Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"A Faithful Witness"

     Sunday I had the honor to officiate the funeral service of Doyle Hall. Doyle suffered a stroke after having open heart surgery in May. At that time Doyle and his wife (Jane) had visited our church a few times and were looking for a church which would be faithful to preach the word.

I want to share just a few things which would honor the Lord, the life of Doyle, encourage others, and pastors to "shepherd the flock of God who is among you (1 Peter 5:2)."
Over the course of 9 months ministring to the Hall family, I witnessed the grace of God in this precious families life. A few thing which encouraged me as a Christian, pastor, husband, and a father as I ministered to this family.

1. I witnessed that a good name is something which a man chooses to have.
"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1)." Solomon reminds his readers a mans name is worth much more than any material gain. The last 9 months of getting to know the Hall family, it was evident Doyle fit this verse well. Testimony after testimony was offered of the sacrifices which Doyle had made for his family and for others. I was blessed in hearing the testimony of Tommy Bond, as he shared the love Doyle had for the Lord and the friendship they shared in Christ. One testimony was Doyle as a carpenter would often go above and beyond in his work, often not charging for the extra which he had done. Doyle desired to honor the Lord by choosing to have a good name among those in the community and most of all with his heavenly Father.
2. I witnessed a wife who submitted, loved, and honored her own husband.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)."
     The past 9 months I witnessed the love of Doyle's wife (Jane) had for him in ministering unselfishly to her husband. Jane served her husband sacrificially, not to mention having a son who needed her daily attention as well. Jane made countless trips to the hospital and rehab in Nashville. She had to fight the hectic traffic, making sure her son was able for her to leave him, and all the while dealing with health issues of her own. Through it all,  Jane remained submissive and faithful to her own husband. I witnessed a wife who loved her Lord, her husband, and wanted to be faithful by serving him until the end.

3. I witnessed children who honored their parents.
"Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you will live long in the land (Ephesians 6:2-3)." 
     Doyle and Jane have four sons who were there to minister to their parents. I know in the last 9 months there was a lot of sacrifices which was made by their children in 'honoring their father and mother.' I know of trips they drove their mother to the hospital, or days one had to stay with their other brother while their mother went to Nashville. Daughter in-laws who worked their jobs, took care of their children, and would serve their mother-in-law in any way they could to ease the load.  At the final viewing of the body I witnessed all the brothers gather around their mother at the casket, which was the grace of God in these mens lives, as they desired to 'honor their father and their mother.'

4. I witnessed a man who was faithful to the end.
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22b)."
     The truth that God's people are saved, sealed, and will persevere until the end was evident in Doyle's life. I remember speaking and praying with Doyle before his surgery in May, as he assured me his faith and trust was in the finished work of Christ for salvation. He knew either way he would be fine. Doyle understood what Christ had done for him on the cross by paying a debt he could not pay. Doyle knew he was a redeemed child of the King. Even after the stoke and the complications which he went through after the surgery, Doyle always gave testimony of his faith in the Lord. Doyle's faith was the faith which did not waver at the end, but rather held to Christ until the end. I witnessed a man who held firm in the fact, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil.1:21)."

5. I witnessed a local church show the love of Christ toward others. 
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34)."
     I do not say this just because I am the pastor of this church, but I witnessed God growing PHBC in her faith as they ministered to this family. I witnessed countless cards that was written, phone calls made, meals prepared, and prayers offered on the behalf of this family. The Hall's were never 'officially' church members at PHBC, but nonetheless God joined them to us spiritually. God sent them to us, and in doing so, the church grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. I witnessed men who worked in Doyle's garden, cut the grass, and served in any other way they could. This was helpful for PHBC, in we had to fulfill the commandments of 'one another.' I am thankful to serve a church who has an understanding that 'church' is not somewhere we go, but rather it is people living out their faith in serving each other for the glory of God!

     As a pastor I never get used to the emotional, physical, or spiritual drain when it comes to funerals. I know my faith has grown in the last nine months while ministering to this family. There has been testimony of church members and other believers who has said the same. God used this man and family to bring him glory in many ways we may never know on this side of eternity.
  I witnessed gracious of our God in allowing the family to be at the side of their husband, father, and brother as he went to be with the Lord on Thursday evening. God's grace in this families life is evident, that their faith and hope is in the truth of God's word, "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor.5:7)." And I echo the words of the psalmist in Psalms 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Please do pray for this family, as they grieve their loss.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Overwhelmed By Grace

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).

     Jesus speaks to his disciples and reminds them "they can not and are unable to do anything without him." He gives them a contrast between a bad tree, which bears no fruit and a good true, which bears good fruit. This analogy is given to show them the difference between a true disciple and a false disciple. He also tells them, "those disciples which bear good fruit bring much glory to his Father (v.8)." The disciples which bear good fruit have the love of the Father as they keep the commandments, thereby giving them much joy and satisfaction in serving the Father.

