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Church Planting

When we were riding in the car this morning to church we were discussing an upcoming church plant.  There seems to be some bitterness and rumors that have started as a result of the church plant, even though very little has been said about it and absolutely no encouraging others who are members of other churches to join with us.  This is the thought that hit me while we were talking about it:

We could go to any country in the world or even any state in the US to plant a church.  Then we would be supported by the church we are leaving and maybe even supported financially in the process.  However, the moment we plant a church across town or even in an adjacent town we are subject to ridicule and derision, even if the churches are not exact duplicates of each other. 

Why is that?

Is this just an idiosyncrasy of SBC churches or does this happen in other denominations?

If the church is the full body of believers what difference does it make which building and congregation an individual worships and fellowships with? (Assuming that they are valid Bible believing churches.)

Believers do don’t belong to a specific “church” in a spiritual sense, the individual church is just to allow a group of local believers to grow, learn, worship and be guided by others together.



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Sunday School Helps

Are you in a church that uses the LifeWay Sunday School Curriculum?

Are you disappointed in the material but are unable to convince the church that there is better material available for teaching the Bible, like maybe the Bible itself?

My husband never cared for the LifeWay Curriculum but we have been in churches before that only used that material. He would often just look and see what book the curriculum was doing that quarter and then would proceed to do his own Bible study from his personal Bible study resources.

I found that Founders has LifeWay Curriculum helps available online, both Explore the Bible or Bible Studies for Life. Founders Sunday School Helps might be helpful for those SBC teachers that find they are having to utilize a rather weak Sunday School curriculum or as my husband called it “insipid.”



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Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Nope, we aren’t supposed to.

Matthew 10:34-39
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
ESV

James 2:14-16
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
ESV

An Open Letter to Rick Warren by Jan Markell

On July 5 the Washington Times online reported that Pastor Rick Warren told his Islamic audience, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA,) that he envisions “a coalition of faith.” Whether Pastor Warren knows this or not, this is just another term for the coming one-world religion outlined in Revelation 13. It is further outlined in Revelation 17. I have not taken on the issue of Rick Warren all that often, but after reading what the Washington Times has to say about his message to a group of spiritually lost Muslims, I feel I must address this in an open letter to who many say is the most influential pastor in America and some would say the world.

Pastor Warren, you pleaded with 8,000 Muslim listeners on Saturday, July 4, to work together to solve the world’s greatest problems by cooperating in a series of interfaith projects. You said, “Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising my convictions or your convictions.”

Pastor Warren, you needed to compromise the convictions of the Muslims in attendance. To just say that “My deepest faith is in Jesus Christ” was not enough to a thoroughly lost crowd. The hour is too late to withhold a gospel message without which they will face a Christless eternity, and you will be held accountable. The “world’s greatest problems” will always be with us and the Bible says so in Matthew 26:11. Sin is at the root of them. I have to conclude you are more interested in ecumenical unity and solving AIDS, poverty, and other social issues. Last Saturday you were given a golden opportunity that 99.9% of American Christians could never get. ….

Rick Warren is Wrong

… Rick Warren is putting works first and faith second. According to the Bible in James 2:14-26, works should follow a person’s faith. Warren has reversed this and has put works first and faith second.

According to the book of James, true faith is believing the exclusive claims of Christ and not putting faith behind works. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven according to the Bible. As we share this truth with the world, we should then do good works.

Speaking at interfaith meetings should not be done if a person does not tell the listeners that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven – period. By not doing this, a person is saying that all ways lead to God by works. Sincere Christian faith is never afraid to tell others that Jesus Christ in the only way to heaven….


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SBC Convention: Five Motions Involve Mark Driscoll

Motions: Messengers endorse GCR task force, criticize Driscoll’s entity influence

Two motions were referred to all SBC entities:

— that “all SBC entities should monitor” funds spent in “activities related to or cooperative efforts with Mark Driscoll and/or the Acts 29 organization” and entity heads should submit a report of expenditures to appear in the 2010 Book of Reports, submitted by Kent Cochran, a messenger from Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, Mo.

