We trust that you had a wonderful holiday season enjoying each other, your family and the Lord Jesus who makes it real! May 2005 be an even higher place in Him and with Him and may you walk in His destiny and purpose for your lives.
May you and your family rise to God’s highest plan for your lives.
As we write this Newsletter, we are in Northwest Montana (Kalispell) overlooking the beautiful, snow-capped Glacier mountains. We have about eight inches of new snow on the ground. Yea, God! It’s beautiful and we’re enjoying every moment of it.
Our Greatest Ministry – Our Family
We’ve had a wonderful three weeks in Montana with the Balcoms. Among the many activities we attended was a wonderful holiday concert with the Von Trapp children, great grandchildren of “the Sound of Music” Von Trapps. On New Year’s Eve we participated in a community-wide “First Night” event which is now held in over 1000 communities across the nation. Our favorite performing group was the “Left Over Biscuits.” I had a couple of great radio interviews while in Montana. One was with Sarah Weaver Cooper, a part of the family that experienced the Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge in 1992.We enjoyed the Amtrak trip to Montana. Beautiful country and beautiful people.
In early December, we had a wonderful visit with the Bakers in Houston. It was great in every respect. Spent a lot of time loving on the kids and grandkids. Claire, our youngest, was a delight to all of us. Would you believe it snowed in Houston after we left. We participated in an awesome worship experience with our dear friends, Clint and Rose Anne Summers, at Morningstar Fellowship.
We spent time with the Poes around the Thanksgiving Holidays. Actually, we went with Steve’s family to Florence, South Carolina where we had Thanksgiving with over fifty members of the Macmillan family. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Poes. They have a beautiful new home in Dacula, Georgia near Atlanta.
While with the Poes, we attended an amazing worship service featuring Doyle Dykes, an absolutely amazing Christian guitarist. It was held at the church the Poes attend, Crossroads Community Church.
Although we have not seen the Johnstons, Holly, over the holidays we have been in close touch with them. Holly, and daughters Maegan and Elizabeth have had a wonderful, spiritual rebirth in 2004. They have found a blessed, little fellowship of God’s people in Darien, Georgia.
Poppi and Mimi
Anne and I, continue to enjoy one another and we can honestly say, “our love grows sweeter, year after year.” This is the beginning of our 45 year together. Anne and I are at a point that we are doing almost everything together. We travel together, we minister together and we cook together. She gets more beautiful with every passing moment.
This does not mean that we have not had some serious challenges this past year especially in our ministry. Actually it has been one of our most challenging years of ministry, much transition and many changes. However, we are learning a principle we learned from Graham Cooke that is changing our lives. It goes something like this. A Christian has no good or bad days. Every day is a DAY OF GRACE. Some days we are privileged to enjoy His Grace. On other days, He gives us the strength toendure, but nevertheless all are days of Grace. We believe that consistently walking in this reality will enable us to experience the abundant grace He came to bring.
Looking Back Over 2004
One our most rewarding experiences in 2004 was the completion of the TENNESSEE RIVER PRAYER INITIATIVE. What a blessing to work with our Native American brothers and sisters, alongside of our many diligent co-workers in the Shoals. We believe the impact of the TRPI will be felt in the Shoals and across the Valley, for generations to come.
We participated in the second major bi-centennial event at Cane Ridge, called The Great Gathering.It was the bi-centennial of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. This was a major, historic document in the Campbell-Stone Movement. At Cane Ridge, we made a wonderful new friend, Dr. Douglas Foster, professor at Abilene Christian University. It was an added Blessing to discover that Dr. Foster is also a native of Northwest Alabama and a graduate of Mars Hill Bible School, our alma mater.
As a result of meeting Dr. Foster, he invited us to come to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas and participate in a living history project. Anne and I accepted the invitation, and with our dear friends for Campus Evangelism days in the Churches of Christ, we went to Abilene. We did a several hour television interview on Campus Evangelism and the impact it had on the Churches of Christ in the Sixties and Seventies. Dr. Foster and others believe CE helped in putting a major “crack” in the sectarian wall of Churches of Christ. In addition to the video interviews, I was privileged to speak to Dr. Fosters graduate class on Restoration History. It was exciting to experience first hand, the new spirit that is blowing across Abilene Christian University and her students and faculty. What a historic experience.
One of the most rewarding experiences of 2004 was the opportunity to host Judge Roy Moore for a one-night program at Highland Baptist Church in the Shoals. Judge Moore loves the Lord and loves our country. Would to God there were more like him.
In 2004, we entered the Marketplace Ministry in a significant way. Led by our dear friend, Mike Riggs, I have co-partnered with Mike in seeking to mobilize the men and women in the Shoals area as a “strike force” for the kingdom of God. We have already had several marketplace meetings and marketplace prayer meetings are cropping up across the Shoals. There is much more to come.
