Family Notes 03/12/2015



A few years ago, a surgeon who treated me asked if I minded if he prayed for me and that began a wonderful conversation that lasted until he discharged me. This week, I received an email thanks and update from the surgeon, to whom I now offer my thanks in return. Following is a portion of his email.

“I have been enjoying your gracEmails for sometime since I saw you several years ago in my office. Your unbridled enthusiasm for God’s Word and His wisdom continues to inspire and encourage me. I have been more actively pursuing my faith and have been blessed to become the leader of a small group Bible study with nine other men.

“We have a network of eight to ten other small groups of men in our area who meet weekly to study the Bible and learn to be better disciples of Christ. One of the groups was interested in studying Hebrews and upon my suggestion they are using your book, Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today as a study guide/commentary. They are enjoying the book immensely.

“Upon your suggestion I also made it out to the Lanier Theological Library several months ago. The library and adjacent chapel were an excellent place for solitude and discernment and I thank you for the reference. My best to you and all of your family.”


As we enter this special season of gift-giving, consider a gift that points to the greatest Gift of all (John 3:16) and that truly keeps on giving–the gift of a good book, of course! My ministry as a teacher has involved writing more than speaking, resulting in gracEmail and also the books listed below. Please go to: for pictures of these books, details about contents, reviews, and info how to order.

The Sound of His Voice. Does God still guide his children today? Yes, as he wishes and as he sees fit to do. Weaving biblical material and stories from my own journey of faith, this book will encourage and inspire the reader in his/her own unique pilgrimage.

The Divine Rescue. The story of a fallen world and a God who intends to redeem it, no matter the cost. (Genesis through Revelation in perspective.)

Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today. Hebrews might be the most neglected book in the New Testament–until we discover how to read it and see Jesus on every page!

GracEmail. This beautiful hardback gift book has a gracEmail article for every day in one year.

The Fire that Consumes. Third edition of the scholarly book that presents the biblical evidence that the unrepentent will finally be totally destroyed forever in hell, and that God will not keep anyone alive forever to suffer unending conscious torment.

Hell–A Final Word. Here is the popular version of the main biblical and historical material found in The Fire that Consumes.

Two Views of Hell. Edward and Robert Peterson present the two major views concerning the end of the wicked.


I shared the personal testimony of gracEmail subscriber Jim Ayars as feedback to a recent gracEmail article titled “Rethinking ‘The Sinner’s Prayer.” John Dickson, another gracEmail subscriber, was moved to send the following feedback to that. I have preached at both men’s churches and have eaten in their homes–one in California and one in Arkansas. Good and informed people sometimes differ–or at least perceive different truths or emphases. John writes as follows:

In regard to “Bravo, Brother,” I heartily agree that it is God who does it all but if I’m going to speak of a “catalyst” then I also have to speak in terms of the agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action, hence catalyst. (MW). That “agent” would cause me to humbly acknowledge my part in the entire process to being the “vessel” in which the agent works. The agent/catalyst being the Holy Spirit.

I also continue using the “sinner’s prayer” as a “divinely initiated relationship” since Paul and Silas were responding from their own divinely initiated relationship, thus the scripture itself. However, as Psalms 119:160 would lead us into a proper perspective of scripture in that it’s the “sum of God’s word is truth.” Or if you wish, as a past radio host would say, “now you know the rest of the story,” you simply have to read on with the next two verses and end up in summation as the brother now promotes as more scripturally correct who no longer uses vs. 31. “Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family (Acts 16:30–33, ESV).”