Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Reading List for Pastors/Ministers by E. E. Jolley

I have just received a letter from Pastor Brooks Coburn from Louisiana. In this letter he mentioned a man’s name that is probably quite familiar to a lot of UPCI ministers. Pastor Coburn’s letter has stimulated this list that I am going to share with you.

I graduated from Texas Bible College in 1992 and moved back to Dothan in May of that year. I had a burning desire to be a “great” preacher whatever that entailed. I can remember very early in my ministry days hearing J. T. Pugh say “If you are going to be a great preacher, you will have to be a great reader!” The difficulty with that is that often rookies have no idea where they should begin to read.

In the summer of 1995, I was working a Junior Camp in Alabama. I had been elected as the Alabama District UPCI Sunday School secretary and one of the responsibilities was to be at the camp. Late one night, I was having a conversation with our district superintendent, Roger Lewis. As always, when I was around an older minister, I would always try to get them talking about preaching and books. Bro. Lewis talked to me for probably an hour or so about some of the best messages that he had heard in his life. So when the conversation turned to books, he recommended a few and then he told me that I needed to go to Bessemer and spend some time with E. E. Jolley.

Bro. Jolley was a prolific reader and student of the Word but he also was a great student of books. He was the only man who did not own a publishing company but did have keys to two of the biggest book houses in the country at the time (’70-90’s). He had keys to Kregel Publications and Baker Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He could go in anytime that he wanted and if he chose he would take guests with him. He gave me a personal invitation but sadly I could not make it.

Several times Bro. Jolley would take men with him and they would have the entire run of the book house in the after hours. Bro. Lewis related to me that several times that he went with Bro. Jolley to Grand Rapids. Bro. Jolley told me that what he would do is take men with him and they would sleep all day and then once the place closed, they would go in and “work” all night long. Several times he took Roger Lewis and Paul Mooney with him and they would pull a “night shift.” Bro. Jolley told me that Paul Mooney’s mind and David Fuller’s mind were two of the greatest among Pentecost.

Anyway back to my story, Bro. Lewis’ directions to contact Bro. Jolley proved to be very fruitful. Bro. Jolley had taught me in youth camps when I was a kid and so he remembered me. I called him and told him that I had to preach a Save Our Children rally in Bessemer and that I wanted him to come and hear me preach. I told him that I wanted him to help me to improve with preaching and whatever he thought were some tips that could help me. . . I wanted his input. I also told him that I would like to take him to a restaurant of his choice and I would pay for his meal if he would just tell me some books that I needed to add to my personal library.

After service was over that night, little did I know but that the church in Bessemer was serving chili, so it was there that our conversation started. We were the last ones to leave the fellowship hall that night and much of the conversation had been about Bro. Jolley and his friendship with Kenneth Reeves, whom I did not know. So when the Bessemer folks decided that it was time for the church to be locked up, they ran us out. But Bro. Jolley was not to be put off. He asked me where I was staying and I told him. He then made a deal with me. He told me that if I would go and buy him a 2 liter Diet Pepsi that he would talk with me about books. Since my wife was at home with our children and I was alone I thought this would be a great idea. Little did I know how much that night would pay rich dividends into my very young ministry.

I got the Diet Pepsi and filled the bucket of ice and we got started. The first thing that Bro. Jolley did was pull off his shoes. Then he got a cup fill of Diet Pepsi and he started pacing (slowly) back and forth at the foot of the beds at the Comfort Inn in Bessemer. I sat over in a chair at the table by the window with a legal pad and filled up page after page of book titles and authors. Bro. Jolley’s mind was amazing. He would prompt me to certain books and then he would ask me if I had ever heard so-and-so preach (I am going to leave the names anonymous) and I would either answer in the affirmative or negative and soon I caught the drift. These books helped to serve as priming agents that prompted the seed for the sermon.

He noticed that I looked a little alarmed by this. So this sent him on another path for a little while. The library or personal study is the place where thoughts are born and dreams move into the realm of a vision. A revival could be born in your study long before God allows it to settle into a church where you serve. Be careful how you treat your library/study!!! J. H. Jowett had this to say, “If the study becomes a lounge, the pulpit becomes impertinence.” Without a time clock to punch, the man of God must be honest as he labors in his library before God.

Charles Spurgeon, wrote very directly to his students in this manner: In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the divines and learned men who have labored before you in the field of exposition. If you are not of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility. It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what has been revealed to others.

As for arguments against reading, then what of Paul’s request to Timothy for the parchments and books? The passion for books can be encouraged and fanned into a flame. The fire of inquiry need not die but can continue to blaze upon the roadway of our Christian service for years to come.

Bro. Jolley really homed in on this idea: some are of the opinion that reading is a waste of time. Their philosophy is: Open your mouth and God will fill it!!! And He very well can. . . in an emergency. Bro. Jolley told me that there is another maxim worth incorporating: Fill your mind and God will set it on FIRE!!! Bro. Jolley told me that this came directly from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Preparation is the key to power. Reading is not to be a side-thought nor of when you can find time to read. Make time to read. Start going to bed guilty every night if you aren’t reading. It is amazing how guilt and discipline seem to work with each other. Let your guilt produce discipline and your discipline will annihilate your guilt.

Then as he paced back and forth, time began to race. However, I think that he and I were both quite unaware of the time. Soon it was 3:00 AM and I had filled up several pages of a legal pad and had a box of books that he had given to me.

Many ministers have told me that Bro. Jolley worked the book tables for the Pentecostal Publishing House for years at General Conference. He would take a book and wave it at you and open up a page and underline a single sentence or a few sentences and say that the price of the book was worth what you had just read. Bro. Jolley also told me that if I purchased a book and something in that book stimulated a message then I had gotten my money back for whatever I paid for the book.

