Veteran MARBC pastor now with the Lord

Stanley Lightfoot, Jr.  

Stanley Lightfoot Jr., a veteran MARBC pastor, entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on October 31 at the age of 95.

 

Stan was a veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from January 1943 to November 1945 in the Cadet Flying Program and as radio mechanic. Following his honorable discharge, he was employed with the Detroit Post Office for 18 years and began a career in ministry in 1971.

 

Stan pastored Berea Baptist Church, Stevens Point, Wisconsin (as a missionary pastor with Continental Baptist Missions); Trinity Baptist Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan; Calvary Baptist Church, Wabash, Indiana; and Fellowship Baptist Church, Marine City (now East China), Michigan. This highly respected and much beloved servant of the Lord also served as interim pastor for a number of churches in Michigan over the last 25 years of his life.

 

He is survived by his wife of 76 years, Dorothy; his children, James, Donald, Stanley III, Ruth Rodenberg, and Lois Turner; 13 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2:00 p.m., at Bethany Bible Church, 810 E. Huron River Dr., Belleville, MI. Stan’s family will greet guests one hour prior to the service.

 

Cards for Dorothy and the Lightfoot family can be mailed to Jim Lightfoot, 39305 Montana Dr., Romulus, MI 48174-5026. Memorial gifts may be designated to the Detroit Rescue Mission or Bethany Bible Church.

 

Please join us in upholding Dorothy and her family in prayer.

2017 Conference Messages

Four MARBC pastors each chose a Biblical text that illustrates the application of one of the four core values.

 

In Search of Soul Satisfaction, John 4

Jeff Burr, host pastor serving at Forest Hills Baptist Church and current Vice Chairman of the MARBC Council of 16, shared in the first general session. He opened his message by sharing a brief overview of the decline of Kodak as its industry’s gold standard. The business thoroughly dominated its technological field but lost sight of it’s corporate vision. Burr then traced how Jesus overcame various barriers in sharing the gospel with those he encountered using the narrative of John 4.

 

 

 

Shepherding All the Sheep,” 1 Peter 5

Mark Cizauskas, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Rochester and current Treasurer of the MARBC Council of 16, focused upon Peter’s admonition to pastors from 1 Peter 5:1-4. Keying on the core value, pursuing cultural and generational diversity, Mark emphasized the critical role pastors play in modeling gospel ministry. It must be a ministry that does not play favorites but reaches out to all demographics in the local body and in the community. “Peter challenges the pastor to ‘shepherd the flock which is among you.'” The pastor is called to shepherd the redeemed and they in turn will impact the community.”

 

 

 

Staying on the Line, Mark 7

Preaching on the morning of October 31, Ross Shannon, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Lapeer, acknowledged his excitement in sharing a message on the importance of Sola Scriptura on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Ross examined the interaction of Jesus with the Pharisees as they reacted to what they considered as the disciples’ unorthodox dining habits. He stated that while association churches and pastors should seek to uphold the core value of remaining “Biblically and doctrinally resolute,” care must be taken to “stay on the line, not above it by adding to the truth; or below it, subtracting from it.” Reflecting upon Jesus’ response to the Pharisees, Shannon stated that “Jesus is against those who go above the line. When we go a above the line, the line isn’t protected or obscured, but is erased.”

 

 

 

Walking the Ministry Tightrope, Acts 6

One of the four core values embraced by the MARBC is “progressing in ministry mindset and method.”

Utilizing an opening illustration about a tightrope walker crossing over Niagara Falls, Bob McNeil discussed the ministry tightrope that the Jerusalem church had to walk as they dealt with the pressing spiritual needs within its body. The church leaders needed to properly address the demands of two extremely different groups who were now a part of the church: formerly Orthodox Jews and Greek converts. “They sought to keep a biblically healthy balance: they were tied to the text [of scripture] but were also open to change … Healthy churches are always addressing the need to change.” Biblically engaging the culture demands a church that is willing to make changes in its approach to that culture. McNeil then noted the key to the Jerusalem church’s ability to navigate change in a God glorifying manner – they were committed to prayer. “The power of God is accessed through prayer. They didn’t pray and then say, ‘we’re going to do what we’ve always done.'” Peter had to learn this the hard way … It took three visions from God before he would change and reach out to the Gentiles. Likewise, Paul had to learn through out his missionary journeys that he had to change the approach of his message, depending upon his audience.

