Tuesday, February 27, 2007


We have a Bible conference beginning this coming Sunday thru Wednesday. The guest speakers will be:

Pastor Steve Weaver from Lenoir City, Tn.

Pastor Jimmy Strickland from Clarksdale, Miss.

Bro. James Shutt from Savannah, Tn.

Bro. Howard Estep from Elizabethton, Tn.

Most of these men are not widely known, but they are faithful preachers of God's Word.

The only one who is widely known is Pastor Steve Weaver. I probably couldn't have gotten him to preach in such an insignificant place as this, but I know stuff on him. He'd better preach good, or I'll tell it. Wait a minute...He knows stuff on me too. Never mind.

Monday, February 26, 2007


It's my birthday and these guys threw me a surprise party early this morning. We had a delicious meal of grub worms.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I was pretty excited about the previous post. I thought it might resonate with some, surprise others, or at least generate a little bit of discussion. However, almost none of the above happened. As a matter of fact, according to my site meter, almost no one even read it. To be honest, that stings a little.

I offer my sincere thanks to the 4 or 5 of you who read it. I know it was long. I too am often guilty of either skimming or just plain not reading over-long posts. I guess I got what I deserved...

Do you feel sorry for me yet? Well, then READ THE STUPID THING!!!

Friday, February 16, 2007


As an Independent Baptist intimately involved in missions, I have heard this assertion made on many occasions: "The people in (you supply the name of the country)are hungry for the Gospel." This claim is most often made in the hope of encouraging people to give financial support to a missionary or to a mission project. The missionary often backs up his claim by showing pictures of people eagerly accepting tracts, or he tells of the numbers of professions of faith he has had in evangelistic outreaches while on the field. Since independent missionaries are always in need of support, he seeks to put an image in the minds of his audience of multitudes of previously un-evangelized people clamoring for the Good News of salvation.

I don't mean to sound cynical here, but I think that the statement mentioned above, if examined by the Scriptures, will be seen to be false. Let me say right up front, that I DO believe:
A) That the Gospel is to be preached to everyone.
B) That Jesus has sheep in every people group and every language group. They are His sheep, and when they hear His voice, they WILL come to Him.
C)That there are times when the Spirit of God begins to work among people, through the faithful preaching of the missionary, so that numbers of people are swept into the Kingdom of God in a very short time.

However, I am compelled to say that both Scripture and my own experience disproves the assumption that unregenerate men are hungry for the Gospel. The Word of God is clear, at least to my understanding, that men in their natural condition are "...dead in trespasses and sins..."(Eph.2:1). The Bible says in Jn.6:44"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." Also in Romans 3:11, Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3 and 51:1 when he gives this Divine assessment of man in his natural condition: "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Since the Word of God is our final authority, these passages make it abundantly clear that, even though many will be eager to accept a free Gospel tract, their attitude toward God and His Gospel may well be a different matter.

In my own personal experience, I have seen how this false assumption has been perpetuated. In January of 1984 I moved my family to Mexico to work with some veteran missionaries who had been on the field for a long time. They already had a large work going, so we were able to start to work immediately with them. They were good and sincere people. They loved the Mexican people and sacrificed much in order to bring the Gospel to them. I do not criticize them personally, however I am critical of their methods.

Being located in the northern part of Mexico, this work was easily accessible to church groups who wanted to visit a missionary and experience, first hand, what goes on on the mission field. When a group of visitors would come, the lead missionary would plan the time so that there would be very little time for rest. He would always make plans to take them to a village where we had never been before. This wasn't difficult because these remote villages abound in Mexico. He would always take a film, presumably to make it easier to get permission from the village chief, to have a service there. We would go around to all the houses witnessing and inviting the people to the evening service. The missionary would begin the service with a 'thank you' to the jefe for allowing us to have the meeting, and to the people for coming. Then he would start the movie(The Life of Christ or The Burning Hell or something similar). At the mid point of the movie he would stop the projector and tell the people that a pastor from the United States was going to speak to them about the Gospel. The Preacher would step forward and preach in English as the missionary interpreted in Spanish. This was strategic, in that the people wouldn't leave because they wanted to see the rest of the movie. When the preaching was concluded, the missionary would restate the Gospel, then ask:" How many of you want to go to heaven when you die?" Or, "How many of you want to be saved?" Usually a large number would raise their hands, sometimes the whole bunch would.(Even Catholics want to be saved and go to heaven when they die.) They would be divided into groups and be instructed to repeat a prayer after the missionary. To the missionary's credit, he did say,"If you meant that prayer you are saved."

