Click the videos below to see and hear the music from this year’s meeting.
We asked all of our guests to upload their photo memories, so everyone can enjoy them. These are available for viewing & downloading by clicking one of the following links. If you are on Facebook, you can also search for #FFW15 to view additional pictures, videos, and comments.
Following is a brief synopsis of each session and sermon preached during the week. The full audio for these messages is available by clicking here.
Regardless of the situation we face, we can rejoice when we take time to meet with The Man, Jesus Christ. Countless examples in Scripture illustrate this for us. Abraham met Melchizedek just before he was tempted to accept gifts from pagan kings, and thus was strengthened to resist temptation. Jacob’s wrestling match with The Angel of God prepared him to face the consequences of his prior relationship with Esau. Moses’s meeting at the burning bush gave him the grace he needed to deal with problems in his own family, so he could be ready to lead the nation of Israel. Joshua’s meeting with the Captain of the hosts of the Lord prepared him to lead the attack on their enemies. When all hope seemed gone, Mary Magdelene was encouraged to meet The Man in the garden. Two men on the road to Emmaus met The Man, and heard the greatest Bible lesson of all time. Saul met Him on the road to Damascus, and was called into service. We today can meet with Him, and will be forever changed when we spend time with our Lord.
Habakkuk began his book by sharing his concern for his people. The condition of the culture made him cry out for revival. He then described Judah’s disobedience, which began with the leaders. Just as Elijah felt all alone, so did Habakkuk. When we feel alone we must remember that God has not left us. The Lord’s counsel to Habakkuk was to remind him that He was at work. Although God was not obligated to explain Himself, He did assure Habakkuk that He was not aloof to the situation. We too can take joy in knowing that God has a plan and has not forgotten us in the midst of our situation.
Why are people cruel? Perhaps we deserve it. If there is truth to their criticism, we must be willing to change and make things right. In Habakkuk’s case, Judah deserved the cruelty they were facing. Perhaps the attacker is deceived, discouraged, or backslidden. In that case, we must respond gently with the Spirit’s leading. It may be that the devil is attacking us, and we must stand firm. Maybe the Lord is using our attacker to draw us closer to Him. What choices do we have in our response? We could choose revenge or retaliation. We should return good for evil. We must rejoice in the indication that if we are being opposed, we may be doing something right. We should remember that God has promised a reward for those who suffer, and as a result of this we will one day have a crown to cast at His feet.
Habakkuk chapter three is a prayer hymn of victory and excitement. We must choose to rejoice and sing because God is with us. That alone is cause for excitement! He will remember us and revive us, as David plead in Psalm 59 and 85. We can sing because of God’s character. He is glorious in his coming, deliverance, diety, and in our difficulties. The difficulties we face do not diminish His glory. He is eternal. He is just. We can rejoice because God is in control. He split the Red Sea for the Israelites. He can do things for you that He’s never done for anyone else. We can sing because there is a cause. God’s cause is the salvation of His people. Our cause is to lead people to the One Who can deliver them.
God’s revelation causes trusting. As Habakkuk looked around, he saw nothing in which to trust. Figs were a sign of health, but were not blossoming. Vines were a symbol of emotions, which were discouraged. Olives represent the Spirit of the Lord, which seemed to be lacking in Israel. The fields were bare of laborers, and the flocks were not producing. Yet he chose to rejoice because he could trust God. God’s revelation also causes triumph. Habakkuk stated, “I will joy.” This word is defined as “to spin around under the influence of violent motion.” We will never truly enjoy our salvation until we have laid down our dignity, and resolved to truly joy in God alone.
Joy is an authoritative command, and gives the avenue to contentment. Joy is derived by divine assessment. We must be sure we have the right assessment of our God. Joy demands a deliberate action. We must make up our mind to be joyful, and then work at it. Part of those actions may be determining who we will spend time with so as not to be robbed of our joy. Joy delivers a delightful accomplishment. God has made the high places, but Habakkuk claims the high place as his very own; we can do the same. The state of joy is in the mind of God. He has prepared a table for us, created still waters, and makes us to rest. He desires that joy will remain in us, and that our joy will be full.
