Remembering Our Friend, Gary Bailey

Our friend and brother in Christ, Gary Bailey, went to Heaven on Wednesday morning of this week.  In his memory, we are re-posting the following article from our web archives in 2012 about how Gary used his gifts to advance God’s Kingdom.  Thank you, Gary, for your faithfulness.

gary 3A Pen

“ Take a large scroll and write on it with a man’s pen…”  Isaiah 8:1

In this unusual scripture, orders were given to the prophet to write a prophecy to be read by all men. The prophet was to write on a large scroll with a man’s pen. He was to use the pen to make clear, ordinary letters that the humblest could read. The prophet’s words ‘a man’s pen’ serve as a focal point for this article.

gary 1

Gary Bailey is a good friend with whom I often share morning coffee. He has a great heart for ministry.  Although retired, he is very involved in serving the Lord. He participates in a jail ministry, is a Gideon, and is actively involved in his local church.  Gary is also a Kentucky craftsman who creates beautiful writing pens in his workshop. He has turned his skills as a craftsman and his love for time in his workshop into a creative way to financially support mission projects.  Using beautiful native wood and at times exotic wood, he handcrafts writing instruments that are exquisite.

gary 2For the last several years, as I began summer travels preaching camp meetings, revivals, and mission conferences, Gary would give me a display folder of these beautiful pens. In craft stores, these pens would normally sell for $25-$50. Gary gives all of the money donated by people who wish to have one of these beautiful one-of-a-kind writing instruments to our ministry. Many have commented that the pens make wonderful gifts for pastors, business associates, or for someone who ‘has everything’.

I believe the comments of Jesus in Mark 14 have real relevance here. Jesus spoke concerning Mary’s breaking the alabaster box and pouring the contents of very costly oil of spikenard on His head. When some of the indignant disciples criticized her, Jesus responded, “Leave her alone! She has done a beautiful thing for me. She has done what she could.”

Do you want to do something beautiful for the Savior? Like Mary, do what you can.  Ask yourself, What can I do? Do I have talents, skills, or a craft, such as Gary’s, that I could put to use for the Lord’s work? Perhaps you have been overlooking how a hobby, craft, or a resource could be used for ministry.  

Gary has been making pens to help write the Good News on the scrolls of men’s hearts.  Thank you,Gary, for your example as you minister in the Lord’s name.

~ Brother Roy

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Life and T.P.

tpSometimes a humorous or light-hearted saying can carry a serious implication. During a recent gathering of our morning coffee group at Fitch’s IGA, one of the sages said, “Life is sorta’ like a roll of T.P.: the closer to the end you get, the faster it goes”. After a chuckle, the sobering reality of that little phrase captured my attention.

Many of us that gather at Fitch’s are in the seventy-plus age range with several in the eighty-or-more group. Once again, I’ve come to realize that the years fly quickly from the calendar of our lives. James 4:14 (NKJV) calls attention to this fact: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

I recognized that each day moves us closer to the end of our earthly pilgrimage. Shakespeare gives us these poignant words: We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feeling not figures on a dial.” Life is meant to be something more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.” 

A wise man once said, “He lives long that lives well, and time misspent is not lived but lost. As we see the past rapidly fading in the rear view mirror, we need to recognize a number of things:

  1. The brevity of time
  2. The swiftness with which days fly by
  3. The certainty of death
  4. The importance of Biblical Values

The Psalmist prayed that God would help him number his days so that he might get the most out of life and also inherit eternal life. Do not postpone living for God! Procrastination will cause you to kill time, lose time, and waste time. Time is irrevocable when gone. Time is that gift of God for which we are accountable.

Today is the only day you have for sure – live it in God’s will.

~ Brother Roy

Distracted Living

distracted driverA recent television commercial shows a lady walking through a mall. She is distracted by texting on her cell phone and falls into a fountain. Another TV clip shows a man, also distracted by his smart phone, walking off the curb into traffic and nearly being hit by a car. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Staggering data also indicates eleven teens die every day as a result of texting while driving.

While distracted driving may prove to be fatal, distracted living can prove to be eternally destructive. Things that distract us from following the Lord’s plans can be devastating. We ought to focus on His plans for us. Scripture reveals God’s heart for His children. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

The opposite of following God’s plans is to follow our own plans. That idea is usually a really bad plan. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV). When we become preoccupied with temporal things and lose our eternal perspective, we are headed for disaster. Paul speaks of those who are inattentive to God’s plans. For many walk …whose end is destruction… who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18, NKJV). Scripture instructs us to, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Our focus must stay on Jesus. Paul says, “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV). Paul concentrated his thoughts and his energies on the one great end of life, the one thing needful. No distracted living for him.

Prayer: Lord keep us from distracted living and distracted driving!

~ Brother Roy