Tag Archives: church

Oops.

Are people — young and old — who hang out at church really saved, or is their defining characteristic that they mimic those around them?

Years ago, before I knew the finer points of how Facebook works, someone I went to church with when growing up posted a picture from the Godspell play that the youth had put on.  I was tagged in the picture, so it showed up in my timeline.  For clarity, I added this comment:

Just for the record, I am not in this picture. It from a play my church’s youth group did (I wasn’t in the play). Sadly, out of all the people I’ve seen on FB from those years I’ve only come across one who appears to be a Bible-believing, orthodox Christian. Ironically, I was Super Pagan then and became a real Christian later.

Then I realized that my comment didn’t just post to my page, but to the entire thread where people were having fun reminiscing. Then I added this:
Sorry, didn’t realize my comment would be on the main thread. I thought it would just be on my page. Didn’t mean to be a buzzkill.  😉
While I didn’t realize it would be seen by all, I decided to leave it.  I hope it convicted some of the readers to think about what they really believed then and now.  Hanging out at a lukewarm (at best) church when you are a kid and doing all sorts of youth group activities does not save you.  Eternity is a mighty long time to be wrong on the Bible, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, sin, salvation, etc.  It is truly sad seeing the worldliness and New Age type of things most of those people post.  They are far from God.
I thank God for the clarity that I was a rebel then (example: it is theoretically possible that some of us smoked pot at church camp . . . what was that statute of limitations again?!) and knew the difference when I was saved as an adult.
I saw the same thing at the Methodist church we used to attend.  Many kids seemed very committed to the faith, but their real commitment was to behaving like those around them.  When they went off to college many morphed into typical Leftist sound-bite machines (pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-“tolerance”).  By the grace of God, some did not.

I highly encourage parents and church leaders to ensure that your kids know how to think carefully and to have an apologetics background.  Otherwise it is just a matter of time until they morph into the world.

I love to see churches that end up multi-ethnic, but not those that aim at it

Alternate title: Just. Preach. The Gospel.

I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to worship in different cultures in Bible believing churches: the Methodist church in Singapore, a few churches in Kenya, black churches in the U.S. (mainly for funerals), a multi-ethnic church in Ohio, multi-ethnic worship with prisoners, and more.  I love how preaching the real Gospel will break down barriers like skin color and income.

But I really don’t like the idea of putting multi-ethnicity first.  These apparently Gospel-believing people seem well-intentioned but are missing the point.  Via Mosaix Leaders Summit Sets Ambitious Goal of Planting 1,000 Multi-Ethnic Churches in 10 Years.

A first-of-its-kind gathering of over 25 different influential Christian organizations and leaders, including the Southern Baptist Convention and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), convened this week to discuss and trade ideas on how to plant and grow multi-ethnic churches throughout North America, including strategies to establish 1,000 such churches over the next seven to ten years.

The Christian Post obtained the program of the closed-door, two-day meeting titled the 2015 Multi-Ethnic Church Planting Leaders Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event, from Wednesday to Thursday, was organized by Mosaix Global Network along with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership in Charlotte.

In addition to discussion on strategic partnerships to establish 1,000 multi-ethnic churches within the next decade, attendees also discussed how to facilitate the process of 20 percent of the churches in North America, having 20 percent racial diversity by 2020.

. . .

The Mosaix website underscores that “according to research, more than 86 percent of all churches in the United States are segregated, with more than 80 percent of their membership representing a single race or ethnic group.”

So are they telling the black churches I’ve visited that they are racist for having nearly 100% black members?  Do they propose quotas?  Do they not see that some cultures prefer to worship in different ways?  Do they not see that most people like to worship close to home, which typically means a more homogeneous congregation?

They seem to ignore worship preferences.  For example, I’m not a hand-waver in church.  If I did that it wouldn’t be sincere.  But if other cultures can do that with sincerity I wouldn’t want to them to change on my account.  I’m pretty liberal that way.

I hope these churches focus on sharing the real Gospel with anyone who will listen and let God sort out who worships in what building.  Of course we should welcome anyone with a sincere interest in following Jesus, but all you need for that is the Gospel.

The New Jersey issue is bigger than the Duck Dynasty issue

The Duck Dynasty / Phil Robertson topic has received tons of attention, and deservedly so.  But the bigger issue is how the pro-LGBTQ groups aren’t satisfied with merely redefining marriage in an anti-biblical way, but how they won’t rest until they have completely stamped out religious freedom and forced churches to affirm their activities.  The A&E issue is a sad commentary on our society, but the New Jersey issue is about the power of Big Government to suppress religious freedom.

Via Duck Dynasty Star Fired Over Remarks on Homosexuality:

Earlier this week state Senate Democrats in New Jersey pulled from consideration a bill that would write gay marriage, already legal in New Jersey by court order, into the law books. The reason: the bill contained religious exemptions.  Loretta Weinberg, the Senate Majority Leader, said she pulled the bill after pressure from an LGBTQ legal group, Lambda Legal.

