Monthly Archives: February 2010

None of Self and All of Thee survey

 You have probably heard or sung the song by Theodore Monod; if you are unfamiliar with the words here they are:

  1. Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
    That a time could ever be,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    All of self, and none of Thee,
    When I proudly said to Jesus,
    “All of self, and none of Thee.”
  2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him
    Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    Some of self, and some of Thee,
    And my wistful heart said faintly,
    “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
  3. Day by day His tender mercy,
    Healing, helping, full and free,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
    Less of self, and more of Thee,
    Less of self, and more or Thee,
    Brought me lower while I whispered,
    “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
  4. Higher than the highest heaven,
    Deeper than the deepest sea,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.”
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    None of self, and all of Thee,
    Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
    None of self, and all of Thee.”

As of today, which of the four points describes you?  Take this survey to help you think about your relationship with God as of this moment.

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Do ministers really work?

A teenager asked me that question several years ago.  She was interested in knowing just how I, and preachers generally, occupied the time on an “average day.”  The joke has been used on me that as a preacher I have it made: “…Must be nice to work four hours a week.”  Sadly, I have known some “jackleg” preachers–unindustrious and unmotivated, unreasonable and unapproachable, and for these reasons just plain unlikable!

Some preachers seem to stay in the eye of the storm in the local church.  They stir up trouble and controversy, whether seeking to loose or bind where they have no business.  Some ride hobby horses!  Some seem to be ever involved in “career building” and posturing.  Some even give indication that they see preaching primarily as simply the way they make a living.

It is unpleasant to suggest that some preachers do their work with less than honorable motives, though motivation problems for preachers are almost as old as the church (Philippians 1:15ff). Some day, Christ will determine whose motives are straight and whose are not (cf. Matthew 25:31ff).

The better question may be, “What should a preacher do?”  Paul admonishes Timothy, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).  This is actually a second series of injunctions, following his encouragement to the young preacher to “Preacher the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Does the New Testament tell us what “the work of an evangelist” is?  It does!  First, “the work of an evangelist” is inherent in that name he wears.  He is an “evangelist.”  That is derived from the word “euaggelizo,” meaning to “announce the good news; to declare and bring glad tidings.”  How he does this is through a lifetime of study of the whole Bible and a daily study of specific portions of the Bible.  Where he does this is publicly and privately.  When he does this is in the assembly, the classroom, in people’s homes, or wherever he can impart the word. 

Second, “the work of an evangelist” is expanded in the context.  Doing that work is to “fulfill” his “ministry” (here, special service).  It is a ministry involving three basic elements:  reproof (correct, convince, tell a fault), rebuke (censure, charge, forbid), and exhortation (encouragement, comfort, and consoling). 

Third, “the work of an evangelist” involves an underlying attitude.  He may have to endure hardships, slights, and unkindness from those who do not want to hear his message.  He must “watch…in all things” (one version says, “keep your head in all situations”).  In other words, a preacher’s message can be harmed by poor methodology.  Even when dealing with the ill-tempered, the combative, and the mean-spirited, he must stay cool.  He must develop the wisdom to let his “speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that” he “may know how” he “should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:6).

The preacher is called by God to preach and evangelize.  He is to encourage with every opportunity.  He is to correct and instruct.  He is to endure the difficult and keep his head at all times.  All this implies that he must be among and around both the lost and the people of God.  A preacher who takes this work seriously will help the church to grow!  — Neal Pollard

Survey on Preachers: Take this “preacher survey”!


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Who Nailed Jesus to the Cross?

Back in 2004, Mel Gibson produced The Passion of the Christ. Ironically, he didn’t star in the film. He did, however, have a small, yet significant, cameo in the actual movie.

Don’t recall seeing him? Watch it carefully again. He’s there. You don’t see his face or body, but you do see one of his appendages.

Remember the scene when Jesus was being nailed to the cross? You don’t see the soldier who held the hammer and drove that long nail into the Lord’s flesh, but you do see the soldier’s left hand. That was Gibson’s hand.

Gibson said he reserved that role for himself because he wanted his audience to know that his sins made the crucifixion necessary. He said, “I’m first on line for culpability. I did it.”

In truth, we all did it. We’re all responsible for Calvary. Scripture says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “All have sinned.” That means everybody. Our transgressions, both cumulative and individual, put the Savior on tree of Golgotha.

