Month: October 2017

Across Iowa – 9/26/17

Dear IARBC family,

Sandy & I are comfortably sitting in our camper on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior. It has rained throughout the night. There is a small craft advisory out for the lake that kicks in when the wind speed exceeds 25 knots and the swells reach 3 to 5 feet. The lake is rough today, but we are safe and sound far above the crashing waves below.

For the past several years, we have been able to enjoy a nice fall trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior. We had been planning to take our current week-long trip for the past year, but little did we know how much we would need this break. August through September is always a busier than usual time of ministry for us, but this year has stretched us further. God has given us incredible opportunities to serve Him. Many of them were planned, and some were not on our radar. We have been in several churches to fill the pulpit, teach the John Studies, and to encourage these church families in any way we can. The IARBC Men’s Retreat and Women’s Renew Conference were well-attended and well-received. Our other ministries have included speaking at an installation service, attending a send-off for a new missionary couple, doing several Pulpit Committee Workshops, meeting with our State Youth Committee, meeting with a young man and a couple who are ready to pursue pastoral ministry, meeting with our IARBC Council of 10, attending an area pastors’ fellowship meeting, having lunch with an attorney friend (a member of one of our churches who makes himself available to our churches), touching base with a non-IARBC church that I have been working with who recently called a pastor, participating in the FBBC Fall Board Meetings , and participating in many Homecoming events. In addition to these, Sandy has been serving as the Interim Dean of Women (and loving the opportunities to disciple these students).

It has been, at times, a little overwhelming, but God has given us strength and joy in what we have been doing. He has always been our Rock when life and ministry has been overwhelming. And, in His providence, He reminded us of that with this devotional on the eve of our trip up north. Though these thoughts were penned well over 100 years ago by Charles Spurgeon through his Morning & Evening series, they were a blessing to us:
“September 22
Evening…
Psalm 61:2
When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart; emptied as when a man wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down; submerged and thrown on our beam ends like a vessel mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the great deep of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heart-breaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled to and fro by the surf. Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace, our God is the harbour of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are is He, His mercy higher than our sins, His love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed upon an exceeding high and glorious Lord. A Rock He is since He changes not, and a high Rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far beneath at His feet; He is not disturbed by them, but rules them at His will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Alas! such is the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast, that we need piloting to this divine shelter. Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by Thy Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith, lead us into Thy rest. The wind blows us out to sea, the helm answers not to our puny hand; Thou, Thou alone canst steer us over the bar between yon sunken rocks, safe into the fair haven. How dependent we are upon Thee-we need Thee to bring us to Thee. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is Thy gift, and Thine alone. This night be pleased to deal well with Thy servants.”
 My thoughts as I read this last Friday were directed to our campsite for the week. We would be there the next evening, and we had been there before. We love that spot. Overlooking the lake on a high rock bluff, safe from the waves below, and a great reminder of the truth in this verse. I always stand amazed at how God speaks to us through His Word in ways that we can relate to, and in ways that meet the need of the hour.
Overwhelmed? Read, meditate, treasure, and apply this verse today. God is our Rock that is higher than us.
We are glad for what God has been doing, and we are glad for a break to spend some time together in a place that is special to us.
 
Talk with you soon.
 
From the North Shore of Lake Superior,

 

Tim & Sandy
 
“Because of your partnership in the gospel”  (Phil. 1:5)

SaveSave

Across Iowa 9/5/17

Dear IARBC family,

Life takes some interesting and unexpected turns, at least from our perspective. We make plans, as we should, but the Lord directs our steps (Pr. 16:9). We make our plans, but are careful to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” It would be arrogant and sinful to do otherwise (James 4:15-17).

God is in control, He knows, and He provides. So, we trust Him and find Him faithful as we have always have. We walk by faith and not by sight. This honors Him and pleases Him.

The last week in June we headed out to northern Maryland to Sandy Cove Christian Retreat Center along the northern tip of Chesapeake Bay. This trip to this year’s GARBC Annual Meeting would include Council of 18 meetings, encouraging our Iowa teens at Talents for Christ, enjoying the fellowship and preaching, and perhaps a seafood meal along the way. Everything was going according to plan until about 3:00 am Wednesday morning, the first full day of the conference. Many of you likely know some of the story. Sandy woke up with a pain in her abdomen, and I was awakened shortly after that. We decided that she needed medical care and headed out to the nearest hospital ER that we could find. The people at the desk were very helpful in confirming our choice of a hospital. To make a long story shorter, it was determined after two days of tests and analysis that she needed an appendectomy. The surgery Friday afternoon went smoothly and she was released about supper time. Of course, all of this was not on our radar, nor could it have been. But God knew and He provided;

* The mother of one of our Iowa TFC teens is a doctor. She came to see us in the ER during the “what is going on here” phase and became a good advocate for us as and a great encouragement being that we were far from home.

* One of the doctors we were referred to had us come back in for a different test. He was very kind; he was concerned about the vomiting and was very helpful in getting a definitive diagnosis.

* A very kind nurse took pity on our plight of being so far from home and personally escorted us to our next testing location. She gave us her phone number, offered to help us find a place to stay for the weekend if we needed one, and came back the next day to see us on her own time.

* As we waited in the ER again on Thursday evening, planning for surgery the next day, I called the airlines to move our flight from Friday evening to Monday evening. Sandy needed the weekend to recover and gain some strength for the trip home. They waived the rebooking fee (medical waiver) and booked us on the same flight three days later. This was the July 4 holiday weekend.

