Friday, November 30, 2007

Some Observations about Fellowship (1 John 1:1-10)

  • Fellowship is mutual participation. It is the sharing of common Life. The literal meaning of the word is, partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: — (to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution,
  • Fellowship is based upon the experiencing of that life. i.e. hearing, seeing touching etc.
  • In order for fellowship to take place, their must be a willingness to testify to the experiencing of that life. “and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)” (1John 1:2 KJV)“that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us” (1John 1:3 ESV)
  • Fellowship is both vertical and horizontal. “so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1John 1:3 ESV)
  • Fellowship is a pleasurable experience for all that involve themselves in it. “And we are writing these things so that our* joy may be complete.” (1John 1:4 ESV)“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1John 1:4 KJV)
  • Fellowship can take place through writing!
  • Fellowship requires that we walk in the Light “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:6-7 ESV)

Dear Lord, may we walk in the ligh this day, enjoy fellowship with you, and others that are enjoying fellowship with you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Marks of an Excellent Spirit

“because an excellent spirit was in him.” (Dan 6:3 ESV)
  • Faithfulness-“because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.” (Dan 6:4 ESV)
  • Persecution-“Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”” (Dan 6:11-12 ESV)
  • Worship-“he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” (Dan 6:10 ESV)
  • Prayer-“and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.” (Dan 6:11 ESV)
  • Favor-“Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue hi” (Dan 6:14 ESV)““May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”” (Dan 6:16 ESV)
  • Trust in God-“because he had trusted in his God.” (Dan 6:23 ESV)
  • Ultimate Deliverance-“Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him” (Dan 6:23 ESV)
  • Authentic Prosperity- So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Dear Lord make us people with excellent spirits!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who do you think will be the next president?

“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’” (Dan 4:17 ESV)

“till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Dan 4:25 ESV)

“until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”” (Dan 4:32 ESV)

“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”” (Dan 4:34-35 ESV)

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Dan 4:37 ESV)

I know who is going to be president! Whoever God has planned!

Friday, November 23, 2007


I realize that this is a day late for a Thanksgiving post, but I did want to write some things that I have been thinking.

I am thankful that this Thanksgiving, my niece and her family got to come down and spend some time with us. I had to sneak up and get this picture of her because she doesn't like her picture taken. :)

Things have really changed for Holly and I this year. For the first time in over 25 years we are not in full time ministry. I must say that I enjoy what I am doing, and am very thankful for the way the Lord has provided a way for us to make a living.

I am especially thankful for my partner Sid Baker. Sid's kindness, vision, and wisdom have really been very helpful to me these last few months. Sid is a Christian who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am looking forward to working a long side him for many years to come.

I am also thankful for my son Joel, who is working with us. His insight into business owners, and advertising is very helpful to what we are doing. I am proud of him and his work at Southside. I am thankful for Waynette, who is a godly wife and mother, and of course little Alena Marie!

This year we saw the last of our unmarried children get married. I can honestly say we did not lose a son, but gained a daughter in law. We love Cheryl very much! We are so thankful that God has given Jeremy a godly wife. We have been able to spend some really good quality time with Jeremy and Cheryl in the last several weeks. Jeremy has been working with me also in graphic design for the websites that we have been building. His ability in design is amazing!

I am also very thankful for Nathan and Bethany. They have had a very difficult year but have persevered and are doing well in San Francisco. We miss them very much, and are looking forward to their coming home after the first of the year. Nathan has done very well in completing his basic training in the Coast Guard and is working on his advancement in rank.

It is hard to believe that John and Rachel have two children that are as big as they are! They are coming up next week, and spending 10 days with us while John goes to Europe on business. I thank the Lord for John and the way he takes care of his family. I wish we could spend more time together.

I am very thankful for the love of my live. It is hard to believe that we are working on our 28th year of marriage! She is more beautiful to me than she has ever been! I am looking forward to continuing to grow old with her. It has been amazing, just her and I the last several weeks. We are able to have lunch together, and spend quiet evenings together. I love our life together!

Finally, I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ! It is because of His marvelous grace and mercy that I have all of these things and many more for which to be thankful. One day my life on this earth will be over, and I will enter in to His Presence to spend eternity thanking, praising, and worshiping Him for all that He has done for me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seeking God by Seeking His Word

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” (Psa 119:2 ESV) “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” (Psa 119:10 ESV)

It is interesting that the psalmist couples seeking the Lord with one's whole heart, with keeping his testimonies, and not wandering from His commandments.

There is a direct correlation between seeking the Lord with one's whole heart, and their relationship with His Word. Though reading, meditation on, and studying the Word of God are not the only way to seek the Lord, it is a very important way.

Many times in my life when I have felt distant from the Lord, I have prayerfully gotten in to His Word, and heard from Him, and was drawn closer to Him.

To me there is no joy or peace in this life with all of it's problems, apart from a joy giving, peace giving faith in the Lord. And where do we get that faith? Rom. 15:13 ¶ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Rom. 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Day can be a Day of Success!

