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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

On January 7th, the New Jersey state Senate defeated a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage. The vote was 20-14 and nine Democrats, including Senate President Steve Sweeney, either voted “no” or abstained. It seems that for the next four years this will not be brought up again. When I heard about this on the news I was happy since it seems that many states are caving into allowing this.

The issue of same-sex marriage is one that is not going away. What troubles me is the silence from the Church. Why are we not talking about this more and taking a stand. Even on the local level there seems to be not much talk. This for me is not about equal rights. This is a group wanting equal rights and telling America that we have to agree with them or we are racist. What ever happened to freedom of speech? The bible is clear on marriage! God created Adam and Eve. A man and a woman relationship is the one that God designed and ordained from the beginning.

I will say that my feelings do not drive me to violence in any way. I have the right as a citizen to voice my concerns for this problem as do those on the other side of the issue. What I cannot agree with however, is being shredded for my belief that same-sex marriage is wrong and against the will of God for His creation. I applaud New Jersey for their decision to say “No” to same-sex marriage. My hope is that it will speak loudly to many other states that will have to deal with this decision in the future.

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If you do not know about the Village Church in Dallas Texas you might have heard of their Lead Pastor Matt Chandler. Chandler is an outstanding preacher who is reformed in his theology and has an energy that many cannot compete with. His passion for the Word and the lost are a testimony to all of us in the church today. This past week it came out that Chandler had a brain tumor and I would like to post an article from Christianity Today as reported by Ted Olsen. Olsen writes;

Some sad news from The Village Church today:

On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren [Chandler] that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.

Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.

The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.

We pray for Matt and his family and the Village Church. We will continue to pray and stand alongside of our brother who proclaims the truth unashamed.

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Going Home

Within the next 10 days my wife and I will be moving back to the area that we are originally from. Due to unforeseen difficulties with ministry we will not be involved with paid ministry for sometime. We will continue to worship our God and get involved with a local church, but for now we will have a break from the stress of paid ministry.

This new chapter for my family comes as a blessing at this point in our lives. It is a release from the traditional thinking church and gives us time to assess where we go from here. We have always talked about being back in the area where we are from with a desire to possibly plant a church. While we have no certainty of our future we have faith in a FAITHFUL GOD who controls all things and will be directing us where to go next. For now I keep reminding myself of Joseph and his time in prison. Certainly he must have thought at different times that God was not in that when in fact God had everything to do with it. As David has proclaimed “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13)” I say also. A new chapter begins with God as the author.

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Phone Call From Steve Farrar

Last night as I was starting to watch one of my favorite shows on TV the phone rang with a guy who said he was Steve Farrar. The name sounded familiar and he asked if I knew who he was. When he told me that he was a Christian author I looked him up at Christian Books online to realize that I had read one of his books and knew who this guy was. In my mind I began to think “why in the world is this guy calling me on a Friday night and how does he know who I am?” He began to explain to me that he heard I was going through some tough times with my recent departure from vocational ministry and wanted to know if he could talk to me about it. He informed me that a mutual friend had sent him an email telling him of my recent hardship and then went on to tell me how he went through something similar some 18 years ago.

We probably spent 45-50 minutes on the phone together and Steve ministered to me for the entire time. It was something that God knew that I desperately needed. It was God’s providential hand letting me know that He was with me and as the New Testament states that “He is faithful.” During the past month I have gone through many different emotions and now I was talking with someone who finally understood everyone of them. Here I was talking to a guy I have never meant and who is well known in the Christian realm and yet he ministered too me in greater ways than anyone up to this point. Before this phone call I had been wandering about God’s movement and care in this situation. It was God’s perfect timing and comfort that I had been so desperately seeking only the day before. It was a aha moment! It was a reminder that God’s hand is not removed from my situation, it is directing it for His purposes and His glory.

So many times as Christians we forget the Sovereignty of God. It means that God is in control of all things at all times. We forget that what looks bad from our perspective is just the way God wants it to be for His own purposes. Throughout my frustration with leaving ministry for a season I have been meditating on Joseph and the time that he spent in prison and alienated from his family for many years and seasons. For some reason I have been reminding myself of Joseph and his hardships to help me through when I feel confused. At the end of our conversation Steve Farrar informed me that he is releasing a new book about Joseph which is the picture for this post and asked me if he could send me a copy. I believe God wants me to remember Joseph and this conversation just backed it up. God speaks to us the clearest when we are at our lowest. He cares and He is faithful! Praise the Lord for his gracious hand.

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Existential Conversation

Yesterday after a business meeting I spent time with an old friend who is approaching 60. He informed me that his time could be short on this earth due to medical problems. This was hard to hear because I love my friend and he has always been around when I needed him to be. As our conversation progressed to a more philosophical nature he began to tell me about a relative and what their take was on the after life. It seems the family member of my friend had some strange views about what hell would be like that are in no way theologically grounded. As a professed Existentialist my friend was not troubled by what the outcome of death would be which troubled me for the rest of the day and into this morning. One of the most troubling issues in the Church today is the existence of views in any local congregation that look like a buffet rather than a clear and concise understanding of biblical truths. Existentialism is once again on the rise with the help of a certain woman talk show host. New age has also been re-packaged and all of it mixes with biblical truth until for some it becomes a dangerous theology that people are now living by.

When false beliefs and teaching mix with theological truths the outcome is a Church that is living for itself on a shaky foundation. Instead of the Church doing and becoming what God has called it to be it becomes a bastard child of existentialism which at its core is about self worth and satisfaction. As Christians we have been called to carry our cross which usually means discomfort and hard work. Instead we hear people say things like “people need to know What’s In It For Me” which I heard one person say. That statement should scare anyone who is a Christian because it takes the focus off of bringing glory to God. Most of the frustrations in this life and the Church have to do with selfishness and self satisfaction. Our lives and our Church will only improve when we understand how it is suppose to work. We can only discover that by reading through our bibles systematically on a regular basis. If we do not we will have dysfunctional lives and dysfunctional churches.

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