Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Nehemiah 9:33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:

God’s people had spent seventy years in captivity in Babylon. Nehemiah led one of the expeditions to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. After the lengthy and difficult building program, the walls were complete. The people then assembled as the Word of God was being read. For several weeks this continued. Hours each day were spent hearing the book of the law of God and several hours a day were spent in confession. In Nehemiah 9, the Levites stood up and began a lengthy recollection of God’s dealings with His people, beginning with the creation. They remembered the call of Abraham, their deliverance from Egypt, the giving of the law at Sinai, the provision of manna and water out of the rock. They confessed how the people had repeatedly disobeyed, making a molten calf, rebelling against the prophets, and resisting God’s commands, which eventually led to their captivity. Our text today is a part of the lengthy confession that was made to God. “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly.” This is an important part of anyone seriously getting things right before God and preparing for revival. They were willing to admit that God was right and they were wrong. The Israelites had consistently turned away from God’s will. Many times they had suffered accordingly. They were now back in the land God had promised them, after spending decades in exile. A thorough time of confession and repentance was in order. They proclaimed that God was “just in all that is brought upon us.” There is a great difference between admitting that our correction is just, which they acknowledged, and complaining about God’s dealings with us. Sometimes when chastisement comes, people choose to question God’s actions, as though He is somehow at fault. The Levites in so many words were saying, “We had it coming.” They declared to God, “thou has done right, but we have done wickedly.” Why is it so hard for us to sincerely admit when we are wrong? Without this honest confession and repentance, there can be no revival. Blaming our sin on others will not bring God’s blessings, but heartfelt personal confession will.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Seven Laws of the Race

The motif of the Olympic race was dear to the Apostle Paul. Did he sit in the stands in Athens or Corinth? Perhaps so. Regardless, parallels between "the games" and the believer's race in life were often on his mind. He gives us seven laws for running the race.
  1. Run to win - 1 Cor. 9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
  2. Observe strict discipline - 1 Cor. 9:25-27 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  3. Don't look back - Php. 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
  4. Get constant encouragement - Heb. 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
  5. Throw off restraints - Heb. 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
  6. Discount pain - Acts 20:22-24 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
  7. Don't let up until you cross the line - 2 Tim. 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Outline by Jim Elliff found on Christian Worldview Network

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pascal’s Wager - Something to Think About

Blaise Pascal was a 17th-century Christian, scientist and philosopher. “Pascal’s Wager” can motivate the non-believer to consider the importance of investigating the reality of God’s existence. Pascal said that there are one of two truths in the universe, and one of two ways to live in relation to those truths. The Truths: Either God exists, or God doesn’t exist. The Two Ways to Live: You can live as if God exists, or you can live as though God does not exist. Combining these two we come to the following conclusions:
  • If God doesn’t exist, and you live as though He doesn’t exist, you have no losses.
  • If God doesn’t exist, and you live as though He does, you have no losses but gain the advantages of a better life.
  • If God does exist, and you live as though He doesn’t you lose big time.
  • If God does exist, and you live as though He does, you have no losses and gain everything.

Which of these conclusions is the pattern of your life??? If you believe maybe you have chosen the wrong conclusion in your life to date, it's not to late to choose another conclusion!!! How you spend eternity will be solely be your responsibility of how you led your life!!! You can't "pass the buck" on others or blame your circumstances; you alone are responsible for the choices you make in life - no excuses!!!!!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Satan's Strategic Plan

2 Cor. 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

The book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, sets the foundation for the remaining Scripture given to us by God. It reveals the foundation upon which the rest of the Bible's message is built. Apart from the actual events of the creation week, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the subsequent horrific growth of sin and the awful judgment of the Flood, the gospel message found in the New Testament Scripture would make little sense.

Paul's warning in the verse above showcases the importance of Satan's strategy to ensnare humanity in the same trap. The Devil's tactics change with time and culture, but the strategy remains the same.

