Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"A Tribute To My Friend, Jeremy "Skeeter" Patterson: God's Glory In Midst of Tragedy"

     Today a year ago one of my dearest friends was pronounced missing. After a 2 day search they found he had hung himself. Here is the post I wrote last year, that even in the midst God was working things out for His glory!

Psalm 115:1 "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 

     On Monday, April 16th, I was informed that a friend of mine had gone missing from his home in Russellville, AL. His name was Jeremy "Skeeter" Patterson. For over 48 hours the authorities, family, and friends searched, made phone calls, and aired reports on t.v. as well as the newspapers of him missing. On Wednesday morning, April 18th, I was in my office at the church, when I received an instant message that they had found "Skeeter." It would not be too unusual for "Skeeter" to go wondering off with some buddies for a day or two, so I didn't think much about him missing at first. When I asked, "if he was alright" the person informed me, "he was not!" I asked, "was he hurt, was he in the hospital, or was he alive?" The response I received was "they found him," yet he was dead. He had hung himself from a tree not very far from where he was living. Skeeter was only 39 years old.
     Seeing those words on my computer screen caused my heart to sink to my stomach. For you see, "Skeeter" wasn't just another buddy, he was a friend. "Skeeter" had experienced much in his life, he grew up most of his life without his mother, being raised by his father in rural Phil Campbell, AL. Skeeter lost his father only a couple of years after getting out of high school, from massive heart attack. After his father's death, Skeeter inherited the house which he and his father lived in and it became a place for anyone who needed somewhere to stay. During this time I lived with Skeeter for over a year or so, coming and going, as many others did as well. Nonetheless, Skeeter's door was always open if you needed a place to stay and food to eat if you were hungry. Skeeter had such a kind and caring heart toward his friends. If you were Skeeter's friend, you were his friend, without any catches at all!
     After hearing of Skeeter's death, I spoke to some friends of ours, to see what I could do to help. A friend, (who is now a pastor also; who lived with Skeeter one time as well), asked me to help with the funeral service. I was thankful to be asked to speak at my friends "Skeeter's" funeral but also pondered on what to say on that day. I never imagined in a million years I would be speaking at "Skeeter's" funeral. As I traveled from (where we live now) Tennessee to Alabama, my mind raced back to hanging out together, playing horseshoes, grilling those big steaks from Marty's meat market, and going camping together on the Buffalo River. He was so much like the older brother I never had. But, my mind also wondered "why?" Why did he take his life? He had so many people who cared for him and would have helped him, if they only knew he needed help. I thought to myself (we had lost contact in the last few years), I would have helped him in anyway I could." What about his daughters that he leaves behind, what kind of life will they have without knowing their dad? They won't get to know him as I did, they won't get to enjoy his friendship, his smile, and the camping trips.
     The funeral was Friday, April 20th in Russellville, AL at Spry's Funeral home. When I arrived, I was greeted by many friends, some I had grown up with, although I hadn't seen them in over 15 years or longer. It was almost like a class reunion yet in a sad way. The Lord gave me grace as I preached from 2 Corithians 5:21, on "Christ Being Our Substitute." I assured those in attendance, it was only by God's grace that they were not there attending "MY" funeral. I shared of how God had (given those in attendance) the grace and ability to come and hear the word of God on that day. The other pastor - friend, Brian Scott, stood and declared from God's word, on "Standing Upon the Rock" that Rock being Christ Jesus. I believe in my heart without a doubt, 'Jesus and Him crucified' was preached that day!
Now, fast forward two weeks... I was checking my Facebook page yesterday, when I ran across a post from a friend of ours who attended "Skeeter's" funeral that Friday, that he had been"saved." I messaged him to let him know I would be praying for him and his family and this was his reply:
 " I just want you to know that you and Brian really opened my eyes at sketers funeral. Before that day I was 100% of the devil. I deleted you and anyone else that posted anything about god on Facebook. Hadn't been to a church service years. Didn't want to talk about god or hear anyone talk about god at all. I would avoid people I had been friends with all my life so I didn't have to hear it. I sat there that day and listened and said you hard headed fool that could be you up there in that little box. I said right then and there I didn't want my child to go through life wondering if her dad made it to heaven. My heart was so heavy I cried all the way to the house. I called Brian that afternoon and talked to him. He made me promise that I would come visit his church. I did The lord saved me and I have felt the weight of the world come off me. I love you and I thank you."

Upon receiving this message, I did what any good Baptist preacher would do, "I shouted alleluhjah!" Only God can give a sinner a new heart! A man who once hated God and now he has received a new heart and a love for God. What an encouragement to know God took a tragic situation and brought glory to Himself by saving a sinner by His grace. It was all because of the simplicity of preaching the gospel of God's grace. I rejoice with this new brother in the faith. I also encouraged him to keep his eyes upon the Lord and find a local church where the Bible is faithfully preached and taught. 

As I reflect on the last few weeks of my ministry, I see God bringing glory to Himself through every and all situations in the life of His creation, just as He has ordained it. I am humbled and honored the Lord choose me to use me for His honor and glory! This reminds me at the verse I posted, this is not about "us" but "to God be the glory!"

For all my friends and family from P.C. or wherever you are reading this from, although I rarely speak to you in person know I am here for you, just to talk, or to listen. I am only a phone call away. May God's grace be upon you and if you do not know God through His Son Jesus Christ, I urge you to seek Him! 
Sola Deo Gloria!

Friday, April 12, 2013

95 Years of God's Grace

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

     Tonight I had the privilege of ministering to the family of one of our church members who is dying at the age of 95 years old. This lady has been a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist since the 1930's, where she began to attend after being married at 16 and had her first child at the age of 17 years old. She was a tobacco farmers wife, who knew something about hard work, as she raised a family of 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls). This lady never made headlines or wrote a book, but lived her life in simplicity and faithfulness to her God and her family. Tonight I witnessed God in His mercy give dying grace to a 95 year old saint.
     As I sat with her children tonight, which is only 3 now as she lost a son a couple of years ago, I was able to listen in on a lot of stories and memories they had of their mother. The daughters spoke about having to work in the tobacco field with their daddy at an early age and at about 10:00 a.m. he would send them to the house to help momma with making lunch for all the farm hands. They said, "none of the women ate until the men ate first, sometimes it was slim pickings." The daughters said, "momma finally wised up and started putting a little back for us, so we would have something to eat." We all got a laugh out of that!
     Another storie they shared was their daddy never allowed their momma to work in the field. He always made sure he had plenty of help, of course that wasn't a problem because everyone knew if you helped on daddy's farm you was going to get fed good. The daughters said, "there was enough food cooked in that kitchen to feed Robertson County." Back them no one paid for help, rather everyone would go help each other cut their tobacco and when one person got their crop finished their family would go help the other families get their crop finished.
     Most of all this lady loved God and her Lord Jesus Christ. I remember when I first came to the church her son (who is one of my deacons) would bring his mother to church, even when did not feel well. She would come prepared to hear God's Word, as she would have Bible in hand and would faithfully follow along as I preached. She loved to read God's Word and to pray for PHBC until the end. 
Some things I gleaned tonight from shepherding this family:
1. God's sheep need to be shepherded until the end. (1 Peter 5:2) "shepherd the flock of God that is among you..." As a pastor the reality of what my duty is becoming more clearer with each passing day. Not only I am I charged to preach the word in "public" but also in "private." The private ministry of God's Word is often done more by me as a pastor than in public. I was able to minister God's Word to this saint, shepherding her soul until the end. What a joy.

2. Families want to be shepherded during their time of loss. Having the privilege to share God's Word and to pray with this family was a great blessing tonight as they desired to hear from God at such a crucial time in their life. By the way, only God's Word can sooth a hurting soul. I reflected on several passages with them as I read John 14, Psalm 116, Ephesians 1:1-14, 2 Cor.5 and reminded them of the promises of God in His Word. Not only was I able to shepherd my deacons soul, but also his sisters, a grandson and a granddaughter. God's Word is sufficient!

3. Ministry of presence does mean something. I know as pastors our schedules are demanding and those pastors with large congregations it is difficult to do what I was able to do tonight. This is one reason I am writing and thanking God for the opportunity to shepherd this family, because not all senior pastors has this privilege.  Just being there tonight with the family I believe brought about a sense of peace, as I shared God's Word and prayed. I encourage pastors even if you do not know what to say or how to say it, just be there for the people God has entrusted to you.

4.Tonight ministered more to me than I did to them. As is so often the case, I go to minister to a family, but always leave being ministered to. My short time of knowing her brought me to a place of being in a room filled with her family and them testifying of a godly mother's life in the Lord. I was ministered to as I saw 95 years of God's grace in this woman's life coming to a close on this earth. I saw laying there a testimony of faith, perseverance, and the love of Christ for which God in His grace had given her. I believe tonight her testimony added, encouraged and strengthened my faith, as I pray it has her families for God's glory!

     Tonight reminded me again of the great privilege I have to shepherd God's flock. Just to spend 3 or 4 hours with a family sharing God's Word and to pray with them at the end of 95 years of God's grace in their mother's life was pure joy. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Would You Pray, Please?


Dates: June 10-24
Team Members: Pastor Chad Beck, Dr. Andy Wisner (New Life Baptist Church, Harvest, AL), Dr. Barry Carpenter, and Ty Carpenter
Mission Organization: Revival or Ruin Ministries and Bible Expositors Seminary
Country: Philippines
Work Village: Bukindon and Cagyan de Oro

You are encouraged to place this prayer guide where you will see it daily!

Prayer Guide
1. Make a commitment to pray for this team and trip every week up until June 10th, and then every day that the team is gone through the week of June 10-24. Pray for each team member by name.

2. Pray for the pastor’s whom the team will be leading in the Bible conference as well as those who are studying now at the Bible Expositors Seminary.

3. Pray for the churches whom we will be working with and men who desire to plant and strengthen other churches with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. Pray that God will work in the lives of the team members, stirring up their affections for Christ and preparing them to share the gospel with the people of Philippines.

5. Pray that God will grant each team member good health, encouragement, and confidence in the weeks leading up to the trip and throughout the duration of the trip.

6. Pray that team members’ families will be protected and encouraged as they prepare for this trip, allowing them to focus on their work without fear or worry about those at home.

7. Pray that God will begin to work in the lives of the people of Bukindon and Cagyan de Oro, that God’s Spirit will begin drawing them to himself, and that they will be prepared to hear the gospel and respond.

8. Pray that the team’s flights to and from the Philippines will be smooth and safe, and that their travels (by plane and bus) will not be delayed or hindered throughout the duration of the trip.

9. Pray that God will use this trip to grow each team member in their love for the gospel, their confidence in the gospel, and their passion to take the gospel to the nations.

10. Pray God would be pleased in raising the needed funds to fully support Barry in the Philippines. Barry and Ty (his son) will stay in the Philippines to help these pastors in their walk with Christ, to strengthen and plant churches. There is still need of financial support, please pray!

10. Pray that God will use this trip to inflame a passion for missions in our own local church at PHBC.

11. Pray that above all else, God will be glorified as his gospel is proclaimed in both Philippines and Orlinda, TN.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thoughts On The Fall Of Satan and Redemption

Why did Satan tempt man?  It would appear that Satan fell due to pride. Man was the pinnacle of God's creation and His image bearer. Satan rebelled because he wanted God's throne, or didn't want to minister to a lower creature (man), or due to jealousy, or a combination of all three. After the angels fell,  God cast them from heaven and proclaimed them damned; they would not be redeemed, forgiven, reinstated,  or give another chance. They will be without grace,  hope,  God's love,  and favor. Therefore,  Satan,  in all his malice and hatred tempted man to sin thinking that they too would be unredeemable, unforgivable,  unsalvable, and that God's creation would be ruined and beyond repair. Oh, how wrong was that devil?  God planned from all eternity to save His elect.  Christ came and lived a sinless life and died an atoning death.  He was also raised in victory. He conquered death and Satan and sin. Satan is a defeated foe. It is beyond our comprehension but,  God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. This includes the Fall- Satan's and man's. God does everything for His glory and the fame of His name.  He created and allowed sin to enter. He planned to save some to the praise of His glorious grace.  He also magnifies His holiness and justice by punishing sinners,  including the demons for eternity in hell. Note the kindness and severity of the Lord. He is deserving of all praise and adoration.  Fall before Him in humble worship. He is worthy so fear and obey. Repent and trust Christ for salvation; time is fleeting. Remember,  all that we have comes from Him. All things are from Him and through Him and to Him. ALL THINGS! To Him be the glory forever.

A guest blog post by Rick Muchewicz. Rick is a graduate of Boyce College a school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville  KY. Rick is married to Karen and they have one daughter Ella. The Muchewicz's are members of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Orlinda, TN.