Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Making Wise Decisions

Image result for God's wisdom graphicsI hope that you fully understand the import of James 1:5,6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Sometimes, I forget the simple message that God will give me wisdom to make decisions, if I ask in genuine faith.   We, who are the Children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ; should not allow ourselves to become paralyzed through the inaction self-doubt brings. 

Such paralysis robs us of our initiative, our energy, and our creativity.   Prolonged periods of it might even adversely affect our physiology, making us ill.

We are told in Scripture that there is safety in a multitude of counselors, but sometimes we must act according to our own understanding of the situation.   At such times, it is comforting to repeat the passage above and ask God for guidance and wisdom in making the decisions facing us.

Someone remarked to me that it is well and good to do that if one is walking with God in the power of His Holy Spirit.  Well, let me tell you that I’m thankful that I don’t have to be perfect to ask God for wisdom.   What I must do is believe that He hears me, and that His Word is true.  Then, I must act on what I say I believe, knowing that He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world.   I’ve asked Him, by faith, believing, and He’s promised to guide me in such situations, so I act on the desire He places within my heart.  

I’m telling you that it is an energizing joy to ask, believe, and act on that which He leads me in.   The world, and carnal believers have problems with those of us who don’t spend our time halting between two opinions while awaiting a “sign.”   If you’ve honestly asked for wisdom in a matter, and you’ve done it believing that He hears and rewards those who faithfully seek Him; then trust Him to put into your heart and mind what he wants you to know.  

Just a brief warning.  He will never lead you to do anything which violates Scripture.   But He has given you a mind to understand and a heart to receive His instruction.   Trust Him and act on the desires He places within your heart and mind.  It will bring you great peace, and it will make you more productive in His service.

Monday, April 30, 2018

“Too Old, Too Broke, Too ...”

I’ve been told that I’m too old to start a new church.  I will be seventy-two in June.  I’ve also been told that I don’t have the financial wherewithal to start a new church.  BOTH STATEMENTS ARE TRUE in the natural world. 

I believe God has stirred my heart to take His Church into the market place during these latter days, so that the disinterested, those who fallen out of church, and those who have an animus toward His Church will be confronted with the opportunity to turn to Him by faith.  I believe God wants me to lead a Church which is “Unchained” to tradition, personal family relationships, social norms, or economic downturns.

I realize my limitations, but I also know that God is NOT limited.  For that reason, the name of the new church will be “FaithWay Baptist Church.”   Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Faith is substance, and it is the evidence of God’s Divine provision.

No one comes to the Father, except through the Son, and only then when drawn by the Holy Spirit; and that coming is based upon faith.  So, the way of Faith is the only way to God, and the way of Faith is the only way to achieve God’s call upon one’s life.

Therefore, FaithWay is descriptive of not only how we come to Christ, but of how we live out the life He calls us to.

Baptist denotes the primary doctrinal position of the church.  There are several non-negotiable positions the church will hold.   They will be spelled out for each individual who becomes a part as he/she goes through a New Member class and agrees to them before becoming a member of the Fellowship.

Church separates the Fellowship from other organizations.   We do not organize to rid the world of evil, sickness, pain, or poverty.  We organize to reflect the life of Jesus in our everyday interactions with people as we devote ourselves to His purpose of seeking and saving those who are lost.

FaithWay Baptist Church will soon begin holding Bible Studies centered around our Membership Covenant.  Those classes will teach everything one needs to know to become a full member.   Classes will probably be held in the homes of interested individuals. 

Ministry Opportunities Available:

A Leadership Team to formulate and carry out ministry objectives, while overseeing the responsibilities listed below.   Team Leaders and responsibilities will evolve and should not be considered rigid.   All team leaders will undergo an intensive training program concerning the Membership Covenant, and be able to lead cell and training groups in the future.  All team leaders must have an outside source of income because the Fellowship will not be able to sustain paid staff for a couple of years, because much of what is received will be re-invested in the facilities, missions, and outreach.

An individual who can develop and lead a vigorous and exciting musical worship program, that features a blending both contemporary and traditional music.

An Administrative Assistant to the Senior Pastor to handle extensive writing and publishing of training and outreach materials. 

An individual to help develop a budget and maintain financial records, and present monthly financial statements.

An individual whose primary responsibility is maintaining the property and grounds.  This would include recruiting people to assist.

An individual whose focus is on training and education.  Cell group leaders will answer to this individual.

An Associate Pastor, who will be trained and serve in all capacities, and function in the Pastor’s stead when occasions require it.

An Individual whose primary focus is missions and outreach.

Others as the need arrives.

