ARTICLES IN THIS EDITION
The Ministry: God’s Consistent Method of Calling
Synopsis of the Virginia State Association Meeting
Slate of Officers Elected to Serve Virginia FWB
Christian News & Views
God's Supreme Court Soon to Give Ruling
How Politically Incorrect are You?
Virginia Pastor’s Retreat
July - August 2015
THE MINISTRY: GOD'S CONSISTENT METHOD OF CALLING by Dr. Bruce Barnes
In these days when the need for laborers in gospel ministry is so needed, why is it that many are not answering that call? The answer is more complicated than this article will address; however, the following thoughts do reveal that God has had a consistent method of calling men into the ministry of preaching. Just because a man might not become "a preacher" does not mean he is devoid of the following elements. Nevertheless, it is likely true that some are not answering God’s call for the lack of one or more of them.
In Isaiah 6, this man of God is faced with a call to service. This call on his life came through five important steps, steps that are the same for one being called today.
A CONFESSION OF SIN
"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips:" (Is. 6:5a).
Isaiah comes to a right understanding that he faces personal sin that needs to be forgiven and removed. It’s for this reason that he cries out about his being "undone" and "unclean." He can only confess what he knows to be true concerning himself and what God knows about him. It is this realization that prompts his anxious self-assessment, "Woe is me!"
Understanding what the gospel ministry is, no man can properly proclaim the value of having sins forgiven if not personally experienced. In truth, part of the impassioned emphasis on preaching salvation is the preacher’s knowledge and assurance of its provision for him personally. It’s quite hard to assure others of what one is not already convinced. There are, of course, many who fill pulpits in the world who know nothing of redemption, but neither is their message ever about finding the pardon of sin through Jesus Christ.
God’s call is for men to answer the need of personal confession of sin. His call to ministry will never precede it! But once this has been taken care of, there is another step in God’s consistent method of calling.
A CONSIDERATION OF OTHERS
"and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Is. 6:5b).
Isaiah’s confession is not only personal, but also national. He cannot, of course, repent for others; however, he can intercede for them. As a person whom God will begin to use, Isaiah has a heart that is not merely about himself. He recognizes the condition of all those who are around him. He has a need, yes! But he is not alone in that need. Isaiah has a perspective that reaches beyond the circle of his own life. He cannot help but consider the needs of those around him.
The man whom God will use in gospel ministry is one who must have an outward vision. In a world of people who focus on self, the preacher must leave self to consider a world of people! This approach means that all aspects of the preacher’s service are never about what brings wealth, prominence, power, or prestige. There must be a heart of love, care, and concern for the pitiful estate of lost and dying people. Until the same redemption he knows also rests in the hearts of all, the man of God will always have a driving consciousness and consideration of others.
Where are those men who have such a drive, such a consciousness, and such a consideration? Unfortunately, fewer and fewer men respond to God’s call because the desperate needs of others fail to impact their hearts. There needs to be such an awareness of the fallen state of mankind that one cannot help but dismiss all other personal agendas and directives for God’s singular call to service. Now when a man senses the hopelessness of others, there is a motivating factor that enlivens his response to the call as well as his motivation within that call.
A CERTAINTY OF GOD
"for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Is. 6:5c).
Isaiah has seen the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up. What a vision! It is here that he is beginning to understand the person and position of God within reality and eternity. This certainty of God’s person becomes the motivation for his confession of sin, for his realization of the world he lives in, but also for the context of his service. Isaiah would never be the same, nor could he be!
In like manner when the apostles saw the resurrected Jesus, they were never the same. The certainty of Christ’s person, deity, and guidance so filled them that they turned the world upside down. The previously despondent apostles were immediately energized with confidence and direction (and with the power of the Holy Spirit).
Without a doubt, the power of preaching is the power of the Holy Spirit who fills the preacher and the power of the Word of God which goes out from his mouth. But along with that, the preacher must be certain of God in his life as well as available within the life of the church and the world. Unless there is an overriding consciousness of God’s person or presence, a man’s deeds will be driven merely by convenience. Men are needed today who know God is real, who experience God as real, and who will serve God in a real world. Knowing the reality of God as well as recognizing and confessing sin leaves one important step in know-ing God’s will and call to service.
A CLEANSING OF LIFE
"Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" (Is. 6:6-7).
Isaiah comes to know the taking away of his sin, and this is done through the fire that burns the sacrifice. With sin’s removal, he is now available to be used. Interestingly, none of the previous steps can substitute for personal cleansing. As much as Isaiah knew about God and about how sinful he and his nation were, this knowledge could not bring him into a right relationship with God. Only the application of sacrifice could!
