Thursday, October 30, 2008


This blog is quite different from previous blogs in that I want to answer some questions that I have been recently asked regarding sermon preparation/delivery. First of all, let me say that the things I will share certainly do not reflect the fact that I have a monopoly of the art of preaching or preparation. These just represent things that have come to me, both natually, as well as those I have had to work at.

1. PLAN It OUT! By that I mean, don't open up the Word and decide to preach on whatever your index finger lands. Have a systematic approach to preaching. I love to preach through books of the Bible. Truth is progressive; thus, by the time you are at the conclusion of the book, you have built upon the truth presented in the opening of the book. Also, sermon series are an excellent way to avoid the pitfall of random thoughts. Although I am not an avid fan of topical series, they do serve a purpose in the right setting. Whether it is a book or a series, plan toward it. Map it out. Know where you're going; how you're going to get there; and, how long it will take.

2. PLOW It IN! In other words, when God settles on your heart what to preach, allow the plow of the Holy Spirit to plant it deep within your soul. Allow the truth of the passage to sink in. Meditate upon it. Dwell upon it. Feast upon it. Fill yourself so full of it that it overflows when you give it to your people. God forbid that we, as preachers, take the most exciting Book of history and BORE PEOPLE WITH IT! However, you cannot properly give out what you have not personally taken in. Thus, may it never be said that we went to the pulpit unprepared. God honors the study of His Word. I believe the anointing of the Spirit begins in the study.

There are a variety of options, and preferences in this area. Some preachers are "note-free" preachers who take no notes with them to the pulpit. Other preachers, like myself, take a manuscript to the pulpit. To be honest, I wish I were more able to be "note free," but I have become so accustomed to having my notes, that I would be handicapped. However, I would say this, if you use notes in your preaching, don't let them sound like the script of a telemarketer. Make it flow. Know where you are. Know where you're going. Know how you're going to get there.

3. PRAY It THROUGH! This is the hardest part of sermon preparation. For me, I'm not often willing to take the time to pray over my sermon. But, I have found the difference to be eternal in the sermons that I have prayed over, and the ones I have not. Something that I have made a personal practice is, that once my study is complete, before I go to the pulpit to deliver the message; I take my sermon notes, I hold them up, and I offer them as a sacrifice to God. I ask Him to leave out what He wants to leave out, and to put it what He wants to put in. I give it back to its rightful owner, and say with Moses, "Lord, I don't want to go out there if you don't go with me." The BIG preacher can do far better than we little preachers.

Referring back to sermon notes, although many of my sermons will contain a number of pages, I am not totally dependent upon them in the pulpit. I have looked over them many, many times before I preach; and, when I pray, I ask God to brand them into my heart and mind. I don't want to limit God to my sermon notes. There have been many times, while preaching, when God has given me something not in my notes. This is often referred to as "pulpit inspiration." Whatever the case may be, I believe it is the direct result of prayer.

4. PREACH It FORTH! Once you have labored over a passage, and have allowed the Holy Spirit to cultivate it deep within your soul; and, once you have prayed God's blessing upon it; go forth into your pulpit with a backbone like a saw-log and PREACH, PREACHER, PREACH! I mean, LET IT RIP! Leave nothing in the pulpit, or on the platform. As Richard Baxter said, "Preach as a dying man to dying men." Spurgeon was right when he said, "The purpose of preaching is not to explain a subject but to acheive an object. Preachers have become so wrapped up in 'content' that we've forgotten about "intent."

I once heard Chuck Swindoll say that preaching is 4 simple things: PRESENTATION, APPLICATION, ILLUSTRATION, INVITATION. While every preaching must hone his own skills to develop his own plan, personality, and preparation; I believe there is one common denominator: little preachers cannot make it without the BIG preacher.

Holding Forth the Word of Life,

Pastor Steve

Friday, October 24, 2008


On a recent trip to fulfill a preaching obligation, I flew to Indianapolis, Indiana. Our arrival was a few minutes ahead of schedule, so when I came off of the airplane one of the first things I saw was a bookstore. Now, anyone who knows me knows that one of my great weaknesses is my love for books. I would miss a meal to buy a book. I do not have the need for any more books, because there are currently 4500 volumes that fill my library/study. However, I just can't help but "get in the flesh" whenever I see any type of bookstore.

As I browsed around, I never really saw anything that struck my fancy. But, as I was walking out, I noticed a little shelf near the register. It was filled with different "religious" books, most of which would only serve as a good means of fireplace material. However, there was one book that jumped off the shelf at me. The book is entitled, "The Outward Focused Life: Becoming a Servant in a Serve Me World." The author is Dave Workman, senior pastor of Vineyard Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As always, I browsed through the table of contents to see if there was good reason to purchase the book. Some things I saw intrigued me, but I laid it down and said to myself, "If it's here when I come back to fly home, I'll pick it up." Well, guess what? When I arrived back at the airport, 6 days later, there was ONE copy of the book left. I don't know if it was divine intervention or not, but I purchased the book.

The book is filled with over 250 pages of life/church experiences of a pastor. By the time I landed back home in Jacksonville, 2 hours later, I had finished the entire book. To say that the book interested me would be a grave understatement. The book absolutely engulfed me. There was no great doctrinal, theological, or expostional content to the book, it is simply a book about being the greatest the kingdom of God. It is about being a SERVANT.

Pastor Workman and I would certainly disagree on several doctrinal issues, but there was one common denominator that we both share; and, that is, that one of the things greatly lost in the church today is servanthood. The average Christian, as well as the average church, has become so wrapped in themselves that they cannot see the need to reach, help, and love others. The lives of most Christians are governed by the unholy trinity of 'Me, Myself, and I."

But, when God saved us, He did much more than give us a little "fire insurance policy" to escape hell. When God saved us, He did much more than give us the "blessed hope" of a home in Heaven. When God saved us, He enlisted us in His army of saints, soldiers, and servants.

Pastor Dave told of a time he went to a fast-food restaurant. As he walked thru the door, he quickly noticed the cold temperature of the room. He ordered his food, paid the cashier, and as he waited on his food, he noticed that everyone in the dining area was eating their food with their coats on. He mentioned to the girl at the counter, "It's awfully cold in here, don't you think?" She replied, "It how we like it back here." He said, "Yes, but everyone is eating with their coats on." She looked at the dining area, looked back and him and said, "It's how we like it back here."

A great spiritual lesson is paralleled anytime a church or a Christian exists with the attitude, "It's how I like it back here." Many Christians fail to appropriate all of the resources of God's grace, and become everything God wants them to be, because they like it just where they are. They have reached the place of contentment; thus, they have purchased their tickets for the destination of complacency, callousness, and coldness.

Many churches fail to be the lighthouse of their communities, because they do things based on "how they like it in here." As a result, people fill our seats, and sit through our services every week WITH THEIR COATS ON! If this attitude continues, before long there will not be anyone in our church except those who think that it's NORMAL TO BE MISERABLE!
All the while our cities, counties and communities remain unreached, unchurched and unsaved.

Now, please do not get me wrong, I am talking about watering down the gospel, or seeking to become like the world to win the world, because they would defeat the purpose. We have seen what the "purpose driven, seeker friendly church" produces; wormy, weak, and worldly believers. What I am talking about is that the church has become an expert in the field of having church and doing church, but has forgotten the mandate of BEING church. As R. G. Lee well said many years ago, "The church has become social clubhouses rather than spiritual lighthouses; museums that minister to the saints, rather than hospitals that minister to sinners; a group of political organizers, rather than a group of spiritual agonizers; keepers of the aquariam, rather than fishers of men."

We have forgotten that it is not about us, it has never been about us; nor, will it ever be about us. God has not called us to be high society, He has called us to be Heavenly Servants. When was the last time we reached out to help someone, not because of what we could get out of it; but, because we saw them through the eyes of Jesus? Remember, people are sitting in our church, and living in our communities with their coats on; so, let's go warm them up.

