Jim McComas – November Schedule

jimhayesville

(Please call to confirm before traveling long distances)

Sunday, November 4th through Wednesday, November 7th – Harper Road Free Will Baptist Church – Joelton, Tennessee – Revival – Jim McComas preaching and singing nightly

Sunday, November 11th – Trinity Free Will Baptist Church – Erwin, Tennessee – 11:00 a.m. – Jim McComas preaching and singing

jimerwin

 

Sunday, November 11th – Oakland Ave. Baptist Church – Johnson City, Tennessee – 6:00 p.m. – Free Will Baptist Family Ministries Rally – Combined Service with several area churches – Jim McComas preaching and singing

Monday, November 12th through Wednesday, November 14th – Mainstay Suites – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – Tennessee Free Will Baptist State Meeting – Representing Family Ministries

Thursday, November 15th – Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church – Elizabethton, Tennessee – 7:00 p.m. – “Fire at the Forge” Revival – Jim McComas preaching

valleyforgefire

 

Sunday, November 18th – Compassion Church – Ashland, Ohio – 10:00 a.m. Worship Service – Jim McComas singing and preaching

Sunday, November 18th – United Free Will Baptist Church – Massillon, Ohio – 6:00 p.m. – Jim McComas singing and preaching

Sunday, November 25th – Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church – Elizabethton, Tennessee – 13th Annual Free Will Baptist Family Ministries East Tennessee Rally  with the Primitive Quartet – 6:00 p.m.

primitiveconcert

 

 

 

“The Standard Four Laws of Hermeneutics”

Jeff Jones

Any successful  church revitalization plan must begin in the pulpit.

If a church is going to experience solid, lasting growth (both numerically and spiritually), it has to be exposed to solid, Biblical preaching on a regular basis.

With that thought in mind, I am honored to welcome a “guest columnist” to my blog today, my good friend Jeff Jones.

Jeff is Pastor of Hilltop Church in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina , one of the fastest growing churches in our movement. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors at both Southeastern Free Will Baptist Bible College and Free Will Baptist North American Ministries.

Jeff not only teaches homiletics at Southeastern, but is widely recognized as one of the great pulpiteers of our day.

He is uniquely qualified to share with us on the subject of Hermeneutics, which he does in the following article, originally published in the “Hicks-Smith Journal” of West Frankfurt, Illinois in 2016.

 

“The Standard Four Laws of Hermeneutics”

Have you ever been talking to someone about the Bible and hear them respond by saying, “You can make the Bible say anything you want it to say!”  I chuckle when I think of an example given to me about this very issue.  An individual said, “You could say the Bible is for stealing or against stealing with the same verse.”  The individual quoted Ephesians 4:28 two separate times, each time pausing for a different emphasis.  First he said; “Let him that stole steal no more: (pause) but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good.” The second time he said; “Let him that stole steal (pause) no more let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good”.  I wrote this “tongue in cheek” and with a big smile because you know I distorted the text on purpose to make a point.

I do not believe you can make the Bible say anything you want it to if you follow a few simple laws of hermeneutics.  We believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God.  We believe every “jot and tittle” is of value.  We must keep that in mind when we look at our text.  In my humorous example in the first paragraph, notice a few words had to be dropped for me to change the meaning.  When interpreting, we must see the whole text in question.  We should acknowledge each word as important.  I would like to pose 4 questions that are not original with me, but will help anyone correct understand what the text you are studying is saying.

 

1) Who wrote the book I am studying?    The Word of God does not answer this for every single book, yet even when it doesn’t we still have a general idea of who the author might be.  I remember in my college days at Southeastern taking the class on Hebrews.  A big discussion developed on the authorship of this tremendous book.  Finally our professor with a wide grin on his face declared; “I wrote the book of Hebrews”.  The class erupted in laughter.  Yet, when studying this book we at least know it was either Paul or someone influenced greatly by him.  This helps in interpretation.

 

2) Who was the book written to?  John Stott in his book “Between Two Worlds” reminds the expositor to never forget when interpreting that the Bible is a “Real book written by real people to real people.”  You need to know who was intended to have received and originally read the book, gospel or epistle.  Using the book of Hebrews as an example again, we know the book was written to Christians facing persecution.  With this understanding, the book literally comes to life as you read the text written to people facing danger to their very life.  Knowing who is receiving the text and their various circumstances is such a need in understanding the meaning of a passage.  A simple Bible Handbook such as “Ungers” or “Hailey’s” will serve to help in these instances of your study.

 

3) What do the verses above and below the text you are studying say?   Jerry Vines said; “Text without context is pretext”.  The word “context” comes from two Latin words: con, which means with or together, and texere, which means, “to weave”.  Context has to do with something woven together.   Many people are guilty of taking a verse completely out of context by not reading the verses above and below the very one they are quoting or using.  It is always wrong to use a verse to say something the verse is not saying.

 

4) What does the Bible consistently say?  When interpreting scripture it is good to know that the Bible never contradicts itself.  When you have a principle taught in a verse that raises a question mark, often times finding that doctrine or principle taught somewhere else in scripture will confirm or dismiss it.  I remember preaching years ago on Matthew 6:12 where the text says; “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  I asked the question, is it right for me to preach that you are wasting your time asking God to forgive you for the sin you committed yesterday if you are holding bitterness and unforgiveness toward someone else?  It didn’t take me long to find Matthew 18 and even our Lord’s Prayer.  I made three statements of truth to confirm a principle of forgiveness taught from God’s Word.

1. I need to forgive others the way I want to be forgiven.

2. God, the way I forgive others will forgive me.

3. The way to forgive others is the way God has forgiven me.

 

Let’s be true to the Word of God.  Declare it without apology, but be sure to portray it accurately.

 

 

 

The “Church Trouble Maker Translator”

translate

 

All church members, no matter how spiritual the member and how great the church they attend is, will have sincere concerns and issues that will arise from time to time. There are Biblical ways to address those concerns, and many Godly and sincere folks in our churches regularly handle those issues in a Christ like way.  Please know that this is not what I am referring to in this article.

What I AM addressing here is another concrete fact – In most of our churches that are stagnant, struggling, and near death, you will almost always find negative attitudes  and poisonous thoughts that have caused the church to end up in the difficult situation they are in.

Those attitudes and thoughts will almost never be voiced in an honest, upfront, and open manner by those who hold them.

Therefore, in my continuing efforts to help the process of growth and revitalization in our churches, I provide for you here a service that I call “The Church Trouble Maker  translator”.

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKER SAYS: “Pastor, folks have been talking, and we think you ought to know what they are saying……..”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: “Pastor, my wife and I have been talking about some things we are upset about, and she won’t get off my back until I bring them up to you.”

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKER SAYS: “Our Church isn’t growing because we are living in the last days, and folks just don’t want to hear the truth.”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: “Our Church isn’t growing and it’s probably because of something we need to change, but we’re too lazy and apathetic to do anything about it, so it’s easier to blame it on the lost.”

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKERS SAYS: “I really don’t want to see our church get much bigger than it is, I’m afraid it will get too cold and impersonal.”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: I really don’t want to see our church get much bigger because I’m afraid I won’t be able to nose around in everybody’s business.”

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKER SAYS: “Our pastor used to really feed me spiritually, but now when he preaches it seems he just gets up and harps on a few specific sins.”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: “I didn’t mind when the pastor was preaching on sin, until he got to the ones that I was committing. Now he’s meddling!”

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKERS SAYS: “I think our church is growing too fast. I just feel that growth needs to be very slow and steady.”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: “If all of these new people join the church and become active, they will soon outnumber the little  “clique” that has run this church for years, and that is a threat to our power we will not stand for.”

 

WHEN THE CHURCH TROUBLE MAKERS SAYS: “Let’s quit spending so much of our time and resources on reaching those outside the church, and start focusing more on taking care of the folks we have now.”

WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: “Yes, there are people all around this church that are dying and going to hell, but I really could care less about them. My comfort and care is more important than people who don’t look, act, and dress like me. Every dollar wasted on ‘them’ is one less dollar to take care of me, and, after all, it really IS all about me.”

 

 

 

Church Revitalization is NEVER going to happen!

never

Yes, you read that right.

Church revitalization is NEVER going to take place on any serious level unless we make the commitment to do the following three things:

 

ADDRESS the problem 

Everybody knows that there is a desperate need for church revitalization. Everybody knows that hundreds of our churches are struggling and many are just weeks, months, or a few years away from closing.

Unfortunately, many seem reluctant to have an honest discussion about the very pressing problems that we face.

Many pastors don’t want to talk about their churches struggles because they are under such stress to be seen as successful, there is fear that such a conversation might reflect negatively on them and their personal ministry.

Many long time church members don’t want to talk about any possible deficiencies in the church because after investing their time, tears, and talents to keep it going for so long, they perceive any such discussion as a personal attack on “their church” and, if the truth be known, an attack on them personally.

Denominationally we are often hesitant to talk about our problems because of the fear of being seen as negative, controversial,  or as “opening a can of worms” that might lead to divisiveness instead of unity in our ranks.

The musicians in the band on the “Titanic” are often lauded as heroes because they chose to stay on board, playing happy and upbeat tunes to calm the passengers as the ship sank.

The music might have given those listening a  sense of peace and security, but it was only temporary: hundreds listening perished – including every single member of the band.

When it comes to church revitalization, the time for pretty music is over. We MUST face the problems at hand, or die.

ACCEPT Responsibility

From the pulpit to the pew, everyone in the church must accept personal responsibility for the problems we face. We must stop talking about “their problems”, and start talking about “our problems”.  We must “own this”.

If things are going to change, someone has to be the change agent.

That somebody must be me, and it must be you.

Individually, none of us can save a denomination, or even a church. But we can do something, and if all of us do our part, something significant and substantial can happen.

If the attitude “somebody else will do it” prevails, make no mistake,  it won’t get done.

This thought is powerfully expressed in a poem entitled “Once upon a Pew”:

Once upon a pew I sat, And heard the preacher ask,
“We need someone to teach a class, Now who will take this task?”

Then God sat down beside me there And said, “Son, that’s for you.”
“But, Lord, to stand before a class Is one thing I can’t do”.

Now Bill would be the man to call, There’s nothing he won’t do.
“I’d rather hear the lesson taught From here upon my pew.”

Once upon a pew I sat And heard the preacher ask,
“We need someone to lead the songs, Now who will take this task?”

Then God sat down beside me there And said, “Son, that’s for you.”
“But Lord, to sing before a crowd Is one thing I can’t do.

Now Brother King will do the job, There’s nothing he won’t do.
“I’d rather hear the music played From here upon my pew.”

Once upon a pew I sat And heard the preacher ask,
“I need someone to keep the door, Now who will take this task?”

Then God sat down beside me there And said,
“Son, that’s for you.”
“But saying things to strangers, Lord, Is one thing I can’t do”

Now Tom can talk to people, Lord, There’s nothing he won’t do.
“I’d rather someone come to me, And greet me on the pew.”

As years just seemed to pass me by, I heard that voice no more.
Until one night I closed my eyes And woke on heaven’s shore.

‘Twas four of us together there To face eternity.
God said,
“I need just three of you To do a job for me.”

O Lord, I cried, “I’ll do the job, There’s nothing I won’t do.”
But Jesus said,
“I’m sorry, Friend, In Heaven there’s no pew.”

 

ACT to change the status quo

A pastor friend of mine recently shared  a childhood event that occurred in his home church when he was a boy.

During the quarterly church business meeting, there was a heated discussion about whether to install a telephone in the church.

A longstanding, influential church board member stood up and passionately spoke against the idea. His argument was that the church had functioned fine for years without a phone, and installing a phone would be bringing worldly distractions into the church house.

This gentleman made such a persuasive case, the idea was voted down in the meeting.

My pastor friend went on to say that just a few weeks later during the Sunday morning service, that same influential church member collapsed in his pew. They would later learn that he had suffered a heart attack.

Medical help was needed immediately, but this was in the days before cell phones existed. Because there was no telephone in the church, folks raced frantically through the neighborhood in a desperate search to find someone at home that would allow them to make a call. It was an extended period of time before medical personnel were able to be summoned to the scene.

The influential church member survived the heart attack, and the installation of a telephone was the first item of business at the next quarterly business meeting.

This time, it passed unanimously.

The moral of the story?

Pain can be a very powerful, motivating force.

We will never have serious church revitalization success until we are willing to step out of our comfort zone, face painful realities, honestly and openly discuss our situation, personally invest ourselves in the process of change,  and then passionately work together to make an eternal difference.

Thank God for your Pastor!

christian-preacher

It’s one of the most difficult, stressful jobs in the country.

Having to study, prepare, and deliver Biblical lessons and sermons week in and week out – working hard to keep them fresh, relevant, and interesting for an audience that has an ever shortening attention span in the entertainment driven society that we live in.

Constantly juggling the demands of ministry with the responsiblity of taking care of their own family.

Living in a fishbowl where their family, finances, and every other aspect of their life is open for public inspection.

Trying to stay positive, friendly, and upbeat while dealing with people on a daily basis who can at times be disagreeable, mean-spirited, and critical.

Enduring the every day ups and downs, joys and sorrows, hills and valleys, victories and defeats that come with ministry, all the while trying to stay on an “even keel” through it all.

Trying really hard to smile while listening to the 100th person deliver the “it must be nice to only work one day a week” joke.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month.

You may think you know, you may think you understand – but if you have never done it, you don’t.

If you have a good one, don’t take them for granted – let them AND THEIR FAMILY know in some tangible way how much you thank God for their ministry.

Let me  personally take this time to salute the unsung heroes, the first  line of defense, and the hope of our country – Pastor, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

 

 

Fishing or Cruising?

fishing

Thoughout Scripture and down through the years in sermon and song, the Church and the Christian life in general has often been compared to a boat.

There is no question that the picture is a powerful and effective one.

The simple question I would like to pose is:

What kind of a boat best represents your church?

coastguard

Every Church should be a COAST GUARD BOAT: Seeking to rescue those who are in distress and in need around them.

(Jude 22)

 

 

sailboat-sunset

The Church should also be a SAIL BOAT: Totally surrendered to the wind of the Holy Spirit for it’s direction. (Romans 8:14)

 

 

battleship

The Church should even be a BATTLE SHIP: Ready to engage in spiritual warfare with the devil and all his forces who are seeking to devour and destroy all that is good and right. (Ephesians 6:12)

 

 

aircraftcarrier

When you think about it, every Church should also be an AIR CRAFT CARRIER: Contantly launching prayers, money, and man power around the world to help fulfill the great commission and spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

 

fishingboat

Of course, we all know that the primary purpose of each and every church is that of a FISHING BOAT: Seeking to reach men and women, boys and girls in their community with the good news of the Gospel. (Matthew 4:19)

 

 

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that too many of our churches have become much more like:

 

cruising

CRUISE SHIP: Focused totally on the comfort of the passengers – Feeding them, entertaining them, and making sure they have a smooth and comfortable ride.(Amos 6:1)

The Church was NEVER meant to be a cruise ship. 

 

What about you, church member? Are you fishing or cruising?

 

 

“10 Things I’ve learned in 10 years as Pastor”

joshbush

For the first time ever on my blog, I have invited a guest to share some excellent thoughts with us on church growth. Josh Bush is one of the most humble and encouraging Christians you will ever meet, and is one of the “up and coming” young leaders in our denomination. Josh is the pastor of Cross Point Free Will Baptist Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he ministers with his wife Jennifer and their three children. 

Recently he celebrated 10 years in the pastorate, and he shares with us 10 things he has learned over those years – all great points that we can all benefit from. Thanks, Josh!

 

This month my wife and I celebrate our 10th year in pastoral ministry. God has been good! Here are some thoughts I wrote entitled “10 things I’ve learned in 10 years of pastoral ministry”.

1. God will build His church. Remember, it’s God’s church and He alone can build it. We are only vessels He uses. We are not smart enough to build God’s church. Programs do not build God’s church. The Lord builds His church.

2. People will leave the church. Some die, some move, some are led, some get mad and leave. Do not take it so personal. I’ve learned God will send others in their place because it is His church and His work.

3. The enemy will try to discourage you to the point of giving up. There were many times I wanted to give up, especially in my first 5 years as pastor. WA Criswell who pastored First Baptist Dallas for 50 years said his one key to success is “It’s always too soon to quit.” Tough times will come, be steadfast and immovable and God will see you through.

4. God will provide. This is a difficult thing to remember. People are not the providers of the ministry, God is. However, God provides through the tithes and offerings of His people. Do not look to people for provision, look to God. God owns the cattle on the thousand hills!

5. Your family is your first ministry. My wife and kids are my first ministry. Sometimes you have to say no to others to protect your time with family. If you neglect your family, they will grow to resent the ministry. Remember also, your wife and children are church members too.

6. There is no substitute for the Word of God. As shepherds, our primary responsibility is to feed the flock. Feed them the Word, not a substitute. The Word of God will help God’s people grow and be rooted and grounded in love.

7. Outreach must be a priority. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Be a church known for giving, not receiving. The more outward focused your church is, the less time you have to fight and fuss about inward things.

8. Giving to missions is not an option. The heart beat of God is missions. God honors a church that gives according to His heart. I’ve never known a church that died that was actively supporting missions financially.

9. Love people. It’s really that simple. Love covers the multitude of sins. People will forget your sermons, but they will not forget when you love them in their time of need.

10. Aim to please God above all others. It is impossible to please everyone at the same time. We really have an audience of One to please, our God in heaven. Ultimately, we will give an account to Him not others.