From the Pastor’s Pen – June

In Philippians 2:14 the Apostle Paul tells us that we shouldn’t complain, but instead, as he says in Philippians 4:4 we should “rejoice always.” It is true, there is much we can complain about because so much is not as we would like for it to be. And indeed, it seems it is a human trait to b e prone to complain.


In my vocation as a Pastor it seems there is always much to rejoice in with my Church Family and the Ministry of the church. The month of June is no exception.


With my wife being so active in the ABW Ministry of the Central Region I enjoy very much accompanying her as she attends the annual Women’s Conference in early June. . . including help and support with some of the responsibilities involved as well as sitting in on some of the presentations of really renown speakers, enjoying good fellowship with other Christians, and of course . . . the exceptional food at Cross Wind! And looking as far back as experiencing my own Mother’s involvement in the Women’s work at Garnett Baptist, words are not adequate to express the importance of what women do in carrying out the work to which God continues to call us.


Then comes Vacation Bible School and the joy of being just a small part of this outreach involving so many children, youth, and adults in celebrating together the great message of God’s love and care for us.


Each and every Sunday is a joyful time in and of itself. Whether it be Communion Sunday, VBS Sunday, Father’s Day or any other Sunday as we consistently celebrate the Easter Message as we continue to do each and every time we congregate. Then for me as a Pastor, I have the added joy of helping with the weddings this month of two young men who grew up in the De Soto Baptist Church!


In reality, there are difficulties and sorrows involved in the life of every church, as in everything else. However, as Christians, the joys far outweigh any of these which come into our individual lives and that of our Church Family. In conclusion, our shared relationship with God in our ministry of reconciliation IS the joy we share in our relationship with each other.


I continue to thank God for each of you and the personal relationship we share in Christ.


In joy for God’s call on each of our lives in the De Soto Baptist Family and the continuing and growing commitment evident in the lives of all God’s people . . .


From the Pastor’s Pen – May 2018

As a Pastor I can’t help but be impressed by the three committees made up of volunteers who thus have demonstrated their interest in the ministry and outreach of our Church! Equally impressive are the reports presented to our Congregation as part of the morning message on Sunday morning of April 15th! Chairmen of these outstanding committees . . . Doug Opdycke, Outdoor Enhancement, Fred Jones, Indoor Enhancement, and Josh Champlain, Outreach Enhancement . . . all did an excellent job in representing and presenting the work of more than a year on the initial “brainstorming ideas.”


Moving from this step, appreciation goes to all those who responded in writing, following the service, to the request from these Committees for further reaction and evaluation. It is very obvious that God is ALIVE and AT WORK in our Church, including through the Committees who’ve spent untold hours in the initial work, as well as through the entire congregation. And as we move forward into actual decision making I’m asking that we all, with grateful hearts, be involved in prayer seeking God’s guidance with faith in His leading, and in harmony with each other in seeking together to be in God’s will.


I truly believe we are in this incredible position because God is “well-pleased” with our history of faithfulness . . . He is calling us – entrusting us – with the great responsibility to not just continue, but to expand the spreading of HIS love in a very needy world. Please join me in giving thanks to God and to those through whom God has worked to make available the funds to proceed with progress concerning these enhancements to His glory!


In His love and service ~


From the Pastor’s Pen – April 2018

Greetings in the Risen Christ! During the past weeks of the Lenten Season, our thoughts have been directed and focused on a diversity of happenings in the life of our Savior and those early believers. And now we’ve reached not the end, but rather a significant, pivotal point in the journey of our Lord . . . and ideally our own journeys in becoming the followers we’re individually – and as a Church Family – called to be! Just as our Savior’s journey culminated in His great victory over death and sin, this is exactly the same journey we’re called to take each and every day of our lives! As Christians – as true and committed followers – we can no longer walk or act in ways common to our lives before our decisive time of commitment to God’s calling on our lives, for just as Christ rose from the grave, as committed people answering His call, we too are to RISE ABOVE our level of action in living out our daily lives.

     The Holy Spirit is now a significant part of our Christian walk, day by day, and even minute by minute. In reality we are CALLED to place our trust in this truth, with acceptance of leading of the Spirit through every step we take, every action we choose, even every breath we take! Is this easy? Not so if we’ve not embraced this as part of our commitment as Christians. Is it possible? Absolutely!   Is it easy? That depends!!! Involved is stepping “out of ourselves – our own mindsets” into the arena of TRUST. . . trust in God’s will for each of us individually and as a Church Family. . . trust in His presence, help, and leading with every breath and every step we take. . . trust perhaps to step into areas of SERVICE and INVOLVEMENT only God could orchestrate.

