When Sheep Attack the Shepherd

Another pastor was asked to resign. Why? Because of moral failure? No. Because of unethical practices? No. Because of poorly performing his duties? No.

He changed some things. He wanted to do some things that the deacons didn’t. Oh, it didn’t matter what the congregation thought or what impact the pastor’s ministry was making on the community; he went afoul of the deacon body and was asked to resign.

Men … and I’m talking to all you deacons out there… you seriously need to go back to the locker room, sit down on the benches, and let your Coach – GOD – explain to you how the game is supposed to be played. He wrote the Rules, rules which are never to be overruled by your bylaws.

First, there is no place in all of Scripture where you will find justification for deacons running a church. The fact that so many do is a sad testament to how poorly the Word of God has been taught in so many of our congregations. If you really want to get specific, there are no biblical examples of committees making unilateral decisions, either. The ONLY biblical example is that of pastoral leadership with deacon support WHEN NEEDED. See the 6th chapter of the Book of Acts.

Second, should a congregation follow the biblical guidelines and select men to be deacons, they should only do so because the administration of resources meant to minister to the needy within the congregation has become too burdensome for the pastoral leadership and is thereby distracting from the study of the Word and prayer. There is NO biblical precedent for the pastoral leadership of a congregation to be in any way handicapped by the decisions of those elected to serve the congregation and assist the pastoral leadership. There is NO biblical precedent for committees within the congregation to have veto power over pastoral leadership, either.

Third, there is very little evidence in Scripture to support unlimited tenure for those who serve in the role of deacon. On the contrary, biblical precedent leans more heavily toward deacons serving only when there is a need, and only when the pastoral leadership deems it necessary (again, see Acts 6). There is even reason to argue that new deacons should be selected by the congregation and approved by the pastoral leadership every time there is a change in pastoral leadership (compare Acts 6 with 1 Timothy 3).

Fourth, there is no biblical precedent for deacons to be self-governed, mutually accountable, or convenable as a body. Doing so adopts a secular business model that may promote efficiency and manageable productivity, but it in nowise mirrors the pattern of congregational and pastoral oversight as found in Acts 6.

Fifth, the spiritual requirements of deacons (AND their wives) should be taken as seriously as that of a pastor.

Therefore, based on the above points, there is no more biblical support for a group of deacons – servants – to request the resignation of pastor any more than they would request the revocation of a fellow congregant’s membership within the local assembly of believers. It is not the role of the servant to negate the role of the one/ones served.

To conclude, in local congregations where the ecclesiastical structure is autonomous and limited (i.e., Baptist, etc.), thereby affording the body the right to elect the pastoral leadership deemed sent by God and affirmed by the Holy Spirit, beware how you treat the man of God. Although he be only a man, by your common vote you have affirmed before God and heavenly witnesses that he is to be your shepherd, subject to the Great Shepherd, and that you will submit to his leadership where it is biblical, and Spirit led. To conspire, undermine, and circumvent his leadership is to invite discipline from the one who sent the “gift” (Ephesians 4:11-12) to you.

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You Can Still be Thankful for Stuff Even AFTER Thanksgiving

It’s Black Friday, and I know that most of you are probably tired of one season and ready to move onto the next.

However, before you start spending all that money on sale items, why not take a moment to remember how blessed you really are, like at this very moment.

I got a very late start on putting out a Thanksgiving video for my YouTube channel, but I published it, anyway. The reason is because regardless of what time or season of the year, we still have things for which we can be thankful.

Whether or not you are a watch fan, I believe you will enjoy this video. If you don’t have time to watch it all, at least skip forward to the 10th reason we can all be thankful.

Blessings to you all!

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The Religious Underpinnings of an American Holiday – Thanksgiving

Just as with so many other things in this politically correct life, there are those who want to make a case against Thanksgiving, at least the religious underpinnings it brings to the dinner table.

As with Christmas, there will inevitably be those who want to keep God out of Thanksgiving.

There has been so much debate over the level of influence religion (specifically Christianity) had in the founding of our great nation, the United States of America. Many have argued that our forefathers wanted nothing more than a completely secular society void of anything sacred.

Others have argued that our Founders, if anything, might have been tolerant of religion, but never had any propensity toward the public expression of Christianity, especially in governmental affairs.

