On March 30, 2012 we held our annual auction at Woodlawn Baptist Church. We had a wonderful time. We would like to thank the Honorable Judge Terrance R. Ketchel for speaking. Also we would like to thank all that attended and donated to our ministry. What a blessing it was and below are some photos of the event.
Exodos would like to welcome Ryan Shipp and his family as our new Resident Pastor for on-site ministry. Ryan and his wife Lauren are originally from the Crestview-Baker area and have been serving over the past 6 years in Jacksonville, FL as Youth and Worship Pastor for Mandarin Baptist Church. They have recently returned to the Crestview area to serve in ministry opportunities.
Ryan and Lauren are parents to four beautiful daughters and one amazing adopted son. Ryan will be bi-vocational working in management for the Niceville Chick-Fil-A as well as serving as interim music minister for Immanuel Baptist Church in Pace, FL. Lauren assists her family in serving the community at The Wild Olive restaurant as well as ministering as the Assistant Nursery Director at Woodlawn Baptist Church. In their “spare time”, the Shipps enjoys spending time with family, outdoor activities, and games.
They are passionate about loving God and people in many ways and forms such as serving in local churches, foster care and adoption. Ryan and Lauren are excited to begin this new adventure serving the Exodos community by sharing the love of God, the grace of reconciliation, and the power of Christ to break every chain.
A "Welcome to the neighborhood" block party celebrated our new presence on Buckward Road on October 11,2014 . Many of our sponsors set up diplays and a great time was had by all. Thank you to all of you who came, worked, participated, made our "scarecrow" community, and so much more. Face painting, animal balloons, clowns, games, bouncy's and a Hay Ride were just some of the exciting things for children and adults alike.
Kenneth James (Ken) Croft, a resident of New South Wales, Australia, formerly of Dothan, died Sunday night, August 3, 2014, of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident which occurred in New South Wales. He was 52.
When I first met Ken Croft from Dothan Alabama, he struck me as a “know it all”: someone who had a lot of tall tales that just could NOT possibly be true. BUT…as time went on and I really got to know Ken, I realized to my utter amazement, “This guy really DOES KNOW…IT ALL!” He was truly a brilliant guy. He could design anything, build anything, cook anything, fly most things, fix everything and actually wear ANYTHING and make it look good!
In fact, I can actually say, “I never have known any other man that could wear electric pink or bright yellow crocks so confidently that he caused the rest of us to want a pair!”
Ken reminds me of the man from the movie, “Big Fish”. The movie tells the story of a man who has told HUGE and exciting stories to his son his whole life. The son resents the story-telling father because he believes his dad is just full of hot air. Finally, at the father’s funeral, the son meets people from ALL over the world who come to pay tribute to the deceased father and confirm EVERY tall tale he ever told.
Ken had so many great stories of adventure and hilarious tales of experiences and people he had known through the years. We thought he should have written a book. He described his precious mother affectionately as, “Aunt Bee” from Andy Griffith. Ken quipped that she wanted him to stay in Mayberry and sip lemonade on the porch rather than gallivant to distant lands. His sisters Judy and Debbie were every bit as brilliant as their brother to hear him tell it. And…well, God never created better sons than Spencer and Colby according to their dad. Though, Ken did often tell side-splitting tales of “come to Jesus” meetings he had with the boys from time to time.
Ken kept up with us weekly from his post in Australia and continued to add hilarious chapters to his life’s story. He was so proud that Colby had chosen to come to Australia with him. Ken made us laugh our heads off with the story of bouncing off-road recklessly driving through forbidden terrain so that he and Colby could sneak in a side road to see the giant satellite that everyone else was waiting in long line to view.
So, when we got word a few weeks ago that Ken had hit an emu, we were sure it was just a story that he made up to entertain. After receiving confirmation and crying for our loss, we decided it really is the kind of tall tale that Ken would want to accompany his departure. We even agreed that Ken had the type of personality like Elijah or Enoch of the Bible that might make God delight to bring him home in an especially adventurous way.
While some might hear that comment and ask, “If God loved Ken so much, why would God take Ken at the best time of his life?”
I would answer that God loved Ken so much that God gave Ken opportunity to live extra years so that he might be right with God and with family and friends before he left this life.
Some of you may NOT know for sure that Ken had made things right with God. In fact, Ken acknowledged to me a while back that he agreed with Jesus who said, “I tell you the truth…no prophet is accepted (or believed) in his own town (Luke 4:24). Ken was NOT calling himself a prophet, but agreeing how difficult it is to speak of deep things among your friends and kinfolk and have them take you seriously. After all, the people in your family and hometown have all seen you at your very worst.
Well, that is why I am here to testify on Ken’s behalf. Ken may not have come back into your presence as a “Billy Graham”, bible-thumping, man of great theology and churchy presentations, but Ken Croft stood in right relationship to Jesus Christ, not based on any great work of accomplishment Ken had done, but because Ken had humbled himself before God in 2010.
Ken came to us a broken man. He was desperate to be free and become the man, father, brother and son that God had designed him to be. God’s word tells us we all must come to that place where we recognize our brokenness apart from right relationship with God. Whether you are one who (as the old song says), “Smokes, dips, drinks or chews or runs around with them that do”, every one of us struggles with something. Some of us are so “churchy”; we struggle with a less obvious sin called pride. Pride often keeps people from ever coming to the place to acknowledge that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
Ken Croft got it! He was humble in his recognition of his struggles and desperately surrendered in August of 2010. He did all that is necessary to stand in right position with the holy God of the universe. Ken simply acknowledged what he was struggling with and agreed with God that it was sin. He professed his belief that only Jesus had the power to free him and had purchased that freedom by dying on the cross. Ken believed that when Jesus rose again on the third day, Jesus conquered every sin (including the sin of Ken Croft and me and you). Ken may not have come back boldly professing this truth to the people who had known him best, but he was clear about it to those of us who watched him wrestle it out.
Ken, like any Christian you know, was not perfect after his commitment to Christ. He still stumbled from time to time, like the rest of us, but he was resolved never to live in defeat again. He kept accountability all the way from Australia and made sure (as he would say) that “Satan never had any secret hanging over his head again!” He laughed that he had a great excuse in Australia for “forsaking the assembly” (which means missing church) because even his mailbox was 40 miles from his house. God would understand that church attendance would have to be just God and Ken and miles of empty outback.
I wish Ken was still going to be around to ring me up and make me laugh my head off. So from my selfish point of view and maybe yours, I wish he had NOT gone to be with the LORD so soon, but I am glad that Ken had these last few years with all of us. He was happy. He was proud of the work he was doing. He was thrilled with the love and friendship of his precious boys and family and he was and will forever be greatly loved and remembered for his tall tales that were all TRUE!