November 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are Co-Workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (I Corinthians 3:8-9)

The Alabama State Convention is commemorating its 200 year celebration at FBC Montgomery on November 14-15. It was founded on October 28-29, 1823 at Salem Church near Greensboro by 7 missionary societies for the purpose of promoting missions, education, and closer cooperation among the Baptist churches of Alabama. Some might say, “So what? What does that have to do with my local church, Brother Lyle?” Well, it has a lot to do with your local church because you have chosen as a congregation some time in your past to be a member of this Alabama State Convention. Yes, some of these primary purposes have been expanded to meet the different needs of our churches over these  200 years, but Alabama’s love for missions, evangelism, education, and cooperation has not changed.

Not being a Southern Baptist by birth, I chose to become a Southern Baptist for these and many other reasons. I was moved and still moved today by our statement on Cooperation as written in the “Baptist Faith and Message” 2000 statement: “Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have NO authority over one another or over the churches. They are VOLUNTARY…to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner.” Wow, what a mouthful, but it basically says that we, the local churches, have chosen to work together, cooperate, to further God’s Kingdom. PTL! Isn’t that what we desire?

It is impossible for one church no matter its size to accomplish all the purposes of the Kingdom. We need one another from the smallest to the largest. In Pickens County, there isn’t that great disparity of size as there is in many urban and suburban areas, but there are some larger than others. Rather than a church going off and doing its own thing, these larger churches should/must help supply resources to our smaller, needier congregations. However, both at times are too prideful. Too prideful to give help or to prideful to  receive help. Brothers and sisters, as Paul wrote, “we are Co-Workers in God’s service;…” This isn’t a competition, it is a mission with one purpose “to seek and to save the Lost”, which is Christ’s purpose. Let’s be about the task of cooperating to finish the purpose that Jesus left for us.

Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle 

October 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”   (Psalm 104:24)


Have you ever taken time to contemplate or deeply think about the enormity of creation? Well, Claren and I recently had that opportunity during our vacation in Arizona and Southern Utah. We spent time in Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Slot Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. I’m sure I missed a few others. However, each of these areas had their own beauty. Claren called it, “God’s Grandeur Tour”. I like that!  Yes, God’s creation is mightier than we can ever imagine. No matter how much I contemplate on the enormity of His work, I can never grasp my mind around its greatness.

The Psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 104 how great and wide are the seas, how He looks on the earth and it trembles, how He made the sun and the moon as well as the animals. It’s just a fantastic passage of Scripture giving God the glory for who He is and what He has created. Truly, His works are too numerous for a mere mortal like myself to count.

The same was true for one gentleman who looked out over the Grand Canyon and quoted this Psalm. He was moved to praise the Lord. I have a picture of his quote in this edition of the “Mind of the Missionary”. I couldn’t believe that it was allowed to remain on the frame of the door to the studio in the National Park, but it was still there for everyone to see. I don’t know how many people have stopped to read it. I hope everyone, but I doubt it.

My desire is as believers we will take time if not every day at least one time a week to spend time deeply thinking about God’s enormous creation. It can be humbling to think that God made this entire universe for Man, but He has. We are to be its stewards, to take care of it, and to appreciate what He has given to us. May we not take His creation for granted.


Until Next Month,


Bro. Lyle 

September 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all things are ready now.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses.” 

(Luke 14:16 – 18a) NKJV


Excuses, excuses, excuses! We’ve heard them all from “The dog ate my homework” to “I just don’t feel like it”. I’ve included in this newsletter an interesting little twist on the excuses we use NOT to attend church. Instead, it’s focused on “12 Reasons Christians Don’t Attend Sporting Events”. I’ll let you read them rather than my rehashing them. The best thing I can say is, we don’t make excuses or very rarely make excuses to attend sporting events or any other event especially if our children or grandchildren are involved. Watch out, Brother Lyle, you’re stepping on toes!

