Have You Made Your Reservation?", he expounded on three things needed to assure your salvation and to make ready your reservation in Heaven.
It was such a relief to know that I didn't have to worry about what Bro. Ross would say behind the pulpit. He believes in the old-time religion the same as I do. Still preaches out of the King James Bible and stands for the truth no matter who's feathers he may ruffle.
After the service we enjoyed a great time of food and fellowship. This was our 72nd Annual Homecoming. It is hard to believe that Highland has been around for 72-years and still standing firm on the Gospel. I am proud to say that I have a strong legacy, as my Grandfather, Edd Spencer, was founder and pastor of Highland back in the 40's. He was also Bro. Ross's pastor for several years and was the one that lead him to Christ.
I'm looking forward to next year so we can celebrate once again! You can listen to Bro. Ross's message from today on our Sermon Audio page:
For instance; I watched with a broken heart as one of my fellow preacher friends posted all kinds of worldly videos and music and say things that a Christian should not say. I noticed that his friend base changed and no longer were preachers and pastors liking his posts but the lost and wicked of the world were liking them. I watched as he ruined his testimony on Facebook for all of the world to see. The last I saw, I believe the Lord got ahold of him and he repented and got back on track, however, I can't help but wonder how many people were negatively influenced by someone who was supposed to be a child of the light acting like a child of the night.
I also began noticing that many of my fellow pastors were becoming the world's biggest braggers. Statements such as; "Wow! The place was packed! Wow! It was overflowing, you couldn't get another person in the parking lot! " etc... While I realize it is exciting to see God work in a Church, I assure you when you reach Heaven he is not going to congratulate you on your full parking lot but rather he will judge you according to your likeness to His Son (see Ephesians 4:13).
It just seems that God isn't receiving the glory for a lot of things that are being posted. The truth is there isn't a pastor on the face of this earth that is able to even get out of bed or take another breath unless God allows it. We can't do anything within ourselves. Every time we do things in our own power, we are not doing it for the glory of God.
The Scripture is very clear on how much the Lord hates pride, here are just a FEW examples:
- "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." Proverbs 16:5.
- "And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." Isaiah 13:11
- "Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee." Jeremiah 50:31
- "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6
Below are two of the questions that were in this particular assignment:
Write a list of some philosophical points that you would pass along to someone taking your place in that ministry. Give things that one should remember when working in that ministry. You are basically writing declarative statements about your philosophy of ministry as it relates to the area in which you worked.
• Always remember that it is not about you but it is all about Jesus.
• Never depend upon your own understanding, always consult God’s Word.
• If you do not pray diligently, God will drive you to your knees and it isn’t always easy.
• You never have to “get up” a sermon as long as you preach the Bible.
• Expository preaching should take precedence over all other forms of preaching.
• Just taking prayer requests is not the same thing as praying. You must actually pray for the requests that have been made.
• Surround yourself with good, like-minded pastors. This will help you in times of discouragement, in which there will be many.
• Just because God called you to preach or pastor doesn’t mean you won’t have trials. Trials are what makes you and refines you into the man of God that He wants you to be.
• Don’t ever be so conceited to think that you are the only conduit the Lord can use in a service. He can use any means he wants, either through music, testimonies, or just through the spoken Scripture.
Provide a list that gives some practical points that you would want to pass along to someone taking your place in that ministry. These may be simple things that you learned by experience (mistakes or successes) that would help someone who would take your place to learn from your experience.
• If at all possible, be the first one at the church to prepare for the service.
• If you use notes, arrange them in such a way that they are not noticed.
• Give others such as the pianists, or song leader, clear verbal cues.
• Always start on time and don’t needlessly drag out a service.
• Never apologize for preaching the truth from God’s Word.
• If you make a mistake, always be man enough to admit it, don’t try to hide it.
• Don’t try to “work up” a service with false spirituality or fervency. Always worship in Spirit and in Truth.
• Always maintain a professional, yet spiritual and friendly demeanor.
I pray that the above helps you in your ministry
I arrived at the Curtis Hutson Building not knowing really what to expect. I had not participated in the earlier practices that they had on Sunday and earlier that day on Monday. I was able to get my robe, hat, and board and after struggling a while I figured out how to actually get them all on. I wasn't alone, as I saw several other people confused how to assemble them.
Once everyone got robed and set down, we made our way over to the Sanctuary at the Church. We stood in formation and had several photographs made and then we filed back to the Curtis Hutson Building to await the exercises.
There were three other Master's of Ministry Extended students besides myself. We made some small talk as we were waiting for things to begin. Finally the hour came and we marched back over to the Sanctuary for the Commencement service.
I was in the last row to receive my diploma so I had the privileged of seeing all of the other graduates make their way up to the platform and receive their degrees. I was both nervous and excited as I awaited my turn and then I heard Bro. Scott Pauley call out my name; "Byron S. Chesney." Suddenly from behind me I heard a large outburst of people yelling for me. It was my family and some of my fellow church members that had came to see me graduate. I was probably grinning from ear to ear when I approached Pastor Sexton and he took my hand. He looked at me and said, "my, but you have a large crowd of people here to support you!" I just laughed and said, "yep!" He then said that he hoped the program was a blessing to me in which I replied back that it certainly was. Then before I knew it, I was walking off the stage holding my diploma and it was all over with.
While I believe he was joking, I wondered if that was how people really felt? Well, if you are one of those, let me fill you in on what a bi-vocational pastor really does.
Spare time: A bi-vocational pastor spends every available (spare) minute praying, preparing, or studying. He uses his lunch break at work to pray, prepare, study, make phone calls, and make visits if time allows.
Vacations: A bi-vocational pastor uses his vacation time for visiting people in hospitals, shut-ins, helping with Vacation Bible School, and sick days for when he is the one sick. When the kids ask "Daddy, are we going to be able to go on a real vacation this year?" The answer is typically, "I'm sorry but I don't have enough days left and I don't have anyone to fill in for me at Church."
Wednesday Hump-Day!: While everyone else is celebrating the middle of the week knowing they are closer to the weekend, the bi-vocational pastor is scrambling to put the Wednesday message together while at work and praying he is able to fight traffic on Wednesday evening so he can get to Church by starting time.
Saturday Palooza: A bi-vocational pastor spends his entire Saturday preparing the message for Sunday and doing visitation. When his kids ask "Daddy, do you think we can do something as a family today?" The answer is typically, "I'm sorry but I've got to prepare for tomorrow's messages," or "so and so is in the hospital, etc..." The bi-vocational pastor drags his family along with him to make visits so he can spend some time with them.
Sunday Fun-day!: A bi-vocational pastor spends his entire Sunday preaching, praying, studying, and preparing. While everyone else is running out to eat after Church and then coming home and napping, the pastor is in the study wondering if the morning message made a difference in anyone's life or if it was pleasing to the Lord. Then he spends the rest of the afternoon preparing for the evening message.
Monday Sleep-in!: A bi-vocational pastor has to get up on Monday morning worn-out, exhausted, and often feeling physically and spiritually defeated, yet having to go in to work and start the same routine over again.
All That Other Spare Time: Of course we can't forget that a bi-vocational is also on call 24/7. If someone is sick or in need the pastor is always willing and available to help. If this means going out at midnight to someone's home or the emergency room then so be it. Just remember that the bi-vocational pastor still has to go in to work the next day regardless of how/where he spent his night.
Am I complaining? No, not at all. I am simply trying to make you see the reality of what your bi-vocational pastor goes through. It's not all fun and games and chicken eating!
I can't quote Scripture like James Langston or Boyd Bingham. I can't tell jokes like Tony Hutson. I can't write songs like Craig Edwards. I can't sing like Lester Rolloff. I don't have the wisdom of Clarence Sexton or John MacArthur. I can't tell stories like Phil Kidd. I don't have the recognizable voice of Stinnett Ballew. I can't ring the rafters like Charles Lawson. I can't write books like Oliver Greene. I can't fill a revival tent like Ralph Sexton Jr. While I admire and listen to each of these men, I can only be me. It took me a while before I realized that fact.
I notice a lot of young preachers today trying to imitate certain preachers, use their catch phrases, etc... Let me urge you to just be yourself the way God made you. There is probably something about you that no other preacher possesses. Just preach the Word and be the genuine article.
There are a lot of great free resources out there for people to use. Two of my favorites are e-sword, and Precept Austin. If there was one set of commentaries I would recommend for a beginner or someone newly teaching it would be J. Vernon McGee's, Thru the Bible Series, mainly because of their simplicity.
So, don't be afraid of the Bible. The Lord intends for us to read it and understand it. You can do it if you just put forth effort. After all, I'm living proof!
You never know what small thing you do may mean to someone going through a trial or struggle in life. The only way for us to know whether or not it is the Holy Spirit leading us to do things, is if we are living in the Spirit. To live in the Spirit we must abide in God; prayer, meditation, Bible reading, walking with the Lord. If you are in to everything else under the sun and leaving God out of your life you will not be directed by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says: "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
My sermons may never be published in the Sword of the Lord. You'll probably never hear me on Conference Pulpit. Larry King live will never ask to interview me. I most likely will never preach to 30,000 people at once like Billy Graham or be on the cover of Preaching Magazine. But, I am right where the Lord wants me to be, shepherding the flock that he has trusted me with and if this is where he wants me to be until I die or he comes and takes us out of here, I will keep pressing on!
|Pastor Byron and wife Mary with the Houser Family|
|The Houser Family|
After church my family and I drove over to the home of one of our shut-in's and spent some time with her, singing, talking, and praying. She is always a delight to be around and loves being visited. Her heart's desire is to be able to come back to church and if her health would allow it, she certainly would be right there.
My family rarely ever eats out on a Sunday but today we made an exception and stopped off at the Mandarin House Chinese Buffet. We had a delicious meal and even though it was a buffet I didn't really over do it on the food.
Tonight I brought a message about John the Baptist and expounded upon 4 attributes that made him such a great man of God and a true hero. I spoke of his purpose, his truth, his humility, and his impact. During the invitation period one precious girl walked the aisle and prayed to be saved. What a blessing it was to know that God is still convicting hearts and saving souls. As a pastor, I could not have asked for a better day. I wish it never had to end. I am definitely one blessed man.
As you can imagine, I am one proud father, as I sat and listened to my little 12-year old daughter, Elizabeth, use her talents to exalt the Lord Jesus during last Sunday's service. I am so happy I can call her my sister in Christ as well. I pray that she always devotes her life to Him.
Well, that got me to thinking, what does the Bible say about how and what we should preach? Does preaching style really matter, or is it just the content of what is preached? After much studying, I came to the conclusion that both actually matter.
Below are a FEW examples from the Bible on how and what men are supposed to preach:
|My papaw's house. As close to an earthly mansion as I've ever been|
Well, my dear reader, this has bothered me for some time, so I decided to examine the song for it's Scriptural content and see if it cuts the mustard.
A little silver and a little gold
But in that city where the ransomed will shine
I want a gold one that's silver lined
(Satisfied while here below)
In that bright land where we'll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold
(Mansions in Heaven)
(In that bright land)
(Streets of pure gold)
(Often tempted and tormented and tested)
(The prophet’s pillow of stone)
(No permanent dwelling here)
I'm not discouraged I'm heaven bound
I'm just a pilgrim in search of a city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown
(Not concerned about being poor)
(Pilgrim in search of a city)
I am excited that we voted this past Wednesday night to begin supporting three new missionary families. I have personally met and worshiped with all three of them and look forward to being part of their ministry for many years to come. This now makes 6 missionaries that our Church supports.
Justin and Danielle Sauder - Missionaries to Zambia, Africa
Jonathan and Natalie Vandenhurk - Missionaries to England
Brandyn and Alicia Knight - Missionaries to the U.S. Military and their families
|Alan and Becky Jackson, Missionaries to the Honduras|
As always, the Jackson's were very friendly and we shared great Christian fellowship together. Bro. Allen shared their missions via a slide show and then he brought a wonderful message from Mark 5, concerning the maniac in Gadarenes. He titled it "From a Maniac to a Missionary."
|Pastor Byron Chesney with Alan and Becky Jackson|
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.After reciting our memory verses, Elizabeth lead us in prayer and asked the Lord to help my Aunt June after the death of her daughter. She also thanked Him for letting us have food and shelter. She is always so thoughtful.