Thursday, December 19, 2013

God is Specific

Do all paths lead to God?  Do people all worship the same God though he may be called by different names.  Consider this:
I am Yahweh, and there is none else.
Besides me, there is no God.
I will strengthen you, though you have not known me;
that they may know from the rising of the sun,
and from the west, that there is none besides me.
I am Yahweh, and there is no one else.
(Isaiah 45:5-6)
This is part of a direct statement God made, as prophesied by Isaiah, to a pagan king named Cyrus.  God is quite particular that he wants people to know who he is.  He isn't satisfied with being ill-defined, a notion that is so attractive to postmodern folks today.

Jesus said:
  Jesus said to [Philip], "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. (John 14:6)
Not vague, is he?  Try this on for size:
Whoever has the Son has spiritual life. Whoever does not have God's Son does not have spiritual life. (1 John 5:12)
Or this:
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:19-20)
Not vague at all.

The Duck Commander: Phil Robertson

 These are good testimonies.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bumper Sticker Theology

Today as I drove home I noticed a bumper sticker on the truck in front of me.  Its message was direct, saying something like:

If you ignore JESUS 
there will be Hell to pay.

Hmm.  Theologically speaking, yes, it's true.  However, I'm not a fan of using Hell (Tartarus/Gehenna) in a provocative manner for shock effect.  The word, let alone the place, isn't a bit funny and it shouldn't be used flippantly.  I have no reason to consider that the person who stuck it to his vehicle had anything but a sincere desire to get sinners to be taken aback and reflect on eternity.  But I find it tacky.

However, if one soul ever took pause when he read it then I can thank God for that.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Church of God 2014 National Convention Moves from Anderson to Oklahoma City!

Wow.  People have discussed this before but for the first time it's happening.  The 2014 National Convention of North America ("Anderson Campmeeting") is moving from Anderson, Indiana to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!  My guess is that new General Director Jim Lyon is instrumental in this change.  Lyon did mention that people could come to Anderson, which will be a "satellite" of the convention.  Live streaming at Madison Park Church.

I think moving the convention to Oklahoma City is a good thing.  OKC is the middle of the country and it opens the experience up to to more Church of God Christians.  Watch the video below:

Is this a new logo Church of God Ministries is using? We have a new website.

What happened to the triple flame?  I miss it.  ;-)

I see Anne Graham Lotz is speaking.  Also, the convention website teases us with two unnamed speakers: one "UNBELIEVABLE SURPRISE GUEST" and another "AMAZING SURPRISE GUEST."  Who is coming, the pope?  (Not that I would want Francis there, of course, but they are on dangerous ground of overselling it.  Maybe Duck Dynasty guys?)

On this page Lyon explains why the move to OKC, my old college town, happened.  It will be held at Crossings Community Church.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Free Church of God (Anderson) Seminary Lectures by Merle Strege

Anderson University School of Theology is hosting Dr. Merle Strege's lectures on The Church of God Reformation Movement online.  The audio recordings were taken while the Church of God historian taught class.  Avail yourself of the free lectures!

The Church of God Reformation Movement (HCUS 6010)

Russell Crowe as Noah on Big Screen

I have no idea how biblically accurate this portrayal is going to be but Russell Crowe is starring as the movie's namesake in "Noah."  The official trailer looks high-production-value.  Emma Watson (from Harry Potter) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (from everything) also star in the movie.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Preaching Again in Covington, Kentucky on December 8th

I am preaching again in Covington, Kentucky at the First Church of God on December 8th for both services.  (For the curious, it's fewer than 10 miles from the Cincinnati Bengals' and Reds' stadiums!) 

Morning worship begins at 10:30 AM. 
Evening worship begins at 6 PM. 

Covington First Church of God 
524 W Southern Avenue 
Covington, KY 41015 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

At Meade Station for the Next Two Sundays

Just a heads up for my sermon listeners: I am preaching at Meade Station Church of God, a congregation located outside of Ashland, Kentucky,
for the next two Sundays.  On November 3rd I am preaching the Sunday morning sermon.  On November 10th I am preaching the Sunday evening sermon.

I'm excited about this coming Sunday morning sermon; it is a subject that few preach about (for obvious reasons).  I hope to have the audio online Sunday afternoon.  Stay tuned!

Sunday morning worship begins at 11 AM and Sunday evening begins at 6 PM.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Preaching at First Church of God in Covington, Kentucky

This Sunday, October 20th, I will preach both the AM and PM services for First Church of God in Covington, Kentucky.