I am going to give you the book list that he gave to me back on that night as follows:

Sidlow Baxter

  • Explore the Book -- This book has some fantastic messages about the lambs of sacrifice and the Lamb of God. It progressively flows through the Bible and pulls out key doctrines of importance.
  • Mark These Men -- Very good sermon titles: The Man Who Defied Baal; The Man Who Played the Fool; The Man Who Came Back From Beyond; and others.

E. W. Bullinger

  • Great Cloud of Witnesses -- This book is a roll call of Hebrews 11. Some great biographical material on these major characters.

Martyn Lloyd Jones (Bro. Jolley’s favorite)

  • Revival (chapters 1, 12, 13, 14)
  • The Miracle of Grace
  • Evangelistic Sermons from the Old Testament
  • Romans (commentary)
  • Ephesians (commentary) -- This commentary is full of good material especially the material on Ephesians 6 and the warfare of a Christian.
  • Philippians (commentary)
  • I Am Not Ashamed (ll Timothy)
  • The Sermon on the Mount -- One of the most outstanding books on the SOM that I personally have. One other equivalent might be Arthur Pink on the SOM.
  • Commentary from 1, 11, and 111 John (sermons)

G. H. Morrison (Bro. Jolley keyed me into Morrison’s books and I have almost everything that he has written.)

  • The Wind on the Heath
  • The Wings of the Morning
  • The Weaving of the Glory
  • Highways of the Heart
  • Sun Rise
  • Flood Tide
  • Morning Sermons
  • The Unlighted Lustre

Clarence Macartney

  • Salute Thy Soul
  • Great Women of the Bible
  • Bible Epitaphs
  • The Greatest Texts of the Bible
  • Paul the Man
  • Parallel Lives of the Old and New Testaments
  • The Wisest Fool
  • 12 Great Questions About Christ
  • Great Interviews of Jesus
  • Strange Texts But Grand Truths
  • The Greatest Questions of the Bible and of Life
  • The Greatest Men of the Bible
  • The Trials of Great Bible Characters
  • The Prayers of the Old Testament
  • Great Nights of the Bible

Ivor Powell

  • Bible Oases
  • Bible Cameos
  • Bible Highways
  • Bible Nuggets
  • David: His Life and Times

Alexander Whyte

  • Bible Characters from the Old and New Testaments -- Bro. Jolley told me that the price of the book was worth the chapter on Ahithophel. It is an incredible study of bitterness.

I took Bro. Jolley’s lead on Whyte and have bought everything that I can find that he has written. He has some classic books but hard to find on the characters of Pilgrim’s Progress.


  • The Classic Sermon Series -- This is a fantastic work because what it does is open you up to a host of preachers. Wiersbe pulls what he considers “classic sermons” on different subjects and puts them in a single book.
  • The Strategy of Satan -- Very good book on spiritual warfare.

Alan Redpath (Very Good!!!)

  • The Making of a Man of God (David)
  • The Blessings of the Buffetings (ll Corinthians)
  • The Royal Road to Heaven (l Corinthians)
  • Victorious Christian Service (Nehemiah)
  • Victorious Christian Living (Joshua)

George Waggoner

  • Practical Truth's from Israel's Wanderings -- This book is loaded with sermons that come from the time Israel spent in the wilderness. I have taken inspiration from this book numerous times.

M. R. DeHaan

  • The Tabernacle

J. Vernon McGee (I know, I know. . . but JVM will surprise you with his books.)

  • From Romance to Redemption

T. Stanley Soltaur (Hard to find!)

  • The God-Pointed Life (about David)

Charles Vince (Hard to find!)

  • Lights and Shadows in the Life of King David

John Phillips

  • Exploring the Psalms -- Bro. Jolley felt this one was his best work.
  • All of the "Exploring" Series

Charles Spurgeon

  • Lectures To My Students
  • Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Series (63 Volumes)
  • 12 Sermons on . . . . (There are numerous volumes of Spurgeons sermons that are arranged in topical nature.)

Finally, one last tip that Bro. Jolley helped me with and it has helped me in a major way. I have even gone to libraries when I am on vacation. This really excites my kids. They love for me to find a library when we go out of town. However, any library that you go into that is set up on the Dewey Decimal System, the number 252 will always be the sermons. The next time you are in Houston, you owe it to yourself to go to that library and find section 252. You will have to camp out for days!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Live Blogging from the Alabama Revival Conference. . . July 12, 2006

Session One

Kenneth Haney & Sam Emory

Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center

At some point in your life, you must drive to Dothan and eat at Larry’s BBQ. It is very good southern BBQ and I have to admit that I frequent the place on a fairly regular basis. So today when Bro. Patterson and myself were invited by Bro. Sutton to go to Dreamland BBQ for some ribs we took off. Larry’s is good but Dreamland is legendary. President George Bush (43) ate at the one in Tuscaloosa and the two most important ment in the state of Alabama, Tommy Tuberville and Mike Shula have both eaten at the one in Birmingham where we ate today. That was at lunch and it worked out well. They gave us Flowers Baking bread (this makes some of the Dothan guys happy) to eat and the loaf was fairly well polished off by the time that we got finished. That was lunch.

The first “real” session of ARC officially began tonight at 7 PM. From the outset, it was very high energy. I would speculate the attendance in the neighborhood of 600 and the auditorium at the BJCC was at least ¾’s full. The meeting was marked with a lot of praise and worship for the first 30 minutes or so with Zane Isaacson (Eva, AL) as the worship leader. After this Pastor Barry Sutton introduced the first speaker of the evening.

