July 2004

HARMONY NEWSLETTER

JULY, 2004

From the pastor

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I have been greatly encouraged by the attendance over the last few months.  Some of our members have come in and lost their seats!  We thank the Lord for this increase and I encourage each one to continue to invite and bring others to God’s house. 

What is happening at DONALDSON

Since the time of our last newsletter we have added a Sunday night service.  I have been greatly encouraged by the interest our church has shown towards these services.  Each meeting has been well attended.  Elder Harold Stumbaugh was with us the 1st Sunday night in May, Elder Jim Turner in June and Elder Gary Harvey in July. The church enjoyed having them and appreciated their messages.  

I was somewhat apprehensive about our question and answer session on the 4th Sunday night, yet this meeting was also well attended.  There was a good spirit manifested as we tried to answer some very good questions from our people.  Some of the questions included: What does the Bible mean about “The angels that sinned”-II Peter 2:4; what are some of the evils that God’s people should be aware of today?; do all infants that die go to heaven?;   who are the rightful heirs of Abraham?” and “what does the Bible say about the return of Christ”. Our Q & A begins with prayer and is limited to an hour.    

On the 2nd and 3rd Sunday nights, I have started a series of messages on the Apostles.  I pray this will be a blessing to God’s people as we learn about the men who risked their lives to promote the wonderful truths of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.    

We greatly appreciate the visitation and fellowship of our sister churches during these meetings and hope this meeting will provide a place of worship for all in our area who have a desire to worship on Sunday evenings.  There are many meetings that we have the opportunity to attend both near and far but let us remember that the meeting in our own area will be of far greater benefit to our own families and community.

We have two graduating seniors this year:  Montley Whitley and Whitney Welch.  We pray that the Lord will guide them in the many decisions before them and that they will continue to make the Lord and His house a priority in their lives.  

Our annual picnic at Brother Leon and Sister Patty Burris’ home is scheduled for the 3rd weekend in July.  Though this is a HOT time of the summer, it seems to make the homemade ice cream and watermelon taste a little better.  This has always been a special time of fellowship for our people.  Mark your calendar and bring your ice cream freezers.  This would be a great time to bring a friend to Church.

We continue to provide tapes for those who are interested in our tape ministry.  In the next few months we are planning to change our media format from cassette tape to CD as many of our listeners are telling us that they no longer have tape players in their cars.  Some of the recent messages have been:

“CONFUSION”- A message on the sin of Sodomy and what God has to say about homosexuality.

“THREE REMARKABLE CONVERSIONS”- Three messages dealing with the conversion of (1) The Ethiopian Eunuch; (2) Saul of Tarsus; (3) Cornelius.

“PRIORITY” – A message concerning the priority of God’s Kingdom in the lives of the believers: Matthew 6:33.

“PREACHING, PRAYING AND SINGING”- 3 messages concerning the God ordained method of public worship.

These messages seemed to be especially blessed. If you are interested in receiving any of these messages please let us know.  I have recently learned that a family who lives in Brazil that attended our services while in the states, uses our messages for their Sunday morning services!

We enjoyed the preaching of Elder Marty Smith and Elder Dickie Halbegwachs during our annual meeting.  We felt a special anointing of God’s Spirit during each service and our communion service was especially blessed with the Lord’s presence.  

We have been greatly saddened by the loss of our brother, Joe Cox.  Brother Joe fell down the basement stairs in his home and was hospitalized for several days.  We all thought he was doing better and would return shortly to his home when he took a sudden turn for the worse, was transferred to St. Vincent’s Infirmary, in Little Rock, where he died, Tuesday, June 15th.

A couple of years ago, Brother Joe came to see me as he wanted to share something he had written.  He read it to me and left.  As I looked it over it occurred to me that he was giving me something he wanted me to share with the church after his decease, so I filed it away.  As Sister Elaine and I were traveling back from the hospital the note he had written came to my mind.  When I returned to my home I found his note and I wept as I read his words as he praised the Lord and His Church.  This letter indicates Brother Joe’s great love for the Church and what it meant to him. As you read it, you will be able to tell that it was meant to be read to his Brethren at a later date.  At his funeral, I told the audience that Brother Joe was helping his pastor out, and “he being dead yet speaketh.”

MEMOIR: JOE COX 3/02

My great grandmother was a Primitive Baptist and died at age 93 in 1919.  Only her oldest daughter became a member of Primitive Baptist faith.  One son became a Methodist minister of renown in Mississippi and Arkansas…1890’s to 1930’s. He was a graduate of Emory U. My grandmother and one sister and three brothers became Southern Baptists.  

The main thing I remember was them talking about all day meetings, and how tired they (children) were at days end.  Also, laughing about shape note singing and foot washing.

