and have been keeping it for us in their shed. They have meant so much to us over the past several years.

Yesterday was a good day, but a sad one if you really think about it. I had another birthday. I can't believe I have been around now for 41 years! I still feel like I should be about 21! But Cavin helped ease the pain by taking me to lunch at my favorite restaurant - Jim 'N Nick's Barbecue. It was great! Then we went shopping and he picked out a new purse for me that I really like! Then last night we had a birthday meal with the family at home! I also got a lot of cards, phone calls, emails and facebook messages. It was nice to be remembered by so many friends and family! I am truly blessed!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting out of the Christmas Spirit

The Christmas spirit has become a spirit of shopping, spending money, and being busy. I want to get out of the that spirit and focus on my Savior and Lord. I don't just want to celebrate His birthday but I want to celebrate my intimate relationship with Him. Over the next 22 days, I want to grow closer to Him than I have ever been in my life. I desire to celebrate the and worship in a more real and intimate way than ever before. Join me - everyday for the next 22 days - for one hour each day to pray, study, and meditate on Jesus - our Lord and Savior. If you will join me in this, I believe you will have a more real Christmas than ever before!

Monday, December 1, 2008

25 Days and Counting... (posted by Charlotte)

25 days and counting, and I'm not talking about Christmas. In 25 days (December 26), we will be officially employed with the International Mission Board. It has been a long process, and our lives have changed drastically since this time last year, and soon our lives will be changing again, as we go to Richmond for FPO (Field Personnel Orientation) which will begin on January 26th. There we will be living with many other families on somewhat of a compound. We will be sharing our lives for 8 weeks with others who have felt God's call to missions. We will bond with these individuals and families over this time, and then after 8 weeks we will all go to the corner of the world God has called us to, and we will literally have friends all over the world! We have already bonded with many of these people as we have met at Candidate Conference in Richmond which we attended for a week this past July, and we met others during our Appointment Week in Houston just a few weeks ago.

During this process, we have met so many wonderful people. Just yesterday, we shared with the congregation of Robinsonville Baptist Church in Atmore, AL. These people welcomed us warmly and assured us they will be praying for us. It is great to meet so many people who believe in what we are doing, and to know they truly are praying for us. And in doing so, they are going with us on the mission field.

I met a neat lady today at John Robert's school. Her name is Angie Tate, and she is the Office Manager at White House Heritage High School where John Robert has been attending these last few weeks while we have been living in White House, TN. I shared with her that we would only be here a short time, as we were preparing to go on the mission field to Costa Rica. She then shared with me how her small church is mission minded, gives to Lottie Moon, and does many mission projects. Again, God is reminding me that He places people just where He wants them, and He uses them right where they are. We just have to be willing!