Friday, January 22, 2016


“Trivial pursuits” are trending.

Politics smacks of “Reality TV.”

Thinking is out. Feeling is in.  “Yeah! Let’s make America great again!”

Soft drinks are “light!”

Church services are “lite.”

And thinking is the “light-est” we’ve ever seen. 

It’s easier to coast than to climb.

It’s easier to ride than to push.

It’s easier to talk than to act.

And it’s easier to nod our heads in disapproval, than it is to bow our heads humbly seeking God’s approval—His good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives.

And we have the audacity to invite you to #SLHC2016 focusing on THE DEEPER LIFE!

It is our conviction that our crisis is not intransigence (a stubborn unwillingness to change), our crisis is indolence (we are too lazy to pray, to think, to act, and to do what is necessary to be disciples). 

Nearly everyone agrees that our nation is heading the wrong direction.  Thoughtful Christians can see that churches are losing their grip.  And in our own Zion, we who contend for Scriptural holiness have witnessed “a great falling away.” 

And yet we do not want to do the heavy lifting that must be done.

Is there an easy way to get a crowd?  Sure!  Give them what they want not what they need.

Is there an easy way to increase the offerings? Of course!  Offer tangible benefits and don’t say a word about the sins of your donors.

Is there an easy way to keep your pulpit? Absolutely!  Preach profound masterpieces that soothe sinners and wouldn’t offend the devil if he was in the congregation.  Preach generalities not specifics.  Hit legalism hard and be gentle toward the liberal.

The “easy way” has brought us to a moment of crisis.  Evangelism has all but disappeared.  Discipleship is dissipating.  Holiness is out. Worldliness is in.

 And the Church has lost her sanctifying influence in our culture.


The ST LOUIS HOLINESS CONVENTION is an annual gathering of dedicated Christian leaders who are praying and believing and working for a revival of Scriptural holiness.

Our goals are specific:

1.     To fervently seek after that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”  Heart purity is first. 

2.    To diligently discern the implications of Scriptural holiness—doctrinal, practical, and spiritual. We contend for orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and ortho-cardia.  We love the works of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Fletcher, Adam Clarke, Joseph Benson, Francis Asbury, Thomas Coke, William Booth, Catherine Booth, J. B. Chapman, Phineas Bresee, Richard Taylor and holiness writers and preachers of every generation.

3.    To engage our generation—both in and out of the church--with the truth and reality of Scriptural holiness. 

4.    To network those of the same heart. 

We will have prayer meetings, church services, teaching seminars, open forum discussions, and a great fellowship.  We are doing all we can to make it easy for you to come (ie. meals are freewill based).  If you’re interested please let us know how we can help you get here.


HARRY PLANK, General Superintendent Emeritus of GOD’S MISSIONARY CHURCH will be speaking at both evening services at 7pm.


SISTER BECKY SCHENCK will be leading A LADIES’ TRAC on both days.















The convention is sponsored by the JOHN WESLEY FOUNDATION of ST LOUIS and hosted by FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH, 2969 N. Lindbergh, St. Ann, MO 63074.


We are expecting and praying that everyone attending will leave with a deeper love for God, a deeper desire to know the will of God, and deeper determination to walk in holiness and righteousness.


Pastor Rick Jones & Pastor/Missionary John Poff

P.S.  We have just confirmed that DARRELL STETLER will be our keynote speaker in 2017, the Lord willing.

Monday, January 11, 2016



        Forty years ago I called on an elderly lady who was burdened with many difficult circumstances.  She was not healthy, her son was often in trouble, and there was not enough money.  Her favorite, and very often repeated phrase was, “I just don’t know.”   Over and over she would say, “I just don’t know.” 

        As we visited I listened to her problems, thought with her about her trying circumstances, and then talked with her about spiritual doubts--“I just don’t know.” 
        For her “I just don’t know,” was more than just an expression.  I’m afraid it was her testimony. 

       What troubles me today is that I’m afraid it is actually the testimony of millions of others. 

        They don’t know that they are loved with an everlasting love.  They don’t know that God has a perfect plan for their lives.  They don’t know the power of grace--forgiving grace, teaching grace, saving grace, keeping grace, sanctifying grace, dying grace.  They don’t know the joy of serving Jesus.  They don’t know that the Bible is really true.  They don’t know that the Word of God is lamp to our feet, and light on our path.


        Educators are great at helping us gain new perpectives--seeing what others have thought and done. But too often their open-minds keep them from discerning answers.  I'm afraid the critic was right, "Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out."
        Learning that is devoid of virtue diminishes confidence.  Facts in the context of the Christian worldview fosters confidence.

