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The Evangelistic Ministries of John "BJ" Hall

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The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

The Final Scene

September 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall --

Have you ever felt that God’s hand was turned against you? Has it at times seemed that things were beyond hope, that everything in life was going wrong?

That is a common problem for man. Jesus said, “… He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 (KJV)

Job was a man who honored God with all that he possessed. When God pointed proudly to Job’s faithfulness, Satan said that Job only served God because he had a good life. He suggested that if God’s blessings were withheld from Job, that he would turn away from God.

God allowed Satan to test Job. The result of that test was Job’s response is given in Job 13:15-16 (KJV) “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16  He also shall be my salvation …”

When Jesus said that the sun rises on the evil and the good and rain falls on the just and the unjust, He was talking about the blessings and trials of life. We all experience them. Even the evilest individual in the world has good days. And the purest and holiest person has bad days.

The question is what you will do this day that will impact your future in the best possible way. If you trust in the Lord, as Job did, then your future is bright, no matter what happens in this world. You will know the blessings and joy of Heaven.

If you choose, on the other hand, to go your own way and depend on yourself and the things of the world, then your future is one of eternal separation from God and all that is good.

If you knew that today you were filming the final scene of your life, what choices would you make?

 

Where Will Your Life Lead?

Where will your life lead?
Where will it end?
What will your destiny be?
Give your heart to Jesus,
Let Him be your friend,
For all eternity.

Why won’t you let Him,
Come into your heart today?
Now won't you let Him,
Come into your heart to stay?

Come and let Jesus
Give you great joy.
He’ll give you peace within.
Bow down your pride
And open up your heart.
Jesus will cleanse you from sin.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

My Heritage

September 5, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was reared during the depression and dust bowl days in northwest Oklahoma. His family farmed a forty acre patch of sand and scrub. His father, besides being a farmer, was a mule skinner. He raised and trained mules for work. It was hard work but it built character into his young life.

He learned faith and faithfulness. He learned the love and compassion. Most of all he learned to love the Lord with all his heart. He carried those values into his marriage and then into war. My parents had only been married a short time when war broke out. He was a private in the United States Army’s Horse Drawn Artillery.

When he was shipped overseas he was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was one of the first to land in North Africa to fight Rommel across the desert sands. Then went north through Cicily and Italy and pushed the Germans back with one victory after another. He was on the front lines for 34 months with no rest and recuperation. During that time his actions earned two bronze stars and an elevation to the rank of Sergeant.

While he was at war, my mother worked as a nightclub singer in St Louis, Kansas City and in California. She was about to sign a recording contract to be known as Kate Smith of the Ozarks when she received a telegram saying that Daddy was headed home from war. She rushed home to be with the love of her life.

Not long after their reunion, they attended a revival meeting at Washington Avenue Bible Church in Enid, Oklahoma. One night during the invitation Daddy went to the front surrendering to God’s call to ministry. At the same time, Mama went forward to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. Neither knew of the other’s decision until after the service.

Together they began a journey of faith that would result in over 60 years of marriage, and more than 40 years of service to the Lord.

This is the home that I was born into. This is my heritage. Faith and faithfulness were a part of my earliest memories. Everything we did as a family led us closer in our relationship to the Lord and one another. Our home was built on the solid rock foundation of faith in Christ alone.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am thankful for the heritage of faith that my parents gave me. There is nothing in life that could have been a greater gift.

Jesus told his followers in Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

Our family has gone through many storms of life, but we stand because we have a firm foundation. The Rock of our salvation is Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of the Most High God.

What foundation do you have? Is your house built on the Solid Rock? Or is it built on the shifting sands of this world? You can have a firm foundation today. It is your decision. As Joshua said, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (KJV) 

My Heritage

He was raised up in a time of woe.
There were hardships all around.
On a sandy land farm, he did grow,
As he worked and tilled the ground.

His family was so filled with love,
It mattered not they were poor.
For their love was given from above,
And it grew there even more.

As he grew up and became a man,
He met a wonderful girl.
Soon he would stand and take her hand,
And promise her the world.

They dedicated their hearts and home,
To service for our Savior.
And through their home, God’s love was shown,
Through word and through behavior.

What better heritage is there
To pass on to our children,
Than teaching how to love and share,
God’s love with family and friend?

© Copyright 1995 by Passage Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Where Do I Turn?

September 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Years ago, there was a comedy, variety, show that we watched. Hee-Haw was a hilarious diversion from the workaday world. One of my favorite parts of the show was the song that said, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”

The problem in life is when it’s not funny anymore. When the gloom, despair, and agony are real, where do we turn?

Headlines speak can strike fear into the hearts of men. We read of the devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. It is heartening to see the reaction of the people of Louisiana and Texas. We have seen what is now called The Cajun Navy and the Southeast Texas Navy giving of themselves to help their neighbors in need. Our Vice President and his wife were seen working shoulder to shoulder with recovery workers. We have seen the work of the men and women of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and many other organizations as they dedicate time and energy to helping those affected by this unprecedented storm.

But there are other disasters in life that do not see such outpouring of compassion. People of all stations in life struggle with cancer, diabetes, heart-failure, and other devastating health problems. So many have no idea where to turn for help.

Those with depression and other mood disorders often suffer in silence, afraid that if they allow others to know that they will be looked down upon and judged. Alcohol and drug abuse plague many in our world. Broken homes and abandoned or abused children are rampant.

Two of my long time friends, who happen to be pastors, are constantly dealing with the harsh reality of cancer in their bodies. You see, Christian people, even those in ministry, are not exempt from the struggles of life.

Where do we turn? How do we deal with heartache and tragedy? When a young couple vows to give their undying love “in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth,” they have no idea what lies ahead of them. They believe that love will be all they need.

In reality what they need is more than the good feeling of love. They need to learn to lean not only on one another but on God. If their home is not built on the solid foundation of faith in Christ they have a recipe for disaster.

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”

The Psalmist also said in Psalm 56:4 “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

So the answer is to turn to Jesus. But you must begin by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Without that, your trust is in vain. So come to Him today. Open your heart. Let Him take residence there. You will never regret it.

Where Do I Turn?

Troubles come on every side
They rise and fall just like a tide.
Seems no matter where I turn
Troubled waters rip and churn.

I am deserted and alone,
Like a piece of trash that’s thrown.
There’s no peace, there’s no hope,
I’m at the end of my own rope.

Where do I turn, where can I go?
Who will hope, to this
life show?
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s the one
He’ll shine His light, bright as the sun.

I turn to Him. What do I find?
He’s been right there, all of the time.
He always knew the hope I need
As before God’s throne, He stood to plead.

And now I know that there is joy
To overcome the Devil’s ploy.
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s my friend.
He’ll be beside me to the end.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

God Has Always Had a Plan

August 30, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Don’t you just hate it when you are walking through the house at night and catch your pinky toe on the corner of the dresser? I did that about a week ago and my toe is still sore.

How is it that even when you know where everything is supposed to be in your house, sometimes the corner of a dresser or the leg of a chair just jumps out and tries to yank your toe completely off of your foot? Then you reach down in pain to grab your hurt toe and hit your head on the offending object.

Did you know that there is a plan in place that could prevent most of those horrible nighttime pains? Most houses have a handy little device that can protect you. It’s called a light switch. When activated the room is illuminated and those pesky dressers and chairs aren’t as likely to sneak up on you to put your life in misery.