First, Satan always attempts to make us doubt the Word of God; Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? If we question the accuracy, the meaning, the authenticity, the historicity, or any other shade of "all scripture" ( 2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:), then we begin edging onto a slippery slope that will only lead to the next stage.

Second, Satan always confronts the doubter with a denial of the Word of God; Gen. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: When one begins to deny the authority, the capability, or the will of God to carry out His Word, the slide into the final phase is inevitable.

Third, Satan ultimately heaps denegration of the Person of God Himself; Gen. 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Once one embraces the thought that the Word of God is not trustworthy and that God either will not or cannot do what He says, it absolutely follows that God is either a liar, a hypocrite, or a capricious and whimsical ogre.

May God protect us from the "wiles of the devil."

Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Beginning of Wisdom

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

This age is which we live today has rightly been called the "age of information." With multitudes of books and magazines in every field of study and practice, with billions of dollars devoted to all kinds of research, and now even the "information superhighway" of the internet. It seems everyone and every organization is posting information of some sort on its own website and sending information via email. The world is almost drowning in information.

Job 28:12-13 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

Job's urgent question can never be answered "online," but only in an ancient book we call the Bible, which is the Word of God.

Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

This spiritual truth is found often in the Bible. King Solomon, to whom God had granted special wisdom (I Kings 3:11-12), penned divinely inspired words when he wrote the following;

Prov. 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

If anything is missing in today's information age, it is surely the fear of God, at least among most people in the world, even most so-called religious people. The fear of God simply means the action of reverence, honour, and holy-awe directed to the one and only God, the creator of the universe and each one of us individually. Man is made in the image of God, and we should reverence and honour Him in all of our speech and actions. Therefore, true wisdom comes from the fear of God, and as our initial verse indicates above, understanding comes by following and doing the commandments of God found in His Word ("a good understanding have all they that do his commandments").

Allow me to post some verses showing this truth given to us in the New Testament of the Bible;

Col. 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Herein is true knowledge and understanding and wisdom. It comes from God, not mankind!!!!! Unfortunately, during this "age of information," there is definitely more ignorance of Bible truth and overall biblical illiteracy than any other time in the world!!!!!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Misuse of the Bible

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

It is vitally important for every Christian to study and use the Scriptures, for they constitute our only real authority from God. Consider the following verses carefully:
  • Matt. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  • John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
  • John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
  • 2 Tim. 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
  • 2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

In doing this, however, it is just as important that we not misuse the Scriptures, for this can be almost as dangerous as ignoring them altogether.

Many people twist the Scriptures, seeking to make them fit some opinion of their own, hoping thereby to give a pseudo-biblical authority to justify their own peculiar prejudices, desiring their own way vs. God's instructions and commands, instead of allowing the Lord to say exactly what He means. Such distortion of Scripture has generated a host of cults and heresies, both in the past and presently in the world today. This was essentially Christ's view of the Pharisees: Matt. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Similarly, perhaps even worse, is people claiming to receive new Scripture or perhaps new and authoritative insight on existing Scripture. Let's look in the Bible at God's warnings about this action:

  • Deut. 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
  • Prov. 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Cults and heretics distort and supplement the Scriptures, but still deadlier are the liberals who try to explain away the Scriptures or biblical scholars who insist upon updating God's word after thorough research and language study, many times cutting away prior passages of Scripture read and obeyed by Christian bible believers who lived in past generations.

Rev. 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This act of distorting and then denying God's word was the very lie of Satan which brought sin into the world.

Gen. 3:1, 4-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

No wonder the Bible warns so severely against it!!!

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Is the Revival Over???

