South Dakota is known for its famous “Faces and Places”. Mount Rushmore is probably the first on the list that meets both criteria, but there are many more. I am thankful for our presidents and this great memorial to them. However, I would like you to meet two other men that share similarities as well as vast differences. First, Bill Hickock, or “Wild Bill” as he loved to call himself, was a law enforcer that we recognize from the past. He gunned down many men with his pearl handled Colt 45′s that he wore in reverse fashion. In fact, he is the first on record to have a quick draw gun fight. He also scouted for
General Custer. However, along with a list of positive accomplishments, there would be the not so positive characteristics in his life. He was a rough drinking man who loved to gamble. He also had his list of enemies. His custom was to always sit with his back to the wall when he was in a saloon or gambling hall so he could see anyone who would want to gun him down. However, one particular evening when coming to Deadwood, SD (for the purpose of gambling) he joined a game with all the seats full except one. It was the one that would put his back to the door. He asked the men to change seats but they refused. Instead of refusing to play, he joined in his last hand of cards that he would ever be dealt. He was shot in the back and died that day August 2, 1876.
The second man I want to introduce you to is simply known by “Preacher Smith”. Not as much is known about this gospel preacher who traveled the west following his burden to win souls. Henry Smith was traveling by foot from Deadwood to Crook City, SD on his way to preach the Word again. However, he never got the opportunity to preach that message because he was shot with an arrow in the back August 20, 1876.
Both men were killed near Deadwood, SD by being shot in the back. Both died in August of 1876. Both are buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery, and that is where the similarities end. “Wild Bill” claims no faith in Christ from what I can read. While “Preacher Smith” gave his life for His Savior, Jesus Christ. There is a large fenced in monument for Bill Hickock that is visited by the public every year. However, most do not continue through the cemetery and see the simple sign that states “Preacher Smith” as a reminder of man that is widely unknown.
That brings me to one more person you should meet. A cancellation led to an invitation when Pastor Gordon Phillips invited me to preach at a church plant by the name of Golden Hills Baptist Church in Lead, SD. It was a wonderful blessing to see the faithfulness of someone who I not only knew from college but also back in day school. As we strove to be a blessing to this family and their church plant, we left with the bigger blessing. Although this church plant was small in size, it’s beginnings are huge! For eight years Brother Phillips wanted to start a church next to Deadwood in the small town of Lead. The Lord opened the door at just the right time in order to get a building. An old unused church building and parsonage was already in the process of being donated to the city of Lead. When Pastor Phillips discovered this news, his heart jumped! He had been waiting on the Lord to start a church and he wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass him up! He first approached the attorney in charge of the property, who told
him that the city wanted it. He then went to the city officials, who told him that they didn’t really want it. He, of course, offered to take it from them. Two buildings, worth $300,000 collectively, were given to Pastor Phillips for a small transaction fee of approximately $400. To God be the glory! We know that God is going to do great things with this church. We are excited to see what He has done the next time we pass through the area.
Gateway Baptist Church, Sundance, WY
In Wyoming, there is a small town named Sundance, which could be local dialect for “not much happening.” The population contains less than 1200 people, which allows Gateway Baptist Church an opportunity to be a big light to their small community. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Pastor John Burns, his wife Melissa, and their three children.
We also had a great time enjoying the snow. Yes, snow in April! With the consistent snow at the beginning of the week, we decided to take advantage of the fresh snowfall. Tuesday morning became a declared “snow” day for most of the Miller crew. We grabbed snow gear, borrowed sleds, and headed to the hills! We had a lot of fun sledding down different hills, such as our declared “bunny slopes,” steep hills, and even steeper hills! We hated to leave our snow fun that day. But, we enjoyed it before it melted away later in the week.
We had great services throughout the week and the Lord really met with us. Responsive hearts resulted in full altars. We saw two ladies receive assurance of salvation that week. Snack fellowships after each evening service gave us opportunities to meet and get to know this church family, as well as visitors. On Friend Night, we saw many visitors come! Although none got saved that night, the seed was planted and we pray that these folks will come to accept Jesus as their Savior very soon.
Throughout the week, Bro. Miller and Pastor Burns visited quite a few folks, whether in the hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation center, or home. And a couple of those times became opportunities for the kids to play their instruments and use their talents for the Lord.
We covet your prayers for Pastor Burns and Gateway Baptist Church, as Pastor Burns continues to follow up with the lost who came on Friend Night, as well as with those that he and Bro. Miller visited that week.
