Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Have Time

Saturday evening I attended the benefit dinner for Heritage Christian University. The guest speaker was former first lady, Laura Bush. I do not consider myself a political person, but I always vote and do my part as a citizen for for my country and for Jesus' sake. I was not there to be political. I was there to support the university and see what a very important person in the history of our nation had to say.

After her speech, she was asked several questions. One question in particular was, "What is something about your husband that you appreciate, that perhaps would not be known by the American people?" Her answer to this question, I believe, was the most meaningful statement of the evening.

Laura Bush stated that her husband has read the Bible completely through, from Genesis to Revelation, every year since 1987. I don't know about you, but I think that is absolutely fantastic. There are two main reasons why:

1. It is good to know when the leader of your country reads and studies the Bible. We pray for the president all of the time. We pray for the leaders of the world to seek the face of the Creator. We should be comforted when our leaders have not forgotten God.

2. It is humbling to consider that the man who is arguably the busiest man in the world still has time to read the Word of God. We excuse ourselves from the reading of the Bible because of all that is on our plate. We always promise that we will get around to studying, tomorrow, next week, or next month. If the president of the United States has time to read the Scriptures, so do we.

The key to our future, as a nation, and as a church, is knowing and obeying the will of God. If we do not read our bibles, how can we succeed?

"All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth." ~ Psalm 138:4

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Power of the Word

Sydney Harris, once said, "I am tired of hearing about men with the 'courage of their convictions.' Nero and Caligula and Attila and Hitler had the courage of their convictions--but not one had the courage to examine his convictions, or to change them, which is the true test of character."

There are people in this world, however, who do have the courage to examine their convictions, and even to change them. This being the case, Christians need not be too concerned about the long term spiritual status of people with an open mind. Our concern instead should be about getting the Bible into the hands of people who have not fully studied the will of God.

When I was a younger preacher, I used to worry about my Bible studies. I would concern myself with whether or not someone would obey the truth, and when it would happen. If it was not soon enough for me, I might find myself being pushy with the progress of the person who had already humbled themselves enough to study.

As time has passed, I have let that go. The reason is simple. The word is powerful. It will not return to God void. What we need to do is enjoy reading it, and teach it, and simply let the Bible do the work. What will eventually happen is exactly what needs to happen. People will be converted to Christ by the teachings of the Lord, rather than being converted to us.

When you study with someone, avoid being confrontational. The Bible will confront a person plenty. Assist and guide with patience. Show how the word of God is changing you. Allow the plan of salvation to unveil itself before the reader's eyes. The time will come when you will not have to ask the student about baptism. God's holy word will have them coming to you pleading, "here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36)

"But the word of God grew and multiplied." ~ Acts 12:24

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Preacher the Church Needs

What kind of man does the church need to be their preacher?

1. He must be a man who loves God.

First and foremost, the preacher must love the Lord. He must love the Lord so much, that when there is no motivation to preach from the human standpoint, he will still be motivated to proclaim the great gospel of God. If the preacher has a strong love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he will aim to do the will of God, and the commandments of God will not be burdensome (1 John 5:3).

2. He must be a man who loves people.

I once heard a young man say that he wanted to be a doctor because he did not want to have to deal with the common people. That made me laugh! What did this boy think doctors are supposed to do? The church is like a spiritual hospital. The hospital needs a good doctor. Jesus is the great physician because he cares for us and has the remedy for our sin. Preachers must want to save and heal souls. When preacher sees a person, he should see God's child. To him, there are only two kinds of people: Christians and potential Christians.

3. He must be a man of the book.

A preacher is a Bible man. Perhaps Paul's greatest statement or instruction to the young preacher, Timothy was simply - "Preach the word!" (2 Tim. 4:2). People cannot worship or have a relationship with a God that they do not know. The God of heaven has left his greatest information about himself in the pages of the Bible. His character is found there. His will is found there. His plan is found there. People desperately need to know the God of the Bible. There is no other God.

4. He must be approachable.

The greatest downfall of preachers over the years has been that when they leave the pulpit they don't know what else to do. Your preacher should also be able to be your best friend. You should be able to relax with him and tell him anything and see him as your closest relative. Young preachers need to know that the majority of their ministry will have nothing to do with public speaking. It will be about caring, building relationships, and genuinely loving people and the church. Preachers are not meant to have authority, that is where the elders come in. They simply need to be the kind of men that every person wants to know and love.

"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." ~ 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This past Sunday morning a very profound statement was made by one of our young people as he led the closing prayer. In reference to our opportunity to worship God, Bobby Hendrix prayed to our God, "We hope you are satisfied." Since that moment this statement has been in my mind and it has found a place deep in my heart. It is an incredible statement by a young man who has learned something of great importance.

The majority of humanity is fixated on self-service and self-fulfillment. Even in the church, many are misled by the false concept that worship is for man. Because of this, people are constantly struggling in their relationship with God and His church. People will shop for the church that they like. People will go where the doctrine being taught pleases them. People will look to worship in a congregation that appeals to their senses more than their inner man.

That being said, nobody can deny that doctrine is important. The Bible is the only religious doctrine that is truth. Worship that is heartfelt and uplifting is also necessary for the edification of the body. But the bottom line is that, as the song says, "we gather together to ask the Lord's blessing." When we come together as a church, if we are not gathered to worship and please the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the world, we have missed the mark.

How beautiful that one of our young people gets it! How wonderful that he is coming to worship to satisfy the desires of his God! In a time of people wanting to change what the Bible says or simply serve their own wishes with regard to worship, I am refreshed by the prayer I heard this past Sunday.

Each of us should think about why we come together as a church. Each of us should ask ourselves every time we have come, "Did I satisfy the God of heaven?" If we have this on our hearts and in our minds, and if we obey the teachings of the Bible, it will be a blessing to know that the answer to our question will always be, "Yes!"

"We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8-9

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do Yourself a Favor

If you were going to do the best thing you could possibly do for yourself, what would that be? If there is one thing in life that you could have over anything else, what would it be? These two questions are not exactly the same, but they are very closely related.

Sometimes the thing we want the most may not be the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Once a man approached Jesus as he was walking along the road. The young man ran to him and knelt at his feet and asked, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). Jesus responded to him appropriately by telling him to keep the Law of Moses. This was the law that was still in effect during the life of our Savior. The young man stated that he had kept the Law of Moses from his youth. At this point, Jesus challenged him concerning genuine faith:

"One thing you lack: Go your way sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come take up the cross and follow Me." (Mark 10:21). The young man did not obey this command of the Son of God. He went away in sorrow. But why?

The reason is simple and applicable to each one of us. Until we come to a willingness to give up what matters in life to us most, we cannot be disciples of Jesus. Jesus himself proclaimed, "So likewise whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33).

It seems fair, that the one who gave up heaven and separated himself from God on the cross with our sins would also require a similar sacrifice. We are only Christians when we follow in the footsteps of Christ. A servant is not greater than his master.

If you want to do yourself the greatest favor you could ever do, then forsake everything you have and follow Jesus.

The second favor is like unto the first. Build relationships with people who care primarily about your soul.

"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." ~ Matthew 16:25