Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
Country folks are the best people you can find anywhere
finest people you can find anywhere are country folks. I am more convinced of
that than ever, after spending four days down Highway 50, five miles west of
We Methodists use food as “bait” in the hope that we can hook a few people into spending a little time to hear the gospel. I guess we may have learned that from our Baptist friends. Jesus often ate with sinners, so it is just another way of doing “what Jesus would do.” Breaking bread together at a table is a good way to get to know people.
surprised to find that though the
They have a handsome young pastor who, with his wife and two small children, lives in a lovely home provided by the congregation. Taylor Kendrick has a trained mind, a warm heart, and a visionary spirit. The people seemed thrilled to have Taylor and Angela as their spiritual leaders. Their children, Bethany and Jonathon, are obviously a magnet that will attract other children to the fellowship.
I love country living and country folks. I was born in the country and now, in retirement, I am living back where I began. My friends in town used to tease me about living so far out in the country that we had to pipe in sunshine. Yet most of them delighted in spending the night in the country with me when we were growing up.
Hang around a country church for a few days and you can meet some wonderful people. I love to meet old folks, some who are even older than I am, who still have some vim and vigor left. At Antioch Baptist, Mary Emily Conway and Gladys Christian are two live wires. I could see the love of the Lord in their faces. They made me feel welcome, and that felt good.
Franklin and Carolyn Blackmon offered such gracious hospitality that I wanted to stay and preach another week. If ever I met two people with the gift of hospitality, it was that dear couple. Loving Jesus has made them such loving servants of others!
receive more help than I give during a revival meeting. People share their
struggles with me. I see their courage in the face of hardships, and I am
blessed. People like Leon Lashley tell me how they are experiencing the grace
of God and I am encouraged. Not long ago,
Madeline plays the piano for church, so she played during the revival. Full of energy, she was there morning and night, ready to serve with a smile. I kidded her about having fast feet. She had a fan blowing on her feet while playing the piano. My good friend, Gary Stringfellow, led the singing. His dad was a fine Methodist preacher and a man I admired when I was younger.
I learn a lot during a revival. I usually learn how easy it is to draw the wrong conclusion about a church. One night I assumed that these dear people needed to adopt some missionaries and support their work with prayers and money. I figured that few of them cared much about missions. It is easy to enjoy the benefits of country living and forget about the rest of the world, especially the thirty thousand children who starve to death every night.
pounding the pulpit about missions, I got an earful and blushed. Dick and Liz
Conway have two sons who are missionaries among the Muslims in
my embarrassment, I soon met Charles and Betty Whitsun, who had retired after
serving 25 years as missionaries in
Charles had served Antioch Baptist as an interim pastor recently, so these people were well informed about missions. All my pulpit pounding about missions had been like preaching to the choir!
Some of my
I am a better man for having been a guest this week of Antioch Baptist Church, out in the country where good folks still grow corn and cotton, bale hay, raise cows, work in town, and love God. May their tribe increase! + + + +