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by John Keith Davis
These studies were all first written as speaking notes for me to use at public events related to my local Gospel Folk Music Ministry over the years. They are now revisited and slightly edited for presentation here in full written form.
Primarily seeing myself as a Gospel musician, I only slowly and reluctantly (especially at first) got into sharing my personal weekly Bible chapter studies out loud in the form of a public message. Sort of a sermon, if you were kind enough to call it that. But my preaching was and is primitive, verse by verse and line by line directly from the Scriptures. That seems to work best for me and Iím not sure I could do differently anyway as I lack any formal Biblical or religious training.
There have been, as you might expect, some mixed reactions to my messages. Everything from lavish praise and thoughtful encouragement to indifference or even contempt.
The very first study in this collection met mainly with the latter two. I had been called by a friend to play a couple of songs and (I guess since I was there anyway) to preach a sermon because the church in question at that time was searching for a permanent Pastor. Well the message, as early attempts do sometimes, fell flat that day. Some who I took to be leaders of that church seemed almost repulsed by my words. I saw one of them looking directly back at me almost as if I were some green-skinned alien or maybe speaking in a painfully obscure dialect. This shocked and unsettled me because I thought that everything I had planned to say that day was true and Godly. I was nervous too and, letís just say, it was a long 25 or 30 minutes for all of us. They were basically polite about it and I appreciated that. I never heard much more from that church. But the Lord used my meager efforts that day to help guide and strengthen me into what I now see as my rightful path of service to Him, the lay ministry. The pulpit was and has remained generally closed to me as a speaker, but two other opportunities did open very wide, first at a local nursing home and later in prison ministry. The bulk of my spoken messages have been shared with those who dwell there.
Gaps in the dates of these presentations do not always represent periods of inactivity but sometimes the fact I was often called to present Gospel music only and not a formal spoken message. So, I might share just a verse or two and in a few cases just the songs with brief introductions, hoping that might be enough to get whatever message I thought God had in store across at that time. In other cases, I just didnít bother to save the message notes and in still others I have decided upon reflection not to include them here.
Once in a while I have prepared a message and then the opportunity to share it was taken away or cut short unexpectedly. Thatís how it goes in the lay ministry! But Iíve come to cherish those messages as being more for me personally and special in that way, not a wasted effort at all. Doubly so since I can now share some of them with you, beloved. God bless you in every way as you pursue His Truth.