Memorial Day

It is a beautiful Lord’s Day here in Western North Carolina. The weather is warm and the sun is up. As we prepare to head out to the Lord’s House this morning, millions more are heading out on vacation. It is, after all, Memorial weekend. Memorial Day is a time set aside to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. it is a day when we remember those who died in battle that we might live our lives in freedom. I am grateful for the sacrifice of the 1,167,146 men and women who gave their lives on fields of battle around the world so that I might live free in this great nation. Please take a minute to think about those who died so that you might be free.

• Revolutionary War – 25,324
• Civil War – 498,332
• World War I – 116,710
• World War II – 407,316
• Korean War – 54,546
• Vietnam War – 58,098
• First Gulf War – 293
• Operation Iraqi Freedom – 4,718 – (Iraq thus far)
• Operation Enduring Freedom – 1,788 – (Afghanistan thus far)

While it is fitting and good that we remember those who died for our nation, let us not forget the One Who died for our sins! As we contemplate victories in war, let us not forget the greatest Warrior of them all. Let us not forget the Lord Jesus Christ and the day He hung upon the cross at Calvary. May we never forget the pain He endured in our place. May we never forget that He absorbed the wrath of God in His body for us. May we never forget that He bore our sins, paid our debt, endured the wrath that was rightfully ours, and that He did it all because He loved us and because it brought Him joy. So, pause to remember the dead today, but as you do, pause to remember the death of Jesus. As you remember His death, remember that after He died on that cross, He was buried in a tomb. Three days later, walked out of that grave victorious over death, Hell and the grave. Our Hero died for our sins, but He is alive and well today. Here is what He said about His death and resurrection: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev 1:18 KJV) Meditating upon His death, His burial and His resurrection is a worthy way to spend this Memorial Sunday.

Alan

Good Meeting This Week

Brother Tom Gilliam has been with us at Calvary this week, the the Lord has been feeding His people. Brother Tom has been preaching from the book of Philippians on the subject of “From A Pit To A Palace”. He has been using this prison epistle from the pen of the Apostle Paul to teach us about rejoicing during the difficult days of life. The messages have been powerful and timely and I am grateful for what I am receiving from the Word of God this week. Lord willing, I will be posting the audio from this week on the audio page in the very near future. If you would like to know more about Brother Tom Gilliam, you can visit his web site at tomgilliam.com. He has numerous expository Bible studies and other materials that will prove helpful to you in your walk with the Lord. Please pray for the remaining two evenings of our meeting. Pray that God will help us to come to a place of total obedience and surrender to His perfect will for our church!

Alan

We’re Done!

We finished our meeting last night with the good folks at New Beginnings Baptist Church in Asheboro, NC. We had a real good week of meeting. The Lord met with His people every single night and gave great liberty and a real sense of worship in the services. It was a tremendous honor to be there this week.

This Sunday our meeting begins with Brother Tom Gilliam from Winterville, GA. Please pray for the meeting at Calvary. We are in need of a special touch from the Lord. Pray that He will meet with is and give us the help we need. I, for one, stand in need of revival. I would love to see the Lord pass by and speak to my heart. I am absolutely convinced that I have a great way to go in my walk with the Lord. I am looking for Him to help me along the way this coming week. If you are in the area, please take the time to stop in for the meeting. I know Brother Gilliam and I know that he will have a word from the Lord for the church.

Alan

Something To Consider

Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard said, “Once you label me you negate me.” What he meant by that statement is this: once you apply a label to a person, you undermine their individuality. You stop seeing them for the whole person the are and you only look at them within the boundaries of the label you have placed upon them. So, people who accept the label that has been applied to that person will no longer see that individual as they really are; they will only see that person within the confines of what the label allows. How true that is!

For instance, if I call you a bigot or a racist and enough people hear me apply that label to you, they will come to see you as a bigot or a racist. It will not matter to them that you may not even be a bigot. They won’t care what kind of work you do for other ethnic groups, or that you may have friends from other ethnic groups. They will not be able to get past the label, and in their eyes, you will always be a bigot. If I call you stingy, and say it long enough and loud enough, it will not matter that you may be a very generous person, to those who accept the label, you will alway be stingy.

It is a dangerous thing to label people. When you try to define a person within the narrow constraints of some belief system or way of life by giving them a label, you are actually trying to cancel out their individuality. You are trying to negate them, as Kierkegaard said. Your labeling of an individual is your attempt to erase them and leave the people who listen to you looking to you as their source of information regarding the other person. It doesn’t matter that you may not know what you are talking about, and that your label is nowhere near the truth, some people will believe the label you have applied. The fact is, labels stick! People hear the name you attach to a person and every time they see them, every time they hear them, all they can remember is the label you have applied.

Let’s be very careful when it comes to the business of labeling other people. We can damage a testimony, harm a reputation, undermine a ministry, negate an individual, when we take it upon ourselves to pigeonhole people and shove them into neatly labeled categories. When we engage in labeling others, we are in the business of making them seem insignificant while we seek to make ourselves look more important.

We have all been guilty of throwing labels. I have been labeled by some people over the years. In recent days I have been called a “Hyper-Calvinist”, a “Calvinist”, a “false prophet”, and a “false teacher”, among other things. Be that as it may, I reject your labels, because I am none of the things you say I am. Although in the minds of some, those labels will always define me. When they think of me, see me, hear me, they will think of what you called me. The same would be true if I were to label you.

So, why don’t we drop the labels and stop trying to force people into neatly laid out categories? Why can’t we just allow people the liberty to be who they are in the Lord without having to try and force them to be just like us? Why can’t we just accept the differences in those around us without trying to make everyone fit into our mold, and then rejecting out of hand those who won’t fit?

Labels are important! They determine how we think of the people we know and encounter in life. It would be good if believers could learn to love others like Jesus loves them. If we could flesh out the truth of the second great commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, Matt. 22:39. So, if I love you like I should, I will not label you. If I do, however, the label will sound something like friend, brother, sister, etc. You get the idea! Just think about it and drop the labels.

By the way, the meeting here at New Beginnings Baptist is going well. We had a great service last night. I cannot remember the last time I preached with such a sense of the presence and power of God. It was glorious! Pray for the continuation of the meeting.

Alan

Oh My!

I am in Asheboro, NC this week preaching at New Beginnings Baptist Church where Brother Mark Spencer is the Pastor. I just wanted to stop by and praise the Lord for His power in the service this evening. After a week filled with pain, medications and other problems, and after a Sunday where my throat would not cooperate with the preaching, the Lord truly blessed tonight. I praise His name for how He moves in power to manifest His presence to His people. He honored His Word and we can ask for no more than that! Please remember the meeting this week, and please pray for Calvary Baptist Church also. We need the Lord to do some things for us in these days.

Lord willing, Brother Tom Gilliam will be with us next week for meeting. Please pray for the meeting and come if you can. Brother Tom will preach the Word and he will feed the people of God. If you can’t come please pray. If you and in the Asheboro area this week, please stop the meeting and worship with us. In spite of the problems and situations that arise from time to time, He is always worthy of praise!

Time to take my meds!

Alan

Down But Not Out

The past few days have been a trial by fire. I hurt my back this past Friday and have spent the last few days either in the bed, on the couch, or on my feet trying to work it out. My lack of mobility forced me to miss church on Sunday. It also forced me to cancel our meeting with Pastor Lewis Jones and the Towee Falls Baptist Church. I felt bad having to cancel the meeting, but there was no choice in the matter. Besides, if I couldn’t preach at Calvary on Sunday, I had no business preaching anywhere else during the week. Anyway, I am doing everything I can to get better. Hopefully this will pass in short order.

Alan