Now A Personal Word.    I’ve been told that I need to find at least ten people who will give one thousand dollars, and who will be ready to do it again if I get into a bind.   Well, I’m always in a bind, and I don’t know many people who can just send me a thousand dollars at the drop of a hat.  I do know a few thousand people.  I’m asking them to prayerfully make a commitment to send a monthly donation for two years for our personal support.  Any amount will be appreciated and honored as a gift to God’s work.  Both Diane and I receive small Social Security Checks, but no where near enough to sustain us in this endeavor. 

Until the church is organized donations can be made to Faith-Walk Ministries International.  I do have a Pay Pal account, & I’m told funds can be deposited in it. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Don’t Lean on Swinging Gates

People regularly visit my pasture and whether they be riders, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or just people looking and talking, they all tend to prop, or climb on the gates.   I understand this because my gates are ideally suited to place a foot on the bottom rail and lean with one, or both, arms on the top rail.  Children seem to find the rails ideal for climbing.  However, what they don’t seem to realize, or remember, is that these gates are somewhat flimsy and only supported on one end.   Repeated leaning and climbing on such gates requires continual repair and/or replacement.

These gates seem much more substantial than the gates of my childhood and youth which usually were of two types.  The first was constructed of four strands of barbed wire, attached to a pole at both ends with another pole in the middle to keep the wires from becoming tangled.  One of the poles was attached permanently to a gate post while the pole on the other end was placed in a loop of wire attached to the bottom of the opposite gate post and the top of the pole had a wire loop which was slipped over it to secure the gate in position.  These gates were not conducive to leaning, or climbing, on because of the prickly nature of barbed wire.

A second type of gate prominent in those days was actually a series of poles inserted horizontally in notches on both gate posts which were slid out, one at a time, in order to open the gate.  This gate seemed more sturdy than it actually was and numerous poles were broken as people climbed, or leaned, on them.   I remember an occasion when I was riding the top rail like a horse when it broke and deposited me on the second rail which in turn also broke.  They definitely were not intended for play.

Even though my modern gate seems more substantial that those earlier gates, it is not intended to support one’s weight.   I’m afraid that many people today are leaning on things which appear substantial, but of themselves are no more stable than my swinging gates.  Education, money, position, pleasure, and health are all worthy pursuits, but they alone, or combined, cannot support
you unless their pursuit is guided by your total commitment to Christ and His purpose for your life.  The old hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” reminds us that our primary source of support and help is found when we are leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms. 

Don’t be surprised when the swinging gate you are leaning on comes crashing to the ground.  Put your trust in Jesus, He cannot fail, He must prevail.

Monday, August 28, 2017


Just a few weeks ago I preached a sermon entitled “Seeing Him Who Is Invisible.”   I want you to know that it is a subject which is very real to me.

I am no different that everyone else.  I become frustrated with society’s foibles.  I become angry at duplicitous politicians.  I become anxious about the future.  I become discouraged when I am rejected, or ignored.   And I become concerned about the direction of my children and grandchildren.

However, the most debilitating thing I experience is hurt when my actions and words are wrongly attributed to nefarious, or selfish motives. 

Such hurt has the potential to completely derail me from the path God has laid out for me.  The realization of that potential is sufficient in my life to stir me to once again get alone with “Him Who Is Invisible,” and seek a fresh sense of His presence in my life.  Now don’t misunderstand, I fully know, by faith, that He is always near.  But the sense of His personal care and provision for me lifts me from the doldrums, and it is as if I’ve had a conversation with Him. 

I simply do not understand those whose theology will not allow for two way communication between Holy God and man.   There seems to me those around us who believe that God only speaks through His Word.  They discount completely the personal leadership of God in our lives, lest they be associated with those who claim to have received “Revelation” from God.   I believe that all truth can be misused by false teachers, and such is the case with those who believe God has shown them something “different,” or “new.”  

Therefore, I am not afraid to say that God shows me something, or has told me something.   I might not have received it verbally, but I know His leadership, and it is as nearly verbal as one can have without it actually being so. 

James admonishes Believers to not make plans without finding the will of God in the matter, or at least putting the matter in God’s hands.   “If God wills, I will go,” is a clear indication that I should seek His face in all matters.

Because I’ve learned to seek “Him who is invisible,” I can find rest, peace, and hope in spite of whatever is thrown in my path.  I wish this for each reader of this article, that you develop a close intimate relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ, and that He becomes more real to you than any human being.