— that SBC entities avoid “inviting event speakers” who “are known for publicly exhibiting unregenerate behavior … such as cursing and sexual vulgarity, immorality, or who publicly state their support for the consumption or production of alcohol,” submitted by Ida South, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Mathiston, Miss.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Order of Business, Hunt ruled several motions “not in order.”

The committee chairman’s, Render, said three resolutions were not in order because of reflecting harshly on particular individuals.

— that author Mark Driscoll’s books be removed from LifeWay Christian Bookstores because of his “reputation for abusive and ungodly language and … promotions of sex toys on his church web site,” submitted by Jim Wilson, pastor, First Baptist Church in Seneca, Mo.”We need to live holy lives and bringing this man to our college campuses and promoting his books in the bookstore … I believe is a violation of Scripture.”

— that messengers encourage all SBC entities “to refrain from inviting event speakers” who engage in “cursing and sexual vulgarity, or who publicly state their support for the consumption or production of alcohol,” submitted by Larry Reagan, pastor, Adams Chapel Baptist Church in Dresden, Tenn.

A motion by Brian LeStourgeon, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Camp Verde, Ariz., sought to have Mark Driscoll “address the concerns of his accusers” at the 2010 annual meeting. Render said the committee declined LeStourgeon’s motion since it could have put the Convention in the role of exercising church discipline.

At least some are seriously questioning Mark Driscoll and his language in the pulpit. It is a shame though that nothing will be done until next year. What is there to think about?  Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to Mark Driscoll and his church.

Where are the men like this taking a stand for their Lord and their families I’ve had it with Mark Driscoll and his mouth. Now it’s personal!

If only the SBC would take a stand.

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Southern Baptist President Hunt Calls For Repentance

Repentance a ‘dire need’ in SBC, Hunt says

… The 9/11 terrorist attacks and recent economic downturn have caused many Christians to say, “God is trying to get America’s attention,” Hunt said.

“God is not trying to get America’s attention. God is trying to get our attention,” Hunt declared. “The Bible says, ‘It is now time for judgment to begin at the house of God [1 Peter 4:17]. If I understand that, from my own background and vernacular, God is saying, ‘Quit predicting what I am going to do to America, I am about to let the hammer fall on my own people. I’m trying to get their attention.'”

When God gets Southern Baptists’ attention and they begin to conduct themselves with tenderness, holiness and compassion, God will get the nation’s attention, Hunt said. …

This quote of Hunt’s is so true. (Just a note of clarification I don’t normally quote Hunt since I think much of what he says is way off.) We as individuals need repentance. Southern Baptists as a denomination need repentance. Christians as a whole need repentance. We need to repent of our sins of commission and omission. We need to repent of thinking to highly of ourselves. But most importantly we need to remember that we are slaves to a most HOLY, HOLY, HOLY GOD. We have no understanding of how worthless our “good” deeds are.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; KJV

The Lord God will vindicate His Holiness before the nations. He will not forever stand by and let us who claim to be His people profane His name.

Ezekiel 36:23 …And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. ESV


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Southern Baptists – Changing Quickly

Southern Baptists are quite different then just a few years ago! I know because I grew up Southern Baptist and we didn’t have ballet for worship services or worry about other churches having known homosexuals on staff.

Classical ballet at Pastors’ Conference

… Riley and her church, First Baptist Church of North Mobile, are working to reclaim the arts in worship. While the choir sings, artist Brian Daniel will paint with his hands during one song. In another set, Riley will move in fluid rhythm to an orchestra of violins, electric guitars and other instruments.

“We want to add another dimension to worship,” music minister Jason Breland said. “It will be wonderful if people experience the presence of God and the worship of God in a way that they haven’t experienced before.”…

Southern Baptist EC recommends ceasing relationship with church over homosexuality

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee recommended in a unanimous vote Monday afternoon that the denomination cease its relationship with Broadway Baptist Church, a Fort Worth, Texas, congregation that has been the source of controversy over its stance on homosexuality.

