The Hand of God and the Arm of Flesh!

Volume 50, Number 9, October – 2004 Issue of the Baptist Testimony

From Where I Stand
Maynard H. Belt
MARBC State Representative
"The Hand of God and the Arm of Flesh!"

Well, dear friends, once again we are just around the corner from our 62nd Annual MARBC Conference which will be hosted this year, October 25-26, by Pastor Tom Townsend and the dear folks at the First Baptist Church in Rochester. You will enjoy their lovely facilities, as together, we worship and learn from the Lord. For nearly 30 years I have been attending these conferences, even before I was a part of the MARBC Fellowship, and I have never been disappointed yet.

This year’s theme is "The Hand of God and the Arm of Flesh." Four timely messages from the book of Judges for God’s people living in mundane times will be delivered by Dr. Colin Smith, professor and conference speaker from the Baptist Bible College & Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA. Many of you will remember his effective ministry to us two years ago and that is why we have asked him to return to be with us once again. He will also be teaching an informative Super Seminar on "Our Baptist Heritage," a subject that is so important for us to re-visit from time to time. Dr. Smith believes that today we have an opportunity to re-emphasize our Baptist position from a biblical stance, not simply from history or tradition. We are also delighted to have with us another good friend of our Fellowship, Dr. James Grier, former Vice-President/Dean of Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary (now Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) where he also served as Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Theology. Dr. Grier will be enlightening us in a Super Seminar on The Redemptive Movement, a theologically incorrect doctrine that has been permeating many churches. We have also asked Dr. Smith and Dr. Grier to enter into a debate on the marriage/divorce issue that affects nearly all of us in local church ministry.

There are also some other conference highlights of which you need to be aware. A very vital part of our MARBC conference is special sessions for our ladies. We thank God for their faithfulness in carrying out so many significant ministries in our churches, often behind the scenes. We thank God also for our pastor’s wives, who so steadfastly "stand by their men" assisting them in so many ways in their calling for God. With this in mind, there will be two great workshops just for ladies led by Mrs. Colleen McMaster and Mrs. Priscilla Wynalda, representing the Ladies’ Ministries of West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont. These dear gals have been with us before so all of you ladies know that you are in for a very special treat. I never know what Colleen and Priscilla may be up to, but I always know that it will be good!

This year Mrs. Anne Harduk, pastor’s wife from First Baptist Church in Alto, has volunteered to conduct children’s meetings during four of our general sessions for boys and girls ages 4-6th grade. We appreciate her vital interest in this area for those who may be bringing young children to the conference. In the packet of information sent to our churches there was a form for parents to fill out and return to Anne so that she will know how many to plan for. Also, she may need some help and if you might be interested please contact her at (616) 868-0577 or e-mail Mrs. Anne Harduk. We do have a nursery provided for the main sessions but this will be a "first" so we will see how it goes.

If your church has not yet received the conference mailing containing directions to the church, motel listings and pre-registration form, please contact us immediately. This year’s registration ($25/single; $35/couple) may be sent directly to our office. Pre-registration will facilitate matters at the check-in desk. Once again this year free books will be available to all of those registering.

Pastors, we are counting on you to encourage your people to join us for this great time of fellowship among our MARBC family. Ann and I are looking forward once again to seeing you at the conference as we begin our 15th year of ministry with the MARBC. We rejoice in the blessings of His goodness (Isa. 61:10) and the opportunity to be challenged to trust in the "hand of God" rather then the "arm of flesh!" Lord willing, see you in Rochester October 25-26! -MHB

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