Remember, He will not give you “new truth,” nor will He contradict Scripture.  However, He will be a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He will be a constant and abiding companion who guides you, as you seek to serve Him.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Taking Pleasure in Simple Things

This morning was my turn to stay awhile with Mom.  I took advantage of the time to “plunder around” in her living room.  It is filled with “stuff” from a couple of families, and one must be careful lest he gets lost.  However, I had my iphone with the GPS and felt fairly certain I could find my way back to the kitchen eventually.

During the course of my plundering, I saw a simple coffee cup with a crack and a chip and the words Johnny “Chip” Rasberry written in something like fingernail polish. 

Seeing that cup brought back a rush of memories of my Dad.  He was a very simple man who enjoyed life almost as much as he enjoyed people.  The simplest thing could be a source of repeated pleasure for him.

Listening to, or watching a Cardinals Baseball game; drinking coffee with friends and relatives; riding his dog in the back of his truck; and of course talking about his children.  I so want to learn to just enjoy life and people.  Even today, people who knew my Dad speak of his love of life, his friendly personality, his sparkling eyes, and his ready smile.

For many of my generation, those growing up now, life is very complicated and finding joy in a chipped and broken coffee cup is simply not going to happen. 

Perhaps you’re wondering just what the significance of the coffee cup was, and is.  Well, as I’ve said Dad was a great one for fellowship.  On a couple of occasions when he stopped by the Rolling Creek Baptist Church Parsonage for coffee with the Pastor, the Pastor’s wife served him coffee in this chipped cup.  My Dad teased her endlessly about giving him the chipped cup and it became “his” cup.  Every time he visited he was served with that cup.  Eventually she gave it to him as a memento with the inscription mentioned above.  That cup had a place of prominence in their den, and Mom eventually moved it to the living room.

Dear Lord, Please teach me to enjoy the simple things of this world as gifts from You, and to not take lightly those relationships You grace my life with.  Thank You, Lord for reminding me of the great joy available to us for just “living” in this world.  I ask this in the sweet and holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Public Worship

I love contemporary music, if I am able to sing along with it.   I love to listen to it, but many worship services I've attended seem more like concerts where the congregation is not expected to participate in the singing.

This blogger expresses my views quite well in this article entitled, "Why I Didn't Sing When I Visited Your Church."

Whether it is Contemporary, Southern Gospel, or Hymns; if I can't hear the words being sung because the instrumentation is so loud, then I simply don't consider it worship.  Sometimes I feel like I'm being whipped into a frenzy by religious cheer leaders desiring me to cheer the team across the goal line.

Excitement should be an integral part of any worship service, and many services are totally lacking in any sense of anticipation of God doing something.  But easy to sing, well known songs, enhance a service.   I don't mean to imply that "new" music should not be introduced, it should.  However, the preponderance of worship music should be music that almost anyone coming into the service could participate in.

Please take a few moments and read this article by Tim Challis.  I really appreciate Susie Fairchild Lott pointing me to this article.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'm Sorry

Such a small word, but perhaps one of the most important words in the English language.   To say, “I’m sorry,” is to say that I’ve been wrong and that, too, is a phrase that is very important.  Most of us have such an elevated sense of our own “rightness” that we cannot recognize when we are wrong, and to say, “I’m sorry,” without a sense of having been wrong is disingenuous at best and reeks of manipulation.

I’m wrong so often, that I have difficulty understanding how others can be so wise and correct in all their doings.   Nearly every bad thing that has happened to me is a consequence of either some wrong attitude, or some wrong action.   I think that my only really redeeming quality is that I try to be open to correction.  Such correction, either from another individual or from God, breaks my heart and causes me to cry out to both God and those I’ve offended for forgiveness.  Though people are not always ready to accept my proffered apology, God knows my heart and receives me and wipes away the guilt, leaving me free to begin again.

Starting over with a broken and contrite heart, allows me to experience the presence of God in a very unique way.  It is at that point that I realize that I need His guidance and cannot rely upon my own finite understanding of life and life’s issues.   He is willing to guide me to heights of usefulness, which I never before hoped to attain.  

I have discovered that the primary hindrance to reaching the point of brokenness which results in offering a genuine “I’m sorry” is pride.  Scripture tells us that number one thing God hates is pride.  It was pride which caused Lucifer to rebel against God.  It is pride which keeps me, at times, from admitting I’m wrong.  Pride causes me to defend my position more vehemently and to act irrationally when I am attacked.   

The opposite of pride is humility.  Humility allows me to be wrong.  Humility allows me to treat others with respect.  Humility allows me to recognize the weaknesses and needs of others without discarding them because of those weaknesses, because I realize that God has accepted me, even with all my weaknesses.   

Lord, Please teach me humility in order that I might be able to genuinely say, “I’m sorry.”  I ask this in the sweet name of Jesus, Amen.