Thursday, September 11, 2008


I covet your prayer as I am on the road again for the next couple of weeks. I will be preaching at Hope Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana this coming week; then, travel to Joy Baptist Church in Chilhowie, Virginia to preach the following week. Thus, I ask for your prayers regarding safety, travelling mercies; and, most of all, that the anointing of the Holy One might rest upon me to boldly "hold forth the Word of life." (Philippians 2: 16)

As I ponder that statement, "Holding forth the word of life," I am reminded of several things regarding my responsibility, as a preacher of the gospel, to do what I was called to do. I am to "hold forth the word of life," which means that:

1) The ORIGINATION of the Word is in Jesus!

He is the author of it. He is the creator of it. He is the originator of it. "In the beginning" He was "the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)

As the two walked on the Emmaus road, Jesus showed up and "...expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24: 27) Think about that! It was the Word expounding the Word. It was the Lord of the Word unveiling the Word of the Lord. I believe you would agree, Jesus would be more than qualified to teach about Himself those things concerning Himself. Thus, for us, or our people, to take issue with the Word is to take issue with the author. He is solely responsible for its content.

2) The INFORMATION in the Word is about Jesus!

Paul says that it is the "word of life." Jesus said that He is the "...resurrection and the life." He is the "way, the truth, and the life." In other words, the "word of life" reminds us that star of the Bible show is none other than the Lord Jesus. The Bible is a "HIM-book;" it's all about HIM!

It's about Him historically.
In Adam, we see Him as the head and representative of his people. In Noah, we see Him as the restorer of the new world. In Isaac, we see Him as a victim laid upon the altar. In Joseph, we see Him as sufferer, and a Savior. In Moses, we see Him as a lawgiver. In Aaron, we see Him as a high priest. In Joshua, we see him as a captain and commander. In Boaz, we see Him as a kinsman redeemer. In Solomon, we see Him as the wisdom of the ages. In Isaiah, we see Him as a prince of peace. In Jonah, we see Him as buried and raised from the grave.

It's about Him ceremonially.
He is the body of every shadow. He is the reality of every type. He is the rock whose streams followed the Israel of God. He is the manna that came from Heaven. He is the city of refuge which gives us protection from judgment and justice. He is the lamb "slain from before the foundation of the world."

It's about Him doctrinally.
He is the "mystery of godliness." He was "God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." Every doctrine of the Gospel, as treated by the inspired authors, leads to Him, and is fufilled by Him. He is the "apostles' doctrine."

It's about Him practically.
"For me to live IS CHRIST." To be a Christian is to live not to ourselves, but to be "crucified with Christ." The Christian life is the Christ-life. It nothing more, nothing less than Jesus Christ Himself. The practicality of the Christian life is for death to give way to resurrection. I die, so that the Risen Christ can live. His example is the rule, His love is the motive, and His Spirit is the author. God's standard is perfection; and, since that disqualifies everyone of us, only Jesus can satisfy that standard.

3) The TRANSFORMATION from the Word is through Jesus!

It is not the "word of death," but it is the "word of life." It has power to "reconcile us unto God," and then to make us a "new creature" in Christ Jesus. It has the power to cause demons to fear, diseases to flee, depravity to fall, and difficulties to fail. It has the power to justify us, sanctify us, and glorify us. It has the power to pick us up, set us up, clean us up, tune us up, and hold us up.

When I get in the Word and the Word gets in me, a metamorphisis takes place. I cannot truly look into the "perfect law of liberty" and walk away the same man. I cannot "with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord" not be "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Pastors, preachers, evangelists, teachers, and Christian, "hold forth the word of life." God has not called us to 'help it out,' we are called to HOLD IT FORTH! We do not have to defend it, we only have to declare it. It's origination, information, and transformation will do what we cannot do. That is my prayer as I stand behind the sacred desk, and it is my prayer for you as well.

Thank you for your prayers as I travel to preach. Pray for my congregation as I am away, and pray for the congregations that I will preach to. Pray that God will use me to courageously, compassionately, and convincingly "hold forth the word of life."

Your Friend in the Fight,

Pastor Steve

Thursday, September 4, 2008


As I sit down at my wife's computer tonight to type this entry, I have just caught the most recent update on the Weather Channel regarding Tropical Storm Hanna, Hurricane Ike, and Tropical Storm Josephine. In the past 3 weeks, we have witnessed one of the busiest storm seasons in recent years. Several precious families in our church were affected by Tropical Storm Faye, and if the course doesn't change, it appears that the entire state of Florida will feel the wrath of Hurricane Ike.

Yet, storms are not isolated to just the natural arena, but they are a common part of the spiritual arena. In terms of weather, the Atlantic hurricane season is officially from June 1 to November 30; however, in terms of the Christian life, there is no "official" Heavenly hurricane season. It's not a matter of "if" they come; but, only a matter of "when" they come.

For some reason, all of this talk about hurricanes has directed my attention to Psalm 34. David was a man who had experienced his share of success, but he had also experienced his share of storms. Thus, in Psalm 34:19 he enlightens us as to the truth of what I call 'Heavenly hurricanes;' "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

Whenever I come upon the word "many" in the Bible, I automatically want to pose the question, "How many?" Yet, there is no specific, definite answer as to how many "afflictions" the "righteous" will encounter. We are only left to our spiritual imagination, "many are the afflictions of the righteous."

I fear that as pastors/preachers, we have unintentionally misled people to believe that once they give their hearts to Jesus their pains, problems, and predicaments disappear forever. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, personally speaking, most of my most intense "afflictions" did not begin until I became a Christian. The feel good, pop-psychology, purpose driven theology may advocate a life free of trouble, but the Bible never does.

Billy Bray, the Welsh coal-miner who became a preacher of the gospel said, "The Lord has given me both vinegar and honey; but, He has given me honey by the teaspoon and vinegar by the ladel." In other words, the bitter times of life seem to far outnumber the sweet times of life. Why? "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

Afflictions may be represented in pain, pressure, problems, predicaments, and perplexities. Afflictions come in all shapes, sizes and forms. It may be a financial affliction, a physical affliction, a marital affliction, an occupational affliction, or a spiritual affliction. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

However, with the pain, pressure, problems, predicaments, and perplexities comes the PROMISE..."but the Lord delivereth him out of them all!" Hallelujah! We may be unprepared when Hurricane Ike rolls into town, but we are not unprepared when Heavenly hurricanes come our way, because we have the promise of God, which is "Yea" and "Amen," that He will be all we need to endure the storm, as well as to escape the storm.

Is it wonder then that even before he described the "many" "afflictions" of the "righteous," that David could say, "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth?" Even though the "many" "afflictions" are on their way, He's still the God of the Heavenly hurricanes, and He will use them for our good and His glory! Thus, come and "magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together."

He's Holding On to Me,

Pastor Steve