Serving Christians Seeking to Live a Holy Life
Leon L. Combs, Ph.D., M.A., M.Div.
I remember clearly the night that an evangelist preached in my hometown church when I was about ten-years old. When he started talking about sinners and their need for the Lord, I knew that he was talking about me. He asked for people to come forward to profess their sins and accept Jesus and I got up to go down front. However, my mother stopped me and told me that we would talk about it later. She then told me that such was for "bad people". My mother did not understand, at that time in her life, that we were all "bad people". Much later I was privileged to explain to her and my dad the need for the cross for everyone. But from that moment on I was a person who knew his sin nature and my absolute need for God's purification. I tithed my allowance every week. I went to church every time it opened. I sang in the choir. I read the Bible almost every night. I went to "Youth for Christ" at my high school. I even gave a sermon one time during youth night and people commented that I ought to be a
preacher. However I did not receive good scriptural teaching, and I was trying to be the "good person" that I knew that I was not. I alternated in my conviction as to whether or not I would go to Heaven if I died, but I had no power for living the Christian life in the world. I strayed and came back and strayed and came back, etc. for many years. Yet every time I did wrong, I knew that it was sin against Holy God.
I had a life-changing experience when I was 32 years old. I had finished my
Ph.D. and had been teaching at Mississippi State University for three years.
My wife dragged me to begin a 12-week program at the First United Methodist
Church called "An Experiment in Practical Christianity". I was reading in John
16 where Jesus said that He would not leave the disciples alone but that He
would send a Comforter. As I read about this, I fell on my knees and prayed
"God, that is what I need. I need your Spirit to help me be the "good person"
that I can not be". From that moment on I was a different person. God opened
my heart so that I could respond to Him. I could now read and clearly understand
Scripture that had puzzled me in my youth. God had awakened my spirit so that
I could communicate with Him. Before being born again, whatever I tried to do
spiritually was useless because I had no communication with God. I had to learn
that God has to work first before we can respond. All of my years of going to
church were useless without the direct intervention of God first. He showed
me how helpless I was so that I could not please Him in any way unless He worked
My wife and I completed the 12-week program and then we led it for
three more sessions. It was an excellent program, but more importantly now I had the power that I needed to live the life here that Christ wanted me to live. I still failed after that night and I still fail now, but I have continued to make progress toward God's goal for my life. During the years since that wonderful night God has blessed me and my family with His grace and joy many times. I continue to be amazed at His mercy, grace, patience, love, and kindness. He is my Lord and I am His
I have been tested several times for my Spiritual Gifts and they always come out the same. Although the relative ranking of the gifts may vary somewhat in each test, the gifts themselves are always the same. The Holy Spirit has blessed me with the gifts
of teaching, knowledge, faith, leadership, and wisdom. My DISC relationship survey showed that I predominantly have a conscientious style, and the total scoring is very similar to that of Moses as published in "Understanding How Others Misunderstand You"
by Ken Voges and Ron Braund (page 71, Moody Press, 1990 and 1995). My Myers-Briggs personality test shows that I am an INTJ.
God is still revealing His goals for me for the rest of my life - however
long that may be. I was convinced that He wanted me to stay in my university job
for more service and learning until I retired. At that time I was sure
that He wanted me to go into full time ministry. I was not clear as to the exact
type of ministry but believed that it wiould involve teaching which is my primary
gift. There are times when I believe that He wants me to be a teaching pastor
to a local congregation, and there are times when I believe that He wants me
to write more about what He has taught me - perhaps it will be a combination
of those duties. I believe that He wants me to continue preparing for those
duties by whatever means He provides.
I retired July 1, 2006 at 68 years old so I stayed working longer than I thought
I would. I might have worked a bit longer except for the spine
pain and dealing with the medications associated with that pain. To this point I have been spending my time writing, putting out a weekly newsletter to about 400 people, and updating my web page. I self-published a book that I spent about 20 years working on whenever I had time. After retiring I finished it ("A Search for Reality") and am working on a sequel. I am just trying to be available and open.
Courses and Seminars Taken:
- My thesis was approved: "God's Endgame Involving the Church and Israel" and my M.A. in theology was awarded effective July 15, 2012! I completed 30 graduate hours toward the M.A. in Theology from Trinity Seminary: OT History, NT Synthesis I, Biblical Hermeneutics, Theology I, Theology II, Kingdom of God, NT Theology, Contemporary Apologetics, Small Group Dynamics, and Information Technologies in Leadership Training.
- "Experiment in Practical Christianity" - a 12 week-course on the applications of Christianity to life taken in 1970.
- Two weekend retreats on "Ecumenical Movement" while I was Chair of the Ecumenical Ministry of United Methodist Church in Starkville, MS. (By the end of the second retreat, I was certain that this was not an area in which I could work. However the education was useful.)
- Weekend seminar in 1987 on "Pleasing God" led by Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries.
- Weekend seminar in 1996 on "Sovereignty of God". Led by Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries.
- Weekend seminar in 1998 on "Tough Questions Christians Face". Led by Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries.
- Three-day seminar in February of 1998 on "Amazing Love". Led by Dr. R. C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries. Other speakers were Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur, and Jerry Bridges.
- Mentored by Ollie Kautzer (1977-1982) - a Baptist missionary to Sweden. I was a Visiting Professor at the University of Uppsala for 12 months and returned for two summers. During the summer visits I stayed with the Kautzers and Ollie and I had many
discussions and he advised me on books to add to my library. When I wasn't in Sweden we would communicate otherwise as he continued to help me develop a firm foundation.