But facts are facts.

Just Facts

Although they came a while after the first celebration, the following excerpts, taken from early Thanksgiving proclamations made by our Continental Congress, clearly show where the soul of our nation was at one time.

From the First National Thanksgiving Proclamation made by the Continental Congress, November 1, 1777

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to
set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and
PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings
of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that,
together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession
of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest
Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive
and blot them out of Remembrance…

That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education,
so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing
Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom,
which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”

May I ask a question or two? What about the above quote sounds totally secular? What about the above quote gives the idea that the majority of Congressmen were nothing more than deists?

You see, we can argue all day long about the current state of our nation, but at its founding there were men in government who were not afraid to encourage our people to pray, praise, give thanks, and repent for our sins. I read nothing about thanking the Indians for corn.

As a matter of fact, what I read in these early documents was a call to be thankful, even in the midst of hard and difficult times. These early congressmen all agreed that even though we were at war, God was merciful, and the gospel needed to be proclaimed throughout the world! Can you imagine that kind of thinking coming from Washington today?

United States Congress, October 20, 1779

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of
December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies,
and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; to beseech
him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our public councils, and bless them with
wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness, and success; that he would go forth with our hosts
and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine
grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper
the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners
of the earth; that he would smile upon the labors of his people and cause the earth to bring forth
her fruits in abundance; that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take
into his holy protection our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him
signally great, as the father of his people and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would
graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to
contending nations; that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into
his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the
basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and
safety. as long as the sun and moon shall endure, until time shall be no more.

Notice the prayer that God would “graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to contending nations?” Therein lies the big difference between a Christian nation at war and a Muslim jihad.

United States Congress, October 31, 1780

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, amidst the vicissitudes and
calamities of war, to bestow blessings on the people of these states, which call for their devout and
thankful acknowledgments… and, above all, in continuing to us the enjoyment of the gospel of peace…

…to cherish all schools and seminaries of education, build up his churches in their most holy faith and to cause
the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.

United States Congress, 1781

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be
religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on
that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our
manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please
Him to pardon our offenses, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and
relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give
success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counselors,
judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and
favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to
bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters
cover the seas.

And just one more, 1784

[May the Supreme Ruler of the universe] bless all mankind, and inspire the
princes and nations of the earth with the love of peace, that the sound of war may be heard of no
more; that he may be pleased to smile upon us, and bless our husbandry, fishery, our commerce,
and especially our schools and seminaries of learning; and to raise up from among our youth, men
eminent for virtue, learning and piety, to his service in church and state; to cause virtue and true
religion to flourish, to give to all nations amity, peace and concord, and to fill the world with his
glory.

Argue all you want, but I consider Thanksgiving to be a religious holiday, one that should be encouraged by our government. At least that’s what it seems our Founding Fathers would have wanted.

Please share this. I’d appreciate it.

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Would Someone Help Me Understand?

Lately something has been on my mind. It’s not something that’s openly in the news or often talked about, yet it’s everywhere you look, if you’re looking.

Please don’t get offended or triggered by what I’m about to ask, just help me with it. Call me ignorant, if you’d like, but ignorance is only a lack of information or understanding, and there is nothing wrong with that – unless it’s willful.

Here’s the question:

Why is transitioning to look like the stereotypical appearance of the gender to which you’re transitioning not an affirmation of the very stereotypes with which you disagree?

    You see, I’ve been around long enough to remember life before yesterday, even before Obama. In a not-too-distant past Barbie was condemned for her looks because she seemed to exhibit what culture deemed “feminine.”

    I can remember when the supposed male-dominated culture’s idea of female looks included long hair, makeup, dresses, high heels, extended lashes, bras, silk stockings, and a certain sway of the hips when walking. If all done right and in the correct proportions, a man could look at that package and say, “Man! What a woman!”

    Oh, but then came the biker chicks, the tomboys, and all the “butch” females who railed against the stereotype. Looking “female” was about being whatever you felt and not limited to what culture expected. Girls didn’t have to wear dresses and makeup; they could have short hair, wear wife-beater shirts, and still prefer the opposite sex.

