Monday, December 29, 2008

New Years Resolutions

I am not one to make a lot of new year resolutions. I do like to spend the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day setting some personal goals for the next year. But for those of you who like to make new year resolutions, let me give you ten resolutions to consider. These come from Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, as penned in Proverbs chapter three.











Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Glory to the new born Son.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Peanuts Sermon

Click on image for larger version

"A gentle answer turns away wrath." Proverbs 15:1
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18
Just a thougt!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It Was Not a Silent Night

I came across this powerful and wonderful song from Andrew Peterson on my son's blog. Below are his insightful comments.

"All is calm, all is bright"? I don't think so.
Some of the most beloved Christmas carols totally misrepresent the truth that Jesus, though fully God, was also fully man, and was born a real baby. "Silent Night" would have us believe that a teenage girl giving birth to a baby in the middle of the night in a stable was a situation in which all was "calm" and "bright". Unlike most babies, we're told that the baby Jesus was "tender and mild", and that radiant beams shown from His holy face. According to "Away in a Manger", the baby Jesus slept peacefully in the hay, and when the lowing of the cattle awoke Him, "no crying He makes".

I think Andrew Peterson's song is a bit more accurate:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charles Colson Explains the Fall of Blagojevich

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- If anyone knows how Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich feels right now, I do.

On Tuesday, the governor was arrested in a glare of publicity and charged with going on "a corruption crime spree," as U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald described it -- including alleged attempts to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat. . . .

In the wake of Blagojevich's arrest, many Americans are left wondering once again how intelligent people can do such stupid things -- especially when they've achieved the pinnacle of power.

The answer comes down to pride.

At the height of Watergate, a dear friend of mine, Tom Phillips, then CEO of Raytheon, invited me to his home. As we sat in his kitchen, Tom read to me a chapter on pride from a little book by C.S. Lewis titled "Mere Christianity."

I strongly encourage you to read the whole story here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Newsweek Comes Out of the Closet

In this week's issue of Newsweek magazine, Religion editor Lisa Miller, in an article entitled "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," defends gay marriage using the Bible. It stands as a prime example of blatant deception, poor biblical scholarship, and biased reporting that is typical of the liberal media.

Al Mohler (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) states, "Newsweek magazine, one of the most influential news magazines in America, has decided to come out for same-sex marriage in a big way, and to do so by means of a biblical and theological argument. In its cover story for this week, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller offers a revisionist argument for the acceptance of same-sex marriage. It is fair to say that Newsweek has gone for broke on this question."

Read Dr. Mohler's full response here.

Hypocrisy Dries Up Fruit

Thoughts from my Scripture reading this morning.

"Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built;as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and destroy their pillars" (Hosea 10:1-2, ESV).

Only one of Jesus' miracles probably brought sorrow to Him. This was the miracle of judging a fruitless fig tree (Matt 21:18-19). As He later explained to the Pharisees, this miracle signified the removal of God's blessing from fruitless Israel, and bestowal of the blessing upon another nation. In the Old Testament, Israel was God's chosen vine. But Hosea points out that national hypocrisy had dried the fruit and withered the branches of the vine. Today God has entrusted the sacred task of bearing fruit to another nation which Peter calls "a holy nation" (1 Pet 2:9). Peter is refering to all genuine believers. In view of this glorious privilege Peter warns all Christians to lay aside all hypocrisy and bear fruit (1 Pet. 2:1-2).

Just a Thought!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jesus, A Thief?

In my preparation for this Sunday's message on the 8th commandment, "You shall not steal", I came across this quote:

"It is well known that Christ was crucified between two thieves. But as far as God's justice was concerned, there were really three thieves on the cross that day: two who died for their own crimes and one who took our sins upon himself." (Philip Graham Ryken)

This thought is worth meditating on the rest of the week.

Just a thought!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Seven Secrets to a Successful Sunday School - Part 2

  1. The Sunday School is imperative as the reaching, teaching, winning arm of the church. When it fulfills these purposes, it enlarges the church, influences the community, and reaches the world.
  2. If the Sunday School is to improve, it must change. If it is to grow, it must plan for growth.
  3. A Sunday School can never grow beyond its ability to care for its guests.
  4. Start new classes, start new classes, start new classes.
  5. Put as many people in the class as possible in positions of leadership or responsibility.
  6. Station a friendly, outgoing person at the door to serve as a greeter.
  7. Contact all visitors within 24 hours.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Which Economy?

By Ronnie Floyd

The question remains for each of us: WHICH ECONOMY ARE WE GOING TO OPERATE OUR LIVES BY RIGHT NOW? Will we operate by our global economy or by God’s economy? Could it be that America is going through this tough time because so many of God’s people are not giving to God what God has asked us to give?

Do you realize that Christians last year gave less than 2.5% of their income to any charity at all, including their own church? This is amazing, I mean really amazing, to me. Are we really people that believe the book of God called the Bible? How can we continue in this mode?

How can we expect God to bless America when Christians are “stealing from God” financially? You may say, “Well, that is rather tough language.” Well, it is exactly what God’s indictment was towards those in Malachi’s day: How can you keep on robbing from God?

Christians need to stand up and be biblical Christians! We must understand and practice biblical giving. Honoring God with at least one-tenth of all God gives you weekly is exactly what God wants from us. Anything less than that is just not biblical giving.

We might be really surprised what would happen in America’s economy if believers would start practicing biblical giving. Are you ready to do so? Are you already doing so? Will you do so?

God’s economy is the best way, really, the only way . . . God’s way.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seven Secrets for a Successful Sunday School

              1. In Sunday School, everything rises and falls on leadership.

              2. The Sunday School must return to its purpose of reaching, teaching, and winning.

              3. Sunday School must be the center for ministry.

              4. The pastor must be the biggest supporter of the Sunday School.

              5. Good teaching will not necessarily grow a class, but bad teaching will definitely kill a class.

              6. Organize the class for growth and ministry.

              7. A growing Sunday School will have leaders who consistenly seek new training and ideas.

              Seven more secrets to come.