     The Apostle John said in 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not burdensome."For the disciple of Christ who follows God and has the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), the commandements of God brings great joy. No longer does the disciple have to read his Bible, have to pray, have to meet with the other saints, have to give, have to visit the sick, or have to share the gospel, now the disciple has the distinct privilege in doing so. It is no longer a burden, but rather a blessing which brings great joy in ministering to others!
     Yesterday was one of the most difficult days I have had in the ministry in awhile, yet as I was traveling home I had a peace and a sense of joy which surpassed all understanding. Yesterday I drove to Alabama to do a funeral of a gentleman who I worked with at Books-A-Million for over 5 years and 2 years we rode in the same truck together. Doug, a.k.a. "Bigfoot" and I were together more than we were with our wives and that is the truth. We logged several thousands of miles over the road and we became close friends, like brothers. Of course, he was the big brother since he was 6'7" and was 47 years old and I was the little brother.
     "Bigfoot" was a kind and gentle person, but if you every was on his bad side you had better watch out! I had the honor while we shared the cab of an 18 wheeler to tell Doug about Christ and how He had changed my life. Often he did not want to hear about it, but at other times he was very opened. One night traveling from Ownesboro, KY back to Florence, AL, "Bigfoot" woke up and sat in the "jump seat" (passenger seat, trucker talk) and I could tell he had something on his mind. He had been having family problems and told me he was sick of being a bad person. As I drove I kept my eyes glued to the road and let him speak his heart. He cried while speaking about his childhood, the hard life he lived on the road as a trucker, and about marital problems he was experiencing.  Of course, I was shocked but knew the Lord was at work in his heart.
      That was on a Friday night as we were heading home. The following Sunday, Bigfoot shows up at church and then the Sunday after, and the Sunday after. Finally, after several weeks in the truck with me and talking about the Bible and what Jesus had done for sinners, he shows up to church on Sunday and shares with the church what Christ had done for him on the cross. I thought he was going to tear the 'pew' out of the floor that morning. It wasn't too long after his conversion he called me and said, "guess what?" And I said, "there is no telling!" Bigfoot said, "I have only said, 10 cuss words today." I said, "that is awesome, at least your keeping up with them." It was evident God had done a work of grace in "Bigfoot's" heart. As I traveled home last night I became emotional thanking God for allowing me the opportunity to share Christ with 'Bigfoot' and to know him.
      After the funeral I was able to go to the county jail and visit with my sister. My sister is 32 years old and a drug addict with serious problems of being a kleptomaniac  She has been arrested and will serve some serious time due to her drug problem. As I traveled to the county jail  again was reminded of God's grace and how 18 years ago it was me in the jail. I remembered how depraved I was, how desperate I had become, and how far a person can really sink to with drug and alcohol addictions. I remembered Ephesians 2:4, But, God being rich in his mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins and trespasses - by grace you have been saved..." As I spoke through the phone seeing my sister through the video camera my heart ached and my eyes filled with tears seeing my little 'Sissy' in such a condition. She shared with me she felt good since she had been unable to get drugs in jail and had been reading a Bible and trying to pray. My heart hurts for my niece (11) and nephew (5), as their mother was not home for Thanksgiving nor will she be there for Christmas holidays. Again, on my way home last night I thank God for his grace and mercy in allowing my sister to be in jail and prayed He would open her heart to repent of her sins and turn to Christ for salvation.
     As I was away ministering in Alabama, the people of PHBC meet for our mid-week prayer meeting and Bible study without their pastor. One of our young men led our meeting and things seemed to go well. Again, as I was driving home I praised God for raising up able men to teach God's word and giving them a desire to do so.
      My words can not express the gratitude I have for such a great God who I serve and his mercy and grace toward such a sinner as myself. God has giving me and others the desire to serve others with the grace he has extended to me and I count it all joy! It is a pleasure, a honor, and a joy to minister the word of God to others for the sake of their good and His glory!

Yesterday, was a day with mixed emotions, but most of all it was a day of great joy in serving my great God? Do you have this joy in serving God? If not, why?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Purposeful Pastor/Deacons Meeting

"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder...shepherd the flock of God that is among you...(1 Peter 5:1-2)"
"For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that this in Christ Jesus (1Tim.3:13)."

     Tonight the leadership (pastor and deacons) of Pleasant Hill Baptist church will meet with a purpose. I wanted to briefly share what our meeting will look like and pray it would help someone or perhaps someone could help us. My last church I pastored my deacons and I meet monthly to discuss the business of the church. This was very much needed seeing our congregation was not very large. But, one thing which always concerned me was we never discussed the peoples spiritual well-being or if their physical needs were being met.
    I have purposed our meetings at PHBC to be grounded in the Word of God, in prayer, and discussion about spiritual/physical well being of the flock at PHBC. As God ordained leaders of His church we must submit ourselves to hear from the Him and His word in order to get our marching orders. After receiving our orders, we must seek Him through prayer. As pastor and deacons we must give our attention and prayers in interceding for God's people at PHBC. We will pray for our sick, our faithful, those who are visiting our fellowship, and those who need to be converted by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here is a sneak peek in what our pastor/deacons meeting will consist of tonight:

I. Scripture Reading

  • Galatians 5:13-15

II. Pray For PHBC

  • Pray for the saints of PHBC
  • Pray for our shut-ins
  • Pray for those who have been visiting our fellowship.
  • Pray for the community, that God would open doors for the gospel
III. Discussion of Biblical Church Leadership
  • Introduce Lay Elders 
  • Present the need of new deacons to serve the body
IV. Deacon Care Ministry
  • Discuss the needs spiritual/physical needs of each member
  • Discuss updates on shut-ins and widows
  • Discuss any pressing needs for members in the fellowship
V. Miscellaneous Items 

If you see or know of anything we could do differently  please feel free to let me know. Most of all, my desire as the pastor of PHBC is not allow one of God's sheep to fall between any cracks. Shepherding souls is a serious task, which one should never take lightly.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Happy Thanksgiving"

Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,..."

      "Thanksgiving" is to be about the worship and giving thanks to our great God. The early Pilgrims who immigrated to America in order to gain religious freedom understood, God by His grace had allowed them to make it to the new land through toils and snares. This caused the Pilgrims to rejoice, to worship, and to give thanks for His goodness toward them. (For more information on the history of the Pilgrims and first Thanksgiving click here:
         As I reflect upon the true meaning of Thanksgiving there is so much more than eating turkey, seeing family, and watching football. Meditating on scriptures like Ephesians 1:3, "how God has blessed me with "all" spiritual blessings in the heavenly places" causes my heart to worship, give thanksgiving and gratitude toward my God. I may lose my family, I may lose my career, I may not have any turkey to eat...but God has "blessed" me with all spiritual blessings, because I am REDEEMED! Our gratitude and giving of thanks is not based upon our material blessings but rather our spiritual blessings in Christ.

So, as I reflect on Thanksgiving I want to name a few of my "spiritual blessings:"

1. Salvation: 2 Corinthian 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he s a new creation. The old is passed away; behold, the new has come." Perhaps this is the most important. Without salvation in Christ and being reconciled to God in Christ no one can truly celebrate Thanksgiving. For they have no one to give thanks to. I am thankful God has redeemed me through the blood of Christ by granting repentance and faith to me. I am thankful God is continually making my sin known to me, the need for the gospel, and forgiveness each day of my life.

2. God's Word. Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." I am thankful for the inerrant, infallible, all sufficient word of God which guides me as I seek His will for my life. The word of God which is so accessible to read, study, and to memorize I often fail at taking advantage of learning and knowing his word more than I do. I am thankful God's word will "leads in the paths of righteousness for his name sake (Pslam 23:3)." I am thankful God has called me to teach and preach his word to his people week in and week out.

3. Prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing." I am thankful I can seek God through Christ anywhere, at anytime, for any reason. My Father longs to hear from his children and desires to answer his children according to his will. I am thankful to intercede on the behalf of my flock which have needs.

4. The church: Matt. 16:18 "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." I am thankful for the church, especially the church at Pleasant Hill in Orlinda, TN. I am thankful God chose me to serve the people at PHBC as thier elder/pastor it is truly a blessing. I am thankful for a group of blood bought believers who gather each week to worship, encourage, pray, and fellowship with one another. I am thankful for our sweet fellowship in the word, prayer, and sharing a meal each Lord's Day with each other. I tell the Lord's people at PHBC we have a special thing. I love the Lord's church and am thankful for it!

    Will you give thanks just for material blessings (which we should be thankful to God for)? Or, will you give thanks for the "spiritual blessings" we have in Christ Jesus?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Sir, we wish to see Jesus"

