Enjoying the Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Church’

A New Song – An Eternal Message

Frequently in my sermons I tell the story of some great Christian hymn. The background to a song often opens up the message in a more meaningful way. I am currently reading Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories and my heart has been blessed again by the way God works in the hearts of His people and the songs that grow out of those experiences. Sadly, very few hymns are written today. Even fewer are rooted in Scripture. It is rare and refreshing to hear a new song that is deeply grounded in the truth of God’s Word. The term “gospel” has come to describe more a style of music than the substance of the song. I believe the word…

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The Most Important Lessons I Learned in My College Years

A few days ago I had the joy of addressing a group of college students in a local church. There were freshmen and upperclassmen, full of hope and excitement as they approached the beginning of a new year. Life is divided into seasons and every season has a purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11). The college years are a time of preparation. In these days God is at work in so many ways to prepare young people for all He has for them. All of college was good for me. Dorm life. Student Events. Even History of Civilization. As I reflected on my college years I began to see that it was in this season of life that I began to understand that some…

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How To Keep the Next Generation

A fellow preacher and personal friend asked me recently how I believed we could do a better job of retaining young people in our churches. It is a problem of epidemic proportions. The vast majority of young people are exiting the local church by the time they are eighteen. For many years I said to prospective youth workers that we must get young people connected to more than the youth group. It is my conviction that, as early in life as possible, young people must find their place in the church. It must be their church. The pastor must be their pastor. And some work for the Lord must be their ministry. This cannot begin when they graduate from high…

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How to Use Hymns and Why You Should

On a recent flight a lady commented to me that she loved the hymns but found it very difficult to find a church now that would sing them. This is increasingly becoming the norm. While I am not opposed to new songs and choruses, I thank the Lord for the great hymns of our faith. My favorite hymn is a rarely sung song written by Charles Wesley, And Can It Be? Read the words sometime! It is full of theology. Someone said “it is like putting the doctrine of salvation to music.” Music teaches. It does more than simply make us “feel” – it should make us “think.” This is why the Bible says, “Let the word of Christ dwell…

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Some Thoughts On Our Recent Campaign

It is a joy to be home for a couple of days after a busy season of meetings. Just a few days ago we conducted a Go Reach America Campaign in the Tri-Cities region. The Lord blessed in a wonderful way and we give Him the glory for it! As I have had some time to reflect I wanted to share a few things the Lord did in my own life. He always works on both ends – saving souls and teaching us! Here are a few of the truths the Holy Spirit has impressed on my heart… It is a privilege to labor with others for souls. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one; because they have a…

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The Power of A Small Church

Our generation is mesmerized by mega churches. As I have had the privilege to be in churches of all sizes, the words of my mentor, Pastor Clarence Sexton, have become more meaningful: “The greatness of a church is not in its size, but in its likeness to Jesus Christ.” “For who hath despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10) It seems that the Lord loves to use little things! Faith as a grain of mustard seed. The widow’s mite. A young boy’s lunch. Christ compared His work in this world to “one pearl of great price” hidden in a field (Matthew 13:45-46). Not a large field – a little pearl. He came to a small place on the map. “And…

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How to Keep Yourself Stirred

One of the hardest things in serving the Lord is keeping your own heart stirred about the work you have been given to do. We all struggle with it. It is called flesh. Flesh is weak. Flesh grows weary. You cannot trust the flesh. It is not difficult to get stirred – it is difficult to stay stirred! Without a doubt, emotions will come and go. There is an ebb and flow to life and ministry. But the Lord’s laborers should work to stay enthused about the most important work in the world – God’s work. Some people run from meeting to meeting always trying to find the formula. Others depend on some motivational speaker or leader to pump them up, prime…

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The Kindest Thing You Can Do for Your Preacher

Recently someone asked me what the kindest thing was that had been done for me as I traveled from church to church. That was easy. Pastors and people have been very gracious and encouraging in every place where we have been privileged to serve, but there is one thing that stands out above the rest. It costs nothing, and yet it is priceless. It is not tangible, but it brings visible results. It seems somewhat small, but it is an enormous gift. The kindest thing ever done for me is for someone to love and encourage my wife and children. Many years ago I heard my pastor say that the nicest thing anyone ever did for him was love his…

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The Best Thing In Your Town

As I travel week after week it is always fascinating to see the buildings and attractions that make each area unique. Large cities and rural communities all have something of interest to discover! Each place is a new adventure. Yet I have come to the conviction that the greatest thing in any town is the greatest thing in every town. At least in every place where one exists. The greatest thing in any little village or bustling city is a local, New Testament church. Ephesus was famed for the Temple of Artemis, but it was the church of Jesus Christ that made Ephesus special. Rome was the center of power in the New Testament era, but it was the church…

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Daily Fellowship (Daily Living – Part 9)

Recently as I was caring for some personal business the Lord reminded me of a wonderful principle. God’s people should be helping God’s people. The verse that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind was Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” I personally do not believe this means you may only conduct business with believers, but I do believe that Christians should intentionally be looking for ways to encourage others in the family of God. One of the buzzwords in religious circles of late has been about the need for “community.” Jesus had another name for it: “church.” This is not some…

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