Welcome to the December 2013 blog!
Remember the evangelist!
Pastor Harlan Morgan submitted a great idea:
The month of December is often a tough time for evangelists. Very few churches are having revivals during this busy time of year, and the evangelist sometimes finds himself without a place to preach which equals no income.
During the two Decembers we were evangelizing before we came to Sulphur, I was greatly blessed to have a full calendar during the month of December, preaching every weekend and midweek service somewhere. If I remember correctly, I did take off the service before or after Christmas. Additionally, Pastor Wayne Cardwell (our late friend who pastored the church we based out of) created extra jobs for me around the church and paid me well. The first year, I remodeled the evangelist quarters, and the second year I organized a Christmas program “Bro. Bubba’s Christmas Comedy Barn.” Also, a kind pastor for whom we had preached during the year sent us an offering one year during December.
This year, I have scheduled two evangelists, each for one weekend during the month of December. Another evangelist is parked at our church for the rest of the year as he preaches in the area. Another may be staying in our evangelist quarters. I am not saying these things to sound a trumpet before myself but to create an awareness concerning the plight of evangelists during this time of year.
I encourage you to have an evangelist for a weekend and pay him well, or just send an offering to an evangelist, his wife, or kids. These are the families who sacrifice in ways we do not often consider, traveling across the country throughout the year, helping churches have revival.
Remember the evangelist in December!
If not God, who are we under?
President Obama has made it crystal clear that he does not consider America a “Christian nation,” although a huge majority consider themselves Christians or subscribe to the values of that faith. Our government was founded on principles that were drawn from Christianity and Judaism. The word “God” is all over buildings in Washington, DC. There is no Middle Eastern nation that is 100% Muslim, with Christians and Jews in each of them, yet he does not hesitate to call them “Muslim nations.” Does that seem odd to you?
In his recitation of the Gettysburg Address on November 19, on the 150th anniversary of the speech, the president omitted Lincoln’s words “under God.” A signed and dated version of the speech by Lincoln included those words. All other speakers reciting the Address on that date included “under God.” Did he again “misspeak”? Were the words inadvertently left off of his teleprompter? If so, we are still waiting for a correction and/or an apology. However, I am not holding my breath. God is not on his agenda.
Coming Out of the Beer Closet
“I brew craft beer,” confessed Mark Galli, the editor of the “evangelical” Christianity Today. “A stout, brown, pale ale, and Belgian dubbel are my most recent works of culinary art. I get a great deal of satisfaction in engineering a brewing system, creating and executing recipes, and serving a fine beverage to delighted guests. CT’s Kevin P. Emmert reported that I’m hardly leading the charge, but just part of a larger trend regarding evangelical use of alcohol.”
According to Lifeway Research, 65% of Protestant pastors do not believe it is sinful to drink alcohol. That is 5% more than the laity! 22% of Protestant pastors drink and 39% of the laity imbibe. This year Moody Bible Institute lifted its alcohol and tobacco ban for its 600 full-time employees, following recent similar moves by Wheaton College, Huntington University, and Asbury Seminary. One Wheaton Ph.D professsor sees alcoholic beverages as “a blessing” and their absence as “a curse.” Therefore, “most Christians should imbibe, not abstain” he says. Isn’t it amazing how smart a seminary education can make someone? [Never forget: as the educational institutions of any denomination go, so goes the denomination!]
Some Evangelicals are not only approving but are advocating for consumption, calling it one of “God’s gifts.” I suppose that all depends on just who one’s god is. I wonder where this new “gift” is taking them.
On second thought, I don’t wonder. We all know. How sad.
Ideal environment for liberals?
I noticed that someone posted the idea on the Internet that there is a perfect home for those who are flouting the laws of the land, thumbing their noses at the Constitution, and pushing for socialism (everyone on the same level). At this ideal place one gets to live in a gated community, everyone is treated equally, food is free, medical and dental care provided at no cost, no worries about being bound by the Constitution, and none of the “citizens” have guns. Sounds like a liberal’s paradise.
