For it is by grace you have been saved...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

Yes, Reformation Day...not that other thing so many folks like to celebrate on this date. And for the last couple of years I've simpy repeated my original post on this topic (go here if you must). So for a change, let me just point you to someone else's brief comments on the matter.

Go here to the Gospel Driven Disciple site and read the brief word from our brother Gregg. Then get yourself to church and worship our great and glorious God of grace, thanking Him for the men and women down through the years who have given themselves for the true faith.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Page CXVII Hymns

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve shared before about my eclectic musical tastes. I enjoy a wide range of styles: rock, hip hop, Celtic, jazz, etc. Most of what I listen to is in the “Christian” genre; which is to say that I prefer music that exalts Christ whatever the style. And while I enjoy the “new” stuff, I am also passionate about the “old” stuff. Hence my antique hymnal collection and my appreciation for the growing number of folks “re-introducing” hymns to this next generation.

All this is simply to say that one of the hymn singing groups I appreciate has made it possible for folks like me to provide “streaming” on this blog of their music. Now, you have to understand, I’m pretty much techno-ignorant. I most often have nothing but a dial up connection. So I don’t really understand “streaming” and most often can’t even make use of it myself. However, I know that many (most) of you are far beyond me in this area, and I’d love to make this available.

The group in question is Page CXVI (spoken Page 116), takes their name from get this… page 116 of C. S. Lewis’ classic Narnia tale The Magician’s Nephew. The scene is one in which Alsan, the Christ character, begins to sing Narnia into creation out of a black void. They have a passion for the rich hymns in church history and a desire to see each new generation gain an appreciation for them. You can even find free music on their website.

So then, the point here, is these two links; one for their Hymns I and one for Hymns II. I’m trying to figure out a way to insert it as a permanent fixture on the side of the blog page, but until I figure that out, try these. Hope you enjoy.

Hymns I

Hymns II

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miscellany: The Good, the Bad and the Patriotic

Just came across a couple of things I thought I’d like to pass along; a couple of links from and then something from an email. Just in case you have some spare time today and need a little filler. So here we go…

The Good

This link from the Take Your Vitamin Z blog has a wonderful list of lessons learned in ministry. These are insightful, fun, and spot on. After 20 years as a pastor, I would “Amen” each of these, and agree that I wish someone had told me about up front.

Brady Boyd: 10 things I wish someone had told me
1. Sheep bites can’t kill me, but the gnawing will make life miserable a few days each year.

2. No matter how hard I try, I will always be tempted to measure my success by attendance numbers.

3. The best thing I can do to build and grow God’s kingdom is to be myself and not compare myself to others.

4. It takes a long time to become old friends so nurture and cherish the old friendships God has given me.

5. I will only have as much spiritual authority as I am willing to submit to myself. Independence will destroy me but there is power in submission.

6. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Challenge people to go deeper even when the message is unpopular.

7. My brain will always feel like scrambled eggs on Sunday afternoon so don’t make any major decisions until Tuesday morning.

8. Some people will only trust you after a really long time of proving yourself and another group will never trust you no matter what you do.

9. Don’t feel guilty about taking a Sabbath. It was not a suggestion.

10. I will never regret spending time with my family instead of saying yes to a church meeting that someone else could lead.

The Bad:

Check out this article from CNN:
Being a devoted bibliophile (see here for more) I see this as a doom and gloom report of epic proportions! Not only because I think that the printed page is much more “experiential” than the digital counterpart, but because in an age so dependent on technology in general, this is one more step down a path that we may one day truly regret. Read the article and tell me what you think. (And then go out and buy a couple of real books!)

The Patriotic

Someone sent me this cartoon from Steve Breen at the San Diego Union Tribune. I know nothing about him or the paper, but especially with Veterans’ Day looming, I thought it was just too good not to pass on.
Thank God for the men and women who have given so much over the years to give us the freedom to be complete ingrates!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Borrowed Prayer

One of the tools I like to use in private devotions is a collection of prayers called The Valley of Vision. Obviously our hearts need to come before God on our own, in sincerity, and not just wrote repetition of someone else’s thoughts and prayers. But I have often been helped, encouraged, and led into greater prayer through the hearts of others in this way.

This morning I read a prayer on “Weaknesses.” And since weaknesses are what I often seem to have the most of, this seemed a good place to start. This prayer was a great blessing to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

Help my infirmities;
When I am pressed down with a load of sorrow,
perplexed and knowing not what to do, slandered and persecuted,
made to feel the weight of the cross, help me, I pray thee.
If thou seest in me
any wrong thing encouraged,
any evil desire cherished,
any delight that is not thy delight,
any habit that grieves thee,
any nest of sin in my heart,
then grant me the kiss of thy forgiveness, and teach my feet to walk the way of thy commandments.

Deliver me from carking care,
and make me a happy, holy person;
Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step,
and to wrestle successfully against weakness;
Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,
with the music of heaven,
And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude to thee.
I do not crouch at thy feet as a slave before a tyrant, but exult before thee as a son with a father.
Give me power to live as thy child in all my actions, and to exercise sonship by conquering self
Preserve me from the intoxication that comes of prosperity;
Sober me when I am glad with a joy that comes not from thee.
Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom, not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.
I request only to see the face of him I love, to be content with bread to eat, with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

From The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seeking God's Face: A Sermon Summary

Let me warn you now that this is a much longer post than usual. If you have a short attention span, you may want to just stop now. Last night I had the honor of addressing our Baptist Association Annual Meeting by brining the annual sermon. The theme for the meeting was Seeking God’s Face, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. Here’s a somewhat shortened version of what I offered on that text:

Now before we think about these familiar words and the idea of seeking God’s face, let me just say something briefly about the dangers of that familiarity and the issue of context. Sometimes things become a little too familiar and we run the risk of missing the real point. We’ve heard this verse, we’ve read it, we’ve heard countless sermons on it. And unfortunately, at least it seems to me, our problem is that we’ve come to take the verse out of its context. We read about this idea of humbling ourselves and praying and seeking God’s face and turning from our wicked ways so that God will hear and heal our land; and we most often think in terms like this. If America will just get its act together, then God will bless us. Right?

However, America isn’t even in the thought process here when this verse was written. Look here in 2 Chronicles 7. Solomon has just finished building the temple of God. They’re having a nice prayer service to dedicate the new building, much like we would at the end of a long building project. Here they slaughter 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep, whereas most of us would only slaughter a couple cows and a pig or two for the fellowship dinner after the service, but still; very similar.

And then beginning in verse 11, Solomon is visited by the Lord in a dream in response to the prayers the king has offered. And in essence, God says, “I’ve heard your prayers and will indeed bless this place with my presence. But here’s the deal. When the people sin and I bring suffering on them; when the heavens are closed up with no rain, or locust come along and eat everything up; that sort of thing. When that happens, not if, but when that happens, here’s what I’ll do. If my people who are called by my name…. “

That’s the context of this promise. It’s in the context of the disobedience of the people of God. It has nothing to do with American politics. It’s addressed to God’s people. It’s addressed to the church of God. If we will get our act together, if we will get on our knees and pray, if we will turn from our wicked ways.

Woah, now wait a minute? You mean it’s not about all the immorality in Hollywood; it’s not about all the liberal politicians; it’s not about abortion and homosexual marriage and all those other issues that those pagans out there are dragging us into? Well, rest assured God’s pleasure rests on none of those things.

But in its context, this issue of seeking the face of God here is directed at the people of God. It’s talking about our failure to live faithfully in His presence, and the need to restore that relationship to where it needs to be. The call here to seek the face of God implies that we have somehow lost sight of it. We have wandered and are in need of returning, specifically in these areas.

I. Number one, we need to RETURN TO HIS WORD. We need to return to the Scripture as the primary focus in our lives; the dominant authority; the governing authority. Because it is here that the face of God is revealed. This is how we will know Him. This is where we should seek Him.

Our problem is that when we speak of God, too many, even in the church, have their own ideas of who God is. In this text we are being called to seek the God of Scripture, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Moses; the God of David; the God of Paul and Peter. Yahweh, I am, revealed to us most fully in the person of Jesus Christ. But again, too many have set Scripture aside and decided that we’ll just created God in our own image, rather than the other way around.

Paul Washer, who is one my favorite contemporary preachers, put it like this: “Sunday morning is the greatest hour of idolatry in the entire week of America. Because people are not worshipping the one true God, the great mass at least, but are worshipping a god formed out of their own heart and their own flesh. They’ve made a god just like themselves and he looks more like Santa Claus than he does Yahweh.”

