Friday, May 27, 2011

A Real Call To Action

Dear Fellow Christian,

     As you may be aware, in a few days (June 3) the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church will be voting on resolutions and petitions to allow the ordination, certification and appointment of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transvestite) pastors, and to allow the other clergy to marry same sex couples.  They will also be voting to change the current Book of Disciple to support their position.

     They are also voting on a resolution to ‘encourage churches to study the UMC’s stance on abortion relative to the position of the pro-abortion group, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice group’ (RCRC).  I thought the UMC already had a position on abortion outlined in the Book of Discipline, which followed the teachings of the Bible.  Are we now to look toward a so called religious group who supports abortion and contradicts the very foundation of what has faithfully guided us – instead of what we know to be true?

     I personally find these resolutions and petitions to be offensive and a violation of the sound Biblical teachings of John Wesley and by which the United Methodist Church has stood for since its inception.  They are in direct violation of God’s Holy Word!  I do not care how they are justified by twisting, turning and molesting Scripture to fit the agendas of those who reject the solid principles of the Holy Bible.

     These petitions and resolutions, along with other ‘inclusive’ elements of the church such as Inclusive Language, reflect a serious and devastating problem facing the church today.  This is the societal encroachment into the church and the progressive deterioration of the authority and truth of God’s Word, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As other denominations fall to the wiles and demands of society, we need to ask ourselves if we want to be the next denomination which succumbs to and embraces the lies and deceit of the evil one.

     I urge you to let the leadership of the Nebraska Conference know how you feel about these pending issues.  Though we may not be able to vote at Annual Conference, we must let them know how we, the grass root, giving members of the local churches feel.

     To send your thoughts and concerns to the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church, please use the below addresses.  The use of e-mail will ensure your voice is heard before the vote.
Nebraska United Methodist Conference
3333 Landmark Circle
Lincoln, NE 68504

     Blessings to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  May the truth of God’s word guide and strengthen you.
     Thank you for being a God fearing, Bible believing, Jesus loving, Spirit led Christian. Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Time of Change???

Dear All in Christ,

     I just received my Nebraska Annual Conference Resource Book for our upcoming Annual Conference, June 1 – 4 in Lincoln, NE.

     As I read through the booklet, I stopped at page 43 and began taking a close look at the Resolutions and Petitions to be voted on in Lincoln.

     On one hand, I was very surprised.  On the other, this came as no surprise given the ‘progressive theology’ we are fed at St. Paul School of Theology.  I was surprised because I actually though the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church held to solid Biblical truths and beliefs.  Not surprised because of the secular influence society has had on the church in general.

     Because of the vocal minority and the push of many sub-culture groups, the church has obviously taken the position to pacify these secular entities by changing the language used to specify or identify God, and to alter the meaning of Scripture so as to not ‘offend’ anyone.

     Under the ‘Inclusive Language’ banner, we can no longer address God as Father, Heavenly Father, Lord of Lords, or King of Kings.  We can no longer refer to the Bible as ‘His Word’, or say ‘He said’, or use any other masculine identifier to indicate God – even though that’s the way it is written in the Holy Bible.  This offends too many people.  Who cares if it offends God?

      To further indicate how society has encroached and distorted the church, we are voting on a Resolution which in part reads, ‘Therefore be it resolved that each church be encouraged to study the United Methodist Church’s stand on abortion relative to the position of RCRC (Religious Coalition for Reproduction).

     The RCRC is in fact a pro-abortion organization.  Their Mission Statement reads (in part), RCRC was founded in 1973 to safeguard the newly won constitutional right to abortion.'

     We are being ‘encouraged’ to study the issue of abortion ‘relative to their position’, as opposed to the traditional Methodist or Christian view, or from a Biblical perspective.  Like the RCRC has now become the leading authority on the abortion issue.  Basically, we are being asked to follow their leading on abortion, instead of following what God has to say about it.

     The other issue up for voting at Annual Conference is covered in Resolution #1 and Petitions 1 through 4, and is summarized in the third and second to last paragraph of Resolution #1 which read,  
    ‘Be it further resolved, we call upon the United Methodist Church to acknowledge that the most important foundation of any relationship, including marriage, is love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality. 
     Be it further resolved, we call upon the United Methodist Church to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy and allow clergy to perform the Rite of Christian Marriage for homosexual couples.’

      So now we have gone from supporting wholesome, Biblical marriages between male and female as outlined in Genesis (and other Scripture), to supporting love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality, including marriage.  As I read this, it not only supports homosexual unions/marriages, but it also supports folks just living together (love, fidelity and commitment shared mutually between two consenting adults).

     Along with this abhorrent attempt to destroy the sanctity of marriage, we are to vote on allowing homosexual clergy and to right for clergy to perform homosexual marriages.  I must not understand Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, or Deuteronomy 23:18, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 or Romans 1:26-27. 

     But wait, our instructor at St. Paul School of Theology, Dr. James Darby, said this is not what homosexuality was about.  According to Dr. Darby, ‘the homosexuality mentioned in the Bible was NOT the same as we know it today.’  Another classic case of convoluted interpretation and theology designed to pacify society.

     I guess I must not understand 1 Tim 3:1-15 either.  This is a guideline for service in the church.  In its context here we can be quite certain that the phrase means that the Christian leader must be a loyal husband, preserving marriage in all its purity and sanctity.  Like husband and wife!  Perhaps I missed that part.

     It would seem to me that if this were to pass, and we were to follow the logic which is being used to push this through, then it would only stand to reason that even a cross-dresser or transgender, or a ‘self-avowed practicing’ pedophile could be a pastor in the United Methodist Church.

    Time and time and time again we see how the church is allowing society to dictate how we interpret the Bible and how we present the Gospel and how we are to conduct the business of the church.  Seems the Bible nor the church have the right to set any standards, morality or ethics – everything is now dictated by society and every little sub-group who is offended or who doesn’t like what the Bible or God says.

     Remember Exodus 32:1-6?  That's exactly where we (the UMC) are now.  While Jesus is away, the people (society) have come to the church for/with their little gods.  And they have offered the church their tokens of golden earrings...and the church has gladly received their offerings and filled their requests for new gods.

    Also reminds me of the church in Pergamos, Revelation 2:12-14!   From my International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - 'Balaam is the type of a teacher of the church who attempts to advance the cause of God by advocating an unholy alliance with the ungodly and worldly, and so conforming the life of the church to the spirit of the flesh.'

     The next time I hear one of our so called leaders complain that attendance and membership is dropping off, I'm going to tell them exactly why.  Because the church is not following sound Biblical teaching, but rather following the current winds of society.  I will tell them we are now the Church of Balaam and God fearing, Bible believing Christians do not appreciate this detestable shift from solid teaching and theology.  It offends those of us who love and honor the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It offends those of us who believe in His word and try to live it and share it.  It offends us who worship our Heavenly Father and base our faith on His word, and the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and not the whims and ways of the world.

    It offends us that the United Methodist Church has decided to cater and coddle to the direction and demands of a corrupt society, while espousing the lies and deceit of the evil one.  It offends us that the United Methodist Church has sold out, has sold it’s soul, to appease and pacify the spirit of the flesh.

    Is this how you were brought up?  Is this how you want your children brought up?  Are you OK with society dictating how the church does its job?  Are you OK with society forcing these types, and other changes to your core belief system?  Is this how we as God fearing, Bible believing, Spirit led children of the Most High wish to see the direction of the church go?

    It’s up to YOU!  We cannot just sit passively by and watch the church self destruct.  If we do, it’s our own fault for not becoming involved or letting our voices be heard.  You only have two choices – to sit idly by, ignore the situation, hope it goes away or see the church and the faith destroyed; or you can take a stand for God and for good, and let your voices be heard.

    In Matthew 12:30, Jesus reminds us of this eternal truth – ‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.’