Psalm 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
  • YES - If we lose our concern for others
  • YES - If we stop visiting and taking the message of Jesus Christ into homes where Christ is not the head
  • YES - If we stop praying for those who need to come to Christ
  • YES - If we fail to put our newfound or renewed dedication to work for God
  • YES - If we do not feel that God's work, carried on through His church, is the most important work in which we can be engaged
  • NO - If we place Christ first in our lives
  • NO - If we continue to share Jesus Christ with others
  • NO - If we continue to pray for our pastor and all of the work of our church
  • NO - If our leaders, teachers, and workers take their responsibilities seriously as a direct commission from God
  • NO - If we perform our responsibilities "as unto God"
  • NO - If we approach our church work with renewed enthusiasm and dedication
  • NO - If we fully accept the responsibility for our own discipleship for Jesus' sake

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Sunday, August 17, 2008


Peculiar-- distinctive in nature or character from others. Uncommon; unusual.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

It is so hard to recognize a Christian any more. For the most part we are a bunch of Chameleons, we Christians.

No matter how hard we try we cannot get away from the world. In fact, we do everything we can to copy the world. I don’t care what line of work you are in there is a Christian version of it….Christian business, Christian music, Christian books, Christian schools, Christian politicians…but for the most part we tend to blend in.

That’s why you will usually find me wearing my hat. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is what transformed my life. That’s why I wear it.

You stick a red, white, and blue hat with a white cross embroidered on the front on your head and it is kind of hard to miss. It tells folks where you stand. Plus, my hat holds me accountable.

You see, I think Christians should be different. We shouldn’t blend in with the world. Paul said we were peculiar, a bit odd, but clearly different from non-believers. Putting a cross on my hat doesn’t make me any more of a Christian than sticking a fish on the back of my car, but it does have a tendency to keep me in line. It is hard to yell at the referee, or flip off a driver that just cut me off in traffic when I have my hat on.

I always told our football teams that when you put on the uniform you were representing our school and that you should never do anything to bring disrespect to your teammates.

But being a Christians is different. There is no uniform to put on, or more specifically, no uniform to take off. Once you become a Christian you are always in uniform. Instant in season and out of season is what the Bible says. There is no off-season or days off in the Christian walk. Everyday we are called to put our uniform on, take up our cross, and earnestly contend for the faith.

Trust me. If you do that in today’s culture you’re gonna stick out. You might as well wear a cross-hat. It saves everyone a lot of time trying to figure out where you are coming from.

Most of the Christians I run into would rather wear a camouflage hat. The last thing they want is to be exposed as “one of them.”

“Activists like you make Christianity look bad.” I hear regularly from the cookie-cutter Christians. “You just go about it the wrong way. It turns people off.”

“Really?” I answer as I take off my cross-cap and rub my short cropped hair. “I like the way I do it a lot better than the way you don’t.” The only thing necessary for evil to triumph…..

A funny thing happened to me the other day. I was riding down the road with my friend Mark and I was doing some self examination, trying to figure out why I am so miss understood.

“Golly Mark, I don’t get it. I’m really a normal guy. I don’t know why people think I am so radical.”

“Coach, you aren’t normal.” Mark courageously answered. “Let me put it to you this way. How many people do you know who wear a cross hat, stand out at abortion clinics, and visit gay pride parades?”

I had to admit, he did have a point.

But that is the way most of us are trained. It makes the church-thing go so much easier if there aren’t people in the pews who are rocking the boat. I make people nervous when I talk about abortion, homosexuality, and gluttony. (When was the last sermon you heard on that?)

Think about your church a moment; would a guy like me be welcome there? Would the pastor have any idea what to do with me?

I used to serve the King of Beers. Now I serve the King of Kings. I found out that God is wiser than Budweiser. I went from a beer drinking, softball playing, filthy-mouthed church goer, to a fire-baptized devil stompin’, sin hating disciple of Jesus.

That’s peculiar, isn’t it? I’m not normal, am I? I don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold that churches love to fit us into.

As my friend Jim likes to say, I am rapidly becoming a church-orphan. My Christian-family has left me on a doorstep, hoping someone will come along and claim me.

But I’m not whining about my lot in life. I love what I do. I love defending the truth. I love fighting the big-dogs.