There are many pesky things in life that reach out and grab us. It seems that everyone is mad about everything these days. We protest on one corner and protest the protestors on the other. Sometimes the two clash and more problems ensue.

Sin reaches out and grabs us by the pinky toe and we end up in grief and pain as a result. When will we realize that God has a plan for that? The protesters would have nothing to protest if we all followed God’s plan. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is that as long as we refuse to follow God’s plan we will never be able to get along with those around us.

There are those who doubt there is a God because of the suffering that is in the world. But suffering was not in God’s plan. Mankind brought that upon himself by an act of selfishness and disobedience.

God created a world in which there was no conflict; a world where everyone got along. But Adam and Eve didn’t turn on the light switch. They allowed the Devil to grab them by the pinky toe so to speak. The result was death, division, and conflict. Even Cain, their first born son, killed his brother out of jealousy and a fit of rage.

It is time to turn the lights on. The light that God planned for from the beginning. Jesus said in John 8:12 “… I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” God’s plan has never been for man to walk in darkness. He sent His Only Begotten Son to die on the cross so that light could finally be seen in the dark places of our hearts.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

God’s Plan

God’s plan for all the ages
Is a wondrous thing to know.
He has much grace and mercy
As history will show.
He started out with nothing
And from it built the Earth.
And everything was beautiful
‘Till mankind sin gave birth.

God’s plan for all the ages
Has never changed you see.
He still loves sinful humans.
He showed it on a tree.
His own dear son was hung there,
On that old cruel cross,
And Jesus died to save us,
From death and endless loss.

God’s plan for all the ages
Will always be the same.
He wrote it with His own blood
With words so clear and plain.
He went to make a place for us,
Where we will someday live.
For he will come and take away
Those who ask Him to forgive.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

White Unto Harvest

August 26, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was the pastor of small churches in Oklahoma. I remember going out with farmers who were members of the church, and riding on the combines or in the trucks taking the wheat to the Co-op. The equipment needed to bring in the harvest was very large and very expensive.

One of the most important things that I learned in those experiences is that there are stages of development of the wheat. The most critical of those stages come during harvest time.

The farmer wants to see golden heads on the wheat. I remember seeing them take a grain of wheat and put it in their mouth and chew on it. They were checking for the maturity of the grain. They can also tell the moisture content and several other factors, just by tasting and chewing on the grain.

Sometimes because of weather conditions they are not able to get the machines into the field at just the right time. As the heads begin to turn white, the harvest is critical. It is a sign that they are about to lose the crop. The nutrition level and moisture begin to go down and the heads are in danger of shattering before they are ever harvested.

Jesus talked about this critical stage when He said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJV)

The field of men’s souls is white unto harvest. We are at a critical time. If the harvest is not reaped, then the souls of men will be shattered. The harvest once lost can never be brought in to the storehouse.

As Jesus and His disciples neared the village of Sychar they do doubt felt that there could be no harvest here. The people of the area hated Jews and the Jews hated them. For some reason, when it comes to witnessing for Christ, it is always the wrong time and the wrong place! It takes faith to harvest the crop, and we must do it even when the circumstances look discouraging. Especially when the fields are “white unto harvest.”

The Harvest

The harvest is so white,
The labor must be done.
If the harvest is not gathered,
‘Twill wither in the sun.

Who will reap the harvest?
Who will thrash the grain?
Who will grind the flour,
To make it bread for man?

Who will win the lost one?
Who will teach them more?
Who will help them know the Lord,
And make the Spirit soar?

I will do my part for Christ
And live for Him the best I can.
I’ll open up the Word with them.
I’ll share Christ’s love with men.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Little Chapel

August 23, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

While I was in seminary I had a class held at a campground near Waco, Texas. I misunderstood the starting time of the class so I arrived about three hours early. There was no one there, so I had time to look around and familiarize myself with my surroundings.

I had a lot going on in my mind. I was, in fact, struggling with a crisis of faith. In no way was I doubting God’s work of salvation that He had done in my life. I was struggling to comprehend what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life.

I had spent nearly thirty years in full-time ministry as a pastor. But God was asking me to do something that I didn’t think I was capable of. He was calling me into full-time evangelism but I wanted to remain a pastor, or possibly be a Director of Missions in an association. I was so convinced that is where God wanted me that I had changed my major from theology to a masters degree in religious education.

The problem was that there were no associations that were interested in me and my hopes seemed to be dashed on the rocks of despair. What was even more frustrating for me was that several of my friends in the ministry were answering the call to serve in the field that I was convinced was my call.

As I wandered around the campgrounds, I noticed on the far side of a large fishing pond a small chapel nestled in a grove of trees. It seemed like it would be a nice place to sit on the porch and contemplate what God was doing in my life.

As I approached it, I found that things were not what they seemed to be. The chapel was run down. As I looked in through the smoky glass I saw that pews were piled on top of one another. The pulpit was broken down, and boxes were strewn about the room.

The Lord brought to my mind a passage that seemed what I was seeing in this little chapel and what was going on in my life. First Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV) says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” My problem was that I was trying to force my understanding into fruition rather than listening to His direction. In so doing I was cluttering the temple (chapel) of my life with things that were not important.

Have you ever come to a crisis of belief in your life? It can be unsettling. But if we remain faithful and observe the signs that He places in our path, we will find the direction we need.

Some of you, reading this article, may not have come to a time in your life when you trusted in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is important that you open your eyes and see what God is doing around you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Allow Him to enter the sanctuary of your heart. He will put things in order like you have never seen before.

 

The Little Chapel

From A distance it looked So inviting and secure,
A place where hearts Could be made so pure.
But as I came near My eyes did behold,
Its windows were dark And its breath was cold.

The little chapel was in disrepair,
 The steeple was tilted And wood doors were bare.
Inside it was cluttered With boards and such.
It was hard to tell There some soul had been touched.

It was plain to see It had not been used,
In many a year by the look of the pews.
So lonely it seemed  I just had to stay
And fall on my knees a prayer to say.

The chapel seemed brighter As love shown through.
Why one could say, It almost looked new!
I suddenly saw That the chapel was me,
And through God's love, I had been set free.

 

© Copyright by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Difference

August 19, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I had allowed my spiritual life to become dormant. How could I, a preacher, allow that to happen? I got busy doing things for the Lord and the church. Corrie Ten Boom said it best when she said, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”

I found this to be true in my life. I always knew that I was not as “good” as other ministers. So in order to compensate, I went into overdrive “doing” church. If someone were to call late at night the church office, I was probably going to answer the phone.

Even though we had a church secretary, I was the one who typed up the prayer reports for the “714 Club” prayer ministry. I was the one who shortchanged his family time, because “Church” came before family. I had to be the good preacher and drop whatever was happening at home because somebody “needed me.”

I did not realize that a part of my responsibility to my Lord, included responsibility to my family. I had forgotten that my family is my partner in ministry. I have forgotten that they needed me just as much as the person on the phone at 2:00 am.

Colossians 2:13-15 (KJV) says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The work-a-holic in me thought that by my doing, I was being faithful to Christ. The “handwriting of ordinances” was not bringing joy into my home.

