Sep 052021

By: Ron Woodrum

     The father of modern missions is William Carey, a Baptist missionary in the late 1700’s who gave his life to reaching the Hindu world of India.  William Carey was born in England on August 17, 1761.  His early life was spent as an apprentice to a shoe cobbler (repairing shoes). He gave his life to Christ on February 10, 1779…not quite 18 years old.  He joined the Baptist Church in 1783, being baptized by Dr. John Rylands.  While repairing shoes this uneducated man taught himself Greek and Hebrew in order to study the Scriptures in their original languages.  His aggressive study of the Bible soon led to a call to the ministry and in 1789 he became Pastor of the Harvey Lane Baptist Church.  He read a book, by a fellow Baptist Pastor Andrew Fuller titled The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, and was moved by one line in the book…”If it is the duty of all men to believe whenever the gospel is presented to them, it must be the duty of all who have received the Gospel to endeavor to make it universally known!” That line convinced Carey that the Gospel needed to be shared with the heathen all across the world who had never heard.  He built a leather globe of the world, and while repairing shoes, sought God’s direction about how to relieve this heart burden for the world.  Once a month Baptist ministers met for prayer, Bible study, and fellowship.  Carey was asked to share at one of those meetings.  He shared his view of how Genesis 12:1-3 demanded that we bless the world with the Gospel.  He felt that Matthew 28:19-20 was a binding commission for the Church to obey.  While preaching on this subject to his fellow Baptist ministers, Dr. Ryland, the very one that had baptized him, interrupted him and said, “Sit down young man and be still!  When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without consulting either you or me!”  That caused Carey to study the Scriptures even more over the next eight years, and resulted in him printing a pamphlet entitled “An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use means for the conversion of the Heathen”.  His theme verse became Isaiah 54:5 “Thy Redeemer…The God of All The Earth shall He be Called”. Carey came in contact with a surgeon John Thomas who had returned from India, and was so moved with their lostness he was baptized, ordained and intended to return to the country to share the gospel.  Carey’s friend Andrew Fuller heard John Thomas say “India was a veritable Gold mine, but was as deep as the center of the earth”. Thomas asked “who will go down?”  Andrew shared that with Carey.  Carey responded, “I will if you will hold the ropes!”  Just before Carey left to go to his missionary work in India he preached a farewell sermon in which he declared that we should “Expect Great Things From God, and Attempt Great Things For God!”  Those were his intentions.

     He left for India in 1793.  It took them five months to sail to India.  During this time Carey was learning Bengali.  He took his wife, and sons William, Felix, and Peter with him.  His wife only went reluctantly.  The first event was his five year old son Peter died to disease.  Dorothy, his wife, suffered a mental breakdown and would spend the next 14 years on the mission field battling fits of insanity.  The work was hard.  In order to support their work Carey worked as a manager of an Indigo plant for six years.  He worked during the day, and learned the languages and dialects during the nights.  He translated the Bible into Bengali, and forty other languages.  Just before he completed the Bengali translation, a fire destroyed all his laborious work.  He had no choice but to begin it all again.  It took seven years to see his first Hindu convert in 1800.  His wife Dorothy finally passed in 1807.  His son Felix forsook the mission work to become an Ambassador for the government.  Carey wrote home to supporters, “Felix has shrunk from a missionary to an ambassador!”  Carey was known for his patience and perseverance.  He founded the Christian Church of India, the school system, including females in his education process, the postal system.  This self-educated missionary translated the Scriptures into over 40 languages known to India, and printed 213,000 Bibles.  Carey called himself “God’s Plodder!”   He wrote, “If He give me credit for being a plodder He will describe me justly.  Anything beyond that will be too much.  I can plod.  I can persevere in any definite pursuit.  To this I owe everything”.  He reminds me of what Alexander MacLaren wrote-“We have all of a few moments in life of hard, glorious running; but we have days and years of walking-the uneventful discharge of small duties”.  The steady plodding and discharging of those small duties enabled William Carey to “Accomplish Great Things for God!”  The same is true for us.  Just before he died in 1834 he wrote home to supporters and said, “Say nothing about Dr. Carey-speak about Dr. Carey’s God”. On one occasion a British ambassador tried to embarrass Carey by asking “haven’t you been a shoemaker for most of your life?”  Carey responded, “Not a shoemaker-a shoe cobbler.  I repair shoes”.  He was a humble servant of God.  His tombstone had only these words:  William Carey.  Born August 17, 1761.  Died June 9, 1834.  “A poor wretched worm-on Thy kind arms I fall”. 

