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Showing posts from 2011

Let's Pretend

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For the sake of getting you to think, let’s pretend. Let’s pretend I am a physician. Let’s pretend you have a family member (spouse, child, parent, etc.) who is hasn’t been feeling well lately. To make it even more pretend, put someone’s name in the blank. So anyway, you come to see me and tell me that they are having back pain that is intermittent but at times it is very intense. Let’s pretend that I press on their abdomen, press on their back, and elicit a few grunts of pain. Let’s pretend that I tell you that I don’t think it is anything serious but just in case, I would like to order a CT scan. Let’s pretend that you take your family member to get the scan and then return to see me a week later.

Book Recommendation--In Light of Eternity--A Biography of Leonard Ravenill

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I will never forget the first Leonard Ravenhill book that I bought and read. I had just started by first year (1989) at TBC and one of my instructors, A. B. Keating, mentioned a book to us in class by Ravenhill entitled “Why Revival Tarries.” It was not too long afterwards that I went to a conference and found a paperback copy that I still have this day. Ravenhill is not for the faint-hearted and I have a feeling that most probably would not warm to his writings too well especially in our entertainment driven age. Ravenhill writes in such a way that you can grasp the majesty of God and immediately understand the frailty of man and his efforts to go through the motions of the ministry. Ravenhill’s books are always very good for personal revival and spiritual renewal. I have especially benefited from his books during the early months of every year when there is a tendency to want to stretch the soul. I would encourage you to read all of his books and then set aside a time fo

Pastor J. H. Osborne On Sermon Preparation -- Part 3

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Here is the last post on some more observations ( Part 1 , Part 2 ) from Brother Osborne’s advice he gave to a group of young men in Bossier City, Louisiana on October 27-28, 2003 and October 25-26, 2004. 7. Discipline Your Days For every man who is called by God to preach it will have to be more than just a passing fancy with him. You must have an element of endurance and to do that a sense of discipline will have to be developed about the way that you live your life. In Egypt the water was carried from the Nile so the children of Israel could have water in Goshen. When Elijah was at the Carmel showdown, prior to the fire falling the water had to come from the Mediterranean Sea so the salt could be placed on the sacrifice. After you have been in the ministry for a length of time, it becomes work that you have to make sure you continue to fulfill. This will not be an easy task. You will come to the place where you preach far more out of the responsibility of your calling t

Pastor J. H. Osborne On Sermon Preparation - Part 2

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This is the second part in the series given in sermon preparation by J. H. Osborne. The first part is here . 4. There Has To Be Something “More” Paul picks up a striking illustration in 2 Corinthians 11. When he begins to bring about a defense of his ministry to his detractors he finally tells him that he is more than what they are. Why would he say something like that? He tells them that he is more because of what he has come to suffer in his own life. If you are not willing to go through some things in life your preaching will be very shallow. The “more” part of your life is going to be something that will bring life to others.

Pastor J. H. Osborne On Sermon Preparation -- Part 1

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These are some notes that I took from a session that Pastor J. H. Osborne participated in at a young ministers meeting among the ALJC organization. I listened to the MP3 and gathered these thoughts from his session. In addition to these notes are some other things that I pulled out from when I went to the Fall Classic that Pastor Jerry Dean hosts annually in October in Bossier. I will make a designation so you will know what came from that event. In 2003 and 2004, Brother Osborne addressed about 50 men that were invited. He mentioned that the only motivation and instruction he had came from one of the parishioners who told him, “You better be good because we have got a mortgage to make!” I think sometime I am going to do a blog about some of the crazy things that parishioners say to pastors. He felt that pressure to produce which is not all bad. One thing Brother Harrell routinely tells me is that Sunday comes around pretty regular. There are times when I am sure that e

Time to Sacrifice the Queen

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During an international chess competition many years ago, a man named Frank Marshall made what is often called the most beautiful move ever on a chess board. In a crucial game in which he was evenly matched with a Russian master player, Marshall found his queen under serious attack. There were several avenues of escape and since the queen is the most important offensive player, spectators assumed that Marshall would observe convention and move his queen to safety. Deep in thought, Marshall used all the time available to him to consider the board conditions. He then picked up his queen—paused—and then placed it down on the most illogical square of all. He placed it in the square that the queen could be captured. He placed it in front of three of the most hostile pieces of his opponent. There was no way the queen would be able to withstand the attack.

