Pastors Blog

Monday, 01 December 2014
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It has been some months since I last blogged., Learning a new computer, business with ministry and unfortunately, some neglect, has kept me from putting some thoughts on the computer, but I am back!, I have good intentions to blog often,but I don't always follow though like I should, so pray for me.

Today is the first day of,the month of December and I mark an anniversary of sorts., It was 40 years ago,this month that I became a pastor of my first church (I know I can't be that old, but I am).,,The church was small less than 20 when they elected me., I was young, full of myself and filled with zeal., The graciousness of those people was demonstrated because they allowed me to be their pastor for 4 1/2 years., I learned a great deal during that time.  A few,of those lessons I would like to share with you.

1., Churches have ups and downs., Our attendance rose from the "less than 20" that called me to nearly 50., It was fun watching growth., Then a problem arose and attendance slide back to about 30., Problems are no fun to deal with, but they are not the end of the world!, This church taught me about the ups and downs of spiritual and secular life.

2. There are those people that encourage you., Every church needs people that encourage and care for their pastor., One couple in particular stand out., They took my wife and me under their wing and encouraged us for the time we were there., I will always be appreciate of their love for us and investment in us.

3. Pastors need training., At the time that I became the pastor of this church, I had no formal training., Even though I was an avid reader and student, I soon learned just how much I did not know!, The experience of this church convinced me that I needed to be a life-long learner., I later earned a degree in theology., Even to this day I love seminars where I can learn something new.

4. Every ministry is preparation for the next step., For the first time in their history this church became involved in the support of missionaries., This led to frequent missionary guest in our church and home., After leaving this church and going to Bible College, my wife and I became missionaries and served a term in Papua New Guinea.

I celebrate this month with a sense of appreciation for God having allowed me to begin my ministry at Fox Creek Baptist Church.

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Posted on 12/01/2014 9:16 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 18 December 2013
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A few mornings back I read a sermon entitled "Revivals and Evangelism" by Joseph W. Kemp (1872 -- 1933) in my morning devotions.  Even though he lived and preached this message before most of us were born, I find it relevant and challenging.  I would like to share some of the quotes from the sermon for you to read and to ponder. As you read remember that this sermon was preached over 80 years ago. Before you read the quotes let me quote Wiersbe as the to the kind of man that Joseph Kemp was.  "Kemp was not content to minister in a comfortable church; he went after lost souls and preached the gospel to them.  He refused to be controlled by what he called the 'tyranny of statistics.'" [I must confess that I like the phrase, "tyranny of statistics."]

"There has been a parading of statistics and often with a reckless mode of reckoning, forgetting that numerical estimates are very deceptive and misleading.  The spectacular and the sensational are amongst the means resorted to.  Fabulous expenditure in advertising, hotels, and transportation, together with the smallness of the number of genuine converts to be found afterwards has contributed to the serious reaction from which the church is now suffering."  [Are we a people TOO concerned with statistics and the stature they bring?]

Speaking of churches he quoted W.J. Dawson, "Some are social clubs, united by moral ideals, rather than spiritual communities quick with divine fire." 

He quotes G. Campbell Morgan,"No church ought to be allowed to exist that has not added to its membership by confession of faith.  If a church is existing only by letters of transfer, it is time its doors were closed, and 'Ichabod, the glory is departed' inscribed across thme."  This evangelism must begin with in the church. [Some would see this statement as harsh, but the truth is that in many churches the people cannot remember the last time someone made a confession of faith.  Why?]

"A church which is not sure of Christ cannot preach Him. The church and her preachers must know whom they have believed and know what they owe to Him."

"The sacred writers deal with living issues, and touch the great practical things of human experience."

"No evangelism can be termed New Testament evangelism that does not take sin into account."

"I agree with Dr. Charles Brown when he says, "I think that the modern preacher says far too little about heaven and hell.  It seems to me that he modern sermon is too soft.  That is the defect in modern preaching."

"And, hear me, you evangelism must commence in the home.  A wise evangelism will not neglect the home, but will make that the starting point in the great campaign to evangelize the world."  [Could it be that we are losing our young people because of the decline of the home?]

These are just some things that stood out to me as read the sermon.  I am offering them to you that they may touch your heart as they touched and convicted mine.

The book that I found this sermon in was "Listening to the Giants: A Guide to Good Reading and Great Preaching" by Warren Wiersbe.  My copy was published in 1980.

 

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Posted on 12/18/2013 8:58 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 11 September 2013
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I recently read two books with profound messages.  One was "Contentment" by Richard Swenson, a medical doctor.  Contentment is something everyone desires, yet few know how to achieve it.  Most seek to achieve it by seeking more, well of everything.  The profound message in this book is how we achieve contentment with less.  It certainly resonated with me.  Its message so move me I am considering how to 'simplify' my life and learn a greater dependence upon God.

