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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

 

The Spirit of Christmas

John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that He GAVE His only son. In Acts 20, the Bible quotes Jesus as saying that we are more blessed if we GIVE rather than receive. And the wise men, when visiting the baby Jesus, opened up their carry bags and GAVE to the Christ.

Christmas, therefore, is all about giving. As you make your list of gifts for loved ones and friends, let me pose a question:

What do you plan to give God this Christmas? Your time? Your money? Your talents? 

Nothing is more important. He gave. The very least we can do is give Him our worship.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Care for the Final Journey

All of us know it. This life is only temporary.

At some point, we must walk the final journey to the end. For those who are born-again and belong to Jesus, eternal life takes over and we walk with God forever! Nevertheless, the last days in this life can be sad, even painful.

As a pastor, I preach the Gospel of Jesus, teach the Holy Bible and lead those in my flock to live for God. While we prepare ourselves for eternal life, the emphasis of church is upon the here and now. 

As a chaplain, I minister to people who are facing death and the people who love them. The focus is still upon life, but with the awareness that we are all mortal. All will face their end and stand before God. I am privileged to do what I do and thankful to God for allowing me.

It would be a blessing for me to share the love of God with you and your loved ones. GracePoint Church meets each Sunday at 10:30 in Thomaston and I invite you to worship Jesus with us. Bridgeway Hospice serves families in Upson County and a number of other counties in Georgia. 

Contact me if I can be of service. May the Lord bless you!

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Divided

The old adage, “Divide and conquer” is one of the devll’s primary goals. He knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Division between a husband and wife can destroy a family and cause divorce.

Division between church members can cause a congregation to split or a preacher to resign.

Division between races and nations cause violence, war and destruction. 

The devil loves to divide. Through division he wins.

God is a God of unity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. His creation is one of beautiful unity and cohesion. Everything is intricately made by design and for a purpose. Only God can put things together. The devil can only tear things apart.

What the world needs is its Creator. He and He alone can bring homes, churches, races and nations back together. Politics, money and education cannot prevent division. Only Jesus can. 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Culturally Relevant or Biblically Relevant?

1 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Is a church supposed to be “culturally relevant” or is it supposed to be “Biblically relevant?”

In the latter part of the twentieth century, an ideological shift occurred in the minds of Western people. A thought process referred to as “postmodernism” swept over the culture. While I do not want to fully address the concept of postmodernism here, I would point out that the authority of the Christian message, and particularly the Bible, has fallen out of prominence. Simply stated, folks living in this current age have a world view in which the Bible is not considered “the truth” nor is it even thought to be absolutely true.

In response, a group of North American pastors and believers formed an association of “emerging churches” which would become “relevant” to a new worldview. Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul declared that he would become “all things to all men” in order to lead them to saving faith. (1 Corinthians 9:22). These contemporary leaders made the commitment to “engage” with the contemporary culture, in order to make the message of Jesus more acceptable to those who no longer view the Bible or Christianity as authoritative. Christians were encouraged to become “missional” rather than “missionary.” In other words, the call to “become all things to all men” took on a completely different meaning. In practice, the “church” left the building, emerged from behind it’s walls and decided to become a part of culture instead of being separate from it.

In many ways, this way of “doing church” has been very productive. Large ministries have grown up, millions of otherwise skeptical unbelievers have been reached and the reputation of the Christian message has been improved. To these things, we say “praise God.” The body of Christ certainly needs to tear down the barriers which exist between church and culture. Indeed, Christ compels us to go out into the “highways and hedges’ in order to bring the lost to Him. (Matthew 22) It is a good thing to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. It is a good thing for local churches to have an active part in community affairs. The body of Christ should be at the front and center of efforts to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. Amen and amen. The scandals and  the hypocrisy of pastors and churches has caused irreparable harm to the gospel of Christ over the years. It is no wonder that non-Christians question the authority of our words. Our actions have been inconsistent with our preaching.

On the other hand, this transition to being “culturally relevant” and “emerging” has been costly. The old-fashioned “missionary” approach was not perfect, but it was better. Allow me to explain why.

To begin, the “missional” church has lost it’s Christian distinctiveness. From the conversion of hymn singing and choirs to “praise bands” and “worship leaders”, from suits and ties to tattoos and earrings, from the concept of separation from the world to being engaged with the world, the church is becoming more secular and less “set apart.” The Corinthians struggled to live for Jesus because they could not distinguish themselves as the people of God. In our times, it has become almost impossible to know who is saved and who is not. Church members look, speak, act and behave no differently than non-church folks. While most all of us would shy away from legalism and it’s trappings (dress code, no dancing, no going to the movies, etc) , the people of the Lord have fallen into worldliness and even demonism (1 Corinthians 10:14-22). Some of the same “believers” who raise their hands to praise God on Sunday mornings are raising their glasses in a toast on Saturday nights. A “yoke” was used by farmers to put two animals together in order to pull a plow. Followers of Jesus should be pulling the Lord’s plow, not the devil’s. And yet, many are “fellowshipping” with those who do ungodly things and are having “communion” with people who are not saved. A “missionary”  church, on the other hand, seeks to pull people out of the dark, not walk in the dark with them.

Secondly, the “missional” church has lost it’s biblical distinctiveness. While the overall message of the Bible is simple, the Bible itself is extremely complex. God’s Word is meant to be more than just a “love letter.” God intended it to also be a manual for living. In order to accommodate the postmodern crowd, many are ignoring or evading biblical material which does not “relate” to where people live. In doing so, we are robbing ourselves and others of the richness and power of the infallible Word of God. Albert Mohler addressed the state of postmodern preaching as such: “The sacred desk [pulpit] has become an advice center, and the pew has become the therapist’s couch.” In other words, the Bible is viewed not as redemptive, or convicting, but therapeutic; a means to heal people’s hurts or fix their problems. Some of the  so-called “emerging’ pastors and ministries have concerned themselves with making the Bible relevant to the culture rather than changing the culture to fit  what the Bible teaches, The parts which make people “feel better” are preached. The sections which cause lost sinners to cringe are conveniently avoided. Mohler added that “Time is short, God’s wrath is certain, and eternity hangs in the balance.” To put it bluntly, there is little time to waste. We need to do it right.

I understand that are some who are “culturally relevant”, “missional” and are doing it right. Many of them are successfully winning lost souls to faith in Christ and effectively making disciples for the glory of God. Many are making a definite impact for the Kingdom. Others, sadly, have sacrificed the integrity of the Cross and denied the blood which was shed there. By compromising the holiness of the Christian walk and remaining silent on unpopular biblical truths (sin, hell, God’s wrath and demands for righteous living) many are doing a greater disservice to God than they are doing a service for Him. As for us, we choose to remain BIBLICALLY relevant instead of culturally relevant. We choose to stand upon the proven power of God’s Word and to keep ourselves undefiled by an ungodly culture which rejects the authority of God. (Jude 20-25) All the while, we will be intentionally “missionary” , sending the message of salvation out to the world with the goal of bringing folks out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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People Are Watching

Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

It has been said that you are the only Bible that some people will ever read. As a follower of Jesus Christ, do others see God working through you?

An old preacher once said: “The word “Christian” is both a noun and an adjective. We need more “adjective Christians”, more Christian Christians, who are more Christian in thought and spirit and deed as well as name.”

The name “Christian” literally means “like Christ.” Are you a Christian?

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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