News from March 2019

Important Inmates …

Gen 39:20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Well, here we have a high-class prisoner, indeed, being a wonderful type of Christ on so many fronts. Both Joseph and Jesus were imprisoned, and neither were guilty. There were certainly men who were imprisoned before Joseph, for the prison was already there awaiting him. However, Joseph is the first man whose incarceration is mentioned in the Bible, as far as I can see.

Tim, Matthew, Howard, and I conducted six services over three days in Jackson CI’s Main Unit, in Florida this month. We had a total of 397 men in the services with seven men making profession of faith in Christ. Jackson Ci forbids us to visit inmates in their dorms, so we conduct Character Under Construction classes in the mornings, instead. These are the same lessons that Rock of Ages missionaries use in the public schools, except we use much more Scripture while teaching them. On the final day, I was teaching on the subject of God, when an inmate raised his hand, and asked, “How can somebody know if he is saved or not?” What an open door! He then made profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and that’s what it’s all about. Only later did I learn that he had been on the FBI’s most wanted list. I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time – I might have had a heart attack!

We also held three evening services at Jackson CI’s Work Camp. There were two professions of faith, one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. The first convert sought out Tim afterward. He said he had been waiting a whole year to apologize to him for causing disruption in a service he had conducted! The second convert (that I had dealt with) was so glad he was saved, he told one of the officers (guards) that he had just been born again. While the officer was leaving the prison, she came over to us in the parking lot while we were preparing to leave, and shared with us what the inmate had said to her. She said, “We have a happy camper in there!” Wow. What a glorious privilege to be a co-laborer with God! Please do pray for these new converts. One final note: today is my 49th spiritual birthday!! We love you all, and pray for you regularly.

News from February 2019

Content …

Phil 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Our text contains the missionary Paul’s prayer letter sent to one of his supporting churches – the church at Philippi. Our brother, in v. 11, speaks of “want,” or lack. He is not “crying poor,” although in v. 10 he does mention their pause in financial support, but then commends them for resuming it. How sweet it is when churches lend financial support to their missionaries. This sent-love does not go unnoticed with our God, for He puts fruit to the account of such churches, v. 17. We notice that contentment can be had with or without adequate finances, bless His holy Name!

My car was packed, and I was five minutes into my trip to Florida to help in a two-day revival at Graceville Correctional when I received word that the revival had been canceled; the whole prison was on lock-down. But still content, that opened the door to conduct a service at Haralson County Jail, where Linda and I watched four lady inmates trust Christ as personal Savior. All of the ladies were touched as Linda gave her conversion testimony.

One could not help but be content as Rock of Ages conducted its annual Alabama Blitz in Montgomery, Alabama. With over 100 Rock of Ages missionaries (including Linda and I) and volunteers working in nine prisons and jails over a three day period, I report that there were 1682 men and women inmates who attended our services, with 192 souls making profession of faith in Christ as Savior. Only God can do these things, but He does it through His children who surrender their bodies to Him. I dealt with Bill who came forward at the invitation on the last night of the revival. After questioning him carefully about his willingness to repent and trust Christ, with tears in his eyes, on his knees, he began to pray, asking Christ to save him. He walked away content, and so did I.

News from January 2019

Both …

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The essence of this verse is that we are to be witnesses at home and abroad. “Both” at the same time. Of course, we labor “abroad” through support of our local church missions program.

Linda and I attended the annual Coordinator’s Meeting in Commerce, Georgia from January 7-11. These were long days: 8am ‘til 3:30pm with a break for lunch, followed by an evening service each night with two speakers, except we finished up on Friday after lunch. I’m not a prophet, nor the son of one, but I knew I was going to get sick, for lots of missionaries were hacking and sneezing. But, on the next day, I left for a three-day revival meeting in Snead, Florida at ACI, East. The meeting began on Sunday morning. After I preached, I started getting sick. By Sunday night, I was dragging myself around with severe body aches and dry cough. I was so sick on Monday morning, I packed up and went home, missing the last two days of the revival. By the next Sunday, I felt well enough to go our church. There is life after “Man Colds”! It was worth going to the Coordinator’s meeting – we experienced a wonderful time of refreshing and challenge from the Word of God. Linda and I left with new grit in our souls to win souls through Christ.

Locally, I ministered at Haralson Country Jail twice in January. Each night, we have four back-to-back preaching services. This month there were seven men and women who made profession of faith. In “Samaria” Linda and I participated in a four day revival in Pearl, Mississippi, at Central MS State Prison, with 63 men and women hopefully trusting Christ as Savior. We had a team of around 22 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers. We witnessed in the inmates’ dormitories, and held preaching services each day at three different locations in the prison. It was sweet working with this team, and we had great fellowship in between services. Only God can do these things, but without your faithful support we would be greatly hampered. Thank you for co-laboring with us!

