Monday, July 28, 2014

The Diary of a Pastor, Entry 4

It happened.  The one thing I fear each Sunday happened yesterday. I spend hours in preparation and study so that it doesn't happen. I know my subject inside and out hoping that it doesn't happen. I pray as often as I can, begging for mercy and grace to prevent it from happening. I acknowledge my absolute dependence upon God and His word in order for it not to happen.

But it did. It happened.

The service began normally and according to our custom. Nothing seemed to be different or out of the ordinary. Unless of course you count the privilege of gathering together with God's people in His presence to offer worship and praise to the God of this universe extraordinary. I do.

As I began to teach the word of God it seemed as if God was no where close to our zip code. You preachers know what I am talking about. You know when the Holy Spirit empowers God's word and when He doesn't. And yesterday, he doesn't. 

When this happens to me, and thank God it does not happen very often, I don't know what to do. Half of me feels like apologizing and shutting up and closing the service. The other half of me believes that these people came to hear from God and not me anyway, and His word will accomplish its divine purpose. 

I decided to fight through my empty and seemingly Spiritless exhortation of the word of God. I brought the message in total. I was never more thankful for the end of a service than I was yesterday.

This I know:

  • the message was well prepared
  • the message was biblical
  • the message was designed for God's glory 
  • the message was designed for His people's good
therefore I hold to these promises:

"So shall My word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to Me void. But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11, NKJV)

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness..." (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV)

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty..." (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Although I am weak and foolishness and merely an instrument, He is wise, powerful, strong, sufficient, and will accomplish His purpose with His word. Therefore, even thought the thing I fear the most happened yesterday (and it will happen again) I will continue as long as God allows to open God's word to His people and preach with confidence.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Test of Sonship Part 4

SERMON            GM14-025

SERIES:              The Christian Life Viewed as Sonship

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Sonship     (Part 4)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 3:9-10a

SUBJ:                  The problems of Sonship (Theme/Topic)

SUMMARY:       I propose to you that as Sons of God believers do not                                       practice sin since it is incompatible with their Sonship


SCHEME:           That Christians rely on God as they resist the temptation to consistently sin against God. (Objective)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

When They Fire Those Guns For Me*

When they Fire those Guns For Me*
Gregg Metcalf
July 24, 2014

I went to a funeral the other day for a neighbor
He laid down his tools and finally quit his labor
They gussied him up about as good as he could be
But one thing they did sure impressed the heck out of me

You see when the service started it got all quiet like a tomb
You could of heard a pin drop anywhere in that big ole room
In marched a couple of soldiers sent by our dear Uncle Sam
And when they stopped at the casket was when it all began

Outside on the lawn stood soldiers that were straight as a rod
They came to give him a salute as an Army Rifle squad
The sergeant in charge gave the command to shoulder arms
They fired those guns to honor the one who’d bought the farm

So this made me think about when it came to be my time
To cash in my chips I sure hoped to me they’d be so kind
As to fire a 21 gun salute to honor my time in the Corps
Makes me wish I could hear the sound from those rifle bores

When they fire those guns for me I want them to be loud
And while you’re at it give everyone a gun in the crowd
Let’s throw a hoe-down when they fire those guns for me
And maybe once again I can be the life of the party

*This poem is based on a 21 gun salute given in honor of my former neighbor of seven years Gene Gartman who passed away on July 21, 2014. I attended his memorial service yesterday at the Robert Gray Baptist Church of Longview, WA. Please note, in this poem I have taken much literary license. I intend on writing a far more serious poem using the same title.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Real Purpose of Prayer

Prayer is not an exercise in changing God’s mind; prayer is a means of grace whereby God works necessary changes in our lives.

Gregg Metcalf,
North Kelso Baptist Church
Kelso, WA

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Diary of a Pastor, Entry 3

My heart is breaking for the condition of the church at large and for people who “call” themselves Christians. This week someone stated that they had picked up a copy of the movie Heaven for Real. I shuddered when I saw the various comments of support and validation of both the movie and the one who chose the movie.

I felt I needed to say something. There is something deep inside me that boils over when God’s word or His character is maligned. I also am concerned about those who say or think that they are God’s children. I have to say something.

