Last night we had Missionary Ray Shull as our guest speaker. Bro. Shull and his family spent a couple of years helping in our church several years ago, so this was a reunion of sorts for some of our long-time members. I was so glad that Mrs. Shull and their daughter, Becca, came with him too. Besides preaching, Bro. Shull also sang a special with his wife at the piano, and did a tremendous job! Our folks love special music, so this was an extra treat!
Bro. Shull was raised in a Christian home in Stockton, California, and was saved as a young teenager. After high school, he attended the Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College where he graduated in 1980. Over the next 20+ years he served as both a pastor and an assistant pastor in 4 different churches in Washington, Idaho, and California. The majority of those years was spent in Mariposa, California where in addition to serving as assistant pastor, he started and administrated the Christian school.
After serving there for around 12 years, Bro. Shull began to sense that God would be moving them soon, but he had no idea where or for what. In 2002 their church conducted their annual missions conference. Bro. Shull says he sat in the conference Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and enjoyed it as he always did. But on Sunday morning while listening to a guest speaker, God impressed upon his heart very clearly that He wanted them to go to Cambodia. When he told his wife she said, "I was thinking the same thing". Their pastor and church got behind them fully and in just a few months they were on deputation.
The Shulls have now been serving in Cambodia for the past 6 years. They pastor the Freedom Baptist Church in Ta Kmau, which is a small city south of Phnom Penh. They conduct Thursday morning services in a small fishing village which is near their house. On Saturdays, Ray and 2 of the men in their church drive motocycles 2 and 1/2 hours (one way) to a village in Kampot province where they are hoping to start a church.
Last night's very helpful sermon was "4 Steps To Victory", taken from the story of Sarah and her prolonged waiting for a child. In his introduction, he went through some of the promises that God made to Abraham and Sarah. He also showed how when Abraham believed God, his faith was counted to him for righteousness. Faith is the key for receiving the greatest of all of God's promises - His salvation. The four steps to victory are for all areas of life, from getting saved to living the Christian life.
The first step: "I can't do it." This sounds strange to the undiscerning listener, but it is Bible truth. In the first two verses of Genesis 16, we see that Sarah came to the point in her life where she confessed that she had no ability to solve this problem. Every person who would be saved MUST cease to lean upon the arm of the flesh. Every person who would live a victorious Christian life must do the same. The second step: "Perhaps I can do it some other way besides God's way." After realizing her own inability, Sarah turned to a newfound hope. She thought she could get what she desired by circumventing God's laws. It was a big mistake for her and it is a big mistake to all who would attempt it today. The third step: "Now I have to deal with the consequences of my poor decision." It didn't take long at all for Sarah to realize she had made a really poor choice. The one choice had drastic and long-lasting consequences. The fourth step: "I have a great God who can make things right!" How we thank God that after we realize our own inadequacy, after we have tried some other way and failed, even after our life is messed up by the consequences of our unbelief, God still graciously comes through with his promises!
I thank the Lord for the opportunity that our church had lasts night to hear Bro. Shull preach. Bro. Shull has been a blessing to me personally over the years. His many years of experience in the ministry have brought me to him for advice on many occasions. And I thank the Lord for their willingness to come to Cambodia, leaving 2 married sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 2 (soon-to-be 3) grandbabies in America. Their third son, Randy, spent a couple years here with them and is now a senior at West Coast Baptist College. This family is doing a great work for the Lord here in Cambodia, and to think...8 years ago they were just sitting in a missions conference minding their own business:)