Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast

One of the first choruses I learned to sing is entitled “God Is So Good.”  It is simple and child-like, but it is also true and priceless.  Here are the lyrics:


God is so good,

God is so good,

God is so good,

He’s so good to me!


The famous and brilliant Swiss theologian Karl Barth was once asked if he could summarize his life’s work in theological studies in one sentence.  He answered that he could.  He said it could be summarized in a sentence he learned at his mother’s knee, “Jesus love me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.” 


“God is so good” is another summary statement that could encompass the whole of theology and Bible truth.  It will be our focus in this message from Psalm 34:1-10.


God Is

“God Is Good”

Psalm 34:1-10


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)!


  1. God Is Worthy
    1. Of unending praise
    2. Of unequalled praise
    3. Of united praise
  2. God Is Working
    1. He responds to our cries
    2. He rescues from our crises
  3. God Is Wonderful
    1. Accept his proposal
    2. Accept his provisions
Direct download: IBC_20171015.mp3
Category:God Is -- posted at: 8:49am EDT

Direct download: IBC_20171008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

An elementary school teacher gave her children the assignment to draw anything of their choosing.  The children happily began to draw.  She went from seat to seat, looking at each child’s work.  She offered them encouraging comments.


One boy was drawing a fireman.  A girl was drawing a pony.  She came to Johnny’s seat and stopped.  She watched him work for a moment but could not quite make out what he was drawing. 


“What are you drawing, Johnny?”  “A picture of God,” he responded.  “But,” she gently offered, “no one knows what God looks like.” Without looking up, he continued drawing unfazed, “They will in a minute.”


That boy was confident that he could portray God for those who didn’t yet know what He is like.  What about you?  Do you know what God is like—who He truly is? 


We can know Him because He has drawn us a portrait of Himself in the world and in the word.  Today we begin a three-part series entitled simply, “God Is.”  The opening message is “Getting to Know the Unknown God.”  It will be based on Acts 17:22-34.


It is vital that we know God. How vital?  Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).  Let’s get to know Him and by so doing experience life at its fullest!


God Is

“Getting to Know the Unknown God”

Acts 17:22-34


  1. The Audience

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For . . . I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’” (17:22-23).

  1. People are religious
  2. People are restless
  1. The Almighty

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man” (17:24).

  1. He is sovereign
  2. He is sufficient
  3. He is savior
  1. The Answers

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” . . .  But some men joined him and believed (17:32-34).

  1. Some respond with contempt
  2. Some respond with curiosity
  3. Some respond with commitment
Direct download: IBC_20171001.mp3
Category:God Is -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

I want to share with you the story of a beautiful young woman named Lauryn Lax.  She is a doctor and nutritionist.  Her mission is to help people struggling with eating disorders and similar issues. 


I’ll pick up her story several years ago when she was in her 20s.  She was a fitness fanatic.  She fixated on her weight.  She worked out at the local YMCA every day for hours at a time.  She ate little to nothing.


Her friends at the gym took note of the remarkable intensity and consistency of her workouts.  She was growing alarmingly slender.  They began to worry about her well-being.


They decided that they would intervene.  One morning they agreed to get to the gym parking lot before daylight.  They saw her park her car.  They converged around it.


What they did not know is that Lauryn had prayed that morning for help.  When she weighed herself at 4 am, she tipped the scales at 79 pounds.  She knew it wasn’t healthy.  These friends were to be the answer to her prayers.


They gently and lovingly insisted that she go to the hospital.  She resisted at first but reluctantly yielded to them.  Upon examination, doctors discovered that her heart rate was in the 30s.  She was in ICU for 3 days then the cardiac unit for 3 weeks.  For a while it looked like she might have to have a pace maker installed due to heart damage from the anorexia. 


But God was gracious.  For a year she worked her way back to a healthier place.  She pursued her studies with a new zeal and vision to help others.  She now has a story of help and healing that is benefitting others. 


She attributes the positive turn in her life to these friends.  She calls them her “angels.”  They loved her enough to confront her—painful though it must have been for all involved.  She was blessed to have friends like these that risked their own comfort to confront Lauryn.  We all need friends like these and we need to be friends like these.


God’s word calls us to this kind of friendship.  Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”


In this message we will learn that faithful wounds hurt, help, and, ultimately, heal.


Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days

“Faithful Wounds”


“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6).