As we entered the parking lot of Lake Shore Drive Baptist Church, in Nampa, ID, we were greeted by Pastor James Bliss, his daughter MacKenzie, as well as the Youth Leader Don Jesup and his wife, Jeri. Their warm welcome and generosity that first day typified their church family the rest of the week. Throughout the week, we were the recipients of gracious hospitality from many church members. We enjoyed getting to know this church family. During the revival meetings, we saw tender hearts respond to the messages. One received assurance of salvation that week. We are very grateful for what God did in the hearts of this church family.
Pocatello Baptist Church, Pocatello, ID
If you drive into Pocatello, ID, anytime soon, you’ll discover quickly that you need to have both hands on the steering wheel and your foot close to
the brake. Pocatello is a busy city with very busy-minded drivers! And busy we became. Sunday began early at 7:30 a.m. for the Easter sunrise service. Pastor Colan Deatherage preached a challenging message from Mark 16 on Mary’s zeal to seek her Lord that very first Easter morning. As we listened to the message, we observed the sun peak over the mountain in front of us, adding a special beauty to the Easter service.
We had wonderful services throughout the week. Emphasis was placed on Thursday night for the church members to bring lost family and friends to hear the Gospel presentation. One young Christian man named Miguel, who came Sunday night, requested prayer for his brother to come and get saved. Throughout the week, we specifically prayed for his brother and others to come on Friend Night. And God answered our prayers. Miguel’s brother came and accepted Christ as Savior! The Lord also opened up an opportunity for Katie to witness to a young lady named Cozette. Cozette did not get saved that night, but we prayed for her to come back the next night. And she did! Bro. Miller and the Youth Leader had opportunities to speak to her that night, both at separate times. The seed was planted again and we pray that she will get saved soon.
We would appreciate your prayers for continued revival and for more souls to be saved. We know of an older Filipino lady named Josie that came on Friend Night. We’re hoping that hearing the Gospel again in Tagalog will help her. Please also keep Maggie, Michelle, and Joy in your prayers concerning the matter of salvation. We look forward to hearing what the Lord will continue to do in this church!
So the next time you enter Pocatello, be ready to brake quickly in traffic and pray fervently for revival. It will be a busy, but great stay! You’re in for a treat.
Fellowship Baptist Church, Meridian, ID
Hold onto your hat as you come into Meridian, ID, as strong winds may come any time, any day of the week! Along with that, you can be prepared for ready and tender hearts from the folks at Fellowship Baptist Church. Bro. Miller preached a series on brokenness throughout the week. What an encouragement to see many young people come forward, surrendering their lives to the Lord. We also saw many church members make decisions to share the Gospel more, relying on the Holy Spirit’s power. Throughout the week, we enjoyed fellowship with many of the church members, as well as Pastor Estes and his family.
As we prepared to leave, we discovered that snow was predicted at our next stay. Since we had a few days with no scheduled meetings, we decided to wait on the weather. While waiting, we realized that the weather was getting worse with heavy snowstorms on the way! Our trip kept getting pushed back farther and farther. But, the Lord had directed our steps and kept us from being caught in the big storms. Bro. Miller, who kept watching the weather and road conditions, decided upon a different route and the Lord gave us safe travels to Sundance, WY.
It was a fantastic time in New York City this year. I first preached in two churches before we conducted our outreach. I had the opportunity to be with Pastor Bickel at Bethel Baptist Fellowship for the second time. We had a great spirit and tenderness to God’s Word with many good decisions among Christians. This is a church in the middle of Brooklyn with a heart for revival. In the evening, I had the opportunity to preach at Bible Baptist Church in Elmont, NY where James Barker is the pastor. I have been there several times with blessing and this was the case this time too.
People from both of these churches and a few others had a part in the soul winning in Manhattan. It was a high year for us with 86 people trusting Christ! This brings our total for the eleven years of outreach to 775 saved. What a privilege its is to be a part of seeing people come to Christ! There are so many stories represented behind each of those numbers. The young man in the picture is going to college full time and working full time. He wanted prayer for his busy schedule and the heavy burden he bears. After we prayed for his concerns, he listened to the gospel and was saved.
This next man that trusted Christ is holding the New Testament we gave him and he was so grateful. He kept thanking me for talking with him and telling him the truth about Heaven. I said “Praise the Lord for it!”. We had prayed that God would allow us to meet people ready to hear the gospel. He certainly was.
One of the most amazing stories from this year was a couple who was on their way to an abortion clinic. She was looking for a “sign” to show her whether or not she should go through with the abortion. She and her husband saw our Prayer Station and stopped. Both her and her husband received Christ. This illustrates the truth that the Gospel is still powerful and the Holy Spirit is still working in hearts. For this I am thankful.
We had the joy of being with Pastor John Goetsch Jr. at Faith Baptist Church in Yuma, AZ. We enjoyed this friendly and exciting church. I preached on the Wednesday praise service before Thanksgiving. My family also had the privilege to join the Goetsch family on Thanksgiving Day. We are grateful for the hospitality as well as the football game I participated in (and won!).
