The Ultimate Beauty Tip

October 22, 2016

Psalm 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
1 Peter 3
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
My dear Sisters in Christ, there is so much pressure on you to attain the world’s conception of beauty that deals only with the outward appearance. You need to be this tall and that weight with this hair style and this makeup with this designer’s clothes and wear this perfume to be beautiful.
You have been sold a bill of goods because they need to sell all that nonsense. It is the beauty that is inside that matters. The outward is an accessory to the inward beauty.
I read many years ago about a lady who by the world’s standard had homely features. She would never appear on the cover of Cosmo or Cover Girl. Yet, there was an aura about her that commanded attention when she walked into the room and all eyes would be on her. She had learned the true and greatest beauty secret. Her was her inward beauty radiating do strongly that it nearly blinded people to her physical attributes.
I have known many women that would be considered but they lacked discretion or good judgment and even intelligence. They had a haughty or mean spirit. They were high maintenance. Indeed, some were not someone you wanted to be around. They were easy on the eyes as they say but hard on your ears and soul. They truly had a jewel of physical beauty, but they were a swine inside. Swine might be a kind comparison for some of them.
Note that the King’s daughter is all glorious withing and the golden garment is an accessory. A gold garment cannot beautify you internally, yet the woman who is glorious within can be beautiful in a tattered potato sack dress. Strive to look wonderful in that tater sack and don’t fill your closet with costly apparel.
True beauty has never changed. Indeed, Eve had no makeup, no clothes and no perfume, but I promise you she was the most beautiful woman that ever lived. I wonder if we had a picture of her if she would even meet the beauty standards that fallen man has conceived. Yet, I know she was beautiful because she was glorious within until the Fall. Indeed the first thing they both thought of after sin was their outward appearance when it was the inside that was the problem.
Your are the King’s daughter. Seek what He says is beautiful in 1 Peter 3. Because you are sealed with the Holy Spirit and redeemed you have great glory within, but too often you resist it coming forth by your attire. It may not be inappropriate attire, but you passion for it and need for it is what is inappropriate. Clothing keeps you warm in the winter and out of jail in the summer. It does not make the man or woman. The inner adorning is what makes the man or woman.
Save your money and dress simply sans a thousand accessories and accouterments. Let your face be the one God gave you not one created by some corporate artist. Like the man who sold everything to obtain the pearl of great price so also should you rid yourself of all the baggage that makes you feel like you are not beautiful without it. Sell it to achieve that inner beauty that to God is of great price.
Physical beauty fades quickly and all the stuff sold trying to slow it down often hastens the decay rather than prevent it. Inner beauty only gets more beautiful over time and will last for eternity. It is by far, the better investment. It is much better for God to say you are beautiful in His sight then for any man or woman to say it about expensive fabrication that is temporal.
You are the King’s daughter! Seek to please Him by beautifying that which He values. Maranatha!

Alone in Battle?

October 20, 2016

1Kings 19
9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
When you read the paper you may feel like you are all alone standing for God. At work or school, you indeed may be the only Christian or at least the only open one. Even in your family, you may seem like the only one who really cares about Christ. Your church congregation is dwindling or you sense a shift from substance to emotionalism. You feel like Elijah. It is you and God against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Yet, as we see, God has not lost any of His power and contrary to Elijah’s perceptions and feelings he was not the only one left that worshipped the one true God. Too often we want God to bring down fire on His enemies like “James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” (Mark 3:17)
Yet, notice that God was not in the wind, the fire or the earthquake. He was in the quiet when Elijah heard the still, small voice. Still as in calm. It is in the intimacy with Him and hearing His voice that He is working in us. Indeed, when the world is full of literal or symbolic strong destroying winds, fires and earthquakes we can face them if we will listen for that still, small voice. God is in control.
Sometimes it is our ego that makes us feel like the only one standing up for God. Other times, it is our perceptions, our feelings that beat us down and we feel like a martyr or Lone Ranger. Yet, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto so he was not truly alone. Neither are you. You may not always see them. They may be hidden in a cave like those Obadiah care for awaiting the day they will come forth when God brings the victory.
They may be in their third year of training in their Arabia, like Paul, getting intense one on one discipleship before their ministry starts. Who knows, but God? Yet, like Elijah’s day, God has those who have not bowed the knee to our modern Baals.
Thus, like Elijah, be about the ministry God has called you to do. Be faithful in your witness. Seek holiness and intimacy with God. In due time, God may bring you an Elisha or you may find you are someone’s Elisha. You know not all the thoughts He has for you and others or what missions you will be called about to serve in or lead.
The omnipresent God who loves you beyond comprehension will always be by your side. Did He not say that He would never leave you or forsake you? Then put on the armor, take up sword and shield and prepare to do valiant things whether you are sent in alone or you see hoards descending the hills with you into the battle. There may only be 300 and look what God did with that small a number because Gideon trusted in Him.
Fight on, Brothers and Sisters! The battle is hot, but Hell is hotter and we called to take prisoners from the legions of evil making them brethren and fellow soldiers. Maranatha!!

