I am so blessed that God has allowed me to serve Him and see Him do such great things in my life. I was just sitting here thinking about His goodness.
By His grace I was born in a place where I could and would hear the gospel message as a young boy. I would grow up in a Christian home. I would be taught to read, study, an memorize God’s Word.
I thank God for Wrigley Baptist Church, Wrigley, Tennessee. I thank God for Pastor Carlton Flowers. I was saved on May 6, 1962 there under his preaching. I was baptized the week following in Mill Creek just down the road. I remember my Sunday School teachers being kind to me. I remember them teaching me the Bible
I thank God for Royal Ambassador camp when I was only 11 years old. I surrendered my life to serve God as a missionary. We were members of Trace Creek Baptist Church. The Norwood family was greatly used in my life. God also used our pastor to motivate me to learn more about being a missionary.
I thank God for McEwen, Tennessee First Baptist Church. Pastor James Gary was a blessing to me. He spent time with me working around the church. He allowed me to preach my first messages. Ed and Margie Gunn worked with the teens in that church and were the greatest of friends to me.
Then off to Shorter College where God would allow me the greatest blessing of my earthly life. I met Betty Ferguson. She married me, a red neck country boy. She loved me. She gave joy to my life. She served beside me for all these years. She became the greatest mother, the kindest person, and best Christian I have ever known. She loved and raised our children for the Lord. She helped me in every step of the ministry. She gave purpose to all of my life.
God gave us 4 wonderful children. I can never thank God enough for them. They love Jesus. They are serving Him. He gave us two great young men that are preachers. They both preach, disciple, train men, lead their homes, all for the glory of God. Chris and David, no dad could be prouder of his preacher sons. You are what I dreamed of when I thought of being a dad one day. Your ministries inspire me, they make me proud, they make me know that long after I am gone you and your children will continue to serve God.
God gave us two wonderful daughters that have been great moms, wonderful wives, great Christians and brought more joy to our lives that we can explain. I never really wanted girls. I asked God to give us only boys to train for the ministry but I was wrong. You, both, have made my life full. I love watching you be godly moms. I love watching you love your husbands. I am so proud of you and all that you do, are, and represent. You are a dream come true.
God allowed me to serve in Peru as a missionary. I can’t explain how happy, blessed, and proud that makes me. I saw the greatest people in the world raise up and do great things. I saw them start churches, send missionaries, go as missionaries, and accomplish more than anyone ever dreamed possible. Today I count you as my joy and crown. I love you guys.
God has allowed us to work in several churches. I thank God for Dykes Creek Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia and Pastor Willard Willis. He gave me a chance. The pastor that married us, Pastor Billy Kitchens, Fellowship Baptist Church, helped open my first door of ministry. Those were the best of times, the best of people, the best church any young man could have started his ministry in.
God allowed me to work with my best friend, Steve McVey, as my pastor and boss at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Tarrant City, Alabama. I loved all that God did there. I learned, I grew, I made so many mistakes, Steve nor any of that church should have allowed me to keep working there but they did.
Then Betty and I would move to Georgia. We would be members of Forrest Hills Baptist Church and Marietta Baptist Tabernacle before starting Liberty Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia. I was young and stupid but God blessed. He sent people. They got saved. They went on to serve God and do great things. I am so very proud of them. I am thankful that God gave us 8 good years in that church.
God has really blessed to allow me to work with the best missionaries in the world. These young men have challenged and motivated me. Their heart to get the gospel to the world, their hard work, and selfless lives inspire me. They have gone to hard countries, closed countries, worked, preached, and prayed when no one appreciated them. They have learned difficult languages. They have cross cultural boundaries and been blessed in their efforts. I think of them every day. I am honored that I know them. I am thankful for how they have loved and put up with me when I am hard headed, fussing and fighting, pushing, worrying, and doing the things that I do.
These young men are like my sons in the faith. I love them. I am blessed to know them. I am honored to serve with them. Not a day goes by that I do not think of them. I dream and they invade my dreams. Their families are precious to me. I am thankful for everyone of you and the sacrifice and service you give to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am blessed to pastor Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. What a wonderful church they are. I am so thankful for all of them. God gave us great deacons, staff, Sunday School teachers, music, and servants of all kinds. Vision has been a great giving church. They think of others. They give to reach the world. They have lived in pioneer mode now for nearly 9 years. They meet in a rented building that is less than ideal but do not complain. They make the best of it all the time. I am thankful for every one of them.
What a pastoral team I have been privileged to work with. I thank God for each of them. They work long hours, often unnoticed, unappreciated, unthanked even by me. They serve God and Vision and I am blessed to work with them.
God I am thankful to you for all of this. It is you that has made it possible. It is you that has saved us, allowed us to serve, given us life and friends, given me the greatest family in the world. It is you and all you and I know that. I am thankful.
I am thankful for the friends the Lord has given me. I am thankful for the health, the blessings, the finances, the freedom, the ministry. I am thanful today and every day. God has been so good to me!
Thank you to all of you. Thank you for forgiving me for not mentioning you. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for allowing me to serve God with you. Thank you for always being so good to me. I say thanks to all.
Most of all I thank Betty, you are the love of my life. I am nothing without you. I thank Chris, Stephanie, Joy, and David for being such wonderful children. I thank Jacob, Hannah, Andrew, and Joshua Gardner, Philip, Dave, Ronnie, Andrew, Matthew, Jonathan, Josiah, and Elizabeth Young, Benjamin, Lelia, Caleb, and Abby Soncco, Chloe and Ally Gardner for being wonderful grandchildren. I am also very thankful for Andria Gardner, David Young, Jimmy Soncco, and Katie Gardner for the wonderful spouses and parents that they are.
So much to be thankful for so I just wanted to take the time to note some of it. Thank you to you all.