From the pastor
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the last newsletter we talked about New Year’s Resolutions. Mine was to take a special interest in the young people of our church. I have personally met with them three times and felt each meeting to be a special blessing for us all. I gave them the opportunity to write down any questions they might have concerning God and His word. Their subjects varied, from creation to baptism. The most requested subject was, How do I know I am saved and what to do about it? I appreciate the parents support in this worthy endeavor by bringing their children and allowing me the opportunity to minister to them.
I have submitted my new devotional book, Family Devotions With Helpful Hints For Parents, to the publisher. I hope to make it available within the next 2 months. I appreciate the help of several ministers, Elders Edward Cagle, Harold Stumbaugh and Dickie Halbegwachs. Brother Dickie proofread the entire manuscript. His suggestions were a great help to me in the final preparation. The title of the book suggests its basic purpose: to promote and encourage family devotions. Helpful hints are given at the conclusion of each article to encourage dialogue in the family setting. Of course, the book is not perfect. You may have to throw away a few bones. But we do hope you find some meat within. I will not be distributing this book personally. It will be available on the internet. One place you will be able to get a copy is Amazon.com.
We have a lot of new faces in our assembly, new families with children that we all need to know. I encourage our membership to get to know each person individually and make them feel at home in our church. Also, I encourage each adult to get to know the young people. We, as adults, should know the name of every child and have at least one meaningful conversation with each of them. This serves as a great encouragement for them to know that we not only know they exist, but that they are important to us. If we want our church to grow, these details are essential. They are found under the category of ministering. A former fist lady of our country once wrote, “It Takes a Tribe”, meaning that it takes the whole country to raise the children of the country. Personally, I do not want the country, the world, helping me to raise my children. But I do want my brothers and sisters in the church to assist me. The tribe called Spiritual Israel is the one we want to help us with our children.
I have enjoyed several good trips recently. In January, I was with Elder Ken Still and the church he pastors in Georgia. I enjoyed his fellowship and the opportunity to meet his congregation. During that visit, I was with the church that Elder Dolph Painter pastors, at Athens, Georgia. He has a very warm and receptive congregation. I was also with Elder Marty Smith one night at Union Church. Several ministers were there that night and I enjoyed seeing them again. It was a special blessing to be in that area and fellowship the people of their respective churches. In March, I was blessed to be at a preacher’s meeting hosted by Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church. This was a very spiritual meeting and I left the meeting greatly encouraged. My message was entitled, “The Pastor’s Study”, as I spoke about the importance of pastoral study and the many subjects we should study. I have ordered a set of the CD’s for our church which includes a CD of the men singing which is beautiful. I arrived back home in time to attend the Ordination of Brother Steve Holland to the office of deacon at Fuller’s Chapel Church in Little Rock. Brother Steve is special to us because his grandmother, Sister Leona Sandage, was a member at Harmony for over 50 years. It was a beautiful service. Brother Steve is doing a great job. In April, I had the opportunity to preach at the annual meeting of the Friendship Primitive Baptist Church at Scranton. Elder Harvey Fulmer is their pastor. I greatly enjoyed the meeting and it was a blessing to make some new friends in Zion.
What is happening AT HARMONY
Elder Lasserre Bradley was with us for our annual meeting in April. We felt the Lord greatly blessed each message. The attendance was very good for each service. On Sunday night, we asked Pastor John Fuqua to speak with Elder Bradley. Pastor Fuqua pastors “The Church” at Star City. I have visited in his home and with the people of his church on several occasions and have come to love and appreciate him very much. He has a great heart for the Lord. It was a little different, having a preacher that was not a Primitive Baptist to preach for us. But many of our members encouraged me to have him as I was already persuaded to do. In some of my readings, I have found where Primitive Baptists shared meeting houses with others and many times the members of each fellowship visited back and forth. I feel we do ourselves a great injustice by barring our doors from fellowship with others. I appreciate the opportunity to hear what Pastor Fuqua had to say and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to have his church members sit in on one of our worship services. Not only did Brother John come, but we were blessed to have about 120 of his members as well. They came to support their pastor! It was a blessing to get out some extra chairs. It was amusing to see the reaction of our members as over 100 strangers drove up on our church yard! I was made to wonder: would we really know what to do if the Lord sent a revival?
At this time, we have our new P.A. system installed. We have experienced some difficulties, which include some noisy recordings of our services. But we trust we have that taken care of at this time.
Our 4th Sunday night bible study has been greatly blessed. Some very profitable subjects have been discussed. One subject that came up was fasting. We learned that it is indeed a New Testament principle. As we considered the subject, some of the members suggested that we follow through with the lesson and do what the book says concerning the matter. This is what they did in the days of Nehemiah. When Ezra read from the Book they learned that they were supposed to dwell in booths at a certain time of the year (Nehemiah 8:5-18). They didn’t say, “Well, it may say that but we don’t do it that way any more”. They just obeyed God’s word and received a great blessing from it. We decided that those who wanted to participate would fast for their noon meal on Wednesdays so that we would all be fasting together. Our purpose for the fast was to seek God’s face and ask Him to bless our church for we stand in great need of his mercy and grace. What a small sacrifice to make for such a wonderful Savoir!
We are still going through the book of Ephesians. At this time, we are in chapter 4. What a wonderful chapter. This speaks of the Christian walk. Oh, how important this is. Our walk should be the byproduct of the doctrine we believe. This is what the world sees…it is our public witness. If our walk is not Christ-like, our doctrinal sentiments will have little effect on our hearers. Just as we need gospel preaching to reveal the hidden Man of the heart, we need the same gospel to reveal the hidden sins of the heart. We must never forget that when we are converted and baptized, our sins do not disappear. Though we all know that to be a fact, it seems that many times we do not strive to change. The true Christian should be constantly growing. We still have many sins to purge. It is a sad reflection upon God’s people when they think they need no further improvement. If we want to see true revival, this is the key. Revival does not, will not, can not, come on the mountain. It begins in the valley. When our hearts are pricked and we see ourselves as we really are, bankrupt, guilty sinners, when we don’t just say it, but feel it, then revival starts.
We have a new radio broadcast airing in the Arkadelphia area at this time. It is entitled, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” and is heard at 8:30 a.m. on KDEL, 100.9 I was asked to give an interview with the broadcasting company on May 6th. During the ten minute interview I was able to talk about our church practice and beliefs. I pray this might lead others to our faith and our Lord Jesus Christ.
As you know, our first Sunday nights have been designated as a night to hear visiting ministers. This has been a special blessing for our church. We have enjoyed several visiting ministers over the past few months which include: Elder Ralph Sandage, Elder Gary Harvey, Elder Harold Stumbaugh, Elder Bobby McWhirter, Elder Jim Turner, Elder Charles Sandage, Elder Edward Cagle, Elder Harvey Fulmer and Elder Dub Hatten. We have enjoyed the visitation of our sister churches during our night services. One face that has been a special blessing to us, as well as all of our surrounding churches is that of Arnold Sandage. His faithfulness has been a great encouragement to us all. The way that he conducts himself in our churches exemplifies Christ.
We have one graduating senior this year. Jacqueline Burroughs is graduating from Glen Rose High School. Let’s pray that the Lord will be with Jacqueline and guide her in all of the decisions that she will be making in the days to come.
Out Of The Depths, John Newton’s autobiography, is available in our library. This book is, of course, about the life of John Newton, the writer of the well know Christian hymn, Amazing Grace.
REMBER IN PRAYER
Sister Anita Loy who is recovering from heart surgery.