Jump Start # 1709

Jump Start # 1709

2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”


Passing the baton—it’s hard in relay races and it’s hard in life. As one generation ages, the next generation moves into the positon of taking over. We see this all around us. Some of the great Rock ‘n Roll legends are now in their 70’s. I saw an interview with Ron Howard. We remember him as little Opie on Mayberry. He looks like an old man now. No one confuses me with being a young preacher any more. There is a spiritual legacy that is important for all of us to realize. Often, we don’t. It slips upon us and before we know it others are being pressed into service, often without fully knowing what they are doing.


The thrust of what Paul is saying in this passage is about the message. Teach others what you have heard from me. The King James states this: “…the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” You teach faithful men who will be able to teach. From Paul to Timothy, to faithful men, to others. Teach the same thing. That thought is found throughout the N.T. Philippians 4:9 is a great example of this. Don’t be original. Don’t be different. Don’t be unique. Don’t try to find what no one else has ever seen before. Teach what you were taught. Teach what Paul taught. That very thought would suck the air out of what a lot of moderns are doing today. They are doing anything and everything except what you find in the Bible. They have fooled the crowds. Feelings are in and doctrine is out. Paul wouldn’t put up with much of this junk today. Teach what he taught.


But there is another lesson here as well. Not only should the substance be taught to others, but how about the methods of teaching. Often, we hand someone a class book and tell him to go teach. He may never have taught before. He may not know how to teach. I understand this personally. I was in two preacher’s training programs and yet, I was never taught how to teach. I was given an assignment and pointed to a classroom. Maybe this very reason is why many congregations struggle to find teachers. Maybe it would be good to teach others how to teach.


Let me share some simple thoughts with you.


First, the Sunday morning class and the Wednesday night class are different. It’s different with kids and it’s different with adults. With children, they are sleepy on Sunday morning. It’s hard to get them going. Some come late. It’s a mess. On Wednesday, those same kids have been to school, had sugar and they are bouncing off the walls. The approach may need to be different. With the adults, it’s just the opposite. Sunday morning, they are alert and ready to learn. On Wednesday evening, they are tired. It shows in their faces. Same people, but different attention spans. The teacher needs to know this and make adjustments.


Second, in both high school classes and adult classes, you will find some who want to dominate. They want to answer every question. The teacher must be careful to call on others and draw others into the discussion. If he doesn’t, it won’t take long for people to think it’s a one-on-one class. The teacher and Mr. Dominate. Some get a kick out of being cute, sarcastic, and controversial. They like to push the envelop. They like to challenge the teacher. For these people, each class is an attempt to “stump the teacher.” Rather than add to the wealth of the class, they like to side track things, get the teacher off the subject and watch him sweat. How do you handle these situations? You can’t send someone to the principal’s office. There is no such thing. It helps being taught how to teach. The teacher is in charge of the class. He needs to lead it in the direction that he wants. He needs to stay with the material that he is supposed to teach. Some questions need to be answered in private. Some subjects are nothing more than an exercise in chasing rabbits. Not all rabbits need to be chased.


Third, at the end of the day, the Bible must be taught. That’s why we call these exercises, “Bible classes. “ That’s what they are. The word of God needs to be explained. Chit-chatting about a bunch of nothing, getting off telling stories and jokes and talking politics wastes valuable time. Do those things after class when you go out to eat with others. The teacher must do his homework. He needs to put his nose into the books and study. He needs to look at words and understand what passages are teaching. He needs to anticipate questions. He needs to challenge the thinking by asking thought provoking questions.


I have seen tired folks on a Wednesday night, leave energized and excited about what was studied that night. They saw the value of what was taught. This means the lessons need to be practical, relevant, and helpful. Even what seems to be dry and dusty Old Testament passages can be brought to life by the good work of a teacher.


Here are some tips that might help:

  • Watch how others teach. Notice how they get through the material, the use of time, the questions they asked and how they handled questions.
  • Talk to teachers. Ask them your “teaching” questions.
  • Find useful material to do your research and homework.
  • Put yourself in the context of the passage. Read it slowly. Look at the words. Consider things. Think. Look.
  • Teaching is interesting if you find what you are teaching is interesting. Become passionate about your topic. Write some of your own material. Come up with your own questions.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you don’t know how to use powerpoint, learn. If you don’t know how to make attractive class material, learn.
  • The class is your friends. Remember that. They will help you. Don’t create a “me vs. you” situation. Be natural. Share yourself with the class. That will make you seem more real.
  • Don’t get stuck always teaching the same way. There is a place for lectures, but don’t always lecture. There is a place for homework, but don’t always give the class homework. There is a place for quizzes, but not every week and every time. Not every study has to be, nor should be a verse-by- verse study. Try different approaches. Look at the text from different approaches. Notice questions asked in the text. Notice the reactions to miracles. Notice prayers said. Analyze sermons you find in Scriptures. Make your study fresh, interesting and useful.
  • Keep on schedule. Most places use the quarter system. The classes are already set for what follows your class. So if you are supposed to finish a subject in that quarter, do just that. Don’t backlog the next set of classes because you got side tracked and didn’t finish what you were supposed to.
  • Remember, above all, you are teaching God’s word. Be accurate. Be careful. Be honorable to God’s word. This is not a time to push your agenda, trash those you don’t like, air your complaints or try to introduce change. Teach God’s word. Remember, Paul to Timothy, to faithful brethren, to you.


When you teach God’s word you change lives. You give hope to those who are about to give up. You answer questions to those who were dwelling in fear and doubt. You show Christ to the very people who need Him. What a great honor and task teaching God’s word is. Give it your best. Always say a prayer before you begin. If one week doesn’t go so well, fall back, regroup, think about what you could have done differently and then get back in there.


Paul to Timothy…to faithful brethren…to us. Now, who will we pass this on to?





Jump Start # 1708

Jump Start # 1708

2 Peter 1:5 “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge”


Our verse today begins what is commonly called the Christian virtues. Peter is listing the qualities of the character of a child of God. He begins with faith, the fundamental foundational element of our relationship with God. Without faith, there is nothing else. From faith, Peter lists seven more qualities, starting with moral excellence or virtue and ending with love.


