Sermon #1794                                                                     Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                     Rehearsing what God has Done


      Text:                                 Acts 14:21-27

      Subject:               Meetings in Ireland and England

      Date:                                Sunday Evening — May 3, 2009

      Tape #                 Z-64b

      Readings:           Frank Hall and James Jordan



In Acts 13 Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the church at Antioch to preach the gospel among the Gentiles. After preaching the gospel at Antioch, Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas came to Iconium and preached Christ there. They went on to preach the gospel in Lycaonia and Lystra. Then, they went to Derbe, back to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, Pisidia again, preaching the gospel of Christ, confirming the brethren, and ordaining elders in every city. After that they passed through Pisidia and preached the Word in Pamphylia, Perga, and Attalia (vv. 27-28; Acts 13:1-3). Then they returned to Antioch in Syria to give a report of all that had taken place on their first missionary journey. Then, we read in Acts 14:27, — ŇWhen they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles


Following the example of Paul and Barnabas, I want to share with you the things our God has done in the places in Ireland and England to which you sent your pastor.


The Reason


But before giving the facts, let me remind you of the reason. This congregation is exemplary in the work of evangelism.

á               Missionaries

á               Establishing Gospel Churches

á               Television Broadcasts

á               The Grace Bulletin

á               Our Books (13 Published — One at Press)

á               Web Pages

á               Audio/Video Messages



Almost every week, you send you pastor somewhere to preach the gospel. Many wonder why you do so. Others wonder why I strive to give myself relentlessly to this business of preaching the gospel. Why would a group of hard working men and women give so generously to proclaim the gospel everywhere God opens a door? We do so for the same reason John the Baptist came, Ňto bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believeÓ (John 1:7).


We devote ourselves to the blessed work of preaching the gospel for the salvation of GodŐs elect, that sinners might believe on and trust the Lord Jesus Christ, that sinners might have that great salvation that God freely gives to all who trust his darling Son.


My Report


Now, in the time that remains, I will follow the example of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14 and rehearse that which the Lord has done in the places we visited in the United Kingdom.


The Apostle Paul asked the saints at Colosse to pray for him, Ňthat God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of ChristÓ (Colossians 4:3), just as I asked you to pray for me, as Shelby and I left for Ireland and England four weeks ago. And I am happy to report to you, as he did, Ňa great door and effectual was opened to meÓ (1 Corinthians 16:9).


SundayApril 12th


After the morning worship here on April 12th, we loaded the car and left Danville at 12:30 PM and headed to Lexington to catch our 3:00 flight to Atlanta. After a 4 ½ layover in Atlanta, at 9:00 PM we boarded our plane and were on our way to Dublin, Ireland.


MondayApril 13th


We arrived safely in Dublin, Ireland about 10:15 on Monday morning and were greeted by the familiar faces of two of our dear Irish friends, Russell Smyth and Nigel Norman. The Dublin airport is about a 4 hour drive from RussellŐs home where we were to have services. Russell had left the night before and spent the night at NigelŐs home, which is about two hours from the airport. The two of them got up very early the next morning and drove to the airport to pick us up. We so much appreciated them picking us up in Dublin, rather than us having to fly into London and wait around all day before we could catch a flight to Ireland in the late afternoon, as we had done in the past.


When we arrived at NigelŐs home, his wife, Elizabeth, had a beautiful Ulster fry breakfast waiting for us. By this time, everyone was hungry and eager to partake of all the delicious foods Elizabeth had prepared. After breakfast Russell, Shelby and I soon left for Ballymoney. When we got to Ballymoney, it was so good to see RussellŐs wife, Sharon, and their son, Johnny, again. As in the past, Sharon outdid herself and fixed us a delightful dinner. We enjoyed a brief time of fellowship with the SmythŐs after dinner, but about 8:00 decided we just had to call it a day. We had been up since 6:00 AM the day before, so, needless to say, the bed was a welcome sight.


Tuesday and Wednesday

April 14th - 15th


It was a special blessing for us to have the privilege of getting together on Tuesday for lunch and again on Wednesday for dinner with our beloved friends, Bro. Stewart Boyd and his wife, Harriet. We had heard from Bro. Stewart on several occasions and then had the privilege of meeting him for the first time three years ago. He is in his late 60Ős now and has had an extremely serious heart condition since he was 46 years old. When we met Bro. Stewart three years ago, we thought perhaps we would not have the privilege of seeing him again this side of eternity. How thankful we are that God has spared him. Whenever we are around him, he is constantly speaking of his beloved Savior and His gracious dealings with him. He has continually been a source of great encouragement and blessing to us. We appreciate his correspondence, love, prayers and support of the ministry here more than we could ever express in words.


Bro. Russell Smyth once again reserved a very nice room at the Town Hall in Ballymoney for the meetings Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The services were well attended with some people coming from quite a distance away. Some came because they had seen the advertisement in the local paper, others came because of Free Grace Radio and others because of the ads in New Focus Magazine. The Lord granted me liberty to preach and the Word was well received both evenings.

