My Sunday-night sermon.
My Sunday-night sermon.
This is my fourth time preaching/teaching through the book of Acts, and yes, I’m still learning things. Even though it’s all been over Facebook on Sunday evenings, it’s still been exciting (especially chapter 12 – I’ll included a link at the end – you should watch it).
But one person stands out to me, especially at this time in my ministry. How he is described is what I am lacking in my own life. When I read of him and preach about him, I am convicted. Wouldn’t it be nice if people thought my name was different than what it is?
Every pastor, to one degree or another, should be more like Barnabas. Yes, I want to be seen as a reflection of Jesus, but Barnabas was certainly that. So, if they every forget my name, Barnabas Baker would work.
Barnabas was a Levite from the country of Cyprus who became a follower of Christ. He was a generous man, a godly man, and one whose name fit his personality; he was the “son of consolation” (Acts 4:36-37).
Barnabas was the type of guy that truly cared about people and wanted to see them succeed. He was more than just a team player; he was a motivator, the kind of man who would step down from the pedestal so that someone else could shine. As a matter of fact, it was Barnabas who introduced Saul (Paul), the former persecutor of Christians, to the church at Jerusalem (talk about having someone’s back!).
But in preaching through chapter 11 of Acts, I came across a description of Barnabas that left me very convicted. The way Barnabas was described should be how we are described: good people, full of the Holy Ghost, and full of faith (11:24).
The first thing said about Barnabas was that he was “a good man.” Now, a lot of people think they are good people, but not all are. As a matter of fact, there’s no other place in Acts where Luke describes a person as “good.” Only Barnabas gets that distinction.
Being described as “good” meant that he was a man with whom no one could find fault. He must have been a man of strong character, a man who kept his word, and a man who would do anything for anybody, including give the last coin to one in need. He was the kind of man Jesus was talking about when He said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45). Barnabas was genuine, the “real deal.”
Barnabas was also “full of the Holy Ghost.” What does that mean? Well first off, let’s think about the description of “full.”
The Greek word translated as “full” is one that meant not only to be filled up but filled up to the point of overflowing. Barnabas was totally yielded and filled with the Spirit, so much so that His presence spilled over onto others. The “son of consolation” was an encourager, just like the Spirit controlling and empowering him.
Barnabas was not only full of the Holy Ghost but also of faith. Simply put, Barnabas was fully convinced and persuaded with what he believed to be true. There was no doubting, no hesitation, no reluctance, no hiding, no timidity. Barnabas was sure in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is one reason he was sent by the church in Jerusalem to see what was going on in Antioch of Syria.
Now, let’s look at what happened because of Barnabas’ character, his spiritual power, and his sure faith.
“Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.” – Acts 11:23-24
First, because he was a good man, he was not jealous of the good things happening in Antioch; he rejoiced that the grace of God had been poured out on the believers there!
Second, because he was full of the Holy Ghost, what was in his heart (as Jesus described) had to be shared, so he “exhorted” them and encouraged them in their faith.
Third, because Barnabas knew what temptations and trials could come, especially with the persecution following Stephen’s death fresh on his mind, he encouraged the new believers to be pro-active in their devotion to the Christ. He knew that the only way to have a strong faith is to purposefully “cleave unto the Lord.”
Fourth, many people were added unto the Lord! Because of the spirituality and faith and character of godly Barnabas, not only were new believers in Antioch strengthened, but many more people came to know Christ!
Here’s the thing. Why aren’t more people coming to a saving faith in Jesus? Why aren’t more of our churches encouraged? Why aren’t more Christians spiritually maturing in their faith? It’s because we don’t have enough men and women like Barnabas.
Be a good person! Seriously, be the type of man or woman that people can trust and rely on. Be the type of person that people can tell you care. Be generous, compassionate, trustworthy, and consistent. Be people of honor and character.
Be filled with the Spirit! Do you know what it means to be completely filled with the Holy Ghost of God? It means there are no little rooms, closets, or boxes in your heart where there is written a note to God which says, “Private! Hands off!” Every are of your life – every secret part – should be yielded to and controlled by the Spirit of God. Otherwise, you are self-controlled and rebellious, and thereby powerless.
Be full of faith! Grow your faith. Study God’s Word. Know why you believe what you believe. Don’t be a coward! If you are shy or feel intimidated to share your faith with others, ask yourself why that’s so!
Would you be afraid to warn your neighbor a murderer was crawling through his bedroom window? Would you be afraid to yell “fire!” if flames were engulfing the rooms of a hotel where people were sleeping? It’s only because you are NOT full of faith that you are not bold; you have doubts the fire is real and the murderer really means to harm.
You and I need to be more like Barnabas.
Honestly, I just don’t feel like writing. I couldn’t even finish the header! I don’t know what’s come over me.
One possibility is that COVID-19 has thrown schedules to the wind. Because of that I’m not in the office for longer periods as often.
So, with only a laptop or my phone (which I’m on right now), it’s a lot of work to clean off my reading and drawing/painting table to set up my computer. Maybe I’m just spoiled. Or lazy.
Anyway, to compensate a little, I wanted to share some more videos from this past week.
Sunday was Father’s Day. The first video is of me preaching live on Facebook. The sermon is “How to be a God-like Dad.” I edited it for YouTube.
The Sunday evening video shows me in my office talking about Acts 11 and primarily Barnabas. This was a personally convicting lesson. I need to be more of a Barnabas.
On Wednesday I continued with our study of Nehemiah. I had a great time! Call it preaching 😉
Oh, today is George’s birthday! He’s 1 year old (7 in dog years)!
