By Dave Carroll
Community Bible Church of Lincoln 

Mountaintop Musings

Fantastic Friendships

 


Last Saturday morning we were blessed to be able to sit around our kitchen table and talk with some dear friends from Tennessee who have come to assist us with Bible camp.

We first met Doyle and Susan in the winter of 1994-95 when we started attending First Baptist Church in Benton. They became dear friends along with several other families. We spent seven wonderful years in that church family learning and growing together in our faith and friendships. But we moved to Montana and started new lives as full-time Christian missionaries, pastoring several churches and living the Dream!

As we settled in to our new lives, raising the family, making new friends, working, etc., it was inevitable that some of our old friendships waned. It wasn’t like we had a falling out, but life moves on and we lose the closeness that once was taken for granted. But we did keep in contact a little, and saw them five years ago when we were back east on a trip. Well this past winter Susan emailed and asked if they could come out and help with some summer ministries. Looking at our schedules it worked out perfectly for them to be here this week with one of their granddaughters to help us at High Country Bible Camp.


So, they arrived and we had some great times catching up. We have been here in Montana over 17 years and do not plan on going anywhere until the Lord calls us home. But getting back in fellowship with dear friends who love the Lord, love people, and are the “real-deal” makes one think...”what if...”. What if we had not moved to Montana and had stayed in Benton, Tennessee. What would life be like? Would we be pastoring a church, holding our 18th Bible camp, ministering to people the love of Christ, getting to know more people in Lincoln, Craig, and beyond? The answer is really unknown for many of the “what if’s”.

I do know that there are dozens of people scattered all-over Montana that we would not have met if we had stayed back east. There are dozens of people who would not have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord from us if we had not come out here. They might have had someone else lead them to Jesus, but it would not have been us. Plus, we have learned things about ourselves as we have persevered through the trials of rural ministry over the years we would not have learned anywhere else. We have seen God do some amazing work in the hearts of some people. We have seen others turn their back on God and us too. In all of these things we have learned God is faithful.

He is faithful when we make the wrong decision in dealing with people. He is faithful when others misunderstand us, and revile us, and spread lies about us. He is faithful when our children make mistakes, or go to war, or make wrong choices in relationships. He is faithful to bring His grace and mercy to our hearts, minds and lives. Yes God is faithful to lead us perfectly, and especially so when we embark on a course of life he does not want us to follow. He will correct us gently or maybe severely if that is what it takes. He is faithful to work through our faults to bring us to the place He wants us to rest in.

But to really follow Him one must know Him. To know Him we must look to the Holy Bible. All the wonderful thoughts and ideas our grandparents, neighbors, parents, friends, etc have about God are nothing if they do not align with what the Holy Bible says about God. A good friendship takes time and effort to make and maintain. We must be intentional about our personal relationships. Good ones do not happen by accident. This also applies to your relationship with your Creator. If you are feeling distant and disconnected with the Lord, and want that to change, start by reading His Word, and connecting with His people. We have been blessed to become connected with many of you in Lincoln. We look forward to knowing more of you in the years ahead. One of our ministry mantras has been “Be all you can be for Jesus, because if you will do that it will be enough.” Life is great in rural Montana, but life with Jesus involved in it, in rural Montana is best. I hope you find the best in life, the sooner the better! Until next time.

(Dave & Lisa Carroll are area missionaries with InFaith, America’s oldest Christian home mission agency. Dave is also Pastor of Community Bible Church in Lincoln. You can contact Dave at 406.459.8935 or [email protected])

 

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