From Plowing to Preaching: How God Redeemed and Used an Ordinary Farm Couple

From Plowing to Preaching: How God Redeemed and Used an Ordinary Farm Couple

by Carol Bayne


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Discover a Christ who is alive and active in the lives of ordinary people.

In a culture where those who claim the name of Christ seem to live most of their days in apathy and spiritual boredom, From Plowing to Preaching shares event after event of God’s personal intervention in providing leadership, provision, and blessings. Author Carol Bayne writes of the amazing ways God revealed Himself in His redemption of herself and her farmer husband Don Bayne, and how He led them from a life as farmers to Bible school and then to pastoring their home church.

From her own brokenness, Carol shares lessons learned in the crucible of pain and disappointment and the beauty that can come from the ashes of our lives. Through the teachings of scripture and the wisdom that comes from personal experience, she shares truths and insights that will guide any broken or struggling believer to overcome and find victory in their walk with Christ. Throughout the book, Carol draws attention to important themes in the Christian experience such as:

  • Pursuing your dreams
  • Learning the fear of the Lord
  • Overcoming the lies of the enemy through the truths of scripture
  • Finding your joy in the Lord and in serving others

Carol’s heart is to reveal a Christ who is very much alive and active in the lives of ordinary people who are totally committed to His purposes and glory. In short, From Plowing to Preaching will remind the reader that with an authentic faith in the risen Lord and an eternal perspective, the Christian life will be one of adventure, purpose, meaning, and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632963079
Publisher: Lucid Books
Publication date: 12/03/2018
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 593,938
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.49(d)

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God's Redemption

* * *

In the first five years of my marriage to Donnie, we went to church twice. Needless to say, my walk with the Lord was almost nonexistent. I knew the plan of salvation and could have led someone to Christ using all the correct Scriptures. But salvation is not a plan; it is not a prayer; it is a person — Jesus Christ. I had been trying to fill the void in my life with accomplishments — a college degree, marriage to a great guy, and beautiful kids. I tried parties, drinking, and what the world had to offer, but nothing satisfied.

It was March 1965. We had been married five years. Donald Lee III was almost four, Sherry (Cheryl Dean) was six months old, and I was pregnant with Bobbie Jo (Barbara Jo). Kimmie (Kimberly Sue) would come along 17 months after Bobbie Jo was born. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1962, I taught English at Philomath High School for two years but was now at home, raising the kids.

I tried on several occasions to find my way back to God. I would pray, confess my sins, ask for forgiveness, and invite Jesus into my heart — again. I believed it was my faith that saved me. Isn't that what Ephesians 2:8 says? "For by grace you have been saved through faith." So I would try to be pious and make myself believe. Each time I tried, not wanting to be exposed as a fraud, I would not tell Donnie because he acted more like a Christian without Jesus than I did with Jesus. Besides, what if it didn't stick? Also, I never managed to find a church. Each time I prayed the sinner's prayer, my focus on faith seemed to dissipate within a week or two. I would tell myself, "See? It didn't work."

This was all evidence of my lack of faith. Trying to convince myself that I had faith was not really faith at all. You can't look in the mirror and see if you have faith. So I stumbled on, getting farther and farther away from God.

One day while reading Beyond Our Selves by Catherine Marshall, I came to a chapter on the prayer of relinquishment. It spoke of the experience of having tried everything but finding that nothing had worked. That described where I was. I had tried everything but nothing had worked. I wasn't sure I even believed any of it anymore. Was there even a God? I still believed there was a creator God. Evolution didn't make any sense to me. But what did I believe about Jesus? I believed there was a historical Jesus, but was He alive, was He God, and could He hear my prayers, even the silent ones? I had a hard time imagining a God who hears the silent, in-our-head prayers we offer up.

I thought that maybe He existed and was who He claimed to be but just didn't want me. That was a distinct possibility. The way I had been living the past five years did not commend me to the heart of God. I had managed to stack up a pretty hefty mountain of sin — no use pretending otherwise.

Despite my doubts, I decided to try this prayer, this prayer of relinquishment, as she had called it. But it was with no emotion and with very little faith, if any. "Jesus, if you exist and can hear me and want me, you can have my life, such as it is, but I must confess, I really cannot claim to have any faith anymore." That was a pretty pathetic prayer, right? But that was it. That was where I was at that time.

I was expecting nothing. It was noon, time to fix lunch for Donnie so he could come in, eat, and go right back out to working on the farm. As I left that bedroom where I had been reading, I had an overwhelming sense of the presence of God. No bells, no whistles, no flashing lights. I cannot explain it, but I knew He had heard me. Something had happened. This time, I had come to Him with total honesty, acknowledging my helplessness and lack of faith. No more pretending to have faith. No more pretending about anything.

Immediately, I knew two things. They were indelibly impressed on my mind. This time I must tell my husband, and I must find a church.

Donnie came in for lunch, and I didn't know what to say. He ate his lunch and went back out to work, so I said nothing that whole day.

The prayer of relinquishment had worked so well, it was the only way I talked to God for days. I would simply raise my hands, declare my lack of faith, and cast myself on Him. I don't know what to say, Lord, You will have to show me. It was kind of cool. I didn't think of it as prayer. I was just talking to God.

For the next 24 hours, my faith would come and go. I would think to myself, Carol, do you really believe all this — that there is a God who hears you and is present like this? Each time the doubts and internal arguments came, I would again simply raise my hands and remind the Lord, I told You I had no faith, God, and the faith and His presence would flood me once again. I was learning to come to God just as I was. I think God must love it when we are totally honest with Him. He knows all about us, but we are often pretty clueless about ourselves.

And how was I going to find a vibrant, living church? I knew the church in our little community that we had attended one time was not what I was looking for. While standing at the kitchen window pondering this question, some unusual pink clouds stretched across the western sky. I remember telling myself, What do you think God is going to do, just write it in the sky in pink? Ha! Let's not get melodramatic here, Carol.

If God did not reveal where to go by Sunday, should I just dress the kids and myself and start driving? Would He direct me at that time? I remember chuckling to myself as I imagined God guiding the car and me. I had all kinds of cutesy visions of how God was going to direct me. I entertained myself with ideas and questions and was actually rather fascinated and curious of how God was going to do all this.

More churches were in Corvallis, 15 miles away. Perhaps I should head in that direction. These questions came and went for the next 24 hours. How would I know where to go to church? What am I to tell Donnie? God, You will have to show me, but I told you I don't have any faith.

Now, let me remind you that we had been married five years by this time and had attended church twice, each time at a different church. The next day at noon, just 24 hours after my prayer of relinquishment, Donnie said to me as we sat at the kitchen table for lunch, "You know that little church in Peoria? Off the main road there?"

"No, I never really noticed it."

"You have seen the sign in the little Peoria store about the church opening, haven't you?" he asked.

"No, I almost never stop there. Supplies are limited and prices are high. I just scoot on into Corvallis to shop."

"Well, anyway," he said, "the store owner and some community people want to get a church started, and they are going to have a service there Sunday for the first time. It has been closed 12 years, some windows are broken, and the roof leaks, but they are fixing it up. My grandparents used to go there, and I want us to go on Sunday."

Wow! It was like having God on the line speaking right to me. Amazing! You cannot even imagine the impact on my faith. There was the answer, loud and clear. Then I simply told my husband that I had told God the day before that if He wanted my life, He could have it. I was not yet ready to make any big claims about being a Christian. Donnie just looked at me, said not a word, and went back out to work.

That Sunday, the kids and I went to Sunday school while Donnie finished milking. He was to come later for the preaching service. I shared with the few people sitting there in a circle what God had done in my life that very Wednesday. When I did, Roger, the American Sunday School Union missionary who was involved in opening the little church, had tears in his eyes. Tears also came to my eyes, and I knew this was home.

Our family began attending that little country church on a regular basis. We went there until we went off to Bible school, and when we returned, we would pastor that church for 33 years until Donnie's death in 2009.


My Early Years

* * *

Very early on, I had two beliefs about myself, whether true or not. First, I was pretty smart. When I was little, Dad would come home with games or puzzles for me. I loved to figure them out without asking for the answers. I knew he was pleased because he would chuckle. There were questions like, "Why can't a woman living in the United States be buried in Canada?" "What gets wetter the more it dries?" "What do you find in the middle of nowhere?" "Bob's father has four children: Momo, Meme, and Mumu are three of them. Who is the fourth?" "Where can you find an ocean with no water?" I loved these trick questions. Sometimes I figured them out, sometimes not.

I don't think I was really smart, which was a rather rude awakening when I discovered that. Nevertheless, because of that, I never panicked on tests and always tested fairly high.

Second, I figured I was a thief. My uncle Dick was my favorite uncle. He told us stories and gave me lots of attention. He taught me to sing "Down by the Station, Early in the Morning" even before I could say the "r" in early. I hated my name because it had an "r" that I couldn't say for years — Carol (Cawo). I was the youngest of three cousins and younger than my brother. They teased me mercilessly with "cow" and "car," both of which I pronounced the same. "Do you mean "cow" or "cow"? In frustration I would say, "The one we are widing in," and they would hoot mercilessly.

Anyway, one day Uncle Dick came out to Oregon to visit us. He had to sleep in the living room, and as men often do, he placed all the change from his pockets on the end table next to the sofa. The temptation was too much for me. I don't remember if I took all or only some of it. But Uncle Dick knew. A million spankings would have been easier to take. Have you ever wished they would cut the lecture and just spank you? No, it just made Uncle Dick so sad. He was so grieved, so disappointed, and I was so ashamed. I had let him down, and now I was a thief. What could I say?

I am sure there were other reasons, but somehow I began to feel like I was building up quite a load of black marks. I was somewhat of a perfectionist even then. My room always had to be just so (even though the old ringer washing machine was stored in my room). Whenever I was cross or disappointed, it would show. Not pretty. My brother Bob was a gentle sweetheart, but I was more intense about everything and would stomp around, whine, or act ugly. So this load of black marks (better known as guilt) was piling up.

