Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There was a revival going on at a local church. The preacher, while very gifted, was also very long winded. He continued to preach long past the point which everyone was engaged. In fact he preached on past midnight.

In the balcony that night was a young man who had heard great things about this preacher. He had been eager to hear the words that God had for him through this great preacher. The only thing he was not prepared for was the lengthy oration.

As some of us may have done before, the hard work-day, the lateness of the hour, the drone of listening to the same person speaking for hours on end, got the best of him. The young man fell asleep. As he fell asleep, he began to slump a little. There was nobody close to him, to prop him back up so he slumped a little more. Before anyone could do anything about it, the young man fell from the balcony and onto the people and pews below.

Of course the entire congregation crowded around him. Upon closer inspection they discovered that the fall had actually killed the young man. Everyone was upset and saddened by the event as the preacher made his way to the lifeless body of the young man…

By the time you read this, I will be almost finished preaching a revival for Peace Haven Baptist Church. The hope during revival time at church is that the Holy Spirit will bring God’s people to action. Indeed, there are some who will be. However, there are others who are more like the young man in the story you just read.

What if an event happened during a revival in Edgefield like the one in the story above? What would you tell others in the days and weeks to come about it? Would you tell them about how Christ’s wonderful love was evident in the preaching and singing? Would you tell of how the Holy Spirit moved in people’s lives and changed them forever? Or, would you tell them about how the sermon went so long that a young man died from falling asleep and plummeting to his death from the balcony?

The story that I told is true. It really happened. The preacher was the Apostle Paul and the young man was named Eutychus. Instead of falling from a balcony he fell from a third story window. The end of the story is what I did not include. 

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:7-12 NIV)

God raised the young man from the dead through His servant Paul. After this Paul continued his sermon until daybreak. Paul wanted to make sure that both the others in attendance and the young man left the meeting knowing that the main purpose for being there was to experience God, not to just have an interesting story to tell.

I believe that all those who were there during Paul’s sermon that night were changed forever, particularly Eutychus. None of them could ever go back to serving God the way they had before. My prayer is that all of us will find a new fire and a new commitment to Christ and that through that new “revived” spirit we can charge forward with our Lord as our leader.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Never Enough

Have you ever felt like no matter what you ever did, it wasn’t enough? Maybe you poured your heart into something, only to have nobody recognize your efforts. Isn’t it frustrating to think you have done the right things, but find out that your efforts were not enough to satisfy others?

It is not uncommon to feel this way when dealing with other human beings. Most of the time, people have expectations of us that are based on their own needs and desires. Many times we try to satisfy those needs, only to find that we misinterpreted the expectations held by the other person. We act as we think we should, but what we think is right, may not be what is truly needed in the situation.

This week, I read about a woman in San Antonio, Texas, who got an unexpected bill from her electric and gas company. The bill arrived in the mail as it usually did, but when she opened it, she thought it was a joke. The bill was for $8,000.00.

Thinking there must have been an error on the part of the company, she went to check it out. She was informed that there was no error. Since she had never failed to pay her bill in full, and on time, each month, she was especially perplexed by the situation.

It seems that in 2005, a new meter was installed on her house. An office employee erroneously entered a 0, when a 1 should have been entered in the system for the new meter. As a result, the customer has only been charged for natural gas and baseline electrical service. Since 2005, she had not been charged for the electricity she used. Because most people only look at the bottom line of what they owe each month, she only paid that amount. The customer was quoted as saying, “You trust that whatever they send you, whatever that amount is, that's your bill.”

This customer had great intentions and was even pretty confident in her ability to do the right thing. However, even in her diligence to make sure her bill was paid in full each month, she still came up short. It wasn’t enough just to “be good and responsible.” She needed more.

How many people truly read the scriptures? How many of us simply look for a “bottom line” in our Bibles? We like hearing that all we have to do is believe that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins. That seems very easy to do. However, there is more.

The woman in San Antonio has recently realized that she should have been more familiar with the electric bill. She should have known how to read it and understand it. If she had, she would have known there was an error in the amount she was being billed. However, I’m sure the bill was less than it had been in the past. Sometimes we only see what seems to be advantageous to us at the time. We see what we want to see.

Much of the time, we treat the scriptures the same way. We pick and choose the parts we like and think we can adhere to, but ignore the passages that are hard for us to understand or seem too difficult to obey. For example, most people enjoy knowing that God forgives us, but aren’t comfortable with the scripture that teaches, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV) You mean I have to forgive others in order to be forgiven? I’ll just ignore that teaching and stick with, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

We may think we are a good person. We may believe we are as close to being right with God as anyone can be. We may believe we have it all figured out. However, there is always more. We will never reach perfection until we get to Heaven. On this side of our heavenly home, we must always keep seeking God in our lives and looking to Him for guidance. Read your Bible each day. Pray to the Father for His will in your life. Do what He asks and go where He leads. Don’t just come close, go the whole distance!

“Comin’ as close to the truth as a man can come without actually gettin’ there is coming close, but it still ain’t the truth.” Texas Bix Bender

Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24 NIV)