              Just a Thought!

              Tuesday, November 18, 2008

              Alabama Baptist Convention

              The Alabama Baptist State Convention convened today. What a great day it was. As dry as reports can be, I enjoyed hearing most of the reports and was excited to see how God is working through Alabama Baptists.

              Joe McKeever did an excellent job in his theme interpretations of "LeaderConnect."

              Roger Willmore's President's Address called for Alabama Baptists to return to a reliance on the Holy Spirit. He asked the question, "Has the modern day church with all of its resources and technology stopped looking to the Holy Spirit for its power?"

              The best part of the day was the evening worship time. The Alabama Baptist Singing Men and Women were truly a blessing to hear. Kevin Derryberry did a great job in leading us in a time of worship. Rick Burgess of the Rick and Bubba Show did a great job of reminding Alabama Baptists why we are here; to reach people for Christ. While maybe not a deep message, it was a very challenging and, I believe, much needed message for Alabama Baptists, including this one.

              Thanks to Roger Willmore for putting together a great convention.

              Monday, November 17, 2008

              Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference

              I greatly enjoyed sitting under great preaching today at the Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference. This years theme is "The Preaching of the Cross." The music and the messages were, as always, very inspirational and a great blessing.

              I especially enjoyed the time of worship and singing. I was introduced to the music of David Freeman. His music lead me to the throne of God. You can hear some of his music here.

              D. J. Horton did a great job in teaching from Galatians 6:11-15.
              He titled his message "What Really Counts." What really counts is not to conform, but to be transformed. In verse 15 what really counts is made clear, "a new creation."

              Frank Cox preached from Galatians 2:20 on "The Call of the Cross."

              1. The Call to Salvation.
              2. The Call to Surrender.
              3. The Call to Seen the Mind of Christ.
              4. The Call to Share Your Story.

              Rick Lance, Executive Director of the Alabama State Board of Missions preached from 2 Tim. 2:8-10. His message was "Remember Jesus Christ."

              1. Remember the LIFE He lived.
              2. Remember the DEATH He died.
              3. Remember the GOSPEL He gave.
              4. Remember the POWER He Provides
              5. Remember the FUTURE He has fulfilled.

              I am looking forward to the start of the covention tomorrow.

              Saturday, November 15, 2008

              Persecution of Christians in America is Here

              It’s Getting Hostile Out There
              by Jerry Falwell, Junior

              In John 15:18, Jesus told his disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you” (NKJV).

              These are encouraging words to Christians today, especially as we witness acts of aggression taking place against those who attempt to live their lives according to biblical principles. Most prominently, I refer to an incident this week in Delta Township, Michigan, at the Mount Hope Church, where a group of militant homosexuals entered a service and began shouting and throwing fliers at members. Their shouts, according to reports, included: “It’s OK to be gay,” and “Jesus was a homo.” Outside the church, other protesters carrying pink crosses and shouting “bash back,” banged on buckets during the service and allegedly pulled a fire alarm.

              Also this week, a Canadian-based “Christian missionary,” as described by received a pink, gift-wrapped bag at his home, thinking it to be a present left for one of his young daughters. However, when he opened the package, a bomb exploded, seriously injuring the missionary, Gary Stevenson.

              While occurrences such as these are rare, the intensity level is elevating in many areas of our nation, especially after voters in three states—California, Florida and Arizona—voted down state referenda to enact same-sex marriage laws. It is apparent that those of us who embrace the biblical standard of one woman, one man for a lifetime are going to be increasingly in the crosshairs. This is why I persistently encourage Christians to be skilled in apologetics, which is the art of proving Christian truths and doctrines. We must be able to reason with our political adversaries, utilizing Scripture as our foundation and a having passion to win souls to Christ as our motivation. This is what Jesus called us to do (Matthew 28:19-20).

              When Christians face persecution for their beliefs or when we read of fellow Christians who are suffering for their faith in Christ, it is a good time for personal reflection. We must all periodically ask ourselves: am I ready to face hostility for what I believe?

              Are you ready to face persecution because of your faith, while remaining true to the cause of Christ? The true test of our faith is how strong it is—how it sustains us—when the chips are down.

              Thankfully, there is a wonderful passage in the Bible that strengthens us, no matter what kind of trial, ordeal or burden we are facing. It is II Corinthians 4: 8-10: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our own body.”

              Keep your eyes on the Savior, Christian friends, no matter who opposes you or who lets you down. For we know this: Jesus, who understands our every need, has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

              Jesus, Our Elder Brother

              Hebrews 2:10-13 tells us that Jesus is the elder brother of every Christian. Our greatest blessing in having Jesus as our elder brother is entrance into the family of God. Paul says that we are adopted into the family of God "through Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:5). By grace we are adopted sons and daughters into the family of which Jesus is the natural and rightful Son. Along this line Richard Phillips, in his commentary on Hebrews, expressed a great thought upon which to meditate. Here is your thought for the day.

              "We are not his brothers and sisters because we are children of God; rather, we are children of God because we are his brothers and sisters."

              Monday, November 10, 2008

              America Has Chosen a President

              Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) posted an excellent article the day after the election entitled "America Has Chosen a President." I wish I had read and therefore could have directed you to the article earlier. It is a must read for all evangelical Christians. You can find it here. Below is an excerpt from the article.

              The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

              Following the election ABC World News Tonight visited the campus of Southern Seminary and interviewed Dr. Mohler concerning the election results. You can watch the video clip of the story with Dr. Mohler's comments here.

              Just a Thought!

              Friday, November 7, 2008

              The Christian's Response to the Election

              What is the proper response for Christians following the election? Let me suggest a few things.

