Randal, you asked if I had something on …

Randal, you asked if I had something on my heart that I am praying about. Your question made me stop and remember a vow that I made last Saturday with 150 others. I am praying fervently, daily, about the Christ Is the Answer Campaign in Parkersburg, WV on July 26-29. I am the speaker for this campaign.

Several hundred workers from many states will join together to knock the 40,000 doors of homes throughout Woods Count, WV. Brethren in Belpre, OH across the Ohio River will knock several thousand more. We will be advertizing the campaign and setting up Bible studies.

In 1967 Jimmy Allen held a campaign in Parkersburg with 2400 people in attendance each evening at the Parkersburg High School Memorial Field House. Nearly 100 people were baptized into Christ. We are hoping after 43 years to do the same. About twenty churches are committed to participate in this Mid-Ohio Valley event.

Joe Wells of Kaio magazine will be working with youth. Chris Walker will lead the singing. Neil Anderson of the Gospel Advocate will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

We have been working and praying for this campaign for nearly three years. We are now in the last 90 days before it happens. Please join me in praying for this effort. We hope to light a fire to sweep across the nation. If you would like materials for what we say at the door or the Bible studies we will use, I will be happy to send you copies that you may reproduce.

God is good.
Phil

#evangelism-bible-study-campaign-preaching-gospel

I always regret a fight that started wit…

I always regret a fight that started with anger, whether on my part or in my reaction. Some folks can’t seem to make it through life without some kind of fuss going on. I don’t need fusses. They don’t help. I keep reminding myself of 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and my need to be gentle and reasonable.

In some of my online debates in the 1990s, I learned that if I ever get ugly or angry, I always lose. Even if I am right, I am wrong for the attitude and lose the respect of the lurkers. I vowed to let my opponents say anything ugly they wanted; I wasn’t going to act that way. I was going to be nice and respectful. I could win respect, even when I could not convince others of the truth, by my attitude. My deepest regret was when I fell to treating my opponents the way they often treated me.

#anger, #debate, #fusses, #respect

When Jesus turned to the apostles and as…

When Jesus turned to the apostles and asked, “But who do you say that I the Son of Man am?” The most important question of my life is whether I acknowledge Jesus as the Christ the Son of the Living God. This is not a small question or easily answered. Each day by what I say and how I live I give affirmation or denial or apathy to the question.
Similar to the question was what Jesus asked Peter after the resurrection at the Sea of Galilee, “Do you love me more than these?”
When I am distracted by hypothetical questions, I think of a question on the same occasion, “What is that to you? You follow me.”

Relationship is most important.
phil

I’d be more grateful for what God has d…

I’d be more grateful for what God has done for me in forgiving me and for brethren who helped me to grow in my faith. I owe so much to the Lord and to His servants who have blessed my life. I would cultivate in my heart a greater gratitude for God’s goodness.

I’d forget Phil more and think of Christ more (John 3:30). I’d be more sensitive to others and especially to the lost who need the Lord. I would speak the truth in love more often and more effectively. I would learn everything I could about the Bible so that I might share more effectively with others. I would forget ambition and pursue service. I would fight the temptation to be proud, which is the scourge of preaching.

I’d take more time to think of brotherhood. I would learn how to love better, how to forgive more quickly, how to encourage more often, how to warn when needed, how to be a peacemaker, and how to be gentle.

I would pay more attention to reading the Old Testament.

I would take a long, long look at the cross and at the empty tomb.

phil

What SEARCH is doing for the Lord!

Each week we at In Search of the Lord’s Way produce an evangelistic television program. Our program goes out to 80 broadcast stations, 300 cable systems, five satellites, and 50 radio stations. You can download the last two years of broadcasts on our website www.searchtv.org in audio, video, and transcript formats.

