The people's voice of reason

Articles written by Michael J. Brooks


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 55

  • BREAKING NEWS: What About The Antichrist?

    Michael J. Brooks|Jul 1, 2024

    Our music leader announced the first hymn for the "Let's turn to hymn 666." she said. Everybody broke out in laughter since 666 is the well-known "mark of the beast" in the book of Revelation. I remembered another music leader announcing the same hymn, but he said, "Let's turn to hymn 667 and go back one!" It seems that our hymnal publisher would've left page 666 vacant like buildings skip floor 13 in their elevators. John the Revelator wrote about a charismatic leader who would beguile the nati...

  • It Looks Good On The Shelf

    Michael J. Brooks|Jul 1, 2024

    One of the ministry traditions I grew up with is that older ministers would often give us younger ministers a treasured book—either one from their libraries or a copy of one they found encouraging. I think this tradition is all but over now. Many of us older pastors have tried to give away portions of our libraries we’re not using now, only to find that the “young bucks” don’t value books like we do. Research suggests the typical pastor in my day acquired a library worth $50,000 or more. I think...

  • Everybody Act Medium

    Michael J. Brooks|Jul 1, 2024

    Pastors and music leaders have had good-natured arguments for years. Musicians insist pastors will be idle in heaven with nothing to do since preaching isn’t on the agenda, whereas music is. And pastors retort that the music program is the source of much church conflict on earth. As radio preacher J. Vernon McGee used to say, “When Satan fell from heaven, he fell into the choir loft!” I remember years ago when the piano music just before the message was simply gorgeous. I said this before I ope...

  • The Rise Of The Neighborhood Church

    Michael J. Brooks|Jul 1, 2024

    I met her at a conference in our state, and she quickly turned the conversation to her church, of which she was very proud. She loved the pastor, the members, the worship and the ministry. All of this is fine. Then I asked her where her church was located. I knew where she lived and was surprised that her church was 40 miles away Our denomination has traditionally supported members belonging to local churches through which they can serve their communities. The Church Covenant that evangelical...

  • Dressing In Our Sunday Best

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    It was a church conflict in my early days over something that’s a “back burner” issue now. We had a college student helping on an interim basis with our music. One Sunday she came to church dressed casually. I asked her in the following week to dress more formally for the pulpit. She grew angry and asked what dress had to do with worship. I gently explained I believed that we represented God and needed to dress accordingly. When I was in college our pastor, Bill Jackson, took several of us “p...

  • On Being In Step

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    Somehow the Kyoto Tachibana SHS Band found me on Facebook, and it’s been a good thing. This Japanese group plays beautiful music while making dance moves, and they’re fun to watch. However, this is not what I remember from my years with the Minor High School Tigers Marching Band. I do remember a “two-step” we did while playing Herb Alpert’s “The Lonely Bull.” Our bass drummer had trouble with these steps, so we joked maybe he could be the bull and remain stationary! Our greatest challenge was...

  • A Blast From The Past

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    Our pianist played a beautiful offertory arrangement a few weeks ago, as she always does. I found myself singing along in my heart with the familiar melody. On a lark, when I came to the pulpit for the message I asked with a show of hands how many people recognized that song. About half the congregation did. I suppose it was only us “children of the 70s” who remembered “He’s Everything To Me” by Ralph Carmichael, originally written for a Billy Graham film entitled, “For Pete’s Sake.” ‘Til b...

  • He Will Make A Way

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    U.S. Minister to France, Benjamin Franklin, read the Old Testament book of Ruth to court patrons who delighted in this love story and were often surprised to discover it was from the Bible. Ruth is preeminently a love story and demonstrates the hand of God through the adversities of life. The book contains three tragedies. First, Elimelech and wife Naomi left Israel for Moab during a famine, and Elimelech died there. Their two sons married Canaanite women, contrary to the Jewish law (and to Paul...

