A Conclusion

The Passing of An Era – A Conclusion

Judges 2:10  And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

We have previously considered why it is that there is a passing of an era of faithful warriors for the Lord. Either it is the Inevitability of Time: that due to the aging servant or the time due to the distance from others and of course there is the inescapable death that all face. Or is may be the Insidiousness of Compromise: because of the weariness of the battle, the difficulty of the trial or temptation from our sinful nature. Whatever the reason, one generation of servants passes on and the next must take its place. How do we ensure that the Lord and His truth is not forgotten or minimized? This dilemma highlights the Importance of Transfer, the transfer of commitment, loyalty, and convictions from one generation to the next.

How could a generation arise that knew not the Lord? Especially as the fathers were responsible to teach their children to prevent this very problem, Ex. 10:2; 13:14. Obviously they were negligent in this responsibility. What can be done to prevent our repeating the sins of Eli in loosing the younger generation to a carnal, selfish, sinful form of Christianity (2Ti. 3:5)?

Certainly the next generation must be taught and shown the truth in the home, Eph. 6:4 cp. Deut. 6:20. A faithful pastor is hard pressed to undo years of poor modeling by carnal parents. But they must also be taught in the church, Titus 1:9; 2:4; 2Ti. 2:2; Heb. 5:12. The perpetuation of Christ’s teaching is the completion of the commission given to us from the Saviour, Matt. 28:20.

Of the utmost importance is that those of us that are in any leadership capacity must model the Truth. It is imperative that we KNOW the God of whom we speak and WALK the life of which we preach! We should be able to say to the “Young Fundmentalists” the same as Paul said to Timothy. The pulpit must be empowerd by the Holy Spirit, saturated by the Word of Truth, and modeled by a submitted servant to the master. 2Ti. 3:10; 4:1-8.

2Timothy 3:10  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

2Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished mycourse, I have kept the faith:

May God help us!

Published in: on May 15, 2018 at 10:12 AM  Leave a Comment  

Merry Christmas

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Christmas, many things to many people. To some a time of family and fun, to others stress and tension. But to those redeemed by the Saviour, a time to reflect on the precious truth that God became a man. Not just a human manifestation of deity, but rather, deity incarnate in the flesh of the most vulnerable of humans, an infant. No wonder Paul said, “And without controversy greatisthemysteryof godliness: (1Tim. 3:16).”

Yes, a mystery, for how could God become flesh? A mystery and a wonder! As the angel said to the shepherds, “…good tidings of great joy.” It is almost universal around the world that this is a time to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Of course there are abuses and skeptics, but should Bible believing people be deterred in the joy of Christ’s coming because of unbelief? No! As J. Sidlow Baxter says in his devotional, Awake My Heart, “However much Christmas may be abused by godless worldlings  it brings home to Christian hearts around the globe, all at the same time, that wonderful even which is the first of all strictly Christian facts, the incarnation of the Divine Son.”

Think of it, Christians around the globe all thinking of the Saviour at the same season. No wonder there is a special sense at this time of year. Or that the devil and his crowd want to imitate and corrupt such an exaltation of Jesus Christ.

More distressing than the godless worldlings is the cynical Christians who seem to delight in attacking the Christmas story. Can we not simply take the Bible at face value. He came just like He said. And, He came of us. Rather than undermine the story of His birth with endless and needless questions about which day, what season, when the wise men arrived: can’t we simply rejoice in that Christ came? A simple study of the Scriptures, as well as a review of history and astronomical events leads not to a truncated story, but a greater confidence in my Bible and joy at His birth. If you are interested in my findings, I would be delighted to send you a copy of my booklet The Day He Came. At the very least let us rejoice and share the news of the Saviour’s birth with all who will hear, just like the shepherds did!

Merry Christmas!

Published in: on December 27, 2017 at 12:20 AM  Leave a Comment  

Time’s Degradation

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

In a previous post I wrote about the passing of an era. My thoughts had been spurred at the time by the recent passing of Dr. Neil Cadwell. Since then another faithful servant of the Lord, in my acquaintance has ben promoted to glory: Dr. James Barrick, longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cody, Wyoming. Again there is a reminder of time’s persistent progression and its effects on those left behind.

We read in Joshua;

Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise,

The era of Moses was over and that of Joshua had begun. No one would deny the obvious differences of these eras.

  • Moses was a prophet but Joshua was a general.
  • Israel had been a horde of wandering nomads and now would be a conquering nation.