We lived in the housing projects in Lebanon, Oregon. Every week, a group of ladies from a little church in town came to the projects and held Child Evangelism classes at the housing project office. Sitting in a circle on the shiny hardwood floor, we listened to Bible stories. I can't remember much about those stories, but the little wordless book fascinated me. My heart was black with sin (the black page) until the Savior came in, and then His blood (the red page), I know, would wash me white as snow (the white page). And someday when I died, I would go and walk with Him on streets of gold (the shiny gold page). I didn't quite get it then, but that black page, indicating a black heart of sin, was a problem for this little girl.

About that same time, this same little church started sending a couple of men into the projects to pick us kids up and take us to Sunday school. They would walk around the row houses blowing a whistle, alerting us they were there. Fifteen minutes later, they would blow it again, and out we would troop, snotty noses, ratty hair, and all. They would load us into their car, and off we would go. This was back in the mid-1940s when parents were more trusting, and what parent didn't enjoy getting rid of their kids for a few hours on a Sunday morning?

Soon the church was holding revival meetings. Every night, this sweet couple came to our little church; we called them Brother and Sister Brazil. She would play the piano, they would sing, and then he would preach. It was then that I understood the wordless book. Jesus Christ had died on a cross and shed His blood (the red page) for me. But He had risen from the dead and was alive. If I would ask Him into my heart, He would come into me, and His blood would wash that black heart white as snow. That was good news! That's what the gospel means — good news.

When we were given the invitation to come forward to the little altar to ask Jesus into our hearts, I was there. That was almost 70 years ago, but I still remember my confidence that the load of sin had been lifted from me. Now I was washed white as snow. The gospel is so simple, even a child can understand it. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we don't become as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. As we get older, I think we become too full of ourselves to humble ourselves to our need.

Then we were taken to the swimming hole and baptized. Baptism — what is that all about? Well, just as Jesus died (a very cruel and excruciating death, I might add), so in baptism I died with Him. I was buried with Him, and as He arose from the dead, so I arose from the dead, a new creation, my sins all washed away. The Spirit of Jesus had come into me and would help me live for Him. Baptism is a perfect picture of all this truth.

Does that mean I would never sin again? No. In fact 1 John 1:8 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." But it goes on to say, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). That is written to believers. I might add that this little muffin had to visit that concept on a regular basis. Mom was kind. She called me feisty instead of naughty. Whatever.

Does that mean we take sin lightly? No, it also says that John wrote these things so we won't sin. But if we do sin, "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). What's an advocate? It's a lawyer. When we have a problem with breaking the law, we don't go straight to the judge. We pay a lawyer (often a lot of money, but not nearly the price Jesus paid for us), and he talks to (or advocates with) the judge for us.

Ephesians says that in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit we have access to father God. Wow! Awesome! Powerful stuff! Some people are very disrespectful of God. They might call Him "the man upstairs" or the "big kahuna in the sky" or use His name in vain. Not wise! Scripture says, "The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Deut. 5:11). I told my brother Bob that one time, and he said he didn't mean anything by it when he cursed. I told him that was the point. "In vain" means to use in an empty, meaningless way.

By the way, when I learned that Jesus was always with me, do you know what I believed? I believed that Jesus was always with me. Profound, huh? One time, my two best friends who walked to school with me were mad at me. I was in sixth grade, and Mom had decided I should start wearing a bra. Oh, help! My friends were ticked that I was wearing a bra and they weren't, so they were mad and wouldn't walk with me. Prepubescent girls can be difficult sometimes.

I vividly remember reminding Jesus (and myself) that He was with me and I was not walking alone. That's a pretty cool truth for an 11-year-old to get hold of, don't you think? We are never alone and have no need to ever be afraid. That is what you call the fear of the Lord, knowing that God is always with us and aware of us. My two friends and I were soon buds again. (Too bad I would lose that fear of the Lord and forget about His presence at other times in my life.)

I loved vacation Bible school, although I could do without the crafts and was never impressed with artwork made of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. But my heart would burn within me when I heard the Bible stories. I was not a Daniel, who escaped the lion's den, or a David, who slew the giant, but their God was my God, and I was challenged to be like them. Pretty exciting! I would be fearless like Daniel; I would be a David after God's own heart.

I so longed to serve and please the Lord, to do great exploits for Him. While the moms were having meetings at church, some of us kids would play church. Someone would try to play the piano, someone else would be the song leader or pass the plate or pray, but I wanted to be the preacher. Our church had a woman pastor, and our larger sister church in Eugene, Oregon, had a woman pastor, Sister Perry, who was cute as a button. Their husbands were elders in their churches, and these women were under their authority, so I guess that made it okay for women to speak in the church.


Excerpted from "From Plowing to Preaching"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Carol Bayne.
Excerpted by permission of Lucid Books Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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