     God has truly blessed De Soto Baptist and each of our individual lives in ways we could not on our own even begin to imagine. And as part of our Christian journeys of following His way – which did NOT end, but only just BEGAN with our individual decisions to follow Him as believers – we are truly called to be active in living out our Faith in service to Him through what we do for others. A blank canvas lies before us, ready to be filled with the beauty of each and every life of De Soto Baptist Family involved in answering His call as true followers. Jesus made the ultimate and true sacrifice, and our call then is to in trust, take up that Cross in journeys of service and outreach and love throughout our Church family – our community – our Central Region – and into every widening areas of service through spreading His Love. If our lives don’t answer “Yes, Lord, Yes”, then what are we saying about the greatest sacrifice of God giving, on behalf of each of us, His only Son. The answer lies individually within each of our hearts.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5


From the Pastor’s Pen – March 2018

The month of February was highlighted by 2 very special events . . . The Souper Bowl of Caring and our 48th annual Celebration of Love Banquet! Words of thanks are unending for the many who made this annual fund-raising soup event a most successful effort that involved hundreds of people, not just from De Soto Baptist, but truly from our entire community.   Headed by the Brownells and Champlains, assisted by dozens of other parents and Youth as well as younger sibblings, the venue made possible by the VFW, with soups and desserts numbering nearly 100, the blessing of more than $10,000 was given the Towner family during this challenging time of healing! This is certainly Christ at work in the world, despite the surprising snow blizzard which paid a visit during Worship time!


Our annual Celebration of Love event benefitting Missions around the world was another gathering of sharing, celebrating, and reaching out in meeting our worldwide call to spread God’s Word and Love. Congratulations are due Debbie & Time Maniez, recognized as King and Queen for their 46 years of marriage! Also recognized were Jerry & Linda Nalley, recognized for being the most recently married! The theme focused on “Being Golden”, with the reminder of what we are in the reality of God’s presence in our lives, especially as we serve, as reminded by the “golden hands” which decorated all tables!


Special thanks for the beautiful golden decorations provided by the Hodges, Joneses, and Queens; and greatly appreciated was the help with serving from 7 Youth! For me as Pastor, this is one of our greatest emphases, as we not only celebrate “ourselves”, but we combine this with Missions outreach. For this I am each year more thankful for the witness of De Soto Baptist in this area. And to the Committee for planning and working, the greatest of appreciation goes to Mary Etta, Richelle Hodges, Rita Jenks, Paula Jones, Linda Lane, Paula Rhodes, and Anita Woywod, Also working along side the women were Fred Jones, Tim Queen, and yours truly – Mary Etta made me add this last one!!


As we celebrate these past weeks, we also look forward through the season of Lent, for which you’ll find a separate article covering this most important season in our Church year. Blessed to serve with each of you ~


From the Pastor’s Pen – February

I suspect that many of you will be in agreement with me that it seems this new year has gotten off to a faster start than ever before, but in reality logic tells us it really hasn’t. However, I think we would be in agreement that there seems to be more health issues than in previous beginnings of the new year. It also seems that Mother Nature has raised her head more than usual if comparing to other yearly beginnings. Whether any of this is true, or just seeming to be, the one unchanging truism is that just like any other new year, we cannot see into the future with any accuracy!

In reference to this, Roy Lessin, in his devotional book Today is Your Best Day, reminds us of some of the words of encouragement given by Jesus to us:

“He doesn’t say: ‘You’ll have to make it on your own.’  

He says: ‘I am your Shepherd.’ “


“He doesn’t say: ‘You’ll have to figure things out for yourself.’

He says: ‘I am the truth.’ “


He doesn’t say: ‘You don’t fit in my circle.’  

He says: ‘I have called you friend.’ “


As you face challenges which may come your way, as faith may be attacked in facing difficulties, as uncertainties may arise, my prayer is that each reader of this will allow Christ to be with you and to guide you in this journey embarked upon for 2018!

Privileged to be part of De Soto Baptist and the great Family of God~


From the Pastor’s Pen – January

As I reflect on this past year and the celebration of our 50 years of serving God together as we as Pastor and wife have been privileged to serve with you, the word that comes to me is “OVERWHELMED”! The expression of love from you has been totally overwhelming;, and I could go on and on about this and how thankful we are for your love and support.


Let me just say that all of this reminds me of the overwhelming love of God, that He would send His only Son into this world to die for us, that we as undeserving sinners might be forgiven and receive life abundant and eternal. How thankful we should all be, reflecting this gratefulness by the way we live out our lives daily. For both Mary Etta and me these past weeks have been a beautiful and continuing call on our lives to renewed and more mindful commitment in serving an ever-widening community through De Soto Baptist ministries.


My prayer is for Christ to be our guiding light and source of courage, strength, joy, and hope, as we together as an incredible De Soto Baptist Family . . . a beautiful and vivid reflection of God’s presence and gifting in every member . . join in continued and expanding service with the King of Kings in this New Year and beyond.


May the God of everlasting love be with you as we continually work to bring about His Kingdom on earth . . .