Tag Archives: church attendance

What’s so special about a tent?

If you’ve never been a part of a tent meeting atmosphere you may wonder why I get so excited for this time of year. And whether or not I can adequately express what makes a tent meeting so special, only the end of today’s blog will tell. But I’ll attempt to stir your heart with the emotion I’m experiencing today.

Hebrews 9:1 begins speaking of

A worldly sanctuary

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinance of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

The first tabernacle was a movable man made temple with caretakers, priests and a high priest that he only could go into that Holy of Holiest places to make sacrifice for his sins and that of the congregation of the Lord. Though it was a temporary tabernacle, the grandness of it didn’t suffer, and I seriously doubt it was as easy as the tents we pitch today. It had layer upon layer of materials that God had laid out by design and great detail, and given to Moses. The tent then followed the children of Israel. Our tent is not of great detail, it was crafted by an Amish man in Ohio of red, white and blue vinyl to remind us of the Nation we call home and our burden to turn it back to God. We don’t have golden candlesticks, the Ark of the Covenant or the shew bread. We have the light of Jesus Christ that shines in the heart of the saved, the covenant promise of eternal life in Christ and the Word of God that fills our souls! That is what lies within the tent of Victory Baptist Church!

The way of the wilderness

Hebrews 9:8 ~ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

The children of Israel could not imagine the privilege to come to us, though they were the symbolism of God’s plan for salvation. But they couldn’t even go into the tent! What a privilege to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us and regardless of whether we are inside the tent, out in the sun around it (though it’s calling for rain tonight) or experiencing the tent meeting via Facebook live, we are in the presence of God! The first tent meeting was a matter of necessity for wilderness wanderers. Our tent meeting is a reminder of the days of old when revival crossed America and a desire to bring that back to world caught up in the wilderness again.

A way from dead works

Hebrews 9:11-14 ~  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The children of Israel attempted and failed again and again to keep the works of the law. Glory to God that once and for all, through the blood of Christ we were released from that bondage and are now free to serve the Living God! There’s still plenty of bondage in the world around us, but nothing that Jesus Christ cannot free us from.

However, tent meeting is also a time for the church to remember that one of the bondages that is so easy for a child of God to fall into is the bondage of dead religion. Churches everywhere fall into apathy of religion rather than the awe of the Almighty! We forget the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit is expected to take a back seat until the service is over, lest we disrupt service.

This ought not to be. There is nothing traditional about a tent! And there shouldn’t be anything traditional about the service of God, whether in a building or in a tent. The Holy Spirit of God was so awesome in the days of the children of Israel that they stood outside the tent in awe and fear of His presence. That same Spirit is within us, how dare we take it for granted and treat Him as though He is not Amazing!

That is how I want to approach this tent meeting tonight. I want to be prepared in godly fear and awe to expect the Spirit of God to show up in my life in such a way that I cannot help but feel like the children who experienced the first tent meeting! Glory!!!

The Backslider’s Gospel

backsliderAs I read the opening of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians this morning, I felt as if I should start this blog:

Shari, a servant of Christ (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead:) and all the brethren (and sisters) who are with me, unto the churches of Calhoun County. Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a regal introduction. We take, or should I say “I take, my calling of God for granted.” Paul was writing to the churches of Galatia because they were believing a polluted form of the gospel.  Paul marveled that they were “so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”  (Galatians 1:6b) And as I read across those verses I thought back about the people that I have seen give their lives to Christ at an altar of grace and tsmhen were so soon removed. Those who I had watched walk and serve Christ. Not as those do who get saved and vanish. Which is often the issue with a soul will who comes searching for a temporary fix to a permanent problem rather than a permanent fix to a temporary problem. Whew! That a good word right there! But the folks I think on are those who I served with for years sometimes; and then one day they were just gone. Believing another gospel? They’d likely say no. Because they’re not serving in another church. They’re absent without leave, and believing a gospel for which they aren’t even aware.

The Backslider’s Gospel

A backslider’s gospel is perhaps what I would call it. For some reason or another they found their time could be better spent outside of the church. They occasionally come on Christmas and Easter. A funeral attendance will heap conviction upon their shoulders for a good thirty minutes after the service. But then they determine that Sunday is like any other day. And they can love God on Monday just as well. They have nothing to prove by being in church.

