We Will Miss Him

Last Thursday Maury Smith went to be with the Lord.  Maury was sick for eleven long years. He is no longer imprisoned within that body. This Wednesday I have the privilege to conduct his memorial service.   Maury loved the Lord. He loved the Word of God. He loved to teach the Word of God. He loved to sing. I will miss him !

Seventeen years ago Maury invited me to work along side him with a struggling new church plant in Shelbyville, Indiana.  The new church had struggled for a number of years, but Maury was determined to stay with it.  Maury and the other elders in his church invited me to step in as interim pastor. Together we rolled up our sleeves, trusted the Lord and gave it one more shot.  Maury worked night and day as a faithful elder.  Soon the church began to grow and after approximately two years Pastor Brad Davis who had recently graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary was invited to take up the role as full-time/ permanent Sr. Pastor.   Under his pastoral leadership, the church is today a thriving church family of more than 1,000 believers.  None of this would have happened without the steadfast, unmoveable dedication on the part of Maury Smith…..a Godly, faithful elder.  Not long before Maury became ill he went on staff as one of the associate pastors.  Someone might make the mistake of saying that his ministry was cut short.   But that is not true.  In life, in sickness and even in death, Maury’s testimony changed thousands of lives for Christ.   We will miss him !

A Grand Testimony to the Whole World

This week as I have been resting from my eye surgery, I have had a lot of time just to be still, pray and think.  I have thought a lot about the last 15 wonderful years as the pastor of Southside Bible Church in Greenwood, Indiana.   My mind’s eye has taken me back to all of the different places we have met in for worship.   These are great memories.    But these memories have been interrupted numerous times this week as I have reflected on the events surrounding Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.    Pastor Youcef is younger than my three sons.  He has been arrested by the Islamic regime in Tehran for converting to Christianity.  It appears that he will soon be executed because of his unwillingness to recant his faith in Jesus Christ.    There is no doubt in my mind that his testimony will be used of the Lord to reach many thousands all around the world.  His ministry is not one of wonderful buildings or exciting programs.   It is much simpler and yet much more powerful. It is a ministry and a life of simple faith.  Please join me and Kathleen and we join with thousands of other believers all around the world in praying for Pastor Youcef, his wife and their children.

We Are Helping Our Pastor Plant 5 More Churches!

Sunday I preached from Acts chapters 18 and 19 concerning the Apostle Paul’s church planting experiences in both Corinth and Ephesus.  It was a wonderful opportunity to challenge our Southside Bible Church family concerning church planting.   I challenged them with the idea that when people ask them ” how are things going at Southside Bible Church” they should answer…            .” things are going fantastic….we are helping our pastor plant five more churches. ”     We also looked closely at the Great Commission and were reminded that Church Planting is not some ” nitch ministry” but that it is part of the Great Commission.   It was a very encouraging day !

Great Little Recorder

I totally love this H2 Recorder.  I can take it anywhere and set it up, even on the floor, and it picks up everything said in the whole room.  Great, great recorder for Bible studies – everyone’s comments are just as clear as can be.  Only about $150, runs on 2 AA batteries, and uploads an Mp3 file to my computer as easy as can be.  And it’s small – fits easily into my purse.