“They don’t want any kind of religious exemption, so out of respect for that, I will (pull the bill),” Weinberg said.

Re-read that carefully: They don’t want any kind of religious exemption.  None.  It isn’t about their freedom to do what they want.  They’ve had that for years.  No one is preventing their relationships and/or promiscuous sex, or even doing anything to stop 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive who have unprotected sex with men.  This is about silencing Christians and forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.

“There’s a disparate group of people and it’s hard to follow what they want, so I’m following Lambda Legal.”

The decision by New Jersey Democrats and A&E are similar. When pressured by LGBTQ groups, organizations and politicians will choose to silence Christians who oppose the normalization of homosexual behavior.

Many Christians have assumed that they would be allowed reasonable exemptions and accommodations based on religious liberty. But LGBTQ activists have made it clear (and have said so from the beginning) that unconditional acceptance of homosexuality is the only option. Normalization and public support, rather than mere legal recognition, is the end goal.

Religious believers who think they can avoid the issue are deluding themselves. While we may not have a hit reality show that we can get fired from, we will be pressured in numerous ways to make it clear that we will not speak or act publicly in a way that supports the biblical view of homosexuality. The objective of the activists is to marginalize Christian views on sexual norms until they can be outlawed in the public square. Many Christians have already and will continue to gleefully work to ensure this becomes a reality. But for faithful Christians, allowing our biblical witness to be silenced is not an option. Like Phil Robertson we must all say, “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.”

Make no mistake: Satan won’t rest until he has silenced Christians.  That will never happen completely, of course, but there is a rocky road coming up.  Many of us have warned of these logical consequences for years, but too many Christians thought they could sit on the fence.  There is no fence.

But be encouraged!  God always wins in the end.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for the truth.

Update: Leftist fake Christian ghouls use Trayvon Martin death for their political agenda

I came across this picture and it reminded me of the post below.  He does look like Obama’s son!  And Obama looks (OK, thinks) like Kermit Gosnell’s twin.

This is such a perfect example of media bias.  They worked overtime with false teachers and other useful idiots to generate the St. Skittles meme.

The Trayvon Martin shooting is a tragedy.  What makes it even more sickening is that fakes like Chuck Currie are using it to fuel their politics-disguised-as-religion goals.  See Christians Honor Trayvon Martin With Hoodie Photos #TrayvonMartin #WeAreTheChristianLeft @United Church.  

Christian Left = oxymoron.  They deny Jesus’ divinity, his exclusivity, the authority of the Bible and so much more.  In other words, they aren’t Christians.  Normally I don’t poke fun at spelling errors because we can all make those, but Chuck didn’t even spell Christian correctly!

Chuck looks even more idiotic than usual in his hoodie stunt. Yeah, that’ll improve race relations . . . how?  What will this do to help stop [apparently] overly aggressive Hispanic community watchmen from shooting someone?

Chuck is wearing the moronic “,” symbol of the UCC, where they love to say “God is still speaking,” even though they ignored what He said the first time and are just using that as excuse to make up new things and blame it on God (i.e., pro-abortion, pro-“same-sex marriage,” etc.).

Keep in mind that Chuck the other moral freaks on the “Christian Left” are not only pro-legalized abortion but pro-taxpayer funded abortions.  If Trayvon Martin was in the womb today Chuck would want the government to take your money by threat of force to pay Trayvon’s mom to have him killed.  This would increase the rate of abortions in the black community to even higher than the current rate of 3x that of whites.  That’s the real racism.

Will the fakes like Chuck speak out against the New Black Panthers’ “Dead or alive” incentives to kill the Hispanic gunman?

Do Chuck & the other fakes speak out against black-on-black violence?

I haven’t noticed the fakes lamenting the black-on-white hate crime where a 13 year old boy was set on fire because he was white.

Why not?  Because they are hypocritical frauds and false teachers.

A great Christmas gift idea!

Resurrection iWitnessNot for me (but thanks anyway!).  As the French Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail would say, I’ve already got one.

What is it, you ask?  A copy of Resurrection iWitness by Doug Powell.  As noted on Amazon:

This book gives evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by using the easy-to-understand Minimal Facts argument. That means it relies only on the historical facts that almost all biblical scholars (including atheistic, Jewish, and liberal) accept and shows how only the biblical story of the resurrection can account for all these agreed-upon facts.

Across 32 intensively designed pages (16 spreads acting as individual chapters) — each containing information that is physically nested and must be actively opened to discover — the reader investigates the story of Christ and weighs the evidence to determine its historical accuracy.

While a 700+ page book by N.T. Wright will obviously go into more depth, the odds of getting someone to actually read about the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus go up dramatically with this book.  At only 32 pages it is an easy read, and the artwork and interactive nature will be compelling for people.

The “minimal facts” argument is probably my favorite to use with believers and non-believers alike.  It is very compelling and easy to explain, and it quickly explodes all sorts of myths, such as how Christians are to have a “blind faith” without evidence.