But what about you? Is there anything peculiar about you? Do your friends see your Christianity as being a little bit radical? Do you regularly have other lumps of clay chastise you for jumping off of the pastor’s wheel onto the potter’s wheel?

When Jesus really gets a hold of your heart it does something to you. Does Jesus have your heart?

I love to watch Sunday morning Christian TV. Although the messages tend to differ the environments are very similar. The pews are full of little tin soldiers, politely applauding, passing the plate, and praying for peace in their time.

Meanwhile, outside the four walls of the stained-glass fortress the wolves are roaming.

In the early 2000’s, right after my battle with the ACLU, I used to get a lot of invitations to speak. The churches loved it when I railed against the ACLU, the “liberals,” and especially the Democrats. But as things continued to get worse outside in the world I urged the people to look for answers inside the church. I point out that II Chronicles 7:14 began IF MY PEOPLE…that judgment begins in the house of God.

That was not what they wanted to hear. We have traded John the Baptist for John Lennon…all you need is love….

It is hard today to tell Pastor Phil from Dr. Phil, the church government from the federal government, and the sinners from the saints.

Status-quo, cookie-cutter Christianity will not win the day.

Radical is defined as “a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.” We live in tumultuous times and outside of the church the radical element rules.

Everyone is radical but the church!

Football season is upon us. It is my favorite time of the year. Soon our TVs will be alive with the pageantry of college football. Dignified business men will paint their faces and scream like fools for their favorite team. No one will accuse them of being “too radical” or “embarrassing their team”. Their friends will snap some pictures and show their buddies at work this “football fanatic” who loves his team.

But on Sunday the same guy will sit quietly in his church, politely applauding, passing the plate, praying for peace, and longing to get home, paint his face and cheer for his favorite NFL team. He is proud of is football fanaticism.

1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

“You’re too radical Coach! You’re to fanatical. You take your religion to seriously.”

They tell me I’m a nut. I tell them I’m screwed on to the right bolt. I’m part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation. I’m gonna grab my hat, paint my face, and hit the streets for Jesus.

Peculiar, ain’t it?

By Coach Dave Daubenmire August 7, 2008

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Saturday, August 16, 2008


Matthew 28:13, 15 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

After the death of Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees made a visit to Pilate. They reminded him that Jesus had promised that He would rise again after three days. These religious leaders requested that Pilate secure the tomb, lest the disciples come and steal His body. Pilate ordered the tomb to be made sure and established a watch to guard the tomb. After the resurrection of Christ, the soldiers told the chief priests what had happened. As our text records, the Jewish elders gave money to the soldiers and commanded that they lie about the whereabouts of the Savior. “Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” The Bible then says, “they took the money, and did as they were taught.” Dishonesty and deceit has been around for as long as mankind has existed. The thing that makes this lying even more treacherous is the fact that the lies were conceived and spread by the religious leaders of the Jews. The hatred and jealousy of the Jews moved them to lie about the body of Jesus. They would rather lie, and cause others to believe the lie, than to accept the truth. Unfortunately, religious envy continues to foster deceit and dishonesty today. False religions preach error and promote lies to keep people from believing the truth. Multitudes of followers have been convinced to believe the lies of their leaders rather than the truths of the Scriptures. The remarkable thing about error is that sometimes error is easier to believe than truth. These lies seemed believable to those who heard them. The above text records, “this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Although the falsehoods had no substance to them, they were commonly believed and reported among the Jews. One thing could have settled this question convincingly. They would only have had to believe what the Word of God said, both in the Old Testament and from the lips of Jesus Christ. We should all be warned of the power of lies. When some teaching disagrees with the words of the Bible, it should be shunned as error. Believing things that are not consistent with the Scriptures can be destructive to any of us.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preaching Against Sin

Isa. 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

I find as long as I preach against sin in generalities, no one gets too upset or offended. It is only when I name specific sins (like smoking, drinking alcohol, pornography, robbing God, not witnessing / soul winning, skipping church) that people become uncomfortable. People don’t mind preaching against sin, as long as it is not their own pet sin. People don’t like to have their toes stepped on.

