Category Archives: Church attendance

Why We Need a Home Church

A Vacation Bible School lesson this past week has left me pondering the life and example Apostle Paul set before us in the scripture. What a story of conversion. The very villain of the day becomes a hero of the Christian faith. I love superhero stories! But Paul didn’t see himself as a superhero. Perhaps he did prior to Salvation when he was persecuting the Christians. But once he discovered the Person of Jesus Christ there was no superhero complex, only humble servitude. The very zeal that Paul used in his persecution of the saints of God, he turned around to use in the leading to salvation of those same people. Paul was placed before us as an example of church leadership and service. But there are very few Christians who follow Paul’s style of serving the Lord. He was bold, brutally honest yet humbly compassionate, he was real and he was committed unto death. Most Christians of the day are not even committed unto life. Paul fought for the integrity of the church. He disputed false doctrine and he encouraged the fellowship of believers as He was taught by Christ.

So where is it in this modern society that people have concluded that Christ is okay with people not finding it necessary to worship as a body of believers? As my friend Chief said in a sermon last week “Nowhere in the bible do we see that Christ sanctioned a renegade Christian.” Throughout the New Testament the believers were worshiping together and risking their lives to do so. I’m sure it would have been safer for them to just stay home. So why didn’t they? I’m pretty sure I can answer that from my own experience.

I’m Eternally Grateful for Christ and His Church

Basically since birth I’ve been in church, but not until 1996 was I “in the church” as a bona fide member of the body of Christ when I accepted Him as Savior. Until that point I had just been a church member with a vote. Which is far from the same. But suddenly I found myself in a spiritual family who took that role serious as they discipled me in faith, prayed for my struggles, counseled me in life and encouraged my soul every day. That’s what a church does, or should do. For that I’m eternally grateful that Christ placed me where He did. I need teaching and preaching and will until I enter Heaven’s gate because God’s wisdom is of a depth I’ll never obtain, but I long to explore. I cannot get that at the house.

Yes, there are television evangelist, and I do listen to more than a few of them throughout the week. But there’s not a one that I could call and say, “Hey preacher, I need your help,” and I’d get an answer.

I’m Evangelistically Gifted for Christ and His Church

And so are you! I have the gift of gab, song, music, teaching and art; all of which I use for the Kingdom. I use it both in and outside the church, so I will agree that you do not have to have a church affiliation to do so. But do people who have those gifts and are not involved in church use them to evangelize? Maybe a few, but very few. My gifts are an extension of Victory Baptist Church. I always make sure people know when I minister that I attend a home church and value that body for support. I minister to people who are not able to attend any church and would love to be able to. But because of health reasons they can’t make it. Our church sends and encourages missionaries both local and distant. That’s what the bible teaches.

I’m Eagerly Guided for Christ and His Church

I want to know the direction God has for me, but I would be just as eagerly guided for the world if I didn’t have the constant presence of brothers and sisters in Christ and a church that preaches God’s word to me multiple times a week. When I hear someone say that they can worship God alone, in their own place and without the church, I always wonder “but do you?”  Perhaps they’re more disciplined than I. That wouldn’t take much. But my experience with the church keeps me going every day.

  • They prayed me through countless heartaches, including my heart attack and open heart surgery.
  • They encourage my soul with their genuine love.
  • They support my ministry.
  • They bring joy to my soul when they allow me to minister to them.
  • They are real people, just a phone call away.
  • They are biblically sound people I can trust.
  • They’re more…

I need church. I think everyone needs a church.

Hebrews 10:25 says

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

It says that for a reason. We need it,


This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Few but Mighty

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer, and so we gathered today in front of our local government offices to pray for our nation.

As I stood there on the courthouse steps and listened to each Pastor take his turn in prayer for our military, law enforcement, EMS and Fire Departments, Schools, Students and Staff, Leaders all over the land and our community as a whole, my heart was humbled and broken. Those in attendance were few in number, but faithful. I’ve seen most of them each year I’ve attended. There were a few that showed up for the lunch cooked by the Hospital Chaplin Association and others that were there in support of the event, but what I observed summed up the state of our Nation.

The Pastors

They were doing their best to serve the community but it was a struggle. The struggle was actually with the hot dog grill that wasn’t cooperating. Try as they might, they couldn’t get it to catch fire. Pastors all across America have the same problem with their churches. People want canned regulated sermons that are controlled with a temperature gauge, not too hot and not too cold.