        Scientists are good at unsettling what we thought was settled fact and settling what we know is not settled. For example, did you know that the word “Atom” literally means “that which cannot be divided.”  At one time science was sure that the Atom was the smallest particle in the universe.  Now they know it is not.  Today they are sure that life is the product of random chance, but sheer probabilities alone demonstrate the impossibility of naturalistic evolution.
        Unfortunately, secular scientists have eroded the confidence of the unsuspecting students who are unware of their intentions.  Historically this is a new phenomenon as most of those who led the scientific revolution in its infancy were Christians or Deists convinced that the universe was created by an Intelligent Designer.

        Politicians are noted for exploiting the passions of their followers to further their personal agendas.  As they mislead their voters they engender a skepticism that depresses the mood of nations, and disheartens the good hearted.  Travel in Post-Christian Europe and you'll soon see how corruption has fostered cynicism, doubt and ultimately apathy. 

        Philosophers and religious leaders have driven millions into that same ditch.  They speak with such certitude, relying on their own lights, discounting the True Light, and obscuring the Way of Light.  It’s amazing how quickly moderns will accept the opinions of a popular expert over God’s revelation.  Coolness is better than rightness to the post-modern mind.

        C. S. Lewis once observed, “Experience is an honest thing.”  And so it is.  How many times have we witnessed the masses rushing to follow first one and then another leader, only to be disappointed.

        The popular genres of entertainment are corrosive to Christian Confidence.  Sensuality has always been the enemy of spirituality. To make matters worse we are witnessing the blending of sensual with sacred so that "feeling good" has replaced the Christian aim of "being good."  But when the music stops, and the dance is over, and the movies end, and the internet is gone, we are left with nagging doubt and overwhelming despair. 

        With that context it’s no wonder that so many people, even in ranks of the Church, are wondering if it is really possible to know anything for sure. 

"Christian" Diversity
        Add to that the diversity of opinions among believers, we are not surprised that honest, good, intelligent people are asking, “What can I know for sure?” 

        Professing Christians in one country do this. 
        Believers in other cultures do that.  
        My Christian friends on FaceBook seem to have no problems with going a different direction.
         Who are we to tell them that they are wrong? 

          The Apostle Paul faced all these questions, and the added trial of painful and life-threatening persecution.  If anyone had a reason to doubt it was Paul! 

        Hear his testimony to his young preacher, “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  (2 Timothy 1:12).          

        Assurance like this is not found in abstract ideas, scientific principles, pop-psychology, or human endeavor--it is centered in the God-Man, the Word Incarnate, the SAVIOR OF ALL THE WORLD!  This same Jesus who was born of a virgin, crucified, dead, buried, risen, ascended, and coming again is the source of confidence.

        How can Paul be so confident?  He answers, “I Know HIM!” The poet aptly penned

Not what, but WHOM, I do believe,
That, in my darkest hour of need,
Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man can give;--

Not what, but WHOM!
For Christ is more than all the creeds,
And His full life of gentle deeds
Shall all the creeds outlive.

Not what but Whom.
Not what I do believe, but WHOM!
WHO walks beside me in the gloom?
WHO shares the burden wearisome?
WHO all the dim way death doth illume,

And bids us look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live?-

Not what I do believe,
Not what,
 [John Oxenham, “Credo,” in Bees in Amber: A Little Book of Thoughtful Verse, 1917]


Psalm 27:3  …In this will I be confident.

Why was King Saul’s army standing down, backing off, and cowering in fear, while a visiting shepherd lad was standing up, moving forward, and facing the Goliath challenge?

Eye witnesses reported that as David ran toward Goliath he shouted, “THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S!”  After a spicy exchange of words with his nemesis, the shepherd loaded his sling and let fly a perfectly targeted stone that dropped Goliath with a history changing thud.

What was it that David possessed that Saul and his men did not?
It wasn’t military experience.  David was a shepherd.
It wasn’t armor. David spurned Saul’s offer for his uniform.
It wasn’t weapons. David chose to take only his sling.
It wasn’t encouragement.  David’s brothers scorned his offer to meet Goliath on the battlefield and King Saul was doubtful of the outcome.

It was confidence that moved David to the frontline of the battle.

But David’s confidence was not grounded in his skillset (though he had practiced target shooting with his sling for years). 
David’s confidence was not simply based on his conviction that his cause was right. He’d seen good causes falter.

David’s confidence sprang from his unshakable faith—not in himself, nor in his cause—but in his God! 

Hear David as he dashes toward the giant,
“…I come to you IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, the God of the armies of Israel
…This day THE LORD WILL DELIVER you into my hand
…that all the earth may know THERE IS A GOD IN ISRAEL.
…all this assembly shall know that THE LORD SAVES not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands…”  1 Samuel 17:45ff.

