Tag Archives: Paul Kirkpatrick

Remembering N.C.S.B.S. – Jim Hobbs

When I stop to consider the effects that the North Carolina School of Biblical Studies has had upon my life, my thoughts immediately flash back to the two years I spent there, to the time shared with dedicated brothers and sisters in Christ. With the benefit of seven years hindsight since my first day inside those doors, and five years removed since my graduation, I can now understand that this school has a long-term mission. The goal is to slowly, deliberately mold its men into knowledgeable servants of God. The two years of intense study and practice were but the beginning; the true tests are faced after the final day of classes has concluded.

It mattered not at all that I entered the NCSBS as a fifty-four year old husband, father of four grown children, grandfather of nine, and foster-dad to an eleven year old little girl. My initial thought had been that I would be looked upon as being too old to start school again, but I quickly discovered that my age and experience as a manager and professional salesperson with a major corporation were actually great assets. The most difficult hurdle to cross was that of leaving my wife and home, moving about three hours away to Clemmons, N.C. Therefore, with little more than my clothes and a commitment to myself to become a much better Bible student and teacher, I headed west for school.

My first realization as I began my classes was that there was no introductory period; we jumped into the deep end from day one. The reading was non-stop, which was most agreeable to me. It also became quite apparent that research papers would be the norm and not the exception for nearly every class. Looking back from today’s perspective, I can appreciate the value of personal research into required topics and the transferring of gained knowledge into written words. The organization of facts and ideas into a logical progression of structured argument is one of the great teaching tools utilized by the instructors at the NCSBS. This required activity, practiced over and over again throughout the two years of classroom learning, is one of the school’s greatest strengths.

I quickly noticed during the first week of classes that the men enrolled had come from various academic backgrounds. Some twenty- five years earlier, I had been fortunate enough to gain much experience in writing term papers during my undergraduate and graduate school years in college. Conversely, there were men in my classes who had not gained such educational training. One of the great tributes that can be given to the instructors of our classes is that they were willing to work with these men as they struggled with the required research papers. These men worked exceptionally hard, and at the end of two years there was an evident mastery of the term paper displayed by all.

While I possessed an advantage in terms of writing skills, my shortcomings in Bible knowledge were glaringly evident to all, including myself. It was a long and arduous road, but with the requirement of scriptural memorization being present in nearly every class, my knowledge and understanding of God’s word slowly increased. The very process of striving to memorize blocks of verses taught all of us the necessity of hard word, dedication, and patience. During my drives home on weekends, I would find myself taping the memorization passages to my steering wheel, stealing a glance every now and then to check my progress. The mandatory use of time management became a seven day a week, twenty-four hour-per-day reality. It took but a few days to come to this understanding: If I were to complete my assignments on time, then the time in my car traveling was to be put to the best use possible. There was no reason to complain about the hours it took to complete my assignments, for as I worked, I was learning. I was being shaped into a servant for God. I had come to school to learn, and I was committed to doing so. The NCSBS provided me with the structure within which I could grow in God’s word without boundaries.

A great strength of the NCSBS is to be found in its sponsoring congregation, the Warner’s Chapel church of Christ. The school of preaching is a local mission work for this congregation and its elders. With much planning, patience, and prayer, this loving assembly of the Lord’s people has made it a congregational goal to soundly train men in God’s word. The preachers, elders, deacons, and members of Warner’s Chapel unfailingly supported me in my efforts to learn and understand the scriptures. I am not exaggerating at all in declaring that these godly people supported me, cared for me, and literally fed me for two years. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by the workload ahead, I could always draw strength from this congregation, knowing that it was constantly praying for my success. The backing of a congregation such as this one was of immeasurable benefit to me as I struggled with class work and with being separated from my family.