  • A Real Nowhere Land

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    I was territory I’d not seen before—the mountains of North Carolina. The mapping app took me via interstate the entire route to Asheville, but I decided I’d take my time on the way home and drive the backroads. Little did I realize how isolated these backroads would be. I remember the intersection where I messed up. I should’ve turned left on highway 74, but I turned right on highway 28. I’m not sure why. It was a winding road in the middle of nowhere. I lost cell service and couldn’t follow the...

  • A Hero Remembered

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    I enjoyed O.S. Hawkins’ new biography of legendary pastor W.A. Criswell, a role model for my generation of pastors. Criswell served 50 years at First Baptist, Dallas, and was an itinerant preacher and an avid writer. Hawkins is remarkably honest about Criswell’s successes and failures. Criswell taught young preachers to devote Saturday nights to rest, and weekday mornings to time alone in study and prayer (he maintained a home office for his study). I tried to follow this guidance for many years...

  • It Looks Good On The Shelf

    Michael J. Brooks|Jun 1, 2024

    One of the ministry traditions I grew up with is that older ministers would often give us younger ministers a treasured book—either one from their libraries or a copy of one they found encouraging. I think this tradition is all but over now. Many of us older pastors have tried to give away portions of our libraries we’re not using now, only to find that the “young bucks” don’t value books like we do. Research suggests the typical pastor in my day acquired a library worth $50,000 or more. I think...

  • Reflections.... Dressing In Our Sunday Best

    Michael J. Brooks|May 1, 2024

    It was a church conflict in my early days over something that’s a “back burner” issue now. We had a college student helping on an interim basis with our music. One Sunday she came to church dressed casually. I asked her in the following week to dress more formally for the pulpit. She grew angry and asked what dress had to do with worship. I gently explained I believed that we represented God and needed to dress accordingly. When I was in college our pastor, Bill Jackson, took several of us “p...

  • On Messing Up

    Michael J. Brooks|May 1, 2024

    “What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve said from the pulpit?” he asked. It was a strange question, but a pastor friend asked privately at lunch, so I felt it was fine to respond. I didn’t have to think long, and it was a word not even in scripture. I was preaching about the different postures of prayer, the point being that whether we’re standing, walking, sitting, driving or kneeling, many postures are acceptable in prayer. Two classic hymns have lines about “falling prostrate at...

  • We've Never Done It That Way Before

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    A property committee member complained some “knucklehead” installed the wrong bulbs in a room at church. I had to confess the knucklehead was me. I mistakenly took LED tubes from the supply closet and tried to insert them in fluorescent fixtures. No damage, but no light, either. This reminded me of the old joke about how many Baptists it takes to change a light bulb. In this case, the correct answer is “two.” But the traditional answer to the pun is, “Change? What’s that?” Thom Rainer of Chu...

  • O Death, Where Is Your Sting?

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    It’s been my experience that funeral home directors generally have a great sense of humor. I asked a gentleman about this once and he explained that a sense of humor is the only thing that saved him from awful depression. I can imagine these men and women deal with the greatest of tragedies. But on the other hand, I’ve heard some interesting stories from them. One funeral home employee told me about trying to salvage a graveside service after several pallbearers were drunk, and one fell into the...

  • No Turning Back

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    We planned a dream vacation several years ago to Las Vegas where we heard Barry Manilow and The Temptations (these are acts loved by old people). Part of the trip was my taking the short flight to the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. and the short drive to spend a day at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The library acquired the retired Air Force One in 2004, and the Air Force One Pavilion is a grand site. It’s been featured several times in Republican presidential debates. I r...

  • No Turning Back

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    We planned a dream vacation several years ago to Las Vegas where we heard Barry Manilow and The Temptations (these are acts loved by old people). Part of the trip was my taking the short flight to the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. and the short drive to spend a day at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The library acquired the retired Air Force One in 2004, and the Air Force One Pavilion is a grand site. It’s been featured several times in Republican presidential debates. I r...

