Blameless and without regret: John Brookins dies in Minn.

John Brookins with wife Susie

John Brookins with wife Susie

Owatonna, Minn. (BNc) by Dan Mayfield — A longtime Christian friend, John Brookins, died Feb. 23. I met John when he was doing a house inspection more than 20 years ago. We were standing in my basement, and he noticed the shirt I was wearing said “Church of Christ”. Having grown up in the church, this was good news to him. He was a recent transplant from California and he was only getting settled into the community. His wife Susie wasn’t moved here yet as she was tidying up final things at their old home.

That was many years ago and I have grown to love and appreciate John very much. I think he liked my wife Hazel more than me. Then again, Hazel IS more likable than me, so who could blame him!

We shared many meals and, right to the end, many prayers and Bible studies. He was helpful to me more than once in finding support for my ministry in Owatonna and he, with his wife Susie, supported my family personally. Continue reading

Gospel preacher Guy Hester passes at age 77

guy-hesterCORINTH, Miss. (BNc) — Guy Ferrell Hester, 77, passed away Thursday, Dec. 5, at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth.

Brother Hester was born Feb. 15, 1936 in Vernon, Ala., to the late Sherlie (S.F.) and Clora Price Hester. He was a minister and preached for 64 years.

He served as a full-time minister for congregations in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He did foreign and domestic mission work, and helped to found and direct the Vreed-en-Hoop School of the Bible in Guyana, South America. Continue reading

The brother in Christ who got us started on the Internet is gone

Mike Brown of Paragould

Mike Brown

PARAGOULD, Ark. (BNc) by J. Randal Matheny — Sometime around 1996, not long after I got my first email address, Mike Brown, a friend and brother in Christ from our then sponsoring congregation, shared with me how to code a bit of HTML and then provided me space on his webhost.

With Mike’s help, I began writing online, invited Barry Newton to contribute, and shortly Forthright Magazine was born. Then came Forthright Press, with our ministry partner Barbara Ann Oliver, along with and other sites belonging to the GoSpeak effort. Continue reading

West Virginia preacher Frank Higginbotham passes

frank-higginbothamCHESTER, W.V. (BNc) by Steve Higginbotham — Frank Higginbotham passed from this life at his home Friday, Sept. 27, and was ushered into eternity.

There may not be a more recognized name among gospel preachers in the Ohio Valley than the name of Frank Higginbotham. Frank spent his entire life preaching in the state of West Virginia. For 60 years he preached in the Ohio Valley.

Frank Higginbotham was born in New Martinsville, W.V., on Feb. 21, 1933, and graduated in 1951 from Magnolia High School. He then graduated from Florida Christian College in 1953.

Upon graduating from college, he returned to West Virginia and preached with the Columbia Street church in Fairmont, the Wellsburg congregation, the West Street church in Weirton, and the Virginia Avenue church in Chester, where he had been located for the past 50 years.

For more 40 years Frank hosted a daily, 15-minute radio program on WOHI that he called “Bible Meditations.”

He also conducted hundreds of gospel meetings through the years and spoke on countless lectureship programs across the country.

Frank was also known for his use of visual aids in his preaching. He rarely preached without visual aids, from the time of sheet sermons, to the use of the overhead projector sermons and PowerPoint. He had the unique ability to present his sermons in a way that they could be understood, and remembered.

Frank Higginbotham was a preacher’s preacher. He was constantly encouraging others to preach the gospel. The congregation in Chester, where he preached for 50 years, produced more than a couple dozen men who decided to dedicate their lives to preaching the gospel. That was largely due to his influence and encouragement.

More than 50 gospel preachers were present at his funeral, which is a testimony to the encouragement he gave to his fellow preachers.

The late Johnny Ramsey once said of Frank Higginbotham that in his estimation, he was the greatest preacher in the brotherhood. He will certainly be missed.

Surviving Frank Higginbotham is his wife, Rose Marie King Higginbotham, whom he married on June 7, 1954.

He is also survived by his daughter Janie Gallagher and her husband Brent, of Fairmont, W.V., and son Steve Higginbotham and his wife Kim, of Knoxville, Tenn.

There are seven grandchildren, Ryan Gallagher (Kay), Amy Saunders (Chris), Jason Gallagher, Kelli Boitnott (Justin), Michael, Matthew and Anne Marie Higginbotham; and his four great-grandchildren, Ava, Noah and Sara Kate Gallagher, and Amelia Saunders. A sister Nita Faye Leach (Norman) lives in Moundsville, W.V.

Daughter Donna Higginbotham preceded her father in death in 1965.

Frank’s last sermon is posted at this link.

Ohio preacher pays tribute to Lorenzo Collins

Lorenzo and Freddie Collins

Lorenzo and Freddie Collins

AKRON, Oh. (BNc) by David R. Kenney — Lorenzo Collins was born in Akron, Oh., Feb. 2, 1937. He was baptized into Christ by P. E. Butler, who also served as a preaching mentor to brother Collins. He was married to Freddie Faye Cunningham Collins. They reared six children: Tabitha, Abigail, Gabrielle, Michael, Jonathan and Matthias. Brother Collins passed away June 26, 2013 in Akron. He was buried at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Oh., with David R. Kenney officiating. Lorenzo Collins was a gospel preacher.

Brother Collins obtained his A. A. degree at Southwestern Christian College where he was presented the Kenneth Orrvid Mason Award in 1959 by the President of the school, A. V. Isbell. Being the recipient of this award, brother Collins was to deliver the sermon before the student body. In attendance on this occasion was the highly esteemed Marshall Keeble. Since brother Collins and I were friends, he did not mind telling me that Keeble’s response to Collins’ preaching was, “This is the cream of the crop!”

