Tag Archives: church

Rallying to Save the Fields | Bible Gleanings – July 24-25, 2021

A ten-mile stretch of highway suddenly transformed into a community of 50,000 passionate people united to save their fields. According to the New York Times, thousands of Indian farmers and like-minded supporters marched to the streets of New Delhi last winter to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s harmful policies that would suffocate India’s agricultural economy. They swarmed India’s capital like an unstoppable army. Unlike an army, however, there was more singing and dancing than fighting. In fact, their rambunctious gathering resembled a large-scale pep rally instead of a national protest. 

Surprisingly, although they rallied during the cold and rainy winter months, they never lost their zeal or excitement. The strength of their passion to save the fields was unhindered apparently because of the activities they did to keep themselves revitalized and recharged. Politicians and other leaders delivered rousing speeches on stages built specifically for them. Music blared from speakers attached to tractors, filling each tent with songs to keep everyone pumped. They even excommunicated troublemakers who threatened to disrupt their rallying.

They held an exuberant and sprightly rally for the sole purpose of saving their fields. And they did whatever it took to keep themselves focused on that goal.

Every time we gather as the church on the Lord’s Day, we are also hosting a rally to save our fields. The primary reason for assembling together on Sunday is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), but we should also get electrified and excited about saving our fields. We ought to get charged up each Sunday so we can go into the field of the world and bring the unsaved to the only One who can save them.

Jesus said the fields are ready: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). The fields are ready to be harvested—God is working the soil and preparing the “crops” of unsaved individuals to be brought into the barn of His kingdom.

But why do many of our churches appear to have little “grain” in their pews? Answer: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

If you know Christ as Lord and Savior, you are a spiritual farmer called to labor in the fields with the gospel message of salvation found in Christ alone. But you cannot fulfill that task alone. To work the fields, you need to assemble with other spiritual farmers in the local church. And the greatest way to stay motivated and energized to fulfill that goal is to meet together with faithful believers in a biblical church, where every Sunday is a rally to save the fields.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

The Saint’s Supercharger | Bible Gleanings – June 18-19, 2021

As it zipped by in a hurry, I heard a whistle in my left ear—a Tesla apparently on its way to a supercharger station. Unlike most automobiles, the Tesla is electric and doesn’t require gasoline for travel. Their powertrain is electric from the ground up. Thousands of Teslas have been built in California and Shanghai, with the goal of moving away from fossil fuels toward a clean energy alternative. Because the Tesla eventually runs out of energy, it must be parked frequently at a supercharger station in order to keep on going. And supercharger stations may be found all across the nation so Tesla drivers can plug in, charge their batteries, and get back on the open road.

Christian, like the Tesla, you will run out of energy—spiritual energy. Therefore, you will need to recharge the battery of your soul to keep on going. And the local church is the supercharger station you must plug into weekly in order to continue driving on the straight and narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). Without parking yourself in a pew to be renewed by the power of prayer, fellowship, and preaching that comes from the local church, the engine of your heart will not crank.

Your soul will be recharged when you gather and pray with other saints. The Bible actually says that spiritual healing and power comes to believers who pray together: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

Similarly, the spiritual energy gained from fellowshipping with fellow saints prevents you from falling away from the faith. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

And when you hear the faithful preaching of holy Scripture in the congregation, your soul is strengthened and invigorated by its spiritual nourishment. The word of God “revives the soul” (Psalm 19:7), and such revival occurs when it is proclaimed and publicly read (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2).

There is no alternative, friend. You cannot maintain spiritual energy without the body of Christ. Don’t let your battery drain out—go to church and plug in.

You are always welcome to charge your soul’s battery at Locust Grove Baptist Church. Come and see us Sunday morning at 11 am and 6 pm, or Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. We’re on 1871 Locust Grove Road in Murray.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

The Highest and Holiest Name | Bible Gleanings – May 15-16, 2021

The Highest and Holiest Name

As I turned the dial in search of some tunes to pass time on the interstate, an ad from a prominent law firm played between songs: “Name recognition matters, so let the biggest and best name in Alabama represent you and your personal injury claim. Contact our office today!” They boasted of the millions of dollars recovered for their clients, and assured that clients only pay, “if and when we win your case.” However, their greatest appeal was that no law firm in the state was as recognizable as they were. Insurance companies would sweat and shudder when they heard the name. The defendant’s lawyer would melt like wax. And the client could have unshakable confidence in their ability to win the case because of being represented by the most popular name in law.