  1. Faithful wounds hurt
    1. The affection behind the wounds
    2. The aim beyond the wounds
  2. Faithful wounds help
    1. Promises of help
    2. Protection from harm
  3. Faithful wounds heal
Direct download: IBC_20170924.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 9:54am EDT

Nitroglycerin is a fascinating product.  It is a liquid compound.  It can kill or it can heal.


It is a primary component of dynamite and explosives.  Alfred Nobel used it in the creation of dynamite and armaments. 


At the same time, nitroglycerin can heal.  Doctors discovered that it is a vasodilator.  It is used to dilate the vascular system and is used for heart conditions.  Heart patients can ingest a pill and the effect can be life-saving.


That’s crazy isn’t it?  The same thing can either kill or heal.


The tongue is like that.  Proverbs 18:21 makes this truth clear: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”


Over 150 times Proverbs refers to our lips, our mouth, and our tongue.        Proverbs may have more to say about our words than about any other subject.  It gives us God’s counsel on communication--His wisdom for our words. 


Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days

“Wisdom for Our Words”


“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).


  1. Power of our words
    1. Words have an amazing power
    2. Words have an ambiguous power
  2. Parameters for our words
    1. Let’s curtail our words
    2. Let’s clean up our words
  3. Possibilities of our words
    1. Words can cure
    2. Words can cheer
    3. Words can correct
Direct download: IBC_20170917.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 12:31pm EDT

Once there was a frog who made friends with a flock of Canadian geese.  He dreamed of flying with them to exotic locations.  He came up with an idea.  He told a pair of the geese that if they would each hold an end of a stick in their beaks, he could hold onto it with his mouth and he could go with them when they flew south for the winter.


Sure enough, two of his geese friends held a stick in their beaks and he jumped up and clamped onto the stick with his mouth.  Off the odd trio flew.  All was going well until they flew over a farmer in his field.  He looked up and saw the geese and the frog suspended by the stick.  He whistled and with admiration said, “Well, look at that.  That’s amazing!  A flying frog.  Whose idea was that?”


The frog said proudly, “It was miiiinnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeee.”  Splat.


All was going well until pride caused his downfall.


Pride has caused the fall of many more besides.  Today’s message is: “The Peril of Pride.”  We are in a series of messages entitled, “Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days.”  In its wisdom, Proverbs has much to say about pride—and none of it especially good.


Proverbs 29:23 says, “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”  Another translation, the New American Bible (revised edition), puts it this way, “Haughtiness brings humiliation, but the humble of spirit acquire honor.”


In the NAB translation, there are four key words: haughtiness, humiliation, humble (or humility) and honor.  I want to use those four words as the hooks upon which we will hang our thoughts for our message today.


Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days

“The Price of Pride”


“One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).


  1. Haughtiness

Haughtiness brings humiliation, but the humble of spirit acquire honor.”

  1. Humiliation

“Haughtiness brings humiliation, but the humble of spirit acquire honor.”

  1. Humility

“Haughtiness brings humiliation, but the humble of spirit acquire honor.”

  1. Honor

“Haughtiness brings humiliation, but the humble of spirit acquire honor.

Direct download: IBC_20170910.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

Ray Raney, Adm. Pastor

Direct download: IBC_20170903.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This Sunday we will have a guest preacher.  He is embarrassingly short of stature, has six legs, and no voice.  Yet this little messenger has a big message for us.  Our preacher is the ant.


His Bible text is Proverbs 6:6-11:


6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;

    consider her ways, and be wise.

7 Without having any chief,

    officer, or ruler,

8 she prepares her bread in summer

    and gathers her food in harvest.

9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?

    When will you arise from your sleep?

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,

    a little folding of the hands to rest,

11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,

    and want like an armed man.


The story is told about a man just taking up the sport of golf.  As you may know, it’s a lot harder than it looks.  He got on the first tee box and placed his ball on the tee.  He happened to tee it up right beside an anthill.  When he took his first swing, he completely missed the ball and hit the anthill instead.  Ants went flying in every direction.  Unfazed, he took a second giant swing and, again, he missed and hit the anthill.  As he wound up for a third try, one ant said to the other, “We’d better get on that ball or we’re gonna’ get killed!”


In short, that’s the message of the ant: “Get on the ball!”  He offers us wisdom about work.  Let’s learn the lesson God wants to teach us through the ant.

Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days

“Wisdom about Work”

Proverbs 6:6-11



  1. Illustration of work

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).

  1. Consider the ant
  2. Copy the ant
  1. Initiative to work

Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest” (Proverbs 6:7-8).


  1. No leader
  2. No laziness
  1. Incentive for work

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?  When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11).


