Easter sunrise service going strong after 81 years

WSIL photo

WSIL photo

ALTO PASS, IL ( Sean Conway, WSIL TV- Please Click to read the full story. Here is an excerpt) Hundreds gathered at the Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass Sunday morning for the annual Easter sunrise service. Courtney McKowen drove down nearly two hours from Mt. Vernon to enjoy the service. “It’s about the third time I’ve came,” said McKowen. “I’ve just come to experience the event down here.” McKowen said he loves the experience for the beautiful scenery. People have gathered at Bald Knob for the Easter sunrise service for 81 years. Organizers said it is a unique way for people to connect with their faith. “Just the fact that we can time the service on a hillside … to watch the sunrise as we are worshiping the risen Lord, I think that’s about as unique as it gets,” said Teresa Gilbert, who helped organize the event.

Sesser First Baptist Church pastor appointed to SBC post

by Steve Dunford 

Brother Tom DeWitt with his wife Naomi.

Brother Tom DeWitt with his wife Naomi.

SESSER, IL-  Tom Dewitt, pastor of the Sesser First Baptist Church. has been appointed to the committee on committees in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Here is the announcement by Southern Baptist President Steve Gaines in a press release.  This also explains the function of the committee:

Appointments to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Committee on Committees have been announced by SBC President Steve Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.

The Committee on Committees will assemble in Phoenix just prior to the SBC’s June 13-14 annual meeting to nominate members of the Committee on Nominations who, in 2018, will nominate trustees for the boards of SBC entities.

The Committee on Committees has 68 members, two from each of the 34 states and regions qualified for representation on boards of SBC entities.

Gaines has named Randy Davis, president & executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board in Brentwood, to serve as chairman of this year’s Committee on Committees.

Bro. Tom had this to say about his appointment     “I am just honored to serve and be a part of advancing God’s kingdom through the SBC.”

Here is a personal note I would like to add.  I attended Sesser First Baptist for about a year.  Bro. Tom has a servants heart for the Lord.  He is a great preacher and pastor.

Thompsonville First Baptist Church to perform He’s Alive April 14th to 16th

Kevin Smith (left) and Renee Anderson (center) discuss the drama with News 3 This Morning anchor Callie Carroll

Kevin Smith (left) and Renee Anderson (center) discuss the drama with News 3 This Morning anchor Callie Carroll

THOMPSONVILLE, IL (Callie Carroll, WSIL -TV. Please click to watch the video.) Easter is April 16 and many churches will celebrate the season accordingly. First Baptist Church in Thompsonville is celebrating with a performance. The Easter drama “He’s Alive” will be performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. at the church. For more information on this drama watch this video.

Morthland ranked one of the top Christian Colleges in the US

Rachel Rabe (center) with Founder and Guild CEO Tim Morthland (left) and President Glenn Poshard (Right) (WSIL Photo)

Rachel Rabe (center) with Founder and Guild CEO Tim Morthland (left) and President Glenn Poshard (Right) (WSIL Photo)

WEST FRANKFORT, IL (Evie Allen WSIL-TV Please click link for the entire story and accompaying video. Here is an excerpt. Morthland College in West Frankfort has received high honors in an online magazine. The website Faith on View ranked the Christian college sixth in the nation. Friday, school leaders celebrated the honor with students. The site ranks 201 faith-based institutions with 250 undergraduate students or less. The school also celebrated former student Rachel Rabe’s accomplishments.

Bread = Adversity – Water = Affliction

Isaiah 30:20-21  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (KJV)

This picture was on my mind writing this. I do not know the painters name, and I assume it is public domain.

This picture was on my mind writing this. I do not know the painters name, and I assume it is public domain.

This verse has been on my heart the last couple of days.  It has been a rough four days on me physically.  Snow has been the worse.  I have struggled with health issues for a long time.

I have faced some things that I never thought I would face in my life.  I can make a list but all my adult life has been a lot of shattered dreams, disappointments, and a lot of heartache.

Rick Amato has preached a series of messages on these two verses.  It was something that I needed to hear when I was going through a valley. I lost them somehow when I moved.  If he still has them available I would like to purchase them.