Just prior to my graduation from the NCSBS, I took a few moments to reflect upon how much I had changed as a man, and as a Christian, after two years of study. My conclusion was this: I had stretched myself farther than I thought was possible, I had grown both spiritually and in biblical knowledge, and I had developed prayer habits which had been non-existent upon my arrival. Most important of all, though, was the realization that I had learned to put my trust in God. He had provided for me during that period of time, and He is still doing so today.

It is not stretching the truth to say that I have referred to my notes taken from classes at the NCSBS nearly every week since my graduation five years ago. Having kept all class notes in individual binders, it is possible to quickly refresh my mind on topics as they now come before me in real-life situations. Additionally, I now find myself adding to these binders as classes are taught in the local congregation or during lectureships. It is now possible for me to reference literally hundreds of pages of relevant notes and nearly one hundred and fifty books I now possess as a direct result of my time at the NCSBS. Together, we share the common goal of saving lost souls, and there is no substitute for sound preparation as we meet the spiritual struggles of individuals on a daily basis.

At times, I find myself in need of further guidance as I face these challenging situations. Without hesitation, I call one of my former instructors, knowing that I can place my trust in their words. Such relationships are invaluable, and they have come about as a direct result of my time spent in Clemmons, North Carolina at the North Carolina School of Biblical Studies.

Looking back over the past seven years, there is no denying the fact that a two-year period of time in biblical study changed my life forever. Do I have any regrets for the time away from home, for the endless hours spent in reading and study, for the effort exerted in memorizing countless verses of scripture? The answer is an emphatic, “No!” James provided us with the end result of such efforts when he wrote through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

jlhobbs@earthlink.net

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The Good News About The Resurrection – Paul Kirkpatrick

Have you ever had someone come to you and say, “Well, I have good news and bad news.” Usually the one telling you this is in a white coat with his/her name embroidered on the left side pocket.

As one who has survived Colon Cancer I can find humor in my own suffering. I made up a joke that goes like this: The Doctor comes into my hospital room and says, “Well, I have good news and bad news.” 

I reply with, “Give me the bad news first.”

He says, “The bad news is you have cancer and are going to die.”

“What’s the good news?”

He says, “You only have to do this once.”

When Jesus came to the home of his good friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha, his visit on this occasion was to perform a miracle that would seal his own death. Lazarus had been dead four days and the proof was in the nostrils of those attending the home (John 11:39). This would be a miracle wherein no one could deny its validity. There were many guests there and Lazarus smelled of death.

John 11:35 portrays the love that Jesus had for the man. “Jesus wept.” Not just that he was dead (for Jesus would have known what he was about to do) but that he would raise Lazarus and Lazarus would have to die again. Lazarus was in a safe place. He would have no more sorrow or pain. Jesus cried for Lazarus because Lazarus would become the visual aid for the power of God and whose life would be in danger. Do you think the Sanhedrin would let Lazarus live long? Though this is an example of a single resurrection and not the general resurrection from the dead, it shows that God has the power.

Like good news and bad news, the bad news is that sin will cause us to lose our spiritual life. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Though man has a beginning that occurred at conception, he has no ending. The spirit of man has a never-ending future. However he can choose his own destiny. He can choose to do absolutely nothing and his future will be determined by his inaction. One might call it a default status (i.e., Hell.) On the other hand, one can choose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and by doing so he accepts God’s glorious gift of eternal life spent with the Father, son and Holy Spirit. That’s GOOD NEWS!

We have a promise of the resurrection found in several places in Scripture, but this gift is appropriated in the culmination of our obedience to Christ when we submit to Him. The apostle Paul assures us that when our sins are washed away, the new life begins. Romans 6:3-6 provides the context of that gift.

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

We don’t talk much about resurrection. It usually comes up during Easter week or the many times we preach funeral sermons. Funerals are a time when many are feeling the loss of a loved one. It has been my experience that incorporating thoughts and information about the resurrection are not just helpful in understanding eschatology (last things), but are also words that give comfort to those of us who are left behind. How sad it is when a husband and wife have been together for many years yet are now suddenly separated at the passing of the other. Many find comfort in the knowledge that faithful Christians have the hope of eternal life by the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

That’s GOOD NEWS!