Revelation 3:15-16

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

The People

They were few in number, but faithful. Much like the churches on Sunday morning, while Sunday night and Wednesday night services have all but gone by the way side in most churches. People who wonder why our country is in such a state of disrepair need not look at the Whitehouse, but rather to the church house. People have no concern for the wellbeing of the security of the souls of their family, yet they expect the nation’s leaders to be concerned for the wellbeing of their security of people they don’t even know. People who don’t bother to vote, or if they do they don’t vote with a conscience of God, but expect the leaders to have that conscience. That’s not how it works…

Luke 10:2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

The Purpose

The Lord was scantly represented today, but there’s still a few of us left. And I feel honored to have been among them, I believe wholeheartedly that it is why God has had mercy on our Nation as long as He has. But that mercy will end one day.

Of just the few people that was there I also seen a representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • He is the Healer (two cured of cancer, one of a heart condition, that I knew of, there were likely others)
  • He is Comforter (a widow who lives alone and often struggles, but continues to find comfort in her Savior.
  • He is Father (several prodigals that returned home in attendance)
  • He is Provider (Nobody there was starving, even without the hotdogs at times)
  • He is Spirit (On the steps of a Government that welcomes Him not, His Spirit can be felt)
  • He is Faithful (The world may not show up for Him, but He shows up for us in so many ways)

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Continue on faithful servants, men and women of God! May our circles be Unbroken…


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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Secret Service Christianity?

2 CORINTHIANS 4:3

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

Is there such a thing as Secret Service Christianity? To some degree I would say yes when referring to countries where persecution with death as an evidenced possibility. But in America? No, not yet. And it’s gotten to the point of “not yet” because too many Christians have bought the lie that we should keep silenced unless spoken to about our faith. Very, very few times have people approached me and said “Hey, you look like a Christian, can you answer a few questions for me?” It has happened in simsilar fashion but it is almost as rare as a dodo bird.

What concerns me is the lack of desire and knowledge about sharing faith in the Christian realm and the “offense” taken when key Christian words are used in their presence. When I met my previous pastor twenty years ago or so, he came into my office in Magistrate Court and began talking to me about my faith. It made me very uncomfortable. Not because of what he said, but what I feared he might ask that would give evidence to the fact that I knew virtually nothing about the Bible. So when he ask me if I was excited about being a Christian, and if I ever shouted!? I informed him that my church was a on the “reserved side,” and no we didn’t shout. To which he replied “Maybe you should!”

Thats still one of my favorite stories! I couldn’t stand that man until he showed me who Jesus really was, and then I loved him for the 21 years he was my Pastor. Something about salvation changed my attitude. So it’s why I get scared when someone is offended by the word of God and consider themselves to be secret service agents for the Kingdom.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Can you be a secret Christian? Pehaps I’ve generalized it too much. When people are ask if they’re a Christian, most Christians will gladly answer yes, and usually it leads to an open and welcomed conversation. Many of those people just are not comfortable starting the conversation. I get that. It’s hard. But if you get on fire and begin to experience the power of God in your life, you’ll want to be very vocal about what’s happening. But it has to come from within and it has be to backed up with the action of reading and studying the word of God as well as making church attendance a priority at every opportunity. That means Sunday School, Worship, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Night and any special service in between. You cannot keep a fire lit by striking a match on Sunday morning. It will go out before the day is done. Life gets busy, I get it and I believe God gets it. But if it is so busy that you are too busy for God, you can’t be all He has purposed for you to be.
Complacent Christians are the best tools in Satan’s tool box.
If you find yourself offended by questions of faith, or without a desire to know more of God and His people. I’d check my salvation. Hell is too close to take it lightly.

This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

What About Your Hometown?

11×14 Canvas in Acrylic, availabe for purchase. Message me if interested.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

My New Mexico friend and brother in Christ, Dewey Moede and I speak often. How that friendship began is most assuredly a “God thing.” We are kindred spirits across the miles and both with a burden for our hometown. I just happen to live in mine while Dewey lives 1100 miles from his. Funny thing about Windom; it’s kind of became my adopted hometown, even though it’s 1000 miles from me. I know the people, I know many of their stories. I travel there each year for a revival, begging God to move in that place. It’s why when I read Matthew 23:37, I read it as Jesus’ hometown verse. He was so burdened. I get it. Dewey gets it. We want our people in Heaven with us. No circles broken. What about you and your Hometown?

