Outlining and a Book Review
Outlining a biography provides practice of this important pre-writing, comprehension and study skill. Marilyn Alexander wrote of her husband, Jeffrey Alexander’s Fifty Years of Ministry with the purpose of informing his family, friends and others of how God has used this man for fifty years.
When teaching students to outline include an introduction to MS Word or other word processor’s outlining feature. For beginners using the chapter titles and other headings provide a great introduction. Later, you should require more detailed information. Also, at some point a student should experience using parallel structure in the outline. Marilyn Alexander provided examples of parallel structure in her headings as the same parts of speech appear in a pattern. Repeating words and phrases work in outlines.
The Fifty Years’ Ministry of an Ordinary but Remarkable Man:
Called, Chosen, Faithful
By Marilyn Alexander
I. Part One – Called
A. Chapter One – Called to Salvation Through “Call-ege” # 1 1943-1962
1. Born on October 25, 1943 in Denver, Colorado to Alex and Verdonna Alexander.
2. Called to Salvation – at age 6 in an American Sunday School Union Sunday School held at an elementary school in what is now Lakewood, Colorado.
3. Called to Conviction – His father showed conviction when comparing the teaching of God’s word with what he heard at a denominational church. His father led the family to South Sheridan Baptist Church (SSBC). Under the ministry of Ed Nelson, God called Jeff to preach.
4. Called to “Call-ege” #1 – Ed Nelson encouraged Jeff to attend Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. God provided the finances for the first semester through his work at a supermarket and a warehouse man for the summer. Further, God supplied for the second semester with a gift from a family that had saved a sum of money and had given it to the Lord.
5. Called to Serve Servicemen – Jeff took every opportunity for ministry during his college days and beyond. On one occasion he went to the Christian Servicemen’s Center in Augusta, Georgia. Here he preached his second sermon and God protected them from a probable fatal collision with a train on their way back to campus.
6. Called to Preach – Jeff received his first license to preach on June 1, 1962 for a three month summer ministry with Gospel Fellowship Mission.
B. Chapter Two – Called to “Call-ege” # 2 – 1962-1963
1. Encouraged to study at Baptist Bible College -Summer Ministry did not provide finances for another year at BJU. New leadership added to Jeff’s interest in BBC – New president – Jack Hyles and new vice president – Ed Nelson. This leadership lasted only one year.
2. Called to the Candy Kitchen – Jeff worked at night at Russel Stover Candies and attended classes at Baptist Bible College during the day. He lived at home.
3. Called to Artistry – Jeff began to use his artistic abilities at area churches doing chalk art and preaching.
4. Called to Sugar City – SSBC licensed Jeff for a summer ministry.
C. Chapter Three – Called to Sugar City – 1963
1. Called to a small town in southeastern Colorado – Jeff attended services in Crowley and preached in Sugar City on Sunday afternoons. People came from Crowley and Ordway.
2. Called to trust God for provisions – a place to stay, a refrigerator, food, help with the vehicle.
D. Chapter Four – Called to “Call-ege” # 3
1. Called to Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (PBBC) in Minnesota – encouraged to go by Ed Nelson and Dr. Monroe Parker (from PBBC) – small school, plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord.
2. Called and Using His Car – Jeff sold his old car to pay for college expenses. His dad gave him the family car. Soon God was using that car to get Jeff and others to ministry assignments.
3. Called to More Preaching – Chicago and other cities in Illinois, other area churches.
4. Called to Do More Art Work – In his preaching opportunities as well as for school drama productions.
5. Called to Use Other Talents – parts in plays and humorous monologues.
6. Called to Date His Wife-to-Be – Marilyn and Jeff, merely aware of each other during their junior year, began to date during their senior year. Jeff’s credit count fell short so he had to take summer school and wait a year to graduate. After summer school, Jeff returned to Colorado, their future uncertain.
E. Chapter Five – Called to Pastor At Galeton, Colorado – 1965-1968
1. Galeton, Colorado, located 14 miles northeast of Greeley with barely a population of 100. This calling marks the beginning of Jeff’s 50 years of ministry.
