“Lost Passion-Lost Persuasion”

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Jul 282019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Lost Passion-Lost Persuasion”.  By:  Ron Woodrum

  One of the great agnostics of all time was Bertrand Russell. He was a very outspoken enemy of Christ and the Church. He wrote many books refuting the arguments for Christianity. Yet, in one of his books he spoke very pointedly to the key to our ministry and mission. His wife, Patricia Spence Russell was dying of a terminal illness. In his book, Why I Am Not A Christian, he wrote about his experience. Concerning watching his wife die, he wrote: “She seemed cut off from everything with walls of agony, and the sense of solitude of each human soul overwhelmed me! Every since my marriage my emotional life had been calm and superficial. I had forgotten all the deeper issues and had been content with flippant cleverness. Suddenly the ground seemed to give in beneath me, and I found myself in quite another region. Within five minutes I went through some reflections as the following: the loneliness of the human soul is undurable-nothing can penetrate it except the highest intensity of that sort of love religious teachers have preached! Whatever does not spring from this motive is harmless or at best useless; It is love that penetrates this loneliness in each person-we must speak to that!”

We live in a world that has no answers. They are looking for answers anywhere and everywhere and I finding none! The Church has the answer in Christ. But just trying to convince them of answers intellectually, without love and passion, the kind that Jesus shared with all He encountered, we will never get close enough to hear what we have to say. T.S. Eliot, in his Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, spoke about all men’s fear of eternity, and desire for answers. He wrote: “I have seen my moment of greatness flicker! And I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat and snicker! And I was afraid!” Mankind facing mortality and facing an uncertain future, behind the facade and false courage, is desperately open to loving passionate answers! This is a great opportunity for the Church to speak up and not stutter. What is the state of the Church? A.W. Tozer tried to warn the Church to stay ready. He wrote, in his book Rot, Rut, or Revival, in the chapter entitled “Causes of a Dozing Church?”- ‘What is the present condition of the Church? The bulk of Christians are asleep! Not unconverted! But asleep. God’s alarm is going off…yet we are sleeping through the alarm!” Another prophet to the Church, Southern Baptist Preacher, Vance Havner said, “If ever God’s people needed to be aroused and shocked, alarmed and awakened to their privilege and solemn duty-it is today! The Holy Spirit was given not to be a sedative, but a stimulant! We live in a time where people get excited about the trivial and shrug their shoulders at things affecting eternity!” C.H. Spurgeon says, “I am sure I do not have to unroll a page of history and ask you to glance down it except for a second; you will see the Church has fallen asleep, and has become…destitute of zeal having no ardent Passion! Every Christian is either a witness or an imposter. If you have never had sleepless hours; If you have never had weeping eyes. If you have never swelled as if your heart would burst-You need not anticipate that you will ever be called zealous. You do not know that the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of zeal lies in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief, and ever beat with holy heavy ardor! The heart must be vehement with desire-panting continually for God’s glory in saving the lost!” Tozer again speaks to our contentment with no passion. He writes “Too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right, but without being willing to endure the inconvenience of being right!” This contentment with our current status, without a passionate burden for winning the lost, we can convince ourselves that we are pleasing to our Lord. But George MacDonald reminds us-“In whatever we do without God we must fail miserably, or succeed more miserably!”

We have lost our burden for the lost. We no longer pray for their salvation. No longer look for opportunity to share Christ with them. We no longer spend restless nights without sleep burdened over the fact that they are facing eternity without salvation and Christ! They are not outwardly bothered about it-and the tragic thing is neither are we! Look at the people that changed history for Christ! Men like John Knox who prayed “give me souls or give me death!” “Scotland or I die!” By Charles Wesley who said, “The world is my parish”-and walked and rode horseback well into his eighties sharing the gospel the length and breadth of England, over 250,000 miles! Millions of converts! A visitor was taken into the Church pastored by Robert Murray McCheyene. He was shown the Pastor’s study-his Bible on the desk; the pages stained with tears for those he would preach to. C.H. Spurgeon who said, “If the lost go to hell do not let them go without being warned and prayed for. Let them climb over our bodies with our arms around their knees begging them to turn to Christ!”

Mary Booth, wrote a poem that expressed her heart.


“Oh for a heart that is burdened!

Infused with a passion to pray;

Oh for a stirring within me

Oh for this power every day


Or for a heart like my Savior;

Who being in agony prayed

Such caring for others, Lord give me,

On my heart let burdens be laid!


My Father I long for this passion

To pour myself out for the lost;

To lay down my life to save others,

To pray whatever the cost.


Lord teach me your secret

I’m hungry this lesson to learn!

Thy passionate passion for others,

For this blessed Jesus I yearn!”


  Herbert Lockyer tells us that passion which brings tears of burden for the lost will touch lives, like Bertrand Russell told us! He wrote: “Tears win victories. A cold unfeeling dry-eyed Church has no influence on the souls of men!” William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army was asked after his retirement, why they were not winning the lost any longer! He wrote back two words! “Try tears!” Leon Kilbreath, Mr. Sunday School for Southern Baptists used to chastise us for not being involved and passionate about winning the lost. He used to say, “If we shared our Lord’s passion, why are our eyes so dry, our feet so frozen, our lips so silent!” In 1904 William Booth was invited to Buckingham Palace to be honored by King Edward VII. The King said, “You have done a great work General Booth. England recognizes you!” He was asked to sign the Kings book. William Booth wrote, “Your Majesty some men’s ambition is art; some men’s ambition is fame; some men’s ambition is gold; some men’s ambition is power. My ambition is the souls of men!” That used to be the passion and ambition of the Church. Passion for the Lost? Or Lost Passion? You know the tragic answer. That might explain our impotency!

 Posted by at 12:23 am

“We Are the Reason-He Is Our Reason”

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Jul 212019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “We Are the Reason-He Is Our Reason”  By:  Ron Woodrum

        One of my favorite Christian artists of the 1980’s was David Meece. I heard one of his songs on Christian radio the other day and I realized what a gifted musician he was then, and it made me wonder what he is doing today. Is he still singing for the Lord? Still ministering in the name of Jesus? Still impacting crowds with the gospel as he did in the 1980’s and the 1990’s? Has he retired from ministry much like Dallas Holm and Andre Crouch did after years of ministry?

David Meece was born May 26, 1952, (actually a year older than your Pastor!), can you believe that? He grew up Humble, Texas with an alcoholic father, and a very strict mother, who insisted he learn classical piano only! By his mid-teens he was touring in Europe and the U.S. doing classical piano concerts. He went on to study at Peabody Conservatory of Music. After dedicating his life to Christ, he sought to use his gifts to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. He ventured into songwriting and recording Contemporary Christian music in the late 70’s. His first album was David, released in 1976. His first album had moderate success in the Christian world. He followed it up with three more albums that had wider circulation and greater success. His magnum opus, (greatest work), came on his 1980 album Are You Ready? It was the song-We are the Reason. It went straight to the top of the charts, and has now been recorded by over 200 Christian artists. Meece explained how the song happened to Contemporary Christian Music Magazine-“We are the Reason was written to remind us that Jesus died for each one of us individually. The individual nature of Christ’s sacrifice is something we need to really focus on.” He explained that he did not really know what he was doing, when the Holy Spirit led him to write the lyrics. He said, “It’s not my intellect that did it; it wasn’t my profound theological thought. I was a piano teacher. I never went to Bible College, never attended a Seminary. I was probably the last person you would expect to write a song like that which would have such a profound spiritual message. I mean, it just kind of wrote itself. When I took it and played it for Brown Bannister, my producer, he was the one that recognized it for what it was. I really did not know; it was one of those things that God plopped in my lap!” What a great song! Listen to the words:

“As little children we would dream of Christmas morn

And all the gifts and toys we knew we’d find

But we never realized a baby born one blessed night

Gave us the greatest gift of our lives


We are the reason that He gave His life

We are the reason that He suffered and died!

To a world that was lost He gave all He could give

To show us the reason to live…


I’ve finally found the reason for living

It’s in giving every part of my life to Him

In all that I do, every word that I say.

I’ll be giving my all just for Him, for Him


…. for He is our reason to live!”


  Those are just a few excerpts of his lyrics. But what a message.

He is still performing concerts. He is still ministering for the Lord. He and his wife Debbie are very active in a Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. He still travels the world. Still sings to large crowds, but also will come to smaller venues, to share the Gospel for those who request his ministry, on an individual basis. He is still lifting up Jesus, and His Gospel message in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is still his reason to live! My favorite song of his was from his first album. It is a song titled Dave’s Prayer-Got to Know You’re There! I was renewed and refreshed by the memory of his ministry in my life and I wanted to share that with you. Check him out on u-tube. Great music. Great piano. Great lyrics. Be blessed!

 Posted by at 12:18 am

” That Incredible Christian or That Incredible Shrinking Christian”.

