Posted by admin on October 11, 2017
This month, twenty-five years ago, was the first time I ministered at New Piney Grove Baptist Church. As I look back and reflect, I think about the events which led up to the invitation to teach and preach at NPG. The church did not have a Pastor and I did not have a church. I was asked by my pastor, Willie L. Reid, to take his place at what was known as the Fifth Sunday School Fellowship.. It was at this event that I became acquainted with the members of New Piney Grove. God must have used the gift that He gave me of teaching. I can't remember the lesson, but I do remember the response of the people. New Piney Grove stood out. They asked for my card and the rest is history.
Looking back, I think of how it was teaching; not preaching or my administrative expertise, that eventually resulted in my being privileged to pastor NPG for 25 years. But more people came to hear me preach than teach. Yes, it is true that even from the pulpit on Sunday morning I teach. But it is something about Wednesday night and Sunday morning teaching sessions, where people can ask questions and interject thoughts.
Looking back I remember our elder, Bill Montford's comments, "... we have been preached at too long; we need teaching."
Looking back, I remember a son of the church, Guss Bodison Jr.'s, statement, "New Piney Grove is not for everybody."
Looking back, I have discovered that you cannot force, entice or make people come to learn. It is an inward desire. Those who want to come, will come because they want to be taught.
My prayer is that I will be content with those who want a "full meal" of God's Word, and not waste my time worrying about those who only want a "fast-food snack."
Posted by admin on September 17, 2017
If you were in church on the first Sunday in September, you heard me give my testimony of "From Mercy to Grace." Mercy is God withholding what we should receive and grace is God giving us what we do not deserve.
Fifteen years ago, in September, when I was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer, I asked the LORD to be merciful. Based upon Hezekiah's prayer in 2 Kings 20, I asked God for fifteen more years of life. This month marks the fifteenth year of God's mercy. So, now I am in a period of "grace."
I don't know how long my grace period will last, but I give God praise for every minute. I desire to spend the rest of my time, teaching transgressors His ways (Psalm 51), and developing the faith of the saints (Romans 10:17).
Posted by admin on August 18, 2017
There are those who do not believe that John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, actually wrote the portion stated above in the title of this month's blog, but what an impactful statement. The older I get, the more I realize the truth of this stanza. So, it is not important who wrote it; it's important what it implies.
The Christian journey is filled with downs and disappointments. But it's the last part of the verse that ensures us of God's wonderful grace. Because we have "already come" through many toils and snares, we can be confident that God's grace will carry us through the ones we are currently facing. In spite of the challenging events of last week, I know that it's only for a season. It's been rough, but My God is Greater in me.
Posted by admin on July 3, 2017
July 4th is traditionally the day that the United States of America celebrates the freedom of our country. And we should celebrate. As Americans, we have privileges that are denied to others in many other countries.
But there is a freedom that many of us as Christians often take for granted; our freedom from the penalty of sin. When we celebrate the LORD's Supper, it is a celebration of that freedom. But many will take off from church on Communion Sunday for the 4th of July, to prepare for the affairs of that day.
When we put more emphasis on celebrating our national freedom than we do our spiritual freedom, then we are not free "indeed" or truly free.