The other book was "Embracing Obscurity."  The author chose to remain Anonymous.  In age when even Christians seek 'celebrity status' the book was breath of fresh air and a definite encouragement to those of us that labor out of the limelight.

I would recommend the reading of both books, but be prepared for a shock to your lifestyle.

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Posted on 09/11/2013 6:51 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 14 August 2013
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Last week was VBS here at the Grove.  People who did not attend would ask the normal questions, "How many did you have?" "Did anyone make a confession of faith?"  Will you be baptizing anyone?"  These are not bad questions, but are the answers to these questions a good evaluation of our VBS?  Using these questions to valuate our VBS does not tell all of the story?  There are other questions that also evaluate whether the VBS was successful.

The first question concerns our motivation, "Why did we do it?"  Did we do VBS because it was tradition or to 'grow' the church.  Perhaps we could say that we did it for the 'children.'  According to 1 Corinthians 10:31 {So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God} the most important reason is to honor God.  If we did it for any other purpose other than honoring and glorifying God, then the the numbers really do not matter.  Our motivation is always important and will affect our performance and attitude.

The second question concerns our performance, "Did we do our best?"  It is difficult to imagine anyone not doing there best when it comes to the Lord's work, but it happens more often than we think.  This question goes to attitude, preparation, sacrifice and performance.  If our attitude is bad, our preparation inadequate, and performance poor, then have we truly honored God?  As I observed the people who worked in VBS, I believe they gave their best, thereby honoring God.  Many gave their time and energy even though they had a long hard work day.   

The last question concerns our attitude to the children, "Did we show them the love of God?"  Children are always a challenge.  They have an abundance of energy, they like to play and their attention span is short.  Love for those to which we minister is a must.  Whether we are sharing the gospel with the lost, preaching a sermon or working in VBS we must see those we minister to with love and not as a task.  Again, I watched and I can say that I saw the workers loving the children.  I saw it in their laugher and their excitement.  They loved the children and ministered to them out of that love.

Was our VBS a success?  Some would say no based on attendance.  But I beg to differ.  The people of Emma's Grove were motivated by love for God and  love for the children and did their very best.  That attitude made this VBS a success and honored our heavenly Father!!! 

May we always examine our motivation, execution, and attitude.

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Posted on 08/14/2013 9:27 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 08 May 2013
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When we look at life in the culture at large we see a decline, do we not?  Violence is on the rise!  Our dreams for the future are uncertain!  Morals and honesty are ridiculed!  Things are not much better in the church culture.  Many churches seem as thought they are waiting to die.  Some are unconcerned about the broader world and the needs of hurting and empty people.  And if we are honest, we do not have a lot of answers.  The wickedness of the culture and the apathy of the church conspire to rob me of my joy on many a day. 

But allow me to share with you a 65 year old prayer by Peter Marshall:

O God our Father, be real to each one of us today, that we may become aware how near Thou art and how practical Thy help may be.  Deliver us form going though the motions as thought waiting for a catastrophe.

Save us from the inertia of futility.  Revive our spirit of adventuresome faith.  Give us nerve again and zest for living, with courage for the difficulties of peace.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Sometimes it appears that we are waiting on a catastrophe and feel that there is nothing we can do about it.  We do need that adventuresome faith, zest and spiritual courage if we are to prosper spiritually in this difficult era.

Let all of us just take a moment to bow our heads and join Peter Marshall in this prayer.  May God revive us again!

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Posted on 05/08/2013 10:21 AM by Gene King
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
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Sometimes life is difficult.  Stressful people and situations make us sometimes feel like a stretched out rubber band about to break.  I have had more of those days than I care to remember.  This morning I was reading a prayer of Peter Marshall which brought me a sense of peace and put things in their proper place.

The prayer reads:

"O Thou Holy Spirit, who hast promised to lead us into all truth, prepare our hearts and minds for the business of this day, that we may behave with true courtesy and honor.  Compel us to be just and honest in all our dealings.  Let our motives be above suspicion.  Let our word be our bond.  Save us from the fallacy of depending upon personality, or ingenuity, or position, to solve our problems.  Since Thou hast the answers, make us willing to listen to Thee, that we may vote on God's side, and that God's will may be done in us.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

This prayer was prayed in the U.S. Senate on Friday, March 7, 1947.  It is a great prayer to begin the day with.  If we follow this prayer, it allows God and His word to guide our lives in this day.  I know that I for one need to stop depending up on myself and listen to the answers that God gives us in His word.