              1. Respect the office of the president.
              Even if you disagree with the social and political views of the man in the office, the office is still to be respected. "The authorities that exist have been established by God" (Romans 13:1-2).

              2. Do what is right and Obey the Law.
              "For rulers do not hold terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong" (Romans 13:3-4). "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,..." (Titus 3:1).

              3. Pray for Public Officials.
              "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, . . . This is good, and pleases God our Savior" (1 Tim 2:1-3).

              4. Influence government for good.
              "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is not longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Matthew 5:13).

              Just a thought!

              Wednesday, November 5, 2008

              Ban on Gay Marriage Passes in California

              California voters pass Proposition 8, overturning a state Supreme Court decision that granted gay couples the right to wed.

              See whole story here from Fox News.

              The state constitution of California will now include the following sentence: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
              The amendment barely passed, but this should come as a wake up call for our president elect and for Democrats. One of the most liberal states, if not the most liberal state, in America is not yet willing to sanction the destruction of traditional and biblical marriage.

              Concerning his election Barak Obama stated last night in his victory speech that the people have spoken. Indeed, the people have spoken and the people said, marriage is to be between one man and one woman.

              "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24).
              Just a Thought!

              Monday, November 3, 2008

              V O T E

              Tomorrow America will go to the polls and elect the next President of the United States. Denny Burk, in a post entitled, My Closing Argument for Life on Election Eve argues convincingly that "the trancedent issue of this election is abortion." This is an excellent article that every Christian should read before stepping into the voting booth. Read the article here.

              Tomorrow, when we mark the ballot for those running for elected offices, we willl find that there are no perfect candidates. They, like all of us, are all flawed. But when it comes to the fundamental moral issues of our day, the two leading presidential candidates are diametrically opposed. We must prayerfully examine the policies of all the candidates, from those seeking the Oval Office to those seeking local offices, and go to the polls to support the men and women who best uphold the political and social values we hold dear. As Believers, those values, should be influenced by a biblical world view.

              The duty of every Christian is to be certain that when they have cast their ballot, the name of Jesus was glorified.

              Just a Thought!

              Wednesday, October 29, 2008

              "Look Around" by the Akins

              "You can’t force people to act morally—long term, at least—by government mandate, regulation, and force. True change takes place in hearts and minds, which then will be reflected in the “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people.”

              "The United States never was, nor will be, the kingdom of God, and any attempt to identify it as such is idolatrous. What we need today is not a return to the past, but a turning to a future that has never been: a healthy pluralism in which all views are allowed, encouraged, and respected, and in which a healthy respect for the value of religion in America’s past, present, and future permeates society. "

              The two paragraphs above were made by Richard Land in his post, Your Faith and the State. I agree with the second paragraph with the exception of "encouraged." While in our Democratic society all views should be allowed (but not all views should be allowed to be acted on) and respected, I'm not sure all views should be encouraged. How can we justify the encouragement of an Islamic jihad philosophy?

              Click on the title to read the whole article. It's rather lengthy but worth the read.

              Just a thought!

              Monday, October 27, 2008

              Misusing God's Name

              "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,..." (Ex 20:7). More literally this verse says, "You shall not lift up the name of the Lord your God for nothingness." In the third commandment God forbids the the misuse of His holy name. More specifically we are not to use His name in a vain, empty, or meaningless way. In other words, to speak God's name or to speak about God in a thoughtless, careless, or flippant way is to violate the third commandment. God's name speaks of His very essence. It is holy and sacred. To dishonor God's name in any way is to denigrate his holiness. It is a way of saying that God is worthless.

              Just a Thought!

              Sunday, October 26, 2008

              The Second Commandment and Jesus

              God commanded men not to make an image of him, but the implied promise in the second commandment is that God would make an image of himself. He did not want his people trying to make an image of him because his purpose was to show himself to his people in the person of Jesus Christ. The fulfillment of the second commandment is the birth of Jesus Christ.
              (Edmund P. Clowney)
              Hebrews 1:3 "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being,.."
              Col. 1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."
              Just a Thought!

              Saturday, October 25, 2008

              No God’ Ads to Hit London Buses

              An atheist organization known as the British Humanist Association has purchased ad space on the outside of London buses for signs reading: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The organization, which was hoping to raise $9,000.00 for the campaign, raised $59,000.00 and now plans to put the ads on the inside of buses as well.

              A Christian Post article stated, “It is well known that Christianity is in decline in the United Kingdom and across Europe.” In fact, the article states that about two-thirds of Britons say they have no religious affiliation, according to the United Nations. It concludes that the United Kingdom can no longer be considered a Christian nation stating that Britons are less committed to the church and that “secularist” tendencies were increasing.

              England was at one time the most Christian nation in the world. I wonder, where will we be 8 years from now?

              Just a thought!

              Saturday, October 18, 2008

              Worry, Stress, and the Economy

              Over the last several weeks a number of news stories have been concerned with the issue of stress and worry over the failing economy in America. In one story Economic Stress Taking Toll from NBC says, "Doctors say this financial mess could turn into a mental meltdown for a lot of us." Another story entitled Economic Stress and How to Cope at Home states,

              If the financial crisis has you feeling stressed out, you're not alone. A newly released survey by the American Psychological Association shows the declining economy is causing stress levels to skyrocket. As things get worse on Wall Street and those money troubles trickle down to home, people are getting stressed out, and it's showing.
              Worry is the result of misplaced trust. For Believers, worry is needless because we know that our God is the all-sufficient God who is not only able but willing to provide for all of our needs. This includes our financial needs. Jesus said, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them" (Matthew 6:31-32).

