Monday, October 5th – Houston Bible Baptist Church
We began the evening with a full sanctuary of preachers and their families. Pastor David Barbee led us in a Scripture reading of Matthew 11:1-5,
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
Pastor Barbee explained that if John the Baptist, one of the greatest preachers found in the pages of the Bible, was discouraged and needed encouragement, then all of us can get into the same predicament. He went on to say that this was his reason for hosting this meeting, to encourage pastors and preachers through fellowship and the preaching of the Word, so they don’t find themselves in a similar dilemma as John.
We enjoyed congregational music, and specials sung by Derek Eckels and Pastor Kent Hogan. The evening speaker was Pastor Don Ball of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lebanon.
First Message – Don Ball
Title: “You Never Know Who’s in the Basket”
Text: Acts 9:21-27
Bro. Ball gave the background to this account. Saul has just recently been converted. He has been baptized, and is now learning to follow the Lord. This led to (1.) the Drama. The people involved in this drama were Saul, the disciples that were befriending and helping him, and the Jews that were bent on seeing his destruction.
This scenario resulted in (2.) the Danger.Those that were once working alongside Paul were hunting him down. The Jews that were now Saul’s enemies were going after him much like Satan goes after all believers. Their pursuit was systematic, strategic. They were doing whatever was in their power to take him. It was stealthy. Their hunting of Saul was also serious. It was not to oppose him, or simply distract him. Their objective was his total destruction.
The (3.) Dilemma was the situation in which Saul’s Christian friends found themselves. What would they do for Saul? If they sided with him, they could lose everything. To help this persecuted man could heighten their level of persecution. It would require a great deal of time. It could result in them losing all of their treasure, when people in the community discover they’re helping an enemy of the religious establishment. Helping Saul would also be treacherous: their very lives would be in jeopardy.
And finally, there was (4.) the Decision. Saul’s friends decided to act, no matter the cost, and helped him over the wall.
Pastor Ball made the application: we are called to help people over the wall. “Every decision a pastor makes with people comes down to this: will I help this person over the wall, or leave them in need?” Satan is opposing Christians. He wants to destroy them. The world, the flesh and the Devil are all against believers. Helping those in the crosshairs of this opposition will not be easy. It means sacrifice. It will cost us our time, our money, and maybe even our lives. But will we help people over the wall?
The stirring message definitely made contact, as Bro. Ball related accounts in his own life of people he has worked with, as well as those that had “helped him over the wall.” After the service we were treated with dessert prepared by the church.
Tuesday, October 6th
The morning services began with another full auditorium ( I counted 32 pastors and preachers plus their families). There was some congregational music, a special from Dorothy Main, and Pastor Matt Dedmon was invited to the pulpit. Bro. Dedmon is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Springfield.
Second Message – Pastor Matt Dedmon
Title: “Signs of Pride”
Text: I Samuel 15:1-9
Pride is a sin that is in all of our hearts. It is the sin that brings contention (Proverbs 10:13). It brings us low (Proverbs 16:18). It always results in shame (Proverbs 11:2). And it is always followed by destruction (Proverbs 9:23). And all of these things happened in the life of King Saul.
Pride can be a problem for pastors. “It is easy to counsel others without counseling yourself.”
Many people don’t see their own condition. Will prideful people know they’re prideful? And if not, how will we know? We can know, if God shows us. And God shows us through His Word, the Scriptures. 1 Samuel 15 gives us the signs of pride. By looking at the behavior of King Saul in this passage, we can identify the signs of pride that may show up in our own lives.
(1.) Feeling above the rules. This was Saul’s attitude. God had given him clear instructions: destroy all of the Amalekites. Saul was not ignorant of the instructions, he just didn’t feel tied to them. He felt he was so vital to God’s plan and purpose for Israel, that God would allow him some freedom in his obedience. Preachers can do the same thing. We feel as if the fact of God’s love gives us an allowance to sin. We can use our service for Christ as an excuse for our disobedience. When we do this, we are demonstrating that pride is ruling our hearts.
(2.) Pride says, “It’s not my fault.” When confronted by Samuel regarding his failure, Saul began his defense by blaming the people. He blamed his moral failures on the people he was leading. It’s easy for preachers to blame all of the negative events in their ministries on others. But when we have moral failing we need to own them. When we evade this responsibility, it’s another sign of sinful pride.
(3.) Pride is more concerned with what people think than what God knows. Saul wanted Samuel to honor him in front of the people. His attitude was “Pray with me in front of the people and everything will be alright!” Though there is a hint of confession, Saul still has not dealt with his pride. He is more interested in saving face than in getting right with God. When we are confronted with temptation, and we think about the consequences of such a sin, do we say know because of what it will do to our reputation, or because of what it will do to our Savior?
Pastor Dedmon urged all of us to search our hearts to see if pride has a hold in our lives.
Third Message – Pastor Jason Tucker
After a special by Derek Eckels (“So Send I You”) Bro. Barbee introduced Pastor Jason Tucker. Bro. Tucker is the new pastor of Landmark Baptist Church in Rolla.
Title: “A New Position”
Text: Acts 24:10-16
Pastor Tucker spoke on Paul’s defense in front of the Jews in Acts 24. A lot has changed in Paul’s life beginning with the confrontation he experienced by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. Now, he was a follower of Jesus, a Christian. Those who once feared him now loved him, and those who once admired and supported him now wanted him dead. This transformation from lost to saved not only changed his heart, it changed his environment. His salvation had brought him into a new position. No longer was he accepted by the Jewish religious leader, he was their worst enemy, and now, they are trying to get rid of him.
All of us, since we have been converted are in a new position. And because of that, opposition will come. It will come from our lost family. It will come from the culture. It will come from the towns we minister in. How we will respond to this opposition?
(1.) Paul Claimed Christ. There was pressure on him to back down. He was now in the minority. In this situation, he boldly confessed Christ. He refused to compromise. He owned his position in Christ. We need to own our position as well. There is no reason to be ashamed of who we are and what we believe.
(2.) Paul had hope in God. He had good reason to place his hope in God – the resurrection! That’s why the resurrection of Jesus is so vital in the defense he gives in these verses. No matter how much the Jews opposed him, no matter what would happen to him when he was bold about his new position, no one could take his hope. We need to be strong in our position, because the resurrection is a reality for us as well. Our Savior that we stand for has overcome death for all of us, and the world can never take that away.
(3.) Paul had a desire to do God’s will. He did not respond like this for his personal benefit in this life. He wanted to please his Lord. It should be the same with us as well.
Bro. Tucker encouraged us to stand in our position, to not be ashamed of Christ, and to not compromise on anything but rather stand until the Lord comes back.
Fourth Message – Pastor Gary Berry
Bro. Dedmon and his sons brought a special, and Bro. Barbee invited Pastor Gary Berry to come and deliver the final message of the meeting.
Text: Joshua 1:1-10
Pastor Berry preached on the need for pastors to have vision. Joshua was the new leader of God’s people. Moses was off the scene, and the Lord was going to use Joshua to lead the people into the promised land.
But the Book of Joshua, surprisingly, doesn’t really begin with Joshua doing anything. In the first chapter, there are no strategies, no battle plans, and no combat. Instead, the Book begins with God speaking.
Bro. Berry told the story of his recent trip to visit a missionary in Germany. He found himself totally lost, and every decision he made seemed to take him further from his objective. He knew where he wanted to be, he just didn’t know how to get there. He found himself stranded at a train station at night. He prayed to ask God for help, and his prayer was answered almost immediately when out of the blue, a taxi driver drove up right to him. The driver knew how to get where Bro. Berry wanted to go, and the crisis was over.
This was a humorous account, but it also served as a convicting illustration. Pastors know where they would like their churches to be. They know that they want their people to grow, they want people to be saved, and the want the church collectively to be in God’s will. But they cannot bring them their on their own.
Like Joshua, we cannot simply go into battle. We must hear from God. Christ is the head of each church through His Word. We cannot lead churches without following God through His Word. God has placed pastors in His churches to lead people, but it must be by God’s vision that he gives.
When we try to do things our own way, we will keep discovering that our ministries are not operating correctly. The conquering of Canaan was not Joshua’s idea, it was God’s. But God wanted to use Joshua to execute it. The saving of life in Noah’s day was not Noah’s idea, it was God’s, but God wanted to use Noah in the process. But for all the men in Scripture that God used to execute His plans, there was a requirement that they do it God’s way.
Just as Joshua was not ready to lead until God spoke, so must we wait to lead in the ministry for God. God’s Word is our final authority. His vision must become our vision. And then, we will be ready to carry on with His work in the world.
We were treated after the service to a delicious lunch. Many of the people stayed for the afternoon fellowship that followed. A great time was had by all. Thanks to the loving people of Houston Bible Baptist Church for being such gracious hosts. If there were any John the Baptists in the dungeon this week, they were no doubt greatly helped by all that went on at this fellowship meeting.