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A Time to say "Thank You!"

If I live to be one hundred years old  I will never forget it!  What a night! I had just turned seventeen years old and was anticipating graduating from East Union High School in about six weeks. Everyone in my family had already gone to bed. I sat there alone in a darkened room of our little country home. The only light was coming from our small black and white TV. My attention was riveted to the message Billy Graham was preaching on the televised Crusade service. Ordinarily I would have already been in bed like the rest of my family... BUT recently my life had been turned up side down (or should I say right side up)  by a deep experience of repentance  and faith. It had occurred at the spring revival at Ellistown Baptist Church. For months I had been under deep conviction for my sins. There was a growing realization that I could not live up to my own moral ideals much less God's.  As a result there were pent up feelings of great guilt and overwhelming doubt that dominated my life. Gratefully, all that had been released in a moment of time when I responded to the invitation to commit my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord.  I will always be grateful to Dr. Kermit McGregor for being God's voice to me that evening. My Lord  became real to  me that night in a way I had never experienced even though I had been a church member for some nine years. I praise Him for His patience with me.

Now back to that darkened room...As Billy Graham extended the invitation that night hundreds began streaming down the stadium aisles responding to the invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ. I found myself deeply moved as the thought entered my  mind for the very first time that God perhaps wanted me to give my life to preaching the gospel. This was so foreign to me. I was so shy I had asked a friend of mine to ask Rose (my wife now for almost 48 years) if she would go out with me for that first date.  All I had even envisioned doing vocationally was to be a basketball coach. All that changed that night as I knelt by the side of my bed and said in essence: "Lord, I don't know exactly what you want me to do, but whatever it is I surrender my heart to Your will." It took me two more years to fully discover and refine what that night was to  mean to my future. That night helped to define and shape who I am and what I have been doing for almost half a century now.

Why bring this up now? Because I just returned yesterday from The Cove in North Carolina where I taught the book of Colossians to the Senior Adults from FBC Collierville. Most of you know The Cove is sponsored by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  What an incredibly beautiful and inspiring place! While in that part of the country I also visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. I was reminded again of how indebted I am to this ministry. Who would have imagined that a bashful country kid watching a  crusade service on a black and white TV would have his life transformed by a profoundly simple (but simply profound) decision on that night? One word describes it...GRACE. What a privilege He has given to me over these years to proclaim the unsearchable riches of His Grace. Thank you Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Kermit McGregor for faithfully speaking into my life. Help me to speak that message of hope and forgiveness into the lives of others as long as I live.

Thank you so much to those of you who pray for me and support our efforts to share Christ with the world.

By His grace and for His Glory!
Tommy Vinson

Walking in the book of Acts.....



Dear Friend of Tommy Vinson Ministries,

I wept! I couldn’t help it. I finished preaching, saw the positive response to the gospel of many who had never known Christ, and I wept. I don’t know that in forty eight years of preaching that has ever happened to me like that before.  I couldn’t seem to stop. It was almost embarrassing. But I remember that the Psalmist wrote:  “He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psm. 126:5,6)  Some fifty people had gathered in the yard of this small village house to worship and listen to the gospel message on a Thursday afternoon.  The house where we met was considered by the village to be  haunted and a place where evil spirits hung out. In the crowd was a formerly demon possessed teen age boy who had recently been saved and was now exhibiting strong leadership qualities for the Kingdom. Also included in the crowd was a former priest of the unreached people group we were there to minister to. Approximately twenty of those fifty people in attendance indicated a commitment to Jesus as Lord at the end of the gospel message I preached. Later that afternoon Pastor Chuck was privileged to preach the gospel from the steps of an idol  temple in the middle of that small town. A crowd of approximately two hundred gathered. We prayed for rain for that drought plagued village and saw a good number commit their lives to Jesus Christ. The elders and town leaders welcomed us with joy. That is a God thing! What incredible joy to see a former priest to idol worship out in the crowd on the temple yard where he formerly led idol worship now worshipping and praising Jesus Christ.  He had  a smile on his face and hope in his eyes which demon inspired idol worship can never provide. It was the former demon possessed teen ager on the microphone calling his neighbors to come and hear the gospel.  Folks that is a God thing!

