By Allen Palmeri
BRANSON – Jim McNiel tried to set a “Raising the Cross” tone for the Monday morning session of the Missouri State Evangelism Conference, and the president of the Fellowship of Missouri Baptist Evangelists liked how it turned out.
“I felt like the Lord used us to do our job,” said McNiel, a preaching evangelist from St. Louis. “I believe the Lord even exceeded my prayers to anoint the hearers, to anoint those participants.”
Bible messages from McNiel, Ron Herrod of Sevierville, Tenn., Don Walton of Oak Grove, and Clyde Chiles of Columbia remained true to Galatians 6:14, the particular verse that was chosen for this occasion here at First Baptist Church. It begins with God forbidding that men should glory in anything apart from the Cross of Jesus. It ends with crucifixion—both to self and to the world.
At the end of the morning a woman came forward during the invitation for salvation.
“It says, ‘By His stripes we are healed,’” McNiel said. “I believe that takes in the physical, the mental, and the emotional, but I know the greatest healing is when a sin-sick soul is touched by the stripes of their Healer.”
McNiel has gotten to know Cliff Barrows, 65-year music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Team. Barrows, 87, has been listening to some of McNiel’s CD recordings of Bible verses as a way to retain God’s Word. On Jan. 25, Barrows spoke with the attendees by way of conference call in which McNiel interviewed him for 12 minutes.
“The Cross means to me my way to heaven, my knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and the fact that my sins were forgiven,” Barrows said.
Barrows went on to say in a closing prayer that the greatest resource we have is the Word of God used by the Spirit of God to speak to our hearts.
A testimony honoring the work of the Cross in a believer’s life was delivered by James Harriss, an evangelist from Ozark, and Herrod was able to baptize an exchange student from Taiwan who recently came to Christ.
“The will of God is to bring in the harvest,” Herrod said.
Music during the session was handled by: Reggie LaFaye of Paducah, Ky., known as “Mr. Gospel Sax,” who played various saxophones and harmonicas; Greg and Jamie Hitt of Moscow Mills; Bob and JoAnn Tolliver of Collins; Phil and Karen Hamilton of Union; Diana Edwards of Mountain Grove; Janis Shrum of Sikeston; Ron and Haven Howard of Branson; and Bud and Barbara Lee of Blue Springs.
Shrum sang about how we stand forgiven at the Cross, and LaFaye played “The Lord’s Prayer” right before Chiles spoke.
John Hill of Ozark was elected new president of the evangelists’ organization, with Bud Lee elected vice president.