I grew up on a small
dairy farm in southeast Louisiana. My parents were
members of Palestine Baptist Church. My mother
played the piano for worship services and taught the
intermediate girls Sunday School class. She was
faithful in praying for the youth in the church, and
making sure her Bible class fully understood the
saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I conducted my
mother's funeral after she had celebrated her 91st
birthday, some of her former Sunday School class
shared how they came to know Christ as their savior
through her faithful witness.
After I surrendered to
the call of God to preach, my father rededicated his
life to Christ and became an excellent adult men's
Sunday School teacher. He taught the men in the
church for ten years before he went to be with the
Saved by Grace
Every August the little
country Baptist church held a two week revival in
the 1950's. The summer of 1954 was no exception. One
Sunday morning the invitation was given and a large
number of youth made public decisions for Christ. I
did not go forward that morning. However, as we
walked across the front lawn to our house I told my
mother that I wanted to join the church and be
I am so thankful that my
mother did not tell me that would be a great idea.
Her response was, "You need to be born again, and
put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior." She
told me I needed a personal relationship with Jesus
Christ. During the week she spend time sharing with
me how to be saved.
The next Sunday morning
between Sunday School and the worship service, my
mother and the pastor shared with me the plan of
salvation in the Gospel of John and the Letter to
Romans. I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my
personal Savior. During the morning worship service
I made my decision public before the congregation at
Palestine Baptist Church.
Yes, I was baptized by
immersion in open air at a neighbor's pond a few
weeks later along with other new believers. Some of
these were the same ones who gave their testimonies
at my mother's funeral.
I lived a typical
Christian life of a teen in the late 1950's. Much of
our lives back then were centered around the church
youth activities, sports and Sunday School.
When I was in the 7th
grade, I became interested in radio and built a
three tube regenerative short-wave receiver. The
first radio station I picked up on the new radio was
H.C.J.B. the Voice of the Andes, Quito, Ecuador,
South America. A couple of years later I built a
five tube superhetrodyne radio, and again the very
first station I heard was H.C.J.B. I spent many
hours in my teen years at night listening to
outstanding Bible teaching on that missionary radio
station in South America. To this day, I thank the
Lord for the solid biblical theology I received
during those early formative years as a young
Christian. I thank God for missionaries and pastors
who taught me the Word of God. They were God-called
preachers and teachers. I thank God that He brought
into my life men who were faithful to the Word of
Call of God to
In January 1960, that
same missionary radio station carried a series of
documentary drama programs called "The Auca Story"
that told about the life and martyrdom of five young
missionaries in the eastern jungles of Ecuador in
January 1956. I was so involved and captivated by
the programs that I took detailed notes as I
listened for the next four months. I did research in
the high school library on the lives of these
missionaries, the Auca Indians, and the country of
March 1960 Palestine
Baptist Church conducted Youth Sunday when the youth
took over the leadership of the church. Someone was
chosen as pastor for the day, and he would preach
the morning message. Another would lead the music.
Other teens would teach the Sunday School classes,
someone would serve as Sunday School director. I was
visiting another Baptist church with my girlfriend
the night the youth chose the officers for the day.
I was angry the next day when I was informed that I
was to be the youth pastor that week. They had
chosen the most timid, bashful, inferior boy at high
school. But there was no way out.
My pastor gave me some
pointers on how to develop a sermon. I prayed over
what to do and sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to
select Matthew 28:18-20. "And Jesus came up and
spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given
to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make
disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the
I took my notes on the
Auca Story, and developed my message on missions.
When I read it out loud, I could get 15 minutes if I
On Sunday, April 10,
1960, I stood at the pulpit at Palestine Baptist
Church and read my sermon. After about 13 minutes
the Spirit of God came down on that old church. I
stood before the congregation crying like a baby. My
heart was sensitive to the presence of God. I looked
up and the whole congregation -- both men, women,
youth were crying. They were all watching God call
me to act upon what I had been sensing for months. I
could no longer speak; I was overwhelmed by the
presence of God.
The pastor gave the
invitation and we stood to sing, "Wherever He leads
I will go." I stepped forward and said, "I will go
anytime, anywhere, anyplace, regardless of the cost
to lead someone to Christ." The pastor asked, "Do
you mean you are surrendering to the call of God to
be a missionary?" I said, "yes."
The next day I took my
Bible to high school and began to share Christ. In
my senior high school annual that year I wrote my
life's goal: "Live to the hilt of every situation
you believe to be the will of God."
That decision was made
public 58 years ago. Nothing has changed.
I immediately began
preaching as God opened doors of opportunity. After
a few months the pastor told the congregation that I
was "bootlegging the Gospel," and I needed to be
licensed to preach. My home church licensed me to
preach, and later ordained me to the Gospel
I preached youth
revivals, street preaching, jail ministries, over
the radio, wherever the door opened.