Ezra recorded the events surrounding the Jew’s return to the land. As they gathered in Jerusalem, establishing the altar was a priority. Could it be some of our problems today come from failing to set our altars of prayer in order? The next task was to lay the foundation. This brought great rejoicing, as well as great weeping. The joy of great successes should bring great joy to our hearts. The young men looked forward in excitement; the older men looked back in remembrance. At each end of the spectrum, they understood the perspective of the other. The only hope an older generation has of seeing beyond their own finish line, is to look into the hearts of younger men and realize that tomorrow is in good hands. Young men must be willing to dream big dreams, and then realize that the greatest goal they can fathom is smaller than what God can accomplish through them. He desires to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
David is a study in contrasts. He was a man after God’s heart, yet committed adultery. He was a strong warrior, yet a gentle poet. In a moment of victory he killed Goliath, yet in a moment of weakness he had Uriah killed. Life can be overwhelming. What matters is your strategy for how to respond. In Psalm 61 we have an example of David’s response. He plead for God to listen to him. He plead for God to lead him. Though a leader himself, he realized that he needed a helper to take him by the hand and the heart in a moment of hopelessness. He needed to be taken to a higher place, by a Higher Person. He plead for God to look out for him. David also promised to abide with God, in the place of hope and help. We must realize that the path on which God has placed us is the path on which we need to be, and learn to respond with rejoicing.
No audio available for this session.
In I Thessalonians 5, Paul admonished the believers, “Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch . . .” It is not good for the church to be asleep on the job. One who is asleep is inactive, has no insight, and is insensitive to what is happening around them. God has designed us to rise to the challenge. We must have an awakening in our singing, giving, Bible reading, and praying, in order to experience revival.
We know that God is omnipotent; but we must move beyond recognizing this as a theological fact, and apply it in our life. He has power over creation. Think what it would have been like to watch Him create the world! He has power over Satan, yet allows Satan to interact with us lest we should be exalted above measure. He has power over mankind, which is manifested in the gospel. The joy of knowing an omnipotent God allows us to triumph over temptation, trust in God, and thank God. We must sing the mighty power of our God!
When we consider the greatness, wonder, goodness, and power of God, the only thing left to do is learn to worship Him, because He is worthy! He seeks for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and He has given us the reasons to do what He longs for us to do. Worship involves adoration. We cannot truly worship until we are still and learn to think about God. Worship is manifested in our actions. Throughout the Scriptures, worship involved active individual participation. Too often today we have false ideas that worship is a passive observation rather than active participation, and that corporate worship is isolated from our personal worship. In reality, corporate worship is the combined overflow of our individual worship. True worship must be acceptable to God. When we worship as He wants, He will use it to bless and encourage those around us.
I have been asked to share my burden with you. Normally, for me, it would be very hard to separate my burden from my call. However, they are two very different things. I believe that in reality, the burden is the fuel for the fire that we could define as “the call.” A calling is what Jeremiah expressed in Jeremiah 20:9 when he exclaimed, “Then said I, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” A calling is something that we must do, and if we are not doing it, we feel that we will die. Everyone has a calling. Some people have a calling to a certain people group like the Chuukese. Some people have a calling to work with bus kids, while other people may have a calling to minister to older folks. Some people are called to the people that they interact with at work. If you are saved and breathing, you have a calling. What is the one thing in your life, right now, that if you stopped doing, life would not be worth the living? That is your call.
Now, a burden is different. A burden is something you can lose if you are not careful. Yes, even a missionary can lose his burden. Jeremiah did. Jeremiah’s burden disappeared for a bit. It was stamped out by the world and the pressures of life and ministry. Because he lost his “fuel,” he tried to stop obeying his call. However, he could not. I want to be transparent with you. Sometimes, burdens are easy to lose. We get our priorities out of order and let other burdens of life outweigh the one burden that God has put on our heart. Do you recall what it is like when you go out on bus visitation every single week, and it has been a while since you have seen anything truly amazing happen? It is right then, in that moment, that we start thinking of all of the pressures surrounding us: finances, family, job, church obligations, etc. Then for a moment, however brief it may be, we lose that burden and we think, “So what if a new kid does not come? Why does it even matter?” But then, that calling, that relentless, unceasing calling comes back into play. At first, we do not want to obey it. Then, as God continues to tug at our heart, we cannot help but regain our burden.
Burdens are tricky things. We can only have a true burden when we get our eyes off of self and put them up to Jesus Christ in the partnership of praise. I am struggling with this. I have to be in Chuuk. That is my calling, my passion, and my drive. When I let that get in the way of my God, I lose my burden. Chuuk becomes a job – something I have to do out of obligation rather than commitment. However, when I focus my attention back on God, I am reminded of my call and ultimately the burden from the Lord that drives me.
I have three burdens today:
First, I am burdened to see God work. Psalm 63 says, “Oh God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen in the sanctuary.” I have grown tired of hearing how we live in a supposed “Laodicean age,” and we just let that be an excuse for our complacency. They just cannot be reached because we are in that Laodicean age! That is simply not true. Since when did God stop showing His power? I am ready to see the world reached for Christ, for churches to get back on fire for God, for Christians to be revived, and for God to do a work in my heart. I am ready to see God’s power and glory in a personal and real way every day. I am ready to see God take these 50 insignificant islands in the middle of nowhere and transform them for His glory. I am burdened to see Him use Sarah and me in a way that has never been done. Why should He not? We are setting out for a work that is 100% impossible by all rules and statistics. I am burdened to see God break through and throw those rules in the garbage. I am burdened to continue fighting complacency in my own life and to see God move and take me and revive me. With every fiber of my being, I am burdened for a genuine, personal, and real revival in my soul. I am simply burdened to be used of God. I know that I am called. I know that I have a purpose. If I can put it this way, I am burdened to regain my burden – to live life to the fullest extent that I can to please God. Again, I simply want to be transparent. I wish I were this perfect model of a missionary, someone like Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Adoniram Judson, or any other of the greats. But, I am not. I am burdened, not to live up to what I think their expectations would be, but to have the relationship with the Lord that they did. God did impossible things through these men. I am burdened to be that kind of a man – a man who’s character stands the test of time, not because I am great, but because I know my God and I am able to stay close to Him. Of all of my burdens, this is the greatest.
Second, I am burdened for the church. We live in a day of wide-spread complacency. A day in which many people think that if they are not called to preach, then they must not have much to do. My burden is to show you that God still uses the church, and therefore, if you are part of the church, you have a purpose. In Mark 2, the Bible relates a story about four men that brought a lame man to Christ. It took four men to get one man to the Master. They never fought for a title, tried to be recognized, or wanted fame. In fact, we do not even know their names. They simply wanted to get someone to Jesus. The Bible says that when Jesus saw their faith – the faith of all five men – He did the miracle. It takes more than a missionary to get the Gospel out. It takes a team. We all have a corner of the cot for which we are responsible. Not all of it involves money only. I am burdened for the church to see that missions is more than a dollar in the plate. It is time, effort, love, and work all poured out. Missions is the act of taking God’s glory to somewhere that it has not previously existed. Therefore, missions is across the street, in the next cubical, kneeling at night with your kids, or in Micronesia. I am burdened for the church to arise and get back into the battle. Too many people and organizations are simply trying to drag the cot to where it is supposed to be rather than working together to lift and carry. Money never stopped Jesus. I am burdened to see the church gear up for one last good fight before the Lord returns, rather than seeing it continue to hunker down like a scared child in the night and just wait out till the Lord’s return. Now, I am not saying every church is like this, and I am not saying your church is like this. I am saying that if we do not guard our hearts against this type of thinking, we all have the potential to stop working together as a team, as an army, and simply go into the coasting mode. What if the men that brought the lame man to Jesus did not have faith? They probably would not have even begun to pick up that cot. This lack of action would have resulted in the lame man never encountering Jesus. Lost folks do not normally come to Jesus on their own. They need help. I am burdened to see the church rise up and meet the need.
My final burden is obvious. About two months ago, Typhoon Maysak devastated the islands of Chuuk. Much was destroyed and lives were lost. What if we had been there? What if we had had the opportunity to witness to the ones who died? What if we had another established church there that could have reached out and touched the lives of the affected ones? We were not there. We were here. Now, I know that obviously this is where God has us at the moment. However, I cannot help but be reminded about how Chuuk is where we are supposed to be. Sarah and I are burdened for our people. We are burdened, not only to get the Gospel out, but to disciple and see people grow. My heart is heavy with the burden of getting to Chuuk. We are not great people, but we are willing to be used of the Lord. I am burdened to see what God has in store and what He will do there.
