Monday, March 29, 2010


My first real experience with a GPS (Global Positioning System) was on a trip with a friend. It absolutely amazed me to see it work by receiving signals from satellites in space and triangulating our position here on earth. As I watched this device work, I thought of how it is like the Gospel.
The GPS is not like the Gospel in that it is from man, yet the Gospel is from God. It is subject to changes, but the Gospel is not. It can be wrong, but the Gospel is always right. However, there are some ways in which these two are similar.
  • Both look up for direction. One looks to satellites, and the other to God.
  • Both tell you where you are (whether you like the answer or not). One tells you where you are on the earth, and the other tells where you are spiritually.
  • Both tell you how to get where you need to go.
  • Both can be ignored or rejected. Anyone who has ever used a GPS has heard the familiar word, "Recalculating" when they deviated from the charted route. When one deviates from God's course, he must repent and get back on course or he will end up being lost.
Are you trying to go to Heaven? Use the right GPS... God's Plan to Save!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It Takes A Preacher!

Today many believe that preaching is outdated and ineffective. The pulpit is being de-emphasized in many churches, while drama and other forms of entertainment are gaining more prominence. There are two points I want to make about this trend and attitude toward preaching.
First, to minimize preaching in our worship services is to minimize God's plan for our worship. Preaching has been practiced in our worship from the very beginning (Acts 20:7). The pulpit is invaluable to the life and growth of a congregation. It sets the tone, encourages, warns, and informs. When the pulpit is de-emphasized, the members of that congregation will certainly suffer from shallow teaching.
Second, the pulpit is not the real answer to church growth. The pulpit is not going to reach the masses. It is simply too limited. It is limited in scope because it is not primarily designed as an evangelistic tool. The main purpose of the pulpit is directed to the church and not specifically to those outside of Christ. If we used the pulpit only for outreach, we would never be able to deal with the meat of God's Word(Hebrews 5:12-14). It is also limited in range. By its very nature, pulpit preaching is limited to the confines of a building. Most of the lost are outside our buildings without any desire to enter.
There is another unfortunate assumption often made today. Namely, the way to reach the lost is to invite them to worship services. This practice is not wrong; using this practice as an approach to personal evangelism is wrong. As we have seen, worship services are really for Christians, not those outside of Christ. If we are going to reach the lost, we must realize it doesn't take a pulpit, it takes a preacher. When Jesus sent Saul to Damascus to wait to learn what he "must do" (Acts 9:6), He also sent Ananias to give Saul that instruction. In the conversion of Saul, it took a preacher! Why didn't Jesus tell him what to do when He had Saul's attention on the road to Damascus? The only answer I have to that question is that Jesus did not want to do it that way. He must have wanted a preacher to talk to Saul. Consider the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Lord sent Philip to "chase him down." When Philip caught him, he "preached to him Jesus" (Acts 8:36). Again, it took a preacher! It is the same with the Philippian Jailor (Acts 16:31-34).
The fact is, all Christians are called to be "preachers." If we are to grow as we ought to be growing, we must all go out and "preach" or talk to others about Christ, His grace, His word, and His Church. While there may be a very few exceptions (those who are self-taught), the general rule is that everyone who becomes a Christian did so because someone cared enough to talk to him or her. It still takes a preacher. Are you preaching today?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Head or Heart?

I loved the old Star Trek TV show when I was growing up. Do you remember the seeming conflict in the approaches of both Spock and Kirk. Spock approached everything with cold logic. Kirk, on the other hand, approached the things with some degree of emotion and passion, and sometimes he went with his gut feelings. They worked well together.

Today, many people struggle with their circumstances in life questioning whether they should go with their head or their heart. More often than not the world says to go with the heart. Of course, the world always counsels us to do what makes us feel good at the moment. I once heard a speaker say there are some people who have a more doctrinal approach to the Bible and Christian living, while others have a more devotional approach. This sounds a little like the "head or heart" approach to life. Which should we follow?