I needed an awakening. I needed a wakeup call. My health broke about the same time that I left the pastorate. That was what I needed. I was able to focus on prayer, Bible study, and worship more than I had in years. I no longer had to be in performance mode. It took several years for it to make a true difference in my life. But I am so glad it did.

Frankly, I believe that my family sees that difference as well.

 

The Difference

My life was filled with selfishness.
I was filled up with pride.
I thought the whole world I could bless
If they’d stand by my side.

I worked and tried my best to give
The world a better day.
I tried a good clean life to live,
What better price to pay?

But in my house my family knew.
They’d see me fuss and fight.
And people in the world saw too,
Something was just not right.

But I have bowed unto the Lord
And asked Him to forgive,
For I can no longer afford
Without His power to live.

No longer do I live alone,
With aching heart so sore;
For God's own power to me, He’s shown.
It’s Him I’m living for.

And now the difference I can feel.
In Jesus my heart burns
For other’s souls now to appeal,
Until sin their heart spurns.

“For me to live is Christ,” Paul said,
“To die it would be 
gain.”
Now my heart is no longer dead
And I can say the same.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

One Hundred Years and Counting

August 17, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

There is a place that is dear to my heart. It is a place where I have heard God’s voice and answered His call. It is a place where thousands of people of all ages have come to faith in Christ. It is a place where more people have surrendered to the call of missionary and pastor than any other place on Earth. It happens to be the largest Christian youth camp in the world. Where is this special place? Falls Creek Baptist Assembly near Davis, Oklahoma is the only place that fits the description.

I began attending camp there in 1954. Back then there were no air conditioners, hot showers, indoor toilets, etc. The cabin my parents and I stayed in was just inside the main gate and on the other side of Falls Creek. I learned at an early age that the convenience of riding in a car was a luxury. You had to walk about a city block from where Daddy parked the car, to the front door of our little cabin. Of course at camp, you walked everywhere.

The shower consisted of a 50-gallon drum on a stand behind the cabin. Water from a spring ran into the drum all day long. You didn’t want to take your shower in the morning. The water would be ice cold from the spring. But in the evening, just before bed, you could go out and enjoy the fact that the water had been warmed by the sun.  

That shower calls to mind the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives. John recorded Jesus words in chapter fourteen verses sixteen and seventeen. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

The Psalmist had said, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Psalm 69:20 (KJV)

The cold spring water is the cold, harsh world we live in. The Psalmist was prophesying concerning the death of our Lord. But it also applies to us. If you try to take it on your own as it comes out of the side of the mountain it chills and literally makes you hurt. There doesn’t seem that there is anything that could warm the water. No one cared enough to even try

But when the Holy Spirit works in our lives, He takes away the harsh chill that threatens us. He heals the broken heart and lifts up the heaviness. He looks on us with more than pity. He gives us His love and a comforter that will take away the chill.

If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit dwells in you. It’s a package deal. Allow Him the freedom to work in your life and let Him be your Comforter.

Falls Creek

We thank our Lord and Savior,
For forming these old hills.
Where cool clear water fills a pool,
And over fall does spill.

The setting is so beautiful,
Exciting yet serene.
In these hills there is power,
To move the soul within.

This place is given to the Lord,
His Spirit to control.
And as we come together now,
He speaks unto the soul.

Yes, Falls Creek is a special place,
Where sinners are set free.
A place that Jesus did provide,
A place for you and me.

Now would you stop and listen,
To what He has to say?
Then yield your heart and life to Him,
And bow to Him and pray.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

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The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

The Final Scene

September 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall --

Have you ever felt that God’s hand was turned against you? Has it at times seemed that things were beyond hope, that everything in life was going wrong?

That is a common problem for man. Jesus said, “… He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 (KJV)

Job was a man who honored God with all that he possessed. When God pointed proudly to Job’s faithfulness, Satan said that Job only served God because he had a good life. He suggested that if God’s blessings were withheld from Job, that he would turn away from God.

God allowed Satan to test Job. The result of that test was Job’s response is given in Job 13:15-16 (KJV) “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16  He also shall be my salvation …”

When Jesus said that the sun rises on the evil and the good and rain falls on the just and the unjust, He was talking about the blessings and trials of life. We all experience them. Even the evilest individual in the world has good days. And the purest and holiest person has bad days.

The question is what you will do this day that will impact your future in the best possible way. If you trust in the Lord, as Job did, then your future is bright, no matter what happens in this world. You will know the blessings and joy of Heaven.

If you choose, on the other hand, to go your own way and depend on yourself and the things of the world, then your future is one of eternal separation from God and all that is good.

If you knew that today you were filming the final scene of your life, what choices would you make?

 

Where Will Your Life Lead?

Where will your life lead?
Where will it end?
What will your destiny be?
Give your heart to Jesus,
Let Him be your friend,
For all eternity.

Why won’t you let Him,
Come into your heart today?
Now won't you let Him,
Come into your heart to stay?

Come and let Jesus
Give you great joy.
He’ll give you peace within.
Bow down your pride
And open up your heart.
Jesus will cleanse you from sin.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

My Heritage

September 5, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was reared during the depression and dust bowl days in northwest Oklahoma. His family farmed a forty acre patch of sand and scrub. His father, besides being a farmer, was a mule skinner. He raised and trained mules for work. It was hard work but it built character into his young life.

He learned faith and faithfulness. He learned the love and compassion. Most of all he learned to love the Lord with all his heart. He carried those values into his marriage and then into war. My parents had only been married a short time when war broke out. He was a private in the United States Army’s Horse Drawn Artillery.

When he was shipped overseas he was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was one of the first to land in North Africa to fight Rommel across the desert sands. Then went north through Cicily and Italy and pushed the Germans back with one victory after another. He was on the front lines for 34 months with no rest and recuperation. During that time his actions earned two bronze stars and an elevation to the rank of Sergeant.

While he was at war, my mother worked as a nightclub singer in St Louis, Kansas City and in California. She was about to sign a recording contract to be known as Kate Smith of the Ozarks when she received a telegram saying that Daddy was headed home from war. She rushed home to be with the love of her life.

Not long after their reunion, they attended a revival meeting at Washington Avenue Bible Church in Enid, Oklahoma. One night during the invitation Daddy went to the front surrendering to God’s call to ministry. At the same time, Mama went forward to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. Neither knew of the other’s decision until after the service.

Together they began a journey of faith that would result in over 60 years of marriage, and more than 40 years of service to the Lord.

This is the home that I was born into. This is my heritage. Faith and faithfulness were a part of my earliest memories. Everything we did as a family led us closer in our relationship to the Lord and one another. Our home was built on the solid rock foundation of faith in Christ alone.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am thankful for the heritage of faith that my parents gave me. There is nothing in life that could have been a greater gift.

Jesus told his followers in Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

Our family has gone through many storms of life, but we stand because we have a firm foundation. The Rock of our salvation is Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of the Most High God.

What foundation do you have? Is your house built on the Solid Rock? Or is it built on the shifting sands of this world? You can have a firm foundation today. It is your decision. As Joshua said, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (KJV) 

My Heritage

He was raised up in a time of woe.
There were hardships all around.
On a sandy land farm, he did grow,
As he worked and tilled the ground.

His family was so filled with love,
It mattered not they were poor.
For their love was given from above,
And it grew there even more.

