Hymn Sunday at SIWC

Every year, the week of Thanksgiving, we have Hymn Sunday at Southern Illinois Worship Center. It’s a day to reminisce of days gone by and thank the Lord for the heritage we have in the Gospel.
I have many memories of the Old Gospel Hymns. I learned a tremendous amount of biblical doctrine from them as well.
Often, certain songs bring back memories of particular people that I went to church with as a child. The trumpet player was Ruth Holcomb, and the music was “It will be Worth it All.” My Sunday School Teacher Betty Upham would sing “I’ve Never Been Sorry.” My grandmother would sing “Till the Storm Passes Over.” Walter Nicely’s (Junior) song was “I’ve Got a Mansion.” These songs were more than mere words; they exemplified the testimony of each of these individuals.
This year Hymn Sunday took a far different turn, as many have been out of the church building for nearly two years. Yet, the music took us all back to a beautiful time and made this day one of those touching stones of remembrance services.
May the Songs of Zion bring us to a place of remembrance of what the Lord has done in our lives.

Three Nail Thursday 11/18/2021

A Song I listened to.

It is well with my soul – David Phelps (Click the title of the song to listen) 

This coming Sunday is Hymn Sunday at our church. This old hymn is one that our worship team will be singing. It’s long been a favorite of mine. Here is the back story to the song. 

Horatio Spafford knew something about life’s unexpected challenges. He was a successful attorney and real estate investor who lost a fortune in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Around the same time, his beloved four-year-old son died of scarlet fever.

Thinking a vacation would do his family some good, he sent his wife and four daughters on a ship to England, planning to join them after finishing some pressing business at home. However, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship was involved in a terrible collision and sunk. More than 200 people lost their lives, including all four of Horatio Spafford’s precious daughters. His wife, Anna, survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to her husband that began: “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

Horatio immediately set sail for England. At one point during his voyage, the captain of the ship, aware of the tragedy that had struck the Spafford family, summoned Horatio to tell him that they were now passing over the spot where the shipwreck had occurred.

As Horatio thought about his daughters, words of comfort and hope filled his heart and mind. So he wrote them down, and they have become this well-beloved hymn:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll—
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to know
It is well; it is well with my soul.

My prayer is that each time you pass by the places of your trouble, tumult, trial, or tribulations, you’ll remember the words of this song. It is well with my soul! 

A few Verses to remind you.

This week, I wanted to give you scripture that backs up the great truth: when trouble comes our way, we can say; It is Well. 

“When Peace Like A River…”

Isaiah 66:12 (NKJV): Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.Then you shall feed; On her sides shall you be carried, And be dandled on her knees

“It is Well with My Soul”

1 Thessalonians 5:23–25 (NLT): 23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 

“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,”

2 Corinthians 5:6–8 (NKJV): So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV): 2 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known

Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, “I am ; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,”

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

“Even so, it is well with my soul.”

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;


A quote that challenged me.

It can be one day or day one; the choice is yours. (Unknown)

Hesitation and procrastination are the great enemies of accomplishment. We can say that we will do that one day, or we can make today the day we start taking the steps necessary to realize our dream. Then tomorrow, you can say, I may not be where I want to be, but I am not where I was yesterday.

three Nail Thursday 9/2/2021

Three Nail Thursday

Welcome to Three Nails Thursday! It’s a weekly bit of items that have helped me through my week. Thursday is my Friday, as my work schedule is Sunday through Thursday (Normally). Considering all that is happening, I need some inspiration to keep me focused on the task at hand. So I’m sharing with you three things that keep me grounded, focused, and inspired throughout my week. Here are the three nails! 

A Song that I'm listening to...

Melissa and I have pastored here in Southern Illinois going on thirteen years. On our first drive to the church, on January 1st, 2009, we pulled under the portico entrance, and both said, we can Pastor here; we know God is here. There was an overwhelming feeling that this was the place; it was our time and God’s will for our lives. It was the most significant risk we’d ever taken. Leaving our careers, family, friends, and all that we’d ever known. We were moving to a place that we hadn’t heard of before December 30th, 2008. The first Sunday that I preached, the presence of God was overwhelming; the people were so hungry for God and His Presence! God met them there on our first Sunday together. So many things have changed over the years; one thing has not. God still meets us there. Every day I wake up, I’m thankful for the truth that God is still here.

“God is Here” by Martha Munizzi expresses my heart towards God about life then and now.

Here are a few of the lyrics; I trust they will speak to you as they have me all these years.

There is a sweet anointing in this sanctuary
There is a stillness in the atmosphere;
Come and lay down the burdens you have carried
For in the sanctuary, God is here.
He is here.
He is here to break the yoke
And lift the heavy burden.

I’ve created a playlist that will include all the songs that I share with you. Click here to follow along and enjoy. 

A Verse that spoke to me...

 The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 27:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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.

It is said that this Psalm was penned by David when he was roughly seventy years of age. However, the events that transpired before David taking pen in hand and writing this prolific Psalm have similarities to our lives right now. 

David had been fighting a valiant war against his arch-nemesis, the Philistines. A giant named Ishbi-Benob was on a mission to hunt down and kill David. He had David pinned down. David, weary from the battles, constant pressures of the day, along with the threat of death consistently over his life, is sent home. His men instructed him to leave the battlefield lest the light of Israel is snuffed out. Once he returned home, he penned the words of Psalm 27. 

He began, “the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.”

Then one verse later, “one thing I have desired, that will I seek after.”

After all those years, there was still a desire in David to fight the good fight. Not only did He desire it, but he went after his passion. Do I still have passion after all these years? Am I passionately pursuing the power and presence of God in our lives? Or has the pressure, pandemic, politics, or the prospect of the future, quenched my fire and taken the fight out of me?

 It was the pursuit of the giant that wore David out. It also took Abishai to come along and give assistance to David in the battle. I want to be both of these men. First, I want to be like David, and even though the fight is long and tiresome, I pray the urge to fight never leaves me. Secondly, I want to be Abishai, that when my fellow believers are getting ready to be overcome by the haunting giants of their life, God can use me to come to the rescue. 

A Quote that has inspired me...

This week’s quote is not a quote per se; it’s a proverb. It is taken directly from the English Standard Version of the bible.  
Proverbs 25:14 “Like clouds and wind without rain
    is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.”
This one made me ask a lot of questions about myself. How often have I said, “well, I could’ve helped”! I have the talent, ability, and wherewithal to make it happen, but I didn’t do it. All I did by boasting that I could, yet not doing it, was bring darkness, depression, and despair to those that desired the help. 

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“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

In the text above, a transition happened. The people Jesus is speaking to are coming out of a religious system that is rejecting Jesus. They are coming out of that system into this kingdom system. They have believed, and Jesus states to those who have believed Him, here’s how you stay with Me, here’s how you stay believing, here’s how you stay free: continue in My Word.

Now listen, this is the most complex thing I will ever say: Do you know how to stay free? Stay, or continue, in the Word!

The Scripture says abide in My Word. The word abide is an interesting little word. The definition is below:

Accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).
“I said I would abide by their decision”

So, Jesus is saying: To stay with Me, you must act in accordance with My Word, accept the Word, and accept the rule of the Word in your life. Act in accordance with what the Word says you are, what the Word says you can do and what you should not do. If you read His Word, then act in accordance with it, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

When you read God’s Word, it is all about freedom. Being set free from the bondages comes about by accepting God’s truth in your life.

The way to stay free is to be tethered to God’s Word. When you read, hear, or speak God’s Word, the byproduct of that will be freedom. On the other hand, if you entertain, listen to, or read the lies of the enemy, the byproduct of that is bondage. I can think of a lot of bondages. The one I believe is the most dangerous though is this one: The belief that it is the will of God for you to live in the condition you are in.

I think many believers in Christ believe they deserve the trial they are in. You cannot read God’s Word or sit in a Bible-believing church and come to that conclusion. That thought process, of living in misery, is a contradiction to the Will of God for your life.

One of my favorite filter verses is found in John 10:10. Look at this verse. I mean, really look at it. Don’t overlook a single word.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:9-10 (NLT)

The thief’s purpose is to do what? Steal, kill, and destroy.

What is Jesus’ purpose? Give you a rich and satisfying life!

Take a moment and compare the situation you are in against the purpose for which Jesus came and the purpose that the enemy comes. Which purpose is trying to be fulfilled in your life? Which purpose are you more focused on? Which purpose do you have more faith in? Call me what you may; a Prosperity Preacher, a Word-of-Faith Preacher, or whatever you want to call it. I choose to believe that God doesn’t send things into my life that will steal, kill or destroy me. That isn’t His purpose. Why do I choose to believe that? I choose to take God at His Word. If I believe the Word for Salvation, why wouldn’t I believe it for all parts of my life?

Because I believe that, I act in accordance with that decision. I believe that serving Jesus, and having Jesus in my life, is the best decision you or I can make! The way I stay with Him is to take Him at His Word. How I know what His Words are – I read them. As I read them, I accept them and then I act in accordance to them.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 (NLT)

Operation Session #2 “He Speaks”

Operations Session #2

Operations – “He Speaks” 

Operate / Gifts of the Spirit / Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 12:8–10

Many people wonder who wrote the book of Hebrews – was it Apollos, Luke, or the Apostle Paul – it opens with its actual author, God! 

God did indeed speak in times past in many ways.… The psalmist writes that the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19). Paul makes it clear that creation around us and our conscience within testifies to the existence of God (Romans 1).

Throughout Scripture, angels have attested to the reality of God.

Prophets have spoken clearly and unmistakably of the reality of God.

Christmas Vacation Story – “A Tree That Big” 

Three things that we must know about God. 

God is speaking to you. 

God has spoken. 

God wants to speak to you. 


God has spoken.

Hebrews 1:1 NKJV

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

God Spoke to Eve in Genesis 3.

God spoke to Noah in Genesis 6:17-21.

God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:1.

​ God Still Speaks.

Hebrews 1:2 NKJV

has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Hebrews 2:1–4


Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

God speaks through dreams.

Genesis 20:3 NKJV

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Acts 2:18 NKJV

And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

God speaks through Visions. 

Isaiah 6:1


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Who was Uzziah? 

Acts 11:4–5 NKJV

But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.

​God wants to Speak to You.

Hebrews 2:1–4 NKJV

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Five Ways that the gifts of the Spirit are used to speak to us. 

1. Through the gift of tongues (Acts 2:6-81 Corinthians 14:26-33). 

Speaking in tongues is speaking a language one did not acquire by natural means. It’s often related to either divine revelation or worship. The language may or not be intelligible by another human.

2. Through the interpretation of tongues (Acts 2:4I Corinthians 14:4-5)

 Interpretation is when an individual interprets what has been spoken by himself or another that which was unknown. It is not a translation but an explanation of what was unknown by the hearer.

3. Through Prophecy (1 Timothy 1:181 Timothy 4:12-16;  2 Peter 1:16–2:3)

 Prophecy is declaring the mind, will, or knowledge of God; especially concerning past, present, or future manifestations of the outworking of His will or other events. The message will edify, exhort, and comfort the hearers. 

1 Timothy 1:18 NKJV

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

1 Timothy 4:12-16 NKJV

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in Spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Words of prophecy are words of edification and exhortation, instruction and direction (1 Corinthians 14:3). “You heard such words,” Paul rote Timothy. “Now hold on to those words, for they are essential to you in the spiritual battle.”

4. Through Teaching (Matthew 28:18-20Titus 1:92 Timothy 2:2James 3:1)

Titus 1:9NKJV

holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

Teaching =didaskō where get our English word, didactic which means. intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive

Teaching is inspired communication that instills doctrine and instructs in the faith. 

5. Through Exhortation (Luke 3:181 Corinthians 14:3Hebrews 12:5-6Hebrews 13:22)

Exhortation means “a calling of someone alongside to help.” 

Its primary meaning in the New Testament is urging someone to do something; it also includes comforting and consoling. 

So prolific was Joseph, who Acts 4:36 states was a member of the early church, that the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, “the son of encouragement.”

John 15:26 – help = Comforter, Gr. Parakletos – come alongside and advocate, helper.  The helper refers to one who helps, advocates or comforts someone on behalf of another.

Romans 12:6-8 NKJV

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:8 – exhortation = (paraklēsis), n. encouragement; comfort. The act of earnestly supporting or encouraging (a response or action)

The one operating in exhortation is like the Holy Spirit who comes alongside and comforts, helps and empowers you. The exhortation is when an individual comes alongside you and encourages, uplifts, and urges you along.