From the pastor
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For quite some time I have wanted to communicate with our church, visitors and friends by way of a pastoral letter. I hope it will serve as an encouragement to you all as well as a catalyst to keep us all of one heart and mind as we serve the Lord.
A new year, as well as a new millennium is upon us. It seemed a fitting time to remember past blessings as well as a time to consider some new years resolutions. The first Sunday of this year, I began a series of messages entitled, "New Years Resolutions", taking my text from I Thessalonians 5:16-23. The first Sunday of the month we spoke on "Rejoicing Evermore". This means to be 'calmly happy at all times'. Just before our services began, the electricity went off. This seemed to be a fitting challenge for the moment for us to consider the implication of Paul's words to this persecuted church. Surely, we can find reasons to rejoice….even when the electricity goes off in our church and our homes. Though much of the tape was unrecorded due to the lack of power, we rejoiced in the simplicity of our worship service, knowing that we can worship God acceptably, in Spirit and in truth without the aid of electricity and modern inventions. We seemed to be very blessed that day in spite of the inconvenience.
The following Sunday we spoke on Paul's next admonition: to "Pray without ceasing" which is just another resolution that would be greatly beneficial for us all. I hope these series of messages will serve as a reminder for us all to become more devoted to Jesus Christ in the days before us. If you would like a copy of any of these messages just let us know. We will be happy to approach the new year ministering to your needs.
What is happening at Donaldson
There is a lot happening at our church. Thanks to the diligence of our deacons and the generosity of our membership, we have finished the new doors to the entrance of our meeting house as well as the inside doors to the sanctuary. Also, the new windows have been installed. Our roof was damaged in a recent wind storm and has already been completely re-shingled. Just before the bad weather had begun, we had started a project to replace the faded and torn carpet on our front steps. In order to apply the new surface, we needed several days of good weather above freezing. We ask for your patience during this repair. It will probably be spring before it can be completed. During these upgrades to our facility I was reminded of two places in scripture that portrayed God's people and their places of worship. In the days of Nehemiah, we read that the people "had a mind to work" as they repaired the great walls that surrounded Jerusalem. Such a spirit evidences a genuine concern for God and His people. It was Haggai that prophesied in those days, who also encouraged God's people to rise up and build as he spoke, "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste". Haggai compared their personal dwellings to the house of God and reminded them that God's house was just as important. Sure, we can worship God in a brush arbor. Jacob worshipped God by a rock. But their circumstances would allow nothing else. When God has prospered His people to have nice homes to dwell in He expects us to erect a place of worship equal to that of our own. David had an eye towards God's house. He spoke to Nathan the prophet and said, "See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains"-2 Samuel 7:2. We are not to be extravagant to attract the world, but our place of worship should be conformable to our own abodes. As pastor, I am thankful to observe such a spirit among God's people.
We ask you to pray for our upcoming meeting in April. Since it is our turn to host the South Arkansas Union Meeting, we have decided to combine this meeting with our annual meeting held during the week of the second Sunday in April. The meeting will begin on Thursday night, April 5th, and conclude on Sunday afternoon, April 8th with communion and feet-washing. I have already had several promises from some very gifted ministers to be with us for this meeting. Let us begin the meeting today by rendering the calves of our lips unto God asking Him for His divine presence during our meeting, for where His Spirit is, there is liberty. I hope you will all make a special effort to invite family and friends to come and worship with us during this time. Mark your calendar now for this special occasion.
The church rejoiced Sunday, January 21st, as Vicki Mosley came forward requesting baptism. She gave a sweet testimony of her love for the Lord Jesus Christ and His people. Baptismal services were well attended by our membership as well as a host of Vicki's friends and family.
Several months ago, we began a tape ministry for our shut-ins. Since that time it has grown to family, friends and other lovers of God's truths. If you know someone that would receive a blessing from this ministry, please let us know and we will be happy to place them on our tape mailing list.
We have set aside the first Sunday of the even months as days of special family fellowship for our church. As we read the Bible, we find that the fellowship of the saints is an important part of Christianity. In the past, our churches were composed mostly of members who lived together in the same community. Today, many of our families live in different communities. The only time we have the opportunity so see one another is at the Sunday morning worship service with little time for personal interaction. These outings have been very blessed and have allowed our families to get to know one another better. Over the past year, we have gone hiking, bowling, ice skating, enjoying some R & R together with one another. I encourage you to bring your families to these outings and as we go, let us keep Christ the center of our fellowship. The first Sunday in February will be our next outing time. As we have done in the past, we will leave after lunch from the church building to our place of destination.