MARBC Council of 16 (2018)

Terms ending in 2018
Tom Townsend, Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek
Doug Crawford, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont
Marc Herron, First Baptist Church, Caro

Terms ending in 2019
Jeff Burr, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids
Dave Sill, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby
Mark Cizauskas, First Baptist Church, Rochester

Terms ending in 2020
Bill Abernathy, Berean Baptist Church, Portage
Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City
Nathan Pierpont, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo

Regional Representatives
Steve Ayers, Faith Baptist Church, Benzonia (Northern)
Phil Devaney, Bethel Baptist Church, Britton (Southern)
Aaron Hadley, First Baptist Church, Edmore (Central)
Lewis Hague, Blessed Hope Baptist, Escanaba (UP)
Marcus Little, Berean Baptist, Grand Rapids (GR)
Scott Church, Trinity Baptist, Muskegon (Western)
Jerry Diserens, Evangel Baptist, Taylor (Eastern)

Council of 16 Officers:
Dave Sill, Chairman
Jeff Burr, Vice Chairman
Aaron Hadley, Secretary
Mark Cizauskas, Treasurer

2017 MARBC Annual Conference to be held on October 30-31 in Grand Rapids

You are encouraged to join us for this special event that features challenging biblical exposition, practical ministry ideas, and rich fellowship. The conference will focus upon the biblical church dynamics identified in the MARBC’s core values.

This year’s conference features speakers who currently serve as pastors in MARBC churches from various regions of the state.

 

 

Conference Schedule

 

MARBC Day of Prayer scheduled for Sunday, October 29

The Eleventh Annual MARBC Day of Prayer is scheduled for Sunday, October 29.  The Day of Prayer is held just prior to the MARBC Conference so that there can be a special prayer focus on behalf of the conference. It is also held during a time when churches give thanks to God for their pastors during Pastor Appreciation Month.

You are encouraged to join sister churches in our state for a day focusing upon united prayer for one another and our partnering ministries.

We suggest that your church designate time during the morning and/or evening services to pray for the churches, pastors, camps, missionaries, and ministries of the MARBC. Pray also for sister churches in your area.

Some churches choose to receive a special love offering on behalf of the MARBC. The MARBC ministry office and Executive Director are supported by the love gifts from churches in the fellowship. Your special offering would be greatly appreciated as the state association enters a new budget year and continues to improve its ministry income base.

Day of Prayer resources, including bulletin inserts, prayer related articles, and prayer requests, are available to download from this website.

You may also find this three part series of articles helpful, written by Ken Floyd for the Baptist Bulletin:

PDF Download The Effective Prayer of a Righteous Church

PDF Download Practical Ways to Make Prayer Happen

PDF Download Three Additional Prayer Tools

 

Remembering George Dwelley, Pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in Shingleton

George Dwelley. George Dwelley (69), pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in Shingleton (U.P.), entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, August 9. He had recently been diagnosed with liver cancer.

Following a career in criminal justice, including time as a Corrections Officer for the State of Michigan, George retired and became the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in 2009. He also served as the morning host of a local radio program, “George in the Morning,” since 2010 and used this platform to connect with the community and share the Gospel.

Please join us in prayer on behalf of George’s wife of 49 years, Sandy, his three children, eight grandchildren, and the Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church family.

