"An Inside Perspective"

February 2008

My dear family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! By the grace of God, every Sunday morning and evening we have the privilege of attending services. We have a wonderful godly Pastor, the Reverend Rufus McClendon Jr., who brings a challenging word from the Lord each and every week. We are also blessed to have a large thirty-five man choir through which we praise the Lord. Our services last about two hours and are often very lively in the black gospel tradition.

Right outside the window of our chapel there is a weight-pile. It just so happens that the yard movement to the weight-pile is at the exact same time as the Chapel call-out. When we are called out it is a time of great separation. As we proceed out of our wing to the bottom of the steps, those "in Christ" go to the right on their way to the chapel, while those "in Adam" go to the left on their way to the weight-pile.

Those who are "in Christ" have risen early preparing their hearts for worship. It is written, "I was glad when they said unto me, 'let us go into the house of the Lord.' " They bathe the services in prayer knowing that the Lord will speak to the hearts of His people. They pray for the building up of the Body, by the Spirit, unto all fruitfulness. They pray also that perhaps one of the men "in Adam" may wander down to the services to hear the Word of Life, quickening him from his trespasses and sins.

Those "in Adam" have risen early also. They are looking for their weight-belts and braces preparing for the building up of the body. A cigarette hangs from their lips as they seek to extract every drop of caffeine out of their coffee, determined to lift more weight than the man next to them.

During our services, you can hear the men in the weight-pile talking amongst themselves. You can hear them grunting and groaning as they seek to meet their goals and set new records for themselves. As I gaze out the window, I am sweetly reminded in my spirit of the grace of God in my life. I wonder that God was so merciful to me in bringing me out. I worship Him in my heart. I was not looking for Him, rather, I was mindlessly teetering on the very brink of hell, yet free grace found me.

As I watch them in their futile attempts to find life's meaning, my heart is passionately stirred to share Christ with them. I think, "Where are they really going when they take that left turn in to the weight-pile?" To them it is just a regular day of working out; no big deal, right? Then I think, "They are really on their way to hell and the weight-pile is simply a step in that direction; they are lost." I reflect, "That was me." I groan in my spirit as I'm deeply moved. They know me; they know the life I've lived before them. Still they think, "Philip's wasting his time in there - he is soft." Little do they know that only one thing is needful, and that Philip has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from him! (smile)

It is written, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in times past Gentiles . . . at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens . . . having no hope and without God in the world." Do you remember what that was like? That was you. It may not have been the weight-pile, but it was a pile of some kind of weight. You were lost; you were in the world and every step you took was one step closer to hell. Do these thoughts move you? You may say, "Yes, they do Philip." Well, unless you actually do something, you have not really been moved. Your itching ears have merely been tickled for a moment.

Are you comfortable in your nice house this winter? Do you have the heat set just right with your new digital thermostat? Is your biggest chore this evening what you will watch on TV? Is your refrigerator pretty full? Well, bless the Lord! All the blessings the Lord provides for us are intended to bring Him glory and to move us toward service. You do know that you can't ride your easy-chair into Heaven, right? (Elijah was in a chariot, not an easy-chair, smile) Is it possible that you are still in the weight-pile and don't even know it? I pray not.

Judgment day is coming beloved. At the resurrection there will be a great separation. Once again, those "in Christ" will go to the right, while those "in Adam" go to the left. Only this time, it will be final. It is written, "He shall set the sheep on His right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall he say also unto them on the left, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire . . ." Does that move you?

Man, exhort your families! Lead them out into the fields. Teach them to fish for the souls of men. Are you doing all that you can do - or has a spirit of slumber crept into your household? Gird up your loins and faint not in your labor. Pray hard. Press through all that resists you because you are more than a conqueror in Christ!! Gaze out your own window beloved because there is . . .


Joyfully in Jesus,