Featured Article: Why?


“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

Have you ever thought of what it would be like to take Stephen’s place and experience the last few hours of his life? For many of us that would be rather disturbing.

Stephen himself probably had little opportunity to ponder why this was happening to him. The events unfolded too rapidly. He was accosted by a group of hateful men with a pre-established agenda and was in up to his ears before he knew it.

On the negative side, here are a couple of the things we could mention. First, he experienced the pain of a violent death (although it almost seems like the grace of God so powerfully flooded his body that he was impervious to the beating). And second, he missed the spectacular expansion of the Gospel from Jerusalem on out into the world.

However, when we switch over to a different perspective, the scene doesn’t seem quite as ugly.

Even as he felt the rocks hit, he was seeing the One who gave it all meaning. Jesus, the Lord, the Origin of life itself, was making eye contact with him! Apparently, a few saints down through history have been granted a similar privilege.

But most are called to die by faith.

And then, as he slipped into the presence of the Holy One, he instantly gained a vantage point from which to watch the rest of the story from the first row of Heaven’s balcony. Wow!

Furthermore, even as the rocks go still and the martyr’s body stops breathing, the Holy Spirit turns our attention to a different man. This surprising shift of focus is designed to remind us all of a wonderful and comforting truth, one that is just as true today as it was in Acts 7.

God is always doing more than we think He is.

Again, He is ALWAYS doing more than we think He is!

And He loves to surprise.

Nobody was paying too much attention to the young man who watched the clothes. Surely Stephen hadn’t noticed him–he was looking up at the right hand of God. The eyes of the violent religious men were looking for stones and taking aim. If there were Christians nearby, they were focused on Stephen and praying for help. Saul himself was observing, with a smug sense of satisfaction, the permanent silencing of an extremely vocal and powerful opponent.

Little did anyone know, but a pair of heavenly eyes were looking down at the young zealot. There may even have been the hint of a divine smile.

Saul would soon be changing his name.

But back to Stephen…

Sometimes God takes away loved ones suddenly and without explanation. The shock and loss are excruciating and there is no avoiding the pain, or explaining it away. But God doesn’t ask us to do that. Instead, He addresses the perplexing topic in a subtle but undeniable way.

Notice how He strategically sprinkled throughout the Bible certain stories, each with their silent and anonymous sufferers. These all experienced the torture of tragic surprises, and they may not have immediately been given a measure of understanding.

Think of Abel’s mother, Eve. Think of Naboth’s wife. Think of Uriah’s siblings. Think of John the Baptist’s friends… and there are others.

Each of these deaths brought piercing pain to those closest to them. Undoubtedly, tears were shed, questions were asked, and hearts were stunned.

But what occurred to them happens all around us today. Indeed, they are part of the same family, the family of godly Christians who die or suffer in what appears to be random, meaningless, and painful ways. Surely as you read these words a name or names come to your mind.

The message from God, in the example of Stephen, seems to encourage us to remember a few things. First, every Christian life is a tiny part of a very large picture. The picture is not only huge, but it is eternal. Second, God is always doing more than we think. Stephen leaves the stage at exactly the right moment for Saul to make his entrance. At the time, neither one understood the significance of the other.

But the Lord did.

He is the Author of the grand story of grace, the story that spans every continent and every age. It is the story that links every believer and the details of his life directly to the Cross. No death is insignificant, no matter how short or unknown or unappreciated it was by other people.

This truth makes it all worth it and can give comfort when we or loved ones are hit with unexplainable hurt.

Dear Father, how important to keep in mind Your view, the real one, and to know You guide every single event towards Your glorious purpose. Please use these words to encourage someone who is hurting. Amen.

From Our President: January 2017

Danny Whetstone

I remember when the Lord called me to preach. I was a diesel mechanic in Tallahassee, Florida, and was so excited and fearful at the same time. There was no way in those days to see how things would turn out in the years to come. It was January 1972 when Darleen and I moved to Greenville, South Carolina with our five-month-old son to start studying at Bob Jones University. Every day was a new experience. We were receiving an education each day whether classes were going on or not.

Four years later the Lord directed us to Central Baptist Church in Greeneville, Tennessee. Again, there was excitement and fear at the same time. There were so many new things that I was responsible for, and I had virtually no experience in them. The education continued!

After nine years the Lord called me into missions. To let go of a wonderful church family was very difficult. We then had four children. We had no income, no home, and no car that could take the miles that deputation would require. Humanly speaking, there was simply no way for this to turn out right. But God! When we could not see the way before us, He made a way.

