“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” 1 Timothy 1:12
My heart is full today.
I feel blessed far beyond what I deserve.
Last night, at our home church, 18 men gathered around me for several hours to encourage me, bless me, lay their hands on me, and ordain me into the Gospel ministry. These men have had, collectively, hundreds of years in the ministry. I was so humbled to be surrounded by these giants of the faith, and to hear of their recognition of God’s hand in my life.
I would like to thank the following men for not only having a part in my ordination, but for investing in my life. God has used you!
- Charles Blackstock — My pastor and close mentor and friend. (over 30 years of ministry)
- Carl Braswell — Church planter for years and now missionary with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (over 50 years of ministry)
- Jeff Bush — Missionary to Argentina and now Director of Vision Baptist Missions. (over 10 years of ministry)
- Robert Canfield — Assistant pastor at Vision Baptist Church. (about 5 years of ministry)
- Trent Cornwell — Assistant pastor at Vision Baptist Church. (about 7 years of ministry)
- Mark Coffey — Missionary to South Africa with Vision Baptist Missions. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Austin Gardner — Close mentor and friend. Pastor of Vision Baptist Church and missionary to Peru for many years. (almost 40 years of ministry)
- David Gates — Close friend and missionary to Egypt with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 5 years of ministry)
- Alfonso Gonzalez — My assistant while I pastored the Spanish church in GA, now pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Faro. (about 3 years of ministry)
- Kevin Hall — Missionary to South Africa with Vision Baptist Missions. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Brandon Mayes — Missionary to China and now Deputation Director for Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 15 years of ministry)
- Rex McPherson — Missionary in Wales and now Pastor of Galilean Baptist Church. (about 30 years of ministry)
- Larry Monroe — Pastored for many years now assistant pastor at my home church. (about 20 years of ministry)
- Cory Sexton — Friend for years and now pastor of The Church at Hoschton. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Donald Swaim — My grandfather and missionary to Mexico and US hispanics with BIMI. (about 30 years of ministry)
- Richard Vance — My dad and missionary printer with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 18 years of ministry)
- Thurman Wade — Pastor for several years, now Director of Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 50 years of ministry)
- Frank Whitmire — Pastor for several years, now assistant pastor at my home church. (about 30 years of ministry)
For years, I have seen God do great things over and over again in my life, and I’m constantly reminded that it’s not about me… it’s all about HIM! I’m just an earthen vessel, he’s the real treasure. Knowing this humbles me. It is an honor to serve the King of Kings. It is a privilege that God would see it fit to put me in ministry. It is a joy to be his voice in this world.
I want to also express my love and gratitude for the one that is by my side — that is, my wife, Aubrie. There’s no one else that has loved me more, encouraged me more, inspired me more, helped me more and will ever be with me more than her. Ministry can come and go, but she will be with me until the end. I tell you, God has been super good to this ol’ boy!
Over the course of 7 sell-out evenings, more than 3,500 people walked through this outdoor reality drama depicting the end times. Many of these people left eternally changed. All of these people left challenged.
This October, you will have a chance to experience that same heart-pounding, thrilling journey of Biblical proportions. If you live anywhere near Atlanta or North Georgia, you MUST plan to be there. Bring a friend. Bring your family. Bring your church. You don’t want to miss it.
In anticipation of larger crowds, this event has been expanded to 11 nights. For detailed information and to buy individual or group tickets, visit: http://www.hellsgates.com/
If you are not able to attend, please pray that God does a magnificent work for his eternal glory.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
2 Timothy 4:12
Christian Junior camp was always special to me. From the time I was 8 years old I’ve been able to enjoy at least one week a year of lots of preaching, fun games, new friends, Bible memory and lasting decisions for Christ. In fact, it was at a Junior camp when I was 11 that God called me to be a missionary!
Today was the last day of my church’s annual Junior Camp and they invited me in to preach the morning service. It was wonderful to sit in a room with 80 children and quite a few sleep-deprived teens and adults, all eager to hear the Word of God. They’ve already seen several saved this week and many make decisions for God. There were two more young men that acknowledged their need of salvation this morning. Will you pray with me that they settle that soon? The Holy Spirit was moving in their heart! Also, after I preached on Josiah this morning, over 30 kids and teens made decisions to step out and make a difference for God, to go against the world’s norm, and to surrender their life to Him. Hallelujah! Pray that these decisions will last and that God really will use them for His eternal Glory.
I often wondered as a child, “what can I do, being so young?” This has always brought me back to 1 Timothy 4:12. You see, being young isn’t the issue. Just as being tall, short, fat, skinny, black, white, ugly or pretty isn’t the issue. The issue is a perfect heart toward God. He can use anybody that’s willing to be used. And we, as Christians, need to realize that it’s not about us. It’s all about HIM! He can take the smallest tool and create a masterpiece. And when it comes down to it, that’s all we are–His tools. And it sure feels good to be a tool in the Master’s hand!
Let’s not discredit our young people. They are today’s harvest and tomorrows leaders.
Also, please pray for the Faith Factor Teen Camp my church hosts every year. This is for Middle and High school age young people and will take place in less than two weeks. We’re praying that God saves many, calls many to Christian service and works on all of our hearts in a special way. Check out the video that was put together for the camp here:
Read the article below reposted from “Encouraging Words by Cary Schmidt.”
SADDEST LETTER I’VE EVER READ by Cary Schmidt
I recieved this letter from a young lady last week—a Bible college student who grew up in a Christian home and Christian school. I believe it’s the saddest letter I’ve ever read and right on the mark for so detailing the experiences of so many young Christians. I asked her permission to post it. Please read. Her words will greatly challenge you as a parent or pastor:
Dear Pastor Schmidt,
A few years ago, I read your books Hook, Line, and Sinker, Discover Your Destiny, and Life Quest. I found them to be extremely encouraging and instructive. These books showed me that not only do you have a real heart for young people, but you also understand us well. I am writing to ask you to consider writing a book to our parents and youth workers. Let me explain.
I am a junior at a well-known Christian college. I grew up in highly respected “fundamental independent Baptist” churches, and went to excellent Christian schools. My father has been a Christian worker since before I was born. One would think that my testimony would go something like this:
“I was saved when I was about 5 and I had dedicated my life to God and I have been growing a lot and serving Him and now I’m studying to serve Him full time.” But that isn’t my story. Actually, though I did make a profession of faith when I was very young, I didn’t get saved until I was 17. Since I was 12 and now on into college I have struggled with “serious” issues. And I found out when I went to college that I am not the only “good kid” who is or has struggled with or is still struggling with serious stuff. We struggle with issues like eating disorders, depression and suicide, cutting, pornography, gender identity, homosexuality, drugs, drinking, immorality, and the list could go on. We listen to “wild” music, we idolize pop culture’s heroes, we watch dirty sitcoms. We have no discrimination in our entertainment, dress, or any aspect of our lifestyle. Obviously, I’m generalizing our problems—you would not find that every Christian young person from a conservative background struggles with all of these issues, and praise God, some of us do not struggle with any of these issues.
My point is that the problems that are supposed to be bad kid’s problems belong to us too. Unfortunately, our parents and youth workers don’t know that we struggle with these things and they don’t know what to do with us when they find out. Quite frankly, I believe that if you grabbed the average Christian school teacher or youth worker and asked them, “What would you do if you found out that one of the kids you work with was a homosexual?” they wouldn’t know what to say.
My point is not simply that they don’t know what we struggle with or how to deal with it. I think there is a pretty simple reason why “good” kids struggle with such serious stuff. And that there is a solution. At the risk of being blunt, I’m going to be blunt.
Our parents did not spend time teaching us to love God. Our parents put us in Sunday Schools since K4. Our parents took us to church every time the doors opened, and sent us to every youth activity. They made sure we went to good Christian colleges. They had us sing in the choir, help in the nursery, be ushers, go soulwinning. We did teen devotionals, and prayed over every meal. We did everything right. And they made sure that we did.
