Lamentations 3: 22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Wrigley Baptist Church, Lyles, Tennessee
Today 57 years ago I trusted Christ as my Savior. I didn’t know much then. I know the date only because I found it later in the family Bible. I was baptized the following week in Mill Creek, just down the road from the church.
I have never regretted Him saving me. I have never wished that I wasn’t saved and called to live for Him. Carlton Flowers led me to Christ. I will always remember him. I don’t remember much about him because I was only seven years old in May, about to turn 8 in August.
At the age of 11, I surrendered to be a missionary though I was terrified. I knew I would never be able to speak in front of people. I asked God to let me be a medical missionary like JeanDoc. JeanDoc was the missionary lady that was at our summer camp. I would later learn about Bill Wallace to China. He was a doctor and would become my hero. I never wanted to be anything from the age of 11 but a missionary.
At 16 or so Jim Shelby and David Busby came to our church in McEwen, Tennessee. God used them to shake me and cause me to get my life really on track. It was always God’s men and God’s church that was used in my life.
At the age of 17, I left to go to Rome, Georgia to Shorter College. I told my friends that I would pick a Georgia peach and bring her home. God did give me my Georgia peach, but I never returned to live in Tennessee.
I was given the privilege of marrying my wife Betty on August 18, 1973, at the Fellowship Baptist Church of Rome, Georgia. Our pastor there, Billy Kitchens, got me in touch with Willard Willis and Dykes Creek Baptist Church that would allow me to serve as their youth director for the next couple of years. We started in October of 1973 and served there until January of 1976.
In 1976 Betty and I moved to Tarrant City, Alabama where I was allowed to serve on pastoral staff at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. We were there till March of 1977.
Betty and I left Alabama and came back to Georgia. In September of 1977, we started Liberty Baptist Church and Cartersville Christian Schools in Cartersville, Georgia. God wonderfully blessed us there. Those were terrific people because they had to help me grow up. I made so many mistakes. I was mean and hard as a preacher. I really tried to do right and thought I was.
Then in October or November of 1985, I applied to be a missionary to Peru. We left our church and began deputation. We served in Peru until December of 2005.
Then God brought us here to Vision Baptist Church. God has been good to me. I have failed Him many times. I get angry. I get prideful. I make mistakes. I have hurt people. So in no way do I tell you this story to think much of me but to tell you that God has been good to me.
I am so blessed. God gave us four beautiful children that are all grown adults serving Jesus. I am very proud of them all. God gave me the most wonderful friend and colaborer that any could ever imagine. I get to serve at a great church, Vision Baptist Church. I get to work with Vision Baptist missionaries.
I am blessed. So here on my 57th spiritual birthday, I want to say thank you to the Lord. Thank Him for His Holy Spirit. Thank Him for His Word. Thank Him for His people. Thank Him for His forgiveness and new mercies every day.
I love serving God. I love the life He has given me. I am blessed way beyond what I should ever have hoped for or expected. So excuse the story of my life, but I wanted you to see the story of His grace in my life.
I have now been preaching for 49 years. I have been in full-time work for 45 years. I know many of God’s people, and I love them. They bless me. I have no complaints, only praise for my God and all He has done.