Pastor's Blog

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An Encouragement to Evangelize!

Several times in the past, I've shared an article written by Church Lawless, an evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Today, I'd like to do it again. He titles this "8 Reasons I'm Encouraging My Church In Evangelism." As we approach our Reopening, Regathering, Restart on July 11, it is wise for us to think about our church's own efforts in evangelism. Will you join me in sharing the gospel?

If we really believe the gospel is good news, we’ll want to tell others. Evangelism will, in fact, be quite natural when we’re fascinated by Jesus (and, I so believe that truth that I wrote the book, Nobodies for Jesus, to make that point). 

Our church, like most churches, does not have a strong record of reaching non-believers. I praise the Lord we’ve been blessed to lead our own children to the Lord—and in no way do I want to diminish that responsibility or that gift—but we’ve not reached many others. We must start somewhere if we want to do better. 

All of us have friends and loved ones who need Jesus. In fact, yesterday our entire congregation wrote names on cards and placed them on the altar for prayer. I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the response, and I look forward to praying for the many people. 

As God strengthens the church, I don’t want us to be inwardly focused. Churches naturally turn inward, and they must fight against that tendency to reach their community. Unless we keep lostness and the Great Commission in front of them, even the best churches can lose this focus. 

I’m even more excited about this work since God saved my 79-year-old mom several weeks ago. I’ve written posts about this miracle (see herehere, and here), and I’m daily awed by what God has done. I want my church members who’ve been praying for others for a long time to experience the same joy. 

In the midst of today’s craziness, all of us need to see transformed lives. No matter what we face culturally, watching God transfer a non-believer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (Col 1:13) is amazing indeed! 

I need the personal accountability. Even as a professor of evangelism at Southeastern Seminary, I still have to push my introverted self to speak to others about Jesus. Leading my church in this direction will only help me stay faithful in this task. 

In the end, evangelism is not optional for believers. We’re the only plan God’s given us to get the good news to our neighbors and the nations. Not doing evangelism is nothing less than disobedience—and none of us wants our congregations to go there. 

As always, Onward and Upward!

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Who's In Your Family Tree?

This week in our daily readings we've had the great honor to read all the genealogies in the first chapters of 1 Chronicles. These list were important to Israel because the Abrahamic covenant's fulfillment depending on the decedents of Abraham leading to Jesus. Their families trees also proved who was truly a member of God's people if they could be traced back to Abraham.

You may have studied your family tree to discover the origins of your family. Mine has primarily English roots. More important is your spiritual family tree. I don't have a lot of information on mine, but I know that Ruffin Snow led me to the Lord. I've often wondered what that tree would like tracing back to Jesus and see just who led who to the Lord down to me. It would make a great story.

You may never know who your spiritual decedents will be, but don't stop sharing the gospel because that has eternal implications. For example, a man named Edward Kimball was faithful, and in 1856 led Dwight L. Moody came to faith in Christ. In 1879 while he was preaching in England, an evangelistic fervor was awakened in the heart of Frederick B. Meyer, the pastor of a small church.

Years later while Meyer was preaching on an American college campus, a student named J. Wilbur Chapman professed faith in Christ. Chapman went on to hold evangelistic meetings across America. He later hired a new convert (and former major league baseball player), Billy Sunday, to work as an advance man in his ministry. In a few years Chapman went into the pastorate, and Sunday began to lead his own evangelistic crusades.

In 1924 Billy Sunday held a crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina. After the meetings about thirty men formed the Charlotte Men’s Club, which met on a regular basis for prayer. Ten years later the club met for a day of prayer and fasting in a grove of trees at Frank Graham’s dairy farm. The main focus of the day was to prepare for an upcoming crusade to be held in Charlotte. One of the men, Vernon Patterson, prayed that “out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.” Patterson had no idea that the answer to his prayer was a few hundred yards away, pitching hay into feeding troughs. During the crusade led by Mordecai Ham, Frank Graham’s son Billy committed his life to Christ. (James P. Eckman, Exploring Church History (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002), 92.)

As always, Onward and Upward!

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God's Faithful Blessings

Here we are, in the month of June. 2021 is nearly half over and it seems we are beginning to breathe easy again. 2020 was a tough year for many of us. We lived in fear of a deadly virus, being laid off from work, having to do school remotely away from friends, and to top it all off, we couldn't attend church.

And yet, in the midst of that God has been faithful. He allowed us to use technology to continue to meet, though remotely. He protected many of us from getting COVID and those that did thankfully survived. He has blessed our church with the sale of the old office building, allowing us to remodel the loft for an office and then to repair and paint the old building. It now looks great and is one that we can all be proud of to glorify God.

This morning I was reading Psalm 128. It just seemed to sum up my feelings today. So here it is, enjoy!

Psalm 128

   1How happy is everyone who fears the LORD, 

   who walks in his ways! 

   2 You will surely eat 

   what your hands have worked for. 

   You will be happy, 

   and it will go well for you. 

   3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine 

   within your house, 

   your children, like young olive trees 

   around your table. 

   4 In this very way 

   the man who fears the LORD 

   will be blessed. 

   5 May the LORD bless you from Zion, 

   so that you will see the prosperity of Jerusalem 

   all the days of your life 

   6 and will see your children’s children! 

   Peace be with Israel.

May continue to bless you and our church as we move forward with reopening, regathering, and restarting soon!

As always, Onward and Upward!

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