SUNDAY – OCTOBER 18, 2020

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’”  II Corinthians 6:16-18
 
“Separation” is a biblical and theological theme that has often been neglected by the church because of its unpopular ramifications.  Yet it is a very important biblical truth and one that is fraught with grace, blessings, and hope for God’s people.  In the Next Chapter After the Last, Mr. Tozer wrote about the danger of compromise that would eliminate our difference from the lost world.  On pages 20 and 21, Tozer wrote the following.

 

     “Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets.  When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong.  At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded.  To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous….

     “Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline.  Her eager fawning at the feet of the world’s great is a grief to the Holy Spirit and an embarrassment to the sons of God….

     “Lot was a popular believer…. But when trouble struck, he had to send quickly for Abraham to get him out of a jam.  And where did they find Abraham?  Out on the hillside, far away from the fashionable crowds.  It has always been so…. For every Noah there is always a vast multitude who will not believe it is going to rain.

     “We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it.”
 
Our prayer must be for deliverance from the scramble for popularity.  We must “seek first the kingdom of God” and “set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth.”
 
Looking unto Jesus,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 11, 2020

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21
 
In the first century of church history, God worked in such a way that it is recorded that “…these have turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)  The spread of the gospel throughout the world without the aid of electronic (or even printed) communications demonstrates the great power that was at work in the lives of believers.  Lives were saved and rescued from bondage and destruction in miraculous ways.  God did an obvious supernatural work that could not be hidden from the record of this world’s history. The power of God has been emblazoned across the pages of time.  What do you believe God can do today?!  Mr. A. W. Tozer believed and wrote about God’s ability over several decades of ministry, but he also knew what is required of believers if we are to see God’s power burn once again.  He wrote the following in Jesus Is Victor on pages 116 and 117.
 

     “There is no limit to what God could do in our world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this:     Oh God, I hereby give myself to you.  I give my family.  I give my business.  I give all I possess.  Take all of it, Lord, and take me!  I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for Your sake, let me lose it.  I will not ask what the price is.  I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen.

     “If even 300 of God’s people became that serious, our world would never hear the last of it!  They would influence the news.  Their message would go everywhere like birds on the wing.  They would set off a great revival of New Testament faith and witness.

     “God wants to deliver us from the easygoing, smooth and silky, fat and comfortable Christianity so fashionable today.  I hope we are willing to let truth get hold of us, even at the cost of rejection or embarrassment.

     “The faith of the heavenly overcomers cost them everything and gained them everything.  What of our faith?”
 
God has no difficulty asking individuals to give Him everything.  He knows that all we might give Him is nothing compared to what He will give in return!
 
All to Jesus, I surrender!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 4, 2020     Communion Sunday

“Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”   (Ephesians 5:17-21)

 
It is good to do things in the life of the church in a decent and orderly manner. There are certain established traditions and customs that greatly direct the actual practices of any local church. This is just as true of churches that are “contemporary” in practice as churches that have been established for many years and follow more “conventional” practices. Just watch either “style” church service and after only a few weeks you will know what to expect in that church’s practice. All of us need to stop criticizing and condemning the practices of the “style” that is different than the one we might personally prefer. The real issue is whether or not the Spirit is present and at work in the activities of each local congregation.
 
     “For a long time I have believed that truth, to be understood, must be lived; that Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life….

     “We must be willing to obey if we would know the true inner meaning of the teachings of Christ and the apostles. I believe this view prevailed in every revival that ever came to the church during her long history. Indeed a revived church may be distinguished from a dead one by the attitude of its members toward the truth. The dead church holds to the shell of truth without surrendering the will to it, while the church that wills to do God’s will is immediately blessed with a visitation of spiritual powers.

     Theological facts are like the altar of Elijah on Carmel before the fire came, correct, properly laid out, but altogether cold. When the heart makes the ultimate surrender, the fire falls and true facts are transmuted into spiritual truth that transforms, enlightens, sanctifies. The church or the individual that is Bible taught without being Spirit taught (and there are many of them) has simply failed to see the truth that lies deeper than the theological statement of it.”  (Tozer, That Incredible Christian, pages 92 & 94.)
 
We might construct the altar in the proper way and to the correct dimensions, but we need the fire! Our prayer must be “Lord, send the fire of the Holy Spirit on our altars!”
 
Thirsty for the Spirit,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14
 
During the month of September, I have been sharing ideas about revival and some of the conditions necessary for an expectation of an out-pouring of God’s Spirit and blessings. Many of us have been praying that God would do a great and mighty work in and through His people around the world. During the same time, we know that conditions in this world have been drastically changed which have caused confusion and fear for millions of people.  But what should people fear the most?  Mankind must be reminded that every human being will one day stand before God and give an accounting for “the deeds done in their bodies.” We must realize that it is God that we must fear most and recognize that His judgement is the most serious “threat” to our nation.
 
     “I have little fear that any nation or combination of nations could bring down the United States and Canada by military action from without.  But this I do fear – we sin and sin and do nothing about it.  There is so little sense of the need of repentance – so little burden for the will of God to be wrought in our national life.  I fear that the voice of blood will become so eloquent that God Almighty will have no choice but to speak the word that will bring us down.
     “I do pray often: ‘Oh God, send a revival of repentance and the fear of God that will sweep through the continent that we may be spared; that we may honor Thee!’”  (Tozer, Echoes from Eden, page 44.)
 
What prophetic words that A. W. Tozer wrote over 60 years ago.  Certainly, the blood of six million aborted children since he wrote those words are “crying out from the ground” even as Abel’s blood cries out.  Certainly, the blood of innocents that are being killed by hated-filled violence is crying out as well.  How long will it be until God finally acts in swift judgement against our sin?  Sure and swift action is going to be taken by our God as He cannot tolerate sin indefinitely.  He must act in order to be true to His word!  These are the things that we must come to fear!  Repentance must become our constant attitude and practice in order to secure the blessings of a Heaven-sent revival.
 
Fearing the Lord,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,

to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”  Acts 20:28

“…Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her….”  Ephesians 5:25b

 
This month I am sharing thoughts about revival in the bulletin each week.  It should be understandable that God will bless and revive any church to the extent that the congregation desires.  God responds to the greatest longing of our hearts and acts in accordance with our faith.  What do we really desire from God, and do we believe that He is willing to bless us with it?  Desire and faith seem to go hand-in-hand when it comes to procuring the blessings of revival from God’s hand.

 

     “We need a revival!  We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and  burden of the day.  We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit. We of the deeper life persuasion are not immune to the temptations of ease, and we are in grave of becoming a generation of pleasure lovers.

     “Any who disagree with these conclusions are within their rights, and I would be the last to deny them the privilege.  But in the name of a thousand struggling churches and disheartened pastors, may I not plead for a little more loyalty to the local church during this season of difficulty?

     “May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.”
 
That quote was taken from God Tells the Man Who Cares, a compilation of A. W. Tozer’s work as editor of the Alliance Weekly during the 1950’s and 60’s.  Could words written today be any more relevant to our time as those written from the last century?  It is absolutely true that the church needs revival.  A recent report by the Barna Survey has indicated that at least 20% of churches are going to be closed as a result of the Corona virus and the guidelines established by our government. Many, many folks will simply not return to church after the past months of shutdown.  The world needs the church, and the church needs committed followers of Jesus Christ!
 
Longing for and praying for a revival,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

Grandparents’ Day     SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.  When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.  Behold, thus shall the man be who fears the Lord.  The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children.”  Psalm 128
 
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  A community, church or nation is only as strong as its weakest family.  The home is at the heart of every other social structure, and we long for Christ to be the center of every home!  In some situations, it might be true that there is strength in numbers, but if all the individual numbers are weak then even the largest number will be weak.  We must understand the importance of individual character and integrity!

 

     “No church is any better or worse than the individual Christians who compose it…

     “One consequence of our failure to see clearly the true nature of revival is that we wait for years for some supernatural manifestation that never comes, overlooking completely our own individual place in the desired awakening.  Whatever God may do for a church must be done in the single unit, the one certain man or woman.  Some things can happen only to the isolated, single person; they cannot be experienced en masse. Statistics show, for instance, that 100 babies are born in a certain city on a given day.  Yet the birth of each baby is for that baby a unique experience, an isolated, personal thing…

     “Three thousand persons were converted at Pentecost, but each one met his sin and his Savior alone.  The spiritual birth, like the natural one, is for each one a unique, separate experience shared in by no one.  And so with that uprush of resurgent life we call revival, it can come to the individual only.”  (Tozer, A. W., The Size of the Soul, pages 14 and 15.)
 
Let each of us draw our own circle and stand within it alone. Let each of us pray, “Lord, send revival in this circle!”
 
Draw me closer and make me a better Christian,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY  –  SEPTEMBER 6, 2020

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?  Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.   I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.”  Psalm 85”6-9
 
Revival is a word that is being spoken throughout the Church.  Television and radio personalities, Christian authors, and pastors across this land in which we live are calling out to God for a revival.  There seems to be a consensus that the Church is in a weakened state and lacking the power promised to Her through the Holy Spirit.  The problem does not exist because of a shortcoming on Her Lord’s part!  He is the same today as He has always been!  The problem is with those who claim to be a part of His church. There is obvious lack in the spiritual life of the members of the Body of Christ.  We need to be revived!
 
     “Our most pressing obligation today is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church.  It is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them.  Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest not a little better than but a little worse than the seed from which it sprang.  Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed…
 
     “To carry on these activities [evangelism, missions] scripturally the church should be walking in fullness of power, separated, purified and ready at any moment to give up everything, even life itself, for the greater glory of Christ.  For a worldly, weak, decadent church to make converts is but to bring forth after her own kind and extend her weakness and decadence a bit further out…
 
     “So vitally important is spiritual quality that it is hardly too much to suggest that attempts to grow larger might well be suspended until we have become better.”  (Tozer, The Set of the Sail, pages 154-156.)
 
We must allow God to do a deeper work in our own lives.  We must seek a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in fire and power in a manner that sanctifies us as individual members of the Church.  We must cry out for a revival that will make each of us “better” Christians!
 
Longing for and praying for a revival from God,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Rally Day      AUGUST 30, 2020

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.”  Proverbs 14:34-35
 
A person only needs to read a few of the writings of our “founding fathers” to discover that biblical references and a biblical worldview permeate their thinking.  The Bible was so widely read and respected that it influenced even the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  This country was established and grew successful because it was the wisdom of God that led the first generations of Americans.  The Book of Proverbs states: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding.” (4:7)  I have a sense of tremendous responsibility to dispense wisdom, especially to the children.  As parents, grandparents, and teaching adults, if we don’t work to train up future generations in the wisdom that built America, America will be lost!  The following is taken from the May-June issue of Zion’s Fire and the article “Humanism vs. God: The Dangerous Rise of Scientific Socialism in America.”  It was written by David Rosenthal and is found on pages four and five.

 

     “The oft-repeated admonition voiced by numerous health experts and politicians over the past six months has been: ‘We must follow the science.’ But it seems as though the science keeps changing and the goalposts continue to be moved.  Perhaps the question Americans should really be asking is: ‘Who is actually controlling the release of the health data and statistics our leaders have been relying upon to determine the appropriate ‘scientific’ response to the pandemic?’

     “Former President Obama (who incidentally campaigned in 2008 on the promise of ‘fundamentally transforming America’) recently weighed in with his own thoughts of what our national coronavirus response should be: ‘Stay calm,’ he advised, ‘listen to the experts, and follow the science.’ Consider his words carefully.  They stem from a worldview that embraces Marxist/Socialist philosophy and envisions a planet run by a bureaucracy of technocrats.

      “The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has revealed a cabal of corporate behemoths working in league with the U. S. government in the fields of pharmaceuticals and technology.  They, along with various other industries, stand to reap a financial windfall if they can successfully instill within the public psyche the necessity to ‘do our part’ to defeat the pandemic through a collectivist/socialist response. Contact tracing is here.  Mandatory testing is already occurring in other parts of the world.  Only ‘herd immunity’ or ‘the discovery of a vaccine can stop the spread.’ In other words, we are being told we’re facing a global problem that can only be solved with a scientific global response.

      “In no sense am I denying the benefits of scientific discovery.  Nor am I advocating selfish disregard of others or calling for civil disobedience.  As Christians, we are to love our neighbor and respect those in authority.  However, we are also called to speak the truth in love, seek godly wisdom, and exercise discernment.

     “The urgent warning Jesus gave His disciples as they faced adversity is just as crucial for us today: ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).’

     “America was built on faith in God, strong families, hard work, rugged individualism, and the rule of law.  Today, all of these are under attack by pouncing wolves seeking to tear our nation apart.

     “Scientific socialism is an imminent danger to our Republic.  If fully enacted, it will suppress independent thought.  It will eliminate free speech.  It will publicly shame and criminalize those who dissent.  Most importantly, it will turn hearts away from the worship of our Creator and lead us into a humanistic and godless tyranny.

     “As Christians, we are called to stand for truth.  But we should not be surprised by the rise of iniquity as we approach the end of the age.  Make no mistake, we are living in the midst of a spiritual war between God and Satan that has raged since the fall of humanity.  I truly believe our Lord’s return is fast approaching – and He will win the victory!  In light of this, I encourage you, beloved friend, to press on.  We must not allow the darkness of this world to rob us of our joy in Christ.  Listen to the words of Paul: ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10).’

     “May we, who have been set free from the bondage of sin through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, remain unified as we embrace the essential truths enshrined within our Pledge of Allegiance: ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”
 
My prayer: “Lord, preserve for us our nation!”
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 23, 2020

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.  The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.”  Proverbs 14:34-35
 
A few years ago, at English camp in Brazil, I taught a series of lessons on The Ten Commandments.  I remember specifically showing from the Bible that God had declared that any nation, not just Israel, which would use the Decalogue as the foundation for their law would be blessed.  God clearly established His commandments as the moral compass for civilization, all peoples of the world.  There was a young man from England who was serving at the camp.  He had a difficult time accepting that the Ten Commandments could have any application for any group other than the Jewish nation.  I assured him that he was mistaken.  The sad reality is that far too many people in our own country believe that God and His commands have nothing to do with our nation.  In the attempt to be secular or amoral, and to establish a “wall of separation” between religion and government, our nation has pushed God out of our society and culture altogether.
 
Think about what happened in our country during the last half century.  “As I alluded to earlier, leftism fully took root in America in the 1960s.  It started in the culture, and quickly gravitated to the Supreme Court.  In the early ‘60s, multiple rulings undercut the biblical heritage of our country.  Prayer in public schools was deemed unconstitutional in 1962, as was Bible reading in 1963.  Years later, displaying the Ten Commandments in classrooms was also blocked by the high court.  God was ushered out of our public schools and public squares quicker than anyone realized.  As a result, what had started as a cultural revolution became our country’s political norm.  A decade later, the sin of abortion was legalized in America and subsidized by leftists – justified by a legal ruling that even defenders of Roe v. Wade view as constitutionally tenuous.  The results?  Sixty-one million abortions and a cheapening of the value of human life to young people.  The soul of our country – articulated in the Declaration of Independence – was ripped from the Constitution, right underneath our noses.” (Hegseth, Pete, American Crusade, pages 72 and 73.)
 
I am praying that there will be an enlightenment fall on the minds of our citizens in this God-blessed land of America. We must return to the biblical foundation upon which our Founding Fathers built this nation.  We will NOT survive much longer without genuine national repentance!
 
A very concerned Christian American!
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 16, 2020

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’”   Mark 16:15-18
 
Most of us are awfully familiar with the Great Commission.  We know that our Lord expects the church to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples in every ethnic group that exists.  He has already told us that one day in heaven there will be a group of believers who have been redeemed “…out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (See Revelation 5:8-14.)   He believes it; He expects it, and He has prophesized that it will happen.
 

     “Recall what happened when Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15).

     “Peter jumped up right away, grabbed his hat and would have been on his way, but Jesus stopped him, and said, ‘Not yet, Peter!  Don’t go like that.  Tarry until you are endued with power from on high, and then go!’

     “I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship before we become busy for Him.  He wants us to have a gift of the Spirit, an inner experience of the heart, as our first service, and out of that will grow the profound and deep and divine activities which are necessary.” (Tozer, I Talk Back to the Devil, p. 139.)
 
     “The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false.  Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it.  Our Lord said ‘Go ye,’ but He also said, ‘Tarry ye,’ and the tarrying had to come before the going.  Had the disciples gone forth as missionaries before the day of Pentecost it would have been an overwhelming spiritual disaster, for they could have done no more than make converts after their likeness, and this would have altered for the worse the whole history of the Western world and had consequences throughout the ages to come.” (Tozer, Of God and Men, pgs. 36-37.)
 
Brothers and sisters, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it will be absolutely certain that we will become “missions-minded!”  We must be filled with the Holy Spirit!
 
I will be a tarry-then-go servant!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 9, 2020

“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”  John 17:21
 
Last week’s “bulletin message” contained a warning about seeking unity “at any cost,” especially at the cost of compromise.  While it is true that we are called to defend “the faith once delivered to the saints,” it is also true that the New Testament message emphasizes the Lord’s desire for unity in the church.  When Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he wrote that “a walk worthy of the calling” would include efforts “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-6)  Paul also wrote to the believers at Corinth that God designed the church to function through gifts of the Spirit “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (I Corinthians 12:23-25)  We should ask how we can best experience and maintain unity in the church.  Mr. Tozer has given us an important and keen insight with his words on page 90 of The Pursuit of God.
 
     “Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of proportion, that the ‘us’ of the New Testament is being displaced by a selfish ‘I.’  Has it ever occurred to you that 100 pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.  So 100 worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.  Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.  The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier.  The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.”
 
The key to becoming closer to each other is to become closer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.  As we walk with Jesus, we will find sweet fellowship with all others who are also walking with Him!  Each of us must seek a closer relationship and walk with the Master.  That is the key to unity!
 
Of the same mind in the Lord,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – AUGUST 2, 2020

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying

in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you,

and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,

repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Acts 20:19-21

There is a commonly used philosophy when tensions are high, and groups are in opposition to one another.  It is simply “Let’s just get along with each other.”  Certainly, this expresses a universal desire of people’s hearts.  Nearly everyone wants to live without conflict.  Difficulty arises when an attempt is made to lessen tension and to produce peace.  How do we do that?  One party or group could be eliminated.  One side could simply change its mind.  The most frequently suggested solution is compromise.  It’s a good idea, but in reality compromise means that one or the other must give up something.
 
Over 60 years ago, Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote about “Harmony at Any Cost” in This World: Playground or Battlefield?  On pages 112 and 113.
     “Some misguided Christian leaders feel that they must preserve harmony at any cost, so they do everything possible to reduce friction.  They should remember that there is no friction in a machine that has been shut down for the night.  Turn off the power, and you will have no problem with moving parts.  Also remember that there is a human society where there are no problems – the cemetery.  The dead have no differences of opinion.  They generate no heat, because they have no energy and no motion.  But their penalty is sterility and complete lack of achievement.
     “What then is the conclusion of the matter?  That problems are the price of progress; that friction is the concomitant of Motion; that a live and expanding church will have a certain quota of difficulties as a result of its life and activity.  A Spirit-filled church will invite the anger of the enemy.”
 
We must stand for the truth of God’s Word without compromise!  We cannot deny our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  We must never give up what is right just to appease an enemy to produce a false peace.  We are called to be soldiers of the Cross!  “All who would live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”   (II Timothy 3:12)
 
Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
     Pastor Doug
 

 

 

 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – JULY 26, 2020

“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us.”   II Timothy 1:13-14
 

FRESH!  There are very few things in this world that are better after they have become “old and stale.”  At this time of the year, there are many who are enjoying FRESH fruit, produce from the garden.  We enjoy fresh better, and it is better for us. This is also true in the life of faith!  It is easy to allow our experience of God to become stale, and we lose some of its vitality.  In Rut, Rot or Revival, Mr. Tozer wrote, “When we come to the place where everything can be predicted and nobody expects anything unusual from God, we are in a rut.”  Oh, I do not want our “church life” to end up in a rut!  I want the fresh vitality of the Holy Spirit to permeate our times of fellowship and worship!

     “The church is afflicted by dry rot.  This is best explained when the psychology of non-expectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.
     “There are many who respond by arguing, ‘I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get crowds in.  They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday school larger.’  That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut.  They want people to help them celebrate the rot, and finally join in the rot.  Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways….But more people for what?  More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise?  More people to join us in the bondage to the rot? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is.” (Tozer, A. W., Rut, Rot or Revival, pages 8 & 9.)
 
Lord, save us all from non-expectancy and rigidity!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – JULY 19, 2020

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”        Hebrews 11:1, 6

It becomes obvious from reading the Bible that “faith” is foundational and particularly important in the kingdom of God.  Individuals enter a relationship with God by faith, and then each person continues to “live by faith.”  As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, no one can please God without faith.  True faith is an ever-present reality in the lives of God’s people.  If we will “learn” how to function and live “by faith,” our lives will be transformed.
 
     “The voice of unbelief says, ‘Yes, I’m a believer.  I believe the Bible. I don’t like those modernists, liberals and modern scientists who deny the Bible.  I would not do that for the world.  I believe in God, and I believe that God will bless.’ That is, He will bless at some other time, in some other place, and some other people.  Those three sleepers that bring the work of God to a halt.  We are believers, and we can quote the creed with approval.  We believe it, but we believe that God will bless some other people, some other place, some other time – but not now, not here, and not us…

     “If we allow the gloomy voice of unbelief to whisper to us that God will bless some other time but not now, some other place but not here, some other people but not us, we might as well turn off the lights because nobody will get anywhere…

     “The average evangelical church lies under a shadow of quiet doubting.  The doubt is not the unbelief that argues against Scripture, but worse than that.  It is the chronic unbelief that does not know what faith means.”   (Tozer, Rut, Rot or Revival, pages 152 and 157.)
 
We must pray as the disciples prayed, “Lord, increase our faith.” God wants to bless our congregation in a great and tangible way in response to our faith!
 
My prayer – now, here, us!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

Family Crusade     SUNDAY – JULY 12, 2020

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward… Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.”   Psalm 127:3; 128:3
 
God has been very gracious to our congregation and has given us the opportunity to minister to children since our beginning.  We have enjoyed Sunday school for children, VBS, Kids’ crusades, Kids’ church, puppet-ministry and children’s sermons during worship services, Released-time Bible programs and AWANA.  We know that children are not only a specific blessing to families and households, but we have known during all our 45 years that children are a blessing to churches and specifically to our congregation.  We believe with many other Christians that “Kids matter to God!”  What a great joy it has been to see God touch the lives of children through our ministries at Needmore Bible Church.
 
Cathy and I listen to a wide variety of Christmas music when the season is here.  One of the older CD’s is done by the Oak Ridge Boys.  On that project, there is a line about the emphasis on children during Christmas that goes like this, “The nearest thing to heaven is a child.”  I do not want to argue with anyone about that line, but consider the words of Jesus from Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”  Wow!  It seems that Jesus predicted a blessing of His Presence to those who minister the Gospel to children.
 
It is also true that God will hold us responsible and accountable for the way that we have treated and influenced children.  Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) There are going to be hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers, professors and other adults who will be punished and suffer everlasting torment because they have caused “children” to turn away from the faith that was in their heart when they were very young and first learned about Jesus.  Pray for our congregation and its ministries that we will remain faithful to the Truth and never cause a “little one to stumble!”
 
I thank God for the children,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JULY 5, 2020

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto   Peter and to the rest of the apostles,

Men and brethren, what shall we do?”   Acts 2:37

“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.”   Acts 7:54
 
Many years ago, not long after the United States became an independent nation, a French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, traveled to this land to examine what made America great at that time.  He discovered many things that gave strength and direction to the new nation.  Alexis wrote, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”  The historical records concerning this wonderful nation are filled with the truth that “the pulpits” of this land have borne tremendously positive influence on the course we have followed.
 
Sometimes I feel the pressure and burden to preach “as if the future of America depends” on what I preach.  I certainly know that the future of human souls depends on what I preach, but the greatest task for me is to discover God’s message for His people and His church.  From Tozer’s God Tells the Man Who Cares, page 85, come the following words.
 
     “The Christian minister, as someone has pointed out, is a descendant not of the Greek orator but of the Hebrew prophet.
     “The differences between the orator and the prophet are many and radical, the chief being that the orator speaks for himself while the prophet speaks for God.  The orator originates his message and is responsible to himself for its content.  The prophet originates nothing but delivers the message he has received from God who alone is responsible for it, the prophet being responsible to God for its delivery only.  The prophet must hear the message clearly and deliver it faithfully, and that is indeed a grave responsibility; but it is to God alone, not to men.”
 
I would rather preach one sermon that is anointed by the Holy Spirit and clearly communicates God’s truth to this world, than to write books and become popular and rich.  I want to serve as God’s instrument of truth.  Please pray for me that I will be faithful to His call!
 
His servant,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 28, 2020

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles,

Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  Acts 2:37

“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.”  Acts 7:54
 
I have stood in the pulpit over 3,000 times and looked at a congregation of people to which I was charged to preach a sermon.  I can honestly say that I do not remember one time that I looked at the people without love in my heart.  I have always wanted to serve my Lord and His people in the Spirit and love of Jesus.  I believe that God has empowered my ministry of preaching over the past 48 years.  It has been a great joy to be used by the Lord, yet it has brought challenges to my own heart.  Many times, I have wanted to preach encouraging, inspiring, and “feel-good” sermons, but it seemed that God often directed me to some “hard-truth” passage to expound to the people.  Many times, I have walked from a service and asked myself if the people knew that I cared for them.  I have always needed to leave that in the hands of God.
 
Many people called Mr. A. W. Tozer a modern-day prophet.  I know that he has been that for me.  The following comes from pages 61 and 62 of Jesus Is Victor and expresses how I understand preaching.
 
     “I preach to my congregation week after week.  And I pray that I may be able to preach with such convicting power that my people will sweat! I do not want them to leave my services feeling good.  The last thing I want to do is to give them some kind of religious tranquilizer – and let them go to hell in their relaxation.
     “The Christian church was designed to make sinners sweat.  I have always believed that, and I still believe it.  The messages preached in our churches should make backslidden Christians sweat.  And if I achieve that objective when I preach, I thank God with all of my heart, no matter what people think of me.”
 
Please pray for me that I might remain faithful to God’s call and the Spirit’s leading in my life and ministry.  I want to preach with boldness without being concerned with “what people think of me.”
 
His instrument,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

Father’s Day     JUNE 21, 2020

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”   Matthew 7:28-29

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.”   I Corinthians 1:21

 

Unless the Lord changes my thinking about what direction to take concerning the “bulletin” message, I will continue to share ideas about preaching from A.W. Tozer for three weeks (including today).  I suppose these thoughts might be more meaningful to me than most of the congregation; however, I pray that you might receive some insight into my heart.  Preaching and pastoring has never been about a job for me; it has always been about God’s call on my life and my responsibility to that call.  For me, it has been the most sacred trust that I believe I have ever been given.  If I fail in this area of the ministry, then I want to “walk away” and take my place in the shadows.  The following from Tozer’s God Tells the Man Who Cares, pages 133 and 134, expresses my commitment to the ministry of preaching the Word.

 

     “To escape the snare of artificiality it is necessary that a man enjoy a satisfying personal experience with God.  He must be totally committed to Christ and deeply anointed with the Holy Spirit.  Further, he must be delivered from the fear of man.  The focus of his attention must be God and not men.  He must let everything dear to him ride out on each sermon.  He must so preach as to jeopardize his future, his ministry, even his life itself.  He must make God responsible for the consequences and speak as one who will not have long to speak before he is called to judgment.  Then the people will know they are hearing a voice instead of a mere echo.”
 
Thank you for all your prayers on my behalf.  Without them I would never be able to stand before God and you to preach the Word of God.  God is answering those prayers.  We will continue to “lean hard” on Him in these troubled days.
 
Satisfied with Jesus!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 14, 2020

“So, he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”  I Corinthians 2:12
 
Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing excerpts from Aiden Tozer’s writings on the subject of “preaching.” In this time in which we live, “preaching” is not the most popular theme in churches.  Especially, “Bible-thumping,” loud yelling, spitting and “screaming-at-me” type of preaching.  It seems that we have become more sophisticated as listeners, and we really want visual aids, funny stories, and video-enhancements so that we might be more comfortable and be able to listen without being offended.  While it is true that we want to be sensitive to our listeners and don’t want to intentionally act like “a bull in a china shop,” we need to communicate effectively in the power of God.  Preachers are not one voice competing among other voices in the world; preachers are to be presenting the “voice of God” to His people.  Preaching, traditional Bible-pattern preaching, is an entirely different communication among men.  It has always been my desire to faithfully represent God’s Truth. I know that to do that effectively, it must be done “under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

 

     “A church can wither as surely under the ministry of soulless Bible exposition as it can where no Bible is given at all.  To be effective, the preacher’s message must be alive.  It must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God’s present voice to a particular people.  Then, and not until then, is it the prophetic word and the man himself, a prophet.

     “To perfectly fulfill his calling, the prophet must be under the constant sway of the Holy Spirit.  Further, he must be alert to moral and spiritual conditions. All spiritual teaching should relate to life.  It should intrude into the daily and private living of the hearers.  Without being personal, the true prophet will nevertheless pierce the conscience of each listener as if the message had been directed to him or her alone.”   (Tozer,  This World: Playground or Battleground?  Pages 85 and 86.)
 
Continue to pray that the pulpit of Needmore Bible Church will be the platform for Holy Spirit-anointed preaching.
 
I just want to be “real”!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JUNE 7, 2020

“So, he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’

says the Lord of hosts.”   Zechariah 4:6

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,

but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”   I Corinthians 2:12
 
Let me remind you of a simple prayer that I have prayed for decades concerning the ministry in which I participate. “Lord, I just want to be real.” Bottom line, I am not an employee of Needmore Bible Church.  At the very base of my motivation, I do not preach and teach to serve you.  I have not attempted to become famous or rich.  (That should be obvious.) I do what I do in order to serve the Master who called me into His work. It is my opinion that every minister of the Lord Jesus Christ should think the same way.  I have also discovered incredibly early in this life of service to Jesus, it is impossible to do “the real work” in our own strength.  I know that I am totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.

 

     “Let me shock you at this point.  A naturally bright person can carry on religious activity without a special gift from God.  Filling church pulpits every week are some who are using only natural abilities and special training.  Some are known as Bible expositors, for it is possible to read and study commentaries and then repeat what has been learned about the Scriptures.  Yes, it may shock you, but it is true that anyone able to talk fluently can learn to use religious phrases and can become recognized as a preacher.

     “But if any person is determined to preach so that his work and ministry will abide in the day of the judgment fire, then he must preach, teach and exhort with the kind of love and concern that comes only through a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit – something beyond his own capabilities.” (Tozer, Tragedy in the Church, pages 21-22.)
 
Pray with me that I will be “real.” I need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do real ministry.  I want my work to make it through the judgment!
 
His servant,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Pentecost Sunday    MAY 31, 2020

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”   Matthew 7:28-29

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.”   I Corinthians 1:21
 
During this month, the theme of one of my daily devotionals has been preaching.  The readings have all come from the writings of A. W. Tozer and have spoken very personally and powerfully to me.  It is difficult to understand all the “dynamics” of preaching unless an individual has actually “been there and done that.” In all my ministry, I have had one major basic principle that I have attempted to live by.  That principle can be summarized as simply as “I just want to be real.” I have never intended to merely “perform” or “put on a show.” If I am going to preach the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Living Word of the living God, then I do not want to do it out of pretense.  I have always wanted just to be real.  Either God has called me and will use me, or I would rather work at Walmart.  This month my devotional readings have supported and encouraged this attitude in me.  I will share some of them for several weeks with the prayer that God might help all of us understand a little bit better what preaching is all about.

 

     “I don’t want to be unkind, but I am sure there ought to be a lot more authority in the pulpit than there is now.  A preacher should reign from his pulpit as a king from his throne.  He should not reign by law, nor by regulations, and not by board meetings or man’s authority.  He ought to reign by moral ascendancy.

     “When a man stands to speak, he ought to have the authority of God on him so that he makes the people responsible to listen to him.  When they will not listen to him, they are accountable to God for turning away from the divine Word.  In place of the needed authority, we have tabby cats with their claws carefully trimmed in the seminary, so they can paw over the congregations and never scratch them at all.  They have had their claws trimmed and are just as soft and sweet as can be….

     “I believe in the authority of God, and I believe if a man doesn’t have it, he should go away and pray and wait until he gets the authority and then stand up to speak even if he has to begin on a soapbox on a street corner.  Go to a rescue mission and preach with authority!  They had it in those days – when they stood up, there was authority!”  (Tozer, The Counselor, pages 150-151.)
 