The General Superintendent of the UPCI, Kenneth Haney, was the first speaker. I have to say that I had never heard Bro. Haney preach like he did tonight. Most of the times that I have heard him preach, it has been about vision, however tonight he took a different path to get to the vision aspect of the message. His message was very much a directive and forced a response in the heart and in the mind.

He took his text from Job 29:18 as follows:

Job 29:18 KJV Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my

He then entitled the message “You Cannot Rest In the Nest.” What follows are my notes that I took while he was preaching. For all of those who have heard me over the years talk about “marble” notebooks, this is what I write in them. A few times, it appears that I am the only one taking notes but I had my brother-in-law beside me tonight and he was steadily writing things down too! I am going to violate one of my little rules and I am going to also include the personal observations that I jotted down that applied to me. These will be in a different color.

-Life is made up of two elements: (1) Memory, and (2) Anticipation. We will live our lives in both of those modes but one will be the constant and it will overrule the other. Because God has filled us with a purpose and a vision, no man or church can afford to live his life in the “memory” mode.

-I will never be satisfied with a full house mentality. How can I be satisfied with a full house on Sunday night and know that we can seat around 175 without chairs? How can I be satisfied knowing that we are still thousands shy of what God needs to save? How can any saint or other church leader be satisfied when our town is lost?

-Job was actually asking himself some questions about finally getting to a place to rest in the nest. However, it is not the will of God for us to look around and be satisfied with a meager amount of success in life and ministry. The church is vibrant and dynamic and the world is desperately in need of a prevailing Word from God.

-Book Recommendation: Dying For Change by L. Anderson (I think). In this book, there were some CEO’s who were analyzed in their careers. They all had taken companies that were mediocre at best and they filled this company with a dream and a vision of success. This company responded to the challenge and rose in value. However, something happened in the later years of the history of these companies. They lost their vision for greatness and became more interested in preserving their success.

-God is looking for the intrepid men, the fearless men, the faithful men, the valiant men who are interested in a vision of evangelism. Heritage matters to us as a movement and it matters to individual churches but the heritage cannot be something that we are more concerned with “saving” at the expense of reaching this world with the apostolic message of Acts 2:38!

-To whom much is given, much is required. We cannot live in the memory of the past. God is expecting us to do much more. God is not looking for men to retire.

-In 1 Corinthians 10, there were five major sins that Paul mentioned for the reason that Israel did not possess the Promised Land:

1 -- Lusting after evil things -- v. 6

2 -- Idolaters -- v. 7

3 -- Fornication -- v. 8

4 -- Tempting -- v. 9

5 -- Murmured -- v. 10

-These particular things will also keep us from really gaining what God has for us. It is important to keep my life clean and pure.

-After the ten plagues, in one night God accomplished the Exodus. He took 1 million Jews on a mass exodus. It is amazing what God can do in a very short time frame. There is an overnight solution and an overnight revival waiting in Dothan and elsewhere. There are people right now whom God is speaking to and they are in the early stages of conversion. It is our job to seek them out and get them out of the world (Egypt) and bring them into the church. We must patiently disciple them.

-When the new converts come in, it never gives the saints who have been around for a while to pick up worldliness, a lukewarm spirit, and a prayerless attitude. The new converts need to be helped in the ways of holiness (with the proper spirit) and the avenues of spiritual growth.

-The problem with “resting in the nest” is the human spirit factor. The human spirit will always be the great dilemma. It is crucial for a sense of “togetherness” and unity be in our churches. The devil can constantly be creating chaos in churches that are not unified.

-The human spirit factor was what caused Jesus to not be able to heal anyone in his hometown. There was a critical spirit that catered to their unbelief. Pay attention to your life when you get critical.

-Together in vision, dreams, progress, evangelism. . . When Jesus was asked to come to Jarius’ home to heal his daughter, the Lord began to move in that direction. However, when He was on the way, the bad news arrived that the girl had died. We always see with a fatalistic sense of vision. We see the disarray created by the mourners but we must have the mind of Christ in the situation. . . she is not dead. . . . she is only sleeping!!!

-When the negative voices start in your life or in your church—it is more important to know what God thinks than what men say. When people come around trying to tear down everything that God has built up in our lives or tearing down people with their gossip. . . .we should politely tell them, “Thanks but no thanks! My ear is not the garbage can!” She is not dead she is just asleep.

The next speaker was Sam Emory. He is an evangelist from California and actually he preached last summer at the Alabama District UPCI Family Camp. He took his text from Genesis 22:1-5:

Genesis 22:1-5 KJV And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. [2] And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. [3] And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. [4] Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. [5] And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

He entitled his message, “One Step Beyond Sacrifice.”

-Going back in the history of the life of Abraham, one finds him meeting with a man named Abimilech. During this meeting, Abraham had to dig his own well and draw from it. Other men’s wells may be good for a little while but somewhere in life, it will be necessary to dig your own well.

-You have to dig out your own faith, your own experience, your own walk with God.

-Abraham would have his faith tested. Whether one likes it or not, faith will be tested. This is greatly demonstrated in Abraham’s dilemma with Isaac. The will of God is not always going to be comfortable. It will not always be logical nor foreseeable. There will be some loose ends in our service to God.

-God’s Kingdom circumvents my own comfort. My comfort is not the question. . . the purpose is the Kingdom of God.

-The prosperity gospel is filling “mega-churches” with shallow folks. They cannot even really be classified as saints because they are just there for the show. The human spirit will always flow to the lowest end of gravity and follow the path of least resistance. This explains the humanistic syndrome of the “mega-church” mentality. If the desire of our lives is God then there will be an elevation of the anointing.

-The crowd may come but gaining the glory is a whole different matter. The glory only comes with a baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without a born again experience, little will come to pass.

-The will of God is not always going to be logical (take your son to the mountain and offer him on an altar as a sacrifice) nor can you speak it out (the Bible does not record Abe telling Sarah what he was going to do). NOTE: Sometimes it is best not to tell folks what God has spoken to you because they will do their very best to talk you out of what God wants you to do. Understanding the will of God is not necessary for following the will of God. Just Do It!!!!

-On the way to the mountain, Abe was probably confused, discouraged, depressed, worried, and anxious but the fact of the matter was that he was on the way!!!! You must keep moving despite what your feelings, thoughts, etc. may be. There are some valleys that God will have you to walk alone and no one can help you (Abe had sent all the other men back and he and Isaac were progressing on alone).

-In Genesis 22 the Lord instructed Abe to go and sacrifice. . . . but Abe said, “I am going to worship.” That is the step beyond the sacrifice. . . when sacrifice turns into worship.

-He had already been separated from:

Ur (his home).

His father (he had died).

Ishmael (he went with Hagar).

Lot (he went to Sodom).

-Now all he had left was Isaac. When you keep giving up and losing things. . . . at some point you are going to have to look at it as worship! Worship is my lifestyle. . . It is not the song I sing, the prayer I pray, the service I attend. . . . . It is my whole life. I worship God everyday with everything I do!!!!

-This is one of this generation’s most difficult challenges. Worship is part of character. It is important to live up to commitments, to pay obligations, and to stand by what God has called us to do. . . . no matter how difficult it may seem to be. Character and worship is what we live and breathe on Tuesday morning. . . not Sunday night.

-God will bring every man to a place where he has to give up what is most important to him. You can never bypass the place of sacrifice and really launch into worship. This test will separate the sacrificers (Cain) from the real worshipers (Abel).

-Cain could not understand that a sacrifice was something that you worship with. You will gravitate toward what you worship. . . This happened to Lot who would later move into Sodom. Because he was comfortable with the hidden idols of Ur. . . He was comfortable with Sodom.

Bro. Emory then concluded the message with a choice to become a worshiper. Earlier in the day, I had the opportunity to talk to Bro. Emory very briefly and after he discovered that I was an RN and had worked in Interventional Radiology, he told me that he was a Radiologic Technologist and had worked as a CT tech and MRI tech (Hello, Charlie Joyner). He left the hospital 10 years ago. When he concluded tonight’s message, he revealed some personal reflections that just a few months ago, during a particularly tough time in his life, he had gone back to visit some of the hospital staff and had actually been offered a job. What he did not reveal tonight is that there is a HUGE staffing shortage of healthcare workers in the nation and they are pretty well able to write their own ticket as far as monetary issues go.

Bro. Emory said that he looked at the money that was being offered which included a $10,000 sign on bonus and began to mull things over. However, it came to him that he was a worshiper and not a sacrificer and that he was not living for “here” but for eternity. This is crucial for us to understand!!!!

There was a very good response in the altar and I have to confess that I just did what I have been doing for most of my life now. . . . . going back and reaffirming my own commitment to God, to worship, and to revival.

On a lighter side, Bro. and Sis. Lee drove up from Dothan and are here in Birmingham. Also, Mike Patterson is now with Bro. Patterson and myself here at the Quality Inn. The other picture is of Bro. Perry Wells with Bro. Patterson. It is now 1:59 AM according to the little clock at the bottom of my computer screen and my brain is wobbling.

Until tomorrow night. . . . . God Bless. . . . . .

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Live Blogging from the Alabama Revival Conference - July 11, 2006

Pre-Conference Session

Jefferson County Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama

Bro. Patterson and I are here in Birmingham for the Alabama Revival Conference. We drove up today (without an accident or a ticket, this info is for my wife who probably isn’t reading this blog) and arrived around 4 PM. We managed to get checked in and situated at the Quality Inn at the Oxmoor Road Exit.

After having to take a foray out and pick up some dress shoes because I inadvertently left them in Dothan we were ready to go to the Jefferson County Civic Center. The reason that I left my shoes in Dothan was because I was interrupted in my packing process by none other than Stacy Cureton. She called me about the time that I was loading up and had to ask some questions about how we got the Bible and the translation methods, etc. So her call helped me to forget my shoes and now I have some new “Sunday” shoes. I haven’t had any new “Sunday” shoes for about 3 years now. . . Thanks, Stacy. . . I needed to retire my old ones.

Anyway, we got to BJCC around 6 PM and after meeting a few other pastors and their wives we settled down to some important business. . . . eating. At our table, was Pastor J. B. Sims and his wife along with Bro. Patterson and myself. However, the sole purpose was not to eat but rather to pull together the steering committee and the sponsors for the Alabama Revival Conference.

Bro. Patterson has been on the steering committee since 1993 and our church has been a sponsor also. This is my first year of being able to come to the ARC and it appears that it is going to be a very good opportunity for spiritual growth and also a time of challenge and direction.

The official “meeting” part was opened up by Pastor Greg Wilbanks who is the official head of the steering committee. Other steering committee members are: Pastors Stan Davidson (Gadsden), Philip Blaylock (Sulligent), Barry Sutton (Birmingham), Rick Craft (Athens), and Charles Shearer (Saraland, who will be arriving tomorrow). Sponsors include: Pastors J. B. Sims (Foley), Perry Wells (Vincent), Bro. Bertram (Bessemer), Bro. Markham (West Blocton). Also in attendance was Evangelist Sam and Sis. Emory, Pastor Murrell Cornwell (Wichita, KS), and Bro. Jeremy Wilbanks and his wife.

Bro. Wilbanks asked Bro. Cornwell to come and set the direction for the meeting and then there would be a time following for prayer. I have only heard Bro. Cornwell preach twice and both of those times were at Because of the Times. He was very challenging both times and his messages were always focused on revival and evangelism.

I will give you some of the notes that I jotted down while he was speaking:

-Matthew 5-7 is the greatest piece of literature that has ever been written. It outpaces any and all of works that the world deems as classical literature. The reason is because this was literally the voice of God speaking through a body that had been sent to the earth.

-It is the benchmark for a lifestyle that could transform the entire world.

-This message was not for the masses. This message was actually for only twelve. The masses had gone for the day and only the disciples had gone up “mount” to hear what the Lord had to say. Any spiritual progress is always going to be preceded with struggle. Therefore, to gain the wisdom of the ages, there will be certain “mounts” that you will have to climb in your walk with God. It does not matter who this person may be. . . one simply in the Kingdom or those who called to spiritual leadership.

-The Sermon on the Mount was given to those who were willing to struggle to the top of the mountain. It cannot be stressed too much that spiritual progress always has a wearying climb, a taxing climbing, an exerting climb.

-Sometimes God will just give us a word and we have to go on that particular word. Of course we have the Bible and this stands forever but there are single words that God gives to us sometimes that can be of great comfort and direction in the midst of the most trying circumstances.

-In Matthew 10, the Lord gave the disciples power over unclean spirits. But when He gave them that power He also directed them that they could not go into Samaria nor could they work with the Gentiles. They were explicitly directed to leave them alone.

-Yet in John 4, we find the Lord doing exactly what He commanded His disciples not to do going to Samaria and talking to a Gentile. The reason that the Lord did not send the disciples to the Gentiles and the Samaritans was because they did not love them.

-In Matthew 15, we find the Lord working with the woman from Canaan. Initially, the disciples wanted to turn her away as did the Lord. Interestingly, the Lord did have compassion on this woman’s daughter and cast the unclean spirit out of her. He was driven by compassion.

-In Matthew 17, the disciples again were confronted with an inability to heal a man’s son. The Lord did remark about their faith not being at a point to be of service. But there is a point of consideration to be taken in all of these cases. . . . . you can never effectively really minister to someone unless you love them!

-This is a difficult lesson for us to learn in our generation.

-In Acts, God had to distract the Jewish church with persecution to save the Gentiles. Peter struggled with the issue of the Gentiles. In Acts 10, an angel visited Cornelius once and told him about Peter and that he would be able to tell him what to do. Yet, God had to visit Peter three times with a vision to get him to go to the Gentiles. For the church to really do what is intended for us to do, we must get out into the places where those who need the Lord are. Instead of the sinners looking for the saved. . . . . the saved has to look for the sinners!!!

-It is imperative for every church to have revival in this hour. We have a marvelous message and everything that the world is pursuing is confined in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

-There is no room for envy, jealousy, and discord among any church or any leaders in that church. We must seek to advance the cause of Christ.

-The tribe of Isachaar were men who had an understanding of the times. Our times are different but the message is unchanging.

-Numbers 1-3 gives the numbering of Israel’s warriors after leaving Egypt. They numbered 699,000+. Pharaoh’s armies at the time of Ramses ll was somewhere around 28,000 foot soldiers and 7000 charioteers who had 1000 chariots (this is according to a non-biblical historian).

-Pharaoh had so hoodwinked Israel into a slave mentality that God had to take one man (Moses) from the middle of a desert and bring him to Egypt to lead Israel out. The Israelites could have overpowered their captors with hardly any effort or loss at all and yet they were captured by a “slave” mentality.

-If ever this generation needed a rambunctious revival church it is now. . . the huge problem is that so many live in a “slave” mentality that they allow the devil, their flesh, the world, and their circumstances to overwhelm them into inactivity and simply plodding through the routine.

-If God is going to use us to change the world, then we have to change our thinking about who we are. . . . you are much more important and valuable to God than you are aware of.

Bro. Cornwell did not bring this out but I thought about some of the things that I had studied in the past concerning this very issue. In Romans 4:20, Paul wrote (under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) stated the Abraham “staggered not” at the promises of God. However, when I read the Genesis account of Abraham, I find he was disobedient (taking Lot with him), was doubtful (about having a son), tried to manipulate God’s plan (his tryst with Hagar that produced Ishmael) and was a liar (about the identity of his wife). It appeared to me that he did not “stagger” he literally stumbled and fell. But I believe that God inspired me to see from Romans 4:20 that God and others often have a higher view of us than we have of our own lives. This is called the grace of God!

Bro. Cornwell said a few other things but I am not spilling the beans on that because I know that God used his words to plant a few seeds for messages that I am sure I will preach in Dothan in the coming weeks and months.

For those who are out of town, the services begin nightly at 7:00 PM and the day services will begin at 10:00 AM. Tomorrow night is Bro. Kenneth Haney, the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church, Int.

By the way. . . . this is for Stacy. . . . . This is a picture of my new “Sunday” shoes. . . Rick Warren needs to eat his heart out!

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Reading List for Pastors/Ministers for Personal Growth

Last Friday morning, July 7, 2006, I received a message on my answering system from Pastor Brooks Coburn who pastors in Louisiana. I have never met Pastor Coburn but my brother-in-law, Mike Patterson (FMD-Romania), has. He spent a Sunday with Pastor Coburn and his church and found an incredibly warm spiritual atmosphere in the church. Afterwards, the Coburn’s apparently overwhelmed them with some old-fashioned Southern hospitality. . . . I am unsure if fried chicken was involved. . . . but if it was as good as my brother-in-law said it was, I am strongly suspicious that fried chicken was involved.