John 12:21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

     My very first seminary class I attended was held at an extension center at First Baptist Church, Athens, AL. The class was on the book of 1 John. Sadly, academic learning was never my strong point. But, I knew God had called me to preach and I was encouraged to prepare myself to do that very thing (which I still am doing). It was in this class (1 John) I had an opportunity to step behind the pulpit at First Baptist Athens to give a presentation to our class. I remember stepping behind the pulpit and noticing two things I had never seen on any other pulpit. The first was a clock (I guess for the preacher to know when to stop) and the other was these words engraved, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."Those words have stuck with me until this day.
    On Friday our semi-annual bible conference called "Getting the Gospel Right" will begin. As I meditated on this text in John's gospel, I can say with the proselyte Greeks, "Sir, we want to see Jesus." Although these Greeks wanted to meet Jesus face to face, in person, and bodily form our revelation of Christ comes through His Word and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, as we have been praying for the last few months, weeks, and now days our desire must be "Sir, we want to see Jesus."Our desire is to see him revealed in His Word, for our good and for His glory in His church.
     The men preaching this weekend will have the task to present Christ in his splendor, majesty, and glory in the finished work of the cross. Their job will not be easy. This is why we have been praying for these men, as they prepare their messages, as they serve their own congregations and as they travel. Our speakers have the task to present Christ and him crucified to those who have experienced the saving grace of God, but also to those who have not experienced God's grace in salvation.
     God's people at PHBC are not looking for a quick fix to a better life now, but rather to be encouraged, to sharpened, and given a greater understanding in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is good for Christians to be reminded of Christ's substitutionary atonement, how Christ paid a debt we could never could pay, which satisfied the Holy wrath of God. It is good to be reminded that none of our good works (Rom.3:10) could ever please God, for they are filthy garments (Isa.64:6). The Father was pleased to crush his Son (Isa.53:10), which was God's divine satisfaction for His Holy law to be fulfilled.  I enjoy to sing the hymn, Rock of Ages, the one verse which states, "nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross I cling." This is our only hope and it is found in the finished work of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. May God give us this burden for living gospel centered lives and to share this glorious news to those without Christ.
     As we make final preparation for the bible conference, may our hearts be in tuned with these Greeks who sought after Christ. May we too say, "Sir, we would see Jesus" and may these men of God faithfully present Christ and him crucified (1 Cor.2:2) . This is our prayer. Sola De Gloria! 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Rejoice In the Lord"

Luke 10:20b) "...rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

 I want to share what the Lord has been doing in the ministry at PHBC and hopefully it'll be an encouragement to others, especially other pastors, to fight the fight and keep the faith.
     The Scripture teaches clearly that believers have much to rejoice in. First of all, believers can rejoice knowing the Sovereign God of the universe has created them, loved them, chose them, and has given them eternal salvation in His Son. Secondly, believers can rejoice knowing "those who love God all things work together for good, for those who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)."  No matter the circumstance, trial, or tribulation the believer has the calm assurance, "God is in heaven and He does whatever he pleases (Pslam 115:3)." Thirdly, the believer can rejoice in the salvation of sinners.
     Why should believers rejoice in the Lord when a sinner is converted? I will start with the answer to which many miss when it comes to the salvation of sinners. The Bible teaches, "salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9)." Jesus said in John 15:16, speaking to his disciples, "you did not choose me but I choose you." Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, "God chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4)."There are several other references in the N.T. which teach of God's Sovereign election of individuals "unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13)." This teaches us that salvation is in the hands of a complete sovereign God and no one can thwart His plan. This cause humility on the behalf of the one whom God brings to a place of salvation, knowing salvation is "by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God so no man can boast (Eph.2:8-9)." The reason why believers can rejoice in the Lord in the salvation of others is because salvation is the "free gift of God." When a sinner comes to salvation, they experience a supernatural work of God, not merely a 'human decision' (John 1:11-13) to be a Christian or to ask 'Jesus into their heart.' But a miracle of God, for that is what salvation is a miracle wrought by God the Holy Spirit.
     In saying this, I want to now share with you what God by HIs grace has been doing the last week at PHBC. For the last 10 months we have seen somewhat of a 'revival' at the church where I serve as pastor. The Lord has been gracious to us in bringing new people to our fellowship and bringing sinners to Himself through repentance and faith. Over a year ago, I did not know if I would still be at this church or not due to conflict of intrest with some of the families of the church. The Lord helped me through those situations, brought a freshness to my soul, a new passion for Him, and a zeal for preaching the gospel like never before.
     The last week has been somewhat overwhelming for me as a pastor. The church at PHBC had its first VBS in several years. Upon our discussion of even having VBS, we decided it would not be like most VBS (spending money on curriculum, decorations, and blow up games), but rather it would be simple, somewhat 'old school.' We decided I would write lessons for the Bible study lessons, which would be saturated with Scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We would have a time for the children to have recreation, a time to do some type of craft, and have a small snack each day. I wanted our focus to be upon Christ and nothing else. I wanted the children to leave with a sense of urgency for their souls. The Lord blessed and we were able to pour into the souls of children the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful, I had teachers who studied and prepared for a couple of weeks in teaching and taking serious the need to teach them the word.
     VBS ended last Sunday morning with their last lesson during our normal Bible study time with Jesus and Nicodemus. After that we all converged in the auditorium for the gathering of God's people to worship through hymn and preaching. During this time a new believer in Christ came forward and shared his testimony of God's saving grace in his life. He explained that God had taken him from drugs, alcohol, and had given him a new heart. This was surely a glorious and encouraging thing for our fellowship. After the service people gathered into their cars and drove to the Red River to witness Jon's profession of faith by believers baptism. There were over 60 people gathered on the bank of the Red River to encourage Jon in his walk with Christ.
By the way, it was my first baptism in a river!
     As the day was ending and I was preparing for bed, my oldest son Chance comes into our room to talk with me. Chance is shy and quiet for the most part. But, Chance was perplexed about something as I could tell in the tone of his voice as he sat on my bed. Chance wanted to know if a person could be saved and not know it. Which I replied, "when God grants a person repentance and faith, to turn from their sin and trust in Christ for salvation they will know it." I could tell this bothered him. He began to share with me how his heart had been affected through the preaching of God's Word, VBS, and our family devotion for an extended period of time (probably a year or so). He said, "he had an understanding of his sin toward God and he was wanting to trust Christ for him to forgive his sin." The Lord gave me Philippians 1:6, "he who begins a good work will complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus." I told Chance to call upon the name of the Lord and to turn to Christ for his eternal salvation. He wanted me to pray for him, so I go out of bed and we knelt down beside the bed and I prayed to the Lord to help him. After I finished Chance, prayed, "God help me, I need you to save me, I can not do this on my own." The prayer did not save him but he acknowledged to the Lord what he was in need of. My friends I rejoiced, just as the Lord commanded his disciples to do in Luke.
     Right now, I am counseling with Chance as we read God's Word together and I see slight changes in him (he is quick to ask to pray). I am seeing evidence of God's grace in his life. This is of utmost importance when it comes to true salvation, it is not if you prayed, were baptized, or even joined a church but rather is there fruits of spiritual life in the life you live from day to day?
     So I ask you... First, do you know how your sin offends the Holy God of the Bible? Second, do you understand what the gospel is (can you articulate the gospel in 60 seconds)? Thirdly, has those two things caused the way you live your life to change? Remember, there is no justification (forgiveness of sin) apart from sanctification.
     I say all of this to encourage you wherever you are in your ministry to trust in the hand of the Lord. Also I pray we as believers would "rejoice" in God's kingdom being advanced for His glory!