Glad to be a Servant,

Pastor Steve

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I heard about the little boy who came running into the living room carrying a dead mouse by the tail. His mother was sitting, talking to her pastor, when the boy ran in. The little boy said, "Mama, look at this dead mouse. I beat him in the head with a hammer, then I ran over him with my tricycle, then I stomped on him with both feet; then, I picked him up and threw him against the wall." About that time, the little boy looked up and saw the pastor, then he said, "Then, the good Lord called him home!"

We are saved forever! We are POSITIONALLY saved. We are being PROGRESSIVELY saved. One day, we will be PERFECTLY saved. But, salvation does not negate sin. It is still a present force, because God saves our soul, not our flesh. Adrian Rogers, “If the devil doesn’t bother you, it’s because you’re both going in the same direction.”

Thus, knowing that we are saved forever, and our sins (past, present and future) have been atoned for once and for all, does that give us a license to sin, or does it give us the power not to have to? We must first remember,
The REALITY of the BLIGHT of Sin!

Gratefully, we are not alone in our battle with sin, because the apostle Paul fought the same battle. He describes it in Romans 7: 15-17, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [16] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. [17] Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Then, in sheer agony he decries in verse 24, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Paul's words remind us of an infallible truth, we are not SINNERS BECAUSE WE SIN; we SIN BECAUSE WE ARE SINNERS! We are not first sinners by choice, but sinners by character. We are not just sinners by name, but by nature. Our sin is not just reflected by our behavior, it is revealed in our birth. We are BORN SINNERS!

Sin takes us back to the beginning, and we learn from Adam's sin that the result was
Death of the SPIRIT IMMEDIATELY. When Adam sinned, immediately his spirit lost fellowship with God. God and Adam had walked together; but, once sin entered the picture, God had to come looking for Adam. “Adam, where art thou?”

It wasn’t that God did not know where Adam was, but Adam did not know where Adam was. When he realized what had happened, he immediately took cover. And, may I say that man has been covering up ever since. David describes the effects of sin's cover-up in Psalm 32: 3, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. " In other words,

Sin DIRTIES the soul
Sin DOMINATES the mind
Sin DEPRESSES the heart
Sin DISEASES the body
Sin DEFILES the spirit
Sin DESTROYS the testimony
Sin DISGRACES the Lord

When we sin, immediately fellowship with God is broken. When we sin we can’t:

We can’t be RIGHT, when we are WRONG! Not only was there the death of the spirit immediately, but the
Death of the SOUL PROGRESSIVELY. God has had 4 houses in Bible history. Adam: God’s PRIMARY House; Tabernacle: God’s PATTERN House; Jesus: God’s PERFECT House; and NT believer's are God’s PERMANENT House.

God cannot live in a dirty house, so when sin came in, God moved out. When sin entered the garden, the Lord moved out, the light went out, and the life slipped out. When the Lord moved out, there was depravity. When the light went out, there was darkness. When the life slipped out, there was deadness. As a result, we are “dead in trespasses and sin.” We are born sick—SIN SICK! Our soul is dead, defiled, dark, and depraved.

Because of the death of the spirit immediately, and the death of the soul progressively, there was the
Death of the BODY ULTIMATELY. Adam did not physically die immediately after his sin. In fact, Adam lived to be 930 years old. However, the moment he sinned, the countdown on the clock of life began. Why?

Ezekiel 18:4 declares, "The soul that sinneth it shall die.” Romans 6:23 states that, “The wages of sin is death.” This body will be sown back to the ground from whence it came because of sin.

But, thanks be to God we need not stop at the reality of the blight of sin, because we also find
the AUTHORITY with the BURDEN of Sin! This authority was LEGALLY LOST. The 1st act of God, after creation, was issued in Genesis 1:28. God gave Adam a direct order to "be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, subdue it, and have dominion" over it.

You could say that Adam possessed the 1st American Express card. He was given permission to be “fruitful, multiply, replenish.” He was COMMANDED to have “dominion,” or to rule. However, b/c of sin, Adam forfeited his God-given authority.

Adam could have kicked the serpent out of the garden. He could have cut off the head of the snake. Satan DID NOT steal the throne from Adam, Adam opened the door and invited Satan in. Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of people today who say, "We need to take back what the devil stole from us." What a foolish statement!

The devil has not, will not, because he CANNOT steal anything from us. If he could, he would prove more powerful than the One who indwells us. No, he cannot steal it, but we can give it to him. That is exactly what Adam did, and that is exactly what many Christians do; they open the door of their heart and invite the devil to come in and set up camp. As R. G. Lee said , “You can eat the devil’s corn, but you will choke on the cob.”

However, this authority that was legally lost was
RIGHTEOUSLY REGAINED. What the 1st Adam threw away, the 2nd Adam took back. We read in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man's (1st Adam) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (2nd Adam) shall many be made righteous.”

Hallelujah to God, the 2nd Adam CLEANED UP what the 1st Adam MESSED UP. Jesus regained authority over the world, the flesh, the devil, death, hell and sin. When He arrived in Heaven, he showed up with the “keys of hell and death;” then, he handed those keys to the church.

[C. p. Matthew 16:19]
“I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

It’s time we stop being on the defensive, and start being on the OFFENSIVE! We have been made “more than conquerors through him that loved us.” We have God-given, Jesus-gained, Spirit-governed authority with the burden of sin. Because of that, we have
the VICTORY over the BONDAGE of Sin!

During a conference with his demons, Satan was holding a strategy session on how he could impede the progress of the church. The options included convincing the church the Bible wasn’t true, Jesus wasn’t alive, and the end had not been settled. One demon spoke up and said, “None of these will work if Christians ever get a hold of the fact that we have already been defeated. If they ever realize it, exercise it, and utilize it, HELL HELP US, ALL OF HEAVEN WILL BREAK LOOSE!

The victory has already been won. Sadly enough, many Christians are not fighting a losing battle, but a WINNING battle. They are showing up at the wrong fight, because they have failed to utilize victory over the bondage of sin. How do we appropriate this victory over the bondage of sin?

First, we must
CONFRONT It. We must understand who we are in Christ. WE DIED WITH JESUS ON THE CROSS. We died to our in sin/old man. Paul wonderfully describes it in Romans 6-11-12, “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

We often use Corrective theology, but we should use PREVENTIVE THEOLOGY! By that I mean, WE DON’T HAVE TO SIN! We don’t have to be BOUND to sin. We don’t have to be BURDENED with sin. We don’t have to be BLINDED by sin.

Martin Luther tells how he overcame sin/devil. He said, “When the devil comes knocking on the door and asks, “Who lives here?” I get up to answer it, but Jesus goes to the door instead and says, “Martin Luther used to live here, but he has moved out. I live here now!” Then, the devil sees the nail prints in his hands and takes flight.

We must not only confront it, but we must
CONFESS It. We are to take measures against sin, but there are many times when we give up, give out, and give in. We try to confront it, but it overtakes, overwhelms and overpowers us. We feel dirty. We feel despicable. We feel defeated. What do we do? We MUST confess it.

I love 1 John 2:1,
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Before the work of Christ, whenever sin entered one of God’s houses, God moved out. However, now, when sin enters God’s permanent house of the believer, He doesn’t move out; HE JUST CLEANS HOUSE! Adrian Rogers was right, “You can’t confess to God why you won’t admit to yourself.”

Confession means agreement. We admit it to God, we agree with God, and we affirm to God our guilt and shame. Finally, once we confront it and confess it, we can
CONQUER It. I know that may sound like 'heresy' in our fundamental churches today, but sin can be conquered because it HAS ALREADY BEEN conquered! The finished work of Christ conquered death, hell, the grave and sin once and for all.

We must simply learn to appropriate it in our daily lives. A good place to start conquering sin is to
SEPARATE Ourselves from the WORLD. Too many Christian try to use fight, when every Christian ought to use FLIGHT!

We are to “come out from among” the world and “be separate.” We are in this world, but we are not OF this world. If there is something that poses a threat of temptation, you MUST GET AWAY FROM IT!

Once we separate ourselves from the world, we must SATURATE Ourselves with the WORD. The Psalmist gives prudent advice in Psalm 119, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word… Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee...Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (119:9, 11, 133)

Christians don’t need Will-power, because we’ve got WORD-Power. We must separate ourselves from the world, saturate ourselves with the Word and then
SITUATE Ourselves by the WATER.

