May 18, 2022
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Fully Alive with Perseverance

Dear Church family:

I’m writing you today outside Little Rock, Arkansas. We traveled yesterday to be present for a memorial service honoring the life of Rebecca’s late uncle, Dr. Harold Mitchell.

“Uncle Harold” as we all called him, was a man who was fully alive. He had a deep relationship with Jesus Christ that transformed his entire life. Key to that transformation was a perseverance to press on and overcome. After completing his training as a dentist and opening private practice, Uncle Harold and his wife Rene answered the call to full time missionary work in Africa. He along with Rene and their three children, served in four different countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Botswana) for a combined thirty years. Away from home almost all of that time, he persevered the difference of culture and language to became a servant to those who otherwise would not have received dental treatment. All the while he told them about Jesus and God’s love.

When he retired from being a field missionary and returned to Arkansas, he found a new way to express his calling. This one was perhaps the greatest show of perseverance yet. He became a prison chaplain and began to minister specifically to inmates who were on death row. In his ministry, he counseled these inmates during moments of extreme anxiety and listened to their thoughts and emotions. I don’t know how he did it other than perseverance.

As his health declined in recent months, Uncle Harold kept his live sense of humor and did his absolute best to enjoy his remaining time on earth. He died peacefully surrounded by his family. I have no doubt that as he took his final breath on earth, God welcomed him with open arms with the words “Well done good and faithful servant. Great is your reward.” In other words, Uncle Harold’s perseverance in faithful living for Jesus Christ had eternal implications.

I believe that is true for all of us. How we live for Jesus Christ matters; especially during the difficult moments when we feel all alone. It’s no secret to many, but times will get hard. In fact, if we truly follow Jesus, it’s guaranteed! It’s easy to back down or give up during these moments, but the same God who gave us the ability to have faith will also give us the necessary perseverance to press on and overcome. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I want to explore being fully alive with perseverance more with you this coming Sunday as we continue our sermon series inspired by Acts. Our scripture reading will be Acts 17:16-34, and I ask each of you to read beforehand and see the perseverance demonstrated in these verses as Paul stands before the Areopagus. It’s going to be a great Sunday at First Baptist, and I can’t wait to see you all!


Pastor David

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