MARBC students receive Talents for Christ scholarships

Remembering John Wood, former MARBC Representative

Rev. John Ralph Wood had his fondest desire come true, meeting his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face-to-face on Saturday, June 10. The memorial tribute prepared by his family captures the unique life and ministry of this faithful servant of God. Here are some highlights:

“Rev. John Wood was a cherished husband, a loving father, an adoring (great) grandfather, a trusted friend and a gifted pastor. He was born on the south side of Chicago on December 19th, 1927, [and] lived a full 89 years filled with love, laughter (often times at his own jokes- and they were many!) and, most of all, a close walk with Jesus. After receiving his [high school] diploma, he followed his older brother’s footsteps and joined the Navy. He later attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, after which he became an ordained minister, a calling he lived out faithfully and passionately for 65 years. It was also during this time where he met the love of his life and future wife of 67 years, Jean Mitchell. They were married in Cass City, Michigan in 1949 and had one son, Ronald Wood. In 1951, he was called to lead his first church in La Paz, Indiana. In future years, he would pastor in various cities: Lapeer, MI; Ecorse, MI; Bellefontaine, OH; and Cass City, MI.”

John also served as the second state representative for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches (MARBC) from 1972-1982, succeeding Howard Keithley. He was a welcome speaker in the churches and great source of encouragement to the pastors and churches in the state.

John eventually entered into retirement after serving in Cass City, but had a difficult time staying there. During his “retirement years” he served as interim pastor for different churches. Most recently, John served several years at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Bay City, MI.

John’s family reflects on his legacy sharing that he was “a man of great faith, wisdom, and integrity. He moved through the world with an eternal perspective, his eyes fixed on Jesus. He loved the Lord. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He served all of them well. He possessed a quick-witted personality and love for laughter. His light-hearted nature and genuine concern for others made him a fast friend to many.” John is survived by his wife Jean (his pride and joy), son and daughter-in-law Ronald and Melody Wood, 3 grandchildren and their spouses, and 4 great children.

Memorial to Rev. John Wood

John Wood. Whoever met the man would not forget him. He would be a friend from the first handshake. Ours took place more than 40 years ago. Every time he saw me he would say that there were no tall spiritual men in the Bible! Upon one occasion of his preaching in one of my churches I put a foot stool in the pulpit so that people could see him and said that we were glad to have Pastor Zacchaeus with us today! Dr. David Otis Fuller pastored the Wealthy St. Baptist Church in Grand Rapids for more than 40 years. John once told me that he had had a very tough assignment. He had to fill Dr. Fuller’s shoes in his pulpit. Then he went on to say that in leaving home in a hurry, he had forgotten his Sunday dress shoes so Dr. Fuller had to lend him a pair of his!

During those early years of our fellowship and serving as a member of the MARBC Council of Fifteen, I would have never dreamed that someday I would follow him as State Representative of the MARBC. He set the bar high. He was always an encouragement to me in that capacity. Though small in stature, John had a great heart for God, a confident call to ministry, an ability to preach the Word with authority and a passionate love for people and the church of Jesus Christ. Jean was forever at his side. Just a few days before his entrance into glory, I had the privilege of having one last phone conversation with my friend, John. He was very weak but we had a delightful visit. We talked about ministry and his anticipation of heaven. I mentioned to him that Puritan Thomas Watson said, “Heaven is such a happy place that angels would not wish to leave it for a minute!” My dear brother John is now in his “happy place.” I look forward to that day when I will be in my “happy place.” After seeing my Savior first of all, I want to look John up and hear what he has to say now about smaller men being more spiritual. No doubt he will still be right. Thank you, John, for being faithful to the end and giving God all the glory.

Maynard H. Belt
Former State Representative, MARBC

Pastor John Wood Tribute

John Wood has been God’s writing instrument through which He inked an indelible impression of what it means to live out the Biblical example of “the joy of the Lord as your strength.” I have never encountered anyone who knew John and didn’t use words such as “joy,” “energy,” “enthusiasm,” “perseverance,” “faithfulness,” and “godly zeal” to describe his impact in their life.

I first met John in my early days as “the new kid on the block” as the Representative of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. We were reflecting upon the impacting ministry of another former MARBC Representative, “Alf Nelson,” who had just been called home into the presence of our precious Lord and Savior. Standing with John by Brother Alf’s casket prior to the start of Alf’s memorial service in St. John’s, he remarked to me with a twinkle in his eye, “See what this job will do to you?”

