Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The Chik-fil-A restaurant chain has been in the news a great deal lately because of their high moral standards, particularly when it comes to their support of the Biblical representation of the family unit. While not wanting to be involved in any political agenda, the company has been thrown into the spotlight, which has in effect subjected them to relentless attacks from the homosexual community.

One such attempted boycott of the business has come from college campuses desiring to block the company from setting up restaurants. Consider this statement recently given by James Castle, a law student at the University of Kansas, in his petition on Change.org, which was released in the press: “Because Chick-fil-A's stance on gay rights could create a hostile environment for queer youth and allies, having a Chick-fil-A on campus deeply conflicts with The University of Kansas Mission on Values and the Chancellor's and Provost's personal commitments to diversity at KU.”

It is beyond ironic that this young man has the audacity to use the word "values" in his statement. Webster defines a value as - (n) - "worth, that which renders anything useful or estimable, efficacy, importance, excellence." His statement attempts to point out that the university has a mission on values. My question is, "What is their mission?" A rational individual who will humbly and honestly look at the nature of the created world and truthfully examine the Biblical and God-given standard of moral excellence will seek to do what is right and have no agenda that promotes anything that rejects what is morally sound.

It is with statements such as these that Satan uses humanism to redefine words and ideas in our culture. How bad have things become, that supposed institutions of higher learning have turned into advocacy centers for foolish and base thinking? How terrible that people in positions of leadership would be willing to turn the truth upside down and respresent what is evil as good and morally excellent!

Let's face it, any person or group who attempts to support the homosexual lifestyle as something to be embraced has allowed themselves to become a device of wickedness. God loves every individual and he has sent his only Son to die for the sins of every person. But Jesus did not die on a cruel cross so that mankind could degrade themselves to the point of moral oblivion and then call such activities as homosexuality - "valuable."

Stand up for the Bible! Support individuals and groups and even businesses who will do God's will and accept his standards of morality! Our battle is not of flesh and blood, but of spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Pray that God will be patient with our country while we try to work this out. And no matter what happens, make an individual decision to fight the homosexual agenda which is fiercly and boastfully corrupting our country and our world!

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." ~ Philippians 4:8

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shoes and Consequences

Today is my 39th birthday. I had planned on writing a different article, but then I opened my birthday card that my grandparents sent me in the mail. My grandmother said that she can hardly believe that I have grown to this age, because it seems like just yesterday I was the little kid who kicked his shoe in the pond. So now, I have to tell the story...

I was about 10 years old and it was Christmas in Arkansas. On Christmas Eve I had wanted to go fishing in my grandparents pond behind the house. It was cold, but the surface of the pond was not frozen. I caught several blue gill. They were all pretty small, because they had overpopulated the pond. I had decided to cast them up on the bank and feed the cranes.

On Christmas morning it was very cold. The surface of the pond had frozen. We finished opening our gifts and enjoying the morning festivities. I had received some new loafers for wearing on Sunday morning worship assemblies and other such occasions. I had foolishly decided to wear them and was "loafing around." Well, I got bored. So I decided to walk out by the pond in my new loafers without permission. When I got there I saw a frozen pond and a pile of frozen fish on the bank. What does a 10 year-old do with a secne like that? That's right, I begin to kick the fish across the pond. It was great fun watching them slide all the way across the ice to the other side. Everything was going splendidly until the loafer on my right foot came off...

Mid-kick it sailed up in the air high and far. It landed in the direct center of the pond. The impact of the shoe falling to earth coupled with weaknesses in the ice cracked the surface. And so I watched. The shoe backed up a little, and sank like the Titanic. I mean, it really looked like a boat sinking...slipping away. My mouth remained open, but no words came out. It was time to face the music. I went back inside and told my mom what I had done. She was not pleased (understatement).

As soon as the stores opened back up after the holiday, I went back to the store where the shoes were purchased and bought another pair (with my own money). My parents taught me that every action has consequences, and that there were no exceptions to the rule, not even on Christmas morning. It has served me well to realize that all relationships work this way, even when it comes to our relationship with God. There is always a price that must be paid for poor choices. But above all, I can constantly be sincerely and humbly thankful for the price that Jesus paid for the debt of sin that I, myself fully owed.

It has been nearly 30 years. To my grandmother, I am still that little boy that kicked his shoe into the pond. And like her, it is as vivid in my mind as if it happened yesterday. In all my weaknesses and mistakes, she still sees my innocence. I am thankful for that. And no matter how old I get, I believe I have a Father in heaven who also sees me that way - and I am sure that is what makes all the difference.

"Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right." ~ Proverbs 20:11 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

People of the Book

God has always wanted His people to be "people of the book." He had Moses write down the book of genealogy so that man could trace himself back to Adam and thus remember his Creator (Genesis 5:1). He had Moses read the book of the law to the Israelites so they would vow to keep every word (Exodus 24:7). Joshua also read the book of the law to God's people, including every blessing and every curse (Joshua 8:34). Providencially, God allowed Hilkiah, the priest, to find the book when it had been neglected and lost (2 Kings 22:8). Later, after the Jews had returned from captivity, the book was read once again to the whole congregation by Ezra, the scribe, instigating a national revival (Nehemiah 8:1).