So, what do we do? If we’ve sinned, and we have (Rom. 3:10), and if sin separates us from God, and it does (Isa. 59:1-2), then what is our recourse? What do we do?

My denominational friends would say, “Nothing. There’s nothing you can do, because if you do anything, you negate the grace of God.” But dear reader, is that accurate? Biblical?

Turn in your New Testament to Acts 2. On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter told his listeners, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (v. 36; emphasis mine–mb).

Like Gibson, Peter’s audience had nailed Jesus to the cross. In this case, literally. Now notice how they responded, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

And how did the apostle respond to their sincere inquiry? He said, “Do? My friends, there is nothing you can do. If you do anything, you negate the grace of God.” Right? Read the next verse.

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (v. 38).

Repentance (Matthew 12:41; Luke 13:3) refers to change. Change requires effort, in essence, doing (Jonah 3:10) something.

Baptism refers to immersion in water (Acts 8:36-39).  Again, doing (Acts 22:16) something.

Now pay close attention that little word “for.”  “Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR (Greek, “eis”) the remission of sins.” “For” means “in order to” obtain. Repent and be baptized in order to obtain the remission or forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:15-16).

Question. What would have happened to these believers on Pentecost had they not repented and been baptized?  Obviously they would have been lost! They recognized this, and that’s why two verses later we’re told, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and
that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (v. 40).

Now did any of these 3,000 earn or merit God’s grace simply because they obeyed Peter’s command (cf. Acts 10:38)? Could any in that assembly proudly thump his breast and say, “Look what I’ve done to save myself?!”  Of course not.

Some object, “Mike, you’re confusing effort because of what Jesus did for us; any effort we exert in an attempt to merit the gift of grace.” Friend, if works — of any kind — have absolutely no role whatsoever in our salvation, then it matters not if they are before or after.

In truth, none of us can earn or merit our salvation.  Period. Underline that statement. Highlight it.  Catholicism says, “Earn it.” Calvinism says, “You can’t earn it, so do nothing.” Both extremes are unscriptural.

Meritorious works can’t save (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5), but a dead, non-working faith (James 2:17, 19) can’t save either! Only through faith coupled with works (Galatians 5:6) of obedience (Acts 10:34-35; James 2:14-26; Philippians 2:12) can we lay hold of the free gift of God’s grace.

Read through Hebrews 11 and then consider the following questions in the context of our study: . Did Noah earn his salvation when he built the ark   (Hebrews 11:7; cf. Genesis 6:22)?  . What if he had never constructed it in the first  place?  After the flood waters abated, could the aged
  Patriarch have smote his chest and say, “Look how   I’ve saved myself!”?  . Was he saved before or after expressed his faith?  Did Abraham earn his salvation when he obeyed God and  left his home for a foreign country (Hebrews 11:8; cf. Genesis 12:4)?  What if he had never moved as God decreed?

. Did Moses earn his salvation when he kept the   passover (Hebrews 11:28; Exodus 12:3ff)?  What if he had not slain a lamb and placed its blood
  on the doorposts?

. Was splashing blood on the door a meritorious act?

. Did the children of Israel earn their salvation when  they passed through the Red Sea on dry ground (Hebrews 11:29; Exodus 14:22)?

. Could one among those thousands have objected, “Hey, we can’t cross over! If we do anything we’ll be negating the grace of God!”?

. Did the children of Israel earn Jericho when they marched around the city (Hebrews 11:30; cf. Joshua 6:1ff)?

. Jericho was a gift (Joshua 6:2; cf. 2:9, 14). If the Israelites hadn’t marched around the city as God had required, would they have received the “gift”?

. Did Rahab merit her salvation by hiding the spies and later tying the scarlet cord in the window (Hebrews 11:31: cf. Joshua 2:ff; 6:17ff)?

All of these Old Testament stories illustrate without question that it’s not a dead, non-working faith that saves, but a living, obedient faith. That’s why the Bible says, “He who believes (a work of obedience, John 6:28, 29) AND is baptized (a work of obedience, Titus 3:5) will be saved” (Mark 16:16; cf. 1 Pet. 3:21).

