March 2024 Mind of the Missionary

“You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction;…You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.”   (Psalm 52.2 -3)


Deceit is the “practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.”  (Oxford Languages) On our TV screens, social media, and billboards, Alabamians are being bombarded with the “greatness” of voting in favor of the expansion of gambling. At one time, the conversation was just about the lottery. Now, it is a full-blown move to lottery, casino gambling, sports gambling, etc… Drive to Wind Creek casinos, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, or the northern Mississippi River area, and you can’t help but see the many opportunities to gamble. We are tempted to buy a lottery ticket, or bet online, or go to a nice restaurant in a casino. However, to get to the nice restaurant, you have to go through the casino where you might be tempted to drop a coin into a slot machine.

Our legislators tell us that these monies will benefit the state education budget which ran a surplus last year and will do the same in 2024. Now, our legislators almost all Republican and some Christian say, “Let the people decide.” Well, early polling has already shown that around 70% are in favor of expanding gambling. Thank you, our legislators! Your deceit will probably be rewarded. Do we not understand that “the sad and tragic results of gambling frequently adversely affect the poor and wreck the lives of families and individuals who participate, notably those who live below the poverty level. Gambling can intensify addiction, leading to financial ruin, relationship strain, and psychological distress.” (ALSBOM Leadership statement)

When it passes, are you going to pick up the pieces in your communities and cities from those whose addictions are out of control? Or will you be celebrating because your purses will swell with revenue that is gained through falsehood? This type of deceit has happened on many other issues from alcohol revenues, CBD stores, and medical marijuana to the sad state of our educational system in Alabama which has not benefitted from quick fixes in the past.

I applaud the Alabama State Attorney General, the Alabama Baptist Convention State leadership, and ALCAP for speaking against the expansion of gambling. However, this is not enough. We, the people, are responsible for standing up and voting against this move by our elected leaders. Is there anything else we can do? Here are a few thoughts:

  • PRAY! Pray for our local representatives and state representatives. May their eyes be open to the harm that expanded gambling will bring to Alabama!
  • VOTE! If (and I believe it will happen) a bill is sent for a vote later this year, VOTE. As Christians, we’re blessed to live in a country where we can help decide what our county, state, and nation looks like. Take the time to vote. If you’re not registered, register. If you are, it only takes about 5 minutes.
  • PAY ATTENTION and BE ALERT! Our enemy, Satan, is sly. However, on the issue of gambling, he is not subtle. It’s right in our face. As Jesus’ body on earth, our voice can make a difference if we will but use it.                                                                              Until Next Month,   

          Bro. Lyle

February 2024 Mind of the Missionary

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…God is Love.”  (I John 4:10,16b)

In 1967, the Beatles released the song, “All You Need Is Love”. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were trying “to express the importance to empathize with the suffering and misfortunes of others, we need to feel what they’re going through.” These are good and well-intended sentiments, but love is so much more than empathy and feelings.

From our key passage, John wrote that “God is Love”. What does this mean? Before the previous statement of God being love, he wrote, “God loved us and sent His Son….” The apostle Paul wrote, “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Yes, God is empathetic and feeling, but beyond these emotions, God is active! He was moved to action upon seeing the situation that his creation, especially man was experiencing …lost in sin.

There is an important point to keep in mind. Whenever God’s love is mentioned, it is accompanied by an action. Adam and Eve, God killed animals and made them garments. The world-wide flood, God saved Noah and his family through the ark. The Israelite people crying out to God from Egypt, God saved them through the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. We could go through the judges, the kings, and the prophets until the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to show how God showed His love through His actions. Don’t even get me started!

This ultimate action of God’s love through the sending of His Son, Jesus emphasizes once again God’s active love for us. As the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” states, Jesus saw “our helpless estate and shed His own blood for my soul.” Wow, God’s Love = Action!

Although Mr. Lennon and Mr. McCartney attempted to describe what love is, they missed the whole point. GOD IS LOVE! and He showed His love toward us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die and redeem all of mankind.

Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle

January 2024 Mind of the Missionary

“In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”  (John 1:1-2)


What powerful statements we see in Genesis 1 and John 1. God and His Son, Jesus, were in the beginning. As we read further in Genesis 1, we notice that the Holy Spirit is present, too. The triune God present in the beginning. I read the footnote in my Bible which said, “It was never in question that God didn’t exist before the creation”. In other words, God was present and always has been present. WOW!! God has always been. For my finite mind, this is hard to comprehend. Everything must have a beginning point?! NO, God just is! There’s nothing to argue about…either God has always been or He hasn’t. Moses didn’t doubt it when he penned these words,  should we? And what is the far-reaching meaning of God’s omnipresence or His always being with us?

Honestly, I can’t give you the deep theological answers, but I can say this…”God (Jesus Christ) is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. (Hebrews 13:8) There is no change. There is no variation. James states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. (James 1:17) We, who are finite, who are mortal, who change can trust our Lord to remain the same.

In these days of uncertainty, there is one thing that is certain…God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He does not change and remains the same. Personally, this gives me hope for the year ahead. It doesn’t matter what all the “talking heads” say or don’t say, I will remain planted by the Lord Jesus Christ. I encourage you to be certain and without a doubt of not only who God is but also what He means to you. Through your certainty in Him, you can face any calamity, difficulty, or problem which comes your way.


Happy New Year!

Bro. Lyle

December 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)


Who is four foot tall, makes tea cakes, and lives a life of radical obedience to the Lord? Give up…Lottie Moon! Really, Lottie Moon. Yes, Lottie Moon. The same woman who shares the name of the annual SBC International Missions Offering. Her life was one in which living for Christ was more important than anything else, even death. It is said that Lottie empathized so much with the starving Chinese that she stopped eating. Of course, this radical step eventually led to her physical death.

How radically obedient are we for the Gospel? I’m not saying go on a hunger strike, but I am asking the question of whether or not our faith chooses to “deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow Him” before anything else. But, Brother Lyle, Lottie Moon didn’t marry, or it was a different century, or whatever. Maybe so. However, Lottie did have an opportunity to marry and even wrote her family to prepare for a wedding, but it never came. Her only explanation was “God had first claim on my life, and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the result”.

Some might say it was a simpler and an easier time in which to live. Weeell, you’d be wrong! She faced the China-Japanese war, the Boxer rebellion, and the Chinese revolution which led to famine and plagues. Through each of these circumstances, her obedience was tested. Would she remain on the field? Or would she return to the States? Each time, she chose to remain in China. How would you respond if placed in a similar situation?

As we go into this Christmas season, let us remember the example and the life of Lottie Moon. She gave everything, even life itself, to further the Kingdom of God. Will we give our lives in radical obedience to fulfill His call? Let’s not forget that Someone special came “to give His life as a ransom for many”. Paul wrote, “He (Jesus) made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8) Will we humble ourselves to obey the Lord – even death?


Merry Christmas to Each of You!

Lyle and Claren Dease

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