Yesterday morning, I had a really bad seizure.  I was looking forward to going to church.  It would have been such an honor to participate in a deacon ordination of Paul Turner.  We had a youth night Sunday night, and yes I missed out on food afterwards.

When I began to get down, I meditated on these two verses.  Let’s break them down.

There is an old saying that when someone is thrown in jail, they will eat bread and water during their sentence.  Sometimes when we are going though adversity and affliction we draw away from society, and create our own prison.  Bread and water are the two sustaining things in life.

When adversity comes your way, you find out who your friends are.  There are some who will contribute it to poor choices.  There are some that will claim you are under the judgment of God.

I have made many mistakes in my life.  There are some things that I am not very proud of.  Most of them came from a reaction to the adversity I experienced.  That is where the poor choices came from.

Each trial that the Lord sees me through, I draw closer to him.  When you are in the midst of the battle, it is easy to say why God?  There is someone who is the Bread of Life, his name is Jesus, God’s only son.

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:35-40 KJV)

.When you are going through times of adversity, lean on the Lord.  God has placed some great friends for me to lean on.  If you feel you are alone, ask God to place someone in your life.  He will provide you a friend(s).

Something that will help you also is get involved in a local church that preaches and teaches the Word of God, without apology.  My church family at Calvary Baptist Church is a blessing to me.

Let’s talk about affliction.  It is another sustainer, water.

When you are sick, there are some people who are well meaning, and some people that are cruel, just say the worst things.

One of the things is comparing ailments with you.  I have this going on, and I carry on with my life.  Some will call you a hypochondriac.  I have been called this before, and the same ones that do, will think a hangnail is some type of trauma.

Some will say that you don’t have enough faith to be healed.  The Apostle Paul asked for his thorn in his flesh to be removed three times.  Each time the Lord said, my grace is sufficient for me.

If you can not attend church because you are sick, remember to drink at the well of living water.  Do not neglect your time with the lord

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  (Isaiah 55:1 KJV)

Verse 21 of the passage above putting it my own translation, says if you don’t know what to do or which way to go, put your faith and trust in the Lord.  Don’t try to figure things out, walk with him and he will guide every step.

Here are two of my favorite bible verses that parallel Isaiah 20:21.  I encourage you to memorize them:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)

The Lord can speak through you in many ways to guide you on your path.  The first is his Word.  This can be through preaching, in a small group such as a Sunday school class, and most important, is open his word and have a quiet time.  Yes, his word will give you direction.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)

God will place people in your life that go through the same battles that you are going through.  He has used me as a vessel to reach people.  There have been others that have been an encouragement to me.

The words just flowed tonight.  God has not spoke to me like this in a long time.  I hope that something I said will speak to you.

I was going to only share this on my personal Facebook page, but I feel an urging of the Holy Sprit to share this on franklincounty-news.com, under the Faith Matters heading.

-Steve Dunford

















The offense of the Cross

by Ron Hale

Ron HaleThe Apostle Paul reveals that the cross of Jesus is foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew.

The cross has always been offensive. The sophisticated and philosophical Greek worldview is still around. Man and his “brain waves” are exalted. How could there be any salvation from an uneducated worker of wood from a backwoods place called Nazareth?

The Jewish mindset of the day longed for freedom and how could a crucified man be of any help? We want a warrior-Messiah to roast the Romans and let us do our thing.

The cross still sticks in the craw of the 21st century person. The cross says, “you must come to God on His terms – not yours.”

“See, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and the one who believes in Him [Jesus] will never be put to shame” Romans 9:33 in the New Testament.

Ron Hale is the pastor of the West Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson TN, and is the former Evangelism Director of the Illinois Baptist State Association

‘If you must look back do so forgivingly’

By Jim Muir

jimmer‘If you must look back do so forgivingly. If you must look forward do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is to be present in the present … gratefully.’

What a beautiful and truthful message in this quote! And to me, the beauty is found in the three words that are used to describe the past, the future and the present. In these three short sentences are a blueprint and a road map for life.