I have never met Bro. Coburn but you can count on one thing, if I am ever in his “neck of the woods,” I am going to make it a point to stop and acquaint myself with him and his family. Bro. Griffin used to tell us that there were a whole lot of folks that we did not know who had not bowed a knee to Baal and that one of these days we would have the opportunity to meet them. I think that Bro. and Sis. Coburn and their church family probably fall into this category.

Anyway, Bro. Coburn mentioned that he had noticed the Power Supply Summer Reading List and thought that maybe a Summer/Fall reading list for Pastors/Ministers might be a good post. This little seed has been ruminating in my mind since Friday and I am going to start a small list of books that have helped me. Some of these books are like close friends because periodically I will pick them up and re-read the places that I dog-eared the page, wrote in the flaps or margins, or maybe something that I highlighted.

My first post will be directed toward personal growth in a minister’s life. I will not include specific books about prayer, revival, or other sorts of things because I want to save them for another segment on this blog.

Some of these books are out-of-print and you may have to look around on the internet to find these books. I will supply you with a few places to go to help you find used and out-of-print books. Here, here, and here are some good places to start. I have purchased material from here and did not have any difficulties with payment/shipping/etc.

The following books are books that have helped me grow. I add a disclaimer and want you to know that I cannot endorse all of the content of these authors. I always read with sifters and blinders and encourage you to do the same thing.

A Minister’s Opportunities -- Ralph Turnbull -- A treasure of motivation. Out of print. You will have to hunt for this one. Chapter Titles: The Certitude of Vocation, The Stewardship of Time, The Satisfaction of Study, The Tools of Learning, The Devotion of the Heart, The Beauty of Holiness, The Standard of Excellence, The Power of Ambition, The Sense of What Is Vital, and others.

A Minister’s Obstacles -- Ralph Turnbull -- A supreme treasury that promotes self evaluation and helps you see “blindspots.” Out of print, you will have to find this one. Chapter Titles: The Specter of Professionalism, The Vice of Sloth, The Dry-Rot of Covetousness, The Bane of Jealousy, The Paralysis of Pride, and others.

When Good Men Are Tempted -- Bill Perkins -- This was recommended to me by A. B. Keating who taught me in Bible College. It deals with personal integrity in your thought life and deals solidifying your marriage.

Practical Wisdom for Pastors -- Curtis C. Thomas -- This little book is divided up into several sections: Personal Life, Family Life, Study Habits, Messages, Church Life, and others.

O Shepherd Where Art Thou? -- Calvin Miller -- Very thought provoking book that goes in the opposite direction of the thoughts and ideas that characterize the “bigness” of the church growth movement. Is a crowd a church? Is someone who sits on a pew a real disciple of Christ?

And the Shofar Blew -- Francine Rivers -- This book is fiction but it helps one see what happens when one’s personal life gets out of control and ambition and pride become the main force of ministry. This is a very troubling and thought-provoking book. You probably ought to read this book every 2-3 years to help you keep your feet on the ground.

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals -- John Piper -- This is another book that will help you to grow in your spirit. Chapter Titles: Brothers, We are Not Professionals; Brothers, God Loves His Glory; Brothers, Fight For Your Life; Brothers, Beware of Sacred Substitutes; Brothers, Let Us Pray; Brothers, Let the River Run Deep; Brothers, Sever the Root of Racism; and others.

Don’t Waste Your Life -- John Piper -- This is a book that deals with the real priorities of life and it’s main question of life. The main question of life: What are you spending your time on? Whatever you are spending your time on that is what you are spending your life on. Chapter Titles: My Search For a Single Passion to Live By, Living to Prove He Is More Precious than Life; Risk is Right—Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It; Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5, and others.

The Wounded Minister -- Guy Greefield -- This book deals with “healing from and preventing personal attacks.” Chapter Titles: Clergy Killers on the Loose; Pathological Antagonists in the Church; When Evil Invades the Church; The Minister’s Greatest Enemy: Passive Lay Leaders; Collateral Damage to the Church; Ministers Who Invite Attack; Recovering From Shattered Dreams; and others.

Escape From Church, Inc. -- Glenn Wagner -- This book encourages the return of the Pastor-Shepherd. Chapter Titles: The Neglected Model; God’s Portrait of a Shepherd; The Call of God; The Glory of Shepherds; and others.

Character Forged From the Conflict -- Gary D. Preston -- This book is in a series of books entitled “The Pastor’s Soul Series.” Chapter Titles: Forced Out; Staying Close; Playing Hurt; Resisting the Urge to Strike Back; Staying Balanced; When to Back Off; and others.

Stories About My First Church -- Elmer Towns -- This little book is “mindless.” It tells some funny stories, some heartwarming stories, and some other stories. . . if you catch the drift. Still it is a good little book.

Pastors At Risk -- H. B. London and Neil Wiseman -- Another book that sets up the traps that derail those involved in ministry. Chapter Titles: Why Is Ministry So Tough Today?; What Sets The Agenda for Ministry?; Warning: Ministry May Be Hazardous To Your Marriage; Pursue Personal Holiness; and others.

Pastors At Greater Risk -- H. B. London and Neil Wiseman -- An updated issue of the previous book. More in-depth in dealing with more sinister difficulties. Chapter Titles: Ministry Keeps Getting Tougher; Who Decides What You Do?; Avoiding the Hazards of Ministry Marriage; God Made Your Wife Special; Help and Healing for Wounded Healers; and others.