     I came across a quote the other day by Joseph Parker.  I believe it fits William Carey, and all who endeavor missionary work which can take so long to lay the foundation and see fruit.  Joseph Parker wrote: “Is God all wise?  Then the darkest providences have meaning.  We will set ourselves as God’s interpreters, and because we cannot make straight lines out of our crooked lot, we think that God has turned our life into inextricable confusion.  The darkest hours in our life have some intent, and it is really not needful that we should know all at once what that intent is.  Let us keep within our own little sphere, and live a day at a time, and breathe a breath at a time, and be content with one pulsation at a time, and interpretation will come when God pleases, and as He pleases.”

“More Star-like Than a Star”

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Aug 292021

By: Ron Woodrum      This past week Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, citing the reason being his masterful talent of writing lyrical poetry like no one else in history.  Most who are familiar with Dylan’s music, would admit that his vocal abilities are sometimes hard to endure, but his lyrics […]


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Aug 222021

By: Ron Woodrum      Tri Valley Baptist Church has completed its first twenty five years of ministry.  Over the years we have had many men of God lead us in the ministry of winning our community to Christ.  I believe it has been the measure of every Pastor to lead this congregation in MAKING DISCIPLES […]

“That Incredible Christian or That Incredible Shrinking Christian”

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Aug 152021

By: Ron Woodrum      Back in 1964 A.W. Tozer wrote a book called That Incredible Christian.  In his book he enumerated the characteristics of a true Christian that often made him an enigma to the rest of the world, and yet that enigma was an unexplainable difference that often had a magnetic draw of curiosity […]

The Bible: Relic or Relevant?

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Aug 082021

By: Ron Woodrum      The Bible continues to be the perennial best seller of all books!  That being said, there is a legitimate question about the impact that it is currently having on lives in this 21st century.  Just before he gave up hosting the Tonight Show, Jay Leno did an on the street interview […]


Aug 012021

By: Ron Woodrum      One of the most controversial rock groups since the 1990’s is the rock group Korn.  The Chicago Tribune described the group as “perverts, psychopaths, and paranoiacs”.  Their heavy metal music and explicit lyrics had earned them quite a reputation-a bad one!  But they made news March 3, 2005 when a close […]


Jul 252021

By: Ron Woodrum      One of my favorite hymns is the hymn-“JESUS SAVES”.  I’m sure you recall the lyrics. We have heard the joyful sound Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves! Spread the tidings all around Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves! Bear the news to every land, Climb the steeps and cross the waves; Onward tis our Lord’s […]

“We have not seen the last of the best!”

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Jul 182021

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “We have not seen the last of the best!” Revivals have been a big part of my life for over six decades.  I was saved in September of 1968.  My parents were saved the next fall, November 1969, during a revival with Gerald Thompson as the Evangelist at the Salem Baptist Church of […]

“A Brand Plucked From the Fire-with the World His Gospel Parish”

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Jul 112021

   PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “A Brand Plucked From the Fire-with the World His Gospel Parish”.   One of the most interesting and impacting Christian influences of the 18th Century was John Wesley.  Historians feel that he, and possibly George Whitefield, are the reason that England escaped the Revolutionary tragedy and turmoil that plagued France during this same […]

“Be Pedestaled in Triumph”-Robert Browning

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Jul 042021

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Be Pedestaled in Triumph”-Robert Browning.      Paschal, in his masterpiece Penses, tried to explain why the world in his day, like ours, seems lost in their insatiable pursuit of pleasure at any cost.  He said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness proclaim but that there was once in man true happiness, […]