  • Blessed Are The Peacemakers

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    The Jimmy Carter administration faced a number of challenges, but arguably the high-water mark of achievement was the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel. Carter invited Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat to the presidential retreat to discuss some 50 issues remaining from the war of 1967. The anticipated several days became nearly two weeks and was beset with problems. Both men grew angry and threatened to leave. Carter summoned Vice President Mondale to Camp...

  • These Things Have I Learned

    Michael J. Brooks|Apr 1, 2024

    The way Baptists do it probably isn’t best, but nobody yet has made us change. Some denominations require an apprentice program for fledgling ministers. But when a Baptist young person declares a call to ministry, the pastor says, “Great! You can preach next Sunday.” This is like throwing someone in the lake to teach them how to swim. I know this because I was once cast into the ecclesiastical lake. Heaven holds great reward for patient church members who’ve listened to 16-and 17-year...

  • We Don't Want Your Money

    Michael J. Brooks|Mar 1, 2024

    I was the new pastor still learning my way around when Jim came to see me. He was chair of the budget and finance team. He wished me well, then shared a concern. “The committee met lately, and we have an issue with the visitor’s envelopes you’re using,” he said. “We believe we shouldn’t ask visitors for money.” Churches used to welcome visitors and give them a card requesting contact information and sometimes a ribbon to wear. This was before we learned to call them “guests” and since learned mo...

  • The Night Is Coming

    Michael J. Brooks|Mar 1, 2024

    She sat next to me at the hair salon. She leaned over and said, “Mister, has anyone ever told you that you have a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford?” Of course, I was pleased with my introduction to her, and immediately felt gratified that she thought I looked like a movie star. I told a friend about this later and he deflated me. “Well, Harrison Ford is a bit ‘long in the tooth’ now!” he said. Ouch. Anyway, this was my introduction to Cherry Starr, wife of legendary quarterback Bart Starr....

  • Build Your Hopes On Things Eternal

    Michael J. Brooks|Mar 1, 2024

    The college I worked for asked me to go to Washington, D.C. for a seminar with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. I didn’t have to be asked twice! It was a great several days on the CCCU campus a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. I met with 30 or 40 college students who were interning in government that semester. We later invited a CCCU rep to our campus in Marion to explain the “Best Semester” program, and as result, had a number of our students to attend one of the three...

  • A Friday To Remember

    Michael J. Brooks|Mar 1, 2024

    The wind in my face was bitterly cold in downtown Dallas a few years ago since the winter weather was yet lingering. My continuing education classes had ended at the seminary in nearby Ft. Worth, so the afternoon was free for some sightseeing. A chill came over me independent of the temperature when I walked onto Dealey Plaza and saw firsthand those sights emblazoned in my memory from childhood: Elm Street, the triple overpass and the sixth-floor window. I thought back to that terrible Friday...

  • "REFLECTIONS" Shiny Happy Christians

    Michael J. Brooks|Jul 1, 2023

    It’s been a season of hard-charging faith documentaries, including “The Secrets of Hillsong” and “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets." Both saddened me. I never watched any of the Duggar series on TLC, though I was aware of the basic plot through word-of-mouth. The “Shiny” documentary intertwines with the ministry of Bill Gothard, the Duggar’s mentor, with whom I’m more familiar. Gothard was popular in the faith community of the 80s and 90s. A pastor friend encouraged us, his pulpit broth...

  • Pray For America

    Michael J. Brooks|May 1, 2019

    May 2 was the National Day of Prayer when we pause to thank God for our nation, seek forgiveness for our sins and ask his guidance in the future. There were at least two major proclamations before the event was formalized. The Continental Congress called the colonies to pray in 1775, and President Lincoln asked the nation to pray in 1863. Our modern observance was created in 1952 under President Truman and amended under President Reagan in 1988 to fall on the first Thursday in May. Every preside...

Page Down