Don't call me doctor

It has been over a years since I completed my studies at Crown Seminary and earned my Master's in Ministry degree. Time sure does fly when you are having fun (and even when you aren't having fun). I really didn't think I would be longing to hit the books again for quite a while, but I was wrong. It's kind of strange the way I have gotten my education. I graduated in 1990 with an A.S. then I graduated in 2004 with my B.S. and in 2014 with my Master's, so they have come every ten years. But this time I just have a sense of urgency to get back to it. So a few weeks ago I applied and was accepted at Andersonville Theological Seminary in their Th.D program in Pastoral Theology. The only problem was that I didn't have the money to pay for it.

I began praying for the Lord to make a way for me to attend. The next week I was sitting at work and suddenly it was like the Lord just knocked me in the side of the head and reminded me about an IRA account that I took out around 10-years ago with H&R Block. I had completely forgotten about it. So I got to looking into it and discovered that there had been some kind of class action lawsuit against H&R Block concerning the type of IRA accounts that I had taken out. All of my money that I put into it was still there and accessible. I made a few phone calls, faxed some papers and am happy to say that the money went into my bank account this morning. So, along with those funds and some money I received for Pastor's appreciation and a scholarship that I received in the mail, I am able to begin my studies!

Some have asked me with working full-time, pastoring full-time, and my family responsibilities, how I have time to do anything else? My answer is, the Lord works it out. All through my Master's studies the Lord greatly used my study times as an aide to my sermon preparations. He was always leading me to preach messages from the Scriptures that I was studying at the time. So, it's almost as if I'm not doing anything extra, I'm just leveraging all of my resources effectively.

I'm really excited about getting started, the topics of study for this course are right up my alley:

30 Semester Hour Curriculum Overview
Section One
  • THEO8100 OT Theology
  • OTBB8865 Exposition of Daniel
  • NTBB8525 Exposition of Galatians
Section Two
  • THEO7200 NT Theology
  • NTBB8870 Epistles of John
  • NTBB8101 Exposition of Matthew I
Section Three
  • THEO7330 Doctrine of the Holy Spirit*
  • NTBB8102 Exposition of Matthew II
  • THEO7340 Doctrine of Christ
  • NTBB8538 Exposition of Thessalonians
Please pray for me and my family as I go through this program. One thing I do ask of you though, after I graduate I will have a Doctorate degree, but please don't call me Doctor...



How Many Ya'll Running Down There?

It seems the mentality of the world is to measure success on numbers: number of people that participate, amount in bank account, how many likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, and the list goes on and on. While it is true that you could probably measure your success in business or wealth on the number of dollars in your bank account, you simply cannot measure your success in the ministry based on numbers.

Early in my ministry, it was my belief that if the Church house was full that I was being successful as a preacher. I had this idea implanted in my head from the world's way of thinking and also from other pastors and preachers. I would cringe each and every time some preacher would ask me "how many ya'll running down there?" Also when gathering together with other preachers, there was always a division - the ones running a big crowd and the ones running a little crowd. I mean, after all, doesn't a large crowd of people attending an event make it successful?

I would get on social media and see fellow ministers brag and boast about their "packed-out house," and "overflowing parking lot," and make bold statements such as "Wow, had to put extra chairs out, God was really in the House!" Meanwhile I would look out upon the congregation of the Church that God called me to pastor and see empty spots in the pews. This really bothered me and I took it very personal, feeling that I was a failure in the ministry. I would go home defeated and depressed, thinking I should probably just give up.

One day while in this state of depression, contemplating giving up the Church and walking away from the ministry, the Lord directed me to this passage of Scripture: Matthew 27:22-23: 22  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

I couldn't help but notice the Bible says "they all," meaning the great multitude of people, the "crowd." I then thought back to the Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem just days before this event happened when the crowds were all rejoicing and praising him. Then it was like a light switch flipped in my mind and I realized that crowds have nothing to do with success in the ministry. Though great multitudes thronged the Saviour while he was ministering, healing the sick, and raising the dead, when it came right down to it he had very few true followers.

If you were to measure success by the world's standards, the Lord Jesus was a colossal failure. But we know, in fact, that He was and is the most successful being to ever exist. So, why do we measure our success in the ministry on the world's way of thinking? What does the Bible say concerning this? It is very simple. God shows us in His Word: Ephesians 4:11-13: 11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

I thank God that He showed me that He doesn't measure true success on crowds or on "how many ya'll running?" but rather he measures it on how closely we resemble His Son Jesus.