I preached my first sermon the third Sunday night of January 1971. There were times that we felt all hope was gone, but our Lord never failed us. We would not take all the world’s wealth for the experiences of these years, and the friends that time has brought our way.

I don’t know what the new year looks like to you as you attempt to look into the coming days, but I do know that our Lord will never forsake you. Make knowing and doing His will the greatest ambition of your life. Give Him, and those that He has called you to minister to, the very best that you have to give. Continue to invest your life in the lives of others and find satisfaction beyond belief.

Love what you do, and thank God everyday for the privilege to do it. So many are counting on you and your faithfulness to Christ. I pray that you too will remember the process that the Lord has brought you through so that you could fulfill His purpose in your life today. May you know the blessings of our Lord in 2017.

In His Service,
Danny A. Whetstone

Prayer & Dates: January 2017

January Prayer/Praises and Special Dates

Click the link above to download a PDF of prayer requests and praises as well as the birthdays and anniversaries for January. Note: You will need to login to SecureCloud in order to view this document. Once you have logged in, click on Files, Shared, then Headquarter Happenings, then scroll to the month you would like to view. This step protects people with WWNTBM in restricted access fields.

From the Memo Board: January 2017

Dates to Know

January 9 – Missionaries will receive their emailed statements of December Support Received.

January 11 – All missionaries will receive their final December support on this day, regardless of the day that they normally receive support.

January 16 – December financial reports will be due, along with any remaining receipts or financial paperwork for 2016.

June 19-22 – Family Fellowship Week with Memorial Baptist Church in Ocala, FL. Begin arranging your summer schedule to be with us!

New Missionary

Matthew and Rebecca Rose have been accepted with World Wide as our newest missionaries to Kenya. They are sent out of Grace Baptist Church of Hinesville, GA, with Pastor John Mills, where Bro. Rose has been serving as the youth director for the past five years. The Roses have four daughters: Deborah (5), Hannah (4), Esther (2), and Lydia (1). Please pray for the Rose family as they begin deputation.


New Baby

Congratulations to Matthew and Nikki Brown on the birth of Judah Lee, who was born on Christmas day! Judah weighed 6 pounds 13 ounces, and was 20 inches long. Praise the Lord for a safe delivery, as there were several complications during the pregnancy. Mom and baby are doing great! Judah is the Browns’ third child, joining Joshua (3) and Julie (1). The Browns minister in Cambodia.

Family Fellowship Week Change

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, our annual Family Fellowship Week for 2017 is being moved to Memorial Baptist Church in Ocala, FL, with Pastor Michael West. It will still be held on June 19-22, 2017. Please check your calendars and make arrangements accordingly.

SecureCloud Packets

At the end of each month, we scan any mail that has come to the Office and place it in your SecureCloud folder.  This would include check stubs for all bills paid by the Office, as well as any cards or correspondence from donors. Please be sure to check your account periodically, especially this month, as many missionaries have received Christmas cards and letters, which would be available to you there.

Missionary Orientation School Online Update

In 2016, we launched a website for our new Missionary Orientation School (MOS), so missionaries can take classes online to assist in beginning deputation or refresh their memory on various topics. We have recently updated this website, so that any user can take notes online while watching the lessons. (See the photo below for the icon to access this notes feature.) On the main homepage for the videos, users can now see two new links for “Public Notes” and “My Notes” from which you can access or download all your notes at once, or you can click through individual lessons to see your notes there as well.

We would like to encourage all current students to work on finishing these classes as soon as possible in the new year. If you do not have a user a account and would like to take these courses, please contact our office and we will be happy to send you credentials so you can avail yourself of this opportunity.

January Income Totals

During a typical month, we close the books on the 25th, and any checks received after that date are posted to the following month. Due to receipting requirements, we cannot do this in the month of December. As a result, please be aware that your December support total may be higher than normal, while your January support total may be lower than normal. Please be sure to plan ahead for this!

Housing Allowances for 2017

Housing allowances previously in place have automatically rolled over to the new year. Missionaries who are ordained are eligible to have a housing allowance in place, which can provide certain tax benefits. If you did not have a housing allowance in 2016 and would like to have one for 2017, or if you have questions regarding this, please contact our office.

New Excel Template

A new Excel template for the year 2017 will be available during the second week of February. This will give us time to review the need for any possible updates. January financial reports will be due on March 1. Should you wish to complete your report before the new template is available, you are welcome to submit it on the 2016 template.

New Mileage Rate

Beginning January 1st, the IRS mileage rate has decreased to $0.535 per mile for business/ministry miles. This change will be reflected on the new Excel template for 2017.