Today is October 31. That means Halloween is here. There is much discussion about this day among Christians. How should we approach it? How are we to respond to it? While opinions are varied, one thing is certain – Satan is alive and well. I Peter 5:8-9 warns us to “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith…”
There is one king, one sovereign ruler over all of the demons of disease and darkness and despair and ruin and destruction. There are countless demons but there is one great prince and ruler of them all. Satan is his name. He is called Lucifer, the serpent and dragon. He is seeking someone to devour. That someone is you.
We must “resist him firm in our faith.” This demands a sober spirit and requires diligent alertness. Satan is found in many places. In the teaching of a liberal theologian that denies the veracity of the Bible, you will find the devil. In the classroom of a professor that challenges young college students and advocates that God does not exist, you will find the devil. He is always on the prowl looking for someone to cut up and swallow down.
So today I remind you to beware of his schemes. But also be reminded that Satan is a defeated foe. Since Jesus died and rose from the grave the devil sails a sinking ship and rules a decaying kingdom. Follow hard after King Jesus. Even on Halloween!
Pastor Ted Traylor
Since 1966, most of the United States has observed Daylight Saving Time (no “s” on saving) from 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April until 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. Beginning in 2007, the dates will move to the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November. This will expand DST about an extra month. This year the time change comes this weekend. We “fall back” and gain an extra hour!
Because DST provides a convenient reminder, our fire departments encourage us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors when we change our clocks. This task will also keep you from having to tear the detector out of the wall at 3:30 in the morning when that horrible beeping begins and you cannot get it to stop. A working smoke detector more than doubles a person’s chances of surviving a home fire. While more than 90% of homes in the US have smoke detectors, one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries. So don’t forget to change the clocks and the detector batteries.
In the first church I pastored there was a clock hanging on the back wall. I could see it as I preached. Don’t get any ideas! Right by the clock was a sign that our folks could see as they departed from the services. It read, “Break up your fallow ground, it is TIME to seek the Lord. Hosea 10:12.” Keep in mind, today is the day the Lord has made. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the time to seek the Lord.
As we remember to change our clocks, why not give the Lord some of that extra hour. Seek Him concerning His future plans for you and for your church. This not just a good time to change your clocks and batteries it is also a great time to see if you are up to date with Jesus.
Pastor Ted Traylor
In the past seven days I have had interaction with three young men. None of them have reached their 23rd birthday. All of them are on mission for Jesus in a big-time way. Each of the men is from Pensacola. Let me tell you about them without using names. To do so might endanger one or two of them.
Missionary #1 is giving three years of his life to touch an unreached people group in a remote location around the world. He has sacrificed family and comfort to follow Jesus. He tells me by e-mail Christ alone is his sufficiency.
Missionary #2 is on a college campus in the state of Florida. He has been a catalyst in a prayer movement on campus that is having a powerful impact. He has stepped out in humility to lead. He tells me he is believing God for a spiritual awakening in America. Hallelujah!
Missionary #3 is building an orphanage and doing evangelistic work in India. He is raising the money to build a ministry in a Gospel-starved part of the world. As he explained his vision to me he revealed his passion, faith and fire! He believes the power of God will be his strength and portion for the vision he has.
In 1971 I experienced revival in the last portion of the Jesus Movement. As I became a pastor I started praying for God to do it again in America among the young generation. I am seeing the stirring of revival. The NEXT GENERATION is coming alive. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Pastor Ted Traylor
Now do not be confused. First and foremost, Christians are identified as those that believe in Jesus Christ. Above all else, they accept the self-proclamation of Christ that He is the way, the truth and the life. When one joins a local church he gains affiliation both with the people of that particular church and its denominational fellowship with other churches.