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Jul 142019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: ” That Incredible Christian or That Incredible Shrinking Christian”.  By:  Ron Woodrum

  Back in 1964 A.W. Tozer wrote a book called That Incredible Christian. In his book he enumerated the characteristics of a true Christian that often made him an enigma to the rest of the world, and yet that enigma was an unexplainable difference that often had a magnetic draw of curiosity that caused non-Christians to investigate the genuineness of our faith, and often would lead them to choose that fascinating relationship with God, through Christ for themselves. Listen to a brief description that Tozer shares-“The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, (to his old self), yet he is more alive than ever…and he fully expects to live forever! He walks on earth, but is seated in heaven! He is like the Nighthawk, which is so graceful in flight in the air, but is so awkward and ugly on the ground…to be a victorious son of heaven he must not follow the pattern of earth. To be safe-he must put himself in jeopardy! He loses his life-to save it. When he tries to preserve it, he is in danger of losing it! He goes down-to go up! If he refuses to go down, he is already down! He is strong when he is weakest…and weakest when he sees himself strong. He has the most when he has given the most away! He is most sinless when he is most conscious of his sin! Most sinful when he feels he has little or no sin! He is wisest when he knows that he knows little! Knows least when he thinks he knows much! Sometimes he does the most, by doing nothing! -Goes furthest when he is standing still! He fears God-yet is not afraid of Him. When he is in God’s presence, he feels overwhelmed and undone! Yet there is no other place he desires to be more! He loves supremely One he has never seen! He fully expects to go and see Him one day soon, but is in no hurry to get there! In this world he is a confirmed pessimist, but expecting Christ soon, he is a restful optimist! THAT INCREDIBLE CHRISTIAN!” That kind of incredible Christian lived with a conviction that God had brought something into their lives through Christ that was an enigma to the world, but something they desperately needed to share. That led them to pray for their non-Christian friends; be there for them in the difficult days of their lives; and always ready to share the Gospel with them and encourage them to give their lives to Christ. Always it seemed that the Incredible Christian had a burden to see their friends and loved ones share in this Incredible Christian life!

But those days seem like a mirage in the cold hard reality of this New Millennium! I am not sure why but most Christians do not even seem to be familiar with all the Incredibility they have in Christ Jesus. Losing the wonder of it all has evaporated the ever-present desire to share that incredible faith with those who have never met or known our Lord. It seems that many Christians are not even sure how incredible the Christian life is-why would it be something you would want to convince others to embrace it! IT SEEMS THAT INCREDIBLE CHRISTIAN HAS BECOME THAT INCREDIBLE SHRINKING CHRISTIAN! Eight years before Tozer wrote his book, That Incredible Christian, another author, a science fiction author, Richard Matheson, wrote a novel called The Incredible Shrinking Man. It was made into a movie in 1957. In the book/movie Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of radioactive spray. This radioactivity causes him to shrink 1/7 of an inch per day. As he shrinks, he is detrimentally affected in his success on his job; with his family; and in all of his relationships! As he shrinks to 7 inches he engages in battles with sparrows and spiders who would normally run away from him. This fiction was fantastically entertaining for an earlier generation. Truth be known-it speaks to our generation-to the Christians in our generation. For the last several decades Christians have been shrinking in stature. It used to be that we had a strong influence on our culture and in our community. But as we have grown less and less in being Incredible Christians-we have become as Martin Lloyd Jones has said-“irrelevant”. Instead of the world looking to the Church and the Christian for direction, they have chosen to ignore us. The tragedy of it all is we have become comfortable with that! We seldom take a stand on the issues of our day. We seldom hold up the Cross and the Christ as the only answer to the problems that confront our society today. We have embraced the philosophy “I’m Ok-Your Ok!” and from a Biblical point of view-“That is Not Ok!” Instead of being “That Incredible Christian” we have become “That Incredible Shrinking Christian!” That is the tragedy for the Gospel in this new millennium!

There was another Carey. His name was William Carey. He and some fellow Baptist pastors in England began to pray for the lost, in their country, and in the world as a whole. They began to discuss the destiny of those who had not received Christ. They prayed that God would bring the good news of the gospel to them. They became the answer to their own prayers. Carey came to the conviction “Expect Great Things from God-Attempt Great Things for God!” That lead to the birth of modern missions. William Carey gave his life to taking the good news of the Gospel to Burma. He embraced all the challenges of learning the languages and customs-of loving the unlovable…Of patiently giving all his possessions, energy and life in winning them to Christ. He even engaged his 8-year-old son Felix in the work. Felix excelled in learning the language and translating the Bible into the language of the Burmese people. Felix was a co-laborer with his father William in a “Great work for God”. When he was 21 Felix married. He and his wife had a son. The hardships of the missionary life took the life of his wife and son. In his weariness he grew discouraged. Felix not only was gifted in language translation but had medical abilities as well. The King of Burma offered Felix a position as Ambassador to the governor-general in Calcutta. The weary Felix accepted, resigning his mission activities in 1814, Felix lived in affluence as a Burmese Government official now. His father William was crushed. He wrote to fellow Christians back in England-“pray for Felix-he is shriveled from a missionary to an ambassador!” Felix’s wealth and position in the world led him to overspending and alcoholism. He had to resign in disgrace. He disappeared into the province of Assam, wandering and homeless for three years! The good news is he recovered. He returned to being a missionary. He finished well and had an impact for the gospel. Perhaps we need to write a letter to ourselves. “Pray for the 21st century Christian. He has shriveled from being a witness to a wanderer! From that Incredible Christian to that Incredible Shrinking Christian!” Unless we draw near unto our Lord; Unless we get our credible stature back in the eyes of the world-our Gospel will fall on deaf ears in these last days! Today’s message is about Understanding the Gospel in a Nutshell and striving together in applying the essentials needed for Impacting the World with the Gospel of Christ…and stop the shrinking!

 Posted by at 9:20 pm

“Call it a loan-on a debt that you owe”

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Jul 072019

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Call it a loan-on a debt that you owe”  By:  Ron Woodrum

  In the 33 years that our Lord sojourned upon this earth, He never once demonstrated a single shred of materialistic desire. I doubt seriously that He ever scanned the Jerusalem Daily News to see whether the stock market was up or down, or called His bank to see how His investments were doing, He never worried one second that inflation might be eating away at His little “nest egg” tucked away in some corner of His humble abode. He never had an abode. He told those who would follow Him that the “foxes have holes, and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay His head!” (Matthew 8:20). He told His disciples to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”. (Matt. 6:19). He lived that message before them. He said, “a man’s life consisteth not in the things he possesses!” (Luke 121:15). When we had United Voice in concert, their lead singer, Jeremy reminded us that all during the days of His flesh Jesus had to often borrow the things that He needed. Stop and think about that! The day He was born- He had a borrowed room-in a stable. He had no baby crib-He had a borrowed manger-i.e. “a feeding trough” borrowed from the cattle. He borrowed a coin from the fish’s mouth to pay taxes. He borrowed 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed the 5,000. He often borrowed a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, or to use as a pulpit to preach from. When He made His entrance, in fulfillment of Scripture, on Palm Sunday, it was on a borrowed donkey. You remember Jesus told them to go into the city, find a donkey tied at a certain location, take it and tell the owners-“The Lord hath need of him” (Mark 11:2-3). Someone has said that the only thing that was his was His Cross. The poem goes like this:


They borrowed a bed to lay His head

When Christ the Lord came down;

They borrowed the ass, in the mountain pass

For Him to ride into town;


But the crown that He wore

And the cross that He bore

Were his own-The cross was His own.


He borrowed the bread when the crowd He fed

On the grassy mountainside;

He borrowed the dish of the broken fish

With which He satisfied;


But the crown that He wore,

And the cross that He bore,

Were His own, the cross was His own.


He borrowed a room, on the way to the tomb

The Passover Lamb to eat;

They borrowed the cave, to use as His grave;

They borrowed the winding sheet

They covered in spikenard so sweet


But the crown that He wore,

And the cross that He bore,

Were His own, the cross was His own.


  A great poem-but not accurate. Even His cross was a borrowed cross. It belonged to Jesus Barabbas. Jesus borrowed his cross on which to die- in his place and in ours too. He had a borrowed tomb, that He only needed for three nights and days. All His life He borrowed necessities in order to impact our world for God. Do you know He still is? Would you let the Lord borrow from you? You say “what do I have that the Lord has need of?” Anne Johnson Flint tells us clearly what the Lord needs to borrow from us. Listen to her words-


Christ has no hands but our hands

To do His work today

He has no feet but our feet

To lead men in His way

He has no tongue but our tongues

To tell men how He died

He has no help but our help

To bring them to His side


What if our hands are busy

With work other than His?

What if our feet are walking

Where sin’s allurement is?

What if our tongues are speaking

Of things His lips would spurn?

Oh how we need to help him

And hasten His soon return?


  Would you let Jesus borrow your hands, your feet, your tongue? Several years ago, there was a pop song entitled-“Call It A Loan”- The lyrics stated-“Call it a loan-on a debt that I owed!” That sounds like a tune we could definitely learn from our Lord! Just keep telling yourself-“The Lord has need of you!” He really does!

 Posted by at 9:10 pm