There are some lessons to be seen here:


First, it seems that these qualities are in a special order, one leads to another. They are connected. It doesn’t work to skip a few and jump to the end of the list. They are not only tied together, as the list progresses, the items Peter lists are more complex and move from our hearts to the way we treat others. Self control, for instance, is about us. Brotherly kindness, is about treating others.


Second, tying these qualities together with the word “add” or, “supply,” it shows that this is an action which we must take. We are the one adding. We are the driving force here. This doesn’t just happen. Why is it that some lack godliness or kindness toward others? They haven’t added these qualities to their faith. They haven’t developed. This takes thought, choice and will.


Third, the character of the Christian is what people notice more than anything else. We often emphasize doctrine, what we believe, but it’s the Christian in action that people really see. It’s the heart, the attitude, the involvement that people will see. You can be as right as you are in doctrine, but if you are not living and demonstrating Christ in your life, if your walk doesn’t match your talk, then you kill your influence. No one understands this more than your own family. There is no faking things at home. The family knows. They see how you act. They hear your words. They see what shows you watch. They pick up on your attitude. It’s at home that we lead our family to Christ or we stand in the way of the Cross.


Character is what is missing in this Presidential campaign. The populace doesn’t like nor trust either candidate. No one is shinning bright in this election. Mud throwing, character attacks, accusations, finger pointing, yelling has become the new low standard. We wonder where do we go from here? Can it get worse?


Character is who you are. Character is what you are on the insides. Some can paint a pretty picture of themselves, but sooner or later the character shows what the person is really like. Godly. Caring. Moral. Controlled. Enduring. Faithful. Kind. This is what Peter sees is at the heart of a Christian.


Sometimes we define our faith in negative terms. A Christian doesn’t cuss. A Christian doesn’t lie. A Christian doesn’t steal. A Christian doesn’t…doesn’t…doesn’t. It makes a person wonder, “What does a Christian DO?” Peter’s list tells us. Peter’s list embraces the positive aspects of character.


Fourth, Peter goes on to tell us that if these qualities are ours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the Lord. These virtues are the heart of what a Christian is. They will lead a Christian to action. If one has the brotherly kindness, then he will show that towards others. He will be there. He will help. He will be involved. If he has godliness, then he will apologize as well as forgive those who have hurt him. That’s what God does. That’s being like God.


These qualities are to be increasing. One doesn’t just develop these and then check them off the list. He is continually developing in these areas. His faith grows. His knowledge grows. He gets better in self control. He increases his ability to endure. His love grows. Most of us can see that in our lives. We look back ten years and what we know now and what we are doing now is so much more than back then. We have increased. He have grown. It is interesting that 2 Peter ends with, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Grow. Increase. Don’t stop. The more we are increasing in these areas, the better we become.


Fifth, Peter adds, “for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” WOW. Never fall from Christ.  What happens when we mess up? We stopped practicing these things. We stopped being godly. We stopped growing in knowledge. Our faith weakened. When we no longer practice these things, we stumble. But as long as we are doing these things we won’t. It’s hard for Satan to get in when we are growing in godliness, knowledge, faith and perseverance. When we are doing these things, we are moving toward Christ. It’s when we stop moving, when we become stationary, that Satan catches us.


Sixth, these qualities are up to me to develop. The church can’t do this for me. The church can offer a class, even on 2 Peter. It can define these words. It can show me why I ought to be doing these things, but it comes down to me doing it. The lazy bone. The busy world. The too many commitments and what happens is that we do not add. We keep what we have, but we don’t add. So for some of us, we get older, but not better. It’s like being 18 years old and still in the 3rd grade. We’ve just not applied ourselves spiritually. Once we were baptized, we just leveled off. We have stayed that way for a long, long time. Others, younger than we are, have passed us. They seem to know more and be doing better than we are. We wonder why? The answer is simple. We have not added to our faith. We have maintained. We have stayed in the same place. It’s like the little boy who fell out of bed. When his mother asked him what happened, he replied, “I stayed too close to where I got in. “ That can be us spiritually. Maturity, leadership, growth, involvement comes with those who are increasing. Those that don’t struggle. It’s the same things over and over.


So, we need to get at it. It begins with your faith. To your faith add or supply moral excellence. That’s where you start. Purity of heart. Clean eyes and clean mouth and clean heart. Add to it. Get about it. Make the right choices, not the easy ones. Turn off the TV and open up God’s book. Think. Apply. Become.


Peter shows us the picture of a Christian. Is it you?





Jump Start # 1707

Jump Start # 1707

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

  What a great verse today. Joy…merry…happiness…laughter…fun—those things are good for us. Sit around a group of children and you’ll quickly notice that they like to smile and laugh. Children laugh a lot more in a day than adults. We have so many things that takes the smile out of our souls. Bills, stress, economy, jobs, worry, sin, disappointments, toxic relationships are just a few. Then too often we gather at church and we get a double dose of guilt. Any time the preacher mentions the subject of marriage or parenting, we groan. We know that we need to hear what is said, but we also know that we feel like we are not doing a good job. The world tends to laugh at the wrong things. It laughs at sin and the failures of others. Sitcoms have been doing that for years.


Let’s consider the contrast found in this verse, the joyful heart compared to the broken spirit.


First, there is a time for the broken spirit. David reminded us that a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. When Jesus began the beatitudes with “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” this has nothing to do with bank accounts but everything to do with a broken spirit. Spiritually bankrupt is what Jesus meant. The broken spirit is what will lead a person to change. It will lead them to Christ. The weary and heavy laded are those who are broken by sin. In Christ they find forgiveness. In Christ, there is hope and rest.


The broken spirit has a place, but we shouldn’t expect to live on that street for the rest of our lives. Some do. They are miserable. It shows in their face. They haven’t smiled in a long time. They’d quickly tell you that there isn’t much to smile about these days. The miserable have a way of making everyone else miserable. Sometimes special retreats for ladies and classes for ladies turn into crying sessions. I guess some like that. I suppose there is some therapy in that. It’d be nice once in a while to have a joyful session. The joyful heart is good medicine.


Second, the joyful heart is not one that has found an oasis free from trouble and problems. There is no such place. You’ll never enter a town that declares “This is a trouble free town.” No such place exists on earth. So, one is joyful in a world that is often sad and unhappy. The joyful heart is a choice. My late friend, Barbara Johnson wrote in many of her books, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” That’s it exactly! Misery or joy—my choice.


