October 2014

Monday Evening

A great turnout of preachers and their families gathered on Monday evening, October 6th at Bible Baptist Church in Columbia for the Fall Meeting. We sang some hymns, intermixed with a special my a mixed quartet, and a solo by April Parish, “Under His Wings.” The spirit in this assembly was truly wonderful.

Host Pastor Jeff Hastings introduced Shane Mallard and invited him to the pulpit. Pastor Mallard asked us to turn to 2 Kings 2, and then read verses 1-15. He took us through the passage, and drew our attention to the series of tests the prophet Elijah was administering to the younger Elisha. Elisha refused to turn back from his decision to follow Elijah. He never went back or gave up, but rather was committed to obtaining God’s power in his life.

He wanted the same power of God that Elijah had. He asks for a double portion, and it was granted him. A closer look reveals that Elisha is associated with more miracles than any other prophet except Moses.

Elijah had been a man of faith. He had his failures, but more often than not, he obeyed God and preached the the face of dangerous opposition, even though there were times of depression, Elijah was characterized by a courageous life empowered by God.

Elisha wanted this power. The power was not position, it was not prestige, it was a life controlled by God’s Spirit. Elisha demonstrated that he was committed to having this power. Why was he committed to this? Because he knew the only way he could carry out the ministry God had given him was with divine power.

Tracing Elisha’s story, Pastor Mallard demonstrated a couple of important things about his commitment. His commitment was tested by opportunities to quit: Elijah asked him to go back because what he was getting unto would not be easy. His commitment was tested by loneliness: many of the other prophets seemed to think Elijah’s power was going to end, and there was no use in following him. Elisha followed on alone.

Because his commitment was proven, there was a promise for that commitment. He was promised a double portion of the power of God in Elijah’s life.

We need the power of God. We must understand that we cannot serve God in our ministries without God’s power. Our confidence should not be in ourselves: our dependence should be on God. Pastor Mallard finished by reminding us that what is required is commitment. When we get to the place where all we want is God, we will find He’s all we need.

A dessert fellowship followed (quite delicious by the way!) and a good number stayed to take part.

Tuesday Morning

Before the services started, there was a tasty from-scratch breakfast provided in the fellowship hall. The ladies really did an outstanding job preparing for this. After enjoying the breakfast, we moved into the auditorium.

A few more preachers were added to the number when the Tuesday morning services began. After a congregational led by Jessie Ivasics, and another moving special, Pastor Hastings introduced Pastor Kent Hogan.

PastorHogan began by recounting a time when he was away from the Lord soon after his salvation, and fell into hypocrisy. He told us how during this time he began reading his Bible. Through this experience the Word of God changed his heart and he began to serve Christ again. He learned during this time that the Word of God is powerful.

He took us to Hebrews 4:12, and once again reminded us the Word of God is powerful. Then we went to 2 Kings 22. He recounted Josiah’s ascension to the throne.

After going through the chapter, Pastor Hogan showed us how the Word of God changed the heart of Josiah. When the Book of the Law was found and read to him, he realized that Judah was under God’s wrath.

The Word of God had an amazing transforming effect on Josiah. It caused conviction. It caused revival. And it caused a desire to serve God.

The idols that Jeroboam had set up had been there for 311 years. Why did Josiah tear them down? Because the Word of God changed Him. He feared God, because of the power of God’s Word.

God’ s Word still works. It creates the fear of God in our lives. That means we reverence Him, serve Him, and are careful to not offend Him. We need God’s Word in our lives. He closed by reminding us, “if you don’t have time for God’s Word, you are busier than he intended.”

This was a great encouragement for all the preachers to stay in the Bible.

After some more singing, and an introduction by Pastor Hastings,  Pastor Jeff Merrick approached the pulpit. He led us to Genesis 22, and read the account of God’s testing of Abraham. He talked about the difficulty of the test: God was not only asking for his son, in asking for this it looked as if the great promise could not be fulfilled. Abraham, even with those factors, was willing to take his son’s life, and turn his back on what was most valuable to him.

God brought Abraham to this point to answer a single question: “Abraham, I know how much you are willing to take from my hand, but what are you willing to put in my hand?”

God has created man to know Him. From the very beginning, God created us to be relational with Him: not because He was lonely, but simply because this creation was something He wanted to do.

God wants those of us that are His children to not only know Him, but continue he to grow in our knowledge of Him. But along the path of our pursuit of Him, God has stopping points. When we come to these, God submits the question, “What are you willing to give up to know me more?”

There are times in our lives when God will test us by taking things away. He does this so we can know His presence in a greater way. The more stopping points we come to, the more we realize that we have to answer this question: “Will I give this up to know God in a deeper way?”

We need to know Him. We need to pursue a deeper knowledge of Him. We need His presence. And when we don’t have it, the ministry is miserable. “Ministry doesn’t wear us out because it’s too busy,” Pastor Merrick said,  “but rather because it’s so empty.”

Whatever we are not willing to put into God’s hands will keep our ministries empty. We need to grow in the presence of God. That will often mean turning down opportunities, relationships, jobs, promotions, and anything else that could get in the way of our pursuit of His presence. We must put what God requires in His hands.

We need God’s presence. Pastor Merrick challenged us to answer the question, “Will you take from God without giving back?” The address served as a convicting reminder that we must not let anything take the throne of our hearts other than our Lord.

Shane Mallard came up to preach the final sermon. We turned to Matthew 24. Pastor Mallard read the first 15 verses, reminding us that these are not signs of the rapture, but the revelation of Jesus Christ in His second coming in power and glory.

He spoke of the three major sermons in Matthew that talk about God’s Kingdom. In 5-7 we have the principles of the Kingdom, in 13 we see the parables of the Kingdom, and in 24-25 there are the prophecies of the Kingdom.

The second coming is in two parts: Christ coming for the saints, and later, with the saints.

All of our thinking about the future should be governed by the Word of God. He reminded us of how many times in the last 70 years people thought it was the end of the world. Over and over again, modern prophetic experts have been wrong. We need to base our beliefs of the last things on what God has spoken in His Word.

What has God spoken? It is made clear in this passage that the tribulation will be an unparalleled time of destruction, sorrow, and judgment. Even though the signs seem like things we see today, we are just seeing the ripple effects of the actual event. They serve as constant reminders that God’s judgment is coming.

The events we are experiencing now should not simply spark our interest in prophecy. We don’t need to look for signs, we need to look for the Son. The reality of the end of the world should push us closer to our Christ.

The things taking place show that we are closer. If it is that close, how much closer then is the rapture? There’s no sign for the rapture, but there is a promise. He promised to take us to Himself, that where He is there we will be also (John 14).

Christ is coming again. It will not be long. Are we aware of the fact that time is running out? What are we doing about it? The day is coming when Christ will catch us away. Are we ready? Pastor Mallard preached this message with an intense urgency, calling us to exhaust ourselves for Christ and His word while there is still time.

Before we dismissed, Pastor Gary Berry  invited everyone to the next meeting in December, hosted by Southland Baptist Church in Belton.

There was a wonderful lunch provided for all the attendees after the last service.

Pastor Jeff Hastings and the folks of Bible Baptist Church deserve a huge “Thank you” for all the work that made this meeting an encouragement to the preachers.

It was also great to see preachers come together from different parts of the state. Stay in touch for more information about the Winter Meeting.

– David Harris