Friday, July 20, 2012

"There But for the Grace of God, Go I"

Genesis 6:5) The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

     As I woke up this morning to the tragic news of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, I was reminded again of the horrific evil man is capable of. I watched the news reports and listened to witnesses give a 'play by play' of what took place in the theatre. About 30 minutes ago our President of the United States who was on a campaign rally in Florida, gave an address not on politics but rather on the tragedy in Colorado. In his address, he asked a question I imagine many Americans will ask, will want to ask, or already are asking, "how could someone do such a horrific evil act of violence?"
      The President's question is like asking, "why do bad things happen to good people?" The question asked is from a humanistic worldview rather than a biblical worldview. The problem with this question as well as President Obama's is the presumption there are 'good people.' Paul in his letter to the Romans declared, None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). The Scriptures clearly teache man is not righteous, he does not seek God, man is worthless, and does no good outside of knowing His Creator. Quiet the contrast to what the world says about people today when they say, "he is such a good person." Men, women, boys and girls are in need of something greater than themselves, namely to be reconciled to God by His redemption through Christ Jesus, because man has utterly fallen and separated from His Creator.
      So, why does man need to be reconciled or made right with God? The answer is giving by what took place in Colorado earlier this morning, the evil and wickedness of humans. Moses writes of this before God destroys all His creation, "God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."Some perhaps would disagree with me when I say, "the evil and wickedness upon earth today is no worse than in Noah's days, only there is more people to carry it out." This tragic event which took place is not because of this mans upbringing or lack of education, rather it stems from a separation from him knowing and enjoying His Creator forever through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
     To answer the question which has been proposed, "how could someone do such a horrific evil act of violence?" is because man in his natural state is fallen, who are in need of being redeemed by their Creator, the One who created them in His image. The storyline of Scripture teaches us that in God's creation everything was good, than man fell in sin (sin entered in the world through one man, Adam), but I am grateful God provided a covering in killing an animal sacrifice to cover our sin rather than killing man (which He would have been just in doing) which ultimately points to our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor.5:21).
     As we pray for these families who has lost their loved ones and try to answer the questions of others, let us remember the 'wickedness of man' in Genesis 6:5 is as real today as it was then. Let us remember our own evil and wickedness which lies in our own hearts. The evil and wickedness of man is alive and well in the world we live in, it is in our country, in the states we live in, it is in our communities, and it is even in our own homes, with our children, our spouses, and even within ourselves. What I am trying to say is this; if it were not for the restraining grace of God, it could have been me or you going into a movie theatre and going on a mass killing spree this morning. Everyone because of the effects of the fall in Genesis 3 has the capability to commit such acts of evil. As the early English Reformer John Bradford has been famously quoted, "there but for the grace of God, go I."
     I am grateful for God's restraining grace. I am thankful for mercy and grace in showing me my sin, providing me for away of escape and in bringing me into a relationship with Himself. I am thankful my sins have been forgiven and I have access to the throne room of God grace and mercy. If you today do not know your Creator, the One who made you in His image, gave you life, and purpose, I pray He would show your need of forgiveness and the need to be redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb slained before the foundation of the world. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"The Discipline of Knowledge"

