Snoozing in the Pew and in Life

andy & barney asleep in church

No doubt about it, I’ve contributed to too many folks’ early Sunday nap while I have been preaching on a Sunday morning.  I know how it feels.  You are tired, you try to stay awake, and in a moment, you see two preachers standing in the pulpit instead of one, and next thing you know, your head’s-a-bobbin’!!!  Then you look around to see if anyone saw you . . . especially the preacher!

andy & barney asleep in church 2

What concerns me so much more than this are the folks who sit week-after-week in a Bible preaching/teaching church and are never moved by the Word of God. They hear the truth, but in their heart they are snoozing in the pew.  The Word does not reach their heart and subsequently their will.

Perhaps they have never been born again. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Perhaps they have been converted but need the exhortation found in 2 Peter 1:3-11.

According to God’s divine power, we have been given everything that pertains to life and godliness (1:3) including exceeding great and precious promises that enable us to be daily partakers of the divine nature (1:4).

Based upon this deposit and a personal, growing knowledge of God, we are then exhorted to be diligent!  We are to give every effort to add to our original faith the list of virtues found in verses 5-7.  Quite frankly this is simply maturing in the faith.

When you give diligence to this growth, then you as believer will not be . . .

Useless (barren, 1:8) This means to be stuck, stalled, ineffective, lazy and apathetic in your Christian life.  We are asleep.

Unfruitful (1:8) Too many believers remain spiritual infants throughout their Christian life (1 Cor. 3:1).  They are satisfied to stay on the bottle, drink milk, rather than feeding on prime cuts of meat in God’s Word (Hebrews 5:12-14).  They remain unfruitful because they are worldly wise not godly wise.  We are asleep.

Unseeing (blind, 1:9) We are unable to discern our true, present spiritual condition or to live with an eternal perspective.   We are asleep.

Unmoved (forgotten, 1:9)  There is never a day that should go by that we are not reminded of the pit God brought us out of through the gospel (Ephesians 2:1-9).  That same gospel should have a daily effect upon because Christ’s death, burial and resurrection touches every facet of our everyday lives (Galatians 2:20).  Are you asleep?

Then Peter adds that we are to be diligent in making our calling and election sure (1:10) In other words, your life should be lived in such a manner that no one would ever say, “I wonder if he/she is really a Christian?  Is he/she sleeping?”

The word sure (1:10) means “to show the receipt.”  Our transparent, honest walk with Christ should be a proof of purchase (a receipt) that we have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).

If we are diligent to grow in our original faith and in making our calling and election sure, we will enjoy a grand, rewarded entrance into heaven (1:11).

So, when you hear preaching, are you “snoozing in the pew” or diligent to gain all that God wants to teach you?  Have you become useless, unfruitful, unseeing and unmoved?  The key is to be diligent to hear and quick to obey.

Clippin’ Grace Coupons in Ministry

Every week ministry is filled and enriched by God’s grace.  No matter what kind of week it has been, grace has been sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and overflowing (2 Corinthians 9:8).  Here’s another peek into some of the grace coupons I clipped in recent days.



Several years ago, I attended my first Men’s Prayer Advance, and I have never been the same since.  The MPA is the highlight conference for me each year.  Last week, my wife and I attended our first Couples Advance.  The fact that is was held in Pigeon Forge, TN, made the event that much sweeter!  How we love East Tennessee and the Smokies!  More importantly, how wonderful to come apart for three days and intentionally work on our marriage by the grace of God.  This past June we celebrated our 35th Anniversary, and we both love the gift of marriage and love being married!  Seriously, sometimes I feel like we are still on our honeymoon.  But, because we are two sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:1-9) and accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), we need the searchlight of God’s Word to show where we must grow and change to be more like Christ (Ephesians 5:18-33). Of course, the Word works (Hebrews 4:12)!  What a blessing to get honest with God and each other.  The marriage triangle says it all:



He that can toy with his ministry and count it to be like a trade, or like any other profession, was never called of God. But he that has a charge pressing on his heart, and a woe ringing in his ear, and preaches as though he heard the cried of hell behind him, and saw his God looking down on him–oh, how that man entreats the Lord that his hearers may not hear in vain! – Charles Spurgeon

Preparing to preach from this awesome book every Sunday takes considerable time, prayer, and digging.  To mine out the truths and deliver them without a sensational spin as well as be true to the text is a chore but a delightful one. I often think of a line from the movie, Sheffey, when he preaches his first sermon and runs out of the church in fear.  Shed McCombs, in the face of Sheffey’s protests and not willing to let him quit, declares, “Tis a fearful thing to preach the Word of God!”  Indeed it is, but I must say, how grateful to be grace-enabled to preach Revelation in these last days!

The Making of a Man: Men’s Prayer Advance


Executives.  Missionaries.  Hunters.  Teens. Former drug addicts. Pastors.  White-collar/blue-collar. Musicians. Sinners. Millennials. Fishermen. Unsaved.  Broken.   Hurting.   Lonely.  Spirit-filled.  Disciples.  Multi-cultural. And I could go on and on.  This is a brief description of over 600 men that gathered in the mountains of Central Virginia for what is called Men’s Prayer Advance.  Imagine that many men coming to sing, eat, worship, listen to preaching, pray, sleep, sing, eat, pray, listen to preaching, worship and watch the Spirit of God work and move!  This is my third Advance in four years.  This is the highlight of my year as far as a ministry event is concerned outside of my own church.  Why is this Advance so special?

Uninhibited Worship From the time the sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday and end at noon on Saturday, I am in the midst of men singing with gusto, praising the Lord and letting the texts of the songs flood their hearts with praise that comes out through their voices!  The songs include “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners,” “In Christ Alone,” “I Will Rise,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Father, I Adore You” just to name a very few.  Imagine standing with men as described above singing with hands raised, shouts of joy, tears, and real meditation.  I’m telling you, it has got to be a precursor to the heavenly praise that awaits us.  Men . . . worshiping the Lord.  I said, men.

Ambitious Praying – Ambitious is an adjective describing an attitude of prayer that is 1) “eagerly desirous to obtain success” ( in believing, faith-filled prayer, 2) to have an earnest, eager desire for and in prayer, and 3) prayer that takes effort.  That’s the kind of praying we were challenged to give our life to on a daily basis.  That’s the kind of prayer demonstrated among the men attending the Advance.  To hear over 600 men crying out to the Lord (Psalm 61:2) in fervent prayer as we gathered many times in the Spring Center was an awesome experience.  Hands raised in pleading prayer; voices crying out in adoring praise and earnest petitions; tears flowing in brokenness before God; lives touched by the Spirit of God; and two men on Thursday night crying out to God for salvation (and testifying of it later on that night)!!! 600 plus men assembled before the Throne of Grace!!!  Wow!!  (By the way, no Super Bowl game holds a candle to that experience.)

The best part of the emphasis on prayer is what’s known as the “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” Before lunch on Friday, we go someone on the camp site and get alone with God for one hour.  Here’s the statement that I’ve heard most from men after the “Sweet Hour of Prayer,”— “I didn’t know I could pray for one hour.  It went by so quick!”  Enough said.

Furthermore, I love what the name of this event says, Men’s Prayer Advance.  We are not attending a retreat or  in retreat mode.  We are advancing in prayer!!

Spirit-empowered Preaching – Every message I heard was like fresh manna from Heaven.  The power of God was upon the preachers as they delivered the Word with courage, compassion, and conviction leading to change.  Sitting under the preaching of an Irishman who has walked with the Lord for years was like listening to a prophet of God.  This man knows the heart of God and has learned His heart in the quiet place of personal prayer and the blessing of corporate prayer as well as meditation on God’s Word.  The practical, applicational, straight-forward, “right down where we live” preaching of one of the other men was a touch down from Heaven, too!  Powerful, Spirit-filled preaching exalts Christ and glorifies God.  That is what we heard many, many times in the main sessions and break-out meetings.  God honors the preaching of His Word!