Following the head strikes me as being "an inch wide and a mile deep." It has the depth or substance, but it is somewhat limited in its breadth. I know following the head is important because Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "Knowing" and "truth" require the head. When Jesus spoke of the scribes and Pharisees, He said, "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do" (Mt. 23:3a). Therefore, we must do what we know to be the right thing to do no matter how we feel about it. However, there is an inherent danger in a purely academic approach to the Bible and Christian living. Jesus went on to say about the Pharisees "but do not do after their works, for they say and do not" (Mt. 23:3b). They ignored the weightier matters of the law such as justice, mercy, and faith (Mt. 23:23). They were sticklers for the law, but their heart was not in it.

Following the heart strikes me as being "a mile wide and and inch deep." It is broad enough, but too shallow. This approach recognizes the "felt needs" of every person. It reaches out to others, it cares, and is compassionate. Such was Jesus. I know this is important because Jesus said, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Mt. 15:8 NKJV). Jesus was just as serious in condemning this as He was condemning the problem in Matthew 23 (Cf. Luke 6:46). However, there is a danger of emotionalism. Sometimes people become concerned only with how Christianity makes them feel to the neglect of doing what is right in the sight of God (Gal. 1:6-9; Rom. 6:1; 2 Tim. 4:3,4; 2 Pet. 1:16).

We must find a balanced blend of the head and the heart. This approach is "a mile wide and a mile deep." This is not an "either, or" question. It is a question of "both, and." The head and the heart are not mutually exclusive. Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind." We see that loving God requires both the head and the heart. This is also true in our worship (John 4:24). All I am saying is that the Christian must follow his head (what God's Word says) with all his heart (emotion and passion)!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cleaning Day

Today is the day to clean off my desk. It was way too cluttered. This is something we all have to do from time to time. Here are some thoughts that came to me while I was performing this task:
  • It is always better to have a set time to do certain tasks. This is one of those things that need to be done regularly because things tend to "pile up." We too need to have regular times to "straighten up our own lives." This is the concept of examining ourselves that Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 13:5.
  • It important to put things in their proper place. During the week, we often use a thing and because we are focused on what we are doing at that moment, we don't put it back in its place. How often do we do this in our personal lives? We tend to get caught up in the daily struggles, influences, and exertion. In the process, our priorities get shuffled around. This is when we need to take the time to put our priorities back in their proper place.
  • It is surprising how much needless stuff accumulates. Initially, some of these things seem to have some significance and importance at the moment, but after the week is over, we realize this stuff is not important and simply clutters our desk. There are things in life that seem to be important at first, but eventually we realize they are only cluttering up our lives. This is when it is time to throw these things out! It is more difficult for some than others. I'm one of those who have a tendency to hold on to things I just don't need. Of course, occasionally when I throw things away (bulletins, notes I've jotted down, etc.), it seems I need them a day or two later. While this has happened, it is rare. I can't even remember a specific instance right now. So, in reality, I got by fine without it. Is there something in your life that needs to be discarded right now. Obviously, sin must be discarded (2 Cor. 7:9-10). However, there are times that even benign things in life need to be discarded when they tend to clutter up our lives.
I never cease to be amazed at the life lessons we can find all around us every day. Even the most mundane tasks afford us great opportunities to grow spiritually if we will look for the lessons that are there. I want to challenge you to look for the lessons in the tasks you have to do today!

I'm Back!

I apologize for the "vacation" I have taken from blogging. One thing I'm going to do this time is limit the number of posts. Someone once said, "'The Thought for the Day' doesn't mean we should only have one thought per day." Well, it seems that there are days I can scarcely muster one thought for a blog, let alone several a week! Actually, time is the main reason I have not been posting. It seems that I either go all out with something or I don't do it at all. I am trying to change this and do better. Therefore, I will try to do only one or two posts per week from now on.

It is amazing that so many people have continued to check this blog during "my absence." Thank you for coming back. I hope future post will be a real blessing to each of you.