Count Your Blessings

As we just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, we are all still recovering from the overeating, the family gatherings, and the cleaning up the mess. Thanksgiving Day is a day to be thankful for all God has blessed us with. Every day we should give thanks, but it is good to have a day set aside to remind us.

As we were making the long drive back home from Missouri, I was reflecting on the many blessings God has given me, and it wasn’t long, I lost count of the many, many blessings. I enjoyed time off work to visit family and friends. I enjoyed some rest and down time. I enjoyed a wonderful feast of all the things I love to eat and had many leftovers. And I must say, I enjoyed the desserts!

I was reminded of the verse which says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with who there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17). God has truly blessed me, and I kept counting my blessings.

The hymn writer, Johnson Oatman in 1897, penned these powerful words:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

There are the obvious things we are blessed with such as our family, our friends, our salvation, good health, and all the things we often think of. But my mind wondered even further, and I realized how blessed I truly am. I am truly surprised at what the Lord has done!

And I kept counting.

I am blessed to serve as the Disaster Relief Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, serving alongside some amazing teammates and remarkable volunteers.

I am blessed to be a part of the work of the Lord through my local church, through the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, working together through the Cooperative Program.

I could go on and on listing how God has blessed me, but rather than looking at my list, begin to count your own blessings, and you will be surprised at what the Lord has done.

Oh, Give Thanks to the Lord

This week marks the celebration of Thanksgiving.  Turkey, dressing, and desserts will be devoured on Thursday.  Families will gather to eat and give thanks.  But why?  For Americans, we give thanks for many reasons, not least of which is our freedom to live in a land that is free (for now) to worship without the dictates of government.  Giving thanks is not a new idea; it’s actually rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview.

Both the Old and New Testament calls us to give thanks to the Lord.  For example, the people of Israel were to give thanks to the Lord when King David brought the ark of God to the city of Jerusalem.  The ark symbolized the presence of God among His people. The day that the ark arrived in Jerusalem was a day of great celebration. 

The writer of 1 Chronicles 16 records for us the song of thanksgiving that was offered to God on that momentous day. 

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.  Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.  Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.  Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.  Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth” (vv 8-12). 

Giving thanks is a normal response of the people of God in the Old Testament to who God is and what He has done for them.  The people of Israel are to give thanks for what God has done for them, so that the peoples (other nations) would know this one true God.

Thanksgiving to God, therefore, is not only to be vertical but also horizontal.  In other words, our thanks is to be directed to God as a testimony to others of who He is and what He does.  While we give our thanks to God for what He has done for us, we do so in order that the nations might know what He has done on their behalf. 

So give thanks to the Lord this season of Thanksgiving, but do so in order that you might “make known His deeds among the peoples.”  As you give thanks to God for all He has done for you, remember to make Him known to those who yet do not know Him.

We all have family, friends, and neighbors who need to hear of the wonderful deeds of the Lord.  So give thanks, and in so doing make Him known.   

God-Given Missions Potential

I was speaking recently to the pastor of a small Kentucky church that was doing a great job engaging their local community with gospel focused ministry.  I celebrated all that God was doing and how exciting it was to witness the congregation’s concern for their neighbors.

I then asked my pastor friend about the church’s missions involvement nationally and internationally.  To my surprise and disappointment, he shared that they were too small to do anything internationally, but hoped someday they could. I reminded my friend that God had gifted his church with missions potential and that it was possible for a small church (his terminology, not mine) to be engaged strategically in international missions.  

Here are some of the things I shared that every church should consider.

  1. Adopt a missionary – work with the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s missions strategists or the International Mission Board to discover a missionary they can adopt.  Adoption is a beautiful word that describes the strong relationship between missionaries and churches who pray and encourage them in their ministries. Adoption provides a heightened awareness and a strengthened commitment to missions, personal relationship with an active missionary, regular communication and occasional Zoom calls or pre-recorded videos played during a worship service.
  2. Partner with others –planning and implementing an international missions experience may seem daunting to one church, but partnering together with other churches or the local Baptist Association makes going a real possibility.  Multiple churches can share resources and provide strategically gifted volunteers when one single church can’t. 
  3. Provide housing and transportation when missionaries are state-side – most missionaries will return to the state every 3-4 years and remain here for a couple of months visiting family and taking care of ministry responsibilities.  A church can turn an unused parsonage into a missions house for visiting missionaries.  This makes their time in the states so much more restful. Contact Kentucky WMU to learn more about how to provide a missions house for missionaries.
  4. Pray for missionaries and the nations – this is the most important way to support those God has called to serve as international missionaries.  It is something that every church can do. Pray for the spiritual, physical and mental health of missionaries serving, and the lost people they minister to.  The mission of advancing the gospel is the great work of the church, and prayer is the engine that moves it. 

