Cherokee Baptist Association - Centre, Alabama
Cherokee Baptist Association
Thursday, April 19, 2018

From The Director's Heart

            Wendell Dutton - Association Missionary

                              Partnership Principle:  
              "We work best when we work together
                and we do best what we do together."

March 8, 2018

     In just a few days we will celebrate Easter, a very special and significant time for those of us who are Christians. It is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our LORD. The resurrection is the completion of the gospel, which means “good news.” Christianity is built upon two great pillars: the death of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The unspeakable cruel death of Jesus on the cross, was for the atonement or payment of my sin debt and the sin debt for all who will turn from their sin and trust Christ (Rom. 3:23-26, 1 Peter 1:18-21). Furthermore, Paul writes in
2 Corinthians 5:19-21, that the death of Jesus was the means by which a Holy God could and would reconcile sinful man to Himself.
However, God’s work of redemption and salvation for us did not end with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. If that were the case, Jesus would have been nothing more than another martyr who    died a meaningless death. That means as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, our faith would be in vain, and we would have no hope. But, thanks be unto God, Jesus was raised from the grave, and today we serve a risen, living, LORD and Savior. 

Let me mention just a few key components of the resurrection:
1. It validated His virgin birth and that He was the sinless Son of God, who is the Savior of the world.
2. He then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father and now serves as our great High Priest and Intercessor.
3. Through His resurrection, He has forever conquered death, hell, and the grave.
4. Our adversary, the devil, was dealt his final blow of defeat and he has no claim or control over the life of a believer.  
5. Because of the resurrection, we have hope. This hope is anchored in the resurrected Jesus; therefore, it is stedfast, secure, enduring, and eternal. I love the words of Jesus in John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” 
     What a wonderful, crucified, buried, risen, and yes! soon coming again, Savior we have!

Bro. Wendell
Luke 24:6


February 1, 2018

     We are already well into 2018, and it appears to be a busy year filled with many challenges.  As I think about not only the challenges that are before us, I am reminded of the challenges that currently exist.   The major challenge we are facing in our churches is the continued decline in baptisms, Sunday School, giving, on-going discipleship, and fewer people attending worship.   In a recent Alabama Baptist newspaper commentary (Dr. Bob Terry, January 18, 2018), this decline was highlighted by the statistic that since 2003, membership in our Alabama Baptist Churches has fallen by 16.4 percent.   Because of these downward trends, we must continue to focus on revitalization for our churches.  We must be willing to make an honest evaluation of our churches and be ready to make the necessary changes that will lead to revitalization.              
     So, that brings up the question: “How do we confront these challenges?”  We must view them as an opportunity, because with every challenge we face, there is a door of opportunity.   The   definition of opportunity is: “A good chance for advancement or progress.” —(Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary)  That means when our baptisms are down we have the opportunity to see more people saved.  Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.” —John 4:35b.  That statement has never been more true than it is right now.   When our Sunday School and discipleship is down, it provides us the opportunity to enroll and involve new people and grow in these ministries.   As we see our financial giving dwindle, with it comes the opportunity to teach people about biblical stewardship and how God blesses the cheerful giver.  As we deal with the current challenges and meet the ones that are yet to come, let us do so by   understanding that God has provided an opportunity for us with each challenge we encounter.           
     I believe that in 2018, if we will recognize the great opportunities we have and act upon them, God will begin the work of revitalization in our churches.  I am excited and look forward to what God has in store as we seek Him and serve Him together.         
                                                Bro. Wendell
                                                2 Corinthians 3:18


December 1, 2017

     One of the most popular and loved Christmas songs is, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  Certainly, it is not a Christian based song nor does it make any reference to the biblical account of the birth of Jesus.  However, it’s title says so much about Christmas — it is a wonderful time of the year!  It is a time when we give gifts, have family gatherings, decorate our homes, sing Christmas carols, send out greeting cards, have special church services, enjoy delicious food, and, so many other things.  But, how often do we stop and think about the purpose of Christmas and why it is so wonderful?                                
I want to focus on three reasons why Christmas is so wonderful:      
   1.  It is a time of Celebration. It is the time when we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child, Jesus.  Though we understand that Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25th, — or even during this time of the year —  it is still the time we celebrate God giving us the greatest Gift ever.   On the night of Jesus’ birth, the angelic choir sang, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  Luke 2:10, 14.   What a reason to celebrate! Yes, Christmas is a time of   celebration!  
   2. It is a time of Salvation.  Luke 2:11 states the birth of Jesus in the simplest of terms:  “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”    Jesus saves us from something:  our sin and the condemnation it brings.   Jesus saves us for something:  to give us purpose and meaning in life in Him.    Jesus saves us by something:  His grace.  Yes, Christmas is a time of salvation!
It is a time of Reconciliation.  Again, Luke 2:14 reminds us of this:  “On earth peace, good will toward men.”  Only in Jesus is reconciliation possible.  Through His death on the cross some 33 years after His birth, He made it possible for sinful men to be reconciled to a Holy, Loving God.  Because of this reconciliation with God, we can also be reconciled with others and experience the peace of God.  Yes, Christmas is a time of reconciliation!            
Indeed, this is the most wonderful time of the year!  From our family to yours, may you enjoy the many blessings of Christmas.

Merry Christmas,
Bro. Wendell

Luke 2:1-20

From The Director’s Heart    
November 1, 2017           

“Disciple:  Be One, Make One,”
  is the message Bro. Daniel Edmonds preached in the    Evening Session of our recent Annual Meeting.  This speaks to the basic need of our churches as we continue the focus of “church revitalization.”  All the numerical and spiritual declines we are experiencing will never properly be changed until we take our responsibility of being a disciple seriously.  The challenge before us is to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is, to take His teachings and the example of His life, learn them, apply them, and pass them on to another.  When this occurs in our life, we are fulfilling the true meaning of a disciple, “being one and making one.”          
In November, there are three very important dates we observe:         
   First, November 11, is Veterans Day.  This is the day we have traditionally set aside to honor those who have served in the military.  We are privileged to live in a great country and enjoy freedoms that the rest of the world envies.  This is only possible because of those who serve our country to protect our values and freedoms.  So, on Veterans Day find a veteran and tell them thank you.       
   Next, November 13-16 & 19, will be our time of collecting shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  Last year we collected 2,675. Hopefully we will surpass that amount this year.  This is a wonderful ministry that so many people in our churches get excited about and participate in.  Through this gift of a shoe box, a child’s life is  forever changed as they receive perhaps their first-ever Christmas gift.   More importantly, that child has the opportunity to hear the good news of the Gospel and place their faith in Jesus.   
   Finally, on November 23rd, we will observe Thanksgiving.        
   Giving thanks and being thankful should never be confined to one day or even a season, it should be the lifestyle of every believer.  The Bible tells us in I Thess. 5:18, “In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 
   I pray that you will take advantage of these three significant dates to give and offer thanks.
I am so thankful for the privilege of serving as your associational missionary.              
                        Bro. Wendell  
                       Habakkuk 1:5