Pray for this preacher that I will always wait for the Lord’s message and leading.
I want Him to use me and speak through me!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

MEMORIAL DAY SUNDAY – MAY 24, 2020

“For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?”  Romans 10:13-14

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”  I Corinthians 1:21
 
During this month of May, my daily devotional reading has been about the subject of preaching and taken from the writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer.  He wrote this material between 50 and 60 years ago, yet it seems as if he is writing about the very concerns I am observing in the church of the 21st Century.  Consider that the subject of today’s passage is what the media presently refers to as “snowflakes.”
     “The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles.  The delicate, brittle saints being produced in our religious hothouses today are hardly to be compared with the committed, expendable believers who once gave their witness among men.  And the fault lies with our leaders.  They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give God that which costs them nothing.
     “Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little.  Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films.  No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail.  Such can only be called weak adherents of a faith they never really understood.” (Tozer, That Incredible Christian, p. 76.)
 
Cathy and I often “tease” one another.  When I ask her why she picks on me she says, “I’m making you stronger.” Now that is just a little personal “thing” that we exchange with each other, but I really do believe that I have an obligation to help “make you stronger.”  It is out of a great love and concern for the life of our congregation/our church family that I am going to feed you “meat” and not just “milk.”  It is necessary for all of us to grow and get a “little tougher.”
 
For the love of the church,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – MAY 17, 2020

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and all those who dwell therein…Lift up your heads, O you gates!  And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!  And the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  Lift up your heads, O you gates!  Lift up, you everlasting doors!  And the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.”  Psalm 24:1, 7-10
 

There are givers and takers in this world.  There are users and servers. This is certainly true in the church as it is in all areas of life.  The reality is that there are many people who are interested in church and “the gospel” if they are being benefitted in some way… not just in the spiritual realm where forgiveness and salvation should rank at the top of all benefits, but in the real, physical world.  Many people are interested in God as long as He is going to help them.  Just so He is on their side as they go through life.  Unfortunately, many of the “modern” gospels that are being preached these days tend to support this attitude of the takers and users. A.W. Tozer called this message “The Utilitarian Christ.” The following comes from page 24 of The Root of the Righteous.

     “Within the past few years, for instance, Christ has been popularized by some so-called evangelicals as one who, if a proper amount of prayer were made, would help the pious prize fighter to knock another fighter unconscious in the ring.  Christ is also said to help the big-league pitcher to get the proper hook on his curve.  In another instance He assists the athletically-minded person to win the high jump, and still another not only to come in first in a track meet but to set a new record in the bargain.  He is said also to have helped a praying businessman to beat out a competitor in a deal, to underbid a rival and to secure a coveted contract to the discomfiture of someone else who was trying to get it.  He is even thought to lend succor to a praying movie actress while she plays a role so lewd as to bring the blood to the face of a professional prostitute.
     “Thus our Lord becomes the Christ of utility, a kind of Aladdin’s lamp to do minor miracles on behalf of anyone who summons Him to do his bidding.”
 
Remember that we serve the King of glory!  We are His servants!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

MOTHER’S DAY     MAY 10, 2020

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.  When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.”  Psalm 128:1-4
 
God has blessed many of us with the heritage of a good home.  We must all confess that neither our parents nor we are without flaws or mistakes, but on the other hand, many of us have benefitted from the experience of truly dedicated, caring, and loving parents.  It does not require much knowledge to have what appears to be an almost innate understanding of what bad parenting looks like.  Each of us seems to automatically know when good parenting is taking place.  We have witnessed the effects of both categories of parenting and have often prayed for Grace to make up for parental failures.  Today we celebrate the blessing of motherhood (especially good and godly motherhood)!  We thank God for the ladies in our lives who have done their best to mother us and help to bring us closer to God and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
 
While there are innumerable examples of good and godly mothers, one example is worthy of special note.  The mother of John and Charles Wesley along with 17 other children (nine of which died in infancy), Susanna Wesley was very intentional in her approach to raising her brood.  Below are her 16 rules that she endeavored to follow in her parenting disciplines.
 

In addition to training and educating the children, Susanna spent special times of prayer with each individual child as a daily routine.  I am not suggesting that any mother who has not done exactly what Susanna did has failed, but may her rules and example encourage those currently raising children to do their very best to create a spiritual heritage for the coming generations.
 
Blessed with a great family,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – MAY 3, 2020

 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope…You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:9, 11
 
There are two very clear passages of scripture that teach us that we must “know” Jesus in order to be saved.  In Matthew 7:23, Jesus said, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” It should be obvious that Jesus was indicating that this “knowing” is more than just intellectual acquaintance.  To “know” God in the manner Jesus is indicating requires a personal, intimate relationship with Him.  Part of the hope of the resurrection and the reality of a living Savior is the possibility of knowing the actual, real presence of Jesus.  The following comes from A. B. Simpson’s The Christ of the 40 Days, pages 44 to 46.

 

     “This incident (i.e. the resurrected Christ’s appearance to the disciples in the Upper Room) also teaches us that the true answer to all our doubts and difficulties is the revelation of Christ Himself.  Jesus healed Thomas of his skepticism not by reasoning with him but by showing him Himself.

     “Once more, this is the answer to all our doubts and questionings.  This is the answer God has given.  For ‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto our fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son’ (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to us.  The skeptic is not going to be convinced by your reasoning but by God’s Christ.  Show him the Lord Jesus, the marvelous though simple story of His life, the vivid picture of His death, but, above all, the testimony of His resurrection and the revelation of His living presence and power today among His people as the unchanging Christ of the Forty Days, and he, too, will say, My Lord and my God’ (John 20:28).

     “Christ wants us to show Him to the world.  Our argument is not our logic and theology but our Lord Himself. ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto Me’ (Acts 1:8).  This is all Jesus needs, that we tell about Him and make Him real to others.  This is also the solution to all the sinner’s difficulties.  You cannot save him by preaching theology to him.  But show him Christ, his crucified, living, welcoming Savior, and all his doubts have fled.

     “Beloved, this Christ is standing by your side today, unrecognized for so long.  He cries to you, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me’ (Revelation 3:20).  Look to Him – away from yourself, from your troubles, from your doubts, from your theories!  It is a Person you need, and this Person is the Christ of the gospel, the Christ of the Forty Days, the Christ who ‘is the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV), and the Christ who is hovering over you now and waiting to possess your heart forever.”
 
Do you know Him?  Believe and you will see!
     Pastor Doug
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 26, 2020

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”  Psalm 63:1-3
 
Recently Christians around the world celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The fact is that the resurrection is celebrated every Sunday, the first day of the week, the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave.  The ongoing gathering of believers on “resurrection day” is not only to remember that nearly 2,000 years ago Jesus came out of the grave, but we gather to be reminded that Jesus Christ is alive and His Presence is always with us.  We sing the old gospel song with robust and delight, “I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today!” Cathy and I are reading through Albert B. Simpson’s book about the actions of Jesus during the 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension into heaven.  There are wonderful lessons to be learned from that record, and I have been sharing some of them with you over the past several weeks.  The following is from pages 17 and 18 of The Christ of the 40 Days.
 
     “The Christ of the Forty Days is not a transient vision that has passed away forever but rather the Christ of all the ages.  Standing at the close of those blessed days midway between earth and heaven, we hear Him say, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20 NKJV).  That blessed present tense has bridged the past and the present and has prolonged those heavenly days after the resurrection through all the days since.  It is not ‘I will be,’ as one who has to go away and come back again but ‘I am,’ as a presence that is never to be withdrawn.
 
     “Jesus says, in effect, ‘It is true that I am unseen, but I am to remain among you as real in My absence as I am now in My presence.’ For, in the spiritual world, distance and time are eliminated.  And, just as the telescope can bring the distant object near to the eye, and the telephone can present the voice hundreds of miles away to the listening and attentive ear, so there is a spiritual mechanism that can make Christ as immediate to our hearts as if He were visibly by our side.  If we had but another sense, all heavenly beings and realities would be directly present to our perception.
 
     “The promise of this beautiful passage is not fulfilled only in the presence of Christ in the heart of the believer, which is a literal and glorious truth, but it is a presence with us.  It is more than the spiritual consciousness of the Lord’s indwelling.  It is His direct personality and constant companionship with our entire life, and His omnipotent cooperation in all our needs.  It is the presence of One who has all power in heaven and in earth and whose presence means the defeat of every adversary, the solution of every difficulty, the supply of every need.”
 
We rejoice in our living Head!
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – APRIL 19, 2020

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’  Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.”  Psalm 91:1-3
 
The Bible records the fact that after His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples and others before He ascended into heaven.  Acts 1:3 states: “To whom (in this case, the Apostles) He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Jesus lived among His followers for 40 days before He went back to heaven from where He came.  During that time, He not only proved that He was physically alive again, but He taught or demonstrated some important lessons about how we are to live in the power of His resurrection.  The founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Albert B. Simpson, wrote a wonderful book about the lessons of those days called The Christ of the 40 Days.  The following is from pages 16 and 17.
 
     “His disciples were hungry and cold with their fruitless fishing that Galilean morning, and He saw their need and tenderly asked them, ‘Children, have ye any meat?’ (John 21:5).  And then, filling their empty nets and spreading the table on the shore, He said, ‘Come and dine’ (John 21:12).  Thus, He still thinks of the poor and the struggling, the hungry and the helpless. He stands beside us in our need, ready and able by a word to provide immediate and abundant supply.
 

     “Are we today in any place of need?  The Christ of the Forty Days is nearer than we think, able to be ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities’ (Hebrews 4:15) and ready to give us the greatest help in time of need.  Like the fishers of yonder sea, our empty nets can be filled at His bidding.  The perplexed workman can be directed to the very thing to do; the wretched failure can be altogether corrected.

     “There is no need that He cannot supply, no counsel that He is not able to give, no regions where His power does not penetrate, no disciple that He does not love to help in every time of need.  Oh, let us trust Him more with all our circumstance and sorrows, and our utmost need will only prove even more the infinite resources of His love and grace.”
 
On the night that Jesus was telling His disciples about going to heaven, He said, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19).  You and I can live the life here that God intends for us because Jesus Christ has risen, and He is alive forevermore!
 
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

Easter Sunday       April 12, 2020

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy one to see corruption.  You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:9-11

 
It is so encouraging for believers to know and understand that we do not participate in a dead, dry religion.  Our faith is not in dusty creeds and lifeless dogma, but it is in the Living God who created this world and gives life and breath to all that lives on this planet (and beyond!).  Today (and every Sunday, the Lord’s Day) we celebrate the historical fact of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  We celebrate it not only in the historical perspective and significance, but we celebrate it in the present reality of the resurrected Savior’s life in and with us.  Our “religion” is based on knowing and having a personal relationship with the Living Christ.  Albert B. Simpson wrote The Christ of the 40 Days over 100 years ago and his words are still encouraging for us!
 
     “This glad resurrection morning dispels from the religion of Jesus all the shadows of the sepulcher and all the morbid atmosphere of sorrow, depression, and death.  The Christ of true Christianity is not a bleeding, thorn-crowned “Ecce Homo” (Latin for ‘Behold the man.’ [See John 19:5.]) but a glad and radiant face, bright as the springtide morning and radiant with immortal life.  His message is: ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore’ (Revelation 1:18).
     “Oh, may this day impress upon our hearts the reality of a risen and living Christ, until He is more actual to us than any other personality, and we know what it means not only to be ‘reconciled to God by the death of His Son’ but ‘much more [to be] saved by His life’ (Romans 5:10)!”
 
Yes, yes, yes!  He can be “more actual” to us than any other person we know.  This is the vital message of our Lord’s resurrection – He is alive!  “You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart!”
 
I serve a living Savior,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Palm Sunday       APRIL 5, 2020

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it… You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.  Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.”
Psalm 118:22-24, 28-29
 
The parade that happened in Jerusalem at the beginning of the week of Passover was unusual.  It was impressive in its own way, but certainly it has been surpassed in worldly terms such as size, music, pageantry and flamboyance thousands of times before and thousands of times since.  Kings and soldiers returning from wars have caused much more impressive parades.  Even athletic teams returning from championships have been given more elaborate recognition.  One man on the back of a donkey’s colt with no band playing music doesn’t seem like much of a parade in comparison, but it has been recorded in history as having greater significance than all the other parades combined.  This was a parade for the King of kings!  He was coming to bring victory in an unusual manner as well.  He was coming to die!  Only people who have the real, genuine faith of heaven can understand what Palm Sunday means to us.  The following from Tozer’s God Tells the Man Who Cares, pages 105 and 106, can only be understood by those whose faith gives them a heavenly, eternal perspective.
 
     “Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering.  Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet.  Let me never become a slave to crowds.  Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity.  Save me from bondage to things.  Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world.  Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. . ..
     “And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt.  Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could.  I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame, and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.”
 
Let every one of us kneel down before our great King and worship Him as our Lord and Savior!
 
He’s my King,
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 29, 2020

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…”  Psalm 107:1-2
 
The Bible portrays the people of God as men and women of faith.  The Scriptures say, “The just shall live by faith.”  Jesus taught His followers about faith and declared its power by saying that whatever we have faith for, believe God for it will be given to us.  Ira Sankey wrote, “Faith is the victory!  Faith is the victory!  O glorious victory that overcomes the world!” The following is from our daily reading in Streams in the Desert for Thursday, March 26, 2020.  The readings are based on Genesis 13:14-15, “Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it.”
 
     “No instinct can be put in you by the Holy Ghost but He purposes to fulfill.  Let your faith then rise and soar away and claim all the land you can discover.”
 
     “All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own. Look as far as you can, for it is all yours.  All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith.  Then come, still closer, and with your Bible before you, and your soul open to all the influences of the Spirit, let your whole being receive the baptism of His presence; and as He opens your understanding to see all His fullness, believe He has it all for you.  Accept for yourself all the promises of His Word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.

     “The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision.  He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.

     “He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization.”
 
Brothers and sisters, have faith in God!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 22, 2020

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves, therefore watch!”
Acts 20:29-31(a)
 
I so appreciate the promises of God, like “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) A great man of God declared, “God’s work, done in God’s way, shall never lack God’s supply.” (Hudson Taylor) The context of the promise in Philippians does describe very plainly “God’s way” for doing God’s work.  It seems to me that there are too many people who call themselves “Christian” yet do not follow “God’s way.” Now to be sure, it is not me who has any right or authority to tell you what “God’s way” is for you.  It is certain, however, that each of us must know God’s Word and listen clearly to His voice lest we stray from His “way” in our own personal choices.  Tozer wrote about discerning the voice of God in these matters in The Price of Neglect, on pages 6 and 7.

 

     “Within the circles of evangelical Christianity itself there has arisen in the last few years dangerous and dismaying trends away from true Bible Christianity.  A spirit has been introduced which is surely not the Spirit of Christ, methods employed which are wholly carnal, objectives adopted which have not one line of Scripture to support them, a level of conduct accepted which is practically identical with that of the world – and yet scarcely one voice has been raised in opposition.  And this in spite of the fact that the Bible-honoring followers of Christ lament among themselves the dangerous, wobbly course things are taking….

     “The times call for a Spirit-baptized and articulate orthodoxy.  They whose souls have been illuminated by the Holy Ghost must arise and under God assume leadership.  There are those among us whose hearts can discern between the true and the false, whose spiritual sense of smell enables them to detect the spurious afar off, who have the blessed gift of knowing.  Let such as these arise and be heard.  Who knows but the Lord may come to His people and leave a blessing behind Him?”
 
Our prayer must be for God to lead us in His way in all we do.  He will surely supply all our needs!
 
Following and trusting,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 15, 2020

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’
But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  John 7:37-39
 
Can you believe what Jesus told His disciples and us about the Holy Spirit?  Can you move up in faith and not fear what might happen to you if the Holy Spirit should fill you?  There are many who are simply ignorant and fearful of the biblical teaching about the necessity for believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Bible clearly teaches all we need to know for us to receive this blessing from the Lord.  John the Baptist predicted that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit.  We need to pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives and in our congregation!  Andrew Murray wrote a small book, The Full Blessing of Pentecost, over 150 years ago.  It is still relevant today!

