Thursday, August 27, 2009

40 Days of Prayer and Evangelism

Our 40-day PUSH is under way.
P.U.S.H. : Pray Until Something Happens

Beginning Wednesday, Augusts 26th through Sunday, October 4th, All Seasons Baptist Church is holding a forty-day campaign of prayer and evangelism. We have asked our people to commit a set time every day to pray for two particular groups of people; the unsaved and the unchurched.

Now some have already been critical, saying that prayer is no substitute for work. (They said this in ignorance, not knowing the whole program.) I know there is no substitute for work. I also know that God's work without prayer will not work. The old hymn says, "All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One come down." This is only half the program.

For the second part of the program, we as a church have set a goal to make 1,000 personal contacts in forty days. We will keep record of how many contacts have been made, as well as how many hours we spend praying for those on our P.U.S.H. List. We are praying for those who have never placed their faith and trust in Christ as Savior, and for those in our community who are Christians, but, for one reason or another, are not attending church faithfully elsewhere.

The work of the church has always been a matter of His work; our hands. God, in His wisdom has chosen human instrumentality to do His work. When Nehemiah and the nation of Israel prepared to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that were destroyed during their years of exile, Nehemiah himself recognized the formula.

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s

words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build.

So they strengthened their hands for this good work. Nehemiah. 2:18

King David prayed in the Psalms:

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us:

and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;

yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Psalm 90: 17

We are operating this campaign in the philosophy of my old Pastor from back in my teen years, Dr. Bill Slayton. Dr. Slayton used to say, "Let's pray like it all depends on God, and work like it all depends on us." Pray until something happens. I will keep you updated on the progress of our 40-day PUSH.

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Seven Objectives #2 Obey God

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

It has been said, the key to everything God has is obedience. Solomon bears this out in the Scripture. Fear God; obey God.

Fear God, and keep His commandments; this is the whole duty of man. Last week I wrote the first installment on Seven Objectives of the Christian Walk. This was born out of a series of messages I am preaching to my people. (Originally, I had six objectives, but I had to add one more.) The first was fear God. The second objective is to obey God.

The first sin mankind committed was disobedience. One old preacher from Texas was drawn into a debate about what kind of fruit was actually on the tree. He used to say, "The problem was not the apple on the tree; the problem was the pair on the ground." If we understand the fear of the Lord, then we must understand the power of obedience to His commands.

A few points to ponder

Understanding does not lead to obedience: obedience leads to understanding.

Many parents feel they must help their children understand why they should obey. When a child questions his authority, he is, neither seeking nor desiring a greater understanding. He wants to get his way. The child takes the position, "If I understand, then I will obey." But this is opposite of what the Bible teaches.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.


If I obey first, it will lead me to understanding. Submission and yielding allow the heart to gain understanding.

Obedience before understanding is an act of faith.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. Luke 5:5

Simon Peter and his partners had fished these waters. He knew what was out there. He was, after all a professional commercial fisherman. He did not understand the Lord's command to drop the nets in, right there; right now. It did not make since. But we find that beautiful phrase in verse 5:

"nevertheless at Thy Word..."

That is a wonderful picture of faith. I do not understand, but I will obey. Peter found out in a miraculous way that obedience before understanding is an act of faith; the kind of faith God blesses richly. The number 1 act of faith is obedience.

Obedience is the beginning of God's blessings.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: Exodus 19:5

But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. Exodus 23:22

God gave great promises of blessing to Israel throughout Scripture simply for their obedience to His commandments.

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

and to hearken than the fat of rams.

1Samuel 15:22*

The Lord is more interested in our obedience than He is in how Baptist we are; or how religious we are; or how pious we are. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Obedience does not require motive.

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matthew 21:26-31

The son who obeys is the one who did not want to obey Is that hypocritical? I do not know, but I know it is obedient. Obedience does not require motive. It is give to joyfully give. But if I cannot give joyfully, should I give at all? Of course I should! "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver." But even if I am not cheerful, I should still be obedient.

Obeying when I don't want to obey is a sign of character. The flesh never wants to obey! Obeying when I don't want to obey is a sign of character. The flesh never wants to obey!

