Tag Archives: missions conference


Strange, isn’t it—how we can so easily develop misconceptions about almost anything, especially people, and especially in the ministerial world?

 For years I’ve heard how “impossible” (or at least very difficult) it is to reach the young people of Great Britain or Europe with the Gospel.  However, as I sit here in my usual “office” at Frankie and Benny’s at the Birmingham (England) airport, awaiting a flight to France, and reflecting on last week’s youth camp at Cefn Lea Park in Newtown, Powys (Wales), I’m not sure that I how accurate the assessment of others has been. 

Let me explain. 

Four years ago roughly, Dan Brown of LIFT Student Ministries, along with one of his board members Ben Robinson, accompanied me on a whirlwind exploratory excursion to Great Britain.  Dan has operated a growing number of “LIFT Camps” in the eastern half of American for several years—and quite successfully.  In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I spoke for one of Dan’s camps, even before he called them “LIFT!” in Monticello, Kentucky.  (How could I ever forget that camp, because they had more frogs hopping around the property than were in the plagues of Egypt!  Of maybe it’s my guilt for encouraging several of the campers to collect dozens of frogs and put them in his father Harold’s room that I remember.)

 Somehow, I felt that if I could get Dan here to see what I was seeing in the potential of reaching young people for Christ—and it worked!  Few men (or women) that I know share the level of burden or passion for young people that my friend Dan Brown has.  I see it and sense it increasingly.

Our first year camp was actually quite small—but the results of young people coming to faith in Christ as their Savior were quite large!  I also remember thinking that it was the toughest youth camp that I’d ever been involved with, simply because of the behavior of my of the young people who attended.  Several of them came to us from social services, and were known to be “problem teenagers.”  But we loved them, and I think they sensed that, and responded accordingly.

The second year of LIFT-UK the numbers climbed in every way.  An impact for Christ was growing—and the impact was affecting young people from not only Europe, but also on the American college-aged staff of LIFT … and on me!  Many of the first-year campers returned and the spiritual growth in them was self-evident.  Once again by week’s end, many campers had made significant commitments to God for salvation, holy living, and Christian service.

This year the groundswell continued with even greater evidence.  First, we jointly operated LIFT-UK 2010 with the BBF-GB youth camp, a collection of ministry partner churches scattered around Great Britain, but representative campers also came from other European countries.  In the analysis of the executive director of Cefn Lea Park, this was the largest gathering of a group of Christian teenagers in the history of the conference centre!

At times the crowd noise was almost deafening, especially when you have nearly 300 campers and staff all assembled in the dining room, everyone talking, laughing, dishes clattering, etc.!  And to listen and watch this crowd in action during the praise and worship time was almost beyond description—especially if one is expecting the misconception to be the reality!

And the behavioral difference over a three year period is also notable.  While are a couple of layers of workers between me and the campers these days, I do believe that this was the most well-behaved crowd to-date.  The difference that Christ makes in the spiritual lives is readily seen from one year to the next.  The pastors and other Christian workers were all abuzz with excitement with the spiritual advancements!

While I can’t say that the volume of decisions made by young people coming to faith in Christ, surprised me, I must admit that it just doesn’t fit the misconception.  What did arrest my attention was that on opening night, rather than somewhat typically closing night, most of the young people who accepted Christ as their personal Savior during did so that first night!  By the closing assembly on Friday morning, 42 teenagers had come to faith!

But that isn’t all—great as that is!

At the conclusion of his Thursday evening message, my friend Ed Trinkle, speaker for the week who did a masterful job of connecting with the audience, plainly asked all from the audience who were ready to say to God, “I’ve been allowing you to speak to my heart and I’m now ready to ‘lay it all down’ and serve you full time for the rest of my life,” to stand to their feet, then come and gather in front of the stage for special instructions, prayer, and then counsel.

I was in tears as I stood at the top level of the auditorium and counted 76 teenagers standing in front of that stage in response to Ed’s clear instructions!  When it was all sorted, and the individual counseling was concluded, 40 young people had truly committed themselves to ministry and service for Christ!

That kind of scene, with that kind of result, just doesn’t fit the misconception that so many in kingdom work have.  Each of us who have been a part of this new phenomenon believes that we are on the leading edge of a new wave of the working of God amongst the young people and churches of Great Britain!  And we’re witnessing it firsthand!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join several of us praying for the 42 teenagers who are new believers as they return to their homes and friends?  We understand the spiritual battle that will surely take place in their hearts and minds.  Several of them will certainly struggle in the months to come as they decide daily whether to follow the old life or the new.

Would you also pray for the 40 young people who committed their lives to service for the King of Kings?  They too will be waging war to live out that which they committed on that closing night of LIFT-UK 2010.

