Monday, January 31, 2011

If you seek the approval of Heaven don't expect it down here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Power of Words


Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.(Proverbs 18:21 ESV)

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:3-6 ESV)

We all have learned the power of words to build up or destroy.

We can grow closer to another by a few words aptly spoken.
We can destroy a decades-old relationship by a few short sentences uttered in fury.

We can be promoted by being known as a people-person at work.
We can be fired by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.

We can lift someone's spirit by a verbal gift of kindness.
We can cripple a person emotionally by negativity and criticism.

We can help a person to look forward to our presence.
We can help a person to dread seeing us again.

Words.

Many things in life are beyond our control. However, with the Holy Spirit's power we can control one thing that has been the elevation or destruction of people and kingdoms.

The power of the tongue.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dale Oldham to Sam Hines: Delivering a Message From God


The late Sam Hines (1929—1995) and Joe Allison wrote the theme book for the 1993 North American Convention of the Church of God (Anderson). It is entitled Experience the Power. In this excerpt the late William Dale Oldham (1903—1984) first radio preacher of the Christian Brotherhood Hour (Now Christians Broadcasting Hope), brought an encouraging message from God to his friend, Hines, when he needed it desperately. In the words of Sam Hines:
When I came upon rough times in my ministry in the early years, no one spoke of “ministerial burnout.” We didn’t even know that term. We just said that such a minister was “backslidden.” No matter how you describe it, I came to an impasse in my ministry that could have been the end of it all. I left the pastorate and I left Jamaica. I went to England in pursuit of a new vocation and a new style of life. I contemplated studying to become a physician and began setting my sails in that direction.
In 1955, the First World Conference of the Church of God was held in Fritzlar, West Germany. I had heard about it and was planning to go.
As I was packing for the trip, one hot summer afternoon in London, Dr. Dale Oldham appeared on my doorstep. Dr. Oldham had been the speaker at my ordination service in Jamaica, two years earlier. He was enroute to Fritzlar, too. We sat down in the living room for what I expected to be a bit of idle chit-chat. But Dr. Oldham came right to the point.
He said that he had heard that I had decided to leave the ministry. I told him, “Yes, that’s true.”
For several minutes, we discussed all the ramifications of that change. We reviewed my own failures and foibles in the ministry. It was a painfully searching conversation.
Then he paused and said, “Milton,” (that is how I am known in my family and among hometown friends), “what has happened to the vows that you made at your ordination?”
“Well, now,” I said. “I just don’t feel anymore that that’s the way I ought to go. I’ve come on some hard times in my own life and some hard times in ministry. It just takes a lot more that [sic] I have to be a pastor. I can’t attain the high standards I set for myself or achieve at the level of accomplishment expected of me. I just can’t do it.”
“Well, maybe you are right. I don’t know,” Dr. Oldham said. “I’m here, though, because the Lord gave me a message for you.”
“The Lord said to tell you that the calling of God is without repentance” (Rom. 11:29 KJV).
“Okay,” I said. “What does that mean?”
“I was never told to explain it,” Dr. Oldham said, picking up his bag. “God didn’t ask me to interpret it for you. God just told me to give you the message.” At that point, he offered a brief prayer for me and my family, and he left.
It should be mentioned that Sam Hines never left the ministry.
(Hines, Samuel G. and Joe Allison. Experience the Power. Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 1993), 76-7

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Slain" in the Spirit? Daniel Warner vs. Barney Warren's Father


