Church With No Money

It was sobering for me to look at the picture. My daughter was on a mission trip to Africa and sent thiss-sudan-church picture. I held the picture of a large green tree with about 30 smiling faces from South Sudan. They were at church. The tree was their church. No building. No walls. No organ. No carpet. No problem.

I stand amazed at Christians. In recent days churches have faced many different catastrophes, such as floods, shootings, and fire. Yet, on the next Sunday morning there is a group, sitting in lawn chairs with their Bibles, singing Amazing Grace from memory. They have learned the secret of having church with no money.

The first church was gathered on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with no building and no bank account, but full of awe and wonder of our Lord Jesus. We gather to worship King Jesus, not always in a building, but always together with other believers.

Please do not misunderstand. I too enjoy the walls, roof, and air conditioning of the church. However, some equate the building with the church. The organization of the church is a spiritual organization of believers gathered to worship King Jesus and study His Word together.

I want to give you a top five list of things you can have in your church and spend no money.

5. Kindness – Being kind to one another is free and very healthy for your church. The Bible tells us, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32 KJV) This is one area you can improve your church and never spend a penny. Just think how your church would react if five people were more kind this Sunday.

4. Worship – Jesus tells the woman at the well in John 4 about worship. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24 KJV) No carpet required! The worship of our King requires no physical elements, just a heart of love and adoration for Jesus.

3. Joy – Bringing joy into the church is defiantly a good thing. We have all been to service where joy was not present and in some cases not invited. This Sunday as you worship with music that speaks of Jesus, heaven, or salvation sing it with joy. People around you will notice. You will be blessed and your church will too.

2. The Bible – Every church has a time of casual conservation. We talk about the weather. We talk about football and our children. If we would intentionally insert a conversation about what we read in the Bible last week or how much we enjoyed the Sunday school lesson for this week. God will not let His Word return void, even from a small and casual conservation.

1. Love – This is the best of all the free, no cost, things you can have in your church. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love is how people know you are a real believer. Love is the greatest! Imagine going to your church and seeing people full of love.

All of these are free, no cost ways to have church. We don’t need money to love, worship, be kind, or share joy. All we need is a great love relationship with Jesus Christ and maybe a tree for a church.


Being Both


“You can’t have both,” he said. “He’s a great preacher, but he’s not a good pastor. He can preach the Bible, but he is not a people person.” The rest of the Pastor Search Committee watched the Chairman as he explained, “You can’t have both. Either you will find a good preacher, or a good pastor, but not both.” The idea that men and ministry are divided by either the ability to communicate or the ability to minister is a crushing idea to true gospel ministry.

I am unsure where I first heard this statement, but it surprised me immediately and has followed me throughout my ministry. It is one of those statements that you quickly want to defend, jumping up and down in disagreement. It is a statement that has haunting consequences for the church and one I believe is dangerous to the pastor and his ministry. 


 Pastors, this lie will hurt you, your church, and your ministry. If you allow it into your thinking and philosophy of ministry, it will slowly reduce you to one or the other. I am convinced from the Scripture that God calls only one kind of pastor and he is to be both a good preacher and a good shepherd to the people of God.


“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”  (2Ti 4:1-2 ESV)

 Preaching is not just a good idea. It is not just a great method for getting information out. It is God’s idea and His design for His Bride, the church. “For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe.” (1Co 1:21 ASV) Preaching in the local church is the serious calling from heaven by God to a man on earth. If God has placed on a man the charge to preach, it is a charge to preach well.

Preachers are under constant pressure from the One Who called us to do better in academic preparation and in spiritual application. The preacher is to be prepared in season and out (all times) to make a public declaration of the Biblical message of salvation.  The pastor is primarily a preacher of Scripture and secondly a shepherd of sheep, but he is both.


The New Testament uses the word pictures of the Old Testament to describe the relationship of the pastor to the church; shepherd and sheep. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV) As an overseer of a flock, we serve, love, and encourage Christians as they walk through the wicked world around. The great tool of the shepherd is the preaching and teaching of the Word. However, that tool is most effective when the sheep lovingly trusts the shepherd.


What does pastoral oversight look like in the modern evangelical church? I am regulated to my context of the American southern church. In that context pastors are driving to the hospital to pray with a sheep before surgery. Why? Because they are fearful of pain, death, or just being put to sleep and pastors pray for the peace of God to overtake any human fear. Overseeing includes administrative tasks at the church; bulletins, budgets, and buildings. Another area of oversight is in the area of counsel. Pastors will have office counseling sessions and home counseling sessions. We even have counseling sessions while traveling to a meeting, standing in a corn field, or at a local coffee house. You must be both pastor and preacher and you must do it well in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. 


This is His church; bought with His blood. We are His servants and as servants we serve at His pleasure. We love the sheep and become frustrated by the sheep, but they are His sheep and we are to care for them in pastoral ministry.


Pastors are called to preach the greatest message in the universe; Jesus saves. We should be the best communicator of that message we can possible be. Pastors are also called to love and care for sheep; that will take prayer and a humble spirit. Sheep will kick back and hurt the very one caring for them. One of my members has great southern insight in describing such sheep, “They are as crazy as a run over dog. They will bite you when you try to help them.” I have tried to help such sheep and taken the bite.Ewe_sheep_black_and_white


I wish I could say that I have achieved the balance between preaching and shepherding. The truth is I shepherd, I care for the sheep that bite, I structure budgets, and I even type the bulletins just so they will let me preach. I enjoy preaching more, but preaching without shepherding is only half fulfilling your call. Sheep are more apt to follow the shepherd that loves them than the one who remains in the confines of his office each week locked away from the sheep. Never doubt that they know the difference.


Pastors, we have a calling. Preach with the power of the Holy Spirit. Shepherd the flock with the compassion of Jesus Christ. Our calling does not allow us to neglect either preaching or pastoring. Our Savior empowers us to be both.


Purple Prayer

The color purple has taken on new significance in the last weeks of our culture. Since the death of Prince, we have seen this color memorialized in connection to this iconic pop star. I didn’t listen to Prince’s music in the ’80’s, but I am sad at the report of anyone’s death. We are entering a new era of pop culture, the death of our entertainment heroes. The recent passing of Prince has uncovered an overwhelming amount of media coverage and gatherings of people to pay tribute to Prince. I never realized how powerful Prince was in the music culture and how powerful his death affected so many people.

Prince’s death challenges me to question just how much I pray for iconic celebrities, for people who will never know my name. According to CNN, Prince was baptized as a Jehovah Witness in 2003 and was active in Bible studies and presentations in his local Kingdom Hall. I wonder if Prince was ever exposed to evangelicalism or baptist teachings growing up. I wonder who in Prince’s life prayed for him to come to the light of the Gospel of Truth?


Praying for celebrities may seem a little foreign to some. Most of our teachings on prayer comes from within the church and directed toward the church or our family. The idea of praying for a celebrity on television just does not seem like praying for real people. It is almost as if not even God could reach someone who is a celebrity. He can. He does, and we should pray for celebrities.


There is a crowd of celebrities that need prayer, your prayer. The media will make sure you know about their demise or death, when they experience a messy divorce or are caught in less than proud moments. Their life may be memorialized in every arena of our culture. But, who is praying for them?

There is a Country music artist that I have been praying for years. He does not know me or my prayers for his soul. I will never meet him or correspond with him, but my God is working on him even today. Just as he will never know me, I may never see the fruit of my praying until we are collected to our eternal home in heaven. If I do not pray, who will?

How do you pray for someone that may not want your prayers or their religion rejects your God and your prayers? Colossians 1:9 says, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” Celebrities need exactly the same thing the rest of us need, salvation from Christ and strength to walk in holiness before the Lord. 

I am praying for the day when we hear of the death of a celebrity and the lead story line is “This famous man died with a Bible in his hand, while driving home from church, after buying a homeless man Sunday lunch.” God let be said of me as well.

God has a message for you.

Northern-lights-HD-Photos-download-beautiful-high-definition-wallpaper-of-northern-lightsThe dancing lights of the far north have been well documented, studied, and vividly captured on camera. The “Great Northern Lights” display a show created by an eruption on the surface of the sun thousands of miles away. The display of colored dancing lights on the black sky of the north provides us a realization that there is a Creator Who is in control of the elements of our world.

Summer time in the south produces our own light show. As the atmosphere heats through the long days of summer the evening often produces afternoon thunderstorms accompanied by lightening that waltzes across the sky. A few days ago I was privileged to watch the “Great Southern Lights.” From my back door there was a theatre display of the power and majesty of God. The lightening was flashing and dancing in the sky. The clouds formed a dark blue and white silhouette for the light to bounce back and forth. I stood for a long time watching in awe at the performance before me.

The lightening storm churned miles away from me but directly above my porch was a crystal clear sky glittering with billions of stars. I was fascinated by the contrast of stars, clouds and the flashing of God’s lights. I felt like God had created this beautiful display just for me and my joy. However, it was not for me only. It was for Him. Atmospheric beauty, fall foliage, polar ice sculpture and a million other beauties happen in parts of the world where no human can see, only God. God will display His glory in the heavens and we see His power and authority displayed in the heavens. But the beauty we enjoy is enjoyed by God first and most. Genesis says that after creation God said it was good. I echo, “Amen! It is very good.” I enjoy seeing my God demonstrate His power and beauty to the world.

The creation and its entire splendor are not for our entertainment but for our spiritual enrichment. Creation is to direct the soul to the knowledge of a Divine Creator. The search to understand the Creator leads us to the Bible to know more. In the Bible we find that the earth is home to the human race and that entire race is separated from God. Only God could love such a sinful people to the point of death. The Creator came to live among His creation and to die at the hands of that creation to save the souls of those who believe.

God is calling for your attention. The display of the universe is to call you to acknowledgement that there is one true God and that One God is seeking you. Every display of God in creation is to walk you toward repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. One glance into the heavens will lead you on a journey to make heaven you eternal home. Turn off the television and step out side. God has a message for you.

Let’s Start Here

In the beginning…. well you know the rest. All that we have and all that we are starts with a beginning. So this is my beginning, at least of blogging. I pray blogging is an enrichment of my soul and maybe some reader along the way.

You may want to know something about me. I am a husband to Renee’ and the father of Matt and Kayla. I am also the famous Poppy D to my four grandchildren. I am a preacher and the Pastor of Crystal Springs Baptist Church in Tylertown, Mississippi. I am slowly morphing into a combo of my Dad and my Grandfather.

Something else you need to know. I am a sinner and I hate it. I also am one of billions that has been overwhelmed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I am grateful beyond words for His salvation of my soul and the continuous grace to live this life.

My prayer as I start this blog journey is that I keep my writings from error and that I not embarrass my family and friends. This looks to be a big job.  Lord help me.

My plan is to address issues of the church, preaching, pastoring, and an occasional update on the joys of my life. So as with any journey we have to start somewhere, we may as well start here. Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoy the ride, bumps and all.