Well, it’s true. It appears as though we do have excuses for NOT attending our local churches on a regular basis. I like this parable of Jesus because it shows that there will be some folks who will be left out of God’s Kingdom for NOT accepting Christ’s invitation to eat with Him or better said, become His follower. I could list all types of reasons why we as followers of Christ must participate in our local congregations, but why? Most of you know them. My question is…why do you NOT want to celebrate your relationship with the Lord in a local body of believers?

Jesus faced excuses in His day. Why do you think He spoke a parable about it? A day is coming when we will NOT be able to worship Jesus in our local churches. He will return, and those who have made excuse after excuse cannot use one before Him. I remember President Harry Truman’s statement, “The Buck Stops Here!” desk sign. For many who are using excuses NOT to be in God’s local houses of worship, God will say, “The Buck Stops Here!”

I’m not ignorant of those who have legitimate reasons for not attending worship, but I’ve noticed in our churches that many attend who have all types of health, family, and work problems. These do NOT hinder them. The writer of Hebrews was clear “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another…”. Brothers and sisters, I write these words to exhort and encourage you to NOT make excuses, but gather together with one another!


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

August 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“How delightfully good when brothers live together in harmony.”  Psalm 133:1 (CSB)


Claren wrote these words as she shared her final thoughts on our work in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  I’ll let you read them in a moment, but first, our scripture passage not only encourages us, but leads us as Christ’s followers to live together in harmony. Yes, there will always be differences in worship styles and our teaching and preaching preferences, but all of us can agree that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. He is the One who calls us to live in obedience to Him.  If we do this, then our fellowship will be delightfully good.


“You’re my brother, you’re my sister so take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes.
There’s no foe that can defeat us when we’re walking side by side.
As long as there is love
We will stand.” (Russ Taff)

This song will forever sum up for me the week we just spent in Carlisle, PA. Our mission team made up of members, young and old, from Pickens Co, Fayette Co and Pensacola, Florida singing hand in hand with Liberian refugees and the Central Pennsylvania members of Carlisle Baptist Church and Shippensburg Baptist Church, all in our various “accents”…working together and praising Jesus. It does give us a glimpse of Heaven.
I love that we were able to spend the week encouraging the church and planting seeds. How wonderful it is to be a part of the Family of God!   (Claren Dease)


Our next Executive Committee meeting will be Monday, August 12 at 7:00 pm at the PBA office.  PBA churches, your representative lists need to be updated because some of these folks have changed churches or are no longer with us. Pastors, don’t forget, you are automatically representatives of your churches. I’d love to have you there, too! Our August meeting will feature the summer mission trip reports. This is always a great meeting hearing what God has done through our PBA mission teams. Please plan to be there!


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

July 2023 Mind of the Missionary

 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

Mark 3:24 – 25 KJV


Normally, my themes for the month relate to an event or an activity within the association. However, since Claren and I attended the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans on June 13 – 14, I felt the need to review some of the key issues that were important to us as the Pickens Baptist Association as well as the Alabama State Convention and the SBC. Many of my thoughts for this month’s MOM were well stated by Brother Derek Allen, Pastor of Tillman’s Corner FBC, Mobile. He expressed them in a more orderly manner than I.

Here are some of those themes:

  1. The SBC affirmed its conviction that the office of Pastor is limited to MEN as qualified by Scripture.

Many Southern Baptists as well as other conservative denominations and leaders believed that the SBC would fold on this issue especially under the pressure of Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Community Church. Well, it did not. The vote was 88% to 12% to not allow them in fellowship. It was even more convincing the vote against the female pastor-led Fernwood Baptist Church. The vote was 91% to 9%. Again, God’s Word was upheld.

  1. The SBC renewed its commitment to respond to sexual abuse righteously and without wavering.

Fern Creek Baptist Church after many appeals from its local association, state convention (FL), and the SBC removed its sexually-accused pastor from the pulpit in May 2023. The Convention body voted 96% to 4% rejecting its appeal to be in fellowship with the SBC. Also, the body affirmed the updated report of the Abuse Response Implementation Task Force report. It was heard with compassion and commitment that this team continue its difficult responsibility of preventing sexual abuse within our churches and entities.

