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Dear IARBC Family,
I just finished reading 2 Corinthians and have moved on to the book of Galatians. For my personal Bible reading I have been using a “larger” print Bible that was given to me by my family for my 60th birthday, almost three years ago. I love the Bible and I love this Bible. Inside the front cover are all the birthday greetings from Sandy, our children, their spouses, and our grandkiddos. I believe they call it a Heritage Bible or something like that with a very soft, chocolate brown cover. It feels nice in the hand and lays nice and flat when opened. Of course the most important thing is that it is God’s Word, it is mine, and I can read it any time I want to. What a contrast to the time of the early church when the NT canon was not yet complete and Paul’s letters were circulated among the churches. The eunuch in Acts 8 had a copy of at least Isaiah 53, but that would have been an exception. What did it cost him? Where did he get it? I remember not that long ago our church purchasing a box of soft cover, whole Bibles for $1.50 each. I think it would be fair to say that with such availability, and even variety, we should be good stewards of the Scriptures to faithfully read and study them on our own. And be faithful to our local church where we can sit under the teaching & preaching of the Word to be edified and equipped for life and ministry.
Now back to the book of Galatians. Paul always begins his letters with a greeting. And sometimes, like genealogies, it is easy to move quickly through them to get to the meaty stuff. I have done that before, but I think it is a mistake. All Scripture is “profitable” and that would include the greetings, including this one which I think is quite meaty. There were several things that caught my attention, but one thing stood out during this reading, “To the churches of Galatia”. I suppose it is because of our ministry among the churches of the IARBC, but I have been noticing a very common pattern in the NT:
NT churches were autonomous under the headship of Christ, and
NT the churches worked together for the cause of the Gospel.
They helped each other settle doctrinal matters (Acts 15).
They sent & supported missionaries (Paul’s missionary teams).
They circulated letters written by Paul (Col. 4:2, Gal. 1:2).
They received instruction from the Lord Himself (letters to the 7 churches in Rev.).
They collected and sent offerings to help other believers (2 Cor. 8-9).
Sandy and I thank God for our local church family, Grandview Park Baptist Church. We love them and love being with them. We are out among the IARBC churches most Sundays, but we do make it a priority to be with our GPBC family on Wednesdays. We also love our IARBC family of churches. Each of them autonomous under the headship of Christ, yet committed to working together for the cause of the Gospel. We enjoy the blessings of wonderful fellowship, meaningful ministries, mutual encouragement, and edification. To God be all the glory for these things!
There are 9 area/regional fellowships in our IARBC. The pastors meet regularly to engage in ministry together, encourage and edify one another, and enjoy meaningful fellowship. I have been invited to attend several of these area fellowships this fall and have enjoyed each one of them. During the Christmas season some of them get together for a Pastors and Wives Christmas dinner. Sandy and I were invited to join two of them this year, one of them in Creston and one of them in Pella. We met at local restaurants, rejoiced over the wonder of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and left greatly encouraged by our time together. I thank God for these area fellowships!
IN THE CHURCHES…
Knoxville (Faith Baptist Church, Pastor Joshua & Alana Spencer)
On Saturday (12/2) we drove to Knoxville to attend a celebration and building dedication at FBC of Knoxville. When Pastor Spencer arrived last year as their new pastor, the upstairs of the building addition from a few years ago (entry way, kitchen, and fellowship area) was unfinished. Under his faithful leadership, the faithful giving of the people of FBC, and through God’s faithful provision this area was recently finished! It looks fantastic! We were invited to join them for this special celebration and rejoiced with them in what God had done in and through them. The food was amazing, the fellowship was encouraging, and there was great excitement that God will continue to build His church in Knoxville. I enjoyed good company over lunch with Pastor Ron VanderHart (retired from Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church in Runnells and currently on our Pulpit Supply List) and Pastor Mike Craighead (former pastor in Pella at Berean Baptist Church & currently serving as interim pastor at Indianola Regular Baptist Church),and with others from the church as well. Pastor Spencer’s desire is for the church to have an effective outreach to the people in Knoxville, and he is excited about what God will do in and through the church family.
Norwoodville (Norwoodville Baptist Church, Pastor Phil & Kayla Kramer)
The church is located in the NE corner of Des Moines, west of Altoona, east of I-235 and just south of I-80 so it was a short drive from our home in Ankeny to the church last Sunday morning. Pastor Phil taught the adult SS lesson from Ezekiel, and preached from Acts 10 during the morning worship service. It was great to see them again in their local church, to meet the church family, and also to connect with the Faith students who have made NBC their church home while at Bible College. They sang as a group for the worship service, asked us what being the IARBC State Rep. is all about, and spent time visiting so we could get to know them better. Sandy knew the students from her work as the Dean of Women at FBBC, but it is always great to see them in the context of their local church.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION…
Adel (Rapids Street Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Fairfield (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Wall Lake (Wall Lake Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Slater (Slater Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Miles Grismore-interim)
Reinbeck (First Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Floris (Floris Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Danville (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Dan McClure-interim)
Marshalltown (Center Street Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Don Michaelsen-interim)
Algona (Hillcrest Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Perry (First Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Fort Dodge (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor
Shell Rock (First Baptist Church) – Closing (BCP Church Care helping)
Indianola (Indianola Regular Baptist Church) – Pastor Ross & Renee Swope
Waverly (Horton Baptist Church) – James & Desiree Livingston (Associate)
OTHER MINISTRY CONNECTIONS…
GARBC: I currently serve on the GARBC Council of 18, and the National Representative Search Committee. I spent 3 days during November at the GARBC Resource Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois for our Council of 18 Fall Board meetings.
MFC: Men for Christ will celebrate its 20th anniversary this winter. I enjoy serving on the MFC Board with these men from different threads of Baptist fundamentalism. The annual MFC rallies rotate between Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. To do something special for the 20th anniversary, it was decided to have the 2018 MFC Rally at our Iowa Regular Baptist Camp! It will be a 3 day rally this time (instead of the usual 2 day rally) from March 22-24, 2018. We have a new website for you to check out which includes a place to register online. Make plans now to attend this special MFC Rally. Dr. Bob Jones III will be one of the main speakers. You will also like to know that the two most recent Board Members are Pastor Dean Graber (former IARBC pastor) and Pastor Joshua Huang (Associate Pastor in Cottage Grove, MN). Pastor Joshua is from Faith Baptist Church in Mason City, and helped us to develop our new MFC website.
Well, that’s enough for now. More to come soon to get caught up with things.
Thanks again for praying for us and for encouraging us in our ministry. We love what we do and we are grateful for what God is doing in and through our churches.
God bless and Merry Christmas,
Tim & Sandy
“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)