October 1999 — One can hardly imagine a venue more conducive to spiritual “recharge” than the picturesque Doublehead Resort, located alongside Wilson Lake amidst 1100 acres of towering pines and hardwoods between Decatur and Florence, Ala. A gentle and much-needed rain throughout the weekend highlighted the comfort of the 5,000 square foot central lodge and lakeside log cabins, where I joined about 30 men from the Seven Mile Post Road Church of Christ (7MPRC) in my hometown of Athens, Ala. for 15 waking hours of Bible teaching, worship, testimonies and prayer.
The rain also reminded us of the heavenly blessings which God showers on those who seek him with honest confession and singleness of purpose. These were our tasks this weekend, and that was the result. Hearts brimmed over as men with solid histories praised God for their childhoods and for his saving love; former drug addicts and alcoholics rejoiced in Jesus’ deliverance. Men who once had forsaken families or had been forsaken by wives testified to the warmth and welcome of the household of God; a brother who had narrowly escaped death in Vietnam described his passion to share the gospel with former enemies in Hanoi. An unmarried Russian brother and former KGB agent thanked God for leading him to Christian fellowship in “the church with the unusual name” (7MPRC).
I was privileged to walk us through the Book of Psalms as we traced the heart of the man after God’s own heart, then to lead us through the Book of Acts as we examined ways the eternal Holy Spirit guided believers in the first century and still guides them today. Wade Franks, a devoted servant of Christ from the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) exhorted us to be faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, filled with the Word and equipped with heavenly armor. Baptist brother Eric Pugh encouraged us from Scripture to become better fathers, husbands and mentors of other men. Corky French drove down from Otter Creek Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn. to recount how he found God in the “wilderness” of life’s painful circumstances.
On Sunday morning I presented two mini-sermons at the 7MPR church, first an encouragement from Nehemiah on building for God in the face of opposition, then a New Testament message on enjoying the presence of the Risen Christ through daily life in the Spirit. The 200+ member church is a shining light in Limestone County, Ala.,extending Christ’s forgiveness, healing, deliverance, power and peace to a human spectrum of “whosoever will’s.” The church is fed and led by my lifelong friend Joe Curtis and by his associate Dwight Ridinger — both of whom earn a living at “secular” jobs. A multitude of members fulfil other ministries.