Just as I need to be reminded Who it is and why it is that I serve Christ, a backslidden Christian too needs a reminder. Paul said in verses 15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to which were apostles before me ; but I went to Arabia, and retruned again unto Damascus.”

While Paul didn’t go to where the other Apostles were, he was still in the ministry. He was preaching and teaching the gospel as the Holy Spirit revealed it to Him. He wasn’t called to follow the church, or the leaders, he was called to follow God. So be it when someone leaves our church and moves on to serve in another, I’m not concerned for their soul. I miss them, I’m like a mother hen I want all my peeps in one place, but I’m spiritually mature enough to know that’s not always the way God sees it.

But when someone leaves church for the house… no… that’s not God’s plan. That’s a backslider’s gospel. That is the one that allows you to believe that you can be “be just as good at the house as you can in church.” No you can’t. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll read your bible and listen to the word of God. For a while maybe, then you won’t. You’ll tell yourself that you don’t need Christian fellowship. Yes you do. All these things serve a purpose in your life that you don’t want to live without. You can survive. But not nearly as well.

The gospel not only convicts the soul of sin, but it soothes the heart.

Sin may not be continuously on your door step after you leave the church, but Satan will be. He’ll place things in your life to assure you stay away from God’s house, because even Satan knows you’re better off in church.

The fellowship of believers may cause a disagreement now and then, but there is no truer friend than that of the body of Christ if you’re in the right church.

The Backslider’s gospel is the most deceiving of all. Because it tells you “You’re okay.” And you’ll be okay until you’re not and then you’ll be away from everything and everyone that can help you make it through the rough patches of life. And then Satan will convince you that nobody cares. What a liar!

If you’re away from God. Get your heart and mind set for Sunday morning. Be in your seat. If you’ve not yet left, but you’re contemplating it, hang on to the back of that pew with every ounce of strength you have and then hit the altar and ask God to help you through. Don’t go to church for the sake of other people. Go to church for you.

Leave Your Burdens at the Gate

burdensFor greater than twenty years I haven’t wondered where I’m supposed to be on Sunday morning. I haven’t gotten up on any given Sunday and said, “what a great day to go to the mall! That actually wouldn’t happen on a Thursday! With words unspoken you may have perhaps read that as if it were spoken in a self-righteous church lady voice. Please don’t. There’s no holier than thou or preachy connotation. It’s written in humble gratitude that God gave me a place to call home in the house of the Lord at Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, West Virginia. It’s church day! And I’m excited about what the Lord will do there.

I’m still in Jeremiah, although I only made it but through one chapter this morning before getting waylaid on this thought.

Jeremiah 17:24-25

And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

It’s exciting to know that God cares about my church attendance! I was in a meeting one day when someone said, “I can be just as good of a Christian outside of the church as in”. I’d argue, no you can’t. I actually didn’t argue, it was an adult at a youth camp, but I did get my point across. And although this may be an Old Testament scripture, in a land of kings and princes, it’s as relative today as it was when it was written between 630 and 580 B.C.

We need church and not going has consequences.

The above scripture tells of the blessings that God says will come when we attend church, there was also scripture that told of the cursing of turning your back on God. (vs. 27) The blessing of honoring God by putting Him first on the Sabbath is a country going in the right direction. But let’s put it on a personal level, how about a life going in the right direction? For the record, those who argued with me that they could be out of church and still be a good Christian are now out of church. And though I believe they are saved, they’re lives are a mess. It’s not to say that problems won’t come when you’re in church, but what you are is equipped to handle them.

Sunday School isn’t just for children. It’s a place to delve deeper into the word of God. It’s like having a free conference every Sunday! And those who take advantage of it are fewer and fewer. Sunday School is usually followed by the worship hour. It’s a time of preaching and singing and there are those who attend it and miss the whole point by “enduring” it rather than embracing it!

Jeremiah’s words struck me when he said to “bring no burdens through the gate… but hallow the Sabbath.” That’s how to enjoy church. There’s a reason it’s called a sanctuary. It’s a place to escape the world. I hope this morning finds you in the house of God with your burdens on the outside. Just be open to listening to the Word of God this morning and let God deal with the burdens. It’s not easy, even for those of us at it for a long time… but it’s needful for a great life and for a great country – that America gets itself back to church.