á                        Some Things that Are Sealed

á                        Nine Stubborn Statements


If the Lord is pleased to send them a preacher, I believe there is interest enough to establish a gospel church in Northern Ireland. — Pray with me, that he will raise up and send them a pastor according to his own heart to feed his sheep with knowledge and understanding.


ThursdayApril 16th


After a quick breakfast on Thursday morning, we left with Russell and Sharon to catch the ferry in Belfast to go to Scotland and from there travel onto Teesdale for the next series of meetings. We were delighted that Russell and Sharon were going with us. Last year Russell and Johnny went with us, but it was a special treat to have Sharon go along this year also. Since there wasnŐt room for all of us (and our luggage, too) in RussellŐs car, Johnny flew with Bro. David Burrows, who is also from Northern Ireland, and joined us for the meetings in Teesdale, where Bro. Peter Meney is pastor.


We thoroughly enjoyed the ferry ride from Ireland to Scotland and being able to get fish and chips for lunch on the ferry made the trip even better. Shelby and I both have concluded that Great Britain has got to have the best fish and chips in the world. Once we got off the ferry we still had several hours to travel by car before getting to Teesdale. The time spent in the company of our dear friends, Russell and Sharon, was so delightful that the hours seemed to go by quickly and we were at Teesdale before we knew it.


When we got to Teesdale, we called Bro. Peter Meney, who met us and led us to where we would be staying at Barnard Castle. Bro. Peter had arranged for us to stay at a lovely cottage along with our dear friends, Dr. George Ella, and Bro. Ken Coty and his wife, Sylvia. The cottage was just beautiful and was equipped with every convenience imaginable. Though it had earned a four star rating, we concluded that it was well deserving of a five star rating and are still wondering in what area it was lacking.


For dinner, Gill Meney and Sylvia Coty treated us with a choice of chicken, beef, or pork pies, mushy peas, and baked beans, and a wonderful array of homemade desserts, which Sylvia had lovingly prepared at her home in Scotland and brought for us to feast on.


FridayApril 17th


Friday eveningŐs service was at the Egglesburn Baptist Church in Eggleston, where Bro. Peter Meney is pastor. Again, God gave me liberty in preaching the gospel and the message was warmly received. We missed seeing some of the faces we had seen in the past, but were delighted to see some new faces and make some new friends at Eggleston this year. It was especially good to see our beloved friends, Jim and Eileen Gough and Syd and Joan Buggins. Jim and Eileen came to take us home with them after the meetings in Eggleston. They (along with Syd and Joan) rented a van so the six of us could travel together from meeting to meeting comfortably for the next week.

á                        Eternal Grace (Ephesians 1:1-14)


SaturdayApril 18th


On Saturday we met at 2:00 PM at Mickleton Village Hall. This meeting was particularly well attended with many new faces and people traveling great distances to be in attendance. Speakers in the afternoon service were Dr. George Ella and Bro. Ken Coty. After a nice evening meal, the service resumed at 7:00. It was my privilege to preach in this service.

á                        Glorying in the Cross (Galatians 1-6)


SundayApril 19th


On Sunday we met again at the Egglesburn Baptist Church in Eggleston. We again had good attendance and a blessed time of worship together.

á                        ŇBy the Grace of God I Am What I AmÓ


After a meal together at the church, we set out on our trip to Wolverhampton about 3½ hours away with Jim and Eileen Gough and Syd and Joan Buggins.


In Wolverhampton Jim and Eileen once again welcomed us into their lovely home, where we were treated graciously and royally during our stay with them. Sunday evening, in no time at all, Jim and Eileen had a wonderful meal spread for us. Syd and Joan joined us for a blessed time of sweet fellowship around their table. Eileen, like so many of the other ladies, had been very nervous about having this strange preacher and his wife from America in her home the first time we were there. Now, they all feel more relaxed and we can laugh about how useless it was to have ever worried about our coming in the first place.


As in years past, many people told us that they regularly read our church bulletin and have acquainted themselves with what is going on at Grace Baptist Church. Every where we went, people ask us about various people in the congregation, calling you by name, though they have never met you. They said they feel so close to the congregation through the bulletin and hearing your names called in the messages preached at the church. Several asked us again how Bobbie is doing since the death of his wife. We never cease to be amazed at the love and concern of GodŐs people all over the world for their brothers and sisters in Christ, though having never met face to face.


Monday and Tuesday

April 20th 21st


Services at the Providence Strict Baptist Church in Dudley, where Bro. Norman Wheeler, is pastor went well on Monday and Tuesday evening. This was the first time for me to preach at this church during my trips to the UK. Here we had the privilege of meeting with quite a few people we had not met before. We were delighted at the attendance at both of these services. It was a joy to spend time with Bro. Norman Wheeler and his wife, Hilda, who prepared a marvelous meal for us before the service on Tuesday evening. We met Bro. Wheeler and his family when we were there two years ago. Since then we have corresponded and talked a few times by telephone.

