Rudy Snores!

RudyRudy is not my dog! He came “in the baggage” with my brother who recently (within the last 6 months) came to live with my wife and I (and our dogs and cat).
Now at first, Rudy stuck pretty close to Bob and sometimes still does, however, he has become quite adept at sleeping in our bedroom, and “yips” or barks to get into bed with us. When he does, he tries to dig in under the blankets to get warm. Sometimes he meets with opposition with Little Bit (our 20 pound weeny dog), who promptly lets him know “who’s boss!”
The problem is that Rudy snores! I don’t mean a little bit (no pun intended), he snores loud and continuously. Try sleeping with that in your ear! He gets restless about every five minutes for the first half hour, so he is continually moving about seeking a new spot or position. It usually takes me about five minutes to get the idea, HE HAS TO GO! So, off the bed he goes. Then he finds some pants or shirt or towel on the floor, and wallows out a sleeping place and goes to sleep. THE SNORING CONTINUES!
I have thought of getting a C-Pap for Rudy. I wonder if they make C-Paps for little dogs. Probably not. Trying to imagine getting a mask on the little snorer(?), and then try and get the right settings so “the poor wee dog” doesn’t “blow up” like a balloon. This is more than I can handle, so I am thinking of getting some ear plugs.
Now Rudy is in my office, on a special chair, with cushions, SNORING and he has precipitated this article.
An application:
Usually when we get married, we don’t see all the faults etc… “We’re in love!” Over time, the faults seem to get a bit annoying… “Honey, would you mind…”
Since marriage is a covenant, and you promise to God, and your spouse DIVORCE is not on the table. Then you have to work through the little and the big things. (Even snoring!)
Relationships bring many blessings, but they bring many challenges as well. Tolerating and learning to “love above the fault line,” is so important, in relation to church as well.
Jesus knew what it was like to “be stuck” with someone like I am “stuck” with Rudy. His disciples were not bargains for sure. He chose them, worked with them, taught them, corrected them, loved them… to the end (and beyond).
The best example was Jesus giving his life for them, but a good example is when he was eating the Passover with them just before His crucifixion, and since no one wanted to do the honors, He gets up from his place at the table, lays aside his garments, and girds himself with a towel, and gets a basin of water and begins washing their feet. We know the story well… but we don’t like the implications. John 13 records it all, as he goes from one pair of smelly feet to the next, and He even washed Judas’ feet! Hard to imagine, right? If it were me I would be tempted to break a toe or something… But he washed his feet just as gently and tenderly as he did the others.
Then he came to Peter’s feet.  Peter pulls back, and refuses. “No Lord, you’re not washing mine!” What’s the matter Peter… you got six toes on your foot? Are you too good to have your feet washed? Jesus tells Peter, this is an “either – or” situation… Either you allow me to wash your feet or else YOU HAVE NO PART IN ME. What does that mean? It must be pretty important, right?
Sometimes we are not very consistent. We insist on doing or not doing because, “that’s what it says!” We want to be exactly correct on “what is” and “what is not commanded,” because we want to be saved, thinking “perfect performance means we’re heaven bound.” Wrong! Heaven is a grace thing.. not a perfect performance thing. When we come to things like washing feet… we say, “Oops, this is figurative.” “This is cultural” “Jesus didn’t literally mean “wash feet.” Well what did He mean? Was it their culture? Yes. Why did they do this? They wore sandals, and walked dusty roads.  Yet he says “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). If we lived in a culture where this was done, we would do it… but not to be saved. The question then is, why is this so vital that He said what He said to Peter? My opinion is that He is addressing the underlying problem of Peter (and many of us today)… PRIDE! This is something so vital both to family, and church, that He says “”If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” If we were in a culture similar to that of Jesus time, and foot washing was the norm of hospitality, What would you think about someone who would say, “You ain’t washing my feet!” Got a problem right? In the family, and in church, we got a problem when PRIDE rears its head.
How do you love someone (or something) like Rudy? Learn the lesson of HUMILITY! Learn to SERVE! Get self out of the way, and GROW in this not so easy attitude or mind set. Yet Jesus learned… Jesus let go of… He was willing to “take on” and even to wash feet, because he loved.
Getting a basin of “God’s grace,” and washing the dirtiest feet, is not a matter of bragging, but just learning to love someone (or something) “anyway.”


Grow in grace brethren…

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It’s A Chicken… It’s A Duck

   The old Chinese couple slowly went upstairs to bed. The night was quiet and all their farm animals were in their place. They had worked hard keeping their small family farm going, and finally they could lay down and sleep. It didn’t take long for her husband to fall asleep, but she for some reason was unable to sleep. All was quiet, the candle flickered, casting soft shadows on the walls. She rehearsed everything she had done that day. Then she was startled by a sound… “Quack” ”quack”…  Again the sound, “Quack” “quack”. She didn’t want to wake her husband, but she did.  She gently shook him… “Honey, honey, wake up!” “I heard something!” (Again the sound) The husband said, “It’s just a duck.” She replied back, “No, honey, it’s a chicken.” The husband told her once more, this time, a little more agitated, “No, it’s a duck, go back to sleep!!” Still she kept on saying, “No, honey, it’s a chicken, I know it’s a chicken, right?” The husband threw the blanket off, and was obviously angry, turned and looked at his wife, his hand drawn back as if he was going to slap her.  In the soft light of the candle, he saw she was scared. He put his hands softly on her face, and held her as he said, “Yes honey, you’re right, it’s a chicken.” They laid back down, and went to sleep.
   Take your time, read this again… this is important. How important is it to be right all the time? You say, “Very important!” Let me take a moment and challenge this… it may just help your home. When my wife told this story to me, I just couldn’t help by shed a few tears. It spoke of a need in my life. The need to learn I didn’t have to prove my point, be right 100% of the time, to have my way all the time. Some things are important, and of course a time to ‘make a stand’. There are also times, when it is not so important.  It takes love, patience, wisdom to know the difference. So, after she told me this story, there were (and still are) times when there would be a disagreement. In my mind I asked, is this really all that important? If not, I would say, “Yes sweetheart… it’s a chicken.” Sometimes I would just say this to myself, sometimes verbally, and we would smile, sometimes have a laugh. Dad always said, “Jack, choose your battles wisely. There’s no need to make a big deal out of everything.”
   Paul says, “Love is patient, love is kind” (I Corinthians 13:4a). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ….. husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:25,28).
   Next time something comes up, take time to think. Who knows, maybe “it’s a chicken”.

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The Summon Bonum

Bangor, Northern Ireland, May 19, 1968, I preached my first sermon. Can’t say it was all that great. I was nervous, but somehow I made it through, receiving some generous accolades from the few encouraging Christians that were there.
I cannot speak for other preachers just starting out, but looking back I can say I was not ready for the ‘calling’ to preach. I had wanted to preach like dad, but time and life experience told me, I should have gone a different route, and gone to a College instead of a Preacher’s School, which I was about to leave Ireland for.
Dad suggested the topic of the “Summon Bonum” from I Corinthians 13. Well I didn’t know what that meant much less preach to others about it. It was just a small house church, with a few people attending, but still I wanted to do good. I practiced in my bedroom, going over and over the short (but eternal) lesson. As I sit here looking at the old New Testament that I used then, brings back the memories of a young man, with a life of adventure ahead, ready to preach to all who would listen.
After 27 years of preaching experience, and life experience, with all it’s joys and disappointments, successes and failures, laughter and tears, I can say, life has given me a  better understanding of this subject and how critical it is to life.
What is ‘The Summon Bonnum’ (the most important thing)? With this question I began then, and now. Of course the answer is love. No it is not the Hollywood version, nor is it the twisted and warped love of the world in general. The love Paul speaks of is from the Greek word, agape, which is the highest form of love.There are four Greek words for love. ‘Eros’ which gives us the word ‘erotic’ which stands for physical passionate love. ‘Phileo’ gives us the idea of the ‘love’ good friends have for each other. ‘Storge’ is the word which describes the ‘love’ which family has for each other. Strange how the ancient Greeks have so many words to cover our loosely and over used word, ‘love’. These words over-lap in beautiful harmony and enhance the relationship  of a man and woman who are married.
‘Agape’ is the word which describes the highest form of love. Which is not based on emotions and feelings which change with moods. Agape love is ‘stable’ and foundational… It is more than friendship, (John 21:15-18). ‘Falling in and out’ of it is not an option because it is particularly Christian, being from the Spirit (Romans 5:5). Feelings change, moods rise and fall, troubles come and go, this love “never fails”(I Corinthians 13:8). Paul describes what agape does and doesn’t do in I Corinthians 13.
This love like the ‘energizer bunny’ just keeps on going and going. It is the love of John 3:16, as well as the love of Matthew 27:35-50; I John 3:16. This love is what enables a home to withstand all the storms of life. Particularly like God, (I John 4:8), this love is far from the Hollywood version, and is truly the “Summon Bonum” the greatest thing.

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“Free Indeed”

Nothing thrills the heart like ‘being free’. Our own history is all about ‘freedom’. A freedom that millions round the world long for. Martin Luther King Jr., fought hard for freedom for racial equality, he was assassinated. Sir William Wallace, fought for freedom of Scotland in 1300’s. He was beheaded, drawn and quartered. Today Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and more are struggling for freedom from oppression. Freedom isn’t cheap.

Even more precious is our ‘freedom in Christ’. Being free ‘INDEED’ in Christ means, “entirely, absolutely, completely, and fully free, not partially, maybe, ‘probationally’ free… “FREE INDEED”.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,” (Luke 4:18). Not ‘freedom’ from Rome! Slavery, as bad as it is, was not the focus of Jesus. The freedom Jesus came to give is spiritual freedom. Freedom from a far worse ‘master’ than man can be to someone else … sin and Satan.

Paul spoke of Jesus and said, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:7-8.

In Hebrews 2:17-18 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 17 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

In Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Now, let’s look at three things regarding our freedom.

    John 8:31-36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”What are you talking about Jesus?!” “We have never been enslaved! (I guess they forgot about Egypt, and the period of the Judges, and what about the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Greeks, and Romans!) How could they say, they had never been slaves. But Jesus ignores this and gets to the heart of their slavery… IF YOU SERVE SIN, YOU ARE THE SLAVE OF IT. But Jesus came to set mankind free. They just couldn’t (wouldn’t) get it. Maybe this is understandable, since they felt ‘righteous’ before God anyway. So what’s with this salvation from sin. Keeping the Law was ‘their thing’. Jesus challenged this. So the message of “Repentance” went out, Lk. 3:1-3.

    The fact was that they were indeed NOT FREE, they were the SLAVES OF THEIR MASTER SATAN.

    Paul says in Romans 6:11-12, 16-18, 20, 23.
    11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

    23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Sadly, being free from sin doesn’t interest everyone. In spite of the awful cost of Jesus dying on a Roman cross. Yet the sacrifice remains viable, and redemption, open for all who would ‘come’ to Jesus.
    If we could just see the ‘sinfulness of sin’, the pain and suffering and the terrible guilt that follows. If we could just see how great His grace and forgiveness. We would run to Him. He offers FREEDOM FROM SIN.

    Paul says in Galatians 3:13-18
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. “

Is something wrong with law? No, because without law we don’t have guidelines, (Gal. 3:21-22), but because of Jesus, we are not saved by our ability to keep law. We are saved by faith, Gal. 3:26.
Baptism (Gal. 3:27) is an act of faith, the response of faith, which puts us into Christ.
Law provides a ‘rule of action’, ‘governs’, ‘commands’, but it does not save. Not the law’s fault, it’s good. God gave it. We just don’t obey perfectly. Since the promise to Abraham was given before the Law, it continues after the Law, above the Law, and in spite of the Law. By grace we are saved, through faith, (Eph. 2:8).

Thus we are free because of the WORK of Jesus, and with this come privileges, but we cannot and must not ignore RESPONSIBILITY. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Let’s look at another passage. Galatians 5:1-13 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Someone has said, “We have the freedom to give up our rights, be WE NEVER HAVE THE RIGHT TO GIVE UP OUR FREEDOM.”
Take your freedom SERIOUSLY. Guard your freedom COURAGEOUSLY. Use your freedom LOVINGLY.

We are free to:
THINK, reason, ponder
GROW, become, mature, learn from mistakes
STUDY, learn, question, be stronger
PRAY, praise, worship
CONSCIENCE, personal conviction, opinions
TRADITIONS, accept or change
CREEDS, written or unwritten, we follow Jesus.
ORGANIZE, methodology, programs
DISCIPLE, follow and serve.

We need to understand, “congregations are made up of VOLUNTARY CHRISTIANS BONDED TOGETHER” in love for Jesus and each other, AND WE ARE FREE INDEED.

A congregation in California put this in their bulletin, “Penitent, immersed believers are free to believe anything they want in their effort to grow up… As long as they don’t disturb others with it.”

In the end, love is the bond.


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   The most obvious difference in the mind of man and computers are emotions and feelings. Of course this is what computer genius’ are trying to create… they call it artificial intelligence, which at it’s best is still artificial.

   James says, “Is any merry, let him sing psalms” (James 5:13). Our feelings are truly important, for they come from the ‘heart’. Feelings can be expressed in different ways, and thanks to ‘self-control’ some feelings are ‘toned down’ or ‘put on hold’. Jesus speaks of the heart as being the source of many of our troubles due ‘feelings gone wild’, (cf. Matt. 15:1-20). However, the heart of man is also the source of many good things, and again feelings are involved.

   Paul writes, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (feelings), kindness (feelings), humbleness of mind (feelings), meekness (feelings), long-suffering (feelings), forbearing one another (feelings), and forgiving one another (feelings), and if any man have a quarrel against any (feelings), even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye (feelings) and above all these things, put on charity (love feelings) which is the bond of perfection.” (words in brackets mine, JHE), Colossians 3:12-14.

   Feelings are limited. Some religious ‘zealots’ allow their feelings to become extreme and authoritarian, and some have reacted to this by sub-dividing and going to the opposite extreme in Christianity.

   Many equate ‘quietness’ with ‘reverence’ and ‘out-ward polish with inward praise’. The old joke(?), “You can’t praise God in here” may apply all to well to the average assembly of the saints. In doing away with all “shouts of joy”, clapping, raising hands, “hallelujahs”, and verbal “amens” as evident signs of emotionalism… our extreme silence may become only a counter balance to other people’s extreme noise. Both extremes when artificial are empty and distracting.

   Feelings and truth. Feeling good does not make us good. Feeling right does not make us right. Truth belongs to God. He alone is “good” and “right”. He has revealed truth and good, not through feelings but by revelation. Yet there is no virtue in not feeling, or discarding feelings altogether. Understanding feelings in relation to truth is important. Feelings do not precipitate truth, nor confirm truth. A good conscience may even be misleading, (Acts 23:1), and many who are lost, “feel right”. Feelings should not lead – they should follow. They do not act – they re act. So when truth is known and believed through evidence, FEELINGS SHOULD SURROUND, EMBRACE AND SUPPORT TRUTH.

   “And they went on their way rejoicing” is recorded again and again as an aftermath of conversion. “By grace – through faith – in Christ – praise God!” Seeing ourselves as saints, living in the temple of God as well as being the temple of God, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, (I Peter 2:5; I Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 12:1-2).

   The eunuch went on his way rejoicing after he had been taught about Jesus, believed it, and come out of a watery grave (baptism), (Acts 8:36-39).

   No one rejoices in dying, and the burial scene is hardly the place for “shouts of joy”. But brother let us sing praises at the resurrection – the beginning of the new life.

   Knowing truth, believing truth, obeying truth brings that ‘deep gut feeling’ (bowels of mercies) and knows no other way of expressing itself than to praise God in every waking moment.

   Spiritual computer? That’s not us.

   Automatic worshipers? That’s not us.

   Praiseless, laughless, joyless Christians? That’s not us.

   To the contrary, when we are in Christ, saved by grace, serving from a heart filled with love, there’s little left but to sing and shout His praises.

   Sing it again James! “Is any merry, let him sing psalms.” This is saving power – converting power. People may not hear us preach, but they always hear us sing.


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A Case of Beer

   Children are weird in a lot of ways. They are full of emotions, ‘vim and vigor’. They do things they often regret or get embarrassed about. I was no different.
It happened in Sherman, Texas, and I was about ten years old, I had just come home from school. It was a sunny day, and I went into the house, and called out, “Mom, I’m home.” No sound of mom or anyone. It was unusual for me to come home and find no one there. We were still living in the days when a family could live on one income, and be happy.
   I went into the kitchen as was my custom, to raid the refrigerator, and hopefully find some Twinkies, or a piece of apple pie. No luck… dad got there first. I was disappointed and so I went back in the den and shut the door. Then I found it… a case of beer. You just cannot imagine what went through my mind.
   Now, as dad told me later, when we could laugh about it… Sherman, Texas was in a “dry county”. That means simply, NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ALLOWED. Dad of course was the preacher for the Church of Christ and was pretty well known, since he was writing books and doing personal work and visiting the hospital regularly.
   I was terrified, and thought that dad gone out and bought this case of beer, and had become an alcoholic. Well, I have to confess I went a little crazy. Being the oldest son, a new Christian, and determined to save dad’s reputation, I took this case of beer, all 24 cans, out on the driveway, and a ice pick, ion very plain view of anyone driving by, and started punching holes in each and every one of those cans. Of course since they were warm, and a bit shook up, these cans didn’t ‘go quietly’. They sent beer spewing several feet into the air. One by one they went off like ‘old faithful’. I was covered in the stuff, and the drive way smelled and everyone who passed by couldn’t believe what this ten year old boy was doing much less the smell that was in the air. It’s not over… then mom and dad came home!!!
   What does a boy do? Pray!!! Well, in the end, dad had been teaching a man who was destroying his family with drinking and he had convinced him to give up the beer. Dad was going to get rid of it for him. I guess, my motives were the only thing that saved me that day.
   It would have been easy for dad to get angry that day. He could have jumped to a wrong conclusion just as I had already. But he was the adult, he had more wisdom, and patience. Me? Well I was just in the middle of growing up.
I had (have) a long way to go in learning the truths of the Master teacher. Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not judge lest you be judged. For in what way you judge, you shall be judged; and by what standard of measure, it shall be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold there is a log in your own eye?” Matt. 7:1-4


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A Letter From Dad

   Dad wrote me a letter dated May 1, 1971, which was important to me then (and now) since I had just graduated from Preston Road School of Preaching in Dallas, Texas. The school has since been closed, and now after some 27 years of preaching in different states and countries, although not continuously, I want to share this letter and the
lessons contained in it because it may just help someone who aspires to preach
about Jesus, or just share His message with a friend.

   Dear Jack,

   Remember the day when you were twelve and we were out on a bird-hunting
trip? We were disappointed – no action! On the way back to the car, you
jokingly put an old rusty juice can on a fence post and said, “Shoot it dad”.
The response from a point blank charge sent the can flying nearly a hundred
feet down the field. Remember how we sat in amazement and viewed the damage
done? The gaping hole, the twisted metal, kind of an empty feeling. During that
moment a startling change came over me. In my mind’s eye I could see hundreds of
hearts, blasted apart by some pride filled preacher who knew little of the power of the Gospel and less of genuine love for the lost. From the garbage heap, that old rusty can has made it’s way to rest upon some of the most celebrated pulpits. It has a special place on my desk and permanent place in my heart. It teaches a lesson that is difficult to learn when you are young.

   Listen while I share with you the great message that it gives.

   That old can says, “Be careful with that ‘gun’, son, when you ‘point it at someone’.” The word of God is POWER. Power to save and power to destroy. The “sword of the Spirit” (word of God) can be (in some cases) a destructive weapon, and should be reserved for the ‘enemy’. Yet we’re in the business of salvation. The lost may not be an ‘enemy’ so much as he is just lost.  (Don’t treat everyone the same.) The word of God is also called the seed of the Kingdom. Put the ‘sword in it’s sheath’ and mount it by your side. Fill your hands with the ‘seed’ and sow it freely in every field. Face the enemy with the strength of the sword. Find the lost with the seed of the Kingdom. A man will not be lost if he does not Believe, Repent or is not Baptized. MAN(KIND) IS ALREADY LOST. The message you carry is not one of death, but one of life. It is heaven to the heart… not a ‘gun to the head’.
   It is the gift of grace- the power to save.

    Another lesson  learned is this,
    “Don’t tell me I’m going to hell unless you care enough to show me the way to heaven.” Cursing the darkness does not consume it. Blasting the sinner (with
the word of God) may silence him, without saving him. The sinner curses, runs
around on his wife and has a multitude of other problems which tends to provoke
“righteous anger”. What did you expect a sinner to act like? (The lost are
lost) if anyone knows it – he does! The single objective you have is to LEAD
THE SINNER TO CHRIST. Don’t be “turned off” by sins, destined to be destroyed
(forgiven) in conversion. The church of Christ is for “sinners only”, (Not a
show-case for saints). The New Birth is not a blessing (Christians) have
invented. Conversion is an “operation of God” (Colossians 2:12). Sin consumes
the sinner. Grace consumes the sin, and brings life. Care enough to do more
than condemn – care enough to save.

   If you listen carefully you can hear that old juice can say, “How can you put me back together once you have done this to me?” It is a rather pitiful sight. A sinner lost, condemned and hopeless. Along comes the ‘saint’. Yet this ‘saint’ feels that compassion and human understanding are sure signs of weakness and compromise. Winning battles and losing souls somehow does not equal victory. When we hurt needlessly, we not only loose our influence, but destroy the probable chances of others being able to help.  “We have met the enemy and he is us” is an
adage that can be applied to many a would-be soul winner, (and preacher).

   What does that tin can say loud and clear? “LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME ALONE!”
“I did not ask to be removed from the garbage pile and blown apart!” The sinner
(may be) unloving and unlovely… learn to love him. The sinner may be ‘unacceptable’ learn to accept him. He is a poor wandering soul. Take him up with arms of love. Speak softly and tell him of God’s great gift of grace. YOU CAN LOVE MORE PEOPLE INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN A YEAR, THAN YOU CAN BLAST IN, IN FIVE.

   Remember, God does not charge you to be successful, just faithful. Be positive, prayerful, patient. Keep the sword (God’s word) ready. Sow the seed (God’s word) gladly. Don’t hurt or hinder. Give hope in helping. Get your sermons “down” not “up”.

   Remember, real understanding can come even in cans made of tin.

   We love you, Son…



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