SEARCH fills almost 5,000 requests for information per program. We send out CDs, DVDs, transcripts, and audio cassettes. We have about 200 Bible Correspondence Course students at any one time. We offer the Upon the Rock Bible Studies. We also offer Study Sheets before each program that helps a student get the most out of each.

SEARCH goes out to a number of foreign countries, including broadcasts in Iceland, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Guyana, and Korea. Over the Pacific Radio Broadcast, we go out to 30,000 islands in the South Pacific (from French Polynesia to New Zealand).

We are also on a couple of satellites with a base in Norway. One satellite covers Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. The other twin satellite covers all of North America.

We can count a potential audience of 230 million, but we cannot count much of what we are doing. We think that we go out to more than 300 million.

Please pray for us in this ministry. We speak to more people by television than any other ministry among churches of Christ and are among the top three religious programs of any kind in America. We often get a larger audience than denominational broadcasts that appear at the same time slot.

Keep SEARCH in your prayers, please. I feel a very keen sense of responsibility to do my best on the program. God’s Word will reach souls (Isa. 55:10-11), but I know I must be faithful, loving, kind, and uncompromising in my preaching (Eph. 4:15). I often think of Col. 4:2-4. Pray that God will open a door for the Word!

God bless,
phil

#broadcast, #evangelism, #radio, #souls, #television

But if I say, “I will not remember Him o…

But if I say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,” then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it (Jeremiah 20:9).

A preaching brother recently asked me how to light a fire of faith in ourselves and in our brethren to evangelize and to have a love for souls. He observed that the how is harder than the what, and he is certainly correct.

Our marching orders are in the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). For several years I taught the church growth class at the Nashville School of Preaching. I learned that many churches have no strategy for taking the gospel to their community. Many haven’t even kept records of baptisms, restorations, their growth, or their loss. They worship regularly but have had little thought about winning souls for Jesus. Many sermons are crafted for the saved with little thought of the lost and dying souls or exhorting us to evangelize.

Before Paul wrote to Timothy to fan the flame of his gift from God (2 Tim. 1:6-7), he reminded Timothy of the “sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (1:5). If we believe in the cross and in the resurrection, we believe in a hereafter and a judgment. Our faith will not allow us to remain silent about sin and salvation. Peter and John said, “we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20; cf. Jer. 20:9). Fire in our bones arises from faith!

We need to revive our sincere faith, to have a deep conviction of what we believe and why. The Lord has called us to deny ourselves, to take up our crosses daily, and to follow Him. Let us put away a spirit of timidity and renew a spirit of “power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Let us not be afraid to preach with love the distinctive nature of the one gospel, one faith, one body, or one baptism. When we preach the truth in love, we will win souls!

The Lord be with you,
Phil Sanders

#evangelize, #faith, #in-search-of-the-lords-way, #revive

For whom was I named? My parents named m…

For whom was I named? My parents named me with the Bible name “Philip.” I don’t know whether it was the apostle or the evangelist, but that matters little. I am happy to be named after a servant of the Lord.

When Do I Grow?

I was once made very angry and I had to grow to learn patience and forgiveness.

I was once slandered and I had to grow to learn that living right and doing right is the best answer to the lies of others.

I occasionally find myself ignored or forgotten and I have to grow in my humility.

From time to time I fail, and I have to grow beyond my failures to try again. As often as I sin, I am reminded I still need to repent. I still marvel at the grace of God.

Like Paul I have times of abundance and times of suffering need, and I am learning to depend upon the mercy of One greater than myself to provide what I cannot do for myself. I grow most when I lean upon the Lord’s strength. He strengthens me. What a treasure to have the power of God available for the asking!

I am often so ignorant, but the Word informs me and enlightens me to see what I have never seen before.

God molds and shapes us positively in wonderful ways through friends, through the Word, and through prayer. God also uses the events of our lives, both positive and negative, to help us understand the practical messages of the Word. He grows us from the inside and from without. He shapes and molds us, equips us, and prepares us for great things. God is so good to us, even when our growth comes with pain.

#equip, #growth, #pain, #prayer, #shape, #strength, #word

The State of the Brotherhood

There is much that is good, much that needs repentance, and much that needs help.

I am well aware of the progressives who are fast moving to evangelical fluff. And I am well aware of the neo-antis who seem stuck in traditions of their own making and trying to enforce them on everyone else. These groups are failing and losing their children in large numbers to the world. The progressives are losing 60 percent of their children to the religious world, and the neo-antis are losing 60 percent to non-participation.

The mainstream is, however, producing well. They evangelize with love, care for the hurting, reach out to the lost, and train their children. They keep most of their kids faithful to the Lord.

We have numerous neighborhood churches and small town churches graying and dying. We will lose some congregations in the coming decades.

I’ve seen many churches with lots of older folks and lots of young families, but the middle aged folks seem to have jumped ship.

I’m seeing schools of preaching pop up in many locations. If you haven’t checked out what they are doing, I think you’d be surprised. They are producing more pulpit preachers than our universities at this point. A school in Marietta, GA, now has several branches and 400 students! This school is only about ten years old!!!

I know of five or six new schools of preaching popping up–there is a new one in Oklahoma City this fall.

I have traveled much in the last 18 months, and the churches that are growing–without exception–are among the mainstream. They are healthy, loving, working, and devoted to the truth. God will bless such congregations with increase.

A few progressive churches are swelling but most have seriously declined in the last five years. I know of several that are only a fraction of they had been.

I believe we are winning this war of ideology. Once progressives reveal what they actually believe and want to do, they cease to attract as they once did. Exposing Satan is the most effective first step in defeating him.

God prunes his vine from time to time so that it may grow. I think we are growing through just such a time. We hate the loss and love all our brotherhood, but separation from those who will not do what is right is not evil (1 Cor. 11:18-19). God prunes so that the vine may remain healthy and produce more fruit.

Let us hold fast to that which we have been taught and not be fooled by the philosophies of men (Col. 2:6-8). Let us grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). And let us abound in the work of the Lord, filled with love for the Father and for the lost (1 Cor. 15:58).

#children, #church, #evangelism, #growth, #progressives

God’s Providence

When God wants to make an impact on people’s lives, he usually sends another person. My parents, preachers, and other family influenced me profoundly in my developing years to become a Christian and to pursue ministry as a life. I was baptized by Carl Wills after hearing the preaching of a blind man, Tom Silva. Steve Bracken influenced me to preach the gospel. Many men mentored and blessed my life in those early days, giving me opportunities and showing me methods and techniques.

In all of this I realize that it is God who makes us adequate as His ministers (2 Cor. 3:5). Preachers have always been my heroes, and God uses men to shape other men in this undertaking for eternity. God blessed me with wonderful, godly, and faithful teachers in my university experiences. I am so thankful to them.

At 58 years of age and 40+ years of experience I am still learning and developing in my new ministry. God is opening up great opportunities to grow in His grace and knowledge. And I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.

I so deeply appreciate all the posts I see in TFR. I am learning from you all how to think more like Christ and how to grow in faith. Thank you for being my brethren.

Christ is all and in you all. I can see Him when I read your posts (Eph. 3:17).

#christ, #faith, #god, #learning, #providence

The Birth of Christ

Let me first of all say: I do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. I think of this time of year as a family celebration and reunion.

But I do want to stir up your mind about the birth of Christ. Think of it! Other than the crucifixion and resurrection, no single past event is so important.

Isaiah prophesied it in 7:14 as a unique “virgin” birth. Daniel told the time of the coming of the Messiah in 2:44. Micah prophesied the exact location (Bethlehem Ephrathah) in Micah 5:2.

An angel announced the birth to both Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:18-25; also Luke 1:26-38).
Maji spent months following a special star and traveling to observe the child and present gifts (Mt. 2:1-12). Who else in all of history had a star to proclaim his birth?

Herod was so envious and angry about it he destroyed many children to stop it (2:16-18).

Elizabeth called Mary the “mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43). In response Mary sang what has come to be called the Magnificat (1:46-55).

Though Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, a special census called for them to return to Bethlehem, even though Mary was large with child (Luke 2:1-7).

An angel of the Lord announced the birth to shepherds in the field with the sign of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger (Luke 2:8-20).

The Scriptures tell much about this birth. No other birth in ancient history has so much prophesied and recorded about it. This is an amazing miracle and blessing of God.

This is a marvelous event! And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Say as little about the human tradition of Christmas as you wish, but do not neglect to tell what the Bible says about the birth of Jesus Christ–God’s great gift to the world!!!

#angels, #bethlehem, #birth-of-christ, #magi, #star, #virgin-birth

Barabbas. This man had to live everyday …

Barabbas. This man had to live everyday with the understanding he was guilty but freed, while the innocent Jesus was innocent but crucified. Barabbas knew the extreme penalty associated with scourging and crucifixion. Barabbas never felt the nails in his flesh, but he must of felt the weight of an innocent man taking his place. Do you?

phil

#atonement, #barabbas, #crucifixion, #guilt, #innocence

Cybercriminal attack on Facebook

I was recently the victim of a cyberscam by criminals in London who hacked into my Facebook account (perhaps using my yahoo email account) to pretend I was in London in financial straits and needing money from friends to get home.

Well, I have never been in London; but I did learn some valuable lessons about passwords–change them periodically.

I’m back up and hopefully some smarter. BTW, this is the second time someone has attempted to steal my identity–beware.

Kindly,
Phil

#cybercriminal, #passwords, #scam

Keeping Kids

Believe it or not we are still getting multiple requests daily for the booklet we offered on Keeping Children Faithful. They are free.

Since I have been speaking on this and researching (since early in the year), I have tried to find out everything I could on keeping kids faithful to the Lord. Many kids leave the church and do not come back after the age of 18.

On the other hand, mainstream churches of Christ do a great job of keeping our children. The progressive left lose theirs (60%) to community churches and the extreme right usually lose theirs (60%) to the world. In the middle, we are keeping 62% and seeing the return of many (12%) after college. The notion that we must change our theology to keep our kids is absurd. (Statistics from Flavil Yeakley Jr., “Where Are the Children?” in 2009 ETSOP Lectureship Book, “Life’s Greatest Questions, p. 162).

Ken Ham’s book, “Already Gone,” notes a quite interesting observation about music:

“I have visited hundreds and hundreds of churches. Everywhere I go, music seems to be the central issue…We think if we can make it dynamic, energetic, and fit the style of the generation we’re trying to reach, the epidemic (loss of children to world) will be stopped and young people will start flooding back into the Church. That’s simply not the case. Our research showed that music is NOT a fundamental factor in young adults choosing to leave or stay at church–but the preaching of God’s Word is.” (p. 110)

“Yes, people love music, but they want good teaching!”

“Cultural forms (guitars and drums) do not make you relevant, they just make you cool. Truth makes you relevant.”

What do kids need most: teaching and training. Cosmetics don’t help; they merely cover up and sometimes make everything look phony.

#music, #rasing-faithful-children, #relevant, #truth

Hope

Yesterday I spoke on hope in troubled times, focusing on passages that give me hope.

The words I long to hear more than any other: “Well done.” Christianity for the two-talent and the five-talent people was a blessing. Christianity is a livable religion with a bearable yoke. You can go to heaven. 2 Tim. 4:6-8 tells of an awards day. The Day of Judgment is not all negative; there are judgments of life too.

When things were at their worst, Jeremiah sang in his Lament the beautiful passage from 3:21-24… The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercy never comes to an end…

phil

#award, #crown-of-life, #help, #hope, #life, #promise, #well-done