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!” (Psa 118:24-25 ESV)

As I meditate on the passage of scripture above, three things come to mind.

  1. This day that we are living in right now, has been made by the Lord. I notice that the focus of the psalmist is on just this day. We cannot rejoice and be glad in tomorrow, because it has happened yet. We cannot rejoice and be glad in yesterday because it is already gone. But we can rejoice and be glad in today, when we recognize that our Loving, Sovereign, Heavenly Father is the one who made it.
  2. Rejoicing and being glad is a choice. The KJV put's it this way, "We will rejoice and be glad in it." This day with all of it's problems and challenges is still something that we can choose to rejoice and be glad in. There is much for which to be thankful, because the bountiful hand of the Lord has given much.
  3. We should pray for our own success, realizing that our success comes from the hand of the LORD, and not our our cleverness or ability.
Let's rejoice in this day, knowing that our God made it, and let's depend upon Him for our success in it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vertical Worship, Horizontal Benevolence

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb 13:15-16 ESV)

Throughout Scripture there is a dual emphasis on our relationship with God, and our relationship with other people. For example, the first four of the ten commandments have to do with our relationship with God, and the last 6 have to do with our relationship with man. When the Lord Jesus Christ was asked what was the first an greatest commandment, he replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;” (Luke 10:27) But then he was quick to add, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt 22:39)

In our text from Hebrews we find once again these two concepts put together. We find the offering of praise as a sacrifice to God, followed by doing good and sharing what we have with others. The writer simply says, "for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."

We must live our lives with both of these concepts in view. We must worship God, and praise Him with all of our hearts, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we must also do good, and share what God has given us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Both are necessary to be pleasing to God. Both are necessary if we are going to live our lives with pleasure to our selves.

"Father help us by your grace to worship and praise you with all of our hearts, and do good, and share what you have given us with others."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome Gracioius Fellowship Subscribers!

You are at the right place! I have redirected the traffic of Gracious to this blog for now.

I appreciate your patience with me. I have been struggling to determine what I need to do online, and have decided that for now the only thing I can really do effectively is keep up this blog, considering all of the other things that I am working on.

I will be posting links to weekly featured sermons that I have preached in the past shortly.

Thank you for your continued support.


Before We Can Appreciate the Intmacy We Must Experience the Awe.

“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,...for our God is a consuming fire. ” (Heb 12:18-22,29 ESV)

Do you fear God? Is God awesome to you? Our selection from Hebrews for this morning speaks of two mountains--Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion. Each of symbolic of a spiritual truth. Each are symbolic of a part of the nature of God.

When God gave the law on Mt. Sinai, it was a time of fear. There was shaking, thunder, lightning, and smoke. The experience was designed to strike terror in the hearts of the children of Israel. It was designed to produce in them an awe of the Holy God of the Universe!

But the writer says that we are no longer at that mountain. We are no longer at the fearful mountain where the law was given, We are at Mount Zion, the mountain of grace. To be sure there are angels present just like there were at Mount Sinai. But this time it is not a fearful thing but a festive time. This time it is not the blood of animals that is being shed, but the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that has been shed! It is not a time of shrinking back in fear, but a time of celebration of the intimacy that only the assembly of the firstborn can enjoy!

What a privilege is ours, the privilege of calling this awesome fear inspiring God our Daddy! But we must always remember the same God that we call "Abba Father" is the God of Mount Sinai. When we remember that this God is an awesome, Holy, all powerful God, it enhances our enjoyment of the fact that He has called us His own, and we have an intimate relationship with Him.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” (Heb 12:28 ESV)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don't Be a Glory Robber

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you man and beast, and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they will know that I am the LORD. “Because you* said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush.” (Ezek 29:8-10 ESV)

In this text, God has commanded Ezekiel to prophesy against Egypt. I am sure there are many reasons for which God would bring judgment against Egypt. But it is interesting to note the reason why God was going to judge Pharaoh. It was because Pharaoh took the credit for, and therefore the possession of the Nile River. He claimed to be the one who created it and owned it. Since it was God who actually created it, and therefore owns it, Pharaoh was taking glory that belonged only to God. He was a glory robber!

God does not take lightly when we take the glory for, and possession of the things that belong to Him. This will bring the judgement of God faster than anything I know.

This reminds me of another king in another era. King Herod allowed people to call him God.

“And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:22-23)

Our wealth, our a abilities, our strength are all gifts from God, and not of our own making.

How we need to recognize all that God has done for us, and make sure that we are giving Him the glory and not taking it for ourselves.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Do Not Throw Away Your Confidence!

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Heb 10:35 ESV)

The original readers of the letter to the Hebrews were Jewish Christians, who were experiencing intense persecution. In this intense persecution, many who had previously professed faith in Christ, turned back to Judaism, and renounced their faith. Hebrews was written to those who had not turned back, but were in danger of doing so. They were in danger of throwing away their confidence in Christ.