They were right—name recognition does matter, and who you chose to present your case before a judge is crucial. Who you chose to represent you before the throne of God in the heavenly court on the day of judgment is far more important, however. One day the books will be opened and God will judge you according to what is written in them (Rev. 20:11-15). And you need the highest and holiest name in all the universe to win your case before God so you can spend eternity in heaven. This Man’s name is the most exalted “in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” so much so that every knee will one day bow at the mere mention of His name (Phil. 2:9-11). Who is this man? John the apostle told us: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1).

As a sinner, you stand condemned before God (John 3:18). Your sins are piled higher than your head and your guilt reaches the heavens (Ezra 9:6). The good news is, if you have believed on Christ, He is your defense attorney before God. He is your Advocate, the One who pleads (and wins) your case. The only defense sufficient to cover your sins is Jesus Christ and His shed blood. Ironically, Jesus is also the one who will do the judging: “[God] will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him [Jesus] from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

The greatness of your name doesn’t matter, and neither does the name of the church you belong to—there’s only one name that saves: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Buddy Tape | Bible Gleanings – May 8-9, 2021

Buddy Tape

“The doctor said this ‘Buddy Tape’ will help my fingers heal,” my mother told me recently. She fell on the squeaky back deck of my parents’ house, and her ring and pinky fingers took a hit. Both were broken beyond healing. The doctor gave her two options for healing: surgery, or Buddy Tape, which is a stretchy Velcro wrap that promotes healing by keeping her fingers together.

She chose the latter, and her broken fingers were bound together in this miniature cast. The catch is, without surgery, they will never be completely healed—but they are better off joined together. Left to themselves, both fingers would suffer more, and neither could be useful to the hand any longer. But yoked together, they could help each other straighten out. In other words, mutual support would do the job.

This reminded me of what King Solomon wrote: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). You and I are broken people, also because of a fall—a fall from grace into sin, which happened when our first parents sinned in the Garden (Genesis 3). And although will never be completely healed of our spiritual brokenness in this life, we are better off joined together with other believers who can help straighten us out. Without mutual love, prayers, and support for each other, we all suffer—both we and our fellow brethren are left to face our brokenness alone.

God’s desire is that we stick close together as a spiritual family in the local church so we can lift each other up. As Paul put it, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The Lord also wants you to administer grace and support to fellow believers when they’ve had a hard fall. In fact, you have an obligation to do so: “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” (Romans 15:1-2).

You also have an obligation to seek support and love from other believers to help you in your own weaknesses. Isolation from other followers of Jesus is dangerous: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1). It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).

Who are you joined together with in the Christian life?


Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Training Together | Bible Gleanings – March 27-28, 2021

Training Together

“It’s hard to be by yourself,” said Kyra Christmas, a 23-year-old athlete who plays on Canada’s national water polo team. Like most professional sports players, she was devastated by the emergency lockdowns last year which upended team sports and stifled training for competitions. Water polo is a game that requires team effort and cooperation, just like baseball, football, or any other mainstream sport. She shared her griefs in a New York Times article titled, How to Train for Team Sports Alone, and made the case that there is no substitute for being together. When it comes to team sports, you simply have to train as a collective body.

Individual training is crucial but it is no replacement for conditioning together as a group. She recalled training alone and watching videos of past games—imagining competing in the water alongside her teammates—but it wasn’t sufficient. Finally, in mid-August of last year, her team was able to resume training. “It felt so good to be together again,” she remarked.

Likewise, you must train together with other believers in order to win in the Christian life. To be sure, Christian living is not a game—it is warfare—but it is meant to be lived in the community of faith. In order to live a life of godliness, you must be surrounded by other godly people in the local church. There is no substitute for church membership and participation. When it comes to walking on the straight and narrow, you cannot train yourself or train by yourself—it’s a team effort. As you run the Christian race with endurance, nothing is more beneficial than running that race with other believers.

