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

January 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my Name shall be great among the Gentiles…for my Name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Malachi 1:11


As I sit in my office looking at the wintry day outside, I see the Nativity on the lawn of PBA, and I’m seeking inspiration from the Lord on what to write for the New Year newsletter. It’s sort of hard to think about 2023 when I haven’t even celebrated the Lord’s birth yet! Oh, how it must have been for the prophets to proclaim God’s Word when they themselves would not see its fulfillment during their time of ministry.

In these verses from Malachi, he prophesied some 400 to 500 hundred years before Christ came to earth. For many others, it was over a thousand years for their words to be fulfilled. Here, I am concerned about this newsletter. These men trusted what God inspired them to write despite not knowing when those words would be fulfilled…the greatness of God’s Name among all nations.

Malachi wrote as the people of Judah were returning from their Babylonian captivity. I don’t know if he was thinking about God’s greatness among all the nations as much as he was hoping that His greatness would be restored among his own people. Personally, I would be!

That brings us to 2023.  From one end of our world to the other, it appears as though the Gospel is NOT advancing among the nations, countries, peoples, and tribes as we would like. I pray daily for God’s message to reach the unevangelized, the unreached, and the unengaged, and it looks like a losing battle. I’m like Malachi, how can God make His name great in the world? Then I quickly remember what God did through Pentecost and the early church. He can do it if we will allow Him to work through us. Why? Because we are filled with the same Holy Spirit that transformed the world in a few years. Will we allow Him to do so?

May 2023 be the year in which we tell the Lord, “I’ll let everything else go in order that your Name will be great among the nations”! (By the way, it’s still gloomy outside.)


Happy New Year!

Bro. Lyle

December 2022 Mind of the Missionary

“A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed…’”.                      (Isaiah 40:4 – 5a)


Have you ever thought about the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem? As I was pondering what to write this month about Christmas, my mind drifted to this passage in Isaiah which is repeated by John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. An earthly king always had his subjects clear the road that he was to travel. It was to be as smooth as possible. Sort of like our roads in Pickens County??

That started me thinking about the journey of Joseph and Mary. Here are just a few facts about their journey:

–        It was roughly 80 – 90 miles long;

–        They traveled south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem;

–        Due to Mary’s condition, they traveled 10 miles a day instead of the usual 20 miles per day;

–        The section through the Judean desert would have been difficult with the temperatures in the 30s and during the rainy season;

–        Joseph and Mary would have worn heavy clothing to protect themselves from rain and snow;

–        The trails were hilly and unpaved; and

–        The heavy forested valleys of the Jordan River had lions and bears in addition to bandits and pirates being very common.  (“A Long Cold Road to Bethlehem” – Religion News Service)

How many of us would have just turned around and gone home? Since it was a royal decree to go to their ancestral home, Joseph and Mary had to comply. In other words, not only was Jesus’ birthplace a cave or commonplace for animals, his journey to his family’s home was not pleasant either. Jesus, the heavenly king, did not have the road paved, lowered, or leveled to make the journey easier for his parents and him.

However, one thing did happen on that special night of his birth, the glory of the Lord was revealed. It was celebrated by angels, shepherds, and eventually oriental kings. This Christmas let us not complain about all the trimmings of the season, but recognize Jesus as the only reason why Christmas exists.


Merry Christmas!

Bro. Lyle

November 2022 Mind of the Missionary

“giving thanks ALWAYS and FOR EVERYTHING to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,…”

“give thanks in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this is the WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus for you.”

(Ephesians 5:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18)


As I sit and write this article today, it feels like Thanksgiving! I don’t know what the weather will be like in a month, but today would be a perfect Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, we can’t choose the weather we get, nor when we get it. If I haven’t said this before, “I LOVE THANKSGIVING!” There’s just something about the time with family, friends, food, and fellowship that make the day seem very special. However, I am concerned that Thanksgiving is losing its importance within our society. For what am I to give thanks? Why do I give thanks? Am I to be grateful for the mess that my life and my world are experiencing? These are legitimate questions, but I don’t know if they are biblically based ones.

