Baptist Testimony – Volume 52 Number 5 – June/July 2006

From Where I Stand
Maynard H. Belt
MARBC State Representative

“Divine Interventions – Living with the Living God”
The book of Daniel brought to life at our annual Men's Retreats!

Some 450 men enjoyed our two annual MARBC Men's Retreats May 4-6 & 11-13 at beautiful Lake Ann Baptist Camp near Traverse City. Though the sunshine was scarce and the showers were soggy, spirits were not dampened and many fishermen and golfers still attacked their sports with great fervor and fanaticy (?). This year's speaker, Rev. Doug Crawford, Pastor/Teacher, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, brought four messages from the book of Daniel on the theme, “Divine Interventions – Living with the Living God.” Each of the messages presented a portrait of God's divine intervention in the lives of Daniel, the three Hebrew children and Nebuchadnezzar.

As always, we were enriched by the ministry in music by several of the pastors and lay men from our local churches. Our worship in singing was led by Pastor Mark Cizauskas, Children's and Worship Ministries pastor at West cannon Baptist Church in Belmont, and Pastor Nathan Pierpont, Worship pastor at Northeastern Baptist Church in Kalamazoo. This year our good friend, Bob Baribeau, our Men's Retreat pianist for the past 21 years, announced that this would be his last year. In appreciation for his dedicated service he was recognized with a beautiful picture (entitled “His Eye is on the Sparrow”) and a standing ovation. Thank you, Bob, for the great memories and all the fun times that we have had together! Your ministry in music has contributed much to the spiritual impact of these Retreats and you will be dearly missed. A special word of appreciation and thanks to Ron Barker, Video CD Productions, for making it possible to put the main sessions on video, and Brother Dodd Morris, WCSG Kids Ministry director, for audio taping the sessions. If any are interested in purchasing either the tapes or videos, they will soon be posted on our website (www.MARBC.net).

Our annual Friday evening trophy presentations are always a highlight of our Retreats. Trophy winners for the churches with the most men present the first weekend were: Division I (300+) – West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, with 38 men; Division II (150-300) – Orangeville Baptist Church, Plainwell, with 13 men; and Division III (1-150) – First Baptist Church, Portland, with 21 men. During the second weekend the Division I trophy went to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint with 31 men; Division II trophy went to First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs with 23 men; and the Division III trophy was captured by the Camp Lake Baptist Church in Sparta with 14 men present. Every year several of our churches increase their number in attendance and we always have a good number of first-time attendees.

The two offerings for the MARBC State Fellowship this year totaled approximately $2400.00 and we want to thank the men for helping us in such a generous way as we seek to faithfully serve the 200+ churches in our State Fellowship. An unexpected surprise took place when the MARBC State Representative (yours truly), who will be stepping down in October, was presented with a set of new golf clubs, bag, shoes, glove, hat, towel, umbrella, two dozen golf balls and tees, for directing the Men's Retreats over the past 16 years. I personally want to thank the Council of Fifteen and the men at the Retreats, for graciously providing this much needed gift! When I mentioned that I now sensed the Lord's leading in retirement to join the PGA Tour, it was clearly indicated that this gift would only make me “look” better, not “do” better! I feel so blessed to have had this privilege over the years and then to be honored in such a special way. Again, thanks from the bottom of my heart and only time will tell how much I will miss this very special time of the year. Rest assured I will continue to pray for sweet times of fellowship and changed lives for those attending the Men's Retreats in years to come!

After some 48 hours of fun, lots of great food (the steaks and chicken on the grill and the Saturday morning sweet rolls are the best anywhere), fellowship, Bible studies, singing, laughing, ping pong, golfing, fishing, snoring and drinking bottomless cups of coffee, the men once again hesitantly made their way home to tell stories of another great year at Men's Retreat. A BIG thank you to Executive Director Ken Riley, Dan Good, Aaron Bump and all of your excellent staff for being such a blessing in meeting our every need while at Lake Ann. We honor each of you for your total commitment to Christ and His work.

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