What Is a Disciple? – Consecration


The second step in sanctification is consecration. After having been separated to do the will of God, one must consecrate self. That is what is interesting – the person or the people have to do it. God does not consecrate us. We have to do it.

What is actually meant by the term consecration? It is the call for us to prepare ourselves to do the work the Father has set us aside to do. In the Old Testament, before the Levites could perform the work of caring for the Tabernacle and its articles, they had to consecrate themselves. Before Aaron and his sons could take on the responsibilities of the priesthood, they had to consecrate themselves.
Before the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, he would have to re-consecrate himself before each Day of Atonement.

Consecration is the admission that you have been separated out for a purpose beyond yourself which you are not able to do on your own.

There are several words used in the Old Testament for ‘consecration’ or ‘consecrated’. One such word (found in Exodus 28:41, 29:9, 29:33 and 29:35 as well as in I Chronicles 29:5, 11 Chronicles 13:9 and Ezekiel 43:26) is male’ (pronounced maw-lay). It is defined as to replenish, to restore, to bring to religious fulfillment. Another word is qadash (pronounced kaw-dash), found in Exodus 28:3 and 30:30. It means to be ceremonially clean, to prepare, dedicate, purify someone are some article for holy service. Yet another term is nazar (pronounced naw-zar’), found in Numbers 6:12. which means to abstain from unclean food, drink, and impure lifestyle. Finally, there is the Hebrew word charam (pronounced khaw’-ram). Found in Micah 4:13, its definition is to devote for religious purposes.

In the New Testament there are two Greek words used for ‘consecration’. One is egkainizo (pronounced eng-kahee-nid’-zo). Found in Hebrews 10:26, it means to renew or rededicate oneself. The other is teleloo (pronounced tel-i-o’-o). Found in Hebrews 7:28, it means to complete, to finish, to make ready for service.

In general, then, all of these terms call upon a person to do what it takes be ready to serve God in some way, to change what they are doing and make themselves ready for what God wants them to do.

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is the story of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. It is found in both I Samuel and I Chronicles. What a brilliant political move in centralizing his government in Jerusalem! Part of his strategy was to centralize the faith by bringing the Ark from Kirjath Jearim to a tabernacle spot he had prepared in Jerusalem. David meets with all the leaders and heads of families in Israel and sets the date to move the Ark. Instead of transporting the Ark the appropriate way (as described in Exodus and Numbers), they place it on an ox cart and start the journey toward Jerusalem with music and celebration. The ox stumbles, and the cart tilts in a way that could cause the Ark to fall off. Uzza, a Levite, put out his hand to the Ark to stabilize it, and when he did he was struck dead. Immediately, the entire group atmosphere changed from party time and celebration to awe and fear. The procession stopped, and the Ark was left at the home of another Levite, Obed-Edom, for 3 months.

For those three months, Obed- Edom was so blessed by God that David had to figure out a way to get the Ark moved on to Jerusalem, and eventually he figured out what they were doing wrong. It is described in I Chronicles 15:11-15: (11) “And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites: for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab. (12) He said to them, ‘You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; consecrate (qadash) yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. (13) For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.’ (14) So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel. (15) And the children of the Levites bore the Ark of God on their shoulders, by the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD”

Many people think and teach that Uzza was killed because he just touched the Ark. Not so. Uzza was not consecrated, thus he was not only not prepared for the function of transporting the Ark but also he and his fellow Levites had not even prepared themselves to learn the proper method for transportation. The last time the Ark had been moved was during the time of Eli and Samuel. Therefore, David orders them to prepare themselves spiritually and mentally and to do it right this time.

Consecration is a work or process in which we must be involved before we can be used by God. The priests and Levites had to cleanse and purify their thoughts and lives and rededicate themselves for this holy service they were being called upon to provide.

The best example of consecration in the New Testament is again Jesus Himself. In my last article, I quoted from Matthew 3:13, the story of Jesus coming to the Jordan to be baptized by John. This exemplified Jesus being separated out for the work of salvation that the Father was calling Him to do. The actual act of baptism was Jesus’ consecration.

Truthfully, baptism is an act of consecration for all Christians. Unfortunately, we don’t all or always look at it that way. In my Methodist tradition, we believe in baptism as a consecration of the faith community for the person being baptized. The responsibility for that person’s faith and spiritual well being is as much on the congregation as the individual being baptized. A large part of our liturgy is aimed as much or more at the congregation than at the one being baptized. Therefore, we practice baptism of infants and young children, with the parents and congregation pledging to live their lives in such way that the child will be brought up in Christian nurture and eventually their own confirmation. I remember while growing up in my home church we had a pastor who when baptizing a young child or infant would in his robe parade up and down the aisle with the child in his arms and instruct the congregation in no uncertain terms what their responsibility was in this sacrament.

A person is never baptized without training or teaching about what baptism is. When I was baptized I went through 7 weeks of confirmation classes. As a pastor, I have taught confirmation classes for both youth and adults. This would include consultation with youths’ parents. Of course when baptizing an infant, there was consultation with the parents as to their responsibility. I did everything I could to prepare the ones to be baptized for this event. When taught properly and done in the proper manner, baptism is a point of consecration for all involved in the event.

Okay, Dap, if consecration is a time of preparation, how was Jesus prepared when He was baptized? Well, lets go back to the Gospel of Matthew 3:16, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him.” As I said last week, Jesus’ baptism was not an act of repentance, but an act of submission. Through this submission, Jesus received the one thing necessary for the completion of His ministry, the Holy Spirit. In His act of consecration, Jesus received God’s power to do God’s saving work. Now, if the Son of God needs the Power of God to do God’s work, what does that say about the rest of us?

Let’s go to Acts 2:1-4, “(1) When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Jesus had told the disciples (recorded in Luke 24:49) that they would receive the promise of the Father, but they needed to tarry in Jerusalem until they would be given the power from on high. Before then, the disciples had deserted Jesus, and although they had begun to come around, they were not ready for the work Jesus had called them to do. They were told to tarry, to wait upon the Father, to wait for the power from on high. Remember Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” The disciples waited for the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit came, the same men who fled at Jesus’ arrest preached His crucifixion and resurrection – and on that day, 3000 people were saved…

The priests and Levites in David’s day had to consecrate and prepare themselves before they could move the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The disciples had to consecrate themselves, prepare themselves, by waiting for the day of Pentecost, for the promise of the Father, the Power from on high, to begin the work of the church. Jesus prepared Himself, consecrated Himself for the work of salvation that the Father had given Him to do by receiving the Holy Spirit through His baptism.

ANY disciple in the process of seeking God’s face, seeking God’s will, and desiring God to work through him/her must also tarry and wait upon the Lord to receive the Power from on high, the Holy Spirit. For without the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. We truly are powerless to do the work of God.

I see this as the biggest problem in the church of Jesus Christ today. We are so busy walking in our own wisdom, believing we are smarter than God. Doing our own will and claiming it is God’s (or if He were smart, it would be…). We run on the emptiness of our own strength because we are afraid to submit to His real strength. We are too busy asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?’ We fail to ask Jesus, “What are You doing?”

Believers, CONSECRATE yourselves. Ask Jesus what He doing, then ask Him to work through you to do it. Realize that what He is doing you will never accomplish within your own strength. Just ask Jesus to give you the POWER from on high and wait for Him to answer your prayer. Then and only them will you be able to move to step #3 – participation!

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person each day. If you want to be even more empowered, also pray Psalms 23, 27, and 121 in the first person each day.


What Is a Disciple? – Separation

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE? – Separation

In my last blog we discussed that a disciple is someone who seeks to continuously be in the presence of God, a person who wants to develop and grow in their relationship with their Heavenly Father. Of course the first thoughts that come to mind are setting aside time each day to read Scripture and pray, but if we are not careful, these can become just habits. No different than reading a novel and one-sided communication with God, where we speak to God but don’t take the time to be quiet and listen. Believe me, prayer and reading Scripture can be good disciplines, and I’m not saying there is no benefit; but for them to truly help you grow in your faith in Christ and your relationship with your Heavenly Father, these actions have to become stepping stones through the process called sanctification.

What is sanctification? First of all, it is never-ending process. Like you, I have heard the word “sanctified”, which leads one to believe there is an ending place, an “arrival point.” But no one ever arrives. If this is the path as a Christian we choose, we are always growing, always moving deeper into the spiritual realm of a vital, living, growing relationship with the Father. In our microwave culture, we want to push start, get it cooked, eat it, and move on to the next process. But with sanctification, there is only continued growth until we arrive at the pearly gates. The Greek for sanctification is hagiosmos, and it means to be set apart for God and His purpose in your life.

Sanctification is the process by which we move toward holiness in our life. Not holier-than-thou holiness, where we become judges of others, but a humble form of holiness, where we realize that without Christ we can do nothing (yet through Christ we can do all things). By growing in holiness. we realize the truth of our power, or lack of it, and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit when we bow before God in humility. Through sanctification we move from working for God to wanting more and more for God to work through us. As I have grown in my faith and thus in the process of sanctification, I have realized that I have less and less with which o bargain… I used to come to God and try to make a deal: God, if you will do this, then I will do that. In perspective now, I see how ignorant I was. I realize now that the only assets I have to offer are praise and thanksgiving. But that’s fine with me, because it is fantastic to just sit back and rest in His grace, mercy, and love and to just receive His abundance, while giving God all the praise and glory and honor.

Thus, as sanctification helps us to move toward holiness, it helps us to develop deeper lines of communication between God and ourselves. We must remember that our Heavenly Father is a holy God. He cannot look upon sin. That is why Jesus upon the cross cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” This was the only time in all the Gospels that Jesus referred to His Heavenly Father as God, because at that time God was pouring out all the quilt of sin from the time of Adam to the end of time on Jesus. On the cross, Jesus became sin for us. God had to turn His back on His Son because as a holy God He can not look upon sin. Even as brand new believers, we can pray to God through the name of Jesus, but as we grow in holiness through sanctification, our relationship with both the Father and the Son becomes much more intimate.

I didn’t always understand sanctification. What it was really all about eluded me. But after reading The Power of the Blood of Jesus, a book by Andrew Murray (one of my favorite theologians) , I began to catch the concept much better. In this book, Murray talks about the power of Jesus’ blood in the process of sanctification. He says that sanctification occurs in three stages: 1) separation, 2) consecration, and 3) participation. What surprised me is that God has power over only the first stage, separation, and that we have control over the other two stages. The remainder of this blog will focus on “separation.”

“Separation” is imperative in both the Old and New Testaments. Noah was separated out to build the ark. Abraham was separated out from his family and his land to go to a land that God would show him. God made a covenant with Abraham and sustained it through Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve patriarchs. God separated the Hebrew people and called them to be a people unto Himself. God separated Moses to lead the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt. God separated Aaron and his sons to be priests, the Levites to care for the tabernacle and the holy articles. God separated Joshua to follow Moses and lead the people into the promise land. After Joshua’s death, God separated people to be judges over the land. When the people demanded a king, God separated out Saul and then David. God separated out Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to be prophets. (There was a lot of separating going on!) The point is that when God has a certain work to be done. He separates a person or a people unto Himself to do that work.

In the Old Testament. the people God separated unto Himself to be His witnesses to the world were the Children of Abraham. He separated them out to be a nation of priests, a light for God to the world around them. Unfortunately, they (much like the church of today) preferred to blend into the world than be separated unto God.

In the New Testament God separated Mary to be the mother of Jesus and Joseph to be His earthly father. Elizabeth and Zacharias were separated out to be the parents of John the Baptist. We probably don’t think about it in this way, but God the Father separated Jesus to be the Savior, the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. And guess what – God has separated you and me out to follow Jesus. Separation is God’s call on our life. Separation is the first step toward our sanctification and the first step toward our salvation. I love how Charles Spurgeon puts it – he believes in predestination, in that we are ALL predestined to be called by God. But the answer to that call is up to us.

The problem with separation is that it means exactly what it means. We are called to be separated unto God and separated from the world. What makes an Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Elisha, Mary, and Joseph different is that they accepted the call of God for their life. Each of them was willing to be different and separated from the people of the world around them.

Jesus Himself is one of the best examples of sanctification. We see it in His baptism. Matthew 3:13 says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him.” There is a lot of theology behind baptism which is not necessary to go into with this blog. Suffice it to say that baptism is a sign of separation, a sign of submission, a sign of a calling beyond oneself. Johns baptism was a baptism of repentance, a change of mind/thinking. Don’t get this wrong -Jesus did not come to repent. He was sinless. Jesus came as an act of submission! But through repentance, the people from Judah and the people from Galilee who came to be baptized by John answered God’s call to separate themselves from the sins of their nation. Jesus’ coming was in answer to God’s call to fulfill the plan of the worlds salvation.

We’re back to that key word: separation. To be separated from the world and separated unto God the Father for His work and to do His will. The church of today wants to blend in with the world and try to bend God into doing their work according to their will. True disciples welcome separation from the world, because they know this is the only way to seek His face and to be in His presence.

In Christ –
The Dap
Next blog we will talk about step #2, consecration. Until them be sure and pray Psalm 91 in the first person daily. And if you want to be even more empowered, pray Psalms 23, 27, and 121 as well.


What Is a Disciple? Continued


What is a disciple? The dictionary says a disciple is a student. This is true, but it is not the whole truth. When I was in seminary, the school was fortunate enough to have Dr. Fred Craddock as their Professor of Preaching and New Testament. I marveled at the man, and I guess you could say that I was a disciple of his. I took every class that he taught and picked his brain at every opportunity. In sharing with other believers, I have found that all believers tend to be a disciple of somebody. We like watching or listening to certain sermons. We read everything certain folks write. I am a big Charles Spurgeon and Oswald Chambers fan. I also like to read Andrew Murray. But when Jesus calls us to be His disciples, He want us to pattern our lives like the original twelve.

You ask, “Okay, Dap, what do you mean?” A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who wants to be with Him at all times. The twelve were always with Jesus. The only exception was when Jesus put them in the boat to go to the other side of the lake. Then He later walked to them in the storm. One other time was when they left Him by Jacob’s well in Samaria to go and buy food. These twelve men went everywhere Jesus went, ate where Jesus ate, ate what Jesus ate, and slept where Jesus slept. They were with Jesus 24/7. They heard every sermon Jesus delivered, every teaching Jesus taught. When they could get away from the crowds, they received additional personal instruction that no one else received. They saw every miracle Jesus performed. The only great action of Jesus that they all were not present for was His crucifixion (only John hung around for that).

But this disciple business is not just a New Testament way of thinking. The same is also found in the Old Testament as well. David was considered a man after God’s own heart. We look at the life of David and how many times he screwed up. We read about all his mistakes from Bathsheba to the census of the people. It seems like David couldn’t get out of his own way…

I have heard it preached, and also held the belief, that the phrase “a man after God’s heart” meant that in spite of how often David failed, he strove to do God’s will and follow God’s law. After reading the Psalms, I now believe that it is a more literal statement. Read David’s Psalms and see how many times he talks about being in God’s Temple. Think about that. Only a couple of times the word tabernacle is used. Most of the time it is the word “temple.” This is David we are talking about. When he was alive there was not a temple!! So what was David saying? He was speaking about being in God’s presence, in GOD’S THRONE ROOM! David is proclaiming to God how his desire to seek and maintain a personal relationship with Him.

David ends the 23rd Psalm in verse 6 with,”Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” The Hebrew word for house is bayith (pronounced bah’-yith). Its meaning can be anything from a hut to a palace. Its common meaning is “a dwelling”. David is proclaiming that he wants to be continually where God dwells forever.

In Psalm 27:4 &5 David says, ”One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me.” Here David uses all three words, house is the same as in Psalm 23, but he also uses Temple. The Hebrew for temple is heykal (pronounced hay-kawl). The term was used for Solomon’s temple as well as the second temple of the returned exiles. But its basic definition is that of a large building which has a huge capacity, and its major use was to describe the dwelling of God. Remember, this is David, and his son Solomon’s temple was yet not in existence. David also uses the word tabernacle. The Hebrew for tabernacle is ohel (pronounced o’-hel). It literally means a tent, a nomadic dwelling. Do you hear what David is saying here? He is saying, ‘Lord I want to be with You, I want to dwell with You. I don’t care, Lord. if it is in a great enormous palace or a tent – I just want to be with you wherever you are, doing what you are doing. Then in verse 8 David says,”When You said, ‘Seek MY Face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.” David understood and desired being in the presence of God. It was what he wanted more than anything, because in verse 9 David pleads,”Do not hide Your face from me..” David’s biggest desire was dwelling with God, continually being in God’s presence.

In the 91st Psalm verses 1-2, David says,”Because I dwell in the secret place of the Most High, I shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘You are my refuge and my fortress; my God, in You I will trust’.” David is claiming his protection not on the fact that he is a great warrior or has a great army, but on the fact that he dwells with and in the Lord. He claims his victory because he has made God’s refuge his refuge and God’s fortress his fortress. In verse 4 David says, “God shall cover me with His feathers, and under His wings I shall take refuge.” For anyone who has grown up on a farm with chickens, you have seen this in reality. If there is a dog or something else that a hen thinks is a danger to her chicks, she gathers them up and covers them with her wings. David coveted the protection Jesus spoke of when He cried over Jerusalem. Later in verses 9-10 David says, “Because I have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, my dwelling place, no evil shall befall me.” Again, just the very presence of the Lord is His refuge. The presence of the Lord is his dwelling.

Psalm 121 is a Psalm of ascent. This means that the pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the major feasts would read these Psalms as they approached the temple. In verse 1 the question is asked of Israel, “From whence comes you help?” The answers speak of a relationship that is personal and powerful. Verse 2 states, “My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Verse 3 states, “He will not allow my foot to be moved.” Verse 5, “The LORD is my keeper, The LORD is my shade at my right hand.” Verses 7-8, “The LORD shall preserve me from all evil; He shall preserve my soul. The LORD shall preserve my going out and my coming in from this time forth, and forevermore.” This whole Psalm denotes a close personal relationship with and dwelling with God. How much more of an example do we need of living in the continual presence of God than claiming that the Covenant Keeping God preserves our going out and our coming in??

But now let’s move to the New Testament. As mentioned earlier, the disciples lived with Jesus during His life. Referencing Acts 1:21-23, “Therefore of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas (surnamed Justus) and Matthias.” To replace Judas (the betrayer) as one of the twelve, the choice had to be someone who had lived and experienced the entire ministry of Jesus. They could only find two. Out of the many followers, the 72 which are mentioned in Luke or the 150 mentioned in other scriptures, only two met the criteria.

Then there is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” The Greek for kingdom is basileia (pronounced bas-il-i’-ah). Like most Greek words, it carries an everyday meaning and a spiritual meaning. The everyday meaning is a kingdom as we think of a kingdom – territories, land, vassal states, and even empires. According to Strong’s Greek dictionary of the New Testament, the spiritual meaning is that of seeking a relationship with God, a kingdom of the heart where God reigns supreme. Jesus is saying here in Matthew we are to seek out God’s Kingdom, which is a personal relationship with God. This can only be done by believing in God’s righteousness. Who is God’s righteousness? Jeremiah tells us in 23:6 and 33:16 that it is the Messiah, which means it is Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus is saying that to be a disciple of His, one must seek first a relationship with God – which can only be had by faith in Jesus Christ! Seek the relationship. Make your dwelling with God through the Son. The emphasis is upon dwelling in the presence of God.

You say, “Well, Dap, maybe a preacher or priest or rabbi has time to do that, but I have to earn a living, I have obligations I must meet, social responsibilities that are important. I don’t have time to just dwell with God!” Listen here – if you dare to tear open that box you think you have God contained in, you will find He is not there. Don’t think God is not present at your job or with your clubs or social organization. Don’t think God is not present at your kids’ sporting events or extracurricular activities. Don’t think God is not present in your workshop or your green house or your garden. A disciple knows God is there, seeks God’s presence there, and asks the question; “Lord, how are you going to use me today?”

We are just scratching the surface on “What is a Disciple?” Look for my next blog – we are going to dive even deeper….

In Christ,
The Dap

Remember to Pray Psalm 91 in the first person each day. And if you want to feel even more empowered, pray Psalms 23, 27, and 121, too.


Calling All Disciples

Calling All Disciples

I wrote a blog a few days ago called “Ignorant, Stupid, or Just Plain Idiot.” I blew off some steam about something that was very important to me, the feminizing of a word whose roots in the English go directly back to its Hebrew foundation. In the Hebrew it is neither feminine nor masculine, but a Rep. Cleaver from Missouri dishonored it anyway. I probably shouldn’t have written that blog – but not because I am ashamed of it. On the contrary, it was a great piece of Biblical word study. I believe every word I wrote.

I wrote out of a fantasy world belief that one could have a factual discussion with the fascist left. But words, no matter how truthful, correct, or right, are shouted down. Discussions with persons who are in their minds never wrong, will never be wrong, and will shout till your ears bleed or till you crouch away and they can claim victory. Not because they are right, but because they can create a mob real quick and make it where one cannot be heard. The truth is, they are afraid to listen; and they are really afraid for someone to hear it who hasn’t bought into their insanity – because it just might make sense!

I responded to a post by a cousin of mine on Facebook (BIG MISTAKE, I KNEW BETTER. SWORE I WOULD NEVER DO IT.). He is one of those who would vote for a Democrat if they were Satan. He has done it many times. He was very judgmental about what happened at the Capitol in DC (which I had agreed was wrong). I briefly made reference to all the destruction that had gone on since April 2020. His snappy reply was, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I responded regarding about 7 or 8 of the violent and destructive acts around the country. I didn’t even mention Atlanta and Peachtree Street and the Wendy’s that was burned down. The State patrol headquarters that were attacked and vandalized. The eight year old little girl that was killed because the police, under the orders of the mayor, had let violent gangs get control of the area, while her mother was trying to get her to the doctor. I told him that would be my last statement on the matter and that he could respond if he wanted to. Boy did he, he and about 15 other irrational folks. I thought he would keep it in the family, but I guess he couldn’t handle common sense. He had to bring the mob. Think about this, this is someone who said he loved me the last time we were together. If this is the response of a person who says he loves me, think what the response of a Biden, a Harris, a Pelosi, an Ossoff, or a Warnock is going to be….

I KNEW BETTER. We are simply past the opportunity for courteous discussion. It doesn’t matter what we say. It doesn’t matter what the facts or the reality are. The problem is all us. The only discussion is how to cleanse us. There is no common ground. For this mindset, it is either their way or a call for destruction of any opposition. It is impossible for them to admit that any words they have said, any actions they have done, any bills they have passed are wrong. Only those who disagree with them are wrong and should be cancelled.

It’s frustrating, you know. They own all the news media. Don’t be fooled by Fox – they have proven to be snakes in the grass. The new upstarts will either be bought out or taken off the amazon servers. (I’m purposely not going to capitalize these people – they don’t deserve it.) They own facebook, youtube and twitter. What can we do? WE CAN PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is why I titled this “Calling All Disciples”. I am calling on and inviting every disciple of Christ to joining me in praying for our enemies. Not ABOUT them, but FOR them. Jesus commands His disciple to do this. In Matthew 5:44 He says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Dap, what do you mean pray for them? How do we pray for them? Do we pray for their success? NO! WE PRAY FOR THEIR SALVATION!!!!! We come spiritually and if need be physically on our knees and in humility admit that we are powerless in this situation, that the Heavenly Father is our only hope. Ask Him to unleash the Holy Spirit upon them. Please let me be clear about something here. I do not hate these people. I feel great sorrow for them and I am truly trying to love them through the Christ that lives in me. I must admit that I succeed more some days than others. That is why I am trying to stay away from news feeds. I have found I can think of them in a much kinder light the less news I hear. All the news does is make me irritated and gives Satan an opening to foil my Christ-like love for my enemy.

I don’t know if you have figured this out yet, but they hate you and me. Their attitude is you either conform to my belief, submit to my oppression, or I will destroy you. There is absolutely no love, compassion, or even the good part of humanity in that. The problem with the organized Church, and many who call themselves Christians, is that they have slowly moved government up the altar ladder to the place where government is almost if not equal with God. We pray for certain outcomes – believing that a certain outcome will protect our freedom and even our faith. We either believe like the fascist leftists that one party is good and the other party is bad, or like myself, that I’m voting for the lesser of two evils. In November my trust was not in the election. And for many years it will not be again. I hate to admit that there have been times when my trust was in an election. But as I have grown in my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus and my Daddy God, all I saw this November was a delaying tactic to what Satan will be doing in the next eight days. The run-off in my home state? I knew the result weeks before it happened. It was two days after the run off before I looked on a news feed to see what I knew those results would be…

You see, brothers and sisters, this has never been a political war. It has always been a spiritual war, but as we believers in Christ took our eyes off the spiritual and focused on the political, the ruler of this world took more and more power right from under our feet. So I am asking you to take your eyes off the political and join me in fighting like the people of God, fighting as a people of God should, fighting on our knees.

I have the last few days been praying for my enemies, and I am going to continue until God brings about an earth-shattering, world-shaking, heart-changing, Holy Spirit fire-breathed revival in this country.

You ask, “Okay, Dap, so what do we pray?” We pray that God will reveal Himself to these people through the power of the Holy Spirit. That God will send people into their lives that have courage in the Lord and can be used by the Spirit to touch their hearts. That if they have any respect for religion at all, the Spirit will use it to break through their hardened hearts. That if perchance they have a Bible in their home or office that even a glance at it, or maybe even a look inside it, gives the Holy Spirit a chance to break through their hardened hearts, heal them, and change them. Reason will not and cannot do it. If your eyes are even half opened, you can see that clear. Only God’s Holy Spirit can change hearts, and we need to turn totally and completely to Him.

“The word of God through the Holy Spirit is creative, not persuasive. It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit when we try to persuade people, it put the basis not on Redemptive Reality but on our ingenious reasoning. The Holy Spirit of God working, by God’s decree, through the historic Fact of the Life and Death of Jesus, does not convince a man’s mind: He creates something new in him, makes him a new creation in Christ Jesus!” Oswald Chambers from “God’s Workmanship”

So – I am daily praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed upon Rep. Cleaver, the four horsemen (Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden,) Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock. I am also praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed on Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp and the Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. And yes, I am now praying for my misled and idiot cousin. (See previous post, and you will understand) Finally, I will continue to pray until I see the great revival and spiritual awakening I mentioned earlier. I am leaving behind the political and placing my faith in the Spiritual. That is where the real battle is, and that is where we as disciples of Jesus Christ should be 100% focused.

I leave you with Isaiah 62:6 & 7, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of The Covenant Keeping God, do not keep silent, and give Him (God) no rest till he establishes and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Fellow Disciples, we are watchmen on the wall of the United States of America. You are invited by the Father Himself to bug Him and continue to harass Him until He through the power of the Holy Spirit establishes and makes the United States of America a praise in the earth!

In Christ –
The Dap

Further blogs will continue with what it means to be a disciple. That will be followed with many teachings on prayer. Follow the blogs on my website If you have missed one or more, click on BLOGS in the menu, and it will carry you to where they are.

Always remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person.


What Is a Disciple? “The Rule of Ten”

    Everyone who claims to be a Christian is not a disciple.  No.  There basically exist three groups.  The church is made up of believers, committed believers, and disciples.

A believer is one who has done the basics.  They will say they are a Christian.  They may even go to church more often than just Palm Sunday, Easter. and Christmas.  They serve on church committees and support outside church functions.  However, many may not attend.  Their church membership is  the place where they made their confession of faith, or the place where they got married; but the church and their faith is not vitally important to them.  I have had these folks in every church I served.  They are the ones who, if you called them any time, day or night, will come and help out as necessary.  They do anything –  except attend church regularly.  Sometimes when a hardship arises, they return until the emergency in their lives is over, or they decide that church and their faith is no longer providing anything for them.  There is always a good reason (excuse) not to attend.  In all of my pastorates, I have passed by new homes on the way to worship.  When I saw someone had moved in,  I would stop and invite them to church.  Many would tell me they were members of this or that other congregation, but every Sunday morning I would see them washing their car, building something at the house, or cutting the yard.  This group, the believers, usually make up around 90% of a church’s membership.

Then there are the committed believers.  They are committed to Christ, most of them, but I have known many who are more committed to the church than they are to Christ.  Those that are more committed to the church grew up in that church and/or have strong family ties to that church.  Their parents, grandparents, and extended family belong (or belonged) to that church.  This group will be in attendance regularly for worship.  If you have a Wednesday night, a prayer time, a Sunday night service –  they will be there.  The committed Christians make up most of the church leadership:  Sunday School teachers, Bible Study leaders, trustees, ushering captains, etc.  Depending on the size of the church, they may wear many hats.  They do love Jesus.  They love the church and want it to succeed.  The committed Christians make up only around 9% of a church’s membership.  The committed Christian has a desire to know more and be more.  Following the rules and regulations is important to them.  They want God to approve of them.  These are what most of us would call “good people”.


The disciple is the smallest segment of a church body.  They make up about 1% of a church’s membership.  I will go into great detail regarding the difference in a committed Christian and a disciple in future blogs, not here.  Let’s just say one can hear it in their prayers.  The committed believer will ask God to be with them and go with them.  The disciple will ask to go with God, to be used by God, to do God’s work where God leads.  The disciple does not ask, “What would Jesus do?” The disciple asks,  “Lord what are You doing?  How can you use me?  I want to be where you are Lord – work through me where You are doing what You are doing.”  You may be tempted to point out that only a preacher has time to do that.  You are wrong!  In fact, today, very few preacher are disciples.  Most are no more than committed Christians.  Many are committed to something, but it is not necessarily Christ.


This rule of 10 applies to most organizations – not just the church.  I have seen it play out in all kinds of social and community groups.  To keep it simple, let’s say a club has 100 members.  About 90% will be members only, and 45-55% of that group won’t even attend.  Committed members will comprise 10% of the total group.  They will make up most of the leadership of the club.  They will be on the work crews.  That club will be a priority in their life.  Of the committed group, there will be what we will call the disciple  –  the one who lives and breathes that club, because it is their life blood.  So, the club has 100 members.  If it is a positive and exciting organization, they may have 65 people in attendance, 10 will be the major leaders, and for one it will be their life.  This rule has also proven true in every church where I have been a pastor.


I heard a quote the other day that there are 1,000,000,000 Christians in the world.  If we take the rule of ten, that would mean that there would be 100,000,000 committed Christians in the world, and 10,000,000 disciples.  That sounds like a lot, but when you factor in that there are over 7,000,000,000 people in the world, the Christian population is actually shrinking…


During the recent national election, I heard that there were around 330,000,000 American citizens.  The last poll I read indicated that Christianity was ’way down, with only 65% claiming to be a Christian.  This would mean that the Christian population in the USA is 214,500,000.  Using the rule of ten means that there are 21,450,000 committed Christians and 2,145,000 disciples.  The reason there is such a discrepancy in the church in the USA is that it mirrors the church in Ephesus during John’s time.  It has lost its first love.  Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19&20).  We have settled for tallying believers and church members…


Now, taking this rule of ten and using it for a small-membership church, that group (based on just how small the membership is) may not have a disciple in the church…. Again, you say, “What about the pastor or the priest or the preacher?”  Well, that church fellowship may be lucky if they are committed Christians.  I believe the biggest problem in the church as a whole is that we have promoted persons into HIGH church positions who are no more than religious professionals and at best committed believers.  Because of politics, we have elevated these instead of disciples.  Name the denomination or the non-denomination – all are guilty.


If you want to poo-poo this rule of ten, go ahead.  But did you know it is Biblical?  Think about this –  Jesus chose 12 disciples.  While He was hanging on the cross, one had betrayed Him, one had denied Him, and nine had fled into hiding.  Only one, John, was at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother.  I don’t require any further proof.


We have now defined what a disciple is not.  Next blog, I will begin to   share my thoughts on what a disciple is..


Until then,


The Dap

Be sure and pray the 91st Psalm every day in the first person.  If you want to feel even more empowered, pray the 23rd, 27th,, and 121st Psalms in the first person as well.

This is the second in the series “What is a Disciple.”  If you missed my first one just go to my web-site, and click on blogs.  You will find it there.



What Is A Disciple? NOT!



I am beginning a teaching on being a Disciple of Jesus Christ. I figure it will take more that just a few blogs. Especially since we need to understand What Is Not a Disciple.

One of the facts that many people do not understand about Christianity is that it is not a religion. Unfortunately. that is what many believers make it. They hear about a Savior called Jesus. They are told if they receive Jesus into their heart and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they will be “saved” (rescued, preserved). They are taught to accept that Jesus died on the Cross for their sins, that He rose again on the third day, and that if they now confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord – that’s all there is.

All those things are true. Everything listed above is an absolute must. Yet many people treat it like an end point, and it’s not. You may say, “I know! I know! There are certain rules and regulations I must follow, like praying and reading the Bible and being obedient to the Ten Commandments. Right!” Yes, but believe this: There is one thing even more important than the rules and regulations, the reading the Bible, or obeying the Ten Commandments (good luck with that one, by the way….). The fact is that the Christian faith is a RELATIONSHIP, not a religion. When we understand that most important part, that ONE THING, then we realize that everything else listed is just the beginning.

When we look at the Christian Faith as a mere religion, even if we are committed to it, the focus becomes more and more on us, more and more on what we are doing; and it becomes less and less about God and what He did through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. We focus more and more on the rules we are keeping or not keeping. We begin looking around and becoming judgmental about what others are doing or not doing. Even worse, we come to the point where many (even in the church leadership) start prioritizing the rules and their importance based on how good the people are who are breaking them…..When see the Christian faith as merely a religion, we become so self- centered that we could care less and less about the work God wants to do through us. (That is, if we are in fact at all committed).

For many who are marginally committed or not committed at all, when the Christian faith is just a religion, they still call themselves a Christian. When a pollster asks them what their religion is, they may answer, “Christian.” Yet, they actually look around and see that all other religions have so-called leaders, rules, and regulations, and say to themselves, “What’s really the difference?” But they do want to hold on to their fire insurance – just in case.

When we come to the point where we take seriously the fact that our faith in the Resurrected and Living Lord Jesus Christ is a RELATIONSHIP – and that the confession of faith and study of life teachings is just the beginning – we are then at the point of growing, not just in the faith, but into the abundant life that Jesus gives. The Christian faith is a lot like other relationships. It can’t grow unless you hang out with the person in whom you claim to be in relationship.

So, how do you grow? 1) You STUDY His Word, the Bible. The Bible is not a rule book. It is a biography. It tells the love story of a Holy and Righteous God and how He wants His best for His creation. How He works to provide His best for His creation. It is an instruction book on how to have a relationship with a Holy and Just God. Please understand this, it is a relational instruction book on how YOU can have a RELATIONSHIP with GOD! Not on how GOD can have a relationship with you.

From the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation it reveals the LOVE, the GRACE, the HOPE, and the MERCY of God toward His creation. 2) You PRAY. I know sometimes this can be more intimidating than reading the Bible. I have been around people who can pray the most beautiful prayers. You feel like your walking in a garden with the Almighty when these people pray. My wife prays some of the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard. My prayers are simple and methodical, no poetry to them at all. I don’t love the way I sound when I pray aloud. But there is good news here. God loves wondrous variety in prayer – He doesn’t care what it “sounds like.” All He cares about is that you, His beloved, are spending time with Him. 3) You LISTEN. Prayer is not a one-sided conversation, just talking to God. Prayer is also listening to God. Spend a few moments in quiet rest. Listen with your heart. He will guide you. 4) You FOLLOW HIM. Don’t ask, “What would Jesus do?” Ask Jesus what is He doing and then GO WITH HIM! We have too many misled people out there doing what they think Jesus wants them to do. Working really hard to grow and be better for Him. You want to grow? Then grow WITH Him. Because it is impossible to grow without your being in HIS PRESENCE!

AMEN for today. We will pick up next time with the Rule of Ten.

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person.


IGNORANT, STUPID or Just Plain Idiot


The Need for Fellowship


Since I retired, my wife and I have been visiting different churches of different denominations and very different orders of worship. We have encountered both contemporary and traditional orders of worship in these various denominations. One Sunday we visited a Pentecostal church – and believe me, there is a difference between their style and other contemporary forms! Most recently, we attended a Christian church, and as at every other time, we again tried to learn a little about their history. While talking with one of the pastors, we discovered that there are three denominations which carry the title of “Christian Church” – The Christian Church(Disciples of Christ), The Church of Christ, and the Christian Church.

As we depart following the worship services, we usually ask the pastor what we specifically can pray for them in the coming week. At this most recent visit, we found that minister had been the senior pastor for about 30 years, and following his official retirement, the Church made him their pastor for shepherding (congregational care). When we asked if he had a specific personal prayer need, his first reaction was surprise. I imagine he is not asked that very often, but after regaining composure, he smiled and answered honestly and simply. During the service it was mentioned that there had been several deaths in the church. Being the longest-term pastor, he has the relationships with many of these families. Thus, more often than not, he is the one who ministers to them at their time of need and loss. He noted that it was becoming harder to do during the pandemic. Having to wear masks, standing six feet apart, not being able to shake hands or even hug, and groups cut to a minimum were contributing to a sense of loss of support from friends that would normally be there. Basically, it made it much more difficult to be a comfort – and he felt so responsible to provide that….

Here in Georgia, there is no real total ban of Christian fellowship. We’ve had bishops and denominational leaders who have pushed the political correctness of not meeting live and in person. We’ve tried to convince ourselves that YouTube, Facebook Live, and Zoom are just as good as live and in-person worship. And even with the passage of months and gradual return to normal in other sectors, some churches in Georgia have still not opened up. In Idaho, Nevada, and California, believers are being arrested for daring to worship together. What is amazing that one can take a seat on an airplane in California and not be seated 6 feet apart, but you can’t go to church and sit next to someone in a pew. And God forbid one dares to sing praises! We begin to get a real idea of the importance of the church in Nevada when we learn that churches are dangerous but casinos are deemed necessary. Even in Georgia at the beginning of this mess, while churches were not banned but encouraged to close, liquor stores were not on any list of expected closure. The Bishop of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church recommended that churches close down for regular services, but it was OK to march in a large group protest as long as you wore a mask. The hypocrisy of this whole situation is astounding. The fear-mongering throughout this process has been controlling and intentionally so. The politicizing of science has been ludicrous.

In undergraduate school, I worked on a double major in biology and chemistry. I can remember reading in one of my genetic text books about the reason for the food shortage in the Soviet Union. Because of this, even in the middle of the Cold War, the Soviets depended on the U.S. farmers of that day for much of their food supply. During that time in history, wheat was one of our major exports, and the major country our wheat was exported to was the Soviet Union. At that point, there were three separate genetic theories on how to grow and increase wheat production. In the U.S., the farmers were free to try out methods and discover what worked the best. In the Soviet Union, only one theory gained government acceptance. It wasn’t successful – and many people starved.

We are now experiencing in our own country what took place in the Soviet Union in the 60’s and 70’s. There has been banning of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as possible treatments for the current viral illness. Real doctors on the front line who are actually treating patients have been eliminated from all media. All media – mainstream and streaming social media. Because someone who hasn’t been in a lab coat much less a research lab or medical clinic in the last 30 years, with the backing of Big Pharma and their billionaire investors, doesn’t want to lose the billions about to be scammed from this country and the rest of the world. I am not going to bore you with the science, but the fact is hydroxychloroquine does work as a preventive and as a treatment if used in the early stages of infection. The truth is there is nothing at this time that works well as a treatment when it develops into the advanced stages if the immune system does not successfully combat the disease. A friend of mine who has worked with the CDC and is familiar with SARS and other epidemics in our recent history (12-14 years) has said that when this great vaccine comes out, look at the ingredients and expect to see that the main one will be hydroxychoroquine. The difference will be that Big Pharma will be able to charge $200+ per dose instead of our using a medication that can be bought over the counter in two thirds of the world. And we hear the same thing that the citizens of the Soviet Union heard in the 60’s and 70’s – “It’s for your own good!”

Oh, WOW. That was a rabbit hole I didn’t intend to go that far down, but I guess I needed to say it. What I started out to say is that this pandemic has been used to eliminate something that is important to all humans. It is doubly important to Christians. Last couple of weekends I have been watching college football. I’m glad we have college football, I enjoy college football. I also enjoyed what is now missing, the crowds, the fans. I miss the bands, the before-game walks. These rituals are important for many people. When the camera zooms in on the stands and you see cardboard cur outs and you hear piped in crowd noise, there is something different and lessening. Well, people say, it’s the new normal…..No! It is the old lie! There are dark spiritual elements at work in our society. There are people within our government and as well as outside who want to control every aspect of our lives.

I haven’t heard anyone within the church community say anything yet, but did you know that there are new guidelines for what constitutes hate speech? Did you also know that these new guidelines which can define the Holy Scriptures as hate speech? There has been for the last several years the Anti-Christ movement to remove Jesus from everyday life. For several Christmases, there was pressure to just say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Now in some places you are not being a good citizen if you want to go to church, but you are if you go to a liquor store or a casino. Home Depot and Walmart are essential, but not corporate worship in a sanctuary. Christians have family members and friends getting extremely ill and even dying, and not just from COVID. Non- Christians have Christian family members and friends getting extremely ill and even dying. But family members are not allowed to visit, their pastor is not allowed to visit, and if there is a death only, a certain number can attend the funeral. Most funerals are not being held in chapels or sanctuaries, and many are being conducted only as grave-side services. For an old country boy like myself, it’s a return to the old normal of my youth, just the graveside service, but with the lack of physical support. The neighbors and church family bringing in enough food to feed the grieving family for a month. The physical presence of a friend, not saying words of wisdom but just being present, and not thinking that they are breaking some presidential mandate if they stay a little longer. The comfort of a firm handshake and a strong meaningful hug. The touch of a pastor as he or she prays for the sick or the family of the departed.

At a time when we need the presence of Jesus the most, we are being told, “No, you need science more.” At a time when we need to stand on the Authority and Power of God’s Word, we are cautioned by our church leaders that not all the Bible is authoritative, and some of it may be hateful. At a time when we need fellowship with other believers so that we know we are not alone, so that we don’t have the Elijah syndrome – where we can look one another in the eye and say, “I believe” and hear someone else say, “I believe, also” – we are told, “Hey, there is YouTube, Facebook live, TBN, and other websites. Go there”, all the while knowing that the powers controlling YouTube and Facebook generate their authority in woke media and the cancel culture. And once we become accustomed to their new normal, the powers that be can then gain control or cancel TBN and even our own websites. There is a big reason that Apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.”

Paul is expounding a great truth here. TV and computer screens do not and will not cut it in the long haul. To stir up agape love, there has to be fellowship. To actually bring forth good works, there has to be fellowship. Because it is only in fellowship that we are able to strengthen and be strengthened. It is only in fellowship that we are able to edify and be edified. It is only in fellowship that we are able to exhort and lift up while also being exhorted and lifted up. “The Day approaching” to which Paul refers is exactly like the times we are living in now.

WAKE UP, CHURCH! The woke media and the cancel culture has us in the cross hairs at this very moment. But we do have a choice: fear or power The world is bombarding us with fear, but we have access to POWER. There is POWER in the NAME OF JESUS! There is POWER in the AUTHORITY OF THE WORD. There is POWER when we choose to ASSEMBLE TOGETHER in FELLOWSHIP! It’s OUR choice.


The Dap

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If you are having trouble with fear pray PSALM 91 in the first person and claim it for yourself.

Blog Uncategorized

What a Witness

A What a Witness

I was clicking through You Tube the other night, looking for something interesting to watch besides my favorite sporting programs (usually UGA Dawgs-related). There is a lot of diverse material to be had if you’re willing to go down certain rabbit holes, which most of the time I am not… I found myself clicking on a Christian testimony which popped up on my feed. I don’t know why it popped up, because that was not a rabbit hole I had intentionally gone down before. The presentation was about an hour long and was not rehearsed or well-scripted, but it was honest and sincere. Since then, other testimonies have occasionally shown up as well. Again, I don’t click on too many except a few whose titles are intriguing.

Anyway, the other night one came up called “Steve McQueen’s Christian Testimony.” I’ve always be a huge Steve McQueen fan – from his TV show, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, to driving Yul Brynner crazy with his antics in “The Magnificent Seven” or his role in “The Great Escape”, and of course that greatest of macho man movies, “Bullet”. I never knew Steve McQueen had ever professed to be a Christian. It was about an hour and a half long and it was put together by the Harvest Christian Fellowship out of California.

It started out as one of those typical biographies that you see about stars in Hollywood. As a matter of fact, for the first hour, nothing was said about Christianity at all. It documented the ups and downs of Steve’s career in chronological order. At about an hour into the story, when Steve (who had lost it all) was in the process of making it all back plus more, his Christian conversion began to be mentioned. Apparently, Steve had never been what we would call a “people person,” but after losing all his fortune and then being in the process of making it all back, he became more reclusive and untrusting of people. He also started looking around at the material prizes of his success, thinking that they should be bringing him fulfillment, but he wasn’t feeling fulfilled at all. When He wasn’t filming for a movie, he wore scrappy clothes, sporting long hair and a beard, trying to look as grungy as he could so as not to be recognized. He often took off on one of his motorcycles and just rode. During one of these rides, he discovered a small airport. Seeking solitude, he thought to himself – what could give him more solitude than riding his bike? Why, flying, of course! He would learn how to fly! While riding around the hangers seeking information as to who could teach him how to fly, he was given the name of Sam Mason.

Sam Mason had been a Navy fighter pilot, a stunt pilot for the movies, and one of the top test pilots for Lockheed Aircraft Corp. Steve got Sam’s number and called him. Now, Sam didn’t know who Steve was and actually asked his son if he “knew a guy named Steve McQueen who says he’s an actor.” Sam considered himself retired and tried to give the job to his son, who also was a highly qualified instructor; but Steve wouldn’t give up or select anyone else. Sam finally relented but told Steve that if he was going to train him, Sam would only do it with the same type of plane that he learned on in the Navy: an old bi-wing trainer. So Steve bought the specified plane, had it completely restored, and began his lessons.

Unknown to Steve at that time, Sam was not only an over-qualified flying instructor but also a qualified Sky Pilot as well. And Sam was a faithful, practicing Christian. No one will ever know exactly what the conversations during the training sessions were, but apparently Sam shared a lot about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He must have done it in a truly loving and caring way, because one day after they had finished their lesson, Steve asked Sam, “Would be alright if I went to church with you?”

Can you imagine that? Living your life in such a way, sharing the Gospel in such a way, that instead of your asking someone to come to church, they asked you if they can go to church with you. WHAT A WITNESS! I’ve never had anyone ask me if they could go to church with me. And I guess for fear of rejection, many times it has been hard for me to invite someone to attend church with me. I’ve done it many times and been blown off, ignored, and turned down. But Sam Mason’s witness so touched the heart of Steve McQueen that Steve asked him for permission….

As it turns out, Steve did go and spoke with the pastor – searching, seeking, and asking serious questions. After several weeks of this, Steve received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He began turning his life around. He became very philanthropic, looking for different ways to share his wealth and his witness. He didn’t become an instant life-of-society guy, but he became far from a hermit.

It was shortly after this that Steve began losing weight and then was found to have pleural mesothelioma. The doctors in the U.S. told him there were no cures, so he traveled to a clinic in Mexico for experimental/alternative treatment. However, he died from complications during surgery to remove a tumor in his stomach where the cancer had metastasized.

The beautiful point is that Steve’s faith, while short-lived, was real. In his last interview, given the day before his final surgery and death, there was no pity party. His only regret was that he had wasted most of his life on the things that didn’t matter and were not important. He wanted to be healed so that he could have more time to serve the Lord and spend his life for His Kingdom and do more for the One who had given His all for him.

All because Steve insisted to take flying lessons from a believing, practicing Christian named Sam Mason – who was not afraid or ashamed to share his faith.


The Dap

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Respect Two


Lack of respect towards God, lack of respect towards Christ, is at the center of most of society’s problems today. This is lack of respect for Christs’ position, for His authority, which is primarily found in His word. Just as mentioned in my earlier blog about true godly love coming from above, coming from God through Christ, lack of respect towards God and His Christ leads to a loss of respect toward others and the institutions within the world around us.

All you have to do is observe the different news services and their support of these actions: the rioting that is going on, the looting and vandalism, the destruction of personal property, and persons in positions of leadership who forsake their responsibilities and allow these actions to persist unabated. People’s property, businesses, and livelihoods are being destroyed, and no stop seen – until it comes to these leaders’ neighborhoods! This amounts to a total disrespect for others and what they have sacrificed, worked for, and built. Lives have been threatened and many times lost because someone dared to disagree with another person’s thoughts or beliefs. As too often seen these days, when someone disagrees with you, they call you names and make false claims about your personal character. Grand juries not allowing charges to be placed against felons caught in the act because it doesn’t suit a political agenda. In my lifetime, I have never seen such hatred expressed….from one group toward another, from one political party toward another. Hatred spewed toward our President is unbelievable. I haven’t been totally impressed with every President during my lifetime. I haven’t always agreed with everything every President has done, even the ones I voted for; but the purely intentional, vicious, malevolent behaviors shown toward this current President is truly frightening.

All these activities mentioned above are attitudes which arise from a loss of respect for authority, loss of respect for personal responsibility, loss of respect for personal beliefs, and loss of respect for freedoms, especially freedom of thought and freedom of speech. There is lack of concern for freedom to work and build and pursue happiness, freedom to worship and believe one’s faith, freedom to travel in safety. As an example, a couple of weeks ago my wife and I had to attend my uncle’s funeral, which required us to travel through Atlanta in order to arrive in a timely manner. For the very first time in my entire life, I felt afraid to go to and through the city of Atlanta…. We mourn the loss of respect for the virtues upon which this nation was founded, while building new monuments for those whose actions towards their fellow citizens are criminal in nature.

Well, then, who do we blame? I blame the church, especially the institutional church, because we have ceased to be what Jesus said we were. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13,“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Now, there are many in my denomination who will disregard this scripture because it only occurs twice in the Bible, and all truly enlightened Christians know that for a Scripture to be taken seriously, it has to appear more than twice in this Good Book. But it is exactly what has happened in the church. We are no longer salt. We have lost our flavor.

Salt is an enhancer. It flavors and improves the taste of food. While Jesus came to bring salvation to the world, He is honest enough to know that because of free will, not everyone will be saved. But He calls on those of us who do place our trust in Him to be salt in the earth; to be salt within our culture, community, and society; to be His flavor in the world. HIS FLAVOR! To be His influence. Yet, instead of the Church flavoring the world with the presence and the flavor of Christ, we have instead decided to flavor the Church using the seasoning of the world. To accomplish this, we have ceased to respect the authority of our Heavenly Father and His Son by questioning its validity. And the primary way we do this is by questioning the authority of the Word – Their Word. This makes us humanity conscious, not heavenly conscious. Without Word authority, our focus shifts from holiness and righteousness to the works and perceived goodness of humanity. Our focus changes from what is sin to what we want sin to be. Thus if a person or group of people believe the same as me, it is perfectly alright to steal, kill, loot, burn, destroy, assassinate another’s character, etc., because I am now the authority.

Salt is also a preserver. In Jesus’ day, there was no refrigeration, so folks used salt as a preservative. The question today becomes: As Christians, what are we preserving right now? Many Christians live in fear of attending their own local church. We march and give lip service to the politically correct. but how many small businesses , lives, and livelihoods have we preserved in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and now Wisconsin? You see, Jesus was talking about the Church and individually about the Christian. We have lost our flavor, and this Scripture pronounces a judgment. The judgment is, “We are good for nothing but to be thrown out and TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT BY MEN.”

When I was growing up, the Church and Christianity flavored the society around them. Even during a championship football season, practice was over on Wednesday nights in time for the players to go to prayer meeting, if that was their families tradition. Nothing would be scheduled to compete with Sunday morning worship. Stores were closed on Wednesday afternoons and all day on Sundays. I was out of college before I ever saw a person mowing their lawn on a Sunday… Today, Sunday seems no different than any other day of the week. If your children play team ball of any kind, there are going to be weekend tournaments which of course include Sunday. I’d estimate 99.9% of businesses are open on Sunday. For many stores and restaurants, Sunday is their busiest day of the week. and the sad truth is that Christians are right in the middle of it. We neglect Sunday worship because we have had a busy week and we need Sunday to get caught up and ready for the next week. We decided to play golf on Saturday, so we catch the yard on Sunday. Besides, respecting the Sabbath and keeping it holy is antiquated and not for today….

In the same way that respect for the Father and the Son opens the door for love to rain down from above, so does lack of respect hinder this gift. When we the Church, when we the body of Christ, when we the Christians. cease to acknowledge the authority and position of the Father and His Son (and their commandments, their Word), we cease to be salt. We cease to be flavorful enhancers of life. We cease to be able to preserve anything, including our own faith and beliefs.

I remember watching the last UMC General Conference which was recorded on You Tube. I saw the division, the anger, the hatred, the name calling. I saw the alphabet soup of organizations in battle array against one another. And I now see what is going on in sections of our nation. And it makes me wonder – could it be that the world is still following our lead? Just asking.