And yet it was the same God, the same law and the same expected commitment.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

So why this degradation (Judges 2:7)? Why does it appear that we decline from Biblical convictions to general beliefs to personal opinions? Why? Because some have swerved (1Tim. 1:6) and others have slipped (Heb. 4:1).

The effects of time are clear: diminishing strength due to age, the reduction of fellowship due to distance and the loss of influence when individuals die. These effects are inevitable. What exacerbates the degradation is the insidiousness of compromise.

Insidiousness of Compromise

Tiredness is experienced by all of the Lord’s workers. Classic is the example of Moses and the battle in Exodus 17. His hands became heavy and he was in need of help. Aaron and Hur lent their strength to Moses and a victory was secured. The work of the Lord is just that, WORK! Once, Dr. Wayne Musson, a veteran war horse of Gospel ministry, told me that properly done, preaching one sermon is like working a full day of physical labor. Its work. Perhaps the same could be said of the other aspects of Gospel ministry.

While all experience becoming weary while well doing, we must guard against being “weary in well doing.” (Gal. 6:9; 2Thess. 3:13) In other words, we must guard our attitude toward the struggle for the Lord’s glory. Becoming weary of the struggle lends us to compromise. The priests of Israel said, “What a weariness it is!” (Mal. 1:13) The Lord rightly rebuked them.

Eli, the high priest, apparently became weary of disciplining his sons. His weariness lead to his abject compromise of no restraint against their wicked behavior. (1Sam. 3:13) The tabernacle, the nation, and the Lord’s glory all suffered because of it. This is but one of the facets whereby compromise hastens the passing of an era.

Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM  Leave a Comment  

They Come in Threes

They say that they come in threes, funerals that is. I am not sure who “they” is. Neither can I confirm the truthfulness of the statement. I suppose it depends when you start counting. Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy it seems.
What I do know is that First Baptist in Laurel, Montana has suffered the loss of three prince servants of the Saviour this year, already. The first was Brother Greg Trout, missionary to Ireland. Though his service the Emerald Isle was short, we trust his influence continues to touch those he was reaching out to. The second was Dr. Wayne Musson, retired pastor. Dr. Musson had preached the Gospel for over 50 years. While some may remember him as a war-horse of a previous era, my memory is a bit different. I remember a man who loved his savior, the Word, and to preach. His last official sermon was to the Christian school kids of First Baptist Academy. Even singing them his “Grumbler” song. An old war-horse? Perhaps. But more importantly a man who still desired to be used in the service of the Saviour.
Lastly, and most recently was the promotion of dear saint; Mrs. Judy Cherry. When health permitted she could be found always serving the Lord. Whether that was as a Sunday School teacher, assisting her husband, or washing dishes in the church kitchen, hers was an attitude and action worth emulating. In fact each of these servants left a legacy to be followed.
We know that the Lord’s servants are precious to Him.

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Are we living our lives in such a way that faithfulness is modeled for those we leave behind? Are we living in a way that others are spurred to serve? Or, in a way that causes them to spurn the service of Christ? Are we living for now or later?

Published in: on July 28, 2016 at 12:19 AM  Comments (3)  
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The Call

Pastor, how do I know that I am called to the ministry? That was my question almost 30 years ago. He responded with a simple, yet profound answer.

  1. Desire. “Walt, the Bible says that a man should desire the office of a bishop.” (1Timothy 3:1) If a man has to be coerced into serving the Lord, unless his heart his changed he quite likely will have the attitude of a hireling rather than a shepherd (John 10:13).
  2. Ability. “Secondly,” he said. “If you are called to preach, there will be some drive or push to write or preach. You may find yourself reworking the sermon you are listening to. Perhaps thinking, ‘he should have/could have used this verse or passage’.” The Bible says a pastor should be ‘…apt to teach.’ (1Timothy 3:2)
  3. Opportunity. “Lastly is the issue of opportunity to serve. Do others see this potential gift in you? Do you have open doors to preach or teach?” While we all have the responsibility to witness and serve the Saviour, the opportunity to lead in ministry is not universal.

How thankful I am for that wise pastor’s influence in my life. That man was Pastor David Smith. He pastored the Great Hope Baptist Church in Barco, NC. I was a young sailor feeling the draw into Gospel ministry. He was gracious and generous with me, giving me many opportunities to preach and teach the precious Word of God.

Thank you Pastor Smith!

In His Service,

Pastor Widdis

Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 5:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Heartfelt Thank you!

A few months ago we were all shocked by the sudden home-going of our dear friend and brother in Christ, Missionary Greg Trout. We were naturally grieved over the loss we felt as well as acute concern for his dear wife Marta.