They Call Me Pastor -- H. B. London and Neil Wiseman -- This book is a further relevant book about ministry. Chapter Titles: Offer a Holy Presence; Isn’t It Enough to Be Anointed?; Revival at the Grassroots; Treasures In Broken Vessels; Admit It—Change Is Scary; The Legacy You Leave; and others.

The Heart of a Great Pastor -- H. B. London and Neil Wisman -- Out of print. You can tell that I got on the London/Wiseman Express very early in my calling. This was actually the first L/W book that I purchased and read. Even after all these years, I still go back to it! All of the books that they have written have been useful tools for me. Chapter Titles: Every Assignment Is Holy Ground; Partnership with a Master Gardener; Bloom Where You are Planted; Energized By a Dream; Grow a Great Soul; and others.

The Making of a Man of God -- Alan Redpath -- If I had a dollar for every time an elder preacher recommended this book to me, I would have at least $50-75. This book is a storehouse of spiritual lessons. It basically traces through the life of David and his wanderings.

A Tale of Three Kings -- Gene Edwards -- This is another book that was highly recommended to me. We are all kings. We fall into one of three categories: Saul, David, or Absalom. The circumstances that we are faced with in life will develop the trail but we make the choice of what kind of “king” that we will become.

Restoring Your Spiritual Passion -- Gordon MacDonald -- This was the very first GM book that I read and it hooked me. . . way back in 1988. I have the majority of MacDonald’s books in my own personal library. This is a classic! Chapter Titles: It’s Got to Glow In You All the Time; Doing More and Enjoying It Less; Running on Empty; The Happy and the Hurting; Safe Places; The Still Times; and others.

Ordering Your Private World -- Gordon MacDonald -- This is one of the best books that helped me to grasp whether or not I was living for time or for eternity. It also opened me up to writing things in all of the “marble” notebooks that I have accumulated over the years. Chapter Titles: The Sinkhole Syndrome; The View from the Bridge; Has Anyone Seen My Time? I’ve Misplaced It; Recapturing my Time; The Sadness of a Book Never Read; Rest Beyond Leisure; and others.

The Life God Blesses -- Gordon MacDonald -- We have will have storms at some point in our lives, be prepared for them! Chapter Titles: Lost at Sea; Storms Happen; Quality of Soul; Questing for Spirituality; I Call It Soul Talk; and others.

The Bait of Satan -- John Bevere -- One of the best books that I have read in the last decade. How I respond to offenses in life will make me or break me. We all have to endure offenses for no one is immune from them. Chapter Titles: Me, Offended?; Massive Offense; How Spiritual Vagabonds Are Born; Hiding from Reality; Revenge: The Trap; and others.

Under Cover -- John Bevere -- This book deals with spiritual authority and how one responds to it. Whether we want to admit it or not, spiritual authority in our lives creates great accountability but it also creates great safety. Chapter Titles: It’s Hard to Kick Against the Goads; Sin Defined; The Consequences of Disobedience; What if Authority Tells Me. . . ; Odds and Ends; and others.

The Perils of Power -- Richard Exely -- This book is out of print. I personally think that this book should be required reading for every licensing candidate who is approaching a district board for accreditation. In fact, I believe that anyone who is in a position of leadership ought to be required to read this book. It opens up the avenues of deceit that Satan would love to destroy and disqualify a lot of ministers with. Exely was a member of the Assemblies of God when Jimmy Swaggart’s and Jim Bakker’s indiscretions and immorality were exposed. He wrote this timeless book as a response to their infidelity.

Living in Harmony -- Richard Exley -- This is an updated reprint of The Rhythm of Life. This is another classic Exley book. Chapter Titles: The Driven Person; The High Cost of Success; Work Isn’t the Enemy; A Brush with Burnout; Rest Isn’t a Four Letter Word; Old Friends and Good Books; A Gift and a Discipline; The Window of Eternity; Celebrate the Temporary; and others.

Deliver Me -- Richard Exley -- It is obvious that once I get on an author’s trail, if he is good, I have a tendency to purchase everything he has written. This book is subtitled “Spiritual Resources for Avoiding Temptation and It’s Consequences.” Instead of offering chapter titles, I am going to offer the section titles: The Truth About Temptation; The Three Faces of Temptation; The Seven Stages of Temptation; and others.

Soul Survivor -- Philip Yancey -- No writer troubles me as much as does Yancey. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with his books. There are times that I think he is a cynical sorehead and other times I think that he is a brilliant strategist. This book gives quick snapshots of biography of people who have shaped Yancey’s thoughts and ideas.

What’s So Amazing About Grace -- Philip Yancey -- Don’t start this book late at night because if you do, it will keep you up for a long time. Chapter Titles: A World Without Grace; Lovesick Father; Grace-Healed Eyes; Grace Avoidance; Mixed Aroma; and others.

Spiritual Leadership -- J. Oswald Sanders -- “It is not worn by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and such heart searching, and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader who would not be merely a nominal but a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth, and in hell.” This is an excerpt. It is a very motivating book. This book is great in that it helps you to find the balance between human ambition and the legitimate conquest of the soul and that is becoming what God desires for us to be.

Lord Foulgrin’s Letters -- Randy Alcorn -- This book is a takeoff of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Instead of Screwtape writing to Wormwood, Lord Foulgrin is giving lessons to Squaltaint. It is modernized and to me a much more current reality of the subtle ways of the enemy of the soul. Letter 7 -- Moral Relativism and Your Sludgebag is worth the price of the book. “You don’t have to lead Fletcher into spectacular new sins that look good on your resume. Every day he remains in his present condition brings him slowly, surely, dependably-even if non-sensationally-closer to Hell. He doesn’t have to spray his office with fifty rounds of ammo to go to hell--he’s already going. Don’t tinker with him too much. Time’s on our side. Fletcher’s life is ticking down. When it expires, only one thing will matter--that he hasn’t come to know the Enemy.” This book was very stimulating reading.