Let me encourage you, if you are a small Church pastor with only a few congregants in the pews, don't get discouraged. Keep your eye on Jesus, or as the Apostle Paul puts it: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 3:14



Homecoming 2014 with Bro. Ross Williford

It was such a joy to have Bro. Ross Williford as our special guest preacher at today's Homecoming! This seasoned man of God had just the message that was needed for today's world. Preaching from the Book of Amos 4:11-13, a message titled, "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:



So Long "Fakebook"

So, I deactivated my personal Facebook page again. This time maybe for good. There comes a point when you have to weigh the pros and cons of everything. While I love keeping up with my family and seeing their posts and pictures, I do not enjoy all of the other stuff that goes with it.

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
I guess the scariest part is, I found myself also being prideful as I would post things that happened at Church and brag about the number of people, etc... I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Charles Lawson a couple of weeks ago and he made mention of Facebook and how he was not on it and never would be. He said his nickname for it was "Fakebook" because everything on there was fake. The Lord convicted me of this and for now I think it best that I just stay deactivated on Facebook. 

You don't have to agree with any of this, and that is fine. This is my own personal conviction and if you can stand before the Lord and be okay with those kind of things then be my guest. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and not Fakebook.



A little ministry advice

While searching through some documents on my computer this morning, I came across one of my old Seminary papers from when I was taking the Ministry Practicum course. As I read over it I thought that it may help someone else in the ministry, so I'm sharing it with the readers of this blog:

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



A Crowning Moment

Although I finished my Master's program with Crown Seminary a year ago, I wasn't able to walk in the Commencement exercises until this year. It was an evening I will never forget.

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.

I wish I had felt better physically but I had came down with a cold which lead to an upper respiratory infection and so I was sneezing and coughing and really feeling pretty rough. I enjoyed watching all of the younger graduates as they sat around laughing and talking. Ah, to be young again!

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.

It was thrilling to hear the Temple Baptist orchestra play Pomp and Circumstance and I was nearly in tears by the time I took my place among the other students. There were thousands of people there including the graduates, parents, students, friends, and other guests. Pastor Sexton opened things up and then it got underway.

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.

It probably seems silly to write about all of this but it truly was an exciting time in my life. I worked hard to earn that degree and I wanted to receive the full experience. I still remember back before I began working on the program and thinking it would take forever, but honestly the time flew by. I would do it all over again in a heart beat.



Church the way it used to be!

Let's face it, times are tough. This old world is winding down. The hand-writing is on the wall and the Lord could return any minute. Have you considered where you or your family will spend eternity? Have you been procrastinating about attending Church? Have you tried different Churches and found them to be nothing but replicas of the world? Have you been disappointed by visiting places to find they are more interested in your bank account than they are your soul?

Wouldn't you love to find a Church that worships the way you remember? Preaching from the King James Bible, singing from the old Red-Back Church Hymnal, Altar prayer and prayer requests at every service, a place where you felt more like family than a spectator... Well, your search is over! I would like to personally invite you to Highland Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN.

We are a small enough to feel like family, yet large enough to offer several opportunities to worship and serve the Lord. We would love to have you and your family visit. Eternity is too important to waste your time and your family's time by going somewhere that could care less about teaching and preaching God's Word. Our desire is to be a 1st Century Church in a 21st Century world. Why don't you come out give us a try? We are located at 6014 Babelay Rd. Knoxville, TN 37924. You can visit our website at www.hbcknox.org



Fun, Games, and Chicken Eating!

As I was sitting at work today praying and wondering about the message the Lord would have me preach this Sunday, I couldn't help but remember what I heard a man say one time. He said "I wish I was a pastor, they have it made. They only work 3 times a week and have all the fried chicken they want!"

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!



The Genuine Article

Having role models in the ministry and looking up to great men of God is wonderful, however, we should never make it our goal to imitate these men. God made each one of us unique. When he called you to preach he didn't call you to imitate other men, he called you to preach His Word. 

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.



