Tag Archive: Gospel


There is an interesting “Bible Study” that meets on Friday mornings at Bible Missionary Baptist Church. I’m not sure it is a Bible study. After a fifteen minute devotional the discussion could go. In any direction and on any topic at any minute. I’m not sure it is a “men’s” group even though it is attended by only men. The men are from all different churches, colors, and socio-economic backgrounds. We never solve the world’s problems, and, from time to time we probably make a few.
Over the years, many have come and many have gone. Some come trying to gain support for their cause, organization or church. That is not going to happen. Others can’t handle the non-structured meeting. Believe me, it has very little structure. Some think it is too conservative. One thing we always do, regardless of the opinion or topic, we go back to the Scriptures to set our bearing straight. Those who tend to leave think their opinion trumps God’s. Personally, I have never known that to work well.
I have developed some true friends in this group. We hold hands when we pray. We hug when we leave. We don’t see color. We don’t see styles of clothing. We don’t see our differences. We see our similarities. Nobody’s words trump anybody else’s. There are Friday mornings I don’t want to get up at 5 to make the meeting. The strange thing is. I can’t miss it. It is a beautiful expression of the gospel.
One day we were talking about something and one of the members said something that caught my attention. He said, “Mist in the pulpit is fog in the pew.” From time to time ,my brother has some good ones. This one made me think.
The prophets of the Old Testament often spoke against the “shepherds” of the time. The prophet Jeremiah was beaten by the priests. He was dumped in a hole to die. It wasn’t the people. It was the religious leaders. It was also the religious leaders that worked together to have Jesus crucified. Jesus displayed immense grace to the sinner. To the self-righteous leaders he issued seven woes, which in that day, was the ultimate condemnation.
The more I look at this one I laugh. I laugh a lot. It is the shepherd who gets up and instructs the people every Sunday. If the sheep challenge the shepherd, they may end up like the prophet Jeremiah, “beaten up” with words and loss of reputations. How many people have left the church when they met with leadership because they were rejected and often ignored?
Several years ago, I was struggling with my senior pastor. He wasn’t going off the wall or anything, but he was drifting. I was in a class at seminary, and we were asked to talk about something that was bothering us. I mentioned very lightly about my struggle with the pastor. A lady in the class ripped me up one side and down the other. She said things like, “How dare you doubt God’s servant.” It got worse from there. This would not be the last time I’ve been ostracized for being critical of leadership.
However, if we apply my fellow Friday brother’s statement to anything else that is important to us we, would not remain still and silent. When our government leadership wavers, we have an opinion. When education is failing, we don’t blame the students. We address the leadership. My son was a regional manager for a restaurant company for a short time. He told me straight up, if a restaurant is struggling, it’s due to poor management.
If Jesus calls us sheep (we are), then at some level, when the sheep are wandering, the shepherds should be challenged from the Word of God. I was looking at some statistics about the declining church attendance in America. It was put together by a non-religious entity. What was interesting is the fact that the churches that have abandoned critical issues such as the divinity of Christ, inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures, and other long-time Christian fundamentals are declining much faster then the “conservative” ones. Giving the sheep what they want is not Christianity. Leading them to the cross with the Scriptures as our guide is.
Brothers and sisters…instead of abandoning the bride of Christ, it’s well-time we find shepherds who not only preach the Word but live it as well. We live in an age of compromise. Jesus didn’t compromise. It cost Him. That cost was our salvation. What is required of us? The same.

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 I like to play fantasy football.  10 to 12 guys draft their players and play head to head based on the statistics their guys produce each week.  Some play for money.  I play for honor.  We are all armchair general managers and coaches.  I’ve seen people do and say some of the dumbest things over their fantasy teams.  It’s fun.    

 I root for the Dallas Cowboys.  Yes, we all have our flaws.  The Baltimore Colts moved out of town one year in the dead of night.  I refused to root for the Washington Redskins.  No way I was going to root for Indianapolis, their new home.  I picked another team that was blue and white.  I didn’t know anything about them.  I was not jumping on the Roger Staubach/Tom Landry bandwagon.  They were blue and white, and that’s how they became my team.  I’ve only been to Dallas once for a three-day conference.  They are my team.  Live with it.

I watched the NFL draft this year for the first time in my life.  I don’t know why other than it sure beats the stuff my wife likes to watch. I had the computer sitting on my lap trying to punch out this week’s article.  I tried a couple different subjects.  In the end the only thing that I had was the NFL draft and Jesus.  What a combination!

As I watched the draft I thought about how it resembles some spiritual issues.  The first impression was how much of a critical world we live in.  Jesus wanted us to love and care for one another.   The air of criticism was to be replaced with compassion, encouragement and peace.  Good luck finding those elements in our hyper sensitive, overly critical social media infused society.

Let’s try to tackle this one.  In my opinion, the Cowboys’ draft was mediocre at best.  But, that’s just it.  I am not in the front office.  I don’t do any scouting.  I don’t know their 1-year plan and I don’t know their 3-year plan.  However, they didn’t do it my way!  How dare they?  My philosophy in the draft must not be theirs.  Sometimes I think as Christians we feel we have the right to be judge and jury with people’s lives.  

We like to look at everybody else instead of ourselves.  In the meantime we talk about and to people without knowing them.  We have joined the rest of the world in judging others in a 30 second social media diatribe.  Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”    When will we stop running away from people and run to them?  Where would we be if Jesus operated that way with us?  

The NFL draft also gives us a view of being dependent upon Christ instead of  settling to be “good” people.  Eugene Peterson in The Message writes, “Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk.  They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything.  Everything of God gets expressed in Him, so you can see and hear Him clearly.”  What is it to see Christ instead of the elements of this world?

The NFL teams drafted players based on talent, ability and strength.  The world operates in this way.  Jesus doesn’t.  He invites those to his banquet who are “poor, crippled, blind and lame.”  The Christian faith is not dependent upon us!  It’s dependent upon the One who opens the gates to those who spiritually don’t belong.  His “team” looks vastly different than one put together by scouts and experts.  “Praise Him all creatures here below.”  

We are looking for someone to rescue us.  All we put our hope on has failed.  The apostle Paul says to look no further than Jesus who is “the author and finisher of our faith.”  It’s a great time to be a Christian!  As the great song said, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”  

Could you imagine a young man in a wheel chair, bottle-thick glasses, hearing aides in place sitting in the crowd at the draft.  Jesus comes to the podium and all the wonderful “good” people are waiting to hear their name called.  They got talent.  They got ability.  They got it!  As Jesus walks to the podium. He announces His first draft pick for 2018.  It’s the young man in the wheelchair.  He doesn’t tell Jesus what he can do to make His team better.   He wheels forward and wraps himself around Jesus with tears of joy thankful to hear his name called.  He has nothing to bring except his heart.  That is what it is like to be on His team.  “Coach, let me play!” 

Everyday, BT Article, March 4, 2018

“How long have you been listening to people’s stories,” she asked.  As I leaned back in my chair my mind lit up like a wildfire feeding on dry timber.  As the words “some 17 years now,” my mind was racing.  NASCAR had nothing on my brain that day.  I walked through 17 years in mere seconds.

My first opportunity to care for a troubled soul was a young man heavily addicted to drugs.  He wasn’t looking for an answer.  He wanted someone to pat him on the back and tell him everything would be fine.  He wanted to keep his drugs and get an affirmation at the same time.  He knocked on the wrong door.

As the synapses of the brain fired I saw person after person, remembering names and faces I thought I had forgotten.  It’s those faces combined with the stories that make me laugh on Sunday mornings. We think we are sitting next to good well behaved Christians.  Far from it.  It’s not a faith in people.  It’s a faith in the work of Christ.

Sometimes I get surprised at the level of sin but I seldom get surprised anymore at the sin.  While sexual issues dominate our culture in and out of the church there are plenty of other soul sucking issues that as the writer of Hebrews said, “cling to us.”  You did read that right.  Christianity is not the faith that demands people get it all right.  It’s quite the opposite.  It is the faith in Jesus Christ since we can’t get it right.  No wonder the Apostle Paul told us to “work out our salvation daily.”  The sin is covered by the blood of Jesus but that doesn’t mean the sin will leave us alone.

The clinging sin is ugly.  I seldom leave the pews and yet I’ve seen adultery, addiction, murder, sexual deviancy, liars, narcissists, misogynists, and any other “ist” you can think of.  Let’s not forget the psychopaths.  Busted dreams, busted marriages, and broken people leaving death and destruction in their path are constantly in the door of every church across the world.  Often they sit in silence fearing judgement and avoidance instead of the love and grace promised on our websites and road signs.

I got to admit, I like these people.  In fact, I often prefer to share life with the prodigals.  I’m one.  It’s the broken that Jesus invites to his banquet table.  It has been described as the banquet for the damned.  Only they are not rejected by Jesus.  Only Jesus followers.  If I was going to start a church (which I’m not) I would call it the 1st Church of the Broken and Rejected.  I don’t know who would come but I know who would not.

Of all the different people God has given me the grace to walk with over the years there is one type that I dread.  They seem more impervious to the gospel then any of the above mentioned people groups.  Usually the “sinners”, Christians and non, know something is wrong.  The other group tends to think they got life especially their sin life under control.  It’s the self-righteous that won’t sit in the Church of the Broken and Rejected.  They might get dirty.  If only they knew.  The sin of self-righteous might be the dirtiest of all.  It’s the one who is always right that is often more hard hearted to the gospel then those who can look at their history and see pain and sorrow at every step.

The sinner knows they need Jesus.

Yet, the good news of Jesus can change the heart of the self-righteous.  It’s what makes the apostle Paul’s conversion so amazing.  He was in a pursuit to end Christianity and he believed he was doing it for God.  He had the education.  He had the training.  He had it all right and yet his question when he is knocked down sums it up.  He asks, “Who are you Lord?”   Immediately Paul knew even in his quest for God he did not stack up in the presence of the Holy One.  Nobody does.  That’s why we all need Jesus.  From the preacher to the prostitute we need his grace. Everyday.