Saturday, August 27, 2022



It’s not just my anniversary, it’s our anniversary. 34 years ago I was offered a position that required bold visionary leadership, a deep-rooted faith, and an unwavering commitment to the families who make up the congregation of this Church. At that time this Church was struggling in the wake of an economic downturn that had affected every business and financial institution in the nation. Times were difficult and people were suffering. Yet God had a plan for the future.


In 1988 there was no lack of great preaching, no shortage of dynamic praise and worship, no scarcity of faith, heart, hope, leadership, or willingness to work. There had however been a great famine of finances in Southeast Texas for the previous few years and thisChurch finally came to the point where it could not pay its bills. With time the debt outgrew the resources available to service the need and it looked like there was no alternative but to close the doors.


Two weeks before I moved my family here, Brenda and I drove from Texarkana to Dallas to attend an early morning 5:30am prayer meeting at Church On The Rock, Rockwall. There were hundreds of people praying individually for about an hour and a half. There was no sermon, no singing, no fellowship, just prayer. Afterwards we walked back out to the car to drive back home, and the man parked next to us was also getting into his car. He opened his door and then looked over the roof of that black Mercury Sable and said, “Why don’t you come to Nederland and pastor the Church on the Rock there?” His name was Mike Alexander.


He proceeded to briefly tell me about his plans to join the staff of COTR in Rockwall and that he was going to resign that week and was looking for a replacement pastor. I had just been praying about what God wanted me to do and I thought this might be the answer. So I took his phone number, and the rest is His-Story. That next Sunday I was installed as Pastor of this Church. It was the 28th day of August 1988. 


I knew it would be a challenge, but I was a young, strong, faith-filled, bull-headed, preacher who actually had nothing else to do. That Sunday, all that changed. 


The families of the Church welcomed us with open arms and made us feel loved and supported. There weren’t very many people left in the Church, especially after finding out the previous pastor was not going to be there anymore. He was a powerhouse, a prophet, and a praying man filled with faith. Pastor Mike had made quite an impression on the whole community, and it was evident I was not him. Nonetheless, the families who decided to stay gave me a fair chance and I deeply appreciate them. 


I hesitate to start calling all their names lest I forget someone and each one was an important part of the plan God had for Golden Triangle Church On The Rock. 


If you were already a part of this Church when I got here 34 years ago today, would you stand.


If you came and joined in the few weeks after I arrived, would you stand.


God bless you along with each individual and family whom God has sent our way since. Many come for a season, and many come for a lifetime. I am grateful for each and every one. 


During my first few days in the office, it was just me and the Church secretary, Cindy Downs, who is still a member of our Church. She and the elders helped me to discover that we were: 

• $14,750 over drawn in the few checking accounts we had around town. 
• $66,000 behind on past due payments.
• The Church didn’t have a useable piece of music or office equipment; nor did we own even one of the chairs in our sanctuary; nor any of the books in our bookstore; nor had we paid for the roof on our building; nor the air conditioners that almost kept us cool.
• We were being sued for outstanding debt.
• The Church building was built encroaching 2’ over onto Sun Oil Company’s land.
• M-Bank had begun foreclosure on our Church building two months before I arrived.
• A $272,000 note had been called and letters were going out to ten families who had co-signed the note some years earlier, six of which no longer even attended the Church.
• Gulf States Electricity would only take cash payments from us because of previously bounced checks. 
• Even the one foreign missionary we had would no longer take a check from the Church since one had been returned to his bank in India for non-sufficient funds and it cost him some great financial strain with his account.


Needless to say … I no longer felt I was without something to do. And with true and sincere thanks to God, but for the support of the elders and the families in this Church at that time, the door would have been predictably closed for good. 


The Church did not ask for the problems it faced, most of which were associated with things unexpected and things beyond their control. As with everything else, there were some mistakes made but there are always mistakes.


We don’t make it or break it on the mistakes we make or the problems we have. We make it or break it on how we handle those problems.


Just like any individual, any family, any business, any community, any nation, or any Church congregation, Your best chance is to give it to God and let Him decide what He is going to do about it. Not everything works out like you want it to and not everything turns out like you hoped. However, Every single thing placed in God’s hands can be left there with confidence that He has a plan beyond the problem. 


And that’s exactly what we did 34 years ago. Under the ordained leadership God gave the Church and the families He joined in heart with a vision to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ, we revived and recovered, and we have reached the whole world for Jesus.


In the past 34 years I have preached a lot of sermons. Not every one of my sermons has a set of detailed notes but most of them do. I started keeping notes of the scriptures I study and the sermons I preach way back in 1978. I have a copy of almost every sermon God has given me. I’m a note kind of guy and I seem to benefit from writing down the inspirations and revelations God gives me. 


Here is a binder containing the notes of the sermons I preached in 1988. Here is one for 1989. Another for 1990 and so on with a total of 34 yearly sermon note binders, plus a binder or two of topical teachings and leadership notes. Let me be the first to admit I have a problem, more than just one btw, however one problem I do not have is forgetting those things God has taken His time to tell us here at GTCOTR. It is because of His leadership and His willingness to use us that we have seen such success.


As I said earlier, 34 years ago I was offered a position that required bold visionary leadership, a deep-rooted faith, and an unwavering commitment to the families who make up the congregation of this Church.


I could not then, and I cannot now fill that position … only Jesus can fill those shoes. But I was willing to follow Him as closely as I could manage, trusting He would supply the strength I needed, and cover my many weaknesses. Today I am proud to report I believe He has.


However, I am also well aware that I could not have accomplished all we have done and are doing here in our community and in communities like ours all over the world without you. Those of you on campus and those of you online, thank you for doing your part. Some of you have been goers, some stayers, some prayers and others payers. Together we have seen the truth of the first sermon I preached in this Church unfold right before our eyes. Let’s turn now and read the same scriptures I read to you 34 years ago today. 


Matthew 16:18  “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.


It’s a great day to celebrate … Happy AnniversaryChurch On The Rock!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Women of the Bible ​Part 1 The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


From the dawn of mankind, women have exercised their God given abilities to influence the course of history. At every critical juncture, be it internal family affairs or a world at war, you will most often find a woman behind the scenes using her powers of persuasion to affect the outcome.

It is certain that women have more influence than do men. Who do you look at in the commercials on television; who do you believe when you hear a husband and a wife differ in their recollection of a story; for whom to you dress; do you dress to win the approval, acceptance and respect of men or women? (most likely a woman, unless you specifically want to influence a man, then you dress perhaps a bit more provocative)

Women know what attracts men while men have no idea what is attractive to a woman. Women know what it takes to keep a man happy while men are often clueless. Men for the most part are simple creatures in comparison to the complex creature we call woman. It is impossible to win an argument with a woman – oh, you may think you have won, but just wait, it’s not over yet! (She may soften you up a bit more before the next round, but believe me, there will be another round.)

Occasionally I do a little consulting work. Some time back I was asked to help develop a marketing strategy aimed at increasing sales of a certain product to the religious groups within the US. At the center of my proposal was the critical element of securing an appointment and developing a relationship with the CEO’s presumably female secretary or executive assistant. I submitted that only after gaining her confidence should the pitch be made to the CEO.

It seems most salespeople want an appointment with the decision maker of a company. Where they often miss the mark is knowing who the decision maker relies on to help them make their decision. That person is often much more accessible and willing to hear a good sales pitch. My strategy was basically, “Influence the person whose influence will influence the person you want to influence.” Persuade the person who can persuade the person you want to persuade. Often those people are women who are in key positions behind the scenes. Get a woman on your side and you most often have a committed supporter who will make sure the job gets done

The story of the Bible and indeed the whole world would not be complete, as was creation not completed, without the woman and her God given gifts of persuasion. We so often focus on the male characters in the Bible and view them as either heroes or zeros.Tonight we begin a new Wednesday evening series entitled:

Women Of The Bible
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

We have nothing to prove, but a whole lot to understand as we survey the lives and effects of several women whom God chose to include in His Story – history. So, let’s begin at the beginning and take a look at the prototype for all womanhood – Eve. Was she good, bad, or just plain ugly?

You probably know the story from the last few verses of Genesis 2 where in verse 21 God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and removed a rib from his side from which He created woman. You know men are still unconscious when it comes to what makes a woman.

Anyway, as the story continues and when Adam saw this woman he was hooked, (no ‘hooker’ pun intended – however, remember the children’s song: “Oh be careful little eyes what you see …”? – The fact is, even Adam fell in love with the first naked woman he saw! --- So young men, and old men alike – don’t get hooked by the wrong woman!). At any rate, Adam was smitten by the woman’s beauty and charm, on top of that he was lonely, (watch yourselves when you’re lonely), and Adam desired to be one with her. His first words were:

Genesis 2
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 This is the reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

There was presumably some amount of time between the end of Genesis 2 and the account which takes place in the first few verses of Genesis 3. 

Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

With this we are able to draw some conclusions as to Eve’s place on our list.

Was Eve good, bad, or just plain ugly? When I use the word ugly, I’m not talking about what some “shallow Hal’s” might see in the physical appearance but rather those truly wicked and evil women in history who full well knew the destruction they were causing and did it anyway. There are women who are purely evil and intend wickedness without remorse. However, Eve was not one of those women.

Eve was good. She was not a bad, nor was she a wicked or evil woman, as some would make her out to be. Eve was not bad, she was tricked.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

As I said, Eve was tricked. She was sold a bill of goods by the first slick ad campaign and believed the salesman had her best interest at heart. She based her decision on her moment. She heard a voice telling her to do it, it made sense to her, and she went for it.

Her husband, Adam, was right there with her. Whether or not he heard that “snake in the grass” who was attempting to convince his wife to buy the apple story, we don’t know. But most likely if Adam was hunting, fishing, gardening, dinosaur gazing, or watching the turtle races on TV, he was completely disconnected from the conversations his wife was having around the garden anyway. But that’s a subject for a later series. For now, let’s stick with Eve.

1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

As I said, Eve was not bad and not rebellious, she was tricked, deceived, influenced if you will, by what she heard and what she saw and what she wanted, and subsequently she exerted her influence on Adam. Eve was a good woman, a Godly woman, a great grandmother of Jesus, the woman God chose to be the mother of all living. I believe Eve is in heaven.

However, Eve, and many other ladies in the Bible, throughout modern history and even women today, perhaps even you, may underestimate the influence and the real impact you have on others in your life, especially the men in your life.

You don’t have to be bad, and you don’t have to be rebellious to be wrong. Women have influence, but what influences women?

What motivates a woman to be good?
What motivates a woman to be bad?
What motivates a woman to be truly ugly?

Well, the answers to those questions are clearly answered in the Bible however they require a little more time and attention than we have left together this evening. So next week, the Lord willing, we will pick up on this same theme as we take a revealing look at the women of the Bible, the good, the bad and even the ugly. 


I hesitate to leave you without something life-changing to take away from our time together. Here is what I have learned about some of the women in the Bible knowing it is also true about some of the women in my life.


1. A person does not have to be bad to be wrong. 


2. You can be God’s perfect choice, right in the middle of God’s will, and still be tempted by the devil to believe a lie.


3. We should never go against the Word of God thinking we are accomplishing the will of God.


See you next Wednesday night – 7pm On Campus and 7:14pm Online – Texas Time for Part 2


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Joy for Today

Joy for Today 


Psalm 118:24 

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


This brings a couple of memories to mind. The first is going to St James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church as a child in Leavenworth, KS. There was a hymn that we sang that had this verse in it. It went a little like this: 


This is the day, this is the day, 

The Lord has made, the Lord has made; 

I will rejoice, I will rejoice, 

And be glad in it, and be glad in it; 

This is the day that the Lord has made, 

I will rejoice and be glad in it; 

This is the day, this is the day, 

That the Lord has made. 


Another memory is of one of my early mentors in life. She had this scripture hanging in her home. You would see to when you walked into her house. If anyone had a reason to complain, it was her. Nevertheless, she always had a smile on her face instead. There was no room for complaining, no space for negativity, today was a great day because God allowed us to be alive. 


That spoke a lot to me. It reminded me to be aware that everyday was an opportunity. It reminded me to be thankful for anything and everything that I have. It reminded me that everyday was a blessing. 


Therefore, that was my interpretation of this verse. Many people interpret this verse in the very same way. This is not a bad interpretation because all of those things are true! Nevertheless, I believe there is more to this verse. 


If we are talking about this very day, today can be very relative.  


Some people wake up todayto a day that is filled with joy. They are waking up to a new season; to a new day. Today is a new opportunity. It is a day of new excitement. Its a day that brings a smile to your face. It is a day of new beginnings. It is a day to count your blessings. Today is the day the Lord has made.  


Yet, at the same time, there are people that are waking up to a difficult day. To a day of trouble, a day of loss. To a day of mourning. A day of bad news.A day that is hard to get out of bed. A day that seems like there is no hope in sight. It is a day of testing, a day of hurt, a day of pain. People are waking up to a day of struggle and continued hard-pressed endurance. The day that the Lord has made also happens to be an unfortunate day for some.  


While today may be a great day for some, it is also a difficult day for others. Therefore, how do we rejoice in a day like this? It is easy to rejoice when things are well. Nevertheless, how do we rejoice when it seems like there is nothing to rejoice about? 


This is the day.”  


What day is this passage referring to? 


Is it referring to this very day?  

Is it referring to any day?  

Or is it referring to a specific day? 


As I mentioned before, it can refer to this very day, and it can refer to any and every day. Yet, is it possible that it might be referring to a more specific day in history? 


To find that answer, lets back up a few verses so we can get a better perspective. Lets begin in verse 21: 


Psalm 118:21-23 

21 I thank you thatYou have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is theLord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 


The psalmist is speaking about a specific person. It is the same person in all three verses. That person He is talking about is Jesus. He says that the stone, being Jesus, that was rejected by the builders is the same one that became the cornerstone. 


If you want to know about construction, I am not your guy! 


Cornerstone  =

The starting stone to the construction of any building; the foundation for the entire structure. The cornerstone was the most important as the entire building was built off of its position. 


Jesus became the cornerstone of our salvation. God being the architect had already chose Him in advance to be the foundation of our redemption. Our entire faith is built on Christ. 


This is why we put Jesus first, because when we do everything else falls in line afterwards. When we put Him first in our day, finances, relationships, marriage, family, etc, everything else follows. 


23 This is theLord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 


It is marvelousfor us as we are the receivers of His grace. Ironically, the stone that the builders (religious leaders) rejected was the only person that could actually do it. Thank you Jesus that He did do it!! It is marvelous! Amazing! Breathtaking! Unbelievable! Why? Because it was impossible! 


Not one of us were able to close the gap that was in between us and God. We had no chance. I had no idea how impossible my chances were outside of Christ. You had no idea how impossible it was for you. We werent living before we came to Christ, we were DEAD!! (Ephesians 2) 


But Jesus, being the stone that everyone rejected, the stone I rejected, the stone we all rejected, became the foundation of the building that we would all one day walk into for the salvation of our souls. 


Isnt He MARVELOUS!! Isnt He marvelous church!!! 


THISis the day that the Lord has made!!  


It is the day of salvation. It is not just a literal 24-hr day, but the full gospel day! It is the day that Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death, hell and the grave, making it possible for your soul to be saved! That day gives us reason to rejoice!! 


With that said, that day also impacts my TODAY!! 


That day God did the impossible. He did what no one could do. It was the greatest miracle of all time. There is no miracle greater than the miracle of salvation! There is no greater miracle than God transforming a man from a sinner to a saint, all an instant! 


If God could do that, if He could do the impossible, then God can help me with my today. If God could do the impossible, He can give me ____ for today: 


  • Strength 

  • Help 

  • Wisdom 

  • Peace 

  • Patience 

  • Work through my struggle 

  • Help me overcome 

  • Be enough for me today 


And in that I can rejoice! I can be glad that I can lean on God today. I can be glad that I can recline on God todaytrust in Him todayhope in Him today. 


This is the day the Lord has madeand I have a reason to rejoice.  


Because of what Jesus did on that day, I can trust that God will be my help in this day. 




  1. Re-count Your Blessings 

  2. Psalm 118: 17I shall not die, but I shall live, andrecount the deeds of theLord.Psalm 118: 19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to theLord.

  3. Things may be hard but God is still on the throne.In the end, do not allow your current circumstances to steal your joy.Let us not allow the bitter waters of life to turn us sour. Instead let us choose to be thankful.

  1. Remember Your Cornerstone

  2. Make Jesus the cornerstone in every area of your life

  3. Family

  4. Marriage

  5. Finances

  6. Relationships

  7. Job

  8. Day

  9. Etc

  1. Rejoice in Your Refuge

  2. Refuge = The place we run to in times of trouble

  3. Psalms 118 is a reminder that God is the one we should run to when we need help.

  4. Psalm 118:8-9

  5. 8 It is better to take refuge in theLord than to trust in man. 9It is better to take refuge in theLord than to trust in princes.

  6. God is our help in our very time of need.

  7. Because of what Jesus did on THAT DAY, I know that God will be my help in this day.

  8. How do we rejoice in times of difficulty? By finding joy in trusting in Him. God will give you the strength, patience, endurance and everything else you need for today. That is a reason to be glad. We can find joy for today through Gods provision in our time of need. 


Psalm 118:24 

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 


No matter your circumstance, there is joy for today.