              Christians understand that God will supply all of our needs and that we can trust Him. To worry about what we eat, wear, drink, or where we live is to think as the world thinks. The reason the world stresses in times of economic slow down is because the only hope it has is in the ever changing and unstable stock market or government or banking system. But the hope of the Christian is in the God who is omnipotent, eternal, unchanging, and loving.

              Jesus also said, "Do not be anxioius for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34). Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it." When we worry and stress over what might be we are allowing the future to rob us of our joy today. In his devotional book, Strength for Today, John McArthur said, "Lack of joy is a sin too. Many people lose their joy because of worry about tomorrow, and they miss the victory God gives them today."

              Hebrews 13: 8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." When we worry about the future, is that not equivalent to denying that the Lord who took care of us yesterday can take care of us tomorrow? Of course it is! In Matthew 6:31-32 Jesus is reminding us that God knows our needs and He has all the resources and love to provide for us today and in all the days to come.

              How do we gain victory over worry? Rick Warren says, "Worry is the warning light that God is really not first in my life at this particular moment." Because worry says that God is not big enough to handle my troubles. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." He said that at the conclusion of an entire sermon on worry. The antidote to worry? Put God first!

              Just a thougt.

              Thursday, October 9, 2008

              The Ten Commandments

              It is not what is said but who said it that carries the most weight when it comes to my personal determination of its credibility. For example, many times when I hear people speak on behalf of the Ten Commandments, they will usually quote a prominent historical American figure. Many times I have heard quotes from American forefathers such as John Adams or James Madison. I have heard or read the following quotes on numerous occasions.

              From John Adams: "The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal code as well as a moral and religious code. These laws are essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws. Vain indeed would be the search among the writings of secular history to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis of morality as the Ten Commandments lay down."

              From James Madison: "We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon . . . the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

              While these are great men in American history, I am not nearly as persuaded by their words as I am the words of the risen reigning Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18).

              This Sunday I begin a series on the Ten Commandments. My first message will be on "The God of the Commandments." According to religious polls most American Christians cannot name four out of the ten commandments. So, to remind us, here they are from Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV).
              1. "You shall have no other gods before me."
              2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol."
              3. "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God."
              4. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."
              5. "Honor your father and your mother."
              6. "You shall not murder."
              7. "You shall not commit adultery."
              8. "You shall not steal."
              9. "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
              10. "You shall not covet."

              Just a thought!

              Monday, October 6, 2008

              Blue Letter Bible

              I recently came across this free biblical research site. This site is great for Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, and those preparing devotions. It contains a lot of good basic Bible study tools. You can take any verse in God’s Word and look up most every translation of the verse, commentaries, interlinear Bibles, concordances – all for free. The site also has links to other Bible study and resource sites. Click on the icon to go to the site.

              Monday, September 29, 2008

              ABC News Visits Southern Baptist Seminary

              From Al Mohler - "ABC's World News Tonight broadcast a segment from the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Sunday night, September 28, 2008. The issue was the roles of men and women in church and in society -- the issues raised by some in the wake of the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate."

              Al Mohler is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. See the whole story with the video on his blog here.

              Thursday, September 25, 2008

              Hosea - by Andrew Peterson

              We've been preaching through Hosea on Wednesday nights. My son introduced this song about Hosea to me on his blog. The song is by Andrew Peterson and is from the perspective of Gomer. Listen to the song and see the lyrics here.

              The Superiority of Christ

              Last Sunday, I began a new Sunday night series of messages on the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is a fascinating book. The writer of Hebrews - - of whom there is much debate, but I believe, however undogmatic, is Apollos - - beautifully exalts the person and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ. A study of Hebrews gives us a better understanding of Christ, especially as it relates to His incarnation, His substitutionary death, and His priesthood.

              Hebrews 1:1-4 immediately sets out to establish the superiority of Christ over everything and every religious system.

              One way in which the writer demonstrates the Superiority of Christ is in His relationship to the universe.

              Hebrews 1:2 "but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe" [NIV].

              The Hebrews writer tells us that as the unique Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all things and the creator of all things. He goes on to tell us in verse 3 that Jesus, by His powerful Word, is also sustainer of all things.

              Abraham Kuyper, put it this way: “When Jesus looks at his universe from his exalted throne at the right hand of the Father, and he sees the great galaxies whirling in space, the planets and the people upon this planet, and all the minute details of life here including the details of our individual lives, there is nothing that he sees anywhere of which he cannot say, "Mine!"

              To personalize this: You and all that is yours belongs to Jesus.

              Just a Thought!

              Saturday, September 20, 2008

              40/40 Prayer Vigil

              The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is a call to pray for personal spiritual revival and national renewal. The 40/40 Prayer Vigil consists of 40 days of prayer from September 24 to November 2, 2008, culminating in 40 hours of around the clock intercession during the last 3 days of the Vigil. The Vigil focuses first on personal spiritual revival. It then covers an expanding circle of prayer concerns, from the church to the nation.

              The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is co-sponsored by the North American Mission Board and the Ethics and Religous Liberty Commission. Both are entities of the Southern Baptist Convention.

              I hear many people ask, "I am just one person, how can I make a difference in our nation?" Here is the simple answer, pray. "But how should I pray?" you ask. The Bible tells us how to pray for personal revival and national renewal.
              If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
              This verse makes it clear that if we are to see national renewal we must first have spiritual revival. God's people, not the unbelieving world, are called to repent of their sin. Repentance is desperately needed in the church today.

              So how should we pray? We should humble ourselves before a holy God, earnestly seek His face, and pray for forgiveness. Repentance is not just asking for God's forgiveness. It is God's people turning back to God. Repentance is the condition on which God will hear our prayers and heal our land. And our land is in need of healing.

              Would you join with me, my church, and thousands of others in this 40 day prayer vigil for spiritual revival and national renewal. An excellent prayer guide has been produced and can be downloaded in pdf format here. In order to open the files, you will need to Get Adobe Reader.