Now, how does one have a joyful heart, especially when there is so many things surrounding us that ought to make us miserable? You understand that you can’t change others. Our presidential campaign is nuts to put it mildly. A person can get so caught up in watching the news and every wicked comment one says about the other that he becomes miserable. You can’t change them. You can’t change the weather. You can’t change your grown kids. Joy in my heart is something that I can do something about.


Realize what you feed yourself will be manifested in your heart. A steady diet of bad news will turn your heart sour. So, feed your soul with good news. The best news is God’s word, the Bible. Surround yourself around cheerful people. Watch shows that lift your spirits. Listen to music that puts you in a good mood. Go to worship. Find a way to unwind when you feel yourself becoming sour.


Lately, I’ve been watching some old episodes of the Three Stooges, especially Curley. He makes me smile. After a long day, often dealing with things that are not good, I like to watch some Curley. He puts a smile on my heart and joy in my spirit. Do you have something like that? If not, find it. This will help you.


Our passage tells us something about the joyful heart. The writer tells us that it is good medicine. It is just the opposite of drying up the bones. Good medicine. The joyful heart is all that some of us need. Maybe instead of so many pills, we ought to watch some Stooges. Maybe we ought to get on the floor with our grandkids and be a kid again. I don’t know who likes playing more, me or the grandkids. I know the day will come when they will outgrow sitting on the floor and playing, but it sure does me a bunch of good. Those sweet faces and bright eyes are the best thing for one’s soul. Even when we were at Disney a few weeks ago, my little two-year-old granddaughter asked me if we could go ride bikes. She had no clue where we were. But here in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, she wanted to go play with PJ (that’s me).


Your drive home from work ought to be an outlet to detox from all the strain at work. Come home with a smile on your face to meet your family. Leave your work at work. Go shoot some hoops with your boys. Have a tea party with your daughter. Play hide and seek for a while. The world has a way of escaping when we do that.


And since we are on this, let’s smile more in church services. Please, we are not at a funeral. What better place to smile. We are with the people of God. We are going to sing and pray and open His word. What a great place to be. Something isn’t right when we leave services more beat up than when we came. Encouragement is oxygen to our souls. We need that. Sunday ought to be the best day of the week for us.


I know some doctors. They are great at what they do. I’d love if one of them took out his prescription pad and wrote on there, “Go watch Three Stooges.” Maybe if the world did this more, along with having some cookies in the afternoon, we’d be better people. Worry, fear, doubt, stress—they can crush your spirit. They can take your health. They can shorten your life. They change the expression of your face.


The story is told of an advisor suggesting to the newly elected President Abraham Lincoln a certain man for a cabinet post. Lincoln is said to have responded, “I don’t like the look of his face.” The advisor was shocked and said that wasn’t nice. He couldn’t help the way he looked. Lincoln said, “Everyone over the age of 40 is responsible for the way he looks.” Joyful or broken spirit? Our choice.


Does your face show hope? Do you look like one who is heading toward Heaven? Or, does your face show doubt and despair?


The joyful heart…maybe that’s what you need to find again.





Jump Start # 1706

Jump Start # 1706 

Mark 10:46 “Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.”


I was thinking the other day about all the names that are used in the New Testament, especially the Gospels. There are many. We are told the name of the servant whose ear was cut off by Peter. It’s Malchus. We are told the name of the high priest, Caiaphas. We are given the Jewish ruler’s name, Nicodemus. The names, Mary, Martha and Lazarus are very familiar to us. The synagogue official whose little daughter died and Jesus raised was Jairus.


But there are other names we are not given. We don’t know the name of the bent over woman. Nor do we know the name of the woman who was caught in adultery. The demon possessed man, who was living in the cemetery, remains unknown to us.


Some names are given and some are not. There may be some reasons for that.


The names that are given, not only in the Gospels, but all through the N.T., serve as a Biblical footnote. Our verse is a great example of this. After the Gospels were recorded, one way to verify their accuracy was to check the stories with others. Our verse tells us of a blind man who was beggar outside of Jericho. His name is Bartimaeus. And not to confuse him with another person with the same name, his father was Timaeus. Notice how specific that is. A person listening or reading the Gospel of Mark, could go to Jericho and dig around and ask a few locals about a guy who once lived there who was blind by the name of Bartimaeus. If he was still around, he could be interviewed and asked about Jesus and what happened. Even, if he wasn’t there, folks would certainly know the story of Timaeus’ son who gained his sight back. People tend to talk about things like that. That would make a person realize that the story was true.


There is the story of Simon. Not just any Simon. There were many Simon’s. This Simon was from Cyrene. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus, as if the audience knew who those two were, possibly even Christians. He was the one who carried the cross for Jesus. Moments before the death, here lies another Biblical footnote. Go to Cyrene. Check around. Was there a Simon who had a couple of sons named Alexander and Rufus? Heard that he carried Jesus’ cross? Any truth to that? Verification. Evidence. Proof. This is found in Mark’s Gospel. Mark is written to Christians. Alexander and Rufus may have been known by the brethren.


This thought traces through the N.T. There is Lydia from Thyatira. There was Cornelius from Caesarea. It’s as if God were given the early readers, names and addresses. Go, check it out, is what this sounds like.


Then there were statements such as: “Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome” (Acts 18:2). And, the decree from Augustus, that a census be taken (Lk 2:1). Political and national news that could easily be proven. Folks would know if there had been a census.


Then, there was national disasters and calamities, such as earthquakes. There was an earthquake when Jesus died. Later, when Paul was in prison in Philippi, an earthquake that came late in the night, after midnight (Acts 16). How easily that could be proven. Simply ask the residents of Philippi, has there been any earthquakes around here in a while? They could tell you. And, the great famine of Acts 11. Easy to verify and prove. God’s footnotes.


God provided many ways to check His story. Had these things not matched up, the writings of the Gospel would have been dismissed long ago as being fraudulent. Had folks said, “there has not been an earthquake in Jerusalem in over a hundred years,” the Gospel stories would start to fall apart. But these simple checks not only verified the Bible, but they brought people into the story. You could almost here someone saying, “Yeah, I remember that earthquake in Jerusalem. The sky got real dark as well. It was really strange. Never seen anything like that before.” And from that, the story of Jesus would be told. A connection to something that they knew was real.


