Wednesday, May 04, 2016


What if following Christ meant suffering persecution? What would you do if simply being a disciple of Jesus cost you your job, reputation, or even your life?
Dr. Eric Walsh recently found out that simply believing and preaching the Bible can have serious consequences. Dr. Walsh was fired from his position with the Georgia Department of Public Health over the content of the sermons he preached as a lay-pastor. It seems that officials from the GDPH scourged Dr. Walsh’s sermons for any references to marriage, sexuality, world religions, evolution and more.  Particularly troubling to the state of Georgia was Dr. Walsh’s belief that marriage is intended by God to be one man and one woman for a lifetime.  Gay and Lesbian groups decried his “discriminatory” actions and “homophobic” beliefs.  Although he has filed suit against the state of Georgia for religious discrimination, he is without a job simply because he believed and preached biblical values.
Christian Watchdog origination “Open Doors” reports that 7100 people lost their lives for following Christ last year.  This gave 2015 the dubious distinction of being the most violent year in modern history for Christian Persecution.
What is Christian Persecution? Open Doors defines it as any hostility experienced from the world as a result of one’s identification as a Christian.  Verbal harassment, hostile feelings and attitudes, discrimination and even death are examples.  Although this seems far removed from the experiences of many American Christians, Jesus has promised us that we will face tribulation and persecution.  John 16:33 – “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.  In 2 Timothy 4:12 Paul reminds Timothy that “. . . everyone who wants to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”  Again in I Peter 4:12 we are commanded to “ . . . not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Scripture is clear. Everyone who lives a Godly life in this dark world will suffer some form of persecution.  It may be the derision and mockery of people we work around when we refuse to listen to or tell filthy jokes or pass along gossip. It might come to our teenage children when their friends laugh at them because they will not have sex before marriage or smoke weed.  Persecution might come when we refuse to fudge on a report or lie for a plant supervisor who wants to look good in his superior’s eyes.  It might even come from so-called “Christians” who pressure us to soften the moral stances that are so clearly given in Scripture.
In Revelation 2:8-11 Jesus addresses a church that is facing devastating persecution.  He tells them first of all “I know your tribulation.”  He is aware of our suffering. Even when we feel forgotten and abandoned, He knows and He cares.  Secondly, he tells them “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Jesus rewards those who stand firm in the faith.

Following Jesus always has been and always will be costly. Be Faithful. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


“So, if you have been raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

I believe that Paul is giving us one of the great principles of living out the Christian Life. We must devote ourselves to cultivating a spiritually focused mindset about life.  This is much more than an occasional religious thought or even a daily devotional.  There are two primary commands Paul gives for developing this spiritually focused mind. First, we are commanded to seek those things that are above.  To seek is to strive for and reach for heavenly realities.  Our greatest goal in life must be holiness and the knowledge of God and His will. Secondly, we are to set our minds on things above.  This describes the spiritual discipline of focusing our thought life on Jesus Christ and his glory.  The one who sets his mind on heavenly things will consistently read, memorize and mediate upon Scripture. His or her conversation will naturally move toward Christ and His Word.  A spiritually focused mindset will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of life, but always with the glory of God in mind.  All of life becomes an opportunity to know and to serve God.

Someone once said to me they were afraid of becoming so heavenly minded they would be of no earthly good. I have never understood this.  I have known many believers who were so worldly minded they were of no heavenly use, but never the opposite. In fact, the more spiritually focused our minds become the more earthly good we are! We become greater witnesses, more effective prayer warriors, and more loving husbands and fathers. 

So – seek after and set your minds on things above!

Monday, February 01, 2016

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is a mystery to many believers.  For some the Holy Spirit is a kind of spiritual energy much like electricity. Being filled with the Spirit becomes impersonal and almost like saying “may the force be with you.” For others, (my Baptist friends might be included in this group) the Holy Spirit is something that is hardly thought of or discussed.  We dismiss the topic with “yes, I believe in the Holy Spirit,” but think little of his presence and experience even less of his operations in our lives.

However, for the believer the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His filling of the believer’s life is of vital importance.  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16 that we are to “walk by the Spirit.” This is a picture of dependence.  The Christian live simply cannot be lived out through self-effort and determination.  The commands and expectations of Scripture are, quite honestly, beyond us.  As the old gospel song reminds us, “I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.”  Holiness of life and effectiveness in ministry demands the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Scripture teaches us that every believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 1:13 we find that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise at the moment of our conversion. 2 Corinthians 1:22 emphasizes this same idea “and how has put his seal  on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  Romans 8:9 goes so far as to tell us that . . . “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”

If all believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, are all believers filled with the Spirit or walking in the Spirit? The answer is no! In fact, the number of Spirit-filled, Spirit-walking believers seems to be startlingly low. In Ephesians 5:17 Paul commands all believers to be filled with the Spirit. He compares and contrasts it with being drunk with wine. To be drunk is to be under the influence of alcohol, and is sinful.  Being filled with the Spirit however, is to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit of Christ.  Paul then describes the kind of life that will be lived by a filled believer.  Every aspect of the believer’s life will be influenced by the Spirit.

Therefore, to be Filled with the Spirit or to walk by the Spirit is to live under the constant, moment by moment direction, control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  All Christians have the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit does not all Christians.  He is present in their lives, but He is not preeminent in their lives.  So, the first step in experiencing the fullness of the Spirit is submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

For a sermon on this subject from Open Door Fellowship where I pastor - go to . . .

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Solitariness of God

Over the years there have been several books that have deeply blessed and impacted me. One is The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink.  The book itself is fairly brief, but its thoughts go deep. As we kickoff this New Year I decided to include a portion of one of my favorite chapters.  It is entitled “The Solitariness of God.” Pink discusses the eternality and self-sufficiency of God.  This might be a little more difficult to read than the past newsletters, but it will give you some profound and meaty thoughts to chew on this week.

The title of this article is perhaps not sufficiently explicit to indicate its theme. This is partly due to the fact that so few today are accustomed to meditate upon the personal perfections of God. Comparatively few of those who occasionally read the Bible are aware of the awe-inspiring and worship-provoking grandeur of the Divine character. That God is great in wisdom, wondrous in power, yet full of mercy, is assumed by many to be almost common knowledge; but, to entertain anything approaching an adequate conception of His being, His nature, His attributes, as these are revealed in Holy Scripture, is something which very, very few people in these degenerate times have attained unto. God is solitary in His excellency. "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Ex. 15:11).

"In the beginning, God" (Gen. 1:1). There was a time, if "time" is could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. "In the beginning, God." There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but "from everlasting." During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they also would have been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Mal. 3:6), therefore His essential glory can be neither augmented nor diminished.

God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure; for He "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11). That He did create was simply for His manifestative glory.

 "Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting, Amen" (1 Tim. 6:16). 

Such a One is to be revered, worshipped, adored. He is solitary in His majesty, unique in His Excellency, peerless in His perfections. He sustains all, but is Himself independent of all. He gives to all, but is enriched by none.

To Him alone be the Glory!