After traveling in evangelism for a number of years, God called him to pastor this growing church. In the short two years that Pastor Goetsch has been there the Lord has blessed with wonderful growth. The church had just purchased a property with an existing building, but now they are past their capacity already. They are running over 300 on Sundays and are seeking the Lord for wisdom to accommodate for the growth. Please pray for them as they continue to grow.
God’s blessings are abundant as we travel for Him! Please continue to hold us up in prayer as we seek revival and souls saved in each church in which we minister. We are coming to a close for our western meetings and are looking forward to arriving home after being away for four months.
It is always amazing to think of David who was “a man after God’s own heart”. I must ask the question, “What was David’s heart like?” The initial description of David did not refer to his heart but God’s. However, an all seeing God saw the heart of David and declared he was “a man after God’s own heart”. The condition of the man cannot be separated from the condition of his heart. No doubt, to figure out David we must ask another question, “What is God’s own heart like?”. If David was a man after God’s heart then his own heart reflected God’s.
What would be the first and foremost description of God? He is holy. Herein lies our dilemma. God is always holy, David was not. How could David be a man after God’s heart with what he did and how he lived? He sinned purposely, repeatedly and presumptuously. In order to have a holy heart he had to have forgiveness, which necessitates confession. David confessed his sin in Psalm 51:3, 4 without excuse. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. He knew of his filthy sin against God and that is why he prayed Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. He continued again in verse 7, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. His prayer was Create in me a clean heart and that is what God gave him! He had a clean heart that was holy like God’s because of Divine forgiveness.
However, is that all that he received? No. David received an undeserving clean heart, yet because of this God renewed a “right spirit” within him! Not only did he receive a clean heart but also a Revived Heart. What is the heartbeat of God? Revival. God longs to “restore” and revive the heart of of His people. Therefore if we want to be a man after God’s own heart, then let us have a Revived Heart! A holy God demands sincere confession of our sin, in return God grants forgiveness and a clean heart, in which results in a revived heart.
So, how is your heart?
The story is told of a pastor leaving his home one evening to go to his church to pray with some men. He was stopped by his young daughter, who was asking where he was going. Because the area was experiencing a drought, he explained that he was going to the church to pray for rain. To this she asked, “Where’s your umbrella?” The pastor was going to pray but was forgetting something vital. He was forgetting (besides his umbrella) his expectation. Faith expects God to do what He says, even if it means the impossible.
In Mark 11:20-24, Peter forgets his umbrella. When Peter and the rest of the disciples heard Christ curse a barren fig tree in Mark 11:14, they were shocked the next day to see the tree’s condition. Peter blurts out “Behold the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away” (Mark 11:20, 21). It was not a declaration of faith but a statement of shock. He did not expect that God would do exactly what He said He would. How do we know that he did not have faith? Directly after Peter’s statement Christ never again addresses the tree. Jesus simply goes directly into His three lessons on faith: the imperative of faith (v. 22), the impossibilities of faith (v. 23), and the impact of faith (v. 24). These lessons seem to have a progression with them. It first starts with the command of faith (the imperative), which leads to the life of faith (the impossibilities), that pours over into the prayer of faith (the impact).
Let’s start with the imperative of faith which is the four word command in verse 22. “Have faith in God”, Jesus says. The very fact that he tells Peter and the others to “have faith” proves the omission of faith. How often do believers omit faith by simply being shocked to see what God clearly declared He would do? Christ also states the object of our faith when He says “in God”. One may ask “Isn’t God’s Word the object of our faith?” We must not separate the promise of God from the Person of God. The word of someone is only as trustworthy as the character of the person. If we have known a trustworthy person for some time, then we will believe what he says. So then why do so many believers worry and trust? I don’t believe that they don’t think the character of God is trustworthy. I believe it is another reason. Let me illustrate it then explain it. Imagine you receive a knock on your door one evening. You then open the door to see a somewhat shady character staring at you. You then find out that this stranger has a suspicious story of traveling to visit his Aunt Mildred and he has run out of money. He then asks you for a $100, which is followed by a stunned silence. Realizing your hesitation he then promises you he will pay it back next week when he travels back through town. What would you do? The bottom line is that you are not going to give a suspicious stranger with an unlikely story a $100. The reason is because you do not have an intimate relationship with him, in fact, you do not even know him! Are you worrying about God’s provision for you right now? Does the One at the door promising to repay you seem to be a stranger? Perhaps you do not trust His promises because there is a lack of intimacy with the Person of your Savior.
