Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why It's Called HOLY Matrimony

THE CHURCH AT WHICH I AM PRIVILEGED TO SERVE (Felton Bible Church) has been around for a little over 50 years. Back in 1962 the following quote would have rung true for our church family and for our culture as well, (Yes, even here in Santa Cruz, CA). David P. Gushee wrote,
"In Western culture for many centuries a publicly avowed, legally recognized, permanent-with-rare-exceptions, sexually exclusive, monogamous heterosexual marriage served as the only socially approved organizational center and foundation of the family." (Getting Marriage Right, David P. Gushee)
My, how things have changed in 50 short years! I believe I could go as far as to say that "none-of-the-above" are true in community and culture in which I now live. Even within the church that I pastor some of these centuries old truths are  no longer in force.

Recently, the President of the United States, Barak Obama, has come out in favor of Gay marriages, even though he states to be a Christian and holds to Christian principles. In response to his statement I have read Christian both say this is good news for the church and some say that it is something that the church must speak out against. Needless to say, the conversations are not going to die down anytime soon, and personally I hope they do not. Whether you stand in favor or against you have to admit that issues of traditional marriage are back on the front burner, as they well should be.

It is for this reason that I am going to take the next three weeks off my regular sermon series (Acting Out: Becoming the Church God Desires Us to Be) and focus upon the topic of what the Bible says, and does not say regarding marriage. It is my prayer that we shall come away with a better understanding of God's design, desire and direction for marriage. After this short sermon series we will be holding a Sunday morning "lab class" about how we can develop and strengthen our marriages.
I would love to hear some of your questions regarding what the Bible says about marriage, or about how you ascertain the changes in the institution of marriage and whether those changes are for the good or for the ill.
 
I realize that this will affect each of us in different ways, and that we will each bring something different to the table, but that does not mean we should be afraid to sit down, open God's Word and seek to "rightly divide the Word of Truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) My desire is that through this series and class we will all walk away with marriages that are stronger whether you're contemplating getting married in the future or you've been married for 50 years, I believe we can all benefit from a thorough understanding of God's plan.

Any thoughts...
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

DOING CHURCH

FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS we have been studying the Book of Acts (Acting Up: Becoming the Church God Desires Us to Be) It's all about being the church, not just going to church.

I came across this video that shows the church doing/being church, and I must believe affecting their community for Jesus, the Messiah, in a HUGE WAY.

What's your thoughts?

Friday, May 04, 2012

HOLY IS WHAT WE ARE

THIS PAST WEEK at our men's Bible study, we were looking at 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 and we discussed the reality of our holiness. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 the Apostle Paul declares that we are already the Temple of God, the place of the Spirit's dwelling. We are the Temple individually and corporately.

We noted that the Temple would be and is holy. Not becoming such, but it already. We are called in Scripture to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16-17). Again, this is not something that will happen once we die, but it is spoken of as a reality now. We are to submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in us, so that the holy temple we are remains holy.  Holiness is not something we work toward...we could never get there on our own, but it is what we are because of the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross and because of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within us.

So, I issue the call to all you have called upon the Lord to be saved, that we live like the holy temples that we are. Submitting to the One to Whom we belong and to the One who dwells within us, ever working to complete His temple building work within us.

As we think about that work, I encourage you to pray the prayer that was sent out today by our sister in Christ, Abigail, she writes from the heart to the heart. Let's therefore join our hearts in prayer, seeking together to live as the holy stones we are. One upon another built into the glorious temple of our LORD.

She writes, 

Abba...You are holy...and You call us to be holy, too.

Please help us to understand what holiness is
and what it means to be holy as You are holy.


May we carefully look in Your word
to see what YOU tell us about holiness.

May we walk in Your ways
and not in the ways of the world.

May we be purified and
may we keep our hearts purified before You.

Guide our steps that we may not turn
to the right or to the left,
but instead stay on the path You have given us to walk.


As the angels sing eternally before Your throne proclaiming
that You are holy, holy, holy...may our lives proclaim the same.

May every breath we breathe say
"holy, holy, holy is the L-rd G-d Almighty".

May every action we take point to You as The Holy One.

You are set apart and unique in a way that
we cannot even begin to comprehend with our human minds.

Yet, You have made us in Your image
and You call us to also be set apart and unique...
different from the world around us.

We are to be dedicated to You
and to the work of Your kingdom here on earth.

May Your will be done on earth
starting with each one of us.

Teach us, Abba, through Your Ruach,
how to love You with all of our
hearts,
souls,
minds,
strengths.

Help us to love You and
to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Help us to love one another
and to celebrate Your Ruach
in each one of Your children..

Abba, I pray that we would all be
unified in Yeshua
and that we would understand
the difference between unity and uniformity.

Please bring peace to Yerushalayim,
to Yisrael
and to all who live there.

I thank You and praise You
that more and more Jews are coming to Messiah.
May they ALL come, Abba, for Your word tells us
that the Gospel is for the Jew first
and the Gentile second...
something we also see modeled by Paul in his travels.

May we never forget that You set aside a people forever
by a holy covenant without end.

May those of us who are Gentiles never forget
what and who You have grafted us into.

May we always remember that we are
grafted in.
We are not a separate tree
or a replacement tree.
We are grafted into the root of Jesse,
into the olive tree root.

Thank You for grafting us in, Abba.
What a privilege!

May we walk in holiness always,
living as children of the
Creator of the universe
should.

b'shem Yeshua
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