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cpMiss California Carrie Prejean stood before a national audience this past week and stated that marriage is defined for her as being between a man and a woman. Some think that this kept her from being crowned Miss America. As I looked at several interviews with Carrie I notice that there is no regret from her taking a stance that she believes in. Those who are Disciples of Jesus should be encouraged by Carrie’s bold response. Never should we have any inclination to back down from what we know to be the Truth of God’s Word. I think that Carrie deserves applause for the kind way she delivered her response and the way that she has handled herself. Perez Hilton on the other hand seemed like a crazed man out of control on his video blog. It seems to me that the Homosexual Community cries out for equal rights and says that those who protest are filled with hate. What I see coming from this group is nothing but hate for those who stand on the Word of God as the source for morality. May all of us have compassion in our hearts, but may we never back down as Christians from what God’s Word teaches about sexuality. God created them in the beginning male and female. His design is for a man and woman to be together. He is the Creator and He is the One who has the only right to define what is morally acceptable. Thanks Carrie for taking a stand in a immoral climate.

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esv-1At the beginning of the Lent Season this year I gave our congregation a challenge of reading through the New Testament over a 42 day period. Sunday we finished this with great results. The 3 weeks leading to the end of the challenge I started to hear scripture indirectly quoted. I cannot remember a time when scripture was quoted more by a congregation during my ministry. People who had not gone through the New Testament in a long time or who never have been through it systematically before had a lot of praises during this time. The overflow of this challenge is still to be determined, but I have received emails, phone calls, and letters about what a blessing this has been for each individual. At a crucial time for our congregation I believe that this challenge will have positive impact on our Church through the rest of this year. When people start getting into the Word of God interesting things begin to happen. As a Pastor I have experienced first hand what happens to a Church that functions from a worldly perspective. But when the Word is our foundation we begin to see a change in our lives which impacts the body of Christ.

JS1262311It is official in Vermont! Same sex marriages have been approved by their legislature which over rides the Governor’s Veto! The vote was 100 to 49 which was shocking to me. This is another blow to our Country and God’s standard which clearly states that a marriage is between a man and a woman. My hope for any Church that is sold out to Jesus and the Word that it will stand its ground when discussing this issue with those who are for gay marriage. This is just another problem that I see with the “homosexual agenda.” They are demanding rights and getting them which frightens me. What will be next? Could we see the Church be silenced for preaching what the Word of God clearly says is a sin? This issue is not going away so if you are a Christian I hope you are discussing it inside and outside of the Church. There is a tear in the Church in small ways over this issue already. The generation that is in its early 20’s is more accepting of this because they have been taught that it is “normal.” May those who belong to Christ stand their ground on this issue. We have the right to be heard as much as anyone else in this Country.

Know Your Faith

carmIt seems that people are more confused than ever about their faith and what is right and wrong. Sometime this past week I received and email from a friend asking me about a nationally known teacher that I do not agree with. When I told them why they said something like “I knew there was something wrong with their teaching, but just couldn’t put my finger on it.” I have located an apologetic (defense of the faith) site that I can endorse after reading through it. If you are a Christian you need to understand basic doctrine and be able to distinguish the truth from what is false. I hope this site will help anyone interested in knowing and understanding the Christian faith better.

CARM

Set Apart

glacierI remember many years ago when the talk of holiness dominated our small group discussions. It seemed like many of us wanted to get everything out of our lives that didn’t please God so that we could experience Him in greater ways. When people talk of holiness today they can quickly be labeled as being legalistic or fanatics by those who attend the Church regularly. Lately I have been focusing on holiness and realize that to experience God in fresh ways I need to always be adjusting my life to better match up with His Word. I think that is the best view of holiness that I can have. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says;

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

This verse is only one place where we are told to focus on living holy lives. It means living in a separate way from the rest of the world. It means having different standards in our lives. For me one of the things that I need to separate myself from to some degree is different forms of media. Certain TV shows and movies infect my mind and do not enhance my relationship with God. I want to know the presence of God in greater ways and experience His power for ministry and Christian living. To get to where I want to go requires that I modify my life in all areas. God deserves people wanting to live lives set apart. When you think of what our freedom cost Jesus it is worth the effort.

srtLast night our town hosted the SILVER RING THING which is an Evangelical purity outreach program. There were over 1300 in attendance. 112 new commitments to Christ and 386 rings were bought. My family was fortunate to host one of the Leaders of this event and I was impressed with the attitude they have for reaching the lost and giving a sound biblical reason of why teens should abstain from any sexual relations until they are married. This event was brought together through the hard work of the Youth Pastors of our community working for the greater good of the next generation. Unless you are blind you know that our country is beyond a moral decline and we are in a dismal situation. If your community is several thousand people or more I suggest getting in touch with this organization and doing this in your community. Society is dancing around the issue of morality and the Church must and needs to take a stand.

esvLast year I attended the t4g (together 4 the Gospel conference) which is targeted for those who are Reformed (Calvinistic) in their theology. Out of the 3-5,500 people I would say that only a minority of us were using the NIV bible. The ESV (English Standard Version) which came out in 2001 seemed to be the translation of choice. At the conference I bought this version and began to look at it periodically and use it in my sermon study. With our Church going through the New Testament in 40 days I decided I would challenge myself for the entire year to preach, teach, and have bible study in this version alone. It has similarities to the NAS95 but it is more readable in style. Transitioning from the NIV is tough because I have been using it for everything for the past 7 years. The ESV I have found has a great literal delivery that holds to the original Greek better than any other New Testament translation that I have found. It took a few weeks to get use to a new translation, but I have found a greater appetite for the Word with the ESV. If you have been stuck reading the same version for several years give the ESV a year trial and see what you think. You may find yourself enjoying bible study in greater ways.