An honor to be with two friends of a lifetime, Dr. Clarence Sexton and Dr. Paul Chappell. Men of God are gathering at Walkertown from every point of the compass... to honor Dr. Bobby Roberson, the personification and epitome of what it means to be a Man of God representing the greatest of the greatest generation.
A Prophet Among Us…Nulli Secundus!
My wife and I are planning to pay tribute to the life one of God’s choicest servants this week in Walkertown, NC. What can we say about Dr. Bobby Roberson? He was happily married to Mrs. Jackie for 66 years until she went to Heaven in 2015. He is spending today with his lifetime Valentine. Since his precious wife passed, every time we were together we could not talk more than 10 to 15 minutes without her being mentioned. Theirs was a classic... love story. He missed her terribly. No longer. Brother Bobby pastored the Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walkertown, NC for over 61 years. Brother Bobby was in the “Ionosphere” among Independent, Fundamentalist Baptists. Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Harold B. Sightler, Dr. John R. Rice- these are his peers. Few men alive would fall into that category. In many ways, Brother Bobby stood alone. Great success never warped his character, turned his head or made him arrogant. He may be the most humble man I’ve ever met. I love the story that Steve told me years ago when Dr. Curtis Hudson was preaching in the newly built auditorium and Dr. Hudson said, “As I stand here looking out on this great congregation in this beautiful building, Dr. Bobby Roberson saw all of this long before it came to pass.” Just at that moment, Brother Bobby leaned over and said, “Steve, I never saw any of this.” No one was more surprised at his own phenomenal success than this true man of God. And he was sincere, totally sincere! He never looked down on anyone, nor was intimidated by anyone. I was always amazed at the respect that he gave men without fearing them. There was no “camp” that owned him, no fear of man dissuaded him. He truly lived in the fear of God. Brother Bobby was a great combination as a fearless defender of the faith and a soul winner with a compassionate burden for the souls of men, women, boys and girls. In the army of the Lord, he was one of our greatest generals. He was what Carl Sandberg said of Lincoln, “He was a velvet covered brick.” His ministry reminded me of the words of General William Hardee when commenting of Company A, Sixth Arkansas Infantry Cleburne’s Division, 1861 – 1865: "When his division defended, no odds could break its lines, when it attacked, no numbers resisted its onslaught." We are able to say of Dr. Bobby Roberson, “…There hath been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:5). Indeed. A prophet among us…nulli secondus!
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" (I Timothy 1:12). Thirty-seven years ago today I preached my first sermon at our church as pastor. It is the only church I have pastored. It is the honor of a lifetime! Sola Deo Gloria!
What a joy to have Jared, Heather (my daughter), Caleb, Christopher and Cara brought into our church this morning. Jared Matthews becomes our Associate Pastor today.
Congratulations Robert, Taunya, Katherine, Theodore, Oliver and Hazel Painter! They are celebrating having read aloud as a family together the entire Bible (Aut...horized Version) in less than one year. One of the finest families in Christchurch Baptist Fellowship. As their pastor, I am so happy for them. This is a worthy goal of any family.
Forty-four years ago today I married Barbara Wright. I married the "Wright" girl. We were both so young...and so in love. When I think of all the clichés that are used to describe truly great marriages such as “soul-mates”; “marriage-made-in-heaven”; “the perfect match.” Well, they all seemed to pale when I try to describe this union. Since I met Barbara in 1972, I cannot think of a time when I did not love her. Something happened when we met that I can only describe as super...natural. I had all the normal attractions…yes she was smart…she was pretty…she was the best church pianist I had ever heard (and by the way, all of that is still very true). Yet, it was so much more than that and I would run out of superlatives should I try to explain. I return to the concept of “supernatural.” There was and still is a supernatural love, admiration and appreciation that I have for Barbara, the one great love of my life. I did not find “a” right one. I found “THE” right one. God was more than involved in bringing us together; He orchestrated the whole thing! I not only love her, but I like her. I enjoy our time together. There are times when I am in another room or back at the church studying or reading and I will take my books and go home or go to the room where she is…just to be in her presence. She is the princess of my kingdom. The star in my sky. She is the best Christian I have ever known. And other than the Lord Jesus, she is the best friend I have ever had. God has blessed us with four kids, their spouses and eleven grandkids. We are blessed beyond measure. And it all started one evening in Schererville, Indiana when I looked across the room and saw her for the first time…perfect posture, golden hair, kind eyes, magnetic smile…the epitome of femininity. And above all…I sensed on that day and even more on this day… the smile of God….the will of God…the blessing of God. I love you Barbara…always have ….always will…always…always. – “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
Someone had a camera after our 3rd date. I was as certain as I am now…I was in love with this the one and only love of my life. 40 years of the happiest marriage God has ever given a couple.