Somewhere along the way great-grand maw forgot to instill in her children the wonderful doctrines and beliefs of the Old Baptist Church. After I joined Harmony in 1980 I did some research on great grandmother and found she joined Mt. Olive Primitive Church in Opalika, Alabama, in 1854 and took her letter from the church 1878 but never joined at Farmersville, Texas Primitive Church where she attended occasionally with her oldest daughter Nannie (Mrs. Jim Jackson).

Due to lack of teaching of her children I was the first one in five generations to become a member of Old Baptist in 100 years.  

Beulah Hawkins, my mother in law joined Primitive Baptist Church at Waldron around 1915.  She was established in the faith, but again failed to instill it in her children when they were growing up.  

Ved became a Primitive Baptist at age sixty when she, Elaine and I joined Harmony in 1980.  

I flirted with Old Baptists for 30 years.  I would go to associations about once a year, that was the only time I thought Old Baptists had church, that was when mamaw went to services at the “sosation”.  I loved the singing.  I would say, when I wanted to hear a good sermon I would go to Old Baptist, but I really didn’t understand what I was hearing, but it sounded good. 

We went to the same church for 30 years where I was a Sunday School teacher and deacon for most of that time, but I was starving to death spiritually; I realized that I couldn’t give enough or do enough to get to heaven- I was miserable and so was Ved and Elaine. 

Finally one Sunday morning, Elaine announced she was going to church at Harmony D in Donaldson- We could go where we wanted but she was leaving.  Elaine didn’t receive her revelation from preaching but from an unlikely place, Henderson State University, where she taught history, art and the humanities, all the different religions and she knew when she found what she was looking for in Primitive Baptist doctrine. We started coming to Harmony with her after two months and joined four months later.

I really didn’t understand completely what I was hearing, but when I read, particularly in John and Romans, where Christ said all that God has given me- I will lose none…sweetest sound I have every heard and the nicest congregation I’d ever met. 

I hesitated for several weeks because I was happy with my baptism when I was baptized in my grandfathers (tank) pool when I was 9 years old. It was a hot Sunday afternoon in August.  We buried up in mud at least to our ankles and my pet goat was there and chewed on the preachers shoe laces as he was reading the Holy Scriptures.  

The other 9 year old boy that was baptized with me was saved the same night I was at the tabernacle behind little country church in our community.  The invitation song was “Oh Why Not tonight”.

But the one special event in Primitive Church to me is communion and foot washing.  It is the most humbling ceremony I have ever experienced.  I didn’t know you could wash another man’s feet, cry, and tell him that you loved him.  

The twenty one years at Harmony has set me, Ved and Elaine free to enjoy our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The one person that influenced me to come to Harmony D the most was Arnold Sandage.  I thought all Primitive Baptists were like Arnold, did I ever have a shock…but I love you all any way.

I’ve told Sonny one of the worst things wrong with Arkansas and Primitive Baptists is an inferiority complex.  We have the most beautiful state and we have the best doctrine and the most wonderful people anywhere; but we failed in many instances to tell our friends and neighbors and children what we have.

The Church has many good traditions, which I love; but we also have some that need to be observed more closely, to see if they are biblical traditions or man made traditions.  I would probably come to Old Baptist 20 years earlier if some one had invited me back or come and visited, but no one did.  I don’t mean you weren’t friendly  because you were, on the other hand I’m sure I wouldn’t have come until the Lord showed me the light and Elaine carried the torch to Harmony D and “a child shall lead them.”

However I can’t talk, I’ve been at Harmony nearly 22 years and so far, as I know, I haven’t been responsible for any new members. I’ve tried but again I know that none of God’s children will ever be lost, maybe missed some blessings here on earth.

I’d always heard Old Baptists were narrow minded, but I have found them to be broad minded on whose going to heaven—thank goodness you let unworthy me in. 

Sonny, this is just some of my thought about Primitive Baptists.  Your sermons are very enlightening, and well delivered; and it is evident that you study a lot and are open to the Lord’s will in your life.-              Brother Joe

Is this not a sermon in itself, how we should teach our children and be faithful in bringing them to church; how we should invite our neighbors?  From his letter you can see that he was an encourager and his kindness and smile will be missed for a long time.

Book review

We have in our library a book entitled, “Glory to Come”, by Elder Michael Gowens.  This book deals with the return of Christ and deals with the false views of the pre and post tribulation eschatology so prevalent in many Christian circles today.

REMBER IN PRAYER

Johnny Shaffer: tests pending, possible heart surgery.

Thelma Samons: Due to circulation has had to have leg amputated.

Velma Cothern: Tests pending, possible stints in arteries.

All articles on this site can be copied and quoted in whole or in part with proper attribution and our blessing.