Paul Kirkpatrick preaches at the Warner’s Chapel Church of Christ in Clemmons, NC, and is the director of the North Carolina School of Biblical Studies. He can be reached at preacherpaul58@yahoo.com.

 

The Editor’s Page – Paul Kirkpatrick, Interim Editor

Jon Mitchell is our new Associate Editor and will serve as the interim editor until a new editor is appointed. He will begin the interim editor duties with the July/August 2014 issue of the Carolina Messenger.

This issue deals with “Adversaries To Evangelism.” We readily recognize those threats to evangelism that appear before us outside the Lord’s church, but we must understand that there are adversaries to evangelism within the church as well.  Paul said it best when he informed the brethren at Rome that they should place the carnal or “fleshly” side of man under submission to the spirit.

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:5-13)

 

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

 

Apathy: The Silent Killer – Paul Kirkpatrick

In Mark 16:15, Jesus charges his followers by saying to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This is a command that is just as applicable as the command in the next verse, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

There are certainly numerous commands that we readily follow and defend.

In Luke 13:3, 5, Jesus informs us that unless we repent we will perish. All will follow that command if they want to go to Heaven.

Luke 22:29 provides the setting for the institution of the Lord’s Supper. “Do this in remembrance of me” is a command to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

We rightfully defend the communion of Lord and serve it every first day of the week according to Acts 20:7.

We mightily profess that we have Apostolic example in the New Testament for giving of our “means” found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

We treasure the fact that the music of the early church was without instrumental accompaniment and no command given authorizing the use thereof.

But for some reason we have a disconnect when it comes to our responsibilities to follow the Great Commission.

I am in the fourth decade of serving God with my life as a Gospel preacher. I have seen numerous attempts to motivate Christians to evangelize and thereby comply in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Lord’s church has used motivational speakers, seminars, workshops, lectureships, video’s and much more to educate and equip the Lord’s Body and prepare them to render obedience to the simple command to “go.” However, we have not addressed the real problem:

WE DON’T WANT TO GO!

Although we are grown men and women, it seems our reaction to evangelism is the answer of a five-year old: “You can’t make me.”

We live in a country that has instilled in our education that we have freedom to choose. Liberty gives us that freedom. Though independence was a rallying point in this nation’s history, we must remind ourselves that we are Christians first and we belong to Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 informs us of that fact. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul describes the position that the Christian has in relation to accepting God’s wonderful gift of salvation. No one has twisted his arm or forced him to sign a contract he had not read. Every sinner knew what he was “signing up” for. Our obedience to Jesus and our promise to serve Him faithfully until death was the beginning of a life-long, voluntary SLAVERY.

YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE.

Could the slave pick and choose which command to obey or to refuse? This would have been unthinkable! When God gives us a command we have no choice but to obey it. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that the child of God seeks to please the Father.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 reminds us of the coming judgment on all who are disobedient. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

Apathy, “absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Lack of interest or concern for things others find moving or exciting.” (Dictionary.com)

It is my opinion that preachers and other church leaders have been guilty of a lack of preaching in this area. If one does not follow all the teachings and commands of Jesus then that one has simply failed to follow Him. How can we say that we are truly His followers and yet we do not serve Him in evangelism? How can we ever sing the song “All To Jesus I Surrender,” when we clearly are lying as we mouth the words?

In John 10:26-30, Jesus said, But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”  His sheep follow Him. Won’t you?

Paul Kirkpatrick is a minister for the Warners Chapel Church of Christ in Clemmons, NC.

