I am pleased to recommend a book to you. The Complete John Ploughman is a combined addition of Charles Spurgeon’s John Ploughman’s Talk and John Ploughman’s Pictures. In the book, Spurgeon demonstrates he’s not just a great orator, but a fabulous word smith in the vernacular. He kind of puts it on the bottom shelf for you while he gets all up in your grill, ya know?
In the preface, Spurgeon writes, “In John Ploughman’s Talk, I have tried to talk for ploughmen and common people. Hence refined taste and dainty words have been discarded for strong old proverbial expressions and homely phrases.” The topics are by subject and deal primarily with the vices of everyday living. I have found this book a helpful companion in personal holiness and childrearing as the word pictures are so vivid that simple minds are able to grasp weighty concepts with ease. There’s also a variety of whimsical pictures throughout. And for preaching it is a veritable treasure trove of sermon illustrations.
Here’s a snippet from the chapter “You may bend the sapling, but not the tree.”
Ladder, and pole, and cord will be of no use to straighten the bent tree; it should have been looked after much earlier. Train trees when they are saplings and young lads before the down comes on their chins. Begin early to teach, for children begin early to sin. Catch them young and you may hope to keep them. What is learned young is learned for life. What we hear at the first we remember to the last. The bent twig grows up a crooked tree.
When a boy is rebellious, conquer him, and do it well the first time, that there may be no need to do it again. A child’s first lesson should be obedience, and after that you may teach it what you please: yet the young mind must not be laced too tight, or you may hurt its growth and hinder its strength. They say a daft nurse makes a wise child, but I do not believe it: nobody needs so much common sense as a mother or a governess. It does not do to be always thwarting; and yet remember if you give a child his will and a whelp his fill, both will surely turn out ill. A child’s back must be made to bend, but it must not be broken. He must be ruled, but not with a rod of iron. His spirit must be conquered, but not crushed.
Hypocrisy is a disease of which most men seek the remedy at some time in their lives. It is very often so vague in us that only others can see it. Just like the woman who stands before the mirror as an anorexic, so the hypocrite can see nothing but a distorted image when everyone around him can see it plainly. The pretender can sometimes be so immersed in his act that he will actually believe himself a knight in shining armor. Yet he will be Don Quixote fighting windmills of unbelief.
There is not a man living or dead who at one time did not deal with a hypocritical heart. Each of us faces ourselves at times when we would rather not see what is really there. Then we are faced with a radical decision. We must decide whether we will deal with self or let self rule. Our inner selves at times may become much like a despotic king, tyrannically forcing it’s subjects (the mind, will, desire, etc.) to turn in rebellion against God. When we notice this king gaining a strategic position we must unseat him. Self must be brought into subjection. Continue Reading
This is a wonderful story of redemption and what church discipline is all about. I personally know John and he is a wonderful encouragement to our entire congregation. Read and enjoy the article and then stop and pray for John that he would continue to have victory over his sin and that the Lord would work in his life through the circumstances that he has brought upon himself and his family. He is facing some serious consequences and has a loving wife and three wonderful boys awaiting the final word. Use this in your ministries and churches. Church discipline is a no-compromise area of church life. We simply have the choice to obey or be disobedient in this.
Gambling, embezzling & church discipline
by David Roach FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP)–John Fluharty says church discipline saved his life.
Even though Fluharty was a member of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky., he still had major sins in his life. A gambling addiction snowballed until he began embezzling from his employer to fund his habit. But when Buck Run and its pastor, Hershael York, intervened with church discipline, Fluharty repented and began to grow spiritually like never before.
There are probably not too many cinematic moments greater than the courtroom scene in A Few Good Men where Lt. Kaffee grills Col. Nathan Jessep about his involvement in the death of one of his marines. In a gamble as big as taking a job at the University of Alabama, Kaffee presses Jessep for a confession. Appealing to his pride as a marine and his pride in himself he pokes and prodes the senior officer until he snaps at the insolence of this young upstart who’s never held a rifle in combat.
Jessep: “You want answers?”
Kaffee: “I want the truth!!”
Jessep: “You can’t handle the truth!!”
You almost root for Jessep’s prideful defense of his own mistake. You almost root for this man to win, for him to show this boy that the party’s over and daddy’s gonna get up and go home after giving him a swift spanking. It’s just one big testosterone filled moment.
Most of us can identify with the good Colonel though, not because we’ve ever had to stand on a wall and protect the country, but because we all know what it feels like to be pushed. We know what it’s like to harbor some secret that we desperately want to let out but just can’t. Most of the time we don’t tell because of the consequences we know will follow immediately after, whether it’s loss of respect, loss of position, or even a loss of the secret itself. Continue Reading
One of my pet peeves is praying only for sick people. I know that praying for the sick is important and should be a priority. I know that it is something that can bring great blessing to the church and great glory to God. If I were sick, or my family were sick, I would want you to pray for them. My gripe is that churches can fall into a rut when it comes to prayer. It has been my experience in most every church I have ever attended that the prayer time was actually a list of who was in the hospital, who was down with the flu, or who was about to pass away. It always seemed to me in those moments that we were praying for what we knew would already happen. Continue Reading
Those of you who know me know that I have had quite a bit of disruption in my personal life caused by theological disagreement. I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty of those stories firstly because I hope they are part of my past and not an ongoing part of my present. Secondly because I want to honor those people who have disagreed with me and keep their reputation as clean as I possibly can. I will say that some of the most miserable times in my life were direct results of the confrontations due to theological difference. These were times that caused extreme anxiety, emotional pain, and agonizing stress. I cannot be too clear on this point that theological disagreement has, in my life at least, brought about some of the most painful moments.
As I was packing the final items into our van for our move to Frankfort last friday, I experienced yet another unprovoked confrontation due to theological disagreement. Continue Reading