The First-Ever CSR Banquet
Probably the most rewarding as well as challenging event of the year was the Spirit of the Shoals Awards and Benefit Banquet Celebrating CSR Ministries. We have never worked as hard on any event and never has we had so many good brothers and sisters working with us. Sandra and Russell Harper along with Angela Bailey Henderson joined our banquet leadership team in producing a wonderful evening done with great excellence. Over 200 Shoals believers gathered in the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum on Monday evening, December 1 to celebrate CSR and to honor two wonderful servants of God in the Shoals, Rev. Henry Melton and Jane Blair. We were joined by the Mayor of Florence, key governmental officials, scores of pastors and many Shoals area citizens in an evening of fun and fellowship. The Bevis’ Girls (Anne, Robyn, Melody and Amy) captivated the audience with their songs. Angela presented an outstanding, eighteen minute , DVD she had produced on the Bevis’ and CSR. The event was made even more special by having several our board members present with their spouses including the Soulas from Houston, the Poes from Atlanta, David Sewell from Indianapolis along with our board members from the Shoals.
The Ministry of Encouragement
One of the highlights of the year was the emergence of The Ministry of Encouragement as a vital part of CSR’s future. In January of ’04, I began calling on pastors, ministers and other leaders across the Tennessee Valley. There were personal visits I had with these ministering servants to bless, encourage and pray for them. Thus far, I have visited personally with over seventy leaders in their church offices. I left with them a little “first aid packet for ministers” provided by ministries such as Focus on the Family, CBN Network and David Jeremiah’s Turning Point Ministries. My visits have been well received. In addition to these “office calls” Anne and I have visited over 40 different churches usually selected from the list of churches I had visited the previous week. Some of the ministers have given glowing testimonies as to the value of these encouragement visits in their lives and ministries. Having now covered most of the Shoals churches, I will move into the countryside and then into “Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world.” We are believing God for a Recreational Vehicle for traveling the “back roads of America with the Ministry of Encouragement.”
Because of the nature of our ministry and our walk of faith we never quite know what lies ahead but we know He is trustworthy.
CSR Ministries is sponsoring the “Experiencing the Father's CSR Ministries is sponsoring the Experiencing the Father’s Embrace” Conference with Jack Frost of Shiloh Place Ministries. February 17-20. Christ Chapel of Florence will host the event. There will be a special Leadership Component of the conference, Thursday evening and Friday morning, February 17-18. The general conference begins Friday evening and concludes with the Sunday morning service. Registration is $40 for the Leaders Session only, $40 for the general sessions only and $60 for both leadership and general sessions.
We are convinced that fully Embracing the Father’s Love is the key many of us are looking for to open wide our own hearts as well as the hearts of those we serve. Jack Frost has a very special revelation of the Father’s Love and he knows how to communicate it. For more information call us at 256 718 3775. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the CSR webpage at www.csrministries.org.
CSR Ministries, the Minister’s Prayer Fellowship of the Shoals and a broad based coalition of Shoals churches is sponsoring a regional Family Life Conference, September 9-10. The conference will be presented by Family Life Ministries, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ. The conference will be hosted by Highland Baptist Church. We are presently working on a Leadership Component of the conference to be held in the Spring of ’05.
I am hoping to lead a team of Anglo-American/African American pastors to Nigeria sometime in the Fall of ’05. The ministry trip will include stops in Lagos and Onitsha, Nigeria. This journey will be sponsored by CSR and Bishop E.C. Okoye and Gospel Mission Outreach in Nigeria. Space will be limited. If interest, contact us.
Be watching for major expansion in our new Ministry of Encouragement and the efforts we are making in the Marketplace Ministry and God knows what else.
Our Financial Paradox and Dilemma
On one hand the ministry is expanding, undergoing changes and pioneering two new and potentially dynamic aspects of the Ministry. We are exciting about what is revealing to us and where He is point us. On the other hand, we have never been in tighter financial straits. For several years we have had sufficient salary and ministry funds created by the sale of a building that was given to us. We thank God for this, another blessing out of the secret places.
ALL OF THOSE MINISTRY FUNDS HAVE NOW DRIED UP. We are operating day-by-day. For the first time in 14 years, we were not able to make the payroll on December 15. Because of the severe shortage, we were not able to draw a support check. We are cautious but hopeful regarding the January 15 check. We are perplexed because we believe we are doing what God has called us to do. We are confident that He will supply as He always has. Is it possible that God wants to use you as a part of the solution?
CSR operates on a very low overhead. We try to remain “lean” in all areas of expenses. We believe we have been good stewards of His provisions. As successful as our first Banquet was, including the offering, we cleared only $440 above expenses. We had hoped for over $10,000.00. Many of you have supported us in the past and for some reason you have dropped our support. Would you pray about re-joining the CSR team? A small team of faithful supports have been with us for years and continue to participate financially up until now. We hope you will continue and even increase if you can.
Please help us if you can. Make Checks out to CSR Ministries and send your check to CSR Ministries, P.O, .Box 1555, Florence, Alabama 35631.
Please continue to pray for us. This is a valuable aspect of the ministry that all of you can participate in. Let us know how we can pray for you.