2. Pastor Ed Nelson invited Jeff to his office where two deacons from Galeton Baptist Church waited. They wanted him to preach until they had a pastor. After a couple of months, they wanted him to be the pastor even though he intended to go to seminary eventually.
3. Called to Ordination – March 17, 1966
4. Called to Reunite – Graduation at PBBC
a. Marilyn, teaching music at PBBC, received advice – write to tell him that she looked forward to seeing him at graduation.
b. Jeff arrived in a brand new red mustang – that did it for Marilyn.
c. Marilyn visited Colorado and Jeff’s family in July, 1966.
d. While driving back to Denver having done some sightseeing Jeff said, “I want to marry you.”
She asked, “Are you asking me?
After a moment, evaluating whether this was the time and place, he said, “Yes, will you marry me?”
Marilyn said, “Yes!”
On the way back they planned the wedding.
e. His salary of $50.00 per week would not provide for a wife. He continued preaching on Sundays and Wednesdays, moved back to Denver to live with his grandmother and worked at a shoe store.
5. Called to Small Town – well treated by all, especially by servers at a café until he went with Marilyn. No more special treatment.
6. Called to Marry – June 10, 1967 – Plymouth Baptist Church, Plymouth, Minnesota.
7. Called to a Busy First Month of Marriage – after a short trip home / honeymoon, they had to get back so that Jeff could officiate at a wedding- 8 days after their own. Jeff’s parents celebrated 25 years of marriage 13 days after they Jeff and Marilyn were married.
8. Called to Enjoy Ministry -Music and Fellowship and Punctuality lessons.
9. Called to More Education -Marilyn taught piano and organ lessons at PBBC in Denver. Jeff took a class at BBC during that time.
10. Called to Even More Education – Symptoms of pregnancy in 1968 prompted the Alexanders to move to Minnesota for seminary before children started coming. Jeff sold his mustang and purchased a car that could haul a U Haul.
F. Called to Central Seminary and White Bear Lake, Minnesota – 1968-1976
1. Called to Secular Work – to provide for family – shoe salesman and fabric warehouse driver.
2. Called to White Bear Lake, Minnesota – Pastor of Bellaire Baptist Church
3. Called to Lead Others – Many people associated with Central Seminary and PBBC ministered in the church.
4. Called to Support Missions – Jeff and Marilyn participated in monthly meetings of Twin City Association of the Minnesota Baptist Convention and Jeff held positions. During this time he learned of “Faith Promise” and it ignited a desire to support missions that never died.
5. Called to Good Training – At Central Seminary, Jeff learned of expository preaching and going first to the Word and then later to commentaries.
6. Called to Be Tested Sometimes -God provided the Alexander’s needs, often “in the nick of time.”
7. Called to Grow – Church grew so they had to vacate the attached “parsonage.”
8. Called into Association with Others – Minnesota Baptist Association
9. Called Elsewhere- Bible Baptist Church, Terre Haute, IN
G. Called to Terre Haute, Indiana – 1976-1978
1. Called to Assist – Jeff wanted more experience learning from a more experienced Pastor. His job included Sunday School promotions and fundraising.
2. Called to Some Productive Fun – Fossil collecting -family fun and future rewards for Sunday School children.
3. Called to Loyalty – Pastoral staff resigned; Jeff was asked to consider to stay, but did not out of loyalty to the godly pastor.
H. Called to Evangelism and Lay Ministry – 1979-1990
1. Called to evangelism – January, 1990
2. Called to Trust God -When salary from Bible Baptist Church ceased, the Alexanders trusted God to provide through offerings. Marilyn wrote in a journal regarding those occasions when God supplied.
3. Called to Live in a “Hallway -“the 32 foot trailer that God provided for the growing family.
4. Called to Laugh with God at “What we don’t need is another kid.”
5. Called to Help -Helped Jeff’s mom after the death of her second husband and worked in the family construction company for several weeks.
6. Called to Remember the Good and Hard Times – Parking in a Pastor’s driveway between meetings caused some neighbor problems.