While a student at
William Carey University, I served three summers as
a summer missionary in Ecuador with H.C.J.B. the
Voice of the Andes. For three years I was also
President of the Mission Volunteers organization at
While a student at
William Carey the Lord brought a beautiful red
headed young woman who was also a mission volunteer.
Ann and I were married in August 19, 1966.
During seminary days at
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary I continued
my evangelistic ministry with the ultimate goal of
serving as an evangelist in Latin America. I
preached in the French Quarter in New Orleans every
Tuesday and Thursday nights, evangelistic rally's
Our son Timothy Paul was
born while we were in the seminary. Ann and I faced
the most difficult day of our lives the day the Lord
chose to take him home to be with Him. I knelt and
prayed, "Lord, I thank you for this day. . . " I
paused and thought about what I had just said, and
prayed again. "Yes, Lord, I thank you for this day.
. ." God equipped us and has used us to minister to
other couples who have lost their children. Then God
blessed us with three beautiful daughters. There is
no greater joy than leading your children to Christ,
and seeing them grow in God's grace. Our daughters
love the Lord, and they love being involved in
missions. They were born in three different
countries and lived overseas.
When I graduated from New
Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters
degree in Theology, the Lord opened the door for Ann
and me to serve in the Republic of Panama. I
pastored Chagress River Baptist Church before moving
on to Ecuador. This church had 13 missions and
preaching points with five mission pastors. I would
preach a minimum of three services on Sundays.
While pastoring in
Panama, we received a call to serve in full-time
evangelism in Ecuador. I preached in open-air street
preaching, public showing of Gospel films,
evangelistic services in churches, sermon telephone,
literature distribution, and city-wide evangelistic
crusades. These included small Indian villages as
well as national campaigns with Luis Palau.
At the same time, I began
a daily fifteen minute radio program broadcast twice
daily world-wide over short-wave radio. I was also
the regular preacher on Caribbean Call and Happiness
Is. Ann and I participated on other radio programs,
and Ann sang with Coro Vozandes, and Hymns of the
Christian Faith, a daily early morning Spanish
program. I recorded five minute evangelistic
messages for short-wave listeners that were included
in other programs. The SHALOM daily program on the
Old Testament ran from 1972 until 2005 on H.C.J.B.
the Voice of the Andes. We had listeners from over a
hundred countries. You can find many of these Bible
studies today on Christ in the Old Testament at
AbideInChrist.com, and in Spanish on
AbideInChrist.org. I had the privilege of recording
over 2,500 radio programs of expository Bible
studies while serving with H.C.J.B. I thank God
every day for this ministry, and for the wonderful
privilege of having been a part of it.
An overlapping ministry
during this time was pastoring churches in the city
of Quito including First Baptist, and providing
counseling service at Hospital Vozandes. During this
time, I was also a speaker at Bible Conferences,
retreats, home Bible studies, ministry workshops for
various missions, etc. in Ecuador and Colombia.
Ann taught seventh and
eighth grade English at the Quito Alliance Academy.
This was a college prep school for missionary
children. We both continued our graduate studies
earning our M.A. in educational and social sciences.
Ann has had teaching ministries in Ecuador and the
U. S. She is a highly professional educator who has
taught in elementary school, junior high, vo-tec and
university level. One of my great joys is team
teaching seminars and workshops with Ann. Audiences
in churches where we have pastored in the United
States enjoy Ann's piano arrangements of Christian
hymns born in the heart of Latin American believers.
The imperative is still
the same. Jesus has not changed His mind. There is
no contingency plan. We are either missionaries or
we are in the need of one.
Jesus commanded us to go
and make disciples of all nations. Listen to His
words again: "And Jesus came up and spoke to them,
saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I
am with you always, even to the end of the age'"
The imperative is go and
tell the world the message of the death of Christ
for our sins and His resurrection. There are at
least 10 recorded appearances of the risen Christ in
the New Testament. In eight of the ten appearances
of the risen Christ, He gives a commission to go
into all the world and preach the gospel.
In the book of Acts the
enemies of the cross could not keep the followers
from preaching the resurrection of Christ. The
disciples went to prison, even died, because they
could not but speak of the resurrection of Christ.
Jesus has All
The heart of the great
commission of Christ to the church is that Jesus has
all authority, and He sends us to all nations.
The resurrection of
Christ proves that He has all authority and power
over everything and everyone. Jesus has all
authority as the LORD God. There is no limitation to
His authority. He is free from all limitation. He
has absolute power, and absolute authority to do as
He wills. He has full authority to claim our life
long active service for His kingdom. He even has
absolute authority over the material world, over
angels, over devils, over wicked men, over His own
people, angels, archangels, powers, principalities,
might, dominion, thrones, and the saints in glory.
Now, I ask you. Who am I
to say "no" to the King of all glory? How can the
church that He gave his own blood for say "no" when
He commands us to go and tell lost mankind of His
saving grace? The life of a disciple is different
because of the price that was paid to redeem us.
Jesus Commands us
to Make Disciples
Jesus commanded us to
make disciples. The word in the original means "to
make one a disciple." A disciple is a learner. In
our passage the word had imperative force. "Make
disciples" is an imperative. It is a command, an
order. We really do not have a choice. A disciple is
not simply one who has been taught, or discipled,
but he is one who continues to learn. All Christians
are disciples; it would be great if all were
committed to discipleship. The Christian is a
disciple all of his or her life. God forbid if we
ever think we know it all in the Christian life.
Discipleship is the process by which our daily lives
are transformed into the likeness of Christ. God is
not finished with us until He has conformed us to
the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).
Jesus Commands us
to Evangelize Lost Mankind
Our primary task is
sharing Christ and leading people to a saving
knowledge of Him. Making disciples begins with
sharing the good news of salvation, and leading them
to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal
Savior. Discipleship demands personal evangelism.
But we don't drop them when they trust in Christ;
that is only the beginning. We are to disciple them,
baptize them, and help them to grow in their new
relationship with Christ. Our job is not complete
until we teach them how to lead others to Christ,
and we teach them how to disciple these new
During the last twelve
years we have concentrated on teaching seminary
extension courses for pastors. I taught seminary
courses to pastors and laymen in Arkansas for ten
years as part of my responsibilities as Director of
Missions at Delta Baptist Association. The
Association gave me 14 weeks a year to do mission
work in other parts of the world. At the present
time I am teaching Evangelism in Depth to pastors
and church leaders in Latin America. I conduct three
day workshops in different locations on personal
evangelism. At the end of each conference we have
many decisions for the pastors to follow-up on after
we leave. They see immediate results from their
participation in the evangelistic outreach and as
they follow-up on these decisions, their church
grows, and they in turn have people to disciple and
teach. The Lord opened this door, and we are seeing
His hand upon it. During the past six years I have
the privilege of serving again in el Ecuador. I
serve as the International Coordinator, and visiting
professor of Bible and theology at Peniel
Theological Seminary in Riobamba, Ecuador. We have
watched this new school start with thirteen students
six years ago and grow to over 200 in attendance.
You will find these reports on our missions report
pages. I Saw God Do It!
Our task is to disciple
them and lead them to the point of public baptism
"in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit." Those who put their trust in Christ as
their Savior must at some point make that decision
public. Baptism is a declaration before the watching
world that Jesus Christ is your Savior who died for
you on the cross and rose from the dead. It is a
declaration of your faith in Christ. It is saying
publicly that Christ died for your sins and rose
from the dead. It is saying I have put my faith in
Christ who died for me and I was dead in trespasses
and sins and Christ has come into my life and I am
alive in Him. I have identified myself with the
We are to baptize in the
"name," not names. The word "name" is singular. We
do not baptize in the names of the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, but the "name" of these three. We
believe in One God in three persons. Every time we
baptize we are proclaiming the Triune God. The
Eternal Godhead is involved in our salvation. The
Father chose us in the Son before the foundation of
the world. Jesus the Son of God washed us in His
precious blood and cleaned us, and God the Holy
Spirit dwells in us, sanctifies us, and imparts to
us this eternal life.
It is evident from this
passage and others in the New Testament that the
early church believed in the Trinity. The word
"trinity" is not used in the Bible, but the teaching
is clearly there. That God is a Trinity is a
scriptural idea. In the early church there are
references to baptizing in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The teaching of the
Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is clearly as
ancient as the church. It simply not debatable for
the orthodox church. Let the cults debate it all
they want. We will simply proclaim the truth.
Whatever we do in the name of Jesus, we do in the
name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I believe that if a
person is truly converted, he will want to
fellowship with other believers. He will want to
grow in his new found faith in Christ. He will want
to become a disciple of Christ.
Teach All Nations
Where are we to make
these disciples? Jesus said, unto "all nations."
There is no exception. We do not pick and choose. He
leads and guides His followers to all nations.
Currently God has me back in Ecuador preaching and
teaching. In the past it has included Ecuador,
Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, India
and Ukraine in former Russia.