Undistracted Meeting with God – There is something special about going way up in the mountains and getting away from so much that distracts us in our lives.  Cell phone service was sketchy at best.  The whole emphasis of the three days was simply meeting with God.  Nothing else.  May I say right here that every man of God should plan in his yearly schedule a time or two in the year to get away for a day to just simply meet with God in prayer and Bible study.

So, there’s just a brief out-pouring from my heart why the Men’s Prayer Advance is so special. Many, many times, in the moment of a song, prayer and/or preaching, I found myself saying, “I wish this would not end.”  So often I felt like a sponge just soaking in all I could in the moment.  Just think; that’s the way it will be in Heaven!

Men, are you advancing today?

Want to join us next year, January 28-30, 2016?  Check out the following link:

Men’s Prayer Advance

P1011261  P1011283

Eat All You Want Church

While driving through a nearby town, I read the following on a Bojangles Restaurant board, “Sunday Buffet, 11-2, Eat All You Want.”  This got me to thinking about what happens in churches across the country every Sunday from around 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or so. Every Sunday when you attend Sunday School and the morning and evening services, the following ought to be true:

1.  The teaching in SS and the preaching in the services should be a buffet that is well-prepared, presented and prayed over.

Therefore, the pastor needs to spend time alone with the Lord early in the mornings each day to know the heart of God and His Word.  He must pray through the passages that he’ll be preaching from in the coming days.  He needs to study the text, dig for the meaning, seek the Spirit of God to reveal the Truth, and come to the “table” ready to deliver the goods!

If Bojangles invites you to eat their food until you are full, they had better have the food prepared.  So should the pastor and teachers.

2.  The attenders should want nothing more than to leave having eaten all they could hold.

Now, since losing my weight, I do not have the capacity to eat like I used to.  There were years that buffet and happiness were synonymous in my book.   Sad to say, too many Christians have a greater capacity to eat temporal food than they do eternal manna.  Hence, it’s like the old hair gel commercial’s tag line, “A little dab will do you.”  We eat hardy at the world’s tables, but are satisfied with a light snack of God’s Word.  The reason I return to a restaurant is due to the good food.  When I heard a restaurant I love was opening in my town, I was excited!  We should be in the Word so much outside of church that when we attend, we eat until we are full and are looking forward to the next time!

Think on these truths:

Psalm 19:7-11

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold,

Yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.


Psalm 119:97, 103

Oh, how I love Your law!

It is my meditation all the day.

How sweet are Your words to my taste,

Sweeter than honey to my mouth!


Jeremiah 15:16

Your words were found, and I ate them,

And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;


So, are you faithful member of the Eat All You Want Church?  I’ll pray, prepare, and present; you eat all you want!

Friday’s Findings

As we close out this week, I’m sharing some links/blogs that have impacted me this week.  I believe they will be of encouragement to you.


Christ’s Body: The Mission of the Church —Watch as Jason Ormiston delivers a message that all believers need to hear.  (Bob Jones University Chapel, September 24, 2014)

  • You would also be greatly edified by listening to Dr. Steve Pettit’s messages on Walking in the Spirit.

How I Learned to Win Souls — You will find this practical post by a dear man of God, Dr. Don Sisk, to be a rich blessing in obedience to the Great Commission.  One other feather in his cap is the fact that he is a UK Wildcat fan! 😉

Parenting – Have We Lost Our Way?— How grateful that we have the blessed opportunity to support this family on the mission field.  Here are some very timely questions that need to be answered in regards to modern-day parenting.  If you are a parent, please read and answer with genuine honesty and transparency.  Here is hope for you.

Are You Leeching the Local Church? — Enough said.

Eliminating and Concentrating — Help for busy ladies!