Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Comments on Evangelist Billy Graham

Evangelist Billy Graham (AD 1918 - 2018) led a remarkable life.  Even the dates of his birth and death are remarkable.  He trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1934 in a revival led by Evangelist Mordecai Ham (AD 1877-1961).  Graham has been known for his evangelistic work, preaching to millions, his books, personal morality, humility, fidelity in finances, opposing racial segregation, and always pointing people to Jesus. 

His son, Franklin Graham is faithfully and ably carrying on the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. 

Below are a few of many comments about Evangelist Billy Graham. 

Ken Hemphill
“Dr Graham’s promotion to heaven has allowed those commenting on his death to point people to JESUS. Clearly he had the gift and calling of the evangelist. Why not schedule an evangelistic meeting and use a gifted vocational evangelist to honor Dr. Graham and share JESUS.”

-Ken Hemphill; February 22, 2018; on twitter.com.  Dr. Hemphill is past president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and now serves as an administrator at North Greenville University. 

George W. Bush
“God's work within me began in earnest with Billy's outreach,” Bush wrote in the [Wall Street] Journal February 23. “His care and his teachings were the real beginning of my faith walk - and the start of the end of my drinking. I couldn't have given up alcohol on my own. But in 1986, at 40, I finally found the strength to quit. That strength came from love I had felt from my earliest days and from faith I didn't fully discover until my later years.”

Bush, America's 43rd president, wrote of the 1985 instance when Graham invited him on a walk around the Bush family estate in Maine and their conversation turned to spiritual matters.
"I mentioned something I'd been thinking about for a while - that reading the Bible might help make me a better person," Bush wrote. "He told me about one of the Bible's most fundamental lessons: One should strive to be better, but we're all sinners who earn God's love not through our good deeds, but through His grace. It was a profound concept, one I did not fully grasp that day. But Billy had planted a seed. His thoughtful explanation made the soil less hard, the brambles less thick.

-President George W. Bush, in Wall Street Journal; BP

Richard Land
"I grew up in a home with a Christian father because of Billy Graham. Dr. Graham came to Houston’s Rice Stadium for a crusade in the early 1950s. Some of the men from the local Baptist church in our neighborhood invited my father to go with them to hear Billy Graham.

It was there that my father accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and became a faithful deacon and Christian father for the rest of his life. Similar stories have been repeated literally hundreds of thousands of times across the globe. I am eternally grateful that God sent Billy Graham to us and that he answered God’s call and became the greatest messenger for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ since the Apostles."

- Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and former president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.  BP

Paige Patterson
"The eyes of a North Carolina farm boy sparkled as never before this morning when Billy Graham entered heaven. After nearly 100 years spent largely in an effort to 'rescue the perishing and care for the dying,' the world's evangelist was called home to a prophet's reward.

"Never accused of the hoarding of wealth or of sexual misconduct, his careful practices of conduct place him in a category of a man whose life was a proclamation of Christ as well as His message. His faithfulness to the proclamation of God's plan of redemption - undergirded by his initiatives on racial justice and his concern for the lost -- set the standard for all who would attempt to preach the riches of the Gospel. His allegiance to sacred Scripture was legendary. Never did he allow doubt to shake his confidence in God's Word."

-Paige Patterson, president, SWBTS

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, 2-27-AD 2018.  

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Monday, January 15, 2018

I Have a Dream; Fulfilled

August 28, AD 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached his famous message, “I Have a Dream.”

He spoke of a check that needed to be cashed. 

“In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  

In his message, he specifically asked for three simple things (numbers have been added): 

“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights,
‘When will you be satisfied?’ 
1.  We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
2.  We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
3.  We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  
-Martin Luther King

To a large extent, these very legitimate requests have been satisfied.  America is vastly different in this respect than it was 54 years ago.  On a regular basis, I see Black folks treated the same as others – in motels, restaurants, banks, all types of businesses.  Not just as customers, but also employees. 

Speaking of ghettos, one of the best ways out is a job.  Black unemployment is now the lowest in 45 years. 
“In the 45 years since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking black unemployment, this is the first time that the black unemployment rate has dropped below 7 percent to just 6.8 percent.”  
-Armstrong Williams

Mississippi was specifically mentioned by King.  Today Mississippi has more Black elected officials than any other state in the nation.  No, that’s not to say Mississippi is perfect, but it has radically changed from the days Martin Luther King spoke these words.  

King continued,
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  
-Martin Luther King

While we have made great strides, this should always be our goal.  

To this I would add a more recent quote:
“The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.

Of course, this does not mean there is no racism left in American life. Racism is endemic to the human condition, just as stupidity is. We will always have to be on guard against it. But now it is recognized as a scourge, as the crowning immorality of our age and our history.”
-Shelby Steele

Today, African-Americans, and all USA citizens are free.  Thank God for that.  Pray often for America.  Use your freedom wisely. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 15, AD 2018. 

More articles about racism and other subjects in the lower right margin.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

10 Reasons to Avoid Pornography

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.  -Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

1.  Pornography corrupts your mind, and makes everything dirty. 

2.  Pornography is addictive.

3.  It impairs your ability to have a right relationship with a real person. 

4.  It promotes immorality and perversion. 

5.  It normalizes the abnormal and sinful. 

6.  It destroys marriages and families. 

7.  It makes you more likely to cheat on your spouse. 

8.  You rate others as sexual objects, rather than as people of worth created in the image of God. 

9.  It makes you unable to enjoy the good and decent. 

10.  Pornography offers everything; yet instead of giving, it takes away. 

On a related note, whatever your age, never, never take naked pictures of yourself or others.  Never send naked pictures.  Never ask for, or seek out nude photos.  If someone asks you for them, just say “No.”  Period.  Remember, private photos have a way of becoming public photos, especially with the internet. 

Pornography has always been around, but you used to have to go to a little trouble to get it.  Now, it is thrown right in your lap by smartphones, internet, TV, etc.  While they can, parents need to protect, inform, warn their kids.  Be accountable.  Do whatever is necessary to stay away from pornography.  Whatever your age, you should have nothing to do with it. 

Years ago there was a Christian book against porn that some pastors said bordered on pornography itself.  I’ve seen some Christian discussions of pornography that got downright creepy.  I certainly do not want to be guilty of such.  So I’ll just leave you with this simple article, without going into seedy details. 

Stay away from pornography.  It has no place in the Christian life.   

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 3, AD 2017. 


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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How Well Do You Know the Biblical Christmas Story?

1.  How did Joseph and Mary get to the place where Jesus was born? 
2.  In what town was Jesus born? 
3.  Who sang at Jesus’ birth? 
4.  What animals does the Bible say were at the manger scene? 
5.  Were the Wise Men at the manger?  

6.  What three gifts did the Wise Men bring? 
7.  How many Wise Men were there? 
8.  How did the Wise Men travel to see the newborn Jesus? 
9.  Where is the Christmas Story found in the Bible (book & chapter)? 
10.  What year was Jesus born? 
a. AD 1  b.  AD 0  c.  1 BC  d.  5 BC

11.  What is a manger? 
12.  What does the name “Jesus” mean?
13.  Did Jesus exist before He was born in Bethlehem? 
14.  What was miraculous about the birth of Jesus? 

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  -Isaiah 9:6

Come back next week for answers…

Merry Christmas!
-David R. Brumbelow, author of Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, and Ancient Wine and the Bible
(Permission granted to reprint.)


Answers to Christmas Test

1.  How did Joseph and Mary get to the place where Jesus was born? 

Answer:  The Bible does not say.  Mary may, or may not, have rode a donkey. 

2.  In what town was Jesus born? 

Answer:  Bethlehem in Judea.  There was also another Bethlehem in northern Israel.  (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6)

3.  Who sang at Jesus’ birth? 

Answer:  No one.  Of the angels, Scripture uses the word “saying,” not singing.  (Luke 2:13-14)
On another note, did you know that every time an angel appears in the Bible, the Bible describes him as a male? 

4.  What animals does the Bible say were at the manger scene? 

Answer:  None.  While it was a barn or stable, and likely there were animals, the Bible does not say. 

5.  Were the Wise Men at the manger? 

Answer:  No.  The Wise Men came later to the house where they were staying.  Just as you would do, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary sought, and found better accommodations.  (Matthew 2:1, 11)

6.  What three gifts did the Wise Men bring? 

Answer:  Gold, frankincense, myrrh. 

7.  How many Wise Men were there? 

Answer:  The Bible does not say, it only speaks of them in the plural.  We probably think there were three because of the three gifts.  And, that may be correct. 

8.  How did the Wise Men travel to see the newborn Jesus? 

Answer:  Scripture never says.  But camels were often used for travel back then.  And, Wise Men riding camels looks cool! 

9.  Where is the Christmas Story found in the Bible (book & chapter)? 

Answer:  Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2.  Of course, there are other Bible verses related to the birth of Christ. 

10.  What year was Jesus born? 
a. AD 1  b.  AD 0  c.  1 BC  d.  5 BC

Answer:  We don’t know for sure.  According to our calendar, Jesus was supposed to have been born in AD 1; but our calendar is off a little.  Jesus was probably born about 5 BC. 
On another note:  AD does not stand for after dead!  It is a Latin abbreviation that means, “In the Year of our Lord.”  AD should come before the year; BC should come after the year.  Christians should use AD more often.  

11.  What is a manger? 

Answer:  A feed trough for cattle and / or other animals.  2,000 years ago they were sometimes carved out of stone, as well as made of wood. 

12.  What does the name “Jesus” mean?

Answer:  Savior; Deliverer.  (Matthew 1:21; John 1:29) 

13.  Did Jesus exist before He was born in Bethlehem? 

Answer:  Yes, He is God the Son and has always existed.  (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:8).  That is why we say Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to be born of the Virgin Mary.  Jesus is the only One who could say, I’m infinitely older than My mother, and as old as My Father.  

14.  What was miraculous about the birth of Jesus? 

Answer:  At least two things.  1.  Jesus’ birth was a miraculous Virgin Birth.  This is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.  (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:34-37)   2.  Jesus’ birth was prophesied hundreds of years before He was born.  (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2)

I have no problem having a Manger Scene with angels singing, Wise Men, camels, a donkey, cow, lambs, etc.  After all, it’s fine to have a composite of all the characters involved (or “maybe” involved) in the birth of Christ.  Kind of like a curtain call at the end of a play. 
But this test is simply meant to remind us we often assume things are in the Bible when they are not.  Always remember, the Bible is our final rule of faith and practice. 

Happy New Year! 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 1, AD 2018.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Alcohol and Cancer

A sobering Statement has been released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology on “Alcohol and Cancer.” 

Excerpts from that article: 

“The importance of alcohol drinking as a contributing factor to the overall cancer burden is often underappreciated. In fact, alcohol drinking is an established risk factor for several malignancies.” 

“Alcohol is causally associated with oropharyngeal and larynx cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Even modest use of alcohol may increase cancer risk, but the greatest risks are observed with heavy, long-term use.”

“Beyond oncology [medical study of cancer], alcohol use and abuse together pose a significant public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 88,000 deaths were attributed to excessive alcohol use in the United States between 2006 and 2010. Approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide result from the harmful use of alcohol each year. Population surveys demonstrate that 12% to 14% of adults have a current alcohol use disorder and that 29% have had such a disorder at some point in their lifetime.”

“Alcohol use during childhood and adolescence is a predictor of increased risk of alcohol use disorder as an adult. College-age and younger people who drink are prone to develop an alcohol use disorder later in life.”

People who do not currently drink alcohol should not start for any reason.

“In a thorough systematic review of the world’s evidence that adhered to prespecified criteria for drawing inferences, a World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) report judged the evidence to be convincing that drinking alcohol was a cause of cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, and colorectum (in men). Also, alcohol was judged to be a probable cause of increased risk of liver cancer and colorectal cancer (in women). An updated review of the evidence for liver cancer upgraded the conclusion for an association between alcohol drinking and liver cancer to convincing.” 

“…The associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage.”

“…The index of suspicion is high that alcohol drinking leads to excess risk of pancreatic cancer and gastric cancer.

“As evidence continues to accumulate, the list of alcohol-associated cancers is likely to grow.”

“…For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol.

“The results of meta-analyses and pooled analyses that have focused directly on this question for upper aerodigestive tract cancers indicate that risk of these cancers declines in those who quit drinking alcohol compared with those who remain alcohol drinkers.”

“As such, the benefit of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular health likely has been overstated. As reviewed in the Magnitude of the Association section, the risk of cancer is increased even with low levels of alcohol consumption, so the net effect of alcohol is harmful. Thus, alcohol consumption should not be recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.

Low physician knowledge of alcohol use and cancer risk is another barrier to addressing alcohol use with patients.”

“…Alcohol use among physicians may make them less likely to counsel patients about the risks of alcohol use.”

“Worldwide, alcohol-related cancers are estimated to be 5.5% of all cancers treated annually…”

-Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; November, 2017.  (Bold print is mine.  -DRB)
For entire Alcohol and Cancer Statement and footnotes see: 
Fox News article:

The bad news is, we are all eventually going to die of something (Hebrews 9:27).  The good news is we can significantly reduce our chance of death from cancer and other causes by not drinking alcohol.  As many have observed, what is the worst that can happen from not drinking? 

While all these quotes are significant, some I especially noticed because of contrary pro-drinking arguments.  I’ve, of course, added some of my own thoughts. 

While not outright saying you should not drink alcohol, the study did say if you don’t drink, do not start.  And frankly, if you drink, you encourage others to drink. 

Many have argued drinking is good for your health.  This study says just the opposite.  Alcohol should not be recommended for heart health, or over-all health. 

Even modest use of alcohol can increase your risk of cancer and other problems.  Alcohol is a poison; its use is abuse. 

Your medical doctor is not necessarily an authority on beverage alcohol.  My dad used to joke since he was overweight, he tried to find a doctor who was overweight, so the MD would not get on to him about dieting.  Apparently, the same is true when it comes to alcohol.  Any supposed medical benefits from alcohol can come from safer sources such as grape juice (unfermented wine), grapes, other fruit, and vegetables.  Sadly, many MDs have caused people to begin drinking; don’t be one of them. 

“For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol.”  Not drinking alcohol, or taking other recreational, mind-altering drugs (marijuana, opioids, etc.), will prevent a host of other problems as well. 

Hope you all have a drug-free Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

For a detailed study on biblical teaching on alcohol, see: 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 28, AD 2017. 


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Children and Salvation by L. R. Scarborough

How to Deal with Children
Excerpts from the book, “With Christ After the Lost,” by L. R. Scarborough. 

Proverbs 8:17 (KJV)
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Matthew 19:13-14
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Total Depravity
“Total depravity does not mean that a person is born guilty.  It means that he is born with his tendency to choose evil stronger than his tendency to choose the good and that apart from the power of Christ he will continue to grow worse and worse in disobedience to God.”

Death of a Child
“If a child dies before he comes to the time of accountability to God, what becomes of his soul?  He is covered by the atoning work of Christ and, not being responsible for any conscious act of sin, is saved by Christ’s death.”

Age of Accountability
“When does a child become accountable to God for his soul?  There is no certain age – some are younger than others.  When the child voluntarily chooses sin and is conscious of his wrong, then he becomes an active transgressor and comes under God’s law…Most children have a sense of sin between seven and ten years of age.”

Both a Life and a Soul
“The saving of a child’s soul offers a double opportunity to the worker in that there is also a chance to train and utilize the child’s talents and powers for the service of God.  A life is saved as well as a soul.  Some of our most important and useful leaders and Christian workers come from those saved in youth.” 

Cautious, yet Zealous
“Parents and teachers should be very cautious, and yet zealous, in dealing with children.  They can discourage them for life or they can over persuade them and get them into the church unsaved, without an understanding of the way of life.  Teach them; make the way plain; pray for them; give them favorable opportunity to find Christ.  Do not over persuade, but at the same time give them every opportunity to respond to the pleadings of the Saviour.” 

Difference in Salvation & Church Membership
“Children must not be led to join the church in the hope that it will help them to find Christ.  Regeneration is a necessary prerequisite to church membership.  The church will not save, help save, or keep saved – it is the place for the saved to serve in helping to save others.  Children should be taught and encouraged to join the church when they give evidence that they have fully and understandingly trusted Christ as their Saviour and Lord.” 

Home is Best Place to Win Children to the Lord
“The best place to win children is in their homes, where the parents can teach the Word of God.  Show them Christ by word and life.  Pray with and for them.  The mother should not be alone in this heavenly task.  God says: ‘The father to the children shall make known thy truth’ (Isaiah 38:19).  He should reinforce the mother every step of the way.” 

Sunday School Should be Place of Soul-Winning
“The next most fruitful place of soul-winning among children is in the Sunday School, where teacher, superintendent, and pastor can give them a winning gospel and urge them individually and by classes to accept Christ.  The teacher may have to do some of the work by visits and prayers in the home in conjunction with the parents’ efforts.  Every teacher ought to be a soul-winner…”

ABC’s of Salvation
“The following is a simple but effective method which has proved its value in children’s evangelistic services many times.  Call it ‘The ABC’s of Salvation…’
A         ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).
B         ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). 
C         ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ (Isaiah1:18).” 

Object Lesson
“A good object lesson to illustrate will be helpful.  Let a piece of red paper represent the soul that is ‘red like crimson.’  Let a piece of red glass represent the blood of the Lamb slain to cover our sins.  Look through the red glass at the red paper; the paper will look white.  Thus it is with our souls.  God cannot see our sin when He looks through the blood of Christ.  We can have our sins covered by His blood if we will trust Him.” 

-L. R. Scarborough, excerpts from “With Christ After the Lost,” Broadman Press; 1952 (I think originally published in 1919).  A great, classic, evangelism book to have in the pastor’s, and church, libraries. 
Lee Rutland Scarborough (AD 1870-1945) was the first evangelism professor at, and second president of, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. 
With Christ After the Lost” was reprinted by SWBTS as part of their Centennial Classics in 2008. 

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

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Dehumidifiers, Hurricanes, Floods, and Ministry

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  -James 2:15-16

A dehumidifier is a wonderful thing.  Through an amazing process, it extracts water from the air in a room.  Put a dehumidifier in a room, and you will be amazed at how much moisture was in the air.  You will also be amazed at how quickly things begin to dry out. 

In Southeast Texas we get roughly 50 inches of rain a year.  Sometimes we get a good portion of that at one time.  For those recovering from a hurricane, flood, or leaking water, a dehumidifier is of great value. 

Dehumidifiers are easy to use.  You don’t have to figure it out.  Just plug it in, turn on the power button, and let it run (of course, never place it in standing water, and use standard cautions).  In several hours, it will fill with water and automatically turn off.  You don’t have to worry about the water running over.  Then, just pull out the tray, empty the water, and start it again.  You can run it once a week, once a month, or 24 hours a day. 

Much of Texas is now recovering from flood waters.  A dehumidifier costs about $200 to $250, and is worth every penny. 

Right now, many churches are working in disaster relief.  I’ve previously recommended giving and volunteering with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Samaritans Purse.  Disaster Relief is one of the most effective of Christian ministries. 

Along these lines, a simple church ministry can be a dehumidifier.  A church can buy one or two, and use them in the church buildings as needed.  Write your church name and address on them.  Then when flooding occurs, they can be loaned or given to those in need.  $250 is not a lot to some; it is more than others can afford.  To some who’ve been flooded, it could be a tremendous blessing. 

Another consideration is sometimes when they are most needed, dehumidifiers are difficult to find.  If you purchase them now, you will have them when needed.  They can usually be found at building supply stores. 

So, whether an individual or a church, consider starting a Dehumidifier Ministry.  And, do it all with a smile and a gospel witness. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 11, AD 2017. 

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