Full of grace and truth

Some time ago I was doing the children’s singing at a Vacation Bible School. I was asking the kids what song they wanted to sing next when one voice piped up:

“Jingle bells!” he cried.

I could see the smiles on the faces of several adults in the room, but before they could respond, his buddy responded, clear as a … as a bell:

“He means Jesus songs, Bozo!” Continue reading “Full of grace and truth”

Two sermons, two very different reactions

We will guard our hearts no matter what happens. We will rationalize or pretend whatever is necessary to bring our lives into some kind of equilibrium. It’s the human way.

While we hear with our ears, we interpret the data through our hearts and minds. That is the real battlefield in terms of the gospel.

We find an excellent example in Acts where two similar messages evoked diametrically opposed reactions. Continue reading “Two sermons, two very different reactions”

Preacher jokes

“Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

You know the one about the boy who gave a dollar to the preacher? The preacher, surprised, asks: “What’s this for?” The boy responds, “It’s for you,” he responds. “My father says you’re the poorest preacher he’s ever known.

“Preachers,” we are reminded, “should talk about eternity, not for eternity.” Continue reading “Preacher jokes”

Dalton Mansel worked for God

Dalton Mansel, (1939-2015), came to ministry by accident but remained with purpose (Colossians 3:23).

Born into a hardscrabble existence, he acquired a work ethic that would burn brightly until his final moments. For 76 years he labored so that his final days were filled with the language of work, orders and management.

His body and spirit refused to remain at rest (Proverbs 13:4).

As he labored more than half a century in retail–forty of them in management–he served God and his family tirelessly (Exodus 4:2; 1 Timothy 5:8). Continue reading “Dalton Mansel worked for God”

Drawing an audience

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, . . . Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him” (Matthew 3:1, 5).

One of the attractions of preaching in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh is the number of people who will travel long distances under difficult circumstances to hear one’s lessons. On my very first trip to Nepal I met some brothers from the mountains who had come to Katmandu to hear me preach. When I asked where they lived they said, “It is two days walk from our village to the end of the bus route, then a 12 hour ride on the bus to Katmandu.” Continue reading “Drawing an audience”

Guided by the Spirit

“…take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak” (Mark 13:11)

When I was about 13, I picked up a guitar for the first time. To say that I picked it up quickly was an understatement. I could listen to a piece of music and almost see in my mind how to reproduce that sound on the guitar. It gave me the ability to do what some of my friends only dreamed of doing, or could only do with endless hours of hard work. Continue reading “Guided by the Spirit”