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Showing posts from April, 2009

Insufficiently Prepared? ? ? . . . . Probably Not. . .

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Yesterday spelled out another important lesson for me as I was riding my bike. It is amazing how many little lessons of life a man can get on the road particularly if you mix it with a bit of Scripture. With the time change allowing me a little more daylight and the weather change allowing me a reprieve from the cold grips of winter, I have gotten back into getting in shape again. One of the drawbacks with bike riding is that during the short days of winter, the bike is relegated to hanging from its ceiling hook in the garage. During this time of inactivity, the bike and the rider generally begin to deteriorate. The changes with the bike are far more subtle than the changes in the rider. The rider reflects the inactivity with slowly increasing weight and rapidly decreasing lung capacity so that when the bike is finally engaged again it takes a bit for the weight to come off and the breath to return. Although a little weight is starting to drop and the breath is coming back, I

Book Recommendation -- Chaim Potok, The Chosen

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One of the marks of a great book is for the author to be able to reach out to the world beyond the pages and pull the reader into the pages of the tale he is telling. Louis L’Amour is one such writer that has the ability to put the reader on a horse with him or in the middle of a range war with bad hombres. A. J. Cronin is another such writer who with books such as The Citadel and The Keys of the Kingdom forces the reader to live out the depth of emotions of his main characters. Another author whom I was only recently connected with is Chaim Potok. Both Jason Calhoun and Ben Weeks were flabbergasted that I had never read any of his books. I was encouraged to begin with The Chosen which actually was written in 1967. The actual setting of the book is Brooklyn, New York in a very highly concentrated neighborhood of Jews. It is here that the worlds of Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders collide. Reuven’s father is a Jewish scholar who is encouraging the Zionist movement to find a h

A Tale of Three Kings

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I was tired, weary, and defeated just to sum up a few of the massive dark feelings of the soul that night. To that point in my life, I am not sure that I had ever faced the dilemma quite like the one I was now staring down. My heart was dark and my feelings were very spiritually unhealthy to say the least. It would have been very easy to give in to defeat, pack up the tent and go in another direction with my life. Looking back it was almost thirteen years ago on a late Wednesday night in October 1996. I had come from home from mid-week prayer and Bible study and it seemed as if the world of darkness was doing everything possible to choke the life out of me. What was so strange is that in January 1996, a very distinct directive from the Lord had told me that I would be on the current assignment for four more years. I expected a lot of great things but instead I was grappling with a storm that threatened to overpower me. A blinding and quite unforeseen trial had broadsided me a

The Discipline of Study -- John Carroll

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I continue our series on the discipline of study with a John Kerryesque sort of statement, “I knew John Carroll before I knew John Carroll.” A number of years ago, a friend of mine told me that I should visit an internet forum that was sort of a discussion ground for a lot of disgruntled Pentecostals who spent much time and energy trying to tear down some of the core doctrines and traditions that have been long held. When I ventured into this very weary land (I quit going very shortly thereafter), I kept noting a person who was commenting who went by the name “Coonskinner.” This “Coonskinner” and one other person (of whom I have since learned his identity also) would have about 50 people piling on with all sorts of rude comments and ridiculous innuendo concerning their defense of the faith. I did my best to post and agree with the “Coonskinner” and his valiant friend but because the forum required a special login and registration (to which I tried to gain but never could), I coul

A Treasure Trove You Might've Missed

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The last two days has left me incredibly pressed for time, however I have made a personal commitment to try and blog at least four times a week until the horse falls over so here we go at almost midnight. For those of you who have been diligently following the “Discipline of Study” posts, I will get back to those probably next week. I have had to go fishing and have some good men out on the line but it will be next week before I can sit down with them. I want to tell you that I am greatly appreciative of all the comments and e-mails that you are sending in regards to this particular series of blogs. I am going to encourage you to look carefully at a book that is a treasure trove that you might have overlooked. I am speaking of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Currently this book runs secondly only to the Bible as the most published piece of Christian literature. If you have never read it, you are really in for a good treat. I recommend that you get the updated edition by

The Discipline of Study -- J. H. Osborne

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I have a very proper analogy that I would like to use concerning Pastor J. H. Osborne of First Bible Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. That analogy has to do with the prowess and strength that an NFL linebacker has. I was hit with an incredible force, speed, and intensity and I went down in a heap, and it was a blind-sided hit at that. Several years ago (2003-04), I was invited to the “Fall Classic” that is hosted by Brother Jerry Dean in Bossier City, Louisiana in a smaller group setting. There are about 40-50 men that he invites for this meeting in October and he will ask men from around the nation to preach and teach on a two-night and one full day affair. When I was invited, I was told that Brother Osborne would be one of the main speakers to which I then asked, “Who is Brother Osborne?” and the very subtle answer came back, “He pastors in Indianapolis.” That was the understatement of the year! Brother Osborne has to be one of the most masterful and engaging preachers th

Book Recommendation -- Preaching with Freshness -- Bruce Mawhinney

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A shorter post for a very wet and rainy Monday here in my neck of the woods and it appears that we will have much more before the day is over with. Sometime back I gave several lists of books particularly related to those who are ministers that are in an active preparation for preaching on a weekly basis. You can read these posts by following the links below: A Book List For Sermon Preparation A Reading List by E. E. Jolley A Reading List for the Minister’s Personal Growth There was one book that I mentioned that I am choosing to do a much more in-depth review of. It was published in 1997 by Kregel Publications and is still being reprinted and available in most Christian bookstores. Preaching with Freshness by Bruce Mawhinney is an excellent little book (258 pages) that is more along the lines of a novel than a technical book on preaching. It tells the story of a pastor who has been preaching for 10 years and has allowed his preaching to go flat and now the folks are

The Discipline of Study -- Doug White

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On my behalf, I must confess that speaking with these men about their particular patterns of study has been a tremendous blessing to me. In addition, much motivation has come from them to me as I have discovered some of the methods and means by which they go about compiling their work. Today is no different. I was tremendously blessed and inspired to spend some time with Pastor Douglas White of Abundant Life Church in Silsbee, Texas. He has been preaching for 29 years. In the neighborhood of eight years he was an evangelist and has now been the pastor in Silsbee for 20 years having just celebrated that anniversary. Brother White came from a difficult home life one that was marked with alcohol abuse by a father who often made life very miserable for the whole family. Brother White’s testimony of mental, verbal, and physical abuse at the hands of a drunken father and the overcoming grace of God through all of it is an incredible testimony. He received the Holy Ghost and was

The Discipline of Study -- Jason Calhoun

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Continuing with this series on the discipline of study, I am going to share with you some thoughts and observations from another friend of mine. I have known Jason Calhoun for at least 15 years maybe longer. He and I became acquainted through my very good friend Paul Jacks who I attended Bible College with 20 years ago. At the time that I met him, he was involved in the ministry as an evangelist of which he did for 10 years. Jason Calhoun began actively preaching at the age of 17 and was placed into youth ministry at 18. When he turned 19, he began actively evangelizing often preaching two revivals a week. He would be at one church from Thursday through the weekend and then would pick up at another church as soon as that revival concluded sometimes preaching as much as 32 times during a 30 day period. He told me that during these times that life taught him the importance of understanding the ministry as a marathon and not just a sprint. It takes time for certain dreams to be