Blog 67 Charles Kirby
I HAVE A STORY TO TELL...A LIFETIME OF PREACHING
I have been notified by the Florida Nazarene District Superintendent, Larry Dennis, because of my plans to be the preaching interim pastor of Restoration Fellowship Church in Lakeland that my ordination credential will be revoked.
I met all requirements to be an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and was ordained at the altar of Little Rock, Arkansas First Nazarene Church by General Superintendent D.I. Vanderpool on September 13, 1963, at the South Arkansas District Assembly before a great crowd. I can still feel his holy hands on my head asking if I would be faithful in preaching God’s Word without fear or favor. With Bess by my side, with tear stained eyes, I said I would, and also keep myself above reproach.
When I retired after 56 years as a pastor in May of 2017, I did not retire as an ordained preacher of the Gospel of my Lord. The preaching flame has been burning in my heart since I was a young boy preaching in a make-believe church in the barn at my old home place. It will not go out until God calls me home!
I began my preaching ministry in my first year of college after God healed my stuttering, stammering tongue. At the altar of College Hill Nazarene Church in Nashville I told God I would surrender to His call for me to be a preacher of the Gospel if He would heal my stuttering. It was a miraculous healing, and almost immediately launched me into a preaching ministry. I began to get calls to preach revivals on the weekends. I would leave the college campus on Fridays in my 1954 green and white Ford, and travel across the Southeast to preach Friday night through Sunday night, returning to the campus usually early on Monday mornings for an 8:00 a.m. class. God really blessed me tremendously during this time with great victories in all of these churches. I even went back to most of these churches a second and third time. It really was an exciting time in my life! It was a fact, God was honoring my obedience to His call to preach His Holy Word! After Bess and I married, we continued in revivals until we began our pastoral ministry in a home mission church with three people.
In June of 1972 I was a featured speaker at the General Nazarene Sunday School Convention with thousands attending in Miami Beach. At that time Bess and I were serving as pastors of Tidewater Central Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The church had grown to become the 10th largest Sunday School in the Nazarene denomination. Roy Henley, from the Department of Church Schools in Kansas City, interviewed me concerning our growth. The providential exposure to thousands of Nazarenes from across the country and Canada opened a brand new door of preaching opportunities for me that ran into 2007. That is 35 years of preaching in conferences and camp meetings while maintaining my pastoral ministry and preaching on Sundays in my local church. I have just today, Wednesday July 11, 2018, reviewed my schedule and counted 45 states and districts where I was a featured preacher during those years. It included other denominations like Wesleyan, Churches of Christ in Christian Union, Missionary Demonination and a week's tour of Western Canada, along with a special Central Canada convention. I have not counted any revivals I held during these years, just conventions and camp meetings.
It goes without saying, God has blessed me abundantly and beyond my greatest expectations as a preacher of the Gospel of my Lord. I am so thankful for every opportunity He has given to a stuttering and stammering Tennessee country boy. Every morning God wakes me up He reminds me He is not finished with me yet. So I will continue to preach His Word at every opportunity until He calls me home!!!!!!!
With a thankful heart!
Bess’ blog 67, July 14, 2018
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT PRAYER
“If my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chron. 7:14
WHY PRAY? The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The scripture is filled with prayers, and the admonition to pray. Luke 18:1 says that “men ought always to pray.” I Thes. 5:25 admonishes “brethren, pray for us.” 3rd John 2 states “pray that you may prosper”. Listen to 1 Sam. 12:23, “...far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…” It sounds like God wants us to pray. It’s conversation with Him. It’s expressing our concerns to Him. It’s listening to His voice. It’s getting advice, counsel, help, hope, direction, comfort, peace, and so much more from our greatest Friend, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So why pray? Because God wants us to. We need this wonderful relationship with Him; we please God when we pray; prayer changes things; and, God answers prayer!
IS PRAYER NECESSARY FOR LIFE’S CHALLENGES? Yes, and here’s why. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything BY PRAYER and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6. The words of Jesus in Matt. 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” According to Luke 22:44, Jesus prayed more earnestly, being in agony. Life brings needs; and, God supplies needs. So, we must ask, we must pray. The New Testament is filled with scriptures which say “ ask and ye shall receive”; just look in your concordance.
WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY AND HOW OFTEN? Morning, Noon, or Night? The answer is “yes” to all three. I Thes. 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Psalm 55:17 says, “..at noon I will pray.” Luke 6:12 speaks of “...all night in prayer to God.” It’s great to start the day with prayer; to send up prayers throughout the day; and, end the day with prayer. Eph. 6:18 speaks of “praying always” and Acts 6:4, “continually to prayer.” The song writer said it this way, “Just keep on praying “till light breaks through. The Lord will answer, will answer you…”
IS THERE A TEACHER IN THE HOUSE? HOW DO WE LEARN TO PRAY? I’m glad you asked. Yes, there’s a teacher in the house. His name is JESUS. Luke 11:1-4, “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place; when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” Jesus is saying in Matt. 6:9, “In this manner, therefore, pray…” Romans 8:26 says,”Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Thank God for our Teachers. Prayer is talking to God. Pray includes praising God, inquiring of God, asking God, thanking God. Prayer certainly includes repentance of sins, sorrow for mistakes, requests for guidance, help, hope! OK, NOW ITS YOUR TIME. Just start and “keep on praying ‘till light breaks through”. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!
Praying for you and praying for myself. We all need the prayers of those we love. Bess