Just One

Pastors Blog with Bro Ed Stephenson


With so much going on, in our nation, we may find ourselves trying to discern our role as believers. I know one thing everyone has their opinion on the course of action we should take individually and as a nation. Living by faith is not so much verbal as it is visual. Faith is never proven merely by words but most importantly it is proven by works. That’s why Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may SEE your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

The most influential thing in a dark room is a light! It is interesting that while a light is shining it never says anything it just shines. With all the darkness of the virus, and the civil unrest, America needs some light to shine. The light of the world is Jesus, according to John chapter one, and John reminded us that John the Baptist wasn’t the light but was sent to bear witness of the true Light, Jesus. In the seventh verse of chapter one John said, “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” It is so important to shine for Jesus if we are going to see people come to believe in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. I make no apology for my personal faith in Jesus and my personal faith in the power of the new birth to change man.

We must also pray as believers! I believe there is power in prayer! As born again children of God we must go to our Heavenly Father with praise and request. Jesus said, “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1. Those who do not pray will faint and America doesn’t need a bunch of ‘fainting’ believers! This word faint means ‘feeble’, ‘soft’, ‘dim’, ‘muffled’, ‘unclear’ what the world needs are believers with a strong light shining! Knowing that Christ is at the right hand of God making intercession for us we should remember Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”   

In the 27th chapter of Acts the Apostle Paul is a prisoner on a ship that is in the midst of a serious storm. Now early, before they departed on this leg of the trip to Rome, Paul had told them that this wasn’t a good idea to sail at this time. They didn’t listen to the preacher and decided to do it anyway and soon things were dangerous for everyone on board. They tried to do everything they knew to do to save their lives but it looked hopeless. Listen to the  ‘good news’ that Paul  shared, “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before
Caesar; and  lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”   Acts 27:22-25



The Coronavirus continues to influence our nation and guidelines continue to be revisited in an effort to slow this virus down. To say this is all a wearisome (tiresome, frustrating, dreary, trying) environment would be a great understatement. As a pastor I am left to ponder what will be the long term outcome in relations to church ministry. Some of our sister churches will begin this week opening their services to attendees and their pastors are concerned about how many will attend. I assure you that pastors are praying for the Lord to give them patience, and understanding, during this time of health concerns. We all want our sheep to be healthy and safe.

Dealing with the health issues is wearisome but having to also deal with so much unrest in our nation is another very tiresome situation. I am sure you would join me in praying for our society to have civility (respect, politeness, consideration) between one another. Civility is a big challenge for man because our sinful nature is fundamentally selfish (egotistic, self-seeking, self-centered). When law is ignored man by nature will seek his own way with total disregard for others. If there are no laws, and each man goes his own way, the end result will be anarchy and destruction. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18. “There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 16:25.

This weekend America is celebrating 244 years as a Republic which is the opposite of a ‘Monarchy’. Our Republic is identified as a state, a nation, of democracy which means; ‘equality’, ‘fairness’, ‘classlessness’ for all. It also means that we are a nation governed by a representative form of government, not anarchy. For any society to succeed there must be governing laws that must be observed, for the well-being of the society as a whole. We all should remember the words of our forefathers when they declared that we are “One Nation Under God”.

A verse in the Bible that described the coming days of judgment for the nation of Israel is found at the close of the book of Judges. It represents a time when Israel wanted to have an earthly king to rule over them rather that to recognize Jehovah God’s laws and ways. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Our Republic, our democracy, is all at risk if there is not a spiritual awakening to the only true, and living, Lord God Jehovah. The enemy that will destroy us lies within each of us. If America falls it will fall from within!



Have you noticed that the more things change the more they stay the same? It seems as though the news is just another report like yesterday’s report. Concern for the coronavirus and continuing influence on our activities, and our health, is an everyday issue of concern. We are all anxiously waiting for the day’s statistical report and everyone wants the numbers to reflect a downward trend. Unfortunately that is not the trend we are hearing and we continue to be wearied with all the guidelines and most of all the reports about the loss of lives.

Each day we are also informed about the social unrest which is a growing concern to us individually and to our nation. No one is opposed to the right to voice one’s concern over that which they feel is wrong but all of us would prefer it be done without violence and destruction. We must have a society that is governed by law, and order, or else we will live in a state of ‘anarchy’ (chaos, lawlessness, riot, mayhem). Mature adults must find a way to listen to each other in a civil (polite, respectful, considerate and gracious) way.

