Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Friday, July 10, 2020

From The Director's Heart

                        
            Wendell Dutton - Association Missionary

                              Partnership Principle:  
              "We work best when we work together
                and we do best what we do together."

 
                      
 
 

 May 20, 2020

“Our world changed overnight, and with it, so did our daily lives.” This was a recent news headline I saw referring to the effects of the coronavirus in our world and our way of life. Who would have believed less than three months ago our nation would be shut down, our economy crippled, unemployment would skyrocket, supply chains for food and basic items severely disrupted, gatherings of more than 10 people prohibited, and church services temporarily suspended. Yes, our lives and the way we live our lives has dramatically changed. This has all happened because of a germ that is 1.25 nanometers in size. This germ can only be seen through the lenses of a laboratory microscope. It demonstrates that God can use even the smallest of things to get our attention, bring the activity of the world to a standstill, and shake up His church.
     Some are saying this is a judgement of God on our nation and world. The Bible clearly teaches that God is a God of judgement and that at some point every person will stand before Him in judgement. Believers will be judged at the “Judgement Seat of Christ,” II Corinthians 5:10, while unbelievers will face God at the “Great White Throne of Judgement,” Revelation 20:11. I am refraining from this debate, choosing rather to believe that God is seeking to get our attention and refocus His church in order to bring revival and a spiritual awakening.
     Jesus started the church and commissioned the church; but, along the way, the church has lost its sense of purpose thus suffering its loss of power. For the most part, the modern church in our western civilization has given way to self-desire, self-pleasure, and the need to be entertained.
     This shutdown has taught us that our lives can go on without restaurants to dine in, malls to shop at, and movie theaters to frequent. Also, it teaches us that we can live without sporting events and they should not dominate our lives. It has reminded us that what is really important is our faith in Christ, our family and friends, to be generous, and share with others.
     Our churches are now faced with preparing to gather again for in-person worship and how to do so in a safe, inviting, and accommodating way. The larger issue that is before us is if we are going to seize this time of change in a positive way to have a tremendous impact in our world for Christ. If we do so, then revival will come and a spiritual awakening will follow where possibly millions of people will be saved. Remember, whatever happens, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ can never be defeated.
     I am humbled by the opportunity and privilege of serving with you in this challenging time.                                         
                                              Bro. Wendell
                                               Nahum 1:7

 
 
 



    May 4, 2020
Visit the page on this website,
"COVID Preparing to Meet in Our Churches Again,"
for planning and having your church ready to open.
 
 

A Message from Bro. Wendell
March 24, 2020
 

Over the past few days, I have heard pastors,church leaders, believers, and unbelievers alike say, "We've never seen or faced anything like this."  The rise of the Covid19/Coronavirus has touched basically every area of our lives.  In order to help our churches figure out how we can be at our best and be as effective as possible during this difficult and unusual time. I met last Thursday night with a majority of our pastors. 

 

This meeting focused on four things:

1.  To update everyone on the latest information and guidelines that were put in place by our government officials nationally, at the state level,
and locally.
2.  To encourage each other.
3.  Discuss and share ideas how we adapt to this fluid situation if needed for an extended period of time.
4.  To pray.   



Since most of you are probably up to date on the information and guidelines that are in place, I want to provide you with a brief recap of
the other three topics we covered.


*Encouragement 
This is a time when our people are looking to hear a word from the Lord from their pastor. Our people are wanting to hear a word of hope, encouragement, assurance, and to reinforce their faith. Our pastors have the voice of authority to do exactly that!


*How do we handle this situation currently and going forward?

1.  
Have a plan in place to effectively minister to our church members and needs that will continue to arise.

2.  To have a strategy in place to keep our people from scattering (especially those who may only have a marginal commitment to
the church) if this becomes an extended crisis.

3.  To seek out ways we can provide a worship experience for our people.  We must be creative and innovative.  Many of our 
churches are using Facebook streaming, YouTube, their church's website, and some are seeking to use technology for a drive-in type service.  A few of our churches decided to meet this past Sunday and will evaluate what to do next.

4.  We talked about the financial impact this will have on our churches.  Please remain financially committed to your church during this time.

