Saturday, October 30, 2010


Brown Like Coffee is authored under the pseudonym, "The List Guy."  The title really has little relationship with the content except that the major sections are marked by certain coffee names such as Cup of Joe, Expresso, Mocha, and Cappucino.  The sub-title prepares you better for the content and purpose of this volume: "For students who think outside the box." 
The List Guy has some great chapters for students who really want to avoid the trends of college students who fail to find who God really wants them to be.  Here are some sample thought provoking chapter titles: Three Lame Reasons to Go to College,  Six Reasons I Am a Follower of Jesus, Seven Questions to Rock Your World, Three Professors from Hell, Six Steps to Dynamic Dating, and Five Students Who Are Changing the World.

One of the most significant chapters for me was Three Stories of Faith and Courage as The List Guy gives an account of young people who saw the obstacles, experienced the fear, and made tough decisions despite the opportunity to avoid hard times. 

I highly recommend this volume to high school seniors, college students, youth ministers (and pastors), faculty, and parents of college-age students. It would also make a nice gift for graduating high school seniors.

I wish I had the book 46 years ago when I started college.



Tuesday, November 2, is the date of the general election, and we all need to cast our ballots.  I am not promoting any candidate or political party through this blog, but I am promoting the need for citizens to express their right and privilege of voting.  The correct chronology appears to me to be: pray, vote, pray.

Pray: pray concerning the election and who God would have you cast your ballot.  It really doesn't matter who the polls say will win or who others encourage you to vote for.  Take your lead from above.

Vote: go to your voting precinct and exercise your duty as a citizen.

Pray: pray for those who are elected.

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior." 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Christians are citizens of earth and citizens of heaven and have responsibilities toward both. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's.  Give unto God what belongs to God."  A prayerful vote and a prayerful follow-up to an election is an exceptional way of giving to both Caesar and God.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The 168th Annual Meeting of White River Baptist Association will take place on October 18, 2010 at New Hope Baptist Church located 5 miles south of Yellville on Highway 14 South.  The first session will begin at 4:00 PM, and will include a report from the Family Ministry Team and will conclude with the Doctrinal Sermon by Bro. Jimmy Dale Huskey, Pastor of Bruno Baptist Church.  The first session will be followed by a meal for the messengers from the churches.

Emil Turner
The second session of the Annual Meeting will begin at 6:30 PM and will include reports by the Administrative, Church Development, and Missions Ministry Teams.  The session will conclude with the Annual Message delivered by Dr. Emil Turner, Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.  Bro. Gene Carson, Moderator for WRBA and Pastor of Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church, will preside over the Annual Meeting.

Each church affiliated with White River Baptist Association elects a certain number of messengers that is determined by total membership from the previous year's report.  Contact Barbara Carson or Maurice Hitt at 870-453-2575 to determine the maximum number your church can send, though unlimited guests from the churches are welcome.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The Benefit for the Arkansas Baptist Children's Home went well this past Saturday.  Riders from around the state and some from Kentucky participated in the event, enjoyed the food, fellowship and worship. John Steer was the guest speaker, and by the way, he is a great singer too.

It is estimated that 160 attended the event with at least 57 coming by motorcycle.  (Notice the last picture to get an idea of nearly 60 cycles in the parking lot.)  I saw a number of churches represented at the event from our area and around the state.  It was great to see another new church helping out at the event -- Bar None Cowboy Church had folks helping out with directing traffic and parking, and cooking. 

The gifts to the AB Children's Homes were 7 bags of toys and nearly $1000 in financial gifts.  I appreciate the efforts of Three Rivers Biker Church (3RBC) and their pastor, Jim Greenslade.  God is at work at 3RBC!

John Steer and Jim Greenslade, Pastor of 3RBC

Guest Speaker John Steer is surprised by friends from KY

3RBC Parking lot is filled with Motorcycles -- just like they hoped


Mark Lowry
A glimpse of the crowd
Stan Whitmire accompanies Mark
Mark engages the crowd

 It was standing room only (approximately 1100 attending) Monday evening at First Baptist Church in Mountain Home as Mark Lowry gave a great performance for the Senior Adult Night of Encouragement.  Before Mark began his concert, First Day, an "a capella" group from Mountain Home, gave a performance that was well received by the crowd.  Folks from the White River area churches and across northern Arkansas attended and enjoyed this special night for Senior Adults.  

Mark, with his accompanist Stan Whitmire, gave us inspirational encouragement from new musical solos as well as hymns of the faith that Mark sang or led us to sing with him.  In addition, Mark helped us all laugh at ourselves and at his antics on stage.  For sure, not many persons besides Mark Lowry can take a major auto accident and a motorcycle accident and turn those stories into an opportunity for laughter.