I saw a young black man standing on a corner in Conway the other day and he had a sign which simply read, “Let’s All Love Each Other, Please!”. I thought what a great, and meaningful, request. How could that request be fulfilled? I firmly believe this young man’s request would be initiated if man had a right relationship with his Creator.

The world needs more LOVE, and less HATE, and God is LOVE! Jesus pointed out to us the TWO MOST IMPORTANT LAWS to govern our lives. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said, in speaking to a lawyer about law to obey in life, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

None of us will get through life without having to deal with disagreements. We face it in family relationships, in marriage, in places of employment, in schools, in local church ministry, in school boards, in neighborhoods, in associations and conventions, in governing laws and politics. But if we will love each other, with the love of God, we will find a solution without violence and destruction. DO ANY OF US THINK THAT GOD AGREES WITH OUR BEHAVIOR AT ALL TIMES? BUT HE NEVER STOPS LOVING, AND FORGIVING, US!



We would all agree that these are perplexing times! The use of the word ‘perplexing’ adds to the ‘perplexity’ of the day. ‘Perplexity’ is a noun that describes a distinct circumstance and ‘perplexing’ is an adjective that describes the details of the circumstance. So the details of these days could be described as ‘confusing’, ‘puzzling’, ‘difficult’, ‘bewildering’ and ‘disconcerting’. I would remind all of us that I Cor. 14:33 tells us that “God is not the author of confusion….”.

It is perplexing to me that we are being told that the color of one’s skin determines whether a person ‘matters’ (be important or make a difference). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that’whosoever’ believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is very clear to me that God loves ALL of mankind and that as Peter reminds us in Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a TRUTH I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” We love to teach our children to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and we are thrilled when they sing, “red, and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight”! Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The New Testament Church was commissioned by Christ to go into ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY PERSON.

What will heaven look like? Who will be there? Will it be just those that ‘matter’? Truth is none of us will deserve to be there and the only ones who will be there are those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ! Rev. 7:9-10, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of ALL NATIONS, and KINDREDS, and PEOPLE,  and TONGUES, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

It is also ‘perplexing’ to me how everyone is being encouraged to ‘kneel’ for this cause or that cause. It seems to represent, with some, their negative attitude, with some submission and with sum their unification to a cause. With some there is the message of apology. The Apostle Paul when he reflected upon his call to preach Jesus to the Gentile world and was overwhelmed with the privilege to present Jesus said, “FOR THIS CAUSE I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I personally think our nation, and the world, would be a much better place if we were to spend time on our knees before God the Father!

“Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there, Come while He waits for you;

List to His voice, Leave with Him your care, and begin life anew.

Kneel at the cross, Leave every care; Kneel at the Cross, Jesus will meet you there.’


The ‘Come Back’ is underway and I am blessed! Last week we had the largest attendance (131), for Sunday morning ‘Time of Worship’, since the second week of March. I believe the trend will continue even though it may be slow. I understand the continual concern over the coronavirus but I firmly believe better days are coming. Health concerns, not related to the virus, still remain a challenge for some of our church family and some are dealing with the loss of loved ones.

 Thrown into all these issues is the civil unrest being witnessed in our country? It seems as if it isn’t one thing it’s another and we just want to say, “Give us a break, enough already!” Politicians are amazingly wrong as they suggest they have the answers while they are all part of the problems. I personally don’t care if people think I am ‘old fashion’, and out of touch, I still believe that Jesus Christ will change man. The problem with mankind is man! 

According to Ephesians 2:2, “..we are children of disobedience..” and in verse 3, “by nature children of wrath”. Jeremiah tells us in his book (17:9) , “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it.” What man needs is heart surgery! Listen what society needs today is not a new coat on every man but a new man in every coat! Folks as long as man is motivated with selfishness, pride, materialism and the “love of money which IS the root of all evil” things are not going to change!

When God delivered the children of Israel, from Egyptian bondage, and they marched through the Red Sea, it wasn’t long until He gave them the Ten Commandments to govern their delivered lives by. I understand that first of all the Ten Commandments are not to be considered suggestions they were to be honored because they came from Jehovah God. The first ‘commandment’ is this; “Thou shalt have no other gods (little ‘g’) before Me”. Please understand that if God isn’t FIRST the other commandments will not matter.

To really ‘KNOW’ God is to know Him through the ‘new birth’ by faith in the substitutionary, atoning, death of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6) Let me say this that I don’t look for an unbelieving world to honor the Word of God. I am astonished by those who profess to know Christ, as their personal Savior, that He is not give ‘PREEMENIENCE’ in their priorities of life. 

Paul told the saint in the church at Colossae, “And he is the head of the body, the church: wqho is the beginning, the firsborn from the dead; that IN ALL THINGS he might have the preeminenice.” Col. 1:18 (preeminence: supremacy, domination, renown, authority)



“Jesus Use Me”

The first Sunday in June has been, for many decades, designated as ‘Homecoming Day’ in the community of Springhill and Springhill Baptist Church has been the gathering point for those who return to celebrate their heritage. As can be determined Springhill Baptist Church was formed in 1860, unfortunately, many early records were destroyed in a fire in 1903. This coming Sunday we will mark the 160th anniversary of this local church and her ministry for her Savior Jesus Christ who purchased her with His blood! 

In the beginning Sunday morning Bible study would take place every Sunday and when preachers were available there would be preaching. Some of the early pastors were scheduled for one Sunday a month and that expanded, in time, to two Sundays. As the years past the ministry grew and there were pastors who were by-vocational and eventually on the field full time. The first pastor identified by record was Bro. Walsh Ford who served during the years of 1894-1896. Other pastors who’s names might be recognized in recent Baptist history were Dr. J.E. Cobb, E.C. Pearrow, W.J. Burgess, Levi Reynolds, Gene Elrod, George Reddin, Dr. Wassell Burgess (1957-1970/ 1979-1990), Ed Stephenson 1999-present).  

We are saddened that our ‘Homecoming Day’ celebration has been disrupted by the guidelines of the coronavirus but we still rejoice, and praise the Lord, for the blessed ministry of Springhill Baptist Church. It will take time but the ministry will recover and our best days are still before us. Last Sunday we had over 110 back for our time of worship Sunday morning and I am looking for the attendance to grow. I am anxious to see you and to worship with you!

A lot of things happened in 1860 such as the election of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president of the United States, the first trip of the ‘Pony Express’ from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California to deliver one small Bible. 1860 marked the eight census in America and lasted six months and it was determined the population was 31,443,330. On December 20, 1860 South Carolina became the first state to declare its secession from the union after the election of Abraham Lincoln.

So many interesting things happened in 1860 and I encourage you to look up the events of that year. What took place in a remote area in Arkansas, when some Bible believing saints coveted together to start a local church, was a work for Jesus that eternity will reveal had a great harvest for the Master.



After our second week of allowing more attendees to our Sunday morning ‘Time of Worship’ I am thrilled to see folks back in the church house! We are all enjoying seeing each other even though all we can do is wave and greet each other from a distance. All the guidelines are still being recognized and we will continue to observe the guidelines for the foreseeable future. I understand that it will be some time before we see our classes, nurseries,  children’s worship and other ministries open up but I am thankful we are moving in that direction.

Even with all that is going on I know that God is working and that the message of God’s Word cannot be silenced. People’s lives are being influenced by the Word and decisions are being made for Jesus. Just this week I rejoiced with a young man in my office who had made a decision for Jesus and wanted to share it with Bro. Ed. 

Each week I am motivated to preach the Word because I firmly believe that God will always bless His Word! The prophet Isaiah records a promise from God that every preacher, and believer, should be energized by when God said, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to eat: So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void (null, empty, canceled), but it shall accomplish (achieve, do, carry out) that which I please (delight, want, thrill), and it shall prosper (do well, thrive, succeed, show a profit) in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55:10-11

When God called me to preach, 56 years ago, I had never read that passage and it was several years before I discovered God’s promise. I come to realize God didn’t give me the power to save anyone, to revive anyone or revive any local church. He didn’t give me the power to make people obedient to His Word or convict people of their sin. What He did do is call me to proclaim His Word under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I am a sower of the seed of God’s inerrant Word and He is the Lord of the harvest.

People ask, “What are you going to do Bro. ED?” I am telling you that whether it is times like we are now dealing with, or situations, and circumstances yet to be revealed that which will succeed, and show a profit will be THE WORD OF GOD! So I pledge, by His grace, to do as Paul charged Timothy to do “preach the Word”.



Freedom is a topic we hear a lot about these days. People are growing weary of all the guidelines and restrictions. One of the truly great blessings of being in America is the sense of freedom we enjoy and perhaps take to lightly. Freedom is also something that people take advantage of thinking that life is without accountability. If we make decisions that abuse freedom we will stand to forfeit our freedom. Even without the virus we must understand that freedom will always have its guidelines and responsibilities. Freedom doesn’t mean you can just do what you want to do without the consideration of others and the wellbeing of society as a whole. The proper use of freedom calls for discipline, maturity, and a selfless attitude.