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” – Unknown

Something to be remembered when evangelizing. Just because they say a prayer on the doorstep does not mean they are saved. They may be just trying to get you off their doorstep or saying the prayer to hedge their bets while still maintaining their core beliefs. I am positive that many souls that have been reported as won will be in Hell unless they were truly won later than the time they were reported.

Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves

If there is no lasting fruit, albeit small, you have inoculated the person thinking they are saved and made them sealed to Hell, nor Heaven or at best made the next soul winner’s work harder as they have to lead them out of a false conversion into a true one.

I saw much of this in the soul winning while an IFB. Folks would come back from an door-to-door evangelism time saying how many were saved yet the people never came to church, were never baptized and often would not even open the door on a follow up visit or if they did, they made excuses and shut the door as quickly as possible.

I have had many people say the prayer in my ministry, especially in jail, but I cannot say with any certainty that any of them were truly saved. On God knows how many He won through me and how many I sealed to Hell by inoculation. My only hope is where I erred, He sent someone else to clean up my mess and truly win them.

So be careful and be sure you are going in the Spirit and He gives you discern on how to deal with each person and discern when to press on to the prayer or wait until another day. Maranatha!

I wrote this back in October of 2003, but nothing changed except names and places have been added to the list.  My premise is still the same.  I would say much of my last sentence has come to pass.

I am as appalled at the murders at Jonesboro as anybody, but I am not ready to accept the judgment of the Media/Liberal Left as to the cause of this tragedy. I listened as the gun toting Southern culture was named the reason for this and that a child is the product of his environment. I am very accustomed to Southern bashing by the media. It is as common as the cold. The West is catching the flack also. After all, they are just as terrible as the South. They only trail us by 10% in the number of gun owners while the righteous North only has 23% of their population that are crazy.

They mentioned that ever since the War of Northern Aggression (not their phraseology, but more accurate), the South has revered the soldier. In this society, it is refreshing that anyone has respect for the soldier. Yes, there is a long legacy of exercising our constitutional right to keep and bear arms in this country. This fact established I find it interesting that untold numbers of Southern (as well as Northern and Western) fathers have trained their sons to hunt. Those sons grew up to fight our country’s wars and in turned have trained their sons to do the same. They held down jobs, raised families and used their weapons for their proper purpose. In the old days, men like this would have been considered fine citizens and patriots. Now, they are just part of the vast right wing conspiracy and the cause for all the woes of the nation.
I was in boot camp with a lad from Alaska. Alaska is not Southern or Western. He had been hunting since he was able to hold a rifle. Our first time at the firing range, he placed sixty out of sixty shots in the head of the target. He had never shot anyone in his school. Why not? Murder was not in his heart. Hence my premise that it is the son, not the gun.

A pistol or a rifle is a weapon of self-defense, a tool to teach responsibility to hearth and country, a tool to teach discipline and a means of self-defense. The police do a fine and often unappreciated job, but they cannot be everywhere. As much as ever, today’s citizen needs to be armed.
Murder stops when you remove it from the heart. Take away one weapon and a murderous heart will find another. A toothbrush with a whittled handle is a weapon. The six-inch pair of scissors in my office is a weapon. Well, not exactly. It is a tool, but I can misuse the tool and make it a weapon if murderous thoughts enter my heart and I enact those thoughts.
What do we do about a razor? We recently had an area youth use a razor as a weapon of self-harm and when others sought to stop him; he turned it into a weapon to harm them. I guess we need to ban razors, scissors, knives, and tooth brushes. A surgeon’s scalpel or one of their other tools kills more children than any other means and we have legalized those weapons of death because they save lives in the right hands when use for the right purposes.  Guns are the same.
The boys in Jonesboro had murder in their hearts. Had there been no guns, they might have stolen some dynamite that farmers keep around for stump removal. In that case, the loss of life could have been much greater. I am sure that there were other methods, but I am not one to figure out ways to kill people. I am amazed at the things that Hollywood comes up with in movies that would have never crossed my mind.
While we are on that subject, let’s deal with the issue that children are a product of their environment. If we were all sheltered like the days before television and movies, maybe we would not have copy cat crimes so close together. News did not travel as fast and we did not have extremely detailed coverage of every gory murder broadcast and rebroadcast so that troubled people could get the facts down well so that they can imitate the crime. Yes, the press must remain free, but I think it could be handled in a much more discrete way than it is now.
I said that I am not one to sit around and figure out ways to maim and murder people. Hollywood has plenty of script writers for that. I can remember when the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Roy Rogers, and John Wayne never killed anyone. At worst, they winged them, but normally shot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand and then boxed/wrestled them into submission and jail.
Now good and bad guys alike blow off heads, arms, etc with flows of blood and parts in digitized full gore color. In many movies, it is getting hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Both have the same habits, attitudes and ability to kill and then go out for a drink or a woman as if they had just squashed a mosquito. There are no morals to any of the stories anymore. It is just senseless killing and sex. I just can’t imagine why a child might not be as sensitive or hold a proper sense of the value of life. Hollywood and the music industry spend millions on vivid visual and verbal imagery to earn millions glorifying gangsters and their lifestyles. Yep, the child is a product of his environment.
Oh yes, is it not interesting that since the coming of Dr. Spock, the removal of God from the classrooms and the teaching of evolution as fact instead of a poorly formulated and unsubstantiated theory that kids have gone ape? After all, that is what we teach them. They are high tech apes that make their own ethics as they go to suit their personal situations which means that God is dead or you are a god. Gods have the power of life and death. If a god decides that it is right for you to die then you die. Video role games abound where the player is a demon or god with vast powers to torture or destroy their enemy. Studies have shown that men exposed to pornography become desensitized to rape. Any wonder why our children are desensitized to violence? We have given our children such a great environment since 1965.
Parents, I do not leave you off the hook. With all the trash out there your job is much harder, but you must still do your job. You must resist the temptation to consider raising your children properly equating to providing more material things for them. What they need more than ever is your time and attention. When you spend sixty to seventy hours a week to provide them the toys and gadgets of this age you are telling them that the toys are the priorities of life. He who dies with the most toys loses most often his soul. The soul is priceless. Your children are priceless and will survive not having all the toys, but they cannot survive losing your love and time.
Having said that, we must pass the ultimate responsibility back to the individual, whether child or adult. I am a strong believer in a free will. Families, Church, and Society has failed many children over the years, but those children exercised their free will and found faith and strength to overcome those deficits and become men and women of character and brought values to the ones who have failed them. I may be forced to grow up in a cesspool of ignorance and walk through the sewer of an immoral society, but no one can stop me from showering if I really want to be clean. The choice to remain dirty is mine.
These children chose to murder other children and the heroic teacher. They must then be tried as adults. In Hebraic culture and some Christian sects, the age of adulthood is twelve. In other sects, there is the age of accountability that means whenever you know right from wrong and you choose to do wrong then you are held accountable before God. I cannot believe that these children did not know right from wrong. I find it hard to believe that they would think that it was OK or just a game to shoot people down in cold blood. My heart grieves with the parents and loved ones of the victims and of the boys. I cannot imagine the grief of the boys’ family. I can imagine that of the victims’ families.
These children had murder in their heart and it matured them beyond their years and they have committed an adult crime. I do not know who may have failed them, if anyone. They may have had all the love of their family and the Church. Their society may have been trying to help them all that it could. Nevertheless, they chose to kill. It was premeditated. It was not children playing with a weapon and by happenstance discharged a round into a crowd. The victims were picked off like squirrels or quail. The boys went to kill and they killed. That is an adult choice. It requires an adult sentence. I would vote for the death penalty. These boys and the ones in Kentucky and Mississippi should be executed. I do not say that lightly. I have children and grandchildren and the thought of a child on the electric chair is anathema to me emotionally. I have no desire for anyone to die uselessly or needlessly, but these murders cannot be dismissed without justice.
I believe that our society is a breeding ground for this type of thing. While we must reap what we have sown, we must still seek to prevent the spread of the disease. I pray that we would someday return to the truth that will prevent the disease and use it to heal those that are infected before they become rabid and must be destroyed. No, it is not the gun. It is the son. Unless we return our country to the Son we will all one day lose everything to much worse than a gun. God help us!!

America, the Doomed?

September 17, 2016

If the future of this country is dependent upon the citizens we are doomed. I have very little confidence in people making wise choices as common sense died decades ago and it would seem that wisdom and discernment have been totally siphoned out of the gene pool. Indeed, I feel like I live in a world like that in the comic strip called Bizarro World.
The only hope is revival. We must return to God and the values that make us a superpower instead of being under the power of a stupor that has gripped the nation.
I know this sounds a bit arrogant, but really it is just amazement. Even as a hippie I would have never conceived that the world would be in the state it is where everything I was raised to revere or consider right is kicked to the curb and now that I returned to what my parent’s generation tried to teach us I am basically more of an outcast than I was when I was the hippie in a very conservative, some might say redneck, town.
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Yes, if our survival is based upon the citizens we are already history. Jesus may be in the process of purging His church and from there bring us into revival, but the US will probably never be great again. At best, we may escape total destruction, but we may be a third rate nation and a beggar among the nations after we have nurtured and preserved so many other nations from disaster. Pray that God is not completely done with us. May the purged church restore the liberty the Founders and our military sacrificed so much to give us.
Bizzaro World

Church of Your Choice or His?

September 4, 2016

 “Strange things are happening all around us in Christian circles because we are not truly worshipers. For instance, any untrained, unprepared, unspiritual empty rattletrap of a person can start something “religious” and find plenty of followers who will listen and promote it! Beyond that, it may become very evident that he or she had never heard from God in the first place. All of the examples we have in the Bible illustrate that glad and devoted and reverent worship is the normal employment of human beings. Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God’s created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise-because God is who He is! Because we are not truly worshipers, we spend a lot of time in the churches just spinning our wheels; making a noise but not getting anywhere. What are we going to do about this awesome, beautiful worship that God calls for? I would rather worship God than do any other thing I know of in all this wide world!”

A. W. Tozer Sermon: I Choose To Worship

Explains why there are so many churches started when there are already sound churches in a town. Someone has a new gimmick or new “twist” on a passage or a man can’t find a church to call him as pastor so he starts one. It is church based on the consumer as well. If you disagree with something, keep looking, you will find a church to agree with you or condone something you know is wrong, but you wanted your pastor to agree it was OK. You can truly find the church of your choice even if it is not the church of His choice.

I was often asked why I did not start a church. I replied that I don’t want a church of Shultzites. There are more buildings then are necessary now so I see no reason to start a new one as some need to be closed. It is better to seek God’s renewal of what is in place than to start a new church started by man and not God.

If Paul were writing Scripture today a book might start “To the Church at Cleburne/or your town, not to the churches. Rarely is a church split of God. It is normally a flesh thing. Yes, a denomination can be taken over by heretics and that is when the righteous need to pull out and establish a fellowship based on the Word, but if there is a sound fellowship in the area then they need to join that one. O, that Baptists would take this to heart, but there are many others as well.

We are to be one so there should be more church mergers than splits especially as we see the day of His returning nearing and the forces of evil intensifying their activity. There is strength in unity as long as that unity is based upon truth and not unity in spite of the absence of truth. Imagine the power we might see if we returned to seeking His will and His kingdom’s purpose rather than our petty human whims and wishes.

If we merged, it might be possible to have services for all shifts, seven days a week with the extra manpower, not to mention to have more funds for missions and the masses since we are not supporting nearly empty buildings. All those services would make it harder for someone to say they are working on the days we have worship or coming off third shift. In fact, since Paul did say we should be meeting more as the day approaches, that would be a fitting response to his exhortation/commandment. Just sayin’.


There Is A Generation

August 30, 2016

We are in this generation and have been since the 1960s.
Proverbs 30:
11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
There is no respect for the for parents or the aged. Indeed, there is a movement supported by the young to make old people die as soon as possible under the mantra “it is the duty of the old to die and get out of the way…” Some children have plotted the murders of their parents in hopes of getting away with it and get their inheritance sooner. One granddaughter ceased her grandmother’s care even though her grandmother was perfectly lucid only requiring a feeding tube but it was a burden on granddaughter. Sad, but worse yet, the medical people complied with desire. Recently, a 90+ lady was encouraged to be euthanized because she broke her hand. That was cruel and coldhearted with a deep lack of respect.
Based upon their own evolutionary and existential beliefs, they have no problem with lying, stealing, murder, practicing all manner of improprieties, and slothful abuse of welfare systems as they are owed everything they need or want. They think they are pure and righteous and they are in their own eyes, but filthy nonetheless before the eyes of God.
We are living in an age of great pride. All sorts of groups exist to promote pride in their their team, their accomplishments, their nation, their pigment, their sexuality, etc, etc. They are wise in their own eyes and have no need of anyone and especially no need of God. They will trample over anyone to exalt their pride. Elitism is pandemic
Their mouths are filled with hate, anger, cursing and all sorts of vileness. Having a civil conversation or debate with them is impossible, When you try to present facts that are contrary to their position all they can do is shout you down with curses, personal insults and wild accusations.
While they say they are for the poor, their actions are often contrary to that position. Abortion affects the poor more than anyone else and if you keep the poor from reproducing you can reduce the number of the poor. Euthanasia targets the weak and usually poor on the other end of the age spectrum.
There are also groups who want to reduce the earth’s population to 500,000. You know the poor are going to be the main targets for reduction. This can be accomplished in many ways. Wars that are needless, pestilences that are perhaps man-made or purposely spread, and tampering with the food of the masses. Indeed, the poor are often obese and ill because the food they can afford is loaded with salt, fat and sugar.
At some point, there may come a forced sterilization of poor people and/or people with an IQ below the desired average IQ. Don’t think that is impossible.  A group of junior high school boys included that concept in a joint social studies paper called The New Truth back in 1968. They also spoke of a one world government and none of them had heard of that concept from anywhere else. They thought it was their idea. If a group of eighth grade boys in a small town came up with some ideas that would have fit in Orwell’s 1984 just trying to get an A on a paper then do not doubt that someone with a far more nefarious agenda has not thought of the same things. In case, you have not figured it out, I was one of the boys in that group. Imagine my amazement when I grew up and heard some of our concepts talked about or implemented in some form.
Yes, we are in that generation King David spoke about. The only way to escape the madness of this untoward generation is to turn to the One who one day will come and restore sanity and order to this word, Jesus Christ.  We need a generational revival to reach back to my generation and move forward to get to this generation.  Make it so, Lord Jesus!!!  Maranatha!!!