Mark closed the concert with a moving presentation of the song he wrote -- Mary, Did You Know?  As he closed, he gave a clear, simple, and complete presentation of the gospel.  I was blessed from the first till the last.

This is the 5th year the Senior Adult Night of Encouragement has been offered, and it was Mark's second appearance.  In these 5 years, Dennis Swanberg and Buddy Greene have also appeared as guest performers. I appreciate all the preparation that was made by Max Pyron, Senior Adult Minister at FBC, and his senior adult leaders.  I am glad that White River association was able to help in a small way to jointly sponsor this event with First Baptist Senior adults.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


 What? Senior Adult Night of Encouragement                               
What's That? Free Concert for Area Senior Adults 
When? September 27 - 7:00 PM
Who? Mark Lowry, gospel singer and humorist
Where? FBC Mountain Home, 400 Club Boulevard
Contact Info?  870-425-6961

Sponsored by FBC Senior Adult Ministry and Family Ministry of White River Baptist Association

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reminder -- Sunday School/Bible Study Leader Training

One Hour on Sunday -- Making it Count
I just wanted to remind Pastors and other leaders that White River Baptist Association is sponsoring a Sunday School Training event this Sunday at 1 PM, with a meal provided at 12:30 PM ($5 each for the meal).  It is hosted at FBC Mountain Home Christian Life Center.

Leaders for the event include Josh Hunt who will train utilizing his Disciplemaking Teachers material.  In addition, Bob Bunn, Todd Capps, and Jerry Vogel will be leading sessions for Youth, Children, and Preschool teachers/leaders respectively.  Bob, Todd, and Jerry serve with LifeWay Resources in Nashville.  

This level of training is not often available in our area, and we hope there will be additional persons who will attend the training event, which is designed to support the local churches. 

Contact Barbara at White River Baptist Association (870-453-2575) by Thursday at 3 PM to pre-register for the meal.  If you do not reach her, contact the office at FBC Mountain Home.  If you miss those two offices, then I encourage you to show up at the door.  If you haven't preregistered for the meal we cannot promise but hopefully there will be food enough for you.  However, if you arrive only for the training, there will be plenty of space.

I hope to see you there.

Friday, September 10, 2010


In early August I attended the Global Leadership Summit sponsored by Willow Creek Association and hosted at FBC Mountain Home. One of the speakers was Jeff Manion, Senior Teaching Pastor of Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His subject was "the land between."  His presentation was a significant part of this year's Summit, and I purchased his book by the same title.

The Land Between is subtitled "Finding God in Difficult Transitions" and therefore it deals with our response to changes that life brings "where life is not as it once was, and where the future is in question."  Manion outlines the difficulties of the Sinai Wilderness that Moses faced while leading the people of Israel from the security of being an enslaved people in Egypt to becoming the people of God living in the Promised Land.  The land between appears to be a place or time that is ripe for complaint and meltdown as we experience the unwelcomed changes in health, employment, relationships, and fear of an uncertain future.  Have you been there?  Most of us have ... or will. At the same time the land between is also a time in our lives that is fertile for growth in faith and spiritual maturity.  

 While we face those difficulties transitions, it is good to know that God sees our burdens, hears our prayers, and cares and seeks to rescue us for our strengthening.  And sometimes that strength for us may come through the pain of being disciplined, stretched, and trained in the midst of those unwelcomed changes.  I recommend highly this poignant book that is filled with illustrations of personal stories of Manion's own journey as well of those of friends and parishioners, while sharing further insight of what it meant for Moses to lead a people who found difficulty in The Land Between Egypt and Canaan.  Where are you on this journey?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Just the facts:
When? -- Saturday, September 11, from 7 to 9 PM
Where? -- FBC, Flippin at intersection of North 8th and Alford Streets
How much does it cost? -- FREE
Why? -- It may change your life forever.  For many, it has.

What else? -- Hang out after the movie for FREE food and drinks

Looks like a great event to bring your friend to attend ..., or a group of friends.  By the way, this is rated PG13. 

