You can also download a PDF of the June-July 2008 Baptist Testimony (1.1 mb PDF; PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)
The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
MARBC State Representative
June’s Word: “Exceeding”
Ephesians 2:7 – “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
The “exceeding” ministry of God in the life of His followers was the primary emphasis of this year’s MARBC Men’s Retreat, held on May 1-3 at beautiful Lake Ann Baptist Camp and Retreat Center near Traverse City. Over 400 men enjoyed wonderful worship, challenging messages from God’s Word, encouraging fellowship, and great meals. We were blessed to discover that this was the first MARBC retreat for several men.
This year’s retreat theme was “Being Men of Valor: How to Develop the Character of a Conqueror.” The retreat speaker was Bill Jenkin, President of Continental Baptist Mission. Bill shared four messages that challenged men to appreciate the exceeding spiritual opportunities that are available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Several men responded to the practical challenges shared in the messages. On Friday evening, over 60 men remained after the service concluded for counsel and prayer support.
Friday night’s service featured a special testimony shared by Mike Markwart, member of North Park Baptist Church in Grand Rapids. Mike made a personal commitment to Christ as Savior at the 2006 Men’s Retreat. He shared God’s gracious work in his life in helping him deal with alcoholism. Mike is involved in the “Celebrate Recovery” program that was featured in the May 2008 issue of the Baptist Testimony. For more information on this program, contact Mike Richman (Standale Baptist Church) – (616) 453-4489 or (616) 785-3469; or Email.
A special season of prayer on behalf of our nation was held on Thursday night in recognition of the National Day of Prayer. The men were also encouraged to gather around the pastors and missionaries present at the retreat and commit them to the Lord in prayer. An offering was received on Friday evening to help the MARBC ministry fund the new “CPR Initiative.” We praise God for the $2,692.33 that was received.
We give our special thanks to all of the men who served Christ and ministered to us at this year’s retreat. Worship sessions were led by a trio of MARBC worship pastors. Mark Cizauskas (West Cannon Baptist, Belmont) led the singing. Nathan Pierpont (Northeastern Baptist, Kalamazoo) played the keyboard and piano. Mark Warren (Highland Hills Baptist, Grand Rapids) played the guitar. Special music was provided by pastors from MARB churches. Chris Howard, Lake Ann Camp staff member, gave oversight of the media aspects for the retreat. Main session messages are now available to download by clicking here.
Attendance trophies were given to churches with the most men attending the retreat. Churches are placed in one of three divisions based upon the average Sunday worship attendance. The following churches were recognized this year:
Division 1 (300+): North Park Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, 29 men
Division 2 (150-299): First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs, 24 men
Division 3 (up to 149): Bethel Baptist Church, Fruitport, 16 men
We extend our great appreciation to Ken Riley, Executive Director of Lake Ann, and his wonderful staff for their tremendous ministry to the MARBC men leading up to and during the retreat. They once again served Christ and us in an exemplary manner. Be sure to reserve May 7-9, 2008 for next year’s Men’s Retreat. Ken Rudolph will be the retreat speaker. Registration forms will be available from Lake Ann Camp early next year.
I would encourage each man who attended the retreat to review the commitments God led him to make during the retreat. Seek out a prayer partner who will hold you accountable and encourage you in your walk with God. He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” (Ephesians 3:20).
You have His Word on it! (KEF)