I love that Jesus used a chicken in His illustration. In my brood of chickadees I have two fancy little girls named Glo and Sue. They’re of the Silky variety. I have no roosters, just hens, but that doesn’t seem to stop the Silkies from thinking that there’s a baby inside that egg. So when I go to rob the nest I literally have to fight her off the eggs. I’ve been pecked on more than one occasion, and it’s then that the plain ol, plain ol chickens are looking closer to being the favs. But I can’t argue that she’s just defending what she believes to be her babies. Just like Jesus who claimed us as His babies when His rejected Him and broke His heart.

And now, His adopted tribe is following the same path and it breaks the heart of the Father, and the children, or so it should.

Killing the Prophets

Although there are those that have literally lost their lives trying to share the gospel of Christ, there are far more who are just dead in the pulpit. I pray for my Pastor. I try to encourage him as well as many others in our church. We don’t take Victory Baptist for granted. Dewey Moede drives 5 hours every Sunday, one way, to serve as an interim Pastor in New Mexico. It’s one of the many reasons I love that he’s my friend. We have people who won’t drive one mile to get their home church because they’re not burdened for their own family, so the hometown burden isn’t even on their radar.

Many Pastors stand in the pulpits across America on Sunday and either preach the blood of Jesus to a faithful few, or they preach an entertaining watered down version to the masses. Yes I know there are some Mega churches preaching the blood, but they are few. In most hometowns the churches on Sunday morning have a fraction of the community. Where is the burden that Jesus has?

According to a 2016 Lifeway survey, 250 Pastors in America leave the pulpit each month. They called that “promising” because a previous survey said 1500. I don’t think that’s promising, I think it’s disheartening. Two hundred and fifty prophets are being spiritually killed each month.

Throwing Stones

A Pastor friend told me one day how his church, a mostly family affair (not his family), governs his preaching and his pastoral leadership to the point that it sucks the life of him. To me that’s every bit as tough on the hide as a stone thrown from an enemy. Who put those people in the place of God?

If you look at the biblical directive for pastoring a church, nowhere does it say that a Pastor is under the authority of the congregation. It’s God. The Pastor. The Church Leadership. Then the congregation. God is the God of order, not chaos and confusion.

Gathering the Flock

That’s our job. Everyone, not just the Pastor. When Jesus gave the commission to tell the world about the gospel of Christ, and lead men and women to Him, that was for everyone.

Calhoun County, West Virginia, USA, the world. That’s my hometown.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

The risk of dying before you’re dead

Perhaps it’s an advantage or a disadvantage to the privilege of traveling to multiple churches where I’ve seen both the dead and alive, and those in between. The live revive and the dead remind that I am just a rock’s throw away from being among’em as I witness those in between.
It doesn’t seem like much, but an “Amen!” goes a 4long way to a dry and dusty soul, and no doubt for the preacher in need of encouragement.

So, the question is, “How do you know you’re dying?”

Hebrews 4:1-2 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left of us entering into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto u was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

No fear

Possibly the first sign of spiritually dying is that you’re not concerned that it’s possible. I fear it. I’ve seen enough lifeless churches to last me a life time. Revelation 3:15 warns the people of God when He says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
I see the warning signs in the lives of others that make me fearfully aware.

• Church is a service on Sunday morning only. They’ve forgotten that they “are” the church.
• Church attendance is optional if something “better” comes along.
• Amen is said at the end of a prayer, or when prompted; seldom if ever spontaneously and obediently brought on by the Spirit of God.
• The altar is for fanatics, or those who “need” it.
• Bible study is on Wednesday only, and the preacher is the only one who needs to study so he can say what needs to be known.

If you’re on the list, be fearful, because you’re possibly dead.

No faith

James 2:17 – “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Faith in God is the premise for Salvation. Believing that faith in Christ alone, without works is the only thing necessary for salvation. But getting saved isn’t the finish work of the child of God. There needs to be evidence that that faith is alive and well! Else, as James said. It’s dead.
Dr. Myron Guiler preached last night at Gospel Light Baptist Church in Wallkertown, NC. Dr. Guiler is well into his 80’s. He’s been near death multiple times in his life, and yet he continues on. He continues on not because he’s a preacher and pastor, but because God’s not done with him yet. He was visibly tired last night, as he’s preached every night this week and traveled many miles between churches. His message was pure, simple and yet so profoundly un-evidentiary in the lives of so many.

