My friend Marvin Phillips turns 85 today. In my mind there are probably four or five ministers of the Gospel who have truly influenced my thinking and served as models and mentors over the years. No doubt one of those top five is Marvin Phillips. Even these years later I cannot explain the feeling I had in my college days when Glenn Jarrett gave me a tape from the IBC Workshop of this guy I had never heard of … Marvin nearly blew my speakers out with his passionate evangelistic preaching. It is a privilege that I got to meet Marvin, but even more, to get to know him.
After Katrina Marvin encouraged the churches of the brotherhood … the damage was so massive … no one could fix it all … every church just pick one area and go help … then he said the words that still bring tears to my eyes, “I Choose Pascagoula.” He came several times and preached … he and his friends actually worked doing repairs in my house along with others. Marvin has had significant influence in the church as I see it.
He emphasizes UNITY while others pull apart. He emphasizes Practical Service and Loving Others while others criticize and put down. Today is his birthday, and today I Choose Marvin. Thanks Marvin Phillips. I love you and your family. Happy Birthday friend. and I thought I’d share some quotes from some of his books that have meant so much to me!
Soul winners must be praying people. … If there is any work on earth that needs to be fortified by the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous, it is soul winning. … Ask God boldly to help you lead some to Christ before you sleep that night. Let’s Win Souls Now, p. 7.
Any church in the nation can be revived if it will rediscover its purpose from the Bible and begin preaching its message… the good news of Jesus Christ. And quit conducting it like a funeral service. A worship service is many things. It is the celebration of a risen Lord. it is a “Family Reunion” (notice all those Bible terms, “Child of God”, “Father”, “Born Again”, etc.) When you think about it, all those terms are down-to-earth terms. They spell out “FAMILY”. When a church discovers the “family spirit”, it is on its way to greatness. You Can’t Fly To Heaven in a Straight Line, p. 107, 108.
Life … is full of fantastic things to see, to learn and to do. There are things to enjoy, to play with; there are challenges and opportunities. There are goals to reach, and people to love. It is a wide, wonderful world out there. Yet many people step up to the counter of life and say, “gimme a half-gallon of ‘bland’;” “give me a double dip of mediocre;” “give me a double dip of mediocre;” “give me a cheap, boring sundae, covered with BLAH!” Life was meant to be zestful, adventurous and exciting! I look in the Bible, and the heroes there took life by the horns, and really had a time. Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who said Canaan could be taken, whereas the other ten spies spoke of obstacles, and taking the safe, sane way out. God finally was about to give them the land when, forty years later, folks finally decided to follow Joshua and Caleb’s advice. Even then, Caleb said, “I am 85 years old today. I am as strong as I ever was. Give me the land where the giants are. God and I can handle it” (Joshua 14:10-12). Ah, to have zest and energy like that. To believe, to challenge and act like that into old age, that would be great. No vanilla for Caleb! Put Peak in Your Week, pp. 53-54.
Fire has always been associated with the onward march of the church of God. I’ve been through a few fires in my time. I’ve started a few. I’ve been roasted, scorched, smoked out and barbecued. Churches need to get on fire for God. There needs to be some evangelistic flames sweeping over this lost world of ours. To be sure there will be opposition and obstacles. There is no victory without a little fire! The Joy Factor of Church Growth, p. 138.
I seem to have misplaced my copy of Don’t Shoot: We Might Both Be on the Same Side! Great book. Anyway, nothing takes the place of hearing Marvin preach. But his books … they’re great encouragements.
Here’s the audio of a sermon of Marvin preaching in Pascagoula about 6 months after Hurricane Katrina.
I love Marvin Phillips! Thanks for reading, John.