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On Being a Dinosaur

In 1986, I had the pastor thing all figured out. Preach the Word and love people. That’s how I was taught. And it worked. It worked very well.

In my first pastorate I became skilled at the art of preaching and God blessed. I learned to love folks, even those who were difficult to love. And God blessed. A congregation numbering 40 became one approaching 125. In my third pastoral assignment, I watched 150 join our flock in just 15 months. 

But then it all changed. 

The first thing to evolve was the music. No more hymnals; words needed to be put on a projection screen. No more hymns; we started singing “praise and worship” songs. ( I assumed we had already been doing that.) Pianos and organs were out; guitars and drums were in. Choir? No way. We needed an ensemble (“praise team”) instead. Music director standing behind the podium keeping time with his arm? Goodness no dude. The church needed a “worship leader.” Gaither gave way to Hillsong. 

And it left me standing in the dust. I became a relic of the past. An animal of extinction. I became a church dinosaur.

And then churches quit passing the plate, choosing to receive offerings in boxes or on the Internet . We stopped recognizing visitors by making them fill out cards. (And for the love of Pete, never ask them to stand up or raise their hand!) No more invitations or altar calls, no more singing eight verses of “Just As I Am.” One pastor encouraged me to remove the “cringe factor” from my church services. I felt like I was approaching my senior adult years at age 35.

And wearing a business suit in the pulpit? Are you serious? Untucked shirts, blue jeans and loafers are in style brother! Spike that hair! Trim your goatee! Wear horn- rimmed glasses just like your third- grade teacher used to wear. Man, do I feel overdressed on Sundays nowadays.

Sunday School? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Week-long revival meetings? No way… That’s too much competition with baseball and softball, soccer, gymnastics, dance, Facebook, Netflix…not to mention Friday and Saturday night liquor time.

Take out the pews and put in chairs! Take down those chandeliers and put in stage lighting, backdrops and install state of the art sound and technology. Clean out the foyer and open up a coffee shop. Tear down the chalkboards and put up an indoor playground, complete with cool themes.

I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize church anymore. I am an old dinosaur looking for a watering hole and all I can see is Jurassic Park. I am lost.

The worst part of all is that men don’t preach like the men of yesteryear. I miss Adrian Rogers. I miss Vance Havner. I miss Jess  “Hellfire” Hendley. I miss the KJV. I miss verse by verse Bible preaching. I hate this modern “conversational” junk with all the cute stories and popular psychology. I want to hear sermons with passion, Holy Spirit conviction and powerful soul-stirring confrontation. People are going to hell by the millions and leaving churches by the millions.

We need to return to the old ways. We need to see folks saved the old way, through the blood of Jesus, the way of the cross. It worked in 1986. It can still work in 2017.

Yes, I am an old fogey trapped in a young body. I am a dinosaur. I’m also right.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Why Is Jesus Not Enough?

Colossians 2: 8: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

When God saves one of His chosen children, redeems him from the bondage of sin and death, He alone is sufficient to meet the needs of that child. No one else and nothing else is necessary.

God provides His Holy Spirit. His Presence is life-changing, life-sustaining and permanent. He is our Comforter who walks beside us and helps us. When a person relies on the things of this world, rather than the Spirit of Christ Himself, it is an act of distrust, disloyalty and disobedience. Cheap imitations are no substitute for what is real.

God provides His perfect, unchanging Word, the Bible. As the Psalmist declared, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”(119:105) The Bible is powerful and it is settled in heaven. We have no need to be taught, inspired, led or comforted by anything or anyone else.

Sadly, there are many who profess Jesus as Savior and yet do not trust Him to be enough. These wandering souls, like the evil and adulterous generation our Lord spoke of, look for signs and symbols, seek nourishment from the table of demons, worship creation and creatures and thereby are cheated out of the true blessings God had planned to give them.

Why is Jesus not enough? Why do many need physical, natural substances and yet ignore the deeper, spiritual food of God? Because they live according to the flesh and only want to satisfy themselves and their sin nature. 

My friends, do not be deceived. You do not need a horoscope reading, an appearance from an angel or a beautiful sunset. Our Lord is able to do “exceedingly, abundantly ” and meet all of our needs according to his riches in glory. He is all you need. Trust Him.

 
 

One of the greatest challenges in the Christian life is learning how to trust God. I mean REALLY trust.

Real trust involves completely letting go of everything I control. It means letting go of my calling as preacher and allowing Him to place me where He wants me in His kingdom.

It means letting go of my career and allowing Him to bless my work and not worry about losing my job. If I am doing my best and honoring Him with my labor, He will reward me and sustain me; regardless of what other people do.

It means letting go of my finances, my health and, of utmost importance, my marriage and family. If I do what is right in all of those areas, He will bless me in all of them.

Trusting God is a matter of giving Him all of me and believing that He is true to His Word. He will take care of me. I cannot worry and trust at the same time.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Two Families

In John 8:44, Jesus told those who rejected Him that they were children of the devil, not God. He said that they would do what their father wanted them to.

Practically speaking, Jesus said there were two different families on earth. One was the family of God, the other the family of Satan. He did not mention any others.