I prayer that as you read this prayer, that it will lighten your load and give to you a greater dependency on our Christ.

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Posted on 03/19/2013 8:48 AM by Gene King
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Monday, 28 January 2013
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I have always believed that Satan was a real entity.  I acknowledged with my head that he opposed God and by extension God's people.  But in the past few months I have come realize his opposition to us and our mission as Followers of Christ is very real.  Satan is active in hindering the work of God and seeking to destroy believers (yes that does include you). 

While studying on Job I realized the some of the ways he attacks.  Satan attacked Job's family.  He attacked Job's finances and also attacked Job's health.  He also attacked Job through Job's friends.  Imagine that in your darkest hour, your close friends come and instead of comforting you that they berate you and tell you that it is your fault!  Satan's purpose was to persuade Job to curse God (abandon His worship of and loyalty to God).  Consider that the next time you think about abandoning your church or walking away from Christ. 

Recently while praying through the "Warfare Prayer" I realize that in warfare one seeks to infiltrate the ranks of their enemy.  The history of warfare is filled with stories of spies, saboteurs, traitors, and 'sleeper cells.'  Satan brings these types of people into our churches, Christian organizations and our lives in order to hinder God's work and destroy Christians. 

I now understand in a better way Peter's challenge when he told us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8).  If we are not sober and vigilant, then we are in danger of allowing our devious enemy, Satan, to destroy us and those dear to us.

As you live your life, be watchful and careful because you do have an enemy that wishes you harm.  Stay faithful and fruitful, my friends.

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Posted on 01/28/2013 7:00 AM by Pastor King
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Thursday, 27 December 2012
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We are fast approaching the end of 2012.  I have been reflecting back over the past year.  I am grateful for the many wonderful things God has done in my life.  God has been very good to me.  But as I look back I see things that I could have done better.  Whether in my attitude or actions there are many failures.  I wish I had a 'do-over.'   But there are no u-turns on the journey of life.  For better or worse the past year is coming to an end and it cannot be re-lived. 

But around the corner is a whole new year, 2013.  12 new months, 52 new weeks and 365 new days.  I have a whole new year!  I want to do better this year than I did last year.  I will make some resolutions, but basically I want to be a better follower of Jesus Christ.  I desire to be more obedient and fail less!  Let us all join together to make 2013 our best year for Christ yet.

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Posted on 12/27/2012 10:10 AM by Pastor King
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Wednesday, 05 September 2012
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I have been tempted many times to resign from the pastorate and seek a secular vocation.  My temptation to quit is not a result of a crisis of belief.  Like many I struggle at times to understand the Bible or the implication of a passage, but I don't disbelieve it or reject it.  I trust that it is true and that my ability to understand it is lacking.  It is not the long hours that the pastorate requires.

So, what makes me want to quit?  When Christians misbehave!  When they act like a group of carnal children instead of mature followers of Jesus Christ.  When I see the Christian lifestyle in Scripture with its values and behaviors, it is a thing of deep beauty.  The concepts of forgiveness, grace, love and kindness one to another touch me a deep level, but when I see Christians living in a way that rejects grace, love and kindness,  it keeps me awake at night and causes doubt to come into my mind.  The thoughts of resigning and leaving ministry become very strong.  Fortunately, God has been gracious to me and always strengthened and encouraged me at the right time.

But I also begin to think about how I might be misbehaving and causing a brother or sister in Christ to doubt.  Am I doing to others, the same thing that troubles me so greatly? 

A lack of Christian love, one to another does great damage to our unity and our witness.  When all is said and done, our actions do speak louder than our words.  I would challenge you, to read carefully Romans 12:9-21 and seek to practice those injunctions in order that we together might be "doers of the word, and not hearers only."  Churches will be a place of greater peace and our witness to a lost, hostile world will be stronger.

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Posted on 09/05/2012 9:56 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 01 August 2012
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It is an election year.  There is much that troubles me about how we conduct our elections.  From the negative campaigning of the candidates to the unrealistic expectations of the voter, the process can weary and disgust many voters.  How do we as a voters respond to all of this in a way that is Biblical and honors our Savior?  Allow me to offer some suggestions.

1)  Note the limitations of politicians.  Politicians and government cannot save us!  Only God can do that.  Let us remember that no matter who wins the election God is still God and He is sovereign over the affairs of our world.

2)  Exercise your privilege to vote.  One of the great gifts that our founding fathers gave us is the right to participate in our government.  This is a privilege that most people in history have not had.  Many in our world live under regimes that ignore the rights of its citizens. 

3)  Understand and vote your values.  Christians should hold to a set of values that are defined by the Bible.  We need to examine candidates in light of those values and vote accordingly.