The Lord has been so gracious in this time of sorrow and transition. Marta’s brother was able to go to Ireland and assist her with the details of returning to the states. Her daughter, Shawna, prepared to receive her home and did much of the footwork in preparation for her dad’s memorial service. What a blessing to have family to help in such times. That’s what family is supposed to do, isn’t it?

The Lord worked all the details out. Marta made it home, the Saviour was honored through the service and God’s word that was preached in Ireland will not return void! Many have asked or wondered what will Marta do now? She will do as she has always done – faithfully serve the Saviour she loves. She has settled back in to service here at First Baptist; singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, willing to serve wherever the Lord leads.

Just as we anticipate our family to come alongside us during a time of need, so should our church family. As the Trout’s home pastor I had asked their supporters to continue their regular support up through the month of March. This would give Marta some time to seek the Lord’s will. Not only was support continued but a transition fund has been collecting. Both of these mission’s projects has come to a close. Funds are no longer being accepted for this fund. You are welcome to send any gifts to Marta personally if you wish. Those who have contributed are welcome to contact the church concerning the final amount or disposition of these funds.

As Marta’s pastor and on behalf of her, let me thank you for being such a loving, caring, and generous “family.” May the Lord bless you for your expressed affection for His servant.

Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

In His Service,

Pastor Widdis

Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 4:38 PM  Leave a Comment  

Missionary Trouts’ Service

Fellow Servants,

A few weeks ago we had the home-going service for Missionary Greg Trout. Greg was a longtime servant here at First Baptist. He was a man quite happy to simply be serving in the background. He will be missed.

We started a fund to assist his wife Marta with the transition from missionary service in Ireland to back home, here in Montana. I had requested that you not only pray for her but express that concern and love tangibly with a contribution to Marta’s Transition Fund. Many of you have, thank you. This will be a great blessing to her in the days ahead.

Greg’s service had been live streamed for those that had the capability to access it. Here is the audio of that service for those who were not able to be with us on that day.

In His Service,

Pastor Widdis

Published in: on January 2, 2016 at 1:20 AM  Leave a Comment  

The New Year

As I write these thoughts the New Year’s Day is fast drawing to a close. Many have already made their resolutions for 2016. While, normally, such resolutions only serve to give us a false sense of determination, it doesn’t have to be so for a Christian. That is, if your choices for the new year are in light of your relation to Christ and submission to His spirit. He promises to enable us to live and walk in the power of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). Let us as children of the heavenly father resolve to depend upon His enabling for this new year that we may finish it well and not with regret.
Last year, here at First Baptist, our theme was “Joy in Jesus.” My final sermon to our church family was entitled “Finishing with Joy.” I would like to share it with you. May the Lord be even more real to you this year!

In His Service,
Pastor Widdis

Published in: on January 2, 2016 at 1:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Merry Christmas

I trust that you had a wonderful day with your family and loved ones celebrating the birth of the Saviour. Oh, I know that there are those who insist that it certainly couldn’t have happened on this day. Others dismiss the day altogether due to the commercialization of Christ’s birth. Or, because in an ever widening circle, there seems to be no mention of Christ at all. But, was that not how it was on the day that Christ was born? The people seemed ignorant of his coming, the religious ruled were indifferent of it and to Herod it was only an irritant to be dealt with. The world has never been overly receptive to our Saviour. Why should I expect them to give Him proper admiration now?
Some year ago I wrote a little booklet concerning the day He came. As I approach the end of this day that we set aside for that purpose, I would like to share a small portion of it. The booklet was entitled “The Day He Came.” If you would like I would be glad to send you a complementary copy. And now the excerpt:

The Promise

Over 2700 years ago, there was a king who was in a rather precarious position. His nation was being threatened by two larger nations that were in alliance against him. Syria and Israel (the northern ten tribes of the descendants of Abraham) had joined forces against Judah (the southern two tribes of the descendants of Abraham). Ahaz, the current king of Judah, is promised deliverance from them, and God offers to give him a sign to validate this promise. However, Ahaz is a wicked king and not a believer of Jehovah. In an act of false piety he refuses to ask for a sign. As a rebuke, God gave the promise of a sign of His choosing, the birth of a son, the birth of a king, by a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This was not the first time God had made this promise. It began oh so long ago in the Garden of Eden when God promised to send the seed of the woman to crush the head of man’s greatest enemy, Lucifer himself. And there had been hints of it down through time by a revelation here, an appearance of God to various people and so forth. That had been so long ago, and, over time, promises are forgotten and man becomes dull to the truth of God.