Peering from their hiding places, hundreds of Saul’s soldiers watched as the giant fell to the earth.  Emboldened by David’s triumph, they emerged from hiding and joined in routing the Philistines.  

Thoughtful observers of the Church in America are troubled as they witness not only declining numbers (From a weekly Sunday attendance of 40% in 1970 to 17% today), but diminishing influence, decaying allegiance to God Word, and disappearing discipleship.  We are seeing more degeneration than regeneration.

What makes it all the more shocking is that we are suffering these losses at a time when our Churches have better buildings, impressive schools, and an arsenal of outreach tools unparalleled in all the history of Christendom.  We can literally reach the world by the phones we all hold in our hands.

Ours is not a crisis of competence.  Ours is not a crisis of insufficient capital. Ours is a crisis of confidence! 

Like Saul’s army, we cower in fear and uncertainty at the precise moment that the enemy is threatening us.  We shake our heads in bewilderment.  We back away from commitments that we once held with conviction. We look around at others and rather than standing strong, we follow the crowd.

We talk and talk and talk about the Word of God, but few of us trust and trust and trust the Word of God.

Christian Confidence is not grounded in our greatness, it is founded on the greatness of the true and living God.

Christian Confidence is not built on our assertions, it is based on the plain truths of the infallible inerrant Word of God.

Christian Confidence is not based on hearsay evidence, it is based on the immediate witness of the Holy Spirit with our Spirit testifying, “this is the way, walk ye in it!”

The Apostle Paul exuded Christian Confidence. 

Keenly aware of his sinful past, “I am the chiefest of sinners,”
defeated by his carnal heart, “O wretched man that I am,”
painfully mindful of his human frailty, “I will glory in my infirmities,”  
and humbled by repeated rejection “no man stood with me, but all men forsook me,” the Apostle finally affirmed “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12).

The Apostle’s unshakable confidence was centered in Christ.  He met Him on the road to Damascus.  He knew Him. He loved Him. He humbly and joyfully submitted to Him.  “For me to live is Christ!” he testified.

And here is the secret to our Christian Confidence.  We too must meet Him.  We too must know Him.  We too must love Him. And we too must humbly and joyfully submit to Him in everything. 

“Jesus promised his disciples three things,” wrote G. K. Chesterton, “that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”  To his list we might add “perfectly confident.”


Sunday, January 10, 2016

HE LIFTED ME UP! + It's Saturday Night Recording

(click for our recording)

He lifted me out of the deep miry clay;
He settled my feet in the straight, narrow way;
He lifted me up to a heavenly place,
And floodeth my soul each day with His grace.
I was out on the broad way of sin and despair,
Crushed beneath my burden of sorrow and care;
My constant companions were trouble and doubt,
Till Jesus reached down and lifted me out.
I was wandering afar from my Saviour and home,
Fainting and weary in sin did I roam;
I needed a hand to turn me about,
Then Jesus reached down and lifted me out.
I was building my home on the dry shifting sand,
Casting my lot in a cold barren land;
You're doomed now for aye I heard Satan shout;
But Jesus reached down and lifted me out.
I have started for heaven my heart filled with song
Wandering is over my sins all are gone;
Through Jesus' own blood cleansed within and without
O praise His dear name He lifted me out.

GOD IS STILL ON HIS THRONE! + It's Saturday Night Recording

(Click to hear recording)

Have you started for glory and Heaven?
Have you left this old world far behind?
In your heart is the Comforter dwelling?
Can you say, “Praise the Lord, He is mine”?
Have the ones that once walked on the highway
Gone back, and you seem all alone?
Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies;
God is still on the throne.

God is still on the throne,
And He will remember His own;
Tho’ trials may press us and burdens distress us,
He never will leave us alone;
God is still on the throne,
He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne.

Burdened soul, is your heart growing weary
With the toil and the heat of the day?
Does it seem that your path is more thorny
As you journey along on life’s way?
Go away and in secret before Him
Tell your grief to the Savior alone;
He will lighten your care, for He still answers prayer;
God is still on the throne.

You may live in a tent or a cottage,
Unnoticed by those who pass by;
But a mansion for you He is building
In that beautiful city on high;
It will outshine the wealth and the splendor
Of the richest on earth we have known;
He’s the Architect true, and He’s building for you;
God is still on the throne.

He is coming again, is the promise
To disciples when He went away;
In like manner as He has gone from you,
You will see Him returning some day;
Does His tarrying cause you to wonder,
Does it seem He’s forgotten His own?
His promise is true, He is coming for you;
God is still on the throne.