In another village I personally shared the gospel with a person who had never heard of Jesus Christ. This dear man sitting out on a rock in the sun was 102 years old. Through the interpreter I tried to tell him the gospel story. He was hard of hearing and couldn’t see well. In that situation you have to take time and give some back ground from creation, the fall, the need for sacrifice, repentance and faith. It is not like sharing with an American who had heard the gospel all their life. The Roman Road works well here, but there you must give more detail. Oh, how I pray he really understood. At the end he prayed with the interpreter to commit his life to Jesus. I hope to meet him in heaven.

 On the way back to our hotel that evening about 9 P.M. we were asked to go by and pray for a family of four who were living in fear of the evil spirits who they said kept them awake at night. From 9 PM each night until early morning there was a banging on their door they could not explain. It was terrorizing them. Spiritual warfare in that part of the world is as normal as brushing your teeth is in our culture. All four of this family listened intently to a full gospel presentation from one of our team.  They repented of their sin and committed their lives to the One who can remove the fear of the evil one. What a joy I had to pray for them and to inform them that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

And that was just the first day… for six days I felt like I was walking in the book of Acts.  

Thank you so much for praying. We saw a number of our unreached people group come to Christ. One lady from that group told us she was going home and removing all idols from her house. She did this knowing that she would be persecuted by her family for doing so.

Almost as exciting is the fact that we identified several potential spiritual leaders among that group, including one pastor. God is hearing and answering our prayers. My faith has been strengthened. The power of the gospel has never loomed as large in my heart and mind as it does now. If He can save a 102 year old man in a remote village in India who has never heard of Jesus, perhaps He can save our sophisticated but gospel ignorant friends and neighbors here in our own country.

I want to thank you again for your part in this mission. Without your support this could not happen. Your prayers, and as God leads, your financial support is greatly appreciated. One additional blessing was the joy of giving enough money from this ministry to buy a large number of Bibles for our unreached people group. During the six days of visiting the villages we gave out many Bibles.  “The entrance of Thy Word gives light.” Who knows what God will do when His Word is unleashed!

I am scheduled to return to India to lead in two different Pastor Training Institues in late August and early September. What a joy to know that God has provided and continues to provide so that I can walk through these open doors. Thank you! Thank you! I am so desirous for you to know that whatever benefit to the Kingdom these trips provide, YOU are a vital part of it. As I think William Cary said when he went to India many years ago: “If you will hold the ropes, I will go down into the well.”

Our stateside opportunities continue to just blow my mind. Doors that I could not possibly pry open through human strategies are opening by God’s grace and providence. To him be glory! Please monitor our updated schedule on Tommyvinsonministries.com in order to pray for us as we preach from place to place and from week to week.

Please know you are loved and valued so much as friends of this ministry. I know that all are not able or led to give, but your prayers are equally valued. More and more, the older I get, I see the value and power in believing prayer. He indeed is able to “do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think.”  Eph. 3:20)

 

Because He lives,

 

Tommy Vinson

 

How Can I Say Thanks?

Happy New Year to the dear friends of this ministry. 

What a year!  2013 will not soon be forgotten by the Vinson household. Indeed in the words of the song: "How can I say thanks?"

It began with Rose and me praying about God’s will for the next stage of our lives. After forty four years of serving churches in three states as pastor we began sensing it was time for us to consider a change. We put up our sails and determined to follow wherever our Lord’s providence led. We had a growing conviction that we should make ourselves available for itinerant ministry to be expressed in whatever venue He desired.  We found great support for that move from our pastor Dr. Chuck Herring and the wonderful people of FBC Collierville. This spring we made our intentions known and resigned from a great staff position to enter the field of itinerant preaching and bible teaching. We did not know what to expect. I only had very few preaching engagements scheduled, but with the peace of God in our hearts and the encouragement of God’s people from so many fronts we stepped out in faith. He has been so faithful to fill up our preaching schedule for this year. Over the past few months we have been privileged to travel from India to Alaska to Florida preaching God’s precious word.  I have never had a greater sense of urgency and anointing in preaching God’s Word as I have over the past few months. Next year’s schedule for revivals and conferences is beginning to take shape so it gives us much hope and prospect.  That is an area where your prayers would be greatly appreciated. Our desire is for our Lord to expand or diminish this ministry as He so desires. My heart is filled with praise and gratitude even as I write these words.