Morning worship begins at 10:30 AM.
Evening worship begins at 6 PM.

Covington First Church of God
524 W Southern Avenue
Covington, KY  41015

Friday, September 20, 2013

John Wesley on Christian Perfection

In his Journal for June 1769 John Wesley succinctly explains what his doctrine of Christian perfection (entire sanctification) entails:
By Christian perfection, I mean 1) loving God with all our heart. Do you object to this? I mean 2) a heart and life all devoted to God. Do you desire less? I mean 3) regaining the whole image of God. What objection to this? I mean 4) having all the mind that was in Christ. Is this going too far? I mean 5) walking uniformly as Christ walked. And this surely no Christian will object to. If anyone means anything more or anything else by perfection, I have no concern with it. But if this is wrong, yet what need of this heat about it, this violence, I had almost said, fury of opposition, carried so far as even not to lay out anything with this man, or that woman, who professes it?
This really isn't so radical when one considers that John Wesley, an Anglican priest, simply took at face value a prayer at the beginning of the Mass from his own Book of Common Prayer.  From Thomas Cranmer's 1549 original:
ALMIGHTIE God, unto whom all hartes bee open, and all desyres knowen, and from whom no secretes are hid: clense the thoughtes of our hartes, by the inspiracion of thy holy spirite: that we may perfectly love thee, and worthely magnifie thy holy name: through Christ our Lorde. Amen. 
This, to Wesley, surely was reasonable and rational—nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Will Be Preaching at Meade Station Church of God

Because Pastor Rob Jordan will be away I will fill the pulpit a number of times for Meade Station Church of God in Canonsburg, Kentucky.  I was born again and received my call to ministry while Dad pastored the congregation.  I am a proud graduate of Boyd County High School ('89).

October 6, both AM and PM services
October 27, PM service
November 3, AM service
November 10, PM service

Sunday morning worship begins at 11 AM and Sunday evening begins at 6 PM.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Navy Yard Shootings

For 2,000 years orthodox Christianity has taught the total depravity of humankind.  It's not politically correct but it is an accurate assessment of man apart from God.  Depravity means corruption, inward evil, and it is a fit word to describe people refusing to acknowledge, love and obey the Trinity.  Paul describes human depravity this way:
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:9-18 ESV)
Christ is the only answer to the evil within.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'm Preaching at Belle Church of the Nazarene

I will preach for Pastor Mark Green this upcoming Sunday, September 8th, in both the morning and evening services.  I haven't preached for the congregation and am looking forward to it.  Sunday morning worship begins at 10:45 A.M. and Sunday evening begins at 6 P.M.  More information may be found on their website by clicking here.

Belle Church of the Nazarene
306 E. 9th Street
Belle, WV  25015

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty on Abortion

(No subtext, here.  You get his point.)

Questions & Answers

Q: Who is your favorite preacher?
A: Martyn Lloyd-Jones (dead) and John MacArthur (alive)

Q: What is your favorite Bible translation?
A: The English Standard Version (ESV)

Q: Who is your favorite biblical writer?
A: The Apostle Paul

Q: Who is your favorite non-biblical theologian?
A: John Wesley (dead) and D.A. Carson (alive)

Q: Who is the greatest Wesleyan writer?
A: William Burt Pope

Q: If you could choose one spiritual gift, what would it be?
A: Gifts of healings

Q: If you could study under one biblical scholar who would it be?
A: I. Howard Marshall

Q: Who should you read more?
A: Thomas Oden

Q: What drives you crazy?
A: Liberalism

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Pizza

Friday, August 2, 2013

Laugh or Go Crazy

This world is serious business; ministry is especially so.  That's why I am a big proponent of humor.  In short, if you don't crack up regularly you may, well, crack up.

It can be hard at times to draw the line between humor in ministry (and in the private/public life of a minister) verses taking it too far.  I'm not referring to "bottom shelf humor" as I call it—the risque and the ribald have no place in the life of a saint.  Sophomoric scatological "latrine humor" doesn't do it for me, either.  While we all need to laugh we don't want to unwittingly make light of God or be facetious of holy matters.  It's not easy always to get the balance right.  Humor is subjective; sometimes a person has to be in the right mood to "get" the joke.  And sometimes a person just doesn't see the humor in the joke.

