For as long as I can remember, the local church has been a huge part of my life. I was born into a pastor’s home, have been a pastor for over 30 years, and more importantly, have been a born again member of the body of Christ for 50 years. Needless to say, the local church has impacted me in so many ways as I have had the joy of seeing God accomplish His redemptive purposes and plan through His people.
- I will never forget watching a dear man under such deep conviction of sin stumble down the aisle to receive Christ in that old white church building in Henry River, NC. My dad met him halfway and had the joy of presenting the life-changing gospel to that dear brother.
- I remember going with my dad as he preached in country churches near Mountain City, TN, and Damascus, VA. Folks would come in groves and the buildings would be packed out. They weren’t satisfied with a brief, feel-good, sermonette. They came to hear the Word of God and lives were changed! The singing and preaching was a bit of heaven on earth.
- Much of my early Bible knowledge came from my parents and good teachers in Sunday School. Flannel graph, RBP material, and the Holy Spirit were great learning aids.
- Then there was the opportunity to lead singing as a 12 year old in Bluefield, WV, and the choir as a 14 year old in Johnson City, TN. Those were memorable molding days in my life.
- In Sumter, SC, I saw souls saved, homes put back together, lives changed, heard men like Dr. J.B. Williams and Dr. Bill Hall preach the Word of God, and watched laymen give their lives to disciple others.
- How grateful I am for the training I received at Temple/Westgate Baptist Church, Spartanburg, SC, under Dr. J. Robert Martin. What a mighty teacher of God’s Word! For two years while attending Bob Jones University, I worked with him, saw his passion for lost souls and his love for his congregation. How blessed to have been also impacted during those days by one of the most-used of God soul winners of my life so far, Bill Pickel.
- Thank the Lord for a dear group of people in Graysville, TN, who endured for three years this young, “wet-behind-the-ears” preacher. They taught me so much, and praise the Lord for souls that were saved and for lives that were impacted by the Word of God in spite of me!
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, the local church, the called out body of Christ, has been used to shape and mold my life, give me a place to learn and serve and to see the mighty works of God.
As we move toward Sunday and into next week, my thoughts turn toward two things. First of all, you are the church everywhere you go if you are a true follower of Christ. So, bring “the church” with you this Sunday in obedience to the Lord’s call of corporate worship (1 Corinthians 14:26-35; Ephesians 5:19; Hebrews 10:25). The ingredients of corporate worship are: preaching (2 Timothy 4:2), baptism and observing the Lord’s Table (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:17–34), prayer (1 Timothy 2:1), reading Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13), financial giving (2 Corinthians 8–9), singing and music (Colossians 3:16). Come Sunday ready to worship all day! Be a participator in corporate, whole-hearted worship of our Lord instead of “what can I get out it consumerism method” of church attendance.
Secondly, next week, I will be writing about the local church concerning several issues in our day. Some topics will include “How to Be a Godly Church Member,” “Some Bad Reasons to Leave a Church,” and “How to Talk About Your Church.” Today, I take great heart in the fact that Jesus said, . . . upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Thank You, Lord, for the church!!
See you Sunday!