Saturday, September 11, 2021

When It is Dangerous to go to church?


When It Is Dangerous to go to Church?

When the church does not understand what the conversion experience entails

When the church does not understand what the church is and its purpose

When the church does not have a clear understanding of biblical theology

When the church improperly emphasizes and implement unbiblical forms of child-evangelism

When the church unbiblically and improperly emphasize “music” and “worship”

When the church adopts “seeker-sensitive” and Barnum Bailey type means of church growth

When the church is man-centered rather than God-centered

Bonus Reason: When you have been inculcated with the unbiblical terminology of “going to church”. Genuine believers gather at a meeting place as the church

Friday, September 3, 2021

Grace, God's Grace!


My all-time favorite hymn is Living for Jesus. That hymn captures the ultimate desire of my heart. However, there are many more hymns that I love, particularly those hymns that remind us of the amazing, wonderful, and marvelous grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
The question for today is, do we really understand and appreciate grace? Do we really appreciate how amazing, how wonderful, and how marvelous grace really is? I am sure that most of God’s children do. I am equally sure that we will not truly or fully appreciate grace until we have stepped into the presence of Him who has bestowed grace upon us.
Grace. First of all, there seems to be no reference in the Old Testament or the New Testament that informs us that God extends His grace to anyone but His children. A. W. Pink says it this way, “Grace is a perfection of the Divine Character which is exercised only toward the elect.” (1) (He aptly and accurately differentiates between grace for the elect and mercy for all of God’s creatures, both fallen & redeemed)
Secondly, what makes grace so unique is that it cannot be earned, merited, or deserved. Sadly, due to our sinful nature which we inherited from Adam, we do not even desire grace. Until we have come to experience grace, we don’t ask for it or desire it. God grants grace to those whom He chooses. This is what is truly amazing, marvelous, and or wonderful! There is nothing that we can do to obtain or be worthy of grace. God extends grace freely, unfettered, and simply as he pleases. There is no reason why God extended grace to you or to me other than He purposed to do so by His good pleasure.
G. S. Bishop once stated that, “Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice, so corrupt that they cannot change their own nature, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf that they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and lift them into resurrection.” (2)
(1) A. W. Pink, The Attributes of God, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975), p. 66
(2) George Sayles Bishop, The Doctrines of Grace and Kindred Themes (New York: Gospel Publishing, 1910), 156

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Metcalf Family Reunion & Birthday Celebration!

 No, dear ones, I have not forgotten about you. We have been on a two-week vacation to Albuquerque and Austin, Texas. We left on the 14th and arrived home on the 27th.

We didn't want to post anything in order not to alert the burglers that our home would be empty for two weeks. Praise God, nothing was amiss or out of order when we walked in the door.
My dear Father turns 90 years old on December 1, 2021. So my sister and sister-in law of Austin and Houston hosted a 90th birthday celebration of his life which turned into a Metcalf family reunion (we even had one Torres from Irene's side join us from San Jose, CA). August was selected as the most convenient time to gather as many of us as possible and not have any one travel in inclement weather.
We had family come from New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Alabama and Washington. Represented were the Walter family, the Schaffer Family, the Fitzpatrick Family, and the Metcalf Family. We had five (5) generations present. My Father as the oldest at 90 and my great-grandson at 3 months.
For the first time in years, Irene and I had all four daughters under one roof at the same time and we had 4 of our 6 grandchildren (Madylinn and Diontre we missed you!)
Needless to say, we had a blast. There were nearly forty of us, somewhere around 36 or so. The food was delicious. The conversation hovered somewhere around the level of a jet engine. The laughter was contagious and continual.
The Lord blessed and was very gracious to us, Beauty (our Blazer is the Beast) our 2009 Saturn ran like a top. No flats, no tickets, no accidents, and no mechanical issues. However, we did experience the motel room from Hades - first time ever in 48 years of travel and lodging were we ever offered a room as bad as the one in Albuquerque.
I hope to get back to posting again and hearing from you all. I sure missed you but am glad to be back! May God bless you with the riches of His grace!

