Monday, August 31, 2009

Sarcasm Will Poison Your Church

Proverbs 26:18,19 - Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"
While studying for my bible Class, I was struck with this verse and what it means. The word "deceives", can also mean, "to cast or throw." I take that to mean things like sarcasm.
Proverbs 15:4 tells us that "A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit".
Sarcasm has been a major part of my method of communication, especially among my closest brothers, but I have seen how it actually hinders intimacy in fellowship. Sarcasm can actually be a protection device to keep people at a healthy distance so that we are not vulnerable.
In our church, we are trying to lead our people into a healthier and more intimate and real church fellowship. One of the things that has hindered this is sarcasm being used as a form of communication.
Friends, it is deadly. Sarcasm masquerades as friendship, but only plants seeds of resentment and bitterness that Satan can use to ultimately cause a divide in the fellowship when trials come. We simply cannot afford this type of worldly communication. We are to be a sober-minded people.
Now, someone will always stand up and defend the use of sarcasm because humor has a place in the kingdom of God. Let me remind you, that if the humor is about a circumstance, and is not directed toward another, it can be a healthy form of communication. But if it is at the expense of a brother, it can only poison further effective and serious communion between us.
I have witnessed the shallowness and the distance in relationship caused by a lack of trust and the resistance to opening our lives up to one another. One reason is that we feel that our trust may be betrayed, and brought to bear as an arrow or a firebrand.
The spirit of competition that results as we engage habitually in sarcasm will build a barrier in our fellowship that will eventually close off all serious and pious communion amongst the saints that is so desperately needed in the midst of our battles for righteousness and our faith amidst trial.
Paul exhorts us in Colossians 4:6 to "let our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt". Iron sharpens iron in serious conversation and debate, but sarcasm only cuts. And when one is cut enough, and wounded, he will either strike back, or desert the battle. Either way, you lose.
Leaders, stop it now. Be an example of holiness and sober-mindedness. Don't choose to be a "good ol boy" and fall in with the vain conversation that takes place in so many fellowships. If you take this stand, it will pay rich dividends in your church.
If you do not, you may continue to experience mere "surface" relationship where there is an apparent lack of trust and a suspicion which hinders true intimacy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Greatest Need of the Church Today - Brokenness

I suppose that this may seem like utter self-promotion. Actually, I hate to hear myself preach. I can't blame others. but this message was sent to me from the Lord. I was notified the previous day that I would need to preach this past Sunday, and didn't have a lot of time to prepare, so this is actually not a very good sermon. But it was something I believe the Lord sent to me for the church. I hope that it blesses you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First Demons, Then Salvation Came To Their House

Last Thursday evening, Bro Scott and I had the privilege to go to a home we were invited to through a waitress Scott had befriended. Her family had been harassed by what seemed to them to be departed family members and ghosts. She and the children saw several different people in her room and night, her bed shook violently on several occasions, etc. The night before we came, "someone" had tapped her on the shoulder. Many different manifestations had caused them to be a family filled with fear.
After arriving at the home and questioning all involved, Bro Scott and I went upstairs where the manifestations had taken place, read scripture, prayed, and basically commanded any demonic entities to simply leave, in Jesus name. What else could we do? We were there representing the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, we went back downstairs where family, neighbors and relatives had gathered and had a wonderful time preaching the gospel to them all. It has been a long time since I had seen such rapt attention given to the gospel by lost young people. After clearly expounding the gospel, we went back with the family upstairs, prayed with them and rejoiced in the goodness of God. They testified that the room was no longer cold and the mother was no longer afraid. One of the daughters testified that she had been saved right then. The other daughter also said that she believes. Others seemed to be in a condition where God was working in their hearts. Well, the immediate family is supposed to come to church on Sunday, and then we are supposed to go back each week to study the Bible and pray with them. We left them and they were full of hope.
This was all arranged by the Lord. Pray for us, that many would be saved as a result of what God is doing there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Baptist Cooperation Article

Well, I had to edit it down to approx 1,000 words to get it published, so it is choppy and some of the points are very weakened, but hopefully this will help. At least I hope it helps with the current dialogues going on in Missouri.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Son's First Sermon

Well, as we sat last Sunday listening to our oldest son Bobby preach his first sermon in his church, we rejoiced at the goodness of God. Three years ago when he was still unconverted, we would never have imagined what God would do. It was entitled "Jesus Our Everything", and you must know how joyful Faith and I are to know that Bobby is living it and preaching it.
Hope you enjoy it also.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Drink Ye All of It - A Betrothal!