We’re all guilty. We’re all culpable. We all had a part in nailing Jesus to the cross. That’s the bad news.  The good news is that Jehovah has enacted a gracious plan by which we can receive divine pardon. We must (1) believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 8:24); 2) repent and turn away from our sins (Acts 17:30;  26:20);

(3) confess that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 8:35-38; Romans 10:9-10);

(4) and then be immersed (Galatians 3:27; cf. Acts 8:12-13; 36, 38; 9:18; 10:47; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

God has done his part. Will you do yours (1 Thessalonians 1:3)?

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

— by Mike Benson

Survey on baptism – please take a moment to complete this “survey on baptism.”

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Old Smokey electric smoker

Do you own an Old Smokey electric smoker? Give your review of the Old Smokey electric smoker to help others.  Take my “Old Smokey Survey” – give the “Old Smokey” one star if you have tried it and didn’t like it.  Use 5 stars if you think the Old Smokey electric smoker is one of the best smokers you have ever used.  You may also list your favorite Old Smokey recipes in the comments section below.

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Jesus' trials


  1. Before the trials started Jesus was arrested.
  2. Mt. 26:47 says a “great multitude” came to arrest the Lord.
  3. How many people are in a “great crowd?”
  4. Many believe that 500-600 people were sent to arrest the Lord.
  5. Imagine a police force that is tasked to capture a single man.
  6. They are told where they man is and 500 officers go to that persons’ house.
  7. Jesus’ trials began with some Jewish officials.
  8. Jesus went to Annas, Jn. 18:12-14.
  9. Annas had been appointed as high priest, but corruption had ousted him from office.

10.  People began to spit on Jesus.  He was hit.

11.  Mt. 26:67-68 – READ

12.  Along with the spitting there is hitting.  People used their palms to strike the Lord.

13.  Jesus was also blindfolded (Mk. 14:65), and people used this blindfold to mock Him.

14.  Jesus appeared before Annas, Caiaphas, and then the Sanhedrin, Mt. 27:1-2.

15.  The Bible says “many” false witnesses came forward to accuse Jesus (Mk. 14:56).

16.  Have we ever been accused of something we did not do?

17.  False accusations are no fun and Jesus knows exactly what this is like.

18.  People also twisted the Lord’s word (Mk. 14:58).

19.  After these three Jewish trials, there were three Roman trials.

20.  Jesus appeared before Pilate (Jn. 18:28-38), then Herod (Lk. 23:6-12) and then again before Pilate.

21.  Jesus appeared before Pilate “the next morning” (Mt. 27:1-2).

22.  John said it was “early” (Jn. 18:28).

23.  Jn. 18:31 – READ

24.  Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.

25.  Lk. 23:8 says Herod wanted to see Jesus perform a miracle.

26.  Jesus would not perform for Herod so this official and his men mocked Him.

27.  Lk. 23:11-12 – READ

28.  This was also the time when the crown of thorns was beaten into Jesus’ head, Mk. 15:17.

29.  After Herod had finished with the Lord, Jesus was sent back to Pilate.

30.  This began the sixth trial which is found in Lk. 23:14-16 – READ

31.  Pilate said he could find no fault with Jesus.

32.  Pilate made other attempts to free the Lord (Jn. 19:4-5).

33.  In the end the people would not be swayed – they wanted Jesus to be crucified.

34.  Eventually the people said “His blood be on us and our children” (Mt. 27:25).

35.  It was not long before Jesus died on the cross. 

36.  We need salvation from sin and Jesus provides that through His death.

37.  Jesus also provides so much more.

38.  His trials show that He can understand the things we go through in life.

Legal poll: Take this “legal survey” and let others know what you think about the U.S. legal system:

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Levi Strauss's jeans

ON FEBRUARY 26, 1829, A Jewish boy named Loeb Strauss was born in a cottage in the Bavarian village of Buttenheim… 

As a young man, Loeb changed his name to Levi and wound up in California where he opened a textile company in San Francisco.  One day a gold miner walked into Levi’s shop and assailed the young merchant.  “Look at these,” said the miner, pointing to the pants.  “I bought ’em six months ago, and now they’re full of holes!” 

When Levi asked why, the miner explained, “We work on our knees most of the time.”  

What you need is some really strong material,” replied Levi.  “We have some canvas.  It’s used to make tents.  If we make your trousers out of canvas, I’m sure they won’t get holes.”

A tailor was called, and presently the miner had a set of trousers — and the rest is history.  Soon minors across the West were wearing Levi Strauss’s jeans.  (Stephen Van Dulken) 

THOUGHT: Christians should have the same problem that plagued that miner — pants with worn-out knees — for we ought to do most of our kingdom work on our knees. 

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:14).  

–Mike Benson

Jean survey: Take this “jean survey” and let others know about your jean preference:


How often do you purchase one of the following brands or buy from one of the following stores?

18th Amendment
1921 Jeans
575 Jeans
7 For All Mankind
Acne Jeans
AG Jeans
American Eagle
American Rag
Ann Taylor
Antik Denim
Apple Bottoms
Baby Phat
Banana Republic
Big Star Jeans
Bill Blass Jeans
Bisou Bisou
Blank Denim
Blue Cult
Buffalo Jeans
Calvin Klein Jeans
Cheap Monday
Chip and Pepper
Christopher Blue
Citizens of Humanity
CJ by Cookie Johnson
Cruel Girl
Current Elliott
Daisy Fuentes
Dana Buchman
David Kahn
Del Forte
DKNY Jeans
DL1961 Premium Denim
Dylan George
Earnest Sewn
Eddie Bauer
Express Jeans
Faded Glory
Fidelity Denim
Frankie b Jeans
French Dressing
G Star Denim
Gas Jeans
Generra Jeans
Genetic Denim
Girbaud Jeans
GLO Jeans
Gloria Vanderbilt
House of Dereon
INC International Concepts
Indi Custom
Indigo Palms
Iron Army
iT jeans
J Brand
Jag Jeans
James Cured by Seun
JLO by Jennifer Lopez
Joe’s Jeans
Jones Jeans
Juicy Couture
Kasil Jeans
L.L. Bean
La Redoute
Lands’ End
Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Lei Jeans
Level 99
Liz Claiborne
Long Elegant Legs
Lucky Brand Jeans
Max Studio
MEK Denim
Michael Kors
Miss Me Jeans
Miss Sixty
Mudd Jeans
Nancy Bolen
Nanette Lepore
Newport News
Nicole by Nicole Miller
Not Your Daughters Jeans
Old Navy
Paige Premium Denim
Paper Denim and Cloth
Paris Blues Jeans
People for Peace Jeans
Peoples Liberation Jeans
Pepe Jeans
Personify by Denim & Co
Polo by Ralph Lauren
Proportion of Blu
Radcliffe Denim
Rag and Bone
Red Engine Jeans
Request Jeans
Rich & Skinny
Rock and Republic
Rocky Mountain Jeans
Silver Jeans
St. John Sport
St.John’s Bay
Taverniti So
Tommy Hilfiger
True Religion Brand Jeans
Uncharted Territory
Victoria’s Secret
Vigoss Jeans
William Rast
Work Custom Jeans


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Eagle Scout Poll

If you are an Eagle Scout, please take a moment to complete the following survey.  You may select more than one answer for this survey.


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We cannot hide from God

 Tonight, after being admitted into the local Work Release Center for the first time, an officer asked me several questions.  After the questioning another officer escorted me to a classroom and told me to wait.  A few minutes passed and in came an officer with a drug dog.  Apparently she wanted to verify that I was not trying to bring in any type of illegal substance into this facility.  The staff did not perform a “pat down” on me, but they were pretty thorough in their investigation of me and my visit.   

The Work Release officers were cautious and thorough, but their investigation was hardly as detailed as the one done by God.  In Heb 4:12 we read:  “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.”   

We may be able to hide a lot of things from people, but absolutely nothing is hidden from God.  In Heb 4:13 we read, “And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” 

Remember that absolutely nothing is ever hidden from God.    

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Strange preacher stories

Many ministers deal with some unusual people or circumstances and often have some GREAT stories to tell.  If you have had a strange experience or met up with someone who left you with an interesting tale, please take a moment to share it here for others.

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Gorgeous women

IN ANGOLA, WOMEN had an opportunity to enter a very different kind of beauty pageant…

Contestants had to have been injured by land mines. In that African country, 80,000 people are amputees because of land mines, so it wasn’t a stretch to find eligible contestants for the awareness-raising event. The women wore evening gowns and showed off their artificial limbs. The winner received a custom-made artificial limb and $2,500 in prize money. “This event provides encouragement for all of those who have become invalids,” said Candida Celeste, the Minister for Family Affairs.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” ( Prov. 31:30).

-Mike Benson

Beauty pageant poll – take this “beauty pageant survey”:

Beauty pageant poll – take this “beauty pageant survey”:

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