Give us the benefit of the doubt, forgive us and move on.  [laugh]

I like memes.  I post them on facebook.  I have a very  wry and very dry sense of humor.  I hope they come across "sounding" like I want them to, in the spirit in which they are shared.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Demons are Real

Yes, I believe in their existence.  I'm writing this short post because not long ago I came across a fascinating account concerning demonic activity and Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, one of the premiere biblical manuscript authorities alive today.  What makes it even more interesting to me is where he teaches; Dallas Theological Seminary hardly could be called a hotbed for continualist thought.  Consider this:
Several years ago, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace (’74) — a Biola graduate and professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary — was asked to perform a house exorcism. The wealthy Christian homeowner reported poltergeist phenomena that began when his father moved in. As Wallace and a colleague prayed through the rooms, objects began to move, according to Wallace. 
“It was small objects, like magnets on the refrigerator flying clear across the room. It was really remarkable,” said Wallace, who once doubted that demonic activity occurs today. He’s now writing a book arguing that many evangelicals have become unbiblically antisupernatural.
I wish I could find a more complete account of this exorcism.  You may wish to read his article, "Who's Afraid of the Holy Spirit?"  He also helped compile a book of the same title.

Wallace isn't the only Dallas teacher to delve into the demonic realm.  Dr. Merrill Unger was a published writer on the subject.  I just found this snippet fascinating, having come from the noted koine Greek expert.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm Preaching at Jones Avenue Church of God

Pastor Ralph Shupe graciously asked me to fill his pulpit this coming Sunday, July28, at the Jones Avenue Church of God in Oak Hill, West Virginia.  I will speak on, "How to Impart Blessing" for the congregation.  God uses this topic of blessing to touch many hearts; everyone seems to appreciate it and some seem quite visibly moved by it.  Morning Worship begins at 10:45 A.M.  

Jones Avenue Church of God
(Jones Avenue at Bibb Street)
Oak Hill, WV  25901
(304) 465-5401

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Samuel Hines on the Holy Spirit

Dr. Samuel G. Hines (1929—1995) was long-term pastor of Third Street Church of God in Washington, D.C.  Sam had an influence far beyond his church (and church affiliation).

Monday, July 15, 2013

R. R. Byrum on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Russell Raymond Byrum wrote "the" book on systematic theology for the Church of God (Anderson) which held prominence of place for decades.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm Preaching at Southwest Church of God

This coming Sunday, July 14, I'm preaching both the morning and evening sermons at Southwest Church of God.  My father pastored this church when I was a child and I enjoy preaching for them when I can.

Morning worship begins at 10:45 A.M.
Evening worship begins at 6 P.M.

Southwest Church of God
5007 Ohio Street
Spring Hill, WV 25309

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bikinis, Modesty and Christian Ladies

Today on Facebook, Lisa, one of my lady friends—a highly intelligent person who holds masters degrees in psychology and education—added a video link to her timeline.  It is a 9.5 minute clip from fashion designer Jessica Rey about the surprising results of two Princeton studies concerning brain scans done on men while they viewed "scantily clad" females. Watch the short clip; you may never look at a bikini in the same way again. Also, it begs the question for a Christian lady serious about holiness, "What are the societal ramifications of being created in the likeness and image of God?"

Also, you may be interested in reading a blog entry I wrote about the subject: A Single Man's Plea for Feminine Modesty.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Browns Creek Baptism!

Today after morning worship Dad and I baptized a new believer in Browns Creek.  This "deep hole" is on my parents' property just a short walk from Browns Creek Church of God.  It was a glorious day of God's great blessing!

This is the first time I've immersed someone outside of a baptistery.  This is the "old fashioned" way...and it felt good!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pastor Marc Adams and Wesley Free Methodist Church

I'm excited for a friend of mine, the brother that I never had.  Pastor Marc Adams will assume the senior pastorate of Wesley Free Methodist Church in Anderson, Indiana in early July.  I've known him for over 20 years; we were college roommates and ministered together across the country during the summer of '91.

In the name of Jesus I bless Marc, his wife, Annette, and the Wesley Church with great spiritual, numerical and financial growth for the advancement of the Kingdom of God!