God has equipped your congregation with gifts, talents and resources that are of extreme value to missions engagement and advancement of the Great Commission. A church of any size can be involved in international missions, but whether they do so is up to them.  Every church has exciting missions potential – no matter its size.  Will your church measure up to its potential? 

It’s Christmas Backpack Time

The holidays are upon us.  Tomorrow is November 1st.  Thanksgiving, then Christmas, will be here very soon.  For Kentucky Baptists, November is the month of our KBC Annual Meeting.  For the Missions Mobilization Team, it is the month for Christmas Backpacks.  Deliveries will be made to churches and ministries, with ministries preparing to distribute to the children between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Girls and boys across the state and in our SEND CINCINNATI partnership will be blessed as backpacks YOU packed will be distributed to children in need.

Backpack applications were sent out in March, and we had requests for 12,683.  The Kentucky Baptist Convention goal for 2023 was to fill 10,000 backpacks, knowing that we would also receive backpacks from our partnering state conventions.      

Every year I get a little nervous and pray that we will receive enough backpacks to meet all of these needs.  Yet, over and over again, God provides.  Will I ever learn?  I often say, “Oh me, of little faith.”

Phone calls and emails have come in all day about backpacks.  You can hear the excitement as regional collection site directors call to report the numbers that have come in.  However, there is lots of hard work ahead.  Please pray with us:

  • That enough backpacks are received to meet the requests.
  • For associational & regional collection sites to have the volunteers needed to sort the backpacks.
  • For individuals to pick up and deliver the backpacks to the needed distribution sites.
  • For church and ministry Backpack Events.
  • For those sharing the Gospel message. 
  • For children and families to not only receive a Christmas Backpack, but come to know Christ as their personal Savior and receive the Greatest Gift this Christmas season.

Thank you to all who had a hand in purchasing, filling, sorting, delivering, distributing, or whatever part you had in the KBC Christmas Backpack Initiative.  You are a blessing to many families during this season…and even for eternity.  It’s a blessing to work together as Kentucky Baptists for such a great cause!!

May each of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!!

A Cup of Cold Water

I have learned over the years that at times the simplest of actions can have the greatest impact. I have had people in the past thank me for everything I did for them. As I reflect on what I did, I really couldn’t think of much, if anything that I “did.” I would often respond with, “I didn’t do anything.” And then their response was, “But you were there.”

My presence in their time of need, grief, tragedy, and loss would in itself be what they need. It did not seem like much to me, but to them it meant the world.

I have a friend who loves to get greeting cards in the mail. She loves to read them, read them over and over and display them where she can be reminded of kind words and thoughts. A simple card means a great deal to her.

I have discovered during times of disaster, the things that matter most are often the simple things. A meal or a blanket. A card or a prayer. A shoulder to cry on or a word of encouragement. Sometimes even just being there.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (ESV)

The “little ones” refers to those who may seem insignificant or unnoticed. Those who are unimportant or have little. Those who have lost everything in a storm. Helping someone with the simplest of things like a cup of cold water to quench a thirst can mean a great deal to someone.

When you serve others, even in simple ways, you will pour a blessing on someone, but in turn, you are blessed as well. In the disaster relief ministry, we experience this over and over again. We feel we are going to serve others in their time of need to bless them, but so many times we are the ones being blessed. We often call it the “double blessing.”

I often wonder if we would take time to look around and see the needs of others and with a simple act, make a huge difference in someone’s life.

• Pray about it.
• Prepare for it.
• Plan on it.
• Present it.

You might just experience that “double blessing” yourself. And maybe, just maybe, lives will be changed.

Learn how you can be involved in the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief ministry by visiting for more information.

Reds Baseball and the Cooperative Program

The muddy and winding Ohio River flows through or borders six states, two of which are KY and OH.  Along the Ohio River’s path sits America’s original Boomtown—Cincinnati, also called the Queen City.  Cincinnati is most notably known as the home of Reds baseball where the Great American Ballpark rests on the bank of the river. 

To the surprise of most, the Reds went on a run this year. In fact, they didn’t get eliminated from the playoff race until the last weekend of the regular season.  After finishing with a record of 82-80, most fans look forward to next year with excitement.  What has made the difference in their late season run and increased fan optimism?  It’s simple.  New players.  A group of new players joined the team after a rough beginning to the season.  But what does Reds baseball have to do with the Cooperative Program?

Well, metro Cincinnati boasts of 2.1 million people, which is nearly half of the population of the whole state of KY.  Sadly, only 13.7 percent of Cincinnati’s metro residents are affiliated with any evangelical church.  In other words, 1.8 million in metro Cincinnati have no evangelical church affiliation. Not surprisingly then, in the five counties around the city, there is only 1 SBC church for every 10,298 people.

