Saturday, August 23, 2014

Preaching Again at Browns Creek Church of God

On Sunday, August 30th, I'm preaching at the Browns Creek Church of God!  
Morning worship begins at 10:45 A.M.  If you don't have a church family how about joining us?

From U.S. Route 60 (Coal Mountain)

Turn onto Browns Creek Road (CR-1) and drive 2.7 miles.  The church will be on your left.

From Coal River Road

Turn onto Browns Creek Road (CR-1) and drive 2.1 miles.  The church will be on your right.

GPS Coordinates to Browns Creek Church  
N 38°21.950'

2550 Browns Creek Road
St. Albans, WV  25177

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Different Titles of a Pastor

In evangelical churches most know their minister by the title of "pastor."  It's a rich word that emphasizes one facet of the minister's role in the congregation.  There are multiple titles that apply to the same minister because his job is multifaceted.  Let's examine them together:

1. Pastor ποιμήν 

"Pastor" is Latin for "shepherd."  It evokes images of tender—though sometimes tough—care for the "flock," the local congregation.

2. Elder  πρεσβύτερος   

The word translated "elder" sometimes is simply transliterated as "presbyter."  Elder speaks of the authority of one that comes with age, maturity and seniority (whether literal or figurative).  When spoken of in a ministerial sense physical age is not a consideration.

3. Bishop  ἐπισκοπή  

The King James translates this term as "bishop" though modern versions tend to use "overseer."  It speaks of one who has the authority of supervision, of oversight.  In early Christianity it spoke of pastors; as Christianity developed it then took on the meaning of a hierarchical ruler over pastors in a given district.

4. Ruler ἡγέομαι

Some may translate the Hebrew writer's Greek with an English noun, such as "leader" or "ruler."  The Greek actually is in verbal form as shown by the King James Version:

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

It speaks of those who rule and command with authority.

It is important to note that all of these terms for the same office—that of pastor—are terms of authority.  Far too often the American Church sees pastors as employees who are chaplains: those paid to marry 'em, bury 'em, visit 'em and comfort 'em but who have no real authority to command them.  This is a grievous error and a woefully ignorant view in light of the New Testament.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"What is Holiness?" by John Oswalt

Is This a "Fetus" or a "Baby"?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Entire Sanctification: Session IV from the Rippling Waters Church of God Campmeeting Conference on "Spiritual Formation"

Thiswas the fourth session of my class, "Spiritual Formation" that I taught at the 2014 Rippling Waters Church of God Campmeeting. The class was casual and informal. A Q&A followed after the session that I did not record.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kenneth E. Jones on Dispensationalism

Yesterday I discovered (I think rediscovered) an article that the late Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Jones of Mid-America Christian University wrote for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.  Jones responded to a standard three volume work on Premillennial Dispensationalism by George N. H. Peters (1825—1909).  This set had been reprinted multiple times, showing its influence on Christian thought in the 20th century, so Jones critiqued the work.  It is entitled, "An Amillennial Reply to Peters: A Review Article."  This link will take you directly to a .pdf download.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Greg Hall: Stand for the Bible

Last night at the Rippling Waters Church of God Campmeeting Dr. Greg Hall, President and CEO of Warner University in Lake Wales, Flordia, preached a powerful sermon on the inerrancy and authority of the written word of God.  It encouraged my heart to see an educator so passionate in his defense of the Bible.  Dr. Hall challenged us to defend God's truth in print; a large crowd stood in front of the platform to "take a stand."

Worship services continue through Friday night at 7 P.M.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I'm Teaching a Spiritual Formation Conference at Rippling Waters Campmeeting 2014

I was very honored to be asked to teach four conference sessions on spiritual formation (discipleship) during the Rippling Waters Church of God Campmeeting next month.  The series will be from a Church of God/Wesleyan perspective.  Each conference session, August 4-7, will begin at 1 P.M. in the alcove section of the tabernacle (near the bathrooms).  

Directions from I-77 South

1. take exit 116 Sissonville
2. turn left at end of ramp.
3. Drive to the stopsign at the intersection of CR-21
4. turn left at stop sign onto CR-21
5.stay on CR-21 about 1.05 miles
6.turn right onto Middle Fork Road
7. Stay on Middle Fork Road about 3.1 miles
8. Middle Fork Road goes through the campground; you will see the office on the left after you pass some of the camper sites and the pond.

Directions from I-77 North

1. take exit 116 Haines Br. Road
2. at end of ramp turn right
3. drive about 150 feet you will come to a stop sign, there will also be a Rippling Waters Sign, turn left at stop sign onto CR-21
4. stay on CR-21 about 1.05 miles
5. turn right onto Middle Fork Road
6. travel on Middle Fork Road for 3.1 miles
7. Middle Fork Road goes through the campground you will see the office on the left after you pass some of the camper sites and the pond.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Recurring Dream

To quote Amos, "I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son" (Amos 7:14a ESV) so I am claiming no prophetic insight.  However, I would like to share with you a recurring dream that I've had.  The dreams aren't identical but they follow a common pattern.  It's hard to describe but I'll try, however imperfectly, to be faithful to the impressions of my dreams.

I am in a church sanctuary but not during a worship service.  The church building once housed a thriving congregation that has dwindled in numbers over the decades.  I go exploring throughout the building because, over time, the congregation has remodeled it, adding rooms, sections and even floors to the original huge sanctuary, cutting it down to size because they had no need for such an enormous sanctuary as they did in their heyday.

In my dream I investigate, walking into different rooms and sections as I mentally trace the outline of the original sanctuary.  Perhaps behind a wall is the former stage of the old sanctuary, complete with stained glass windows that nobody pays attention to anymore.  Perhaps in another section is a divided off room where theater seating has been removed and one can see where the seats were once bolted to the floor.  By climbing floors and going through dividing doorways it becomes clear that it was a breathtaking artifice where throngs of people once gathered.  

It isn't a sad dream for me but one of hope.  I thrill in the possibility of the discovery of the once-used sanctuary.  I thirst for revival so that the building will once again be filled with worshipers.  It is an open-ended dream.

Is it a prophetic dream?  
For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, (Job 33:14-15 ESV) 
I just don't know.  W. Dale Oldham believed in the prophetic dreams of Church of God evangelist, W. F. Chapel.  Perhaps the best response is for me to quote John Wesley concerning another matter:
Now, he that will account for this by natural causes, has my free leave: But I choose to say, This is the power of God. [i.406]
In any event, it makes me hunger and thirst for revival.

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? 
(Psalms 85:6)