We are commanded to teach
new believers to obey everything that Christ has
taught us. Never has this command been more
important than in our day. We live in a narcissist,
superficial, politically correct age. Very few in
our day have a working knowledge of basic
Christianity. We live in a day of anti-intellect,
anti-scholarship, anti-education. Make up your own
Christian belief. Pick and choose whatever you want
and call it Christianity. Mature disciples are not
made by a watered-down theology. Christians today
need a solid Biblical theology, honed from the Word
of God. We are to be faithful to all the
teachings of Christ.
The great Biblical
principle is as we make ourselves available to the
Lord He prepares us, and leads us to where He is
working. He invites us to come and join Him in what
He is doing. When you follow Him, you will always
have a ministry filled with His blessing.
Jesus Presence with
Jesus promises that we
are never alone. "Lo, I am with you unto the end of
the age." The way Jesus states it is very emphatic.
"No one less than I myself am with you." Wherever He
sends us He is always there with us. There is no
situation where He is not present with us. He is
ever with us in every situation, in every
circumstance. Whatever kind of day may be our lot,
Christ is there with us. He does not say I will be
with you; He says, "I am with you always." We have a
great companion, friend and helper with us all the
The apostle Paul had the
conviction that nothing will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our
Lord in Romans 8:39. Nothing, and no one can
separate us because He is with us in whatever the
Jesus Christ promises to
be with us when we go out to serve in His name. "I"
- the pronoun is emphatic - "I am with you always."
The One who has universal authority and power sends
forth His people saying, "I am with you always." "I
am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Immanuel - God is with
us! He says again, I will never leave you or forsake
you. I am with you always. That is true of every
believer in Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions.
He will not withdraw His
presence from us. Indeed, He cannot because He is in
us and we are in Him. We have a unique mystical bond
or vital union with Christ. "Christ in you, the hope
of glory." Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the
branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears
much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing"
(John 15:5). This promise is true until the
consummation of the present age when the Lord's
return in glory.
We have the presence and
power of the Lord within us to be His disciples into
all the world.
Nothing has really
changed. I preached last Sunday on the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ. I pray to God I am
just as "fanatical" about the Gospel as I was when
God called me to preach, and I pray I will be until
the day He says, "Well done, good and faithful
servant," and calls me home to be with Him.
I make no apology for
being in dead earnest about world missions. We must
never retreat until Jesus Christ tells us He made a
mistake in coming into the world to redeem lost men.
My life text in the
ministry is Colossians 1:27-29. With the apostle
Paul I want everyone to "known what is the riches of
the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which
is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim
Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man
with all wisdom, so that we may present every man
complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor,
striving according to His power, which mightily
works within me."
The methods of my
ministry have changed through the years as the Lord
has opened and closed doors -- mass evangelism,
radio programs, worldwide shortwave broadcasts for
20 years, city wide evangelistic crusades,
literature and open-air gospel film ministries,
pastorates in three countries,
medical-dental-evangelism teams, internet websites,
counseling, conducting workshops and seminars,
revivals, teaching theological education -- but the
message is still the same; it never changes. We
preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified!
A world without Christ
has no hope. It grapples at any thing it can find
and falls deeper and deeper in despair. "Christ in
you the hope of glory" is what the world desperately
needs. Christ is the mystery of the universe. Christ
is the focus of history. He is God with us. Without
Him there is no hope.
The apostle Paul learned
that the Christian life is a growing thing. The Holy
Spirit uses the circumstances in our lives to cause
us to trust in the Lord daily. He is constantly
knocking out our false securities so we will trust
Him more and more. His goal is to conform us to the
likeness of Jesus Christ.
I have learned from
experience, "When God wants to do an impossible
task, He takes an impossible man and crushes him,"
wrote Alan Redpath. The reason said A. W. Tozer: "It
is doubtful that God can bless any man greatly until
He has hurt him deeply." We learn through these
growing experiences, and God opens doors for us to
minister to others going through the painful process
of spiritual growth.
I have learned through
the years that:
When God calls He equips and provides all our needs
"according to the riches of His glory" to fulfill
I would rather have dreamed big and failed than to
sit and do nothing.
"You never test the resources of God until you
attempt the impossible" (F. B. Meyer).
What would you do for Christ if you knew you could
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him
I still want to be used of God whatever the personal
This one passion in my
heart has never been satisfied, and never will be
until the Gospel has been preached to every
individual the world over. I want everyone to know
the love of God who sent His Son to die for them on
the cross and rose from the dead. That passion is
like a fire that keeps burning deep inside. I want
God to take me and use me to His glory alone that
the world may know Him personally in a saving
relationship. I want to make myself available to Him
to do in and through me all that He desires. Oh, to
be used of God today!
One of the Ecuadorian
martyrs said it well, "He is no fool who gives what
he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
Romans 11:36 says, "For
from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
Fifty-eight Years of Ministry