Finally, would you pray that the Lord would continue to use me in leaving a lasting impact on an entire movement of God to reach young people in Europe?  There aren’t a lot of 60-year-olds who still pursue a vision aggressively in youth ministry—but I’m asking that you pray for one—me!

And to those individuals, pastors, and churches who invested financially and prayerfully through our ministry, you can know that your investment has yielded history-making and eternal results!  Thank you!


When A Plan Comes Together

Almost four years ago I ran into a long time friend, Dr. Leland Kennedy, at a national conference in Detroit.  Leland gave me a big bear hug and said, “It’s so good to see you, Dale!  We were just talking about you two days ago over in Ireland.”  That conversation was the beginning of a fresh focus on ministry for me, as it turns out! 

Fast forward to 9 August 2010.  I have no clue where Leland Kennedy is this morning, but I’m sitting in my room near Cefn Lea Park, a camping/conference centre just south of Newtown, Wales.  Last night we opened what is our largest youth camp to-date with nearly 400 total in attendance.  My dear friend Dan Brown and his staff from LIFT Student Ministries is running the show, and another good friend, Ed Trinkle, is our main speaker.  The energy in the auditorium on opening night was “a mile high,” and in a culture where so many say “It can’t be done” we’re seeing it happen, right before our eyes.  At least 25 young people came to faith in Christ in the very first service!

As the adage from the old television show “The A-Team” goes, I love it when a plan comes together!

This journey into the UK actually began in the winter of 1978-79, when I brought a team of singers from Liberty University to England and Scotland.  One of the young men on the team, Dale Brown, is now the pastor of West Shore Baptist Church in Llandudno, Wales.  Reacquainting ourselves over the past weekend was such a delight for me as I witnessed that God has done something special through Dale Brown … and to think that maybe–just maybe–God used me in some small way in his life 30 years ago!  And to see Dale Brown in action with his congregation last Sunday caused me to say to myself, I love it when a plan comes together!

Dale Brown and Dale Peterson 2010

As I stood with the hundreds of young people and youth leaders in the opening service of LIFT-UK 2010 last night, listened to the singing and observed the response of the audience, I said to myself once again, I love it when a plan comes together!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray that miraculous events will take place this week in this camp.  Somehow, I just believe that since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, if we ask Him, He would draw dozens and dozens of young people to His salvation before we close camp Friday.  Then as ministry partners, we could all say that we love it when a plan comes together!

One closing thought–what part will you play today in God’s plan today?  Will it be a role that through the years you, too, can see that in the little acorns of service you plant for Him today, you will one day see mighty oaks, and say to yourself, I love it when a plan comes together?


Come and See

Just about daylight, the world of two women, both named Mary, was rocked, as they approached the garden tomb of their recently deceased friend.  If an earthquake wasn’t shocking enough, they were also startled by a stranger dressed in white and whose countenance was like lightning.  However reassuring this angelic messenger was, his message must have startled the women all over again, as he announced that their friend, buried some 48 hours earlier, was no longer there!

While each Gospel writer conveys the details a bit differently in their accounts, there is one unmistakable detail that is crucial to the historical accounting, and also to the theological value—“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”  However, that is not the phrase to which I would direct your attention in this service.

(Matt 28:5-7a KJV) And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay,  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead;

Let me transport you on a journey of thought through the corridors of time, departing from this platform, but following five brief stops, returning you to our point of origin.  At our first stop, I would invite you to come and see the God of UNTOLD POWER 

Although we will not disembark at any of our stops, look through the window of time past—see the Psalmist standing beside our train on the platform.  Listen as he speaks—

Come and see the works of the LORD(Psa 46:8 NIV)  Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! (Psa 66:5 NIV) 

You see, while the world continually tries to explain God away, the heavens still declare his glory and the firmament still shows us his handiwork! And those who have accepted Him by grace through faith experience His untold power, working mightily on our behalf.  Isaac Watts hardly scratched the surface when he erupted in song—

I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise,

   That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.

I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;

   The moon shines full at His command and all the stars obey.


There’s not a plant or flower below but makes Thy glories known;

   And clouds arise and tempests blow by order of Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,

   And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.

In only the amount of time required to move from one thought to another, our train pulls away from the station of the Psalmist and we come to the platform of the Prophets.  There stands the prophet Isaiah, waiting and ready to invite us to come and see the God of UNSURPASSED GLORY 

Hear the aged prophet as he quotes for us the very words of the Holy One of Israel, inviting us to come and see:

For I know their works and their thoughts; and they shall come, and see my glory. (Isa 66:18 KJV) 

Understand, my friends, while believers celebrate this Easter, the world around us castigates the very thought of our God!  Yet, in the fullness of time, God will step out onto the stage of eternity and reveal reality to a domain of deniers and doubters.  While man has accomplished untold feats at which we marvel, no person or thing will ever surpass the glory of God that is yet to be revealed!