But they forgot about our hearts. They forgot that the Bible never commanded the church to teach children about God and His ways. That responsibility was laid at the feet of our fathers. Unfortunately, our fathers don’t have time for us. They put us where we are surrounded by the Bible. But they didn’t take time to show us that God was important enough to them to tell us personally about Him. So to us, Christianity has become a religion of externals. Do all the right stuff, and you’re a good Christian. So, some of us walk away from church. Some of us stay in church and fill a pew. Many of us struggle with stuff that our parents have no idea about because they hardly know us.
I think these problems stem from first, our detachment from our parents, and second from our misunderstandings about the essence of Christianity—a relationship, not a list of rules. I worry that many young people like me are not even saved because of their misunderstandings about Christianity.
I know that this has not been a well articulated treatise, but it comes from my heart. If you are able to help us and our families, we would be so grateful. I realize that probably, there is no way to fix the fact that kids my age are detached from our parents or to straighten out the crazy stuff that we struggle with. The alienation is fixed, the scars are permanent. I know our situation is not hopeless. God is at work in my life and my generation, among those of us who have struggled and are struggling. But maybe our younger siblings can have some help that we never had. Maybe you can write a book for our parents that will grab their attention and help them see that this is serious—that their kids need them, desperately.
I guess I’ve run out of things to say. I must say I’m a little hesitant to share my name with you because that attaches me with my parents, who are, by the way, good people. Thanks for everything you have already done to help Christian teens and their families. I’m eager to see what else God will do through you.
(Name Removed to Protect Anonymity)
All I could say when I read this letter was, “WOW! She nailed it!” Let this insightful young lady’s words sink in, and let God help you evaluate your own parenting and influence.
Are we teaching kids to simply appear and act right? Or are we teaching them to LOVE God and KNOW Him personally?
What are your thoughts?
Check out Cary Schmidt’s follow-up articles here:
He didn’t even lift his head.
As I squatted down next to him and tried to speak kind words, he heard a slight jingle and slowly opened his hand and pointed it upward. The coins that dropped into his grasp, one of them falling to the ground, didn’t even total a dollar, but it was more than he had seen all day.
Then, I slipped a pamphlet out of my pocket and into his hand. “Good news,” I told him. “Maybe a friend can read this to you. It’s a message from the Bible and from a God that loves you.”
He barely acknowledged me.
The smell of alcohol was so strong. Local businesspeople sneered as they looked on with disgust. Why would I waste such a thing? The money, yes, would probably be used for something that would worsen his situation. I wasn’t sure how he would respond, but I couldn’t just walk by. The fact is, I had already walked by several just like him.
People walked by him all day. Hoards of people walked by him. It’s so easy to write this man off as just another waste of space in our society.
But, how long had he been sitting here?
Where does he call home?
Has he been like this his whole life?
How did this situation start?
What does he live for?
Doesn’t he have anybody that loves him?
These questions filled my mind all day and my heart has been broken. Tears swell up in my eyes even as I write.
The truth is, people are desperate. It might not always manifest itself like it did in this man’s life, but people have no hope.
They need hope.
We all need hope. We have a void that must be filled.
Some fill that void with religion, but its hope is empty.
Some fill that void with possessions, but its hope is empty.
Some fill that void with bodily pleasure, but its hope is empty.
And some give up. The void remains empty. There is no hope. Why even try?
But Christ, through his mercy, gives us a perfect hope. I love Romans 15:13 that says:
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
That’s what makes us different. That’s why we can have hope. It’s because our hope comes from the God of hope.
And we keep it to ourselves?
What about the rest of the world?
Are we going to hoard our hope, when Christ died for all?
Our hearts have been broken here. I have been begging God to show me how to best make a difference in this country and in the world. I need his help.
Courage to speak.
Guts to act.
Willingness to be used.
Our hearts are broken.