It is within the local body of assembled believers that you discover and use your spiritual gifts—the abilities God gave you to be an efficient teammate (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11). It is only by cooperation with other Christians that you may fulfill your chief goal of making disciples—remember, it is called the Great Co-Mission for a reason (Matt. 28:16-20). You need a faithful congregation to lift you up when you fall and support you when your burdens are too heavy to bear (Gal. 6:1-2). True Christian love is expressed exclusively within the gathered body of Christ—loving “one another” requires that you know and interact with “another” to love (1 John 3:11-24). It is solely within the family of God that gratitude and praise reach their highest levels of expression (Col. 3:16). The Bible even says that you are prevented from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin through the encouragement and reproof of the church (Hebrews 3:13).

Friend, it’s hard to be by yourself. Find and join a faithful church where you can train for the Christian life with other “teammates” who are aiming at the goal of God’s glory. 


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Small People, Big Impact | Bible Gleanings, September 19-20, 2020

Small People, Big Impact

Earlier this month, Americans and many nations abroad celebrated the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II. The worldwide conflict initiated in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Every major part of the world loaded their weapons and got involved, including the United States. After seemingly endless battles and bloodshed for over half a decade, the war officially ended on September 2, 1945 when the Japanese formally surrendered.

A little-known fact about the world’s bloodiest conflict is that a small business in New York City helped the Allies triumph victoriously. Over 70 years ago, Louis Pfohl founded Plaxall, a family-owned plastics manufacturing company, which still operates today. A New York Times article recounts that they have recently aided in the production of face shields to combat the coronavirus, but most notably helped us defeat the Axis powers during WWII. The federal government requested that their minuscule workforce produce plastic replicas of American, German, Russian, and Japanese airplanes so citizens and military personnel could better identify them during air raids. Plaxall even advanced the production of the atomic bomb as they were contracted by the Manhattan Project to build a five-sided pyramidal cone that was indispensable to the endeavor. 

Plaxall may have been small in number but they were big on impact. They helped us win the world’s deadliest conflict, although they never employed a huge workforce. They didn’t need a great army to help the greatest armies of the world. They didn’t need a big name to make a big difference. The truth is, you don’t need a multitude or a ton of resources to make a global impact. All you need are a few committed people working together for the fulfillment of a single mission.

Jesus Christ agrees: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8b). Jesus commends the Philadelphian church, acknowledging that they had been faithful despite being small. They had little strength—small numbers and little resources. They couldn’t produce much because of their little size and influence, but they produced the greatest thing of all: faithfulness to Christ. That’s all it takes to make a big impact. God will use you greatly when you remain faithful to your mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).

He doesn’t need a big church to make a global difference. He doesn’t need an army to spread the gospel to the world. He just wants faithfulness. God can do a lot with a little, right? Christ fed the multitudes with a sack lunch and even changed the world by the preaching of twelve apostles. Do what you can and God will use it, even if it is small. He may even use it to win a war.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it will be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Bro. John Baker – Pastor, Mentor, and Friend

“He never said it would be easy. He did say it would be worth it.”

That was one of Bro. John’s many idioms and I never forgot it. He maintained a biblical perspective no matter his personal pain or ministry hardships. And anytime difficulty arises in my life, I hear him say it.

But far more than his words of wisdom, I remember the life he lived. He was the most biblical, godly, and sacrificial pastor I have ever known. When I sift through the memories I have of him, I constantly think of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Bro. John was truly all things to all people. He made a memorable impact on everyone he knew and he certainly made an impact on me.

His influence on me began in high school. He was my bus driver during my final years at Ballard Memorial High School. In no time, we were having daily conversations on the bus about preaching and the Bible. He sacrificed precious time befriending me and he did so because that’s just the kind of person he was.

Then came the invitation to preach at his church, Ohio Valley Baptist, which would become my place of ministry for five years. They were hosting a large youth rally and he graciously invited me to preach—at 17 years of age, with no formal theological training, and little pulpit experience. But he trusted the Lord and he believed in me.