Let me know your thoughts 🙂
God bless you guys!
The following video was recorded this afternoon as part of our “afternoon devotionals.” It was recorded while I was waiting with my wife and mother for seating at Cracker Barrel in Augusta, GA.
I had just watched the news conference on Fox News (on my phone) while waiting for my mother to receive her chemotherapy treatment. It literally made me both sick and angry, for out of all the praise for their deceased relative, none of the family laid any blame on the fact that Mr. Brooks had been overly intoxicated.
Just like the disgraceful Mayor of Atlanta, Ms. Bottoms, they blamed the police for the “murder” of their loved one. Not once did they consider the role alcohol played in the actions of Mr. Brooks, nor how if he’d been sober this probably wouldn’t have happened.
Folks, let me be clear, I cannot show you definitively from Scripture that drinking alcohol is a sin; it’s not. However, I most certainly can make a strong case for avoiding it! I love the way the New Living Translation interprets these particular words of wisdom from King Solomon:
“Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.” – Proverbs 20:1 NLT
Like I alluded to at the beginning of this post, having a drink, a beer, or whatever every now and then will not send you to hell: it’s not inherently a sin (Romans 14:17-23; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Colossians 2:16; 1 Timothy 5:23).
However, the unwise will disregard the warnings and end up meeting their Maker a lot quicker than those who can think and act with a clear head.
Don’t let yourself be controlled by something that makes you do stupid stuff. The consequences can be deadly.
and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not in Atlanta. However, I’ve got a daughter, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter in Charleston, SC, and it’s bad there, too.
Honestly, I’m furious and sickened by the senseless thuggery and domestic terrorism that’s spreading havoc across the country. There’s no excuse for it. None.
Well, I’ve written about the subject of the protests and riots, already. So, what I’m going to do tonight is share the video that was my day.
The first video is from Facebook. I hope you can view it. I went live this morning before the scheduled morning service that had been recorded earlier.
The second video is of the service prerecorded for airing at 11 a.m. Unfortunately, I got the date wrong! 😩
The last video is from tonight where I was live from Augusta, GA. Even though it was originally on Facebook Live, I uploaded it to YouTube. In this study I taught from Acts 9 while sitting in a hotel lobby.
This evening my wife joined me as we discussed Proverbs 30. She was nervous at the beginning. She didn’t trust me.
However, it’s not my job to embarrass people online while talking Bible stuff. Also, I prefer a happy life, ergo, “happy wife.”
But Valerie underestimates herself. She is pretty sharp. Actually, she is a wise woman. She had no reason to be nervous.
If you can get it to play, below is a link to tonight’s Bible study. It’s also a glimpse into our marriage 😉
I don’t know who was the first one to start doing this, but I know I was doing it before I saw others do it better. Yes, I think it was I who did the first daily devotionals live on Facebook.
I could be mistaken.
Nevertheless, a while back I started trying to stay in contact with my home-bound and home-sheltered congregation. A few people have become regular watchers.
Well, now I’m upping the ante a little bit. I starting a new series called “The Selahs of Psalms: Something to Think About.”
But, instead of sitting in my office or on my front porch glider, this time I opted for a tuxedo and a baby grand Yamaha – and a musical performance. Yeah, right.
And, I am giving away a huge $10 gift certificate to a local Mexican restaurant.
It’s getting real, folks. It’s getting really real.
Oh, and if you remember, years ago Liberace would say, “I wish my brother George was here.” Well, my dog George joined me in the beginning of the video.
Both broadcasts were uploaded to YouTube. The morning service was pre-recorded, uploaded to YouTube, scheduled as a premier, and shared to Facebook.
The evening Bible study in Acts 7 was first done live on Facebook, then saved, then uploaded to YouTube. Fortunately, the in-out focus that usually accompanies the live video (because of our area’s SLOW internet) was not there!
If you are blessed, encouraged, or convicted by either, I would love to hear from you!
Just this week I uploaded a daily devotional I do online to YouTube. Then, as I usually do, I posted it to our church’s Facebook page.
The subject of this video is that of accepting God’s forgiveness, even when we don’t feel forgivable.
I would love your feedback.
Sorry for the goofy-looking face 😉
Hey everybody! Unless you attend drive-in church services, the only alternative is attending worship online. And if that’s what you do, here are four (4) quick tips for making the experience a better one.
1) Let your presence be known! Say hello, or something. If you like something said, do a “like” or “love” thing. Emoji’s are the new “amen!”
2) Try to act like you are actually in church. In other words, try to take this time seriously, because it is. But don’t get me wrong, you can still wear your pajamas and chomp on your Fruit Loops, but don’t get too distracted or else you might miss a word from the Lord for you.
3) Participate as if you’re really there. Worship in such a way that gives God the honor He is due. Don’t worship less at home than you would in front of other people in a fancy building.
4) Pray for those ministering; it’s not easy singing and preaching to a lifeless camera.
And since we’re talking about online church, below are links to the Facebook Live videos I made today.
The first video is from this Sunday morning. It starts off with my mother and me playing some music. Afterwards, my wife and mother and me sing a praise song. Then, as I explain in the video, my mother does something very rare – she sings the melody of a song (I then sing the chorus). . . . And by the way, considering my mother has pancreatic cancer, this was a special moment for me.
Oh, and the white board was a last-minute idea that could have been done better. It’s a learning process.
The second video was from tonight in my office. I start off planning to talk about Stephen’s sermon in Acts chapter 7, yet the Holy Spirit quickly led me in a very different direction. It’s worth watching (and it’s short!).