News from December, 2018

Business and Pleasure

Mark 6:31-32 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

Our Lord admonishes His disciples to come apart lest they come apart. For me, age brings with it certain baggage – what that means is that I can’t do as much work as I used to! I’m grateful for the things we are able to do, however. Linda and I had a few days after Christmas to “come apart” spending with family. All four of our children came to Georgia for a time of refreshing and fellowship, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Locally, we held two days of services at Haralson County Jail, in Buchanan, Georgia. Each time I go there, we have four services – one ladies’ service, followed by four men’s services. This month three ladies received the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Inmate turnover has much to do with the number of converts, and turn over has been slow at this jail of late.

On the prison scene, we held three prison revivals in Georgia: Long State Prison, Georgia State Prison, and Paulding County RSAT. Long State is a branch of Smith State Prison, and is reserved for Protective Custody inmates (former prison officers, former police offices, former lawyers and judges, etc.) who would not survive well in normal prison populations. There were no professions of faith during this meeting, but several inmates received spiritual help, and we received many good comments about the revival. At Georgia SP, there were 13 men who trusted Christ as Savior. All of these converts were made during cell-to-cell visitation; none were saved in the preaching services. At Paulding RSAT, we held a one-day revival, with 14 men professing Christ as Savior during an evangelistic preaching service; none were saved during visitation. Please pray for these newborn babes in Christ that they will grow in grace and wisdom.

May you have a blessed and safe Christmas and New Year season.

News from November, 2018

The Greatest Birth Announcement

Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

What a glorious day it was when Almighty God birthed Himself into a world of His own making! Study will show that no angels were with the Angel of the Lord when He made his stunning announcement. He was the center of attention. It was Jesus (the angel of the Lord) that announced His own birth. He can do that because He is omnipresent (John 3:13). The host of angels only showed up in v. 13.

God made another great announcement in 1 Cor. 15:1-3. He orchestrated the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, to redeem those who would believe Him, and believe on Him. We are blessed to deliver this great announcement over and over again to the incarcerated wherever we go, and we can do so because of your faithful financial care, and effectual prayer. We are honored to be part of your missionary family.

I was part of a Rock of Ages team that heralded out the Great Announcement of the Gospel in Bon Terre, Missouri this month at ERDCC prison. We conducted a four-day revival meeting with a total of 20 hours of visitation, and eight preaching services. Forty-two men said they received Christ into their hearts (John 1:12). As I remember, all of the men who trusted Christ did so during our visitation times. We are confident that the vast majority of inmates who attended our preaching services received much help from the Lord. Only God can do these things, but we get to participate with Him!

May you have a blessed and safe Christmas and New Year season.

Prayer Letter October 2018

Laboring with God in Prison Prevention

Prov 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 

It would be safe to say that all soul-winning activity is prison prevention activity. All men either are or were bound up in a prison of their own making – the prison house of their sins. God’s justice requires the one who dies without repentance to pay that sin debt in eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. The only release from this judgment is to be made free before dying by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12). Soul winning is co-laboring with God to spiritually birth the sinner into the family of God. Soul winning is prison prevention! We co-labor with the Lord by supplying Him a body through whom He can do His work. Some plant the Seed (with God’s enabling), some water the Seed (with God’s help), but God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-9).

However, working the county jails is prison prevention as well. Those in jail have not yet been consigned to prison. Perhaps their crime was not sufficient to make prison time inevitable. If God saves them in jail, we have co-labored with the Lord in prison prevention. Carlos and I conducted 12 preaching services this month at Haralson County Jail in Georgia, with nine men and women responding by receiving Christ. Is this not prison prevention? Please take a moment to pray for these new converts to make themselves available for their Master to live through them.

Richard P. and Janna, along with Linda and I, conducted a three-day revival at the Women’s Probation Detention Center, in Claxton, GA. We were delighted to watch over 20 ladies profess faith in Christ for salvation. One of my favorite places to preach would have to be the Women’s PDC! The Spirit of God worked among the ladies wonderfully, and the altars were full during the invitations, and the attendance grew each night.

Tim M., Keith J., and I held a three-day revival at Century CI, in Florida. God poured Himself out during our six two-hour services there. We also had two local pastors who preached with anointing in two of the services, and many inmates received help.

Prayer Letter September 2018

We Know the Ending

Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev 22:1-7, KJV)

We were at Gulf Correctional Institution in Florida this month. I’m rifling through the “FREE BOOKS” shelf before the revival service begins. I picked one for my wife, Linda. It was one of Jeanette Oke’s books, Spanish Lace. I was so excited for Linda (and for me, because I would get onto her good side). She got interested in the book and was anxious to see how it ended. Lo, and behold, someone had cut out the very last page! I was back in the dog house. We are thrilled to know how God’s Book ends. In Christ, we win – big time.

The team (Tim, Keith, and I) preached three prison revival meetings in Florida with 10 men professing Christ as Savior. I conducted two revival meetings at Haralson County Jail in Georgia with one man trusting Christ. Prisoners misbehaving caused a total lockdown of Autry State Prison in Georgia which canceled our revival there.