    Yet, what do we see today? Biological males who claim to female that can only be satisfied if they change their appearance into the epitome of the stereotype to which actual women of the past rebelled!

    Why can’t a man who wants to be a woman still be a woman yet look like a man? Why can’t a woman who wants to be a man retain her feminine appearance while assuming all the roles of the male of the species? Why does transitioning necessitate the changing of appearance when appearance is only supposed to be skin deep?

    Seriously, help me understand, because I really don’t get it.

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    Filed under Culture Wars, General Observations, self-worth

    Goodbye, Middle Georgia

    The Last Night

    It’s really hard to believe it, but tonight is the last night I will be sleeping as a resident of Georgia. Tomorrow is the day we load up the U-Haul and head back to Tennessee.

    Gone will be the quiet, star-canopied nights when I would sit on the steps of the back porch with my little dog and listen to nothing, except the sound of crickets, coyotes, or a cow somewhere across the way.

    Tonight will be the last time I look at that old church lit up in the distance, the church I had no desire to leave.

    Lots of Water

    If you think of our time here like the old metaphor, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since we moved here in 2019. I mean, what better way to start a pastorate than be faced with an unprecedented pandemic? What fun!

    But over the last three years we have had the wonderful opportunity to meet many sweet people, not just through the church I pastored, but out in the community. To begin with, there was the old black man that worked the morning shift at McDonald’s. He was the most enthusiastic person I think I’ve ever met!

    Back in 2020 I started painting. That led to meeting many friends down at the farmer’s market in Sandersville. Honestly, I’m really going to miss seeing those folk on Saturday mornings. For over 2 years I sat through hot and cold, even when I didn’t expect to sell much, just to hang out with and encourage them. And, on top of that, one never knew who you’d meet that was just passing through.

    Covid took its toll, of course, and we lost a few friends, some very close.

    My mother came down with pancreatic cancer while here, yet she rarely missed a church service, unlike most of the rest of the congregation. I held her hand and sang “Amazing Grace” as I watched her life slip away. She just stared at me the whole time. I’ll always wonder what, if anything, she was thinking.

    Goodbye to the Culture

    Funny thing, growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I thought I lived in the South. Well, I was evidently mistaken. I wasn’t Southern enough to put up with gnats, enjoy pineapple sandwiches, or own a truck (even though I really wanted one).

    Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot down here that was wonderful and refreshing, but on the other hand, some of the things that annoyed me back in Tennessee were only made worse down here.

    For example, where I was from a church was rarely more than one hundred years old. Down here their age regularly exceeds two centuries. Unfortunately, so do the family influences. Nothing is done quickly, and nothing is done without the approval of a select few (and that does not include the pastor). There is no hope of ever becoming a local if you just learned about kaolin and never picked cotton.

    Back to Pavement

    So, after tomorrow, it’s back to the fast-paced, bumper-to-bumper life of the blacktopped world. No more dirt roads. No more small-town limited government. No more knowing your sheriff or praying in public, even before a football game.

    Next week it will be the 4 or 6-lane highways, the world’s fastest internet, 4 or 5 local television stations, a major newspaper, tons of restaurants, gang shootings, murder, drugs, and routines that sap away one’s life.

    But that’s the way it’s got to be, Georgia. We had our good times, but we weren’t meant to last.

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    Filed under America, community, General Observations

    A New Halloween Sermon (Just in time!)

    Good evening, friends. I know you haven’t seen a lot of me as of late, but video has become more of my mode of communication.

    I want to get back to writing more, however, for it is with writing that we develop our thoughts.

    Yet, I do want to share with you the sermon that I recorded for YouTube. I hope it gives you some food for thought.

    God bless!

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    The Humble Horologist (my new YouTube Channel)

    Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I have started a brand-new YouTube channel called The Humble Horologist.

    Why a new channel? Well, simply because I’ve wanted to do something like this for a few years, and to be honest, there’s the possibility of an additional income stream.

    So, do me a BIG favor and check out the video below. Then, if you would be so kind, PLEASE “like” and “subscribe”?

    I’m still new, so pardon the quiet part where I show the watch in the dark.

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    It’s Gap Time, So Step Up!