7. Called to Close Living – Children were growing up and needed some roots.
8. Called to Spacious Living – Jeff’s brothers were building a house for them in Lakewood, Colorado.
9. Called to Transition – Problems with the truck that hauled the trailer.
10. Called to Lay Ministry – Jeff and Marilyn led the senior citizens’ ministry at SSBC. Jeff became involved in the Colorado Association of Christian Schools.
II. Part Two / Chapter Nine- Chosen – 1979-1986
A. Turning Point – Jeff came to a turning point in his understanding of God’s Word.
B. Turning Point Topic covered in Jeff’s book: Predestined for Heaven? Yes!
C. Chosen as in Calvinism –
1. Total Depravity
2. Unconditional Election
3. Limited Atonement
4. Irresistible Grace
5. Perseverance of the Saints
D. Chosen in Spite of Self – “We love Him, because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
E. Chosen to Understand Through John 3:16 “God loved the world in this way (so)… “
F. Chosen, Like Puritans – Arthur Pink, John Owen, Joseph Carroll
G. Chosen to Bless Others with Understanding – First, Marilyn, then daughter Karen and many more.
H. Chosen to Restraint -Teaching Sunday School at his church – though anxious to tell others (as are most new Calvinists), he didn’t want to cause trouble.
I. Chosen Amid General Misunderstanding – Most modern Baptists are unaware of their theological heritage.
J. Chosen to Give Out the Gospel – Since we do not know who God has chosen, we must declare the Gospel to all, trusting God with the rest.
K. Chosen to Give Forth the Gospel -Jeff wrote a gospel track following this outline:
1. God created us for His glory. Isaiah 43: 6,7
2. We are required to live for His glory. I Corinthians 10:31
3. We have failed to live for His glory. Romans 3:23
4. We are subjects of God’s just condemnation. II Thessalonians 1:9
5. God gave His only Son to provide salvation from this condemnation. I Timothy 1:15, 1 Peter 3:18
6. The benefits purchased by the death of Jesus Christ belong to only to those who repent of their sin and trust Christ for their salvation. Acts 3:19
III. Part Three – Faithful -It is God who is faithful.
A. Faithful in Lamar, Colorado: The First Few Years- 1990-1994
1. Faithful in Candidating – did not hide position, but that information did not get to all individuals on committee.
2. Faithful through the “Honeymoon.”
3. Faithful When Criticized
4. Faithful Though Maligned
5. Why did all the people leave?
6. Faithful by God’s Grace
7. Faithful with Humor
B. Faithful in Preaching and Writing – 1994-1999
1. Faithful: Preaching Style and Character
2. Faithful When Criticized and When Encouraged
3. Faithful in Studying Out Issues
4. Faithful in a New Position – Principal and Teacher at Lamar Christian School
5. Faithful Although Disfellowshipped -Eschatology
6. Faithful With the Faithful
C. Faithful as Attendance Declined – 2000-2003
1. Faithful in Debate with a National Figure – Robert L. Sumner – The Biblical Evangelist
2. Faithful in the Face of Criticism
3. Faithful in Subsidiary Ministries – cooking, men’s community Bible study
4. Faithful to His Philosophy of Ministry.
D. Faithful in New Pursuits – 2004-2009
1. Faithful with Additions to the Family – through foster care.
2. Faithful Despite Decline -moving to smaller building to save expenses.
3. Faithful in Working at a Church Plant – Garden City, Kansas.
4. Faithful in Missions – missionaries connected with Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals
E. Faithful to the Fifty Year Mark – 2010-2015
1. Faithful to the Garden City Church – had to discontinue, hopeful for future work.
2. Faithful in More Personal Wrestling – “I think sometimes God brings to the brink in order to show us ourselves and our need for Him. Being discouraged motivated my study of the Word.” P. 175
3. Faithful When God Encouraged
4. Faithful With the Faithful in Lamar
5. God Is Faithful!
This book provides great encouragement for every called and chosen one (i.e. Christian) to be faithful during times of encouragement and discouragement. God is faithful!