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This site is edited by John Woodward M.Div., D.Min, who serves as Director of Counseling and Training at Grace Fellowship International in Pigeon Forge, TN

Adrian Rogers: The Great Exchange

An exposition and testimony

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NKJV

Pastor Adrian Rogers’ exposition of Galatians 2:20 included these points. This quality of Christian living is:

1. An executed life
“I have been crucified with Christ…”

2. A exchanged life
“…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”

3. An energized life
“and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Pastor Rogers deduced, “And every demand upon me is a demand upon the Christ, who lives in me, and His faith, not my faith.”

He then recalled the spiritual breakthrough of the wife of pastor Peter Lord. (Adrian and his wife, Joyce, were close friends of Peter and Johnnie Lord in their younger years.)

“Peter Lord’s wife is one of the most godly Christian women I’ve ever known. But Johnnie had a crisis in her life, when all of us were younger preachers…Johnnie came to a place where she almost had a nervous breakdown. The pressures, the demands upon her life—her little children, her husband, studying in seminary, and so forth. I can remember, Johnnie saying, ‘ I tried, and tried, and tried to do right, to live right, to serve God, to be pleasing to God; and, the more I tried, the more I sank…’ And she said, ‘It was terrible. I almost despaired of life, wanting to do right, wanting to be right, wanting to show love. And I would pray, “God, help me to love this person. God, help me to trust. God, help me not to worry. God, help me to believe.”..I was failing, and failing, and asking God to help me…but I was getting no help.’

‘And then,’ she said, ‘I discovered this verse the Scripture: that “I was crucified.” The old person that I used to be is dead, and gone; and now, “Jesus Christ lives in me. And now the life I live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” that He might give Himself to me (Galatians 2:20).” And she said, ‘It dawned on me one day, I needed patience. I didn’t pray, “God gave me patience.” She said, ‘I said, “Lord, you live in me – Thy patience, Lord.”‘ And she felt patience, flowing through her.  She said, ‘that’s wonderful.’ Then, there was somebody she needed to love; and, very frankly, they weren’t a very lovely person. And she didn’t say, ‘Lord, help me to love them.’ She said ‘I’m going to try it again: ‘”Thy love, Lord,” and she just felt love flowing through her…

Adrian, summarized, “That’s what it’s all about, friend. You see, the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, and every demand of God that is upon you is not upon you; it is upon Jesus who lives in you. And what liberty that is—what freedom that is—to understand that Christ lives in you.”

An excerpt from his sermon on Galatians 2:20  at www.LWF.org 

Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) was a pastor who served three terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He published eighteen books and his works are featured on the radio and television program, Love Worth Finding. He was also the founder of the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute for ministers.

Are You Preaching in Light of the New Covenant?

Preaching from the Old Testament (Torah, Prophets and Poetry) is inspired and useful (2 Tim. 3:16), but should be proclaimed in light of the gospel and New Testament revelation. This also holds true for the Gospel’s teaching on righteousness. Even though our Bibles say “New Testament” before the Gospel of Matthew, the New Covenant was not initiated until Christ’s atonement on Calvary.

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19,20).

For example, preaching that gives the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) apart from the revelation of believers being under grace (Rom. 6:14) and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) gives the impression of works-based sanctification. In this counter-cultural sermon Christ shows that external righteousness is not adequate to earn eternal life. In John 3:1-18 Jesus teaches the Pharisee Nicodemus that a new birth is required. Former Pharisee, Paul, testified of his salvation experience of receiving  graciously imputed righteousness (Phil 3:3-10). 

In John 6:63; 15:1-8 Christ explains to disciples the source of expressing this righteousness practically….in light of New Covenant revelation: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-14).

In other words, sermons on the Old testament and Gospels should include the grace and enablement perspective of the New Testament epistles. Otherwise, listeners will end discovering how “the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56). 

Just as a non-evangelical pastor gives the impression that good works can be a means of salvation if he does not communicate the gospel of redemption, even so, an evangelical pastor may give the impression that self-effort can successfully live the Christian life if he does not communicate the Gospel of identification (as in Galatians 2:20).

The gospel of identification is explained in the N. T. epistles such as Romans 5:12-8:39. Apart from teaching grace-by-faith sanctification, biblical preaching (whether O. T. or N. T.)  comes across as law and the leads to the frustration of Romans 7:21-25: “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

The answer of the concluding phrase is I” thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” This answer is explained in iRomans  ch. 8, which applies the message of identification with the Lord Jesus as revealed in Romans 5:12-6:23.

Evan Hopkins observed, “How many earnest and religious people belong to ‘the Old Adam Improvement Society.’  It is the recognition of the Christ-life, it is union with the Risen Christ, that men need instead of the culture of the religious self-life.”

May we have the Spirit-filled, grace-oriented N.T. preaching of the apostle Paul, who testified to the church leaders of Ephesus:

“I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. … I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:20,21,27,32).

J. B. W.


New Covenant Leadership

Dr. Lewis Gregory has written a concise book that is valuable for Christian leaders and Pulpit Committees that seeking a pastor for their local church.

There is a leadership void in the world today. So, what can be done about it? God has made ample provision to solve the leadership problem.

Dr Gregory identifies four qualities that are important for New Covenant ministry.

1.  This minister is committed to proclaiming the mystery of the gospel, which is “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27-2:3), Mature ministers of God know their identity in Christ and their ministry calling.

2. This minister understands his own personal identity in Christ and is eager to proclaim it. He should be devoted to showing and sharing the grace of God wherever he goes.

3. This minister is committed to the spiritual growth and maturity of the body of Christ (Colossians 1:28-2:3; Hebrews 6:1).

4. This minister is committed to equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. Ephesians 4:12 gives this mission statement: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The body of Christ needs someone who build them up in the most holy faith based on the Word of God.

By the grace of God this is possible and vital!

Adapted from Dr. Gregory’s book (pp. 14,15) which can be ordered through his web site here.

Grace for Ministry

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians. 4:7).

British pastor and author, T. Austin-Sparks, emphasized the vital role of God’s grace in salvation, Christian living, and ministry. The references to God’s grace in the Epistle to the Ephesians reminds us as spiritual leaders…

“…It does not matter how far we may advance, into whatever altitudes of spiritual life we may ascend, whatever may be the honour conferred upon us and the service to which we are called, we never for one moment in the slightest degree get beyond the range of grace or beyond the limit where all is of grace…

“There is no more merit in service than there is in salvation, no more merit in spiritual knowledge than in our justification: it is all of grace. I want to emphasise that God must have that ground before He can do things. We have such a way of returning to the Lord and after all seeking to in some way suggest a claim upon Him, a right, a merit, a worthiness, presenting Him ground upon which we feel the Lord ought to do this and ought to do that, and the Lord demands that we shall come for every phase and aspect of our spiritual life and relationship to Him to the place where: “Lord, if You do it, it will be all of grace“; “If the work is done, it will be all of grace.” The Lord demands that ground. You find it through the Old and the New Testaments, the ground upon which the Lord works is, whether we wholly and fully recognise that, whatever the Lord does it will be all His grace, and while in Christ we have privileges and the Lord will sometimes call upon us to lodge a claim to the fulfilment of His promises – after all, on His side it is all of grace. So let us let go to His grace and give Him the ground that He needs for doing His continual enlarging things, and never ourselves become anything as believers or as workers, or as having any knowledge, but holding all things as of the grace of God.” [1]

Austin-Sparks.net is a treasure chest of biblical, spiritual, and ministerial insights. Thanks to a devoted couple in New Zealand:

“Austin-Sparks.Net makes the works of T. Austin-Sparks available in a range of forms. This includes over 350 audio messages in MP3 format, copies of the original A Witness and A Testimony magazines in Searchable PDF format, and republished articles and books. Virtually all of the original messages by T. Austin-Sparks that were published [in] pamphlets and books under the Witness and Testimony Trust are now available in various formats on this website. PDFs are provided for easy printing of articles and books for personal use. E-books in ePub and Mobi formats are available for reading on portable readers from the website as well as from Apple, Kobo and Amazon.”


[1] An excerpt from “Grace” article at Austin-Sparks.Net 

Baseball and Revival

“Revival is an infusion of new spiritual life imparted by the Holy Spirit to existing parts of Christ’s body.” -Richard Lovelace

In an interview with Christianbook.com in 1999 Richard Lovelace mentioned four aspects of renewal, symbolized by a baseball diamond.

“The Wesleyan quadrilateral, which is like a baseball diamond, has Scripture as its home plate. The first base is tradition. The second base is reason, and the third base is experience. According to Albert Outler in John Wesley, you had to run around that diamond and keep coming back to Scripture. So, it starts with Scripture, followed by tradition, which is orthodox theology. Then reason, that is applying things to what we know now, and experience—that’s the impact of the Holy Spirit in your life. Finally, you come back to Scripture.