But God never forgets. He always keeps His promises. God was the founder, controller, and fulfiller of all time. The promise was at hand. The fullness of time had come. That fullness was the day He came.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

The Story

A poor Jewish couple made their way to the city of Bethlehem. They had been traveling for three days. Nazareth was roughly 60 miles from Bethlehem, but the journey was longer on account of taking the long way around to bypass Samaria. Mary was quite far along in her pregnancy, and Joseph was thankful for the donkey. Even though it was old and a bit sway-backed, it was better than Mary having to walk all that way. Caesar had decreed earlier in the year that all the empire was to be taxed and pledge an oath of allegiance to him. The Roman Senate had bestowed upon him the title “Pater Patriae” and was requiring all the citizens to pledge allegiance to him. It was rumored that there had almost been a rebellion among the Pharisees in giving this allegiance. Herod the king was livid about it and had fined all of them (estimated at 6,000). Pheroras’s wife (Herod’s sister-in-law) had paid their fines to release them. There was always a great amount of intrigue about the palace and Herod’s family. All this hubbub was of no concern to Joseph and Mary. They were simple folk from Nazareth and had only been married for six months, he a simple carpenter and she a young maiden expecting her first born child.

It was fortunate for them that this Tebheth had had less than the normal rainfall, as the old Rabbis would say “Good is the year when Tebheth has no rain.” And good it was as so many were on their way to their ancestral homes for the census. While this increase in travelers made procuring lodging a bit of a difficulty, it did greatly cut down on the threat of bandits.

As they came into the valley surrounding Bethlehem, they were reminded of why this town was called the “house of bread.” The green of the olive trees mingled with the colorful blossoms of the almond and peach. The beauty of the valley was a welcome sight to these travelers. Evening was approaching as they entered the city. Bethlehem was buzzing with people. From all over, people had come to register for the census. Joseph could tell that Mary was exhausted and needed to rest. He went from house to house and all the inns, yet there was no room to be found this night. In desperation he came to the last available door to request lodging.
“I am sorry, we are all full; you will have to look elsewhere.” Joseph almost turned away, but then looked at the inn keeper pleadingly.
“Please sir, my wife is with child and her time is near. Is there no place where we may find shelter?” The inn keeper was about to turn them away with even more vigor until he saw Mary. She looked much like his own daughter, and of the same age. A thought flashed through his mind of how he would like his daughter to be treated in similar circumstances.
“Alright, but all I have is the stable behind the inn. The temple shepherds keep their lambs there when they come in from the field. Right now they are out by the Migdal Eder and will not be in for a few days. You may stay there until you can find more suitable accommodations.”
“Thank you, sir. May the Lord Jehovah greatly bless your generosity!”
“Yes, yes, yes. I will see how you are faring in the morning.”

Joseph led Mary to the stable and settled his wife as best he could amidst the typical items one would find in a stable. Mary soon fell asleep. As soon as the donkey was attended to, Joseph did likewise. It was late in the night when Mary woke him.
“Joseph, it is time. The child is coming!” In a short time, Joseph was holding a little boy in his arms. As he looked into his eyes, there was a feeling that filled his heart that he could not explain. All the events of the previous year were running through his mind: Zacharias the priest’s vision of the angel Gabriel, the appearance of the angel to Mary, the pain he felt when he heard that his betrothed was with child, the confusion of what to do, the words that the angel spoke to him. Now here he was holding the child Jesus in his arms.
“Sir, may we see the child?” Joseph was brought out of his thoughts with the coming of some shepherds. Without even thinking, he held the boy so that the shepherds could see him. They all fell to their knees and gave praise to God.
“How did you know that there was a child here?” Joseph asked the shepherds.
“The Lord sent an host of angels to give us word that the Messiah was born this very night and told us where to find him. Those directions led us to this very stable.” As fast as they had come the shepherds left singing and praising God for the child.
“Yes,” Joseph though to himself, “this is the Messiah. That is what the angel said…”

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Whatever your position concerning Christmas day and its observance, He came. He came for us. For that we can all be thankful for it certainly was “good news for all men.”

Published in: on December 26, 2015 at 1:00 AM  Comments (2)  

Trout Service

Dear Friends,
For those that have been keeping up with the situation concerning Missionary Greg Trout; his funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church in Laurel, MT. It will take place this coming Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Please continue to keep the family in prayer. Marta will be traveling back this weekend.

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Published in: on December 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM  Comments (1)