The lover of our souls said in Hosea 2:19 "I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." In the 16th verse He says, "you will call me my husband and will call me no more my master."
When he asked the disciples around the table to take of the bread and the wine, he was sealing a covenant with them.
In Judaism, the bridegroom asks for the hand of the bride by pouring a cup of wine for his bride to be and then he waits for her to respond by drinking from the cup. She is saying "yes" and this symbolizes the sealing of their marriage covenant. They were now engaged. They belonged to one another for the rest of their lives. They had sealed a covenant. Then a price was offered for the bride.
Jesus was about to go to the cross to pay the price of the bride. His death and the shedding of His holy blood.
He has sealed our marriage covenant with His blood. We are His. He purchased us. "Drink ye all of it."
Treasure this remembrance each time you do it. We are awaiting His return. He has not drank of the fruit of the vine since that day in the upper room. But one day, He will. With us. Together. Around His table. As we are forever wed to our Beloved.
Say "yes" to Him. Again, and again, and again! You are sealed. Enjoy it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Don't lose heart preacher! God is our refuge and strength. He is a very present help in trouble. Don't fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There is a river! The Lord of Hosts is with us!
Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
You must see the hand of God in all of this. If you only see the hand of man opposing you, you will get discouraged. Our God is in control and is molding and shaping you for His own good purposes. When you come forth, you will come forth as gold.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The believer is no longer under laws and rules. We are no longer prescribed an order of worship. That is why the New Testament is surprisingly silent on the subject of worship In fact when the church gathers it is never called worship in the New Testament. There is to be a glad freedom in the grace of God and a liberty in the Holy Spirit. I don’t want you to be confused as to why we gather. Not that we are not worshiping when we gather, but that our reason for meeting is that we are “following hard after God”. We are simply wanting God to fill us with Himself, because we know that He is all that we need. That is why all of our songs have to do with Him. We are not performing an order of worship or doing our duty. We strive to pour our hearts and lives into the participatory experience of glorying in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not want there to be a focus on the musical excellence, or the lack thereof. We ought not to sit and judge the delivery of the sermon, or the appearance of other believers. Our focus is to be on God Himself. Every member of the body should gather hungry for God, and wait with anticipation as we pray and sing with all of our hearts and read the scriptures and preach and listen, all with the aim of drinking in His presence, His Word, His Spirit.
The regulative principle is used to apply to worship in the sense that only the Scriptures “sanction” what can and cannot be used in worship. In the scriptures, when Paul and James “sanction” believers to “sing Psalms”, they are using a word that in itself means “a striking, or a twanging” in particular, of a musical instrument. The whole of Psalms, and the matter of singing, clearly lends itself to being accompanied by musical instruments. In fact, a thorough study of instruments in the Psalms gives us the clear understanding that we are to praise Him with instruments. Meditating on the truths of Gods word while listening to an artist play that song beautifully on an instrument brings glory to God. I can play a beautiful song on the piano while worshiping Him in my heart, and the resultant chords sounding forth that song glorifies God. It is not that the sounds are in and of themselves are pleasing to God, but that the hearts and minds of the hearer, or hearers are stimulated to enjoin praise to God. This is God’s idea, not man’s. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves and to authentically sing praises to God, our whole being is to be incorporated. There is nothing wrong, in fact, there is everything right with using musical instruments to enhance our full worship experience and to help engage our hearts and our minds. Not simply one or the other. Music is God’s idea. Instruments are God’s idea. We are enjoined to use instruments in worship and it is to certainly be more than an intellectual exercise. We are to sing praises to God with passion. The Psalms were particularly written to be accompanied by musical instruments.