Brother Collins also obtained a B.A. degree from Abilene Christian University. He began his first full-time preaching work in Elyria, Ohio. He also preached in Texas, New York and Connecticut.

He would often work in addition to his preaching at places such as B. F. Goodrich, Chrysler Corporation, and the U. S. Army, where he served in the Medical Corp and helped establish a congregation in Straubin, Germany.

He taught Spanish for the Hartford, Conn., Akron, Oh., and Copley-Fairlawn, Oh., school systems.

Brother Collins often had to supplement his preacher training and preaching efforts with secular work — a testament to his dedication.

Lorenzo Collins and David Kenney

Lorenzo Collins and David Kenney

The first time I heard brother Collins preach was in Streetsboro, Ohio. His style was to slowly approach the pulpit, begin opening his Bible, speaking with low tones of greeting. As he expressed his appreciation to be afforded the opportunity to preach, he would take out his outline and make sure he was prepared to begin the lesson. He would slowly lay down preliminary points he wanted to make, building slowly with intensity and volume. Then all of a sudden, he would climax with increasing volume, pounding points and a call to obey the gospel! He was a Preacher with Crescendo!

In our society, we seem to be divided and dividing on just about any kind of denominator out there; e.g., we even divide ourselves by zip code—remember 90210? Brother Lorenzo was not a divider but sought to unite all under the “Banner of the Cross”. Now, his body sleeps waiting for the ultimate dividing to come—the final day of dividing the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the saints from the sinners, and the godly from the ungodly. This division will not be done by man, commission or any other such earthly organization. This division will be completed by the Lord and His angels, and there will be no mistakes in this matter. There is a Day, an Hour, and a Call to come—

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29, NKJV.)

Brother Collins would implore us all to be ready for that call, to become a Christian and do all within our power to worship and serve the Lord all the days of our lives.

The greatest gift that Lorenzo gave his family was being a Christian. He would want me to tell you today that if you are not a Christian, not a follower of Jesus the Christ, then you need to obey the gospel! He would want me to make sure that you know that if you have wandered off, then you need to wander right back to Christ! He would want you to provide, for those you love, this blessing—

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, NKJV.)

Christians sorrow, but we sorrow with hope! Because Lorenzo was a Christian, we have the hope of seeing him again! The greatest blessing you can provide those you love is this same hope! But it is only found in Christ!

Among brother Lorenzo’s favorite passages in the Bible were these words uttered by Jesus:

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12, NKJV).

I look forward to that reward too including spending time once again with my friend and brother.

Gospel Advocate president Kerry Anderson dies


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BNc) — Kerry Anderson, president of the Gospel Advocate company, was found dead at his home the night of Aug. 13, Greg Tidwell, editor of Gospel Advocate magazine, announced yesterday.

He was 52 and died of natural causes, according to Spring Meadows minister Dale Jenkins.

No further details are available at this time.

“Kerry was dedicated Christian, a gifted song leader, and a leader among our brethren. He was bright, funny, and full of wit. He showed much wisdom and was gifted at finding solutions to publishing problems. GA was among the first publishers in America to use the technology of the lightning press, which could produce a few hundred books in a very short period of time. I’m sure Kerry had a lot to do with that,”  Search for Truth speaker Phil Sanders said.

“I will miss Kerry greatly. Our last contact was on a project to produce a wonderful tool that would bless the brotherhood. We were not able to put all the pieces together, but his help and advice were priceless. The day will come when we will pursue this opportunity. I counted Kerry as a great friend and ally,” Phil said.

The GA company’s media statement can be read in this PDF file.

Please keep the Anderson family in your prayers.

Goebel Music, author of ‘Behold the Pattern,’ dies

goebel-musicELK CITY, Okla. (BNc) — Goebel Gene Music died Thursday, May 9, at the age of 78.

Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m., at the Martin Funeral Chapel of Elk City. Interment will be in the Ural Cemetery. Visitation will be on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday until service time.

Goebel was the author of several books. Perhaps the best known was Behold the Pattern. Roy Deaver had written that, if teaching a class on “Current Liberalism,” “I would choose this book.”

BNc will publish a full obituary shortly.

‘He knew where he was going’: Don Edwards was gentle giant


Don Edwards

MOBEETIE, Tex. (BNc) by Caleb Sampson — Physically, he stood head and shoulders above the rest of us at 6’9″ and 230 lbs. But the dignity and manner of the last few months of his life made him look more like a spiritual giant.

Don Merrill Edwards passed from this life Friday, Mar. 15, 2013, at his home in Mobeetie after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and, finally, liver cancer, but his memory preaches on. Continue reading

‘His passion was teaching others about Christ’: Wilson Wallace passes

LEWISVILLE, Tex. (BNc) by Foy Glenn Forehand — Wilson Wallace, faithful Christian and minister of the gospel for 67 years, passed from this life Feb. 24 at his home in Lewisville.

He was born in Denton, Tex., Feb. 10, 1926, the son of Foy E. Wallace, Jr. and Virgie Brightwell Wallace. Continue reading

Missionary Kyle Allen dies on return to India

Missionary Kyle Allen

Missionary Kyle Allen

NEW DELHI, India (BNc) — Kyle Spencer Allen, 35, died Sunday, Feb. 17, on his return to his India where he had worked for nearly seven years.

Kyle became ill on a flight back to India and over the next day or two afterwards, his health worsened.

According to Larry Benderman, elder with the Stiversville congregation near Culleoka, Tenn., speculation is that he had a diabetic problem and his sugar level rose so high that he went into a coma. As a result, his organs shut down and a heart attack caused his death. Continue reading