Bible preachers have always denounced sin in no uncertain terms. Samuel was explicit about Saul’s sin (1 Sam. 15). Jehu didn’t mince words about Jehoshaphat’s sin (2 Chron. 19:2). Nehemiah literally “man-handled” some people over their sins (Neh. 13:15-28). Jeremiah was specific about Israel’s sins (Jer. 1:16; 2:13). John the Baptist pointed out Herod’s sin (Mk. 6:18). Paul named names in preaching against sin (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:14; Titus 1:12-13). Our Lord scathed the religious hypocrites of His day calling them snakes, among other choice terms (read Matthew 23!).

So, next time the preacher “rubs the fur the wrong way,” don’t blame him… Just turn the cat around!

An article by Pastor Al Hughes

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Some Statistics- Take It or Leave It

(I'm sorry for the extended absence again, but I took a quick trip down to GA with my family to catch the ending of a camp meeting and visit my daughter's new home and general community after her pending marriage in October; we also spent some time with the groom's family and visited his church while we were there. I also enjoyed catching his radio program live Sunday morning while getting ready for church.)

There is some reason for optimism in this of course, but there is grounds for conviction as well. Our children will follow our path, but if we don’t walk straight chances are they will stumble off the path too.

Dr. Roberson used to quote Dr. William Russell Owen who claimed of the present day church members:

5% do not exist,
10% cannot be found,
20% never pray,
25% never attend the services,
30% never read the Bible,
40% never give,
50% never attend Sunday night services,
60% never give to missions,
75% never accept any responsible position,
85% never go to prayer meeting,
90% never practice family worship, and
95% never win a soul to Christ.

To that let me add 85% of your congregations are probably lost people who have made Jesus their religion. Finney, Moody, Sunday, all the big Evangelists of the 19th and 20th century estimated that 75%-90% (depending on who you quote) of the members in good gospel preaching churches were lost. The fields are white onto harvest already, if you are looking for lost people to win to Christ they are in your congregations. That’s why your messages go in one ear and out the other, and they never budge when the invitation is given. They are goats.

These days we need to start in Genesis and reaffirm the creation and the Creator, Jesus, we have to substantiate the Word of God, the blood atonement, etc. People have been unprepared to receive the gospel, we are not the Christianized nation we once were. Ephesians 1:13 says, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” We have people in America now that are gospel illiterate, a quarter of a billion have never heard the gospel. Don’t believe it, go out into a random three block area and know on every door and ask this question, “Do you know what the Bible says about how a person can go to heaven?” Count the number of correct answers. What an even scarier dose of reality, do it with your church members.

(This post is from a current church planting missionary sent to an email list within the last month that generated some good discussion. I posted it for your information to give you something to think about when you step back and take a hard look at today's American church. I do not agree with 100% of his post, but it is good food for thought. Remember - you have a delete key if it's something you would like to disagree with quickly; simply toss it like you would junk mail!!! )

