MY RETURN TO ITINERANT MINISTRY!

My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude to my Lord for the privilege of preaching my first “week long meeting” of itinerant ministry last week. The meeting took place in Thomasville, AL at Liberty Baptist Church. The Spirit of God was mightily working in many hearts, as we focused on a personal and corporate revival of our “first love intimacy” with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so very grateful to God to preach the Word in a corporate setting once again.

Please be in prayer for a continued “spiritual empowering and physical strengthening”, in the opportunities which are immediately ahead. One month from the writing of this letter, I am scheduled to return to Kenya for our annual “pastors and church planters conference” at the Kenya Ministries Training Institute in Kitale. There were 558 pastors and spiritual leaders in attendance last December. There will probably be even more attendees this year. I will be teaching a study, which I have entitled, ‘Redeemed to Worship’. I have added four extra sessions to this study, concerning a much-needed teaching on a biblical refutation of the “false prosperity message” which has so contaminated the church in Africa. As always, our ministry will supply for all of the meals, the workbooks and the travel expenses for all of the pastors! We deeply cherish your intercessory prayer and support for this upcoming conference.

A BENEDICTION OF GRATITUDE FOR A SUCCESSFUL 2nd SURGERY!

It has now been 7 weeks since my colostomy reversal surgery. I am so grateful for all of your intercessory prayers for both this 2nd surgery and throughout my recovery. One of the greatest blessings of this 6-month “valley of adversity” was having a divine appointment, to witness extensively to the surgeon, who conducted both surgeries in FL. Our Heavenly Father long ago taught Dianne and I the biblical promise that, ‘Our Lord and Savior is in ultimate and overarching control of every valley of adversity, which He ordains for us to walk through’. We were also graciously instructed with the vital truth that, ‘Every season of affliction and adversity is an opportunity to magnify Jesus Christ in the midst of the storm’! As a matter of fact, when I received the initial news on May 16th that I was about to enter into emergency surgery for the sake of my life, Philippians 1:20 immediately came to my consciousness; “So now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death”. I knew that I was called to “sanctify my suffering”, with a heart attitude of true worship of my Lord, who is a very present help in time of trouble! I also knew in my heart, that this adversity was a divine summons for us to involve ourselves in evangelistic intercession for divine appointments and Gospel opportunities; and to maintain a readiness to take those opportunities to proclaim the Gospel to those whom God would bring within our sphere of influence!

Soon after my emergency surgery in May, the Lord opened numerous doors to witness to my surgeon. He later told me that he had been an agnostic for many years. He spent his childhood in communist Cuba. But his family escaped the Castro regime and migrated to Detroit, MI, when he was only 8 years old. God used our ‘shared experience with the nation of Cuba’ to open his heart toward me in an unusual manner. He would actually linger in my hospital room; longer than the average surgeon usually stays, before exiting to visit the next patient. At times, he was even doing the nurse’s work, (as the nurse would shockingly look on), as I continued to witness to him! As the time for the 2nd surgery approached, Dianne and I both were praying and received a solid assurance that we were to return to FL for the colostomy reversal. It could have been accomplished in Mobile in much larger facilities. But we knew that we should return to Lake City, so that we could seek further opportunities to plant the glorious Gospel seed in the heart of this surgeon, who was used to save my physical life.

After the surgery was completed and I was dismissed, we knew that we would have to remain in Lake City until all of my bodily functions were working again. We would have a follow-up visit in a few days with the surgeon. I will never forget sitting in my surgeon’s examination room and hearing these words from him, “I want you to stay here in Lake City, until everything is working properly. However, I want to get your cell phone number, for I want to invite you to come over to my house on Friday night. I have some questions that I want to ask you.” Now, I have seen a lot of physicians since my first health crisis in 2003. But I have never had a surgeon invite me to come to his house, to talk about the word of God!

Our Lord amazingly opened the door for me to witness to my surgeon in his own home, (for 2½ hours)! He shared with me that he had two horrible experiences with ‘established religion’, that caused him to walk out the doors of both the Catholic religion and later the Episcopal Church, well over 25 years ago! He had become an agnostic, who was also a workaholic. He shared that he has been divorced for 15 years, living alone in this very elaborate house. His main hobby has been flying airplanes, and he has his own plane. And yet, he later said these words to me, “Something is missing in my life. My 89 year old father, (who has always been an avowed atheist), recently said to me, ‘I think that I have been wrong about this matter of belief in God.’ ” This statement from his own father has caused him to think about what he believes.

He had a number of very good questions, which our Lord graciously answered through this earthen vessel, using the Word of God. I was blessed with the precious opportunity to clearly declare the “bad news of his terrible problem before God”; as well as, “the great and glorious news of God’s tremendous provision in the Gospel”. Near the end of this 2½-hour conversation, I told him (concerning his excellent medical work) that; "God had placed me (in my medical emergency) at the right place time, at the right place and with the right man". He responded by saying, "I believe that this is exactly how God has used you in my life”! Now when I received his invitation, Dianne and I decided to buy a MacArthur Study Bible and have his name inscribed on the cover. I gave it to him that night. Upon the conclusion of our visit, he asked me, “Where should I began reading?” So I placed a marker in the Gospel of John. I closed this Divine appointment by telling my surgeon, "If I would have had to go through all of this physical suffering again, in order to have this evening with you, then I would gladly do it!" Friends, my Lord and Savior voluntarily sacrificed Himself, as the sinless substitute, in order to redeem my soul. So certainly, there is no temporary physical sacrifice or suffering which could possibly be compared to the eternal joy of Heaven, if I am used as His messenger unto the repentance of one never-dying soul!

Please pray with me that my surgeon would enter through at the narrow gate. He has recently stated to another physician at that same hospital, who is a dear brother in the Lord saying, “I love the study Bible. The notes are really helping me to understand”.