Godfrey Thring captures a glimpse of His unsurpassed glory when he wrote the third verse of the great hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns:

Crown Him the Lord of life! Who triumphed o’er the grave;

   Who rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.

His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high,

   Who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.

But before we can begin to digest this unsurpassed glory, our train of thought makes its escape from platform two, arriving at our third stop where we discover the disciple John, whom Jesus loved, and who penned the words exclaimed by a young man named Nathanael; but it’s Phillip who invites us to come and see the God of UNCHARACTERISTIC HUMILITY 

You see, our train of thought has brought us to Nazareth—the “poor side of town”—and surely a community with a poor reputation, because when Phillip told Nathanael that he had discovered the person about whom Moses and all the prophets had written, Nathanael exclaimed, Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?  Phillip simply invited him, Come and see

Yes, the King of Kings has dispelled the myth that we must have all kinds of human advantages in order to be significant in this world.  Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus Christ is the most significant person who ever lived, but he came from the most remarkably humble beginnings and lifestyle!  He rode on a borrowed beast, sailed on a borrowed boat, and went to a fish’s mouth to get enough money to pay his taxes. The foxes had holes, the birds of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head!

But just as our minds start to focus on his humility, we’re off again!  And before we have a moment to contemplate the humanity of the Christ, we find ourselves at the fourth stop along the track of time—only now we find ourselves startled by a thundering voice that invites us to come and see the God of ULTIMATE JUSTICE

The reminder was transcribed for us by John the Revelator, who said—

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (Rev 6:1 KJV) 

But what shall we see?  We will witness the white horse conquering – and freedom diminishing!  Ah, friends, while today sin has conquered the lives of so many people, and while Satan may be having his “field day,” there is coming a justice and a judgment that will set all things in order.  Although we live in a world of terrorism, wars and rumors of wars—a world where politicians pretend they can legislate or negotiate peace—we know there is no peace apart from the Prince of Peace, whom the world mocked, rejected, and hung on a cross!

Through the telescopic lens of prophetic revelation, we witness the red horse removing peace, so that people begin killing each other in unprecedented numbers.  This isn’t so farfetched—we witness it on the nightly news.

(Rev 6:3 KJV) And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

And a third seal is opened … and I heard the third beast say, Come and see.  And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat upon him had a pair of balances in his hand … and the black horse of famine consumes as food prices soar!

You know, the most developed nations of our world have numerous relief agencies whose work is never completed—we’ve watched them most recently in Haiti and South America following devastating earthquakes.  Even in America we’re increasingly focused on food for the hungry and feeding the children.  But there is coming a day when all the human effort the world can muster will be woefully inadequate.  This God of justice, today rejected by presidents and peasants, will unleash such righteous judgment that the entire world will notice!

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see  (Rev 6:7 KJV)  

Come and see what?  Come and see the pale horse unleashing death and hell—devouring 25% of the world’s population.

By now some of you are thinking, Pastor Dale, why in the world would you bring such morbid detail to our attention on such a wonderful day of celebration?  Because while you and I know the Risen Christ as our Savior, and can rejoice, as many as 3 billion of our fellow human beings have never heard that there is good news! 

What the starving masses of humanity need today is the Bread of Life—the Living Christ!  What the thirsting multitudes of this world need is a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name—that they may never thirst again!  What the warring people groups of our globe need today is for someone who knows Jesus Chris—and the power of His resurrection—to bring them news of the Prince of Peace!

It may be morbid, but the reality of our world is that most of this world will see and feel the effects of these horsemen of the Apocalypse!  But they don’t have to witness it firsthand, because between them and a godless eternity stands someone with the solution—you and me, who know the Savior!

And being shaken to the depths of our souls by this troublesome tour, we find ourselves stepping off the time trolley into a garden.  We glance around us—there is no conductor—there is no train!  But there stands the white-robed angel beside an empty tomb, inviting us to come and see the God of UNLIMITED SALVATION 

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay. (Matt 28:6 NIV) 

You see, the purpose of his death was the payment of your sins and mine.  The purpose of his resurrection was to prove to the heavens and the earth that he, the Christ is, indeed, the victor over death, hell, and the grave! 

Low in the grave he lay—Jesus my Savior!

Waiting the coming day—Jesus my Lord!


Vainly they watch his bed—Jesus my Savior!

Vainly they seal the dead—Jesus my Lord!


Death cannot keep his prey—Jesus my Savior!