Water is a type/picture of the Holy Spirit. We know this because Jesus defined it in John 7: 38-39, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit…”

In order to fully identify the picture, we must go back to the temple in Jesus' day at the time of holiday named 'Sukkot,' or the Feast of Tabernacles. The feast took place at the end of the dry season. Israel had 2 seasons, wet and dry. If they didn't get rain in the spring and fall, they didn't eat the next year. So a big part of the Sukkot was asking God for rain the next year. At the climax of the week, the last day of the feast, the crowds thronged the Temple in Jerusalem for the water ceremony. They would chant prayers for God to bring rain for the next year. When it came, a celebration took place.

In the same way, as Christians, we can experience 2 seasons: wet and dry. The dry season is when we attempt to live in our flesh. The wet season is when we are consistently, continuously, constantly and completely filled with the Holy Spirit.

Major Ian Thomas, "Through the Holy Spirit, man can make himself available to God, and God is prepared to make Himself available to man. The Spirit becomes the Agent of a mutual inter-availability. All there is of God is available to every human being who is available to all there is of God."

A tiger met a lion as they sat beside a pool.
Said the tiger to the lion, “Why are you roaring like a fool?”
That’s not foolish,” said the lion, with a twinkle in his eyes.
They call me the King of all beasts because I advertise.

A rabbit heard them talking, ran on like a streak.
He thought he would try the lion’s plan, but his roar was just a squeak.

A fox came to investigate and had his lunch there in the woods.
And, so my friend, when you advertise,

As believers, WE’VE GOT THE GOODS! We have:

The Word of God
The Truth of God
The Son of God
The Spirit of God
The Promises of God
The Presence of God
The Power of God

The Authority of Christ
The Blood of Christ
The Cross of Christ
The Name of Christ
The Provision of Christ
The Work of Christ

The Availability of the Spirit
The Born Witness of the Spirit
The Control of the Spirit
The Filling of the Spirit
The Fruit of the Spirit
The Indwelling of the Spirit
The Joy of the Spirit

My life once used to a sole proprietorship, but now it is a sweet partnership with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost! Blessed be His name!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


There’s a little town on the Texas/Louisiana border named “Uncertain, Texas.” How would you like to live in “Uncertain, Texas?” Someone asks where you are from and you say, “I’m from Uncertain.”

Yet, there are many, many, many Christians who live in a state of uncertainty regarding their salvation. I meet people all the time, many of whom have been serving God for years, who continue to live in doubt, defeat, and dismay as to whether or not they are truly saved. Dear friend, if we can know that we are saved; and, we can know that we are saved FOREVER, then, why would anyone want to continue to live in doubt?

The good, gospel news is that we CAN know, we SHOULD know, and we DO know that we are saved; not by feelings, because feelings come and go; not by faith, because our faith may weaken; but, by FACT!

I have the
PROMISE of the SCRIPTURE that GETS Me In. 1 John 5: 13 records the words, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. “

The "know" is the Greek word 'oida.' It speaks of much more than mental assent, but knowledge by perception and experience. Thirty-eight times, in 5 chapters, John makes use of the word "know" or "knoweth." John is saying, "You can know that you are saved, and God has given His Word for you to know that you are saved."

Thus, to doubt your salvation is to call the Bible unbelievable, and call God unreliable. To doubt your salvation is to call God a liar! Again, salvation is not based on feelings, because feelings come and go. Salvation is not based on faith, because our faith may weaken. But, salvation is based on FACTS! The facts are that Christ died, giving His blood and water; Christ was buried and rose again for your Justification! PERIOD!

I have the PRESENCE of the SPIRIT that SEALS Me In. 1 John 5: 6-8 states that, “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. [7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these THREE AGREE IN ONE.”