  • It Pleased God
  • Trinitarian Grace


Wednesday and Thursday

April 22nd 23rd


Wednesday morning Jim and Eileen, Shelby and I loaded up the van, went by and picked up Syd and Joan Buggins and headed for the next meeting, which was at Sidmouth. After stopping for a short time for lunch, we arrived in Sidmouth about 2:00 in the afternoon. In Sidmouth Bro. Ian Potts had arranged for us to stay at the lovely Sidholme Hotel. There we were warmly greeted by Ian and Rachel and their little boy.


Services at Sidmouth began at 8:00 PM each evening. Here again the services went well. Once again we met several people we had never met before. And once again we were reminded of the great impact that the messages on have had on the hearts and lives of people around the world. The services at Sidmouth appear to have been greatly blessed of God to many who attended the conference, and were a great encouragement to Bro. Ian Potts.

  • Eternal Things
  • A Great Message from a False Prophet


Friday April 24th


Friday morning we had to say good-bye once again to our dear friends, Rachel and Ian Potts, and leave for London. Three hours later we were greeted by Pastor John Graham and his wife, Anne. How delighted we were to see the smiling faces of our cherished friends once again. John and Anne have been so gracious to keep in touch, ever since our first meeting three years ago, and especially during the past year since my surgery. We deeply appreciate the love and prayers of this fine couple. After unloading our luggage at the church building, we spent a relaxing afternoon visiting with John and Anne overlooking the beautiful Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park and having a quiet dinner at Garfunkels before service.


I preached with much liberty Friday night at the Westminister Baptist Church in London. From there we went home with Bro. Allan Jellett and his wife, Christine, where we were to spend the weekend. Allan and Christine are gracious hosts and made us feel so welcome in their home. We were thankful for the time God gave us to be in their home. During that time the Lord graciously knit our hearts more closely and firmly together in Christ and in the sweet fellowship of the gospel.


Saturday and Sunday

April 25th 26th


Rick and Janine Clark Hess and their daughter, Rebecca graciously invited us to their lovely home for lunch on Saturday at 1:00 PM. It was a joy to be greeted there also by our dear friend, Evelyn Clark. Evelyn has been a dear and faithful friend for many years. She still works each morning and carries on the work left by her late beloved husband, Bro. Bill Clark. It was also good to see our friends, Malwyn and Mary Rowe who came to be at the meetings at Knebworth. Malwyn and Mary recently moved and were unable to attend the meeting at Teesdale this year, but were able to come to Knebworth since it was nearer to them.


Services for the Grace Fellowship where Bro. Allan Jellett is pastor were held Saturday night and Sunday morning and Sunday evening at the Knebworth Primary School. Two gentleman attended the services who had heard us on Another couple came who saw it advertised in the paper. Though the attendance may have been a little less at these meetings than at others, those who attended seemed to truly appreciate and profit from the Word.

  • Things Seen in Heaven
  • We Persuade Men
  • In Christ


Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

April 27th - 29th


Monday morning we left for Paris for a couple of days of relaxation. We were thankful the trip was arranged by Allan, because we would not have had a clue as to where to go or what to do. The train ride was FAST and wonderful. A terrific way to travel! We were served a delicious meal going and coming. It was rainy and cold in Paris when we arrived on Monday, but it did not prevent us from trying to see some sights, including Notre Dame and a ride in a boat down the Seine River. Tuesday we spent the day seeing the Eiffel Tower, relaxing and savoring some genuine French cuisine. Wednesday we packed up and headed back to Welwyn. Once there we did some last minute shopping for the kids and packed for the trip home the next day.


ThursdayApril 30th


Thursday morning we were up at 3:00 (thinking it was 4:00) AM to prepare to leave for the airport to return HOME. We so much appreciate Allan and Christine taking us to the airport and assisting us with our bags. Our trip home was uneventful (which is good) and on time. We got home around 11:30 Thursday evening, after being up over 24 hours. As always it was wonderful to get home and fall into our bed. Once again our hearts were full to overflowing with the blessings of God upon these past weeks. How we thank God for his goodness to us in keeping us, protecting us, strengthening us, and guiding us every step of the way. How we thank God for the privilege we had of seeing our old friends, for making new ones, and for bringing us home to our family and friends here whom we love and cherish and miss so much when we are apart.


How thankful we are for the privilege of making such a trip, of preaching the gospel to so many hungry souls, for GodŐs apparent blessings on the Word to the hearts of his children, for journeying mercies every step of the way, for GodŐs goodness in keeping us and strengthening us for the daily demands, for giving us many new friends in Christ, and allowing us to see many old friends.


Thank you, our dear friends, for your prayers on our behalf. Thank You, our blessed God, for hearing and answering the prayers of your people.






Don Fortner



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