At Olive we are Southern Baptists. I have been reminded again this week of the strength of our denominational fellowship. On Tuesday and Wednesday it was my joy to preach at the Nevada Baptist Convention in Reno. God is doing a wonderful work through this group in cities like Reno, Las Vegas, Carson City as well as many smaller places most of us have never heard of. I was so encouraged to be with these followers of Jesus and realize our denominational ties put us on the team together. The county where Reno is located is the most unchurched county per capita in America. It is a vast mission field.
As the convention closed on Wednesday evening, the International Mission Board had a commissioning service for 20 new Southern Baptist missionaries. Matt and Stacey Dunavant of Pensacola were in the group. We introduced them to the Olive family just a few weeks ago on Mission Sunday. They will soon join a missionary force of over 5,100 in 184 countries that we support each week with our Cooperative Program gifts and special mission offerings.
What I am telling you is that it is a good thing to be a Southern Baptist. Sure, we have our problems. But the main thing is getting the Gospel out and we are doing that all around the world.
One of the men I met in Nevada was Pastor Pauly. He leads the Biker Church in Las Vegas. He was radically saved a few years ago. Now he wears black leather each Saturday as he ministers in the world of bikers. He does not look like the typical Southern Baptist but he is proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of the world.
So today I encourage you to first be a follower of Jesus. But do not be afraid of denominational affiliation. Serving with others makes us all stronger.
Pastor Ted Traylor
I hope you prayed at noon on Monday and have planned to join the Olive family in intercession each day at noon. We are asking the Father to show us His plan for our future ministry at Olive.
On Monday I was flying over the Rockies right at high noon. My prayers did not have to rise much to reach Heaven that day. I paused and wrote out my prayers to the Lord. After thanking Him for a great Sunday, I turned my attention to the future and discerning God’s expectations by drawing upon His wisdom and vision. God will make His will known. So keep praying.
For the next couple of days I am in Reno, Nevada, speaking to the Nevada Baptist State Convention here. It is cold with snow on the mountains. This convention is 28 years old. In 1978 churches from across Nevada united and formed their own state convention. Previously they were with other state conventions in the West. Executive Director, Thane Barnes, is a great leader and wonderful friend.
Southern Baptists have great organizations all across America and around the world. While our strength has always been in the South, we are no longer a convention in one geographic location. People are coming to Jesus and joining our churches all across the nation. We are global in our mission. As we give and cooperate we have a strong army doing the work of the Kingdom in all 50 states. I will learn more about Nevada Baptists today and Wednesday. What I have seen so far makes me delighted to be on the team with them.
Pastor Ted Traylor
Many people around the world will be staying home today. Why? Paraskevedekatriaphopia. That is the fear of Friday the 13th. While it is a superstition to have bad luck on this day many have this fear. Next time you are in an elevator in a building with over 20 floors take a look at the numbers. There is a 90% chance that the 13th floor will be skipped. The number 13 gets a bad knock. Some athletes will not wear it on their jersey and some teams prohibit it.
On this Friday the 13th I encourage you not to live by superstition or fear but by faith. It is Christ in you the “hope of glory.” He is the divine resident in you. He is reigning over you. And He is to be released through you. On Monday of this week the man who led me to Jesus went to heaven. Pastor Nolan Ford was in his 80′s. He was a role model and a hero of the faith to me. On a Thursday in 1964 during Vacation Bible School at the Pisgah Baptist Church he gently confronted me with the Gospel one-on-one. I went home and gave the witness some thought. The next day the conviction intensified. I was the first of 16 who received Jesus by faith that day. I am sure glad my pastor talked to me.Have you shared Jesus with anyone lately? Friday the 13th is a great day to do it.
Pastor Ted Traylor
On a train trip from Chicago to McAllen, Texas, in the late 1940s, A. W. Tozer began to write The Pursuit of God. Considered by even his peers as a 20th-century prophet, this book by Tozer, now a Christian classic, was first published in 1948. The first draft came as Tozer took his pen in hand and wrote all night. The words came to him as fast as he could put them on paper. The rough draft was completely finished as the train pulled into the station in Texas. I first read the book as a young Christian and most of it went right past me. Later in my life, as I read it again, it made a long-lasting impact upon my life. Recently I read through the 120 pages – again – twice. The message in this little book is one the church desperately requires today. I wish to persuade you to read it and follow hard after God. “My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).
On Sunday evening I shared my heart with our church. My burden is for us to know God’s plan for Olive and follow after Him. I have asked that our church family pause and pray every day at 12 noon and ask the Father to articulate His will to us. We are going to observe the Lord’s Supper the morning of November 12, and return that evening for an update on what we have heard from heaven during these days of prayer and fasting. Allow your soul to pant for God as the deer pants for the water brook.
As I write today, it is my wife’s birthday. Outside of Jesus, the greatest gift in my life is my wife, Liz. Her price is far above rubies. She is finally rested after a long summer and the death of her stepfather. Please continue to pray for her.
Pastor Ted Traylor
October is Clergy Appreciation month. For me to mention this seems as if I am asking for a pat on the back. Not really – though I did have a deacon take me to lunch on Thursday, and mention this month’s pastor appreciation emphasis as he picked up the bill and paid for my meal. What I wanted to do today was say thanks to the men of God who in the past have blessed my life and shaped my ministry.
1. Hubert Keefer was the first pastor I ever remember. He pastored the St. Claire Shores Baptist Church in Detroit when I was a small boy. My dad was saved and baptized under his ministry. Bro. Keefer was a great man of missions and a soul winner. I can still remember his fire in the pulpit and his gusto in singing “Since Jesus Came into My Heart.”
2. Nolan Ford was the pastor that led me to Jesus and baptized me. He was a man of conviction. He also liked to have fun. Bro. Ford always had a funny story to tell. Once as a young preacher I preached at his church and afterwards he offered me a check. At first I refused to accept it, but he sat me down and taught me to be grateful and to receive the blessing God was trying to bring my way. Then he told me not worry I would not get rich preaching the Gospel.
3. Lionel Patton was my pastor when I was called to preach. He said a thousand times “a call to preach is a call to prepare.” He encouraged me to go to college and seminary. He led the Pisgah church to license and ordain me. When I was 18, his sixteen-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. He taught me about funerals and modeled how to grieve.
4. Charles Carter pastored Shades Mountain Baptist in Birmingham during the time I attended Samford University. Even though I was never officially a member, in many ways he was my pastor. He sat and counseled Liz and me before we were married. He still tells me to this day that the best day’s work I ever did was marrying Liz. He wasn’t wrong. I still quote him in my own premarital counseling sessions. Now, 30 years later I still remember his advice. As pastors these four men touched and influenced my life. I am thankful to God for placing them in my life. Who deserves your appreciation today?
Missions Sunday at Olive was a great day! People were moved to get involved in touching the world for Christ. The next 12 months will be exciting days as we go and tell. Thank you, Olive family, for the $201,000 you committed toward missions in this coming year.
I am in Atlanta for the trustee meeting of the North American Mission Board. As you know we are searching for a new president. Keep this on your prayer list. We must find God’s man. We are also wrestling with policy issues for the board in these days of transition.
NAMB is the SBC agency that assists churches in reaching North America with the Gospel. One of the strategies is our Strategic Focus City effort. At Olive we are working in one of these cities to start a church. The work is under way in Cleveland. Church planters, Brent and Aimee Myers, have moved there just this week. As he begins his work to birth a new church, we will be helping in many ways, including sending funds from your gracious gifts to missions. In the months ahead we will be commissioning missions teams to Cleveland to prayer walk and lend a hand in evangelistic work.
Don’t forget October 15 is Meet Your Neighbor Sunday. We will all gather at 4 p.m. and then disperse to go into the neighborhoods around the church plant to meet new friends in our vicinity. It all begins in the ROC where you will be given your assignment and pick up flyers. I urge you to bring the whole family for a mission adventure afternoon.
Pastor Ted Traylor