Let’s hear the second of Christ’s lesson of faith: the impossibilities of faith. These impossibilities only occur in the life of faith that has obeyed Christ’s command. Jesus says in verse 23 “That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Speaking of moving actual mountains, Jesus promises miraculous impossibilities coming to pass. Here we see that the life of faith exercises expectancy. In the middle of the verse the Bible says “and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass”. Faith does not only passively think that God can, but actively expects that He will. When a believer exercises faith he is fully convinced that God can do what He said, and fully expects that He will even if it means the impossible.
Are there some impossible occurrences that need to take place in you life? Although Jesus speaks about literal mountains, let us first apply it to moving some figurative mountains in your life. Maybe the mountain of worry over finances needs to be moved. If a financial strain is stopping you from giving as the Spirit directs, you need to exercise faith by obeying God’s command to give, thus expecting God to provide. Would you trust your Savior, if He were at the door asking for $100?
Can we not experience miraculous life changes in areas that we have counted as impossible to transform? What about those strongholds of the flesh and Satan in the areas of bad habits? I am addressing especially those areas of sin that have been in lives for years. Perhaps the sin of complaining has been in your life for so long that you have excused it as part of your personality. Maybe the habit of your constant short temper has been counted as “It’s just who I am.” In today’s times addictions of the flesh run wild. Alcohol, drugs, nicotine, pornography, and over eating – these are the mountains in many believers’ lives, which God can and will move if they will believe.
In light of the fact that faith expects, we need to seem three areas that are not included in the life of faith. First, there are no exclusions. Our Savior uses the words “whosoever” and “whatsoever.” The first includes any one and the second includes any thing. Can you please list on paper the areas that are not included in these two categories. Therefore, no one is excluded from any area in the life of faith. No one can say well I am not a preacher, or that my area of life is different. Second, the life of faith is not based on experience. Peter had never experienced a fig tree being cursed, but should have known it would come to pass because of expectant faith. I remember a young believer telling me that he did not believe in prayer. He did not believe, because God had not answered his requests. His basis was his experience. To refute him one may argue that God does answer prayer, because He they have seen Him answer their own. Although exercising faith can help build greater faith for the future, the basis of our life of faith is not our experience. The basis is on what God has said; “he shall have whatsoever.” We now can see the third element missing from the life of faith: experimentation. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus said “and shall not doubt.” Some will try to move mountains for the sake of an experiment. They would like to see if this really works. When God says to prove Him, He is not speaking of a half way experiment, but is speaking of placing our full trust and confidence on Him.
The final lesson is the impact of the prayer of faith. Verse 24 says “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The unlimited possibilities of “what things soever” are repeated throughout scripture in verses like these: Matthew 21:22, Mark 9:23 and Ephesians 3:20. The impact that is being made around you is directly related to the effectiveness of your prayer life. When I first realized that, it was quite convicting. Let me ask what happens “when ye pray”?
Let me challenge you to “Have faith in God.” As you expect God to do what He promises, it is then that God will do the amazingly impossible through your life. Oh, one more thing, don’t forget your umbrella.
If you are going to get stranded somewhere, it might as well be on a resort island. Because of trailer repairs we could not travel and had to stay a week next to the church we had just ministered in (which happened to be on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina).
Minutes after we prayed for safety and committed the trip and equipment to the Lord, I was pulling out of a tight spot at Bible Baptist Church which Brother Scott Barber pastors. CLANG! I heard the sound of metal and knew immediately what had happened. I snapped a leaf spring in the suspension in the trailer. We were stuck and knew it. I started calling several places to locate the proper spring to replace it. Finally (and I mean finally), I was able to locate the spring and have it shipped. This meant we were staying there for the week. Our next meeting was the next Sunday in Florida. The Lord is so good that he provided a mechanic in the church to volunteer his time and replace the springs when they came in.
Since we were going to be there for the Wednesday evening service of the church, the pastor asked me to preach. I preached from Mark 11 on “Expecting the Impossible”. God gave us a special service that night with a good response to God’s Word. The Spirit specifically spoke to hearts about faith and there were many definite decisions.
After the service, an exchange student from India trusted Christ as Savior! We were thrilled to see this one be saved. For a long while he stayed afterward. He noticed the mission board in the hallway and asked what that was. He was told that is was a display of missionaries to foreign countries that told people what he had heard that night. He then asked where is the one to India? He was told they did not have one to India. He said’ “I guess I am going to be the next one.” What an amazing statement from someone who just was saved! His excitement in his new faith could also be seen the next few days. The following Sunday he was at church, and he said “I just couldn’t wait until Sunday!”
As I think back on all that God did, I can’t help but thank Him for His providence and divine appointments. And I can truly say, It’s not so bad to be stranded on a