Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obituary: Deacon Charlie Joe Law

CHARLIE JOE LAW went to be with the Lord on May 30, 2010. He was born September 5, 1927 to parents Newell and Nettie Law in Atlanta, Texas.

Charlie was a faithful servant of God who was preceded in death by his wife Ella Mae Law.

He is survived by wife Georgie Jurischk Law; daughters: Sherry Bogus (Mel) and Sandra Warren (Stephen); and by many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and loved ones.

His funeral service was June 2, 2010 at 10 am at North Oaks Baptist Church, 18411 Stuebner Airline Road, Spring, Texas 77379. Interment at Rosewood Cemetery in Humble, TX.

In lieu of flowers, memorials were asked to be sent to the Gideon’s International Bible Fund. Obituary was published in the Houston Chronicle, June 1, 2010. Arrangements by Earthman Resthaven, 13102 North Freeway, Houston, TX.

Those officiating included: Pastor Fred Wiesen, Danney Stanley, Emmett Hunt, Jimmy Moore. Pianist Dorothy Salser; Audio Visual Brad Bogus Makeshift Productions. Music included Rock of Ages, I’ll Fly Away, The Lighthouse, I Surrender All.

Charlie Law was a businessman who worked his way from being a delivery boy to management, to business owner. He opened Photo Haus in 1979 with partner Waymon Perry. It was the first one-hour photo lab in Texas and the fourth in the United States.  It should also be included that he loved hunting and fishing. 

Charlie Law was devoted to his family, his church, and to his Lord. He was a longtime member of Gideon’s International, the Christian businessman’s organization that distributes Bibles in America and around the world. He was respected as a deacon and spiritual leader. He was a devoted friend to his pastor. He often shared his faith in Jesus Christ with others.

Brother Law served as a deacon in Doverside Baptist Church and North Side Baptist Church in Houston, TX where my dad, Joe Brumbelow served as pastor. He and dad served together during parts of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Charlie was a great example of what a deacon ought to be. He loved and supported his church and his pastor. During his memorial service his current pastor mentioned he had a special connection with Charlie Law. I thought every pastor that ever served with him would have felt the same way. That’s just the kind of man Brother Law was.

When I was about 14 years of age I remember overhearing part of a conversation between my dad and Charlie Law. There was some problem in the church and they had been discussing it. I don’t remember the problem. But I remember a comment by Brother Law. He said something along these lines: “Brother Joe, as our pastor you’ve already taken enough hits and criticism. I think I should take the lead and be the one to get the criticism for this issue. Just let me take care of it and you just keep leading us as pastor.”

Even at my young age, I remember being impressed with that, thinking, now that’s a deacon.

Another Charlie Law story goes back even further to about 1962 when I was about 5 years old. We would sing the song To the Work with the chorus, “toiling on, toiling on.” I remember thinking how famous Deacon Charlie Law was. The reason? I actually thought we were singing, instead of toiling on, toiling on; that we were singing Charlie Law, Charlie Law. I knew he must be famous to have a hymn written about him! Years later I told him what I thought we were singing; he enjoyed that story. His daughter Sandra asked me to say a few words at his graveside service and to be sure to include that story. I did, as well as the previous story.

My mother, Bonnie Brumbelow, brother Mark, and I attended the funeral and graveside service. We saw so many old friends. We saw, heard, remembered so many stories of God’s grace connected with Charlie Law, those churches he served, and God’s people. Stories of God’s grace that had affected one generation to another to another.

Thank God for deacons like Charlie Joe Law. Someone said at his funeral that some people are born and leave this world no better than they found it. Some leave it a little worse. But some leave this world a better place because of their life and legacy. Charlie Law left the legacy of a godly man.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

During this series about deacons, I thought it appropriate to include this article.

NEXT: Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 30, AD 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparing For The Deacon Ordination Service #2

Where and how to have the candidates kneel. 
Laying on of Hands is a very important part of the service. It needs to be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). The congregation will be especially interested in this part of the service. Make sure they can see what is going on.

I don’t know how to delicately say this; make sure the candidates’ rear ends are not pointing toward the congregation!

Pastor, get a couple of deacons and practice this a day or two before the service. Have someone kneeling and someone laying on hands. While they do this, the pastor should sit out in the sanctuary to see how it will look to the congregation. If you have a large pulpit that could obstruct the congregation‘s view, you may want to move it and use a smaller speaker’s stand for this service.

Once you decide on the procedure, let the deacons, deacon candidates, and council know the procedure and what to expect.