It starts by quoting 1 Corinthians 15 and notes that if an enemy wants to find the weak point of Christianity we hand it to him.  Paul couldn’t be more clear: If the physical resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, then Christianity is false, we are making the real God mad and we are to be pitied above all men.

It goes on to note key facts that even those hostile to the faith willingly concede, and then explains how alternate theories all fail in light of those facts.  Our faith is grounded in reason and evidence and we can be confident that the resurrection really happened.

Remember, Christmas is the time of year where people expect us to talk about Jesus.  Even the non-believers will listen to and hear songs about him.  Wouldn’t a book that elegantly and accurately explains why we should believe that He really lived, died and rose again make a great gift?

So buy one or a bunch (only $12.46 for a coffee table quality book) and give them away.  It will be your easiest evangelism of the year.  Be sure to have it lying around your house as a conversation starter.  Give one to your kids. This is the kind of message that our youth desperately need when they go off to college.  It really disarms critics when we politely point out why we have solid reasons for trusting in Jesus as our Savior.

P.S. Now that’s weird — the link this page didn’t show up on Facebook on my computer and on my iPhone it gave a message saying that the link was “reported as abusive by Facebook users.” Huh??!!  The worst part is that they never contacted me or explained why, and I have no idea how to figure it out. It will be interesting to see if that happens again.  This is a recommendation for a book about Jesus — as a Christmas gift! It’s one of the least offensive things I’ve published all year!

Going and coming

church.jpg

It is a major challenge to leave one church and join another, but there are some key success factors on both sides that can help you.

I already mentioned How to start at your new church.  We basically did these without the list when we switched churches last year and it worked well.

Also see How to leave your old church for some more good advice.  We did those things as well.  Having been there for 15 years, we had a lot of very good friendships that we wanted to maintain — even though as a matter of conscience I couldn’t worship there any longer.

I heard from a third party that our former pastor said we left in the most gracious way he had seen, which told me that I probably wasn’t mean enough ;-).  I say that not out of self promotion but to point out the importance of a clear exit strategy.  I spent a lot of time thinking and planning how to leave without burning any unnecessary bridges.  We tried to tell our small group friends and then immediately told the pastor so he wouldn’t hear it from others first.

One thing the link mentions is to “kindly and honestly answer the question ‘Why did you leave?'”  I tried to be simple, thorough and accurate when answering that for the pastor and anyone else who asked.  I gave the pastor the full list and more context.  I didn’t want to nitpick or be spiteful, but I also didn’t want to pull any punches on the main reasons we were leaving.  It is a win-win situation when you do that: Either they take the constructive criticism and make positive changes, or they ignore it and validate why it was wise for you to leave.  With others we didn’t know as well I gave them a shortened version (some as brief as “creative differences”).

Spread the Gospel in persecuted countries and help widows and orphans at the same time

One of our favorite organizations is International Cooperating Ministries, a “non-profit, trans-denominational Christian organization that works toward the mission of nurturing believers and assisting church growth worldwide. With our partners, we leverage simple church growth principles to see our vision of growth in the faith of individual believers, the number of people within each church, and the number of churches within a nation-truly actualizing Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations!””

They primarily build churches (roughly $8,000 each) and church/orphanages (roughly $25,000).  The church/orphanages are exciting projects because they not only help the local church and the orphans, but the widows who take care of the orphans as well.  And of course they share the Gospel.  Almost sounds kinda biblical . . .

Here is their basic model:

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than stands out among the surrounding mud and thatch huts … it shines!  And that’s just the beginning of the community’s transformation when a new church is opened…

• Worshippers abandon the shady tree that previously served as their Sunday sanctuary.

• Curiosity draws unbelievers to the new church and the congregation doubles.

• Weeknight small group Bible studies are started using the Mini Bible College.

• Church members share their faith with neighbors, citing God’s miraculous provision of a beautiful new church.

• Weekdays, the building is filled with eager children who now have a school.

• The village leader holds community council meetings in the place where Christians worship every Sunday.

• Visiting doctors and nurses use the church as a temporary medical clinic during their humanitarian missions.

Soon, the pastor is raising up young leaders and they each start new churches in neighboring villages where they meet under a tree – and the whole process starts over again.

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than changes lives, it transforms a community … and reaches a nation!

The transformation begins . . . with your help!

They use a “web” approach, so that each church that receives a building needs to help 5 other churches start in their vicinity.

They offer a “mini-Bible college” to help the churches have sound doctrine.

One of the things I like about them is that their administrative costs are paid for by a foundation, so 100% of what you give goes straight to the projects.

They build churches around the world, including many countries where persecution is rampant.

Check out their web site and see what you think.  You might want to donate or get a group to raise funds for a church.  Perhaps you’ve been seriously blessed and could pay for a whole church yourself!  Think about that for a while.  It is a great way to encourage other believers, help widows and orphans, and spread the Gospel!  Who knows, you might get to go visit them someday in this life, but if you are a believer you can be sure you’ll catch up with them in Heaven someday.

As Jesus said, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.  When you donate to projects around the world your heart will go there as well.

Roundup

Great advice from a South Carolina sheriff for ladies to arm themselves to defend against rapists.  I loved this part:

 And, of course, there are already the oh-so-predictable cries of ‘but – what about fair trials! Vigilantism!” and ‘oh noes, presuming guilt before innocence’ as an idjit on MSNBC blathered today . . .

The Sheriff’s response? “Well, it’s easy to fix that. Just don’t attack a woman.” But to the left, that’s just pesky logic – reality is hard for them. They are more worried about the rapists and their alleged’rights’ than they are the women being violently assaulted and raped. Let me explain a little something to you, Mr. Craig Melvin of MSNBC – when a woman is being raped, she knows she is being raped. There is no ‘presuming guilt before innocence’because she is being raped; the assaulter is raping her. And self-defense is not vigilante justice. I’m not surprised you can’t tell the difference, though. Given that y’all on the left continue to embrace the Occupy Wall Street movement rather than denouncing it and therampant sexual assaults therein. We women should just shut up and suck it up, right? I mean, what’s a little rape if it’s for an agenda?

Another sad consequence of government recognition of same-sex unions:

Can you imagine forcing foster children to suffer just so you can advance your political agenda?

Of course not!

When I first learned that the gay marriage movement is right now actively working to shut down religious foster and adoption agencies my heart dropped. I could not believe it.

When Illinois passed a “civil union” law, the state began demanding that adoption agencies place children with same-sex couples.

And when groups such as Catholic Charities or the Evangelical Child and Family Agency refused due to religious objections, the state ripped up their contracts!

Ann Coulter on liberal racism — Why Our Blacks are Better Than Their Blacks.  Read it all, but here are some snippets:

By spending the last three decades leveling accusations of “racism” every 10 seconds, liberals have made it virtually impossible for Americans to recognize real racism — for example, the racism constantly spewed at black conservatives.

. . .

The surge in conservative support for Herman Cain confuses the Democrats’ story line, which is that Republicans hate Obama because he’s black.

Cain is twice as black as Obama. (Possible Obama campaign slogan: “Too Black!”)

. . .

When Bush made Condoleezza Rice the first black female secretary of state, terror swept through the Democratic Party. What if people began to notice and ask questions: “Who’s that black woman always standing with George Bush?” Never mind! He’s probably arresting her.

In addition to an explosion of racist cartoons portraying Rice as Aunt Jemima, Butterfly McQueen from “Gone With the Wind,” a fat-lipped Bush parrot and other racist cliches, allegedly respectable liberals promptly called her stupid and incompetent.

Joseph Cirincione, then with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Rice “doesn’t bring much experience or knowledge of the world to this position.” (Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose experience for the job consisted of being married to an impeached, disbarred former president.)

. . .

Trafficking in racist imagery is consequence-free for liberals because they have ruined charges of “racism” with their own overuse of the term. By now, any accusation of racism has the feel of a Big Foot sighting.

It’s a neat trick, rather as if the Nazis had called everything “genocide” right before launching the Holocaust, and then admonished resisters not to “play the genocide card.”

Liberals step on black conservatives early and often because they can’t have black children thinking, “Hmmm, the Republicans have some good ideas; maybe I’m a Republican.”

The basic setup is:

Step 1: Spend 30 years telling blacks that Republicans are racist and viciously attacking all black Republicans.

Step 2: Laugh maliciously at Republicans for not having more blacks in their party.

Modalism and Stockholm Syndrome in the Church — nice recap of a debate with a T.D. Jakes supporter (Jakes holds a heretical Oneness Pentecostal position but gets away with appearing to be a mainstream evangelical).  I loved the starting quote from John Calvin:

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.

Those who put unity over doctrine usually have bad doctrine.

It will be interesting to see where this goes — Breaking: Whistleblower alleges Texas Planned Parenthood committed massive Medicaid fraud (What??  You mean that people who kill the unborn for a living might commit financial misdeeds?)

According to the complaint:

The scheme included the express policy of billing these government health care programs for a predetermined list of reimbursable services for every eligible patient who visited the clinic, regardless of whether those services were medically necessary or ever actually provided to the patient….

PPGC policy regarding which medical services to provide and bill for depended in large part on who was paying the bill…. [S]elf-pay patients were provided services based on medical necessity. WHP, Medicaid, and Title XX patients, however, were provided a series of predetermined servicesbased on what those programs would pay for with the result that patients covered by government health programs were often provided services on an “across the board” basis even when such services were not medically necessary. The medical testing services most commonly provided to Medicaid and Title XX patients on an “across the board” basis… are:

a) Gonorrhea testing (Codes 87590 and 87591);
b) Chlamydia testing (Codes 87490 and 87491);
c) HIV testing;
d) Syphilis testing;
e) urinalysis (Codes 81002 and 81015);
f) hemoglobin blood count testing (Code 85018); and,
g) pregnancy testing

Because Medicaid guidelines allow for reimbursement for counseling on primary birth control and back-up bc, each Medicaid/WHP-eligible patient was also billed for both for every visit, although such counseling was not necessary and not given.

Another trick was to hand every contracepting patient a bag of condoms and vaginal film on her way out the door, despite the fact they were not needed or requested. This allowed PPGC to bill the government for, according to the complaint:

a. Condoms $4.20
b. Vaginal film $12.60
c. Method counseling $30.60 (Primary method, plus film and condoms as ‘back-up’ $10.20 X 3)
d. Problem counseling $10.45 (Under PPGC procedures, handing out condoms justified billing the government for ‘problem counseling’ because condoms are also used to prevent STD’s) (Code 99402 + Modifier FP [$10.45])

Sex is like duct tape

Work with me here, people.

The truth that people who have sex create a bond isn’t just biblical (“one flesh”), it is scientific.  Anyone supporting “comprehensive” sex education should be teaching this.

J. Budziszewski is a philosophy professor at the University of Texas.  He shares the following illustration, summarized well by Chuck Colson when describing Budziszewski’s book, Ask Me Anything: Provocative Answers for College Students:

My favorite question is why “sowing your wild oats” never works out the way it’s supposed to.  Sexuality, he says, is like duct tape. The first time you use it, it sticks you to whomever it touches. But just like that duct tape, if you rip it off and then touch it to someone else, it isn’t as sticky as it was before. So what happens when you pull it loose from one partner after another?  Budziszewski explains: You just don’t stick anymore, your sexual partners seem like strangers, and you stop feeling anything.

Ripping the duct tape off is extremely painful as well, especially the first time – just as the break-up of a sexual relationship can be more painful than a regular one.  It may seem progressively easier to “tear off” with subsequent partners, but you can’t make it stick on command when you finally decide to commit.

Here’s an article from the Boundless Webzine that describes it in more detail.

“But how do you know if you have a commitment?” he asked.

“Easy,” I said. “If you’re married, you’ve got one. If you’re not married, you don’t.”

Science confirms that this isn’t just a clever illustration.  Consider oxytocin, a chemical that, among other things, encourages bonding of mates.  More about it here.  It is no wonder why people form sexual addictions and why encouraging people to experiment with any sexual behavior will lead to problems.

Do these “experts” pushing to normalize fornication and homosexuality not understand the psychological and physiological implications of such behavior?  Or is the problem that they understand them too well?  Teaching the sex without consequences myth (“just use condoms and everything will be ok!”) is cruel and stupid.

I like this duct tape example because it is provocative, accurate and helpful in exposing the lies of the sex-as-recreation crowd.  Regardless of what Planned Parenthood and the rest tell you, sex outside of a one man, one woman marriage will always hurt you.  No amount of birth control and abortions can change that.

This concept is right out of the Bible:

1 Corinthians 6:16-18 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

Once again, God’s way is the best way.  When God described the union of a man and a woman as “one flesh,” He meant it.  You become one.  When your flesh is joined and you tear it apart it will be extremely painful.

Yet as He shows again and again, redemption and healing are possible with him.  He loves to forgive and help people out of bondage.  Today is a great day to stop the cycle and educate people about the truth.  Here’s a book designed to help (I haven’t read it but heard the author on a radio show) – The Invisible Bond: How to Break Free from Your Sexual Past.

Note: This is a somewhat edited repeat from 2008.

Multi-site churches?

Do any of you attend multi-site churches?  I’m only aware of one in our area and,  based on the assessment of some people we know who worship there, it seems to function well.  I confess that I haven’t thought much about the broader concept.

James raised some interesting points at For What It’s Worth: Multi-Site Churches « Beneath the Cross:

Here are five practical benefits of multi-site churches:

  1. More, smaller facilities are cost-effective (you can find cheaper, even foreclosed, space to buy and remodel).
  2. Different “tribes” and “peoples” will be reached (because some people will refuse to drive to the ‘burbs and attend services at the nice, comfy, predominately white church).
  3. More intimate fellowship between God’s people (and people will still recognize they are a part of a bigger body and movement, but they won’t get lost in the shuffle–their name and face matter).
  4. Ability to focus on reaching particular neighborhoods (cities change when neighborhoods change, not the other way around).
  5. Ability to gear non-essential, stylistic issues toward the culture of the neighborhood (e.g. music, etc; as opposed to causing a stink at the “building” where old fogies and young hotheads clash).

How can we reach people and transform a city if we just build bigger buildings? There can be more services, but will we really reach people from 20 miles away in the ghetto with our giant, suburban buildings? Probably not. If churches are to transform cities (as they were expected to do in the New Testament) then we must go to where the people are, and we must keep people on mission in their part of town.  That means if you live in the ghetto, you are on mission there.  If you live in the ‘burbs, it means you are on mission there. If you live in the urban center, you are on mission there. And if you live on the outskirts of town, then you are on mission there.

 

False teacher fallacy-fest on Prop 8

Fake Christian Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie teaches the opposite of Jesus and the Bible at nearly every turn but really out-does himself with this bit: Proposition 8 Was Incompatible With Christianity; Court Decision A Victory For All God’s Children.