Wesley Free Methodist Church
  • 3017 West 8th Street
  • Anderson, Indiana 46011-1903

Friday, June 14, 2013

Losing Our Leaders

Today I received a thoughtful email from a reader who enjoyed my post on the late Kenneth E. Jones.  It got me to thinking.  I lament the fact that, in our inevitable change as time continues, the Church of God (Anderson) is losing her statesmen.  As we as a church group age we are exposed to the larger evangelical world around us; that's not necessarily a bad thing.  However, there is something to be said for leaders (elected or informal) who helped us craft our identity.  Kenneth E. Jones was one of them.  I fear that with the passing of Arlo Newell we may have seen the last of our statesmen in one respect.

Though fallible men D. S. Warner, the Byers brothers, E. E. Byrum, F. G. Smith, H. M. Riggle, C. E. Brown (pictured right) and W. Dale Oldham, etc. gave us something.  They gave us cohesion; they gave us a common heritage and identity.  Today we're more apt to look to Francis Chan than a national leader (again, elected or informal).    As the years pass we leave our Church of God subculture and amalgamate into the larger evangelical world.  We lose something.

I'm not arguing that we didn't need to leave behind some of the teachings of influential leaders of old; I'm simply saying that we lose our story as we grow.  Again, it's inevitable.  But let's at least acknowledge the passing.

It reminds me of an event that happened some years ago as I searched for F. G. Smith's grave at Maplewood Cemetery.  It took a bit of doing; his grave was, frankly, forgettable and nondescript.  I had an epiphany as I stood there and looked at the ground.  The Anderson campground was bustling with folks there for the annual National Convention.  I was standing—alone—at the graveside of a man who, at his zenith, was the most powerful leader in the Church of God.   The message hit me: Life goes on.

I'm not saying authoritarian leadership or the church-historical method of interpreting the books of Daniel and Revelation are preferable.  But I am here to acknowledge the passing of our sense of purpose and mission. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bless Your Church, Campus & Land

Have you ever blessed your church—the saints who make up the congregation—and the property, the campus and land dedicated to the worship of God?  Speak your blessing out loud:

In the name of King Jesus the Just...
I bless our church with the manifest Presence of the Holy Spirit. 
I bless our church with grace and freedom from legalism.

I bless 
our church with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit.
I bless our church with unity and a feeling of goodwill and caring. 
I bless our church with the fear and knowledge of Yahweh. 
I bless our pastor(s) and leadership with the guidance, power and comfort of the Holy Spirit.   
I bless our church with irresistible human drawing-power where people seek God's Face.
I bless our church with many salvations, many entire sanctifications and many holy signs, wonders, miracles and healings.  
I bless our church with great spiritual, numerical, relational and financial growth. 
I bless our church to be the area where people have their deepest needs met. 
I bless our church with freedom in Christ and freedom from the evil one and his unclean servants with their devices, schemes & assignments. 
I bless our church with saints with generous hearts who give sacrificially of their time, talents and treasure for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Maurice Berquist, a late influential minister in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), wrote a book called The Miracle and Power of Blessing. I don't agree with all of Berk's views or theological framework but it is a provocative read. You can read it for *FREE* online at this location.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boyce W. Blackwelder on Justification by Faith

The late Reverend Doctor Boyce Watson Blackwelder (1913—1976) of Concord, North Carolina, remains one of the greatest scholars the Church of God (Anderson) has ever known.  Blackwelder wrote the influential Light from the Greek New Testament and translated the Letters of Paul.  He wrote a book on the apostle, himself, entitled, Toward Understanding Paul as well as Pauline commentaries.  He also penned The Four Gospels: An Exegetical Translation.  Blackwelder was responsible for translating Colossians for the New King James Version and served as an adviser on other passages of the NKJV.

In his work, Toward Understanding Romans, Blackwelder translates Romans 3.21-25a, 26b:
But now God's kind of righteousness stands manifested apart from law [of any kind], although it is attested by the Law and the Prophets.  Indeed God's kind of righteousness is through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is effective for all who are trusting [in him].  There is no distinction, for the whole race has sinned, and [man] continues to fall short of God's standard.  The permanent principle of justification operates freely by the gift of his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God openly set forth as the means of expiation by his blood, to be appropriated through faith...even while declaring righteous the person who places trust in Jesus.
You will never be declared "Not Guilty" of sins based on how good you are.  You aren't good at all compared to God's holiness.  Rather, you are declared "Not Guilty" by trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Maurice Berquist and The Miracle and Power of Blessing

Have you ever blessed someone in Jesus' name?  Yes, you've probably heard that a Christian is supposed to be a blessing to others.  But have you ever intentionally, consciously blessed someone?  Blessed his health?  His finances?  His spiritual state?  His family?

To bless means to give a gift.  In verbally blessing another you are connecting him to the power of God.  To bless a person is to use your Christian authority in Jesus' name (that is to say, you are under Jesus' authority and, so, you are authorized to use his authority) and direct the grace of God to him.  You can bless a congregation, even an inanimate object like a building or an abstraction like your job.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Romans 12:14 ESV)
 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? And his name--by faith in his name--has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:12,16 ESV)
The late Church of God minister, Maurice Berquist (1923—1993), wrote a fascinating book entitled The Miracle and Power of Blessing.  You can read it online for free by going to this link.  You don't have to agree with all of the points, illustrations or conclusions of Berk to, well, be blessed by the book.

I bless you in the name of Jesus in order that you might bless others.

 I'd love to build up a great church based on blessing!  Love!  Joy!  Peace!  The presence of the Holy Spirit!  Salvation!  Sanctification! Healing!  Blessing!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You Don't Have to be Smart to be Holy

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
(Isaiah 35:8 ESV)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Isaiah 41

I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (Isaiah 41:18 ESV)

Monday, April 1, 2013

When Max Gaulke Wrote to Me

During my time at Mid-America Bible College (now Mid-America Christian University) I wrote a small article for the January 1991 edition of the Reformation Witness.  I was surprised (read: "shocked") when Dr. Max R. Gaulke, the founder of my alma mater, wrote me an encouraging note after he read my article.  

I still have the note; here is a scan of it.  Click on the note to expand the letter:

The Scriptural reference Gaulke included is as follows...
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jack A. C. Lawrence and His Call to Ministry

One of my mentors, Jack A. C. Lawrence, pastor of Abney Street Church of God, shared on Facebook today his call to pastoral ministry.  I want to share it with you:

A Testimony of Faith - My Call to Be A Pastor. 
I have shared this with the churches that I have been blessed to Pastor over the near 40 years that I have been in Pastoral ministry. This a a long post but perhaps a blessing to someone who takes time to read it. This is for God's glory and not my own because I still marvel that he would call "such a worm as I." 
The path for my conversion from sin to a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ was unusual. I was an avowed militant atheist in my 20's. At age 17, I left High School and joined the Air Force. After my tour of duty, I worked at several jobs, including Union Carbide Chemical, but being restless I began to travel the country as, what was called in those days, a hobo. I would go to the next town, find a menial temporary job and work long enough to get me on the road again.  
I returned to West Virginia for a stay with my parents, and while there, I met a beautiful young lady who later became my wife. Linda and I had 3 children in the first 5 years of our marriage. I had not graduated from High School and so my "Career path" was very limited. After 6 years of marriage, I determined to go to college. I took the GED test and after passing was accepted by West Virginia State College (now West Virginia State University). in 4 years I obtained a BA Degree with a double major in History and Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. My intentions were to seek a degree and a career in Law. (I worked 40 hours a week in a K-Mart Sports department while attending college) 
I was required to take 8 hours of Biology at State and during the study of the single cell in the Lab, because of the complexity and division of labor within the cell I became a believer in God; for this single cell was not an accident or evolutionary - the single cell was by design. At first I was just a Deist, but the path led to a faith in Jesus Christ. 
I began attending my wife's church and "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..." "Jesus called me "O're the Tumult." 3 years later, (I was then 35 years old) with my wife and children settling into our accustomed pew and the Organist playing the prelude "Be Still, My Soul" (Finlandia); in that moment I heard a voice speak to my heart "You will be a Pastor."  
Now the interesting thing about this call is that it was the farthest thing from my mind (or heart.) Had anyone mentioned it as a possibility before going into worship that day I would have laughed out loud; "Preposterous and silly" I would have replied and so would have my family and friends who knew me well. And one other interesting part to this call; I was being considered by the Chrysler Corp. (Dodge Division) for position as a Regional Sales Manager for Large Truck Division with a lucrative salary.  
After the services that morning I related my experience with God calling me to Pastoral ministry to my wife. She began to cry, not for joy, but with upset and fear. I then told our Pastor about my call and he said I needed to go somewhere and study and pray. He said that he had just accepted the call to be the President of a small Bible College in Houston, Texas [Gulf-Coast Bible College] and that I might consider at least 2 years of study in Bible and Theology in that setting. 
Linda reluctantly accepted that my call was valid and agreed to our move to Houston. (There is a lot of story that I must leave out here due to the limited space for writing in this venue, so I will relate the way God confirmed His call.) 
While in school in Houston, I was asked to help plant a new church 45 miles south of Houston. Our financial situation was dire. Linda worked as a secretary in the YMCA and I worked as a salesmen of industrial tools and machinery; neither of us made much money. Our 3 children were in 3 different schools, our oldest son was a freshman in High School and son #2 was in Junior High and baby daughter was in elementary school.  
Right before Christmas, my wife came to pick me up from work because we only had one car and it was an old, tired automobile that had seen its best days. I had to tell my wife that evening that I had been laid off from work, due to a seasonal slump. She began to weep as she was driving and a siren and blue light caused her to pull over. A police officer said that she was speeding 5 miles over the speed limit. He proceeded to write her 3 tickets, she all the time shedding buckets of tears. The tickets were for speeding, improper registration and no Texas hard plate license (We had been there for 6 months and needed to change from our West Virginia License.) Linda and I stayed up that night praying - I guess you could call it praying - it was more wrestling with God and being angry with Him. We reasoned that He had called us to Houston and now look at this fine mess. No job, No money, my second semester tuition was due the following week and Linda possibly facing jail time because we could not pay any fines.  
Sunday, numb and frightened as we were, we drove to the new church plant that we were helping with. That evening on our drive back to Houston the car began to make loud noises. It got us back to our apartment and we parked it in the stall provided and it never started again. Now what! If you are familiar with Houston you know that it is one spread out town. I went to school in one area, Linda worked in a different part and the children went to school in yet a totally different section.  
The next morning we managed to get to our destinations. I went to my mailbox that I had on Campus. A notice in the mailbox said that an anonymous donor had paid my next semester tuition. A lady that Linda worked with and who knew nothing about our problems, came to Linda's desk and said "I don't want to offend you, but my husband and I just purchased a new car and we would like to give you our old car." The next day we went to court and the judge informed the Police officer who had written the tickets that Texas and West Virginia had an agreement that students from those states did not have to change their license and registration. Go figure! He dismissed the charges and we did not have to pay anything. 
One other point to confirmation: Our oldest son became very ill and running a very high temperature [104°]. We had no insurance and thought we would take him to the emergency room to see if we could find him treatment anyway. Before we left, Linda and I decided to anoint and pray for Michael. As we placed our hand on him and prayed, his temperature fell to normal! 
In all of this, I believe God confirmed His call upon my life and, further, He was telling me that during the course of the ministry that He was calling me to, that I could say with confidence, not based not theory or guess, that God is there and that He will save, heal and keep those who are His. I say this from experience not study or theory.

I am blessed to call Jack a friend.  Let me share another story he told me.  When Jack was a student at Gulf-Coast Bible College (now Mid-America Christian University) he was working at Uncle Ben's Rice Mill at night and attending class during the day.  He developed a severe case of arthritis that gnarled and closed up his hands.  This was bad news beyond the physical discomfort; the machinery he needed to work was strong but delicate and gnarled hands wouldn't keep him in gainful employment.  Around 2-3 AM one morning during "lunch" Jack was crossing the railroad tracks of the mill and prayed.  A warmth came over his hands, they became ungnarled and he hasn't had arthritis in his hands ever since.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I'm Preaching at Scary Creek Church of God

This coming Sunday, February 17th, I will preach at the Scary Creek Church of God in the morning and evening services.  I've never preached there before so it should be fun!

Morning worship 11 AM
Evening worship    6 PM

Scary Creek Church of God
340 Scary Rd
Scott Depot, WV  25560

GPS Coordinates
N 38°25.758'

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do I Care Enough About the World to Revolutionize It?

This quotation by G. K. Chesterton, in his book, Orthodoxy, has haunted me for years:
On the other side our idealist pessimists were represented by the old remnant of the Stoics. Marcus Aurelius and his friends had really given up the idea of any god in the universe and looked only to the god within. They had no hope of any virtue in nature and hardly any hope of any virtue in society. They had not enough interest in the outer world really to wreck or revolutionise it. 
They did not love the city enough to set fire to it. Thus the ancient world was exactly in our own desolate dilemma. The only people who really enjoyed this world were busy breaking it up; and the virtuous people did not care enough about them to knock them down.
Do I care enough about the fallen world around me to pray for Great Awakening?  Do I care enough about Adam's fallen race to seek Revival?  Do I care...enough?