We took two nice, armless chairs and placed them on the platform back to back on either side of the pulpit. The candidates knelt at each chair and were sideways to the audience. Each member of the Ordination Council would come, one by one, stand to the side of the kneeling candidate, with the candidate between them and the audience. This allowed the audience to see everything that was going on.

The Ordination Council is led by the pastor. He goes to the first candidate, lays hands on him, and quietly, but aloud, prays for the new deacon. The pastor then goes to the next deacon, while the next member of the Ordination Council lays hands on and prays for the first deacon. This procedure continues until all members of the Ordination Council has laid hands on the deacons.

Some council members may lay their hands on the head of the deacon. Some may lay hands on the shoulders of the deacons. Just however they fell led by the Spirit. What do they pray as they lay hands on the deacon? That is between the council member, the deacon, and the Lord.

Don’t make the people bow their heads and close their eyes during the Laying on of Hands. They want to see, and they ought to see what is happening.

Ordination Sermon
This is no time to skimp on your sermon (if there ever is a time to do so). Make this an outstanding sermon. Preach like you were preaching in a Revival Service. Preach the Word of God. Preach to the deacons, their wives and families, and to all the church. This is a great opportunity to emphasize the peacemaking role of deacons.

Presentation of the framed Deacon Certificate of Ordination
Have new deacons’ families come and stand with them for the prsentation. You may want to have them continue to stand at the front so that after the closing prayer folks can shake their hands and congratulate them.

Have a Fellowship after the Deacon Ordination Service to honor the deacons, especially the new deacons.

After Publicity
Send a brief news article to area newspapers. Send brief news article to your state Baptist Paper.

Afterwards make a nice photo copy or two of these articles and give them to the new deacons. By the way, a photo copy (on good paper) of a newspaper article will last longer than the original newsprint copy. Make sure to write on the copy the name, city, and state of the newspaper and the complete date.

NEXT: Deacon Charlie Joe Law; Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 22, AD 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preparing For The Deacon Ordination Service #1

Date & Time
Set the date and time of the Deacon Ordination Service at least three weeks ahead of time. This gives you time to publicize the meeting and invite area pastors. Deacon candidates have time to invite family and friends. We set it on a Sunday afternoon so those outside our church could attend without having to miss one of their regular Worship Services.

This also gives you time to order Deacon Certificate of Ordination, frame, etc.

Have an announcement in the Sunday bulletin for at least a couple of Sundays before the Ordination Service. Build it up to the church; let them know this is a special kind of service.

Contact the Baptist Association and area pastors and invite them to the Deacon Ordination Service. Ask the Ordination Council to arrive one hour early. The Ordination Council will consist of ordained pastors and deacons in your church and, if you choose, visiting ordained Baptist pastors and deacons.

Ordination Certificate & Frame
The ordination council should chose a Clerk; his primary responsibility should be to get all members of the ordination council to sign the Certificate of Ordination. Also, he may want to take notes of those serving on the council and the proceedings.

Make sure the Certificate is signed by the entire ordination counsel before the Ordination Service. If you don’t get everyone to sign it then, you never will have them all sign it. . If the vote is not to ordain, you can tear it up!

Sometimes the front of the certificate just has room for the pastor and the clerk to sign it. If there is not room on the front for everyone on the Ordination Council to sign, then have them all sign it on the back.

Place the filled out and signed Deacon’s Certificate of Ordination in a nice frame. Place a couple of copies of the Ordination Service Bulletin in the frame behind the Certificate.

If possible, have the Ordination Certificate framed and ready to present to the new deacon(s) at the conclusion of the service. This will also give the church an opportunity to see the framed Certificate after the service.

Deacon Candidates and their families
During the Ordination Service, at the appropriate time, introduce the current deacons and their wives, the deacon candidates and their wives, and the Ordination Council.

Explain what is going on
During the Ordination Service, let the congregation know what is going on. Explain the laying on of hands. Explain what the Bible teaches about ordination and the laying on of hands. Don’t assume they understand what is going on.

Ordination Council
The Ordination Council will meet an hour early in a back room. At the opening of the Ordination Service, you may want the council to walk in together and take their seats. Some churches have them sit in the choir loft. Or you could have them sit to the side at the front of the sanctuary.

NEXT: Preparing For the Deacon Ordination Service #2; Deacon Charlie Joe Law; Questioning the Deacon Candidates; Order of Service for Deacon Ordination

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 21, AD 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SBC Orlando, 2010

What’s going to happen at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Florida? I wish I knew. No, I’ll not be offering any prophecies here. But this will be an important convention for several reasons.