• To lead a soul to Christ you must know people need saved and know how to lead them to salvation, you must have compassion for the lost, and you must get involved in their life.
If those are not qualities in your walk with Christ, you are dead.

No fire

For me, this is possibly the most telling of all. I get that people can’t be on the mountain top every day of their lives. Things happen, discouragement abounds. But if I’ve met you on more than one occasion the evidence of salvation should be in your life and you should have omitted a few sparks for Jesus.

As I write this morning in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel desk clerk has questions of about who I am. I tell him about my blog and he checks it out. He comes back excited… he’s on fire. He’s funny. He makes me laugh and our souls connect in Christ. He’s not a Baptist. I’m not a Pentecostal. It’s cool. We serve the same Jesus.

If the very fact that I said I was cool with a Pentecostal gave you more concern than excitement about the fact that we were talking about Jesus in the lobby of a hotel. You might be dead.
Check your blood pressure. Because it’s only about the blood. Not about the denomination.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

A Lesson in Survival From Ollie the Owl

On a recent cold winter evening my husband David was delivered a wounded screech owl from our area of West Virginia. It had been hit by a car, and a 6.5 oz. owl verses a 4000 pound car survival story certainly speaks of the tenacity of this little creature. But when David brought it to the house I really thought he brought it home to bury. It was not in a good way. The first day it sat lifeless with an occasional opening of one eye. I guess to see if the humans taking care of it were still there. The second day he was more alert and obviously in pain, but by the third day it was apparent it was going to survive! But the quality of survival was still iffy. Probably the only one more shocked than we were about the survival was the owl. I named it Ollie, it just seemed like a good fit. We attempted a release but Ollie could only glide to the ground and then couldn’t take flight from there. We then called the WV Raptor Center to ask what we should do, because keeping an owl is a federal offence and wild creatures shouldn’t be caged anyway. That’s a no brainer. The center was very helpful and got in touch with raptor transporter who came in a few days to retrieve Ollie for assessment and owl therapy. Who knew! that owls could have therapy?

Our last few days with Ollie at our house were spent letting it perch on our hand, scratching its head and rubbing our fingers down its feathers. It made no attempt to bite us, it was gentle as a pet, but the better it felt, the less it encouraged us to touch it. I fed it raw hamburger (not the best diet) but I couldn’t do the frozen mice thing. According to the Raptor center raw liver would have been better. But Ollie loved the hamburger that I would spoon feed it. Needless to say, I grew quite fond of this little creature of God’s.

Historical Job’s Temple in Route 5, Gilmer County, WV

Karen, the raptor transporter assessed Ollie for a few days and then called to say it seemed apparent that it could fly and she invited us to take part in the release. The release had to be in the same area for which it was hit by the car, and that happened to be at a historical site in our neighboring county of Gilmer called “Job’s Temple.” A  Methodist Church building built between 1860 and 1866 and is constructed of poplar logs. It’s a beautiful location.  And too ironic not use for a correlation between Ollie’s rescue and faith.

Because of the condition of Ollie’s eyes it was apparent that it had a concussion. I feared that it couldn’t see at all. When our hand would pass by its eyes there was no reaction.

I Once was Blind but now I see…

A few days following his collision with the car.

I was in that same state of condition prior to my salvation in 1996. The walking dead. I was a part of the problem with religion. I professed but didn’t possess the Spirit of God. And that sad part is, I wasn’t even aware; I just knew something was missing. That missing piece was the Spirit of God! It caused me to soar in life… wait… I’m getting a head of Ollie’s story. Ollie didn’t know or care who David and I were, only that we were caring for it. Feeding it, nursing it back to health. Oh how very grateful I am for the church people that took me under their wings and discipled me when I finally was rescued through salvation. Please don’t ever underestimate the importance of helping a new convert find their way through Christian faith. Just like Ollie, if people hadn’t protected and spoon fed me for a while on the ways of Christianity I would have been devoured by the beast of Satan. I wouldn’t have been lost… but I could have very easily been discouraged from flying.

Your Grace Still Amazes me!

Salvation is amazing! But much like Ollie I fear the captivity. If we’d have gone against the law and kept Ollie caged, it would have continued to heal and had the ability to fly but its flight would have been constrained to the area for which it was kept. Sad. So many Christians are constrained to the walls of the church when it comes to experiencing the full power of God’s amazing grace!