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

     I believe the word discipline is one word which brings negative connotations with it. According to the dictionary discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior. Discipline is not a negative experience but rather a positive one. Discipline is a word which brings much character and godliness to ones life if applied correctly.
     I will admit I am not a very disciplined person. By God's grace I am learning more and more the importance of discipline in my life. I want to share some practical ways  how God is using discipline in my life to conform me more into the image of Christ:

1. Bible Intake and Memorization. 
     The discipline of reading God's Word on a daily basis is of uttemost importance. This is a discipline which I believe many Christians may do, devotionally, but not in large portions. Also memorizing Scriptures is another discipline which is helpful to being conformed into Christ's image.
     A few suggestions: Instead of reading the Bible devotionally take the Book of Genesis for example, it has 50 chapters, read 10 chapters a day and give yourself one makeup day if you miss along the week, as to not get discourage and quit. Read Genesis over and over, everyday for a month, two months or even three months, continually. You'll be amazed at what God will reveal through his word. But remember it will take discipline.
Another suggestion is memorization. Our family started the ABC's of Memorization. It is a simple way to help you and your children memorize God's Word going through the alphabet. Here is a link which helped us:

2. Running.
     About 6 months ago, God begin to convict me about my weight and my eating habits. So, I did what all red blooded Americans do, I tried a diet and started walking/running. This lasted for a few weeks and of course I fell "off the wagon," when my knees and ankles started hurting (honestly I just was lazy). I often tell people after my conversion to Christ, drugs and alcohol have not been my problem, but rather 'banana pudding.' By God's grace a little over a month ago I purchased me a set of running shoes and have been consistent in 'disciplining my body, which has some value (1 Timothy 4:7). I have felt much better, with more energy than I have had in a long time. I also have been trying to watch my food intake. As one man at my church said, "this becomes your lifestyle and it is one day at a time."
     If you are struggling in this area of your life, I want to encourage you to start today and take it one day at a time. The Apostle Paul even spoke of disciplining his body in 1 Cor.9:27, "But I discipline my body and keep it under control."

3. Seminary or Theological Training.
     Many see seminary or theological training as a waste of time and money. Some would say, "seminary will make you a dead head or cause your preaching to be dull." My response is, they do not know what their talking about. Seminary takes discipline. I have the privilege to continue my theological education, which is humbling and a great blessing. I am able to read books and do research papers I would have never read or written if I had not taken a seminary class.
     Yesterday, I began a week long class with Dr. Al Mohler on, Current Issues of Theological Debate, here in Louisville, KY at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is an apologetic class in its nature. The class comes with assignments of reading 4 books on different theological issues and writing an analysis paper of each book. Also assigned is a 15 page research paper on a theological topic, of my choosing. The time and day in which we live in demands pastors and laymen to be ready to "contend for the faith which was delivered to the saints (Jude 3)." This class will better equip me to teach God's people at PHBC how to "contend for their faith" and to better equip myself.
     I remember my great uncle responding to me after I told him I wanted to go to seminary. He said, "We all have axes (capacity of growing in God's grace in the Christian life), you are choosing to sharpen yours a little more than others."Seminary takes discipline.
      I am not trying to 'toot' my own horn. I know that I have only begun in each of these areas but I pray God would give me strength and wisdom to 'redeem the time' He has given me and to be disciplined in the areas of life which will cause me to gain more knowledge of Him, for my good and His glory!

What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Evangelism 101" (pt.1)

Acts 17:17) "So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace everyday with those who happened to be there.'