As I watch the protesters of democracy parade around and threaten our peace, I am convinced once again that there is neither black nor white, Republican nor Democrat, liberal nor conservative. There are children of God and there are children of hell. According to the Lord, God’s children do His will and the Enemy’s children do his will.

Am I suggesting that only Christians voted for President Trump while only heathens voted for Mrs. Clinton? No I am certainly not. But what I am saying is this: God is love. His children love. Satan is hate. His children hate. What we are witnessing in these recent days is a flood of hatred pouring forth from those who did not get their way. They are selfish. Their father is selfish. Wanting one’s way, and protesting because you don’t get it, is THE root of all rebellion, and therefore, the root of ALL sin. Lucifer did not get his way in heaven. He has been protesting ever since.

His children do the same thing. It’s a family tradition.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

A Growing Number

The story causes me to be extremely angry. So angry ,in fact, that I am unable to muster up any patience or understanding for the ones who are guilty.

Four young adults kidnapped, humiliated, tormented and physically tortured a mentally disabled man for two days. These sociopathic lunatics treated the entire incident as if it was some type of game or entertainment. Their brutal, inhumane acts of evil were all captured on social media and proudly broadcast for the world to see. 

Evil. Pure evil from hell. Demonic depravity inspired and empowered by the devil himself.

There are many who disagree of course. Humanists will babble on about social injustices, psychiatric disorders, and the breakdown of family structures.

Nonsense. As a Bible believer, I know that God’s Word speaks directly to the issue. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 we are told what type of human behavior we can expect in the last days before Christ returns. The list is quite descriptive of what we see transpiring daily. The passage concludes by stating “from such turn away.”

While the majority of humans operate with a moral compass, a growing number of them are immoral and purely evil. While Jesus has called me to love my neighbor as myself, I will have nothing to do with those who call evil good and call good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Light can have no fellowship with darkness. 

My heart is broken for that poor young man, created in the image of God, who was beaten and abused by four others who were also created in His image. Scripture declares that God is angry with the wicked everyday. God is love but He is also Judge. Surely His heart is broken as well.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Another Rotation Around the Sun

About eight hours are left in the year 2016. It has been a journey of unexpected changes and heart-breaking losses. The inane cliche’,”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” brings little to no comfort this evening. I approach the new calendar year feeling tired, drained of all creative energy and needing a vacation, not exactly the way I anticipated 2016 would end.

And yet, as Scarlett O’Hara exclaimed, tomorrow is another day and alas, 2017 is another year. As the old hymn says, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’blood and righteousness. Since my trust and confidence are in God, I hereby long for these blessings to fall in the next twelve months:

I hope that God’s people will repent of besetting sins which are crippling our churches, damaging the Gospel witness and weakening the work of His Spirit in us.

I hope that America will return to being a safe and civil place to live, a land of freedom with godly restraints, and a culture full of love not hate.

I hope that my family will be a blessing to others, that people will see Christ lifted up in our home and be drawn to Him in salvation.

I hope that Jesus saves lost souls through the ministry of GracePoint Church and Bridgeway Hospice. I hope the Lord allows me to be used through both.

Above all, I hope that Jesus returns soon. As the apostle John prayed almost two millennia ago, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

The Day After Christmas

It is the day after Christmas. Songs have been sung, food has been eaten, lights have been seen and gifts have been given. Many are at the stores exchanging gifts, cashing in gift cards and looking for discounted items. Others, like me, are cleaning house, enjoying much needed rest and reflecting on the holiday.

Jesus is the Prince of peace. He is also the King of Kings.

A news report today revealed how divided our world truly is. The Republican National Committee, using a social media site, wished everyone a Merry Christmas yesterday. In the post, reference was made to a “new King.” The obvious intent was to proclaim the glory of the Christ.

In response, however, a number of people decried the coronation of Donald Trump as a new king. Either they totally misinterpreted the clear connection to Jesus, which is possible yet unlikely, or they ignored the message that Christ is our King on purpose. Or both. The sad truth is their outrage revealed the division which exists in the heart of men.

On Christmas Day, I witnessed division amongst family members first-hand. It was awful. It was mean. The peace of the Lord was absent. There was no good will toward men. Instead there was evil, selfishness and anger. What should have been a time of joy sadly turned into a time of war.

Although the angels announced peace on earth, and Jesus is the prince of it, people still fight with one another. Jesus did not promise peace on earth apart from Him. He promised a sword. He promised division. He promised that nation would rise against nation and that family members would hate one another. Our Lord died and was raised in order to bring us peace with God. His Holy Spirit blesses us with the peace of God, a peace which is beyond human understanding. A day is coming, and we hope is not far off, when King Jesus will occupy a throne on earth, just as it is in heaven. At that time, swords will be beaten into plow shares and lions will lie down with lambs.

Until such a day arrives we do not strive for world peace. We strive for peace on earth, good will toward men. We preach, serve and worship the newborn King. One day Obama, Clinton, Trump, Putin and Netanyahu will all fall face first before His throne. There will no Republicans, Democrats, Americans, Russians nor Israelis. There will be sheep and there will be goats, wheat and tares, redeemed or doomed. 

Jesus is King. He drew the line in the sand. He created division in order that men might confess Him or deny Him. He is the prince of peace. Therefore peace can only come through Him and in Him. The choice is ours to make.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Daily Verse & Prayer