Do You Have Real Religion?

Last Saturday, the Wilson Daily Times ran an article by me with the title, “Do You Have Real Religion?” The text of that article is listed below.

A well meaning church member was going door-to- door in his neighborhood, trying to talk to people about the Lord.  One lady came to the door, and he said, “Ma’am,  would you like to dedicate your life to God?”  She said, “Goodness no, I am miserable enough with the religion I’ve got.  Please don’t ask me to get any more.”

That lady, like a lot of people, had a religion that was superficial, but not supernatural.  William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said, “I like my religion the way I like my tea–I like it hot.”  There  certainly is a difference between real religion, which is supernatural, and false religion, which is superficial.

Religion can be both bad and good.  Wars have been fought, families have been split, people have been murdered, all in the name of religion.

The word “religion” literally means “the outward appearance of a religious ritual.”

James 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James makes a startling statement.  Real religion is found not so much inside the church, as it is outside the church.  Real religion is not just praying to God in church on Sunday, it is living for God in the world on Monday. Real religion is the out-working of an in-working God.  In these two verses, James gives us three marks of real religion.

First of all, he mentions a Controlled Conversation. He describes a person who is religious in his head, but not in his heart. Did you know that you can go to church, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, put  money in the plate, sing hymns, and take the Lord’s Supper, and still not have real religion?  The test of your religion is not how you look, but how you  live. Here in this verse  the test is the tongue.  That’s right.  More than your tithe or your testimony, your tongue tells the truth about your religion.

The second mark of real religion is a Compassionate Concern. Real religion not only can be found in a closed mouth, but it can be found in an open heart.  Real religion gives you a heart for the things that God has a heart for.  Let me hasten to add at this point that James is not advocating a social gospel.  Visiting orphans and widows feeding the hungry and poor, in and of itself, will not take a person to heaven, nor does it constitute real religion.  You can be concerned for others, and not be religious.  But you cannot be truly religious and not be concerned for others.  Caring for others does not constitute religion, but it is the result of religion.

The third mark of real religion is a Consecrated Conduct. The word unspotted comes from a Greek word that gives us our English word “spill.”  It literally means “not spilled upon.”  In other words, real religion will keep you unspoiled, unstained, unspotted from the world.  It may sound old fashioned and out-of-date, but there are some beverages Christians shouldn’t drink; some movies Christians shouldn’t see; some language Christians shouldn’t use; some places Christians shouldn’t go; some music Christians shouldn’t hear; and some things Christians shouldn’t do.

This world is not sick and tired of religion.  It is sick and tired of religion that is not real.

Quotes on Revival

This coming Sunday, we have the privilege of having Dr. Jim Schettler as our speaker for our Revival Services which will run through Wednesday. Dr. Schettler will also be speaking for our teenagers during chapel on Monday through Wednesday at the Wilson Christian Academy.

Consider these quotes on the subject of Revival.

  • In an eyewitness report of the great Welsh revival of 1904, G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “The horses are terribly puzzled. A manager said to me. ‘The haulers are some of the very lowest. They have driven their horses by obscenity and kicks. Now they can hardly persuade the horses to start working, because there is no obscenity and no kicks.’” – D.J.D. Our Daily Bread, September 26.
  • Lady asked Billy Sunday: “Why do you keep having revivals when it doesn’t last?” He asked her, “Why do you keep taking baths?”
  • Dr. J. Elder Cumming contended that “in almost every case the beginning of new blessing is a new revelation of the character of God—more beautiful, more wonderful, more precious.” – J. O. Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy with God, Moody, p. 14
  • Revival is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God. – Stephen Olford
  • Revival is that sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring and releasing them into the fulness of His blessing. – Robert Coleman
  • Revival cannot be organized, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again. – G. Campbell Morgan
  • Revival is the people of God living in the power of an ungrieved, unquenched Spirit. – James A. Stewart
  • The kingdom of God is not going to advance by our churches becoming filled with men, but by men in our churches becoming filled with God. – Howard Spring
  • A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or day-dawn without light. – C. H. Spurgeon
  • A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God’s love triumph in the heart. – Andrew Murray
  • A revival means days of heaven on earth. – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again. – Vance Havner
  • In revival, the minds of people are concentrated upon things of eternity, and there is an awareness that nothing else really matters. – Brian Edwards
  • Revival restrains the righteous anger of God, restores the conscious awareness of God, and reveals the gracious activity of God. – Stephen Olford

Sources unknown

More from Hannah on Prayer

Yesterday was another eventful day for our family. I began the day with our Men’s Prayer Breakfast. We had a great time of fellowship and an encouraging challenge from the Word of God by James Joyner, Sr. followed by a sweet time of prayer. I then had a meeting with our finance team to set our budget for the upcoming church calendar year. Following the meeting I got a phone call from Joanna wishing me a Happy Anniversary. Whoops!!! With everything going on, I had forgotten it was our anniversary. She had too. I remembered when I had set our church calendar that the finance meeting was the same day as our anniversary, but in busyness of the moment I forgot. Thankfully, she forgave me. We were too busy yesterday to do anything really special together. Caleb had a soccer tournament in Goldsboro that we planned on attending, but were not able to because of other pressing ministry concerns. Enough on the busyness of the day.

Last evening, shortly before supper, we received a phone call from our neighbor saying Hannah had fallen on the Slip-n-Slide and had dislocated her thumb. So Joanna and I went over to the neighbors house and sure enough, Hannah was crying and her thumb and palm were swollen. She was scared, because she didn’t want to go to the hospital. Joanna had to go get Caleb so I took Hannah to the emergency room. The whole way over she was afraid that they would have to give her a shot and pop it back into place. I told her that Mom and her brother and sisters were praying for her and then I prayed for her. When we walked in the emergency room, she looked scared, but she stopped crying. I told her that if she was scared it was o.k. to cry. I thought that might speed up the service. We didn’t have to wait too long though. After about fifteen minutes or so, we were registering and after about half an hour the nurse came by to take her x-ray. Hannah was very brave. She said the x-ray was actually a little bit fun. She talked to the nurses like a little lady. She asked them what she should expect and if she was going to get a shot or were they going to have to pop it. When the doctor finally came in, she said that Hannah’s thumb had popped back in on its own and that it was just badly sprained. Hannah sighed with relief – no shot, no popping it back into place. When the doctor left to get things ready for us to leave, Hannah and I bowed our heads in prayer and she thanked God that she didn’t have to get a shot or that they didn’t have to pop it back into place. The first thing she said when she arrived back at home was to her mom. “Mom, it was a good thing that you and the kids prayed. God popped it back into place. I didn’t have to get a shot.”

Praise God again for answered prayer!

Are We Fishermen?

bass.jpgSeveral years ago I came across this extemely profound parable which again was brought to my attention this week.

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year. Those who called themselves fishermen met to talk about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing.

Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly nation-wide and world-wide congresses to discuss fishing, promote fishing, and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, the fish calls, and any new bait.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. All the fishermen seemed to agree that what was needed was a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful to fishing.

Large training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years, courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology. But the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. And those who were sent out did exactly as those who sent them. They formed groups and held special meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to declare how important fishing was. They talked about the great need for fishing. They prayed much that many fish might be caught. They analyzed the fish and discussed what is necessary in order to catch fish. But one thing they did not do, they did not fish.

Now it’s time that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen, yet never fished.

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish are not really fishermen. Is a person a fisherman if he never catches a fish?

Source unknown

Pick a number… any number

Pick a number, any number. How many picked a number between 1 and 10? How about 10 and 100? Did you pick a number larger than a million? If you didn’t, why didn’t you?
In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google while still graduate students at Stanford University. According to Fortune Small Business magazine, Internet users perform over 150 million searches a day on the Google search engine. The Google search engine can access over 2 billion pages in 74 different languages. One study recently showed that Google users used the search engine 13 million hours in one month. Compare that with Yahoo, which came in second with 5.4 million hours.google.gif

How did they get so big? I don’t have the expertise to answer that question, but I can tell you that it began with their initial vision. The word googol is a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. While most people are likely to pick a number like 14 or 98, Brin and Page decided to pick a googol—1 with 100 zeroes.
Jim Reese, chief operations engineer of Google, says this about the company’s founders: “It takes a lot of confidence and courage to go ahead and do that [be huge]. It’s rare to find people who think on such a grand scale and are able to create a great product at the same time.”

Now then, let me ask you this – how big are you willing to dream? What are you willing to believe God for?

  • Are you willing to believe that God can increase the size of this church by 20 over the next year? Why not 40? Or 70?
  • Are you willing to believe that God can lead us to 5 people who will receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior this year? Why not 10? Or 20?
  • Are you willing to believe that we can disciple these new believers so that they become growing, reproducing Christians?
  • Are you willing to believe that we can begin ministering to broken homes, seeing families restored?
  • Are you willing to believe that as a congregation we can give additional funds to missionaries so we can see the gospel of Jesus Christ taken throughout the world – and at the same time continue to meet the budget needs right here in this church?
  • Are you willing to believe that we can do all of this right here at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 910 Tarboro St., Wilson, NC, in the year 2006?