To go to the official website of To Save a Life Movie, click on this link

Brad Gilliland makes it to Red Square

Jack, Sara, and Brad in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square
I took the photo from Jack's Udmurtia blog.  It is such a great picture, and not only is it great that the team arrived in Moscow, but that Jack and Sarah's son, Brad, got to make the trip.  Jack has wanted to take Brad there for sometime, and now the mission is accomplished.  To know Brad is to love him.  I am somewhat sad that I couldn't make this trip, but glad they are there.  Jack's latest posting is a great one that picks up on lost sheep being found.  I hope you will check it out.  Click HERE to view all his postings from the current trip.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The Kremlin and Red Square of Moscow in the winter
Jack Gilliland contacted me this morning to tell us that he and the team has arrived safely in Russia, and now in Udmurtia.  Keep an eye on his Udmurtia blog or I will keep you all updated through White River's blog or my facebook page.  Thanks for praying for the team, and they ask that you continue to do so!  More information later.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Motorcycle Benefit Rides: The first begins at the Salem Park at 9:30 a.m., the second begins at Fred's Dollar Store in Yellville at 9:30 a.m. Both end in Gamaliel at the Three Rivers Biker Church.

Non-riders can meet at 3RBC at 10:30 a.m.  The church is located on Hwy 101, 3 miles north of the 101 bridge across Norfork Lake.

Guest Speaker will be John Steer, decorated Vietnam veteran.  Free lunch, music, and camping will be provided.  Please bring a toy or a ten dollar donation for the children's home. The event will close with a formation of bi-plane airshow.
Contact:  Jim Greenslade 870-404-7916

What a great opportunity for churches to work alongside 3RBC in involving folks in assisting the Children's Home ministry in our state! MLH

Monday, August 23, 2010

THE TESTAMENT by John Grisham

I recently completed my second reading of John Grisham's The TestamentThe Testament was published 11 years ago in 1999 and it chronicles the search in the Pantanal region of Brazil and Bolivia for an heir to a fortune, while other potential heirs jockey to the get their "slice of the pie."  The search, though, is what is intriguing to me.  The heir being sought to apprise her of her incredible wealth is a missionary for World Tribes Mission serving in that isolated part of the world with Indians who have not advanced beyond the Stone Age.  The one enlisted to find the heir is a lawyer who has lost two families to two major destructive "ism's" -- work and alcohol.  The one being sought needed nothing; the searcher needed something to fill his empty life.

Grisham's book has the clearest presentation of the gospel I have ever read in a non-religious book.  I was struck by the emptiness of greed, selfishness, neglectful parenting, and addictions that animated the characters developed by Grisham.  At the same time, it is made apparent that God's grace is real and at work in the darkest corners of the map, and in the darkest recesses of sinful man.

It was worth the re-read, and is my favorite of all of John Grisham's books. I have just learned that after a decade of "no's", it appears that a contract has been established to make a movie of The Testament. Only time will tell if the movie carries the message that Grisham apparently wanted to convey.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Visit from Allen Ballard

A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised and blessed to have a guy drop by to see me whom I had not seen in awhile.  His name is Allen Ballard.  Allen served a few years back as youth minister at Gassville Baptist Church.  Since then he has pastored a couple of churches in Arkansas, and recently has moved to the upper peninsula of Michigan. I was blessed to hear of the work he is involved with there, as he pastors one small church and is planting another.  He also has a vision of starting other works in the surrounding area.
Allen Ballard and The Connection Church

There are some great opportunities for churches in our area to partner with Allen in the current works and to be involved in future ones.  There are needs for churches in our area to make summer missions trips to work with him.  The beauty of such trips is that blessings go both ways -- to church planting in Michigan...and to the churches that give of themselves in missions.  In other words, you cannot go wrong, when you partner with the work of the kingdom of God.

Allen left some material with me including a dvd video about the work.  It is available upon your request.
In addition:
1.  Check out the following website:
2.  Allen's email for making contact with him:


Mark and Tina McManus
I have become aware that a church and ministry has begun in the Walnut Ridge, AR, area and that one of our current pastors has been invited to come and lead that ministry.  Brother Mark McManus, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church near Yellville for the last 9 1/2 years, and his wife Tina and family, will be leaving soon for the Walnut Ridge area.  For me, I am going to miss Mark greatly.  He has been a very good friend to me in my 6 years here at White River Baptist Association, and I hate to see him leave.  But we all know that each of us need to be where God has called us.

Mark has given me material that describes the need for which Wellspring is being planted, and for churches in our area, there are ways in which you can cooperate with Wellspring and Mark in this effort.  If you desire more information, please contact me at our office in Flippin.  I can put you in touch with Mark and the work there.  Or contact Mark at or call him at (870) 404-2406.

Here are some areas in which you could help:
1.  Pray for the Wellspring effort, and Mark and his family specifically. 
2.  Arrange with Mark a visit to the field and perhaps see if a summer missions effort could be put together for next year. 
3.  Perhaps he may need help in the spring to do a door to door survey, or a summer VBS.
4.  And of course, there are financial needs that perhaps your church could assist with, especially in the first couple of years as the work is planted and begins to develop.

And as I enumerated at first, yes, we can pray... because there are those in the Walnut Ridge/Hoxie area that need the Lord...just as they do here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


John Ortberg


The book is the winner of the 2002 Christianity Today Book Award.  John Ortberg has served as Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California since 2003.  He served other churches including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, where he was teaching pastor for 9 years and where he was serving when he completed the above volume.

I became aware of John Ortberg as a speaker and writer a few years ago when I read his book, When it is all over, it all goes back into the box.  I enjoyed his Biblical insights, his straight-forward evangelical theology, and his crisp humor.  So when I heard about this book (though it had been out for awhile), I was ready to listen.  Dr. Tommy Cunningham, on one of his visits with me during my hospital stay in February, told me about discovering and enjoying the book, If You Want to Walk on Water... and he encouraged me to read it.  I noted his recommendation and ordered the book.  My wife started reading it before I got the chance, and she shared insights with me.  Recently, I got my opportunity and found it very meaningful, and it became a reference for me as I have taught six lessons from the passage found in Matthew 14: 22-33.

I was encouraged to hear God speaking to me and his churches that we do not need to sit in the boat...that we do need to hear the Master calling us to life and ministry beyond the boat life...and that "if we ever expect to walk on water, we have got to get out of the boat!"  Thanks to John Ortberg for penning this enjoyable and challenging volume, and for Pastor Cunningham for recommending it.  I now commend it to all those who take time to read my musings in the White River blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Jim Collins

How the Mighty Fall is a book written by Jim Collins and published in 2009, who has researched great businesses and how they became strong.  In his latest volume, Collins explores why great companies and businesses implode and meet their demise. This is an easy read and I enjoyed the study immensely.

As a minister and an associational missionary, I could not help but apply the principles he uncovered to churches and charitable organizations.  He outlined 5 stages of decline:
1.  Hubris born out of success.  He describes "hubris" as an outrageous arrogance.  Churches (and associations, conventions, synods, etc.) can perceive themselves invincible to decline due to past successful runs.
2.  Undisciplined pursuit of more.  
3.  Denial of risk and peril.
4.  Grasping for salvation.  This is about trying to find a silver bullet to save the organization from decline.
5.  Capitulation to Irrelevance or death.

The volume is a sobering look at what happened to some industry giants such as Hewlett/Packard, Zenith, Scott Paper, and Circuit City, as they followed the path of decline to their demise.  I found that the same principles of the outlined path above apply to churches founded with higher purposes and vision.  I also saw how churches can decline and virtually die as they lose their focus on why God put the church here in the first place.   

There is an interesting alternative ending concept that can substitute for "Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death" and that is "Well Founded Hope". The "Hope" is the great chance of turnaround for the organization if it will stop grasping for silver bullets and return to its core principles and its original purpose.  If it gets back on mission and off its pursuit of more, it has a great chance of recovering the direction it lost.  That appears to be true if you are building automobiles or electronic products, or if you are a church seeking to be On Mission to your World.


Andy Stanley
Bill Hybels

T.D. Jakes

For two days last week, August 5-6, I had the privilege of sitting through several sessions of the Global Leadership Summit 2010.  This was the 15th year for Willow Creek Association of South Barrington, Illinois, to offer this conference on leadership and leadership principles.  For the last several years, Mountain Home First Baptist Church has served as a host site for this event that has thousands in many locations in the U.S. and overseas viewing the satellite feed from the Chicago area church.

I have attended the Summit in the past, but for me this year's event was the best I had attended.  It probably was because of specific speakers who rang my bell differently than in the past or maybe I was at a different level of hearing.  Whatever it was, I promise you I was blessed.

