Communing With God in Everything: Tozer on Prayer

In 2013 Moody Publishersacquired the works and rights of Wing Spread Publishers. Among the 138 titles they bought the rights to were 58 works by AW Tozer, the former pastor most known for his legendary work “Pursuit of God.”Since that time Moody has been publishing several of these works under new titles and compilations.I recently bought Prayer: Communing with God in Everythinga collection of insights from the sermons, books, and lectures of Tozer.
Compiled by WL Seaver, this book takes short (1-4 pages) excerpts from Tozer on prayer in each chapter.The book is all about prayer, but it is not on cohesive work in the sense a book is normally thought of.Beyond the excerpts, after each chapter there are several pages that dive deeper into what Tozer says, sometimes pushing back a little, sometimes giving nuance, but always probing you to think deeper.This 1-2 page followup is closed out by several questions meant to help you “Reflect and Apply” the teachings.
I don’t know if Tozer ever w…

Leave her alone: My address to the Tishomingo UMC Holy Week Lunch

Each year the Tishomingo United Methodist Church hosts Holy Week Luncheons, and it was my privilege to address them this year. 
Our text for today is John 12:1-11, if you have a bible I invite you to turn there, or swipe there on your phone, whatever the case may be.  Listen as I read our passage.   John 12:1-11 1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?" 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because …

Why we shouldn't criticize the youth, by William O Carver

William O Carver was a SBC pastor and professor of Missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1898-1943.  He developed the missions program at SBTS, the first such in the United States.

After 1943 his unfinished memoirs were published, "Out of His Treasure."  Carver tells of a time when as a young teenager he took it upon himself to start a program for the young people of the church in order to facilitate their spiritual growth.

"Without consultation with my elders or our church leaders, I announced that on Sunday evenings I would read the scriptures and sermons to anyone who card to come together.  Soon we were having a goodly number, mostly young people, sharing happily, and let us hope, with some profit in these evening meetings.  Some of the young people were learning to lead in prayer and to share in reading the scriptures and, most of them, in singing.  

This innovation probably from the start was suspect to the elders.  It was not long until I began to…

Pastoral Baggage

7, 200.That’s a rough calculation for how many sermons the pulpit in my church has seen.Over the last seventy years that accounts for two sermons a week, Sunday morning and night.There’s a been a few closures for weather, but not many.And that doesn’t even count the Wednesday night lessons, and the revival meetings, or the funerals.
No one has been there for all of those sermons, of course, except for the pulpit. Imagine the stories it could tell about the good, bad, and ugly over the years of the church.No one has been there for all of them, but there are few who have been there for a large majority of them!When I step into that pulpit on Sundays I’m reminded that as I stand there, I don’t stand alone.Surrounding the pulpit I stand in on Sundays is all the baggage left from 70 years of church life. Every pastor who has filled that pulpit has left a little piece of himself with the hearers, and aspastor I need to be aware of the baggage that I carry with me in the pulpit.
As members si…

Where are the answers?

My family kept them on the top shelf in the dining room.It was also an office, at times a nursery, and where the piano was. I don’t know where we got them from, but I remember them seeing them as a child sitting up on the top shelf, all neatly arranged.Sometimes I would get them down just to flip through and see what I could learn.The encyclopedias were source of knowledge, wisdom, and entertainment for an introverted kid like me.I don’t know if they were a particularly good set, but they were ours.My siblings and I used them for homework sometimes, or just as heavy books to press leaves in.If there was a question that we didn’t know the answer to, we could find it in there.
It’s helpful to know where the answers are.As a child we believe our parents have most of the answers.As we grow up we learn they don’t, and so we begin to look elsewhere.Somewhere along the way my family traded our encyclopedias for a computer.More likely we traded them for an encyclopedia on the computer, (Encar…

Captain of the Team: M. Theron Rankin

I recently had the chance to read a short little story about the life of M. Theron Rankin.  He served as a missionary to China for many years before becoming president of the International Mission Board from 1945-53, before dying of leukemia at a young age. This sketch of his life was written by his brother, and contains a few details and anecdotes about his life and ministry.  Although  it's very brief it was greatly encouraging to me.

While serving in China in the late 1930's he lived under the threat of war with Japan and the rising threat of communist China.  When Japan was threatening to invade China, he was ordered home by the Foreign Mission Board three times before he finally replied "It may be that some of us will have to die for Christ in this generation. My place is in China."

Rankin paid the price for that, and spent several weeks pinned under enemy fire in the mountains before being captured by Japan and spending more than a year in an internment camp.  U…

How a small town pastor can have a larger impact

“3740”That’s what a student told me when I asked for his number. My wife and I had been married for only two months, and we had left the large metroplex where I had always lived so I could be youth pastor in this town of less than 600.I was stumped by his answer, because I didn’t think that was enough numbers.My new wife, who did grow up in a small town, gently informed me that meant everyone in the town had the same first three numbers to their phone.That sounded like the craziest thing in the world to me, that there was so few people that you didn’t even need to say the first part of your phone number.It was then I realize just how small this town was, but also how connected it all was.
Growing up in a large metropolitan city, we were only sort of friendly with our neighbors.I went to school in one part of town where my dad was a principal and went to church in another part of the city.There were plenty of people that we knew through the school and through church.My dad knew everyon…

Simeon Monologue

Tonight at church I read this monologue I wrote from the perspective of Simeon from the book of Luke.  I hope it's a blessing to you.

I remember everything about that day.It was just any other day.It’s one that I had experienced many times before, but this time was different.You would think at my age I would have done and seen it all, but never had I seen this.I entered the temple, just like I had hundreds or thousands of times before.Some would say I spent most of my time there, but where else should an old man wait for the Messiah?
It had been been a long time since I had heard that word from the Lord.The word that I would live long enough to see the Messiah.It had been long enough that I had was wondering if I was maybe beginning to doubt. But nevertheless I went to the temple like I had so many times before.
There was a large strapping Jewish man, with a smile as wide as the Eastern Gates.He seemed to be a friend to everyone he saw, and everyone was glad to see him.“Surely this m…

The Painful Pruning

It had been a beautiful day!  I was sad to see it go.  In fact it had been a really beautiful year.  As long as I could remember it had been sunny and bright. There was always plenty of food, and I was well taken care of.  Granted, I was only a year or so old so I can't remember that much, but my life at the vineyard was a good one.  I had grown a lot during this year, that's for sure.  I started off as a little seedling, but I grew quickly up the trellis along with the other vines around me.  We all had grown, though I think my leaves were a little more fuller and my branches a bit thicker, if I do say so myself.

I had noticed something though. The sun was still shining, but not as long it seemed. The days were getting shorter, and the vine dresser seemed to be pre occupied with other tasks these days.  I could tell he was getting ready for something but I couldn't tell what. The other young vines around me didn't know either, though some had heard whispers of somethi…