While this is happening, the visitors are walking in the clouds. The pastor is thinking,"Man! I preached and a whole village got saved! That would never happen in the U.S. Just wait till I tell the folks back home about this." He, along with the rest of the group go away with the impression that this is the common, every day experience of missionaries. He goes back home and tells his Church and everyone he knows," In Mexico the people are hungry for the Gospel. We need to get all our resources channeled into this work because they are getting the job done!"

What this poor mistaken pastor doesn't know is, that a few days later, when a rookie missionary like yours truly, would go back to that same village(without films or gringos) to follow up on those professions of faith; it was almost impossible to get even one or two to come together for another preaching session. What happened? They seemed so eager at the first presentation of the Gospel. Why aren't they as enthusiastic now?

There are many minor reasons why they aren't willing to continue in their profession of faith. Some of them, no doubt, only came because of the novelty of the situation. They lived lonely, difficult lives, normally, and this was a welcome diversion from the daily grind. Others probably made a profession of faith simply because it seemed everyone was doing it. Still others, assumed that we were preaching the same thing that they had always heard. After all, we used the same terminology and names that their religion used. However, when they told their priest about what they had heard and done, and found out from him that it was not consistent with the teachings of Roman Catholicism, they abandoned their profession.

Those are minor reasons. The main reason, however, is that they had not been enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to who Jesus really is and what He demands. They had not been convicted of their wretched and hopelessly lost condition. They had not been irresistibly drawn to Him by the Spirit in repentance and surrender to His Lordship. There is no substitute for that. That only comes through faithfully praying for His power and anointing, and by the faithful proclamation of His Gospel, which is "...the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes..."

I don't like to say it like this, but I feel that I must. Both the villagers and the visitors became unwitting participants in the perpetuation of a false assumption. The assumption that it is much easier to "get people saved" in foreign lands. The reason many missionaries encourage this false-hood is financial.It speaks of quick results. That is what we want in our American Churches, and we will pay well for them. The truth is, that even on the foreign mission field, they need the same patient teaching, the same convicting work of the Holy Spirit, the same miracle of grace that so-called 'Gospel hardened' Americans need.

I know this has been a longer than normal post. There are still many things that I could say on this subject, but I guess I had better conclude for now. I want to close this post by sharing with you my reply when people would ask me how the people responded to my ministry on the mission field. I said:"They normally respond to my preaching exactly like Adam and Eve, after they had sinned, responded when they heard the Voice of God in the Garden of Eden: They try to hide in their own religion. Every once-in-a-while, though, He will follow them and call them to Himself."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


...and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of Chevy parts... and lo, they were very rusty.('37 Chevy Service Manual)

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I am sure that by now everyone has heard of the arrest of astronaut Lisa Nowak on charges stemming from her cross country trip, allegedly for the purpose of harming a romantic rival.

I talked to a friend, this morning, who is closely involved in the shuttle program and has close contact with the astronauts. He, like everyone close to the case, expressed his shock and surprise at the actions of this young woman saying, " Something must have happened. She must have had a mental crash or something." He went on to tell of the remarkable work that she had done while on her earlier shuttle mission. This, I think, was meant as added evidence that some sort of break down must have occurred that caused her to act in the way she did.

I said,"My response, of course, is from a theological perspective. No matter how well educated and how well trained one is, or how much good one has done for humanity, according to the Bible, we are all sinners by nature." That includes all of us, not just the ones who have acted out publicly. We do bad things because we are bad.

Don't get me wrong. Miss Nowak might really need some psychological help. However, the fact that the possibility of committing unthinkable acts lies within the nature of everyone of us, should not be ignored. The cure for that is not psychological, but spiritual.