* Pastor David and Debbie Strope stopped by Friday afternoon before Sandy’s surgery to encourage us and pray with us. I believe they left the conference a little early to be sure they could connect with us. It was sure good to see these dear friends. They assured us that people at the conference, and others in various places, were praying for us. You all know what an encouragement that is when you are facing some kind of difficulty.

* The surgical team was great and the procedure went well. We heard that, among the staff, we were the “couple from Canada”. I guess Iowa sounds a lot like Ottawa. Some thought we were from Ohio, and one mentioned that he thought we were from Idaho. We laughed with them, but actually it was a blessing that they understood we were a long way from home and wanted to assure us of their concern for us.

* After being released from the hospital Friday evening, we drove back to Sandy Cove. The conference had ended around noon that day, and we still had all of our things in our room (we had both stayed at the hospital Thursday night). We had contacted Sandy Cove earlier and asked if we could stay the weekend for a Monday departure. They said that they had a group coming in for the weekend and we would not be able to stay Saturday and Sunday night, but we could stay Friday night. That was a huge blessing. They even told us that as we had missed the bulk of the conference, and had not used the bulk of our meal package, that they would credit our missed meals towards one night’s stay. The credit “happened” to be just the right amount to cover our Friday night stay. Needless to say, God used them to be a great help to us.

* We still needed a place to stay for the weekend. So, Thursday evening, sitting in the hospital ER, after calling the airlines, I got on my computer and looked for a motel. I was concerned that with the holiday weekend it may be difficult, but after a short search I booked a room at the motel nearest to the conference. When we arrived there Saturday afternoon, the lady at the desk took pity on us and moved us to a room on the first floor so Sandy would not have to climb any stairs.

* After a refreshing weekend for Sandy to gain some strength to travel home, we drove to Baltimore Monday morning. We had recently been learning to build “margin” into our schedules so we planned the day accordingly. The drive on I-95, as well as the airport, were not as congested as we had thought they might be. God also gave us the back row in the airplane with a little more leg room, close proximity to the restroom, and a little space to ourselves. We, again, were amazed at God’s provision in these simple but meaningful blessings.

* Without knowing that our trip to Maryland would include an appendectomy, we had decided to fly out of Minneapolis on a non-stop flight to Baltimore. The tickets were significantly cheaper than flying out of Des Moines, and we had planned to attend a family reunion in the Twin Cities the day after the conference. Also, a non-stop flight is always appealing, so we were truly grateful to the Lord for directing our steps to arrange this direct flight. Following surgery, this was a tremendous blessing. We arrived safely at MSP airport ahead of schedule, and of course needed to drive home to Iowa. Sandy felt good so we drove home Monday evening. God kept us alert and we arrived home safely.

We can say with Ezra, the good hand of our God was upon us. You all have seen His hand during unexpected and trying times. We praise Him for this and felt the need to share His goodness to us with you.

It took longer than we thought, but Sandy is back to 100% and we are back in the saddle of ministry among our IARBC church family. To God be the glory for his help and his healing.

This is one bookend since we last wrote.

The other bookend is that Sandy is now serving the Lord as the Interim Dean of Women at Faith Baptist Bible College for this school year. She has finished her third week of serving in this capacity, and is enjoying investing in the lives of these young ladies. As this is a full-time position, she will not be working at the FBBC Bookstore until the school year is over. There is much for her to learn. But there are many capable people helping her with the transition, and she loves what God has set before her to do. God prepares you for what He calls you to do. We are grateful for this ministry opportunity for her. She has so much to offer these students and it is a good fit for her.

We also believe that her new position is a great way to complement our ministry among our IARBC churches. What a great way for us to connect with Faith students, faculty, administration, and staff! What a great way to further this partnership in ministry with Faith! We are already enjoying these things.

Much has happened between the bookends, and I plan to fill in some of the gaps in future articles of Across Iowa.

But for now, please…

* Thank the Lord with us for His direction and provision while we were in Maryland.
* Pray for Sandy as she begins her new ministry as Interim Dean of Women.
* Thank the Lord for a great IARBC Men’s Retreat.
* Pray for God’s hand of blessing on our IARBC Women’s RENEW Conference at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp on September 8-9. Faith  Taylor, wife of Dean Taylor (Pastoral Training Professor at FBBC), is the speaker.

Thanks for praying for Sandy during and after her surgery. Thanks for the many notes and words of encouragement along the way. This is part of what makes our fellowship of churches so precious. Friends in life and ministry praying for one another, and working together for the cause of the Gospel.

We love you and thank God for you.

Tim & Sandy
“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)

Missionary Baptist Welcomes Pastor Brian Johnson

Missionary Baptist Church, Carlisle, Iowa would like to introduce our new Pastor, Rev. Brian Johnson and his wife Patty.  The Johnsons come to us from Algona, Iowa, where he was formerly the pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church.  Pastor Johnson’s first day in the MBC pulpit will be August 13. You are invited to join us at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, September 24, for Pastor Johnson’s installation service.

Across Iowa 7/17/17

Hello all! This is Brenna, borrowing Tim’s digital pen to let you know that Sandy is recovering well despite a slight setback after returning to Iowa following an appendectomy that became necessary while attending the GARBC national conference. Tim and Sandy are currently away on a vacation to Door County, Wisconsin. Please pray that they are able to relax, recover and be spiritually refreshed during this time!