  1. The SBC elected a conservative president committed to the Great Commission and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Usually the second year of an SBC President is run unopposed, but for some reason that was not the case this year. Dr. Bart Barber won 68% of the vote to the other candidate who received 32%. Despite this bit of awkwardness, Dr. Barber “moderated the meeting with as much grace and style as anyone.” (Allen) One messenger made a motion that the 2028 SBC meeting be held in her native state of Hawaii. The room roared in laughter, and Dr. Barber said, “Why did you not make that motion for this year, so  I could attend?” Also, Dr. Barber has been labeled a liberal ‘drift’ within the SBC. This is hard to believe noting that after last year’s election he stated, “The most readily observable ‘drift’ in the Southern Baptist Convention is a drift away from fairness in making accusations and from civility in discussing differences. I would like to lead us to make our fellowship healthier….”

I could write more, but it’s not necessary. These were the main areas of discussion which most SBC churches, pastors, and leaders were concerned about. I, personally, believe that our convention has not ‘drifted’ to a liberal side, but that doesn’t mean that all is perfect. As Southern Baptists, we have many areas in which we need to improve. However, in the areas of sound doctrine, morality, and leadership, we appear to be headed in the right direction.


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

June 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“’These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.’” (Acts 17:6b, ESV)

It’s that time of the year when our PBA and local church mission teams leave out to reach outside of Pickens County to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, this is nothing new. Missions is in the DNA of the Pickens Baptist Association. All you need to do is walk into the fellowship hall and see all the different curios full of donated items from those Pickens Countians who have served overseas. This doesn’t even count the number of stateside mission trips that the PBA and PBA churches have sponsored. The Associational office has notebooks full of pictures of PBA trips to Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Vermont, Michigan, Alaska, and other states. In other words, the Pickens Baptist Association has gone as Jesus commanded to disciple others.

In Acts 17, Paul and Silas went to the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica and began proclaiming about Jesus being the Messiah. This upset the many of the Jewish leaders who used “some bad characters” to form a mob and start a riot (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). These men couldn’t find Paul and Silas, but they did drag Jason before the Thessalonican leaders where they made this amazing statement of the world being turned upside down.

As our teams to Brazil, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Honduras, and Montana leave, may this same statement be said of them. May our presence in these parts of the US and the world make such an impact that the world is turned upside down.

I, also, want our PBA churches to turn Pickens County upside down. Most of you will be doing this through your VBSs, homecomings, and revivals during the summer. Brothers and sisters, be intentional! Don’t just do a VBS or a homecoming, or a revival because “we’ve always done it that way”. Do them for the purpose of reaching the unchurched, the unevangelized, and the unsaved with the message of Jesus Christ! Be a World Changer!

My desire as your Associational Missionary is for the Pickens Baptist Association to be a beacon of light in the darkness of our county as well as in the world.  We can be world changers if our ministries and missions are Jesus-focused and not church-focused. When we allow Him to lead our VBSs, our revivals, and our homecomings, they will be more than we could ever imagine.


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

May 2023 Mind of the Missionary


“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  (James 5:16b)


I continue staring out of my office window at the Cross near the PBA building. I remember the 30 days of prayer emphasis which touched and is touching the lives of many people. I remember coming to the Cross on some of those cold and chilly mornings to pray as well as to open the PBA office for those who desired to pray early. I remember those who prayed all day long.  I remember the 3 nights of “The Power of the Cross” evangelism rally with Bro. Terry Long and Bro. Shannon Knight challenging and encouraging us to see how the Cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God”. (I Corinthians 1:18)  I remember the young man who made a public confession of his faith, and how we all prayed for him and his growth in his new found faith. I remember…