The first act of obedience for any sinner is to repent

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30*

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,

and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Thes. 1:8*

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us,

what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1Pe 4:17*

We are commanded to repent. The day I placed my faith and trust in Christ Jesus for my salvation. it was an act of obedience to the "Gospel of God." 1 Peter 4:7. The first act of obedience for any sinner is to obey the Gospel. If you are reading this, and have never come to Christ as a sinner, I encourage you to do so today.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. Thou shalt be saved. Romans 10: 9

If you are reading this and have any questions concerning you salvation or eternity, please send me a comment. It will not be posted without my reading it, so it is confidential. Please; settle the question today. I will continue part 2 on obedience next time.

Just a thought. Thank you for reading

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A New Bible .... With Humble Gratitude

Today, I received a package via FedEx containing a new Bible. In March of 2008 I purchased a Cambridge Bible at a conference I attended. I paid $50 for it. Over time, the black French Morocco leather cover became a blotchy red. I sent it back to the distributor, Baker Book House in Michigan. They acknowledged the imperfection and were willing to replace it, but that particular Bible was out of stock indefinitely.

While on the phone with a very gracious young lady in customer service, I got online to look at their catalog to determine which Bible they had in stock that would be an acceptable replacement. She directed me to Model: KJ563. This was the same size as the other Bible, but had slightly smaller type, plus some center column references, maps and other bells and whistles the the other Bible did not have. I am not a big fan of center column references, but it appeared to be a very nice Bible. The retail price was $139.00. She was willing to replace a nice fifty-dollar Bible with one that cost almost twice as much. I took the deal and the Bible arrived today FedEx Rush. It is absolutely beautiful. I am thrilled to have it. I would pay $139 for this Bible.

Buying a Bible is a weighty issue for me. I love new Bible. I love the feel of the right Bible in my hands. I have acquired nine Bibles in the last twenty four years. Some purchased; some gifted. All have been Cambridge Bibles. I will hardly look at anything else. My first Cambridge I got while in Bible Institute: a Cameo wide margin. I have three of that same model, one of which I purchased slightly used on E-bay for $36.00! (Water buffalo calfskin; beautiful) Cambridge does not make that model any more.

I spent a year looking for the right Bible before I bought the one two years ago. When I realized the color was slowly fading, it took me six months to decide to send it back. Other than the cover, there was nothing really wrong with it. This was a real delima for me. It probably sounds silly, but I could not help thinking of all the people who would gladly own this Bible, blotchy cover and all! I almost felt guilty. "You fat spoiled American! Can't you put up with a few little red spots?" There are poor preachers out there that would love to have a new Bible: not to mention those for whom it is illegal to own one at all! Here I sit with a stack of Bibles.

I am a Pastor; a preacher of the Book. I can justify an expensive Bible because of the wear I put on it. I am very careful with my Bibles: but probably no more careful than a mechanic is with his most important tools. But I never want to take for granted the bounty God has given me in just getting to own a Bible.

I will never forget the words of a chapel speaker I heard during Bible College who said, "If you have a King James Bible in your hand, you hold a Book dripping with the blood of sixty-five million martyrs! for GOD's sake defend that Book!" That had a profound affect on me.

I opened my new Bible today. It is covered in the highest grade of leather. The pages are crisp and beautiful; its edges gilded in gold leaf. I still have all of my other Bibles. They will some day be passed on to my children or my grand children. I would hope to some day place them into the hands of some one who will appreciate my humble reverence; not writing it off as sappy sentimentality. I have two of my grandfathers preaching Bibles. I have one of my Dad's preaching Bibles. They are precious heirlooms to me.

I just pray that when this new Bible is marked up, tattered, faded and aged; that whoever receives it will know its value. I hope they will since its life: the tear-stained cover; the carefully turned pages; the hieroglyphic markings from sermon notes in the margins. I pray that, for this Bible, as with my own life, when it is worn out and too fragile to handle, somebody will hold it with appreciation for how it was used.

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to Develop a Healthy Fear of God

How to develop a healthy fear of God

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 34:11

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,

and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand

the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

We, as God's people must once become a God-fearing people. I have discussed in previous blogs, the purpose and motivation to be a God-fearing people. In order to have a successful Christian life, we must set good objectives. Our #1 objective should be to fear God. The Psalmist said, "I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Obviously then, the fear of the Lord must be learned. Proverbs 2:1-5 lays out a plan by which we can learn the fear of the Lord.

1. "Receive my Words..."

Accept the authority of Scripture. Make it your final authority for faith and practice.

2. "hide my commandments with thee..."

Meditate on God's word. Hide it in your heart. Make it your "knee-jerk" reaction to life's decisions.

3. "incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding..."