What does this mean? We need more players in the game, if you will, to defeat lostness and to make disciples through the planting of churches.  This is why the KBC is partnering with NAMB and the 36 Send Cincinnati church planters to connect KBC churches with them as they invest their lives in the Queen City for maximum gospel impact.

One church planter in Cincinnati told Kentucky Baptist pastors and leaders who were visiting him on a vision trip, “KBC churches have made it possible for us to do more through their partnerships with us than we could on our own.”  Cooperative missions is what we are about as Southern Baptists.  We really believe we can do more together than we can by ourselves. 

When your church gives through the Cooperative Program, you are stepping up to the plate to help advance the gospel as churches are planted in Cincinnati.  Churches giving through the Cooperative Program help support financially all 36 church planters in Cincinnati (and eventually the additional 7 which are in the hopper), as the gospel is multiplied in the Queen City.  Now that’s worth our cooperation and excitement.   

For more information about Cincinnati or our other KBC partnerships and how your church can give and go, email us at [email protected] or visit        

EBO Funds Help to Provide Retreat for KY-MSC Missionaries

September is State Missions Month.  Most of our Kentucky Baptist Churches have observed the Week of Prayer for State Missions and received the Eliza Broadus Offering, which supports missions and ministers across the state.  As Missions Mobilization Coordinator with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, let me say thank you for praying and giving through EBO. 

As you give through the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus Offering, you are a part of the work of 120 Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries that serve in various ministries across the state.  Just this past week I had the privilege of leading the annual Kentucky Missionary Retreat at Central Baptist Church in Corbin.    

The missionaries work hard all year, and this is a way to say thank you to them, allow them to rest & relax, worship & pray together, and a time to network with each other.  We like to say this is our KY-MSC Family Reunion.

The retreat began on Wednesday afternoon.  Following an opening devotion & prayer, the missionaries played EBOpoly with Ms. Susan Bryant.  This was a fun way to learn about ministries that receive EBO funds, as well as other information about Eliza Broadus.  Did you know she was not born in Kentucky?  Dr. Liz Encinia also shared about how KY-WMU supports the work of KY-MSC missionaries.

Dr. Todd Gray greeted the missionaries via video.  Mattew Bone, Minister of Music at Pikeville First Baptist Church, and Josh Pollitt, Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church in Corbin, led us in a time of worship.  We heard ministry testimonies and learned about “Living with Margin” from Pastor John Lucas & Tanya Parker, with Pikeville First Baptist Church.  Wow did we ever need that!!

Free time was spent visiting interesting sights in the Corbin area.  Some got to see Cumberland Falls for the very first time; others enjoyed a snack from the “original” KFC.    

The retreat ended on Friday with “Intentional Evangelism” by KBC’s Ian Carrico, and “The 3 G’s of Discipling” by Seth Carter, Pastor of Paintsville First Baptist Church.  Bro. Seth referred to evangelism and discipling as “peanut butter and jelly.”  These sessions will better equip the missionaries for service.

This was a fun and challenging three days.  Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for helping make the retreat possible. 

For information and ways to connect with Kentucky missions & missionaries go to     

Short-term Missions as a Help to the Mission

Missions is about making disciples of all nations, and often involves the crossing of cultures, languages, and geographical boundaries to accomplish that task. Disciples are made in the context of the local church over time.  Missionaries invest their lives in places void of the gospel in order that sinners will come to faith in Jesus and grow in that faith through the ministry of the local church.  There is no shortcut to disciple-making.  So, if there is no shortcut, how can short-term missions be part of this overall mission of disciple-making of all nations?  In other words, how can anything short-term contribute to anything that we know is a long-term process?

No doubt that short-term missions can be a hinderance to the mission when churches go with their own agendas.  However, I am convinced that done rightly, short-term missions can be of help to the missionary and the work of the gospel. Let me offer some suggestions to help churches assist missionaries through short-term missions. 

  • Local churches partnering with missionaries long-term.  Relationships take time and churches that will invest in relationships with missionaries over many years will often find that the work of the gospel is strengthened.  I would suggest an initial commitment of 3-5 years for a mission partnership.  This gospel relationship can include elements such as intentional prayer, financial support, tangible encouragement, and, yes, short-term teams. 
  • Send multiple short-term teams throughout the year (when needed).  Most missionaries I know partnering with churches and short-term teams prefer smaller teams rather than larger teams.  Certainly, there are exceptions to this request, but larger teams are often more difficult logistically.  Instead of sending one team of 20 to a partnering missionary, a church can send two teams of 10 throughout the year.  Multiple teams allow the church the opportunity to deepen the touches and relationship with the missionaries and the people they are seeking to reach. 
  • Be intentionally gospel-centered. While this sounds obvious at first glance, we can often do good things but neglect (unintentionally) the most important thing—the gospel.  At the end of the day, our goal is to make disciples of Jesus.  There is so much we can say about what a disciple of Jesus is, but we can not say less than it being one who turns from their sins and trusts in Jesus as their sacrificed, risen, sinless Savior and Lord.  Churches must work carefully with their partnering missionary to share the good news of Jesus with intentionality.
  • Allow the missionary to determine the needs/strategy for making disciples among the people.  While local churches often mean well, we can often impose our own agendas and strategies for reaching a people that we frankly do not know much about.  Missionaries invest their lives learning a new culture, language, and way of life in order to effectively make disciples where Jesus is not known.  Churches will do well to trust those missionaries and assist them in the strategies that they believe will best accomplish that goal.   
  • Be a servant.  As churches partner with missionaries for gospel impact, the goal is to serve those missionaries and the people they are seeking to reach.  Taking on the posture of a servant will allow both the missionary and the church partner to work well together, as it demonstrates the church’s goal of coming to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45).

There is no guarantee that any mission gospel partnership will be free from relational challenges, but these five suggestions will go a long way to strengthening gospel partnerships meant for gospel impact.  Indeed, there is no short-cut to disciple-making or mission partnerships, but the benefit of gospel impact will affect not only the missionaries and partnering churches, but also those who do not yet to follow Jesus. 

The Summer Is Ended

School is back in session and, although you would not know it from the 90ᵒ temperatures we are having, summer is almost over.  It has been fun seeing pictures on Facebook of students as they return to school.  Parents have posted side by side pictures of their children from last school year and this school year.  This morning I saw a picture of a young lady that started her first day at the University of Kentucky.  It seems only yesterday that she was in kindergarten.  My, how quickly they grow up.  Where has the time gone? 

Although there are still several weeks of summer left, for many the beginning of school seems to mark the end of their summer.  Please pray for students, teachers, faculty/staff, bus drivers, lunchroom workers, administrators, and all those in the school system to have a good and safe school year.

Back-to-school also tends to mark the end of summer schedules for our missionaries.  Mission teams have come and gone.  Many families have been ministered to, the Gospel has been shared, and lives have been changed.  Praise God for their willingness to serve and for those who have experienced new life in Christ as a result.

Although much has been done, there is still much work to do.  Missions do not end with the end of summer.  There are opportunities to serve throughout the year.  Thousands in our backdoor, in our state, our nation, and around the world still need the Gospel.  We must not slack; never give up.  We must be about our Father’s business of taking the message of hope to them.

The children at my church sing a little chorus that says, “I hope you see that my hope in only in Jesus, and I hope you see that your hope in only in Him.”  We must go.  We must share that hope.

Be on the lookout for Fall and Winter mission opportunities.  Projects will be updated soon on the KBC Mission Opportunities page (  Churches have already begun to fill Christmas Backpacks ( for needy children where the Gospel will be shared.  Let’s keep on showing and sharing the love of Christ.  Many still need to hear. 

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20).

Loving Children Like Jesus

There are times we don’t always see things like Jesus does. We struggle with it often, and as I look in the scriptures, the disciples struggled with it too. There are several times recorded in the Gospels where Jesus had to correct them. I sometimes will ask myself, “when will I ever learn?”

I am reminded specifically of the passage in Luke 18:15-16 where people were bringing their babies to Jesus so that He might touch them. What did the disciples do? They tried to prevent these parents from bringing their children to Jesus.

And I love Jesus’ response to them, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” I can hear the tone of His voice. I can sense the compassion and love He had for these precious little ones. I can see the smile on His face.

I have watched children, even my own grandchildren and love the innocence of their hearts, the excitement for life, the joy simple things bring, and a smile that will just melt your heart. When did we lose those things as we grew up? Why don’t we look forward to a new day with excitement? We can learn so much from our children.

And yes, I know children can be loud, obnoxious, and even disobedient. But let us love these children enough to spend time with them. To teach them. To show them new things and experience this world. To tell them the truth, correct them when they are wrong, and hug them when they hurt.

Most importantly, let us love them enough to show them the compassion and love of Jesus. May we tell them about Jesus and how He loved the little children. May we disciple them, teach them, and tell them about how Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross for us.

May we not be so consumed with our own lives that we miss what our children can teach us. What they can show us. And just maybe, the excitement they have for life will be contagious just enough that it will rub off on us.

Let me encourage you to take a few minutes to:
• Pray for the children in your life… that they will know Jesus.
• Play with the children in your life…that you may bring joy into their day.
• Prepare to learn from the children in your life…that you enjoy each day a little more.

Maybe loving children like Jesus will ultimately change us.