Monday, August 9, 2021

Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 5)


Here is a sample devotion as an example

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Thoughts on My Devotion (Part 4)

 Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 4)

The tools that I use:
For My Personal Devotions:
• NKJV Cambridge Wide Margin
• ESV Interleaved Journal Bible
• Pen-Gear Leatherette Journal
• The Valley of Vision
• The Trinity Hymnal (Baptist Edition)
• The Life Application Bible Commentary on the book I am working through (Use with Biblical Discernment)
For My Annual Reading
A Good Reading Bible (For your annual reading of the bible)
This is a bible with no references, section headings, notes, or anything that would distract you from reading. A good reading bible merely has chapter divisions. This type of bible allows you to read the bible as it flows with little or no distractions quite like if you were reading a novel. (They are not geared for devotions because they may or may not be set by paragraphs) (Yes, it is strongly recommended that you have a time to read 2-4 chapters a day and have a morning devotion where you are not simply reading but devouring a portion of scripture – paragraph at-a-time)
• The Thomas Nelson Deluxe Readers Bible
• The ESV Reader’s Edition
For My Bible Study
1. A Good Bible
As a matter of fact, after having looked for several years, and spent a small fortune on a number of bibles (I have approximately 40 or more bibles), I discovered that they have yet to print the perfect bible. So, I recommend at least 4 bibles for 4 specific purposes:
a. A Good Devotional Bible (For your personal devotions/quiet time)
1) A Cambridge Wide Margin Bible
2) A Single Column Journaling Bible
3) An Interleaved Journaling Bible
Men if you can watch a ball game or sports event, and ladies if you can watch a girly movie, you can make time to both read regularly and to meditate slowly most days. Even if you read each day and had a profitable devotion/quiet time 3 times a week you would be far better off than the majority of those who sit next to you in the pew.)
b. A Good Carry Bible (Light weight, easy to hold in the “pew,” easily transported)
By this I mean a reasonable size that is easily carried to the meeting place of your weekly gathering, or to bible studies, etc. I carry and recommend a large print ultra-thin line bible. I don’t recommend a compact or “personal” size bible due to the fact that the font is usually very small. Devotional bibles and study bibles are usually too large to carry practically. Reading bibles do not have verse notations, so if your pastor/speaker chases around the bible you wouldn’t find the verses easily.
c. A Good Study Bible (Always read a study bible from the top (text) down to the notes, don’t read from the bottom (notes) to the top (text)
1) The NKJV Cultural Study Bible
2) The Holman NKJV Study Bible
3) The ESV Study Bible
4) The Key Word Study Bible
2) A Good Bible Handbook
a) Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook is my favorite
b) Halley’s Bible Handbook
c) Gromacki’s New Testament Survey
3) A Good Bible Concordance
a) Strong’s Concordance
b) On-line bible sites with concordances
1) Blue Ribbon Bible
2) Bible Gateway
3) On-line bible program (free)
4) A Good Bible Dictionary
a) Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary
b) The New Bible Dictionary
c) Davis Dictionary of the Bible
d) ISBE (for the hard-core crowd)
5) A Good One-volume Commentary (For sermon preparation I typically use 20-25 individual commentaries on the book I am preaching through)
I know that is almost an oxy-moron, but I have found use in the following one-volume commentaries if you dine on the meat, and eat around the bones.
a) The Moody Bible Commentary
b) The MacArthur Bible Commentary
c) The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
6) A Good One Volume Systematic Theology
7) A Good Journal or Notebook - A Pen Gear Leatherette Journal

Friday, August 6, 2021

Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 3)

 Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 3)