 

     “In our days there is an increasing acknowledgment of the lack of power in the Church of the Lord.  In spite of all the multiplication of the means of grace, there is neither the power of the divine salvation in believers, nor the power for conversion in preaching, nor the power in the conflict of the Church with worldliness and unbelief and unrighteousness that, according to God’s Word, we are bound to look for.  The complaint is made with justice.  Would that the expression of it became so strong that the children of God, driven by a keen sense of need, may be led to cast themselves upon the great truth which the Word of God teaches – namely, that it is only when faith in the full Pentecostal blessing and of the full enjoyment of it are found in the Christian Church that the members of it shall again find their strength and be able to do their first works.”
 
We must press on.  We must seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then allow God to do His work in and through our lives.  Listen carefully and then do whatever the Lord tells you to do.  We will experience great blessings from the Lord!
 
Holy Spirit, fill me now!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

MARCH 8, 2020

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  II Peter 1:2-4

 
Wow!  The Bible teaches us that God makes absolutely everything available for us that we might be enabled to live as children of God.  We do not need to live as slaves to the devil or sin. We can actually exist in this world and experience the life that Jesus declared that He came into this world to give us.  He said, “The devil steals, kills and destroys, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” God wants all His children to enjoy the blessings of His household. He wants us to live as children of the Heavenly King.
 
The question might be, “When do I get to experience this abundant life?” “Does it all happen at once?” “Does it all happen at the moment I get/got saved?” Careful thought and some biblical understanding will lead us to understand that the abundant life is totally available upon our entrance into His grace, but we do not realize or experience it all at once. From the Bible, we gain the understanding that we grow in our life of grace, and hence that life becomes more real in our experience.  The Bible teaches us that we begin as “babes in Christ,” but we must not stay there.  Especially if you want to “know” more of the blessings of His household, you must grow!
 
Think of these words from II Peter 3:17-18. “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but (there it is, my favorite word) grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” You see?  Growing is even the antidote to wavering, or falling, or being led astray.  God wants us to grow in order to become more and more convinced that our faith is valid. Growth will bring us into fuller assurance of all that we have in Jesus. The greater our assurance, the greater our experience of His blessings in this life.
 
Let’s press on!  Let’s grow!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – MARCH 1, 2020

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  II Peter 1:2-4
 
The Prince of Preachers as he was called, Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote the following about his experience of God’s divine power that is sufficient to help us with all!
 
     “The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day’s work.  I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, then swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way, ‘MY grace is sufficient for thee’; and I said, ‘I should think it is, Lord,’ and burst out laughing.  I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then.  It seemed to make unbelief so absurd.  It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, ‘Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee.  Or, it seemed after the seven years of plenty, a mouse feared it might die of famine; and Joseph might say, ‘Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee.’ Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, ‘I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere,’ but the earth might say, ‘Breathe away, O man, and fill the lungs ever; my atmosphere is sufficient for thee.’ Oh, brethren, be great believers!  Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.”
 
We know that faith is the key to heaven.  The Bible declares that we are saved by Grace through faith.  We are told that if we believe (have faith) on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be saved!  The Bible also declares that the righteous will live by faith.  Do you get that?  We do not have faith in order just to go to heaven, but we have faith to enable us to live here and now.  By faith we can walk in the blessings of God’s sufficient grace throughout our whole lives.
 
Lord, help our unbelief and increase our faith!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 23, 2020

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.  Amen.”

                                                                                                                                                                                  II Corinthians 13:14

 
How significant is the Day of Pentecost and the “birthday of the Church” in human history?  How critical do you think it is to you personally?  Most Christians would probably say that it is important, perhaps even “very important.” In reality, most of us live most of our lives, the hours and days of our lives, with little or no thought about Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, or the Church.  I shared the first two sentences of the following statement from A. W. Tozer during Bible study this past Wednesday evening.  I know it is necessary for all of us to have a proper assessment of the value of the Church.  Read Tozer’s statement about the Divine origin and sustenance of the Church that he wrote in Paths to Power on pages 7 and 8.
 
     “The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and die for mankind.  The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.
     “It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room….Left to herself the Church would have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and would have left nothing for a future generation to remember.
     “That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her.  That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task.  For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation – apart from God.”
 
Revival would be a return to recognizing the impossible task for any human agency of “converting” this world’s peoples to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the absolute necessity of God’s power, the Holy Spirit, to accomplish the mission that Jesus gave to the Church. We need God if NBC is going to do the Lord’s work!  My prayer: “Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early Church.  Amen.”
 
Come, o come and fill me now!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 16, 2020

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying,

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6
 
I referred to this verse in last week’s bulletin’s message in which I was attempting to impress every reader with the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our ministry.  We need Him because without Him we cannot accomplish anything of eternal significance.  We also need to “desire” His presence.  We must love the Holy Spirit and trust Him by faith to do His work in our lives and ministries.  The following from A. W. Tozer’s The Counselor on pages 38 and 39 not only challenge me, but the message also causes me fear.  Fear that we could “miss out” on the Holy Spirit’s ministry at NBC!  May it never be so!
 
     “It is possible to run a church and all of its activity without the Holy Spirit.  You can organize it, get a board together, call a pastor, form a choir, launch a Sunday school and a ladies’ aid society.  You get it all organized – and the organization part is not bad.  I’m for it.  But I’m warning about getting organized, getting a pastor and turning the crank – some people think that’s all there is to it, you know.
 
     “The Holy Spirit can be absent, and the pastor goes on turning the crank, and nobody finds it out for years and years. What a tragedy, my brethren, what a tragedy that this can happen in a Christian church!  But it doesn’t have to be that way! ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches’ (Revelation 3:22)…
 
     “If you could increase the attendance of your church until there is no more room, if you could provide everything they have in churches that men want and love and value, and yet you didn’t have the Holy Spirit, you might as well have nothing at all. ‘For it is “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the LORD of hosts’ (Zechariah 4:6)…. It is by the Spirit that God works His mighty works.”
 
What a horrible thought!  We could go on doing “church” and not have the Holy Spirit!  Brothers and sisters, let’s cry out to our Lord and ask Him to be sure to fill us with His Holy Spirit!  Not a year, not a month, not a week, not a day, not a minute nor a second without the Holy Spirit!
 
Fill me with Your hallowed Presence!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 9, 2020

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”  John 16:13-14
 
Not only is Christianity by its nature supernatural and miraculous, it is totally dependent on God’s power.  If God doesn’t do the “work” of Christianity through the power of the Holy Spirit, then it is not biblical nor genuine.  We must recognize that we are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to accomplish any fruit or increase in the Kingdom of God.  It is terribly tempting to lean on our own power and abilities to do “church,” but it is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts!” (Zechariah 4:6)  I think what Mr. A. W. Tozer wrote a half-century ago is extremely relevant in our culture today!  The following is from How to be Filled with the Spirit, pages 29 and 30.
 
     “Our trouble is that we are trying to confirm the truth of Christianity by an appeal to external evidence.  We are saying…’Here is a great stateman who believes the Bible.  Therefore, the Bible must be true.’ We quote Daniel Webster, or Roger Bacon.  We write books to show some scientist believed in Christianity: therefore, Christianity must be true.  We are all the way out on the wrong track, brother!  That is not New Testament Christianity at all.  That is a pitiful, whimpering, drooling appeal to the flesh.  That never was the testimony of the New Testament, never the way God did things – never!  You might satisfy the intellects of men by external evidences, and Christ did, I say, point to external evidence when He was here on earth.  But He said, ‘I am sending you something better.  I am taking Christian apologetics out of the realm of logic and putting it into the realm of life.  I am proving My deity, and My proof will not be an appeal to a general or a prime minister.  The proof lies in an invisible, unseen but powerful energy that visits the human soul when the gospel is preached – the Holy Ghost!”
 
Brothers and sisters in Christ at NBC, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to fill us and use us for God’s work.  Only what God does through us will have eternal fruit!
 
Hover o’er me, Holy Spirit; Come, O come and fill me now!
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – FEBRUARY 2, 2020

“Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!  Tremble before Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:7-9
 
The majority who come to Needmore Bible Church on Sunday mornings, come with a very strong intention to worship God.  It is certainly true that some come for various reasons, such as a sense of obligation or the desire to raise our children “right,” but the bottom line is that we really do want to give glory to our Creator.  We want to give something to Him more than we want to “impress” any other of the people here with us.  If that is to happen, we must prepare and concentrate on that purpose as we gather, share, give, read, pray, sing and listen to God’s Word.  I think that the following will help each of us to worship better than we might generally do it. The words come from Tozer on Worship and Entertainment on pages 10 and 11.
 
