Kidnapped Twice

The man we know today as Saint Patrick was kidnapped twice: first by Irish pirates, and then again after his death by the Roman Catholic religion, which claims him as one of their own. In fact, he was not affiliated in any way with the Roman hierarchy, and his doctrine was contrary to that of the apostate Romish church on several vital points. Patrick was more of a Baptist than a Catholic!


Thankful for the Gospel

After believing gospel and being gloriously born again, the former slave trader and scoundrel John Newton penned the words to the most familiar christian song ever written. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” he wrote, “that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” You’re probably familiar with many of the details of Newton’s wicked life before conversion and his efforts to end the slave trade. What an amazing testimony to the power of the gospel!
When we hear a testimony of “a wretch” saved out of a life of horrible sin and we’re able to witness a life transformed by the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, we think, “this is the stuff that great testimonies are made of!” In comparison, some of us may feel our testimony is relatively boring — “…grew up in a Christian home, went to church every Sunday… One day, I became convicted of my sin against God, while at the same becoming convinced from the Bible that only the sacrifice of Jesus could pay the penalty of that sin. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and give me eternal life… and here I am, still going to church every Sunday, trying to love and serve God…”
Both testimonies are exciting! Both were sinners deserving the wrath of God. Both were saved from a life of sin — one was delivered out of the chains of sin; the other, delivered from ever having to experience those dreadful chains; spared from a long life of being a slave of Satan. This is my testimony — and I’m so thankful for the gospel that saved my soul!
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me,
Thy great salvation so rich, and free.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16ab)
~Pastor David


Beware of Foxes and Wolves (part 2)

“The elders which are among you I exhort… Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” (1 Peter 5:1-2)
God gives a pastor three primary responsibilities: feed the flock, overseethe flock, and protect the the flock. “Take heed… to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30)
A pastor needs to protect the church from “wolves” of a spiritual nature. The protection of the flock is primarily accomplished through feeding and overseeing. Feeding enables growth and encourages loyalty and unity, and oversight provides spiritual and physical direction for the church, while warning against and exposing enemies of the flock—the “wolves” that come in dressed as sheep. They attempt to look like sheep and talk like sheep, but they are not sheep. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening[extortionate] wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15– 16). Wolves are false, hypocritical, dangerous teachers; thieves that come to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). Their motives are always evil, always self-serving. Their god is their belly (Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:19).
Wolves try to scatter the sheep and isolate the weak and vulnerable from the protection of the shepherd and the rest of the flock (John 10:12). This is why it is so important for the church to be unified in doctrine and knit together in love, following the God-ordained shepherds given to them.
~Pastor David


Beware of Foxes and Wolves (part 1)

“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them…”
(Ezekiel 13:2–6).
The Bible uses the well-known characteristics of foxes and wolves as an illustration of people who can attack or infiltrate a church or nation and cause damage and destruction. Foxes may seem fairly benign, but “little foxes… spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Foxes are sly and opportunistic trouble-makers, and can cause considerable damage.
In Ezekiel 13, God calls prophets foxes when they prophesied in God’s name without receiving any direction from Him. These prophets were telling the people the positive “fake news” that they wanted to hear, instead of the negative “real news” that Ezekiel was preaching. Judah and Jerusalem’s rebellion and idolatry had caused the moral decay of the city, pictured by the gaps and breaches in the walls of Jerusalem. “[These] prophets had not stood in the way of this decay and its causes, as the calling and duty of prophets demanded, by reproving the sins of the people, that they might rescue the people and kingdom from destruction by restoring its moral and religious life”[C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament]. They were actually furthering the moral decay by telling the people everything was okay.
These “foxes” of prophets were a real problem in the years preceding and following the Babylonian captivity. “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:28) “…Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:” (Jeremiah 29:31).
Beware of prophets and preachers who tell you only what you want to hear! A faithful preacher must preach only the Word of God.
~Pastor David


You Can’t Take It with You

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6–7)

On May 25, 1994, the ashes of 71-year-old George Swanson were buried in the driver’s seat of his 1984 white Corvette. 

Swanson, a beer distributor and former U.S. Army sergeant during World War II, died the previous March at the age of 71. He had reportedly been planning his automobile burial for some time, buying 12 burial plots at Brush Creek Cemetery, located 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, in order to ensure that his beloved Corvette would fit in his grave with him. “George wanted to go out in style, and, indeed, now he will,” commented Swanson’s lawyer in a report from The Associated Press.

According to the AP, Swanson’s widow, Caroline, transported her husband’s ashes to the cemetery on the seat of her own white 1993 Corvette. The ashes were then placed on the driver’s seat of his 10-year-old car, which had only 27,000 miles on the odometer. Inside the car, mourners also placed a lap quilt made by a group of women from Swanson’s church, a love note from his wife and an Engelbert Humperdinck tape in the cassette deck, with the song “Release Me” cued up and ready to play. As 50 mourners looked on, a crane lowered the Corvette into a 7-by-7-by-16-foot hole.   

“George always said he lived a fabulous life, and he went out in a fabulous style,” Caroline Swanson said later. “You have a lot of people saying they want to take it with them. He took it with him.” 

The truth is, George Swanson couldn’t take it with him. “[We] brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7) Although others may have praised him for doing what he always wanted and “going out in style,” Mr. Swanson’s actions were both foolish and incredibly selfish. 
Although the motto of some people seems to be “He who dies with the most toys wins”, the Apostle James warned that people who die with the most treasure are actually the biggest losers! “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” (James 5:1–3)
If he would have read his Bible, George Swanson would have read the account of a rich man, who also could not take anything with him when he died. “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20–21)  Jesus warned, “…Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)