In this edition:
  • Dr. Mac's Minute: God Sees what We Don't
  • Dakota Baptists gather in Mandan for historic Annual Meeting of firsts
  • Lottie Moon resources available to Dakota churches
  • Around the Dakotas
  • Black Hills pastor’s newborn son in serious condition
  • Retired Southwestern professor to conduct meetings in Rapid City
  • Valley Community conducts feeding outreach
  • Dakotans travel on mission to South Africa
  • Friends gather to give O'Dells send off
  • CP Story: Mason & Abby Shearer
Dr. Mac's Minute
God Sees what We Don’t

Passage: Exodus 3:1-9
Focus: vv. 7-8

Don’t be too hard on Moses. If you saw a bush ablaze, but not burning up, you would probably be awestruck, too. I know I would. I do find intriguing, however, the two times in this passage where someone says, “I see.” It is instructive to see what Moses saw and what God saw. More important, it is critical to see what each was motivated to do when each saw what they had seen.

What did each see??? Moses’ attention was captured by a “bush (that) is not burned up.” God said, “I have seen the affliction of My people.”

What was each motivated to do??? Moses was moved to, “turn aside now and see this marvelous sight.” God was moved to, “deliver them from the power of the Egyptians and bring them up from that land to a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Moses was dazzled by a blazing bramble. God was watching, hearing, and moving with compassion towards His oppressed children. He had devised a plan to bring them, not only out of their suffering, but into a sweet provision. In a nutshell, Moses saw a thing (admittedly, a very astonishing thing!). God saw people . . . hurting people. Moses stopped to stare. God took action.

If you think I’m belaboring or even missing the point, jump ahead to the last part of Exodus 3 and into chapter 4. Take note of Moses’ reaction when God invites him to walk away from the bush and do something. Moses seems more content to keep standing and staring at the fire.

What catches your gaze as you walk through your day? Life is filled with burning bushes; exciting distractions that grab and hold our attention. They aren’t necessarily bad. They may even be worth stopping and taking notice of. The problem is, when God looks at these things, He sees what we don’t. He sees beyond the bush to the need. He sees people and He sees what He is going to do to, “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). *

Paul prayed for His friends at Ephesus, “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19). What a difference it makes when we begin to see what God sees!

Ask God to enlighten the eyes of your heart. Ask Him to start right now, right where you are, by helping you to see beyond the burning bushes all around you with a burning passion to be a “doer of the Word” (James 1:22). Then carry that commitment with you throughout your day.

*Luke 19:1-10 provides a similar New Testament story where you have a crowd that was mesmerized by a parade. Jesus saw a person in desperate need, Zaccheus.

Note: This is the fourth in a seven-part series of devotionals, “The Life of Moses . . . the Early Chapters.” If you missed the first three in the previous issues of Dakota Happenings, email us at [email protected] and we will send you copies.
Dakota Baptists gather in Mandan for historic Annual Meeting of firsts

by Karen L. Willoughby

MANDAN, North Dakota (Baptist Press) – Messengers to the Dakota Baptist Convention’s annual meeting celebrated their plan to be a “state convention that is decreasingly dependent, increasingly independent, but always cooperating” Oct. 7-8 at the Baymont Inn in Mandan.

In all 81 messengers and 19 guests attended the annual meeting, plus over 20 “future pastors, pastor’s wives and missionaries” – meaning children – present, reported Assistant Recording Secretary Debbie Flowers.

Attendees gathered under a theme of Willing and Working Together for Him – Philippians 2:13 – for the 38th annual meeting.

“This is the first operating budget in our history – originally the Northern Plains Baptist Convention, then the Dakota Southern Baptist Fellowship, and now Dakota Baptist Convention – that is fully funded by the churches of the Dakota Baptist Convention,” Executive Director Fred MacDonald told Baptist Press. “It was an historical moment that created a great moment of celebration.”
The 2022 budget, set at $482,924, anticipates $428,400 in Cooperative Program giving from Dakota Baptist churches. Of that, 25 percent – $107,100 – again this year will be passed on to national and international Southern Baptist causes.
Jeffrey Mueller, pastor of Restore Church in Yankton, South Dakota, was elected president. Josh Brown, pastor of Redeeming Grace Church in Rapid City, South Dakota, was elected vice-president.
“This was a second historical moment for the meeting,” MacDonald said. “Someone pointed out to me that this is the first time both our president and vice-president are native Dakotans, pastoring in their hometowns. They are also both church planters, another first.”
Also elected: Karen Holmes, pastor’s wife at First Baptist Church in Wolsey, South Dakota, as recording secretary; Debbie Flowers, pastor’s wife at Living Hope Baptist Church in Fargo, North Dakota, as assistant recording secretary. 
The Executive Board created a task force in March to “look ahead at our work as a convention” and to “develop a plan to guide our cooperative efforts,” MacDonald said. 
“I am excited about what God is going to do in, through and around Dakota Baptists as we move forward as a network of Great Commission churches that partner together to strengthen established churches and start new churches,” the executive director continued. 
With the new budget, the annual Baker Mission Offering income as of 2022 will be folded into state convention operating funds rather than specific allocations. A new ministry plan developed by the Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force was also introduced.
Messengers approved three resolutions: 
Expressing appreciation “for all of our sister Dakota Baptist Convention churches in Mandan and [nearby] Bismarck, North Dakota,” area of the annual meeting
Expressing appreciation “for all the organizations that have in the past assisted” the DBC, “and to the churches for completely funding” the DBC operating budget.
Messengers commit to pray for political and spiritual leaders, and to encourage others to do so as well, “that God will pour out His spirit on us … producing true revival.”
The next annual meeting of the Dakota Baptist Convention is set for Oct. 6-7, 2022, in Huron, SD. 
Lottie Moon resources available to Dakota churches

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Week of Prayer for International Missions begins at the end of November. This annual offering is a key part of providing continuing support for the thousands of Southern Baptist missionaries sharing the gospel message around the world.

Dakota Baptist churches will receive a packet of resources during the first week of November. The packets include offering envelopes, prayer guides, and posters. Additional resources can be requested through the Dakota website,, or by calling the office at 605-716-0130.

The Week of Prayer for International Missions is from November 28 through December 5.
Black Hills pastor’s newborn son in serious condition

Jonathan and Katharine Hansen week old newborn son, Caspian Luther, is in a Colorado hospital after having been born with only one kidney. Jonathan is the church planter at Connection Church in Lead, SD. The following video was recently made by Jonathan to give an update on Caspian’s condition and how people can help. 
Retired Southwestern professor to conduct meetings in Rapid City

Dan Crawford, former evangelism professor at Southwestern Seminary, will preach and teach in the Black Hills are November 19-21. Crawford will meet with church planters in the Rapid City area over dinner on Friday evening. On Saturday morning he will lead a conference on being a “prayer-shaped disciple” for area pastors. The conference will be at 10:00 a.m. at Hills of Grace Church. Crawford will conclude the weekend by preaching at the Sunday morning worship service at Christ Church in Rapid City.
Valley Community conducts feeding outreach

Valley Community Church in Rapid City will host their second free drive through Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, November 20. The church will prepare individual dinners and give them away in the church parking lot, which is located at 5718 Longview Road.

The giveaway will begin at 11:00 a.m. and go until the food is gone. The event is sponsored by Valley Community Church and the Rapid Valley Fire Department with support from the Dakota Baptist Convention. For more information, contact Bill Resterer at 605-431-5953.
Dakotans travel on mission to South Africa

Fort Totten, ND pastor Paul Young and DBC Executive Director Fred MacDonald traveled to South Africa with New Mexico pastor Mike Wright in October. The three-man team partnered with Pastor Julius Mbu from Pretoria to conduct two pastor and church leader workshops, engage in street evangelism, and do vision planning for future partnership activities. 

The three Americans also preached in three different South African churches. MacDonald preached at Olivene Baptist Church in Centurion, South Africa, a church plant that meets in a tent. The church has grown to over 150 in less than a year and baptized 19 new believers on the Sunday he was there. The two one day workshops were held in Pretoria and Durban. More than 200 pastors and leaders attended the training events. Young led sessions that dealt with pastoral integrity and ethics at the Pretoria conference. At Durban he shared with pastors on how to develop a philosophy of preaching, including intentional sermon planning.

Wright, the worship pastor at First Baptist in Artesia, NM, has a strong connection with the Dakotas. Years ago he first sensed God’s call to ministry while on a mission trip at Sharps Corner, SD. This past August he led a mission team from his church that led youth and children’s activities at the 2021 Dakota Baptist Pastors & Family Retreat.

Friends gather to give
O’Dells send off

Several friends from the Black Hills area churches gathered recently to say goodbye to Paul & Goldie O’Dell. After several years of serving in DBC churches and the last seven years as the DBC office manager, the O’Dells are moving to Arizona to care for family. Keep Paul and Goldie and their family in your prayers.
*click image above to link to CP story with powerpoint image download