A Ready Recollection

The Mind Numbing Ponderings Of A Pulpit Preacher

Life Mirrors Scripture:

Some close friends young daughter received some serious burns and was taken to the hospital. She was doing fine when my wife and I came to visit and is recovering nicely. I can imagine the feeling of panic that may have occurred. The thought of a young child in pain and the unlimited “What If’s” that cross the mind will often create within us a feeling of great responsibility.

I believe it is safe to say that, when the accident occurred, both of the parents would have gladly traded places with their child, if for no other reason, to spare her from the pain.

This reminds me of a passage of Scripture.

 Isaiah 53:4-7

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Think about it.

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Think About It | Leave a comment

The Power of The Gospel

Are you ever embarrassed to be identified as a follower of Christ? Would coworkers or other associates ever assume that you are ashamed of your faith by the way you avoid talking about it or revealing your true thoughts or feelings?

Paul felt no shame in the message of Christ, for he saw it as powerful- powerful enough to transform lives.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

One of the greatest challenges confronting Christians today is to communicate the message of Christ in terms that everyday people can understand.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Luke 7:22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

How powerful is the Gospel you believe in? Are you a channel or a barrier for the power of Christ in your daily life?

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study | Leave a comment

Worship Leaders: Who, What and Why.

There is a term that has been floating around the brotherhood for a little over two decades now. This term is “Worship Leader”.  It is a term that implies leadership and authority but, exactly what is a worship leader?  In a nutshell, a worship leader is what the old timers used to call a song leader.  I know, I know: many will argue that he is more than that in that he organizes and collaborates with the minister and others, but, really does that constitute the implied meaning?

I will not disagree that the person who guides our heart and voices in song is not worship leader when in fact he is.  But, the title is very, very misleading. To apply such a title to an organizer and song leader belittles the others who also lead worship.  Is the song leader more important that the man who guides our minds and hearts in public prayer?  Is the song leader more important than the messenger who shares a lesson or sermon?  Of course not! But the title is a self proclaimed one; it implies that “I am the worship leader and the others must follow my lead”.

I will not venture to guess the hearts and minds of those who chose to apply such a title but I would caution them to consider the ramifications of doing so. One consequence being that many people will begin to believe that singing is the most important part of worship when it is only one of several.

The reality is this:  A worship leader, as the Bible has defined, is one who leads others in the acts of worship.  Not just a song leader, preacher or teacher, but anyone who stands before the congregation with the responsibility of leading and guiding others in the acts or worship.

A worship leader would be….

  1. One who leads singing (1st Corinthians 14:26)
  2. One who leads prayer (1st Timothy 2:8)
  3. One who leads in the area of…
  • Teacher,
  • Preacher,
  • Instruction         (1st Corinthians 14:26-27)

The label” Worship Leader” has the potential to do the opposite of what may be intended by it’s use and that is to divide. Be cautious and recognize that any given worship service may have several leaders.

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Worship | 1 Comment

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: The Controversy.

The controversy over Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John turns on the basic argument that Jesus lived His life under the Law of Moses and therefore could not have given any commands that would uniquely go into the New Testament before His death. To do so, it is thought, would create a dilemma for Jews who were told, on one hand, to keep the Law of Moses and, on the other hand, to keep Jesus’ commands (that sometimes seem to contradict the Law of Moses). For example, it is reasoned that Moses’ teaching on divorce and remarriage could not be kept up to the time of the cross, and at the same time follow Jesus’ instructions on divorce and remarriage. To keep Jesus from confusing the Jews before the cross, and to keep Him from putting Jews into a situation of “spiritual adultery,” it is reasoned that Jesus did not teach any new laws for the New Testament (NT) age before the cross. To do so would cause them to attempt to be following Moses and at the same time following Jesus’ counter commands, thus causing them to be torn between two husbands.

It is reasoned that He could not do so, He did not do so, and instead, He merely explained the law and gave the true meaning and intent of the law. To allow for the other portions of Jesus’ teachings, it is claimed that anything that looks new is merely a “prophecy” with no binding quality unless it is quoted after the event of the cross, and more specifically, after the church/kingdom began on Pentecost (recorded in Acts 2). Thus, the content of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (MML&J) will fall into just a few categories:

1) Law of Moses,

2) Prophecies that have no binding quality unless reaffirmed again after Acts 2,

3) Parables of the kingdom.

The basic argument can be summed up this way:

The thing we need to know is at what point the law of the Lord went forth. At what point did Jesus cease to teach the Law of Moses and  begin  to teach His will? I do not believe that He mingled them together, for that would be pouring new wine in old wine-skins and making spiritual adulterers of those He was expecting to obey His words. We never see a time in the Bible when two contradictory laws are being taught at the same time.

This statement encapsulates most of the major arguments put forth in defense of the position that MML&J are Old Testament books, or NT books that contain NO binding commands for us today.

Not only is the argument flawed by it’s shaky premise that the teachings of Jesus (as per the gospels), in some way, contradicted the law of Moses, there are also a number of facts that have intentionally been ignored.

1.  In Matthew 28:18-20 Christ gives what many have called “The Great Commission”.  In this “commission” Christ instructs them to teach, not only to make disciples but to teach them to obey the things which He [Christ] had already taught them. These things would, by definition, have to include the four gospels. It would be these teachings that became the doctrine taught by the apostles.

You will also notice in Acts 2:42 that the first century church (which is under the New Covenant) “continued daily in the apostles doctrine”. This is very odd if the things taught in the four gospels were not an authoritative part of the new covenant.

2. The New Covenant came into force, ie. was established as the final authority, in Acts chapter 2. This event occurred approximately 30-34 A.D. Most Biblical scholars agree that the Book of Acts is part two of a two part volume written by Luke, the first part being the Gospel of Luke.  It would be odd for such an oversight to occur by a writer who is divinely inspired.

3. Most scholars agree that the events of the crucifixion took place in 30-34 A.D.; as did the events in Acts chapter 2. That being the case, Matthew was written in 65 A.D., Mark was written in 55 A.D., Luke was written in 60 A.D. and John was written in 85 A.D.  The four gospels were written decades after the church was established. As you can see, the gospels were written after the fact and cannot be relocated as Old Testament writings.

4. There were several instances where Jesus said “A new command I give to you”…  If, indeed, it is part of the Old Testament, why use the word NEW?

The teachings of the four gospels are most certainly part of the New Covenant. If this is not the case, why did the Apostles teach others to obey them?

May 20, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study | Leave a comment

G. P. S.

This is a song that my wife, Mary, and I wrote for the children’s class.  The melody is based on the Addams Family theme.

God’s Plan of Salvation

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Sheet Music | Leave a comment

Sheet Music

I have written several song over the years so I thought it would be cool to post some sheet music

Come To Me

This is a song I wrote while I was a student at IBC (Heritage Christian University).  The lyrics have been floating around awhile and I have seen them in several in house devotional songbooks. Now you can see how it is supposed to be sung. I am working on a MIDI file to go along with it.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Sheet Music | Leave a comment

Spring Cleaning

It was a working/cleaning day at the Flushing Pointe church of Christ

       

      

Click on the thumbnail for larger view

May 9, 2011 Posted by | Photo Album | Leave a comment

Never Stop Learning

There’s an old saying; “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  While that may be true of our canine friends, it is not so with us. As creatures of intellect, human beings are constantly learning new things. Knowledge can come in unexpected ways and we are never to old to “learn new tricks”. Some knowledge is gained without us even recognizing that we have just learned something. Experience is great teacher if we learn from both our mistakes and success.

Enough of that: This is primarily a Bible centered blog so let’s switch gears and turn our minds in that direction.

Study of Scripture in an important aspect of Christian life.  It is not just beneficial, it is a command. When was the last time you read your Bible? No, I’m not talking about reading it for a class or while putting together a lesson or sermon.  NO! I’m talking about getting into the Book; learning the history of places and people.  Looking into the insight of the inspired writers and finding truth you never knew was there is a very fulfilling activity.

This is especially important for those of us who minister on a regular basis. Too often the preacher will find himself reading purely for professional reasons. That is to say, preparing for some study, class or sermon.  Some only read to prove themselves right and others wrong.  While a lot can be said about one’s approach to study, I want to focus on study itself.

There are many ways of study and with today’s technology the options are boundless.  There are a multitude of choices available.  You can go back to school and seek a higher degree. You can take online Bible studies in your spare time.  You can do a correspondence course to sharpen your skills. You can even look through some of those old Bible school workbooks that are just taking up space in your closet, bookcase or stored in boxes.

You can also…

  • Take a course in Greek or Hebrew.
  • Read about Biblical archaeology.
  • Study church history.
  • Learn the rudiments music to improve singing.
  • Re-acquaint yourself with basic principles.

No knowledge of God’s word and ways is “beneath” your station in life nor is it trivial and useless.

I know some “preachers”, and I use that term loosely, who (although they do not verbalize it) believe that such trivial activities are beneath their pay-grade.   You’re never too old to learn new things and you’re never too smart to not have to study.

Knowledge is the key to understanding. It is also the means of salvation.

For this is eternal life, that they KNOW You, the only true God….  John 17:3.

An Old Testament prophet once said on behalf of God. “My people PERISH because of lack of knowledge“. Knowledge is more than just fundamental, it is a necessity. If we do not KNOW God then we don’t have eternal life.  If we don’t KNOW the truth we can never be free. We can never KNOW unless we STUDY!

Keep the faith: Read THE BOOK!

May 3, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment

Something Old, Something New; Something Borrowed, Something Blue:

I’m going to try something new.  I’m not sure if this will be productive or not but I will try posting sermon outlines on this sight.  As an outline, it is not a complete manuscript. It only gives enough information to build a complete lesson.  As an outline, it can be adapted to various settings.

I would appreciate any comments, perceptions, tips or feedback you may have. I would also like to know if posting outlines is helpful at all. I would also like to know if any ministers can find such post useful.

********************

Something Old, Something New; Something Borrowed, Something Blue:

TEXT: John 3:29-30 

1.  Something Old

Ephesians 4:22
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

2.  Something New

Colossians 3:9-10

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

3.  Something Borrowed

Galatians 3:27

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

4.  Something Blue

Blue Blood: A person of nobility or royalty. A member of a royal family.

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Sermon Outlines | 1 Comment

Online Bible Studies

NEW!!!!!!

We have a new menu containing links to various online study’s

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment

List of Suspected Degree Mills.

Some time ago, I presented an article concerning Fake Bible Degrees. Since then several people have inquired as to what institutes they should avoid. While the following is hardly an exhaustive list it does provide information concerning several popular institutes that have questionable standards and are regarded by leading authorities as degree mills.  I encourage you to do your own research.

This information was taken from an article that you can read here.

Brief list of suspected degree mills.

  • Christian Bible College
  • Clarksville School of Theology
  • Summit Theological University
  • The Theological University Of America
  • Vision Christian University
  • Logos Bible College

While there are some who consider these to be “valid” institutions of higher learning (usually faculty members or students who can’t get legitimate degrees elsewhere), I would caution anyone to really do their research before pursuing them.  If it looks too good to be true it probably is. If the legitimacy of an institution can only be argued for by faculty or students, more than likely, you have a degree mill.

The most common ways to identify a degree mill is by their academic standards.

  • If they offer a degree based on “life experience”
  • If they offer full class credit for reading a book or attending a function.
  • If they allow multiple credit for undergraduate work allowing it to substitute for graduate work without leveling courses.
  • If, in the past, they have had to relocate to another city, state or country in order to avoid legal requirements.
  • If a majority of the faculty have their advanced degrees from the same institution
  • If they just flat out sell you the degree after filling out a few forms.

If an institution fits one of these it may be cause for a red flag. If it fits 3 or 4 of these it would be wise to look somewhere else for your education. If it fits all of these you have yourself a degree mill.

BUYER BEWARE!

If it is a quality education you are seeking there are links to several legitimate institutions in the menu marked EDUCATION.

April 25, 2011 Posted by | FYI | Leave a comment

Nations University

April 25, 2011 Posted by | FYI, Videos | Leave a comment

Heritage Christian University

April 25, 2011 Posted by | FYI, Videos | 1 Comment

Egg-stravaganza!

I guess it’s a family tradition.

    

   



Photos provided by Brenda Platt.

April 24, 2011 Posted by | Photo Album | Leave a comment

Seven Wonders:

Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life: by Glenn Beck and Kieth Ablow, M. D.

This book is not about politics at all, but a biography of sorts, with some philosophy, religious thought, and psychology thrown into the mix.

It does provide the reader with questions that should be answered.

  • Where does the courage to persevere come from when everything seems hopeless?
  • Why is it nearly impossible to succeed with faith?
  • How much do family and friendships matter in our journey?
  • How do we break down our walls and reveal our inner truths?
  • What does having compassion really mean?
  • How do you tell real friends apart from those who are holding you back?
  • If there’s no one to blame for my past, what do you do with your anger and resentment?

It is no substitute, of course, for the Bible. I believe the Bible is capable of answering life’s questions but sometimes we need help to realize WHICH questions we should be asking. While I cannot agree with Beck’s religious views I did find this book a good resource for understanding people who find themselves in crisis situations.

I give it 3 out of 5 head bobbles.

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Book Review | Leave a comment

The Problem:

We’ve all heard stories about people we know.  It usually comes in the form of gossip or slander. There are times when we hear things that have the potential to turn us against another.  What do we do when such information (be it true or not) turns our hearts and attitudes against another?

The first thing we need to realize is that those who gossip and slander  have an ax to grind i.e. ulterior motives.  Some do it for attention, some to hurt others or to force friends to “picks sides” against another. All of which are the core of sin and the products of hearts filled with guile and hatred.

The Bible clearly states, that is COMMANDS, that if such occurs we have the obligation to approach the person to see if the stories have any faction of truth.  Unfortunately, many seem to feel that they are “above” this command. They believe they don’t have to talk to “so and so” and continue to harbor feelings of hate and vindictiveness against a person that may very well be innocent. Some even join in the tirade of slander and gossip believing that they are doing so for “the greater good”. The truth is that two wrongs have never, ever made a right.

Such arrogance will lead to destruction.  Not only are the reputations of innocent people at stake but the souls of those who gossip and slander are endanger of the fires of hell. Those who engage in such seek only to vilify, destroy and steal the good name of fellow Christians all for the sake of attention or some other selfish gain.

No one is above the command to approach those whom they have heard rumors about to seek the truth in the matter.   The Bible clearly gives you only two choices, you talk to them or you keep your mouth shut.

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment

Church Youth

We have several activities throughout the year.

Our youth and those for sister congregations enjoy fellowship and fun together.

Our youth group continues to grow and we are super excited about the infinite possibilities.

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Photo Album | Leave a comment

We Ought to Obey God Rather Than Men

TEXT: Acts 5:22-32

What should Christians do when faced with conflict between human authority and God’s authority?  Notice what Peter and the other apostles did.

1.  Their aim was to serve and glorify God.  They were not motivated by ego or out to protect their own power.

2.  Their point of obedience was specific and particular.  They did not resist the authority of the Jewish counsel in total.

3.  They approached the situation with a spirit of submissiveness toward both the counsel and God.  They did not harbor rebellious anger toward authority in general.

4.  They delivered a positive, factual message about God’s plan and power in loving truth.  They did not slander or show disrespect to those in authority.

5.  They accepted the cost of being loyal to the truth without anger or bitterness.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study | Leave a comment

The Secret to Waking Up the Pew Potatoes

The Secret to Waking Up the Pew Potatoes is designed to double or even triple the attendance in the church assembly in just a few months.  Every member is empowered to do what he/she can for church growth.  From the very young to the elderly, everyone is given a simple task to accomplish.  This doesn’t overwork anyone, and everyone rejoices together as the numbers increase.  This step-by-step system is designed to help older established congregations, who have stopped growing, to re-ignite their passion for lost souls.  Putting the concept to work generates an endless supply of contacts for Bible studies and resurrects what is often a near-dead congregation!

At least that’s the description.

The truth is, while there are many good ideas in this book it still focuses more on superficial perception than on actual growth. I found several of the ideas worth implementing and whose application produced some results but far from those promised of doubling or tripling attendance. Many of the concepts were generic and, let’s face it, just common sense things we were already doing.

I did, however, find many of the charts and studies to be very useful. Sermon outlines, class ideas and Bible studies that can help any congregation. I can see how this book might sound attractive to a struggling congregation. While it can be of some use, don’t get your hopes pinned on dramatic results.

This book would be best used in conjunction with other resources. It is worth the read and is a pretty good investment but it does make promises that is application simply can’t keep.

I give it 3 out of 5 head bobbles.


April 14, 2011 Posted by | Book Review | 2 Comments

Why Did God Give Us The Bible?

If God did not give us the Bible that means that it is a product of man.  It is easier to believe that God gave it.  It would indeed be incredible if  men, not aided by divine inspiration, could have produced the Bible.  Take notice of the volume lying around your house called the Bible; it was written by the hand that made you! Why did God give this volume?

1.  God gave the Bible to reveal himself to man: It is a permanent record of God’s revelation of Himself to man.  Without the Bible, man might conceive that there was some force out there that is superior to man, but without the Bible man could possible know what that ‘force” is; without the Bible man could not know anything about God.  One skeptic who rejected the information about God in the Bible began to set forth his concept of God.  He was then asked, “Where did you get your concept of God?”  Man may foolishly try to make God fit into his own image of what he want’s God to be, but such a “god” would not be the true and living God revealed in Scripture.

2.  God gave us the Bible to reveal to us a lasting picture of Christ:  What would you know about Christ were it not for the Bible?  relatively uneducated men gave in the Bible the record of a man who was the world’s greatest teacher who taught and lived perfectly the world’s greatest truths!  Their being uneducated is good evidence they were divinely aided.

3.  God gave the Bible to reveal man to himself:  God’s word is like a mirror. (James 1:22-25)  This is why some despise the Bible.  it is said an unbeliever gave a Bible back to a missionary and exclaimed: Every time I read this book it makes me feel guilty!”

4.  God gave the Bible to reveal man to man:  It will show us the sin in others as well as our own sins, and it will make us “consider ourselves” as we view the mistakes of another.  There is a Native American proverb that shows the meaning of this.  it says: “I will not criticize another until I have walked in his shoes for two weeks.”

5.  God gave the Bible to reveal His plan of salvation:  No more can we look for visions and signs: God speaks to us through His Son in the new testament.  (Hebrews 1:1-3)  Salvation is in Christ and no where else.  (Acts 4:11,12; 2 Timothy 2:10; 3:14)  To be in Christ is to be in His body which is His church.  (Colossians 1:2, 18: 3:15)  We are baptized into Christ.  (Romans 6:3)

6.  God gave the Bible to reveal man’s destiny:  We are going somewhere.  We cannot will our souls “OUT” of existence.  The Bible determines our eternal destiny, depending on our attitudes towards it.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment