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Saul's Slippery Slope: Part 4

Saul was not always that jealously vicious king children often hear about in Sunday school. At one time, he was humble, perceptive, and bold. Yet, because he made a foolish and hasty decision to offer an unlawful sacrifice to the Lord, Samuel prophesied that Saul would ultimately lose his throne to another (1 Samuel 13). Many conjectures may be made over what went on in Saul's mind once he realized the gravity of his brash decision, but the fact is that instead of fully repenting over his sin, he let the wound fester by allowing doubt and bitterness lodge in his heart. After Samuel's rebuke, Saul camped out in Gibeah with only six hundred men. They were a ragtag team with little weapons and dampened spirits. It is not known whether Saul was planning an attack, standing his ground, or simply hiding from the Philistines. What is certain is that his son, Jonathan, would manifest heroic bravery and unflinching faith. In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan chooses to fight instead of sit idly b…
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Wanderers

One night I dreamed of a massive crowd aimlessly wandering through an empty town I tried to stop several people as they passed by But they paid me no heed, as If deaf and blind
Finally I happened upon a somber, yet curious lad He asked me, “What brings you to the Town of Misled?” I said, “I'm not sure how I got here, nor for what reason.” “Well then” The boy smirked without hesitation

Saul's Slippery Slope: Part 3

It was too late for the Israelites to retreat. The Philistines had quickly amassed a massive army that wanted only one thing: revenge over Saul's son destroying one of their garrisons in Geba. (1 Samuel 13). At the time, Saul's plan seemed to go off without a hitch. Because of the Philistines defeat in Geba, many Israelites were thrilled and appeared eager to join the cause. Saul rallied troops in Gilgal, reminding them that they had no other choice but to fight for their lives. Emotions were high. It was an exiting time indeed, until word spread over how strong, swift, and merciless the retribution of the Philistines would be. Fear cut through the Israelites passionate hearts like butter and instead of fighting with dignity, many hid in cowardice among caves and thick brush. Some even weaseled their ways into tombs and wells! King Saul remained in Gilgal with a terrified and dwindling army. He remembered that the prophet Samuel told him to wait for him for seven days and the…

Saul's Slippery Slope: Part 2

It most certainly seemed surreal to Saul, when he was anointed to be king of Israel. He was just a young, common man who only stuck out because of his height. Yet, one day he's sent to look for his father's stubborn donkeys and the next he's commissioned to become Israel's first king. Just a month after he was crowned, he found himself leading an army against the Ammonites to rescue a nearly defenseless city called Jabesh-Gilead. Hardly anyone expected Saul to come to their aid, but that is just what he did. In heroic boldness, he stood up for the little guys and made their bullies flee in terror (1 Samuel 11)! After the victory, Saul humbly declared, “...today the LORD has worked salvation in Israel!” (Vs. 13) He knew that their triumph truly came from the mighty hand of God. Before this battle, there were many who were reluctant to claim Saul as their king, but afterwards, they proudly and publicly acknowledged him as the ruler of Israel. In time, Saul attempted to …

Saul's Slippery Slope

Who doesn't love an “underdog story” where there's a nearly impossible challenge overcome by an unlikely hero? We often attribute such news to the example of David and Goliath. It is encouraging to read about a faithful and humble boy being anointed king and then defeating an enemy that was literally of gigantic proportions. In Sunday schools across America, there are numerous lessons taught on the call and courage of David. In light of this, we don't hear much about his predecessor. All that some Christians know is that Saul was an angry and jealous king who tried to have David killed multiple times. They don't realize that even Saul's back-story was one of lowliness. He came out of one of the most insignificant households in Israel (1 Samuel 9:21). His family was poor and his tribe small. True he was very tall and handsome, but in his own eyes, he was unnoticeable (1 Samuel 15:17). Though he was anointed king, he was not pridefully eager to accept the royal role…

Calvary

On the cross Jesus bore our sins, so that we might be free from our sin. (Colossians 2:13-15)
He experienced rejection that we might receive everlasting redemption. (John 1:11-12)
He was abandoned by His followers that we might be adopted into His family. (Matthew 26:56)
Jesus died suffering thirst that we might have “rivers of living waters” flowing through us. (John 7:38)
His body was beaten, bloodied, and bruised that He might fashion one glorious body, His bride, the Church. (Romans 12:4, Philippians 3:21)
He was despised by many that He might bring delight to all and be the desire of nations (Haggai 2:7).
He was the persecuted, innocent lamb that He might be the perfect intercessor of the saints. (Hebrews 7:25)
He was lifted up in agony, but would ultimately ascend into glory. (Philippians 2:8-9)
On the cross, one of His first cries in utter pain was “Why hast thou forsaken me?” but His final cry in ultimate power was, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

Oh the Splendor of Calvary!

Sick Church Final

In my last two articles, I explained two imperative steps that are needed for a diminishing church to thrive once more. First, genuine confession as revealed in James 5:16. Second, renewed dedication as revealed in Romans 12:1-2. As I stated before, I am in no way claiming to be some grand expert in the field of church growth. I am simply magnifying what has already been established in the scriptures. Also, I would encourage you to read the book Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer. It is an easy read, but very informative to what a dying church really looks like and what can be done about it.      You must understand that all of us has to be careful when it comes to relying on steps, formulas, and principles. Because, Christians tend to employ more devotion and care in following a “do good” checklist rather than in simply walking with God. Throughout my life, I have heard preachers say, “If you love God, then you’ll do more for Him!” Instead of conveying the wonderful tr…