In 1989 Joe Allison provided the following account in the “Songs of Faith” section of Vital Christianity, a discontinued publication of the Church of God (Anderson). It is entitled, “Barney is the Lord’s: A story form the life of B. E. Warren”. The article is quoted in its entirety.
Gospel singing played an important role in the early growth of the Church of God reformation movement. The importance of music is clearly shown by the gospel quartet that D. S. Warner formed just after he moved the Gospel Trumpet to Williamston, Michigan.
In April 1886, Warner’s group was holding cottage prayer meetings at Geneva Center, Michigan. Here lived a teen-ager who had been converted just a few months earlier as a result of the preaching of Joseph Fisher, and now he was feeling God’s call to enter the ministry. His name was Barney E. Warren, and he had a wonderful bass voice. Only one obstacle kept Barney from joining the singers-his unsaved father, Tom Warren.
One night the singers conducted a prayer meeting at the home of Joseph Smith. When the service ended and the farming folks began putting on their coats to go home, Warner came directly to the Warrens to express his appreciation for their presence. “And I want to thank you for bringing Barney to sing with us tonight,” Warner added. “Your son has a beautiful voice, and I’m glad to see him using it for the Lord.”
“Won’t you reconsider your decision about letting Barney go with us?” Warner pleaded. “I can understand your concern for his welfare; but believe me, he will be well cared for. And I’m sure he’ll write to you often and tell you about his travels. You’ll be proud of him.”
“Barney knows how to take care of himself,” Tom retorted, pulling on his gloves. “I raised him good. But I ain’t about to see him gallivanting around the countryside when he’s got plenty to do at home.”
“Yes, I know. I grew up on a farm myself. But isn’t the Lord’s work more important for a young man with Barney’s abilities?”
“Ha! That’s what all you preachers say! ‘The world is coming to an end!’ ‘Repent, the Lord is drawing nigh!’ Be that as it may, somebody’s got to keep food on your table and clothes on your back. Someobdy’s got to keep the home fires burning. That’s where Barney belongs.”
Warner bristled. Stepping up close to Tom until their faces almost touched, Warner looked him straight in the eye. “Tom Warren,” he said, “you are fighting against God, and you can’t get away with it.”
Warren began to tremble. Suddenly he sank to the floor and shook violently, as if chilled by a draft. With his feet planted on either side, Warner towered over him. “God has smitten you, and you cannot get up until you let Barney go,” the preacher said.
Tom Warren made an effort to get to his feet, but he kept falling back to the hardwood floor and shivering in helplessness. The neighbors watched. Tom pounded the floor with his fists, but it was no use-he couldn’t get away. Finally he stopped fighting and relaxed his body upon the slats. “Barney is the Lord’s,” he sighed.
D. S. Warner smiled in relief. “Now you can get up,” he said.
And Tom Warren did.
Barney Warren made a lasting contribution to the reformation movement through his work with the gospel quartet, which traveled together until 1890.
Curly-headed young Barney proved to be a skillful songwriter as well as singer, and after the quartet broke up he continued to travel as a music evangelist for many years. His songs formed the backbone of the movement’s early hymnals and were used by other Christian groups as well. (33)
Allison, Joseph D. “Barney is the Lord’s: A story form the life of B. E. Warren”. Vital Christianity. Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 13 April, 1989. Arlo F. Newell, Editor in Chief.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

God Still Speaks Today


After church this evening at Abney Street Church of God John King told me a wonderful story that I want to share with you. Forgive the limitations of my memory; the account went something like this:

John was a layperson and one of several people who volunteered his time to spend a weekend with a congregation. This group's premise, Live Ministries, was simple yet profound. They simply shared their testimonies of how God worked in their lives and they looked to the Holy Spirit to move among the church.

John was seated in the sanctuary during a service; nothing seemed to be happening. He looked at his watch and thought he would go and dismiss the congregation. At that point a voice behind him said, "Someone in this church is carrying a burden and they shouldn't leave the building until they've dealt with it."

John turned around in his seat, thinking it was one of his ministry partners.

No one was there.

He got up and told the congregation that he was impressed that somebody was carrying a burden but they could get rid of it if they came to the altar and left it there. He then said he was going to pray for this person. John bowed at the altar and prayed. When he opened his eyes the altar was filled with praying people and folks were starting to kneel at the front pew.

He sat back down. The same voice came to him, saying, "There are four young men in the back of the church. Go and get them."

Again, no one was there.

