Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.-

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Fall 1991

Amos an Ordinary Person
Penny Smith

Does God no longer need a Moses, or an Abraham; a Peter, a Paul, or an Esther? Are the days of a Billy Sunday and a Spurgeon really over? In spite of the multi-methods of evangelism, the electronic church, and the mass media, church history affirms that God still looks for men and women He can use. When He finds people who desperately desire to see God glorified through their lives, a developing process begins.

Just as a camera needs to focus upon its subject before the image develops, so we need to focus upon God until His character emerges from our individual lives.

Unfortunately, no one knows whom to believe. Society's confused value systems have infiltrated the Church and almost destroyed its credibility. Only a people of extreme integrity will restore confidence in the Church of Jesus Christ. Most of us are just ordinary persons; how can we help make it happen?

Amos was an ordinary person, faithfully setting an example before God's people, in spite of the double standards that surrounded him. He said, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herd man, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit" Amos 7:14. As Amos performed his daily tasks, God prepared him for a special prophetic function; but not without the accompanying development of his character. We tend to isolate the glamour of the "office," and choose to ignore the pressure points which sensitize the prophet for his function within that office.

God has chosen the foolish and weak things of the world in order to confound the wise and the mighty (I Corinthians 1:27). Amos admitted that he was not a prophet by trade, nor was he the son of a prophet. He was an ordinary person, who did not consider himself especially gifted. Since he wasn't trained in the regular prophetic schools, Amos' message would be met with skepticism. If he was to impact Israel with his words, his character must be impeccable.

Amos, a recognized herd man (Hebrew - "keeper"), not only tended the flock, but also was known as a wool grower. The word used for woolgrower in the original text means "seeing both sides." Amos' ordinary occupation may have contributed to his ability to see both sides of an issue during a time of unusual prosperity.

Although he was a native of Judah under the reign of Uzziah, Amos was divinely called to prophesy to Israel under the reign of Jeroboam II. His willingness to deliver an alarming message contrary to the peaceful times, reflects his personal faith in the God of the message. Apparently, he was so in tune with God's purposes, that he was able to witness the failures of Israel without participating in their sin, or compromising his personal convictions.

Amos the shepherd, was also "a gatherer of sycamore fruit." Again, his common occupation gives insight into God's requirements for usefulness. Whether a laborer or a homemaker, with or without a college degree, the one essential above all others is being filled with the Spirit of God.

"Gatherer" in the Hebrew text means "to deal with." Amos examined and dressed trees in order to produce spotless, healthy fruit, and if we expect to produce spiritual fruit, we must first allow the Holy Spirit to examine and deal with us on a daily basis.

A false premise is that God is partial to His people regardless of their conduct, but the book of Amos disputes this view. God's observations are perceptive, not just analytical. The Bible tells us that Jesus knew what was in mankind. It is the Spirit of God Who searches our hearts.

Our attitudes cause us to react to situations in various ways. For example, our concept of worship probably centers around the form used in the churches we attend. One group insists upon ritual, another denounces it; but our Lord's estimation of worship is far different. His Word declares that any outward expression without purity of our motives is superficial - with or without the ritual.

God does not read our labels. Whether Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, or Charismatic, He considers first, our response to His Son, and then our relationship to our neighbor. With these in line, our worship will please Him.

As well as a true estimation of our manner or mode of worship, God judges our sense of values as they relate to societal trends. Every culture has its own problems which are peculiar to the people of that society. Chapter 4 of Amos addresses the issues which faced Israel, and they are not unlike those facing us.

One commentator observes that prosperity in a nation can be a superficial form of a deep-seated moral corruption and religious self-contempt. This appears to be true in our own country when statistics such as the crime rate, substance abuse, and abortions are considered.

Amos pleaded with Israel, "Come to Bethel" (meaning the house of God), "and transgress ..." Amos 4:4. In other words, the sins of your society have so polluted you, that you are now bringing them into the house of God. Go ahead, if you want, continue in your moral corruption and religious pollution, but Jehovah will deal with you accordingly.

This very well could apply to religious society today. Abortion is condoned, homosexuals are ordained, and ministries are turned into fund-raising capers before television cameras. The sins of society are no longer outside the church walls, but have invaded God's house.

The prophet Amos, in his message, emphasized righteousness, holiness, and purity of life. Contrary to his message, we are inundated with teaching about success and prosperity.

Although the Bible tells little of the person Amos, we can learn much from his name. Amos means, "burdened" or "burden-bearer." Since Biblical proper names were representative of the individual's character, we presume that Amos was called to bear burdens. The weight of Israel's sin pressed him to abandon all, even at the risk of persecution, to answer God's call upon his life.

Does that sound like your pastor? Would not it be great if every minister were like that? Better still, wouldn't you like to be like that?

The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5, "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened ..." Although we are gripped in the vice of heaviness, when joy is suddenly snatched away, we identify with the whole creation, which groans and travails in pain, waiting for the redemption of our bodies (see Romans 8:22-23).

"And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, 'Go, prophesy unto my people Israel'" Amos 7:15. Amos was an ordinary person, but because he was faithful in the common things, God entrusted him with tremendous responsibility. He lived for God uncompromisingly because his sense of values was anchored in God. Israel's evident moral decay and spiritual corruption did not touch him; he was a true example of godliness.

The key to Amos' spirituality is that he focused upon God's character, and refused to be influenced by the confusion within the ranks of God's people. He measured himself by God's standard and not by societal values.

If we desire God's best, we must honestly evaluate our attitudes and ruthlessly deal with personal sin. As we allow the Holy Spirit to unwrap any superficial cloaks of religion, the world will be impacted by the character of Christ emerging from our ordinary lives.