Everyone is at risk if they don’t take risks.

Ollie trusted David and I for a few days as it was healing. I was under the direction of several people in our church for a time, until they were certain I could take flight on my own. It was then that I was encouraged to branch out into the ministry and take my spot on the branch. I began devouring the word of God until I felt I understood it enough to share it and then I began to teach. I began on the very elementary level, junior high and high school classes for which I needed. Slowly I progressed into the adult ministry. I came up through the ranks of every age class in our church. And with each one I learned more and more.

Ollie was a mature adult bird. It should have known better than to fly in front of a car. I was brought up in a Christian home, I should have known better than to be lost. But I did not. It doesn’t matter our age, it matters how we react to Rescuer. And it matters if you’re in the right place of rescuing.

I won’t say that anyone else couldn’t have done what we did for Ollie. But they couldn’t have possibly cared more. And that’s how I felt when I found my church family. I’d never been cared for in such a way. If you’re not in that church… find it. Find the one that will encourage and strengthen your soul until you fly!!!!

I’ll Fly Away

Ollie’s release was bitter sweet. It was the right thing to do, but I had so enjoyed the company of God’s precious critter.

I met Karen at Job’s temple and we trekked up the hill behind the church. She allowed Ollie to familiarize with the area again. It posed on her hand like it was waiting for us to get one final picture, and then within a few minutes, Ollie took flight! Oh my stars what a wonderful sight! I rejoiced to have been a part of the process.

If you’re a child of God, you too should rejoice in being a part of the process of seeing another child of God take flight.

Just like Ollie and the car, the world can hit us when we’re off guard or on guard. We need to encourage one another to stay strong in the faith. We all have times when we feel faith waning and that we’re not sure if the journey is going to end well. If you’re a child of God, it ends so much better than “well!” But the journey also can be amazing. Study and learn the word of God, learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, and when it’s time to take flight, soar like you’ve never flown before. God’s got a plan for you. Nothing just happens.

God sent Ollie to David and I because He knew the end of the story. He knew that He would be glorified. Will He not do the same for His children.

Luke 12:4-9

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

Ten Things that won’t be said in Heaven

  1. What did the doctor say?
  2. Want to hear some good gossip?
  3. Is there a deacon’s meeting this week?
  4. Did you read the obituaries?
  5. Why are you sad?
  6. What’s the latest trend on twitter?
  7. Is that bread fresh?
  8. What church do you go to?
  9. A lost person’s name L
  10. Are you saved?

I’m sure there’s a million others that we could come up with, but those were at the top of my list this morning as I pondered that question. I find myself thinking a lot about Heaven, especially the more wicked this old world gets, and the more Christians are viewed as the enemy.

Monday’s are my Long Term Care Facility visiting day.  I spend about an hour with the residents singing songs, sharing the gospel and listening to their testimonies. Yesterday, every time I’d sing an old hymn, they’d talk about their childhood and remembrance of hearing it sung in an old country church. We are still blessed with many “Old Country Churches” in our part of the world. Unfortunately many have closed their doors because somewhere along the line the congregations drifted and no longer filled the pews. That’s a reality check for us all on Sunday mornings as we look around at the empty seats in our own church. At least it was for me.

It also brought me to those 10 questions…

  1. What did the doctor say?
    1. There won’t be any doctor appointments in Heaven, Glory to God!!!!
  2. Want to hear some good gossip?
    1. There won’t be any.
  3. Is there a deacon’s meeting this week?
    1. No board, business or bantering in Heaven. God’s got it all under control. He does here too… we just fail to listen.
  4. Did you read the obituaries?
    1. We’ll be living with the Good News. There will be no death.
  5. Why are you sad?
    1. What would we be sad about in a perfect land?
  6. What’s the latest trend on twitter?
    1. Twitter?
  7. Is that bread fresh?
    1. Oh yes!!!!!That brings joy to this bread lover’s heart. I love biscuits and hot rolls, but I love the Bread of Life so much more. It’s all good.
  8. What church do you go to?
    1. Glory to God the same one!!!! Why can’t we understand that now and play better together for those of us who believe in the blood bought path to Heaven through Jesus Christ.
  9. Are you saved?
    1. Of course, else we wouldn’t have made it there.
  10. A lost person’s name.
    1. The saddest of all. There will not be second chances when Jesus returns and yet we treat life as if we all have a thousand years before He returns to take the church home. Who of us doesn’t have a lost loved one that we can’t imagine life without? It will be the case if we don’t get busy…

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

Do You Know How Mighty You Are?