First, the election of a new SBC president. It used to be a dream of many conservatives that the day would come when several men would be nominated president, and all of them would be committed to upholding the inerrancy of the of the Bible in their committee and trustee appointments. Thank God for the Conservative Resurgence. Thank God that apparently all four presidential nominees are solid conservatives.

Interestingly, it seems that solid conservative voters are divided among all four candidates. So the presidential election will prove very interesting.

Just because the SBC has been brought back to a strong belief in the inerrancy of the Word of God, however, does not mean all our problems are now solved. Baptists who are conservative and evangelistic still have their differences of opinion. A prime example is the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report (GCRTFR). Will it be accepted, rejected, or amended? Will the vote be close? Will it be voted in, but not completely implemented by Boards of Trustees? Is it as bad as some say, or as good as some say?

Right now it seems the odds are in favor of the GCRTFR being adopted. But not much in the SBC is absolutely certain. Baptist messengers can be a cantankerous, independent bunch. Some will get mad at the decisions of this year’s SBC, but most will get over it.

By the way, while some have criticized Baptist Press (click on their link in the right margin of this blog) for being biased against the GCRTFR, I’ve seen a different picture. I’ve loved their reporting since they changed from leaning moderate to liberal, to leaning conservative and pro-SBC as a result of the Conservative Resurgence. They do a great job reporting news in general and they are one of my favorite sites. Respected leaders are on both sides of the GCRTFR.  I’ve enjoyed reading both sides of this issue in Baptist Press (BP). They have had strong articles both pro and con, and I hope they continue that type of reporting.

As always, the Christian fellowship will be outstanding. Because, well, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ. Because as fellow laborers in the field we have so much in common. And because we need that talking, laughing, and joking with one another. Preachers will meet new friends and enjoy the fellowship of old companions from college and seminary. Preachers need fellowship with their fellow pastors.

There will, of course, be great singing and preaching. People will be challenged to be soul winners, and to allow God’s Word to transform their lives.

Crossover Orlando (local evangelistic emphasis leading up to each annual SBC) may have become the most important part of the annual SBC. At least it is for those who, as a result, come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And it is not just the official Crossover efforts. Many messengers will speak a word of witness to folks in Florida. Some will use the SBC provided Gospel tracts or bring their own. Many of those tracts will be left, hopefully with an above average tip, in restaurants and motels in Florida and across the USA. Only God knows how many messengers will point people to Jesus as a result of this trip.

Pray for the messengers and the ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pray that God will work through us and because of us. And thank God that sometimes He works in spite of us.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 12, AD 2010.

Note: Deacon series will continue despite this interlude.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Baptist Deacon

Basic Bible passages on deacons: Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 1:1.
Deacon - from the Greek word diakonos; literally means “servant.” It can be used unofficially of anyone serving the church, or used in its official sense of the office of deacon.

A deacon is to be a servant of the church. The pastor (also called bishop and elder in the NT) is the spiritual leader in the church. But in a practical sense the deacons are also looked to as spiritual leaders in the local church. Deacons are not to rule over the church or the pastor, but they are to be loving, serving leaders. Deacons assist in presenting the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper and, if needed, in the ordinance of baptism. They are to assist and support the church, the pastor, and its leaders. Deacons should have a positive view of their church. They should do all in their power to foster harmony and minimize dissention. Unless a pastor seriously steps out of line, the deacons should be his biggest supporters.

A deacon should: be a baptized believer; praying, faithful, loyal supporter of his church; live a committed life for the Lord; be a tither; a problem-solver; not drink alcoholic beverages or engage in any practice that would hurt the church or his influence for Christ; faithfully love, support, and lead his wife and family; discipline and raise his children well; never bring reproach on the cause of Christ; be a witness for Jesus Christ. If a deacon gets out of church and out of God’s will, he should resign as a deacon and return his certificate of ordination.

Two documents that define much of Northside Baptist Church, Highlands, TX would be the Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 and the Church Covenant. The Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church Covenant was written in the 1850s and has been used by many Baptist churches ever since. In 1970 Northside made the decision that a divorced man would not serve as pastor or deacon. Of course, those who have been divorced, are a welcome part of Northside and may serve in any other church capacity.

Current deacons of Northside: James E. Selkirk, Oswall Harman, Jack Cone.
Those under consideration as deacons: Kenneth Stanley, James Cain.

