Thursday, August 11, 2016

Deuteronomy 2:7
“…these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee;
thou hast lacked nothing.”

A sixteen-year-old teenager in August 1976 was fighting for a starting position on his high school football team in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  The fact that the young man had lettered as a sophomore meant nothing going into his junior year as two new coaches, the head coach and the defensive line coach, were taking over the helm, having just arrived from Texas.  The young man needed to impress the new coaches as being tough, physically and mentally.  Imagine how the defensive down lineman-want-to-be felt within the first few days of practice nervously going to the new coach and saying, “I need to leave practice early next Wednesday.  I’ve been called to preach and the pastor has asked me to preach my first sermon at our church.”  I was the teenager, Coy Stewart and Don Gibson were the head and defensive coaches, respectively, and Reverend Curtis White was the pastor.  God brought these men and others, alongside my father, D. Dwight Snider, the greatest man I’ve ever known, to assist him in shaping me into the man I am today.

Recently while packing for the relocation of my residence and ministry office, I discovered the hand-written outline on ruled paper used for that first sermon in August 1976.  I preached on the subject of obedience, beginning a journey on a path that would direct the rest of my life.  When perusing through my Dad’s desk after he went to Heaven on August 11, 2012, I noticed a newspaper article and picture he had cut from the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise showcasing my desire to join sports and ministry together in my future career.  Eventually after not being awarded a football scholarship to play for a state university in Oklahoma due to NCAA sanctions, I chose to attend Oral Roberts University to prepare for a life in ministry and walked away from playing the game of football.  Though I’ve wondered a few times what my life would look like had I taken a different path, I’ve never looked back and wished I had.

In Spring of 1977, I received an entry level credential, a Mission Worker’s License, from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC).  Two months later, seven men, Archie Beller, Ed Philpot, Del Hunnicutt, Melvin Garrison, Dan Beller, Don Reed, and Glen Eaves, who served as credentials examination committee, granted me an IPHC Minister’s License.  Reverend H. Bob Woodward, who would become my father-in-law, regularly provided opportunity for me to gain pulpit experience.  Waiting the customary two years, I was awarded my ordination certificate in June 1979, two weeks after marrying the young lady who had won my heart and would be my life partner and dearest friend, Teresa.

Nine months into our marriage, Teresa and I quit our jobs and accepted a pastoral assignment to a church.  She was eighteen; I was twenty.  Together, we have provided senior pastoral care and leadership for four congregations, served in denominational leadership, founded a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, and have done the work of a full-time evangelist for about nineteen years.  In 1984, my son, Jared, was born and joined our team.  He gave us a daughter named Lindsey when he married her in 2010.  Their children, Brooklyn and Jackson, provide immeasurable joy and delight to their Papa and Mimi.

The Bible teaches that a man’s gifts will provide a place for him to use them and bring him into the presence of great people.  During the past forty years, I have been blessed with great colleagues, faithful supporters, and dear friends.  Being part of such a wonderful collegium of fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ offers camaraderie like no other.  Having the support of family members, business people, and others who believe in me is very humbling and a great honor.  Sharing life with my friends generates tremendous gratitude to God for allowing me to walk beside men and women who know me and love me.

It is my pleasure to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I rejoice in each person who has placed faith in Him for salvation, in every believer who has been blessed in some way, and in the honor of being identified with Him and His Kingdom.  He called me to preach the gospel and has been faithful to make provision for me to do the Lord’s work for four decades.  I desire to live for Him in such a way that, from the platform of my changed life, I can tell the world that Jesus saves and His blood washes whiter than snow.  

I haven't changed my mind about serving Him and I don't regret a mile I've traveled for the Lord.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Believe the Church Will Prevail

Much is said about the church in today’s world.  Jesus declared in Matthew chapter 16, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  The church is both inclusive and inclusive.  It includes everyone who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and excludes everyone who does not.  Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  With all of its challenges and victories, shortcomings and accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, etc., I am glad to be part of Christ’s Church.  The Church will neither be destroyed by outside forces nor self-destruct from within.  Christ will always have a Church.  Here are The Top 10 Reasons Why I Believe the Church Will Prevail.

10.  The Church belongs to God.
Acts 20:28 teaches that Christ purchased the church with his own blood.  We who are saved are the ecclesia, the called out ones.  He has separated us unto himself.  We are his and only his.

9.  The foundation of The Church is Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 3:11, the Apostle Paul writes to say there is no other foundation than Jesus.  The stone that was rejected by the builders is now the chief cornerstone.

8.  The Church is not of this world.
Jesus speaks to the Jews in John 8:23 saying, “I am from above.  I am not of this world.”  Elsewhere we read that this world will pass away but, Jesus tells Pontius Pilate in John 18:36 that his kingdom is not of this world.

7.  Christ is interceding for The Church.
According to Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25, Christ is “at the right hand of God” and “ever liveth to make intercession” for us.

6.  The Holy Spirit is working in The Church.
He bears witness to our spiritual adoption.  He leads us into truth.  He empowers us to witness about Jesus.  He directs our leadership.  He anoints our ministries.

5.  God has a plan for The Church.
Jeremiah speaks for God in chapter 29, verse 11 saying, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

4.  The world needs to hear the message entrusted to The Church.
Jesus instructs his followers to go into the whole world and preach the gospel to everyone.  From the platform of our changed lives, we must tell the world that Jesus saves and his blood washes whiter than snow.  We must proclaim the whole counsel of God.

3.  Saints, past and present, have prayed for The Church.
Whether in corporate gatherings in church facilities, smaller meetings in people’s homes, or in secluded places scattered around the globe, the people who are called by His name spend time in intercession for the work of God around the world to prosper.  Old and young, educated and unlearned, male and female, light skinned and dark skinned, people bathe the work of the Lord in prayer that it will spread to every group of people and bring to bear Christ’s gospel upon every culture in every place.

2.  The Church has tremendous resources.
Our human resources include people with various passions, skills, and desires to make a difference in others’ lives and bring the blessings of God to them.  Our financial resources are without limit because God will supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

1.  Christians believe in The Church.
The Church is the body of Christ.  Believers are committed to Christ and to each other.  To adapt the words of a young African pastor:  We are part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  We have Holy Spirit power.  The die is cast.  We have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.  We are disciples of Christ.  We won’t look back, let up, slow down back away or be still.  Our past is redeemed.  Our present makes sense.  Our future is secure.  We are finished with low living. Sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.  We no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, plaudits, or popularity.  We don’t have to be right, first, top, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.  We live by faith, lean on his presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer and labor by love.  Our face is set, our gait is fast, our goal is Heaven, our road is narrow, our way is rough, our companions are few, our guide is reliable, our mission is clear.  We cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.  We will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.  We won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until we have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.  We are disciples of Jesus.  We must go ‘til he comes, give ‘til we drop, preach ‘til all know, and work ‘til he stops us.  And, when he comes for his own, he will have no problem recognizing us.  We are his Church!