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September 9, 2014, 9:23 AM

Monday was a Ministry Day

Yesterday was a really good ministry day, and it was on a Monday. Sometimes Monday gets a bad rap. But, yesterday Monday was terrific because I had many opportunities to be a blessing to others.

It began with an opportunity to witness to a young married man who came to our church for help with some food. I proceeded to the hospital a little while later to minister to a church member who recently broke his leg/hip area. He's been through a lot and endures a lot of pain on a daily basis. He was jolly and ready to face this new challenge. As I was turning in our church's ACP (annual church profile) to the associational office, I heard of the new plans for this year's Valley Mission Trip. We will be helping with a new church plant!

Then it was time to lead our service in a local nursing home. We were met with a new couple! We don't have many of those in the nursing home ministry. They just moved back to Baytown. They must both be around 85 years old or so and such a delightful couple! We did receive news that one of our regulars in our service there changed his address to heaven this past weekend. We rejoice in the hope of the Lord. He will be missed.

A wonderful personal time of prayer was acheived late in the afternoon. "Just a little talk with Jesus" sure does a help a person! Then my family showed up for us to do some outreach visitation together! We visited an inactive member and her family. We had an initial ministry visit with a older man who is not doing well physically and certainly has spiritual needs. We had a very productive visit with a good prospect. And we finished the night by aiding a family in our church to supply some much needed encouragement and advice.

A good day of ministering to some people may be exactly what you need to find yourself encouraged, renewed and ready to move forward.


Parson Jay

August 27, 2014, 11:43 AM

A Sunday School Refresher

Every now and then we all need some sort of a refresher course which calls us back to doing certain things so that we can be more effective. This past Sunday night I attempted to give us a refresher in Sunday School. Here is the list I gave in case you missed it:

1.Spend Time with the Lord each day

If you are going to impact others for Christ, you must first spend time with Christ.

2. Pray for your class specifically

The 'class roll' should be a prayer list for each one in the class.

3. Prepare Well

The best Bible study teachers are the ones who are diligent in preparing to teach. Aim to prepare early in the week. Then you can ponder it as the week continues.

4. Teach to Impact Lives

a.Teach from the Bible

Use the Bible in your classes. Encouage them to bring their Bibles. It should never have to said: "why should I bring my Bible to Sunday School, we never use it!!"

b. Teach for Transformation

Growing in Biblical knowledge is great and should be happening, but life change should also be happening. And that happens as we hear the truth from the Word of God, apply it and obey it.

5. Go the Second Mile

a. Be faithful in attendance and Be EARLY for your class

Being early to greet your class says to them: "You are important and what we do in this hour is important!"

b. Get your rooms ready

The new church year is a good time to throw away those old papers, do some dustin and arranging and spruce up the place!

c. Use technology.

Maybe you can send out an email or text of the main Scripture verses during the week or a thought provoking question that you'll bring up in class that coming Sunday.

You'll need to figure out what else you can do to go the second mile for your class. You can do it!

6. Get the Class Involved

Aim to get everybody in the class in involved, whether it be through bringing a snack, being a prayer leader for the class, a care leader in making contacts, a fellowship organzier, taking the roll, etc. Make sure each person has each other's information, including emails. Emphasize the need for each person to be praying for each other, checking on each other, and inviting others to join in the class.

7. Depend on the Lord

God is able to do immeasureably more than we ask or imagine. Let's pray and work dependly on the Lord and see tremendous progress and growth in our Sunday School in this new church year!

Blessings to you,

Pastor J

July 8, 2014, 9:46 AM

Reflections on SBC Annual Meeting 2014 (Part 2):

I heard 12 sermons on the overall topic of "Show Us Your Glory." Here are the top messages that have stayed with me:
1)Ronnie Floyd's sermon from Exodus 32-33. Main point: before you go down the mountain to dwell with the people and attempt to lead the people forward, you must go up the mountain unto the Lord and into His presence.
2)James McDonald's sermon from Isaiah 64:1 'Oh, that You would rend the heaven's! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.' (You'd do well to get the CD). He actually defined what 'oh' means! It's a passionate plea. It's a not polite request. It's asking God to tear the heavens and come down. He related that the mountains are like the condition of most of our churches today. But, what are the mountains in comparison to God?! They quake at His coming! Main point (for me): we absolutely must have God's presence manifested in our lives and churches. God's presence is the solution, not our plans, methods, resources, etc.
3)Francis Chan's addendum to his sermon. At the end of his sermon, Francis Chan looked like he had finished what he had planned to say. He went to stand behind the podium, but didn't leave. A number of quiet seconds passed by. He appeared to be deciding whether to say what was on his heart or just stop where he had planned to stop. He related that something was on his heart, and he didn't want it to sound judgmental or mean spirited. He related that he wasn't sensing the response from us that he thought he should be seeing. He said that he felt the same way when he preached two years ago at the SBC pastor's conference. He mused on why this would be the case and at one point stated, "perhaps you are too used to your routines and structures."  That last statement is what stood out to me. Are we so used to and committed to our routines and structures that we fail at seeking God's presence in a deeper way?
4)John Meador preached to pastors on the topic of leadership, particularly in the area of evangelism. It was pointed and needed. He even gave an invitation to the pastors to come forward and be prayed over. It was a very moving moment.
5)Tom Elliff shared on Sunday afternoon at the WMU meeting. He stated that lostness often disguises itself in the familiar.
6)H. B. Charles Jr speaking in regards to the church said that we are not tourists on a tour bus who just happen to be headed in the same direction. Rather we are bound together in gospel partnership.
7)Dr. J. D. Greer related how a turning point came in his congregation when he looked at Acts 8 and asked is there much joy in our city because of our church and when he looked at Acts 9 (where Dorcas died) and asked would anyone weep in our community if our church ceased to exist? Tremendous questions on whether our congregations are impacting our communities.
Lastly, let me relate a small incident that was greatly meaningful to me. On our Thursday tour of D.C., we finally were at the Lincoln memorial stop. Angie and I had been looking forward to seeing it and were excited about it. I noticed when we came back to the bus to leave that the tour guide was sitting on a bench, with an umbrella over her head for comfort and was reading a book. She had seen the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam memorial and all the other sites. She wasn't excited about it any longer. She was caught up in lesser things. How many of us who have been Christians and ministers for so long have become just like that tour guide? God's Word, prayer, worship, sharing the gospel and yes God himself shouldn't be taken for granted. Getting caught up anew in God's presence and in the things of God would tremendously affect our lives, our churches and our communities. Blessings to you,
Parson Jay

July 7, 2014, 11:00 AM

Reflections on SBC Annual Meeting 2014

Now that some time has passed, I would like to reflect on my experience at the SBC 2014 annual meeting. It was held in Baltimore, MD, and my wife Angie was with me. Any trip which allows me to get away with my wife is going to be a good trip! We went to an O's baseball game, visited Baltimore's inner harbor, visited Fort McHenry, toured Washington DC and went back to see Arlington National Cemetary, the Iowa Jima memorial and Mt. Vernon. It felt like we experienced every means of transportation as well. It was a wonderful, marriage enriching trip. The SBC meeting and pastor's conference was equally as fabulous.
None of the business was earth-shattering to me (that doesn't mean the business conducted was unimportant). The president's race was very close. Ronnie Floyd was narrowly elected. He is a deep man of prayer and seems to be the right man at the right time.
What stood out to me most were the times of prayer. Both during the SBC annual meeting and the pastor's conference, there were moments of prayer in which we literally got on our knees for prayer. I don't recall this ever happening in one of my church's business meetings?! One of these moving moments of prayer took place following or during Russell Moore's ERLC report. He spoke in regards to the Greens of Hobby Lobby and to Saeed Abedini (read on it here: ). A few thousand SBCer's prayed together.
Perhaps the most interesting moment was Paige Patterson's report on SWBTS because he had to address why he admitted a Muslim to the seminary as a student. He first apologized. I think he was apologizing for this issue being an interruption to such a fabulous, prayerful meeting. His apology seemed extremely sincere to me. He went on to give some reasons on why he allowed this fellow as a student (he needs to find salvation in Christ) and some history of him having allowed such a thing in other institutions. He then explained in his own way that he will have to stand before the Lord one day and give an account of his actions in regards to this Muslim student. He did what he could in leading him to Christ. What I took away from it was the example of Paige Patterson's leadership.  He took full responsibility. He sincerely apologized. But, his greater obligation is to the Lord Jesus Christ. He broke some rules with the motive of leading a man to Christ. (Dr. Akin followed up Paige Patterson's report by saying that he doesn't have to apologize to him...a real cool moment).
It was a tremendously, fabulous meeting which was beyond words for me. In my next blog, I'll relate some thoughts on a few of the sermons which I heard.
Parson Jay

May 19, 2014, 11:40 AM

Are You In The Ministry?

A simple game involving an upside-down bike helmet and wadded up pieces of paper (each with various colored letters on them) resulted in the children unscrambling four words: Ministry Is Meeting Needs.

The children then learned about Dr. Perry and Tonya Hancock who minister in Louisiana. Tonya works with the Christian Women's Job Corps whereas Perry is the president of the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home. It was found that they minister to ladies, to children and in all sorts of various ways.

The children were then divided into two groups: boys and girls. Each had different Bible story involving ministry (Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-37). They were assigned to read it and to find the negative and the positive in the story. The boys told how some failed to minister by not caring for the sick, by not clothing the needy, by not visiting those in prison and so forth. Those that pleased the Lord did these acts of ministry. The girl group reported that one guy once was beaten up! Two guys passed him up. One guy, the good Samaritan, helped him and cared for him.

The children then took a sheet of paper, folded it and wrote their names on the front and on the inside. Then they passed their papers to each other. Each child wrote something encouraging on each of the other notes. You can imagine how thrilled they were to get their own papers back and read all the notes of encouragement. They were learning to minister to one another.

Jesus went about doing good. He ministered in all sorts of places to all sorts of people with all sorts of needs. Ministry opportunities abound! Ask God to give you a heart for people. Be mindful of the people around you. Then, if you will start meeting some of their needs in the name of Jesus, you will be ministering. Sometimes we refer to pastors as 'being in the ministry.' All of God's children are to 'be in the ministry.' Start today!


Parson Jay

April 28, 2014, 10:45 AM


In the Song of Solomon 2:15, we are exhorted to:  "Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes" (NKJV). Did you notice the word 'little?' Foxes are small.  However, foxes can do a great deal of damage. Therefore, it says to 'catch' them.

This verse of Scripture serves as a warning to us! Oh, how we need to 'watch for those things that seem so innoncent and yet in reality do a lot of damage!

Rev. Harvey Neal, my pastor and mentor, once put it this way:

"The devil sends his many little foxes to spoil our lives as children of God.

The vine of humility can be ruined by the little fox of pride.

The vine of love can be ruined by the little foxes of envy, jealousy, and hatred.

The vine of loyalty and faithfulness can be ruined by the little fox of neglect.

The vine of industry can be ruined by the little fox of idleness.

The vine of truth can be ruined the little foxes of gossip and little 'white lies.'

The vine of generosity can be ruined by the little fox selfisheness.

The vine of compassion can be ruined by the fox of indifference.

The vine of spirituality can be damaged by the fox of materialism. And on and on we could go."

He went to say: "We need to watch for the little things that seem so innocent and harmless. They may not be as innocent or harmless as we think." I pray that you and I will be spiritually alert and watchful for the little foxes that can cause great damage to our lives and others. Let's get rid of them and walk in the Lord this day!


Parson Jay

February 24, 2014, 10:36 AM

Tell the Story

On Sunday nights, it is my delight to help in leading our Children in Action group. We are not a big group, but we are blessed group! We say the pledges, sing, learn Bible skills, study the Bible, do activities, enjoy a snack and of course we learn about missions and missionaries. This year our theme has been 'Tell the Story.'

Each month takes us to a different location around the world to see how the story of Jesus is being told. Generally we learn about two different missionaries each month and their families and pray for these missionaries and their work! We also learn about a missionary kid and pray for him or her before we leave!

In January, our theme was 'Tell the Story in Bulgaria.' Do you know where Bulgaria is located? It is West of the Black Sea and North of the Aegean Sea and basically above and between Greece and Turkey! [We also learn about geography!]. We learned about Cameron and Jennifer Phillips and Cheryl Argabright!  They are working with the Roma people.

The Roma people used to be called Gypsies! Cameron has stated that reaching to the Roma people is not a very popular thing to do! They are looked down upon and are despised by many. This makes the work even more challenging! Cheryl is learning the language through the help of a tutor. Cheryl also gets to work with some of the orphans in Bulgaria.

One missionary among the Roma people that we didn't learn about is Boyd Hatchel. I met Boyd at seminary! In fact, we had Greek class togeether! He and his family have been living and working with the Roma people for ten years. The needs of the Roma people are very great!

Many lack in education and cannot read and struggle with finding jobs. Many are poor. Most of all they need Jesus! If you'd like to learn more, you can visit: . Let's pray for these missionaries and the Roma people. And let's pray that many in our own communties will come to know Jesus as their Savior. 'Tell the Story'  begins at home!



February 11, 2014, 4:21 PM

Trusting God More (even when you don't understand)

The following is a brief devotional message prepared and presented by Rev. Harvey Neal, my pastor and mentor. He prepared this message for broadcast on January 6, 1994 for the "Homeward Bound" program on KHCB-FM Radio of Houston, Texas.

"Hi there. This is Harvey Neal with a suggestion. Let's trust God more in 1994. Henrietta Mears, a beloved Bible teacher and author, was asked late in her life what she would do differently if she could live her life over. Her answer was quick and to the point, "I would trust God more." None of us can go back and relive that past, but we can start any day and at any time to trust the Lord more the rest of our days. In fact, it's not too late to make a New Year's resolution to trust God more in this new year of 1994.

I must warn you that it is much easier to talk about trusting God more than it is to actually do it. It's easier to preach than it is to practice. However, that doesn't mean that we should be pessimistic and write it off as an impossiblity. God wants us to trust Him more, and He will help us to do that if we will allow Him.

There's a beautiful statement in the last part of verse 10 of Psalm 32. I'm reading that great statement from the New Century Version: "The Lord's love surrounds those who trust Him." The Psalmist said in Psalm 37:5 that if we will commit our way unto the Lord and trust also in Him that the Lord will bless us and bring to pass that which we trust in His care. Psalm 115:11 says that the Lord is a help and a shield to thsoe who trust in Him.

We should trust the Lord regardless, even when we do not understand. The Lord is going to bless those who trust Him. We must believe that becuse it is the truth. This is Harvey Neal reminding you of this great truth in Proverbs 3:5-6:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIm, and He shall direct your paths.""  

January 30, 2014, 11:04 AM

I found an old friend, the Model Prayer

As a pastor, I have been a part of nursing home ministries for a number of years now. I can say that I truly enjoy it. It's essentially another congregation. We have a good time in the Lord together. In my ministry in Baytown, a few from our congregation go with me to a certain nursing home. One of the church members who labor with us is a lady who is at least the same age as the ones that we minister to in this nursing home if not older than many of them. She plays the piano for us. She is often called upon to close our service in prayer. At times she has all of us to pray together by repeating the Lord's Prayer (the Model Prayer). I have been influenced by this lady's heart for this prayer and found myself going back to it on a more regular basis. When I use it in my devotional times, I first repeat the whole prayer word for word. I recommend doing so very slowly, very deliberately and from the heart. I then go back and repeat the first phrase or so and stop and put it into my own words and then I pray according to that section. I keep on in such a way until I have made my way through the whole prayer.  I am glad for this dear lady who helped me to find my way back to the Model Prayer. Using it has been a help to me in communing with the Lord. Let me encourage you to rediscover the Lord's Prayer, like finding an old friend, and I pray that your communion with the Lord will be enriched.


Parson Jay

P.S. It is found in Matthew 6:9-13

January 28, 2014, 2:34 PM

I Don't Know What to Say (in Praying for Others)!

I have in some of my pastoral duites been with a person or with a family facing some critical moments in life. And I have at times in those more troubling situations been called upon to pray. And in some of those I'll admit to wondering to myself 'What do I pray about or ask for in this situation?" 

Here are a few things I've learned about praying at such times:

1)Admit to the Lord that you feel like you don't have all the words

2)Ask for the Lord to guide you in your prayer

3)Ask for the Lord to move by His Spirit and to intercede with groanings that are beyond words

4)Focus on God and on some of His attributes (His power, presence, grace, help, changlessness)

5)Claim a promise or promises (like Proverbs 3:5-6 on guidance or Isaiah 40:29 for strength and so on).

6)Ask for God to work mightily in the situation and commit the person or family to the Lord

Such a prayer could sound like this:

"Lord God, I admit that I feel like I don't even have the words to pray, so Lord guide me as I pray for this dear family and may your Spirit taking these words and intercede on a deepr level. Father, we prasie You that You are the One we can always count on because you never change, and You have the strength and wisdom and grace that we need. Father, you have promised wisdom to those who ask for it and who do so without doubting, so by faith we ask for wisdom for this family. Aid them in their decision making. You've promised, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not in your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall make your paths straight." Even so Lord we come admiting we must have your guidance ,and we are trusting in you and trusting that You will keep your word and to make our paths straight. We thank you for working in their lives and this situation and commit them unto You in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen."


Parson Jay


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