In every circumstance, God required that his people take an oath that they would know the book. He made them promise to obey every word in the book. He promised himself that they would be blessed or cursed based on their keeping or not keeping the words of the book. Every step, every ounce of success for God's people was always directly related to the book. You can check the book itself.

The success or failure of mankind still rides on the knowledge of and keeping of the book. But in 2012, there are only a few people in existence today that are truly people of the book. Consider the facts:
  • Most people have never studied the Bible. I am not saying they haven't read the Bible, but rather, they have not studied it. There is a big difference.
  • Most people do not take Bible class seriously. They see it as optional, a bonus, or an unnecessary part of church participation that is for teachers and preachers.
  • Many people scan the Bible looking for answers to certain questions. They do not realize that the best answers are found through a balanced understanding of the entire work.
  • The world in general does not show the proper respect for the Bible. If they did, they would not talk about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit as they do. If they did, they would not teach and practice religion the way they do.
  • Satan is keeping the world busy. Too busy with work, school, and recreation for people to spend time listening to what God has to say in the book.
This article is not meant to be harsh, judgmental, or cynical. Its purpose is to remind the reader of the great opportunity God's people have to be people of the book. When you are people of the book, you know the will of God. When you are people of the book, you can find heavenly answers to earthly struggles. When you are people of the book, you have the peace that comes with knowing that regardless of what you are dealing with, God will deliver you. When you are people of the book, you can do more than feel like or hope that heaven will be your home, you can know it. When you are people of the book, you think differently, act differently, and live differently - and it makes your life and the life of every person around you - better!

Every generation of people has the responsibility to be a people of the book. May we not forget!

"And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God." ~ Nehemiah 9:3

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Atheists and Words of Speech

Have you ever thought about how limited your speech would be if you were an Atheist? Let's face it, many of the phrases that we use in conversation to make a point come directly from the Bible. Consider a few:

"It is more blessed to give than to receive" - Acts 20:35
"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" - Matthew 26:41
"Render therefore unto Caesar..." - Mark 12:17
"Turn the other cheek" - Matthew 5:39
"Do unto others..." - Matthew 7:12

This is very short list. Each of these phrases comes from the Son of God Himself. A deeper examination of the Biblical text would literally reveal hundreds if not thousands of phrases, words, and ideas that originate from holy Scripture. Think also of:

"The Good Samaritan"
"The Patience of Job"
"Cross Bearing"
"A House Divided"

and many more...but Atheists would not want to use these phrases, because in doing so they are admitting the validity of the source...

Atheists also have a hard time emphasizing anything they want to say. They may have no problem with swearing, because they are not worried about what the Bible teaches on the subject. But could they take God's name in vain, or swear by his name or anything created?

The Hebrew writer points out, "For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute." ~ Hebrews 6:16

An Atheist cannot really commit to an oath, because in doing so they would have to swear by something greater than self. To take God's name in vain or to swear by anything other than one's own self, is full acceptance of a higher power to whom all men must eternally answer.

Christians are very fortunate. They can simply tell the truth and live the truth and hold nothing back. They can speak and live freely in a world that functions as God would have it. But Atheists are severely limited. They simply don't have much to say.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" ~ Deuteronomy 8:3

Monday, July 2, 2012

God's Instruments

Last week as I traveled to Huntingdon, TN, I stopped at a tiny little church house on Highway 22. Memories kept me from passing without stopping. It was over 100 degrees outside, and I was dressed for preaching (tie and all), but I got out of my car and went up to the front door of the building. It was 5 p.m. and nobody was there, as I expected. I removed a business card from my wallet. On the back I wrote this note and I attached it to the door:

"Thank you for helping me get started. You will never know how much you helped me. I would love to come and preach here again sometime. God bless all of you..."

I am not sure those were the exact words (verbatim), but that is pretty close.

When I came to Tennesse in the fall of 1996, I came to preach the gospel. I arrived at FHU in Henderson with that sole purpose. I had done some preaching off and on since I was 16, but now it was time to get serious about it. So I foresook all and fled. There was one thing above all that I needed most...someone to receive me.

After a few months of classes I began asking around to see if there were any churches that would let somebody like me preach: someone very green who was learning. My friend, Ben Jones, had been substitute preaching some for another friend, Tim Parrish, at the Holladay Chapel congregation. In the early spring of 1997, I preached my first sermon east of California for the Holladay Chapel church of Christ.

The first sermon my wife ever heard me preach was on Easter, 1997, at the Holladay Chapel church. We went back to Jackson, TN after services and ate at O' Charley's. We had just begun dating at that time. I took a regular preaching appointment not long afterwards at the Hickory Plains church on Highway 424. After a few months there I went on to Christian Chapel near Humboldt, TN - and the rest, as they say, is history. But I will never forget all of the little congregations who gave this young man an opportunity. For me, they were God's instruments to help me become a preacher of the gospel of Christ.

It is my firm belief, that what God has called us to through His word is ministry. For some, this means the public proclamation of the word of God. For others, it means something else. But I have determined that ministry is about allowing God to use you as His instrument. It is never and will never be about you. It is first about loving and pleasing God. Secondly, it is about helping others do the same.

There is nothing more comforting than knowing one's purpose. Our purpose is not as complicated as we think. Our purpose is to be used as instruments of God.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ St. Francis of Assisi - 13th century