May 21

Hiram Read, was born in Jewett City, Connecticut in 1819. His parents had wealth, some of which they invested in their son’s education. While a student at Hamilton College the Lord redeemed him, and Hiram was baptized into the Baptist church in Oswego, New York. He continued his education at Madison University, making him qualified to pastor any of the larger churches in New England, but he and his wife moved west. While in Wisconsin, Brother Read served as chaplain to the State Senate. But he still wanted to move further west, setting his sights on California. Reaching Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 12, 1849, the couple had just about worn themselves out in traveling. Hiram was so reduced in strength he could hardly walk and his hands were worn and swollen to the point he could barely hold the reins of his team. When the governor heard of him, he went out of his way to meet with him. He begged the preacher to settle in New Mexico, explaining that the city had over 6,000 inhabitants, and there were 100,000 in the territory – only a tenth of which were Americans. There was not a single non-Catholic minister among them. Read agreed to stay in Santa Fe, becoming the chaplain at Fort Marcy, a post which he held for three years. Brother Read applied himself to learning the Spanish language so that he could evangelize his neighbors. He preached in both languages. He visited Indian pueblos, distributing Bibles. He was captured by Indians and threatened with death by fire. Several times, he rode from Santa Fe to...

Laborers in the Vineyard – Matthew 20:1-16

I preached from this parable when we studied the Book of Matthew. I tried to teach what I thought was the Lord’s primary lesson. There were several groups of laborers, and each served for a different length of time, but they were rewarded equally. Tonight I’d like to take another look, but emphasizing different aspects of the Lord’s story. Without actually saying so, this is a parable, and so there are opportunities for different interpretations and different applications. But I believe we can agree that the primary subject is the “Kingdom of Heaven.” After that, as I have pointed out before, there is debate about what exactly that Kingdom entails. I have had teachers who said that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is not the same as the “Kingdom of God.” But in comparing related verses from different gospels, I am compelled to disagree. I think that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is just another way of saying “Kingdom of God.” But after that – is it the millennium, is it internal, is it spiritual or is it political? Is the Kingdom of Heaven past, present, future, perfect or a perfect participle? I think that everyone should be able to agree that where there is a kingdom there must be a king. Who is the King of Heaven? The answer is Jehovah God. Therefore the “Kingdom of Heaven” is the “Kingdom of God.” I also hope that people can see that there is an element of evangelism in this kingdom. Matthew 13 is filled with “Kingdom of Heaven” parables. And like this one, most of those parables speak of spreading the...

Deadly Resistence – Acts 7:51-53

This text comes at the end of a New Testament preaching service. But it was not a typical service – it was not a church service. We don’t know for sure, but it was unlikely that Stephen had ever preached like this before. He was not one of the Apostles; he was not a pastor or a full-time preacher in the Jerusalem church. It could have been that he had a secular job; owning his own business or working for someone else. He WAS a deacon in the church – a servant of the Lord in another way than regularly preaching. But that didn’t force him into silence when it came to his Saviour. There was no caste system, where everyone was confined to their own particular field of service. Every member should have been, and most of them were – martyrs for Christ – witnesses. Then too, when Stephen spoke that day the service was very different because his face bore a semblance to that of an angel. At least he looked like what people perceived angels to be. That probably meant that his face some how radiated the glory of Holy of Holies. Perhaps he had some of the same characteristics as the face of Moses as he came down Sinai after a long period of fellowship with the Lord. This was not typical preaching service because the auditorium and his auditors were unusual. The place was the council chamber of the Sanhedrin. Where we sit in rows of pews, one behind another, and another, and another, those hearers sat in a circle or semi-circle, surrounding the...