The Editor’s Page – David R. Pharr, Editor

When I became editor of Palmetto Messenger in 1997 I would not have imagined that I would hold that place for seventeen years.  (In 1999 the name was changed to Carolina Messenger.)  With this issue I have decided to pass the responsibility to another.  With only a few exceptions, there has been a deadline to meet month after month and I have decided to take a rest.  The board of directors has selected Paul Kirkpatrick to continue the paper as interim editor.  Brother Kirkpatrick is the able preacher for the Warners’ Chapel Church of Christ in Clemmons, North Carolina, and is the Director of the N.C. School of Biblical Studies.  The board is determined for the publication to continue.  In view of our current financial situation the schedule for now will continue to be six issues per year.  The purpose and principles have not changed.  From the beginning the purpose has been to apply the instructions of 2 Timothy 4:2.  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Much gratitude is due to those who have cooperated in this endeavor:  members of the board (past and present), writers who have contributed articles, the late Oscar Craft and Jerry Craft as business managers, Michael Jordan in charge of mailing lists, and Jimmy Bates of Bates Printing Company, which prints and mails the copies.  It has been a fellowship of good work.  Of course our efforts have been supported by individuals and congregations who provided the funds.

Over the years we have received many notes of appreciation and encouragement and we are grateful for every kind word.  There has also been criticism.  When it has been constructive, it has been appreciated.  When it has been in opposition to biblical principles we have espoused, we have not been dissuaded.

Though for several months I have been doing most of the preaching at the Charlotte Avenue congregation in Rock Hill, SC, my intention is to be retired from full-time work.  I will continue to do some writing and to preach as there are opportunities.

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Salute to Jerry Craft

Our faithful and efficient treasurer and business manager has decided to resign.  Jerry Craft has been in this position since 2005.  His brother Oscar Craft had managed the business aspect of the paper since the paper was started.  At the time of Oscar’s passing, we knew we needed someone who would show the same diligence.  Accordingly, Jerry was added to the board of directors and asked to serve as Treasurer.  Jerry’s efficient work has provided perfect financial records and has kept us on track in meeting our obligations.  As a member of the board he has been a keen adviser.  As a brother in Christ he has been a faithful encourager.  In whatever good the paper has accomplished, Jerry Craft has been an essential part.  We are grateful for his unselfish service.

— The Board of Directors

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Men’s Fellowship

March 8, 2014 is the date for the 16th Annual Carolina Men’s Fellowship.  This is a one-day lectureship with the purpose of encouraging men from churches of Christ over the Carolinas (and from a few other states.)  It is a day of strong Scriptural messages, tremendous singing, and visiting.  The Charlotte Avenue congregation in Rock Hill, SC, continues to host this gathering and provides a barbeque lunch.  There is no need for advance registration, no charge for attending, and no collection is taken.  Last year’s attendance was over 600.

In the first years the program was held in the Charlotte Avenue building.  Later it was moved to a public school building, then for a few years has been in the larger facilities of the Gold Hill Road Church of Christ in Ft. Mill, SC.  It is a cooperative effort with the Rock Hill congregation providing the program and the Ft. Mill congregation providing the location.

The keynote speaker this year will be Gary Hampton from Jacksonville, Mississippi.  Brother Hampton is the author of several books and was formerly the Director of East Tennessee School of Preaching.  One thing that differs from many lectureships is that several speakers are included, but very limited in the amount of time allowed.  The brief time between speeches is used for singing.

It is sometimes asked why this is designed only for men.  There is no reason except it is thought to be expedient and it has been successful in bringing together so many men from so many places.  Some lectures have been of particular application to men and boys.  Every message is intended to strengthen faith and to encourage steadfastness.  Opportunity is also provided to browse displays and bookstore selections.

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There was a warm fire in the courtyard where Peter was.  His surroundings were more pleasant than those in the building where Jesus was on trial.  Great issues were at stake, but Peter was not concerned about them.  He was thinking of his own welfare.

How many people today are willing to wait until the battle is fought before they are willing to identify themselves with the cause involved?

— Leslie G. Thomas, Another Hundred Sermons