As he grew up and became a man,
He met a wonderful girl.
Soon he would stand and take her hand,
And promise her the world.

They dedicated their hearts and home,
To service for our Savior.
And through their home, God’s love was shown,
Through word and through behavior.

What better heritage is there
To pass on to our children,
Than teaching how to love and share,
God’s love with family and friend?

© Copyright 1995 by Passage Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Where Do I Turn?

September 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Years ago, there was a comedy, variety, show that we watched. Hee-Haw was a hilarious diversion from the workaday world. One of my favorite parts of the show was the song that said, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”

The problem in life is when it’s not funny anymore. When the gloom, despair, and agony are real, where do we turn?

Headlines speak can strike fear into the hearts of men. We read of the devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. It is heartening to see the reaction of the people of Louisiana and Texas. We have seen what is now called The Cajun Navy and the Southeast Texas Navy giving of themselves to help their neighbors in need. Our Vice President and his wife were seen working shoulder to shoulder with recovery workers. We have seen the work of the men and women of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and many other organizations as they dedicate time and energy to helping those affected by this unprecedented storm.

But there are other disasters in life that do not see such outpouring of compassion. People of all stations in life struggle with cancer, diabetes, heart-failure, and other devastating health problems. So many have no idea where to turn for help.

Those with depression and other mood disorders often suffer in silence, afraid that if they allow others to know that they will be looked down upon and judged. Alcohol and drug abuse plague many in our world. Broken homes and abandoned or abused children are rampant.

Two of my long time friends, who happen to be pastors, are constantly dealing with the harsh reality of cancer in their bodies. You see, Christian people, even those in ministry, are not exempt from the struggles of life.

Where do we turn? How do we deal with heartache and tragedy? When a young couple vows to give their undying love “in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth,” they have no idea what lies ahead of them. They believe that love will be all they need.

In reality what they need is more than the good feeling of love. They need to learn to lean not only on one another but on God. If their home is not built on the solid foundation of faith in Christ they have a recipe for disaster.

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”

The Psalmist also said in Psalm 56:4 “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

So the answer is to turn to Jesus. But you must begin by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Without that, your trust is in vain. So come to Him today. Open your heart. Let Him take residence there. You will never regret it.

Where Do I Turn?

Troubles come on every side
They rise and fall just like a tide.
Seems no matter where I turn
Troubled waters rip and churn.

I am deserted and alone,
Like a piece of trash that’s thrown.
There’s no peace, there’s no hope,
I’m at the end of my own rope.

Where do I turn, where can I go?
Who will hope, to this
life show?
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s the one
He’ll shine His light, bright as the sun.

I turn to Him. What do I find?
He’s been right there, all of the time.
He always knew the hope I need
As before God’s throne, He stood to plead.

And now I know that there is joy
To overcome the Devil’s ploy.
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s my friend.
He’ll be beside me to the end.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

God Has Always Had a Plan

August 30, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Don’t you just hate it when you are walking through the house at night and catch your pinky toe on the corner of the dresser? I did that about a week ago and my toe is still sore.

How is it that even when you know where everything is supposed to be in your house, sometimes the corner of a dresser or the leg of a chair just jumps out and tries to yank your toe completely off of your foot? Then you reach down in pain to grab your hurt toe and hit your head on the offending object.

Did you know that there is a plan in place that could prevent most of those horrible nighttime pains? Most houses have a handy little device that can protect you. It’s called a light switch. When activated the room is illuminated and those pesky dressers and chairs aren’t as likely to sneak up on you to put your life in misery.

There are many pesky things in life that reach out and grab us. It seems that everyone is mad about everything these days. We protest on one corner and protest the protestors on the other. Sometimes the two clash and more problems ensue.

Sin reaches out and grabs us by the pinky toe and we end up in grief and pain as a result. When will we realize that God has a plan for that? The protesters would have nothing to protest if we all followed God’s plan. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is that as long as we refuse to follow God’s plan we will never be able to get along with those around us.

There are those who doubt there is a God because of the suffering that is in the world. But suffering was not in God’s plan. Mankind brought that upon himself by an act of selfishness and disobedience.

God created a world in which there was no conflict; a world where everyone got along. But Adam and Eve didn’t turn on the light switch. They allowed the Devil to grab them by the pinky toe so to speak. The result was death, division, and conflict. Even Cain, their first born son, killed his brother out of jealousy and a fit of rage.

It is time to turn the lights on. The light that God planned for from the beginning. Jesus said in John 8:12 “… I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” God’s plan has never been for man to walk in darkness. He sent His Only Begotten Son to die on the cross so that light could finally be seen in the dark places of our hearts.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

God’s Plan

God’s plan for all the ages
Is a wondrous thing to know.
He has much grace and mercy
As history will show.
He started out with nothing
And from it built the Earth.
And everything was beautiful
‘Till mankind sin gave birth.

God’s plan for all the ages
Has never changed you see.
He still loves sinful humans.
He showed it on a tree.
His own dear son was hung there,
On that old cruel cross,
And Jesus died to save us,
From death and endless loss.

God’s plan for all the ages
Will always be the same.
He wrote it with His own blood
With words so clear and plain.
He went to make a place for us,
Where we will someday live.
For he will come and take away
Those who ask Him to forgive.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

White Unto Harvest

August 26, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was the pastor of small churches in Oklahoma. I remember going out with farmers who were members of the church, and riding on the combines or in the trucks taking the wheat to the Co-op. The equipment needed to bring in the harvest was very large and very expensive.

One of the most important things that I learned in those experiences is that there are stages of development of the wheat. The most critical of those stages come during harvest time.

The farmer wants to see golden heads on the wheat. I remember seeing them take a grain of wheat and put it in their mouth and chew on it. They were checking for the maturity of the grain. They can also tell the moisture content and several other factors, just by tasting and chewing on the grain.

Sometimes because of weather conditions they are not able to get the machines into the field at just the right time. As the heads begin to turn white, the harvest is critical. It is a sign that they are about to lose the crop. The nutrition level and moisture begin to go down and the heads are in danger of shattering before they are ever harvested.

Jesus talked about this critical stage when He said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJV)

The field of men’s souls is white unto harvest. We are at a critical time. If the harvest is not reaped, then the souls of men will be shattered. The harvest once lost can never be brought in to the storehouse.

As Jesus and His disciples neared the village of Sychar they do doubt felt that there could be no harvest here. The people of the area hated Jews and the Jews hated them. For some reason, when it comes to witnessing for Christ, it is always the wrong time and the wrong place! It takes faith to harvest the crop, and we must do it even when the circumstances look discouraging. Especially when the fields are “white unto harvest.”

The Harvest

The harvest is so white,
The labor must be done.
If the harvest is not gathered,
‘Twill wither in the sun.

Who will reap the harvest?
Who will thrash the grain?
Who will grind the flour,
To make it bread for man?

Who will win the lost one?
Who will teach them more?
Who will help them know the Lord,
And make the Spirit soar?

I will do my part for Christ
And live for Him the best I can.
I’ll open up the Word with them.
I’ll share Christ’s love with men.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Little Chapel

August 23, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

While I was in seminary I had a class held at a campground near Waco, Texas. I misunderstood the starting time of the class so I arrived about three hours early. There was no one there, so I had time to look around and familiarize myself with my surroundings.