When we read our Bibles and we find all  of those names, most are hard for us to pronounce, see them as God’s footnotes, or proof, to His story.


Now, why are some names not given to us? We are not told. Maybe some involved didn’t become believers and it would be hard for the Christians to connect with these people. Maybe some were left in secret to protect the people. The adulterous woman would be forever shamed if people knew who she was.


We are living In times when more and more people need proof that the Bible is from God. Just starting with a verse isn’t always the best way to show this. There is proof, both internally and externally that allows us to believe what God says. For those people back then, the proof may have been nothing more than a name and a city.


The precepts of the Lord are right. That‘s what the Psalmist tells us. That’s what we find out when we do our own digging.





JumStart # 1705

Jump Start # 1705

1 Timothy 5:23 “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”


We are going to touch upon a sensitive topic. I have never been one to steer clear of tough subjects. Avoiding things, because they may cause controversy or upset some is never a safe policy. Let’s talk about social drinking of alcohol. Christians want it. This is a hot topic in many congregations. Brethren are wanting and looking for a green light so they can drink.


We have become a drinking society. It’s to the point now, that you can’t get people together without alcohol. A ballgame—and there is booze. A neighborhood cookout and there is booze. Even at the orchestra, there is booze. Out to eat, and here comes the wine list. At a wedding, and there is alcohol. One of these days, we’ll see drinking at funerals. It’s everywhere else. It’s to the point, that folks can’t go a couple of hours without having to have some alcohol. It’s everywhere. College campuses are drowning in problem binge drinkers. With their college diploma in hand, colleges are releasing future alcoholics upon society.  We are a drinking nation. And the effects and consequences are visible everywhere. Health problems…domestic problems…marriages falling apart…and those little white crosses along side of the highway that reminds us that someone was killed, often by a drunk driver. And now, God’s people are joining the ranks. They want permission to drink. They feel that they are missing out and they want a verse, a sermon, a context, that will give them a green light to drink. They want God to say, “Yes, Drink.”


Brethren turn to the Savior. They will say, “Jesus turned water to wine.” He did. What was that wine? Was it red or white? Was Bud or Bud-lite? Was Kentucky Bourbon or was it Gin? Was it grape juice? What does the word “wine” mean? When the Bible uses the word “wine” can I substitute “Beer?” Where is the line? We know you can’t get drunk. That’s clear. All over the Bible, God condemns drunkenness. Is it ok as long as I get right up to the line? What is the definition of drunk? Different states have different blood alcohol reference points for being legally drunk. In Jesus’ days, there was no “blood alcohol” numbers? So, how drunk is drunk? Is tipsy, but not legally drunk ok? Some will say, “just one drink.” But who made up that rule? Did God? What if the state changes the definition of legally drunk? Am I putting my theology in the hands of state legislatures?


Our verse today, is yet another passage and another way some try to find good in drinking alcohol. Paul told Timothy to drink some wine. Therefore, from that I can conclude that I can drink a beer. I don’t see that connection. Look at the context:


First, Timothy was sick. The verse refers to his frequent ailments and his stomach. The wine was being used as medicine. This is not the same as sitting in the stands of the ballgame and having a beer. This wasn’t being drunk because Timothy liked the taste nor it relaxed him. He was sick. Can I do it for that reason? Are you sick? Look at the ingredients of cough medicine or Nyquil—alcohol is already in it. Our medicines have alcohol.


Second, Paul had to tell Timothy to do it. Timothy wasn’t going to. Timothy didn’t want any alcohol. Timothy was being different than the world. Drinking was not a part of Timothy’s life. Had the apostle not told him to do this, he would have never thought about drinking wine, sick or not. We have just the opposite situation today. Timothy didn’t want to drink and he had to be told to. Today, folks want to drink and they are looking for an apostle to agree with that.


Third, what about wine being good for your heart? Doctors say you ought to drink wine for your heart. First, that’s not a fact. The research is still out and there is some controversy about that. It’s not so much the alcohol, but the chemical that comes from grapes that helps the heart. Some researchers are saying that the chemical is also found in grape juice. But, even if it wasn’t, there is a leap between drinking wine for my heart and drinking for pleasure. There comes a time where we must put what is good and noble above all things. If your doctor said that you need sleep and you shouldn’t go to church on Sunday, would you stay home? I wouldn’t. God comes first. If the government would say that you lose your tax deduction for contributing to churches, would you stop giving? I wouldn’t. If you buy wine at the store and you are going to drink just a bit for your health, does the guy who checks you out know that? Do the people who see the bottle in your cart know that? Or, are they going to think that you are just another drinker like everyone else? Influence matters. Let your light shine. Appear as blameless and innocent in a crooked and perverse generation, is what Paul told the Philippians. If the doctor told me to smoke marijuana for health reasons, I wouldn’t do it. No way.


Fourth, instead of always looking for “what’s wrong with things,” why don’t we begin by looking at “what’s right with things.” What is right about drinking alcohol? Does it help my marriage? Answer that. Does it make me a better child of God? Answer that. Does it help me stand taller in my influence upon others? Answer that. Does it make me walk closer to the Lord? Answer that. I don’t think so. It comes down to, “I like it,” and, “It relaxes me.” There is a lot of “me,” in those expressions. There isn’t much “God,” in that thinking.


Some get real excited when they see the qualifications for deacons and they find that they are not to be given to “much” wine. They like the word much. Much means some to those who are wanting to drink. So they think it is ok. And here we go again. If that be the case, who decides how much “much” is? One glass? One can? Two? Three? Two for some but one for others? It sounds like we have become the architects of our faith. Are we reading in too much into the word “much”?


Finally, some will be very forward and bold and ask, “Is it a sin to take a drink of alcohol?” “Am I going to Hell if I drink?” What if the answer was “yes?” Would that stop you or change you? Or, would you walk away mad, like the rich young ruler who was told to sell everything he had. Would you say, “I can’t go along with that?” Could it be your mind is made up no matter what anyone, including God says? But  what if the answer was “No.” No, it’s not a sin and no you will not go to Hell. Would you drink? Would you drink knowing all the problems that come with drinking? Would you drink knowing that it’s terrible on your health? Would you drink knowing that it doesn’t do anything positive for me spiritually? Would you drink if it made others disappointed in you? Just because something may be right or legal, doesn’t mean that I ought to do it.


