Thursday, May 4, 2017

13 Reasons Why Not to Commit Suicide

1.  You are created in the image of God.  Yes, you!  You have great worth.  Life is precious. 

2.  Don’t let anyone or anything ruin your life.  Hang in there, keep going.  Sometimes the best revenge is simply to live a good, happy life.  There are victims, and there are volunteers.  Don’t be a volunteer.  Refuse to be a victim. 

3.  Though times are tough, they almost always get better. 

4.  Suicide is devastating to family and friends.  I remember a man telling of the suicide of a close relative.  Though the suicide had taken place years before, I could still see the pain in his eyes. 

5.  Suicide may encourage someone else to do the same. 

6.  Suicide destroys the handiwork of God.  It is the murder of yourself. 

7.  Others care more than you know.  Some people especially like you, and you don’t even know it. 

8.  Help is available from church, school, family, friends.  Pastors, Youth Ministers, Teachers, Counselors, Relatives are ready to help, if you just ask.  Some of those old people may have just the answer you’re looking for.  Spend a little time with them. 

9.  The Bible is God’s letter to you.  In its pages you will find strength, hope, truth, love, joy.  Start reading in the Gospel of John or Luke.  Check out Psalms and Proverbs.  There’s stuff in there you never imagined.  My favorite translation is the New King James Version (NKJV). 

10.  God has a plan, great plans, for your life.  You’re just getting started. 

11.  Have you made a mess of things?  You’re not the first.  God forgives and is in the restoration business. 

12.  Jesus Christ, God the Son, loves you so much He gave His life for you.  Trust Him.  Together you can handle anything. 

13.  Don’t throw away your future.  Be patient.  You will never know what you can accomplish in your 20s, 40s, 60s, until you get there. 

Life gets messy and complicated, but you are loved. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 4, AD 2017. 

Need help with the issue of suicide? 
Find help at a good church.  Attend every Sunday.
Check out Focus on the Family, a Christian, Family oriented organization. 



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Monday, April 17, 2017

11 Reasons to Not Drink Alcohol

1.  God said to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Peter 5:8; NKJV). The Greek word “nepho” literally means wineless; free from intoxicants.  

2.  We are to love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30).  Alcohol impairs that mind. 

3.  It is expensive (Proverbs 23:21). 

4.  It makes you do foolish things you would never do in your right mind (Proverbs 23:29-35).

5.  It is dangerous and addictive (Proverbs 20:1). 

6.  It hurts your testimony; you influence others to drink; you often harm others (Romans 14:21). 

7.  Drugs should not be used for recreation and pleasure. 

8.  Never take that first drink, and you will never become a problem drinker. 

9.  Drinking supports an industry that has destroyed untold thousands. 

10.  Not drinking is prudent and wise (Proverbs 20:1; 22:3). 

11.  You should rely on God, not drugs (Psalm 11:1). * 

-David R. Brumbelow, author of Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence.  gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com


Got questions about the Bible and Alcohol?  
Find answers in “Ancient Wine and the Bible.”

(Permission granted to reprint.)   
* This is not intended to reject the legitimate use of drugs for strictly medicinal reasons.  

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 17, AD 2017. 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Baptists, Eastern Orthodox, and Hank Hanegraaff

It is reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, has left Evangelicalism and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. 

While not following Hanegraaff very closely, in past years I’ve heard him give some good, biblical answers on radio.  On the other hand, I am a Premillennialist, so I have disagreed with Hanegraaff’s views on the Second Coming. 

Hank Hanegraaff has apparently been evolving for some time.  I thought this might be a good time to point out some differences between Baptists, Evangelicals in general, and the Eastern Orthodox. 

By the way, some years ago I was teaching a Bible course at San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas.  I had an international student in class who was Orthodox and wrote a research paper.  In passing, he mentioned his belief in Baptismal Regeneration.  I gave him an A for the paper.  Though I disagreed with his doctrine, he did a very good job researching and writing. 

What are some of those differences in beliefs? 
Orthodox believe their authority comes from the Bible and tradition.  Baptists believe the 66 books of the Bible are our final authority for faith and practice (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16). 
In addition, the Orthodox have added another 10 books to the Bible.  Along with the Bible, they also look to Church Fathers, church leaders after the Bible was written, as authoritative. 

The Orthodox believe baptism saves you.  They believe in baptizing infants, a practice not found in Scripture.  Baptists believe in Believer’s Baptism by Immersion, but do not believe it has a part in your salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Only faith in Christ saves you.  See the article below on Baptismal Regeneration

While Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a great, godly woman, Orthodox believe in her perpetual virginity and venerate her a little too much.  Baptists and most evangelicals believe after the virgin birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had other children (Matthew 1:25; 12:46; 13:55-56; John 7:5). 
We also believe it is going a little too far to call Mary the mother of God.  Jesus is God the Son and came from Heaven to Earth to be born in human form.  Jesus is far older than His earthly mother (John 1:1, 14). 

For a summary of the Eastern Orthodox church, see the article by Bill Gordon and Paul Negru at the North American Mission Board:

Be praying for Hank Hanegraaff, and make sure you are lashed to the Word of God, the Bible, for your faith and practice. 

Note: The word “orthodox” has also been used by Baptists to simply refer to someone who is conservative and biblical in their doctrine.  The word “Orthodox” in this article, however, refers to the denominational groups by that name. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 12, AD 2017. 

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Saint David

Yes, you read that right.  I am a saint.  And I have the Bible, God’s Word, to back up my claim. 

Some believe “saint” means a really good person.  For example, a man says, “My wife is a saint.”  In that respect. I will have to leave it up to others whether they would consider me that kind of saint.  As a believer I can claim the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but I’ll deal with that another time. 

Some believe a saint is a person so named by a church denomination.  The candidate must be deceased.  Then they go through a process of investigation, veneration, beautification, until finally the Pope bestows the title of saint on the candidate. 

Baptists, and many other Christians, look to the Bible alone as their final source of faith and practice.  What does the Bible, and specifically the New Testament portion of the Bible, say about saints? 

According to Holy Scripture, there is basically one rule for becoming a saint.  That rule is that the candidate has personally trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  If a person believes Jesus, God the Son, died for his sins and rose again, and that person repents of his sin and turns to Jesus, he is saved.  And, he or she immediately becomes a saint.  You don’t even have to die; once you have trusted in Jesus, you are a saint. 

How many saints do we have?  Millions.  All those who have placed their faith in Christ. 

Where is the biblical evidence for this belief?  I’m glad you asked!  The Bible refers to common, everyday followers of Jesus Christ as saints.  A few examples: 

Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.  -Acts 9:32

Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.  -Acts 9:41

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  -Romans 1:7

But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 
-Romans 15:25

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also.  -1 Corinthians 16:1

 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.  -2 Corinthians 1:1

All the saints greet you.  -2 Corinthians 13:13

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.  -Ephesians 1:1

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.  -Ephesians 5:3

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.  -Philippians 1:1

All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.  -Philippians 4:22

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  -Jude 1:3 

Notice how the word “saint” is used of regular, living, believers in Christ Jesus. 

Saint – “Title for all God’s people but applied in some contexts to a small group seen as the most dedicated ones…Saints are people who name Jesus as Lord.”  -Holman Concise Bible Dictionary

Despite all the evidence above (and there are a number of other Bible verses about saints), I’ve never been able to convince my church members to call me Saint David!  I guess I’ll have to be content with Brother David, Pastor David, David, Brumbelow, or “Hey you.”

To all the believers out there, enjoy your sainthood. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 27, AD 2017. 

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Proper Use of the Public Invitation

“A theology student from England was sent by a professor to hear a noted preacher on the weekend.  He came back with a kind of sophisticated disgust and said to his professor, ‘Why, that man didn’t do anything but say, ‘Come to Jesus.’ 
‘And did they come?’ his professor gently inquired. 
‘Well, yes they did,’ the student grudgingly replied.
The professor then said, ‘I want you to go back and listen to that man preach again and again until you can say, ‘Come to Jesus’ as he did and people respond.’”  
-Roy J. Fish, Coming to Jesus: Giving a Good Invitation; 2015. 

The Public Invitation, or the Altar Call, is under attack by many Young, Restless, Reformed preachers today.  Most of the criticism, however, seems to be of the improper, rather than proper use of the Invitation. 

I grew up thinking everyone used a Public Invitation.  I was saved during a Public Invitation, and have seen many others come to Christ in this part of the Worship Service.  I strongly favor the use of the Invitation in every Sunday morning Worship Service, and where appropriate, in other services, especially when lost folks are present. 

The Public Invitation is effective, biblical, even psychologically sound.  Pastor, do you want to be a more effective evangelist?  Do you want your church to be more evangelistic?  Do you want to reach more people for Christ?  One way to accomplish this is to learn the reasons for using the Invitation.  Also, learn the proper use of the Invitation. 

How do you learn how to give a good Public Invitation?  Go hear and read good pastors and evangelists and see how they do it. 

Also, read books that defend and explain the use of the Public Invitation. 

Below are some excellent books on the Invitation or the Altar Call.  Every young preacher should read at least one of these books.  They will also serve as a great refresher course for seasoned pastors and evangelists.  They will put a revival fire in your soul. 

The EffectiveInvitation by R. Alan Streett


Drawing the Net by O. S. Hawkins

R. Alan Streett is professor of evangelism at Criswell College and editor of the Criswell Theological Review.  

Roy Fish was a long-time professor of evangelism at Southwestern BaptistTheological Seminary. 

O. S. Hawkins is the former pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas and First Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He is now the president of GuideStone Financial Resources. 

Come to think of it, why not get all three books on the Invitation?  They're worth every penney. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 6, AD 2017. 



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Monday, February 13, 2017

A Time To Laugh

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  -Ecclesiastes 3:4

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.  -Proverbs 17:22 (also Proverbs 15:13, 15; Romans 12:15; Philippians 4:8).  

“There is so much sorrow and heartache in the world, we should use every opportunity we have to laugh.”  -Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (swbts.edu). 

Don’t always be negative; don’t throw cold water on everything. 
Don’t take yourself too seriously. 
Some people can brighten up a room just by leaving! 
Lighten up. 
Laughter is good for you. 
Be fun to be around.  (Dads should be Firm, Fair, and Fun.)
Be able to laugh at yourself. 
If you can, tell a good, decent joke every now and then. 
Enjoy and appreciate humor. 
Enjoy other people’s laughter, and their having a good time. 
Enjoy children and their play and laughter. 
Show others there is a deep joy in being a follower of Jesus Christ. 
Christians have great reasons to be happy, content, joyful. 

A Little Humor: 
Show me a man with both feet on the ground, and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants on. 
What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about? 
I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous. 
Knowledge tells you a tomato is a fruit; wisdom tells you not to put it in a fruit salad. 
If you have a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: Take two, and KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN.
I childproofed my house, but they still get in. 
I’m so glad you called.  I almost started to clean the house.  

Have you laughed today?  

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 13, AD 2017. 

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Obituary - Robert L. Sumner, Evangelist, Author, Editor

Evangelist Robert L. Sumner

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 
-1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

R. L. Sumner (AD 1922-2016) at the age of 94 stepped from this life onto the streets of gold December 5, AD 2016. 

Evangelist Robert L. Sumner was raised in New York state and graduated from Norwich High School and Clarks Summit University (previously Baptist Bible College & Seminary).  Dr. Sumner received honorary doctorates from Bob Jones University and Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary.  He was pastor of Baptist Churches in Graham, Texas; Illinois; California; Ohio.  He served as Associate Editor of the Sword of the Lord with its founding editor, Dr. John R. Rice.  Sumner was founding editor of the Biblical Evangelist (biblicalevangelist.org), begun in 1966.  He served as editor until his death.  It contains a wealth of sermons, Bible studies, teaching, book reviews, sermon illustrations. 

Sumner is survived by five children: Richard (a Texas Baptist pastor), Ralph, Ruth, Rita, Ron.  After the death of Orphina, Sumner married Dorothy (Tullar Holm) in 2004.

A memorial service was held at Timberlake Baptist Church, 21395 Timberlake Road, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502, at 2 pm, Saturday, December 17. Dr. Paul Dixon, Chancellor of Cedarville University, officiated.  Burial was at Lady Lake Cemetery, Lady Lake, Florida, where his first wife is buried. 

Robert L. Sumner loved the lost and had a passion for lovingly pointing others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I saw his concern over whether there were lost people in a worship service in which he as to preach.  I saw him graciously witness to a restaurant waitress.  He shared the advice that if you say a personal word or two to a person before leaving them a gospel tract, they will be much more likely to read it. 

The Biblical Evangelist and R. L. Sumner’s writings and ministry were well-known and influential in Independent Baptist and Southern Baptist circles, and elsewhere.  He was an interesting writer who excelled in defending the basics of the Christian Faith and Baptist beliefs.  Adrian Rogers was known to order hundreds of Sumner’s booklet on An Examination of Tulip: The Five Points of Calvinism

Robert L. Sumner was the author of numerous books including “The Honor Was All Mine,” and “Fights I Didn’t Start, And Some I Did (2 volumes).” He wrote commentaries on James, Hebrews, Ephesians.  His books were recommended by such men as Adrian Rogers, Paige Patterson, O. S. Hawkins, Bailey Smith, Jerry Vines, John R. Rawlings, Lee Roberson, Tom Malone, Hyman Appelman.

He was an independent Baptist who had no problem ministering with Southern Baptists and all who believed in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.  His book reviews were honest, helpful and told you if he disagreed.  He favorably reviewed many books by Southern Baptists. 

His books have invaluable apologetic material defending Christian doctrine.  They are also known for containing a wealth of good sermon and Bible teaching illustration material.  For these reasons his books are treasured by preachers, Sunday School teachers, and Bible students.  No one could defend a Bible doctrine like Sumner. 

Dr. Sumner fought against the “King James Version Only” view that swept many independent Baptists. He spoke against KJV Only with John R. Rice at the Sword of the Lord, as well as following years at the Biblical Evangelist

Joel W. Hemphill, the musician, claimed Jesus is not God and said he and others were going to bring down the Trinity.  Robert L. Sumner confronted him and demolished Hemphill’s arguments in Fights I Didn’t Start, and Some I Did, vol. 1, chapter 11. 

Sumner wrote about Fundamental Doctrine; Baptismal Regeneration, Eternal Security; KJV Only, Calvinism, Premillennialism, Alcohol, Evangelism, Inerrancy, the Trinity. 

Sumner boldly, though sadly, confronted the improper behavior of Jack Hyles and refused to back down when faced with great opposition. 

Sumner and the Biblical Evangelist were influential in the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. 

I did not agree with Sumner on every detail.  But I mostly agreed with him.  And I was always ready to give him a hearing.  He served as a balance to much of the contemporary doctrine and practices of today. 

Robert L. Sumner personally knew so many of the great Christian leaders of the early and mid 1900s.  He wrote about many of them in the book, The Honor Was All Mine

I’m honored to say R. L. Sumner preached in my church, Northside Baptist, Highlands, Texas.  He also preached in both my brother’s churches.  Whether your church was large or small, he was happy to preach God’s Word and tell the lost about Jesus. 

In 2005 I wrote a book about my dad, The Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow.  This was before I personally knew R. L. Sumner; but I mailed him a copy of the book for possible review.  A little nervous, I knew Sumner would give his honest opinion.  He ended up writing a very positive, gracious review. 

About a year later my mother, Bonnie Brumbelow, and I had the opportunity to meet R. L. and Dottie Sumner at a Baptist conference in North Carolina.  We spent some time together, and it seemed as though we had been close friends for years. 

Dottie Sumner endorsed my mother’s cookbook and commented to us how much she enjoyed cooking some of the recipes and how much her husband enjoyed eating them. 

Dr. Sumner would later give a strong, helpful endorsement to my book, Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence.  Advertising these books in The Biblical Evangelist also proved helpful. 

In the interest of fairness I must add a negative.  I took R. L. Sumner out to eat at Sudie’s in Houston, TX and noticed he refused to eat his vegetables.  Sure enough, it killed him at age 94!  In spite of Sumner’s example, I still advise everyone else to eat their fruits and vegetables!   

On another occasion several years ago we walked by a brick area where water spouts were randomly shooting up and kids were playing in the water.  Sumner made a joking, disparaging comment about them.  I replied, “80 years ago you would have been right in the middle of those kids playing in the water.”  He laughed and admitted I was probably right. 

Not too long ago I mentioned to Dr. Sumner that I remembered him when he was a mere 84 years old! 

We have been blessed by Robert L. Sumner, his preaching, his books, and The Biblical Evangelist.  Preachers, Bible teachers and students – get every one of Sumner’s books you can find.  In addition, put them in libraries. 

Tribute by Dr. Paige Patterson, read at Sumner's funeral:

“Soldiers like Dr. Bob are no longer around.  This represents a substantial loss for all of us who fought by his side. You always knew that he would take care of his assignment and hold his line.  I never had to wonder or worry about a missile launched from his area of the battle field.  Yet, he was a gentle and compassionate soldier who would bind up the wounds of an opposing soldier who moments before had sought to take his life.
I never once had to guess where he would come down on any issue.  Where can we find such granite like strength so clothed in the softness of mercy? God bless you forever Robert Sumner, and may heaven bring you as much joy as you have brought to all of us.”
-Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Memorial Gifts may be sent to the Biblical Evangelist.  

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”  -Revelation 14:13

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 16, AD 2017.