The Executive Committee’s recommendation will be considered by SBC messengers during the annual meeting Tuesday or Wednesday.

At issue is whether the church is in violation of Article III of the SBC Constitution, which states that churches “which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior” are not in friendly cooperation. Broadway Baptist has approximately five open homosexual members, including two male couples, according to church leaders. Some of the homosexuals serve on church committees. …

What Rick Warren talks about with the Islamic Convention attenders will be very interesting. You think he will say anything about them believing in a false god?

“Islamic Society reaches out to other faiths” (Link Broken)

For Warren, author of the best-selling “The Purpose Driven Life” who gave the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, the visit to a Muslim convention also fits, said Tulane University assistant sociology professor Shayne Lee, co-author of “Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace.”

Warren has conducted workshops with Jewish rabbis, Lee said, offering tips on how to build their congregations, and established ties with the gay rights community in California. He also was unafraid to endure criticism from conservatives about his role in the Obama inauguration.


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Jewels from Romans #14

Romans 9:6-9

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.”
(ESV)

The topic for today is pragmatism, and specifically the heartache which is caused by pragmatism. In these verses in Romans just quoted, Paul has in mind the difference between the first two children of Abraham – Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael, you may recall, was born out of pragmatism, while Isaac was born out of faith. Notice that, even though both sons were born to one father, Abraham, that the offspring of Abraham would only be named through one of those sons – Isaac. Why would God decree this? Because of the example given to us as shown in Romans 9:8 “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (ESV) God decreed that the child born of the flesh, that is, because of pragmatism, would never be a child of God.

Unfortunately, many of the so-called evangelical churches today are giving birth to children of the flesh. We have sacrificed the gospel message, a contrite heart, brokenness over sin, and repentance for a “decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart.” Nowhere in the Bible are the ideas of “salvation” and “decision” ever linked together. This is an invention of pragmatism in order to swell the church membership. Why else would 60% of the membership of the Southern Baptist Church never attend church?

But this post is not about pragmatism in general, it is about the heartache of pragmatism. In order to see the heartache of pragmatism as it relates to Romans 9:6-9, we must turn back to the book of Genesis and read an account from the life of Abraham and Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-12

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.
12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
(KJV)

Notice the reaction of Abraham when both his wife Sarah, and then God Himself, tells Abraham that he must cast out Hagar and Ishmael. Abraham was grieved. The KJV uses the words “very grievous”. The word “grievous” comes from a root word meaning “breaking”. I think we might could say that it broke Abraham’s heart to have to cast out Hagar and Ishmael. Why was it so hard for Abraham to do so? The end of verse 11 tells us it was “because of his son.” Regardless of the circumstances of how he was born, Ishmael was still Abraham’s son.

I think that we see a very similar heartache due to pragmatism in the church today. How many young children become members of the “church” through our typical Vacation Bible School program, only to never be seen again? How many of our youth drop out of “church” on the day they finish school and leave home for college or career? How many couples have joined the “church” on transfer of their letter, only to be found on lake or at the beach or on the ski slopes every Sunday? I am not a pastor, but I can only imagine the heartache a pastor must truly feel over the fact that so few of the church’s “converts” really appear to be converted. That is, unless the pastor glories in numbers rather than seeing people changed by the power of God.

Is there a solution to the problem? Yes, I think there is. I think that the answer to this problem is found in Romans 9:9 “For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” (ESV) Abraham’s troubles started when he lost sight of the promise of God and took matters into his own hands. Similarly, I think that the church’s trouble starts when we fail to wait on the promises of God and take matters into our own hands. We are told in 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (ESV) We think that relying in faith on the preaching of the gospel message to reach those God intends to join the church doesn’t produce enough converts, or enough baptisms, or enough interest in joining the church. So we turn to the methods of pragmatism. We water down our preaching and teach insipid Sunday School lessons, and then turn to other “fun” things to attract people into the church. But the problem with this is that all of our programs are bringing children of the flesh into the “church” without the power of God ever converting them to become children of God. The church today needs to learn to wait, to be obedient, and to trust fully that God will draw those who are to become members of our local congregation. We don’t need to rent a searchlight, we need to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

By Berean Husband

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SBC and Labyrinth Walking ???

