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"...there was no open vision." I Sam. 3:1

I encourage you to read this other blog first that very elegantly shares the viewpoint of the preciousness of God's Word. Starting there gives you a reference for my continuing thoughts here.

I was reading the Scripture ["And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision." (1 Samuel 3:1)] used in another blog. As so often happens when reading and studying God's Word, I felt there was more to be said.

Another consideration of this passage that the blog author dealt with as to "why the Word was so precious in Samuel's days" is found in the verse more specifically in that phrase "there was no open vision." The vision or word of God (i.e. "thus saith the Lord") was to come from the Man (men) of God...prophets and priests. Eli and his sons failed the people because they had no vision from God. In fact Eli's sons turned the people against the worship of God (I Sam. 2:12-17, 22). Obviously we know that they did have religious rituals and temple functions but no real relationship with God. Hmmm...seems very similar to modern times doesn't it!? Sad!

So what did Solomon mean when he said in Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Is this judgement from a lack-of-vision to be applied towards witnessing or growth in a ministry, as so many pastors imply? I say no it is to be applied to our acceptance and reliance upon the very vision or words from God, the Scriptures. In times past the vision came through a prophet or priest and this was how God spoke to His people but Hebrews 1:1-2 clearly tells us that God now speaks to us through His Son. And I would confidently say that the Apostle John describes the Son of God as synomynous with the Word (John 1:1-3; I John 1:1-5). So Jesus is the Word. He is the Truth. So the Bible is the Supernatually inspired and preserved words from God and I would say it is the Word of God...Jesus no long in human flesh walking the earth but in written evidence of the Bible. The truth exists even today in the Scriptures and this is the way that God speaks to His children.

I firmly believe that pastors are to completely and boldly teach/preach the Word, or as 2 Timothy 4:2 clearly tells us, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. " Too many pastors make light of the Word, the commuication with God and vision from God, and so it should be no surprise when the congregation fails to see the importance...the preciousness of God's Word. Oh, I pray that this will never be thought of me, in my service as a Christian or in my minsitry as a pastor.

What is often overlooked today is that the children of God, both the Israelites of old and the Christians since the days of Christ, are supposed to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual growth, but I believe that the prophets/priests (of old) and pastors (of today) were/are to mind the camp and keep the Lord at the forefront of the people's lives.

So my goal as a Christian is to be learning as much about God's instructions for me and my life. My purpose as a pastor is to tell the people that God has entrusted me with to "stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God." (1 Samuel 9:27b). My desire is to make the Word of God precious and relevant in all aspects of their life.

God bless you my friends and stay in the Word!

To Save The Lost

Christ's call is to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers, and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil's clutches and the very jaws of Hell. This can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered devotion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

--C.T. Studd (1860-1931. Missionary to China)

The Cross In Crisis

Pastor Mark J. Smith, Director of Bible Tracts, Inc wrote:

There is a scandal attached to the cross. Many of those urging sinners to be saved are calling them to religious activities and emotional choruses, but not to the cross. To preach the Biblical cross would cause sinners to see thier real condition before God, who is holy.

"Cursed" is the word the Bible uses. You see, only the vilest people were scandalized by experiencing cross death. Many who like the forgiveness of the cross refuse to come any closer when they see what owning the cross says about them personally. It makes them stumble.

Without the scandal of the cross...
- our baptisms become mere rituals,
- communion becomes an add-on to already full services,
- the true ugliness and deception of our sins are not seen,
- the power of sin that makes men enemies of God is not grasped,
- the beauty of God's love and grace is not adequately displayed,
- the power to transform our lives is lost, and
- the greatness of God's power to overcome the egos of organizational church structures or the fetters of religious tradition will not be seen.

Thank God for the shame and suffering of Jesus on the cross that I claimed as a 9 year old boy for a covering for my sin debt...for my salvation.

Mistakes in the Evolution Debate

It isn't just the New York Times that ignores the facts when reporting about the debate over how to teach evolution. Not to be outdone by its competitor the Washington Post catches up [July 28, 2008] with an ill-informed opinion piece (Evolving Toward a Compromise) that yet again completely misreports what is going on in the upcoming review of Texas' state science standards.

A proposal before the Texas Board of Education calls for including the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution in the state's science curriculum. This initiative is understood by supporters and opponents to be a strategic effort to get around First Amendment restrictions on teaching religion in science class.

