Summary: The Church has to Prevail! It should not strike us as a surprise. The adversary will throw all kind of stuff against the church



We are honored to be here for this day of celebration with the 1st Baptist Church of Purcell. Although this is not my first time here, it is has been about 10 years that I was here while serving as the Pastor of 1st Baptist Church, in Ardmore. We were here some 3 ½ years ago supporting Bishop George Palmer when we had just recently met each other and we travelled here to support him when he delivered the Word. So, I am absolutely thrilled to be here with you this afternoon with our church family where I serve as the Pastor – Perfected Praise Worship Center of OKC. Thank you so much for thinking of us and allowing us to share with you during this 116th Church Anniversary.

This is a challenging theme the Church has presented for this day of Celebration. I feel that if the church has prayed about a theme than I am bound to expound upon such a theme – A Church Prevailing Against All Odds. I must admit that it took much quality time communing with our Heavenly Father as to what He wants to say to us this afternoon. And, I appreciate the challenge it so presented.

I remember when I was a boy, I was fascinated with Magic. Matter of fact, I wanted to grow up to be a Magician. I recall like it was yesterday, on my 13th or perhaps my 14th birthday, Dad was in the military, we were stationed and living in Government Quarters at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. It was there that I received a Magic Kit for my birthday. I had the MAGIC CARDS – MAGIC WAND – MAGIC RINGS - MAGIC HAT – and all the gadgets. It was wonderful and I tried to master all the tricks. Even today, I really enjoy a good Magic Show with such great Magicians like –

• David Copperfield, his talent and great showmanship

• Siegfried and Roy

• Of course the Great Hudini in his day

• Lance Burton, quality magician

Some of the greatest acts that I, as well as many others enjoy when it comes to Magic are making things Disappear. I also like when people are suspended in Air, they bring the rings over the person to show there are no strings. They are just suspended in mid-air. My favorite is when someone gets in a box and they are cut in half, that one is just amazing to me. I know, as we all do, that Magic tricks are nothing more than an OPITCAL ILLUSION.

• An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality

• The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source

• There are three main types

• Literal optical illusions that create images that are different from the objects that make them

• Physiological illusions that are the effects on the eyes and brain of excessive stimulation of a specific type

• Cognitive illusions, the result of unconscious inferences

I know, some of you are already thinking, did I come to church this afternoon to hear about the dynamics of Magic, I thought I was coming to help celebrate with this great church and church leaders? Well…when I think about this theme A Church Prevailing Against All Odds – I can’t help but to think about another type of illusion. Not Optical but a SPIRITUAL ILLUSION. Because there really is, there are no odds against God’s Church. The Church has to Prevail! It should not strike us as a surprise. The adversary will throw all kind of stuff against the church in an effort to fool us into believing that the Odd’s are against us, Odd’s are against the Church. We get a glimpse of this reality, or this Illusion if you will, when we read – I PETER 5:8 “BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT; BECAUSE YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, AS A ROARING LION, WALKETH ABOUT, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR.” We are told that all the devil can do is make a whole bunch of noise. He cannot devour us unless we grow frightened by the Illusion of the Noise he makes. It is a Spiritual Illusion, we grow afraid because of his noise, not because of his bite.

We must understand who we are in the Lord. A Church is not an audience. A sharp distinction ought to be made between a Church and an Audience.

• An audience is a group of unrelated people drawn together by a short-lived attraction

• A church is a group of born again believers drawn together by a Savior

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