I had a lot going on in my mind. I was, in fact, struggling with a crisis of faith. In no way was I doubting God’s work of salvation that He had done in my life. I was struggling to comprehend what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life.

I had spent nearly thirty years in full-time ministry as a pastor. But God was asking me to do something that I didn’t think I was capable of. He was calling me into full-time evangelism but I wanted to remain a pastor, or possibly be a Director of Missions in an association. I was so convinced that is where God wanted me that I had changed my major from theology to a masters degree in religious education.

The problem was that there were no associations that were interested in me and my hopes seemed to be dashed on the rocks of despair. What was even more frustrating for me was that several of my friends in the ministry were answering the call to serve in the field that I was convinced was my call.

As I wandered around the campgrounds, I noticed on the far side of a large fishing pond a small chapel nestled in a grove of trees. It seemed like it would be a nice place to sit on the porch and contemplate what God was doing in my life.

As I approached it, I found that things were not what they seemed to be. The chapel was run down. As I looked in through the smoky glass I saw that pews were piled on top of one another. The pulpit was broken down, and boxes were strewn about the room.

The Lord brought to my mind a passage that seemed what I was seeing in this little chapel and what was going on in my life. First Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV) says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” My problem was that I was trying to force my understanding into fruition rather than listening to His direction. In so doing I was cluttering the temple (chapel) of my life with things that were not important.

Have you ever come to a crisis of belief in your life? It can be unsettling. But if we remain faithful and observe the signs that He places in our path, we will find the direction we need.

Some of you, reading this article, may not have come to a time in your life when you trusted in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is important that you open your eyes and see what God is doing around you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Allow Him to enter the sanctuary of your heart. He will put things in order like you have never seen before.

 

The Little Chapel

From A distance it looked So inviting and secure,
A place where hearts Could be made so pure.
But as I came near My eyes did behold,
Its windows were dark And its breath was cold.

The little chapel was in disrepair,
 The steeple was tilted And wood doors were bare.
Inside it was cluttered With boards and such.
It was hard to tell There some soul had been touched.

It was plain to see It had not been used,
In many a year by the look of the pews.
So lonely it seemed  I just had to stay
And fall on my knees a prayer to say.

The chapel seemed brighter As love shown through.
Why one could say, It almost looked new!
I suddenly saw That the chapel was me,
And through God's love, I had been set free.

 

© Copyright by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Difference

August 19, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I had allowed my spiritual life to become dormant. How could I, a preacher, allow that to happen? I got busy doing things for the Lord and the church. Corrie Ten Boom said it best when she said, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”

I found this to be true in my life. I always knew that I was not as “good” as other ministers. So in order to compensate, I went into overdrive “doing” church. If someone were to call late at night the church office, I was probably going to answer the phone.

Even though we had a church secretary, I was the one who typed up the prayer reports for the “714 Club” prayer ministry. I was the one who shortchanged his family time, because “Church” came before family. I had to be the good preacher and drop whatever was happening at home because somebody “needed me.”

I did not realize that a part of my responsibility to my Lord, included responsibility to my family. I had forgotten that my family is my partner in ministry. I have forgotten that they needed me just as much as the person on the phone at 2:00 am.

Colossians 2:13-15 (KJV) says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The work-a-holic in me thought that by my doing, I was being faithful to Christ. The “handwriting of ordinances” was not bringing joy into my home.

I needed an awakening. I needed a wakeup call. My health broke about the same time that I left the pastorate. That was what I needed. I was able to focus on prayer, Bible study, and worship more than I had in years. I no longer had to be in performance mode. It took several years for it to make a true difference in my life. But I am so glad it did.

Frankly, I believe that my family sees that difference as well.

 

The Difference

My life was filled with selfishness.
I was filled up with pride.
I thought the whole world I could bless
If they’d stand by my side.

I worked and tried my best to give
The world a better day.
I tried a good clean life to live,
What better price to pay?

But in my house my family knew.
They’d see me fuss and fight.
And people in the world saw too,
Something was just not right.

But I have bowed unto the Lord
And asked Him to forgive,
For I can no longer afford
Without His power to live.

No longer do I live alone,
With aching heart so sore;
For God's own power to me, He’s shown.
It’s Him I’m living for.

And now the difference I can feel.
In Jesus my heart burns
For other’s souls now to appeal,
Until sin their heart spurns.

“For me to live is Christ,” Paul said,
“To die it would be 
gain.”
Now my heart is no longer dead
And I can say the same.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

One Hundred Years and Counting

August 17, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

There is a place that is dear to my heart. It is a place where I have heard God’s voice and answered His call. It is a place where thousands of people of all ages have come to faith in Christ. It is a place where more people have surrendered to the call of missionary and pastor than any other place on Earth. It happens to be the largest Christian youth camp in the world. Where is this special place? Falls Creek Baptist Assembly near Davis, Oklahoma is the only place that fits the description.

I began attending camp there in 1954. Back then there were no air conditioners, hot showers, indoor toilets, etc. The cabin my parents and I stayed in was just inside the main gate and on the other side of Falls Creek. I learned at an early age that the convenience of riding in a car was a luxury. You had to walk about a city block from where Daddy parked the car, to the front door of our little cabin. Of course at camp, you walked everywhere.

The shower consisted of a 50-gallon drum on a stand behind the cabin. Water from a spring ran into the drum all day long. You didn’t want to take your shower in the morning. The water would be ice cold from the spring. But in the evening, just before bed, you could go out and enjoy the fact that the water had been warmed by the sun.  

That shower calls to mind the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives. John recorded Jesus words in chapter fourteen verses sixteen and seventeen. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

The Psalmist had said, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Psalm 69:20 (KJV)

The cold spring water is the cold, harsh world we live in. The Psalmist was prophesying concerning the death of our Lord. But it also applies to us. If you try to take it on your own as it comes out of the side of the mountain it chills and literally makes you hurt. There doesn’t seem that there is anything that could warm the water. No one cared enough to even try

But when the Holy Spirit works in our lives, He takes away the harsh chill that threatens us. He heals the broken heart and lifts up the heaviness. He looks on us with more than pity. He gives us His love and a comforter that will take away the chill.

If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit dwells in you. It’s a package deal. Allow Him the freedom to work in your life and let Him be your Comforter.

Falls Creek

We thank our Lord and Savior,
For forming these old hills.
Where cool clear water fills a pool,
And over fall does spill.

The setting is so beautiful,
Exciting yet serene.
In these hills there is power,
To move the soul within.

This place is given to the Lord,
His Spirit to control.
And as we come together now,
He speaks unto the soul.

Yes, Falls Creek is a special place,
Where sinners are set free.
A place that Jesus did provide,
A place for you and me.

Now would you stop and listen,
To what He has to say?
Then yield your heart and life to Him,
And bow to Him and pray.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

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The Starting Point

September 19, 2017

- By Evangelist John BJ Hall -

My father was a wise man. Many times I heard him say, “If God can’t use you where you are, He certainly can’t use you where you’re not.” I have found this to be true in life. If I am not willing to serve God where I am, how dare I think I will serve Him somewhere else?

Sadly many professing believers have tucked the message of hope away in a bottle of disuse. Someone else will tell them, we think. But we never open the bottle for those near to us.