In May we launched Tommy Vinson Ministries (TVM) with a banquet at Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary which proved to be a wonderful night of testimony and witness to God’s faithfulness.  We did this mainly because of our desire to minister internationally through teaching Pastoral Training Institutes in India, Nepal, and other venues as the Lord leads. Two of these Institutes were held this past September and we already have two scheduled for the fall of 2014 near Katmandu, Nepal and Calcutta, India. We do this in conjunction with RHEMA, a ministry founded by Dr. Ron Herrod.  I will also be going with my pastor, Dr. Chuck Herring,  to Sholapur, India in February to minister to the Linguyat people.  We also desire to be a stateside promoter of Shiloh Shelter. This is  an orphanage for little girls which is the vision of our granddaughter Shiloh who serves with her parents in Central Asia. For more information go to the Shiloh Shelter tab on this web site.
TVM has elected a godly board and have just been informed that our application for a 501C3 nonprofit status has been approved. This simply means that those who give to this ministry will be given tax exemption for their gifts. Join us in praise for this answered prayer.
Please know that Rose and I treasure your friendship and prayers.  We want to wish each of you a very Happy, Holy, and Healthy New Year.

Bro. Tommy

 


The Light is Turned On in a Dark Part of the World!

I have spent half of my life, over nineteen years, in a prison in Thailand!” “Seven months ago I was part of a gang in Katmandu.” These are hardly the testimonies a teacher might like to hear coming from the students in their new class.  But for me, this was music to my ears. These words meant that I was at the right place at the right time. You see the rest of the testimony for both of these men was that… Jesus Christ had found them, one in prison, and the other in the gang, and had radically changed their lives.  These two men were but a sampling of the makeup of the students who had ridden a train for three to five days to attend the Bible Institute in Travandrum, India. They were there for eight full weeks because all their expenses had been paid by the Ron Herrod Evangelistic Association.  I was there because God had opened the door with an invitation from Dr. Herrod, and because God’s people had generously helped pay my expenses to go and teach. These some forty students were willing to sit in an unairconditioned classroom from early morning until late night like sponges receiving everything we could pour into them in those brief weeks. I was there for the final week and for their graduation exercises, complete with cap and gown. My heart was filled with joy and pride for them as they each walked across the stage and received their certificate.  I was also sobered to know that some of them may suffer greatly for their faith as they go back to their home country and face persecution. I was there to teach them, but they taught me so much about passion, joy, heartfelt worship, deep commitment, and sacrifice.

I want to thank all of you who prayed and gave to make this mission trip possible. You share in whatever fruit the Lord will be pleased to produce as a result of our mission. This was the first trip sponsored by Tommy Vinson Ministries, but God willing, it is only the beginning. Our sails are up Lord, Thy will be done.

Gratefully,

Tommy Vinson

God is Faithful!

It is hard to believe that it has been three months since resigning from FBC Collierville and moving into an itinerant ministry. When I was a young pastor Manley Beasley taught me that faith honors God and God delights in honoring faith. (Heb. 11:6) We have taken some baby steps of faith.   Our Lord has so graciously confirmed that decision over and over again. He never ceases to amaze me with the doors He is opening. Since April the Lord has given twenty six opportunities to preach and teach His precious Word. Almost every Sunday (with the exception of December) the rest of the year has been scheduled.  I am humbled and greatly blessed and encouraged by the loving support through prayer and giving that has been directed towards this ministry.

I am presently spending much of my time preparing to teach Pastoral Ministries in the Pastor Training Institute coming up in India the first two weeks in September.   The privilege to share with young Indian pastors some of the things God has taught me over the past forty-four years is such a privilege. A great big “thank you” to Dr. Ron Herrod  for extending  to me the invitation to  join the faculty of the Pastor Training Institute.  The last of August I will be flying into a major city in India to teach for one week, and then travel on to another city for a second week of training.  On Sundays and at night we will be preaching in local churches.  Between now and then (see calendar section of web site) I will be preaching several revivals. Your prayers for these events are coveted and greatly appreciated.

Rose and I are so enjoying  getting to spend time with our children and grandchildren. It is so special having our daughter and her family home from India. God has blessed in that they live only two miles from us. In case you haven’t heard our grandson Salem Creed was born to Wint and Vicki Fox on June 21st.  This makes four children for them and a total of eight grandchildren for Rose and me.

Our granddaughter’s vision of establishing an orphanage for little girls that are otherwise abandoned or aborted has taken another step towards reality. Looks like “Shiloh Shelter” could become a reality in the next year. (See the link to Shiloh Shelter elsewhere in this website.)Things usually move slowly in India. Pray for this to continue to move forward without major hurdles to overcome.