At last Wednesday evening’s gathering at the funeral home in Greenville the atmosphere was filled with the God-given joy that only believers can truly embrace in the midst of sorrow. Christians truly do sorrow in a peace-filled way that is very different from those who no eternal hope. The joy of the Lord is their strength.

Led by his loving wife Jean, the room was filled with chuckles, even laughter, while tissues where utilized to dab away tears. Stories were retold regarding John’s determination, commitment to Christ, and love for people. Some talked about humorous situations pertaining to this larger than life man’s diminutive size. Almost everyone shared a favorite quote or pun that seemed to flow easily from a man who loved the Lord His God with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength, while truly loving his neighbor as himself.

Traveling home from that unique gathering, I reflected upon my last conversation with John a few days before His beloved Lord summoned him into His presence in glory. John shared, “I’ve preached on this type of situation many, many times. I pray that I will now practice in my own life what I’ve preached to others.” I replied, “John, I think that you are about to preach your greatest sermon.” Well, God answered our dear brother’s prayer and also affirmed my observation. “Well done, good and faithful servant, you deserve your God-graced rest and will now know nothing but joy unspeakable while you bask in your Savior’s glory.”

Ken Floyd
Executive Ministry Director, MARBC

Are You Really Listening?

You would most likely agree with me that we live in a very noisy, disruptive world. Groups and individuals are clamoring to express their positions and perspectives. Many times it seems that rather than pursuing healthy and constructive dialogue, the goal is to see who can shout the loudest and longest.

Something seems to be missing in this tsunamic cacophony: the art of listening with discernment. Several years ago, I came across this helpful illustration that emphasizes the importance of attentive listening.

Back in the days when the telegraph was the fastest method of long distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other anxious applicants in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you for coming, but the job has just been filled.” The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but the last several minutes while you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out a in Morse Code. The message stated, ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. Therefore, the job is his.”

The newly employed young man’s situation illustrates how important it is to listen carefully for the right message. The external noise of the current cultural and political environment regularly emits mixed signals and conflicting messages. Amidst this noisy background, God shares His loving, truthful guidance. Jesus declared, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

Often in His Word, God discusses with His children their need to listen to Him. In one short paragraph in Psalm 81, God challenges the people of Israel regarding their easy distractability: “O, if you would listen to Me (81:8) … But my people would not heed my voice (81:11) … Oh, that My people would listen to Me”(81:13).

James comments on this critical spiritual need in James 1:19-25, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Three times in the Book of Hebrews (3:7; 3:15; 4:7), God warns believers who are tempted to turn from God and His voice through His Word, “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Christ reaffirms this in His message to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:19-20, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

In a noisy, tumultuous world, it is critically important for the children of God to continually cultivate the good discipline of prayerfully listening to God’s voice through His Word. The Biblical antidote to daily discord and controversy is to “be still, and know that I am God,”( Psalm 46:10).

You have His Word on it!
KEF 04 2017

MARBC Core Values Regional Town Hall Meetings

The MARBC Council of 16 continues the development of a series of core values which were presented at last fall’s MARBC Conference. A series of strategy meetings are scheduled in various regions of the state. The purpose of these meetings is to review these values and then spend quality time in an interactive discussion with those present. You are encouraged to attend one of these important meetings to assist the association in sharpening its ministry strategy.

Regional meeting dates and locations:

CMARBC (Central Association) meeting: annual meeting, Tuesday, April 25, First Baptist Church, St. Louis, MI, 9:00 a.m. – Noon (lunch included)

SMARBC (Southern Association) meeting: spring meeting, Lansing Avenue Baptist Church, Jackson, MI, Tuesday, May 2, 9:00 a.m. – Noon (lunch provided)

UPMARBC (Upper Peninsula): Tuesday, May 9, Bible Baptist Church, Ishpeming, MI, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (lunch provided)

NMARBC (Northern lower Association) meeting: First Baptist Church, Petoskey, MI, Thursday, May 11, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (lunch provided)