Living Proof

I often hear people say that they "don't understand the Bible." If you are one of those let me give you some advice - take on the responsibility of teaching the Bible to someone else; a Sunday school class, a study group, a school group, Church group, family member, peers, anyone. The best way of learning something is to teach it to others. If you are responsible for it, it will force you to learn it. I'm living proof. In fact, my very first excuse to God for not teaching Sunday school, preaching, and leading the singing was "I don't understand it." Twenty two years later and I still don't understand it all, but by the Grace of God I'm learning every day!

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!



Good First Impressions

I learned a very valuable lesson today, if the Lord impresses upon you to do something for someone don't ever shrug it off, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. I came close to doing that yesterday and boy, am I glad I didn't! I just received one of the greatest phone calls I've ever had from a man that I have been praying for that is going through a very trying time in his life right now. Because of something that the Lord impressed upon me to do yesterday, this man said it changed his life. Give God all the glory!

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."



Keep Pressing On

A couple of years ago I heard Bro. Scott Pauley talking about life verses. I had several verses that I liked but not really one I considered my life verse. As I thought on this and prayed about it, the Lord revealed to me what my life verse is: Philippians 3:14: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

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!



One Blessed Man

Missionaries to the Philippines
Pastor Byron and wife Mary with the Houser Family
The life of a pastor isn't always sunshine and roses, in fact, it rarely ever is; however, every now and then everything comes together in a way that only the Lord could orchestrate. Today was one of those great days in the life of a pastor.

Missionaries to the Philippines
The Houser Family
This morning, we had special guests, the Houser Family, missionaries to the Philippines, in our worship service. I had never met them before and only had conversed a few times over email and once on the telephone. Bro. Houser and his wife are both graduates of the same college that I graduated from, The Crown College of the Bible, so I knew they were doctrinally sound and was not worried at all to turn the service over to them. What a blessing it was to hear them sing, present their ministry and for Bro. Houser to preach a message. They were a joy to be around and to worship with.

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.



Whatever It Takes

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.



The day Jeremiah stopped a grumbler

I woke up feeling bad. I didn't sleep well and didn't feel very well. The weather outside was horrible. Hurricane type weather; very rainy and windy, jut not a good day to do anything. I somehow made it to work on time just to discover that 2 people were out and I would have extra work to do. I grumbled and felt bad. I checked Facebook and saw something someone wrote that really hurt me and my mood got much worse and so did my grumbling.

Finally lunchtime came and I thought that might make things better... wrong. I was pulling into Burger King and had the right of way when a mini-van decided to swerve in front of me and cut me off. I grumbled some more. I had to follow behind the mini-van into the drive-thru, they apparently wanted to mess with me and stopped a foot from the intercom. They just sat there and I just sat there waiting. Ten minutes went by and they were still sitting there so I decided to just pull out and leave. As soon as I began pulling out the mini-van shot over and tried to cut me off again. By now I wasn't even angry, I just wanted to leave. I was able to exit the Burger King without being killed and my grumbling continued.

I drove down Lovell Rd. looking for somewhere else to buy lunch. The rain was much harder and the roads were flooding. I decided to go to Arbys. I rolled down the window at the intercom to order my food and the rain poured into my car and soaked me, I was really grumbling and feeling sorry for myself. I reached into my billfold and pulled out the cash I had. I noticed something written on the side of a dollar bill: Jeremiah 29:11-13. I quickly opened my YouVersion Bible app on my Blackberry to read that passage:
"11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart".... and my grumbling stopped.

I will never know who wrote that passage of Scripture on that dollar bill, whoever it was, I thank the Lord for them. They will never know how much it helped this grumbler. 



Sauder's to Zambia, Africa

What a joy it was to have the Sauder family with us in our Wednesday evening worship service. They Sauder's are currently on deputation with hopes of being able to move to their mission field this coming Summer. Bro. Justin shared their ministry with us along with his personal testimony and he also brought a great message out of Mark 2 concerning the 4 friends that help lower their paralyzed friend down through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.

We recently began supporting the Sauder's on a monthly basis and was so glad they had a chance to stop by and be with us again.You can learn more about them, donate to their ministry, or request for them to come by your church to present their ministry, at their website: http://www.sauders2zambia.org/ Tell them that Pastor Byron sent you!



How and What Men Are To Preach

I remember talking with some potential church members one time that were interested in attending the church I was pastoring. They were related to a current member and they came to one of our fellowships that we had. I sat at their table to find out more about them and to see what they were looking for in a church. The lady was not shy at all about letting me know right up front that she was not interested in hearing anyone yell, shout, holler, or get loud while preaching. She preferred a more laid back and mellow type of preaching. I knew right then that they would not be joining any church that I pastored because I have been known to do all of those things. Sure enough, they visited for one service and never came back...

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:

Preach righteousness:
Psalm 40:9: 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

2 Peter 2:5: 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Preach with wisdom, knowledge, and truth:
Ecclesiastes 12:9-10: 9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

1 Corinthians 2:4: 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Preach with the Spirit, with anointing, with liberty, with comfort, with glory to the Lord:
Isaiah 61:1-3:  1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Preach what God bids you to preach:
Jonah 3:2:  2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

Preach repentance:
Matthew 4:17: 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 6:12: 12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 24:47: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Preach the Gospel:
Matthew 4:23: 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Mark 14:9: 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 16:15: 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Preach with warning:
Matthew 10:7: 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Colossians 1:28: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Preach the Word:
Mark 2:2: 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

Preach to reprove, rebuke, exhort. Preach with longsuffering and Preach doctrine:
2 Timothy 4:2: 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Preach the Kingdom of God:
Luke 9:2: 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:60: 60  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Preach Jesus without ceasing:
Acts 5:42: 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 8:5: 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Preach Christ and not yourself:
2 Corinthians 4:5: 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

Preach boldly:
Acts 9:27: 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Preach forgiveness of sins
Acts 13:38: 38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

Preach the Cross of Christ:
1 Corinthians 1:17-18: 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Preach with power:
1 Corinthians 2:4: 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Preach peace:
Ephesians 2:17: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Preach the truth in love:
Ephesians 4:11-16: 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 



Mansion Over the Hilltop song...scriptural?

My papaw's house. As close to an earthly mansion as I've ever been
As a pastor and former music minister, I have often had to face criticism over songs that I have selected. One of the most criticized songs that I have had to defend is Mansion Over the Hilltop, written by Ira Stanphill in 1914. I've heard "it's a fleshly song," "it's only about the person and not the Savior," "it's not scriptural and shouldn't be sang in church," etc...

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.

Verse 1
I'm satisfied with just a cottage below
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)  
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

(The ransomed) 
Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

(will shine)
Matthew 13:43: 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

I've got a mansion just over the hilltop
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) 
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

(In that bright land) 
Rev 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

(Streets of pure gold) 
Rev. 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Verse 2
Tho’ often tempted, tormented and tested
And, like the prophet, my pillow a stone.
And tho’ I find here no permanent dwelling,
I know He’ll give me a mansion my own.

(Often tempted and tormented and tested) 
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

1 Corinthians 10:13: 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

(The prophet’s pillow of stone)
Genesis 28:11: And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

(No permanent dwelling here)
2 Corinthians 5:1: For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Verse 3
Don't think me poor or deserted or lonely
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) 
Proverbs 28:6: Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

(Pilgrim in search of a city) 
Hebrews 11:13: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

(A harp)
Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

(A crown) 
James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 

So, there you have it friend. Is Mansion Over the Hilltop scriptural? You better believe it is. In fact, it has more Scriptural references than most songs. Is it a "selfish" song? I guess that depends on what kind of person you are. If you believe it is selfish then you are probably a selfish person, otherwise you would see that it is a beautiful song written to sing about the glories of Heaven which awaits those that are saved. It speaks of the wonders and sites of that city that God promised us and also said in His Word in Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.  and then later backed up by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Enjoy the below clip of my dad, James Chesney, picking and singing this good old SCRIPTURAL song. 



New Support

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



Honduran Missions with the Jacksons

Alan and Becky Jackson, Missionaries to the Honduras
It was a thrill to connect again with Alan and Becky Jackson, our missionaries to the Honduras, at Church last night. We set this meeting up months ago and I've been looking forward to it ever since. It had been 3 years since we last saw the them. They have been on in the United States for the past couple of months, raising funds for the new Church they established in Danli, Honduras. They are needing more land so they can expand. Right now folks are having to stand.

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
Before we knew it, the service was over and we said our parting good-byes. I am so excited for the work the Jackson's are doing in the Honduras. The people down there seem to be hungry for the Gospel. I wish we could say the same thing for the people in the United States.


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