New Doors to Sanctuary
Special Service

A commentary on the state of the Church.


We are living in hostile times here in the United States, never before has the country been so divided. Democrats and Republicans are at each others throats 24/7. The President of the country and his family are under constant attack, parents sturggle to control their children, overdose deaths spread over every city in America like the black plague of death and our Christian faith is under attacked like never before in this country. In addition to this America has turned her back on God’s commandments by allowing LGBT marriages to take place,  killing the unborn by the hundreds. To our dismay we now have major denomination, once strong in the Christian faith allowing homosexual persons to pastor their church. God help us.  Our own denomination United Methodist, is currently in a struggle over human sexuality which threatens to split the church into several factions. God word has never changed despite what the culture does.  We, the chruch, in an effort to make ourselves more attractive to the world have lowered our standards, rejected the convictions and orthodoxy of our church fathers and mothers and have wandered into dangerous territory.  The founder of our own denomination John Wesley warned that such a day would come if we did not hold fast to the faith.  We as a denomination are in serious trouble. We have decline in membership, those faithful to the church are  in their golden years and the church is literally dying on the vine. Our leaders refuse to show any leadership or conviction when it comes to upholding the Book of Discipline much less the Holy Word of God. Here is the good news: God will always have a church,  preachers who will stand in the gap and preach the word of God fearlessly. As a member of Christ Holy Church you have the obligation to find a church that still preaches against sin, that still maintains that God’s commandments are not suggestions, that Salvation is only through Jesus Christ that his blood is the only agent capable of saving us from an eternal hell. Find a church that believes that, “all roads do not lead to heaven.” that heaven and hell are realities and that we have a responsibility to tell the lost of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. If you are looking for a church like this, I know one. You are welcome to attend St. Paul East UMC  located on Ruggles Ferry in East Knoxville.  I promise you that when it comes to upholding the word of God, preaching the truth, winning the lost, standing for holiness of  the heart the mind and the body, wse are:  “Moving in the right direction.”

Pastor Russ




Day-to-Day Scenes

Sharing Our Faith


We can share our faith with others in many different ways. The first
and most important way is through our lifestyles. We must live a life
that is reflective of our convictions in such a way that it attracts others.
Jesus said the 2nd greatest Commandment was to love others and
Ephesians 5:2 tells us to “Live a life filled with love, following the
example of Christ.” Paul says “I always try to please others instead of
myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved. You must follow
my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:33 f).
We become ineffective when our lives are out of sync with God’s will.
Living a healthy, holy and attractive life is always compelling. When
others notice your life they will often be curious and want to know
more about it. Peter tells us “if someone asks about your Christian
hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and
respectful way” (1 Peter 3:15-16). It doesn’t take a Bible College
degree or years of Bible study to be able to answer the questions of
others about our faith. Yet, the phrase “always be ready” means that
we’ll have to spend some time preparing. Every Christian should think
through their personal testimony of God’s faithfulness to them and how
that has given them a new perspective on life and a hope for eternity.
Not all of us have dramatic conversion stories but we all have stories of
how God has impacted our lives positively. Every believer has a story
to share and every believer must be ready to share it.
Your story should contain three parts. The first part is what your life
was like before God acted in his marvelous way to bless you. For those
who came to faith in Christ later in life, that is normally our salvation
experience. I was in the midst of a divorce and faced the prospect of
losing my family and other precious things in life. But for others it’s a
personal testing; the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a stage of
sheer disillusionment with life as a whole, or many other issues that
drive us to take a more serious look at our life and very often drives us
to our knees and opens our hearts to hear from God. We should not
spend too much time on this part of the story, but use it to set the stage
for giving God the glory for His wonderful work. The 2nd part of the
story is about what God did to resolve my life crisis issue or personal
struggle. This part takes some deep reflection because God’s ways are
usually mysterious and we need to work at understanding what and
how God worked in our hearts during that period. The last part of my
story is about how I changed after God’s work in my heart. The