     I'll close with these final words from Joshua 24:14-16, 'Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!  "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.''   So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.....'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

HOLY BIBLE or Holey Bible

            How would you feel if I came to your house and took your favorite Bible and thumbed through it, found a passage I didn’t like or it offended me – and simply tore that page our of your Bible?  I continue thumbing through your Bible and find another passage I don’t like, and, again rip it out and toss it into the trash.
          How about if I came to your church and thumbed through the nice, beautiful Bible in the sanctuary or on the Altar, found a passage that offended me and I proceeded to tear it our of that Bible?  Oh look, here’s another passage I don’t like, so I’m tearing it out and tossing it into the trash can too!  I continue this until that wonderful Bible of yours is all but ripped to shreds!  The pages of God’s Holy Word laying in a heap on the floor or in the trash can.  How would you feel?
          Odds are, you would probably not be very happy.  After the first couple of pages being viciously ripped out and callously tossed onto the floor, you’d most likely be getting quite concerned, if not a little hostile.  I have a strong suspicion that you would be getting a little hot under the collar and ready to tell me just what you thought about me tearing your Bible to shreds.
          You may question my actions with ‘Hey, what do think you’re doing’?  ‘Get away from my Bible!’  You may even say ‘What kind of kook are you, get out of my house!’  If it was in your church, how would you respond?  Personally, if it were me, I’d demand an explanation, and then toss the creep out on his ear.   I’d even consider filing criminal charges against him for destruction of private property.  Oh yea, I’d have to hold myself back from giving this character a severe attitude adjustment!
          Well guess what my friends, that’s exactly what’s happening in America today!  There are people thumbing through the Bible to find things they don’t like, or don’t agree with and having them removed or altered in order to suit their wants and whims.  There are people who claim to be ‘offended’ by the Word of God and are on a major campaign to have the Holy Bible changed to conform to their agendas and way of thinking and acting.
          We are seeing more and more groups within the society attacking the Bible and doing everything they can to rip every page out of it they don’t agree with.  The whole premise is to make the Bible conform to a society which is self-centered and wants nothing more than their way.
          Take the so called ‘Inclusive Language’ for example.  Under the inclusive language guidelines which are now being supported and pushed by many mainstream churches, including the United Methodist Church, we are not supposed to address God as Father, Heavenly Father, or use any form of male gender (as in He, Him, His, etc.) when referring to God.  To do so is to offend people and not be inclusive.  To do so is to be called close-minded, intolerant bigots.
          Even one popular Methodist seminary in Kansas City, MO has threatened to lower the grades of students who do not use inclusive language in their presentations or papers.  When a student protested this absurd rule, the instructor stated in class that he was ‘so sorry the pastor and the congregation were so close-minded and intolerant!’
          The theology coming from this and other seminaries is what has been called ‘Progressive Theology’.  A theology that alleviates personal responsibility and accountability while softening the commands of the Lord and definition of sin.  A theology which reduces the judgment of God to nothing more than ‘discernment of how you used your gifts on earth’.  A theology which allows itself to be altered and molded to fit the prevailing society or subculture instead of being the primary guide for society and the proper conduct of such.
          The fundamental Christian values and standards we grew up with are now being called archaic and obsolete.  They claim the language used in the ‘original texts’ does not mean what we have been taught it means.
          For example, the term homosexuality and to refer to homosexuality as an abomination is disputed and they claim the meaning isn’t the same now as it was ‘in the original texts’.  According to our instructor at the seminary, ‘the homosexual act the Apostle Paul referred to was not that at all.  It was when a rich Roman had a young boy under his domain who would do ‘special favors’ for him.’  ‘What Paul was actually against was the slavery of the young boy by his master.’  That was the definition of homosexuality and what Paul was against the instructor gave us.  He absolutely denied that the Bible or God spoke against homosexuality.
          I’m not trying to bash any group or sub-culture here.  I am stating what was said by our instructor.  This is a typical abstraction of the truth and solid morals and values taught in the Holy Bible promoted by this seminary, and others.  This is but one example of how they twist and turn the Holy Scriptures to accommodate and conform to their ways and agendas.  This is society telling us how to interpret the Bible and dictating to us how we present God’s Word and the Gospel of Christ.
          And if you openly disagree with them, try to discuss a different view or, heaven forbid, take a firm stand against this type of nonsense, they will do what ever they need to ensure their agenda and theology is prominent and promoted.  They will intimidate you, threaten you, try do discredit you, or use what ever ‘leverage’ they have to silence you.  To include reducing your grades at school, badgering you in meetings, shunning you, giving you lesser appointments, and even subtly threatening to pull your credentials. 
          In my humble opinion, this is the same as someone coming to your house or your church and tearing the pages out of your Bible they don’t like or don’t agree with or that ‘offend’ them.  This is nothing more that forcing their theology and values upon us who have a more traditional theology and belief system.
          How does it feel to have someone come into your house and desecrate your Holy Bible?  How does it feel to have someone come into the church you have attended since you were a child, and tear the Altar Bible to shreds right before your eyes, and tell you what you believe isn’t right?  To tell you because how you believe, you are close-minded, intolerant, and don’t know the truth?  How do you feel when someone tells you it’s your fault there is so much violence and poverty in third world countries?  It’s your fault there are so many people crossing our southern borders?  It’s all YOUR fault!
          That’s exactly what’s happening.  That is what is being taught, preached and promoted by the certain mainstream churches.  They are taking the Holy Bible and making it nothing more that a Holey Bible – stripped of God’s authority, position, and sovereignty.   Stripped of values, morals, and codes of conduct.  Pages savagely ripped out and tossed aside like so much trash.
        Is this what you want as a God fearing, Jesus loving, Spirit filled Christian?  Do you honestly think our Heavenly Father, in all His glory and wisdom appreciates these subculture groups raping His Word for their our purposes?  Changing His Word to suit their selfish desires?
            Which do you want  - - -
a HOLY BIBLE, or a Holey Bible?