He tore the bars away—Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes.

He arose the victor from the dark domain

And he lives forever with his saints to reign.

He arose!  He arose!  Hallelujah!  Christ arose!


Because he lives, we too can live also.  Because he lives, others can live also, but they must hear the good news in time—the same good news that we celebrate today!  In the time tha it has taken you to read this blog, somewhere in this world 1,605 people died—most of them without Christ!

In the wake of the resurrected Christ, the instructions given were plain and simple—Go, tell your world!  Is it fair that any one of us should hear the Gospel twice until all have heard at least once?  Let’s determine to carry our celebration to the streets, inviting others to Come and See!

The Greater Tragedy

This past week, the world has been rocked by the deaths of three American entertainment icons- Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.  Within minutes of the deaths of these Hollywood celebrities, I had received the news on my Blackberry from the New York Times.

Amazing, isn’t it- that within perhaps a two-hour window, the entire world knows about the death of the King of Pop, while two thousand years after the death of the King of Kings, the majority of 6.7 billion world residents have yet to hear even one bulletin, in their own language that they can understand, about the death of Jesus Christ?

Our world is consumed with three human beings who basically lived  for what was in life for them, while the eternal Son of God became a man, lived a short life to the profound benefit of mankind, and died a horrific, yet vicarious, death for all the world.  But can I ask a blunt question of Christians everywhere?  In the light of eternity, do you think it’s more important that the world hear the news about Ed, Farrah, and Michael or about Jesus Christ?

Let me be equally blunt about something else.  CNN, BBC, Fox and Sky News will see that the world hears every kinky detail of these three glamorous lives and  tragic deaths, but it is the responsibility of the Church to let our world know about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Breaking news always carries with it a certain urgency.  The world media tries to break their news stories before their competitor stations can.  As believers, as the Church, our competition is two-fold … Satan and time.  Simply put, we do not know exactly how much time we have to get the Good News to a dying world … and it’s almost eternity!  Time must be short!  Surely there should be an urgency in the hearts of believers to get our news story to the world!

Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”  (John 9:4 KJV)  If that work was important and urgent two thousand years ago when Christ walked in this world, how much moreso now!  Why should we be going with the Gospel with renewed urgency?

First, because we’ve been commanded by the Heavenly Father to “go and tell.”

Second, simply because we love God.  Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  Far too often, the lukewarm church of modern Laodecia wants to claim with the lips that we love Him, while the actions of our daily lives tell a different story.  As my mother used to say (and probably your mother said it too), “Actions speak louder than words!”

Finally, we should be going with the Good News because the eternity-bound world around us needs to hear the Good News while there is still time.  Jesus said it over two thousand years ago: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.”

I refuse to sit idly by, watching my world sink further into hell, without giving my best shot at heralding the Good News of the Gospel far and wide.  If GOd’s ear is not heavy that it cannot hear, and if God’s arm is not shortened that it cannot save, then there is reason to believe that God will use any of us who are willing, prepared, and serving Him!

Most who will read this understand that, as believers, we have been given a task to accomplish … Go into all the world and make the Gospel available to every creature.  Each of us understands that time is short and eternity is only one step, one heartbeat away.  BTW, how far from eternity are you?  What impact are you making in the lives of others for eternity?

Folks, it’s almost eternity!  We must go!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray for Debbie and me as we travel today through Sunday night late to the Indianapolis, Indiana area?  I preach Sunday for my dear friend Rick Cochran and The Bridge Church in Fortville (IN).  We will also get to spend a few hours with my daughter Charity, son-in-law Brandon, and granddaughter Brynn tonight and tomorrow!

Brandon, Brynn, & Charity Geddes

Brandon, Brynn, & Charity Geddes


No Wedding Bells

No Wedding Bells?  Now there’s a statement that is TRUE, but quite misleading!

Last Saturday, 01 November 2008, at noon, Debbie Johns and I became husband and wife at a simple ceremony on the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – but there were no wedding bells … just a wedding!  The ceremony, lead by the Reverend David Hammon, and coordinated by Miss April Cormier, was elegantly set in a flower-draped gazebo overlooking the Caribbean Ocean from the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I will allow the following photos to tell the story and answer all the feminine questions that the male gender seldom remembers to answer anyway!

After a honeymoon at the same resort, the newlyweds are extending their honeymoon in Adrian, Michigan – in a mission conference for the Faith Baptist Church, and my good friend Pastor Greg Burdine, through Sunday evening. 


Caribbean Ocean

Caribbean Ocean


The Homily

The Homily


Listening Intently

Listening Intently


The Prayer

The Prayer


The Bride's Ring

The Bride


The Groom's Ring

The Groom


'Tis Done!

The Happy Couple