              Monday, September 15, 2008

              Ray Boltz Comes Out

              Like most Christians who grew up on the music of Ray Boltz, I was shocked and saddened to hear of his announcement that he has chosen to live the gay lifestyle. In an interview with the Washington Blade Ray Boltz commented, "If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live...I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself." These words come from a father of four children who was married for 33 years before his divorce became official earlier this year. Ray Boltz is probably best known for his song, "Thank You." He is also well known for his songs, "The Anchor Holds" and "I Pledge Alleigiance to the Lamb."

              How are we to respond? We must pray for him. He has chosen to live a life that is outside the will of God. It is a life of disobedience. We should pray that Ray Boltz will repent of his sin and return to a life of obedience to the Lord He claims he follows.

              Go here and here for two reactions to the Ray Boltz news.

              Saturday, September 13, 2008

              A Pastoral Crisis in America

              H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, in their book Pastors at Risk, present some statistics on risk factors related to ministers today. Some of these statistics are as follows: Ninety percent of pastors work more than forty-six hours a week. Eighty percent believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively. Thirty-three percent said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their families. Seventy-five percent reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. Fifty percent felt unable to meet the needs of the job, ninety percent felt that they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry, and forty percent reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.

              According to eighty percent of pastors' wives feel their spouse is overworked. Eighty percent of pastors' wives wish their husband would choose another profession. Eighty percent of pastors' wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not. The majority of pastors' wives said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

              These statistics and stories should be cause for great concern among evangelicals today. The number of men answering the call to ministry has significantly decreased in recent years. 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month. The number of churches in need of a pastor far outnumber that of available pastors. The problem is epidemic in proportion.

              Could the reason be that the stress of being a pastor today is more than what most men are willing to accept for themselves and for their families? Church leaders should take this issue seriously. Church leaders need to seriously evaluate how they treat their church staff. If churches do not, I predict that in the not so distant future, many churches will be burdened with having to go for years without a pastor because there simply will not be enough for every church that is looking.

              The blame is not to be placed entirely on the church however. Studies today show that seventy percent of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor. Ninety-five percent of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses. Eighty percent of pastors spend less than fifteen minutes a day in prayer. Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons. Could this be the reason that a significant number of the fifteen hundred pastors who leave the ministry each month leave due to moral failure and spiritual burnout?

              The reason these numbers break my heart so much is because I love the church. The church is the greatest organization in the world. I think the greatest privilege any man can have is that of being called into the pastoral ministry. I for one am honored to serve as pastor to some of the greatest people in the world, known as First Baptist Church.

              Just a Thought!

              Tuesday, September 9, 2008


              A.W. Tozer wrote, "Revivals come only to those who want them badly enough. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with his wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness." - from Born After Midnight

              Just a Thought!

              Wednesday, September 3, 2008

              Sarah Palin Hits Homerun

              Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Wednesday night, and greeted by thunderous applause, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin demonstrated that she is well qualified for the office of Vice President of the United States. Just some thoughts that came to my mind from listening to her speech.

            1. She can give a speech as well if not better than Obama.

            2. She identified with the average working class American.

            3. She demonstrated her knowledge of the major issues including energy and, to a small extent, foreign policy.

            4. She demonstrated great compassion for those with special needs.

            5. She can stand firm and be tough in facing the enemy.

            6. She is not afraid of confronting wrongdoing even in her own party.

            7. She understands the principle of servant-leadership.

            8. She is for the people.

            9. She is not afraid to make decisions.

            10. Simply put, Sarah Palin hit a home run on Wednesday night. She energized the convention in a way that few expected the convention could be energized.

              Just a Thought.

              Sunday, August 31, 2008

              Grandchildren and Heroes

              Benjamin, our newest grandson is very wise in choosing his heroes.

              Peace in the Midst of a Storm

              Rhonda and I went to the beach this afternoon to see the waves churned up by hurricane Gustav. I took this picture. I am reminded that the storms of this world can seem so powerful and furious. Yet, for the Believer, we can have great peace in the midst of the storm. Jesus, our Prince of Peace said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).

              Billy Graham wrote,

              The storm was raging. The sea was beating against the rocks in huge, dashing waves. The lightning was flashing, the thunder was roaring, the wind was blowing; but the little bird was sound asleep in the crevice of the rock, its head tucked serenely under its wing. That is peace: to be able to sleep in the storm! In Christ we are relaxed and at peace in the midst of the confusions, bewilderments, and perplexities of this life. The storm rages, but our hearts are at rest. We have found peace-at last!

              Wednesday, August 27, 2008

              Sunday School Reaches Your Target Group

              Sunday School is the most undervalued resource in most churches today. It has been quietly ministering to all age groups for more than 200 years. While church growth strategists and pastors tinker with new models and programs for reaching the latest demographic target, Sunday School is right there, usually with a class already serving the target group. - Elmer Towns and Stan Toler, What Every Pastor Should Know About Sunday School

              Tuesday, August 26, 2008

              Defense of Marriage Act Being Challenged Today

              The Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged in federal court today. Attorneys with Liberty Counsel will be in federal court in California for what could be one of the most important marriage cases we have yet seen. This case involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and therefore the outcome could impact Americans from coast-to-coast.

              To lose this battle could mean that every state must recognize and give equal benefits and rights to homosexual marriages peformed and legally recognized in other states, as that of marriages between a man and a woman.

              Pray for the Liberty Counsel attorneys today.

              Monday, August 25, 2008

              Sunday School Leaders

              Last night we had our Sunday School Leaders Training night. I was well pleased with the turnout and the response. Serving at First Baptist are some of the greatestest Sunday School leaders in our state. Below is a page out of the Sunday School Leaders guide that we distributed to our adult Sunday School teachers. I believe this description of a good Sunday School leader is for all churches.

