Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Soli Deo Gloria

Some years ago, I was at the Founder's Conference Midwest when the music leader challenged the pastors present to write hymns. I took it to heart and between Kansas City and Omaha the words and tune to this hymn came to me. A year later, the same music leader put the music with the words (I had a tune but I could only hum it) and at the last session of that latter conference, my hymn was the opening song for the day. I still have the tape of that morning session. I wanted to share this hymn with you, my readers.

Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be the Glory)

Words and Music by John Sneed
Harmonization by Grant Watson


Wretched and naked, I stood in sin and shame;
Dead in my trespasses, with none but me to blame.

Chorus

Soli Deo Gloria, I sing before the throne!
Soli Deo Gloria, all glory to God alone.

Quickened by His Spirit, His word pierced through my soul.
I saw that I was helpless to save and make me whole.

Chorus

I cried out for God's mercy, He led me to a tree,
Jesus hung there broken, crucified for me.

Chorus

Jesus only savior, He cleansed me by his blood.
By grace I am converted, held steadfast by his love.

Chorus

Ok. It isn't A Mighty Fortress is our God. But it was good for a first hymn. I like it. I hope you enjoy it too. Oh .. and the tune ... If you imagine the first and last line to each verse of "The Church's One Foundation" you will have it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It All Hinges on the Resurrection

Everything hinges on the resurrection. At Easter time we like to stop and reflect on the resurrection of Jesus, but according to the Apostle Paul, everything hinges on it. Let me give you a little background on this.

On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey and being proclaimed the King of the Jews. It is on that day the Jewish national leaders decide that Jesus must die. Jesus spends his week teaching his disciples important things they need to know. Late in the week, the Jewish authorities make a deal with Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus into their hands. Jesus is arrested in the Garden after Judas betrays him with a kiss. Jesus is interviewed several times by the Sanhedrin, the rulers of Israel, and by Pilate and King Herod. Eventually Jesus ends up back in front of Pilate, the Roman governor for Judea. Pilate has Jesus severely beaten, hoping this would appease the Jews and save Jesus' life. But the Jewish leaders threaten Pilate and he gives Jesus to them for them to do whatever they want with him. They want him dead.

So, on Friday, Jesus carries a Roman cross outside the city walls and is crucified (a slow and agonizing death where a person suffocates to death while being tortured for the placement of the nails in their hands and feet). Some records speak of criminals lasting up to three days on a cross. Jesus lasted six hours. That evening, before the beginning of the Sabbath, disciples of Jesus take his body to a hasty burial. Jesus is dead and in the grave. But when the Sabbath was over and the disciples went back to perform a more permanent burial, the grave was open and the body was gone. Jesus was seen by his women disciples, the 12 Apostles, men walking on a road to a nearby town, and to even larger crowds. The way these disciples lived their lives is proof that they believed beyond all doubt that Jesus was alive.

Paul the Apostle says that if Jesus is NOT alive, then we are more miserable than all people. We live holy lives, and sacrifice ourselves (even to the point of death in some cases) and give up everything the world considers valuable in order to follow Jesus. Paul says that if Jesus is not risen, if he is still dead, then our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins. If Jesus is not risen, then everything we believe is a lie. BUT if he IS risen, then we are the most joyful of all people. Our Savior lives and since He lives, we will live too. The ancient Christians would greet each other like this ... one would say "He is risen." and the other would reply "He is risen indeed." Let the truth of Easter settle into your soul. Forget the eggs and the rabbits and the candy. Remember Christ, our God, King and Savior! He is alive! Hallelujah! He is alive!

Have a Happy Easter.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Another One of Those Hard Things

The Christian life is a narrow road. It is a hard road and it is surrounded by enticements and snares designed to sidetrack Christians into sin and into impairing their walk with God. God knows this. In His mercy He gives us help along the way. We have helps like the indwelling Holy Spirit, prayer, and the Holy Scriptures. But one help we often take for granted is the local church.

God has drawn us by His Spirit into the fellowship of like minded believers who are there to help us walk the narrow road. They do that by helping to build us up in our faith. The Bible word is "edify." To edify means to build up. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow members of our local church, are there to help edify us, to build us up.

Not only are they there to build us up, they are to build us up in love. Now, that brings two things to mind for me. One, they are supposed to help build up the love that is in us for God and for our fellow believers. Second, the attitude they are supposed to have while they build us up is a loving attitude.

The church is a place where believers are to be built up, not torn down. Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Christ gives us abundant life, love, and all the treasures of heaven. Satan does enough to us to tear us down. Christ is about building us up.

Now friend, this is a sword that cuts two ways. Just as others are supposed to be building us up in love ... we are also to be about building up our brothers and sisters in Christ in love. Here is an application for Christ's words "whatsoever you would that men do to you, do ye likewise to them." Our business, the business of the local church, is to be about building up Christians as we walk the narrow road towards the Eternal City.

Often, it is not that way. But our words, our actions, and our attitudes, we are all about tearing each other down. We use the Devil's devices of slander, gossip, and backbiting (and backstabbing), to get the dirt on each other and hurt each other. Christians can be mean people. I remember an article I cut out of a magazine once entitled "Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?" Too many times, when a brother or sister is having trouble walking the narrow road, we seem to enjoy helping to push them off. Instead of picking them up and helping restore their walk on that difficult road, we seem to be happy to see them fall.

But you and I both know that these things ought not to be. God sets before us two ways, one of death and evil and one of life and good. How will we Christians use our words, our actions, and our attitudes when dealing with our brothers and sisters, who are also saved by grace and owned by Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit? They are not one whit less than you or me. The love of Christ, given by the Holy Spirit in us ought to be reaching out to the indwelling Holy Spirit in our brothers and sisters and calling to Himself (the Spirit to the Spirit) in love. We are captured by an inter-trinitarian love. Do we act like it? Shouldn't we?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Give Away ...

The blog For the Cause of God and Truth is giving away a copy of John Gill's collected works. You can read all about it here ...

http://gillites.wordpress.com/

It is worth the time to check out.