In the past, I have been blessed by speakers such as Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Colin Powell, and John Ortberg, as well as others.  However this year, I was encouraged by Jim Collins, Jeff Manion, Christine Caine, Tony Dungy (yes, of the Indianapolis Colts), and Adam HamiltonI was disappointed that I didn't get to hear Andy Stanley and TD Jakes, but since we have the resource DVD's of the event coming in early October, I will be able to sit in on these two great speakers, plus revisit the one's that touched me so deeply.  They will be available to all churches in White River Baptist Association as soon as they arrive. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Senior Adult Bible Conference

The Senior Adults of First Baptist Church in Mountain Home want to invite other Seniors from our Association and area to a Senior Adult Bible Conference.  The Conference will be held Sunday night, August 15, through Wednesday, August 18.  On Sunday night we'll meet at 6:00 pm in the Lower Fireside Room of the Christian Life Center with a Cheese Cake Fellowship to follow.  Monday-Wednesday, we'll meet at 11:30 and lunch will be served.  Dr. Bob Evans, retired professor of religion at Oklahoma Baptist University will lead a study on Prayer. Gene Sanders, Minister of Music at Southeast Baptist Church in Muskogee will lead the music.  
Max Pyron serves as Senior Adult Pastor for Mountain Home First Baptist Church.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prayer Need for Udmurtia and Russia

Our friends who are living in Udmurtia now are reporting that it is as hot there as it is here and that there has been no rain for awhile. Many of the people who live out in the villages rely on their potatoes and other crops to live. The prayer request is for rain.
We have visited in many of these villages and know that they do rely on these basic crops for food for the winter.
We will be flying to Udmurtia August 25th. We would appreciate your prayers on behalf of us and them.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Rea Valley Outdoor Ministry

We have had a great time so far with our own young people inviting their friends to a campout church on the river, several 'preacher' groups, and of course our youth pastor and several others not even needing a reason to go. . . .so. . . we are ready to invite (again) anyone out there that would like to bring a group down to Rea Valley for a wonderful time of fishing, and worship.
If any of your groups would like to do a float trip (short or long) we are prepared. We have guides, outfitters, lodging arrangements, singing and preaching available.
We would love to help you use our beautiful area to reach your friends for Christ.

Randy Livingston, 870 404 2292
Jack Gilliland, 870 449 5659

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Seminary Extension Begins Soon

Seminary Extension in WRBA slated to begin in Fall 2010

Systematic Theology is scheduled to be the first course offering provided by the White River Baptist Association Seminary Extension Center which is being readied to begin this fall.  Dr. Tommy Cunningham, Pastor of Mountain Home Baptist Church, will serve as Director of the Seminary Extension Center and will lead the first classes this fall.

The courses being offered are intended to benefit pastors, staff members, Bible study leaders, and individuals with an interest in strengthening their Biblical and doctrinal background.  Ministers as well as lay persons will find the studies to be beneficial.

Cost for the courses include the books and materials, and exact cost will depend on amount of college credit the course offers.  There will be an interest meeting for Seminary Extension on July 26 at 6:30 PM.  The meeting will be held at Mountain Home Baptist Church. 

Classes are scheduled to begin Monday evening, September 13, 2010, at 6 PM.  More information is available by contacting WRBA at 870-453-2575.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Rev. Doug Huskey, pastor at Lone Rock Baptist Church near Norfork, will serve as evangelist for the FBC Cotter Revival. Services are scheduled for Sunday, August 15 through Friday August 20.  Evening Services will be held at 6:30 PM. 

The public is invited, and local churches are encouraged to participate. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

East Side Baptist Church offers Joel Rosenberg's Web Conference

East Side Baptist Church is inviting the public to join them for the FREE Live Webcast of Joel Rosenberg's EPICENTER Conference 2010.

The Webcast will be presented in the East Side Worship Center located at 718 East Ninth Street in Mountain Home.  The schedule for the conference is as follows:
Friday, June 25th: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, June 26th: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday, June 26th: 6:45 PM - 9:00 PM
For more information, call the church office at 870-425-3689

You can follow Joel's blog by clicking on Joel Rosenberg's blog .  Joel has written a series of books on prophecy related to Israel, including The Last Jihad, The Last Days, and The Ezekiel Option.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Acts 1:8 Challenge

What is the Acts 1:8 Challenge?

The Acts 1:8 Challenge is an opportunity for Southern Baptist churches to declare their commitment to a comprehensive missions strategy in their community (Jerusalem), state (Judea), continent (Samaria) and world (ends of the earth). In doing so, a church invites its denominational Acts 1:8 partners – their association, state convention, the North American Mission Board, and the International Mission Board – to assist them.

The above information is found on the Acts 1:8 Challenge website.  Check out the additional information and ideas offered on the ActsOne8 pages.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Equip Members to Invite Friends

This posting is for Pastors, Church Leaders, and church members interested in a simple approach for a fall kickoff event for the new church year -- take a look at the Equip Members to Invite Friends posting on Outreach, Inc. Blog .

I learned about this blog site from Charles Lewis, another associational missionary in Arkansas, and found the website to be valuable.  Hope you can find additional good information here.