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Night Before Outreach

Twas the night before outreach and throughout the church walls
Not a creature was stirring to the preacher's altar calls.
The people were nestled all snug in their seats,
In the hopes that he'd finish, so they could go home and eat.
Outside a community on a straight road to hell,
Inside a community unwilling to tell that Jesus has risen and all who are lost
Could come and have life, without money or cost.
But like walls on a prison that are heavy and stout,
The Christians stayed in and the lost stayed out.
"For who has built this inseparable wall?
And who is the one resisting the call,
To go to the fields where the harvest is white
And shine in the place where He made us light?"
While the preacher was pleading to get out of the pews,
And into the fields where we could be used,
All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye,
With the blast of a trumpet,the Lord appeared in the sky.
And all those who slumbered awoke with a fright.
And instead of rejoicing began to shrink from His sight.
As we rose to meet the Lord in the air,
We could see friends and neighbors left behind down there.
Suddenly reality hit with a shock,
That we never thought to stop and consider God's clock.
For all that time we had livedfor ourselves,
God's spiritual watch read "one minute till twelve."
While a people at war had continued to sleep,
The second hand to midnight had continued to creep.
We cried, "If we'd known the time was so late,
We'd have warned those poor souls of their terrible fate."
But now in hindsight we finally see clear.
If we'd only stopped and realized the time was so near.
But now as we stand to recieve our reward,
Not much is being said about our communities and boards.
The emphasis now is on "Who did you tell?"
And, "How many souls did you keep out of hell?"
As I searched for a reason or a person to blame,
I could not find excuses or escape from my shame.
I could think of the people I had chances to win,
Whose fate was now sealed and would die in their sin.
And I hung my head and started to cry
As I thought of the thousands who would now surely die.
Then all of a sudden I awoke with a fright
And realized it had all been a dream in the night.
But like Scrooge who awoke to find Christmas day,
I rushed to my closet and started to pray;
"Lord, thank you for waking me out of my slumber,
For one day I know I'll be in that number.
And when I hear my name called by your Son,
I want Him to smile and tell me, "Well Done."
So, People please listen before it's too late,
We must hurry, get busy for we don't know the date.
Let us determine that like never before,
To get back in the battle and fight all the more.
Let's determine that day will cause us no shame,
By heeding His warnings and promises claim.
And consider the worth of one single soul,
And get our priority and make it our goal
To win every soul with the life-changing news,
And go to the fields wherewe can be used.
And as the day nears when He will step through the door
We can say, "Lord, come quickly"and rejoice all the more.

Written by Loyd Baker, then, minister of education/administration Northport Baptist Church, Northport, Alabama - 1996 Sunday School Leader Magazine

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008


(Please forgive my absence during the past week, but I have been busy with work, attending the National Sword of the Lord Conference (see my daughter's blog to see some pictures - click the link for Courtney's Contemplations on the left of my page), entertaining out-of-town family for the weekend, and enjoying the heat of mid-summer!!!)

Luke 5:27-28 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

We are not saved because we follow Jesus Christ. We are saved because we trust Him as our Savior, placing our faith for salvation completely in His sacrificial death on the cross. Following Him does not make us Christians. There are many misguided souls who feel that there is salvation and forgiveness of sins found in striving to obey the teachings of Jesus. The Bible does not teach this. Following Him is not a means of winning Heaven. Following Him is the life of the disciple and the duty of every Christian. We seek to follow Him because we are saved, not in order to be saved. As the children of God, it is our responsibility to follow Him. Every true Christian should be a follower of the Savior. Following Him requires obedience. To follow Jesus, we must take His Word and His will seriously. We must choose to do what He directs us to do. There must be a surrender of our will and an allegiance to His will. We must value His plan above our personal desires or interests. When Jesus called Levi to follow Him, Levi “left all, rose up, and followed him.” This obedient disciple immediately turned his back on his occupation and plans and set out to do the Lord’s will. Levi’s response to the call of Jesus serves as a great example to our lives. Not only does it require obedience to follow Him, it also requires faith. We can never be completely certain where the path of obedience and submission will ultimately lead. Levi, or Matthew, became one of the apostles of Jesus Christ and gave us the wonderful Gospel of Matthew. Legend has it that he eventually died a martyr’s death. Wherever God’s will directs us, we are to be willing to follow Him. Not only is it our responsibility to follow Him, it is indeed our privilege to follow Him. The greatest purpose in life can be found and enjoyed in following Jesus Christ. Every true believer should follow Him and can follow Him. Levi was a publican, or a tax collector. As such, he was very much despised by the people. Publicans were hated for their occupation; yet after salvation, Levi was given a responsible place of service to Jesus. Regardless of our past lives, we should all be followers of Jesus.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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