Just A Member

August 28, 2016

Ephesians 4:
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
I was pondering for some reason about credentials and such that are required for ministry and for ministerial staff I can see some need for that to help keep out the crazies. However, that doesn’t always work as there are crazies in full time ministry.
Yet, not having any has it advantages as well. I remember doing neighborhood evangelism by myself one day and the fellow that answered the door asked if I was the pastor. I said no. He asked if I was a deacon. I said no. He asked if I was a Sunday School teacher and I said no. He then asked, “Who are you then?” I pondered a second or two and I said I guess I am just a member. “Just a member!”. he exclaimed.
I had not thought about it at the time, but the perception of many folks is that only people with a title do ministry. After all, the pastor wants to fill the pews, the teacher their class, the deacon is doing his duty and the treasurer wants to fill the coffers or at least they surmise. Members don’t do anything but attend and give a few bucks.
I had more impact on people’s life insurance plans and goals after I quit that job than I ever did when trying to sell insurance even though I told them the same things as when I was an agent. The difference was I stood to gain nothing by it and people were more relaxed.
Just a member will have a greater impact on the neighborhood than a titled person because people will think that your church must really be something if you are talking about it and out seeking people to come to it. They will most likely spend more time listening to you at the door or wherever you meet them then with the pastor or other staff.
Just a member just may be one of the best tools for your ministry. So don’t leave ministry up to the staff. There are people out there that would shut them down in a heartbeat but will listen to you. You may gain a new member for your church, but better yet you may gain a new brother or sister in Christ that will get saved instead of shutting the door on the pastoral staff and stay lost.
Dear Lord, may you raise up many church members to do the work of the ministry to bring people to Christ. The staff needs all the help they can get and it was the task you assigned to the members so may they fulfill their duty in joy. Amen!

Looking for surveyors jokes/stories for my speaking engagement next month, I came across this one.
Surveyor: This house is a ruin. I wonder what stops it from falling down.
Owner: I think the woodworms are holding hands.
I confess that I have been in a few church buildings where I thought the woodworms, termites or something was holding hands to hold it together. I was afraid to sneeze in some and wondered if I could make it to an exit if it caught on fire as I was sure it would burn like tissue paper. I wondered how they kept from being condemned as a fire hazard. No one wanted to shut down a church, I reckon.
I have a pastor friend that said that churches are like people. They are born, become toddlers then teens, then adults and at some point become nursing homes then die. I have seen many in the nursing home stage and many who are, as they said back in the day, “dead and too dumb to drop over.” I know that sounds a bit harsh and the same idea could be conveyed in softer tones, but the picture would be the same.
There are so many buildings being barely held together by people on fixed incomes whose tithes can’t fix the building when it is in need of repair or support a pastor. They have not won a person to Christ or baptized anyone in years, maybe decades. They have no real outreach as members, and if they have a pastor, are just too age and health challenged to do it. They may support a missionary or two at $10 a month. That is the closest thing called outreach unless they do some nursing home ministry. They have become a transitional point before they enter a nursing home themselves.
I understand tradition and nostalgia, but it is not good stewardship. It is also not good for those folks to be alone when they could have fellowship in a Body that is at the adolescent to teen stage of its life adding their wisdom to that Body and being refreshed by the youthful vitality of that younger Body. It is not good to be meeting in a firetrap or walking on floors about to give way. God does approve of safety.
It does no good to live in the past and if the heyday of your church is past, then let go and move on. What happened in the 50s-80s happened and it was glorious, but for whatever reason the glory has departed and so you should depart. Your faith is not strengthened when you try to worship in building that is in decline. Your joy and faith tend to decline with it.
Some churches are not very old and yet are in the same shape. Many came into being because of splits. My observation is that if there is a split, one side of the split or both will not flourish. God has called His people to unity, not division. If the split was not about sound doctrine, the split was not of God. It is was of the flesh and Jesus is not going to bless the flesh.
Thus if your church is 20 years or younger and it is not flourishing you have to ask yourself if it was truly founded by God or the will of men. There comes a time when you have to consider that the expense of funds and manpower is wasted when it could be fruitful somewhere else.
Yes, if your church is a mission plant where there has not been a viable church in many years then you may have to wait for fruit. Yet, most that I have seen in this condition are in the middle of a multitude of churches and not all of them are apostate so why was that one started? I don’t question God, but I do question men.
I am 63, but not ready for the nursing home or even assisted living. I want to be in a Body that is alive and about the business that God called it to do. I want to invest my time and money where God is at work because that is where He would have me invest my time and money, not maintaining a museum or or mausoleum.  You should want the same thing no matter if you are 63 or 93.
A flock should not be without a shepherd. If you are in a church without a pastor and have no hopes of getting one then you need to leave and find a church that has a pastor. Visiting preachers are not pastors. You may be surprised what God will do with you when you abandon the ship that is sinking or keeled over on the sandbar and get on a ship that is moving and making progress. Don’t miss the opportunity to have more fruit in your life. Your last years could prove to be your best and most fruitful years if you transplant yourself to the garden where Jesus is working.
Be bold! Stop holding hands with the woodworms! If it the church falls, it is because God was not there to hold it up. Let the dead bury the dead and come into new life and vitality. Maranatha!
Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Dear single men, please advise your fiancée that she will not be getting a diamond because there are so many fake stones that look like diamonds that you want no part of that mess and you are sure that such a logical woman as she is that she would not want to participate in such an endeavor.