     “I have been thinking recently about how important my thoughts are.  I don’t have to do wrong to get under blistering conviction and repent.  I can lose the fellowship of God and sense of His presence and a sense of spirituality by just thinking wrong.  God has been saying to me, ‘I dwell in your thoughts.  Make your thoughts a sanctuary in which I can dwell.  See to it.’ You can’t do anything with your heart – that is too deep – but you can control your thoughts…

     “Your theology is your foundation.  The superstructure is your spiritual experience built on that foundation.  But the high bell towers where the carillons are – those are your thoughts.  And if you keep those thoughts pure the chimes can be heard ringing out ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ on the morning air.

     “Make your thoughts a sanctuary God can inhabit, and don’t let any of the rest of your life dishonor God.  See to it that not a foot of ground is unholy.  See to it that every hour and every place is given over to God, and you will worship Him, and He will accept it.”
 
It is necessary to prepare our minds with thoughts about God and heavenly themes.  We need to set our minds on things above, and not on things beneath.  Our worship will become pure, and God will respond with manifest blessings on our gathering.
 
Desiring to worship God in spirit and in truth,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 26, 2020

“I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You.  I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”  Psalm 138:1, 2

I noticed in a book I had read several years ago that I wrote a question in the margin, “Why do we have so much difficulty with folks who say they believe the Bible, yet they don’t think biblically?” Our church theme verses are II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The only reasons for not thinking biblically is a rejection of the Bible as truth or a neglect of reading and studying the Bible.  We must do all we can to saturate our minds with the truth of God’s Word!
 
Robertson McQuilkin wrote The Five Smooth Stones to present what he considered the five essential principles for Biblical ministry.  The first unit is entitled The Bible: Making It the Functional Authority.  The following comes from that unit on page four.
     “How does one make this God-breathed-out book the actual functioning authority?  Those who deny most vigorously the inspiration and authority of Scripture may, in fact, actually revere it as a constitutional monarch, celebrating the glory of the monarch while true authority is vested elsewhere.  Often the actual authority is a tradition or system of traditions handed down (e.g. denominations).  For many it’s the opposite- the latest innovation exploding across the contemporary scene.  It may be the mind-set of a therapeutic society for doing church, or the dictums of cultural anthropology for doing mission. Probably, whatever else the functioning authority may be, there’s the ever-present stealth takeover of postmodern ways of seeing or feeling.  And thus in one way or another the full authority of Scripture – designed to determine what we are to think, what we are not to think, how we are not to behave, and how we are to behave (2 Tim. 3:16) – has eroded, and we are no longer well equipped and qualified to do God’s work in God’s way.”
 
Let’s pledge our allegiance not only to our Lord but also to His Word!  May His Word truly guide us in all that we do!
 
I Stand Alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 19, 2020

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.  I will meditate on Your precepts,and   contemplate Your ways.  I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”  Psalm 119:14-16
 
Sometimes it has been said tongue in cheek, “Bible is our middle name,” but it is certain that the Bible is the foundation upon which we desire to build our ministry at NBC.  When a person becomes so identified with an item or activity, like hunting for instance, it is said that “hunting is his middle name.” We should want our identity to become synonymous with “Bible.” Yes, we purposely chose the word “Bible” to be a part of our name.  It is important that we are constantly reminded that the Bible is our defining and authoritative document on which we build our ministry.  Each of us must also build our lives on that same foundation!
 
Mr. A. W. Tozer often wrote about the importance and centrality of the Bible in the Christian life.  In Men Who Met God, on page 47, Tozer wrote the following information.
 

     “I remember James M. Gray, the noted Bible teacher, telling of a Christian brother, a Michigan farmer, whose spiritual life had suddenly blossomed until there was an overflowing of God’s presence.  Many in the man’s community recognized the change in his life and personality and sought spiritual counsel from him.  Dr. Gray had opportunity to ask the man about the transformation of his spiritual life and witness.

     “’Dr. Gray, I began to devote myself to the Scriptures for my own need,’ the man humbly explained. ‘Something happened when God opened my spiritual understanding as I studied the book of Ephesians.  I cannot really explain what the Lord is doing for me and through me, but it has come through prayerful meditation in the Word of God.’

     “None of us can expect to get the rich, transforming blessings from God apart from the Scriptures…

     “Too many of us ministers and Sunday school teachers are content to reach for a commentary on the Scriptures.  What we need most is to search the Scriptures for ourselves.”
 
We recommend the Bible to all that we have opportunity to interact with.  It is the “best book,” and the only one that can transform our lives into the image and likeness of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
 
I’m reading The Book!
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 12, 2020

“Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease.  Will You be angry with us forever?

Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?  Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?

Show us Your mercy, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation.”  Psalm 85:4-7
 
Revival has been a theme of Bible studies, prayer meetings and sermons at Needmore Bible Church for many years.  It is a theme that we must not forget, least we become cold and ineffective in the ministry that our Lord has called us to.  Most of us are “looking for” a genuine manifestation of God’s Presence and power in our midst.  Most of us really are not interested in just going through the empty rituals of a dead religion.  Most of us truly long for an experience of a “living faith” and vital encounters with the Living God that we claim to serve.  This is what revival really is.  It is the “revitalization” or the “making alive again” of the real experience of God’s Presence and power in our fellowship.  Many of us want revival!
 
From Robert Coleman’s book, The Coming World Revival, we get the following account of an 18th Century revival in colonial America.

     “Jonathan Edwards, renowned pastor at Northampton, Massachusetts, might be cited as one witness to the reality and power of revival.  Describing the effect of a great outpouring of the Spirit in his parish in 1735, he said: ‘As the number of true saints multiplied…the town seemed to be full of the presence of God.  It never was so full of love, nor of joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then.  There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house.  It was a time of joy in families on account of salvation being brought unto them… On whatever occasions persons met together, Christ was heard of and seen in the midst of them… The Spirit of God began to be so wonderfully poured out in a general way through the town, people had soon done with their old quarrels, back-bitings, and intermeddling with other men’s matters.  The tavern was soon left empty.  Every day seemed in many respects like a Sabbath day.’

     “Edwards noted, too, that ‘there were many instances of persons who came from abroad on visits’ to the town, who ‘partook of that shower of divine blessing,’ and as these visitors ‘went home rejoicing,’ soon ‘the same work began to prevail in several other towns in the country.”
 
The great need of our congregation and country is revival!  Will you pray with many of us that God will give His church a new outpouring of His Spirit?
 
Seeking and waiting for revival,
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 5, 2020

 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:

so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”  I Corinthians 12:12-13, 27
 
Have you read the Book of Acts and been struck by the activities that happened in the life of the church?  Have you been amazed by the power that was obvious in the church that caused Her to impact the world at that time?  People of their day declared, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6)  Do you believe that what is recorded in Acts should later be recorded of our congregation’s life and ministry?  Will you believe that it can be?!
 
     “The eternal promises of Jesus Christ to His believing people are of such inestimable value that those who are truly Christian today are not to be designated as marginal or second-class Christians because of the passing of time and of generations gone before.

     “We are Christians because God has perpetuated the church and keeps it going by doing the same things within individual lives generation after generation since Pentecost.

     “Do we believe as truth and claim it as we should that the true church as it meets in the Name to worship the Presence finds Christ still giving Himself in the life of the fellowship?

     “It is not the form that makes the church or its service.  The Presence and the Name – these make the church.

     “Wherever people are gathered together in the Name, there is also the Presence.  So it is that the Presence and the Name constitute the true assembly of believers, and it is recognized by God in heaven.

     “In my estimation this brings to light a most wonderful truth!  In the Body of Christ there are no insignificant congregations. Each has His Name, and each is honored by His Presence.”
 
In the above portion from Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, pages 47 and 48, Mr. A. W. Tozer reminded Christians that God wants to do today in the life of each congregation the same that He did in those recorded in the Book of Acts.  God has not changed.  If we seem to fall short of those blessings once enjoyed in the ministry of His church, it can only be because of some failure or misunderstanding on our part.  We must be seeking to rectify our wrongs and remove any and all barriers to the full blessings of His real Presence in our congregation.
 
Committed to that seeking,
     Pastor Doug