A few months later, my relationship with Bro. John deepened as I accepted the call to be the minister of youth at Ohio Valley. He poured into me in ways that have made an eternal impact. His influence and leadership are the reason I’m in the ministry today. Every day, I aspire to be the kind of pastor and Christian that he was. In our relationship, he faithfully applied 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Throughout the entirety of my time serving in ministry with him, he mentored me for pastoral ministry.

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I’ll never forget the day he shook my hand and presented me with my license to preach. I preached a bummer sermon that morning, but he knew the Lord had called me to preach and on November 25, 2012 he and Ohio Valley confirmed so by licensing me to preach the gospel. He also conducted my ordination on December 15, 2013 and I’ll never forget what he said: “I’m gonna tell you what the apostle Paul told Timothy and how I believe he said it: PREACH. THE. WORD!”

They say faithfulness in ministry is both taught and caught. That is, you learn to be a faithful pastor through instruction, example, and experience. He provided me with the right combination of all three. He wisely counseled me in matters of life and ministry, but he simultaneously provided the best example for me to follow and gave me plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord (and even make mistakes).

318311_4771256193513_2126824425_nI remember vividly when he taught me how to baptize new believers. He insisted that I join him in the baptistery to watch and learn. He even assisted me as I baptized one of my best friends. He knew I needed the experience for when I would become the pastor of my own church.

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Bro. John is also the reason I went to Bible college. After graduating high school, I didn’t want to do anymore schooling. But he continued to encourage me to pursue some kind of formal theological training. Recently, I graduated from Boyce College with an Associates of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. I just received my diploma in the mail and I wish I could have shown it to him and expressed my deepest gratitude for his encouraging me to pursue it (I have a feeling he knows now).

414627_4004776351996_1691435617_oHe was a man who “walked slowly through the people.” That is, he made a real effort to spend time with people. He would listen to you—not just to reply, but to show that he loved you. He was the most relational pastor that I’ve ever known. He was there anytime he was needed. He was at every event. He had fun during church events and always made them more lively.

I remember the times he rushed to the hospital to visit people in need. Many of those times, he brought me with him. Whether it was a routine surgery, a sudden illness, or a tragic death—he was there to love and lead people who were hurting. He taught me that a pastor ought to be seen outside the church as much as inside the church. 

1223121212And he always did more than what was required of him. He was a faithful pastor who always exceeded his job description. Even before he came to Ohio Valley, I am told that he got on his rubber boots and helped one of the families move things out of their house before it flooded. When there was something that needed to be done, he did it—no matter how mundane. In fact, another idiom of his was, “Sometimes if it’s not done by the pastor, it won’t get done.” 

622411_3910863644237_1265532537_oBro. John also exemplified Paul’s command to always be ready to preach (2 Tim. 4:2). Everywhere was his pulpit. He preached outdoors on the church lawn and at the public parks. He preached at weddings and funerals. He even preached to the folks down at the nursing home. He was always ready. No matter how busy he was, he was always prepared to open and explain the word of God.

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He was also instrumental in the relationship that me and my wife share. We both distinctly remember how he tenderly counseled us as we prepared for marriage. When the wedding day arrived, she and I were shaking like leaves on a tree, but he was calm and composed—which really helped ease our tensions. 

Words can never express how much he means to me. There is so much more that I want to say. But all in all, Bro. John taught me how to be a faithful pastor, a devoted Christian, and a loving husband. I’m going to miss his wise counsel and quirks. I am going to miss calling him on the phone for advice regarding issues in ministry. But I am anticipating the day when we will be reunited in glory.

I love you, Bro. John. You did so much for me that you didn’t have to do. I am who I am today because you befriended and mentored the young man on your school bus.

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The Persecuted Church (Rev. 2:8-11)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 5th day of May 2018, during the morning service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.

The Loveless Church (Rev. 2:1-7)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 29th day of April 2018, during the morning service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.

The Preservation of Christian Unity (Eph. 4:2-3)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 28th day of October 2018, during the evening service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.