1. Let’s start with the title: He is ignorant of the fact that “God’s children” are only those who have trusted in Jesus (see John 1:12 and other passages referring to that term).

2. Either Chuck is ignorant of both Christianity and science or he is just lying again (or both!).  He trots out the myth that gay behavior is genetic.

Fact: Skin color is morally neutral, sexual behavior is not.  Chuck & Co. mock the plight of blacks when they conflate the two.

Like Loving v. Virginia (which outlawed the ban on interracial marriage), the court’s decision today in Perry v. Schwarzenegger overturning California’s Proposition 8 is historic and a victory not only for gays and lesbians who wish to marry but for all Americans.

3. Oxymoronic “same-sex” marriage doesn’t increase freedoms for anyone.  It restricts religious freedoms because it sets up churches to comply or face persecution.  And no one was stopping gays from having relationships. But Chuck says:

Once again freedom has been extended.

4. Chuck doesn’t have a clue about what Jesus — God incarnate — taught about marriage.  He says:

But today’s decision is one that Christians can affirm.  It is moral and just and in line with the teachings of Jesus.

But the word of God says the opposite:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

5. Watch Chuck get the Gospel wrong here.  The real Gospel is that Jesus died and rose again for our sins (see 1 Corinthians 15 and, oh, pretty much the whole New Testament).  Chuck makes things up as he goes along while creating a god in his own image.

He and other Liberal theologians (read: fake Christians) trot out words like love, compassion, justice, inclusion, etc. to cloud the issue.  But all they are doing is rationalizing sin.  Bad idea.

The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion. The biblical story recounts the ways in which inclusion and welcome to God’s community is ever-expanding – from the story of Abraham and Sarah, to the inclusive ministry of Jesus, to the baptism of Cornelius, to the missionary journeys of Paul throughout the Greco- Roman world. The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.

More gobbledygook here.  Note how he doesn’t refer to specific passages, just general made up themes?  Gee, if you are really committed to a sinful relationship and make a covenant about it then it is OK!

The language of covenant is central to the message of scripture concerning relationships and community. Both in the message of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus, covenant relationships are important, taken seriously by God and are to be taken seriously by God’s people. The overriding message of the Gospel is that God calls God’s people to live fully the gift of love in responsible, faithful, just, committed, covenantal relationships of trust that recognize and respect the image of God in all people. These Gospel values are at the core of the covenantal relationship that we call marriage.

6. Then he really gets blasphemous and blames the Holy Spirit for his outrageous religion.  But of course the burden of proof is on him to back up that claim.  Any evidence for us, Chuck?  Seems to me that when you teach the opposite of the Bible then it is Satan who is at work.  Attributing the work of Satan to God is a profoundly bad idea.

Clearly, this court decision will be controversial and many Christians will decry the verdict. But my belief is that the Holy Spirit is at work here. The moral arc of the universe always bends towards justice, said The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was correct.

The truth of the matter is that Proposition 8 was incompatible with Christianity.  Injustice always is.

The final sentence is pure Chuck.  Teach the opposite of the Bible and claim it is Christianity.

7. Why is Chuck trying to force his (false) religious beliefs on others?  Where is the ACLU when you need them?!  Oh, they agree with Chuck’s perverse views so they take a pass.

8.  And even IF Chuck was remotely right about God’s views on homosexual behavior, why doesn’t he rail from the pulpit about the lack of maintaining these “covenant” relationships?  After all, only 45% of gays are monogamous and that is with a definition of monogamy that considers “3-ways” and more to qualify as “monogamy.”

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Man, these fake Christians aren’t even trying anymore.

False teachers abuse scripture to oppose 2nd Amendment

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie and the National Council of (mostly apostate) Churches get scripture wrong, as usual, in advancing their religion-disguised-as-politics agenda in Connecticut Mass Shooting Re-Affirms Need For Gun Control; End To Gun Violence.  Let’s examine the bad reasoning in selected portions:

The Brady Center notes this morning:

This morning at least 11 people lost their lives in two incidents of mass gun violence, one at a Connecticut workplace, another at an Indianapolis party….These two mass shootings are examples of the continual tragedy of gun violence in our country.  Every day in the United States, 300 people are shot and 85 die from gun violence.  We must do better.

Gun violence is a bad thing.  Agreed.  So are car accidents, but we don’t ban cars.  The issue is how to best deal with the bad things of the world.

The National Council of Churches USA (NCC) and other religious organizations have been outspoken advocates of ending gun violence in America.  Earlier this year NCC, a communion of “36 faith traditions encompassing 45 million Americans in 100,000 local congregations,” adopted a statement on gun violence saying:

When thinking about the problem of violence, Christian faith is both “idealistic” and “realistic.” On the one hand, there is a stream within the Christian tradition that counsels non-violence in all circumstances. A seminal text is the Sermon on the Mount,found in Matthew’s gospel, where Jesus instructs his followers to bear violence rather than inflict it.