              What Should a Sunday School Leader Be Like?

              A Growing Christian
              A good leader knows Jesus as his/her personal Lord and Savior and grows through daily Bible reading and prayer. A good leader is understands he/she is on a spiritual growth journey that does not end until he/she has reached heaven.

              A Church Member
              A good leader supports the entire church ministry through regular attendance and participation. A leader is a faithful steward of time, talents, and treasure.

              One Who Loves People
              A good leader enjoys being around people. He/she wants to know what is happening in the lives of those he/she leads. “Christ demands that the driving force in your life must be love. All other things, although important, are secondary. Love is the sign of true discipleship” Solly Ozrovech.

              One Who is Called
              A good leader senses that he/she is leading in Sunday School because he/she is answering God’s call to do so.

              Willing to Plan
              A good leader is willing to study and prepare to make Sunday School a positive Bible learning experience.

              Willing to Contact Members
              A good leader is willing to write, call, and/or visit the members in his/her class. A leader cares about members both inside and outside of the church building.

              Dependable and Diligent
              A good leader is dependable and diligent. These traits are essential for a person who is to be a leader. A dependable, diligent person communicates to members and other leaders that he can be counted on to be in his place, to have planned, and to have fulfilled his duties as a leader.

              A Lifelong Learner
              A good leader should possess the desire to continue to learn through books, conferences, videos, and other forms of training. “He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”

              Wednesday, August 13, 2008

              Go for the Gold

              For the past five days I have really enjoyed watching the 29th Olympiad from Beijing. The opening ceremony was nothing less than spectacular. The number of world records that have been broken in the swimming competition alone has been amazing. I have most enjoyed the gymnastics. Wether your favorite sport is swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field, or something else there is one constant that is found in them all. We are watching young men and women who have trained very hard to get to where they are and every one of them are going for gold.

              The book of First Corinthians is written in the context of the Isthmian Games. In I Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul encourages us to run to win. He goes on to say that participants in the races must, in all things, exercise self-control. And they do it to win a crown that is perishable. However, the believer is running for a crown that is imperishable. Therefore, Paul says he will do whatever it takes so that he "will not be disqualified for the prize" (1 Cor 9:27). Paul says he will stay focused and will discipline himself so to win the race. We must likewise understand the Christian race is not for the weak. Our goal is not to drift through life in ease but to accomplish the task for which we have been called.

              As you continue to watch the 29th Olympic Games over the next couple of weeks, keep in mind all of the training, self-discipline, and hard work that has been put in by these athletes over the past many years. Then ask Jesus to give you self-discipline as you run for Him. Olympic athletes not only compete against one another, but they also compete before judges. One day we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Crowns will be given. Therefore, run to win! Run for the gold!

              Just a thought!

              Tuesday, August 12, 2008

              The Apostle John

              I have been preaching a series on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. I thought you might find this background information on John interesting.

              John was the son of Zebedee (a fisherman of Galilee) and his mother's name was Salome, who is believed to be the sister of Mary, Jesus' mother. John, along with his brother, James and the apostle Peter and his brother Andrew, were all partners in a fishing business prior to their call by Jesus to follow Him.
              John became the pastor of the church in Ephesus. It is also believed that John founded the churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira. He at least had a special relationship with them.

              Whereas John's brother, James, was the first of the apostles to die, John was the last. All of the apostles met a violent martyrs death except John who died peacefully in Ephesus at a ripe old age. Church tradition says that while John was living in Ephesus, he had with him Mary, the mother of Jesus.

              While in Ephesus, by order of the Roman emperor Domitian, John was carried to Rome, where he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the prison island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was able to live the rest of his life and complete his ministry in Ephesus.

              Thursday, August 7, 2008

              NFL Hall Famer's Security is in Christ

              My son (Justin Nale) posted this story on his blog. If you are a NFL football fan, such as I am, you will be very interested in this story. Read the exerpt below then read the full story on Justin's blog. Click the picture to go to his blog.

              Art Monk, now Hall of Fame wide receiver who played predominantly with the Washington Redskins, said this in his induction speech last week:

              "Even now as a Hall of Famer, the one thing I want to make very clear is that my identity and my security is found in the Lord. And what defines me and my validation comes in having accepted his son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. And what defines me is the Word of God, and it’s the Word of God that will continue to shape and mold me into the person that I know he’s called me to be.

              Wednesday, August 6, 2008

              Sunday School for Today

              The Sunday School has been under attack for a number of years by those who believe it is no longer an effective tool for reaching people for Christ and assimilating them into the life and ministry of the church. In his book, High Expectations, Thom Rainer writes, “Many church leaders have helped perpetuate the myth for twenty or so years. The myth is that Sunday School is no longer effective evangelistically or as an assimilation tool.” Study after study shows that indeed this is just a myth. Many churches in America are continuing to see people come to Christ through their Sunday School and these same churches are experiencing growth primarily through their Sunday School ministry.

              Dr. Lawrence Phipps of Vaughn Forest Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama has seen significant church growth in his church. What does he claim to be the two keys to the growth of his church? Prayer and Sunday School. Phipps writes, “The largest vehicle most churches have for fulfilling the Great Commission is the Sunday School. The Sunday School . . . still remains the best chance a plateaued church has to reach people, teach application, minister and make disciples. The Sunday School remains the strongest tool to keep a growing church on the move.”[1].

              In my study of Sunday Schools for my D.Min dissertation, The Sunday School as a Viable Tool for Church Growth in the 21st Century, I found that those churches that were seeing significant and sustained growth were placing a high priority on the Sunday School as the primary tool for evangelism and assimilation. Thom Rainer, President of LifeWay Christian Resources, also found this to be true. In his study of 300 churches he concluded that, "No methodology was deemed more effective than the Sunday School in retaining members."[2]

              The church in America is in a state of decline. I believe one of the reasons is because most churches, in their attempt to try new fads for reaching and retaining people, have relegated their Sunday Schools to a low priority. The reason why Sunday School is not working in these churches is because these churches have stopped working Sunday School. Let's get back to work.