I am burdened for a man named Dwight. He is just like you and me. He works as a security guard as well as a municipal police officer. At night, he goes fishing in order to provide for his family. He works hard trying to do the right things. However, no matter how noble or sincere he is, Dwight is on his way to Hell because he refused to accept the Gospel. Dwight, along with thousands of other Chuukese people, is lost. The reality of it is, however, that many of them have probably never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel like Dwight. I am burdened for an almost forgotten people. Are they my calling? Yes. But even more so, they are my burden. The fuel to my fire. We are compelled to go to Chuuk to preach the Gospel, but if we were not burdened for Dwight, and others like him, what would be the point of the calling? It would be empty. What is our ultimate purpose? It goes back to the first burden – to see the power and glory of God working in places where it has never yet had the opportunity to work.
This is the first time I’ve been to Family Week for ten years, and it is a joy to be here. We were on the field for all of those years except 2011 when Dave was too ill to come.Psalm 68:19 says “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” I stand before you today to tell you that I am the recipient of a wonderful life from the Lord. The Lord has blessed us, has been so good to us, and I just thank Him that He has done so many things for us.
I came to know the Lord when I was 13 years old. My parents decided to get a divorce, and I couldn’t believe anybody who had been married for 14 years would divorce. My Grandmother saw that we came to the town where she lived. She was in a little fundamental Baptist church, and she took us there. It was no time until I realized that I needed Christ as my Savior, and I received Him into my life.
I had a young pastor who believed in really discipling his people. He would give me a list of verses and tell me to learn them and come to his home the next week and say the verses. I did that for weeks. I still remember those verses today. So, I thank the Lord for my first pastor.
When I was about 14 or 15, and we were having a missions conference, the Lord spoke to my heart about serving him, and I submitted then and told the Lord I’d go and be a missionary wherever He wanted me to go. I met Dave several years later at Bob Jones University, and one of the first things he said to me was “I’m going to be a missionary,” so we had that connection. We later married, and the Lord gave us 48 years on the field. I just thank the Lord – you couldn’t ask for a better life. If you want to know who has had a good life, I can tell you – I’ve had a wonderful life. But you know life is not without difficulties.
We had difficulties, of course. It wouldn’t be life without difficulties, would it? I guess one of the biggest difficulties we had was with the land situation on Pohnpei. There were squatters there and people in the neighborhood who wanted the land. They resisted when the Governor told us that we could have that land. They harassed us; threw rocks at our building and on the roof and doors. Pastor Wingard remembers that. They threw a rock when he was visiting, and just missed him as he closed the door. We had all sorts of problems.
I remember one day when several men from the neighborhood and their clan came into the yard and called for Dave to come out. Dave went out there and faced probably 15 men with machetes. They held the machetes in a threatening way. I didn’t know what to do so I stood up by our door, which was on the second floor. I got my camera and took pictures. I don’t know if that intimidated them or not! We faced this sort of thing for several years. It took us 12 years to get the lease for the land the Governor had promised us before we got there. These were very difficult times. I think my lowest point was there on Pohnpei. After so much harassment and after seeing how Dave was threatened, I came to the place one day when I thought I needed to get a large piece of cardboard and a marker, and put it out by the street and say “I give up; you can have this land.” Of course the Lord didn’t let me do that, and I didn’t tell Dave because I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to discourage him. I think one of the greatest things in a marriage is that most of the time you both aren’t down at the same time. The other one can encourage you, and Dave encouraged me plenty of times as I tried to encourage him.
Then in 2004, we faced something else. Dave was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctor told him he had about one and a half to three years to live. I remember Dave and I stood in the hospital room hugging each other and saying, “The Lord is in control.” As we cried together that day we were determined to do what we could for the illness, but to remember that the Lord was in control.
