Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is Your Church Irrelevant?

When churches take their eyes off the horizon, the inevitable result is what can be called a “survival mentality.” Rather than accomplishing the plans of God to redeem and transform His creation, they forget their reason for being, which begins a long, agonizing slide into irrelevance. Irrelevant churches fret over inconsequential matters, nitpick their leadership, criticize one another, experiment with worldly strategies for growth, and chase vain philosophies. Meanwhile their surrounding communities hear little of Christ, and what they do hear is unattractive.

Insights on Romans; Charles R. Swindoll; ppg 17

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"O Taste and See"

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8 (KJV)

At the University of Chicago Divinity School each year they have what is called "Baptist Day." On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every "Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center.

One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr.Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false.

He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium.

"Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it.

"Docta Tillich. CRUNCH, MUNCH” My question is a simple question,...CRUNCH, MUNCH..."Now, I ain't never read them books you read...CRUNCH,MUNCH.."and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek...CRUNCH,MUNCH ..." I don't know nothin' about Niebuhr and Heidegger...CRUNCH,MUNCH...He finished the apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate, ------was it bitter or sweet?"

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple."

The old white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly---"Neither have you tasted my Jesus."

The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
Have you tasted Jesus? Jesus has risen... and he's coming back one day!

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him If you have, rejoice in the hope of the resurrection that your faith in Him brings.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day Reflections

Today was a great day to be alive and to thank God for the many intangibles He affords us. It was Independence Sunday, a day that holds great significance in my life.

While many celebrated the birth of our country, participated in family reunions, hosted barbeque cookouts and witnessed fireworks displays, I could not help but remember that on this day twenty eight years ago, I was baptized after confessing Christ as Lord of my life. I will never forget it. It was as though it were yesterday. During that time we had Baptism and Communion in the evening and I will never forget the preacher preaching on the subject of God’s amazing grace. I am so glad I’m saved and don’t know what I would do without the Lord.

Anticipating a potential shortage in attendance due to the holiday weekend, we decided to have one service instead of our usual two services. I praise God that the house was full and the spirit was high as the saints praised God for His wondrous works. I continued my series of sermons from Psalm 119 verses 33-40 entitled “Class is in Session.” God truly blessed the preaching moment and several people recommitted their lives to Jesus including two as candidates for baptism. God be praised!!

After worship, my family honored an invitation to dinner at the home of one of the families of our church. Dinner was delicious as well as the rich fellowship we experienced. I am truly thankful for their hospitality as we had no real plans of our own.

We also took time to attend the County fair on the south side of town. Although I did not do a whole lot my son and granddaughter had a ball.
Soon after that, we returned home and shared in the enjoyment of firework with our neighbors who were only too kind to welcome us graciously. We truly have a great group of neighbors who look out for one another and are generous with their resources.

Well, I have bored you long enough. Forgive my ramblings and all. It’s been a great day and I am low on energy. Time to say goodnight. We’ll talk soon!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


When shall I arise, and the night be gone? Job 7:4.

The bible records many long nights and sleepless saints watching for the morning (Psalms 130:6). While the world drinks and dances, souls hard pressed by many a foe ask, "Watchman, what of the night?" God gives His beloved sleep, but there are times when sleep gives way to prayer. Our Lord "continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12). But though weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning (Psalms 30:5), when He shall be as the light of the morning, even a morning without clouds (2 Samuel 23:4). And, best of all, we are headed for a city where there shall be no night (Revelation 21:25).
Vance Havner, All The Days, p. 98

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Strengthen Thy Stakes"

Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. Isaiah 54:2.

If we are going to lengthen our cords we had better strengthen our stakes. The church today is intent on expanding borders and taking in more territory. That is good if along with it we strengthen what we have. Otherwise, we gain width at the expense of depth and become shallow.

The Christian and the church need an intensive as well as an extensive ministry. Vast ingatherings of believers bring peril if we do not teach, indoctrinate, build up in the faith. To use A. J. Gordon's illustration, the average church is often like a congested lung with only a few cells doing the breathing. There is usually a faithful nucleus surrounded by a mass of nominal Christians.

While we extend the borders of our tent, we had better check the center pole. We must fix the point of our compass properly before we describe our circles. We are in tremendous need of a ministry to strengthen our stakes that we may go further as we go deeper.

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions. By Vance Havner

Friday, February 26, 2010

Little Pictures

God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

An old widow was living in poverty and want. A young man, hearing she was in need, went to visit her to see if he could be of any help. The old lady complained bitterly of her condition and remarked that her son in Australia was doing very well. Her friend inquired, “Doesn’t he do anything to help you?” She replied, “No, nothing. He writes to me regularly once a month but he sends me only some little pictures with his letters.” The young man asked to see the pictures she had received. To his surprise, he found each of them to be twenty-pound notes. The poor old lady did not realize the value of this foreign currency, but had imagined them to be mere pretty pictures.

