Revival? What Is It?

Sore Throat

This morning my throat is on fire. Well, it may not be that bad, but it feels rather raw and painful. The reason for the pain is what I did yesterday – preach.

I don’t normally get behind the pulpit and become another Billy Sunday; I’m not that athletic. However, I do believe it’s a shame for a preacher to deliver the good news of God’s love and mercy, the message of the life-changing Gospel, in a dull, mono-tone voice. When one is truly excited about sharing something important, his mannerisms should reflect it. So, I do get excited when I preach, but not quite to the extent of what Abraham Lincoln preferred: a preacher who looked like he was swatting at a swarm of bees! I’m calmer than that, but I do flap around a little.

Anyway, I have had a cold for the last few days. The preaching I did yesterday has left my throat in need of recovery. But it was worth it.

The Message

Yesterday I preached a sermon dealing with what is needed before we have revival. But here is my question to you, dear reader: what is “revival”?

If you would like to take the time, there are various sources from which you can learn of the great revivals of the past. Some were call “awakenings.” But one of the general themes of revival is that the people of God, the Church, becomes revived, awakened, having their intimacy with and their vision of God renewed. This is what I want for myself, my congregation, my town, state, and country.

So, what is revival, and what do you think is necessary for it to take place? I am interested in your thoughts. Let’s discuss it.

If you’d like to listen to the actual service I preached, click on the link below.

“What We Need Before Revival”

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A Witness to War and Grace

Meeting a Vet

There are not many men left who actually saw combat in WWII, especially those who participated in some of the more well-known battles. Many were transported to the beaches by an LST, much like the one which is visiting for a few days in Chattanooga (it leaves 9/18).

LST 325When I went down to the river to take a picture of LST 325, the last of its kind, it wasn’t hard to spot the older veterans. If they weren’t walking slowly, supported by a walking stick, they were riding in wheelchairs, or holding on to a younger loved one’s arm. Each of them, no matter what age, exhibited a nostalgic look, one that hinted at a smile, yet betrayed a sense of loss and pain.

One elementary teacher I talked to said after touring the ship, “You know, after going through that thing, I don’t know how any of them survived to make it back.”

Well, yesterday, after attending an executive board meeting with our local Baptist association, I got to meet an extraordinary veteran who actually rode one of those LST’s to the beaches of Iwo Jima to fight the Japanese, Mr. Paul George.

Mr. George, like so many others, risked his life not only to preserve our freedoms, but to liberate others. Fortunately, he survived; many others did not. To all of them we owe an incalculable debt.

Waiting for His Time

Paul GeorgeBut here’s the thing: odds are none of us are going to make it out of this life alive. And as a matter of fact, some of our loved ones have already gone on home and are now waiting for our tour of duty to end. I believe that’s what Mr. George was sorta getting at when he wrote the following note to be sent to his friends and loved ones, those who were concerned about him after his wife’s departure.

Just a note to let you know that I am doing quite well even though Martha left me June 17, 2013 (eight days short of our 70th anniversary) to be with Jesus. I do miss her but I know she is much better off and is waiting for me. 

My life now is like it was when I was in the Pacific during WWII. Her picture is ever before me and now I wait for life to be over as I was waiting for the war to be over and we would be together again. The difference is that I am not in a hurry for our reunion as I was before, I want The Lord to use me as a witness of His Grace. The Lord’s timing is Right and I will wait.” – Paul George

They call men like Mr. George “the greatest generation.” This is just one more reason why.

God bless you, dear brother, for your desire has been granted: you certainly are a witness of God’s grace.

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Filed under America, Christian Maturity, Future, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, Witnessing

Depressing Speech

Another Computer

Last night my wife broke one of her big toes (ouch!). Aside from turning me into the sandwich-making, cool-aide making, laundry-carrying, dog-walking, and anything-that’s-downstairs-that-needs-to-be gotten-and-brought-back-upstairs getter, I am now the official chauffeur for my daughter, Haley.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to spend all day driving my little girl to different classes and co-ops (we homeschool, but we don’t lock our children in closets). At this moment I happen to be sitting in the waiting/free-coffee area of one of the stops. So, after doing some reading, after attempting to do some additional writing for my next book, I decided to write a post for this blog based on pictures in the hard drive of this old computer.

You see, I have used this computer many times in the past, but more recently my writing has been done at home on my desktop. From that computer I pull photos for posts after I download them from my phone. This computer, however, has nothing recent, only photos I’ve used in posts over 2 years ago, if not longer. Yet, after glancing over the files, I found a good one – one that could make a good post.

Tongue Depressors

depressorsThe picture to your right was taken by me a several years ago while sitting in a doctor’s office. I edited the photo with an app on my iPhone and then published to i4Daily (an old photo blog of mine). For some reason, maybe because being sick was depressing, I found the idea of depressing tongues a little humorous.

But sitting here, thinking about all that is going on in the world, especially with all of the attempts to silence free speech, especially the Christian type, I refuse to have my tongue “depressed.”

I hate it when a nurse or doctor inserts one of those nasty-tasting wooden sticks in mouth! They do it to hold my tongue out of the way, just enough to glance at my throat before I gag. But there are a lot of non-medical professionals out there who want to immobilize the tongues of any who would speak their mind, and the tools they use aren’t always wooden sticks. As a matter of fact, all they have to do is convince us that things are hopeless, that there’s no use in speaking out or speaking up, and the result is “depressed” tongues.

Don’t let anything depress your voice. If you feel you have something to say, say it. I don’t expect every one to agree with what I have to say, nor do I expect them to listen. However, I have to open my mouth and let my tongue fly to find out. In this case, my fingers are my tongue and I am talking as fast as I can type.

I am not mad…but speak forth the words of truth and soberness (Acts 26:25).

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A Call to “Thwarting the Enemy” Prayer

Attention fellow pastors and believers in Christ:

I am calling on my fellow believers, especially pastors, to do something different this Wednesday night, September 10th. I am asking that we all gather together for a time of dedicated, humble, sincere, and concentrated prayer in advance of any attack by the enemy.

Thwarting PrayerIn the days following 9/11, people around the country were crowded into churches, on their knees, calling out to God. It was the right and proper thing to do, for sure. But now the enemy is at the gate; the judgement of God is about to fall. We know that somewhere there are plans in the works to bring us harm, to destroy us, the very least being the structures in which we meet. Should we not be on our knees now?

In 2 Chronicles 20:2 messengers came unto King Jehoshaphat and said, “There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria” Faced with this news, the news of certain destruction, he called for fasting and prayer.

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12

I am asking that churches around the nation will come together in humble, contrite, and desperate prayer – BEFORE the enemy crashes the gate!

Some of you may be asking, “Pastor Baker, what if God has already determined to send judgment and all that is being planned is part of His wrath against us?” To that I would submit to you the words of a king from one of the most ungodly places on record, ancient Nineveh. Hearing of the impending destruction being sent by God, he ordered the inhabitants to not eat or drink, to cover themselves with sackcloth and ashes, turn from evil and violence, and cry out to God (Jonah 3:7-8). Then he said…

“Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” – Jonah 3:9

Let us pray for God to thwart the evil plans of the enemy that could already be in the works for this Thursday, September 11th, even if they were originally meant for our chastisement. Like Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel, our hope is not in Washington, the military, or the police. I only hope is in God.

Pray that He confuse the forces of evil and give wisdom to the humble who seek His help.

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Filed under America, Christian Unity, current events, Faith

God is Good. Really. (My 600th Post!)

It is a simple song, but the words are hard for many to believe. As a matter of fact, many Christians find themselves doubting the truth of this little song, especially when things aren’t going their way. Are you one of them?

I was.

But God IS good! Despite problems, pain, suffering, disappointments, discouragements, hurt feelings, broken dreams, etc., He is good!

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. – Psalms 106:1

I could have everything this world offers, but it can’t forgive my sin or give me eternal life. Yet God, because of His great mercy and grace, chooses to not only forgive me of all my sin, redeem me, and give me eternal life, but He is willing to call me His child! He doesn’t have to do this, but He wants to!

If that wasn’t enough, I was blessed to wake up this morning and see a sunrise with my own eyes. I was undeservedly blessed to wake up next to my loving wife, get up out of bed with the full use of all my faculties, and go to work (which is a blessing in and of itself). Even more, I was extravagantly blessed to have a biscuit and coffee for breakfast – the first of three meals in one day!

I don’t deserve any of the blessings I have been given. What I have been given does not mean that I am any more loved or favored than those who have little or nothing. All I know is that I should be thankful for what I have, even what I don’t have. And, no matter what we have or don’t have…because this life is not all that there is…because God gives us hope in His Son, Jesus…

God is GOOD! Really!

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Los Tres Guitarists

I just happened to look back over draft posts that had never been published. There I found this post, unfinished, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was simply the fact that a long weekend and an early Monday didn’t go well together.

Anyway…

On a January Sunday in 2013 I went to Hopkinsville, KY. There I offered the opening prayer at a benefit concert for the family of little boy that died. He was only 10.

The man in the middle is Mike Braswell. He was the little boy’s grandfather. The little boy’s name was Anthony.

While I was there, Roy Cavender (on the right), Mike, and I had our picture made. All three of us used to play in the same band. I played bass, Mike played acoustic, while Roy (a DJ and guitar instructor) played lead guitar.

I’d tell you that we all played in a Southern Gospel band, but you wouldn’t believe me. And I wouldn’t blame you, either – just look at us! Between the three of us, we’ve traveled many a blue and rocky country road.

But God is good. That’s why I prayed.

 

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The picture was taken inside the old Princess Theater, hence the grainy quality from my iPhone.

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Pastor Osteen and Christian Narcissism: Symptom of a Larger Problem

Anthony Baker:

Reblogging is not something I regularly do, but this one is worth sharing, especially considering the biblical illiteracy affecting so many.

Originally posted on Daniel B. Wallace:

Posted on August 27, 2014 on Youtube was an upbeat little clip from Pastor Osteen in Houston. But not the pastor you are probably thinking of. No, this is not Joel Osteen but his wife and co-pastor, Victoria.

She said with a big smile on her face and with husband Joel standing next to her in nodding approval:

“When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God. I mean, that’s one way to look at it. We’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning. So I want you to know this morning, just do good—for your own self. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy.

When you come to church, when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God really! You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God…

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