    This morning I turned to the book of Ezekiel and came across a short outline I prepared years ago. That 5-point outline directed me across the page to a verse that has, in the past, been what you would call a “life verse.”

    And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

    Ezekiel 22:30

    Upon leaving the church where I last pastored, I’ve been forced to do some self-examination. Being completely honest, there are still some things I need to improve. With humility and prayer, I will seek God’s help in those areas.

    Regardless, now is not the time to accept defeat or wonder about my abilities – NOW is the time to step up and stand in the gap. That is true for all of us!

    I will probably preach a sermon this coming Sunday based on this passage of Scripture, so I won’t go into much detail in this post. However, I feel it important to encourage you (and myself) to remember that God isn’t looking for the perfect soldiers; all He is asking for are WILLING ones.

    Unfortunately, all it takes is for us to receive one discouraging comment or critical observation to make us abandon our posts and our weapons, thereby leaving just enough of a gap through which God’s judgment can enter and destroy the very ministries and individuals we supposedly love.

    Do your own study of Ezekiel 22, particularly verse 30, and then see how you can use the following outline to create your own sermon.

    5 Ways to Stand in the Gap

    1. Answer the Call
    2. Be a Warrior
    3. Look for Broken Places
    4. Pray for God’s Mercy
    5. Don’t Give Up

    Lord willing, this coming Sunday on my YouTube channel I will address this subject and use this outline. Join me for the premiere at 11 a.m. Eastern.

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    Leaving a Middle-Georgia Pastorate

    When in ministry, full-time or not, there are moments when we must move from one field to another. Sometimes it’s planned and orderly, while other times we find ourselves making that move unexpectedly, or at least sooner than we planned. However, the one encouraging truth for those who love God and are called according to His purpose is that “all things work together for good.”

    It’s a Romans 8:28 day every day!

    Regardless, moving from one place to another is never easy, especially when you’ve grown to love the people and the place where you’ve been serving. That’s the current situation facing my wife and me.

    The Ups and Downs

    For the last three years (three years and six weeks, to be exact), we have been living and ministering in Warthen, GA at Bethlehem Baptist Church. The last three years have been anything but normal, but I do believe that’s been part of what has endeared us to the area. It was so nice to experience a genuinely small-town atmosphere, especially during COVID.

    But don’t misunderstand me, there are downsides to living and ministering in a small community. For one, having to drive an hour and a half to go to the hospital or to a doctor for anything other than a sniffle got a little old. My wife and I would schedule our appointments and shopping on the same day so that we wouldn’t have to make multiple trips . . . three hours on the road for one appointment was insanity.

    Another downside is the simple fact that everyone in a small community either knows everyone else or they’re related in some way. This makes talking with someone in secret nearly impossible. And for the love of all that’s civil, NEVER say anything bad about somebody unless you want everyone to know.

    But everyone knowing everyone is also a sweet and wholesome thing, too! Sure, the slightest misspoken word can bring all hades down on one’s head, but everyone being in everyone else’s business can also prove beneficial when times are hard. The willingness to help each other out of a jam is not something you find as often in larger communities.

    A Special Breed

    However, when it comes to pastoring a small church in a small community, it takes a special breed of person to succeed. Evidently, I’m not that kind of person.

    Small churches in small, rural communities more often desire a pastor who:

    • assumes the role of fun uncle, wise grandfather, or ever-present brother-in-law who stops by unannounced to see what’s for dinner
    • is always soft-spoken and deliberate with his words, never blunt
    • charms the non-attending church members into returning
    • says the most comforting things at all funerals (yes, even for the heathen)
    • has a working understanding of all outdoor activities, including, but not limited to, hunting, fishing, trucks, factory work, grilling, the military life, chainsaws, and deep-frying turkeys
    • and rarely preaches Greek and Hebrew-free sermons that are longer than 25 minutes.

    So, does that mean that I’m not called to the pastorate if I’m not like the gentle shepherd above? Heavens, no!

    Granted, if I’m to be honest, being told more than once that I’m not the “best pastor” led to some depressing days. Honestly, it stung. I even found myself doing some self-re-evaluations.

    The conclusion was that yes, I’m called; I’m just different.

