Writing to the church he had helped to establish in Corinth, the?Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:1,2 "And I, brethren, when?I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, de-claring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know?anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified."?
When the former pastor of Bible Baptist W Church resigned, I?suggested to my good friend and fellow church member Alvin Crisp,?that if he would teach the adult Sunday School class, I would "do?the preaching" until we could find a new pastor. That was in the?spring of 1998. We still have the same agreement today.?
To those who wonder what we teach and preach at Bible Baptist?Church, the answer is, we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified.?The Bible tells us in Isaiah 53:5,6 "...he was wounded for our?transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All?we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his?own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."?
For years, in addition to our regular church services, Bible?Baptist Church held weekly Friday evening services at Friendship?Manor in Haviland. I would take my guitar and we would sing some of?the hymns and spiritual songs those dear folks loved to hear. One?of our men would follow with a message from the Word of God.?
One Friday evening as I was driving home from Haviland, I could?see ominous looking clouds building in the southwest. This did not?surprise me. The TV weather forcasters had been telling us for several days that conditions would be such that we could expect severe?weather by late Friday afternoon or evening. That particular Friday happened to be May 4, 2007.
By the time I arrived?home, tornado warnings had already been issued and were being updated every few minutes. A line of intense thunderstorms had formed?near Protection and was heading in our direction. Several funnel?clouds had been spotted by storm chasers in the area. The last warning we heard on our TV was around 9:30 PM when Merrill Teller announced on channel 12, "There is a large wedge shaped tornado on the?ground six miles south of Greensburg getting ready to cross highway?183. Those in the area should move to shelter immediately!"
We lost our TV signal just as the tornado siren began to sound. Having no basement to move to, my wife and I took shelter in a clothes closet between two bedrooms. The electricity soon went off and the tornado siren fell silent. We could hear a roar similar to that of a jet aircraft taking off. The sounds of large hailstones bouncing off the roof and of tree limbs crashing against the house soon filled the air. We heard windows breaking and could feel the wind as it scattered debris through the house. We knew that at any moment we could be swept away or the house could come crashing down upon us, yet I felt no fear. I had an inner peace I cannot explain. I knew that no matter what happened, God was still in control. Isaiah 26:3 says "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: be-?cause he trusteth in thee."?
I was able to trust in the Lord and have perfect peace in my heart during the midst of that terrible storm because one Sunday morning in November 1947, the Lord reached down to a ten year old boy in a?little Baptist Church in Simpson, Kansas and drew me to Himself. I can remember it as though it happened yesterday. You see, I had a Sunday School teacher named Florence Deschner who had told me about Jesus and how He gave His life on an old rugged cross many years ago. She told me how He paid my sin debt for me so I could receive forgiveness for my sins and have everlasting life.?
Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Salvation cannot be earned nor can we buy it. Jesus purchased it for us with His?own precious blood. (1 Peter 1:18,19) Ephesians 2:8,9 says:?"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast."?
Salvation is a free gift, but that gift must be received. John 1:12?tells us plainly "But as many as received him, to them gave he to become the sons of God, even to them that believe?on his name."?
I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior that Sunday morning more than 64 years ago. I am sad to say I've not always been faithful to Him, He has always been faithful to me. He gives me this lessed assurance in John 10:27-30, "My sheep hear my voice, and I?know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my?Father are one."?Romans 10:9,10 tells us "That if thou shalt confess with thy?mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath?raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart?man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is?made unto salvation." Have you received your free gift?
Wesley D. Carlton is the Pastor of the Greensburg Bible Baptist Church at 605 S. Elm Street in Greensburg. Sunday School begins at 10 a.m. and Sunday Service begins at 11 a.m. For more information on the Greensburg Bible Baptist Church call (620) 723-2834