John took another person with him and went to find the young men. He heard from someone that they went outside. He found them in front of the church. All four gave their hearts to Christ that night.

John shared with me his surprise at hearing the voice and the need to obey it quickly when heard.

I believe this story; I have no reason not to believe it and I am familiar with enough Wesleyan stories to convince me that God still speaks today. He guides those who serve him in ministry.

The Stones Cry Out

He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Luke 19:40 ESV)

Don't let a bunch of rocks show you up. Praise the Lord Jesus today!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mid-America Christian University Holds First Baptismal Chapel


I didn't know MACU recently held a baptismal service until today. Here is a link to the archived chapel service.

A Superabundance of Blessing by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

It's blatant from this site that I am a Wesleyan Methodist. But what exactly is a Calvinistic Methodist? For a brief answer read a copyrighted but free chapter from the book, Spiritual Blessing, by former Westminster Chapel (London) Welsh preacher, the late D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). The Doctor (as he was called) is a favorite of mine.




Monday, January 17, 2011

Rippling Waters Church of God Campground



I found a video highlighting Rippling Waters, the campground owned and operated by the Church of God (Anderson) in West Virginia. It's a beautiful place to get away and pray. Watch the video for yourself!


2771 Middle Fork Road
Kenna/Romance, WV. 25248


Directions from 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 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.

Central Church of God in Georgetown, Kentucky

As a Church of God (Anderson) minister I've had little opportunity over the years to visit other sister congregations over the weekend. However, recently I had the privilege of visiting Central Church of God in Georgetown, Kentucky for morning worship.

Pastor Sam Glenn began a series from Rick Warren's series, The Purpose Driven Life. We worshiped in the taking of Holy Communion, an event celebrated once a month at Central. It's a friendly church; if you live in the Georgetown/Lexington area and don't have a church family I encourage you to visit their folks.

Sunday School:
9:45 - 10:30 AM

Worship:
10:45 - 12:00 AM

Evening Connections:
4:03 PM

Youth Connections:
6:00 - 7:00 PM

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Astrology is Cosmic Garbage

Great article by LiveScience Senior Writer, Stephanie Pappas:

New zodiac sign Ophiuchus: Why astrology is even sillier than we thought


Well did Yahweh warn his covenant people, Israel:
"When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ESV)

Contradictions in the Sermon on the Mount?

I found an interesting mp3 of a panel discussion by RCB Ministries of the Sermon on the Mount and its apparent divergent accounts as given by Matthew and Luke. The panelists were Alice Mathews, Haddon W. Robinson, Mart De Haan and Brian Hettinga.

Listen to it for yourself: Passages in the Sermon in the Mount That May be Mistaken as Contradictory

Eco-Friendly Home?


Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
(Proverbs 16:8 ESV)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should an Arminian and a Calvinist Marry?


I few minutes ago I came across a fascinating article by Russell Moore, Dean of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He gives his opinion on the wisdom of two believers with very different (but orthodox) theological views marrying one another. Moore shares a thoughtful answer and something to consider.

[sigh] So many pretty Baptist and Pentecostal/charismatic ladies. What a waste! ;-)

"Should We Marry If We're Theologically Divided?" (My Response)

The God of Weather


This winter season—along with last year—has been more active than in recent memory. I confess that I am no fan of winter and snow. It's pretty to see wafting down but I receive no joy in driving in it!

However, even the snow is in the sovereign hands of God.
For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. (Job 37:6 ESV)

He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? (Psalms 147:16-17 ESV)

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! (Psalms 148:7-8 ESV)
One underlying point weaves through these verses: Snow is not just some impersonal meteorological response to certain atmospheric conditions but the response of a personal God. The Bible knows nothing of a universe devoid of the handling of its Creator. Today if somebody asked the question, "Why is it snowing?" we might say, "Because it's 32° F or less where the snow was formed." If people from the biblical era were asked that question they might answer, "Because God is making it snow!"

God is in control of his universe. And his weather.