It seems that every time the media reports a moral failure in some celebrity or some spiritual or political leader, they report, almost in the same breath, that that person has entered counseling or rehab. This, very often, is nothing more than an attempt to shift the blame from one's moral character to either mental break down or chemical dependency. This is not only blame shifting, but it camouflages the real problem, which is sin.

You can counsel sin. You can suppress sin. You can try to control sin. You can even re-define sin as mental illness, or blame it on some dependency. But the only way to finally and forever deal with sin is to repent of it.

No one asked me for it, but I would give this advice to Miss Nowak or to anyone who has come face-to-face with the reality of their own depravity:
1) Seek Jesus through the the witness of those who know Him or through His Word.
2) Confess her actions as sin and herself a sinner.
3) Repent first of all privately before God, then publicly.
4)Surrender to the Lordship of Christ, trusting Him alone for salvation.
5) Identify herself with a body of faithful followers of Christ where she can be nurtured in the faith.

It is quite possible that, if she did that, she would find little or possibly no need for psychological help.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I said this in a previous post: "...we always practice what we really believe." The same can be said in this way: What we really believe governs our actions and attitudes. In no way is this truth more clearly and readily demonstrated than in our attitudes and actions concerning the lost.

As in-errantists we say that we believe all of the Bible is true. Even the unpopular parts like those that describe the sure and certain punishment of those who reject the Gospel of Jesus. However it seems that our actions and attitudes toward the ones who are sure to be the objects of the righteous wrath of God, don't match the horror that we profess to believe, that according to scripture, they are shortly to endure.

Jesus taught that hell (that's a word rarely heard from modern pulpits) is so horrible, that one would be better off to cut off his hand, or foot, or even pluck out his own eye, if through the sins relating to these, he would be cast into hell (Mk.9:43-48). What a terrifying prospect; to think of a place where there is no rest from the torture of eternal fire. Where the mercy of God will never again be experienced, and where the hope of a better tomorrow is always disappointed. It is a friendless and lonely place where their torments are the due reward of a wasted life and foolish rejection of the offer of grace.

This whole thought process became more clear to me last night and this morning as I thought on the wrath that abides on one who is near and dear to me. According to God's Word, the path that she is traveling is the "broad way...that leads to destruction" (Matt.7:13). As I prayed for her, I was rebuked in my spirit for how lightly I have taken the reality of her doom. Do I really believe that hell is a real place? Do I really believe what the Bible teaches about it? Am I really convinced that, at any moment, she could step into the abyss of eternal agony? If I really do believe it, where are my tears? Where are the hours of agonizing prayer for her soul?

Being a Bible believer, I know that there will not be a single soul in hell for whom Jesus died. However, I also know that God often uses the prayers of His people to melt the heart of the sinner. This is why I feel rebuked in my spirit; because, though I know these things, my heart is strangely lethargic, and lacking in the passion that should be the evidence of my knowledge.Especially when it concerns one that I love.

Here is the agonizing question that is tearing at my heart right now: How would I be able to go into my comfortable, climate-controlled house, lay on a soft bed with over-stuffed pillows and go to sleep, knowing that one that is dear to my heart is, at that very moment, screaming in torment?

The time will come when our loved ones will be forever beyond the help of our prayers and our tears for their souls. May God grant that we would have a passion for their souls now, while there is still hope, like we surely will have then, when there is no hope.

Friday, February 02, 2007


It seems that, after experiencing the pith and power of your humble blogger(that's me), the world is curious as to how I keep the sharp edge on my wit and wisdom. Therefore, from time to time they tag me in a not-so-subtle attempt to discover my sources. Well, my friend, it won't work. My smarts are my own. I only read the writings of others to see if they got it right. Anyway, here 'tis.


1. Grab the book closest to you.

2. Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence.

3. Post the text of the following three sentences.

4. Name the author and book title.

5. Tag three people to do the same.


Instead of additional coal, according to L.P.Kirwan, each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, "a hand organ, playing 50 tunes," china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. The officers' sterling silver knives were particularly interesting. The silver was of ornate Victorian design, very heavy at the handles and richly patterned.




R.C Sproul, Al Mohler, John Piper. Yes, they are all faithful readers of this blog. You didn't think they were just born smart, did you?