One of our greatest problems is that we don’t know God. We haven’t spent enough time in His Word to see how God has revealed Himself in Scripture. We’re like the people spoken of in Psalm 50 who think God is somehow like us; we’ve made God in our own image.

The church of God needs to return to an understanding that the truth of God’s Word should be central to all we do; not the latest self help craze; not the latest best selling fiction book; not the latest ear-tickling fad; we need to return to the Word.

II. Number two, we need to RETURN TO HIS WORK. I’m not talking about just getting back to working for God, though we certainly need to do that. We need to be about the Lord’s business. But to truly seek the face of God is to focus on His Work, what He has done.

Again, the text says, if My people who are called by My name. So who are His people who have been called by His name? Obviously, His people are those who have been redeemed by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Those who have been purchased, saved, forgiven, justified by the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Apart from that saving work, we have nothing, are nothing, have hope in nothing. It’s not about our efforts, it’s about His sovereign work in Christ. We are the recipients of His grace and by His grace are then the proclaimers of His work. We need to get back to talking more about His work.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he resolved to preach nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified; a focus on His work on the cross. Sadly, there is a lack of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” in our churches today. We’re more concerned about drawing crowds and not offending and being popular and having things to brag about on our annual church profile than we are about proclaiming the truth of Christ’s sacrifice and seeing lives genuinely redeemed and changed by the sovereign hand of God.

We’ve got to get our priorities straight. We are called to proclaim the gospel; the truth of substitutionary atonement; the truth that all men are dead in their sin; not just a little sick and need of a Jesus balm to make them feel better; dead. Men are lost and bound for hell apart from the saving work of Christ. It may be offensive. In fact, Scripture calls it foolishness and a stumbling block in the world’s eyes. But it’s also the only truth that we have to offer; the only truth that can set men free from their sin and rescue them from the pit of hell.

We need to return to His work, faithfully proclaiming Christ and His finished work on the cross, that reality which allows us to be called His people in the first place.

III. Number three, we need see a RETURN TO HIS WORSHIP. God’s people need to seek His face, and then fall down in humble adoration. We need a return to genuine, biblical, Christ centered worship. And I’m not talking about this or that style of music, or this or that order of service, or this or that kind of instrumentation. All of those things, all of those externals, are just that: externals. Worship is a matter of the heart.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray. Humble themselves and pray. Humble themselves. There is a severe lack of humility when we come together for worship. The biggest majority of people walk into church on Sunday morning and their minds are more fully focused on themselves than God. They’re hearts are in the wrong place. We’ve been living for the world all week long; living for ourselves and our own glory right up ‘till Saturday night, and then we think we can flip a switch on Sunday morning and suddenly be focused on God and His glory. It doesn’t work.

You see, most of us have a wrong concept of what corporate worship even is. When we think of worship, we think of a service on Sunday morning; the formal activity we call worship; and we focus on the form and style of it rather than the content. Worship is a matter of the heart. Worship comes out of a life that has been lived in light of God’s grace and mercy all week long; living for His glory; seeking His face day in and day out. And then we gather together with others who have been doing the same, and worship occurs out of the overflow of those hearts who are humbled before God.

Forget all the fads and fashions. Forget all the polls and personal preferences. If you want to be Purpose Driven then understand that our purpose it to glorify and honor Him; not please and satisfy ourselves. If you want to be Seeker Sensitive, then understand that there is only one true seeker and we ought to be sensitive to Him. It’s all about God. It’s all about Christ. It’s all about His glory; His honor; His praise; His will and His purposes.

IV. Finally, if we are going to truly seek God, we need to RETURN TO HIS WAY. Once we have truly sought God in His Word; once we have truly been reminded of His work on our behalf, purchasing our salvation; once we have humbly allowed all of that knowledge to lead us into true worship; we will have a burning desire in our hearts to follow Him and be obedient in all things.

And here’s the heart of that obedience. Being obedient doesn’t mean sort of doing what God asks us, but doing it the way we want. It doesn’t mean taking our own ideas and putting Christian sounding words on it to make it seem more holy. Obedience means doing God’s will in God’s way for God’s glory alone.

For too long the church has paid more attention to marketing strategies and entertainment strategies and opinion polls and all sorts of other worldly means when it comes to doing church. And our reasoning is: well, it works. We’ve been blinded by the god of pragmatism. It draws crowds, it increases revenue, it grows our popularity and reputation in the community, it makes people happy.

But is that what we’ve been called to? Jesus said to go and make disciples; teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. Obedient, Christ exalting disciples. That’s what we’re called to produce, not marginally obedient professlings who like to come to the popular “in” place on Sundays but still live like the world the rest of the week.

God has told us how to live, how to witness, how to preach, how to worship, how to love one another, how to live in holiness, how to help those in need. We need to turn from our worldly wicked ways and seek the face of God. Seek His way. Seek His will. Seek His glory. Seek His pleasure. Seek His Face.

It’s all about Him. It’s all about God. It’s not about you and your own selfish desires. It’s about God’s plans and purposes in all things. And to truly seek God’s face is a recognition of that truth. Seeking His Word, exalting His Work, focusing on His Worship, and being committed to His ways.

And when we do that, Church; when that happens, then we find ourselves in the kind of blessed church Pastor Spurgeon described.

“If we are walking aright with him, he is in the midst of the church, dwelling there, and revealing himself to his people. His presence makes our worship to be full of spirituality and life; he meets his servants at the table, and there spreads them a feast upon his body and his blood; it is he who puts power and energy into all our church-action, and causes the word to sound out from our midst. True saints abide in Jesus and he in them. Oh, brethren, when the Lord is in a church, it is a happy church, a holy church, a mighty church, and a triumphant church.”

I pray that the people of God, called by His name, would humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways; and the result would be a happy, holy, mighty, triumphant church that would impact this nation and the world for the Kingdom of God and for His glory.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why The Constitution Party

I’ve shared here before my personal pilgrimage from a longtime supporter of the Republican Party to now being a full fledged supporter of the Constitution Party. (You can read here and here if you’d like) But I continue to receive questions from well meaning friends about how I can be so foolish as to support a third party when everyone knows they can never win.

So I felt compelled to share a few thoughts once again. First of all, I refuse to agree with the “they can never win” mantra. As I’ve said before, if good and godly people would stop looking at the “pragmatic” way to vote and would vote their conscience, a third party, or any candidate could win in a landslide. It’s been done before. Remember that the GOP was a third party at one time.

Furthermore, I’m simply tired of throwing away my vote. I know that there are many who say voting for a third party is throwing away my vote, but I strongly disagree. To “throw away” you vote means to cast it without meaning, in a worthless way. How much more worthless can it be to vote for someone who you don’t even believe in simply because they are part of one of the two dominant parties, or more accurately because they are NOT of the other party. Never mind conviction, we just vote because “well, it’s better than the alternative.”

I refuse to accept that. I refuse to give in to that “lesser of two evils” argument. Charles Spurgeon once put together a collection of wise and witty sayings called Salt Cellars. One of the bits of wisdom he records there he places in the mouth of his fictional “John Ploughman,” the common everyday man who offers common everyday wisdom. He writes: John Ploughman says, Of two evils choose neither. Don't choose the least, but let all evils alone.

Of two evils, choose neither. We don’t have to chose one of the reigning parties just because it’s the lesser of two evils. We can man up and vote our conscience and make our vote stand for something; stand for principle; stand for right; stand for the Constitution that this nation was founded on.

Again, I’ve said before, I know not every person is worthy just because they run on the CP ticket either. But I would again urge you all to check out the National CP site, read the CP platform, get informed about any CP candidates in your state, and make your voice heard.

Along these lines, I found this wonderful piece that came out of Ohio’s state party. It fits perfectly with Spurgeon’s advice to choose neither of two evils and carries with it some profound food for thought. Consider these wise words:

Why voting for the lesser of two evils is always wrong!
(1) God does not want us to be in league with evil! The lesser of two evils is still an evil. Instead, God wants us to embrace what is pure and good and then simply to trust Him with our future. If the worst candidate wins, so be it. Perhaps that is needed to wake up more of us, or perhaps God intends to judge this nation. It would be a mistake to interfere in either case.

(2) If we vote for a bad candidate, we will be held partly responsible for the harm done by that candidate. This is true even if our sole intent was to defeat a worse candidates. One evil does not justify another. It would have been better not to vote at all.

(3) Supporting the lesser of two evils tells politicians that it is acceptable for them to do likewise. If we won't stand for what is right and take the necessary hits, how can we demand it of our politicians?

(4) Pragmatic voting always results in a downward trend in the quality of candidates. Politicians won't change if they know we'll vote for them anyway. Good candidates seldom receive the support they need to become viable. The problem of bad choices is thereby perpetuated, and the nation continues to deteriorate until the day when our choices will be an Adolf Hitler or a Joseph Stalin.

(5) The argument that the lesser of two evils will buy us time to get our act together and field better candidates is wishful thinking. What invariably happens is people again become apathetic, and the greater evil makes an even stronger comeback.

(6) Voting for the lesser of two evils is a defensive act. What team ever won playing only defensively? We need to move offensively! Vote for someone based on who they are, not on who they aren't. Vote FOR a good candidate, not AGAINST an evil candidate. Don't stoop to their standard - demand that they rise to yours.

(7) Principled voting means making sacrifices until enough people wake up, but it is necessary to get the ball rolling. Our nation's Founding Fathers sacrificed much to secure our freedoms. We too will need to make some sacrifices to regain some of those freedoms. What are we waiting for? Delay and compromise will only deepen those sacrifices.

The Constitution Party of Ohio

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wise Words on Parenting/Pastoring

I'm starting to like this guy. Last week I posted some information about a call to prayer for spiritual awakening. The guy behind that is Mike from the Wisdom Fails blog. Well, today I read a wonderful post of his regarding the role of parents in pastoring our children.

For those who have endured this blog for a few years, you know that I have touched on that issue a few times, from the resolution I offered at our State Convention a few years ago, to the numerous links to video clips from Voddie Baucham on this issue, etc.

Anyway, I enjoyed this post very much, and seriously hope Mike doesn't mind my reposting his thoughts here. If you want, head over to the Wisdom Fails blog and you can read it in the original format with all the bells and whistles he threw in (I'm incapable of that sort of thing). Here then is the content of Mike's post called "Who Is Parenting Our Children?"

Yesterday, I had heard a statistic on Wretched Radio that I'd heard and quoted myself, many times before. Nearly 80 percent of church-going youth fall away when they leave for college. That is such a huge percentage. I believe that if we were to see the hearts of the adults in the church, we would find either an equal or larger percentage of them have fallen away while sitting in the pews.

Why is the number so large? Why are we losing our youth as soon as they are out from under the watchful eyes of their parents? Don't we have massive amounts of programming and resources spent on marketing the Christian life towards them? Can that be the problem?

It is easy to shift the blame onto the leadership of the church, and maybe they are partly to blame. So much bad doctrine is pouring out of our pulpits these days. Sadly, even in churches where good doctrine is taught, application is sacrificed and so it is of no affect. We have tailor-made services to the point where people are so comfortable, they forget to pay attention. There is a very similar phenomenon among youth ministries.

I have spent most of my almost fifteen years of Christianity working with youth. In different denominations, different cultures, and different countries. I've watched parents and their children interact, and I've had youth confide in me what their home lives were like. I've seen good ministries and bad, and in both, I've seen kids being both discipled and falling away. I've noticed one universal constant; Young people who were either strong in their faith from childhood to beyond college, or who fell away upon leaving, were almost always that way because of their parents.

Don't get me wrong, bad youth ministries are partially to blame, but only partially. If a child is being raised, truly being raised to treasure the word of God, then they would most likely not be exposed to bad youth ministries in the first place. God commands you, parents, to be your child's youth pastor. It is your job to teach them the word of God from the time they are able to read, speak and comprehend. It is your job to teach them about the love of God. I don't believe there is anything wrong with a youth ministry that is managed well, but can you think of a single instance in scripture where the collective youth of the church were schooled about God, outside of their homes? That is not to say that they are unbiblical, but you, parents, must understand that if you do not emphasize the importance of the gospel, then you have failed your children and dishonored God.

I've seen genuine, sincere, Christian parents, both pastors and parishioners over-emphasize the wrong things to children and have watched their children go astray. I've watched christian parents worship status in the community, appearance, money, health, sports, and grades, only to find their daughters pregnant before they graduate high-school, to find their sons in constant trouble with the law, and to find that their children bully and make fun of other kids.

Parents send their children to youth group and expect what is taught there to take root and are surprised when they fall away.

How many times have I heard from the troubled Christian parents of troubled, Christian teens, "But, I've raised my children in church."

You should rather raise them at home.

If they don't understand how important the word of God is daily by the way you live and teach them, no youth pastor, no matter how relevant or biblical is going to have a real, god-honoring, life-changing impact on their lives. It doesn't matter if the youth group is program driven, or discipleship driven. God may use a well-run youth ministry to very well save some of your children, but if you are teaching them to live like hell, He will save them in spite of you, not because you have honored His giving them to you, by caring for them as you should.

Parents please, teach your children daily of the importance of the gospel. Make them subject to God, not to yourself. Teach them of the importance of God's law. Teach them how they fail to meet God's law and require His grace and mercy. Teach them about true repentance that grieves over personal sin and disobedience. Love them by teaching them about the love of God. More importantly, don't ever stop teaching them this!

I've seen too many children, blessings from God, cast aside by parents who don't like kids. They feed them, clothe them, provide everything for them, and take them to as many events as possible so that everyone else can help raise them.

This is why so many of the youth fall away when they leave church...because they grow up seeing how unimportant God is, and by extension, how unimportant they really are to their parents.

Think about your relationship with your child. What is the one thing you think they would say you talk about the most? Is it their weight? Is it their athletic performance? Is it their grades? Is it their clothing, or is it the gospel? Fathers, are your children blessed because you have walked in the holiness and integrity of Proverbs 20:7? Mothers, do your children rise up, as those of Proverbs 31:28, and call you blessed, or do they say you only nag them about their appearance while you're dropping them off at Wednesday night youth meetings?

Yes, the other things are important, but if you spend more time focusing on one or more of those things and just assume that your children care about the law and grace of God then you are teaching them to worship idols. Don't assume they are getting what they need spiritually at church! Feed them spiritually at home! Read the Bible with them! Discuss it! Pray with them! Listen to them! That is absolutely the only way we're going to see a change in the number of youth who immediately turn away upon reaching adulthood.

Consider the books of Kings. In every instance where we read the children of Israel fell away, it was because the law of God was forgotten among the people. Only when it was found and read and cherished was the kingdom well. All of the Old Testament is a call from God for His children to return to his word, to his law, and to his grace and mercy. Even as he is the loving shepherd and pastor of his children, so are you to be for yours. For their sakes yes, but even more for God's glory, please pastor your children!

Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 4:40; 6:7; 11:19-21; Psalm 78:5-6; Proverbs 31:28; Isaiah 59:21; Joel 1:3; Romans 2:19-21; Ephesians 6:4; 3 John 1:4

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just For Laughs

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. -Proverbs 15:13

All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast. -Proverbs 15:15

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. –Proverbs 17:22

Laughter isn’t all bad. I know that we are warned to not join in the laughter of fools, to laugh at the folly of this world, and so on. But there is a place for a good hearty laugh.

Charles Spurgeon (one of my heroes, in case you’re new here and don’t know this obvious fact) often spoke of the use of laughter. In his classic Lectures to My Students, he told young preachers:

It is a sort of tradition of the fathers that it is wrong to laugh on Sundays. The eleventh commandment is, that we are to love one another: and then, according to some people, the twelfth is, “Thou shalt pall a long face on Sunday.” I must confess that I would rather hear people: laugh than I would see them asleep in the house of God; and I would rather get the truth into them through the medium of ridicule than I would have it neglected, or leave the people to perish through lack of reception of the message. I do believe, in my heart, that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry; and that, sometimes, to laugh is the better thing of the two...

In the introduction to the publication of his sermons, he mentioned that one might find in these an occasional remark that would make one smile. And, speaking of himself, he says: he is not quite sure about a smile being a sin, and, at any rate, he thinks it less a crime to cause a momentary laughter than a half hour’s profound slumber.

And one biography of the famed preacher speaks of his occasional use of humor in the pulpit, saying: To one who objected to some humorous expression to which he had given utterance while preaching, he replied, “If you had known how many others I kept back, you would not have found fault with that one, but you would have commended me for the restraint I had exercised.”

So, in light of the positive nature of a good wholesome laugh, I simply offer you a couple of recent additions to some of my favorite sources of humor. I hope it makes your heart glad…