Ha! I cannot imagine that would go over very well. She would STRONGLY encourage you to investigate and be sure you come to her with a real one because they do exist be there 10,000 fakes or more. LOVE would be sure to get a real one.

In the same sense, just because there are many fakes seeming to have the gifts of the Spirit or others that are abusing the gifts does not mean that the gifts are not real or not for today. God’s love will be sure you get the real thing if you seek Him for it. (Luke 11:9-13)

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

John admits that there are false prophets, but we know John was real. The Corinthian church had all the gifts and terribly misused them for their own pride, but the gifts were real. What did they have in the 1st Century that we do not have today? People were sick, demon possessed, lost unbelieving people and people sending out fake letters as if they came from Paul. We have all of these in some shape or form and then some.

Is it really reasonable that God, the Father, who changes not and Jesus, the same, yesterday and forever who has all power would send the Holy Ghost with His power and gifts for a season leaving the Church to fend for itself throughout the centuries, especially in the last days?

Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Is the Lord still calling people to salvation and giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost? If He gives the Holy Ghost, is He only giving us a percentage of His power and gifts? Has God had to cut back on the Holy Ghost’s power due to a lack of resources? Has He needed to downsize?

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Now, would you not think the elect had experience with the real so that they could identify the false? Even our Treasury agents only study genuine money so they can quickly identify a fake. Moses had no trouble taking down the false miracle Pharaoh’s magicians came up with because he had the real deal.

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There will be people deceived and think they are doing things by the power of God and will find that they are are not, but that does not rule out people having the true gifts and the real abilities these folks thought they had.

Maybe my cessationist friends have missed the boat. After forty years of being one, I am having to rethink my theology. Indeed, as I look at some Scriptures and one keynote one we used, I really believe we erred and missed the power and abundance we were promised.

1Co 13:

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Much of my cessationist theology rested upon this passage. Does it not say that tongues shall cease? Greek scholars would tell you that indeed it is a ceasing in and of itself. OK, but when does that happen? Many say that tongues and the sign gifts ceased when the canon of Scripture was completed. Well, then if all the things that are in part are done away when that which is perfect or complete is come why do we still preach since we have the canon of Scripture?

We say that preaching is the forth-telling of the Word versus foretelling like the ancient prophets and the Apostles did. Well, if the canon is what is spoken of in this passage then all prophesy whether forth telling or foretelling should cease. No scholar would ever suggest that the canon ended that part of what is in part and that we should stop preaching. .

Knowledge shall vanish away. I agree that sometimes it seems like knowledge is almost totally absent from our society, but in reality we have greatly increased our knowledge and we are still seeking and gaining knowledge. Indeed, with all we know we realize how much more we still not know so knowledge has not vanished since the canon was completed. All of our knowledge will vanish away when we stand before the omniscient One and we receive true knowledge at a level we cannot now comprehend.