Even if they get the biblical text right (hey, it could happen someday!) they ignore something obvious: How about all the non-Christians who may not want these (false) religious beliefs forced on them?  Where is the ACLU when you need them?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also…. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . (Matt. 5: 38-39, 43-44).

Great passage, but it is about insults and not violence.  Note Jesus’ specificity in referring to the right cheek.  90% of people are right-handed, so a strike on the right cheek is probably a slap.  Jesus never said that if someone attacks you that it is a sin to defend yourself.

Pure pacifism is a moral evil.  To sit by while innocent people — including yourself — are violently attacked isn’t Christianity, it is cowardice.

It is difficult to imagine that the One whose own Passion models the redemptive power of non-violence would look favorably on the violence of contemporary U.S. society.

Yes, and it is difficult to imagine Jesus looking favorably on false teachers like Chuck and much of the NCC who are pro-abortion.  Abortion is as violent as it gets, but Chuck & Co. think the Constitution says you can crush and dismember innocent people in the womb but you can’t defend yourselves.  The hypocrisy of pro-abortion pacifists is astounding.

Present-day violence is made far worse than it otherwise would be by the prevalence of weapons on our streets. This stream of the Christian tradition insists that it is idolatry to trust in guns to make us secure, since that usually leads to mutual escalation while distracting us from the One whose love alone gives us security.

The facts speak otherwise.  Criminals aren’t totally stupid.  They understand risk-reward scenarios pretty well and prefer to go where people are unarmed.  If the NCC wants to preach to their members about guns, go ahead.  But again, why force their (false) religious beliefs on others?

. . . the stark reality is that such weapons end up taking more lives than they defend, and the reckless sale or use of these weapons refutes the gospel’s prohibition against violence.

That statement is pure fiction.  They have no way to support it.  And again, who said the gospel is opposed to self-defense?  People like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution”Wallis make up new meanings for the Gospel all the time.  I’ll stick to the Bible, thanks.

They close with these stats. They should include the 4,000 per day who die from abortion, a much more preventable form of violence.

EVERY DAY (on average)

  • Every day, 300 people in America, 67 of them children and teens are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents, and police intervention.
  • Every day, 85 people die from gun violence, 35 of them murdered.
  • Every day, 9 children and teens die from gun violence.
  • Every day, 215 people are shot, but survive their gun injuries.
  • Every day, 57 children and teens are shot, but survive their gun injuries.

Kenya mission trip pictures / highlights

This is a looong post – actually a bunch of posts in one — but please take time to check it out plus the links.  We had an amazing mission trip to Kenya with a group from our church.  It was my 4th trip but definitely the best because my wife joined me this time.  She was amazing – diving into everything with energy and grace even though the whole enterprise was way out of her comfort zone.

Click the links to see many more pictures.

1. Church / school in Kawangware slum – One of our projects was helping a little on the church building and doing two sessions of Vacation Bible School for the kids at the school. I was playing guitar for the VBS sessions so I don’t have pictures of that, but I’ll post pictures when I get them from others. The kids seemed to have a great time singing, dancing and playing.

This church and school is truly a beacon of light in a dark place. Worshiping with them was one of the seemingly endless highlights of the trip.

A little more background on the slum here.

2. When giraffes attack! — A visit to the giraffe park was fun. We went on the first day in Kenya as we acclimated to the time changes and such.

3. Maua Methodist Hospital – we did daily devotionals with them and various projects.

We did some painting at the hospital to help them maintain certifications that keep their reimbursements up and did some mortar work at a building they’ll use for visiting missionary doctors.

The hospital does amazing work for the community, offering low cost medical services. They save many lives. They have outstanding community programs to help AIDS orphans and to help them go to school and develop skills to support their families (sort of like a “Junior Achievement meets Jesus” program).

No, you would not want to stay there yourself, but for them it is invaluable.

Somehow I didn’t get many pictures of tea time, a nice and tasty tradition they have there.

4. Safari — We spent a couple days on safari at the end of the trip enjoying some of God’s amazing creation.

5. The Proclaimer – getting the word of God out to those who don’t read.  This is one of my favorite parts of the trip. Faith Comes By Hearing translates the Bible into dozens of languages. You can download New Testament versions for free. They give away these “Proclaimer” devices so that illiterate people can hear the word of God in their languages. As noted at the bottom, these can be AC or solar powered so they can be used over and over almost anywhere.

This picture is of Reverend Alice, the hospital chaplain, explaining it to a group of patients and their children. She plans to play the Bible in Kiswahili for them regularly and to set it outside for when the patients go in the sun to warm up. She will also take it to remote locations so they can hear the word. I hope we can take more the next time.

I’m a firm believer in Isaiah 55:10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

From their website:

How does the Proclaimer work? An installed microchip contains Scriptures in the heart language; the chip will not erase or wear out from frequent playing.

The battery will play for 15 hours and can be recharged enough times to play the entire New Testament more than 1,000 times.

The Proclaimer has a built-in generator and solar panel to charge the battery.

