Monday, May 28, 2012


I love books!

To those who know me personally, aren't surprised by this 'confession' or realization.  I have grown with the assumption that most preachers love books.  I would venture to say that for a minister or even a public speaker to hate reading, books, or thinking - are, in a real sense, committing occupational suicide. 

At last count, I had atleast 5,000 books in my library.  Many of my books are autobiographies/biographies; some are textbooks from Dallas Baptist University and Southwestern Seminary; there are quite a few sets of commentaries (I don't subscribe to the belief that commentaries are hazardous or poisonous); much of my library are books dealing with the languages, lexicography, morphology, textual criticism, figures of speech, interlinear works, etc.; then many of my books are from Christian thinkers and theologians.  Admittedly, some of my books are secular and many are from various leaders who don't frequent any given church.  However, their writings have been invaluable to me through the years.  I credit many preachers, namely my Father, and also Dr. R.L. Sanders (who pastored for years the Pleasant Mt. Gilead of Forth Worth, TX) for their cultivation in my of my love for older writers and old books. 

The writers I cherish most (among the writers of old) are:
- Vance Havner
- Harry Emerson Fosdick
- Robert G. Lee
- M.R. Dehaan
- Grechem Machen
- W.W. Melton
- Hershcel Hobbs
- George W. Truett
- Bernard Ramm
- W. Herschel Ford
- Samuel Shoemakker
- John Calvin
- Robert Lenski
- H.P. Liddon
- John R. Bisagno
- A.W. Pink
- C.H. Spurgeon
- Alexander MacLaren
- G. Campbell Morgan

Of course, while these writers are so rewarding and enriching, the writings of Calvin Miller, Charles R. Swindoll, John F. MacArthur, John R.W. Stott, Watchman Nee and Andy Stanley are also quite rewarding. 

As I write this blog, I have no real understanding where I intended for this blog to go; just simply communicating in writing one of my favorite pastimes - BOOKS!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Evolutionary Hymn


Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future’s endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
While there’s always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we’re going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it’s god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature’s simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
‘Goodness = what comes next.’
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Blood

I came across a site entitle, 'The African American Lectionary', which has a few good illustrations that may benefit in sermonic delivery.  One of my favorite preachers of yesteryear, Samuel Dewitt Proctor, had a way of using personal childhood experiences to shine light on spiritual truth. 

Here is one:
I have a scar—two inches wide and about six inches long—on my right knee. I’ve had it for more than seventy years. I got the scar when I was a boy in a dusty ghetto in Tidewater. Some of my friends and I decided to raid a man’s yard to steal peaches from his tree. We went into his yard as quiet as mice with sneakers on. But he had a premonition of our coming, and somehow our intentions had been radared into him. And out of the darkness and the stillness, there he emerged wielding an ax handle, and he came after us one by one. I escaped him when I made a move like O.J. Simpson and darted for the fence, and I scaled the fence. I didn’t know that I had caught the head of a rusty nail in my knee, and it ripped my knee open right down to the bone. That nail left the biggest, ugliest scar on my knee for all of these years. My knee was ripped open for stealing peaches.

Every since then I have read about the cross with deeper understanding. I had one nail in my knee for something as useless as stealing peaches. One nail for an act of no consequence whatsoever; I bore the pain and the suffering literally for nothing—for a peach. But Jesus! I had one nail caught in my knee. They drove nails into his feet, nails into his hand, and a sword into his side. I had one nail caught in my knee. I bled for a peach. But he bled so that we could have peace with God.

Proctor, Samuel. “Jesus Went Farther.”
The African American Pulpit (Winter 2008-2009): pp. 77-78

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Gospel of Self?

I was introduced to John MacArthur through my Dad who, when growing up, always had a love and affection for the writings of this great preacher.  His love for the writings of MacArthur were so evident to me that they were the only books in my father's extensive library that I never bothered! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it...)  Over the course of my pastoring in Victoria (which is an hour's commute from my hom), I have grown to love and appreciate the preaching and ministry of MacArthur for myself.  This virtual obsession with everything MacArthur becomes more and more intense, it seems, as time goes on.  During my commute, I have an opportunity to listen to MacArthur on my iPhone to and from each week.  He NEVER disappoints.  What seems most impressing and convicting is MacArthur's clear and committed exposition of scripture, it's truth, and thoroughly handling the biblical text faithfully and accurately.  Several weeks ago I read another book by MacArthur entitled Hard to Believe.  Though I've had this book, as with many MacArthur's books, in my library for several years - I read it only for the first time a few weeks ago.  I'm glad I did!  The entire premise of this book is centered around this new age gospel of self-esteem, self-will and self-help in the face of Luke 9:23 which says,

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me." (ESV)

MacArthur describes how the culprits of this 'self movement' have taken humanistic psychology and attached what seems to be a bible candy coating and administered the drug of self-esteem, and it's related counterparts to the woes of modern Christians who have been robbed of their joy though deception and false doctrine, coupled with the perversion of scripture.  What makes this movement so dangerous is: 1) it twists the scripture in order to fit to the human self, rather than conforming to the God of the scripture and 2) it is satanically deceptive and demonic. 

Interestingly, the scripture is clear that this time would come. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 says that " will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Admittedly, I have been guilty a time or two of point to our own value for affirmation and confidence.  On the surface, there is nothing wrong about this reality.  However, is is dangerous in that none of us, in our human self, have any actual value apart from the value given to us by God.  What gives us value, in fact, is that we are His. I think the scripture is clear on where our human self stands in relation to our value.

David says:

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psa 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Psa 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Job writes:Job 15:16
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Isaiah declares: Isa 40:17
All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

Paul writes: Gal 6:3
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: (Before you were saved your spirit was dead - no value there!)

Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Jesus taught:Mat 16:24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

I am reminded of the words of the words written why Augustus M. Topadly in 1776, that seem so befitting when I think of enrapturing ourselves in harmony and oneness with the infiniate worth of Christ....

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,

When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

As I lead God's people, continually prepare myself as a steward of God's Word, study and prepare myself to handle and share His Word with others, lead my family, love my wife and grow as a servant-leader...I am humbled by the fact that inspite of my worthless self, I have found priceless value in Him.