Celebrating 60 Years and Continuing On


This past Sunday was a special day in the life of Boones Creek Bible Church as we celebrated 60 years of ministry in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee area.  Our theme for the day was “Continuing to build on Christ alone” which is taken from the church verse, Ephesians 2:20, And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.

The word that stands out to me in this theme and sets the stage for future ministry is continue.  For BCBC to be where it is today, many have had to continue to believe God, continue to share the gospel and disciple, continue to stand for the Truth, continue in the midst of uncertainty, continue to remain faithful, continue to teach, continue to serve, continue to pray, continue to stay in the fold, and continue to give.

In 60 years, sadly, many quit and/or many moved on to other churches in the area.  As the charter members stood to their feet this past Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of all they have seen, heard, and experienced at BCBC in their 60 years.  Think about it; they have been members of this church for 60 years!!  They continued!!  One couple, who remain faithful in their attendance to this day, will celebrate 71 years of marriage on Thursday.  Think about that; In the same church for 60 years; married for 71 years!  Wow!  They have continued!!

May the Lord give us a host of believers who will continue and not quit.  God’s grace will enable you to overcome anything, and He gives you the Guidebook on how to biblically handle the issues of your own life as well as church life.  God’s grace will give you courage in the midst of fear, power in your weakest moments, and wisdom in your times of questions and misunderstandings.  You can continue.

May this be said of us: They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants (Psalm 119:91).

They continued.

Clippin’ Grace Coupons in Ministry

Returning to the Place I Meet with God and Study His Word:  How blessed to be able to take advantage of the grace gift of a place to study and prepare messages for each Sunday!  A place of no distractions, very limited cell service, a place to be still and listen to the voice of God speak through His Word and in prayer.  Why do I go there?  The greatest burden I bear each week is the preparation to preach the Word on Sundays and Wednesdays.  My wife asked me yesterday, “When have you stepped out in faith?”  I said, with a chuckle, “When I married you!”  And that is the truth because we have had to lean on the Lord every day of our married lives. Then I followed it up with a more serious answer, “Every week when I prepare to preach.”  Handling God’s Word is no light assignment, and I want to give the sheep I shepherd good grain each week.  Therefore, this new place of study has become very, very dear to me.

Pastor’s Pals:  For years I’ve had the children in the Sunday morning service come up front and sit on the floor with me while I share an object lesson, work with Buddy Bear, sing songs, and teach truths for life.  How precious are these kids . . . many of whom are now in college and/or married. What an awesome privilege and responsibility it is to minister to these little hearts.  My passion is for them to serve the Lord today and to grow up to be more than just good.  I want them to see them be godly and follow the Lord all their days!

A Day With My Wife Getting Our “Batteries” Recharged:  Since coming back from our August Sabbatical, the ministry calendar has been full of the expected as well as the unexpected that is not unexpected with the Lord.  Having planned for this day back in the summer, it came at a great time.  How wonderful to go to one of our favorite get-away places, Dollywood, and hear good Southern Gospel music from two of my favorite groups, Greater Vision and Karen Peck & New River.  How our hearts were stirred and revived as we listened to music that pointed us to Christ, His atoning work on the cross, His power to save and heal, as well as the promise of Heaven.  One song, among many, that encouraged my heart was written by Rodney Griffin. Here are the lyrics and a link if you desire to listen to it.  As a pastor, you’ll understand why it ministered to my heart.
Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is
Preacher,I’d say it’s been a while since you heard this request,
but my spirit is tired and I need rest.
I want to hear from Heaven a clear word from God,
A sermon of conviction straight from the heart.

(verse 2)
I’ve been hearin’ other preachers say I don’t have to change.
The most eloquent of speakers tell me I’m okay.
But it hasn’t eased my conscience and I know it’s not the truth.
So when you stand before us, can I count on you?

Oh Preacher, you say you want to be my friend,
don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.
And Preacher, tell me I can overcome,
but it’s only by the blood of the Lamb.
Don’t tell me like I wish it was, Preacher tell me like it is.

(verse 3)
So open up the Word and let the Spirit lead,
Preach until I’ve heard God speak to me.
Don’t worry ’bout my feelin’s, don’t worry ’bout my shame,
Just preach the cross of Jesus and that I’m to blame!


Life is quickly passing, the world is fading fast
and the foolishness of preaching is the only hope we have.



YouTube video: Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is


Just continuing to clip “grace coupons” every day!!!

Clippin’ Grace Coupons In Ministry

A Place to Meet with God and Study His Word:  Since returning from our time away in August, I have rearranged my schedule.  As a pastor who has been preaching the Word for 41 years, it would be real easy to coast along in sermon preparation.  Recognizing the need of keeping my heart on fire and hearing directly from the Throne of God, I have made it a point to give Monday and Tuesday to digging in the Word, sitting at Jesus’ feet, seeking God’s face for my messages.  I do not want give the congregation I love so dearly “leftovers” or a “fast-food” sermon.  My sheep need good grain that comes from the hand of God.  So, with that in mind, the Lord has graciously provided a place that has become very dear to me.  A place where my cell phone has almost a non-existent signal; a place of extreme quiet; a place removed from the distractions of home where my study is located; and a place that causes me to be very intentional.  This is a huge grace coupon!!

Mentoring:  Our neighbor’s two children attend Pioneer Club, our Wednesday children’s ministry.  If a child has to miss a night, they can make it up during the week.  So, what a thrill to help my little buddy next door with his assignment.  I had a hard time holding back the tears.  He is so precious, and like a grandson to us.  He is all boy!!!  Thank You, Lord, for another grace coupon!!  God, you are so good to me!!