After one of Dwight L. Moody's meetings, a locomotive engineer came forward and said he had decided to become a missionary to a foreign country. Moody asked him if his fireman were a Christian. "I don't know," was the reply, "I've never asked him." "Well," said Moody, "why don't you start with your fireman?"

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the events that took place in my father and mother’s lives. Those stories remind me of where I came from. They are stories of a life well lived for the cause of Christ.

All of us have a story. Families hand down stories, and they are often repeated at festive occasions. Individuals have stories to tell, and so do congregations.

But there is a story, a message, that is more important and poignant than any other that I could share. That story, that message, is of how God looked upon us with love and sent His Only Son to die in our stead. He did this so that we could be cleansed of our sin, and made it possible for us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.

Professing Christians are commissioned to tell the story of the promised Messiah, His life, death, and resurrection. Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) says, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

It is vital to the hope of our world that we let the message out of the bottle. That is the starting point.

The Message

Oh, how He loves this world that He made.
So great is His love, His life He paid.
There on the cross, He hung for our sin,
He died beside the vilest of men.

Down through the years, by messengers true,
God’s Word had been spread, the whole world through.
The message of hope brought on the tree,
Made its way down to sinners like me.

Now that the love of Jesus is mine,
I find myself singing all the time.
I can’t be still as long as it’s known,
His love 
to millions has not been shown.

Just as He came to set my soul free,
I’ll go to the world, so they can see.
That His blood shed on that cruel cross,
Will save all who trust from endless loss.

This is the message we all must bring
So that the rest of the world can sing.
A message of hope and glory too,
Of what Jesus did for me and you.

 

© Copyright, 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

True Love

September 12, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall –

On January 6, 1970, I met a beautiful brown eyed girl, who I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving. She was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in a junior college. Two days after we met, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

The only thing she knew about me was that I was her pastor’s son. I had been away in college when my father accepted the call to pastor her church. The only thing I knew about her was that she was beautiful and her brown eyes….. Well, what can I say, it was love at first sight for both of us.

We were married on May 29, 1970, less than five months after we met. Over the years, we have both said the words, “I love you” thousands of times. But there is more to love than mere words. You see, love demands action.

We have learned a lot about love over the last forty-seven-plus years. The most important thing we have learned is that love is not a noun. It is not just an “intense feeling of deep affection.” Nor is love a verb in the traditional sense of a “deep romantic or sexual attachment.”

What we have learned is that love is very active. Love is seen in a glance across the room. It is felt in a tender touch as one passes by the other. It is displayed by actions taken day after day, week after week, year after year, that say I not only love you but I respect you and honor you. 

This is true of our relationship with our Lord as well. Love is not just singing a song of worship. It is more than simply listening to a sermon or Bible study.

Love is “boots on the ground” in service to those whom God loves. It is helping an elderly neighbor by mowing her grass. It is stopping by just to chat with someone who is lonely.

But most of all, just as Christ gave His life to teach us what love is, it is giving the lost a cup of cool “water of life.” It is serving a loaf of “the bread of life” to the spiritually hungry. It is telling the lost of the hope that can be found in loving arms of Jesus.

How do you show your love?

 

How I Love Him

How I love Him, Yes I love Him,
For He first loved me.
I will give Him; Yes I’ll give Him,
My life totally.
For He gave me; Yes he gave me,
His love on a tree.
Yes, Jesus my Savior gives love full and free.

I will hear Him; Yes I’ll hear Him,
And His will obey.
I’ll stay near Him; Yes stay near Him,
And I’ll never stray.
For He hears me; Yes He hears me
When to Him I pray.
Yes, Jesus my Savior Will ne'er go away.

I will serve Him; Yes I’ll serve Him,
With all of my might.
I will praise Him; Yes I’ll praise Him,
All through the night.
He forgave me; Yes forgave me,
Now with God, I am right.
Yes Jesus my Savior, Gives love and new sight.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages ministries.

 

The Final Scene

September 9, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall --

Have you ever felt that God’s hand was turned against you? Has it at times seemed that things were beyond hope, that everything in life was going wrong?

That is a common problem for man. Jesus said, “… He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 (KJV)

Job was a man who honored God with all that he possessed. When God pointed proudly to Job’s faithfulness, Satan said that Job only served God because he had a good life. He suggested that if God’s blessings were withheld from Job, that he would turn away from God.

God allowed Satan to test Job. The result of that test was Job’s response is given in Job 13:15-16 (KJV) “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 16  He also shall be my salvation …”

When Jesus said that the sun rises on the evil and the good and rain falls on the just and the unjust, He was talking about the blessings and trials of life. We all experience them. Even the evilest individual in the world has good days. And the purest and holiest person has bad days.

The question is what you will do this day that will impact your future in the best possible way. If you trust in the Lord, as Job did, then your future is bright, no matter what happens in this world. You will know the blessings and joy of Heaven.

If you choose, on the other hand, to go your own way and depend on yourself and the things of the world, then your future is one of eternal separation from God and all that is good.

If you knew that today you were filming the final scene of your life, what choices would you make?

 

Where Will Your Life Lead?

Where will your life lead?
Where will it end?
What will your destiny be?
Give your heart to Jesus,
Let Him be your friend,
For all eternity.

Why won’t you let Him,
Come into your heart today?
Now won't you let Him,
Come into your heart to stay?

Come and let Jesus
Give you great joy.
He’ll give you peace within.
Bow down your pride
And open up your heart.
Jesus will cleanse you from sin.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

My Heritage

September 5, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was reared during the depression and dust bowl days in northwest Oklahoma. His family farmed a forty acre patch of sand and scrub. His father, besides being a farmer, was a mule skinner. He raised and trained mules for work. It was hard work but it built character into his young life.

He learned faith and faithfulness. He learned the love and compassion. Most of all he learned to love the Lord with all his heart. He carried those values into his marriage and then into war. My parents had only been married a short time when war broke out. He was a private in the United States Army’s Horse Drawn Artillery.

When he was shipped overseas he was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was one of the first to land in North Africa to fight Rommel across the desert sands. Then went north through Cicily and Italy and pushed the Germans back with one victory after another. He was on the front lines for 34 months with no rest and recuperation. During that time his actions earned two bronze stars and an elevation to the rank of Sergeant.

While he was at war, my mother worked as a nightclub singer in St Louis, Kansas City and in California. She was about to sign a recording contract to be known as Kate Smith of the Ozarks when she received a telegram saying that Daddy was headed home from war. She rushed home to be with the love of her life.

Not long after their reunion, they attended a revival meeting at Washington Avenue Bible Church in Enid, Oklahoma. One night during the invitation Daddy went to the front surrendering to God’s call to ministry. At the same time, Mama went forward to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. Neither knew of the other’s decision until after the service.

Together they began a journey of faith that would result in over 60 years of marriage, and more than 40 years of service to the Lord.

This is the home that I was born into. This is my heritage. Faith and faithfulness were a part of my earliest memories. Everything we did as a family led us closer in our relationship to the Lord and one another. Our home was built on the solid rock foundation of faith in Christ alone.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I am thankful for the heritage of faith that my parents gave me. There is nothing in life that could have been a greater gift.

Jesus told his followers in Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

Our family has gone through many storms of life, but we stand because we have a firm foundation. The Rock of our salvation is Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of the Most High God.