     This past Saturday a neighboring town had their annual festival of Strawberries. The festival had vendors who had food, crafts, inflatables for children, a parade (which I believe was the longest ever), and a stage for singing entertainment. This festival was one which thousands of people from all over attends. Oh, yeah! I forgot to mention on this very same weekend there is a yard sale which spreads across the northern part of Tennessee for miles and miles, people were everywhere! At a festival like this the last thing on most peoples mind is the state of their 'eternal soul.' People are having a great time (which there is nothing wrong with that), but I wonder how many had ever considered their eternal soul? The Lord graciously opened the door for a time of open air preaching, passing out tracts, and having conversations with others about the Triune God of the Bible.
     Let me say from the outset, I am not super spiritual person. I am a Christian who struggles in the area of spiritual disciplines like everyone else. Although, I pray that God by His grace grants me repentance and allow me to  become bolder in sharing Christ with others in every aspect of my life, just not on Sundays. At any rate, the Lord has blessed me with some good brothers who have a heart for doing street evangelism and open air preaching. When an opportunity arises to preach the gospel they "go." Barry Carpenter ( and Frank Rollberg ( are brothers who simply love the Lord and who goes to college campuses, festivals to preach the gospel. Several months ago they did open air preaching at an Atheist convention in Alabama. I called them not because they are professionals, but rather to help us (PHBC) in evangelizing the lost in our community.
     Being the preaching pastor of PHBC I regularly stand before God's people and proclaim Christ and Him crucified. But to go outside the church house, I knew I was getting into "uncharted waters." I have only preached in the open air one time which was a KKK rally in Russellville, AL, outside of that I am inexperienced.  I thought these brothers could help us get out of our comfort zone and into the community with the gospel. It proved to be a tremendous blessing as they led the way for me and another brother from PHBC to hand out tracts and speak to others about the God of the Bible.
     Some would say, "you should keep the Bible and the gospel in the church." Well, thats not what the Apostle Paul did. In fact, Luke records in the book of Acts that while Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy to return from Berea, he looks over the city of Athens and, "his spirit was provoked within compassion for all the idols that were in the city (17:16)." Needless to say, Paul was very intentional and passionate about the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those of us who are Christians and who live in the United States of America are caught up in too many good things. We often forget or overlook the opportunities to preach the gospel to others.
     As I was waiting for Barry and Frank to arrive from Alabama, I was doing some yard work that morning. While in the yard a car full of Jehovah's Witness pull up to speak with me:) It was the providence of God in sending them to me. I was able to practice evangelism with a car load of lost people before we ever hit the streets of Portland, TN. After they left it hit me, these people "believe" what they "believe" (which is heresy) and it shows. They are getting out and spreading their "poison," while we good evangelical Christians say, we have the "truth of God's Word" yet, sit on our blessed assurance and wait until the lost comes to us!
   God has convicted me for my lack of my concern of getting the gospel out into the world. As the elder and overseer of His flock at PHBC I should be the leader of evangelism and being mission minded. If I am not passionate about spreading the gospel for the glory of God, how will His people ever be passionate? It is clear in the Scriptures that Jesus sent "out" His disciples and the Apostle Paul went "out" to the market places to evangelize the lost. This is the "Great Commission."
     Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heave (Matt.5:14-16)."
      May the Lord break our hearts as Christians and give us a passion for lost souls in our homes, communities, and to the end of the world. I am aware "life is a vapor, it appears for a little while than vanishes away." 
My prayer is: Oh, God give us, your people, and churches opportunities right in our own communities to go out and tell others of your greatness and how they can know thier Creator through your Son Jesus Christ. Sola Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea For Preaching"

A critical book review on Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea For Preaching. I have lately decided to return to pursue my theological education at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I decided to take a writing class in order to prepare me for future classes. One of my assignments were to write a critical review on a book of my own choosing. So, I decided to write a review on the book which was given to me by a dear friend. My friend has a love for pastors and he has a desire for shepherds to "feed the sheep" the word of God. I am thankful for the book and I believe it should a book on all pastors shelves to be read often. Let me know what you think!

Mohler, R. Albert, and Don Kistler. Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching.   Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust, 2008.156 pp. $12.03.

         Feed My Sheep conveys the need for Christ-centered, expository, Bible saturated, and God honoring preaching. The book’s contributors focus upon the need for pastors to stay the course when it comes to preaching the Word of God, because many pastors today have fallen victim to the notion that the Word of God is not enough. Feed My Sheep reminds the preacher, God’s Word is enough. All that needs to be done is to be faithful in proclaiming His Word. Throughout the book, the main thought behind each chapter is the simplicity of preaching God’s Word.
         Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching is a collection from eleven different contributors. All eleven editors have sufficient training, expertise, and credibility on the subject of preaching. The credentials of the writers range from earned Ph.D.’s to over 40 years in the pastoral ministry in the same local church. The writers are serving, or have served, as a minister of the gospel in the local church, which enhances each author’s knowledge on the subject of biblical preaching.
         Each contributor to the book gives insights into specific aspects of the preaching of God’s Word. Whether it is the “foolishness of preaching” by Boice, or “the preacher who teaches” by Sproul or “preaching to a suffering people” by John Piper, these men help show the need for biblical preaching in our pulpits today. The chapters of the book seem simple, yet they are much needed in our day of weak and shallow pulpits.
         The chapter serves as an examination for different aspects to biblical preaching, from Albert Mohler’s argument on the primacy of preaching, to Piper’s heart felt passion for preaching to suffering people. Throughout the book, there is instruction and application for pastors to preach the word of God.
         Boice, reminds one that “God uses the foolishness of preaching to save the lost, and this foolishness should never be forsaken (19-34).” MacArthur reminds pastors that God often uses the least of men, to bring about His glory. Knowing God uses the “weak of the vessels to confound the wise” when it comes to preaching, brings about great humility before the Lord. These two chapters although one is in the front of the book and the other in the back seem to compliment one each other, nicely. A person must understand how it is God uses preaching the word, but also must remain humble as the preacher himself.
         In Derek Thomas’s chapter he writes on the subject of “expository preaching.” This particular chapter is very helpful in many ways. Thomas contends, in today’s church age, expository preaching is all but a lost art. Secondly, he reminds preachers to stick with the Word of God when it comes to preaching. Thirdly, he suggests that expository preaching gives the congregation a healthy diet of God’s Word. Although, I agree with Thomas’s suggestions for expository preaching, one must take in account that few congregations understand the point and reasoning in preaching such a way. Perhaps, Thomas should had written a premise on how one should go about teaching a congregation the necessity of expository preaching.      
          Feed My Sheep, offers insight that most books on preaching will not offer. After I read and reviewed the book, I was left to wonder, “how can I apply these thoughts practically?” I believe the book perhaps failed in the sense of practicality for the struggling pastor. Not all churches will endure such a pastor that will hold to, “the primacy of God’s word or will accept expository preaching.” The reality is, some things written in this book could cause a lot of suffering for the preacher. Perhaps, there should have been a chapter on the endurance of the pastor. A pastor might read a book like this one and split their church. I believe another chapter for the book that would be helpful would be, “how to encourage the pastor to be patient, love the people, and preach the word.”
         Overall, the book accomplishes its goal, which is to keep God’s man (the pastor) focused upon the preaching of God’s Word. As a pastor who is often tempted to seek another way to preach, I found the book useful. I am often tempted to wonder, “will this continue to work, just preaching the Word?” A quick look at the title of the book reminds pastors of our need to be faithful shepherds feeding God’s sheep a steady diet of His Word. I recommend this book (although with caution), because of its rich content and practical insights for pastors struggling with the temptation to try something else, rather than just preaching the Word!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Revival or Ruin: Idolatry to the Urgent

