Who? Me?

In our postmodern world we have forgotten the power of the individual. When challenged to do more than we think we are capable; we may respond with “What can I do? I am only man (or woman).” History has an extensive record of how ONE person changed the world. power+of+one.jpg (238×249)

Edward Kimball was a just an ordinary person. There wasn’t  anything about him that would cause him to stand out in a crowd, Mr. Kimball was however a Sunday School teacher who had a passion of winning people to Jesus Christ. He witnessed to a Sunday School student by the name of Dwight L. Moody and he accepted Christ as his personal Savior. And the story of the power of one began.

  1. J.B. Chapman was converted at one of Moody’s evangelistic meeting. Who went on to be a great evangelist himself.
  2. Billy Sunday was converted at a Chapman meeting
  3. Mordecai Ham was converted at Billy Sunday meeting
  4. Billy Graham was converted at a Ham meeting.

No one can say for certain but it has been estimated that millions have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior as a result of Rev. Graham’s ministry. But it all started with ONE man witnessing to ONE boy.

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Whose Fault?

shooterJust days ago,  Dylann Roof (21) walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal and opened fire at a prayer meeting inside the church after 8 p.m. on Wednesday, killing nine, including the pastor.

As the investigation continues, more and more information will be uncovered. And as the news journalists receive the new information, they will try to answer the question we are all asking; WHY?  Which often leads to trying to assign blame for this tragedy. They will give us their opinion as to whose fault for this tragedy.

  1. The current administration is calling for stricter gun control. But you cannot assign fault to an inanimate object. We never consider that every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. But no one thinks we should ban cars. It is not the gun’s fault.
  2. I do not know anything about the shooter’s upbringing but inevitably reporters will research his childhood to see if the parents are guilty.
  3. Maybe drugs are at fault.  Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and it is not the weapon used. The overwhelming evidence points to the signal largest common factor in all of these incidents is the fact that all of the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crime.

We may never know for sure where the fault lies but this I do know. Man was born with moral depravity.[ Jeremiah 17:9 John 3:19 ] and is capable of horrific things. We have taken God out of government, our schools, and our culture all together.  Then we wonder why people act like they do. Proverbs 16.6 says, “…through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.”

I cannot tell you how much the family’s testimony have touched me.

Recently I looked back over my life and reflected how blessed my life has been. I have been blessed with

Friends I have had the privilege of making friends with hundreds of great people. I say they are great not because they are rich, famous, or have political clot. I say they are great for the positive impact they have had on my life. Rev. Glen Elsey showed me how to walk with God. He had the most infectious laugh that I will never forget.  Thanks to Rev. Denzil and Gerry Smith for being our friends over many years. I remember being in a crisis situation and phoned Denzil at 5 @m asking for prayer. He drove clear across town, came to my house to pray with me. Space does not allow me to mention all who have contributed to my life. 

Pastoring some great people. I was privileged to serve with people who loved God, were committed to the church and treated me graciously. We prayed together. We cried together. We sacrificed together. I served churches from New York to Florida. Thank you God for allowing me to meet some of Your wonderful people. 

A host of experiences. a] I will never forget the six-week revival at our local church. We had planned a seven-day revival but God had other plans. b] I saw people delivered from demonic possession. c] I was mistaken for a fugitive by undercover police. e] I have seen people healed from incurable diseases. f] But the greatest experiences was seeing people’s lives transformed by Jesus Christ.

I have to agree with Christian comedian, vocalist, and song-writer, Mark Lowry, when asked how he would describe the church, he replied, “Interesting!”

Unexpected Teachers

There is no question that Jesus is often surprising but it’s not often that Jesus seems surprised. Outsiders have a way of doing what even Jesus doesn’t appear to anticipate: A Roman Centurion shows great faith Luke 7:8-10 ;  Jesus praises a Canaanite woman for her persistence in asking Jesus to heal her daughter Mt. 15:21-29

Sometimes outsiders’ faith exceeds the faith of us churchy people. If we would open our eyes, we might see an open spiritual door where we expected a brick wall. If we would just listen, we may find the gospel of hope in a rented movie, on a top 40 song on the radio or a neighbor’s conversation. Many times we miss learning opportunities because we are not intentionally looking for them.

Maybe your agnostic friend could teach you about faith. A teenager with body piercings may give you hope. A Jewish coworker may teach you how to deal with a difficult boss. The Holy Spirit may use these people to speak to you.

God is at work at all times in all places in all people.”For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” 

Can The Church Be Saved?

church-window-broken.jpg (1024×768)People that are not personally involved with the church may not be aware that the church as an institution is in trouble. The Sunday morning telecasts highlight the huge mega churches with thousands of attendees and magnificent buildings. But the fact is America is a nation of small churches; 59% of US worshippers attend services  averaging 7-99 people. 59% of US worshippers attend services  averaging 7-99 people. churchleadership.org  According to faithstreet.com, 1,500 pastors leave the ministry for good.

Sounds pretty dismal doesn’t? Is there a future for the church? IF the church continues as it has in the past, there is no question the church is doomed. Albert Einstein was right, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I believe that the church can not only survive but it can thrive. BUT there are some things that must be addressed.

  1. People’s concept of the church must change. The “church” is not a organization but  organism.         1 Cor. 12:27 Only people can change the “church.”
  2. The church must become relevant. The majority of people do not attend church because they do not believe the church has the answers to life’s problem.
  3. People want to belong to something that makes a difference. The church must deal with society’s issues: Homelessness, divorce, addictions, etc.
  4. Focus on church health not church growth.
  5. People must sense they are loved, accepted, and forgiven.

History has proven that the church thrives during hard times and persecution. The church is China (where churches are forbidden) cannot train enough pastors for the growing number of churches. Christian Post. Korea, Africa, and South America are exploding with growth because they are relevant and meeting people’s needs.

Getting Used To The Dark

We have all experienced a time in our lives when we have had to spend the night in a place that is unfamiliar to us. You may have spent the night in a motel. Or you maybe you were visiting friends and spent the night in their guest room.Then it comes time to turn off the light. The instant the light vanishes, you are engulfed in darkness. But if you wait for a few minutes, you will become accustomed to the dark. You become more comfortable with your surroundings.

When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are made new. 2 Cor. 5:17 The old life passes away and the new begins. God takes away our old desires and replaces them with new ones. But God’s Word warns us, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. [Proverbs 4:23] We are constantly being bombarded with sensual advertisements. Movies that we would not go to the theater to see, we now rent and watch them at home. Places that we were once uncomfortable in, no longer bother us. “We’re living in the closing chapter of an age dominated by the prince and powers of darkness. And men do love darkness rather than light. (Vance Havner) 

Sin that we would never dream of committing, we now watch for entertainment. Practicing homosexuals are ordained to the ministry. Same sex marriages, have the blessings of some denominations. The church has become insensitive to sin. The church needs to return to living a life of holiness.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

Experiencing Revival

I grew up in a church that it was customary to have revival services twice a year. When I became a pastor I continued that tradition. While we did have some amazing services, many times I didn’t experience what I longed for. In the last few years I have struggled with how to experience revival in the Body of Christ. I am not naive enough to think there is a “formula” that will always produce a life-changing move of God. God will not be put in a box.

My struggle, as a pastor, was between two options:

a) Should we invite an evangelist who would preach God’s Word, praying that God would  honor His Word  with an outpouring of His Spirit.

OR

b) Do.we pray fervently until there’s a significant moving of God and THEN invite the evangelist to come and join us where the Spirit is working?

I would appreciate any thoughts on this subject.