The regulative principle as used by those who oppose the use of various instruments in worship opposes the very scriptures it purports to uphold, as if one could sing Psalm 150, as sanctioned by James and Paul, and not use the same stringed instrument the Psalms they are singing exhort us to use. Or as if we could sing Psalm 33 and then command not to use the same harp in praising Him that we just sang about. Or sing Psalm 43 and believe that while David could praise Him with a harp, or a ten stringed instrument, we could not praise Him with a six or a twelve stringed instrument.
We have the freedom according to scripture to use instruments in our corporate worship, and we have the admonition to at times use them loudly. There are other times when silence is necessitated. Times when reflective instrumentation is warranted. Times when beautiful accompaniment is needed. (For some of us, it is as beautiful as we can possibly make it with our talents.) And all of these at times should be implemented in our worship. We are going to continue to use Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. We are going to sing deep theological songs, simple phrases of meditation and reflection concerning those truths, we are going to wait and linger over certain truths at times, sometimes singing them repetitively, like in the Psalms. Sometimes between verses we are going to continue the melody on the instruments in meditative praise, giving the congregation more time to reflect on the truth we just sang. We are going to use different instruments, sometimes more, sometimes less, and sometimes no instruments. Sometimes Old Hymns of the faith, like "It Is Well" and "And Can It Be", sometimes a Hymn like it is written in the Trinity Hymnal, and sometimes I will re-write the song, or use the melody a modern composer has written rather than the old dirges they sometimes used.
As we learn and grow together in the grace of God, we learn to support one another, to uphold one another, to encourage one another and to pray for one another. Our desire is to be a grace-filled church, with an atmosphere of “passion for God” when it comes to worship. As the elder who oversees worship at Rockport, along with the other elders who keep me accountable, my desire it to please God above all. I also desire that our worship services are a blessing to the congregation. As we join together each week let’s encourage and exhort one another in an atmosphere of grace, longing, hungering and thirsting for God.
(an edited version of something I posted on the old website)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Power of God

Divine unction only comes to those who have kept themselves pure in heart and mind.
Without that unction, ALL of our sermons are mere dribble, no matter how eloquent, persuasive, or intellectual.
Only as we are endued with power from on high as we preach will lives be radically changed.
Stephen Olford said "Beloved, if you stand behind this holy desk and you're life isn't pure; if you're life isn't absolutely holy as far as you know it; if are not walking under an unclouded sky with the ungrieved, unquenched Holy Spirit in your life; then, my friend, you've absolutely blocked the message from any authority whatsoever," he said.
While I was at Stephen Olford's home years ago during his Institute on Biblical Preaching, (there were just a couple of us back then when he first started the Institute in Memphis in 1985), I remember his admonition concerning power.
He said, "Don't you think for a minute that being instant in season and out of season means that you can ask God for His anointing to preach when you need it on Sunday, if you haven't been living in power everyday."
I have tried to remember that on Monday as well as on Saturday, and have always asked my church to be in prayer for me.. We simply cannot afford to let down our guard for a moment. How many men will we see with their armor not on and them ending up on the shelf, with no power, doing no mighty works, preaching merely from the intellect, dispensing no life, with Ichabod written over the lintel of their sanctuaries.
The man of God is to be endued with power from on high as he lives his dedicated life. His prayer should be, "God, if I cannot live my life with a divine anointing to preach and witness to the unbeliever, then just go ahead and take me home now." Oh that men would tarry before God until the power comes. There have been nights when I have waited before God through the night, pleading with Him for power. Most Mondays are spent seeking God and asking for a refilling of His Spirit. I often feel spent after a day of ministering. Yes, we need a fresh anointing all the time. God gives us a fresh anointing. Send down the power from on high. Shake this place where we worship and let the glory of God fall! Send the fire! Wake the sleeping church. Save the deaf, dumb and blind. Open the eyes of those who are blinded by the god of this world. Free those who are shackled by sin. Raise those who are dead to God. These mighty works only happen as the man of God is anointed with the power of God.
Preach with power!

Monday, August 3, 2009

What A God!

As I was watching the sun rise this morning, I was reminded of the faithfulness of God. Every morning He does it again. He is perfect. By the sunrise, I was reminded that our God is indescribably Glorious in Holiness. There is none like Him. In fact, he is altogether Other. Perfectly Other. He is incomprehensibly fearful in praises. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised. He is worthy of the endless praise of all of creation from this time forth and forevermore, yet it all could not render to Him the praise He is due. God also faithfully does inconceivable wonders. Who, but God, would ever think to do things the way He does them. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways. The glorious sunrise I witnessed this morning continues to testify to His faithfulness. Yes, the sun came up again this morning. And it will come up tomorrow morning, until God decides to end it all. After all, He is the only one keeping it all going, and perfectly so. Even in our lives, there are no mistakes, but God, in His perfect timing, constant faithfulness, and wondrous ways, runs our world and our lives. It seems as though I saw written in the sky this morning, just what I have witnessed in my life, "I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread." Glory be to God!