The Holy Spirit is a vital part of the work of cooperation with the Father and the Son. We could put it this way, the Father promises salvation, the Son provides salvation, but the Spirit proves salvation. He is come to make salvation real to our heart. He is the Heavenly Executive of the Trinity. He is the eyewitness that gives the first-hand account of our salvation. That's why Paul said in Romans 8: 16] “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

Part of the Holy Spirit's work in proving salvation is that He convicts us and corrects us when we sin. A person who can claim to be saved, and yet continue to live in sin without the "chastening of the Lord;" is not a person who lost salvation, they are a person who NEVER HAD salvation.

I know that I'm saved because of the promise of the Scripture, because of the presence of the Spirit; and, because of the
POWER of the SAVIOR that KEEPS Me In. 1 John 5: 9 says, "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” In other words, salvation does not depend on me, but on Him. It is His power that not only saved me, but is keeping me saved.

Think about it! The same power that created the world; the same power that hung the stars in space; the same power that shut up the rain of the Heavens; the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that KEEPS us in the circle of God’s family. When Jesus said in John 10:29 that, "NO MAN is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand." "No man" includes the internal (flesh), the external (world), and the infernal (devil).

Nothing in the world can take you out of His hand. Nothing the devil can do can take you out of His hand. Nothing you can do can take you out of His hand. At the moment of salvation, our life becomes "hid with Christ in God." He seals us "unto the day of redemption" "with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession." We are "seated in Heavenly places in Christ."

So, I ask you, where is Jesus? He's in Heaven seated at the right hand of the Father. Therefore, if my life is hid with Christ in God, where does that put me? It puts me as sure for Heaven as if I was already there. Hallelujah!

Because of the promise of the scripture, the presence of the Spirit, and the power of the Savior, I couldn't go to hell if I wanted to. If a mosquito bit me, he'd fly off singing,

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb.

If you have done what the Bible says must be done to be saved, and in repentance and faith you "confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead," you are saved, safe, secure, sanctified; and, should be satisfied.

It doesn't matter if everything from Wall Street to Main Street to my street falls apart, I'm so saved it's pitiful!

His and Happy,
Pastor Steve

Thursday, October 2, 2008


First, allow me to express my gratitude for your prayers as I travelled to preach in Indiana and Virginia. We were privileged to witness the power of the Spirit of God in our meetings. Many, many Christians re-committed, rededicated, and re-ignited their passion for Christ, and many, many lost souls were "pulled out of the fire" and wonderfully saved. Thank you for being my prayer partner.

I arrived home just in time to participate with our congregation in the opening weekend of "Fireproof." On Saturday nite, September 27th, we saw more than 350 people pack 2 theatres at Regency Cinema to watch Fireproof. Many were the recipients of free popcorn and soft drinks; others were the recipients of give aways from a weekend stay at Crowne Plaza downtown to a dozen red-stemmed roses.

However, everyone was blessed to watch God work through this powerful, action packed, Christ-honoring film. Souls were saved, re-commitments were made, and marriages were enriched. Decisions are still coming in each day, and perhaps only eternity will reveal the final tally.

One couple came to me Sunday morning after service and shared the miraculous work God did in their marriage as a result of Fireproof. A couple of weeks ago, they contacted a divorce attorney and had a copy of divorce papers drafted. They came to see the movie only as a favor to a long-time family friend who had invited them. Both testified that each wept during the movie, and after it was over, the husband walked out and said, "I know it's a film, but if there is any truth in it whatsoever, God can do for us the same thing he did for them."

They came to church Sunday morning, walked the aisle together, got up together and told me later, "We're going to give God a chance in our marriage." Once they arrived home, they destroyed the divorce papers; and, as of Wednesday night's service, they look like 2 love birds. Hallelujah! I can think of no more fitting words than those of Paul's to the believers at Ephesus, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think." (Eph. 3: 20)

As a follow-up to Fireproof, I began a series last Sunday entitled, "God's Great Masterpiece" focused on the description of marriage Jesus gave in Matthew 19: 5-6, "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

Those words describe the great masterpiece of marriage that God designed. He designed a marriage Built to Love, Built to Live, and Built to Last. If you would like a copy of this series, you can contact our media department @ (904)768-9447 xt. 13.

Praying for Rain,

Pastor Steve