The Beginning of Knowledge

     Education.  It’s something all of us need, and all of us use.  As we gain education, we also gain knowledge.  The Oxford University Press Dictionary defines knowledge as: 1. Information and skills acquired through experience or education.  2. The sum of what is known.  3. Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
     We begin our journey of education, our input of knowledge at birth and continue the learning process throughout our life.  Someone very wise once told me ‘You should learn something new everyday.’  I’ve also heard ‘You’re never too old to learn something new’.
    The learning process is a growing process and there are a lot of good, practical reasons to make learning something new a part of your daily routine.  We are learning creatures, and the lifelong practice of learning is what makes us humans and our lives worthwhile.
     Here’s a few more down-to-earth benefits of learning and gaining knowledge:
          Learning makes us more confident.
         Learning deepens our character and makes us more inspiring to those around us.
         Learning instills an understanding of the historical, social, and natural processes that impact and limit our lives.
         A broad knowledge of unfamiliar situations feeds innovation by inspiring us to think creatively.
         Learning across a wide range of subjects gives us a range of perspectives to call on in our own narrow day-to-day areas of specialization.
         Learning helps us more easily and readily adapt to new situations.
     We have access to more information and knowledge today, at our finger tips, than most libraries could hold just a few short years ago.  At the touch of a screen of the click of a mouse, we have access to an entire world of knowledge, just waiting to be mined and absorbed by those seeking to enrich their lives and enhance the world around them.
     But like the author J.E. Dinger said, ‘Knowledge, like food must be digested and assimilated before it comes to life or gains force.  Mere learning is not wisdom, and pure knowledge is not necessarily vital energy.  Unless knowledge is converted to wisdom, into faculty, it will become like stagnant water.’
    That’s exactly what Solomon is telling us in Proverbs, 1:1-7.  Listen now to Solomon’s words of wisdom,
 1.  These are the proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel.
 2.  The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings.
 3.  Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.
 4.  These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people.
 5.  Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance
 6.  by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.
 7.  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline.
     The beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.  From there we take the education, the knowledge, and the skills we gain, and apply them in the way and manner which glorifies God and encourages and builds up our fellow man.
    Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reminds us of the value of having wisdom.  The type of wisdom which provides us with understanding, prudence and the ability to discern.   The wisdom which helps us apply our knowledge and experience and skills with precision toward productive, prosperous and honorable activities.
     Today we congratulate and celebrate the graduation of all of the other graduates of the Class of 2011.  May your journey of life be blessed as you continue your education in the coming months and years.
    To the rest of us, let us be reminded that our education should never end.  We would be wise to learn something new every day.  We would be wiser, as Solomon tells us to listen to these proverbs. And let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.’
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and the gaining of wisdom begins with the Word of God.  From there, our journey of life begins to unfold and blossom before us.
     It is through our education, our knowledge and our wisdom that we are equipped to follow the path God has set before us.  It is through prayer and faith we find the way and have the strength to proceed, endure, and succeed.
     May you always try to learn something new everyday.  May you constantly seek God’s wisdom and guidance.  I pray you prosper in all good things you do.  Amen.