Evangelicals are very strong on Scripture, tradition, and reason. Charismatics and Pentecostals have been real strong on experience, to some degree also on Scripture. They have not been at all involved deeply in tradition, and sometimes don’t make enough use of reason. But what I see coming is a balance of all of this.”

Richard F. Lovelace (Th. D., Princeton), professor emeritus of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is the author of Homosexuality and the Church,The American Pietism of Cotton Mather, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, and Renewal as A Way of life.

Spiritually F.I.T.


Many people choose to react externally to the issues that come at them. Some people choose to react mostly internally.

I am certain that you know that both types of responses are equally opposite to responding by and from the Christ-Life in us [Col. 1:27].

Some external responding leads men to prison, or worse. Some internal responding leads to hospitalization, or worse.

This is because the “I-life,” identified in Scripture as the “flesh” (Gk, sarx – patterns, programming, etc.) can carry us only so far, never far enough. Imagine hitting a home run, proceeding to run the bases, and running out of gas as you cross second base. Face down in the dirt, we understand how weak, though LOUD and determined, the flesh is.

Part of the answer is to cease striving to improve or overcome the “I”  [Phil. 3:3]. That has never worked in human history. You and I are not going to be the ones who prove God wrong.  For all of its potential for relative good, we must abandon the flesh and operating by it.

What then is The Way, the true alternative? And why does the mainstream church not seem to be proclaiming it?

The mainstream church is focused on what we may call “the frontside of the Cross,” hearing, believing and accepting Jesus’ Finished Work for forgiveness and salvation, as in eternal security. New believers are “Heaven-ready!”  But they don’t know how to function down here. They become “saved and stuck,” and for lack of understanding of Christ Jesus living in them, “the backside,” or “the other side of the Cross,” they flounder, fail repeatedly, and continue relying on the flesh in them, that is not them any more.

The Way is a Person. The How-to is Jesus in every believer. He said, “I Am The Way” [John 14:6].

When we panic and freak out because of all that is coming at us, we cry out, “How do I do this, Lord?”  He points to Himself. The Spirit of Christ points us to Christ in us. The New Covenant points to Jesus as our very Life.

In the same way that we came to Christ, believed and received Him, we may now walk in full confidence and dependence on Jesus in us, every minute, every day. We abide/live in Him, He abides/lives in us [John 15:1-8].

Many Bible-teachers focus on methods, many on power or authority, many on doing, activity, and trying harder. But there are some who “got the memo,” more and more who simply point to Jesus in us, as He responds calmly to our cries by pointing to Himself.

Yes, Jesus in His glorified body is with Father on the Throne of Grace in Glory. And, yes, Jesus in His Holy Spirit, is in us, everyday, all the time, never leaving, for us (For), in us (In), and through us (Through), which is HOW we are F-I-T for every good work/everything down here on Earth. And this “other side,” or “the rest of the Gospel” is part of the Finished Work, which makes it also by Grace, not by our “I” work/s [Gal. 2:20].

 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:16,17). This inner conflict is a “Great Either/Or,” not a both/and. And our defaulting to the Christ-Life in us, no longer to the flesh/sarx, is easy and light because of a truth about Grace, which most believers have not yet understood, hidden in this crucial passage, and NT passages like it. And here it is: Opposed, even violently opposed, is NOT EQUAL TO. [Through our union with Christ the we have freedom from sin’s authority and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent, Rom. 6:6; 1 John 4:4.]

You will likely need several days or weeks to let this settle in and change your thinking. But I can confidently assure you that if you will embrace it, you will never be stuck again.

Depend on Christ in you as your Life, as your How-to for everything. The joy of the Lord [IN US] is our strength/Life!

by Dan Camp, eEncourager, 9/29/22, Avon, IN

Personal Prayer Diary

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).


One of the skills spiritual leaders need is an effective way of planning and prayer. The Annual Personal Prayer Diary (YWAM Publishers) is a unique tool that could be a great benefit to one’s personal and ministry life. Described:

Join a powerful prayer chain that extends around the globe! Thousands of Christians worldwide use the Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner to organize their schedules, journal their prayer times and Bible reading, and systematically pray for the nations – all in one easy-to-use format…

The Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner is designed to assist you in integrating three vital areas of your daily life: Intercessory prayer, Bible reading and meditation, and planning your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual schedules.

The 2023 edition is rich with current, well researched prayer suggestions. Join thousands of others who are intentionally praying for these internationally focused needs. Be encouraged as you journal your own prayer life and answers. Enjoy monthly and daily prayer suggestions, relevant Christian teaching, and an annual Bible reading schedule.