She had lived in poverty and want, whereas she could have had all the bodily comforts she desired and needed so much. We smile at the foolishness of the old woman, but how many of us are like her, living as though we were paupers instead of sons and daughters of the King?

- David Jeremiah. (2002). Sanctuary (59).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Jennifer

Today is my wife's birthday!!! That's right. It's all about her today. It's not the weather she prefers but we will make it meaningful. Happy Birthday My Sweet!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace So Amazing!!

I am currently reading a book by Charles R. Swindoll entitled “The Owner’s Manual for Christians: The Essential Guide for a God- Honoring Life. In the first chapter, he talks a great deal about grace. He says “If there is any singular truth that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions, all other systems of belief, it is grace. Furthermore, he considers grace to be the bedrock truth upon which all of Christian belief and practice stand.

In an effort to illustrate his point, he borrows a practical thought from the late Donald Grey Barnhouse’s book “Let Me Illustrate.” It is a story featuring Sir Edward C. Burne-Jones. It says:

“Sir Edward C. Burne-Jones, the prominent nineteenth century English artist, went to tea at the home of his daughter. As a special treat his young granddaughter was allowed to come to the table; she misbehaved, and her mother made her stand in the corner with her face to the wall. Sir Edward, a well-trained grandfather, did not interfere with his grandchild’s training, but the next morning he arrived at his daughter’s home with paints and palette. He went to the wall where the little girl had been forced to stand, and there he painted pictures – a kitten chasing its tail, lambs in a field, goldfish swimming. He decorated the walls on both sides of that corner with paintings for his granddaughter’s delight. If she had to stand in the corner again, at least she would have something to look at."

And so it is with our Lord. With debt of sin paid by Christ on our behalf, we will never suffer punishment. When we do things we should not, He may administer discipline, sometimes quite severely, but He never turns His back.... He doesn't send His child to hell! Neither do we fall from grace and get slammed behind the iron bars of the law. pp. 6

Thank God for His grace so amazing. I cannot count the numerous times God came to my rescue. Because He stooped down to save a wretch like me, I owe Him my life. It’s the very least I can do after all He’s done and continues to do.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

GSJ Milestone

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 3:13 (KJV)

Greetings my fellow bloggers and followers!! It is with great joy that I share with you a recent milestone in the life of GSJ.

Last Sunday, after a day filled with preaching, praise and receiving three great young men into our congregation, we were blessed to lay hands on seven new deacons. It has been my joy to train these men in matters pertaining to the call, character and conduct of biblical deacons for the past year.

Please pray that these men along with our current deacons will serve both Pastor and people with great diligence, steadfast determination, and unwavering humility. Courtesy of Bro. Armstrong, we share these photos with you. Talk to you soon!!

l to r. Deacons Zimmerman, Barker, Smalls, Buchanon, Chism, Green and Johnson. The picture below feature their wives.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Reflections

Happy New Year my fellow bloggers! I know what you’re thinking! It’s been a long time…right? Well, I will try my best to resume this medium with greater frequency this year. Besides, members of the church have already informed me of their desire to hear from me on a regular basis. I don’t know about that but we will see.

This past Sunday was great. The spirit was high most of the day. We had one person to unite with our fellowship while the rest of us were being spiritually recharged. It was also Installation Sunday, a time set aside to officially consecrate our newly elected leaders for service to God and the people of GSJ.
We did not have an afternoon service, as many churches do for this occasion, so I took it upon myself to charge our leaders to always maintain a servant and steward mentality. The message was taken from I Corinthians 4:1-5. The title of the message was “A Testimony of a Servant”, in which the following ideas were expressed:

I. The recognition of a servant (v.1)
II. The requirement of stewards (v.2)
III. The reward for service (v. 5b)

That evening, one of our associate ministers, Rev. James King, and I traveled to Gary to attend the annual Twelve Night Revival Service, sponsored by The Baptist Ministers Conference of Gary & Vicinity. This idea was brought to Gary some 32 years ago by Pastor Charles L. Emery of Pilgrim Baptist Church. It allows area pastors and churches to fellowship in praise, preaching and praying so that God will get the glory for the next twelve months. Needless to say it was a high time and the Lord really used Pastor William Collins of Mt. Zion, Hammond and Pastor Marion Johnson of Gary.

If the Lord delays His return, I may attend the last night tomorrow to hear President Talley. Because of weather conditions, I was not able to attend any nights prior, but I was glad to be in attendance last evening. Please pray for the success of this revival. May it last far beyond January 12th. God Bless All!!!!