The Walk – Michael Card – This book is out-of-print. The author walks through the final days of the life of one of his seminary professors. The book is full of wisdom about life. It also creates a sense of responsibility for the legacy that a man is leaving behind him. “The first thing I noticed about Bill was his walk. Every day, at precisely the same time, he would walk past my Hebrew class. His gait wasn’t quite a march; it wasn’t a run, either, though one click more and it might have been rightly called that.” . . . . . . “After we began walking regularly, Bill would say, ‘I walk with purpose’–his way of saying that his ridiculous pace was difficult for anyone to keep up with. His walk was a parable of his life, and through him or because of him, it would become the parable of my life as well.” Are you influencing someone like this??????

This ought to be enough to get your summer and fall going. I will spend some other sections giving books about Prayer, Revival, Preaching, Biography, Great Fiction, and other avenues. You have Bro. Coburn to thank for the idea for this list.

Enjoy the journey. . . . . .

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Book Review -- Preaching, The Art of Narrative Exposition -- Calvin Miller

From the previous post, you are probably aware that I am encouraging some summer reading among our church youth group who call themselves “Power Supply.” My son, Justin, has already finished, In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. It was such a page turner that he could hardly put it down until he had finished it. I am in hopes that a lot of others are reading too!

I also am reading some good stuff too. I have recently finished Lance Armstrong’s Private War which traces his 2004 Tour de France victory and it was quite interesting. Some of the book spent time describing his teammates and what they specifically were responsible for when they were riding in the peleton with Lance.

The reason that I read about LA was it fit into the category of what I call “mindless” reading. The reason that I read “mindless” books is that they really help me to disconnect with a lot of the day to day pressures that we are faced with. When I say that a book is “mindless,” I do not mean that it does not have value, I mean that it is a book that does not require me to think and weigh out certain issues and nuances that the book may present. I do a whole lot of reading that requires much thought and consideration. These sorts of books are generally those that are ministry related and are pressing for either personal spiritual growth or spiritual growth within the Church.

A book that I am currently reading through and marking up with a red pen is entitled Preaching by Calvin Miller. I stumbled across Miller’s writings at Because of the Times ’95 with a book entitled The Table of Inwardness and deals with personal prayer and times alone with God. It is a very good book and I am almost certain that it is still in print.

Miller’s work on preaching was inspirational, insightful, and also very challenging. The value of this book is noted in how much writing that I accomplished in the margins and in the front flaps and will certainly end up writing in the back flaps also.

The following are some of my own personal thoughts that I wrote while reading this book. I will also give the page numbers that prompted my comments.

p. 13 -- Passionate and real Biblical preaching will always be driven by a strong and unyielding devotional life. If the prayer life and the private devotional life of the preacher are taken care of then the preaching will take care of itself also. This is why that we need deep wells within our souls. These deep wells are dug out with prayer, fasting, time with the Word, and with soul-satisfying fellowship with other men of God. Nothing can substitute for time alone with God.

p. 16 -- Preachers who have no God hunger may have some good things to say but they lack the passion and that is essential to create the Kingdom of God and transform the world. There has to be a visceral hunger in the life of the preacher that mere scholarship can never attain to.

p. 17 -- On “Bible-Lite”, user friendly Christians. Have I lost my salt and has my light gone out? Weak living puts out the taste and the light. Never be afraid to call for commitment. When I am more concerned with “feelings” than with a loving confrontation with truth. . . I need to take down my shingle, back my bags, and go sell shoes.

p. 26 -- We make a mistake in always trying to come up with some new nifty little thought. Pay attention to the great pursuit of virtue in your life.

p. 36 -- bosko the Sheep!!!! They are dying for a Word. When my messages are more “story-time” than “transformation” time they fall way short. It doesn’t matter that “stories” may be more interesting this is nothing more than junk food. Give them the meat of the Word because long after you are dead, that Word is going to live on.

p. 202 -- Every sermon is a trip—a movement from where we are to where we ought to be.

There are a lot of very good sections in between p. 36 and 202. Beyond this there is an excellent Bibliography at the end that any diligent student who wants to improve his preaching and the disciplines required to do so can run down. This bibliography by Miller is somewhat annotated and he gives some classic observations about these books.

I wish I fell into the category of a great preacher! I wish that I had the brilliance of mind of some preachers that I have met and heard (Treece, Pugh). I wish that I had the power of persuasion of some of the preachers that I have heard in the past (A. Mangun, Kilgore). I certainly wish that I ability to take something obscure in the Word and set it up in such a way that it gripped the very soul (Osborne, Gurley). I wish I had the oratorical ability of some men that I have heard in the past (Fuller). But I certainly feel very inadequate in trying to put the “volume of the Book” into the lives of those who hear me preach.

However, that prevailing sense of inadequacy drives me to such an extent that it robs me of sleep, it can even get me up early, it drives me to read about preaching, it creates much conversation with some of my closest friends about preaching, it causes me to listen to preaching, but what it most often does is drive me to the presence of God. I attend that to that presence sometimes with the frustrating question of “what shall I say?” I find myself in that presence wondering how in the world that a man can really speak the Words of God. That is the great challenge of preaching.

I hope that I never “learn” how to preach for on the day that I do. . . the presence of God will depart and I will be like Samson and will not even be aware that the presence and the anointing of God have left.

The Public Reading of Scripture

Quite some time ago, I was studying some of the practices of the ancient apostolic church and ran across some of the writings of Justin Ma...