A collection of relevant Christian teaching…

  • Monthly articles …
  • Daily thematic prayer guide…
  • Bible meditation and memorization guide…
  • Weekly guide to praying for the nations…
  • Calendars for planning your day, week, and year…
  • Personal notes and contacts…
  • Reference helps…

As you use the Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner, you will be encouraged and emboldened in the knowledge that you are one of thousands of Christians using this diary worldwide who are united in vital intercession.

See the full description, colors and ordering information here.

Avoiding Pastoral Burnout

Barna has been publishing the results of their research on The State of Pastors. They examined how many pastors are at risk of burnout, relational breakdown or spiritual problems.

Burnout & Breakdown: Barna’s Risk Metric for Pastors

Dr. Archibald Hart wrote on the challenges of burnout and stress...their similarities and differences. For example,

  • Burnout is a defense mechanism characterized by disengagement. Stress is characterized by over engagement.
  • In burnout, the emotions become shut down. In stress, the emotions become overactive.
  • Burnout can best be understood as a loss of ideals and hope. Stress can best be understood as a loss of fuel and momentum.
  • Burnout may never kill you, but your long life may not seem worth living. Stress may kill you permanently and you won’t have enough time to finish what you started.[1]

Spiritual renewal can provide love, forgiveness, wisdom and strength to avoid burnout. A devotional writer observed,

“Our Father is going to teach us, mainly through personal failure, that the life we live is the life of our Lord Jesus alone. The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; ‘no longer I, but Christ.’“

“The end of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection was to prepare and form a holy nature and frame for us in Himself, to be communicated to us by union and fellowship with Him; and not to be able to produce in ourselves the first originals of such a holy nature by our own endeavors.”

“The believer’s true education is in the growth of Christ within. The Church’s real ministry is not multitudinous public services, so-called, but the forming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of His people; the reproduction of Christ; epistles made alive by the Holy Spirit, to be seen and read of all men.” -C.A.F.

Mark McKeehan, Executive Director of Grace Fellowship International, is reaching out to pastors, offering encouragement, mentoring and grace-based resources. You are welcome to contact him: mark@gracefellowshipinternational.com

[1] Excerpted from Coping with Depression in the Ministry and Other Helping Professions. New York, NY: W. Publishing Group, 1984 (cited in Lifeline to Hope Training Manual, Hope for the Heart).

Body Life Through Christ

Miles Stanford observed, “One hears much today about body life, with its emphasis upon New Testament gathering, rather than Christ-centered growth. The Body is meant to manifest the Head, and that necessitates spiritual members.”

T. Austin-Sparks counseled pastors,

Where there is no Cross there is no life, and no ministry of life. The object of suffering is that there may be a full and abundant ministry. . . . We are not to invite trouble, nor by austerity to ill-treat our bodies. The Holy Spirit Himself takes responsibility for our experience, leading us in paths where we encounter, in body, heart, or spirit, that measure of ‘the dying of Jesus’ that will mean enrichment of our ministry.

There are many today who seem to think that it is all or largely a matter of the order, technique, and form, and if we are to return to the ‘New Testament’ form or order of churches all would be well. The fact is that, while certain things characterize the N.T. churches, the Word does not give us a complete pattern according to which churches are to be formed!

There is no blueprint for churches in the N.T., and to try to form such churches is only to create another system which may be as legal, sectarian and dead as others. Churches, like the Church, are organisms which spring out of life, which life itself springs out of the Cross of Christ wrought into the very being of believers. Unless believers are crucified people, there can be no true expression of the Church.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23; cf Gal. 2:20).

(See the free online publications of T.A.S. at www.Austin-sparks.net )

The Message of Galatians for Today

One of the main causes of lukewarm pastorates and churches is the attempt progress in sanctification by self-effort.

Although it is obvious that the epistle to the Galatians refutes the heresy that the works of the Mosaic law are necessary to become a child of God (Gal 1:6-9; 3:23-29), it is not as apparent that it also teaches sanctification by grace through faith, enabled by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 2:20,21;3:1-3; 5:56,22,23). This latter aspect of the gospel is vital and liberating.

This discovery led to the development of The Sonship Course by Dr. Jack Miller of Serge Ministries.

But preaching Galatians verse by verse can come across as culturally remote and merely academic. For a sermon series that unpacks the message of Galatians with an exemplary blend of exposition, illustration and application, see the “Be Free” series preached by the pastors at Bayside Chapel in Barnegat, New Jersey. www.Baysidechapel.org