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Changing Lives
New Beginnings for the New Year

As we start the New Year, listen to this exciting testimony from Pastor Brent Williams of Grace Southern Baptist Church in Virden, Illinois, of what God will do through those who are willing to obey Him.

In the last two weeks we have seen twelve people come to know the Lord. They have followed the Lord's command and have been baptized. We are a church in a rural community of thirty-five hundred people and average two hundred on Sunday. God has truly sent a revival over the last two years. A total of sixty-two people have been baptized!

Last week, a young couple came forward during the invitation and gave their lives to the Lord. They had drug addiction problems, marriage problems, you name it — they've experienced it. They had been turned off by church until someone encouraged them to try "Grace" out. They came, they heard, and they responded to the gospel. My greatest joy was to have the couple in the water at the same time. I baptized the wife, and after she was baptized, she stood in front of her husband. I then baptized him. After being baptized, the husband came out of the water and told me, "As I looked into the eyes of my wife — as she was soaking wet with water dripping off her face — for the first time I saw the beauty of my wife."

Amen and amen!

Last Sunday, we saw a seventy-year-old woman respond to the message of Jesus. As tears flowed down her cheeks, she said to me, "Pastor, I want Jesus to come into my life." At the conclusion of the service, a six-year-old girl came all the way up on the podium, pulled on my coat tail, and said to me, "Pastor Brent, am I too young to ask Jesus into my heart?" We prayed, and she invited Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. God showed our church that He is ready to save anyone, regardless of their age or their situation.

The next day, a seventy-four-year-old woman came into my office and said, "Pastor, I want to accept Jesus into my life." She then asked me if she was too old. Right then and there she prayed to receive Jesus into her life.

God is moving in the hearts of people in Virden, Illinois.

Pastor Brent, God is moving all over this great land! Praise the Lord that you are living for Him and you are training your people live for Him, too.

We begin a new year and a new opportunity to do all we can to witness, win, and baptize those in our area of the vineyard — the portion the Lord has called us to be faithful in. He has given us a church and people to train and encourage to be Great Commission Christians. This year, may we be found faithful with what He has entrusted to us.

Remember: "Everyone Can ... And I'm It!"

And remember the Six Points of Challenge in order to reach more than ever before: Train and Equip my people; Witness and Win to those around me; Baptize those I/we win to the Lord; Be faithful in Stewardship; Do Vacation Bible School; and Start New Units.

God bless you and yours this year as you serve Jesus Christ.


Bobby H. Welch is president of the Southern Baptist Convention, pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.

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January 2006 Edition
Volume 14, Issue 4
January 2006