James is remembering, too. He remembers because he knows that prayer is the key to change everything. This section is called “the prayer of faith”. James, in his brief letter to the scattered Jews throughout the Roman Empire, admonishes his brothers to pray for those in trouble, for those who are happy, for those who are sick, for those who need to confess their sins, and for those who have wandered from the truth. He gives these brothers practical ways to restore, heal, forgive, and ask in Jesus’ name. I believe James was able to give this advice not only because he practiced it personally, but also, because he saw it lived out in the life of his half-brother, Jesus. Although James did not come to a full knowledge of who his brother was until after Pentecost, he could not deny that Jesus had an intimate relationship with the Father through prayer.

How is our prayer life? Is it consistent? Is it stagnant? Are we praying just for our personal needs or those of our family? Or are we praying for the lost, the coming of Christ’s Kingdom, our churches, our pastors, our leaders, etc…? James gives us the example of Elijah who “being human, even as we are” prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and it didn’t. Then, he prayed again, and it did. If Elijah as a human can pray this way, what hinders us from doing the same? I realize that I many times do not have this type of faith. 

On Thursday, May 4 is the National Day of Prayer emphasis. Although the plans are sketchy now, there will be a time of prayer at the Cross at the PBA office from 12 noon until 12:30 pm on this date. I hope you’ll make plans to join us. If you can’t make it, pray where you are…at home, at work, at school, wherever. God hears the effective fervent prayer of the righteous.


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

April 2023 Mind of the Missionary

 “For the Message of the CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER of GOD.”

 (I Corinthians 1:18)


The “30 Days of the Cross” emphasis is well underway. Many of you have already come and prayed at the Cross. What a wonderful sight to see followers of Jesus sitting, standing, and even kneeling before the Cross. Definitely, “to us who are being saved it is the Power of God”. I’m interested in hearing the stories of what God is doing in the lives of those who took time out of their busy schedule to pray. For me, it is a humbling experience to be in Christ’s presence and intercede for others and magnify Him. Although the traffic of cars and trucks pass by, it’s almost as though they aren’t there. You get your eyes off this world and put your eyes on Jesus. I think there’s a hymn in there somewhere!?

However, on the flip side, I’m saddened to see both believers and unbelievers drive by without turning their heads to see the Cross. It reminds me of the words that Peter spoke before the religious leaders when he was arrested, “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone’”. (Acts 4:11)  This message of Jesus coming, dying, and resurrecting has become foolishness to those who are perishing and to those who are walking away from Him. Oh, that we would have spiritual eyes to see what God can do when we allow Him to do so.

The “30 Days of the Cross” emphasis ends on Easter Sunday, April 9. It will lead to three (3) days of outdoor revival services on the PBA grounds in front of the Cross. The theme will be “The Power of the Cross” with the nightly meetings beginning at 7:00 PM. Bro. Terry Long will be our evangelist. Shannon Knight will be our musician with Mr. Ricky Morris our instrumentalist.

The Pickens Baptist Association will not be promoting this event outside of our churches and its people. This is NOT because we have problems inviting the public, but it’s because we want this to be God-led. If one person attends every night, that’s fine. God has that person present for a reason. Our revival team knows what we are doing, and they understand our desire to see God work as only He can work. Also, we’re hoping that the Lord will draw those who’ve prayed at the Cross to these services.  Please pray for God’s Spirit to” draw ALL MEN unto ME”. Another song!       Don’t forget the 5th Annual Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Show on Saturday, April 22 from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM at the Old Courthouse in Carrollton. There are a few changes taking place this year. Our teams are in place, and we look forward to your presence.