I Samuel 30:6 says, “But David encouraged himself in the Lord.” The key is “in the Lord.” We can encourage ourselves sometimes, but when it is really important, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord. The doctor had said one and a half to three years, but God gave Dave nine and a half years. Most of that time was spent on the field, which is what Dave wanted to do. He wanted to be there serving. He actually went back in January 2012, when the doctor told him he could only stay there for three months. He told me he wasn’t coming back in three months. He did return to the U.S. in November 2012, when he got an infection, but he came back to Pohnpei. The Lord was still in control.
Dave died in September 2013, and once again I acknowledged “the Lord is in control.” We must live our lives like that. You’ll always have difficulties, and if you haven’t been to the field yet, just take my word for it – you’re going to have difficulties. Nehemiah says “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I choose the Lord, and I choose joy.
The theme for this year’s Family Fellowship Week was “Choosing Joy.” It was taken from Habakkuk 3:17-18. The theme’s passage speaks of figs without blooms, vines without fruit, olives without oil, fields without meat, and flocks and herds who don’t return to their place of keeping. These conditions are enough to make anyone despair. However, Habakkuk states, “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
We trust that as you read over this edition of Headquarter Happenings, you will be encouraged to rejoice in the Lord, regardless of the circumstances in which you currently find yourself. We also hope that you will be motivated to join us next year! Family Week always begins on the third Monday in June. In 2016, we will meet at the Valley Baptist Church in Edinburg, VA, from June 20-23. Come and be a part of this great event!
“Feed your faith on the Word of God, and your doubts will starve to death.”
– Lester Roloff
“A lot can be accomplished by education or association, but nothing takes the place of a relationship with God.”
– Bill Wingard
“It is a struggle to climb the mountain of victory, but you can roll down to the valley quickly, and you will get hurt on the way down. The struggle is worth the effort.”
– Tim Danie
“The quickest way to turn off the blessings of the Lord is to murmur about His blessings on someone else.”
– Danny Whetstone
“Every miracle or movement of God costs somebody something, but God will use that to enrich you and to make you a greater servant of those to whom you minister.”
– Danny Whetstone
“Nothing thrills me more than when God visits my pew.”
– Russ Bell
“Our joy is not based on happenings, but on what happened at Calvary.”
– Barry Goodman
“Spending time with God is not extra curricular study; it is our main subject.”
– David Fulp
“We must embrace the promises of God instead of employing the plans of man.”
– Barry Goodman
“If you can see the end of your circumstance, you are not living in faith.”
– Jeremy Kobernat
“If you don’t have a strategy for when you are overwhelmed, you’ll be confused when trouble comes.”
– John O’Malley
We are living in ever changing times. It seems that the changes have been many in the last few years. There has been an all out attack in America on so many things where we believe the Bible to be very clear. We can simply say that this was all foretold by God through His infallible Book. We can say that the real problem is Washington and Hollywood. The truth is that the real problem rests at the door of the church of the living God. We are in churches around America. Many of our churches will drop in attendance from Sunday morning to Sunday night by twenty-five to fifty percent, and even more by Wednesday night. Much of the work and giving is being done by a handful of the overall congregation. Church people have for years voted for men and women who have openly declared their position against God, without apology. Righteousness has been replaced by a rewritten and misinterpreted bible that has excused ungodliness, not by the world, but by many churches. We must have revival.
We have preached fearlessly against everything under the sun. We have argued about every difference between us theologically and socially. There is little doubt that if we continue down the same path, we will reap the same result. Yes, we must preach against the sin of the world. Yes, we will always have differences. In spite of these things others have been able to receive the blessings of God by way of revival. We must get back to prayer, biblical exhortations, godly living and fervent witnessing.
Obviously the world is moving in a godless direction, but since when was that any different? Unfortunately, the church has moved down that same path to its own destruction, staying just far enough from the world to point to small differences. God has commanded us to “come out from among them.”
You might be living in a country where this is not true, but your ability to stay there probably rests on the ability of the church in America to support your ministry. It is vital that we join our hearts together in prayer for the enormous needs that we have in Christianity in the U.S.A. There is no doubt that our God is able to raise up another nation to take the gospel to the world, but I pray that He does not have to do so. Would you challenge your people to earnestly pray that our churches will experience a move of God that will result in a move toward Him?
Righteousness will see a nation exalted by God. Sin will bring a nation down, and judgement will soon follow. God has been merciful and patient, but how long can we expect that to continue?