Our application for 501C3 status is moving forward. We have submitted the necessary requirements such as two years proposed budgets and by laws.  Please make this a matter of prayer that our Lord will be pleased to show His favor in this being approved ASAP.

Blessings on each of you.
Because He lives,

Tommy Vinson
Off and Running...

I just finished updating my schedule for the rest of this year (2013).  My heart is singing "God is sooo good... God is sooo good." I am glad you can only read me and not hear me. My soul really does overflow with praise to God for His gracious provision.  Opportunities to preach and teach His wonderful word are like treasures to me. As you read the schedule please join me in praying for God's blessing on each of these upcoming meetings.

Rose and I are adjusting to this new phase of our lives. I'm told I'm supposed to sleep late,... then why do I wake up before five each morning? But I love it! It allows for extended time to spend with my Lord in a quiet, uninterrupted "holy hour" without worrying about being late for the office. We have certainly enjoyed having some freedom to enjoy our grandchildren (our daughter and son-in-law also) who just arrived home from India last week. Wint and Vicki will be living two miles from us in one of FBC Collierville's mission homes for the next seven months. What a great blessing this is. Thank you FBC Collierville! It was a joy this past week to have all our children and grandchildren together again after three and a half years.


Thanks to all of you who have given so many kind and loving expressions of support as we made this transition to a new venue of ministry. We love and appreciate you, and covet greatly your prayers for this ministry. We really do not know all that God has for Tommy Vinson Ministries. Presently our dream includes four things:
  1. Pastor Training in India and other countries as the Lord leads.
  2. Providing  stateside support for "Shiloh Shelter," a ministry of safe haven for little girls who otherwise would be aborted or abandoned in India. This ministry is the vision of our fifteen year old granddaughter Shiloh Fox.
  3. Revivals, Christian Life Conferences, other preaching venues as the Lord leads and provides
  4. Weekly Radio ministry
Our sails are up! We are open to wherever the winds of His Spirit providentially leads. His ways are always best!

God bless you. To Him alone be Glory!

Bro. Tommy

To contact me write to 1334 East Rain Lake Lane, Collierville, TN, 38017 or email me at Brot1224@aol.com. Your prayers for this ministry are coveted and appreciated. Should you be led to support this ministry financially please make checks out to Tommy Vinson Ministries. We are in process of applying for 501c3 status. Our Lord has led us to place in position a godly board of men and women to give advice, counsel, and prayer to the future of this ministry both internationally in our work overseas and in the preaching ministry here in our own beloved country.


amazing world


(Note this blog was written in 2012 just after we returned from a trip to India)

What an amazing world we live in. Just a few hours ago I was saying good bye to my daughter and her family in Mumbai, India. Now, here I sit in Collierville, TN writing these words. A century ago it would have taken months to make that trip, not to mention the wear and tear on the body.  Now, all I have to do is weather a few days of "jet lag."
 
 I am excited about the opportunity to teach God's Word tomorrow morning in the Pastor's Class at FBC Collierville. We are finishing up Paul's  letter to the Philippians with especial focus on 4:19 where our Lord promises his children: "but my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." In this verse we glean a promise that is not made just to anyone, or even any christian. This promise was made to a special group who had put themseves "in need" because of their sacrificial generosity to the cause of Christ. This promise of God providing for us is espcially designed to encourge any believer who puts themselves "in need" by their obedience to God's will in sacrificial giving. These Philippian believers had done just that.  This is what Jack Taylor called "The necessity of neediness." In other words, if we desire to see the mighty hand of God working in supplying our needs, then we must of necessity put ourselves in need as a result of our giving to our Lord. There is no comfort here for the careless believer who is selfish with God's gifts, then runs to the Lord when he runs out of resources. This is no pillow for the carnal believer to place his head. Instead, this is a promise that should encourage every serious follower of Christ to put God first in their stewardship. Didn't our Lord Himself promise us: "But seek first the Kiingdom of God and His rightouness, and all these things shall be added unto you." ( Matt. 6:33)

I have the privilege of preaching every Sunday PM at FBC Collierville. Tomorrow night we will explore the question the disciples asked Jesus in the story of the feeding of the five thousand: "But what are these among so many." This is the introductory sermon to a new series I am beginning entitled: "You might be a Christian atheist if..."

Let me encourage you to go to the "Sermon" section of this web site and check out the latest series of sermons entitled: "If God is good, then why...?"

Blessings to you,

Bro. Tommy