I realize the my readers are not persecuted Jewish Christians. But in every age, there are factors that tempt the Christian to throw away his confidence. I believe that one of the greatest temptations that we have is to the temptation to lose hope and lose our confidence. We are tempted to lose our confidence that God is actually leading us. We are tempted to lose our confidence that God is going to take care of us and meet our needs.

Yesterday, our pastor, preaching from Nehemiah, talked about the intimidation of Nehemiah's enemies. They wanted to make him afraid. They wanted to cause him to lose his confidence. Nehemiah had the discernment to realize what was going on, and praying to God, determined to stay the course, and complete that task that God called him to do.

One of the prophetic words that was given, reminded us of the importance of "fueling" our faith with the promises of God. How vitally important that is to helping us to keep from throwing away our confidence.

Why is it that the enemy is bent upon trying to rob us of our confidence? Because our confidence has great reward! Through faith (another word for confidence) we have been justified. Through faith, we accomplish the goals that God lays out for us. Through faith, we chose to "suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." The rewards are to great to lose!

Dear reader, do not throw away your confidence today. Press on. Trust God. Keep your eye on the reward!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Update on Us.

I am going to take a chance and assume that if you are reading this blog your interested in what is going on in our lives.

Well as many of you know after 7 years of being that pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Live Oak, Florida, I resigned. It was not because of any problem, as much as it was the conviction that the my gifts were better suited to a church planting ministry.

The Lord has provided a way for me to make a living by building websites. Joel and I along with two other Christian business men in our town, teamed up to form a new company called, InetMedia Marketing.

We have built many websites so for including sites for insurance agencies, many churches, as well as missionaries, and missions organizations. One of our most important websites has been the one for The Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce. Another website that we are working on is

Recently, we have come to the conclusion that the Lord would have us to join Abundant Grace Community Church in Gainesville, Florida. Phil Courson, and Mike Gilland are the pastors of this church, and have been my good friends for almost 10 years. God has really used them in my life and the lives of my wife and children. Abundant Grace is part of a family of churches known as Sovereign Grace Ministries. We believe that ultimately the Lord would have us to help plant churches through that ministry.

We covet your prayers, as we need to sell our house so that we can move to Gainesville. I will be able to work from home there. Holly has applied for a job in the Alachua County Library System, and it would be wonderful if the Lord would see fit to give her that job. It is doing the same thing that she is doing here in Suwannee County, but it would be full time with benefits, and 2 dollar more on the hour than what she is making here.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us.

Friday, November 9, 2007

"Whoso is Wise, Let Him Attnd to these things"

Psa. 107:43 ¶ Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

I was going to write this morning on the things that God did for Israel for His name sake. Ezekiel 20:1-49 was the first passage in my Bible reading plan for today.

However, when I came to the Psalm for the day it was Psalm 107, which I must say is probably my favorite psalm in all of the Word of God. This psalm is really about the same thing as Ezekiel 20--God showing mercy to Israel because of His Name's sake.

If I am going to hope in God's mercy, I must look for the reason that God would be merciful to me in Him, and not me. There is absolutely no reason in me as to why God should be merciful to me. There is every reason in my as to why God should pour out His wrath, and cause me to suffer immeasurable. So I dare not argue for God's mercy because of who I am and what's in it for me. I must argue that God will be merciful to me because of what's in it for Him--namely His own Glory. He will be merciful to me solely on the merits of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will do good things for me, because He is good and merciful. He can be good and merciful to me because the Lord Jesus Christ has paid for my sin.

In Psalm 107 we find God in His mercy answering the cries of those who are in distress, and delivering them. Many of them if not all of them were in distress of their own making, because of their sin and their rebellion against God. Yet when they were humbled by affliction, and cried unto the Lord, He saved them!

Are you wise? If you are you will consider these things, and hope in the steadfast love and mercy of God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Psa. 106:24 ¶ Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.

As I meditate upon this verse there are three things that I see.
  1. They were in a pleasant land.
  2. They despised it.
  3. The reason that the despised it is because they had no faith in the promise of God.
I conclude from that that no matter what kind of place you are in, you cannot enjoy it, unless you do so by faith in the promise of God. Joy and peace do not come from pleasant surroundings, but by faith in our God.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Rom 15:13 KJVS)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Of Righteousness and Judgement

“And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply* of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek 14:12-14 ESV)

It is interesting that God calls sin "acting faithlessly" The New Testament says that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. That is the real issue. If we really trust God we will do what He says. It is our faith that actually produces obedience to God. When we sin against God it is because we think we know better than He does, and we trust us rather than trusting in Him.

Notice with me something further. Righteousness delivers from the judgment of God. Albeit, only the righteousness of the Son of God can deliver others from the judgment of God. As righteous as Noah, Daniel, and Job was their righteousness could only deliver them, and no one else.

One other thought is that famine in the land comes because of God's judgment upon sin. I fear that America is headed for this kind of judgment. O may God have mercy upon this land, and send repentance and revival!