I have multiple vices in life that can get me distracted and off on an “Oooo that’s shiny” moment. The most recent one is Netflix. I’m not an avid television watcher, as a matter of fact I’ve gone months with very little television, until… it was be placed on a portable device that I can watch from any room in the house, has no commercials and I decide when I want to watch it. Netflix speaks my Attention Deficit Disorder language. I won’t watch just anything, I have a few set rules: it has to make me laugh or add a sense of adventure. I won’t watch sad or grotesque shows that make me cry or cause my stomach to roll over. Life is sad and gross enough. But throw a slap stick comedy on the screen or one of a super hero and I’m hooked like a fish on a line until the last episode is off the air. Hence why Netflix appeals to me, and gets me in trouble, you can binge watch every episode until it’s done! This is not a Netflix commercial, it’s a warning.

I said all that to say this, my latest run on superhero shows is the “Arrow.” A green hooded man who was done wrong, out to right the wrongs of the world with a few sidekicks thrown into the mix. As I watch in disbelief of their super strength and warrior tactics my eyes roll and I begin wondering how I can get sucked into this story line. This isn’t humanly possible. But then, as I read merrily along in 1 Chronicles 11 this morning on the historical truths of King David, I’m not watching Netflix but I’m reading the very truths I rolled my eyes at. But even to a greater degree of strength.

One man without the aid of special effects and stunt doubles killed 300 men in battle. Alone. No Robin to his Batman. No Kevlar. One man and his sword took down 300 warriors.

1 Chronicles 11:20

And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

That lead me to the question of the day, where are those people of valor today? Why have we allowed our nation to get in the position that it’s in today. Who told us we were weak?

I believe I can tell you where it started: When church became of little importance in the homes across America.

Oh… I know I’m preaching again! But I fully believe the reason we are weakened as a nation is because the comradery of the church was the backbone of America and it’s gone. It’s been a long time since anyone in the boundaries of America has had to fight a hand to hand battle for a piece of ground. But it’s beginning again. The church has lost so much ground, and fewer and fewer are on the battle ground of faith.

A few things those of us in church need to remember about this battle we’re in:

We are Mighty in Christ

(2 Corinthians 10:4). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Satan loves to make us believe that we don’t have the strength to fight this battle we’re in. And yet, through one man, in the weapons of the day, 300 men were slain. I haven’t even seen that on Netlix! And if I could, it’s still Hollywood. We have the genuine article of ability through the Word of God.

We are Mighty in the Word

Just like the men of David lived according to the word of God, so should the might men and women of Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 1:5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

The same word that changed our hearts has the power to change the heart of anyone on earth. And yet we doubt. Who are we to say that if we continue in His word, getting it out in our communities through face to face evangelism as well as using the technology at hand, we couldn’t each bring thousands into the fold of Christ? We’re not fighting with a spear, we’re fighting with the power of God!

We are Mighty in Unity

David didn’t have the biggest army, but he had the biggest victory, because his men were a unified body fighting together. One of the reasons I think unity scares many of the believers of Christ is because we hear unified and think “one world church.” And that church is coming, but that church has nothing to do with Christ. If your church believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and the one and only way to Heaven is through His blood that made the sacrifice for all mankind, then you shouldn’t care what’s over the door of those who believe in the same like manner. You can disagree on a few of their ideas of worship styles and church rules, but we can all agree on Jesus. And through that belief work in unity to bring souls to Christ.

On my next superhero show, I think I view their tactics a little closer. Possibly consider buying a cape. Just kidding. Maybe.

 

 

 

The Church Bones

A Facebook friend posted a question last night for speakers asking “If you had to speak for 45 minutes without preparation what would you speak on?” My response was “Church Bones.” Although the title is somewhat cryptic, it’s a subject that I feel I’m somewhat an expert on after 21 years of studying people. I’m somewhere between a friend and a non-creepy stalker with ministry people. I love watching to see what works and what doesn’t in a ministry. What floats my boat and draws me to Christ and what’s just “oooo that’s shiny” moments. I also like watching the congregation. Especially that in my own church because I’ve been there when many of them began their path in our church. It’s exciting stuff when you see God working in peoples lives.

