Friday, June 26, 2009

LIFE: A short gig!

There have been several public figures who have died this week that have been very familiar to many of the national and world population for a long time.

We remember "HHHEEERRRRREEEESSSSS JOHNNY!" from Ed McMahon and the hair and smile of "Charlie's Angels' " Farrah Fawsett and "I'll Be There" from Michael Jackson.

Many people are mourning the lost of these well known stars. They have in their own ways touched the lives of millions of people. Each of them have enjoyed their highs and have suffered their lows. Each of them have made some kind of contribution to society.

Much will be said in the press about their good and their bad moments, no doubt. In fact we will be inundated with their stories for a while.

The truth remains from the word of God "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement." Hebrews 9:27.
Dying is something everyone has to do (except for those who go up in the rapture) and being judged is also something each of us has to experience.

That is why I appreciate the next verse "so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." Those are the people who have accepted his free gift mentioned in Romans 6:23
"...the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." How do we receive this gift? The answer is found in Romans 10:9 & 10 ... "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

The news of anyone dying, whether it be well known people like those listed above, or the local preacher, Rev. William Mayo, who will not get national headlines, should be a reminder to each of us. A reminder of our mortalilty, our responsibility and the short time we have left.

The book of James reminds us in chapter 4, verse 14 ... "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."

Life is short... eternity is long... hope is found in Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tribute to my Best Friend

The first sermon I remember preaching was at the church I grew up in and I think I was around 18 or 19 years old. The sermon was titled "What's in a Name" and it was about Peter and his episode of walking on the water. Amazing that I remember that.

I worked in youth ministry for several years after that and preached on many occassions through the years, often filling in for preachers for various reasons.

Then in the summer of 1985, a new preacher came to our church. We immediately became friends and soon best friends. Though I was preaching a little before he was even saved, he was a big influence on my life. While he was a rising professional God saved him and immediately called him to ministry. He and his wife surrendered to seminary, unlike myself, and the church I attended at the time was his first pastorate.

Chip and Teresa Roberson moved here from Texas (they are originally from Georgia) and God used him to challenge me and prepare me for the next step in my ministry. We went through some challenges together in a church where some people thought they were supposed to be God (rather than serve God) and God grew us through those experiences.

A group of us started a new work and called Chip as our pastor. After a year of that ministry, God called me to Fellowship Baptist Church. Chip stepped out and ordained me to the gospel preaching ministry against the desires of some folks in our association.

God has used us both in exciting and remarkable ways.

Since coming here in 1988, I have preached on five continents and visited several countries. I have preached in many churches in several states as well as conferences and camps. All of those overseas trips and many of those preaching opportunities came as a result of Chip's influence and, or insistance.

Now after 25 years in the Pastoral ministry, Chip has retired and is returning to his previous vocation of being a pharmacist in his hometown in Georgia. Now, make no mistake, he has not retired from ministry as he will always be a preacher and proclaimer of the gospel of Christ.

I am so happy for Chip and Teresa as they return home to be where their hearts are and to have the opportunity to continue to serve the Lord in a less restricted venue.

Thank you Chip for being my best friend these many years and for pushing me to be who I am today. No other human outside of my family has ever encouraged me as you have. May God use you and your family mightily in the years to come.