Pastors Perspective for 9/17 & 9/24

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Sep 242023


     As I prepared this message I remembered the words of Charles …He had a sign on the pulpit, in large print, to remind himself, and any other speaker the key to be blessed in the service.  It read…” SIRS WE MUST SEE JESUS” It was a reminder that God does not need our abilities…though He does often choose to use them.  Spurgeon often told anyone that asked about the reason for God blessing the services at his Church…” I ANNOUNCE MY TEXT, (WHEREVER IT COMES FROM SCRIPTURE), AND MAKE A BEE LINE FOR THE CROSS!”  That is precisely why last Sunday was so blessed.  JESUS WAS LIFTED UP.  He said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself!” (John 12:32).  Also, the message on Psalm 22, “THE FORGOTTEN I AM” was about the cross.  Paul said, “The preaching of the Cross if foolishness to those who are perishing, but is the POWER of God, to those being saved” (I Corinthians 1:18).  Those two things are the explanation for a Blessed Worship Service, when everything else was stacked against it!  God always shows up to honor His Son and His Sacrifice!  WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT!  WHAT A BLESSED REMINDER FOR ALL OF US!  AMEN?  AMEN! (And as my Pastor Russell Pittman used to say, “And AWOMAN TOO!).  After a glorious service at Salem Baptist Church, I remember as a young preacher boy, he would say…” I am so excited and uplifted I could kick a tire off a car!”)  I felt that way too…but was able to restrain myself! LOL).

     THE CHRIST AND THE CROSS.  THE SON AND THE SACRIFICE.  God has promised to honor Him and His Cross.  He always has and He always will!  We can count on that.  We must never forget that!

That is why Spurgeon also said “Abide hard by the cross and search out the mystery of His wounds” in his devotional Morning and Evening.  John Stott reminds us “the cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to stay near enough for the sparks to fall on us”. Hymn writer Jennie Hussey reminds us “lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow…lead me to Calvary. Psalm 22 is an inspired Psalm, written 1000 years before Jesus’ death, that reads like an eye witness account.  Spurgeon was so taken by it. He called it “a photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours…if there be any Holy ground of Scripture it is this Psalm. We must pull off our shoes and worship there.” 

     The title of the message is THE FORGOTTEN I AM.   In 22:6 He cries “But I am a worm”.  The normal word for worm in Hebrew is Ramah…like those that devour in the grave. This word is TOLA. It means “scarlet thing”. This worm was crushed and used as base liquid for the most expensive purple dye in making royal garments. We think of Isaiah’s invitation from God…“Come let us reason together…though your sins be as crimson they shall be white as snow or white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  Jesus became sin for us that we might be dressed in “His Royal Righteousness”.  God will never take us beyond the cross…only deeper into it. Amen? A-woman too!  That is why the Cross is the only way to God. There is no other way!  Jesie Pounds Brown, the Hymn writer wrote those beautiful words….


I must needs go home by the way of the cross

There’s no other way but this

I shall never get sight of the gates of light

If the way of the cross I miss

I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way

The path that the Savior trod

If I ever climb to the height subline

Where the soul is at home with God.




A.  Attacked by the Faithless     

B.  Abandoned by the Faithful

C.  Abandoned by the Father


A.  Resurrection of the Savior

B.  Remission of sin

C.  Reconciliation of the Sinner


 Posted by at 6:29 pm


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Sep 102023


     There are many voices today decrying the Church of Jesus Christ.  They tell us that she is outdated.  Irrelevant.  Impotent.  Unneccesary.  The focus basically is-you can be a Christian.  You can love the Lord.  You can live for Him in the world today-but you don’t need, nor will you likely get any help from the Church-i.e., the organized historical Church as we have known it. You can even go on line and find a Church to meet your needs at This is not a new trend.  I came across an article written by Robert W. Patterson, associate to the Executive Director of the National Association of Evangelicals, written for Christianity Today back in March of 1991.  He wrote:

     “When President Eisenhower became a Christian, he made a public profession of his faith in Christ, he was baptized, and was extended the right hand of fellowship at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., the second Sunday after his inauguration in 1953.  Had the former President expressed interest in becoming a Christian a generation later under more consciously evangelical auspices, he might have never been challenged to identify with the Body of Christ through baptism and church membership.  A personal relationship with Jesus Christ, he would have been told, is all that really matters”. (Robert Patterson, “In Search of the Visible Church” Christianity Today, March 11, 1991, Vol. 34, No. 3, p.36). 

     Of course, I wholeheartedly agree that without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that all is lost.  Joining a Church is not the same as accepting Christ as Savior.  But we must never mistakenly reason that one’s relationship with Christ minimizes the importance of the Church.  Yet that is the spirit of our age.  Someone has said that this is the age of the “McChristian”.  We choose what level of product he wants from the Church, like one does at McDonalds, or a buffet.  Pollster George Barna says, “The average adult thinks belonging to a particular Church is fine for other people, but is an unnecessary bondage and baggage for himself” (George Barna, The Frog in the Kettle Regal Books. 1991 p.133).  So, a decade into the new millennium’s 21st century we have a phenomenon unthinkable in any other generation-“Churchless Christians”.  Why has this trend developed?  Some feel that it has happened because of too much emphasis on the “invisible Church”.  While it is true that Christ is building a Church, and the totality of that Church is overall invisible to our eye, i.e., we cannot see the entire Church in its entirety at any one time, and any one place, (the first meeting will be in the air at the rapture), Christ’s invisible Church manifests itself in visible congregations, at visible locations, all over the world, as the New Testament teaches us.  Both teachings are true, but too much emphasis on one over the other leads to error.  Another likely reason this trend has happened in America is our historic American individualism.  Nancy Pearcey has written a 478-page book on how we have developed a Church in America that our culture has molded to make it quite different from the New Testament Church.  It is called Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity. (Crossway books. 2004).  She has an entire chapter titled, “When Christianity met America Guess Who Won!”  She quotes Thomas Paine saying, “We have a chance to start history all over again”.  She proposes that we did that with Christianity too!  When Christians from other countries come to America, they don’t even recognize our “version of the Church”.  R. Kent Hughes, in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man, says “another reason for the de-churching of many Christians is the historical individualism of evangelical Christianity and the grass-roots American impulse against authority.  The natural inclination is to think that one needs only an individual relationship with Jesus Christ and needs no other authority.  Such thinking produces Lone Ranger Christians who demonstrate their authority by riding not to Church, but out to the badlands, reference Bible in hand, to do battle single-handedly with the outlaw world”.  (p.152). If we “say” we don’t need the Church that settles the matter-we are the final authority on everything.  Because “we say so!” That’s the American way!

     We need to make a commitment to join and to belong to a local visible Church for many reasons.  It is a place we come to worship with other believers in a committed relationship, not to be forsaken (Heb. 10:25).  It is a place to be fed preaching and teaching (something the Bible commends a Pastor who does it well of being worthy of double-honor-(I Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine”).  It is a place to be held accountable.  Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you”.  How do you do that if you do not belong where a Pastor can watch over your growth and service?  It is a place for giving and service.  You are committed to share in needs of the Church, and to work alongside your co-laborers.  It is a place to pool your resources and support a mission cause bigger than what you are locally.  Southern Baptist Mission endeavors are second-to-none worldwide in reaching the world for Jesus Christ.  It gives you a Church family that you can rejoice with or weep with. (Romans 15:12).  John Bunyan, (of Pilgrim’s Progress fame), expressed this need well on one occasion.  While imprisoned he had been quite depressed, falling into despondency which lasted for several days.  God intervened and let him experience His presence in a special way.  Bunyan wrote, “But that was a good night to me; I have had but few better; I longed for the company of some of God’s people, that I might have imparted unto them what God had showed me.  Christ was a precious Christ to my soul that night; I could scarce lie in my bed for joy, and peace, and triumph though Christ”.  You and I take for granted the very thing that had been taken from him-the community spirit of the Church. 

     The Church, though seen as defeated and irrelevant in today’s world, will outlast the world!  Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  Harry Blamires emphasizes this truth when he wrote, “The world is like a great express train hurtling towards disaster-total destruction.  And in this truly desperate situation certain passengers are running up and down the corridors announcing to each other that the Church is in great danger!  The irony of it would be laughable if it were not so searing.  Why most of the Church’s members have already gotten out at stations en route.  And we ourselves shall be getting out soon anyway. (The rapture). And if the crash comes and the world is burnt to ashes, then the only thing that will survive the disaster will of course be the Church” (Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind, c. 1963 p. 153).  In this world we need the Church!  The visible local Church! 

     Timothy Dwight, President of Yale University, when it was a bastion for God’s truth in Puritan fashion, wrote one of the most beautiful poems about the Church.  He wrote:

I love Thy Church O God

     Her walls before thee stand

Dear as the apple of Thine eye

     And graven on Thy hand

For her my tears shall fall

     For her my prayers ascend

To her my cares and toils be given

     Til toils and cares shall end! 

Jesus Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her and to her.  We can do no less!

SERMON:  David: Three Times A Sovereign

II Samuel 1-5





 Posted by at 4:19 pm

Increasing our devotion as we remember their last full measure of devotion!

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Sep 032023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE; “Increasing our devotion as we remember their last full measure of devotion!”

     Most historians agree that the 272-word speech given by President Abraham Lincoln, on November 19, 1863, to dedicate the Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is one of the greatest speeches of all time. Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but they can never forge what they did here.  It is for us to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth”.  He called the nation never to forget the price that these brave soldiers paid to keep freedom alive.  But that was not the end of the story.  His speech challenged them to increase their devotion to the cause that they gave their last full measure of devotion!  What a worthy challenge.  As we go through the Book of Acts, we too will be challenged to never forget the price some early Christians paid to further the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The first martyr was Stephen.  His sacrifice was soon followed by the sacrifice of James, the brother of our Lord.  As the Book of Acts ends, we are anticipating the two primary Apostles, Peter and Paul, also “giving their full measure of devotion”.  Both of them do make that sacrifice under the ghastly reign of the maniacal Nero!  Their dedication reminds us of what missionary Jim Elliott said, not long before giving his life in the cause of our dear Lord.  He said, quoting Peter Marshall, “It is not the duration of our life that matters, but the donation!” 

      The giving of the full measure of devotion of Stephen, James, Peter and Paul, encouraged the early Church to follow in their train.  Many were so emboldened that they too would stand for the Lord, come what may, whatever the price, to extend the Gospel of their Blessed Lord.  In the Church of Antioch, where believers where first called Christians, in the year 70 A.D. They had a marvelous pastor by the name of Ignatius,  He was a dynamic, Spirit-filled and godly powerful preacher.  His preaching was turning the entire population of the city to Christ.  So, Trajan, the Emperor of Rome, came to visit Antioch to see what was happening there concerning emperor worship-idolatry and heathenism.  He listened to that preacher Ignatius preach.  He saw the throngs turning to the Lord, and forsaking Roman gods and paganism.  He commanded that Ignatius be brought before him.  He sentenced him to be brought to Rome and to be exposed to the wild animals in the Coliseum.  The Coliseum was built about 5 years after the death of the Apostle Paul.  That means it was likely built in 72 A.D. Now the historians tell us that the first Christian to be martyred in the Coliseum was Ignatius, the pastor of the Church of Antioch. In the long journey to Rome, he wrote beautiful and inspired letters. They are the treasures of Christendom to this day.  Finally coming to Rome, he was placed, sent out, stood on the sand in the center of that great arena, with tiers with thousands of spectators watching all around.  The cages were opened, and the lions were let loose.  When the leading lion ran omnivorously, carnivorously, viciously, fiercely toward God’s preacher, Ignatius held out his hand, and arm, to the leading lion, and above the crunching sound of bone and tendon, he was heard to declare, “Now I begin to be a Christian!”  That is how we honor those who gave their full measure of devotion.  That is how we increase our devotion.  That is how we honor them, and never forget them!  Willing to join them in bold courage to be faithful unto our Lord at all cost!  Another Christian martyr of the 20th century reminded us that such a commitment is not in vain.  Jim Eliot, who lost his life taking his Lord’s gospel to the Auca Indians of Ecuador, said, “He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, (his life), to gain what he cannot lose, (eternal reward)”.  To honor them we must never forget!  In the words of Rudyard Kipling- ” Lord God of Hosts be with us yet- Lest we forget, Lest we forget!” (The Recessional).


II Samuel 9:1-13

Ephesians 2:8-10





 Posted by at 4:18 pm