Today is Dad's birthday. I miss him everyday. He was and still is everything a boy needed in a father. He truly lived the Christian life as good as any man I ha...ve ever known. His wisdom was applicable. His love was unconditional. His Christlikeness was remarkable. He came to us from another era; born in 1913. I love him so much! We are standing on the ground my grandfather owned before the Great Depression. During the hard times, Grandpa Pope sold his land for 25 dollars per acre and he became the town barber in Big Sandy, Texas. Later they found gas on his former property. Although we did not receive gas or oil rights, my Dad gave us something far greater, a spiritual inheritance that far exceeds anything this world has to offer. Proverbs 22:28, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."
Happy Birthday to my big brother, David! Dad named my brother David and me, Jonathan. He gave our sister (Julia) the middle name "Grace."
Dad often told us he had the story of Mephibosheth in mind when he named us, "And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?" (II Samuel 9:1). Mom and Dad also wanted us to love each other like David and Jonathan. And we did. And we still do. While yet in my teens we we...re an evangelistic team together. David used his administrative skills to guide us from meeting to meeting. He led the singling and I preached. Although in later years David became quite the accomplished banker, I'll never forget one of the last things Dad told me, "David, will preach one day." And Dad was right. I am so proud of my big brother. He is the pastor of Penn West Baptist Church in Holdenville, OK. David has always had the shepherd's heart and I was his first parishioner. In our youth we were in church so much, that we even played church. And David was always the preacher. I was under his order to be the sinners (yes plural) who would get saved when he gave the invitation. Every time we went swimming, which was often, he insisted on baptizing me. Once he took on the community bully and whipped him for constantly picking on me. I was never bullied again. When I was a paper boy, he was my circulation manager. As I progressed in school I was constantly challenged to do better, because he always did his best. Mother called David the rock of our family. He is still my Forever Friend and my only brother in the flesh, but even more so in the Spirit. I love you Pastor Dave! Always have. Always will.
Happy Birthday to my big sister, Judy Deeson. When I use the word big, I don't mean in size physically, but rather emotionally and spiritually. Although you would never guess it, she is seven years my senior. Our parents were totally committed to the the Lord and His work. When Dad went out visiting or other accomplishing other ministerial requirements, Mom went with him. And there were times when Mom felt compelled to supplement Dad's meager missionary salary, but taking a j...ob. So Judy got drafted to be my brother's and my mom. She was fun, but always strict. Even now, I am fighting the tears, because I was a very strong willed child, but she was as strong willed as I was and at times, many times stronger than I and she tamed my proverbial "wild horse" instinct. How can I say "Thanks?" The Lord brought Judy into this world to make it a better place. And God used her to make me a better man. And I love her. And so to my second mom, I say Happy Birthday dear Sister; you're the best!
Three years ago I preached in Punta Gorda, on the Southwest coast of Florida. The young man with whom I am standing, Peter Hurd was by his own testimony walking... on the wild side. He came to the services that night to get the man who had been witnessing to him off his back. He had no intention of walking the aisle. Peter said when the invitation was given, the Holy Spirit pushed him into the altar. And right there and then he repented, giving his heart to Jesus! He got baptized and he and his girlfriend got married she gave her heart to Chirst. Now three years later, he and his wife have a precious little baby girl. One more thing, Peter has surrendered to I preach the same Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that saved him and he and his young family are living the amazing abundant life the Lord Jesus promised in John 10:10. Fellowshipping with Peter these past two days reminds me that this is what heaven is going to be like. Psalm 126:5,6.