The solar panel, in addition to charging the battery, will run the Proclaimer even without battery power as long as there is sunlight.

The sound is digital quality and loud enough to be heard clearly by groups as large as 300.

The Proclaimer was developed primarily as a playback device for poor and illiterate people who may not have any other source to hear God’s Word. Our goal is to use the Proclaimer in the majority of our FCBH programs worldwide.

Very few of these people read, but now they can hear the transforming and powerful word of God. I never get tired of that.

6. AIDS Orphan Homes

The local church and hospital does a great job of identifying the poorest of the poor. Some children have lost their parents and live in stick / mud huts, while others may have one living parent or a neighborhood person who takes care of them.

Local workers do the foundation and the heavy stuff and we help out with painting, hammering and such.

In this case, the father died of AIDS and the mother and youngest child are probably HIV positive. She has resisted testing because of the stigma but it appears that they finally convinced her to get help. The anti-retrovirals have been very successful at preventing deaths and more orphans.

$2,000 builds a home to keep them safe and warm. It does amazing things for their self-worth and gives them a place to study once they are in school.

The hospital program and church stays engaged and follows up with them.

The purpose of the AIDS Orphans’ Project is to provide food, schooling, medical care and improved housing for AIDS orphans and to train their guardians in caring for these children. This project was established in response to the needs of the increasing numbers of AIDS orphans within the region that the hospital serves. Maua Methodist Hospital serves a district of 600,000 people as their only full service hospital. The AIDS orphan children are in desperate circumstances. The hospital is reaching out to them to share the Love of Jesus Christ by helping to care for their basic needs, and by giving hope for a better life.

7. Miscellaneous – travel and such.

8. World Vision sponsor child visit — These are from our visit with Dennis, our World Vision sponsor child since 1998, and his family.  I’m so glad that my wife finally got to meet them.  After all these years and multiple visits they are like family.

Dennis is roughly my oldest daughter’s age.  He is working on a 2 yr. journalism degree at college.  We are very proud of how hard he works.  He is a very humble and godly young man.  He knows his theology well (on my last visit he showed me how he got a 67 out of 70 on a test — not sure I could do that!).  I’ve been praying since he was 6 that God was use him in a big way and that prayer has been continually answered.

Our friends from World Vision, Peterson and Martin, hosted us for most of the day.  They do great work there and are very accountable with all they do.

9. Miscellaneous — shots from Vacation Bible School, the AIDS Orphan home dedication and more.

Digg This

What did you learn from the sermon today?

We went to my youngest daughter’s church since it was Mother’s day.  A lay person gave a great message on reading the Bible, using various passages but mainly the one below.  I thought I would share it here and ask what the rest of you picked up from your church services.

1 Peter 2:1–3 (ESV) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

He pointed out how often God teaches us to remove something first before we are filled with something else, so we’re told to put away various evil things.

The key point to me was how he explained that the passage doesn’t just say, “read the Bible more,” it says that we should want to read it more.  We aren’t just commanded to seek the truth but to long for it.

This is my $0.02: Sometimes we don’t want to do what we know is right.  We need to want to want to do something (the double “want to” wasn’t a redundancy, it was deliberate).  For example, if you don’t have a desire to read the Bible, pray that God would give it to you.

He also pointed out how “Lord” follows “taste” as a deliberate shift from “milk.”  God reveals himself to us in his word and teaches us that it represents him.  We should long for spiritual truths and long for the Lord.  (More $0.02: We don’t worship the Bible as “bibliolators” as some Liberal theologians like to charge us as doing; we accept the word of God for what God claimed it to be.)

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So what did you pick up from the sermon you listened to today?  Writing it down will help you remember it and share it with others. (Pastor Timothy, this is a softball question for you since you gave the sermon!)

Wine or grape juice? Yes!

I was thrilled when I visited my oldest daughter’s church at Christmas.  It is a non-denominational church that seemed to do everything “just right.”  Passionate music with meaningful lyrics, Gospel-centered preaching that went verse-by-verse through a passage in Micah, a proper focus on giving, an emphasis on church planting, and more.

They even had a clever solution for communion.  When I went to receive it a guy was holding two cups.  I immediately realized that one was grape juice and one was wine.  I didn’t have a preference so I didn’t bother to look for the labels ( I think I got wine).

Either way, I thought it was a terrific approach to something that can divide people unnecessarily.  I’m in the debate-don’t-divide camp regarding non-essential issues so I love seeing solutions like this.

Ecumenical / non-denominational efforts sometimes get wimpy or even heretical with their theology.  Instead of uniting on the essentials they ignore everything even remotely controversial and end up with the sort of un-biblical or even anti-biblical theology you’ll find at the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, Sojourners and the like.

I’m very encouraged that there are churches like this out there.  I hope they grow and expand across the country.  It was definitely an answered prayer for my daughter to land in such a theologically sound and well-run church.

Trivia fact: You can read about how grape juice became a popular choice for communion here.  Short version: A Methodist named Welch (yep, as in Welch’s) sought an alternative to wine.