As I have reread Paul’s writing on thankfulness, he puts a different perspective on giving thanks. I’ve tried to highlight the areas that I thought were important. Look at them again, “ALWAYS”, “FOR EVERYTHING”, “ALL CIRCUMSTANCES”, AND “WILL OF GOD”.  When you read these words them  and think on them from God’s perspective, I have a whole lot of changing to do.

Just imagine, giving thanks to God always. There should never be a time when thanksgiving is not a part of our lives and especially a part of our prayers. Like me, you can probably think of a hundred different situations where “giving thanks” is the last thing on our minds. However, Paul teaches Christ’s followers to give thanks always. In other words, no matter our situation, we must give thanks.

Then, there’s the phrase, “giving thanks for everything”. This goes back to the general statement of thanking God always. Now, Paul begins to be more specific…”for everything”. This makes my thanksgiving even more difficult. I don’t have an excuse, an “out”, or a reason NOT to give thanks. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am to give thanks to God through Jesus “for everything” period! 

In First Thessalonians, Paul complicates things even more. He writes, “give thanks in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this is the WILL OF GOD.” It is God’s will that I am thankful to God. Wow! Even more pressure. Really, what does all this mean. I believe it means that thanksgiving should be at the root of everything in our lives. In Colossians, Paul writes, “ whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything…giving thanks to God”.  Since Christ Jesus lives in us, there is nothing that should shake our thankfulness to God. From man’s perspective, this is impossible, but from God’s perspective, it is possible. If it weren’t, He wouldn’t ask us to do it.

Since that is the case, I must allow Christ to teach me how to be thankful always for everything, and in all circumstances because He desires me to be thankful. So, there’s only one thing left to do…BE THANKFUL!


Bro. Lyle

Arbor Springs Sesquicentennial Celebration

Arbor Springs Baptist Church will celebrate their 150th year on Sunday, November 6th at 10:00 am. Lunch will follow the service. The special speaker will be former pastor Mike Owen and Chris Babb, former Minister of Music will be leading worship. Ricky Morris will be the pianist for the celebration.

October 2022 Mind of the Missionary

“Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  (Acts 4:13)

The phrase “boldness” is used to describe how Peter and John spoke to the crowds. It became obvious to the religious leaders that they had been with Jesus. It leads me to ask, Is it obvious that we have been with Jesus? Are we bold in our speech, in our conduct, in our faith, and in our love to the point that people recognize to whom we belong?  I guess that’s the million dollar question. Can people recognize Christ in us?

Paul, Luke, and John use the phrase, “in Christ”, over 75 times in the New Testament. Mostly, this phrase is used to describe our relationship to Him. If this is the case, then we should be reflecting Him, should we not? Paul writes, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:10)  There it is. We, his followers, were created-His Handiwork-to do good works for Him. We should be reflecting Him in this lost and dying world.

For this reason, I’ve been led to this theme for our annual meeting, “Dangerously Bold!” As Jesus’ followers, it becomes necessary for us to be bold in every area of our lives in order that the unsaved know that Christ lives in us. Brother Tim Jones of Pickensville FBC will speak on this theme in the afternoon session of the meeting. I look forward to hearing how God will use Brother Tim to share this message.

I invite our pastors, messengers, and church members to attend this year’s annual meeting at Friendship BC outside of Reform on Monday, October 10. The times for the 1st and 2nd sessions are changing, so please make a note of it. The first session begins with registration at 2:45 pm and the meeting at 3:00 pm. The afternoon session will feature our state and associational leadership sharing how God is working in the state of Alabama and in Pickens County. The 1st session will end with a worship service and Brother Tim’s message on our being “Dangerously Bold!”

In the evening session which will begin after supper, our entire focus will be on associational, national, and international missions. At this moment, it seems as though all the missionaries that the Pickens Baptist Association sponsors will be in attendance. That’s incredible! It’ll be the first time this has happened since I’ve been your Associational Missionary. I’m super-excited! 

To finish the evening, Brother Mike Owen, Harvest Mission-Brazil missionary, will preach and share what God is doing through his quilombola ministry in Northeastern Brazil. Come, Hear, and Participate in the Joy of how God is using the PBA to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle