The Cry of the Lost

Do you hear the cry of the lost

Who for eternity will pay the cost?

Suffering torments they cannot tell

In the everlasting fire called Hell.

There they dwell where the worm dieth not

And no relief can ever be sought.

Eternal flames around them ’bout

Such horrid screams can you hear them shout?

It’s too late.  It’s too late for me.

But please dear Jesus set my loved ones free.

Tell them of your saving grace

So they won’t come to this wicked place.

Send someone to warn with tears

Of this place worse than all their fears.

To point them to the Savior above

And tell them of your eternal love.

Prepare a man to be sent

And compel them to repent.

From all their guilt, sin, and strife

So they may have eternal life.

Jim Kelley

Testimony of Salvation

Brief introduction — I had the privilege of meeting Jim when he became a member of the church my father started at RAF Fairford, England back in 1984 or 1985. Jim served and grew in that mission work while serving in the US Air Force. He would later visit me at Northland Baptist Bible College while looking at schools where he could train for the ministry. Jim lives on the East Coast now with his dear wife, and he continues to be a faithful Bible teacher as he strives to become more like Jesus Christ. Here is his testimony. It has been a blessing getting back in contact with Jim and renewing our friendship.

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Having been born into a Catholic family my earliest years in life for church was the Catholic church.  After my dad divorced and remarried another woman the Catholic church “ex-communicated” our family.  After the ex-communication we no longer went to any church.

When I was nine years old my two sisters and I were playing in our front yard when a church bus driver pulled alongside the curb and asked us if we would like to start going to church on the bus.  After getting our parents approval we started going to a Baptist church.

Sunday School was fun for me because we played games and had snacks.  There was no such “monster” as children’s church in those days and we would sit together as “bus kids” with the bus captain in the adult service.  I didn’t pay much attention to the pastor except on occasion and I would go forward during the altar call telling the pastor that I do bad things and he would tell me that we all do bad things and he told be to back and sit down.

Eventually our parents began to attend the Sunday morning services and we sat with our parents rather than the bus kids.  At this point and time I was now ten years old and one particular Sunday morning during the adult service I was pestering my sisters.  My dad looked at me and told me to shut up, sit straight, and pay attention to the pastor.

My dad was a strict father and I knew that there would be serious consequences if I didn’t do what he told me to do.  I shut my mouth and sat up straight, and paid sincere attention to the pastor.  As he was faithfully preaching the gospel about sinners dying and going to hell and Jesus having died and shed His blood to save us the Holy Spirit of God convicted me as a lost sinner.

Now I didn’t want to go to church anymore because I was running from God and myself.  A few Sunday’s after my initial “conviction” as a lost sinner the Spirit of God was impressing upon me that I needed to get saved and what was I going to do about it?  I had this all happening inwardly and I started to question whether this was really God or just “all in my head.”  I decided to “test” God and find out if this was really happening or not.

As the Lord was impressing upon me as to what I would do I said, “I’m going to wait until I’m grown up, and God impressed upon me that if I wait until I am grown up that I’ll grow up hard-hearted and lost.  Again, the Lord was impressing upon me “what are you going to do?”  I still questioned the validity of what was occurring and I said within myself, “I’m going to wait.”  It was then that I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence leaving from me and I knew that this was real.

At that moment as I was still sitting in the pew I surrendered myself to Jesus Christ and acknowledged myself as a sinner and with a true heart of repentance I placed my faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood to wash my sins away.  I didn’t understand at that moment that I had indeed been saved right then and there.  I thought that I had to go forward to the altar to get saved.

When the altar call was given I couldn’t get there fast enough and when the pastor asked me why I was there I told him that I needed to get saved.  He said, “excuse me?”  I cried, and told him that I needed to get saved and that I didn’t want to go to hell.  We knelt down at the altar and he did not tell me to repeat after him.  He prayed that God would saved me and as I was praying in agreement the Holy Spirit confirmed within me that I was already saved in the pew.

When the pastor and I stood up we faced the congregation and he announced that I had just gotten saved.  The pastor looked at me and asked me, “now that you’re saved what do you want to do with your life?”  I told him, “I’m only ten years old and I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”  The pastor encouraged me to tell the folks something since I now know Jesus.  My reply was:  “I just want to do what Jesus wants me to do.”

As a newborn babe in Christ at the physical age of ten I was telling everyone about Jesus.  When my mom would go to the grocery store with my two sisters and myself I would tell the clerk at the check-out about Jesus.  I went on and on to the point that I drove my dad crazy and one day he told me to stop talking about Jesus because he’s heard it over and over again.  I stopped talking about Jesus to my dad but I never stopped talking about Jesus to others.

To God be the glory to save a sinner such as me!

Jim Kelley

Stand in the Breach

“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indigation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 22:30-31).

I have met people who think there is no use in praying because God is going to do what He’s going to do so prayer won’t affect anything. This makes no sense to me, as there are instances in Scripture where God declared that He would perform a negative action but changed His mind when people repented, interceded, etc.

I think of the city of Nineveh which God said He would destroy. But He spared them when the people repented. (See the book of Jonah in the Bible.)

Or what about the woman in Matthew who asked Jesus to heal her daughter? Jesus acted as if he wasn’t interested until she humbly responded, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table” (Matthew 15:27). If she had walked away muttering or even resignedly saying, “You’re right, Lord. I’m sorry to have bothered you,” I don’t think her daughter would have received the healing that this mother yearned for.

My view is that we don’t see revival because we don’t cry out for it. We don’t see more healed because we don’t ask for it. We live apathetic, Spirit-less lives, and then we blame God for not doing anything when maybe He is just waiting for someone to stand in the breach and intercede for those who cannot or will not pray for themselves.

God is not obligated to do what we want. I am not promoting a “name it, claim it” doctrine. I am, however, calling for people to fall on their knees, to get the mind of God, and to intercede for our nation, our unbelieving loved ones, those who are sick–physically, mentally, and spiritually. God hasn’t changed; people have. The hearts of many have grown cold. How low do we have to get before we begin to seek Him again?

Consistent Inconsistency – Part 5 – Children & Church

Let us consider another inconsistency, but let me first warn the reader that it may cause some real heart searching, especially if you have children.

The scene is the same just about every week. Families struggle to get up on Sunday morning. Many have not bothered to prepare their hearts throughout the previous week, and especially the Saturday night before. This quickly becomes obvious as the rest of the morning progresses.

Breakfast is rushed and the parents are shouting at the kids to “Hurry or we will be late to church.” With a final flurry of activity, everybody runs out and jumps in the appropriate vehicle. On the way, the driver is pushing past the speed limit and hoping that a policeman is not sitting over the next hill with a radar gun. In the back, the children begin to bicker and then fight. The parents both threaten to stop the car to take care of the problem that does little to straighten out the children. The little ones are mostly immune to the threats because they have already figured out long ago that the parents don’t really mean what they say.

Every now and then, a word of wisdom may grace the conversation. One of the parents will remind their offspring that “we all need to settle down as we are going to worship the Lord.”

Arriving at their chosen place of worship a few minutes late, the parents send their children off to a little classroom. In the room, they only manage to get through 45 minutes due to the seemingly endless supply of snacks and juice. During the class, they may receive a pithy little lesson which may come complete with puppets and pages to color.

Stated otherwise, this means: Continue reading

What Happened to Revival?

It wasn’t long ago that Christians wished for revival, churches held “revival meetings,” pastors would open up the altar after services so that those who were being convicted could come forward and repent of their sins. Although there are churches that still do those things, I do not see it very much anymore. We have grown accustomed to our comfort, entertainment, a feel-good lifestyle, and we really don’t want anything to rock our boat. I get discouraged when I look around and feel like I will never see revival because the hearts of many have grown cold.

I just listened to the audio version of a book that I had read years ago titled Floods on Dry Ground. It focuses on the Hebrides Revival that took place in the late 19th and early 20th century. The stories are amazing. Often, revival began when just two or three people dedicated themselves to fervent prayer, asking God to come and save their cities. This wasn’t just, “And, Lord, if it’s Your will, would You save my neighbor?” This was crying out to God and staying on their knees until He answered. Because of their prayers, even the vilest sinners were changed by the power of God.

A while back, I could spend an hour or two with God no problem. I treasured the time and did not understand why everyone would not take that time each day. Now spending 20 minutes with Him is a chore as my mind is constantly on things I need to be doing, but I long to get back to being content to sit in His presence and hear from Him as well as presenting my petitions before His throne and knowing that He hears me.

Revival is not something that makes people feel good. It is a move of God that shows people what they are really like without Him and convicts them of their sins. They realize that no sin is small in the eyes of God and that they are worthy of judgment. They can’t think about their neighbor’s sin because their own sins are glaring. But they also know that God is faithful and just to forgive every sin so they confess them to Him and leave a different person than they were. When was the last time you have been in this kind of meeting?

If you attend a church that still focuses on holiness and repentance, thank God for it. If your church has lost that focus, intercede for the pastor and the church leaders, that they would have a greater hunger than ever before to walk with God and to challenge others to do so. Pray for a burden for your church, your community, lost souls, and then share that burden with others. You may find that you are not alone.

I think of the old song we used to sing that said, “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me.” That should be our continual prayer.

Consistent Inconsistency – Part 3 – Divorce

This next problem is one where way too many churches are consistently inconsistent, and I believe it is a shame for several reasons.

  1. This should NOT be a problem within the body of Christ, but it is.
  2. This should NOT be divisive between brothers and sisters, but it is.
  3. This should NOT be what defines congregations, but it is.

The problem I am speaking of is the matter of divorce.

It is imperative that we define marriage and what God commands regarding marriage. Biblical marriage can ONLY be defined as: One man and one woman united together before God in the bonds of matrimony for the rest of their natural lives. As God is the One Who created marriage, it is He and He alone who defines the rules for what makes a marriage. Government has NO RIGHT to try and define what they think marriage is or what it should be.

Stated otherwise, this means: Continue reading