Taking wine for your stomach’s sake is not the same as drinking a glass of wine over dinner. What we have not even approached in this article is looking at the word “wine.” In our language wine is wine. Wine is not beer and beer is not vodka. Not so, in Biblical language. The word wine sometimes is used to talk about the grape still on the vine. We would never use the word wine that way. It is used to describe the “blood of the grape,” which we call grape juice. It is used to call alcoholic wine and even “strong drink.” Then, on top of all of that, there is a huge difference in the alcoholic content of wine in Bible times and our wine today. We would not refer to wine today as hard liquor. Yet, our wine today is much stronger than what was used in Bible times.


Can I drink? Study the Scriptures before you make up your mind. Don’t use Paul’s words to Timothy, take a little wine for your stomach sake, as God’s green light for you. I see nothing good with drinking. I don’t drink. I’ve been to Europe. We were in a German restaurant where we walked in and they handed us a vial of wine to clear our palette. The only German word I knew was “no” which is nein—it is pronounced like our word “NINE.” The lady handed me one and I said, “NEIN.” She said, “You want Nine?” We did Europe without having a drop of alcohol. It can be done.


This is a serious matter. This demands a serious discussion. This needs to be studied. Talked about. And conclusions based upon the righteous life God wants His people to live. We walk by faith and not by sight, even in this area. Our nation is addicted to drinking. We need to be addicted to God.





Jump Start # 1704

Jump Start # 1704

Acts 1:23 “So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.”


I was teaching the opening sections of Acts the other day and came to this passage. This involved the finding of a replacement for Judas. Not only did Judas become bad, he died a bad way. Peter reminded the brethren that this was according to prophecy as well as finding his replacement. Another apostle. He must be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. Two names were put forward, Joseph and Matthias. The apostles prayed. Lots were cast and Matthias was chosen. He wasn’t chosen by luck. He didn’t pull the long straw by chance. The prayer that the disciples prayed asked the Lord to choose. God was involved. God got what He wanted.


It is interesting that there were others who had seen the resurrected Jesus. There were others who would make great candidates to be chosen. Why were they both not chosen? God wanted a total of twelve. Twelve is the number of tribes in Israel. Only one would be chosen. It was Matthias.


We don’t read about these two after this. One was chosen to be an apostle and the other wasn’t. This presents a powerful lesson for us. We often focus upon the winner. The guy who is chosen. What about the guy who wasn’t. What about the guy who was cut from the team. The guy who didn’t get the scholarship. What about the man who wasn’t chosen to be an elder in the church. What about the preacher who was not hired. That is our life story for many of us. For some, within their family, they witnessed this. You may have had a big brother or sister and they were varsity, but you didn’t make the team. They were honor roll, and you weren’t. They got the great job and you didn’t. It’s hard to be a Justus, the one who wasn’t chosen to be an apostle.


This is enough for some to feel second place the rest of their lives. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. High school reunions and family reunions can be brutal in this way. It is often nothing more than showoff time. The nice car, the big house, the amazing success. It’s hard to be around some when they brag and flaunt their successes.


How do you live being a Justus in life?


First, some of God’s greatest servants didn’t wear titles or have amazing recognition. Without knowing for sure, I’d expect, just because of the character people saw and was willing to put his name up, that Justus served the Lord in other ways. I wouldn’t surprised to learn that he preached the Gospel. I wouldn’t be surprised to know that he strengthened congregations and even served as a shepherd of God’s people. This is what dedicated people do.


So, you are not chosen to be in the leadership role. You can quit and make a scene, which would shocked everyone, or you can continue to serve in other ways. You can still have people in your home. You can still visit and teach classes. You can still be an encourager. There is an expression that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. You can be one of those 20. You can find where you are useful and needed and get busy.


Second, you don’t have to be noticed, praised or given a “shout out” to be noticed by Heaven. Jesus said whoever gives a cup of cold water, would not lose their reward. A cup of water doesn’t cost much. It isn’t hard to do. Most wouldn’t even mention it, yet God saw it and recognized the good that was done. So, you send a card, and few if any know anything about it. You give a gift card to someone. You pay for someone’s dinner at a restaurant. You pay for coffee for the guy in the car behind you.  You put some money in a card and send it anonymously to a family. Because we never read of Justus again in our New Testaments, does not indicate that he sat on the sidelines of life. We don’t read about the other apostles very much in Acts. Aside from Peter, James, John and Paul, most seemed to have dropped off the map. They didn’t. They were out traveling the world preaching. Some of the best things being done in the kingdom are by those who very few know. Prestige, honor and making a name doesn’t work in the kingdom. It’s all about God. God is aware of the things you do, big and little. You don’t need to toot your horn. You don’t need to tell others. In fact, there are many things that goes on that few know about. That’s the way the kingdom works.


Third, I really doubt that Justus trashed Matthias or felt bitter towards him. Matthias was God’s chosen. If anything, I would expect Justus to fully support, defend and be there for Matthias. Can you do that if we were talking about elders? Two names are put up before the congregation. Your name is one of them. The other is chosen and you are not. Can you support the new elder? Will you defend him and help him? Or, have the seeds of jealously been planted in your heart? Will your family conduct themselves as they should or will they avoid the new elder and his family? Being chosen is an honor. But being able to carry yourself with dignity and service, when you were not the chosen one, speaks of even greater character.


Fourth, those who are in the shoes of a Matthias, you, too, have a lesson. You were chosen. You made the team. You were picked as the winner. You were made an elder of the church. Your spirit and attitude toward the Justus’ can help or hurt things. Don’t let things go to your head. Don’t think of yourself as better than Justus. Don’t ruin a good thing by being selfish, arrogant or forgetting God in all of this. Hurt feelings can be healed quickly when a Matthias and a Justus work together and love each other as God would want us to.


Matthias and Justus—one became an apostle and the other didn’t. Some times we are the Matthias. Other times, we stand with Justus. There are lessons to be learned from both sides of this.