Forgive the past, whether you have to forgive yourself or somebody else, get past the past. And whatever you do, don’t reside there. The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence. Everybody has a past, but more importantly everybody also has a future. Look to the future with prayer instead of worry. You can worry, fret and stew about the future, but we are not guaranteed the future, or even tomorrow. And that brings us to the most important sentence in the quote: … ‘the wisest thing you can do is to be present in the present … gratefully.’

Think about that — ‘be present in the present … gratefully.’ It’s called the present because it’s a gift, a gift for us to enjoy with an attitude of gratitude for the millions of tiny miracles that make up our life every single day. Don’t forget – This is the day (the present and your gift) that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24).

God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a great Saturday and a blessed da

‘The only way to get over it … is to go through it.’

by Jim Muir

jimmerMost people have been faced with situations in life – death of a loved one, painful break-up, loss of employment, the list is endless – where you would just like to sleep for a year and skip the pain involved. While sticking your head in the sand sounds good, in reality that’s not how life works.

Many years ago I had a wise man tell me the exact words in today’s quote. He said: “Everybody faces situations where we’d like to go under it, around it, sidestep it, ignore it or just plain avoid it … but the only way to get over it … is to go through it.’ Of course, he was right.

But, I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that there should be a second sentence added to this quote that says: ‘And as you go through it … let go and let God.’

Today’s offering reminds me of another quote that I love. It says: ‘The greater your storm … the brighter your rainbow.’ I recently read a story that pointed out that a rainbow is a promise to everybody who sees it – it’s a promise of sunshine after rain, calm after storms, joy after sadness, peace after pain, love after loss, morning after night and a bright beginning after a painful ending. Be sure to note how many times the word ‘after’ is used in the previous sentence. After … you go through it!

We’re all going to battle life’s storms but the key thing to remember when we’re trying to navigate those choppy waters is that we have to ‘go through’ the storm and rain in order to get to that bright rainbow – the promise.

God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a great Friday and a blessed day!

Interrupt anxiety with gratitude

by Jim Muir

jimmerIt’s often said that the mark of a good writer is the ability to say more with fewer words. In that case, the unknown author of today’s quote really packed a punch in this little four-word gem that gives us a battle plan to deal with the cares of life that sometimes stand out more than the blessings in our life.

I read this quote and I immediately thought about the numbers involved with ‘counting’ blessings compared to ‘adding’ up troubles. Everybody encounters a few troubles along the way, that’s just part of life. But, what if every time we started adding up the troubles we’re dealing with we immediately ‘interrupted’ the anxiety created by those troubles with gratitude and started counting our blessings? And the beauty of this attack on anxiety is that it really works. Of course, you have to apply this practice to learn that it works.

Let’s look at a few ‘interrupters’ today. You woke up this morning, blessing one, you opened your eyes and could see, blessing two, you placed your feet on the floor and stood up, blessing three … and on and on. The list of real blessings to interrupt anxiety in our lives is infinite and unlimited.

The next time you feel anxiety, stress or any other funk settling in, interrupt it with gratitude and remember that there is always, always something to be thankful about. I recently ran across a quote that ties this thought up nicely. It says: ‘Today be thankful and think how rich you are — your family is priceless, your time is gold and your health is wealth.’

Make you a list of ‘interrupters’ today and keep them handy … anxiety and stress won’t stand a chance!

God’s blessings to you on this day! Have a wonderful Tuesday and a blessed day!

Republican gains boost morale for March for Life

Pro-life activists at a pre-march rally in Washington DC.  (AP photo)

Pro-life activists at a pre-march rally in Washington DC. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON DC – (Bradford Richardson Washington Times. Click on link to read the full story. Here is an excerpt) Hundreds of thousands of students, activists and congregants will take to the streets of the nation’s capital Friday, as the March for Life, no longer mired in the shadow of a pro-choice president, renews its fight to eradicate the practice of abortion. & With President Trump in office and pro-life policy already churning out of a Republican-controlled Congress, the pro-life movement is perhaps as close as it has ever come to accomplishing some of its biggest goals, including a federal ban on abortions after the unborn can feel pain, defunding Planned Parenthood and appointing a pro-life majority to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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