  1. Avoid poverty
  2. Assure plenty
Direct download: IBC_20170827.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Water is good for you.  It’s one of God’s great gifts.  But water can kill you too.  Drinking water gives life.  But drinking water can also end life. If you drink too much water in too short a period of time, it can throw off your body's balance of electrolytes, cause brain swelling and lead to seizures, coma, or even death.  It is called “water intoxication.”


In 2007 a radio station held a contest to win a Nintendo video game.  The objective of the contest was to drink the most water possible in a 3-hour period. One of the entrants was Jennifer Strange.  She wanted to win a Wii system for her 11-year-old son.   Jennifer drank some 2 gallons of water.  She got second place in the contest.  Her prize was a pair of tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert for that same night.  The tickets went unused.  Jennifer was dead by 3 that afternoon due to the effects of acute water intoxication.


What makes it even more sad is that it was so preventable.  During the contest, she could be heard complaining about experiencing pain to disc jockeys at 107.9 "The End." "Oh, it hurts," Strange said, while one male disc jockey remarked that she looked pregnant and another, a woman, said "That is so funny."  Warnings were called in by listeners.  One caller (named Eva Brooks) said (and they have the tape of her call):  "Those people that are drinking all that water can get sick and possibly die from water intoxication."  The disc jockeys replied that they "were aware of that" and that contestants had signed a release "so we're not responsible."


A jury disagreed with that and awarded Jennifer’s widower and children $16.5 million dollars in damages. 


Water is good for you, but even water can kill.  It’s ok for the boat to be in the ocean, but it’s not ok for the ocean to be in the boat. 


There’s another gift that God has given us.  It too is essential for life.  It is the marriage union.  It is good.  Sexual intimacy gives life.  But sexual intimacy can also end life—and that’s not hyperbole.


Good’s good gifts, like marriage, are meant to be enjoyed!  God has given us guardrails--boundaries and guidelines--so that we can rejoice in His good gifts.  As long as we honor God’s design—one man faithfully married to one woman—we are safe.  But when we violate that design, destruction lurks. 


An encompassing term for violating God’s design in marriage is adultery.  Today we will look at some of God’s counsel in a message entitled, “The ABCs of Adultery.”  We will see the allure, the bitterness, and the cure for adultery.


Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days

“The ABCs of Adultery”

Proverbs 5:1-23


  1. The allure of adultery

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil” (5:3).


  1. Lips are alluring
  2. Looks are alluring
  1. The bitterness of adultery

“But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol” (5:4-5).


  1. Expectations will be crushed
  2. End will be costly
  1. The cure for adultery

“Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house. . . .  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love” (5:8, 18-19).


  1. Distance yourself from lust
  2. Delight yourself in love
Direct download: IBC_20170820.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

During my college days, I served as a summer missionary.  My partner was a guy from Arkansas State University named Dave McKinney.  He was different from me in many ways—shy, quiet, calm, patient, slow, methodical, and meticulous.  At times his character traits drove me crazy.  And I’m sure my outgoing nature, quick pace, and impatience irked him.  The summer ended and we went our separate ways. 


Sometime later a group of students from my college went to an event where he was.  They all ran into each other and discovered that David and I had served together.  They talked for some time.  Their comment to me upon their return was, “Jeff, we met a guy named Dave McKinney.  He said he knew you and that you had served together as summer missionaries.  You guys are just alike!”  The comment stunned me. 


We were not at all alike—when we started that summer.  But I believe that the time we spent together changed the two of us.  I’m not even sure that we were aware of the impact we were having on one another.  I learned to slow down a bit; he learned to speed up a little bit.  I learned to listen better; he learned to interact more readily.  We rubbed off on each other.  As iron sharpens iron, we had shaped one another hopefully to be more like Jesus!


God wants something similar to happen in our lives on a daily basis.  He intends that our friendship with others be a means of growing in Christlikeness.


The book of Proverbs has some great counsel on friends.  Our focus verse for Sunday will be Proverbs 13:20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” 


May God bless the study of friendship that we undertake so that our relationships become more and more redemptive!



Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Days


Proverbs 13:20


  1. Companionship of friends

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).


  1. Our design
  2. Our duty
  1. Choice of friends

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).


  1. Those who are wise
  2. Those who are wayward
  1. Consequence of friends

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).



  1. Friends can help us
  2. Friends can harm us
Direct download: IBC_20180813.mp3
Category:Proverbs -- posted at: 4:52pm EDT