Jump Start # 1703

Jump Start # 1703

2 Chronicles 21:4 “Now when Jehoram had taken over the kingdom of his father and made himself secure, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and some of the rules of Israel also.”


The Presidential campaign continues to get nastier, meaner and personal. Less is being said about policy and what each will do and more and more is being pulled out of the past to throw suspicion upon the character. I don’t follow polls nor take part in them, but I think many are feeling like I am and that is we are tired of the name-calling, mud slinging and destructive behavior. When this is all over, some how this country is supposed to pull together and function. The divide is getting so wide between the two parties and the feelings are so bitter toward each side, that most likely very little will change, no matter who wins.


And as bad as this may seem to us, it is nothing like we find in our verse today. Jehoram, was the first born son of Jehoshaphat. There were a total of seven sons in that family. Each of the sons was given riches and fortified cities to live in. But the oldest, Jehoram, was given the throne. Our verse identifies one of the first acts as king. He killed his brothers. He was eliminating competition and potential rivals to the throne. With all the brothers dead, his place was set. Jehoram was wicked. He allowed idolatry to fill the land.


A letter is receive in the palace. It was written by Elijah the prophet. The letter was a condemnation of Jehoram’s wicked ways. The letter identified Jehoram’s sins, including the killing of his brothers, who the letter claimed were “better than you.” The letter ends with a chilling pronouncement. Jehoram’s family would be wiped out, including his wives and children. The king would suffer a painful disease in which is intestines would come out and he would die. Jehoram reigned eight miserable years and died “with no one’s regret.” A terrible end to a terrible king.


Throughout life we often find the wrong people in the place of authority. There have been school teachers who hated their jobs and that was obvious. There were college professors who made it their mission to make life miserable for their students. There were bosses who didn’t know what they were doing. There were politicians who were bought off and weak. There were elders in the church who were crushing the spirit of the church. Most of us can look back and remember those difficult times we had when the wrong person was in charge. As a student, as an employee, you are limited to what you can do. Most times, the only option is to suffer through it. Some office managers do not know how to manage. They play favorites and are inconsistent with the rules. Even in ancient Israel, shepherds of God’s people were dominating the people with severity and force. Terrible situations.


What can a Christian do when he is in this kind of situation?


First, pray. Always pray. Pray for your strength to endure through the day and your example. It is so easy to become frustrated and bitter that you say and sometimes do things that you shouldn’t. Also, pray for the person in charge, the one that doesn’t know what they are doing and is over bearing. Pray for change.


Second, look for little windows of opportunity to drop hints, make suggestions and try to improve the atmosphere. I have found that most people who are overbearing do not see themselves that way. They are clueless. They are destroying the spirit of the place but they see everything as fine. In many ways, terrible leaders are often bullies. Jehoram was. Instead of killing people today, people are fired, transferred, threatened and silenced by intimidation. Bullies do not respond well to counter threats or a mass of people challenging them. They will just dig in and fight for their position. Threatening to report a teacher, boss often doesn’t turn out well in your favor. The bullies have secured their place, as Jehoram had. They have gotten the administration, the upper management in their pocket and have won their support. But talking, quietly, calmly, non-threatening, in a suggesting approach, one on one, can bring some changes. The best situation would be if that person would retire, move or die. That usually doesn’t happen.


Third, realize through all of this, your patience is being tested and developed. There is one way to get patience and that is to endure trying circumstances. Patience is more than just waiting. It is keeping yourself together and not become unglued. We all have to wait. You have to wait in restaurants. You have to wait in traffic. You have to wait on your kids. Waiting and patience are not always the same. Some wait, but it nearly kills them. They get so upset that that lash out. You see drivers who can’t wait in construction traffic, so they turn around, right in front of a “No U-Turn” sign and go the other way. Patience. It’s one of the characteristics of love that Paul defined in 1 Cor 13. It heads the list. Love is patient. Waiting on the Lord is something God’s people have learned to develop. “In His time,” is often not our time. We want results NOW. God doesn’t operate in our way of thinking. He sees things that we cannot.


Fourth, remember Jesus. Peter tells us that the suffering Jesus is an example for us. When reviled, he uttered no threats in return. He could have…He could have called down the angels. He didn’t. He could have come off of that cross. He didn’t. He could have assigned them all to Hell. He didn’t. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Knowing those times is essential. Speaking at the wrong time will not lessen our troubles. God is aware of your situation.


Fifth, this isn’t Heaven. There are many things down here that are not right, fair nor good. The boss’ cousin becomes your boss, not because he is gifted and proven, but because of blood lines. The guy is irresponsible, over his head and is making a mess of things. You want to scream. It might help to go sit in your car and do that. When a change is finally made, his replacement is worse. You may have to look for another job. You may have to move if the neighborhood isn’t safe or good for your family. You may have to find another congregation if the church you attend is toxic and crushing your spirit. Those are all hard choices. They involve a lot of work and often expenses on your part. You may have to take a pay cut. You may have to move from a house that you love. You may have to drive miles and miles to find a good congregation. But remember, this isn’t Heaven. This is all just temporary. Some don’t want to make those sacrifices. What happens is they suffer. They become so discouraged and bitter that they turn into the very things that they are oppressed by. Change is hard. I’ve had to move. I had to do it for my family. It wasn’t easy but it turned out for the best. Someday all of our problems will be left here. Someday we will be in Heaven. Do not let a boss, a neighbor, a friend, a family member, or even a congregation keep you from Heaven. Do not allow others to get you so discouraged and so upset that you throw in the towel on Jesus. Nothing is worth that. NOTHING.


I like the saying, “The guy who says all his problems are behind him, probably drives a school bus.” What a wicked person Jehoram was. For eight years the nation suffered with his poor leadership and selfish ways. In the end God was triumphant. He always is. God always wins.


Hang in there…





Jump Start # 1702

Jump Start # 1702

Proverbs 18:19 “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a citadel.”


Our verse today is one of many that are found in Proverbs that involve relationships. Getting along with others is harder than what it seems. Even in the N.T., even among brethren, there were moments of strife, division and contentions. We are pretty good at pushing each other’s buttons. We know how to irritate, it’s the getting along that is hard.


Our verse shows the consequences and the difficulty that follows hurt relationship. A brother has been offended. We are not told how or why. We don’t know the history here. That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the brother was in the wrong. Someone was offended. Attempts were made to smooth things out. The relationship was broken and damaged and now one was trying to win his brother back. That is compared to an army attacking a strong city. Winning the offended brother back is harder. The bars of a citadel, fort  or we might think of a prison, is the illustration of contentions. They are hard.  Many hands have held those bars and they didn’t budge. The bars keep those on the outside from coming in and those on the inside from coming out. The contentions are keeping brothers from coming together.


Let’s give this some thought today.


  It’s easy to offend. Sometimes we do that innocently. We say the wrong thing or it is taken the wrong way and some are offended. There are jokes that are simply off limits. They degrade and humiliate certain people, whether it’s their race, hair color, where they live or their ethnic background. I grew up in Indiana. We always told jokes about Kentuckians. A large part of my congregation and many of my dear friends live in Kentucky. I can’t say those jokes unless I want to offend friends. Some do that just for a laugh and then they don’t understand why their friends are upset with them.


While we are on this, some are insensitive and others are overly sensitive. Some just don’t care. They are going to say what they want to say,  offending and upsetting all who hear. Broad generalities will do this. But others are almost looking to be offended. They will use that as a reason to quit church and run with the devil. “They offended me,” is all they need to stop walking with the Lord. It helps, especially when you preach, to have thick skin. Just remember the Lord.


  It’s hard to win back the offended. It doesn’t just happen. Often, a simple, “I’m sorry,” isn’t enough. Feelings have been hurt. People wonder about your judgment. And with one little oft handed comment, you can set things back for a long time. People have changed congregations because they were offended by someone.


Our passage is showing that. It’s hard to win back the offended. Our passage doesn’t offer any help. It just states the difficulty. A person has to look else where to learn how to win back the offended. Apologizing is the first step. Promising to do better is the next. Some who are offended do not want to be “won back.” They are gone and they refuse to have a relationship again. There is not much you can do other than learn some lessons.


  Sometimes what was said was necessary and true. The person who was offended was in the wrong. The disciples reported to Jesus that He had offended some by what He said. Did Jesus rush over and promise never to say those things again? No. Did Jesus alter His future messages? No. Some are offended because they are in the land of the guilty. They want a pass. They want to be told that they are ok, when they are not. The message of the N.T. will offend some. It will offend those who want a same-sex marriage. You won’t get that from the Bible. It will offend those who want to worship any way they want to. It will offend those who want an entertainment style worship. It will offend those who want to turn the operation of the church into a democracy. It will offend those who want a say in crafting out the direction of the church. It will offend those who want to live like sinners. Yes, the message will offend some. Some may visit worship services and after one or two sermons, never come back. They didn’t like what they heard. Too much Bible. Too much “preaching.” Not enough jokes. Not enough fun time. Offended. Didn’t like it. Didn’t do what they wanted. So they leave, never to come back. They leave looking for a church that fits their needs. They will probably find just what they want. It will make them feel good. It will make them laugh. They will love it, but will it follow the Lord?


We can’t change the message, but if there is something about us that offends, we can adjust that. Paul went so far as to say that if eating meats offended some brethren, he would never eat meats again. Did he have that right to do that? Certainly. Why would he never eat meats again? He did not want to offend some. Would you be willing to do that? Could you do that? Too often, I fear, we’d say, “That’s their problem. What I eat is my business.” And off we go, hurting others when that could have been avoided. Don’t you be the center of the offense.


Part of denying yourself for Christ is putting others before you. That’s tough. That’s hard. We want to do what we want. Not any more. We must think of others. The offended is hard to win back. Be careful what and how you say things. Be mindful that not everyone is like you. Some may be bothered by what you say or how you say it. Don’t make fun of others. Put yourself in their shoes.


Can the offended be won? Yes. Easy? No.





Jump Start # 1701

Jump Start # 1701

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

  It is hard to find the words to describe this year’s Presidential campaign. One candidate has been recorded making lewd and vulgar remarks several years ago. The other candidate is accused of dishonesty and consistently lying. Someone asked me Sunday, “Who should I vote for?” What is taking place reminds me of the game limbo, “How low can you go?” With just a few weeks left, we can only assume it will get nastier and meaner until this thing is over. It’s shameful.


Through all of this, it reminds the people of God how we need to act and talk towards others. Our verse is a classic reminder of what God wants from His people. Paul began this thought by stating, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” Outsiders means outside of Christ. Behave yourself when around nonChristians. There is an opportunity every time you are with those who are not Christians. Then our verse today, “let your speech be with grace…so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Others are watching. What you do, what you say, how you conduct yourself can open doors or they can close doors and even lock them for good when it comes to trying to influence others to Christ. Each day, each conversation, allows you to build a bridge toward Christ for those who are “outsiders.”


So here are some things to remember:


1. What you do with others is a journey of many steps. Rarely will it be one all important conversation that wins them over to Christ. Most often, it’s a thought here, it’s a conversation there. Groundwork is laid. It takes time to put all of this together and in the process, they are watching you. They are seeing how Christ works in you. They watch you in good days and they see you when you have bad days. They notice how you  handle stress. They see you when you are upset. They hear what you talk about. They hear and see what is valuable in your life. All of these things are steps and you have to keep that in mind.


2. Outsiders will remember when you didn’t act very Christ-like. If you have a melt down, if you say things you shouldn’t say, if you seem to demand your way, if you are obsessed with materialism, they will notice. They will notice whether what you say and what you are doing match. It’s easy to talk a great game, but do you live up to it? Outsiders will remember.


This then reminds us that if we have said things that were wrong, apologize. Don’t wait for someone to call you out on this, quickly apologize. I don’t buy into this “locker room” talk or “boys will be boys” mentality. First and foremost, God hears what you say. The Ephesians were told, “there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting.” It doesn’t matter if you are with the “boys.”  Later in Ephesians, we find, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness…for it is disgraceful even to speak of these things which are done by them in private.” Don’t even mention these things. There are some things that should not be said.


3. Our words must be seasoned with grace. That seems to be an odd word to be used here, grace. We tend to think of grace only in terms of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. Grace is God’s gift to us. Grace involves pardon and leads to a wonderful relationship with God. We are not good enough nor can we do enough to gain God’s favor. Grace is what the prodigal received when he returned home. But this is not the extent of grace. Our words must be with grace. What does that mean?


We need to speak with kindness. The tone of your voice can be inviting or intimidating.

We need to speak with helpfulness.

We need to speak with thankfulness.

We need to speak with godliness.

We need to speak as the oracles of God.

We need to speak as we would want one to speak to us.

We need to speak with love.


What does this sound like, to speak with grace? You will not always talk about yourself. For some, this is nearly impossible. They must always be talking about themselves. They love to talk about themselves. Speaking with grace will invite the “outsider” to talk about himself and tell his story. You listen. You learn. You engage.


Talking with grace means you realize when to correct and when to keep quiet. Some interrupt every time they hear a mistake. Wrong word. Wrong use of a passage. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The “outsider” feels like he is sitting in an English class and you are teacher. It won’t take much of that before he simply stops talking to you. I have “outsiders” call me Pastor. I’m not a pastor, I’m a preacher. There is a difference. There is a Biblical difference. I know what they mean. In time, if the journey continues, I will show them. But at first, there are much more important things to see and understand than what they call me.


Talking with grace is uplifting. That’s what grace is. It leaves us better than we were. Our speech ought to be that way. It ought to be encouraging rather than condemning. We ought to be pointing towards Heaven rather than pointing to Hell. Even very messy lives can find Christ. Build up. Compliment where you can. Be a friend.


Paul illustrated this concept by referring to food that is seasoned with salt. Some foods just need salt. Without salt, it’s just not the same. Popcorn is that way. Meat is that way. Too much salt and you ruin the taste, but just the right amount and it’s great. That’s the way our words ought to be, not just to outsiders, but to everyone. Sometimes we can be so friendly to strangers who serve us in the restaurant, and then be so ugly towards the people we love. Talk with grace to all people. Make it so people want to talk with you, not be afraid of you.


Something else about salt in food, you don’t actually see it. It just blends in and does it’s thing. But you sure notice it when it’s missing. The same goes for graceful talking. Consider the meetings you may be in today. Consider your phone calls and texts today. Work hard to communicate with grace.


When you do this, it will be noticed.





Jump Start # 1700

Jump Start # 1700

Ephesians 3:4 “By referring to this, when your read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ”

  Her name was Mary, but everyone called her “Granny.” She died in 1914 at the age of 91. I had heard of her but didn’t know much about her. A recent trip to visit my dad got us into looking into our family history. He brought out a small box, that looked like an old wooden eyeglass case. And, yes, there was an old pair of wire rimmed glasses. Those were “Granny’s”, he told me. A few yellowed news clippings and a folded receipt from the Singer Sewing machine company for a purchase of a sewing machine in 1886. Why the family kept this is beyond me. But on the paper were signatures. The sewing machine cost $30.00 and monthly payments were set up to complete the deal. Granny’s name appears at the bottom among the signatures. Beside her name, hard to see at first, was an X. Above the X was the word, “her.” Her X. Granny couldn’t spell her own name. She was 64 years old when she got that sewing machine, and she didn’t know how to write her own name. I have thought and thought about that ever since I saw that old piece of paper. Granny had been married four times. All of her husbands died, including one in the Civil War. She was my grandfather’s great grandmother. Too many greats in there for me to count.


This verse came to my mind when I saw “Her X.” If she didn’t know how to write her own name, I doubt she could read. Why no one ever taught her I do not understand. Maybe the people around her couldn’t read or write. Simple, common people, but unable to read and write. Paul said, in our verse, “when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.” We can know what Paul knew, when we read Ephesians.


There was a time throughout Europe, when the majority of the people could not read or write. They would have to depend upon someone else to tell them what the Scriptures said. They would be unable to hold God’s wonderful book in His hand and see for themselves what promises and blessings God has for His people. We take reading for granted today. Everyone can read, yet many don’t. There are huge numbers of people who are highly educated, but they rarely read. Once completed with school, they busy themselves with family and career and never expand the mind by the joys of reading.


For whatever reason, God chose the form of communication with words. God didn’t send pictures. God didn’t use feelings. He used words. Words preached. Words written. Those words could be understood. Words have definitions. They mean things. Art, for instance, can have vast interpretations based upon what a person sees. I’ve been to art galleries and stood before a picture in which to me, it looked like someone threw a bucket of paint at. The guides will tell you that the picture represented a turning point in the artist’s life that was brought about by the challenges he faced in society that was fighting racial oppression. I look at that and think, “How did you get all of that from a few splashes of blue paint with green and yellow lines?” Music is the same way. We went to hear Mahler’s 2nd Symphony the other day. Great music. But I didn’t get the death, trying to find the meaning of life and resurrection parts. My wife understood those parts. I simply heard some nice music. The point is, in music, art and feelings, interpretations vary. It doesn’t mean the same to each person. Words do. “Don’t” means “don’t.” You can’t miss that.


God chose words. Words can be copied. They can be copied exactly. Words can be translated. Words can be memorized. Words can be defined. Words can be understood. Words can be told to others. So, with all the forms of communication, God chose words. “The word of God,” is a significant expression in the Bible. “Thus saith the Lord,” is another oft repeated expression in the Bible. It is important that we understand this. The modern church is moving rapidly toward a “Feeling based,” form of communication. People talk about “feeling” saved. Some say, “I feel God.” Some talk about knowing something is right based upon their feelings. This form of thinking and authority moves people away from an absolute standard. What you feel may not be what I feel. You may feel something is right and I may feel something is wrong. In a feeling based religion, both of us would be right. What is right for you may not be right for me. This leads to each person doing and believing whatever they feel like. This leads away from passages that teach us to be of “one mind,” or “intent on one purpose.” Faith becomes a feeling and church is a gathering of those who do not see things the same, believe the same nor want the same. It’s a hodge– podge of whatever. This is the landscape of the modern church. Members of the same church do not agree nor believe in the same simple doctrinal principles. What a mess. This is where feeling based religion takes you.


God chose words. Words that would be preached. Words that would be written and read. It is important for us to keep teaching the words of God. When questions arise, it is to the word of God that we turn. They were can find exactly what God says. There we can find the answer. The more of the Bible that is in us, the more clear God’s will becomes.


Words—God’s words. Read them. Repeat them. Live them.