              Just a thought.

              [1] Lawrence Phipps and Daniel E. Edmonds, Growing Sunday School Teams (Montgomery, AL: For Life Ministries, 2002), iii.

              [2] Thom Rainer, High Expectations (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999), 32.

              Monday, August 4, 2008

              29 Years of Marriage

              Today marks my and Rhonda's 29th wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe that 29 years can go by so fast. The saying is true, "Time flies when you're having fun." We have had an amazing 29 years together. God has brought us through great times of joy, sorrow, happiness, trials, good times and not so good times. But there is no person I would rather go through these times with than my dear wife of 29 years. Rhonda is not only my wife, she is my very best friend. I can't imagine life without her. I thank God for my wife. I am looking forward to another amazing 29 years together. Because it is Rhonda who makes our marriage what it is, I am expecting the next 29 years to be even more fun than the first 29 years.
              Rhonda, I love you and thanks for a great 29 years.

              Wednesday, July 30, 2008

              Only On God!

              "God reveals to Moses that he can carry out His instructions only if he takes his eyes off the people and keeps them on God. We must do the same. Our acts must be dedicated to God alone - not the approval of others." - Priscilla Shirer in He Speaks to Me. Also, this weeks Master Works Sunday School lesson from LifeWay.

              She makes five good points:

              1. We must be focused on His glory.

              2. We must be focused on His priorities.

              3. We must understand God's attributes.

              4. We must grasp His acceptance.

              5. We must focus on His approval.

              Just a thought!

              Tuesday, July 29, 2008

              Parents Be Warned!

              Parents must take time to read this from Al Mohler. Here is an excerpt. To read the whole article go here.

              Early in July,
              OK! magazine featured a cover story about Jamie Lynn Spears and her new baby, Maddie. Newsweek reported that the magazine paid $1 million for the rights to publish photographs of the baby and mother. The young mom, now 17, is shown on the magazine's cover declaring, "Being a mom is the best feeling in the world." A good number of parents were understandably outraged.
              This week,
              Newsweek is out with an article that questions how Hollywood is presenting teenage motherhood. The magazine reports that teen moms and their babies have become "a hot plot device lately."
              "Many teen moms and the adults who deal with them are glad to see a conversation about teen pregnancy out in the open," Newsweek explains, "But they say that big parts of the story are being glossed over: how that baby bump came to be in the first place, and just how hard it'll be for a teen to raise a child."

              To Dishonor God

              "To waste one's life sitting in the audience is to dishonor God, who makes the whole creation cry out in praise if His people will not." - Michael S. Horton in The Law of Perfect Freedom

              Just a Thought!

              Thursday, July 24, 2008

              False Prophets Among Us!

              A must read article from the Baptist Press.

              LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--A new faith healer is making headlines for his claims of supernatural powers, but conservative evangelical leaders warn that Todd Bentley is a fraud and a false teacher.Bentley, leader of a revival that began in Lakeland, Fla., this spring, is known for his multiple body piercings and tattoos, his violent healing techniques, his claims of angelic visions and "holy" laughter and "holy" vibrating shakes. He even claims to have raised dozens of people from the dead.In one YouTube video, Bentley, who is Canadian, can be seen kneeing in the stomach a man with stage 4 colon cancer. When the man bent over in obvious pain from the blow, Bentley said, "I had to be obedient to the Lord, sir, but I believe that colon cancer is coming right out of your body now." In other videos, Bentley explains how he kicked an elderly lady in the face, banged a crippled woman's legs on a platform "like a baseball bat," choked a man, "leg-dropped" a pastor, and hit a man so hard it dislodged a tooth -- all because God supposedly told him to do so. The Associated Press said it could not confirm any of a dozen cases in which Bentley's ministry claimed medical verification for his miracles.Bentley claims to be visited regularly by angels, including a 20-foot-tall angel in his apartment on one occasion and on another occasion an angel that knocked him out of his body. One angel's name supposedly is Emma. Bentley also says that Jesus Himself appears to him. (Read full story here)

              Wednesday, July 23, 2008

              The Seven Churches of Revelation

              On August 3 I will be begin a series of messages on the letters to the seven churches found in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation. As we begin this study of the seven churches of Revelation, I think a word of introduction and instruction is warranted. There are differences of opinion and interpretation concerning this section of Revelation. Admittedly, Revelation does present some difficulty because of the figurative language and symbolic nature. As a result many pastors have avoided preaching from this book altogether. Some believe the book to be too controversial or too mysterious to ever bother preaching from. I personally believe this robs people of the whole counsel of God. The first chapter of Revelation itself promises a blessing for those who will read and obey it's message.

              Rev. 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."

              Many people view the seven churches in Revelation as representative of seven church "ages" or "dispensations" before the rapture. According to this interpretation, Ephesus would represent the first century church, then moving through the ages, the church at Laodicea, the seventh and last church, would represent the church at end times. While this view does carry support from well respected theologians and scholars, I, however, fall in line with those theologians and scholars who believe that these are literal churches in literal geographic settings (Asia Minor or modern day Turkey), with literal issues that the Lord Jesus Christ addresed. The messages to the seven churches are eternal. The issues that these churches faced ....we face today.

              These letters are well worth our time to read, study, and apply to our lives as individual believers and a families of God we call local churches.

              Just a Thought!