Prayer Letter August 2018

Not in Vain …

(1Cor 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Given a chance, the evil one will put blinkers on our eyes to veil this great truth: our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Our Lord Jesus taught the parable of the Sower and the Seed in Matthew 13. Of the four types of soil spoken of, only one of them produced fruit. How discouraging! Has it ever seemed to you that much of your labor in your life is fruitless? Never let your train of thought take you down that slippery slope. Take God at His Word!

Thank you for praying for Linda. She had two major medical tests done this month, and neither one indicated anything serious. She was very relieved at this news. There are a few minor issues, but nothing to worry about, praise His holy Name!

Please do remember Rock of Ages missionary, Bro. Richard P., in your prayer time. He is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and the side effects are hindering his ability to be as effective as he usually would be as our Georgia State coordinator.

Our labor was not in vain as we ministered in Whitworth Women’s Prison this month. Linda was not able to go because the paperwork for renewing her badge got hung up in the system. This was a big disappointment for us, but the Lord blessed in the services. Several of God’s children received help for their Christian walk, and 28 ladies made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In Florida, I labored with Bro. Tim M. at Northwest Florida Reception Center and Okaloosa Correctional Institution with three precious souls receiving Christ. Four men were saved at Haralson County Jail, also.

I preached a Wed-Sun revival meeting in Glennville, GA, this month at Lighthouse Baptist Church, where Bro. Rusty Wooten is the pastor. I believe many of God’s people got some help in their Christian walk. Linda and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you, Bro. Wooten!

Prayer Letter July 2018

Working Together for Good …

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

This truth cannot be fully known with human intellect. The natural man would laugh at such a premise. We must launch out into the deep with our God-given faith to receive the above truth. I cannot explain how it works, but I know it works. Period. The “good” produced is toward the believer AND God, The “good” produced is that the believer is conformed into the image of Christ, and God is glorified. Jesus deserves that from us, and any hardship put upon us by the Lord is worth enduring that we might be pressed into Christ’s image.

This past month has given Linda and I many “things,” some good, some bad, but we know that things good or bad are working to conform us to the image of Christ. On the good side, our sending church, White Oak Springs Baptist Church, in Dallas, GA, held our annual summer Jubilee revival meetings. The Lord greatly blessed, and the saints were challenged and edified. In all, there were around 29 messages preached from Sunday morning through Friday night. If you would like to listen to any or all of those sermons, visit our website (wosbc.com).

On the bad side of things (which we know will work together for good), Linda continues to experience daily weakness and nausea, along with chronic sinus infection. She is scheduled for further tests in August, so please do pray that the Lord will heal her, either by doctors or by His healing touch.

Richard P. and I were in Rutledge State Prison in Georgia this month for a three-day revival meeting. This was our first time at this prison. We were pleasantly surprised when 71 inmates came to the first night’s service. Several inmates entered into a contest to see who could bring the most visitors to the last two night’s services. Six men worked hard, and each one earned a Rock of Ages study Bible. The attendance grew each night, with 114 inmates at the last service. A total of 23 men made profession of faith. Prayers for them would be appreciated.

Prayer letter June 2018

Fishers of Men …

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

Matt 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

 

These verses are deeply convicting. Both deal with God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10), making His followers to be fishers of men. The teaching is razor sharp in its implication: if you follow me (Jesus), I will make you to be fishers of men, and if you come after me (Jesus). I will make you to become fishers of men. Fishers of men fish! They don’t just talk about fishing; they fish. A fisherman is identified by his craft. When someone thinks of a fisherman, he thinks of one who fishes, regularly. The sting of these verses is that if I’m not regularly fishing for men, I’m not a follower of Jesus. If I’m not a fisher of men, I’m not going after Jesus. Fishing for men is quite different than fishing for fish. When men fish for fish, their intent is to kill them; we fish for men to give them life. Men catch fish by deceit; we catch men with the Truth. Are you going after Jesus? Are you following Him?

We fish for inmates in three different types of “fishing holes”: prisons, probation detention centers, and county jails. We see much better results (conversions to Christ) in probation detention centers and jails, generally. The reason is that PDCs and jails have a much higher inmate turn-over rate than prisons. Most PDCs in Georgia have a maximum sentence of 9 months, so we see many new-to-us inmates each time we go. Jails are known for short inmate stays (weeks or months). While we don’t neglect the prisons, we certainly are thankful for the other fishing holes that God has provided.

Our fishing at Haralson County Jail this month brought in a catch of 24 men and women for our Lord Jesus. We regularly see fresh faces there, thank God, and many of them are open to the Gospel. We landed a precious catch of men, 12 in all, at Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, GA. We don’t believe in catch-n-release, so we had 32 precious ladies gained for our Lord at the Women’s Probation Detention Center, in Claxton, GA. Would you pray that these souls will grow in Christ, and stick with Him?