Freedom means ‘liberty’ which carries the idea of ‘emancipation’ or being delivered. As Americans we know that our liberty, freedom and emancipation did not come without sacrifice and even death. A look back at our history, which we should study, will teach us that what we have today did not come without a price. We should also understand that what we have can be lost if we fail to grasp that freedom is not automatic with each generation. Today we stand on the shoulders of the generations before us who have fought, and sacrificed, for the cause of freedom. Listen we should be a thankful people and understand that freedom is not just a ‘right’ it is a ‘bought’ privilege.

On an even higher plane is the ‘freedom’ we have in Jesus Christ! The Bible tells us that we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God” and there is “none righteous, no not one”. It also reminds us that the price for sin is death. I don’t know about you but I would rather have ‘life’ than ‘death’. I would want to be liberated from the condemnation, and the penalty, of sin. I am aware that I can do nothing to bring about my emancipation from the penalty, and condemnation, of sin which is a part of my very nature.

So I look at the Word of God and it tells me that before the foundation of the world God made a decision to LOVE me with His great LOVE. It was God’s LOVE that provided for me, in Jesus Christ, One to pay the price for my liberation from the penalty, and condemnation, of sin. My freedom called for sacrifice, and death, and when Jesus was nailed to the cross, and died, He purchased my freedom. When the power of God raised Jesus from the tomb God was saying your freedom is secured!

Paul said in Gal. 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free….”. Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”


Sunday morning, May 10th, the process began with some attendees returning for our ‘Time of Worship’ at 11:00. For the last two months we have had 10 to 12 in the worship center for our ‘Time of Worship’ and Sunday our attendance jumped to over 50! Bro. Ross was right when he said, “People smile with their eyes.” because even while everyone had their mask on you could tell people were happy to be back!

While all the guidelines are still in place I believe the number of attendees will grow and I appreciate your cooperation concerning the guidelines. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask, enter through the front entrance only, and practice social distancing at all times, except for families that arrive together and are seated together. We are not allowed to have small groups or nurseries and children’s classes.

I truly understand why some will be waiting, about returning, to see how all this relaxing of numbers will affect the situation with the virus. I also want to encourage those with health issues to consider waiting about their return. I understand the latest guidelines, from the Governor, could last up to forty-five days. With all the unknowns, we are dealing with, I believe it will be several weeks, or months, before we see a normal day of worship. 

The Word of God is true and James reminds us in James 1:3, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” I heard a person say that, “If this is going to increase my patience I wish it would hurry up!” The challenges of life will confront our faith and I am aware, first of all, that my faith is directly tied to my knowledge of the Word, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”(Rom. 10:17) There is never a bad time to read the Word of God and I would challenge all of us to spend more time reading the Word and let our Heavenly Father speak to us.

Patience means; endurance, persistence, fortitude, lack of complaint and staying power. One of the greatest request ever made by the disciples was when they asked Jesus to “increase their faith”. These are trying times, and we must walk by faith, if we are going to shine the light of endurance, persistence, perseverance for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Let’s all remember the words of Heb. 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please God…”



The process of allowing more attendees for worship will begin this Sunday. While I have looked forward to the day when more may come it will come with some guidelines that we must accept. I ask for your cooperation with the Governor’s guidelines for church attendance along with the urging of our insurance provider.

The guidelines for those who attend will be: 1. Please consider not attending if you have had a fever in the last week. 2. If you have any pre-existing health issues such as high blood pressure, lung problems, diabetic problems, asthma you may want to consider waiting for a few more weeks before you attend. 3. Everyone that attends MUST WEAR a face mask. 4. Everyone will enter, and exit, through the main entrance at the front of the building. 5. We will continue to practice social distancing accept for families that arrive together. 

6. Those who attend must remain six feet apart in their seating accept for families. 7. We ask you not to shake hands. 8. There will be no class meetings, nurseries, or children activities. It is suggested that those who are over 65 years of age wait about when they will return.

Our ‘Time of Worship’ will begin at 11:00am and the doors will be open at 10:30am. I do not know, at this time, how long this schedule will continue but it is a starting point. Our service will continue to be live streamed for those who decide to wait about their return. I fully understand that for some they will wait to observe how the relaxing of restrictions will work. I also understand that our return to a regular schedule will be weeks away.       

Each one of you could help us by sharing this news with those who do not have internet service. I hope you are looking forward to the return of our regular schedule, even though it may be weeks away, and let’s all pray for wisdom, and patience, as the process begins.

Psa. 86:5-7, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.”