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.