This is a collection
of seventeen messages by this gifted brother. It was compiled after
his home-going from tapes of his messages. Many have benefited from
his ministry. This book was printed in an effort to preserve those
messages for coming generations. We especially wanted his
grandchildren to hear and benefit from his Bible teaching, but his
messages are equally valuable to all -- Christian and non-Christian alike.
In the messages on Eldership which are
the last two in this volume, Jim pointed out that 1 Peter 5:2 calls upon
elders to "feed the flock of God which is among you." The
title for this collection of messages was taken from that verse. This is
the work Jim sought to do (and did) throughout the four decades of his
Christian life - to provide feed for the little flock.
It was a little flock. Jim helped to shepherd
a small assembly of Christians who gathered in the upstate New York
college town of Alfred. A small group of Christians originally came
together there in this way in the early 1960s. The work continues today.
Some families, including the Funks, were part
of this fellowship for many, many years. Others who participated in the
activities were college students who were in residence at Alfred
University for 4 years each, or at Alfred State Tech for 2 years each,
give or take a few.
Weekly activities included a Friday night
Bible study, the Remembrance meeting each Sunday morning, Sunday School, a
Sunday morning preaching meeting, Sunday evening teaching meetings,
mid-week prayer meetings, and frequent special teaching meetings. Jim led
the weekly Bible Study in the Funk home, and he spoke often at the
different teaching meetings.
Many of the messages at these meetings were
taped. They were taped primarily for those who missed a meeting due to
sickness or travel. None of the Christians were professional tape
recording specialists, and that is reflected in the tapes. At the end of
many of the tapes, the recording stopped mid-sentence as a scripture was
being read, or as a point was being made. Fortunately, some continue on
the flip side. Many do not.
Jimís own speaking style was a contributor
to this problem. He always said that he had a speech impediment: "his
mouth runneth over." That was certainly true. Even though many of
these meetings had 30 minutes allotted for a message, being a college
professor, Jimís auto-pilot always aimed at a 50 minute message. If he
was allotted 50 minutes, however, heíd speak for 75 minutes.
He typically used the clunk of the tape
recorder stopping to tell him that time was almost up. Only a few
times did he actually stop before the tape recorder did. When the cassette
happened to contain a long duration tape, the problem continued because
invariably, someone would restart the same cassette at the next meeting
from the exact point at which it had stopped, rather than waste any space
by starting fresh on the flip side.
Many tapes were re-used. That is, they were
taped over and over again, sometimes three and four messages deep. Many
were circulated, consistent with their purpose. And today, many are still
out there somewhere in circulation.
The messages in this book are some of those
that we were able to locate. With this publication, they will again be put
back into circulation.
All Bible verses in this volume
are taken from the King James Version and are quoted in "bold face
type." When emphasis has been added to the general text, it is
sometimes shown in CAPS, or in italics, or in bold.
The attempt was made in the first draft of
this compilation to accurately record the words Jim spoke, as well as his
emphases and inflections. This was challenging to accomplish using only
punctuation, and the various forms of emphases possible in a written
document. He snapped his fingers [snap], nodded [nodding], and shook his
head [shaking his head] frequently. Such gestures are recorded in square
brackets  when appropriate. Obviously, a lot of gestures which would
have helped the context were missed simply because the sources were audio
tapes. Upon completion of the first draft, it was obvious that editing was
necessary. This published version has been edited to smooth it out and to
make it more easily readable and understandable.
The changes that were made, however, do not
transform these messages from being Jimís into being the editorís.
These are still clearly Jimís messages. Anyone who knew Jim, who heard
him speak, and who reads these messages, will be able to clearly recognize
his style of speaking. His messages have been preserved.
You will notice that Jim frequently quoted
Godís words, Jesus words, and the writersí words throughout these
messages. Some of these are direct quotations out of the Bible, in which
case they are quoted in "bold" type (as are all Bible
quotations throughout this book). Sometimes, Jim paraphrased the words.
These are also quoted, but in normal type.
In private conversations and discussions with
Jim, we always joked about the use of loose paraphrases. Some of
these quotations are loose paraphrases. Some are looser than
others, but they all tend to be quite appropriate.
Jim was always concerned that Godís children
should learn the Word of God, and learn it accurately. God gifted him as a
teacher, and he trusted God to use him to open Godís Word. Throughout
his life, God did use Jim in this way. Jim had a unique way of looking at
Godís Word, a unique way of thinking, and a unique way of presenting the
teachings of Godís Word. God used this to advantage with many.
The fact that Jim gave these messages,
however, is unimportant. The fact that the messages frequently present the
bare, unembellished, clear truths of the Word of God is whatís
As Jim would have been the first to tell you,
he couldnít teach you anything! "Not a lick!" The Holy Spirit
teaches Godís Word!
If you are accustomed to listening to
preachers who can give 45 minute sermons that are funny and interesting,
that include well-performed theatrics, but that are light (superficial?)
treatments of single phrases in single verses of scripture, then be
prepared. These messages are jam-packed full of good stuff.
Another Bible teacher friend of ours used to
say that God did not entrust him with the gift of teaching so he could
waste the saintsí time. His messages were always jam-packed full. Jim
agreed with that reasoning, and he developed a similar speaking style. As
a result, you will find a treasure trove of teachings included in the
messages contained in this volume.
We trust that the Holy Spirit will put these
messages to as much use this time around as He did when they were
originally given. We trust He will use them to help those who want to know
God better and who want to learn and understand the messages that God sent
to us through His written Word, and through the living Word, His precious
Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another statement Jim would also have been the
first to make is this: "Donít believe anything that I teach!
Donít believe anything that anyone else teaches either! Check it out in
the Bible. If you find it there, and itís correct, believe it because
God said it! Believe it because the Holy Spirit teaches it!" We pray
that each of you, who read this book, do this.
May God bless all who diligently study His
Dennis R. Dinger
19 May 2002