Be attentive to the wisdom and understanding of Scripture. Note: wisdom and understanding are inseprable in Scripture. Very seldom does on appear without the other,

4. if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding..."

Make it a matter of prayer.

5. "If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures..."

Make God's truths precious to you.

6. " Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD..."

Then and only then...

7. "and find the knowledge of God."

The knowledge of God is more than the retention of facts. Obviously this passage cannot mean we will know all that God knows. It means having a godly perspective on the knowledge we attain. How we see that knowledge is understanding. How we use that knowledge is wisdom.

8. Choose to live a pure, holy and sanctified life.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil,

and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD

are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry."

Psalm 34: 12-15

Monday, August 3, 2009

No fear of Go

I have been writing about the six objectives of the Christian life. The first objective is FEAR GOD. We must become a God-fearing people again.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes. 12:13

But what happens to a Christian, or a culture when they no longer have a fear of God?

No fear of God, and man leads man to his basest state

Lu 23:40* But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Ps 36:1* <A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.>> The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.

Ps 53:5* There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.

Ro 3:18* There is no fear of God before their eyes

The very concept of morals comes from a fear of God... no fear of God, and we have no morals. We may have ethics, which is man becoming a god; attempting to invoke his own morals. But these change as man's desires and ideas change... humanism...situation ethics...

Humanism has made itself into churches in America. Christianity today is egocentric - its all about me. There is a popular contemporary religious song, the theme and title of which is,"We get lifted up." Christianity is in no way about lifting up the individual. Christianity is about lifting up Christ! It is not all about me; it is all about HIM! The problem? We no longer fear God.

Oprah is turned off by a jealous God

On "YouTube" there is a video of Oprah Wenfrey recounting an experience she had in church as a young adult. She states that, the preacher was eloquently describing the Character of God. She was stopped dead in her mental tracks when the preacher said that God was a "jealous God." She wondered, "What does God have to be jealous of. Is He that insecure that He cannot be disagreed with?" She proceeds to explain that this was the point she began to turn from the traditional view of God. Jealousy is anger over being displaced. This is a sin in us, but God deserves the highest of positions. After all, He is God. Even some Christians have trouble with this concept.

But the Bible clearly states:

Ex 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealousGod,

visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Ex 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

The evangelical god of today's church is all love and no judgement. We picture God as this benevolent old Grampaw up in Heaven who deals out goodies when we decide to come visit. This image is not the God of the Bible. But the Bible says:

De 4:24* For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

De 9:3* Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee;

as aconsuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face:

so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

Heb 12:29* For our God is a consuming fire.

A child tells his parent, "I hate you." because he doesn't get his way. He does not know what is good for him. The father does.

Luke 11:11* If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?

or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?12* Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13* If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:

how much more shall yourheavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

We need to learn to pray with the Psalmist; "Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:

unite my heart to fear thy name." Ps.86:11

You can't have strong faith without fear of God.

Ro 11:20* Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Heb 11:7* By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;

by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

You cannot have wisdom and understanding without ther fear of God

Ps 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.

Pr 9:10* The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy isunderstanding.

You cannot have proper use of knowledge without the fear of God

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

Pr 1:29* For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

You will not repent outside of the fear of God

Pr 16:6* By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Pr 8:13* The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

We talk a lot about soul winning around here. The #1 motivation for soul winning is the fear of the Lord!

2Co 5:11* Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

The Problem? We do not fear God!

I'm not trying to win people to Christ to save their marriage... to keep them from being lonely ... to cure their depression. I am trying to save their sorry hide from the judgment of God in eternal hell fire!

We do not fear God!

We are passionate about our hobbies and casual about our God. America is a nation of "have fun-ers" and feel good-ers. We play at working and work at playing. And in trying to reach a wolrd damned to hell we try to give them a Christianity that taistes like the poison they are drinking. Then we wonder why church doesn't feed us. GET YOUR BIBLE OPEN AND FEED YOURSELF!

We do not fear God!

We treat church like a hobby and sprots like a religion. We dabble in sin and dabble with Christianity the same way. Then blame God when we suffer the cosequinces of our own sin. We ignore God until the path gets rough then get mad when we don't know where He is. We think tithing is a sacrifice, while having envey in our heart for the world's toys. We stiffen our necks and turn a deaf ear when the preacher strikes a nerve and quickly gloss over the message as though it were for somebody else.

We do not fear God! It is high time we got repented, and got back to being a God-fearing people again.

In my next writing I will tell you how to develop a good healthy fear of God.

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.