Don’t Go Hungry

bread

I’ve heard it said, “It doesn’t matter if I go to church, I’m just as much a Christian as anyone else.” And that may or may not be true. My problem with that theory is, if you’re a Christian, why don’t you want to go to church? This is not a blog to make you feel bad, it’s a blog to make you feel… even if you, like I, can’t wait to get to church! We’ve likely all heard the synopsis of God’s house being our spiritual dinner table, and how you wouldn’t turn down a real meal if you were starving so why are you turning down the spiritual meal. This is my theory on that  ~ we’re filling ourselves up on junk food.

One of the blessings of being Noni to my six grandbabies is that I am the final authority on food at my house. And I tell my daughters, “please make sure they eat well at your house, because at my house that’s not always the case.” There has to be someone in our lives with nutritional guidelines else we’d all have cheesecake for breakfast, potato chips for lunch and brownies topped with ice cream for dinner. Or whatever your dessert of choice is. The same is true spiritually, except we miss the mark. God’s house is not only our sustenance to live by, it’s like getting dessert all day long! But our mind is so filled up with the junk of the day and the week, and the life that we don’t feel we have room for any time in the house of God.

So here’s what you’re missing by not coming to God’s table…

FAMILY

Oh, and before you go there, I know you have your own. But that’s not like the one at God’s house, even if they include yours. God did not tell us in Hebrews 10:25 “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together” because He wanted to do a head count every Sunday; He wanted His family gathered around to share in the struggles of the week and be encouraged through His word to face the coming days. As a parent we long for that time with our children when it’s not about dragging them into your company, but having them desire your company and the sweet companionship of one another. That’s church. It’s a banquet table full of God’s children in fellowship with one another and ready to feast on His word.

FLAVORS

We don’t eat just for the sake of eating… well sometimes I do, but generally it’s because we have a craving for a flavor. And not just one… else it would get pretty tiresome. God created us with taste buds so that when the food slid across our tongues it would bring joy! And so does hearing the word of God. Every week it’s a different flavor and it tastes different to everyone there. I know there are some who show up at God’s table and refuse His banquet, but that’s their loss. They may not like the way it’s served or the way it was prepared but if only they’d came hungry, they’d have appreciated it more. The world will fill you up! On self, pride, heartache, etc and leave no room for enjoying God’s feast.

FEELINGS

It’s so easy to shut down and stop feeling. The world is harsh and I can fill up on it with about 10 minutes of news, 2 minutes of family dismay or less than that of someone’s woe is me story. I need church to refresh my soul and start my feelings flowing in the right direction.

2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us that God is our comfort zone.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

He’s our comfort so that we may be prepared to comfort someone else and draw them into the love of God when they see what He has filled us with.

Maybe you can’t think about comforting anyone else because you have enough on our plate. Dump that junk food in the trash and head to house of God to fill your soul with His goodness!

Consider Your Ways

consider

Consider Your Ways

Frankly, I’d rather consider everyone else’s, that way I don’t feel so bad. But the reality of it is that won’t fix anything. So I have to start with examining myself from the foundation up, and that foundation was the day of my salvation. Am I better now than then, and to what degree? I can look at myself and say I am wiser… true story. I am spiritually more mature… true story. I am committed to the cause of Christ… true story. I am where God desires me to me… ummmm, no.

This idea of examination began when I grumbled to God about the church. I know it’s not just my own church, its churches collectively; because I’ve heard the grumbling of others who grow frustrated with the lack of commitment in God’s people. But as I grumbled, God began to shine the light of His word into the recesses of my heart and lo and behold… there was a message for me. I was really hopin’ it was for somebody else.

The book of Haggai the prophet begins by God calling out His own saying “This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord‘s house should be built.”

My theory as a leader is that I need to get God’s people motivated. But what I heard God say was, “You need to get motivated.” So much of my effort is spent trying to prod people into doing something and so much time is lost in the prodding. As leaders we need to get busy building.

So Haggai goes on to show the Lord’s frustration with the people when He replied to their response…

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.

