This is a page that focuses on religious and theological issues, as well as providing comprehensive teaching from a classic Catholic perspective. As you read the articles, it is my hope they will educate and bless you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From the Archives - Epilogue

This post officially ends a series of my old sermons from years back, and these stretched over a period of 7 years approximately. It is my hope that you enjoyed my sharing them with you.

As you may have noticed, the previous messages reflected an evolution of sorts as I have grown and matured in my spirituality over the years. Some things I used to advocate from my earlier days I later have found to be in error and have now refuted, but that is all part of the growth process. Mind you, I have by no measure "arrived" spiritually, as I continue to grow and learn, but II Timothy 2:15 tells us to "study to show ourselves approved," and in the end I hope that anyone will be able to see that. However, I must also confess that I, in re-typing these old messages, have fallen into a common trap - often with theological orthodoxy can come spiritual stagnation, and I went through a 7-year period where I was so dormant that I had no spiritual activity whatsoever, save just going to church weekly and maintaining a daily devotional practice. That ensured my spiritual survival, but I didn't thrive as I once did. Although I later did re-establish my direction spiritually, and am now more spiritually in-tune than I have been in a long time, I fondly remember the zeal and passion I had back when I preached many of these messages, and do miss that. However, they have motivated me to seek to get back into God's will over the past couple of years, and this blog site is the fruit of that effort. The internet does provide more opportunities for a ministry like this, and I truly thank God for that every day.

I want to take a moment also to apologize for some things in those early messages that may have been a little off-base, and I have taken effort on some parts of these messages to insert editorial notes to rectify the issue, although the sermon manuscripts themselves are presented as they were given in their original forms. Spiritual growth can be painful at times, as often you have to re-evaluate some of your beliefs in lieu of Scripture and Holy Tradition of the Church, and sometimes we can be wrong. I myself take responsibility for those errors and assure the reader that those convictions are no longer something I personally espouse. For instance, years back, I was involved to a degree in a couple of Charismatic schools of thought, one being the Word/Faith teaching and the other being an association with the likes of Bishop Earl Paulk, a man I used to consider a mentor until I began to discover that a lot of what he and others I used to endorse were teaching was unscriptural, and also their personal lives ended up being less than exemplary for the spiritual leadership such people wielded. I also used to be involved in advocating the prophecies of a Greek Orthodox laywoman by the name of Vassoula Ryden back when I was in college, until I began reading her material more closely and finding out that much of this "revelation" she received was not of God. I realize I may have been responsible for introducing others to this stuff, and may God forgive me for any damage or harm done to them via that activity. It is my prayer that these folks may have also grown in discernment to understand error from truth, and I also pray that they have grown as vibrant Christians today and are in tune with the Holy Spirit rather than with the "vain and profane babblings" of others, regardless of intentions.

A second regret I have is that I could not share the manuscript of every message I presented, as I spoke in a lot of churches in those years - these covered 6 states, as well as representing a lot of different denominations and ethnic groups. A couple of them I wished I could have included were the messages I preached in California back in December 1995, one at St Nareg Armenian Church in Montebello, CA (pastored by my dear friend, the late Dr. Krikor Haleblian) and the other being the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Turlock, CA. That was a wonderful experience for me, and I also appeared then on KBES-FM Assyrian Radio in Modesto, CA, at the same time. Another church where I preached was in June 1990 at my Uncle Teak Turner's church in St. George, WV, the old Sycamore Grove Full Gospel Church (Rev. Pat Cassidy, pastor). Many in that particular congregation were actually my relatives, as that church is only a few minutes outside my hometown of Parsons. Another unique little church was one I spoke at in March 1991, located on a back road at the edge of a cotton field outside Ashford, AL. The name of the church was Faith Holiness Tabernacle, and it was pastored by an elderly lady then by the name of Sis. Edna Enfinger. The night I spoke there - on a Thursday - my audience was a full five people, and I remember receiving an offering there of $2.50. I did supplement my income preaching in those years as well, but then I was not as interested in money as I was in the opportunity to preach and share God's vision I believed he gave me to anyone who gave me opportunity to do so. I do really miss those days of itinerant ministry, as they were some of the best memories of my life and I got to meet and know a lot of wonderful people of many backgrounds and ethnicities. Many of them are still dear friends to this day.

If per chance God would allow me to itinerate again in the future, I know for sure I would do some things differently though. For one, I would make sure I recorded my messages on tape, and also would take the effort to take pictures of the churches I spoke in for projects like this, as I want you to see what the churches I have been in look like.   I feel that would help the reader share in the experience better.   My good friend Perry Stone talks about this a lot as well, as he mentions the essential task of preserving a spiritual legacy for others, and this is my legacy, flaws and all.  

After 1996, I entered the spiritually dormant period I talked of earlier until I took up a brief publishing venture with my magazine, The Present Truth Trumpet.   However, due to the financial strain, I was unable to keep it going, but as part of the whole legacy I will be presenting some of the best material from those old issues of my magazine on occasion.   More so than speaking, I love writing, and have found that my written messages have carried more impact than my preached ones!  And, at times, they have stirred up things too as I have had to make unpopular stands on issues in which my enemies have launched attacks against my faith, character, etc.   However, when the enemies of the message God has given you come against you, brush off their poison darts and move on, and that philosophy has kept me on course for many years.  

Starting this new "Sacramental Present Truths" blog, which I launched in December 2009, has proven to be my most fruitful endeavor yet, and it will continue to be published with both archived and fresh material for hopefully a long time to come.   It is also a very affordable ministry option, as the greatest investment is the research and data entry of the information I share here. 

God bless each of you who read this site regularly, and hope you will stay tuned for more interesting and enlightening articles that I pray benefit both spiritually and intellectually.