5.  Faith vs. Fear   While there is fear and panic all around us, as followers of Jesus, we also must be concerned and vigilant to do all we can to stop the spread of this virus; however, we cannot succumb to fear.

6.  Our Witness to the World   We must be salt and light in a world that is filled with chaos, fear, and panic.  Though this appears to be an obstacle, God has provided opportunities for us to serve, minister, and share the Gospel.


*Prayer

We spent time praying in the following ways and I encourage you to do so as well.

1.  Pray for God's mercy to stop this pandemic and save lives in our local community to all around the world.

2.  Pray for our President, the Coronavirus Task Force, our national leaders, our state leaders, and our local community leaders.

3.  Pray for God to strengthen and comfort those who have contracted this virus and ask for God's healing touch on their lives.

4.  Pray for those in the medical profession who are on the front lines of this battle.

5.  Pray for each other and our churches.  Pray that there will be no long term consequences.  Ask God to help us be a stronger and more effective witness in our world, and ultimately bring revival.

6.  Pray about the financial impact it will have on people.

 

Summary:  Pray fervently.  Remember, Jesus calls us to love, be generous, keep a check on each other, practice family devotion time reading, and study our Bibles.

 
The Church is not a building, 
it is us and our representation of Christ in the world.

 

"We can trust an unknown future to a known God," 
                                                            --Corrie tenBoom

  
   Bro. Wendell




   February/March 2020
   
   2020 is here and it has been a very busy start. While it is the beginning of a new year, it also marks the arrival of a new decade. As I look ahead to how many days or years the Lord may give us, I can’t help but wonder what changes, challenges, obstacles, and opportunities we may be confronted with. It also causes me to look back and deeply reflect on the past decade. 

   In the past ten years, we have seen and experienced swift and major changes to practically every area of life. As a nation, we are painfully divided into partisan politics with little or no concern for governing rightly. We are a nation that seems to have lost its way. Our culture is broken and bankrupt as we have given way to the days of the prophet Jeremiah when the people were calling, “That which was good, evil; and that which is evil, good.” Just think, the courts have redefined marriage; Christian values are being cast aside, mocked, and even assaulted; while families are under constant attack. Spiritually, our churches have experienced dramatic decline that still continues. It would appear that we are: “At ease in Zion,” contented, complacent, complicit, and apathetic to the need of the day. The great need of our day is to have strong, healthy, and vibrant churches. This can only be accomplished through repentance and    returning to our “First Love’ which will in turn lead us to personal and congregational revival. 

   In spite of the conditions of our country and our culture, I hold on to great hope for the church. Why? Because God has a history of doing a great work among His people in some of the darkest of times. We must remember, the church is His instrument of working in our world. Most   importantly, Jesus has not given up on His church, so neither should we. For that simple reason, we must give Him our best, our most, and our all for the rest of our days.                                       
                                      Bro. Wendell
                                      I Peter 3:15




 
 
December/January

                                               
   One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music of the season. These wonderful songs give us different aspects of the birth of Jesus. However, many of these songs also tell of His life mission, His death, resurrection and even His coming again. They are filled with tremendous theology. Sometimes I ask myself why do we confine using them only for a few weeks before Christmas? My personal preference would be to use them occasionally year round.
   My love and appreciation for Christmas music was probably handed down to me from my mother. Her favorite Christmas song was “Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” which we would always sing together at our family Christmas gatherings. This song was so special to her that we used it as a part of her funeral service in November of 2017. As we look at a portion of the lyrics of this great song, I believer we can see why it was treasured by my mother as well as countless numbers of other people.

“Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem shining afar through shadows dim, giving a light to those who long have gone, and guiding the Wise Men on their way,    unto the place where Jesus lay, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on.
Oh Beautiful Star the hope of rest for the redeemed, the good and blessed, yonder in glory when the crown is won. Jesus is now that star divine, brighter and brighter He will shine. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on.” 
                                                            

   The great Bible truth we see here is that the Star which guided the Wise Men was revealed in human flesh as the Light of the World (John 8:12). In II Peter 1:19, we see further confirmation of this truth, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your heart.”
   This Christmas season may our hope be renewed in this “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” and this precious Day Star arise in the hearts of those who are lost and walking in darkness. From our family to your family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!                                     
                                                               Bro. Wendell
                                                               Luke 2:10-11