4)  Take time to know the positions and values of the candidates.  The media is not the place to learn about the candidates.  It will take time and effort to learn about the candidates but it helps us vote wisely.

5)  Pray that God will help you make wise decisions.

6)  Conduct yourself as a Christian with kindness and grace.  Christians should be firm in our Biblical beliefs, but not offensive and mean.  We can disagree with people without ugliness.

In this election to God be the Glory!! 

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Posted on 08/01/2012 9:49 AM by Pastor King
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Friday, 08 June 2012
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It is an understatement to say that I enjoy reading the prayers of Peter Marshall!  I would like to share with you another one of his prayers that give to us some food for thought.  This prayer was prayed on March 7,1947.

"O Thou Holy Spirit, who hast promised to lead us into all truth, prepare our hearts and minds for the business of this day, that we may behave with true courtesy and honor.  Compel us to be just and honest in all our dealings.  Let our motives be above suspicion.  Let our word be our bond.  Save us from the fallacy of depending upon our personality, or ingenuity, or position, to solve our problems.  Since Thou hast the answers, make us willing to listen to Thee, that we may vote on God's side, and that God's will may be done in us.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

This prayer raises several issues for us to consider:

  1. How do I treat other people?  Let us remember that love, kindness and gentleness are fruits of the Spirit. 
  2. What are my motives in following Jesus Christ?  Do I wish to obey and honor Christ or do I selfishly expect Him to make my life pleasurable and profitable?
  3. Am I self-sufficient or am I dependent upon the Lord ? 

May you read this prayer and may the Holy Spirit use it to draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Posted on 06/08/2012 8:11 AM by Gene King
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Tuesday, 15 May 2012
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This 'blogging' thing is more difficult to maintain than I realize, but here goes.

I have often wondered about Moses and the Israelites when they were caught between Pharaoh and his advancing army and the Red Sea.  Talk about being between the rock and the hard place.  It was an impossible situation from the human standpoint.  There survival was dependent on God's intervention.   I wonder what went through the minds of the Israelites.  What plans and strategies were in their minds?  Did they believe that they could prevail in a battle with the Egyptians?  Fortunately, we know the end of the story.  God did intervene with a great miracle and they were delivered.

You have probably had your share of 'impossible situations.'  I am the type of person that when I see a impossible situation, I want to fix it, rescue it or make it right. That seems to be the American spirit. But I am learning there are those times that we must await the intervention of God.  Learn to depend more on God and less on yourself is a great lesson.

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Posted on 05/15/2012 10:05 AM by Gene King
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Wednesday, 04 April 2012
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As a Christian, I find Passion Week meaningful.  Reflecting upon the death and resurrection of Christ takes me the heart of my faith.  But one question that I often ask myself is, "What do I want to carry with me after the week is over?"  While reading the prayers of Peter Marshall I found one answer.  He prayed this prayer before the U.S. Senate on March 23, 1948.

"Lord Jesus, in the days of this holy week of solemn remembrance, bring to our minds again Thy new commandment that we love one another.  With loving concern in our hearts, may we cherish each other and be willing to put the welfare of others ahead of our own.  In loving other people we shall best express our love for Thee.  So  help us to love that we may be loved for Thy name's sake.  Amen."

Christ gave to us the greatest example of love the world has ever known, when He died on the cross for our sins.  The just suffered for the unjust.  May we bring to a world hardened by sin the gifts of grace, compassion, kindness and love.  May this Easter season motivate you to a deeper and higher "love life."

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Posted on 04/04/2012 8:04 AM by Gene King
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
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Some years ago I was given a copy of Pete Marshall's Lasting Prayers.  Peter Marshall was chaplain of the US Senate in the late 1940's.  The book is a record of many of his Senate prayers.  The prayers are short, but speak volumes.  The prayers challenge and inspire the reader to a greater depth in their spiritual life.  One prayer moved me more than the others. 

The prayer reads, "Deliver us, our Father, from futile hopes and from clinging to lost causes, that we may move into ever-gowing calm and ever-widening horizons.  Where we cannot convince, let us be willing to persuade, for small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.  We know that we cannot do everything.  But help us to do something.  For Jesus' sake. Amen."

This prayer was written by Peter Marshall as one of the last things that he did before his sudden death.  The prayer was offered in the Senate the next day (January 27, 1949) by Dr. Clarence Cranford, the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Washington,D.C.

How often do we cling to the futile hopes of success or riches in this present world and forget what blessings the Father gives to us in faithfully following Jesus Christ?  May you walk into the ever-growing calm and ever-widening horizons of following Christ!

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Posted on 02/28/2012 8:06 AM by Gene King
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