              Two Special Blessings: Health and a Good Wife

              We don't realize just how blessed we really are until we have lost our health. Last Thursday (July 17) I injured my back while doing something as simple as picking up an ice-chest. Early Friday morning (4:00 AM) I fell to the floor in tremendous pain and could not get up. Rhonda (my dear sweet wife) had to call 911. The paramedics used a back board to lift me up, put me in an ambulance, and carry me to the hospital. It took two treatments of medicines by I.V. to ease the pain and relax me enough to where I could move. I spent the most of the next five days lying flat on my back on the floor. I felt like the psalmist who said in Psalm 38:7, "My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body." But God is good and today I am beginning to feel much better.

              I must say that God has blessed me with a wonderful wife who looked after me and took great care of me. I don't know what I would do without her. When I think of my wife I think of what the Proverbs writer said in Proverbs 31:10-31:
              "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. . . . She is clothed with strength and dignity; She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

              My prayer for all of you today is from 3 John 1:2, "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

              Saturday, July 12, 2008

              When the Bible Becomes Reviled

              Good thought from Jonathan Falwell concerning a rediculous lawsuit brought against two Bible publishers.

              "In Matthew 10:22, Jesus, while giving instructions to the twelve disciples who would lead the church following His ascension, said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake ….”

              Jesus knew that His followers would be routinely criticized for furthering the gospel and adhering to the tenets of God’s Word. His words are certainly relevant today, as Christians are increasingly disparaged and mocked for living faithfully according to the Bible.

              This week, reported that a homosexual man has brought suit against two Christian publishers, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, alleging that the Bibles they publish violate his constitutional rights and cause him emotional pain because they say homosexuality is a sin.

              And while a U.S. district judge in Michigan has said he has “some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims” made by Bradley LaShawn Fowler’s lawsuit, it is still disconcerting that we have reached a point in time when Bible publishing or publicly honoring the Ten Commandments or mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance have become the focus of lawsuits.

              Are we too blind as a nation to see that as we have increasingly discounted and ignored God’s Word our society has correspondingly disintegrated?

     reports that Mr. Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and $10 million from Thomas Nelson. Sure, it sounds frivolous, but so did the idea of two men marrying a few years ago.

              Recall that celebrated actor Ian McKellen told London’s Telegraph that he rips verses from Leviticus out of Bibles in hotel rooms. He told that he has determined this passage prohibiting homosexuality to be “pornographic.”

              There was no media outcry over news of this. Imagine twenty or thirty years ago an actor admitting to destroying a portion of the Bible because he believed it “pornographic.” The phrase “you’ll never work in this city again” would have held true.

              Today, our nation yawns.

              Because this apathy exists regarding matters that were once deemed sacred it is possible for the Bible to be progressively more denigrated within our society. Look no further than today’s typical depiction of Jesus Christ in Hollywood to see that we have, as a nation, accepted His vilification.

              I believe that our present moral climate — in which all truths are embraced — will eventually lead to severe persecution of those who choose to live their lives by adhering to God’s Word.

              So what shall we do? Panic?

              No, we must keep speaking the truth of God’s Word in love and kindness even as the temperature rises. As Paul noted in I Corinthians 9:22, we must reach out to all so that some will believe.

              Also remember this: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). We must never waver in the defense of the Bible or attempt to modify the “sound” truth of God’s Word in order to accommodate an ever-changing society.

              As the Bible warns, “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines ….” (Hebrews 13:9).

              I pray that as our times become ever more desperate that God’s people will humble themselves and reach out, as never before, to our lost and dying world, even when that world increasingly rejects us. May the grace of God sustain us and strengthen us as we work for Him."

              Amen Jonathan. Just a Thought.

              Monday, July 7, 2008

              We Need More Irreligious Leaders

              History is being rewritten today. We’re being told by secularist educators and media that the founding fathers of our country were more deistic than Christian. A deist is someone who believes in God but that God is not involved in the happenings of mankind.
              One of those most mentioned as a deist and irreligious is Benjamin Franklin. While I cannot speak to Benjamin Franklin's daily walk with the Lord, I do know that in the summer of 1787 he spoke some of the most powerful words ever uttered on our soil.
              Representatives were gathering in Philadelphia to write the Constitution for the United States. They worked for several weeks with no progress. Finally eighty-one year old Benjamin Franklin arose and spoke to the troubled group of men:

              "In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a super-intending Providence in our favor...Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning."

              If this is what it means to be irreligious then I wish all of our leaders in government were irrelgious. Just a thought!

              Tuesday, July 1, 2008

              From Our Morning Devotions

              Rhonda and I are reading through John McArthur's "Strength for Today" for our morning devotions. For the last Seveal weeks we've been studying the book of Daniel. This morning he had a great thought from Daniel 6:1-3.

              "Daniel served in Babylon for seventy years under three kings, each of whom recognized him as a man for unique wisdom and integrity. King Nebuchadnezzar "made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon (Dan. 2:48). King Belshazzar "clothed [him] with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom" (Dan. 5:29).

              Now King Darius is about to appoint Daniel as prime minister over the entire kingdom, and within a year the king will issue a decree for the Jews to return to Judah, thereby ending the seventy-year Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1:1-3). I believe Cyrus made that decree because of Daniel's wisdom and influence.

              Through Daniel's faithfulness we learn that God is sovereign and will accomplish His plans regardless of human authorities. So depsite any political, social, or economic changes that may come, remain faithful to Christ and He will use you in ways that are exceedingly abundantly beyond all you ask or think (Eph. 3:20)." (italics mine)

              I am constantly hearing how the economy is failing and that there is no end in sight. I walk in on conversations where conversers are complaining about the future of America because there is no confidence in either presidential candidate. What the future holds for us either politically or economically is not the issue. The issue is will we hold fast to the faith and bring glory to Christ no matter what our circumstances may be. Take to heart the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

              Wednesday, June 25, 2008

              Yea! I'm a Grandpa Again

              Benjamin Asher Nale (7 1bs 5 oz, 20 in) was born to Justin and Crystal Nale, June 25.