February Meeting

Our winter meeting with Brother Doug Bearden has been a real blessing. Brother Doug is the Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Carrollton, GA and he is a truly anointed preacher of the Gospel. He had his wife Mrs. Gail have been with us all week. The preaching has been superior and each night Brother Doug has exalted our Savior. Last night he preached about the scourging our Lord endured the morning He was crucified. I have never heard such a vivid and powerful description of that terrible event. The Lord swept through the meeting and overwhelmed many with a sense of His love, mercy and grace. We wept, we shouted, we bowed before Him in worship. It was an awesome experience. I am looking forward to what the Lord has for us this evening.

As usual, many of our own people have chosen to sit out the meeting. I do not understand that! It seems to me that if your church is providing an opportunity to hear the Word of God and to worship the Lord, you would be in your place. I suppose they are more consumed with their daily activities than they are with the Lord Himself. I suppose they would rather shop, watch TV, taxi their children here and there than go to church to meet the Lord in worship. I will not lie, it bothers me! I am interested in worship. I am interested in serving the Lord. I am interested in moving forward. And, I am interested in doing those things with a like minded people.

Pray for the last night of the meeting. We need God to move among us once again!

Alan

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Phat Phriday

A friend of mine sent me an E-mail in response to my Random Rants the other day. Here is his addition to my list of “Pastoral Pet Peeves”.

“I wanted to add one to your “random rants”

#6 Does it bother you when church members are home watching the American Idol finale when the rest of the body is at prayer meeting?”

Surely, no one out there did something like that. I mean, most modern church members are so in love with the Lord, and so hungry for His Word, and so excited about corporate worship, that they would never miss church for something so worldly, for something so vain, for something possibly so detrimental to their spiritual health. Or, would they? Of course they would! Most church folks could care less about a Wednesday evening prayer meeting, a revival meeting, or any other time of worship. It’s a sad truth, but it is the condition of the modern church. It’s a good thing we are not under persecution in America at the moment. When things change and it becomes a crime to believe the truths we have been given in the Word of God, the mere church member will be separated from the born again believer. You can take that to the bank!

Well, I’ve got a funeral today. So, I must finish my preparations for that. Before I go let me mention a blog entry I read this morning. The Pastor was talking about the fact that he had to preach twice this week. He was talking about the benefits of preaching twice in a week. Twice! Apparently, this pastor is in a church tradition where he usually preaches just once per week/ Most weeks I preach 6 or 7 times. Nearly all my time is spent praying, preparing and preaching. It is a sanctifying process, but it does make one weary. I can’t imagine what I would have the time to do if I just preached once. Hmmmm…What would I do with all that time? I know! I would visit my congregation like they deserved to be visited. I would spend much more time with my dear wife; she sacrifices much and it goes unappreciated by nearly everyone. I would sleep a little longer in the morning, or perhaps go to bed a little earlier in the evening. I would take my camera out and enjoy doing some photography. I would go to the gym more and lose some of this lard. Of course, if I did that last thing, I would have to change the name of this blog again. Oh well, I can dream about what I would do if I didn’t have to spend so much time in sermon preparation, or I get busy doing what the Lord called me to do. So I am out of here! I’ve got preaching to do! If I am going to preach, then I’ve got preparing to do.

Alan

Random Rants

Let me say that we heard an amazing message from Brother Tom Gilliam last night in our meeting. He preached from 2 Corinthians 9 on “The Fortress Of Weakness“. Brother Gilliam revealed several of the great gifts of God to His redeemed people. These gifts are a wonderful anchor for the soul. I was helped greatly as I was reminded by the Word of God the many precious things I have in Jesus. I wonder if we sometimes forget who we are and what we have in the Lord Jesus? When we forget, we wander. When we wander, we waver. When we waver, we are a poor witness for Jesus. I pray the Lord will keep His benefits fresh in my heart and mind that I might be all that He saved me to be.

I titled my post “Random Rants“, and that is what I intend to give you today.

Rant #1: Shallow Believers – Does it bother you that mindless, heretical drivel like “Your Best Life Now“; “A Purpose Driven Life” and “The Shack” are among the most popular reading for so-called Christians? Well, it gnaws at me! When I see people wasting their time on junk of that ilk, it tells me that those people lack spiritual discernment and biblical knowledge.

Rant #2: Lifeless Believers – Does it bother you when spiritual truth is preached and God’s people act like nothing of importance was said? Well, it bothers me! I have been at the same church for nearly six years and there are people that I have never seen bow in an altar to pray. Now, I know that I do not know their hearts, but you would think that sometime or the other God would speak to their hearts and they would need to do business before Him. You would think that there might be a time when they just wanted to bow before Him and say “Thank you Lord for saving my soul!” You would think they would want to fall before the Lord and weep over the lost they claim they have a burden for. 