- Absorbed sermons by Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN from 1975 whenever we could receive his sermons by TV. We have heard literally hundreds of his sermons on many topics.
- We have many videotapes of Dr. R. C. Sproul and Dr. Gerstner which we have studied. Dr. Sproul and Dr. Gerstner are Presbyterian theologians and my theology is certainly reformed. I currently belong to a PCA church. The teachings of Dr. Sproul and Dr. Gerstner have greatly enriched my life. My wife and I have studied the following videotapes:
- By Dr. R. C. Sproul:
- Romans - 30 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Holiness of God - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Chosen By God - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- The Providence of God - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Choosing my Religion - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Creation or Chaos - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Developing Christian Character - 12 lessons, 30 minutes each
- Communion of Saints - 6 lessons, 30 minutes each
- By Dr. Gerstner:
- Parable of 10 Virgins - 10 lessons, 30 minutes each
I have an extensive library of Christian books. Many are reference books, many are academic books, and many are topical discussions. My favorite author is James Montgomery Boice and I have all of his books. I have most of Lloyd-Jones's books, several of Francis Shaffer's books, several of G. Campbell Morgan's books, several books by Spurgeon, Wuest's Word Studies of the New Testament, John Wesley's commentaries, Calvin's Commentaries, An Expositor's Bible Commentary, Hodges's Systematic Theology, several books on the history of the church, and many more books. I love to study the Bible using both the Bible and books written by great Christians of the past and present. As a scientist, I believe on building upon other people's discoveries as well as my own discoveries. Although the Bible is the only inspired word, God has revealed much insight concerning the Bible to His saints over the ages that is edifying to the Church.
Courses and Seminars Taught:
- "Experiment in Practical Christianity" for three 12-week terms.
- Three six-week courses on Cults at Faith Baptist Church in Starkville, MS. I primarily used the book by Martin.
- Taught the book of Hebrews during a four-month time of weekly meetings with a group of men, including my pastor, for breakfast. I used the commentary by MacArthur and other commentaries to help in preparing the lessons.
- Taught Sunday School adults 30-40 years old for five years at the First United Methodist Church in Starkville, MS.
- Taught an Adult Single Sunday School class for three years at Faith Baptist Church in Starkville, Ms.
- Taught a Sunday School class for adults ages 30-45 for three years at Faith Baptist Church in Starkville, MS.
- Taught a Sunday School class for 30-40 year old married couples at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia from 1993 - 2000.
- Teaching a Sunday School class for 30+ year old married couples at Midway Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia.
- Taught a six-week class which met once per week on "Jesus on Leadership" to deacons at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. Taught it a second time to members of the church.
- My wife and I planned and executed a weekend retreat for singles with outside speakers to help the singles grow in their Christian walk. (FBC)
- My wife and I have led Bible study small group meeting in our home for about thirty years. Usually the classes met once per week. Sometimes we held twice a week meetings. The classes were usually very structured around practical Christian applications or books of the Bible. Many Precept courses were taught and Carol has been a Precept leader for over 20 years.
- Helped arrange a deacon's retreat on Leadership with outside speaker. (FBC)
- Met weekly with a medical doctor friend of mine in Sweden during a month stay. We studied Bible passages and discussed practical applications of Christianity. He and his wife were Christians but had no church to attend.
- Served on the Baptist Student Center Council for several years and Chair for one year during which I helped develop a strategic plan for its continued growth and outreach to students at Mississippi State University.
- Advisor for "Reformed Fellowship" which is a Christian student organization at Kennesaw State University.
- Organizer of "Fellowship of Christian Employees" at Kennesaw State University.
- First United Methodist Church (1967-1981)
- Chair of Ecumenical Ministry
- Chair of Council on Ministries
- Member of Administrative Board
- Member of Finance Committee
- Elected Lay Leader (highest position possible for lay person)
- Co-Chair of Pledge Drive
- Sunday School Teacher
- Member of Television Committee (Committee that developed the first television ministry for this church and for the town.)
- Faith Baptist Church (1981-1992)
- Sunday School Teacher
- Member of Choir for one year
- Crusade Chairman during Crusade by evangelist Freddy Gage of Texas. This was a week- long crusade for Starkville, MS. I coordinated all the functions leading up to the crusade (about a month of activity preparing the area for the crusade), the
training of counselors, and the counseling during the crusade. Also involved with follow-up after the crusade
- Chair of Benevolence Committee
- Substitute preacher at FBC during time when church was without a Pastor
- Supply preacher for several small churches
- Burnt Hickory Baptist Church (1992- 2001)
- Sunday School Teacher
- Member of Choir for one year
- Chair of Deacons
- Taught at a few Wednesday night services
- Counselor for two presentations of Heaven's Gates
- Member of Benevolence Committee for one year
- Midway Presbyterian Church (2001 - )
- Sunday School Teacher
Articles Written Include the Following:
- I have written commentaries on 25 books of the Bible that are on my web site. They were developed while teaching Bible classes.
- One Death then Judgment
- The End Times
- The Tithe
- The Impossible - Easy for Him
- What is Faith?
- Jesus Wept
- Holiness Now?
- Thy Bounteous Harvest
- A Fresh Start
- The Family of God
- The Christmas Story
- A Search for Reality (an unfinished book)
- The Lord's Supper
- The Eight Virtues of the Most Successful People (an unfinished book)
- Dealing with Death
- Evil, Why?
- Who is This Baby?
- A Deacon Plan
- Power of God
- The Birth of the Lamb
- Free Will
Web Author: Dr. Leon L. Combs
Copyright 2012 by Dr. Leon L. Combs - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED