Published November 8, 2011

Paul's Epistle...
"Odds & Ends"

Instead of an Epistle this week about one topic, here are some random recent thoughts on a variety of topics....

The world's population, we are told, has just reached seven billion people, according to the United Nations Population Division. That's double the world's population just 50 years ago. Meanwhile, the U. S. Center for World Missions says one in seven people worldwide are Christians. That makes the math easy: it means that, according to these estimates, there are one billion Christians in the world. But that also means there are six billion non-Christians in the world.

We're outnumbered six-to-one!  But, remember, one plus God is a majority! Nevertheless, it is a powerful reminder that there is certainly a lot of room for evangelism. As the Lord told His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest'' (Matthew 9:37-38). Have you done any "harvesting" this week?

The world well noted the recent passing of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs. He was called "one of the most influential cultural creatives of all time." He had it all. In a recent posting, Albert Mohler said, "Steve Jobs lived a life that, by secular standards, will be considered legendary. Generations to come will be directly influenced by forces and products that he and his company brought to reality. He died a legend and one of the world's richest men." Unfortunately, barring any death-bed conversion (unlikely), he also died a Buddhist. He had stopped going to church when he was 13. All of this man's intellect, creativity, fame, wealth and success could not buy him salvation.

This is a powerful reminder to us that success in the world's eyes means nothing to God. As God told the rich man in Luke 12, "You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" And the Lord added, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12-20-21). God's riches are ahead for those who accept Him, "that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:7-9). Salvation is available to rich and poor alike, but is required of both for eternal life.

Scott Fowler of Legacy Five is one of Southern Gospel music's biggest cheerleaders. In a recent email newsletter, he wrote this about Southern Gospel music: "I truly feel that this is the greatest music there is, because it shares the greatest message on earth." Does that sound familiar? It sounds like what I've been saying at the beginning of each hour of my broadcast.

But Scott also noted, "There is however, a surprising number of people in our industry who have a view that is just the opposite of this. These folks feel as though there is something broken, and it needs to be fixed. They say we are in some way no longer connecting with our audience. Their argument says that our industry is on the decline because we refuse to change or become something that we simply are not. They feel that the music is too old, the dress is too conservative, and that time has passed us by. All I can say is they haven't been to a Legacy Five concert, or for that matter, a good Southern Gospel concert in a while...

"I cannot imagine what our world would be without Southern Gospel music. Songs that bring comfort, lift you up, encourage you, cause you to think, give praise to our Lord, all of us know songs like this and they seem to come to our memory just when we need them the most. This is why I love what I do, and the music that I get the privilege to sing each night. For me it's not just a job, it's my life, and I am just one of many who feels this way and have the wonderful opportunity to proclaim this message in song.

"So the next time you hear someone complaining about the Southern Gospel Music industry, remember the message and say a prayer for each of us who continue to carry this great music and message to churches and halls around the world!"


- Paul

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