God was frustrated too! The people were more concerned with their homes than His. I guess Wednesday night was grass cutting night in Haggai’s neighborhood too. I guess Sunday evening services were for the people without a life. Yep… I’m in the flesh. But doggone it, why is that still so? Did we learn nothing from scripture? Every time the children of God forgot whose they were, there was a price to pay. And today we’re paying that price in the 2016 election for starters. Why is it a shocker that the moral decay of America would allow a lying, adulterous, murdering family in the White House? Could it be that our church houses have been abandoned and God’s priorities are so far down on our “to do lists” that He doesn’t even rank one day of the week with Him as focus.

Well, God did get their attention. At the conclusion of chapter one it is said that the “Lord stirred up the Spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.” It sounds like they got their priorities back in check!

Is there hope for us?

Twice in chapter one God said “Consider your ways.” And so I am. What is my direction? What is my personal mission statement? Every church should have one, and every person should have one. The children of God in Haggai’s day had the foundation of the temple to build on. In Chapter 2, verse 18, God again said consider, but this time it was not their ways, but rather the founding ways. The foundation of which the temple had been built in the days of Solomon was solid. They didn’t need to build a new foundation, only to build upon it.

So here’s the beginning of my mission statement… I think it’s a work in progress.

It’s my job to build, it’s God’s job to stir. Work. Let God take care of the drifters.

 

Momma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Heathens

cowboys

As I read 2 John this morning, I’m not really sure why I heard the song playing in my jukebox brain “Momma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” but it made me smile. And even though I know a few, honest to goodness, Christian cowboys and cowgirls, the song seemed somewhat fitting for the sentiment that John was trying to project in his letter to the “elect lady.” It rendered a call of concern to momma’s and daddy’s of modern day to hold tightly to your babies and guard the door of the home to what you allow those little minds to see.

John wrote to her in verse 4 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” That commandment is to love one another, and how very important it is to grow our children up to love each other and serve God. But it seems to be the furthest away from priorities in the modern home, be it a Christian home or otherwise. Everyone is so all fired concerned that their children have the crème de la crème of the world, while failing to protect the crème de la crème they’ve been entrusted with the watch care of.

John’s words had to have encouraged this momma, and I want to encourage mommas and daddy’s out there today, who have their children in church, to keep up the good work! It doesn’t go unnoticed or unrewarded. Read on…

2 John 1:5-8

 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

John warns us that at the door of life there are many, many deceivers, antichrist spirits, who would love nothing more than to take your child away from you and put them into the harm’s way of the world. In John’s day you had to open the door; today it’s in the house already via internet, television and radio. Satan’s avenues into your children’s minds are many, and you’ve got a full time job keeping them safe. Heads up…you won’t be perfect. Life happens. But a great start is bringing your children into the house of the Lord where they’ll hear the word of God and those seeds will be planted inside their little hearts. That way, when Satan does attempt to deceive them, (and he will), they can pull out their sword and shield and stop him in his track! Or their gun lasso if they’re a cowboy or girl.

Tonight’s Wednesday! I’m fired up for a few boy and girls coming my way at Victory Baptist Church. I hope you’ve got plans to get yours in the house of God too!!!!

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It’s Not a Malfunction of the Unction

the UnctionIt’s no doubt a character flaw, of which I have many, but one of the greater one’s is a lack of understanding or patience for those who one day decide that church is no longer important in their lives. It’ usually begins gradually, a Sunday or two, here or there, and then one day they’re no longer there at all. Their reasoning when ask is that they are soooooo busy, or a dozen other reasons, none of which fly with me, but that’s that ugly character flaw in me. Or is it? Is it a flaw to love people the way the Lord designed me to love people and to be concerned about their spiritual wellbeing? If it is, I’m seriously flawed.

John wrote in 1 John 2:15-20

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

It scares me when someone stops going to church. Because that soul that I had assumed was saved no longer behaves saved. I say this because salvation draws men to God, Satan draws men away. John said that if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Is that not a scary thought? And one that should alarm any church goin’ citizen of God who notices an empty seat in the sanctuary. My frustration quickly turns to heartache when I think that someone left our church, or is laying out of our church because the Holy Spirit isn’t in them.

John went on to say that this world is passing away; and we for certain should hope that Jesus comes soon as wicked as it’s getting right here in our own back yard. The morals of even the country people, that, even if they weren’t church going folks, used to have a respect for the word of God and His people, which has now flown out the window and is trash in the road of life. Yes, I’m a little dramatic this morning but empty church seats bother me! I know it’s not just my church, I’d almost rather it just be my church because then I could say, okay we have a problem there. But it’s not. It’s worldwide. So I’m working on taking my part of the world back from Satan.