I believe that it is imperative that you record what you have gleaned from the scriptures and what you have come to know. Do not trust your memory. A great problem with bible reading is that many people may in fact read a portion of scripture, but if you ask them two or three days later what the read, they can not tell you. Kent Matsueda once said, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.”
So, I use a Pen Gear Journal. It is simulated leather (not expensive), it is approximately 7” x 9” (manageable), it has ruled lines on each page, there are 192 pages. These journals are typically sold by Wal-Mart. I have found they are more available for online ordering through Walmart’s site than they are stocked in the actual stores. I usually order 3-5 at a time. I have been using them in my personal devotions for several years.
I use two pages – one across from the other – for each day of my devotion. On the opening page of the cover, I write my name, the date of the first entry, and then when I have filled the pages, on the third and final line I write the date of the last entry.
First – I use the journal to record what I gleaned from my mediation on my paragraph.
• I write the date in the upper left corner of the page, and I write the day of the week in the center of the page
• I then write and underline the word Scripture: Naturally, I write the scripture reference of the particular passage I am meditating through
• I then write two lines down the word Observation:
o It is here I began to record the info “requested by the Seven S’
 Speaker
 Subject
 Setting
 Schedule
 Stars
 Statement
 Sense
• I record questions I may have or that have arisen, I record principles I see, problems that are addressed, solutions to those problems, impressions from my heart (careful), the text will never say or mean anything that it did not say or mean to the original recipients. (There is no special or hidden meaning just for you!) I record any observation that I think is germane to the material under glass.
o What is the primary emphasis of the passage?
o Who are the main characters in the passage?
o What are the key words of the passage?
o What is the key verse of the passage?
o How does the main emphasis of the passage relate to my Christian life?
o Is there anything that speaks to or addresses the Christian life?
• I write the word Application: a couple of lines after my last entry. (By this time, I have filled the first page (which is actually the second page in the journal, the first page is a single page) and I move right across the spine to the adjoining page and continue recording my thoughts on application. I ask the passage and the Holy Spirit for the meaning and the application for the original recipients and for myself. I am looking to answer to questions: 1) What does God want me to Believe as a result of discovering the meaning of this passage and 2) How does God want me to Behave as a result of wrestling with and meditating through this passage. Ask and answer the following questions:
o What is the main idea?
o What should I know about this idea?
o What don’t I know about this idea?
o Am I practicing/living out the truth of the main idea?
o What do I need to do – not do – in order to comply with this truth?
o What timeless biblical principles are derived from this passage?
o Are there current errors in my belief or behavior exposed by this passage?
o What changes do I need to make?
• After making the application to my life from this passage, I write the word Prayer. I write out a short prayer of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication to God for the truth exposed by the passage and for enablement in implementing the application to my life.
o Pray for enable to apply the truth gleaned from the passage
o Pray for strength to resist the devil and to withstand the fiery darts of Satan
o Pray for the Holy Spirit to remind you throughout the day of the main point of the passage and the application peculiar to you.
o Pray for opportunities to share what you have learned with someone else.
Second - Yes, my devotion takes approximately 60 to 75 minutes each morning. I say each morning, I usually don’t have a devotion on Saturday morning. That is my day to sleep in, have a late breakfast, and then run errands for and with my wife.
• No, God will not reach down with a big stick with a thumb-tac on the end and thump you one.
• This is not a Pharisaical, legalistic demand that makes or breaks you. God will not be displeased with you, disappointed in you, nor will he discipline you if you miss a morning now and then.
• But forget the 5- or 7-minute devotion, and ignore the pleas from those who plead with you to commit to a 15-minute devotion. Sometimes, but not as a rule or habit, you may only get 15 minutes or so – reading a paragraph will not hurt you, but only help you.
But to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, to develop a deep and intimate relationship with God realize it takes time. You can find an hour or so if you desire it.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 2)

 Thoughts on My Devotions (Part 2)

First – the purpose of my devotions
• To come to God deeply & intimately
• To know exactly what the Bible says
• To deepen a vibrant relationship w/God
• To learn about my inheritance in Christ
• To grow in the knowledge & grace of God
Second – the plan of my devotions
• Prayer for guidance, understanding, discernment
• Hymns or choruses in order to offer worship/praise
• Old Testament Reading (1-3 chapters)
• New Testament Reading (one paragraph/section)
• Journaling of thought, responses, questions, & application
• Prayer for implementation and obedience
Third – the patterns for my devotions
• Biographical character studies
• Study & Meditation on specific doctrines
• Key Chapters of the Bible
• Key Passages in the bible
o Creation
o The Fall of Man
o The Call of Abraham
o The Birth Narratives of Christ
o The Life of Christ
o Sermon on the Mount
o Historical Narratives
o Wisdom Sections
o The Major Prophets
o The Minor Prophets
o Prophecy
o The New Testament Church
o The Parables of Jesus
• Specific books of the bible
o Meditate thru a complete book of the bible one paragraph at a time
o Spend a lot of time in the New Testament