From the pastor
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since our last newsletter, the war against Iraq has ended and many of our troops have come home. Let us remember to thank our Lord for this blessing, by ending this war quickly with few casualties.
On Wednesday, June 18th, an article appeared in the paper which is worthy of notice. It seems that the plaintiff in the historical Roe vs. Wade abortion case filed for a motion to overturn the landmark verdict which passed in 1973. Norma McCorvey publicly identified herself as Jane Roe in 1980, seven years after the verdict. She was a 21 year old carnival barker when, pregnant for the third time, sought an abortion. She agreed to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Texas anti-abortion statute in which she and attorney, Sara Weddington, succeeded in doing. According to the article, Norma McCorvey joined the anti-abortion fight nearly 10 years ago and says she regrets her role in Roe v. Wade. She now claims the Supreme Court's decision is no longer valid because the scientific and anecdotal evidence that has come to light in the last 30 years has shown the negative effects of abortion. She is now 55 and is quoted in saying, "I feel like the weight of the world has just been lifted off my shoulders".
This event reminded me of Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." It seems that the Lord has turned this woman's heart to His own thinking. Surely, repentance and right thinking can bring great relief to God's children. Let us pray that this will have an impact upon this sad disease in our country!
I hope that our membership will keep in mind the series of messages I delivered to our church on the subject of ministering. I believe this is the heart of true Christianity. Jesus said, "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many"- Mark 10:45. Oh, what a difference this makes in our attitude in God's house. That we are not there for people to do things for us or our family, but rather, we are there to serve others. This is the picture we portray when we bow to wash one another's feet. Yet, we can bow and remain ignorant to what we are saying and it is then that our feet washing becomes a symbol without meaning. Jesus served in the greatest capacity, "He gave his life a ransom for many". Can we not minister a little for a few?
What is happening at DONALDSON
Harmony Church has rejoiced in receiving Sister Lisa Morrison into her fellowship. Sister Lisa was baptized on April 13th during our annual meeting. Elder J.R. Rakes was with us during this meeting and was very blessed in each service. It was a blessing to see the large crowd at each service. We appreciate the fellowship we enjoyed from our sister churches as well as the ministry present from our area.
We have one senior graduating this year. Sister Christian Burnett graduated from Ouachita High School this year and plans to attend college this fall. Let us keep Sister Christian in our prayers, that the Lord will bless and keep her.
Elder Kenneth Brantley was with our church the 5th weekend of June. Marilyn and I enjoyed having Brother Kenneth and his family in our home. I met Elder Kenneth several years ago when I was visiting in the south Georgia area and had an appointment at Mt. Gilead Church where he pastors. Their church reminded me of Harmony. Elder Kenneth has three children, Emily, Elizabeth and John. Their ages are 16, 12 and 10. His wife's name is Ann. Elder Kenneth was very blessed in each service. We hope to have him back again in the near future.
Last month we enjoyed our annual trek to Lake Catherine State Park. Brother Jack outdid himself on the hamburgers. The weather was perfect after the rain and we enjoyed the handiwork of God as we went on the 4 mile hike to the waterfall. Ps….some went on the ¼ mile stroll!!! No names will be mentioned. As the day drew to a close, it seemed to be a special time. We sat and visited together and enjoyed "the fellowship of the saints". As we sat there I remember thinking, "These people truly love one anther." I went home that day with a peaceful feeling in my heart remembering my Master's words, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you"- John 15:12. I was encouraged.
Brother Leon and Sister Patti Burris have invited us once again to their home for a picnic. This has been a special time of fellowship for our church. It is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, July 20th. Bring your ice cream freezers and favorite recipes!!!
It has been a while since we have had a "Visitors Day" at our church. I have encouraged our people to bring a friend for this special day.
