Monday, January 31, 2011

I will preach for Food!

This  past weekend was exciting! On Friday night I drove to Ridgecrest, NC to speak to a group of High School students on a ski trip. The next morning I preached to them at 9:00am and again at 11:00am. As I finished my message I literally ran out the door, jumped in my car and drove 5 hours to Newnan, Ga. That night I got to speak at a Wildgame Banquet. God moved in a powerful way, and 21 people prayed to receive Christ! Many others made decisions to repent of sin and come back to God! At 9:00pm I jumped back in my car and drove back to Ridgecrest, NC, arriving at 2:00am. Sunday morning at 9:30am I had the privilege of speaking to my High School students again to finish out their Retreat. 3 Students indicated that they gave their life to Christ. About 14 made other decisions to repent of sin and get right with God!
I was sharing with someone about this weekend, and they asked me why in the world would I run and drive so far in one night?  It seems crazy! People actually ask me this all the time, and the answer is simple. I love to preach the Gospel! In December of 2004, we started WSM with very little money and a little bit of faith. Since that time God has provided every need that my family has. Not every desire or want, but every need. We still have very little money, however we have a lot more faith!

As I  closed in prayer on Sunday morning there was a young girl in the second row. She was sitting there with tears running down her face. Tears of joy over the decision she just made.  I thought to myself, "Shoot I will preach for food". It is such a privilege and an honor to tell people about Jesus!

Will you share Jesus with someone today?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Emerging" from "The Shack" to become a "Radical" with a "Crazy Love" for the "Sovereign" God

Have you noticed the rising proliferation of Christianity's interest in Christian books over  the last few years? Boy I have. It seems that a month doesn't go by without someone coming up to me saying: "YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK!" As a matter of fact I had been watching this realization with great interest, when my heart Doctor of all people asked me about it. Periodically I have a stress  test due to my family's history of heart disease, and while  I was walking on the treadmill, he brought up the subject.  As we chatted, we both came to the conclusion that it seems evident that present day Christianity seems to have a dangerous obsession with Christian books! Now let me clarify. I read many Christian books, and believe that there is great value as well as insight that can be gained by the study of Christian authors who are grounded in the faith. A few years ago, I read a book by an author that changed the way I look at the wonderful grace that God has given us. However there are a few trends that I think we should handle with caution.

The trend of (40 Days of "Porpoise" Programming)  -This is not a slam on Rick Warren. Of all the men that inspire me to live the Christian life, he is at the top. However this name  often accurately describes the manner in which many of our Conventions, Associations, and Churches program their mission. Its like a porpoise jumping from one warm section of water to the next. Let me explain. For 15 years I served as a Student Pastor to several different Churches both in South Carolina  as well as Texas. Each year the mission of the nation, state and Church seemed to be programmed by the next "Hot" Christian book that came out that year. We would come in, read the book, begin to put it into action. By the time I would get everything in place, a new book would come out with a new program that totally contradicts everything I just put into place!  This happened over and over and very few people ever take notice. I see this all over Christianity today. People and Churches seem to be motivated more by the opinions of men instead of the inspiration of God.

The trend of Studying the book instead of Studying the Word.  I recently called a friend who told me that she was on the way to her Bible Study, so I inquired about what they were studying. Her answer was we are studying "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Now I am going to point our here that I have nothing against Francis Chan, Jackie Chan, or Charlie Chan, but his book is not the Bible.  And just so you know that we aren't just talking about semantics, I have seen many Churches that have Bible studies that abandon the study of Bible, for the hot Christian book of the month. I had a seminary professor that used to caution us about Bibles that contained commentaries. He said "remember this: above  the line is inspiration, and below the line is opinion."  Call me silly, but I just think Bible Study should actually study the Bible.

The trend of counseling from the book instead of the Word. It seems to me like many Christians today want me to  know that they are reading the "In" books. I can tell by the phrases they use. For instance in the last month I have been told numerous times that  I need to forsake the American dream and take back my faith, which I know comes from David Platt's book. Over the years Ive also been told to "Look what God is doing and Join Him", " To have Jesus as my treasure",  "Don't waste my life", "It's not about me", and to be in a "Simple church" that is "Emergent". All of these are great quotes from great books, but whose content can all be found in the Word of God.

So in conclusion, I want you to know that I am not advocating the abandonment of all Christian books, but a return to the primary book. A realization that there is really only one that " I HAVE GOT TO READ". I'll sum it up this way:

I hope that "The Simple Church" will "Emerge" from the "The Shack" to become "Radical" with a "Crazy Love" for the "Sovereign God" and to ultimately realize " For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ( Hebrews 4:12)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bucket List: Share Jesus to Pro Fishermen in a Casino

 I don't have a bucket list in my life, but if I did have one, I could cross off some unique entries.  (For instance:)
*Pulling another man's 21ft Bass boat across the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the snow at night.
*Taking that same 21ft Bass boat Across the Hoover Dam.
*Pulling that 21ft Bass boat down the strip in Las Vegas, and then across the United States.
*Preaching the gospel in the Robinson Ranchero Resort and Casino to a group of fishermen.

If any of those were on my list. I could cross them all off!!

Last year the BASS Elite Series made a stop on Clear Lake California. My plan was to fly out and speak at the FOCAS meetings, but after overhearing several Bass pros talk about the long journey across country I had another idea. So I volunteered to drive one of the Bass Pros rigs to California and back. Now I know what you are thinking, but honestly how many times in your life have you gotten the chance to drive across the United States? Well for the kid from Summerton South Carolina this was probably my only shot. So I took it!

The BASS Pro I drove for is a friend of mine named Randy Howell. The professional fishing tour is blessed with many of the finest Christian men that I have ever met, and Randy is among the best. So I loaded up Randy's truck in Alabama and started the roughly 2500 mile trek to California. Now I have to say it was pretty "cool" to be driving a wrapped Bass rig. People kept blowing the horn and waving, because I imagine they thought that I was Randy Howell. What's not cool is when I had to get out to refuel every 200 miles, and those same people would come up and say: "Wow you look a lot thinner on tv!"

The Fellowship of Christian Anglers Society meetings occur about 30 minutes before the official B.A.S.S. tournament meeting and usually is at the same location. Clear Lake's  tournament meeting was at the Robinson Ranchero Resort and Casino. Now I don't know if you can appreciate the irony of a Southern Baptist preacher going in to preach at the Robinson Ranchero Resort and Casino, so let me share with you.
As I was growing up, there were 2 things in my grandmother's eyes that would send you to hell quicker than anything else. Revving the engine of a car, and playing any kind  of card game! I didn't even learn to shuffle a deck of cards until I graduated from college. So here I am, walking into the Casino with my Bible in hand, thinking of my grandmother, when my cell phone rings. It was a pastor of a Church that I was scheduled to do a Revival for the week following my trip to Ca. Without thinking I said: Pastor I'm going to have to call you back. because I'm about to go and preach in the Casino. His response:(long pause) WHAT!

I ended up having to take a minute to explain what was going on. In retrospect I have come to the conclusion that I really shouldn't have given preaching in a Casino a second thought. The Bible tells me to be ready"in season and out" to share about my hope in Christ. Jesus said: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners".   We should have no hesitation to share the good news wherever God puts us. Two men prayed to receive Christ that day.  On the way home,  Jason Corbett, a lifelong friend and a WSM Board member flew to California to ride back with me. As I thought about the trip it occurred to me. I'll "bet" I'm the first person to ever preach in that casino!

Friday, January 14, 2011

" I can feel God speaking to me right now!! What do I do!"

One of the greatest encouragements in my life is when I get to hear first hand the stories of how God works in the lives of people. I have so many to share with you, that I find myself having to pace myself. I honestly believe that if we would take time to look around, we would see His daily activity in our lives. He often doesn't get the credit for what He does. His work is dismissed as coincidence or happenstance.  I am here to share, that is not the case!

I am blessed to be able to speak to groups literally across the country, but one of my very favorite places to share is in Florence, South Carolina. You see for me that is where God put a stamp on my life that would forever change my destiny. I graduated from Francis Marion College (now University), and spent some of the best years of my life in the "Magic" city. In the fall of my sophomore year I laid down under a pecan tree at a Fraternity party(another story) and gave my life to Jesus Christ.

Now I am known for being a Men's Ministry speaker, however about 40% of the audiences that I speak to are Students. College students are particularly exciting to speak to because it is such a formative time in their lives. For the last 7 years I have been invited to speak at the Francis Marion BCM. BCM stands for Baptist College Ministry. It used to be called BSU when I was a student. Francis Marion has one of the most successful BCM's in the country, and reaches out to hundreds of students each year.

Now for the Good stuff! Several years ago I was speaking at BCM in Florence, and the students had invited a number of Fraternities and Sororities to attend the event. As I closed my message I invited people who need to make a decision for Christ to come and speak with a counselor and I exited to the side door. As students began to come to the altar, a young lady wearing a sorority jersey followed me into the hallway. I will never forget as long as I live the look on her face. With tears in her eyes she exclaimed in a joyous yell: " I can feel God speaking to me right now! What do I do! What do I do!"
I'll tell you what she did: that night she gave her life to Christ!

(Kendal Danford is the Campus Minister for BCM at FMU. )

Saturday, January 8, 2011

God puts us where He wants us!

I'm going to share many God stories that have occurred throughout my life, but I thought starting with a recent one is more fitting. My nephew Keenan just completed Basic training in the Army and upon his completion he flew home to Greenville. His intentions were to purchase a one way ticket to Dallas/Ft Worth when time came to report for his first assignment in Korea. As the day approached he realized that his plane ticket was going to be somewhere in the astronomical range, and so I volunteered to drive him to Dallas.

Now I have to tell you that driving is probably one of the only things that I really do well. However, at the same time, I am not as young as I used to be, and driving 16 hours is not as easy as it once was. On top of that my friends opinions of me driving to Texas were colorful to say the least. I was met with phrases like "You are crazy", "Sucker", and "there is no way!".  In spite of their taunts, I had a great time visiting with my nephew, and we got to Dallas with little or no problems at all. The next morning I woke up and dropped him off at the airport and began the 16 hour journey back to South Carolina. That's where God stepped in!

In addition to being a full time speaker, I also serve as the Chaplain for the BASS Elite series for the Fellowship of Christian Anglers Society. As I got about 10 miles outside of Dallas my cell phone beeped. On the other line was the Nutrition Expert for BASS. His voice was shaky as he shared with me that his mother had just suffered a bad stroke, and he felt like he was overwhelmed. I asked him where he was. His reply:" Im in a hospital in Ft Worth Texas!"................. A quick check of my GPS confirmed that I was 35 miles away. I have no doubt at all that God is real, however sometimes He just shows off! I called my wife and told her what happend. We both felt like that if I didn't go to that hospital, I was probably going to be swallowed by a giant fish!

God is at work in our world. Our job is to join him!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bass Chaplain Blog is Launched!

In 2008, I was picked to be an Observer of the Bassmasters Classic on Lake Hartwell SC. As God would have it, I was paired with Alton Jones who went on to win that year's Classic. During the final day of practice Alton said they were looking to get a full time Chaplain on the tour to run the Fellowship of Christian Anglers Society Meetings. He and BASS pro Randy Howell said that my name kept coming up, and asked if I would be interested. My reply was let me pray about that for 2 seconds-yes!

Well God did lead me to be the Chaplain and in addition to my full time speaking schedule I am the Chaplain for FOCAS. I lead a Bible Study and message time before the Pre- tournament meeting, as well as acting as a pastor to counsel and pray with the Anglers and their families.  God is at work on this trail and it is amazing to be a part of it!

The name "The BASS Chaplain" has become a new title in my life, through my website WellSpoken Ministries you can find more information about my ministry and how to contact me about speaking to your Church, men's ministry, or student ministry.  Through this blog I hope to share the heart of this ministry with you as I recount how our amazing God continues to pursue his people as fisherman, young and old are coming to know Him like never before.

You can also find me on twitter!  I look forward to connecting with you soon!

“Come follow me,” Jesus said “and I will make you fishers of men.” - Matthew 4:19