The Best of the Rest - J. T. Pugh - The Making of a Champion

Some of you have followed along with the "Top Ten" sermons that I have heard in my life. It has been an interesting process but there were some that were very notable that I did not include in the Top Ten. So in the next few days (maybe weeks) I am going to give you what I am calling The Best of the Rest.

I previously mentioned this seminar in a previous post and the impact of J. T. Pugh's ministry. I am including the notes that I furiously scribbled while Bro. Pugh was preaching. I did notice something with my note-taking. I noticed that when a Scripture reference was mentioned in "preaching" that I would generally not make a note of it (very bad habit) but when someone was "teaching" then I would write down a vast number of Scripture references. Also, I noticed that when you try to decipher something that you have written in the past, that vagueness is a poor habit. The vagueness of the notes will leave you in the dark and it becomes a huge mystery. I discovered this when I begin to transcribe the notes that Bro. Pugh had left me from September 20, 1997.

This message was just as incredible as the one previously blogged. It was entitled, The Making of a Champion. He literally walked through the life of Peter in 95 minutes and when he was finished, I had been so totally caught up in the message that time did not even matter. How I wish I could do that!

Anyway, the notes are here for your encouragement.

J. T. PUGH -- 9/20/97


John 1:40-42 KJV One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. [41] He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. [42] And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.


-Andrew brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus. Jesus beheld Peter and saw him as he was and then told him what he was going to be. From Simon to a Stone.

-Jonathon Edwards wrote some Resolutions for his life. He always wanted to put his best effort forward. Always, always, always let there be a drive for revival, growth, maturity, and wisdom to rest in your ministry.

-If we are to bear the name of Jesus Christ, then we ought to be our very best, all the time. Never “slop” up the Gospel. You ought to view yourself as the greatest man in your town.

The “Becoming” of a Champion

1. A Champion has an objective and a direction in his life. It is the key element that he will live and die for.

-Champions are not born at the pinnacle of success. They have to set an objective in their lives and then begin to implement a plan.

General Dynamics was the engineering firm that was responsible for building the Apollo rockets. They were driven by a dream. Because they embraced that dream it totally consumed them. Some told stories about the moon, others speculated about it’s distance from earth, there were some who even tried to discourage General Dynamics and it’s engineers from the thought. But they were driven by a dream.

-To reach the goal is to give, to strive, to know that the sky is the limit. Everyday is a different day and it out to be pursued with such passion and intensity that God responds with His servants.

-So much is accomplished by purpose. Jacob had power with God and with men. The impossible is to be challenged every day that we live. The Impossible Dream is to be captured.

-The aspect of geography greatly plays a role in Andrew and Peter finding the Lord. They were 150 miles from home. Andrew wanted to bring Simon to the place of meeting Jesus.

-That is what you must do with your life!!! You must constantly bring people to the place of meeting Jesus. You will have to carry a church sometimes on your back to the place of meeting Jesus. It is involves pouring yourself into prayer and fasting and ministry of the Word. But there is a great promise to those who will invest their lives in this objective.

-The reason that Andrew wanted to bring Peter to the Lord was because there was something that was hidden in the life of Peter. Men are so full of hidden treasures and all it takes is the right strike of the pick. Churches are so full of hidden treasures that all it takes is for a “champion” to reach within his calling and create action of activity.

2. The Champion will change his style and then discipline himself to change.

-A man of action and activity was Peter, but he was to change. He was impetuous, stubborn, and impatient. He was thick-tongued and uncultured but God decided to make him into the unbreakable rock.

-There is a discipline that is involved with change. It can move us to the place of being a champion.

  • What are you spending your time on?
  • What are you spending your money on?

-The answer to those two questions will immediately indicate where and what your life is being spent on. Far too many allow themselves to get caught up into the activities that merely brings “bread” to the table. Far it be from you, to get caught up in the lazy, carefree, foolishness of materialistic treasures.

-I must change for the Kingdom of God. Change can create a certain self-respect. It can create a real sense of purpose.

-Peter was hopeful that he could change but he really did not think that he could.

  • Jesus borrowed a boat, to teach.
  • He borrowed Peter’s time for fishing.
  • Jesus borrowed Peter’s nets for a draught.
  • Jesus borrowed Peter's life for a ministry.

-Some of the most incredible victories that God every worked out came when he borrowed something that belonged to a man.

-Bro. Pugh said that he had seen so many men who refused to allow the Lord to “borrow” their lives, their churches, and their money because “security” was seemingly an issue. Our security rests solely in the One whom we serve. But there were others he said that he watched as God “borrowed” their lives and revivals and far more important things came out of their lives (He mentioned G.A. Mangun, V.A. Guidroz, and James Kilgore.)

-Peter confessed that he was a sinful man. He thought that God could not change him. Jesus told Peter, “From now on, you will catch fish!”

  • Fight against contentment.
  • Do battle with apathy.
  • Fight off satisfaction because it will bring poverty to your soul.

-Pray and reach for the unreachable star.

3. A Champion will submit to a trainer.

-The man who trains will train away from the limelight. It is the things that prepare us in the field when were are alone and away from the public eye and view of ministry. What happens in private will greatly effect what happens in public.

-Bit by bit the discipline and the change comes. The trainer made the boxer run. The boxer did not say, “I am a boxer not a runner!” No! He submitted to the directions of the trainer. The boxer was forced to run to tell the trainer how much stamina that he had. The trainer is more concerned with “heart” than with brawn. If a man has “heart” the brawn is of little matter.

-There must be something real about life. There must be something real about your life, your ministry, your church. Forget the personal agendas, leave off the lying, never sink to dishonesty. Seek God for the change.

-When Simon crossed the threshold, he had his name changed to Peter. The name “Simon” would be used only 3-4 times again.

-The champion will understand that the change will not occur over night. There will be some wearying and taxing moments in your ministry. It oftentimes is the stumbling, doddering steps of men that makes the change. It is the bitter disappointment of defeat that causes change. It is the frustrations of men who are prone to let their moods shape their approach to life and ministry. Somewhere along the way a mood will have to be stared down and you will have to submit to the discipline of training.

-The best thing for a “blue” day is to get out of that bed and go to that office and rebuke the devil and then rebuke yourself and then get on with it!!!!

-It is prayers of repentance over and over that changes us. It is failure that causes men to change.

-Peter you need to work a little harder. You need to do that again. You need to spend some more time with the bag. You need to cinch up your shoes and get in the ring and fight until you cannot stand up. Then you need to do it again tomorrow . . . . and the next day. . . .and the next day. . . .and the next day!!!

-God can see me ten years down the road and with His help, I can change.

4. A Champion will understand that not every fight will be won and that he will not conquer in every battle.

-Peter would be rebuked. He would be corrected. This is often difficult for us to deal with. Some men are so caught up in themselves that it is very hard for them to take correction. But if you are not flexible enough to take correction then you will become so brittle with situations that life will literally break you in two. Bro. Pugh made reference to some men who had “shipwrecked” their ministries and their churches because they could not listen to correction.

-Peter would fail in the Garden with the sword. Peter would fail at the fire. Those failures sent him to a place to weep bitterly. Few weep over their defeats. Most are far too eager to place and cast blame in another direction for their failures. Always remember that it is necessary to have somewhere that you can weep bitterly.

-After the Resurrection, Jesus instructed those who found him, “By the way, go and get Peter. . . .”

-On the water, the call from Jesus was to throw the nets on the other side. Peter had heard that voice before, in fact, he had heard that line before. Never forget that God will always come back to us after the mistake.

-The Lord got the disciples comfortable with the meal and then confronted Peter with his commitment.

5. The Champion will have much to suffer.

-Peter was told that he would get old. He was not told that there would be sufferings along the way to this agedness. He was not informed about the Crosses that he would have to bear.

-God does not always let us in on the sufferings that we will have to bear. He does not tell us about the conflicts that we must endure. He will not tell us about the hurts of life that will come our way.

-For a later time, you ought to look the sufferings of Peter. This is why he could write his epistles to men who were suffering. . . because he knew something about it.

-In Acts 15, he is called Simon again. There will be times in life that the old nature will have to be addressed. This is what makes the daily time of prayer so valuable to us.

-Champions will have to embrace a Cross. Peter came to such a love for the Lord that he demanded to be crucified upside down because he said he was not worthy to die like the Lord.

-Hebrews 12 speaks of a great cloud of witnesses. They are just men who are made perfect. There is a vast difference between just and perfect. But if we will be “just” men then God will turn us into perfect men at that day.

-Peter was a champion going to his last fight. . . . . He won!

I would be true for there are those who trust me.
I would be pure for there are those who care
I would be strong for there is much to suffer
I would be brave for there is much to dare.
I would be friend to all the foe-the friendless
I would be giving and forget he gift
I would be humble for I know my weakness
I would look up - and laugh - and love - and lift.

Notes taken at this seminar. No audio available.

Philip Harrelson


Unknown said…
Brother phillip,

You Sir are a true champion your artilces are some of the best ive seen on the blogging comunity Ill place a link on my site to yours Why you talk like a champ, write like a champ and you think like a champ and whats more because you have the same Father as me you were born a champ!!!!

God bless you Sir

Ill be back

Paul B Thomas and
Anonymous said…
I am so thankful my friend Scott Phillips sent me the link to this blog, Brother. J.T. Pugh is one of my very favorite people in the world. This blog will become a regular read for sure.
Carla said…
J.T. Pugh was my pastor for many years. Because circumstances preclude my being able to attend his and Sister Pugh's funeral services, I'm gaining great comfort from your remembrances of him today. How we loved him. How he loved us. Thank you, Jesus, for J.T. & Bessie Pugh. My life is much richer for having known them. ~ Carla Coulston Hays

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