    My Calling

    Official George S. Patton portrait

    I sometimes think of the World War 2 generals like Eisenhower and Patton. If you know your history, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General George S. Patton were both super patriotic military geniuses, but their personalities couldn’t have been more different. One was a calm, calculated, diplomatic leader whose gifts and abilities led him to be selected as the Allied Supreme Commander during WWII. The other was a complicated, often eccentric, warrior who loathed cowardice and felt destined for glory on the field of battle.

    I might be more of a Patton than an Eisenhower, just without the cursing and all the reincarnation beliefs. However, if there was any general with which I would aspire to be compared to, it would be General Robert E. Lee, a man of utmost loyalty and conviction who led an army of men willing to follow him into the mouth of hell itself. He was both a warrior AND a gentleman.

    But I’m not called to be a general.

    My calling is to preach and teach the Word of God without apology or intimidation. More than an itinerate evangelist, my calling extends to laying doctrinal foundations on which can be built the solid and grounded faiths which can withstand the strongest storms of life. So, this kind of teaching and preaching requires time with a congregation and cannot be achieved through one or two series of sermons.

    I’m a Stirrer

    What’s more, when I first arrived at Bethlehem Baptist, it wasn’t long before one of our deacons gave me the nickname of “Spoon”. . . because I had the tendency to “stir things up.” It wasn’t that I tried to cause problems or move too quickly; it was just my personality. As much as I believe in tradition, “the way things have always been” can be the enemy of souls and the waster of precious, irreplicable time.

    When things are left to sit and settle for too long, the ingredients separate and lose their combined effectiveness. Sometimes stirring or shaking things up involves nothing more than reawakening the inherent abilities already present. Remember what Paul told Timothy?

    Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

    2 Timothy 1:6

    And let’s not forget the words of Peter.

    Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance . . .
    This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance . . .

    2 Peter 1:13; 3:1

    Please don’t misunderstand me, I think it is important for every God-called pastor to show love and compassion to his flock by being there for them through the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of life. However, there is a reason that in Acts chapter 6 the infant Church in Jerusalem was instructed to select the first official deacons. I like the way it reads in the following translation.

    So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

    Acts 6:2-4 NLT

    Note, the apostles had no problem “running a food program” in the beginning. It only became a problem when it began to take away from their primary responsibilities: prayer and teaching the Word.

    How We’ll All Be Happy

    Don’t expect me to show up to your home unannounced.

    Don’t expect me to visit you in the hospital if I don’t know you’re there.

    Don’t expect me to stalk you and show up uninvited to all your activities. Invite me and I will come!

    I mean, seriously, do you REALLY want me showing up when you least expect it?

    That’s a job for a deacon 😉

    Therefore, give me a place where I can pray, study, teach and preach the inerrant, all-sufficient Word of God, or as the apostle Paul would say, “the whole gospel,” and I will have found my happy place.

    And I think you’ll be happy with me, too.

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    My SECOND Watch Review: A Mission Opportunity

    The Unknown

    Folks, I don’t know if I will ever come close to even scratching the surface of the level of popularity others have gained over the last few years, but doing watch reviews for YouTube is fun!

    I honestly don’t know how much of an impact I can make in such a crowded field, but it can’t hurt to throw my own 2 cents-worth of an opinion into the mix of decision making.

    Will I become a star? I highly doubt it. Will I get monetized? Probably not. But will I have fun and make new friends as I talk watches and point people to the One who created time? Absolutely!

    The Known

    There’s a lot I don’t know, but I do know one thing: if I don’t do anything, I won’t make any kind of difference.

    You see, I can point you all to multiple examples of where just being involved and vocal on Facebook and Instagram have led to Christian friendships and gospel conversations. I believe the same thing can be done on YouTube.

    Most watch reviewers have separate channels dedicated for such. However, I’m going to do things a little differently. Instead of starting a whole new YouTube channel for my watch review videos, I’m going to include them on my personal YouTube channel – the one with all the Sunday morning sermons.

    You see, if someone wants to receive notifications of my watch videos, they will also receive updates when I upload other videos, including live and recorded sermons. So, tell me, considering the popularity of watch review channels, some of which get hundreds of thousands of views, don’t you think it’s worth me sharing my thoughts about those ticking time pieces every once in a while?

    I certainly do!

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