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Responding To Inspiration From the Pastcomment (0)

March 20, 2003

By Johnie Sentell

Spring officially begins tomorrow, but Bro. Gene Walley got an early start last week. He retired March 15 after 15 years’ service as director of missions for Bethel Baptist Association, Linden.

A few months ago, when Bro. Walley announced his retirement, he quoted and then contested the farewell words spoken by Lou Gehrig upon his retirement from baseball in the late 1930s.

I recently heard those words in an in-spiring movie made in 1941, “Pride of the Yan-kees,” with Gary Cooper portraying Gehrig. Though suffering from an incurable disease, Gehrig told the crowd at Yankee Stadium he was the most blessed man on the earth.

Brother Walley said, “Today I am -challenging that statement, for I believe that I have been the most blessed man on the earth for the privilege of knowing Jesus and ... the opportunity of serving as director of missions in the Bethel Baptist Association. ... You have been the most loving, caring, responsive, generous people to be found on the earth, and for this I am deeply grateful.”

What a wonderful testimony!

Brother Walley wants the Lord to use him further in preaching, revivals “and wherever He leads.”

Brother Bob Simmons retired 10 years ago after serving 10 years as a missionary (Hong Kong and the Philippines) and nine years as professor at New Orleans Sem-inary. Four years ago Siloam Baptist Church, York, called him as interim pastor, later prevailing upon him to stay on permanently.

Recently the devotional “Open Windows” had words by Bro. Sim-mons. He noted that in John 5:37, John says his readers have neither seen nor heard the heavenly Father.

Brother Simmons asked, “What one unrecorded voice from the past would you choose to hear?”

He said, “As a preacher I would want to hear Charles Haddon Spurgeon ... preaching from his London pulpit. Although I could not hear his voice, I did read many of his printed sermons. Feeling as I read them that I was listening to him, I found great inspiration in his messages.”

He is not alone in his appreciation for Spurgeon (1834–1892), one of the most famous Baptist preachers and writers of all time.

From 1861 until 1892, the average attendance for the morning and evening services at Spurgeon’s church was 5,000. Although he never attended college, he wrote 135 books and edited 28 others.

Dr. Hudson Bag-gett, editor of The Alabama Baptist 1966–1994, owned many books written by Spurgeon. After his death, I was allowed to choose several of them for my book collection.

One of my favorite works by Spurgeon is “Morning and Eve-ning,” messages for every day. His evening selection for March 20 quotes Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.” Spurgeon wrote, “Under no circumstances should we be content unless we reflect the grace which was in Him.”

At Spurgeon’s Centenary in Lon-don, April 1934, the sole Amer-ican speaker was George W. Truett, beloved pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, 1897–1944.

I recently heard Dr. Truett’s voice for the first time, on a long-playing record I bought for a quarter. It joins my collection of videos and cassette tapes of great preachers and music evangelists. It is inspiring to listen to them while traveling. They help us focus on glorifying God.
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