April 2017

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Church Anniversary! The Bible Baptist Church of Tenerife, Spain celebrated its 22nd anniversary of existence on Sunday the 9th of April. They also report a young lady from Brazil now living in Tenerife submitting to scriptural baptism. We praise the Lord for those blessings and once again thank those of you who helped to support us on that mission field so many years ago. The Lord is still blessing that work, and Bro. Jose Manuel Garcia and the brethren over there would appreciate your prayers on their behalf Many Visitors This Month We have had twelve visitors this month, the six members of the Greg Northern family on Easter Sunday, the four members of the Salomon Cardenas family who came for a Thursday evening service, and Bro. and Mrs. Meirs, a traveling evangelist who visited with us on the last Sunday of the month. I preached to the Cardenas family in Spanish and to the others in English. The Meirs came looking for a place to preach, but they heard what Bro. Meirs said was a “good extemporaneous message.” The Greg Northerns are relatives of Bro. and Sis. Dick Gaches. They are the daughter and son-in-law and grandsons with their girlfriends who have come before, a long time ago. All of these folks, except the Meirs, need salvation. The Cardenas family has come twice now, but do not seem to be inclined to come again because of the Roman Catholicism of Solomon, the husband. The Meirs live in Enid, Ok., about 75 miles to the northwest of Stillwater and are sponsored by a church up...

May 14

John Leland was born on this day (May 14) in 1754, about 40 miles west of Boston. In time the Lord saved his soul and called him into the ministry. That ministry took him south into Virginia, where he was invaluable in guiding some of the founders of this country in the subject of liberty. But his work was primarily spiritual, not political. Throughout his life of service, God blessed with periods of revival. For example for 18 months beginning in October 1787, Brother Leland baptized about 400 new believers. His life was filled with interesting anecdotes. For example: after a dancing school opened in his neighborhood, at the close of a morning service he announced that he too was going to open a dance studio. He said that he would fiddle the tune while the angels of God sang, if the people of his community would dance repentance on their knees. On one occasion a man consented to allow his wife to be immersed, but then he changed his mind. On the day of the baptism, he brought a gun, threatening to shoot the preacher. Leland and the woman went ahead into the water while the husband glowered at them, but he never pulled the trigger. At another time, a lady invited Leland to her home to preach the gospel to her friends. When her son, a captain in the militia heard about it, he blocked the doorway, demanding that the preacher leave. Leland asked if he had any authority to make that demand, and the man said he didn’t, but he was going to stop the service...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:24-33

When I was in junior high school, my parents had never heard of home-schooling. It was even long before there was such a thing as middle school – it was junior high, grades 7-9. My family had two basic choices or if they did– Public School or Catholic School. They chose public. By the time I finished my education there were a few Christian schools popping up, but my parents probably didn’t know they existed, and if they did, they didn’t care. There was, however, another kind of school, but no ordinary parent considered it as an option. This third variety of school no longer exists – at least not under the name by which we knew it at the time. So at about the age of thirteen, off went a hundred kids into junior high. Ostensibly, we were there for an education. Our teachers were supposed to be “wisdom” and ‘knowledge.” They weren’t out crying in the streets, but rather in the chief place of youthful concourse – Northglenn Junior High. Our teachers politely asked, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and you scorners delight in your scorning, and you fools hate knowledge?” “How can you be satisfied with D’s and F’s; how can you be pleased with mere C’s?” This was in the early 1960s when there were grades and standards. In my school even grading on a curve was somewhat new and most of my friends didn’t like it. Out of those hundred kids in junior high, by the time we reached10th grade, there weren’t quite as many. Of course there were our...

Meat Ye Know Not of – John 4:1-42

This is an often preached passage of scripture. But you may not have heard a message which emphasizes verses 32-34. And, as you might surmise, this is not a gospel message. The Lord Jesus had been working very hard in the previous few months prior to this chapter. In His humanity, as He and His disciples passed through Samaria, He couldn’t go on without a little food and rest. So the disciples were sent into Sychar to buy some vittles from Samaritans. When they got back to where they had left Him, Jesus seemed like a different man. Where He had been dragging, now He was pulling; Where He had been sleepy, now He was surging. And where He had been starved, now He was stuffed. When the disciples asked how He had so changed, He said, “I have meat ye know not of.“ WHAT was that meat which did Him so much good? Simply put, Christ was doing the will of the Father who had sent Him. He was fed; He was empowered; He was blessed by serving the Samaritan woman and others. I think there are some things we might see here about anyone’s work for the Master – OUR work. We might call them “Natural Laws about Spiritual Work.” Or we might call this message simply, “Meat Ye Know Not Of.” First, we see that serving the Lord can be GREATLY REFRESHING. Isn’t it true that the mind has great influence over the body? I remember Fred Norling and Harry Riggs plotting against a teacher back in our 11th grade. They told some of the key...

Get Ready; Get Set; Go – Luke 12:22-40

I suppose it is true at many big companies, but it was certainly true where I used to work. In the filing cabinet right inside my office door was a copy of the company SOP. It was a big four-inch binder containing our “Standard Operations Procedures.” It was ridiculously complex, describing what the employees were supposed to do in a thousand different situations. I was expected to know what company SOP expected of me, the office manager. I hesitate to make such a crude comparison, but there are some similarities between the Bible and that book. This is our “Standard Operations Procedure” – this is our rule for faith and practice. Despite being written so many years ago, the Bible is still practical and up-to-date. The explanation of course is that its Author is not some lawyer or real estate developer. Rather, “all scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is therefore profitable (and practical) for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness.” “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by Holy Ghost.” Just as it was required of me to read the J.P. Realty “SOP,” you and I, as Christians, should read, re-read, and re-re-read our “Rule for Faith and Practice.” Our scripture this morning could not possibly be more contemporary. Oh, someone might say that the language is a little out-dated – but I would quarrel with that. And even if we grant the necessity for a dictionary, because our level of education is so low – the theme, problems...

May 7

To the best of my knowledge the first Baptist church to be composed mostly of black members was the First African Baptist church of Savannah, organized by Abraham Marshall and Jesse Peter in 1788.  Its first pastor was the former slave, George Lisle.  Soon thereafter, and before the war, there were large, flourishing black churches in most major American cities from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and into the South.     On this day (May 7th) in 1855, Elias Camp Morris was born into a slave family in Murray County Georgia.  After the war his family moved to Tennessee and then again into Alabama.  At the age of nineteen Elias was baptized upon his profession of faith in Christ, and shortly after that he moved to Helena, Arkansas where he was called to pastor the Centennial Baptist Church.  He was a man of godly character and wisdom.     Historian Leroy Fitts, described Morris – “His ability to organize was fully recognized among Baptists of Arkansas.  In 1884, he organized the Arkansas Baptist College, and for sixteen years he served as chairman of its board of trustees…. He inspired the black Baptists to begin publishing interests of their own.  It was his active mind that conceived the idea of the National Baptist Young People’s Union Board….  And the American Baptist National Convention.”     Baptist distinctives were strongly evident among the churches with which Morris had fellowship.  The scriptures were considered supreme and were preached with clarity and conviction.  Those churches demanded personal faith in Christ, and only open believers were baptized and received into their churches.  Each church was considered independent and...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:20-23

Of these two, which is more valuable: paper money or gold? Of these two which is more valuable: gold or food? Friends or fame? How about yesterday or tomorrow? Today or eternity? Here is an easy one – stupidity or knowledge? I know the average person would disagree, but the wise man, Solomon, suggests that “wisdom” is perhaps the most valuable thing we might ever possess. “Wisdom” is the means to a wonderful eternity, to peace, to the prosperity which gold cannot provide. Let’s start tonight by reconsidering this wisdom. Some suggest this refers to an aspect of the character of Jehovah – “wisdom” is one of His attributes. While that is true, I prefer the suggestions of a larger group of Bible students – THIS wisdom is Christ. In Luke 11, one of the scribes was trying to argue with the Lord Jesus. Jesus replied, “Woe unto ye lawyers” and He mentioned various reasons. Then He said, “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.” Who was it that commissioned the prophets of God? The answer has to be God, of course, but more specifically Christ. And then we have I Corinthians 1 – “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I know that Solomon has already introduced us, but he gives us a bit more information...