What kind of person would I be if I knew that just two miles up the highway and around a sharp bend in the highway the bridge was washed out and I didn’t say anything to you? Wouldn’t I be a monster if I held my peace and said nothing while watching you drive towards immediate danger?

This is how I feel when I know someone is being deceived by the enemy. Regardless of how subtle, humble, or gentle my comment was, it was rejected. Not only rejected but actually ridiculed by those felt their experience of personal loss superseded years of schooling, study, and saturation of the word of God.

Many of the sheep have rejected the shepherd. That sad truth is they have not rejected the under-shepherds as much as they have actually rejected the chief shepherd. Admittedly there are many “shepherds” who have assumed the role without out having ever been gifted and appointed.

I am reminded of 1 Samuel 8:7 which says, “…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:8, NKJV). Now, I am not comparing myself to Samuel nor am I anything more than a man whom God called and has burdened with the care of the souls of His children. I know that God is not diminished in any way by those who reject biblical truth over personal experience.

I can’t help but weep for them. I pray for them. I thank God that for whatever reason He had, He has been gracious to keep me from rejecting His wisdom for the wisdom of this world. Thank God He sent His Spirit to give me life and caused me to be born again.

Even though Heaven is for Real is very minor in comparison to the great blasphemy of the anti-Christ’s that is at work now and the Apostle John said was working even in his day, I cannot help but feel grief. Small lies are not innocuous. Small foxes ruin the field or vines Solomon said.

I can’t stem this tide that is rolling over the church at large today. It still amazes me that Paul stated that error and false doctrine in the church has been ordained by God so that the truth would be made known. This is another reminder that God is God and I am not. One more reminder that His ways are not my ways. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How To Prepare for the Day

On occasion and just recently I was asked how I "do devotions."  I think what they were asking is how do I fellowship with God and prepare for the day on a daily basis.

There is no doubt that there are probably as many ways to "do devotions" or prepare for your day as there are available opinions in the church. I have tried various devotional plans over the years and I have experimented with each one of them. 

Without impugning motives, most of the devotional plans are little "traps" that fool us into thinking we have actually fellowshipped with God and accomplished something beneficial. Most devotional plans lead you unwittingly and unintentionally down the path toward Pharisee-ism. We have a tendency to put our confidence in a plan, or a program, or a process rather than a person.

No devotion plan will "change you" or make you more spiritual. Only God through the Holy Spirit and use of His word can make a difference in your life. It is a person not a process.

Having said that, let me share with you the "guide" or "out-line that I use to prepare myself for the day and to seek/maintain fellowship with God. I am not tied to this and I change it up now and then.

1.      Invocation

-take a deep breath
-rid myself of all distractions
- opening prayer inviting God to meet with me and to do a work in my hear

-I : incline my heart to the word (give me an eagerness for your Word)
-O : open my eyes to the wonderful truths/principles in your Word
-U : unite my heart into one unit that worships in fear and awe
-S : satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love

2.      Delight in the Word

-Psalm of the Day

3.      Confession of Sin

--Psalm 32
--Psalm 51
--1 John 1:8-2:6

4.      Scripture Reading of the Day

--Key Verse
--What Does God Say in this Passage?
--What are my thoughts?
--What do I need to do?
--What do I need to pray for?

5.      Prayer

-Adoration: what can I worship God for?
-Confession: what sin (s) do I need to confess?
-Thanksgiving: what can I thank God for?
-Supplication: what can I pray for?

6.      Sing Hymn (s)

7.      Benediction

-thank God for the fellowship
-ask God to help me remember the truth/principle/lesson
-ask God for strength to resist temptation & sin
-ask God for strength to be obedient & faithful today

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Ultimate Aim of Worship

The aim of our gathering today is to encourage, edify, and equip one another in our faith in order to continue to be faithful, holy, and obedient. The ultimate aim of God and the reason for the existence of this universe is to display the greatness of the character of God. Just as everything that God designed, displayed, divulged, deployed, and does is to reveal His character to the universe, everything that we do today through our gathering, singing, praying, teaching, encouraging, edifying, and equipping is to put on display the, magnificent, majestic, and marvelous character of our thrice Holy God.

Gregg Metcalf,
North Kelso Baptist Church
Kelso, WA