Rant #3: Lazy Believers – Does it bother you when people have duties in the church and then refuse to carry them out? Well, it aggravates me to no end! If the people of the church have trusted you to do a job, you ought to do it! You should be in your place. You should be on time, and early if possible. You should be prepared. You should go above and beyond the call of duty. If you aren’t, then you should make room for someone else who will do the job out of a heart of love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rant #4: Worldly Believers – Does it bother you that many who claim to love Jesus allow everything in the world to come before Him and their service to Him? Well it…, you know! Just for the record, there has never been a family reunion, a ballgame, a school function, or anything else you want to name that is more important than what God is doing in His church, among His people. Christians ought to be in their seats to hear what the Lord has to say to their hearts. Parents need to teach their children that the business of the Lord is more important that the business of a secular institution such as a school or a club.

Rant #5: Complacent Believers – Does it bother you that some people are satisfied with the way things are? It does me! Why is it that anything new is met with instant resistance? Why is it that tradition trumps the will of God? Why is it that some people love to provide for themselves all the things they desire, yet they balk at any request to spend money on the things of the Lord? Why is it that some believers have no vision for the future, or desire to see or help the church grow? Maybe you can tell me!

Well, that will be about enough for today. Let me know what you think. Let me know where I am wrong. Let me know where you agree.

Emotion in Preaching

I have been listening to various preachers on the Internet, and as you know, there are all kinds of them out there. There are loud ones and quiet ones and ones that fall everywhere on the spectrum in between. I have no problem with a man being either quiet or loud, but I do have a problem with a preacher being dull and boring. Some preachers tend to deliver their sermons devoid of any emotions. I am sure they think they are trying to avoid the possibility of influencing people with the emotions. So, they deliver their exegesis of a Bible passage with no emotion. Their delivery is stiff, wooden and dry as cracker juice. Just between me and you, I have a problem with that kind of preaching. It may be a geographical thing, but I don’t call that preaching. Teaching maybe, but not preaching. Preaching screams passion!

Now, I am not in favor of manipulation. I do not believe that people should be pulled and tugged to make a decision based on some emotional gymnastics in the pulpit. However, when I read the Bible, I see the preachers in its pages preaching with intense passion. Hear what Paul said in Acts 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Sounds like emotional preaching to me! Can you imagine Peter preaching his sermon on the Day of Pentecost without fervency and power? I can’t imagine him standing there delivering some dry lecture before those people. I personally believe that Peter was passionate in his delivery that day.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that preaching is logic on fire. He went on to say, “It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain, is a defective theology; or at least the man’s understanding of it is defective.” That is what I am talking about! There is no room in the pulpit for dead, dry rhetoric and stuffy boring delivery. The pulpit is a place for passion, fire and excitement. Charles H. Spurgeon said this, “I would say that a “dull preacher” is a contradiction in terms; if he is dull he is not a preacher. He may stand in a pulpit and talk, but he is certainly not a preacher. With the grand theme and message of the Bible dullness is impossible. This is the most interesting, most thrilling, the most absorbing subject in the universe; and the idea that this can be presented in a dull manner makes me seriously doubt whether the men who are guilty of this dullness have ever really understood the doctrine they claim to believe, and which they advocate. We often betray ourselves by our manner.

That is a statement that modern preachers need to read and reread, until the truth of it breaks upon our hearts. We are charged with preaching the Word of God! We are charged with preaching the Gospel of God’s saving grace. We are charged with telling this world that Jesus Christ gave Himself on the cross to redeem His people from their sins. We are charged with telluing them that He rose from the dead, ascended back to Heaven and will return one day in glory and power to reign. How can we possess such a message and deliver it with anything less than “sanctified madness”?

We are called to “preach the Word“. The word “preach” translates the word “kerusso“. It refers to a herald, one who carried the king’s message to the people. That herald would stand before the people, lift up his voice and clearly and distinctly deliver the king’s message to the people. I cannot imagine one of those ancient heralds standing there delivering his message with a lackadaisical, boring, disinterested attitude. To do so would have been an affront to the king and his message to the people. That same is true when to comes to our preaching.

Preacher, preach the Word! If you are a loud preacher, preach loud. If you are a quiet preacher, then preach quiet. If you walk around or stand in your tracks, be the man God saved and called you to be. But, never, never, never, preach the Gospel with anything less than a burning passion for that message in your heart and on your lips. 

Alan

It’s Raining In Jacksonville, NC Today

We woke up to a rainy morning here in Jacksonville, NC. Joan and I had planned to ride up to Beaufort, NC to see the historical sites there. We especially wanted to tour an old cemetery there called The Burying Grounds, Looking at old cemeteries is something we like to do wherever we go. Strange huh? Anyway, I guess we will just go to Ihop for some breakfast.

We had a good service at Solid Rock Baptist last night. The Lord helped the preaching and blessed with a good move in the altar. Lord willing, we will finish up this evening and head home. Next week, we will be with Pastor Randy Gibson and the folks at Worship Point Baptist in Lenoir, NC. Home sweet home!

Let me just state for the record that I do not like hotel rooms. Especially when there is a floor above me. This morning I awoke to the sounds of someone walking back and forth above me. Let me rephrase that. I awoke to the sound of something akin to an elephant stampeding across the ceiling above my head. At any rate, my sleepy time was over way before I wanted or needed it to be. So, kids, there is a lesson in this for all of us. When you are staying in an hotel, be courteous of the little people who live beneath you. they might not want to hear your version of the Watusi at 6:00 AM. Just a thought!

Alan