First, there is no such proposal. The Texas state science standards currently state:

The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to: (A) analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;

As has already been pointed out, no one is considering a proposal to add "strengths and weaknesses" language. It's already in there, and has been since the late 1980s. It's the Darwinists who are trying to remove the language. Read More Here

Ministry Online Breakthrough

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I have been building websites for nearly 10 years now which started from a personal desire to stay connected with my family while deployed around the world. I eventually turned this hobby into a way to create ministry websites for the churches we attended. I have explored many church websites and oddly enough I have 'collected' websites that seem to get it right in simplicity, substance, and style. I have developed an opinion of what a ministry website should have and have identified the strengths and weaknesses of how to represent a ministry and the Lord. I pastor a very small church and know that we could not afford many web development companies, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't or shouldn't have a web presence. Over the years I have seen people come to the church through a web search for a church or a Christian school.

So a web presence is a real blessing and I would even go so far to say it is a necessity, but why do churches hurt themselves with a website that doesn't properly represent their ministry? Or why create a website that looks dated in style and function? Or why use colors or layouts that seem to be developed by a high school student instead of a professional looking web presence? What about content? Is it updated on a regular basis? People are accustomed to a certain professional representation for an organization and when a ministry looks like it slapped something together three years ago in the hurts the ministry.

What advice do I have? Do it right and professional but understand that this doesn't have to be with an expensive start up fee or a costly monthly service. There are many options and even some do-it-yourself web companies that provide reasonable (albeit cookie-cutter, once-size-fits-all) web services. Many churches may have a member who has an interest to help with website but doesn't always have the experience or commitment to the website and so it quickly becomes impractical to maintain or outdated in its content. Personally, I think that the most important website consideration is that it needs to be updated regularly and give people (members and visitors) a connection to the ministry. But also these websites need to stay current with modern web features from the proper use of appropriate pictures, a good use of complementary/coordinating colors, or the possible use of embedded Javascript or Flash. I also encourage a church to make audio or video sermons available online. Another important area in web design is in the area of functionality which comes through a good website layout. There are so many considerations when developing a web presence but the average pastor or missionary is just ignorant or often overwhelmed and accepts whatever the volunteer throws together. Sometimes they simply decide that it is not important enough to deal with the hassles and don't develop a web presence and miss out on having an impact on their members or miss an opportunity to invite visitors to the church.

I say all of this to encourage you to do some research and strive for a professional quality web presence. If I can be a help either through relevant advice or through my web development company, Baptist Ministries Worldwide, please let me know. God bless you, my friends.

God's Ecomony

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This week I sent out a number of letters to church members, visitors, famiy, and friends with the very message that I would like to share with you now.

The fundamentals of God's economy are sound! Isn't it wonderful to read a statement like that in times of great economic and financial upheaval in the United States and around the World?
I wanted to take a few moments to write to you today concerning some of the events that have taken place over the past few weeks and months, as well as provide you with some encouragement from the Word of God.

When I hear someone make a statement that the "fundamentals" are sound, maybe you're like me, and have to ask yourself what exactly those fundamentals are! My desire is not to convince you that the world economy is sound, because God is the only one that knows the direction we are going, yet I do believe that when we take a look at God's fundamentals, we will see that in fact, He's not worried while He sits on His awesome throne in Heaven.

I'm going to just briefly state a few things that I believe are equated with God's economy, and I trust you will be encouraged.

His grace is still amazing! Grace in its essence means "unmerited favor". In other words, we receive the grace of God in our lives as a totally FREE gift that we cannot earn regardless of how hard we try.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

For some reason, it is so difficult for people to reach out and simply accept this gift, but this is what must happen for Christ to truly come into our lives. You may have heard the statement, "If it's free, it's for me!" Well, Salvation is free, yet it was not cheap by any means! Christ willingly laid down His life for us.


On the other side of the point made previously, we must also remember that God's wages are still the same for those who would reject His precious gift of mercy as we see in the Word of God in Romans 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death...”
Of course we know the second part of that verse speaks of the gift of God, but too many people overlook the important first part of this verse because we would much rather enjoy a "gift", than get this "wage".

Why is this important in the discussion of God's economy? It is important because we must recognize as Christians that it is both our duty and privilege to share the Gospel with a world that still needs to hear an adequate presentation of the Gospel. Take time to become acquainted with a simple way to share your faith, backed up by the Word of God. Also, live your faith in front of people that will even lead them to a point of asking you how you can have so much peace in tumultuous times!

If you are a Christian, I encourage you to share your faith with people in these challenging times. Spiritual doors are wide open, and we have the answer! His Name is Jesus.