Labyrinth-Walking Now Welcome in the SBC

We received this week our latest issue of Missions Mosaic, the magazine printed by the SBC for the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). I routinely screen anything coming to our church.

The red flags appeared when I saw an article entitled “Reclaim Meditation”.

The Prayer Path: A Christ-Centered Labyrinth Experience

Participants will “journey” through the labyrinth guided by a CD that soars with provocative, devotional narration set against a worshipful music backdrop. Eleven stations on their journey will lead them to “let go” of busyness, hurt and distractions that can spoil relationships, “center” their lives on God and spend time with him, and reach out to the world with Christ’s love.

That doesn’t sound too bad does it? Of course not! They are trying to sell it to the millions of people who call themselves “Christian” but that don’t know what they believe.

Examine the following link for an online version of Labyrinth Walking. The first station has a few Bible verses (from The Message) but then they start twisting the Scripture verses. Then by the second station even the Scripture verses are lacking. The music and voice are hypnotic and then watching the moving pictures add to the hypnotic effect. I could not watch and listen to the whole thing. Honestly, it gives me the creeps! I can understand the warning at the beginning for safety.

Online Labyrinth This is very strange and New Age!

Before proceeding please read the following safety instructions.

HT Mother of Many

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How Does Your Church Treat the Elderly?

Our family has spent a very busy, weekend visiting nursing homes with violin Christmas music and handing out Candy Canes. But it makes you think, what are the churches really doing for the elderly?

Many of those who are still in the churches feel their church has been stolen from them. It isn’t anything like it used to be. The music is too loud. They don’t know the songs anymore. What happened to dressing in your “Sunday Best”? When did play clothes and beach attire become acceptable for church?

What about those who are in the nursing homes and assisted living? What is the church doing for them? They don’t get the same attention as other groups who aren’t in church? Many churches will have bus ministries to pick up children but fewer have bus ministries for the elderly who are unable to drive.

My family gets alot of attention when we visit churches. We have a child in every age group from teen/college to preschoolers. We just lack a baby. So many of the churches are eager to share their ministries with us.

“We have great nurseries.”
“Fabulous children’s programs.”
“Children’s church until grade 5.”
“Rockin’ youth groups.”
“Youth camps.”
“Youth Church.”

Everyone is so eager to “sell” us their ways to be relevant to our family. The only thing is that if they really looked at us they would see that we don’t look like their typical family. The girls are modestly dressed and the boys aren’t in jeans and T-shirts. We also have more than the typical two children. A good “selling” point would be:

“We have family integrated Sunday Schools.”
“Our youth leader is the parents.”
“We aren’t offended by children in the worship service.”
“If you need to step out we have a Cry Room in back so you won’t miss the service.”

Who’s Emerging for the Widows? Thoughts on Missional Partiality

…who’s emerging for the elderly? What about emerging toward the culture of the convalescent home? What about analyzing the windowless worldview of the shut-in? What about making your life and the life of your church relevant to the local widows? What about becoming all things to those with Parkinson’s, artificial hips, cataracts, failed retirement plans, and no family?

Many today are eager to get tattoos and dress hip and overemphasize technology to “relate” to the surrounding culture, to “connect,” and to “open doors.” But if the majority of these people are truly motivated by a compassionate heart, why aren’t any of our youth dressing like the precious elderly folks in the nursing home? Who’s learning to play bridge and chess? Who’s playing vinyl records and eating at the HomeTown Buffet for no other reason than to open doors?

Shame

Shame on you
for proclaiming to the woman
seasoned with white silver hair
“we’re all about young families now”
and letting her miss church
the place where
she first believed
where she prayed at the altar
and repented once for all …

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