Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Praise from A to Z

One of my favorite chapters in the Psalms is 145. I preached from this chapter my next to last Sunday in Ridgway, then (don't tell anyone) again in Petersburg this past Sunday. The more I read it and meditate on it, the more my heart rises in praise to and adoration of our mighty and compassionate God.

This psalm is an acrostic poem, using the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet to begin each verse. In an attempt to express my own praise to the Lord, I've come up with this offering modeled after the psalmist's poetic work.

Able, God, You’re able
There is nothing You can’t do

Blessed Lord, my Father
Hear my song of praise to You

Compassionate forever
O, how caring toward all men

Deliverer eternal
How You’ve saved me from my sin

Everlasting, evermore
Your kingdom shall endure

Faithful God, so faithful
All Your promises are sure

Gracious God, in Jesus
Blessings pour out from Your heart

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord Almighty God Thou art

Incomparable, unparalleled
O, who is like You, Lord?

Just, in perfect justice, God
You give each his reward

King of kings, in glory
In majestic, wondrous fame

Lord of lords, one day will
Every tongue proclaim Your name

Merciful and mighty
You are loving, yet so strong

Near to those who cry out
You’re the Help for whom we long

O, the One and Only
Son of God, my Savior, Friend

Prince of Peace, Almighty God
Your praise will never end

Quickly to my rescue
Lord, You come and satisfy

Rock of my salvation
God, Your name I glorify

Savior, blessed Savior
Jesus, stronghold for the weak

True and truly lovely
You’re the treasure that I seek

Unfailing is Your love, O Lord
You never lead astray

Victory is sure to those
Who follow in Your way

Wonderful Your counsel
By Your Word I walk in light

Excellent Your Spirit
Your sweet presence day and night

Yahweh, at Your holy name
I’ll bless You all my days

Zealous for Your glory
May the whole world sing Your praise

Thursday, August 25, 2011


If you follow this blog at all you've noticed that I've taken a little hiatus from posting. My family and I are still transitioning / getting settled into our new home and ministry assignment in Petersburg, IL. Hope you'll stayed tuned for some updates on our move and reports on how the Lord is working.

There's no shortage of material to write about.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"All the Way My Savior Leads Me"

Thankful for this assurance! Is there ever any reason to question our loving Lord's leading?

All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well
For I know whate'er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well

All the way my Savior leads me
Cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me grace for every trial
Feeds me with the living bread
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be
Gushing from the Rock before me
Lo! a spring of joy I see
Gushing from the Rock before me
Lo! a spring of joy I see

All the way my Savior leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father's house above
When my spirit, clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way

Words: Fanny J. Crosby

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Been Good

To Ridgway and the good people of Gallatin County: It’s been good knowin’ ya.

I want you to know that God has blessed us through you. We came to Ridgway seven years ago from Kansas City, making the transition from city life to small town living. And, yes, it was something of a culture shock. And sometimes outsiders ‘round these parts don’t fit in real well.

But you made our adjustment smooth. You welcomed us with kindness and made us feel at home. From the guys at the coffee shop giving me a seat at their table (and enough good sermon material to fill a book), to the wonderful teachers and staff at Gallatin County Schools, and from our friendly neighbors to the friends we’ve made through summer baseball, and many others we’ve encountered along the way, I say thank you for making Ridgway a great place for us to live and work and raise a family.

Let me also say a word of gratitude to God for the friendships and partnerships I’ve had with fellow pastors. Bro. Jack Hall in Shawneetown has been a trustworthy friend, encourager, mentor and co-laborer in the Lord. Bro. Roy Dale Orr at the Junction First Baptist Church has also been a great friend and brother in Christ. Bro. Randy Davis, Director of Missions for the Saline Baptist Association, not only helped pave the way for my arrival in Ridgway when he served as Interim Pastor here in 2004, but has been a constant help ever since.

There’s also a group of pastors from our association who have been meeting for prayer on Wednesday mornings whom I want to acknowledge. I’ve grown more through our prayer times together than in many hours of Bible study on my own. I will miss these men dearly. You need to know that these pastors persevere passionately in prayer for God to bless Southern Illinois with a great outpouring of His presence.

And I’m going to amp up the praise for the Ridgway First Baptist Church. The Lord has truly blessed us through His people here. They have encouraged us greatly, supported us generously, and loved us unconditionally. In short, they’ve taken great care of their pastor and his family in every way, and we’re utterly grateful.

Not everything’s been easy. We’ve enjoyed times of joy and celebration, but we’ve also walked together through seasons of sorrow and hurt. We’ve laughed with one another and cried with one another. That’s what a family does. That’s what the family of God does – the body of believers who comprise the church. And we’ve been blessed to be a part of it.

One of the guys in town jokingly said something about maybe in our new church I won’t have to put up with the likes of J.W. Rider and George Hise. There’s some truth in that! One lesson I’ve learned here is that you never go down in the crawl space of your house when your neighbor is watching. Let’s just say that the openings don’t close and lock themselves.

But honestly, I can only hope that there are men like that in Petersburg. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of men and deacons surrounding me here like J.W. and George, like Mike Moye, Robert Wilson and Ron Woods, and like two giants who have gone on to their heavenly reward, Edgar Sork and Tom Mitchell. These are men who have each made temporal and eternal investments in my life, and whom I believe would literally lay down their lives for me if need be. I pray I’ll find men like that in Petersburg.

And I’m expecting to. God has blessed us richly in every church we’ve ever belonged to. I could easily boast of the people at Trimble Bible Church where I grew up. I could tell some great stories about the saints at College Avenue Baptist Church in Normal, my wife’s home church, and where I attended during college. I could go on and on about Calvary Baptist Church, which became our family in Rockford for eight years. I could brag about the godly people at Loma Vista Baptist Church in Kansas City, where we served for three years while in seminary.

So there’s no reason not to believe that the Lord will keep blessing through His church in Petersburg. In fact, I can’t wait to see what God has in store! And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for His church here in Ridgway. The riches of His grace in Christ Jesus are boundless.

If you’re not experiencing the abundant life Jesus came to give you, then yield your life completely to Him today, and you will! And if you’re ever in Petersburg or around the Springfield area, look us up. We’d love to get together again. God is good, and it’s been good knowin’ ya.