We are still children and until we are glorified we will stay children in the big picture. We will mature if we walk with God and grow in the knowledge of Him, but we will not be full grown until this flesh is put away. We call our teenagers children even though they have far more knowledge than a toddler for though they know a great deal they still only know in part and will learn much more before they die. We are still seeing through a veil or flesh or a poor mirror of who we are and who God is, but when we are there with Him face to face we will see clearly. We will know Him as He knows us. That day has not yet come even though the canon has been complete for two thousand years. When that day comes we will put away the childish things we have in this life and will take on the things of full grown redeemed men.

So that which is perfect has not yet come and indeed the Millennium is not the perfect or complete plan of God. Yet, many of the things we are experiencing in the Church will change and so many of the gifts may pass away then since we will be in the presence of Christ on the throne. Until that day or after the last day of the Millennium we can safely say that which is perfect or complete has not yet come.

Therefore, we can expect the Holy Spirit to act in the same way as He did in the first century. He is still convicting the world, sealing the believer until the day of redemption and dispensing gifts to the Body. Since that is all the same, it is not unreasonable to expect the gifts to stay the same because the needs are the same.

Truly, in every generation, the Church needs to be established in the hearts and minds of the people. We are surrounded on every side by the enemies of God, who have their own message, but also come at times as angels of light using the name Christian, but have another gospel. Paul said that there must needs be divisions among us that the approved may stand out. The gifts are what has us stand out from the other religions and also the cults.

Paul said that he came to preach, not only in word, but in power so that our faith did not rest in enticing words, but the power of God. He also warned that there would be those who had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof. That power is in the gospel and that gospel was preached in power of the Spirit and the preachers exercised the gifts and the gifts were given to the saved. Why would that change? Are cessationists denying the power when they limit what the Spirit can do and what He can give? It seems to be that way. Many denominations have apostatized from the truth and have a form of godliness in that they use the bible, terms and symbols, but deny the power of the gospel in many ways by errors in Christology. Soteriology, Hamartiology, Ecclesiology and Pneumatology and in the end become cults instead of being part of the Body. Are the cessationists in danger of doing the same at least in Pneumatology?

The Spirit gives life to the letter. If we start telling Him what He can and cannot do are we sucking life from the letter and are left with only the letter and erudite homilies of men? Is that why we need Starbucks and entertainment to fill our buildings? Paul said to stay away from those who have form and not power thus showing the ecumenical movement as something needed by those who lack the power because they deny it. Machinations of men to promote programs that only work short term because they lack the power.

We need to seek the Lord and ask for the Spirit to be who He is and do what He does in our lives! We need not fear fakes and in essence erase some portions of Scriptures for fear of fakes and delusional. I know people who would never practice James 5:14,15 because that is in the past or it would make them look like Pentecostals. Some will not raise hands in worship, but might shoot an arm out for an instant like some kind of salute to avoid looking Pentecostal. They must stand perfectly still when they sing lest they look like those Holy Rollers. That is all silly as no Scripture belongs only to one group. We are exhorted to lift up holy hands and even David danced before the Lord, but we dare not look like one of those crazy people.

Fakes and fanatics should only cause us to dig deeper into prayer and draw closer to God to be sure we get the real deal. Why miss out on power and abundance because someone is a fake or an abuser of something that will empower our lives to live holy, be fruitful in our ministries and draw us into His presence? Seek Him. Ask for the Spirit to bring you into a closer relationship with Christ and show you where you are to fit in the Body and what gift has been given to you do what you are called to do. You will never regret it. We still need D. L. Moodys, Hudson Taylors and others to win the lost. Even more so we just need the Body to be filled with people are filled with the Spirit and exercising their gift that we may stand out as the approved of God and that the world will be moved by the people of God who are moved by the Spirit of God. Will you seek all that He has for you? May we all receive His abundant power! Maranatha!!!!