Country Living:  Our home is a genuine gift of God’s grace.  The story behind it and how He has used it in these three years for ministry has been and is awesome!!  Here’s the view yesterday morning.  I never tire of the quiet, the cattle across the way, the sunrise, and the time spent in prayer and in God’s Word . . . here in the country!!  Love those grace coupons!!

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

The Influence of “Pasters”

Last Friday, the memorial service was held for a man, Dr. Rod Bell, that I looked up to as a young preacher boy.  He was a force in the pulpit with his booming, West Virginian voice accompanied with an extreme passion for souls, convicting preaching of the Word, and staunch fundamental stand.  As I contemplate his influence on me, I am greatly reminded of my own influence on younger men and boys . . . and it brings a solemn, soul-searching note to my own heart.  You see, many of the men I have looked to for guidance and wisdom have already gone to Glory. Often I find myself saying, “I wish I could ask my Dad a question.”  Or, “Wonder what Dr. Williams would have thought about that?” Or, “Sure wish I could hear Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., preach again.”

Now at my age, young pastors calling to talk with me, asking how I interpret a passage of Scripture, wanting to spend some time in prayer with them, and/or just to be their friend.  I remember those days . . . and I’m struck by the intense burden of being a godly, biblical influence; something that can only happen by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ living in me.

The picture you see in this post is a sobering, but encouraging reminder of the influence we have on others, especially young ones.  A few Sunday nights ago, a 10 year-old boy handed this post-it note to me at the close of the service.  I stopped, read it, put my arm around him, and thanked him for his encouragement.  When I got home, I sat down and read it more thoughtfully.  How moved to understand what a 10 year-old sees as his “paster.”  If I can fulfill those six things by God’s grace, I’ll look forward to the Bema (2 Corinthians 5:10-14), . . . and will be with my dad, Dr. Bell, Dr. Williams, Dr. Jones, and a throng of other “pasters.”  “What a day that will be . . . !!!”

The Best Pastor Appreciation


Where did Pastor Appreciation as a yearly observance begin? If you check the Hallmark website, you will find that they produced the first pastor appreciation cards in 2002.  As for making it a yearly calendar event, I do not know.  Nevertheless, may I offer a few thoughts from my heart on the best way to show appreciation to your pastor?

  1. Pray Scripture for him every day. He needs you to support him in the best way possible which is faithfully interceding on his behalf with meaningful, biblical supplication. He is in a spiritual battle each day, and shoulders the burden of caring for his flock, being caretaker at home and ministering to the sheep and the community. He needs you in the trenches with him. (Ephesians 6:10-19; Colossians 1:9-18, 27-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-25; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 6:10-12; 2 Timothy 4:1-5)
  2. Be a believer that lives in the Word so the Word lives out of you. What a thrill to watch believers mature in Christ as they grow and change under the power of God’s Word. What a sadness and burden to see God’s children do the opposite. Watching believers disobey, harden their hearts and fall away is a major grief to a pastor’s heart. It will wake up him up at 3:45 in the morning with you on his mind . . . and he will pray for you. (Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1-33; Philippians 1:21)
  3. Be faithful to attend the preaching services. If you love Christ, you will love His Church. If you love His Church, you will love and support the Word being preached in His Church by His shepherd. If your pastor spends hours in prayer and Bible study with you on his heart as he prepares, how encouraging it is to see your face in the crowd. He needs you there to pray while he preaches; to be engaged in his message; and to love him in spite of all his frailties. I know, he tells the same stories again and again, and familiarity can breed contempt as you just get used to him. But, he is under a strong command to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2), and he will do so even if there is only one to listen. His pastoral heart is help his congregation through the greatest means in the world (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). That doesn’t happen if you stay home. If you really appreciate your pastor, cheer him on by your faithful attendance! (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Hebrews 10:19-25)

I am truly grateful for the church the Lord has graciously allowed me to pastor for 16 years. I love them and this ministry dearly. They do express their appreciation throughout the year. My post today is to be a help not a hindrance. An attitude of thankfulness and appreciation should be the very heart of every believer for all things every day . . . not just in the months of October and November.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)

Clippin’ Grace Coupons in Ministry

Looking back over this past week, there are so many grace blessings that my heart is overflowing.

Andrew, Dale and Mike

Last Friday, I had the privilege of participating in the funeral, and on Saturday, the burial committal service for a precious lady, Dixie Gouge. I wrote about it in last week’s post.  Another grace blessing from this event was serving together with two other pastors.  Mike Garland was baptized as a young man by father when Dad pastored Forest View Bible Church, Johnson City, TN, of which Ralph and Dixie Gouge were members.  Mike is also a nephew of the Gouge’s.  The other pastor is my son-in-law, Andrew, who is our assistant pastor at BCBC.  What a joy to stand between these two men that have special ties to my heart!  God is so good to let you clip such blessed grace coupons! 

Two hams!

What a special treat to minister to our neighborhood, especially the family next door to us. Their two precious children come to our home every week for Bible club.  They are our adopted “grandkids” and are such a blessing to our hearts.  Here we are having some silly fun time!

Mr. D doing what Mr.D does best!!

Pioneer Children’s Club, Wednesday nights: How grateful to be in the midst of people who love children and demonstrate a passion to see them be more than just good kids; better yet, godly kids.  Even better is the passion of Mr. D who wants to see these precious children and their parents come to Christ for salvation!  He is faithfully out knocking on doors and doing bus visitation on Tuesdays in preparation for Wednesday nights!

Apples of Gold Decor

Apples of Gold Ladies Mentoring Ministry: Last Saturday, we hosted twenty people at our home for the AOG Celebration Dinner. My wife had every decorated so beautifully.  She and her helpers prepared delicious soups, salad and desserts. What a special blessing it was to eat outside, and then to be gathered around the fire pit sharing testimonies and singing songs under a starlit sky.  God is so good!