What I don’t do is look around the church at those who “don’t do.” What could I possibly gain besides an ulcer?

The body of Christ is the bones of the church. And there’s a lot of bones that I won’t mention that are crucial joints in the church. But the ones in my illustration are the movers and shakers of the group. They’re what makes it work… or not. Depending upon the church. I could actually put names beside every bone in my illustration. God has been good to our people. So I’ll tell you in brevity about a just a few.

The Attitude Bones

Glory to God, that’s one of the most important ones! A smile seems so small, but when someone new has just walked in a church a smile goes a long way. When someone old walks in a church a smile goes a long way! We need to let people know that we’re glad they’ve arrived. I can tell you of way too many times I’ve walked in a church (to which I was invited to sing) only to be greeted (if you want to call it that) by people who look more like I’ve walked in on them in the bathroom. True story! Check your attitude when you get to church and make sure you’re a welcoming sight!

Shoulder the Load Bones

The spiritual load of the church is a heavy load for those who work in the ministry, especially the Pastor. We often times do not see the heaviness that someone carries because they’ve got the attitude bones in check. Their load would break the back of a normal person. But because God’s given them an added strength, they carry on. That doesn’t mean that we as the congregation of the Lord and friends shouldn’t try to shoulder any of the load we can to help out. We can make calls, we can bring supper for a busy family, we can tuck a dollar or two in the hand of someone for encouragement. The list is long of ways to shoulder the load.

Leadership Bones

The direction of church is turned on the leadership bones. I heard it once said that the church rises and falls on leadership. It also goes right or wrong. Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart and those in leadership will answer to a greater degree when they stand before the Lord.

Discipleship Bones

Countless people put their arm around me and steered me through the beginning of my walk with Jesus. It’s probably the greatest neglect of the church today. We see a soul saved and we’re so excited but we leave them in the deep water to drown. Sound dramatic? I usually am, but it’s the truth none the less. You wouldn’t leave a newborn beside the ocean unattended and you certainly shouldn’t leave a new convert to be attacked by every shark in the sea of Satan. It’s why they don’t stay and why they go astray in life. They need to be discipled just as the early church did.

Funny Bones

Oh my stars! A sense of humor is a necessity in a child of God! For the reason of stupid people (those who don’t have a filter and can cut you to the core) and to lighten the load that many of us carry in the door. I know Jesus laughed. I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for His laughter much of the time now when He sees me trying to make it on my own.

Back Bones

If you’ve been in church any length of time at all you know them by name. They are those who will stand flat footed and tell you like it is without wavering biblically. They’ve been there a while and have stayed standing through every storm.

Hug Bones

So, so very important. And also it’s important to know who’s a touch me not. But I’m a hugger because I’ve known many days when I just needed to know someone cared. Being cautious about folks who hurt and those who don’t like touched is important though because you can just as well run them off or physically hurt them. We often don’t know our strength and for someone with arthritis or fibromyalgia the lightest squeeze can send shock waves. So hug, but maybe with just your smile sometimes.

Work Bones

Most churches do not have an abundance of work bones. Another quote I heard was that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I fear that a more realistic number would be 5/95. If you just show up at church on Sunday morning, get your message and go, you’re clueless on the background of your church. Hours and hours of preparation goes into a good service. Floors don’t clean themselves, dinners don’t get planned and materials don’t just show up un-ordered. We need more work bones!

Praise Bones

God desires it. You need to experience it and the folks behind you need the encouragement to join in! Raise them hands to the Lord all ye people!

Prayer Bones

Another neglected anatomy part. The altars of America are not well attended. Prayer is a formality at a few tables and an act of desperation when times are tough, but seldom relied upon for survival of everyday living.

Visitation Bones

What’s visitation? Exactly. It’s a lost art and it’s why churches are not growing.

Tail Bones

Every church has them. They’re pew sitters. And it’s not a bad thing unless that’s the only thing you do and you leave no better than when you came. But the very fact that people come to church is wonderful and shows that they have a heart for the things of God. Celebrate every single one, even if you sometimes have to check pulses.

That’s just a few of the many, many parts of a church. As my Facebook friend said last night, there’s some squishy parts too. They’re the kind hearted souls who come, worship and encourage us just by their presence. I love the body of Christ. Every one. Even the tails bones.

1 Corinthians 12:20

But now are they many members, yet but one body.