NAYC 2011-Columbus, Ohio - Day Four - Crosses Versus Mountain Dew

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We have had an awesome trip for the North American Youth Congress 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The praise and worship, preaching, split teaching sessions, and connecting with people has been very enriching. However we are at sixteen hours and counting before we leave Columbus and head back to Dothan. Gracie’s picture sort of sums up how a lot of us feel right now. Half-comatose, worn-out, carb-overloaded, and sleep-deprived although as one of the old black saints once said, “My feets is tired but my soul is at rest!” One thing that really stands out to me is how that technology is changing a lot of what we do. I have to confess that I have spent some time texting during the sessions primarily zipping messages to Twitter (@barnabas14 if you want to follow me). Also, the GYD has used technology in a couple of unique ways. For the talent contest, you are instructed to text your choice of singer to a certain number. Then last night, there were instructions of how to text an off

NAYC 2011-Columbus, Ohio - Day Three - A Generation of Giants

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It took a while for us to come out of our comatose state this morning. However, it didn’t take long for the world to get after us. First a leaky iron to contend with and then Josh Sibley going around and knocking on doors and telling all the guys that the vans were leaving in five minutes proved to be a source of stimulation for us. We wanted to toss the iron and Josh out the window but we couldn’t do that because it would have broken the iron, I think Josh is already broke. We implored his wife and mother-in-law to do something but they said he was beyond their control. The continental breakfast is very good at the Hampton and the lobby area is very large and very clean. Again, David and Shannon Goodwin did well with their selection of this place.

NAYC 2011-Columbus, Ohio - Day Two - Upside Down!!!

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After getting in the bed around 2 AM, we were about half brain-dead this morning and adjusted the schedule a bit and slept late. We left the Hampton Inn around 12:45 and went to a mall just down the road and ate in the Food Court. Overall they had excellent food that ranged from Chinese, Italian, and Deep South BBQ ribs and everything in between. After everyone had been fed and watered, we went to the Nationwide Arena where the North American Youth Congress is being held to register some of the additional folks who did not pre-register. Chad Kirkland and I drove around the Arena district in search of a paid parking lot that was cheap and safe and we managed to find a parking garage off of Vine Street. This is where we parked six years ago when we were here and the walk from the parking garage to the Arena showcases the uniqueness of the district. Cobblestone walkways, rustic restaurants, and coffee shops are all within walking distance of the Arena. Columbus is one of the be

NAYC 2011-Columbus, Ohio - A Funny Thing(s) Happened To Us On the Way

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We started early this morning heading north to Columbus, Ohio for the North American Youth Congress. A funny thing(s) happened to us on the way. We left Dothan at 7:45 AM two van loads of folks. We weren’t sure what to dub the folks in the vans; one the “cool” and the other the “uncool” or one the “quiet” and the other the “noisy.” That is what we finally decided on the “quiet” crew was the van I was driving: Stephen Kovach in shotgun, Tina Caskey and Rhonda Lewis in Row One; Regina Worley in Row Two; Caitlin Ulry in between Row Two and Three with Amanda Collette; and on the caboose, Christy Joyner, Hannah Worley, and Gracie Collette. (With Christy also in multiple places to during the trip.)

A Presidential Challenge to Begin Summer 2011

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School is out! All of our summer church camps are over and I have a challenge for our church in Dothan. When I was in the 7th Grade, our history teacher, Mr. Richard Williamson passed out a list of questions concerning all of the United States Presidents. I will never forget the homework assignment of having to work with these 200 questions or so and having two weeks to get all of the answers for a major test grade. These were the days prior to the internet and we had to use the library (some of this is tongue-in-cheek) with its massive card catalogs. In addition, we also had to use a set of books called encyclopedias which were a large storehouse of information on a multitude of subjects. If you were lucky, your parents had invested in a set of World Book Encyclopedias and there was a smaller accompanying set of books made up primarily of pictures with brief articles called “Child Craft” which was around 20 volumes. My parents thought it important enough for Mark and me to

A Month of Puritans--Thomas Watson--Part 3--The Godly Man's Picture

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The next portion of Thomas Watson’s material that I would like to encourage you to read is a book that is almost the same length as The Mischief of Sin. It is a book called, The Godly Man’s Portrait . The initial title was Drawn with a Scripture Pencil or Some Characteristic Marks of a Man who is Going to Heaven. It was first published in 1666. Watson takes his stimulus from Psalm 32:6, ‘For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee.’ As before I want to provide you some of the quotes from the preface which he begins, “To the Reader, Christian Reader. . .” The soul being so precious and salvation so glorious, it is the highest point of prudence to make preparations for another world.

A Month of Puritans--Thomas Watson--Part 2--The Mischief of Sin

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I am continuing from yesterday’s post about Thomas Watson and will for the rest of the week introduce you to his writings. After stumbling across the book by Jack Hughes Expository Preaching with Word Pictures, I purchased Watson’s The Mischief of Sin. Never had I read a book that exposed sin in such a way as this one did.

A Month of Puritans--Thomas Watson

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The ministers of Christ should wait for all opportunities of soul service, because the preaching of the Word meets so many adverse forces that hinder the progress and success of it. Never did a pilot meet with so many Euroclydons and cross winds in a voyage, as the spiritual pilots of God’s Church do when they are transporting souls to heaven. Some hearers have bad memories (James 1:25). Their memories are like leaking vessels. All the precious wine of the holy doctrine that is poured in runs out immediately. Ministers cannot by study find a truth as fast as others can lose it. If the meat does not stay in the stomach it can never breed good blood. If a truth delivered does not stay in the memory, we can never be, as the apostle says, ‘nourished up the words of the faith’ (1 Timothy 4:6). How often does the devil, that fowl of the air, pick up the good seed that is sown! If people suffer at the hands of thieves, they tell everyone and make their complaint they have been robb

A Month of Puritans--Jeremiah Burroughs--Part 3--The Evil of Evils

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One of the things that give the Puritans a seemingly bad rap is that they appear too obsessed with sin, worldliness, and the coming judgment. That might be a fair statement although there is a host of their writings that deal with the so-called “positive” elements of the Christian life such as liberty, blessing, and seeking after character qualities that reflect the presence of God in our lives. But it must be taken into consideration that the Puritans were as Alexander Whyte termed them, “specialists of sin.” They had a way of describing sin in such a way that would be considered graphically repulsive to most people. One of the reasons that they had such a huge disdain for any kind of sin was because of their high view of God and Scripture. When you have those two elements at play in your heart, much spiritual progress can be made. Suddenly God is no longer the meal ticket to accomplish whatever dreams you may have for this very short and limited life down here. They believe

A Month of Puritans--Jeremiah Burroughs--Part 2--Earthly-Mindedness. . .

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A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness The next few blogs will be about the writings of Jeremiah Burroughs which have been preserved via the printed press and now very accessible through various e-formats. As with all of the Puritans, their writings primarily consist of the sermons that they preached in their churches. If you take their sermons and compare them with what passes for sermons in our days, you will immediately notice the great lack in our times. Most of the sermons that the Puritans preached were around 1 ½ to 2 hours in length. People in our generation think that 40 minutes is a long sermon and some even conclude that the less the better. Furthermore, you will discover that the Puritans loaded their sermons with Scriptural exposition and frequently they would come at their texts from many different angles. I have no doubt that much of the Puritan preaching would probably empty out our modern day churches because there would be very few who could track with their messag

A Month of Puritans--Jeremiah Burroughs--Part 1

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If you are a preacher, you have discovered that you must have an effective devotional life to continue to preach week-in and week-out. If your preaching is profitable to you and the congregation that you serve, you probably have discovered that good preaching has a price-tag on it. I am aware that the majority of readers of this blog are those who are actively involved in ministry of some sort and I am thankful for the privilege that you give me by visiting my ramblings. It is always my hope that when you are finished reading that you are more encouraged toward becoming better at what you do. A part of a preacher’s devotional life is that of reading. I heard J. T. Pugh say in a licensing seminar one time that you will never be a great preacher if you are not a great reader. I have also become very aware of what we think is heavily influenced by what we read. GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out or Good In, Good Out!) really is a principle that we need to remember. I remember stumb

A Life of Preaching--Rev. John Harrell--The Tape Lady--Paula Thompson

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For the last couple of weeks, I wrote several blogs honoring Brother Harrell in Bridge City, Texas leading up to his and Sister Harrell’s 40th pastoral anniversary. Today, I want to go with one last blog post on that before I move on to other things. I called Paula Thompson who is responsible for what used to be the tape ministry at BCUPC but has evolved into the CD ministry there. I wanted to get some of her reflections on how much the preaching has affected her over the years. She started attending BCUPC in 1980. She relocated from Indiana because of a sister who lived in Bridge City. Prior to her arrival in Bridge City she hadn’t attended church of any kind for over twenty years. Formerly a Jehovah’s Witness, she had walked away from all trappings of religion at a relatively young age. When her sister started attending BCUPC, she told the person who was making tapes to send some of Brother Harrell’s sermons to her in Indiana. She told me that she would get ten at a time an

A Life of Preaching--Rev. John Harrell--The Top Five--1. A Perceived Slight

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# 1. A Perceived Slight We have reached a concluding point of a two week series of this blog honoring Rev. and Mrs. J. W. Harrell who will be celebrating a 40th Pastoral Anniversary Sunday, March 20, 2011 in Bridge City, Texas. For those who have been reading these series of blogs, you owe it to yourself to at least visit the Bridge City United Pentecostal Church and if you cannot do that then call and order some of Brother Harrell’s CD’s of his preaching and you will find a great blessing. Pastor Ken Gurley has posted a tribute to Brother Harrell on his Houston Chronicle blog and is worthy of your time. Brother Gurley showcases another one of Brother Harrell’s sermons, one of which I failed to mention, “The Hidden Part of a Dream.” One other thing of note, pack a lunch before you read this one! It is very long, the longest one of all of them! I have received a number of e-mails that I am going to lightly edit and add to this blog of those who wanted to honor Brother Harr

A Life of Preaching--Rev. John Harrell--The Top Five--2. Oh Consistency, Thou Art a Jewel

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# 2. Oh Consistency, Thou Art A Jewel We are winding down toward Number One leading up to the 40th Pastoral Anniversary of Brother and Sister Harrell in Bridge City, Texas on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Before going any further, I have had a number of e-mails asking about sites that have MP3’s of Brother Harrell’s preaching. To my knowledge there are none out there. However, I am going to give you a person who can send along most of the messages that have been featured on the Barnabas Blog in the last two weeks and you can order them on CD. None of Brother Harrell’s preaching would have made it out of Bridge City as we have come to know and appreciate if it weren’t for the assistance he has of some very good audio support folks. I think Tom (sorry I don’t know a last name) is responsible for the sound; another man is responsible for Powerpoint and Paula Thompson has been doing the tape/CD ministry for a long time. I am not sure when she started but I do know that she was taking

A Life of Preaching--Rev. John Harrell--The Top Five--3. Four O'clock In the Morning Courage

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# 3. Four O’clock In the Morning Courage The third sermon of the top five in my opinion that Brother Harrell has preached was entitled “Four O’clock in the Morning Courage.” I have mentioned several times in the last few blogs how important it is to listen to sermons and how that the state of mind and of the soul all influence how we hear the sermon. Some time back I wrote a series of blogs about how we should listen to sermons ( Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 ) and there is a prominent responsibility that must take place with the hearer. As a listener, we need to go beyond just hearing what a preacher is saying. Before I get into a brief summary of this sermon, I would encourage all of you who listen to Brother Harrell to go with me on a bit of a trip with those sermons. Don’t just hear them! Mull them over and consider what is beyond he is preaching and for that matter any preacher is preaching. I have noticed over the years the sermons that Brother Harrell preaches ha