Revival or Ruin: Idolatry to the Urgent: I have used a PDA devise for years and a personal planner before that. I can remember back to my days in the busines...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Heart of A Godly Pastor For the Local Church

Here is a blog post from a dear brother. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to the local church and its pastor. I pray it would be a blessing to you. It is my prayer to have such a love for the bride of Christ that it would spill from the pulpit into the pews for God's glory!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"A Faithful Saint Until the End: Ford McNatt"

1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy or faithful."

     The Apostle Paul reminds these saints in Corinth of the ministry of the Apostles. The Apostles and the saints at Corinth were to be "stewards." A person who had the duty and privilege of overseeing something which was not theirs. The Apostles also had been entrusted with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and were to declare it everywhere God sent them. Paul reminds these saints in the following verses that it did not matter who judged them, they (the Apostles, the Corinthians, and us) were to remain faithful to the end.
     The last 2 weeks has been somewhat of a challenge for our family. We traveled to northern Kentucky to spend a few days with a pastor friend and then headed to Alabama for the Christmas holidays. On our way home last Tuesday night from AL, I received a phone call from a deacon from the last church I pastored. He had called me to let me know one of the faithful saints of Jonesboro Baptist had went to be with the Lord and the family wanted to know if I would help with the funeral. Of course, I said, I would be honored to help in anyway.
     Rather than turning around we decided to come home and unpack from our time in Alabama and regroup. This also allowed me to make Wednesday night prayer meeting and gave me some time to think upon my time as Ford's pastor. I was honored to be able to serve him as his pastor for almost 4 years.
     As I reflected on those 4 years, I saw the grace of God and how he allowed me to minister to this family in some of the most difficult times. Yet, more times then they will ever know, it was not them recieving the blessing but it was me! God allowed me to serve this family during the loss of their dear mother Sister Rosie. I was blessed to have a job were I could go by and spend time with both of them, Rosie and Ford. Often before I would leave their home, Rosie and Ford both would not only want me to pray for them but then they would pray for me.
     Ford was such a blessing to sit and talk to. I will never forget the talks out on his front porch, about Braves baseball, his flowers, or events which took place at the church years ago. Ford was the kind of man, that when he would speak, you listened. He would always have a kind word and enjoyed talking about the Lord.
    Yes, Ford McNatt knew something about faithfulness. He was faithful to His Lord from a early age, as he professed Christ and walked with him for many years. He was faithful in serving Christ and His church unto the end of his life.  He was faithful to serve his country in WWII. After the war, he came home and went to work at Reynolds Metal Company for over 55 years. He was faithful to his wife for 59 years, being faithful unto the end. He was at her side as she slipped into eternity, he was faithful to his bride. The testimony of his children was heard at the grave side, of how he was a faithful father until the end. The Lord gave Ford a heart of faithfulness.
     I am thankful for the priviledge to minister to this family through some of their toughest times. The Lord has taught me much through the life of Ford McNatt. Reflecting on his life, I have seen how a man after God's own heart is truly a blessed man. I saw a man sacrificially love his wife and children as taught in the scriptures. I saw a man who by God's grace was used to bring Him honor and glory in a faithful life. Often people think it is the pastors job to do all the teaching, but often it is from God's faithful saints that we pastors learn from!
Thank you Ford McNatt for allowing God to use you to be a blessing to a young pastor and so many others!