New York Extends Abortion Rights

The state of New York has delivered a blow to pro-life advocates. New legislation passed last week allows anyone, whether a medical professional or not, to perform an abortion without any criminal consequence.

On the surface, this may not seem significant or a major departure from current abortion law, but it is very different.

This new law removes homicide definitions for unborn persons. In other words, if a pregnant woman is attacked and her baby dies as a result, the attacker cannot be charged with homicide of that unborn child.

This is a despicable move by the state of New York. All life is precious whether born or unborn. All are made in the image of God. David told is in Psalms that God knew us in our Mother’s womb.

It is my prayer that one day Roe V. Wade, which was a serious court overreach, is overturned. Until then, and even after, we need to continue to pray for our leaders that they will make God-honoring decisions. We need to let our voices be heard and not be silent on these issues.

Time To Build The Kingdom?

In Haggai’s first chapter we see a rebuke of the people of Israel for allowing the Temple to lay in ruin after their return from exile. On the surface, this seems reasonable, the Temple had been destroyed while the Jews were exiled out of the land and they did not immediately rebuild when the returned. However, they saw fit to rebuild their houses with possible lavishness.

God recognized that Israel would not rebuild the Temple without prompting. It was simply not a priority for them. They were too busy with their own endeavors to bother themselves with the Lord’s house.

There are many parallels with Israel and the Church today, particularly in America. How many times is there something that God has told us to do but we put it off? We put it off out of fear or perhaps inconvenience. We have other pursuits. Jobs, hobbies, family, the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, the Kingdom of God is waiting. It is waiting to be staffed with the people of God. It is waiting for a generation to rise up and do the Lord’s work.

This does not mean that we have to give up everything and go into full time ministry. But there is something for everyone in the church to do. What are your gifts and talents? What can you do for God’s glory in His house?

It is time to build the Kingdom!

I Must Not Have Enough Faith: I got the flu…

Prosperity preachers would have you believe that if bad things happen to you then you are not living a life of faith. Or perhaps you are not giving enough money to their ministries. Something in your spiritual life must be wrong. Of course, there is no way it has anything to do with the fact that we live in a fallen world.

Last week, I suffered greatly with the flu. It was a long week with lots of soup and medicine and a lot of sleep. But I have almost recovered. However, I don’t believe for one second that my flu was the result of a lack of faith. It is the result of living in a fallen world where death and sickness abound.

We do not have a glorified body in this life. We will get sick, no matter how much faith we have, and we will die. That’s the nature of the curse.

Earlier this year I wrote about going into trials. It is part of the human experience, especially for a Christian. Jesus told us that these things would happen. It is not due to a lack of faith necessarily.

A Way Forward: The Traditional Plan

Out of the three possible plans for a way forward, there is one that the Council of Bishops do not want to see pass, The Traditional Plan. The Traditional plan would almost guarantee a split in the United Methodist Church. Namely, churches that want to support the sin of the LGBTQ lifestyle will leave.  Of course, some, myself included, would see this as a purification process for the church.

Simply put, the Traditional Plan (TP) would keep the current position of the United Methodist Church stating that homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity and that there is to be no LGBTQ clergy or weddings within the church. The TP would go further to add strict enforcement to the doctrine as well. Every annual conference will have to certify that they will uphold the doctrine or else they will be removed from the United Methodist Church. This includes clergy and bishops as well.

The TP upholds biblical standards with regard to homosexuality and LGBTQ positions. They are sinful and, as such, are not compatible with the Christian life or the Church. Romans 1 makes very clear how God views the LGBTQ lifestyle:

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:26-27 ESV

The passions of the LGBTQ movement are dishonorable. They are unnatural. They are against God’s created order and they are sin.

Because of this truth, the Traditional Plan is the only biblical plan that is on the table for the 2019 Special General Conference and is the plan that I endorse.

New Year’s Resolution?

One of the most popular things to do going into January is to write a set of New Year’s Resolutions. You know, the things we promise we are going to do in the new year? The things that are most important to us going from the transition on December 31st to that magical moment at midnight to January 1st seem very important at that moment in time.

Well, we are now a week and a half into 2019. How are you doing with your resolutions? Have you been able to keep them? Or have you failed miserably?

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A Way Forward: The One (Unbiblical) Church Plan

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has decided to advocate for an option called The One Church Plan. They argue that the plan allows the best way forward with minimal impact to the United Methodist Church overall. The following is my take on the One Church Plan after careful study of the commission’s report.

First, the One Church Plan, and the entire crisis itself, is based on a false pretense that the church has somehow been responsible for harming the LGBT community. This simply is not so. Those who practice an LGBT lifestyle harm themselves by going against God’s Word and the created order. Paul makes clear in Romans that the LGBT lifestyle is not natural. It is debased and dishonoring to God. Moreover, it is sinful.

Second, the theological proofing and basis for the OCP is not biblical.

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RE: Talking Points for the One Church Plan — People Need Jesus

by Chris Ritter The group “Mainstream UMC” made a deposit in my inbox last week entitled “Talking Points for the One Church Plan.” Formed by Rev. Mark Holland of Kansas, Mainstream UMC is organized for the express purpose of passing the One Church Plan (OCP) at General Conference 2019. This plan would reverse or make […]

via RE: Talking Points for the One Church Plan — People Need Jesus

Book Review: Reformed Preaching by Joel Beeke

Joel Beeke has come out with a call for reformed preaching. Reformed Preaching discusses what Joel calls Experiential Preaching. This is not to be confused with experimental. 

The book begins with an examination of what experiential preaching is and challenges preachers to look at their methods of preaching to see if they are preaching to the heart and soul of those who hear the message. Beeke then proceeds to explain the elements of Reformed preaching.

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They Call It: A Way Forward

Next month the United Methodist Church General Conference will meet and make major decisions on the beliefs of the church regarding homosexuality and transgender issues.

In 2016 the regularly scheduled General Conference, which meets every four years, decided to punt the issue and form the Commission on a Way Forward.  They also set a date for a special General Conference to meet in St. Louis, Missouri on February 23-26, 2019. You can read the commission’s full report by download it at the United Methodist Website.

The Commission has put forth three options for the General Conference to vote on. The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan, and The Connectional Conference Plan. All three plans have their issues and it is yet to be seen how this will impact the denomination as a whole.

Last week, I published an article that stated this is a debate that should never have happened. But it is happening. Over the next couple of weeks, I will look at all three plans and try to explain the ins and outs of each plan as we look to the General Conference next month.