Over the last few years I have noticed the interest our church has shown in the various books I have placed in our little library. These books are from my personal library and I have enjoyed sharing them with our church. I mentioned the possibility of a library for our church to the deacons at our last meeting and they encouraged me to continue with the idea. I estimated the cost of the library, which will be for books and shelves only, to be from 3 to 5 thousand dollars. We do not plan to add a room on to our facility. Our plan is to place bookshelves along the back wall in our basement where the one bookshelf now stands. As I mentioned to the deacons, there is only one perfect book yet, there are a lot of good books for our people to read. Also, there is a lot of media, including VCR tapes, on the subjects like evolution, that would be beneficial for our children. If our project is successful, I plan to visit with other pastors who have libraries in their church concerning the titles they have in their libraries. This is a special project and we will not begin until/unless we have the necessary funds. If you would like to make a contribution towards this project just let the deacons know. If you are sending a check, please mark it "Library Fund".
Last week, I found this article entitled: "IF 100"
"IF 100 church members would bring one visitor to church they would double their attendance in one day. If half of these members are successful in winning one of their children to Christ, the church would grow 50%, less attrition, every 10 years. If 100 members would sing at the top of their lungs in praise for Jesus Christ the visitors would not ask why they do not have musical instruments. If one hundred members were actively involved in passing out tapes, articles and publishing the doctrines of grace, people would cease to ask who these people are, what they believed and where they might be found. If 100 members would do one good deed for some undeserving person each week their church location would be well known. If 100 members would do something for 1 member of their own church each week, the depression rate would decrease by 50%. If 100 members prayed every day for 5 minutes(about the length of one song or one commercial) and asked the Lord to bless their services, their preacher would become the wisest, most gifted man they ever knew. If 100 members were of one mind and one accord the devil would have to find another place to pester. If 100 members gave $50.00 per week, about the amount spent on VCR's and entertainment, which is $60,000 per year, they could easily support a full time pastor. If 100 members would pray over every church member weekly, and note one good thing about each person, they would see more of Jesus each Sunday. If 100 members were at every service of the church, it would be a miracle, people would praise their faith for miles around, people would envy their church and want to be a part of such a place and IF Jesus came back in their lifetime, He WOULD find faith on the earth!!!"
By way of a personal article, I share with you this one which appeared on behalf or our church in the Malvern Daily Record.
"Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"-Esther 4:14
Our thoughts today are centered around the soul searching question of Mordecai, which question all believers have mused in their own hearts from time to time. The question is one of speculation, as to whether or not God had orchestrated the events surrounding their present plight. It concerns the beautiful thought of God's providence and His divine intervention in the lives of His people.
The word providence is pregnant with thought and imagination. Not only does it mean that God is actively involved in the most minute events of our lives, it also means that the Lord provides His people with the things they need. It is by faith that we see our heavenly Father this way and every detail of our lives are marked with this question, "Who knoweth".
But let our answer always be in the affirmative. The beautiful book of Esther has taught us to say so. There is nothing that happens in the universe that God does not allow. As one preacher said, "History hinges on minute events". The broadness of His providence was illustrated by Jesus when He said that a sparrow can not fall to the ground without the Father. In every nook and cranny of the universe, not one sparrow may fall without the Father's permission. His providence is equally specific. The very hairs of our heads are numbered by the Father.
Esther did not take providence for granted. She asked for her people to pray for her as she approached the king. Though they thought the Lord might be in it, they did all that was humanly possible in seeking the favor of the Lord. Yes, the Lord comforts us with the knowledge of His providence, yet He is honored by our holy petitions.
As we view the chain of events that brought Esther to her position we must acknowledge that God is a God of providence. Why did the king call for a feast? Why did he request the presence of Vashti? Why did she refuse to come? Why was Esther brought with the virgins to the kings palace? Why was she chosen? All of this was orchestrated by God. If one event in the chain had failed, the outcome would have been much different for God's people. Surely, the Lord provided.
Providence is very punctual. The Lord was right on time with the best provision. Was not Haman hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordedcai? Was not Esther placed in charge of their circumstances? What great comfort is given to the sheep of His pasture in knowing that the Good Shepherd watches over his own in such a way. He leads them to pasture, beside the still waters and counts them daily as they go in and out. He even guides and protects them with the rod and staff. He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the ravens by His bountiful hand of providence. Lord, today, we acknowledge thy kindness to us and we acknowledge thy hand of providence in our lives as we count our may blessings."
Remember in prayer
We have been saddened by the death of Brother James Boyce's mother, Louise. Please remember their family in your prayers.