It’s that unction that John spoke of in verse 20. It got my attention this morning as I read this word and thought about the Holy Spirit that dwells in me and enlightens my mind as I read His word. It’s like a bell goes off inside my head “ding, ding, ding!” And the Holy Spirit gives me a thought, an idea, an image and says now think, write, draw, and share what I’ve told you because you have purpose Shari Johnson! Whew! That’ll put a shout in my soul!

Yes I have flaws, but I have purpose and so do you! Our purpose is to show Christ to a world that is passing before our eyes. To introduce Christ to a lost world and to find our wanderers and bring them back home.

John continued this thought in verse 27 when he wrote “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

If you’re a child of God, it’s not a malfunction of the Unction and you don’t need the preacher to come to your house and tell you where you should be on Sunday morning. The Holy Spirit has already told you. John’s not talking about the preaching when he says that you don’t need any man to teach you, because we all do. But you don’t need the preacher, or the frustrated Jesus Chick to tell you to be in church. Because the Holy Spirit does that. You need it. You need the encouragement and the fellowship that comes from the people of God. And if you’ve received another message… it’s not of God.

If you’re one of my people from my church, or you used to be. I love you and I miss you… If you’re from someone else’s church, they miss you too…

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West Virginia Voting: Where Country Livin’ does a gal good

george

At last there is a reprieve from the political rhetoric, or so I thought. I was looking forward to a few days of no television ads or discument…. I know, it’s not word. It’s my version of what happens when you friendly argue about politics. Half discussion; half argument, and I am wholly tired of it all. I’ve seen too much political hype about why we vote like we do in West Virginia. Laying its reasoning to the cultural side of who we are. I’m fine with that. I’m proud of my Appalachian heritage and have never felt that I’ve missed out on life because I’ve not lived in the big city. But I’m most proud of my Christian heritage; which is why I vote the way I do… not because I’m a po’ little country gal who doesn’t understand the complexities of life, therefore I’m conservative. I’m not prejudiced, narrow minded nor am I misguided, and if you call me a radical that’s okay. So long as you understand that I’m radical about Jesus.

There are guns in our home, several. They’re for shooting deer, squirrel, and other critters that my husband enjoys calling fine cuisine. I call it disgusting… I’ve never been a fan of wild game. But my people are, and I’m okay with that. The guns are also handy to defend our home in case an idiot would decide that it would be a good idea to break in. It’s our right… at least for now.

I said all that to get to this. The part of my day that I love the most, and spend too little time in; is the time I take with the word of God. It’s where I know I can make sense of this world when the liberal jargon overwhelms my mind and has me questioning am I right or just weird? It’s why I vote the way I do and think the way I do.

Isaiah said it like this in Chapter 28:9

 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Who shall we teach about life and train in the ministry? Not the babies, which the political world seems to have an overabundant supply of. They profess Christianity, and yet there behavior isn’t even in the ballpark. I’ve seen T-ball games with more maturity when understanding how to lose. Name calling, carelessness with the feelings of others, lying, and that’s just the precursor for bad behavior.  And we wonder why children behave the way they do! Those who scream against Christian morals and mock the foundation this country was founded on are not who we should have a problem with. They’re lost. And without Christ; we need not think they’ll have Christian principals. But what about our so called “Christian” leaders.  They have no concept of the accountability factor that God is going to hold His people to, and the role that their misguided thinking plays in the flailing condition of our Nation. Of course, that’s “if” they are His people. I’m not their judge.

Isaiah continued on… 28:10-12

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

If I were to do a “state of the church” address for today, I’d say we’re in a state of unrest. Isaiah said much the same. Our country’s leadership isn’t helping to comfort the hearts of the people because they’re not following the word of God. Isaiah said the instructions for life were simple, precept (instruction) upon precept. Line upon line (just read it word for word without inserting our own version of what the scriptures say. Stop stammering on what God said! He meant it then and He means it now, God hasn’t changed.

Any psychologist worth a grain of salt will tell you that children need stability in order to feel safe. The only stability in the world for the child of God is the word of God and the church is messing that up by arguing over what God meant. It’s where country livin’ does a girl good. Because I’ve been brought up to believe and respect the simple and honest things of life. While people scoff at the culture of West Virginians, let me share a little about what makes it such special place to grow up in as a child and live in as an adult.

Homegrown West Virginians are very real. They talk and walk the way their grandfolks did and they generally think the way their grandfolks did. Some call it clannish… I call it family. They take care of one another, and other one another’s that don’t belong them.

Statistically speaking, West Virginia ranks 20th in church attendance (Gallup Poll 2014), with approximately one third of our state attending church. Not a statistic I’m proud of… I said they were good family people… I didn’t say they were saved. But even those who don’t go to church, don’t generally mind those who do, and have been brought up to respect the church goin’ folk. That’s the problem with America as a whole. I heard an old-timer once say of someone who forsook their Appalachian heritage “I think they got above their raise’n.”

Jeremiah, just like Isaiah, said pretty much the same thing in Jeremiah 6:16 ~ Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

We won’t find rest in our nation until we get back to the foundation of the Word of God. It’s a fact.

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God’s How To Guide to get your people in Church

how to guide

As I read these verses this morning with a heavy heart for people that I love who are out of church, this was my message from God, and perhaps you need it too.

Acts 2:46-47

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  • Live it daily
  • Fellowship with each other (food always makes it better)
  • Live with Joy (regardless of circumstance)
  • Share your heart
  • Praise God and give Him Glory!
  • Love people until they love you
  • And God will bring them to church

When’s the last time you’ve really tasted it?

chick honeyFor forty years the children of Israel ate manna, a small coriander seed textured food that was described as tasting like wafers made of honey, and honey is something I’ve ate a lot of lately. About a week ago I got my annual dose of winter meets spring which inevitably causes my body to go into shock. You’d think it would be happy about those circumstances, but instead it goes into the next season kicking, but no screaming… I lost my voice. And while that made for a lot of funny stories about how peace now reigned in the house, and lead to laughter when I attempted to sing it really did mess with my psyche. I sing most every day. It encourages my soul and sets my heart in a mode of worship. So when I couldn’t sing I began dosing myself with cough drops, tea and honey, and little by little my voice returned; just in time for a recital at Bearfork Bluegrass which occurs in a few hours. I’m a happy camper!  But as I start this day, my mind is on the manna. The “just right” provision of the Lord that somewhat seems routine and unexciting to some.

Exodus 16:15

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

Let’s just call it manna.

They didn’t know what it was. So they decided they’d call it manna. In the beginning they were excited… but slowly and surely manna grew tiresome. It’s called life. We all have somewhat of a routine we get into, including serving God if you’re a Christian. It’s unfortunate for most people serving God is from 10 a.m. – noon on Sunday. Possibly two other hours if they can be squeezed in between ballgames, meetings and the laundry. I doubt it was always like that. The day they realized the provision of God they were excited too! But then it grew dull. Why?

Acts 28:27 sums it up for us.

For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

  • Waxed gross – Unpolished
  • Dull of hearing – Selective hearing
  • Eyes closed – Out of sight out of mind.

And each one a craftily designed tool of Satan.

An unpolished Christian is one that doesn’t stay active with the tools God gave us, reading the Word of God, Worshiping, attending services. These are those that polish us and make us shine for all the world to see.

Those dull of hearing have chosen to let the voices of the world chime louder than that of the Holy Spirit and in so doing denied themselves the opportunity to hear the sweet voice of God.

Closing your eyes to the opportunities God affords you for fellowship could eventually get you into permanent darkened state that you don’t want to be in.

Because of my throat issue I fell in love with honey again. I hadn’t eaten any honey for quite some time. But when that sweetness hit my tounge…. Oh…. It was sooooo good. That’s how I feel in the house of the Lord and when I spend time in the Word of God and with His people.

How long has it been since you tasted the provision of God anew? Tomorrow’s Sunday… a new day to a new week, and an opportunity for you to taste again that sweet Spirit of God. I pray tomorrow finds you in a good, Bible believin’ and preachin’ church! If you’re in my neighborhood, I hope to see you at Victory Baptist Church, 2037 South Calhoun Highway, Grantsville, WV. It’s where I found manna in 1996 and it’s been keeping me happy and hole for 20 years!

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