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

March 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2.2, 4a)


Isn’t this what all of us as believers desire? Do we not want the Lord Jesus to send His Spirit upon His people which in turn will touch the lives of unbelievers until many will be reached with the Gospel? I believe it is. However, how do we get there? The sad answer is WE CAN’T. God must do the moving, but we, His people, can prepare our hearts. Heart preparation takes our willingness to allow God to examine every area of our lives and root out ALL SIN. Psalms 139:23 – 24 states “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.” (NCV)

Letting God examine each area of our lives, letting Him show us any bad thing, and confessing where we are guilty. There are many areas from our words, our thoughts, our desires, our actions, and our inactions that can be displeasing and offensive to Jesus. Are we willing not only to confess them to Him but are we willing to surrender every area of our life to Him?

Presently in Wilmore, Kentucky at Asbury University, God is examining the lives of thousands of college students, youth, and adults. Since last Wednesday, February 8 at the weekly chapel service, God has moved in their lives to draw them nearer to Him. Bill Elliff, Senior Teaching Pastor of the Summit Church (SBC) in North Little Rock, Arkansas, went to observe God’s work and came away with the following conclusions:

–               God is present and real.

–               By the afternoon prayer sessions, 1500 people filled every seat in the chapel.

–               Worship is glorious, unified, and simple being led by a piano, guitar, and student worship teams.

–               The altar is almost always full and aided by wonderful prayer counselors from Asbury University.

–               Everything is extremely orderly but vibrant, spontaneous, and powerful.

–               It is a worship-based, Spirit-led, Scripture-fed prayer gathering. The Holy Spirit is a very good leader.

–               Testimonies were of grateful people sharing how God had done very real and profound things in the lives of hundreds of people.

–               Scripture was read for a long time by multiple people with a congregational response of “The Word of God, and we believe it!”

In other words, God is moving at Asbury as He did 53 years ago. It is beginning to touch other Christian college campuses and communities. Let’s begin praying that this “violent wind” of the Holy Spirit will blow toward us in Pickens County. I don’t want to be left behind, do you?

On Saturday, March 11 at the PBA office from 8:30 until 11:30 am, Bro. Terry Long will share how the Holy Spirit moved him in SE Mississippi through his emphasis of “100 Days at the Cross”. Afterwards, we will inaugurate our own “30 Days of the Cross” emphasis by praying for God to work as only He can in Pickens County. Please make plans to participate in the conference and the prayer event.

Finally, D.L. Moody was told by Henry Varley, “It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself wholly to Him.” Moody responded to Varley, “Well, I will be that man.” Will you be that man or woman?


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

February 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)


During our Christmas vacation, our family was at the point of opening its presents, but we wanted to have a devotional time. Our niece, Julia, was asked to lead the study. She asked us, “who has been your biggest spiritual influencer?” Not being a fast responder, the first person or persons that came to mind were my grandmothers. They prayed for me and made sure that my brother and I were in church every time the door was open. However, upon reflecting on the question more, there are others, but I’d have to say the biggest influencer besides Christ Jesus himself, would be Avery Willis, former IMB missionary and writer of the “MasterLife” study series.

Dr. Willis came to Central Pennsylvania in the late 80’s to lead a set of studies on MasterLife. Several of us newer church planters were in a mountain retreat setting for 3 or 4 days with him. During our time there, it snowed. So, we were stuck even if we could leave early. Dr. Willis taught us the importance of a daily devotional life, group prayer, witnessing, and fighting spiritual battles. Honestly, I had never learned so much in so little time. I immediately began to put these principles into practice and still do today.

A few years later, Dr. Willis came to Uruguay for one of our annual regional meetings, and I was the person in charge of the afternoon session. He shared with us some of the same principles that I had learned from him nearly 20 years earlier. At the end of his teaching, I had the opportunity to ask him to sit in a chair and have our missionaries surround and pray for him. What a blessing for me to give back to Dr. Willis just a little something that he gave to me many years before.

Paul instructed Timothy to put everything into practice that he had learned from him. Timothy was a good practitioner as he listened and did all that Paul had asked of him. May you remember your spiritual influencers, and praise our Lord for giving those special persons to you!


Until Next Month,


Bro. Lyle