Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It’s that wonderful time of year when the harvest is gathered. Summer has come to an end and fall has begun. The last of the crops must be claimed or they will be lost when the first blast of cold air comes to the mountains. There is no time to delay—it’s harvest time!

That is true in the spiritual realm also. Listen to these sad words:
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” (Jeremiah 8:20)

How tragic—the horror of missed opportunity! Jesus intimated that one soul is more valuable than the entire world--and some of those lost souls are our family, friends, fellow workers and classmates.

It’s harvest time!

This verse from the prophet Jeremiah, reminds us of:

• THE PRIORITY OF THE HARVEST “The harvest is past…” It’s all about the harvest! There are many things we do on earth that are important—singing God’s praises; communicating with Him; being with His people; serving Him, and the like. While not minimizing any of those activities, we will be able to do those in heaven. Something we won’t be able to do is to lead a lost soul to faith in Christ. Shouldn’t we make this a priority while we have opportunity?
• THE PRESERVATION OF THE HARVEST “the summer is ended…” There is a deadline and if the harvest of souls is not completed, they are lost—forever. We must gather them while we can. Is there someone you know who needs Christ? What are you doing to reach them?
• THE PERIL TO THE HARVEST “we are not saved!” Not saved! Not saved! Not saved! Too late! There is no second chance beyond this world. When we are called out to meet God—and that call can come without warning—we must be ready to meet Him. Heaven or hell—eternal joy or everlasting judgment—await that decision.

Sunday, November 7, is “Harvest Time” at Pole Creek! It is the Sunday the time changes and we roll the clock back an hour, for an extra hour of sleep. Statistics show that other than Easter it is the Sunday of the year with the highest attendance. It is a great Sunday for you to invite lost souls you know to come, pray for them, cultivate them, and bring them in to hear the Gospel. Jesus is still mighty to save! Now is the time to get to work in the field!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Listen to the Apostle Paul’s demand to get in shape, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 10:13). There are things that will be detrimental to your physical health, and the things listed here will be deleterious to your spiritual health.

Revelry is a word for a wild party. Sadly, some folks don’t make it to the celebration of worship with the saints on Sunday morning because of the carousing in wantonness with the sinful on Saturday night! It’s hard to focus on God Sunday morning if your eyes are bloodshot from the night before.

Drunkenness is another danger Paul warns about. Alcohol will make you see double and think half! It is easy for liquor to become your lord. It mastered me at one time, but I don’t need it; I’ve found Jesus to give boundless joy—and you don’t have a hangover the next day!

Then there is lewdness and lust—nakedness and nastiness. The first term has to do with sexual acts and the latter with sensual attitudes. Sex within marriage is a wonderful gift of God, but outside it become defiling and destructive. Hollywood doesn’t set the standard for the child of God—heaven does! We are called to holiness!

Then there is strife and envy. Some of us who may not consume alcohol and commit adultery may excuse our failure to control anger! We may not be a drunk, or debauched, but if we are divisive that is defiling too! And what about envy? What about wanting what others have—jealousy and covetousness—vile vices of the heart!

I hope for the sake of your physical health that you are in good condition. It is beneficial. But, above all, listen to this, “exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having a promise of the life that now is and that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8).

Shape up!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Once you get up, you don’t go out until you dress up. It’s time to get out of your pajamas and put on your uniform. Paul says in Romans 13:12b, “cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” You’re going to war! You’re headed into hostile territory and you need to be clothed for combat.

What is this armor of light? It is being clothed with Christ, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” (v.14a).

Clothes adorn us—they are visible. Everywhere we go, we have them on. So, others should see Christ on display as we move through the world. When people look at you and me, do they see Jesus?

Dress up!

Thursday, September 09, 2010


You can wake up, but then reach over, hit the snooze alarm and go back to sleep! It’s important to wake up, but then you need to get up! “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” So, Paul wrote with urgency in Romans 13:12.

There are some days that it’s exciting to get up and get with it, but some others it’s a chore. It can be that way on Sunday morning. There was a fellow whose wife called to him, “Sweetheart, time to get up and get ready for church.” He grunted and said, “I don’t feel like it.” She said, “Come on now, you’ve got to get ready.” He groaned and pulled the blanket over his head, “Tell me one reason why!” She said, “Because you’re the pastor!”

I believe we have had some members lose the battle of the blankets and have been mastered by the mattress on Sunday mornings! You won’t get up because you feel like it, but it is an act of the will. It is a discipline. Time to go to work!

Old Vance Havner said, “There is anarchy in the world, apostasy in the church and apathy in the pew.” How true! I’ve had to shake my kids to get them up. I’m trying to do that to you today.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010


In 1775, the British troops intended to board boats and under cover of darkness slip across the river and attack Concord and Lexington. But someone was awake and alert—Paul Revere! Away he sped on horseback, sounding the alarm, “The regulars are coming out!” meaning that the regular British army was on the march. The colonial militia turned back the Redcoats. It was a critical moment in America’s march to freedom.

We are in such a critical hour today. The battle we face is spiritual in nature and against the forces of hell. I want to be a spiritual Paul Revere, calling you to wake up! That’s what another Paul, the Apostle said in Romans 13:11, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”

He says, “knowing the time” that is, to have spiritual perception. When I was a teenager, the pop music group, Chicago had a hit song that asked the question, “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” Well, we better know and we better care that, “now it is high time to awake out of sleep!”

There was an old farm couple, that went to sleep one night and something went wrong with the grandfather clock. It chimed thirteen! The old fellow yelled, “Get up Martha, it’s later than it’s ever been before!” It is! That’s what Paul says, “for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.”

He’s talking about the consummation of salvation—when we all get to heaven. I believe things are winding up in this world and what we do for Christ is an urgent matter! But even if Christ doesn’t return in our lifetime, we have a limited allotment of days and we can’t afford to be sleeping when we out to be serving! We’ve snuggled down in our padded pews and the devil has sung us a lullaby of deception.

I heard of a man called on to pray at the end of the service. He was a shy guy and he panicked. It seemed an eternity and he couldn’t say a word—just petrified. His wife whispered, “Just pray something” and he said, “Now, I lay me down to sleep.” Apparently the church has got that prayer down pat!

Wake up!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Several months ago, my wife Marilyn and I decided it was time to modify our lifestyle. We went on the South Beach diet. Over a period of time, the excess pounds went away. But, we’ve lost weight on diets before, only to go back to eating and putting the pounds back on.

This time, we’ve learned a discipline of three things: we weigh regularly so the pounds don’t creep back, adjust by cutting back when needed and keeping track of carbohydrates. If a food is high in carbs, we either don’t eat it, or take a small portion. We watch sugar intake—no sweet drinks—and I used to insist that my tea would ooze out of the pitcher like syrup!

But, this message isn’t about that kind of weight loss—it’s about the spiritual disciplines needed to live the transformed life; not about high impact aerobics, but high-impact spirituality. It’s about starving the fleshly, sinful appetites, so as not to become spiritually flabby. What kinds of disciplines are needed for that?

These are suggested in Paul’s thirteenth chapter of his letter to the Romans, verses eight through fourteen:

8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in
lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

That will be our formula for starving the flesh and nourishing the spirit within, which we will set on the table before you, God willing, this week.