It was called “the state prison.”
Now we see why the pre-election carefulness
Remember when an open mike caught our president telling the Russian president, Medvedev, that “This is my last election. And after my election, I will have more flexibility [to negotiate with Russia]. Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President, replied: Medvedev: “I understand you. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
The Obama Administration, particularly the State Department, plans to let Russia’s space agency construct monitoring stations across the United States, ostensibly to monitor space flights. Sure. What harm could that be to the U.S.? They wouldn’t be used to spy on us would they? Or bolster the accuracy of Russian weaponry? We are allowing American security to go by the boards before our very eyes.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing in UPCI
Columnist Jennifer Leclaire, writing in CharismaNews, reports that a “wolves in sheep’s clothing project” has penetrated the UPCI and possibly other church groups of the Pentecostal stripe. The project was formed by “atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secularists and the liberally religious,” some of whom were former disgruntled church members, to penetrate fundamentalist churches for a time then “feign falling away,” just to “wreak havoc in the church” and get a reaction from the community.
Choose to forgive
Forgiveness is a major hurdle for those wanting to clear the path to spiritual wholeness. In his book Victory Over Grumpiness, Irritation and Anger,* Doug Britton provides some helpful guidelines for forgiveness:
How should we respond when others disappoint or upset us? God says to forgive. When we do this, we experience His peace and bring healing to relationships. When we do not, we are consumed by bitterness and bring strife to relationships.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, you heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14,15 NIV). “Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 NIV).
It can be hard to forgive someone who sinned against you. If you find yourself thinking, “I just can’t forgive that person,” ask God to help you forgive. Ask God to help you appreciate His forgiveness. And ask Him to help you extend that same forgiveness to others.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is a decision not to dwell on the other person’s sin, nor to keep bringing it up. One thing that helps me for give others is to think about all the things God has forgiven me for. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).
Is it ever okay to do something about unfair treatment? Yes. For example, if you think you were given an inaccurate job evaluation, it’s okay to protest it. But don’t give in to anger. And don’t get mad if your protest doesn’t result in an improved evaluation. If someone abuses you, choose to forgive, but also be ready to take appropriate action.
Some think they don’t need to forgive until the other person apologizes, but that isn’t true. Jesus forgave those who killed Him just before He died, although they had not apologized. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV). Stephen, likewise, forgave his murderers as they stoned him to death. “Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60 NIV).
Have you ever withheld forgiveness because you think someone’s apology is insincere? Or because he or she did not apologize “correctly”? It is not your job to judge the sincerity of an apology. The other person’s genuineness is between him or her and God. Your responsibility is to forgive.
It is normal to want to get back at someone for harming us, but that is not what God wants us to do. He wants us to forgive. “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did’” (Proverbs 24:29 NIV).
Although you forgive someone, you may not literally forget that something happened. But you can choose not to continually think about it. And you can choose not to talk about it with other people.
*LifeTree Books; Sacramento, CA; 2009
Still the Incomparable Christ
They cannot bomb His city or rob Him of His own;
They cannot take Him captive nor strike Him deaf nor blind,
Nor starve Him to surrender or make Him change his mind;
They cannot cause Him panic nor cut off His supplies,
They cannot take His Kingdom nor Hurt Him with Their lies;
Though all the world be shattered His truth remains the same,
His righteous law still potent and Jesus is His Name!
Atheists Use Blow-Dryers to De-Baptize
If we worked as hard at being genuine Christians as unbelievers do at being atheists, we might convert the world.
Obama is purging the military…for what?
How about Stalin’s purges of the Russian military?
And what of Mao’s purges of the Chinese military?
Stomach for more? How about Hitler’s purges?
When America gets to where we are going, where will we be? C’mon, folks! How long are we going to put up with this in silence?
But wait! It might all be in the plan of God for the endtime. Oh? Who knows that?? What if Paul had assumed that position when he was charged without knowledge that he was a Roman citizen (Acts Chapters 21,22)? Are we willing to roll over and play dead because events just could be how God is bringing about all the endtime prophecies? Who knows that for certain sure? How easy to say, “Well, God has everything in control! He will do the right thing.” Well, sure…whatever He does is fine with me.
But is that a cop-out? If that is our position, we should then stay away from the polls. Do not vote. We could be opposing the will of God. Do not obstruct—or pray against—anything that is going on in your local schools, and do not speak out on any issue that is challenging your local assembly or the church at large. You might be hindering the fulfillment of prophecy.
“Qué Será, Será,” you sing? That is true if we choose to remain silent.
Obamacare “Navigators” encouraging applicants to lie
Many or most of the navigators hired to guide those trying to sign up for Obamacare seem to be representatives of several organizations (such as ACORN) serving as arms of the Democratic Party. They were taught by the best. They are getting government grants to help applicants defraud the government—at your expense. Is that shocking to anyone out there, or is it more or less what you have come to expect from this administration?
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.’”
He went on to proclaim observance of God’s providence by setting aside a day for thanksgiving. You can access a full copy of Washington’s handwritten proclamation and a printed version at: http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/washingtons-thanksgiving-proclamation
I failed to hear such a reference in our President’s observance last month. Perhaps I missed it somehow.
Will preachers be next?
Some have signaled their concern over non-Apostolic singers participating in services in some of our churches. That there may be extreme circumstances where this could happen appropriately. But simply because someone is a good singer or musician is not a justification for displaying their talent on our platforms. For invitations to be extended to secular or “religious” groups or individuals to perform in our churches is a step in the wrong direction. It sends the wrong message to our youth! What is allowed has far more influence and impact on one’s values than what is verbally expressed.
We should not let this become a trend. What of neighboring churches? Are they not owed faithfulness to our Apostolic principles? Nothing is done in a corner any more. There are no secrets. As members of the Faith, we are obligated to maintain an Apostolic standard and strict adherence to principles of separation. And cross-denominational musicians are not known to be the foremost bearers of holiness standards.
If we do not care what others think or how our actions might affect another assembly, we might be reminded of what Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin [Greek: to stumble], it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
Re-naming sins takes another step
For three or four decades the psychiatric profession has been twisting our minds with the re-naming of our problems—e.g., alcoholism is not drunkenness (Galatians 5:21) but a “disease.” Drug addiction likewise. This enables psychiatrists to charge insurance companies for their services since they are treating a disease. This has caused the psych industry to boom with shingles getting hung our everywhere, even over Lucy’s stand. Practitioners’ goals seem to be to help folks “feel better about themselves” as they are.
Just as we were still trying to choke those apples down, lying has become simply “misspeaking.” Hillary Clinton is notorious for that affliction. That is the claim the New York Times made about what the President told about our keeping our doctors and health plans—“If we like them…”—he merely “misspoke.”
Perhaps we should re-label Satan. He is not the “father of lies” but the father of “misspoken words.” And re-label the false prophets of the Old Testament—they merely “misheard.” And Ananias and Sapphira didn’t lie—they “misunderstood the procedure.”
At the moment of the Rapture, the real truth will be known and the labels attached to us by humans will be meaningless.
The face of “progressive” Christianity
With apologies to the many godly and faithful Pentecostal ladies who hold a ministerial license, we have to admit one thing: the American church is liberalizing. Some other observers of the religious scene in America sense that women are increasingly viewed as the answer for those wishing to liberalize the church, release it from its homophobia, and set it free from the strict interpretations of truth and righteousness.
More and more women in the pulpit portend a seismic shift to the left within traditional Christian denominations. Many, perhaps most of those coming into positions of spiritual authority in the last 15 years are leading the charge to affirm gay marriage and other avant garde themes of the increasingly blasphemous culture. They seem to be taking dead aim on anything or anyone who “thumps the Bible,” or is traditional in any sense of the word.
Is it because they believe that women have been “restrained” in Western culture and in celebrating their own “liberation” they feel obligated to help anyone else who has been “bullied” or been passed over in their search for equal standing?
The Hartford Institute cites a survey showing approximately 10% of American senior pastors are female. A Pulpit and Pew survey settled at a 12% figure, with this “jumping to 20% for Oldline Protestant congregations and dropping to around 2% for Evangelicals.” Another study showed that the more theologically liberal groups such as the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ lead in the percent of their clergy—with 30 and 25% respectively. The surveys reveal the more theologically conservative a movement is, the fewer female pastors they have, and v.v.
Michele Boorstein recently wrote a column in the Washington Post spotlighting Nadia Bolz-Weber, the new female pastor of Denver’s University United Methodist Church.* Her 44-year old, 6-foot-1 frame is plastered with tattoos, and her arms are sculpted by competitive weightlifting. She has just written a book, her “memoirs,” called Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint. Of course it has immediately gone to the NY Times bestseller list.
Noticing the name, one might conclude that the author of the Post review is—or is at least likely to be—a Jewess or a woman with a Jewish husband. No problem, unless she is expressing an anti-Christian bias by focusing on a small Lutheran Church of 180 members in Denver that is poking its finger in the eye of traditional Christianity. The liberal left loves to pick out abnormalities and anomalies to make readers think the whole Christian world has gone to hell in a handbasket.
One of those anomalies is the budding ministry of Nadia Bolz-Weber, a tattooed Lutheran minister, a “pastrix” (her designation) who represents “a new, muscular form of progressive Christianity.” The foul-mouthed Bolz-Weber, wearing “a tight tank top and jeans,” is described as bounding….[to continue reading this article, click here.]
Photo above: In this June 20, 2008 file photo, the Rev. Jane Spahr, left, a Presbyterian minister, performs a same-sex marriage for Sherrie Holmes, center, and Sara Taylor, at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, CA.
By J. R. Ensey
Just in time for Christmas
Life is too short…
Kicking cows deserve to be taken to the slaughterhouse! Life is too short even when we are not being kicked, but when our time here is harassed by anger, drugs, unwarranted guilt, apathy, doubt, and other hangers-on, we need to get rid of them quickly. Our spiritual life suffers when the sins of the spirit are not dealt with properly. Here are a dozen chapters that deal with some of life’s “kicking cows.” Is there one in your life? By J. R. Ensey AM price only 12.95
People in Proverbs
Solomon and others share their wisdom about nineteen different people in the Book of Proverbs. From the Man of Understanding to the Stupid Man, from the Virtuous Woman to the Contentious Woman, from the Generous Man to the Offended Man and thirteen others, we deal with their traits, both good and bad. These lessons serve as sermons, Bible lessons or just personal devotional reading.
By J. R. Ensey AM price only 12.95
Order now to have them in time for Christmas!
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Go to advanceministries.org to order, or call 936-537-0250
Time to laugh
One long-term officer who recently left the military was reportedly asked his reasons for leaving. He replied, “When I joined the military, it was illegal to be homosexual. Later, it became acceptable. I’m getting out before it becomes mandatory!”
WARNING [TIC]: After a recent wave of identify thefts, the FBI estimates there are over 500 fake Obamacare websites set up for the sole purpose of stealing your personal information. So protect yourself and remember: the real one is the one that doesn’t work.
Question: What effect, if any, did Michael Servetus have on the Protestant Reformation? Your responses appreciated. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a friend that you feel would benefit from this blog, please send us his/her email or have them to do so. Remember, the blog is primarily aimed at ministers, although there are a few lay leaders on our list by request.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving—and have an even greater Christmas season! See you next month!