From time to time, I will try to give a book review from the several volumes we have in our library. This week I call your attention to one of my favorites, "The Mercies of a Covenant God". This book is an autobiography by Elder John Warburton, a preacher who lived in England in the 1800's. It tells of his call to the ministry, his trials, family problems and the man challenges he faced. I loved the book for its simplicity, honesty and the many kindred experiences he went through in his earthly pilgrimage over 100 years ago. I hope you will take the time to read this book. It will surely make one appreciate the many blessings of God's grace.
REMEMBER IN PRAYER
Brother Bob Huskey is experiencing problems due to a blockage in his colon. He will undergo tests Wednesday, January 31, to find the reason for the blockage.
Sister Rhonda Smith underwent surgery for a herniated disc on 01/24/01. She was able to be in church this last Sunday.
After several Chemo treatments, the spots on Sister Attsy Jacobs lungs are shrinking. Let us thank God and continue to pray for her.
Brother Robert Jacobs has had complications due to herniated disc in back. Presently undergoing therapy.
Surgery is scheduled for Sister Maureen McDade on Feb. 2nd for hiatial hernia and reflux.
Don Ward, Sister Marion Fuller's son in law is doing well after open heart surgery
Loren Samons, Sister Thelma Samons husband is doing well after prostate surgery.
Sister Icelean Holland has had problems with circulation in her legs. She is doing much better now.
I will have minor surgery to my shoulder this Thursday.
If you know of others who need our prayers, please let us know.
From the news
The following information was obtained from the Internet:
January 20, 2001
Inauguration of George W. Bush
Invocation by the Rev. Franklin Graham
"Let us pray.Blessed are you, O Lord, our God. Yours, Oh, God, is the greatness and
the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor. For everything in heaven and earth is Yours--Yours, Oh Lord, is the kingdom. You are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from You. You are the ruler of all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all. As President Lincoln once said, "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven, we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity, we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power, as no
other nation has ever grown, but we have forgotten God." It behooves us
then, to humble ourselves before the offended powers, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. Oh, Lord, as we come together on this historic and solemn occasion, to inaugurate once again a president and vice-president, teach us afresh that power, wisdom, and salvation come only from Your hand. We pray, O Lord, for president-elect, George W. Bush and vice-president Elect, Richard B. Cheney to whom You have entrusted leadership of this nation at this moment in history. We pray that You will help them bring our country together, so that we may rise above partisan politics and seek the larger vision of Your will for our nation. Use them to bring reconciliation between the races, healing the political wounds, that we may truly become on nation under God. Give our new President and all who advise him, calmness in the face of storms, encouragement in the face of frustration, and humility in the face of success. Give them the wisdom to know and to do what is right and the courage to say no to all that is contrary to Your statutes of Holy Law. Lord, we pray for their families and especially, their wives, Laura Bush and Lynn Cheney, that they may sense Your presence and know Your love.
Today, we entrust to You President and Senator Clinton and vice-president and Mrs. Gore. Lead them as they journey through new doors of opportunity to serve others.
Now, O Lord, we dedicate this presidential inaugural ceremony to You. May this be the beginning of a new dawn for America, as we humble ourselves before You and acknowledge You, alone, as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer.
We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.
I am thankful to hear such words of prayer and recognition of Jesus Christ come from the leaders of our great nation. He is right, as a nation, we have forgotten God. As Solomon wrote, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people"-Proverbs 14:34. Surely, "righteousness" is the honoring and doing of God's commandments. God's people have been blessed, even in times of wicked rulers such as Heron. Since we have the opportunity to vote, let us seize the opportunity to vote for the most righteousness candidate on the ballot. We should not look at parties, but at the person. We are encouraged by the apostle to pray for righteous leaders, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for al men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty"-I Timothy 2:1-2. Let us never take this glorious liberty for granted. Let us not only vote for righteous leaders that will be an example for our youth, but let us pray for their leadership once they have taken office.