What foundation do you have? Is your house built on the Solid Rock? Or is it built on the shifting sands of this world? You can have a firm foundation today. It is your decision. As Joshua said, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (KJV) 

My Heritage

He was raised up in a time of woe.
There were hardships all around.
On a sandy land farm, he did grow,
As he worked and tilled the ground.

His family was so filled with love,
It mattered not they were poor.
For their love was given from above,
And it grew there even more.

As he grew up and became a man,
He met a wonderful girl.
Soon he would stand and take her hand,
And promise her the world.

They dedicated their hearts and home,
To service for our Savior.
And through their home, God’s love was shown,
Through word and through behavior.

What better heritage is there
To pass on to our children,
Than teaching how to love and share,
God’s love with family and friend?

© Copyright 1995 by Passage Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Where Do I Turn?

September 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Years ago, there was a comedy, variety, show that we watched. Hee-Haw was a hilarious diversion from the workaday world. One of my favorite parts of the show was the song that said, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”

The problem in life is when it’s not funny anymore. When the gloom, despair, and agony are real, where do we turn?

Headlines speak can strike fear into the hearts of men. We read of the devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. It is heartening to see the reaction of the people of Louisiana and Texas. We have seen what is now called The Cajun Navy and the Southeast Texas Navy giving of themselves to help their neighbors in need. Our Vice President and his wife were seen working shoulder to shoulder with recovery workers. We have seen the work of the men and women of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and many other organizations as they dedicate time and energy to helping those affected by this unprecedented storm.

But there are other disasters in life that do not see such outpouring of compassion. People of all stations in life struggle with cancer, diabetes, heart-failure, and other devastating health problems. So many have no idea where to turn for help.

Those with depression and other mood disorders often suffer in silence, afraid that if they allow others to know that they will be looked down upon and judged. Alcohol and drug abuse plague many in our world. Broken homes and abandoned or abused children are rampant.

Two of my long time friends, who happen to be pastors, are constantly dealing with the harsh reality of cancer in their bodies. You see, Christian people, even those in ministry, are not exempt from the struggles of life.

Where do we turn? How do we deal with heartache and tragedy? When a young couple vows to give their undying love “in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth,” they have no idea what lies ahead of them. They believe that love will be all they need.

In reality what they need is more than the good feeling of love. They need to learn to lean not only on one another but on God. If their home is not built on the solid foundation of faith in Christ they have a recipe for disaster.

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”

The Psalmist also said in Psalm 56:4 “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

So the answer is to turn to Jesus. But you must begin by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Without that, your trust is in vain. So come to Him today. Open your heart. Let Him take residence there. You will never regret it.

Where Do I Turn?

Troubles come on every side
They rise and fall just like a tide.
Seems no matter where I turn
Troubled waters rip and churn.

I am deserted and alone,
Like a piece of trash that’s thrown.
There’s no peace, there’s no hope,
I’m at the end of my own rope.

Where do I turn, where can I go?
Who will hope, to this
life show?
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s the one
He’ll shine His light, bright as the sun.

I turn to Him. What do I find?
He’s been right there, all of the time.
He always knew the hope I need
As before God’s throne, He stood to plead.

And now I know that there is joy
To overcome the Devil’s ploy.
I’ll turn to Jesus, He’s my friend.
He’ll be beside me to the end.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

God Has Always Had a Plan

August 30, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Don’t you just hate it when you are walking through the house at night and catch your pinky toe on the corner of the dresser? I did that about a week ago and my toe is still sore.

How is it that even when you know where everything is supposed to be in your house, sometimes the corner of a dresser or the leg of a chair just jumps out and tries to yank your toe completely off of your foot? Then you reach down in pain to grab your hurt toe and hit your head on the offending object.

Did you know that there is a plan in place that could prevent most of those horrible nighttime pains? Most houses have a handy little device that can protect you. It’s called a light switch. When activated the room is illuminated and those pesky dressers and chairs aren’t as likely to sneak up on you to put your life in misery.

There are many pesky things in life that reach out and grab us. It seems that everyone is mad about everything these days. We protest on one corner and protest the protestors on the other. Sometimes the two clash and more problems ensue.

Sin reaches out and grabs us by the pinky toe and we end up in grief and pain as a result. When will we realize that God has a plan for that? The protesters would have nothing to protest if we all followed God’s plan. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is that as long as we refuse to follow God’s plan we will never be able to get along with those around us.

There are those who doubt there is a God because of the suffering that is in the world. But suffering was not in God’s plan. Mankind brought that upon himself by an act of selfishness and disobedience.

God created a world in which there was no conflict; a world where everyone got along. But Adam and Eve didn’t turn on the light switch. They allowed the Devil to grab them by the pinky toe so to speak. The result was death, division, and conflict. Even Cain, their first born son, killed his brother out of jealousy and a fit of rage.

It is time to turn the lights on. The light that God planned for from the beginning. Jesus said in John 8:12 “… I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” God’s plan has never been for man to walk in darkness. He sent His Only Begotten Son to die on the cross so that light could finally be seen in the dark places of our hearts.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

God’s Plan

God’s plan for all the ages
Is a wondrous thing to know.
He has much grace and mercy
As history will show.
He started out with nothing
And from it built the Earth.
And everything was beautiful
‘Till mankind sin gave birth.

God’s plan for all the ages
Has never changed you see.
He still loves sinful humans.
He showed it on a tree.
His own dear son was hung there,
On that old cruel cross,
And Jesus died to save us,
From death and endless loss.

God’s plan for all the ages
Will always be the same.
He wrote it with His own blood
With words so clear and plain.
He went to make a place for us,
Where we will someday live.
For he will come and take away
Those who ask Him to forgive.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

White Unto Harvest

August 26, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

My father was the pastor of small churches in Oklahoma. I remember going out with farmers who were members of the church, and riding on the combines or in the trucks taking the wheat to the Co-op. The equipment needed to bring in the harvest was very large and very expensive.

One of the most important things that I learned in those experiences is that there are stages of development of the wheat. The most critical of those stages come during harvest time.

The farmer wants to see golden heads on the wheat. I remember seeing them take a grain of wheat and put it in their mouth and chew on it. They were checking for the maturity of the grain. They can also tell the moisture content and several other factors, just by tasting and chewing on the grain.

Sometimes because of weather conditions they are not able to get the machines into the field at just the right time. As the heads begin to turn white, the harvest is critical. It is a sign that they are about to lose the crop. The nutrition level and moisture begin to go down and the heads are in danger of shattering before they are ever harvested.

Jesus talked about this critical stage when He said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJV)

The field of men’s souls is white unto harvest. We are at a critical time. If the harvest is not reaped, then the souls of men will be shattered. The harvest once lost can never be brought in to the storehouse.

As Jesus and His disciples neared the village of Sychar they do doubt felt that there could be no harvest here. The people of the area hated Jews and the Jews hated them. For some reason, when it comes to witnessing for Christ, it is always the wrong time and the wrong place! It takes faith to harvest the crop, and we must do it even when the circumstances look discouraging. Especially when the fields are “white unto harvest.”

The Harvest

The harvest is so white,
The labor must be done.
If the harvest is not gathered,
‘Twill wither in the sun.

Who will reap the harvest?
Who will thrash the grain?
Who will grind the flour,
To make it bread for man?