God GAVE His Son, and Jesus GAVE His life, and in those 2 acts of mercy showed the very essence of what God is all about. These are our examples of sacrificial giving.
The Bible tells us in Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Yes, even in the year 2008 this principle is still true! When we give, there is something miraculous about it that in turn not only meets the need of the church or person we are giving to, but it also honors God with our obedience to His Word. Giving is a sign that we recognize we are not the source of our blessings, and that without Him giving into our lives, we would have no hope on a number of levels.
Should you still give in difficult times? Absolutely! It's almost like asking if you should still breathe even when it's hard to catch your breath! I believe we need to be a giving people now more than ever.

These are just a few of the ways that the fundamentals of God's economy are still sound, and I would encourage you to search the Word for more encouragement and inspiration.

This is a time to ADVANCE on the enemy and not RETREAT!
Rest assured... God's Economy is Sound!

Is Psychology Blasphemy?


OK, I will admit to taking quite a few courses to earn a Psychology degree when I was in the Marine Corps stationed in California. I had a desire to teach at the college level and wanted to get there by way of a Psychology degree rather than an Education degree (which by the way, would have been easier and quicker!). I had my pet lab rat, Skippy, though he was of the virtual breed than the physical type. We did lots of things on the computer in proving the theories of psychology. But as I have grown in the Lord since those long ago days and have been involved in more counselling as a Pastor, I have realized the dangers of Psychology for the Christian and the church. Of course, I am not an expert and get much of my understanding from those who have specialized and studied these areas so I'm gonna share one of my resources with you - Search the Scriptures Daily a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I've gotten many thoughts on this particular subject from Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon of The Berean Call. Here is the link to both the MP3 file and the full transcript.

Let's get started, psychology presents problems for a Christian, because psychology pretends, or attempts to deal with the very things that the Bible deals with. Are you happy? Do you want to be fulfilled? Do you want to live a worthwhile, fruitful life, and so forth? This is what the Bible deals with, this is the province of the Bible, and it’s a spiritual matter not a psychological one. We are led by Christ, we are indwelt by Christ, filled with His spirit, and He’s our life. Okay? Now, when psychology pretends to deal with these areas the implication instantly is, the Bible doesn’t handle it properly, it doesn’t handle it sufficiently, or even correctly. Therefore we have to help the Bible out, and we have to help the Bible where it has some deficiencies, and we’ll bring in psychology and that will do the job. The Christian fails to acknowledge this humanistic attitude towards the Bible and the major conflict between psychology and the teachings of the Bible.

Certainly, I know that even in my limited experiences, with regard to Biblical counselling for Christians, a great concern that I have is that modern psychology has undermined the belief in the sufficiency of God’s Word. So, an attitude has developed amongst spiritual leaders that says if the Bible is not sufficient then we need to turn elsewhere, and psychology hurriedly says, well, we’ve got the answers with regard to man’s emotional problems, his problems of living, and so forth and many Pastors and lay people fall into this trap unknowingly. Understand that I'm taking not about all of psychology but rather about psychotherapy. It almost seems contrary to say but there are some legitimate studies in psychology... industrial psychology, developmental psychology in the different learning patterns & difficulties of people, and so forth. The major problem with psychology is that it is firmly based upon Darwin (he of evolution fame). It’s based upon the medical model of Freud so that man is not a spiritual being, he’s just some kind of stimulus response mechanism. So in some ways, psychology is helpful, because we do learn things, we are influenced by experiences that we have had, but that’s not the only thing, especially for the Christian because we have Christ to turn to and are told to seek after Him.

So why all the fascination between the Church and Psychology? First off, the Bible claims in II Peter 1 - "According as His divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, to the knowledge of Him who has called us unto glory and virtue, whereby given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, and so forth, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature." The Christian is supposed to have a divine nature and the Scripture says that Christ is living, Christ is your life (Colossians 3) when Christ who is your life. I don’t believe that Christ needs any help from psychology. So by its very definition and purpose psychology, not only undermines the confidence, it destroys the person's confidence in Christ. What psychology says is, "The Bible does not have the answers that we need for everyday, relevant life." But we know the Bible does.

