FWB Convention Sermon: God Is Faithful To the Persecuted

ImageOn Tuesday, 17 July I received the greatest honor and privilege in my ministry – preaching in our evening worship service at our NAFWB 2012 Convention.  Let me begin by saying, “Thank you!”  I was so very honored and humbled to be able to speak.  There are many people I would like to thank.

  • First of all, thanks to my wife Debbie, and my children Tyler and Kristen.  You guys have supported me 100% throughout my/our entire ministry and a simple ‘thank you’ will never be enough. I love you guys.
  • I would also like to thank our NAFWB Executive Secretary, Dr. Keith Burden and the Executive Committee for inviting me to preach.
  • I must also thank my Victory Church family for their prayer and support.  Many of them gathered at the church on Tuesday evening to pray for me and to watch the service, which was streaming live on the internet.  (Thanks also to the FWB Media Commission!)

It’s been said that we do not stand alone, that we stand on the shoulders of others.  I believe that is true and there were several shoulders I stand on. Here are just a few on the great men who have invested in my life and ministry over the years, in which I’m grateful:

  • Rev. Leonard Lindsey, pastor of Calvary FWB Church in Rutherford College, NC. Pastor Lindsey has been my pastor for many years.  He shared his pulpit and gave me my first opportunity to preach! He also has encouraged and counseled me throughout my pastoral ministry. As Dr. David Crowe would say, “Pastor Lindsey is one of my balcony people!”
  • Rev. Milton Hollifield, retired FWB pastor. Pastor Hollifield took my under his arm and introduced me to the North Carolina FWB Association. The very first person I met, at the very first NC State Convention I attended, was Brother Hollifield.  From that day forward He “shepherded” me through our NC State Denomination. Thank you Brother Hollifield.
  • Rev. Wendall Walley, President of California Christian College.  Before Brother Wendall became the president of California Christian College he was the pastor of Zepher Hills FWB Church in Asheville, NC. Just as Brother Hollifield introduced me to the NCFWB, it was Brother Walley who introduced me to our denomination of the national level. Thank you Brother Wendall.

My assigned text was 1 Peter 4:12-19, and my topic was “God Is Faithful to the Persecuted.” Many of you have requested a copy of my outline, therefore, I’ve placed a PDF doc of my notes on my podcast page. Simply visit my podcast, then click on the PDF or Adobe icons to download a copy of the sermon.

Click here to be directed to my podcast.

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Does God Seem Far Away?

 

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!—James 4:8

There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him.

God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).

Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions:

  1. You must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right.
  2. You are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God’s eyes and are in harmony with God’s word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.

If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.