Who will win the lost one?
Who will teach them more?
Who will help them know the Lord,
And make the Spirit soar?

I will do my part for Christ
And live for Him the best I can.
I’ll open up the Word with them.
I’ll share Christ’s love with men.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Little Chapel

August 23, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

While I was in seminary I had a class held at a campground near Waco, Texas. I misunderstood the starting time of the class so I arrived about three hours early. There was no one there, so I had time to look around and familiarize myself with my surroundings.

I had a lot going on in my mind. I was, in fact, struggling with a crisis of faith. In no way was I doubting God’s work of salvation that He had done in my life. I was struggling to comprehend what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life.

I had spent nearly thirty years in full-time ministry as a pastor. But God was asking me to do something that I didn’t think I was capable of. He was calling me into full-time evangelism but I wanted to remain a pastor, or possibly be a Director of Missions in an association. I was so convinced that is where God wanted me that I had changed my major from theology to a masters degree in religious education.

The problem was that there were no associations that were interested in me and my hopes seemed to be dashed on the rocks of despair. What was even more frustrating for me was that several of my friends in the ministry were answering the call to serve in the field that I was convinced was my call.

As I wandered around the campgrounds, I noticed on the far side of a large fishing pond a small chapel nestled in a grove of trees. It seemed like it would be a nice place to sit on the porch and contemplate what God was doing in my life.

As I approached it, I found that things were not what they seemed to be. The chapel was run down. As I looked in through the smoky glass I saw that pews were piled on top of one another. The pulpit was broken down, and boxes were strewn about the room.

The Lord brought to my mind a passage that seemed what I was seeing in this little chapel and what was going on in my life. First Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV) says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” My problem was that I was trying to force my understanding into fruition rather than listening to His direction. In so doing I was cluttering the temple (chapel) of my life with things that were not important.

Have you ever come to a crisis of belief in your life? It can be unsettling. But if we remain faithful and observe the signs that He places in our path, we will find the direction we need.

Some of you, reading this article, may not have come to a time in your life when you trusted in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is important that you open your eyes and see what God is doing around you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Allow Him to enter the sanctuary of your heart. He will put things in order like you have never seen before.

 

The Little Chapel

From A distance it looked So inviting and secure,
A place where hearts Could be made so pure.
But as I came near My eyes did behold,
Its windows were dark And its breath was cold.

The little chapel was in disrepair,
 The steeple was tilted And wood doors were bare.
Inside it was cluttered With boards and such.
It was hard to tell There some soul had been touched.

It was plain to see It had not been used,
In many a year by the look of the pews.
So lonely it seemed  I just had to stay
And fall on my knees a prayer to say.

The chapel seemed brighter As love shown through.
Why one could say, It almost looked new!
I suddenly saw That the chapel was me,
And through God's love, I had been set free.

 

© Copyright by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

The Difference

August 19, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

I had allowed my spiritual life to become dormant. How could I, a preacher, allow that to happen? I got busy doing things for the Lord and the church. Corrie Ten Boom said it best when she said, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”

I found this to be true in my life. I always knew that I was not as “good” as other ministers. So in order to compensate, I went into overdrive “doing” church. If someone were to call late at night the church office, I was probably going to answer the phone.

Even though we had a church secretary, I was the one who typed up the prayer reports for the “714 Club” prayer ministry. I was the one who shortchanged his family time, because “Church” came before family. I had to be the good preacher and drop whatever was happening at home because somebody “needed me.”

I did not realize that a part of my responsibility to my Lord, included responsibility to my family. I had forgotten that my family is my partner in ministry. I have forgotten that they needed me just as much as the person on the phone at 2:00 am.

Colossians 2:13-15 (KJV) says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The work-a-holic in me thought that by my doing, I was being faithful to Christ. The “handwriting of ordinances” was not bringing joy into my home.

I needed an awakening. I needed a wakeup call. My health broke about the same time that I left the pastorate. That was what I needed. I was able to focus on prayer, Bible study, and worship more than I had in years. I no longer had to be in performance mode. It took several years for it to make a true difference in my life. But I am so glad it did.

Frankly, I believe that my family sees that difference as well.

 

The Difference

My life was filled with selfishness.
I was filled up with pride.
I thought the whole world I could bless
If they’d stand by my side.

I worked and tried my best to give
The world a better day.
I tried a good clean life to live,
What better price to pay?

But in my house my family knew.
They’d see me fuss and fight.
And people in the world saw too,
Something was just not right.

But I have bowed unto the Lord
And asked Him to forgive,
For I can no longer afford
Without His power to live.

No longer do I live alone,
With aching heart so sore;
For God's own power to me, He’s shown.
It’s Him I’m living for.

And now the difference I can feel.
In Jesus my heart burns
For other’s souls now to appeal,
Until sin their heart spurns.

“For me to live is Christ,” Paul said,
“To die it would be 
gain.”
Now my heart is no longer dead
And I can say the same.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

One Hundred Years and Counting

August 17, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

There is a place that is dear to my heart. It is a place where I have heard God’s voice and answered His call. It is a place where thousands of people of all ages have come to faith in Christ. It is a place where more people have surrendered to the call of missionary and pastor than any other place on Earth. It happens to be the largest Christian youth camp in the world. Where is this special place? Falls Creek Baptist Assembly near Davis, Oklahoma is the only place that fits the description.

I began attending camp there in 1954. Back then there were no air conditioners, hot showers, indoor toilets, etc. The cabin my parents and I stayed in was just inside the main gate and on the other side of Falls Creek. I learned at an early age that the convenience of riding in a car was a luxury. You had to walk about a city block from where Daddy parked the car, to the front door of our little cabin. Of course at camp, you walked everywhere.

The shower consisted of a 50-gallon drum on a stand behind the cabin. Water from a spring ran into the drum all day long. You didn’t want to take your shower in the morning. The water would be ice cold from the spring. But in the evening, just before bed, you could go out and enjoy the fact that the water had been warmed by the sun.  

That shower calls to mind the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives. John recorded Jesus words in chapter fourteen verses sixteen and seventeen. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

The Psalmist had said, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Psalm 69:20 (KJV)

The cold spring water is the cold, harsh world we live in. The Psalmist was prophesying concerning the death of our Lord. But it also applies to us. If you try to take it on your own as it comes out of the side of the mountain it chills and literally makes you hurt. There doesn’t seem that there is anything that could warm the water. No one cared enough to even try

But when the Holy Spirit works in our lives, He takes away the harsh chill that threatens us. He heals the broken heart and lifts up the heaviness. He looks on us with more than pity. He gives us His love and a comforter that will take away the chill.

If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit dwells in you. It’s a package deal. Allow Him the freedom to work in your life and let Him be your Comforter.

Falls Creek

We thank our Lord and Savior,
For forming these old hills.
Where cool clear water fills a pool,
And over fall does spill.

The setting is so beautiful,
Exciting yet serene.
In these hills there is power,
To move the soul within.

This place is given to the Lord,
His Spirit to control.
And as we come together now,
He speaks unto the soul.

Yes, Falls Creek is a special place,
Where sinners are set free.
A place that Jesus did provide,
A place for you and me.

Now would you stop and listen,
To what He has to say?
Then yield your heart and life to Him,
And bow to Him and pray.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

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