Oh, the Bible doesn’t have the answers for repairing an automobile, tuning the engine, brushing your teeth, or other things. So, we wouldn’t think of saying Christian aerodynamics or Christian auto mechanics. No, that is silly though we do know that there are Christians who are auto mechanics, dentists, physicists, or even chemists, but no one would ever talk about a need for a philosophy of Christian chemistry or a Christian physics. So why do we use the term Christian Psychology? Why do we talk about the need for Christian psychology? That’s the problem --psychology's inerrant attitude of trying to replace the Bible. So before you go seeking Christian the counsel of a wise pastor who is in the Word and will only use the Word for counselling. I tell my people that I'm always available to counsel and provide advice and some of my best counselling is done on Sundays at 10 am, 11 am, 6 pm and again on Wednesdays at 7 pm. See ya in church!

To answer my article's title...YES!! Especially in the area of psychotherapy. Sadly, psychology is blasphemy that is unwittingly taught and practiced by many Pastors and Churches. So I say get in the Word and get in will do wonders for your soul and you'll find that only God provides the answers to life and that peace that passes all human understanding!!

Love Your Pastor

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October is Clergy Appreciation Month which is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging our nation's spiritual leaders (the pastor) in the church.

I have often revolted against that word, CLERGY, because it includes those that I would not refer to as pastors. But since religious organizations often have different names for their spiritual leaders I guess Clergy is meant to be the universal umbrella that covers them no matter the religious sect. Of course, I'm always quick to claim it when its on the sign for good parking spots at the hospital or a discount at a local establishment (I'm mostly kidding!). I do want to boldly say something and understand I don't want to seem to be self-serving but
Church members you absolutely need to love your pastor and his family...and you need to show it! If you can't love them then you need to ask God to work more in your life or you need to leave that church.
All of the members of my church are supportive and loving towards my family and I. They regularly show it, but there is one man in particular who blesses me more than gifts, or taking us out to eat, or whatever. This man is such an encouragement, such a blessing to me because he often tells me that he loves me. Not for any personal gain or because I have done something for him, but because he simply loves me and I know and see it from him. Understand that outside of my family, no man has ever said this to me and that overwhelms me (in a good way!) and is such a blessing!! This man is over 20 years older than me and I should be the one to encourage him but it seems the Lord brings this man to tell me that he loves me at just the times that I need uplifting and encouragement.

Church member understand that pastors and their families face incredible pressures. They often feel overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations and demands and frequently battle burnout. So, while prayer support is important throughout the year, Clergy Appreciation Month is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging pastors. So for the next couple of weeks, I want to encourage you to love your pastor and to tell him and show it. I guarantee that if the church members do this and show it not necessarily with gifts but with a sincere will make a world of difference in your church and to your pastor and his family!

Pastors and Politics

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Many people ask me about who I support in the current political races from national to local level. I gladly tell them. Many of the same people and others ask my views on certain ballot or societal issues. I gladly tell them. Though I strive to make certain points very a citizen and a parent I have very strong views on political and societal issues and as a Christian I have a responsibility to be ready to provide Biblical reasoning for my politics. Of course, many people would condemn me if I used my position as Pastor to 'preach the party's plank' so to speak. So I never endorse a candidate or a ballot proposal from the pulpit.

Please understand this is not out of fear of offending someone or being accused of abusing the liberal idea of 'separation of church and state.' I don't do these endorsements, because I have a fear of preaching politics when I should be preaching the 'mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ' as Paul so aptly put it. If I faithfully preach the whole counsel of the Word of God then all the other things will fall in line. The true Christian should be the best citizen. The Lord's Steward is the best caretaker of His creation. [On a side note, this stewardship of nature is to be without an attitude of worship for the creation more than the Creator.] No, the Christian and especially the Pastor should be aware and involved in political things that could grant or limit the freedoms of worship & witnessing, but not so politically involved that we ignore the very action of worship & witnessing.

I read this article and felt it adequately covered my thoughts for the arguments of faith and politics. Written by Frank Pastore, a radio talk-show host in Los Angeles, who boldly mixes religion and politics and encourages Christians to do the same. I provided the link to the whole article but I especially liked his closing comments -
Some Christians may claim, “Christians shouldn’t argue about politics” simply because they’re political liberals who are unwilling to actually engage in argument over their political views. Instead, they would rather attempt to stifle debate by taking the pseudo moral high ground, saying something like, “Truly spiritual Christians are above politics.”

That’s too bad. Christians can and should argue, especially about theology and politics — and hopefully in that order. Read More

In case you were wondering, I post my political thoughts on my other blog where I also post my thoughts as a father, a football fan, and even show off my humorous side. I do this because I want this blog to maintain it's distinction as my pastoral blog.

God bless you my friends and I pray that the Lord finds you faithful in service to Him!