To preach, men must know the free pardon of sin through redemption found only in Jesus Christ. Being religious or doing devout deeds, as good as these might be, never replace the forgiveness of sin nor bring one into a relationship with the true God. The entrance portal to a relationship with God is through redemption, and those who preach redemption must know that pathway personally. Otherwise, there is nothing to preach other than a way that seems right to the natural man, but God says that leads to death. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Pr. 14:12).
There is an additional and amazing step for one who comes to know the reality of personal sin, the reality of a sinful world, the reality of God in the world and personally, and the reality of sin’s forgiveness.
A CALLING FOR SERVICE
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Is. 6:8).
Very interestingly once all of this has taken place in Isaiah’s life, the first thing he hears is God’s general service call. God wants a volunteer. Because of where Isaiah is both in position and relationship, he cannot help but offer himself. There is no doubt but that God knows to whom this call is going and is waiting for Isaiah’s response.
I believe we all know that someone should not decide within himself that he will "preach" (in the career/calling aspect) without consultation from the Lord. Even so, a spirit of volunteerism is not out of keeping with what is happening in Isaiah’s call. In fact, the call of God is very likely going on much more than we often think. It is probable that God is also waiting for those who have properly gone through these consistent steps and who are now ready to hear His call that is consistently going out.
Where are the men who will hear? I implore all who read to consider "God’s Consistent Method of Calling." If these steps are taking place in your life, I urge you to consider what I did back in 1974. I would go to my prayer room asking to know God’s will for my life. I truly never considered that preaching is what I would do or that God would call me to the ministry (because of my paralyzing fear of public speaking). However, I would pray and ask God to show me what He wanted me to do, and I asked for Him to use me. I promised the Lord that I would do whatever He asked of me. It took about six months, but eventually I was assured through abiding conviction that God was calling me into the ministry. I volunteered to be used, but I waited to be assured that He was indeed calling. From that time to this, I have been assured of His call, and I have been pleased to be in service to my Lord.
It is my prayer and great hope that we might see many more men answer God’s great call to the gospel ministry!
We could use more "Fast-Snacker" supporters who give monthly to help the promotional office maintain its state-wide ministry. Your weekly sacrifice of a coke & candy bar ($10.00 a month) helps more than you might think. Help keep Dr. Barnes on the road ministering for Christ and Virginia Free Will Baptists! Sign up online at www.vafwb.org.
SYNOPSIS OF THE STATE ASSOCIATION MEETING
The 77th Annual Virginia State Association Meeting is now in the history books, and what a great meeting it was. The people of Woodland Heights Free Will Baptist Church in Martinsville and pastor, Rev. Stanley Waddell, did an outstanding job hosting the event. Some minor changes in the schedule this year have received good comments from delegates, ministers, and visitors.
There were two events especially notable. The first was the preaching services by Dr. Robert Picirilli on the theme, "The Disciple as a Christian." All the services were challenging as well as a blessing. We expect to get copies of the services available on audio as well as video soon. Information about their availability will be on upcoming e-News sent out by the promotional office. If you want to get on the e-News mailing list for updates, send a request and your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second event highlighted this year was our recognition of eleven preachers who have served in the gospel ministry for over fifty years. Special plaques commemorating the recognition were given to each man. Those who were able to be at the state convention were Rev. Bob Breeden, Rev. Don Hellms, Rev. Vergel Mannes, Rev. Earl Sutton, Rev. Larry Russell, and Dr. Dave Nobles. The remaining five who were not able to attend will be honored by the promotional director by presenting their plaques at their local quarterly meetings or association meetings. The others to be honored are Rev. L. W. Salling, Rev. Jack Sprinkle, Rev. M. D. Hyatt, Rev. Lonnie Townsend, and Rev. Milligan Herron. We congratulate each of these faithful servants of Christ! The state executive board sponsors this honor every five years, and it did not include those who had been recognized in previous years.
Some of the items passed in the business session were various constitutional changes that pertained to the promotional office making sure that the wording within the constitution matched the contractual and practicing function of the office. Also new this year was the election of a state representative to the Harvest Child Care Ministries board. The member elected to serve was Dr. Rodger Castle. The other major items were the election of officers to serve various needs within the state. Please see the list on the right for the elected and current members of boards.
As it concerns the report of the promotional office to the state, the following will summarize the most important points. During the first year of full-time operation, the promotional office raised 62% of needed funds where this second full-time year the office realized 73% of funds raised. While the amounts are going up, this is a crunch year where full funding will be needed. An appeal was made at the meeting (and now here in the Plumbline) for everyone to help reach this much-needed goal. During the June 2014-May 2015 year, the promotional director ministered 50 out of 52 weekends as well as traveled 42,000 miles for Virginia. He was used in promotion, revivals, GRACE Outreach meetings, teaching seminars, preaching, and pulpit supply as available. The state assoiation was very gracious in giving a standing ovation to the promotional director for the job being done. Also, several pastors stood impromptu on the floor of the meeting to commend the GRACE Outreach program and how much it has helped their churches. They encouraged others to have a GRACE Outreach revival and include this program in other churches. Dr. Barnes expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve our state.
Business concluded about thirty minutes after lunch on Friday. A rising vote of thanks was given to the church for their hosting, and a memorial prayer was offered in memory of Free Will Baptist loved ones who went to be with the Lord this past year.
SLATE OF OFFICERS FOR 2015-2016
Rodger Castle (2016)
David Sexton (2016)
Don White (2016)
Bob Brown (2016)
Gary Hill (2016)
Dave Nobles (from the Home Missions Board)
Bruce Barnes (2016)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION GENERAL BOARD:
Bruce Barnes (2016)
ELECTED EXECUTIVE BOARD:
Mark Crews (2016)
Larry Ross (2017)
Bob Brown (2018)
Marty Puckett (2019)
Don Hellms (2020)
HOME MISSIONS BOARD:
Glen Johnson (2016)
Rodger Castle (2016)
David Mizelle (2017)
Earl Sutton (2018)
Dave Nobels (2019)
Larry Russell (2020)
Bob Brown (2020)
BOARD MEMBER TO FWB FAMILY MINISTRIES:
Evan White (2016)
BOARD MEMBER TO HARVEST CHILD CARE MINISTRIES:
Rodger Castle (2021)
Adam Bolin (2016)
VIRGINIA PASTOR'S RETREAT FEBRUARY 26-27, 2016
at Camp Rapidan Baptist Camp in Rochelle, VA
Includes 3 meals, snacks, refreshments, and lodging
(personal items and sleeping bag/bedding needed)
Registration due by February 1
A brochure with all registration
materials and schedule will be sent to every church and pastor in the state
during the month of July.
Please mark your calendars for this great event that will encourage your hearts and strengthen your ministries.
REV. TIM YORK
CHRISTIAN NEWS & VIEWS
GOD'S SUPREME COURT SOON
TO GIVE RULING
Let’s get a perspective on what we see happening in America and concerning the Supreme Court’s recent decisions. True believers in God and the inspired Bible have some measure of heartache because of the court’s redefinition of marriage. Regardless of what man says or what some court says, God has not changed His Word nor His opinion on this issue (or on anything else). What was wrong last month is still wrong today, and God does not need anyone to redefine what truth is.
What we see in the majority members of the court and even in our President is a reflection of what so many people hold in belief. They often speak of Christianity yet fail to believe fully in that which forms Christian belief: the Bible. Either the Bible is God’s Word or it is not! If one chooses only some things to believe from the Bible, then that person becomes a judge of God and His Word. At the least such a one creates a god of his or her choosing and only references the Bible for support.
True Christianity must agree with Christian teaching, and Christian teaching must come from the Bible—the entire Bible! Inspiration demands it! Natural interpretation reveals it! Integrity acknowledges it!
SCOTUS might have handed down its decision to the pleasure of many; however, God’s Supreme Court is soon to convene and give its ruling to the dismay and judgment of the same. We need to continue offering a hand of love and care to all people while at the same time standing for what is right biblically. We cannot compromise truth for acceptance, nor can we accept what truth condemns.
HOW POLITICALLY INCORRECT ARE YOU?
(Please check all that apply!)
I am a Christian.
I am conservative.
I am a conservative Christian.
I believe that the Bible is truly God’s inspired Word.
I hold that all of the Bible is to be believed and followed.
I believe in holy living.
I believe that Jesus is the only way to be saved and to know God.
I believe in telling people about Jesus.
I believe in the six literal days of creation.
I believe that faithful, weekly church attendance is expected of a Christian.
I believe in and exemplify modesty.
I believe that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
I believe in a literal, eternal, burning hell.
I believe that drinking alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, etc.) is wrong.
I believe that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible.
This is a completely unscientific survey! However, here is the rating if you want to keep score…
If you checked all 15 statements: Congratulations, you are completely and hopelessly politically incorrect! Also, you are likely to be arrested in the near future or placed somewhere to protect the general public.
If you checked between 10-14 statements: The Public Policy Police have their eyes on you in hopes that you can be rehabilitated to proper societal thinking.
If you checked between 5-9 statements: Please recheck your identity in the mirror because you are not sure who you are right now.
If you checked between 1-4 statements: Please recheck your answers because you probably didn’t mean to check any.
If you checked 0: You should immediately file for public office because you are assured of a landslide victory!