Process: Present deacon recommendation to church, vote, then set up ordination service.

VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.” -Baptist Faith & Message, 2000.

“Deacons served in both material and spiritual matters (Acts 6:2 to 7:60; 8:5-40). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a deacon. Note that when both pastors and deacons did their work faithfully, the work of the church prospered (Acts 6:7). That there are two ordained offices does not mean that a church may not have other workers, such as teachers and leaders, in various phases of the work. Such may be chosen as the need demands. But the ordained officers are pastors and deacons.” -Herschel H. Hobbs, The Baptist Faith and Message, Convention Press, Nashville, TN, 1971; p. 81.

NEXT: Preparing for the Deacon Ordination Service
See all Deacon articles in this series by clicking Deacons under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in lower right margin. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 7, AD 2010.

Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deacons - Basic Baptist Doctrines

Below is a handout I prepared and gave to our deacons and deacon candidates. We went over the doctrines and discussed them. A deacon needs to know what we believe and why we believe it. Deacons should be grounded in the faith. They also need to be prepared to answer questions during the Ordination Service!
We also discussed a handout on The Baptist Deacon. That will be posted next.

Fundamental or Basic Christian Doctrines are the foundational beliefs of Christianity.  They have been believed by all, or at least the huge majority, of all Christians.  Distinctive Baptist Doctrines are those beliefs that distinquish Baptists from all other, or some other, Evangelical Christian groups. 

Deacons - Basic Baptist Doctrines
(Summary, for a complete statement, read the Bible!)

Fundamental, Basic Christian Doctrines:
1. Divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible is our supreme rule of faith and practice.

2. The Trinity. God is one, but reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

3. Jesus is God.

4. The Virgin Birth of Jesus.

5. Jesus’ sinless life

6. The blood atonement. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, shed His blood for us.

7. Jesus literally, physically rose from the dead.

8. Literal Return of Christ to the earth.

9. Resurrection and Judgment

10. Reality of Heaven and Hell

11. Man is a sinner in need of a Savior.

12. Personal faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation. Faith alone in Christ alone. 
A deacon should have a basic understanding of how to share the plan of salvation (see previous GCP article on The Roman Road).

Distinctive Baptist Doctrines:
1. Believers Baptism by Immersion, is the scriptural means of baptism.

2. Two scriptural offices: pastors and deacons. In the Bible pastor, bishop, and elder are used synonymously for the same office. 

3. Eternal Security of the believer. Once saved, always saved. But true faith should result in good works for the Lord.

4. Autonomy of the local church. The local church is a democratic body, with Christ as the head of the church. No one outside a local Baptist church can tell them what to do.

5. Religious liberty. Citizens of a country should be free to worship according to the dictates of their conscience. They should be free to witness to others.

6. Requirements for church membership: salvation and believer’s baptism by immersion.

7. Priesthood of the believer. Each believer is responsible before God to search the Scripture and believe and live accordingly.

8. The two ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are not sacraments. A sacrament carries with it the idea of having “saving grace.” We are only saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Ordinance - a special command given by Jesus for the church to observe.

9. The elements (unleavened bread & fruit of the vine) of the Lord’s Supper are symbolic, not literal. They are not His literal body, they symbolize Jesus’ body and blood given for us on the cross. The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice, it is a memorial service.

10. Missions and Evangelism. We are to go into all the world with the Gospel.

11. Southern Baptists stand against beverage alcohol,*** destructive drugs, and gambling.

12. Our church is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), and the San Jacinto Baptist Association (SJBA).

More Information:
Baptist doctrine and practice: Baptist Faith & Message, 2000; Church Covenant.*
Good Bible Translations: NKJV, NIV, NASB, HCSB, KJV.
Good Study Bibles: Criswell Study Bible (aka Believer’s Study Bible; Baptist Study Edition); Ryrie Study Bible; Scofield Study Bible.
Keep up with Baptist life by reading the Southern Baptist Texan ( & Baptist Press at**

* Print copies of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and the Church Covenant can be obtained from LifeWay. See previous GCP articles on these two statements. We gave copies of these to the deacons and deacon candidates. 
** Our deacons are subscribed to the print copy of the Southern Baptist Texan, the state paper of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
*** You may be interested in
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times and other articles on the Bible and alcohol. Find these other articles in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels). Click the label for Alcohol.

Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Books on Calvinism, Predestination

NEXT: The Baptist Deaon (find all Deacon articles in lower right margin under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 1, AD 2010.