Give Thanks

It is hard to believe that we are at another Thanksgiving Day. 2019 has flown by. On this day we stop as a nation to give thanks for all that has been given to us. We are thankful for health, friends, family, jobs, homes, food, and many other things.

But what I find interesting is that we often take these things for granted the rest of the year. We do not live with the spirit of thanksgiving all year round. Why is that?

Why do we become so complacent with what we have that we forget that it could all be taken away in a second? We are guaranteed nothing in this world. We are not even guaranteed that we will be walking on this earth another day.

So as we go through the rest of 2019 and into 2020, let us remember to give thanks every day.

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2 English Standard Version

Do Not Offend

In today’s politically correct culture we are often told that we should make sure we do not offend people when we are speaking the truth of the Gospel. We are also told that we need to make sure we are speaking the truth in love. But what does that mean? Does that mean to not offend? Does that mean we should do everything to make sure that feelings are not hurt? Are we really supposed to go about our preaching and teaching in such a way that nobody can take offense? The answer is NO!

The idea that we are not to offend people does not come from Scripture. This is the construct of a culture that is obsessed with being politically correct. A culture that believes there are no absolutes and that everyone can believe what they want to believe and that is true for them, except Christianity. The truth is this, the Bible is an offensive book to those who do not follow it. The truth is offensive to those who wish to reject it. And, could it be, that when feelings are hurt by hearing the truth it isn’t really their feelings but their conscience tugging at their soul because they know they are in the wrong?

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“You Should Have Been Aborted!”

I was heartbroken today to read an article at Pulpit and Pen about a man who yelled at little 4-year-old Quinn Ross that she should have been aborted before she was born. Quinn is in a wheel-chair with a disease called Perthes Disease.

What is troubling is the fact that this man thought it was not only ok, but necessary, to attack a little girl who is obviously suffering in this world enough. What has the culture become?

The abortion culture of death in the United States is appalling. It is disgusting and the fact that millions of children have been murdered in the womb is a stain on our nation. It is even worse that some Christians believe this to be compatible with the Scriptures.

A poll done by Pew Research in 2014 showed that an average of 36.4% of Evangelicals believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. That number is staggering. The people who should be the most ardent defenders of life have 1/3 of their people saying there is nothing wrong with abortion.

It is no wonder that this man thought it was okay to tell little Quinn that she should never have been born. If the church will not lead the charge for life, why do we act surprised when the culture turns to death?

So what does the Bible have to say about this?

First and foremost, we know that Scripture says we are not to murder (Exodus 20:13). It does not get any more clear than this. Murder is wrong. Period. But the Government says that a child in the womb is not a human and therefore it is not murder. But why do we allow the Government to dictate our theology?

There are many examples in Scripture that God knew us before we were even born. That he fashioned us together in the womb of our mother. Psalm 139:13 is a great example of this, but it is not the only example. However, this clearly shows that God thinks that we are humans, persons, in the image of God, before we are born. It doesn’t matter what the Government says, abortion is murder in the eyes of God plain and simple.

To little Quinn Ross and her family, I am so sorry that you had to endure this obscene and despicable act by this individual and it is my hope that justice is served in this case.

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

What I am writing about today isn’t so much about theology but it is something I believe is important. That subject is the discipline of writing letters. Unfortunately, in the age of technology, letter writing is something that has been lost. We go to our mailboxes and all we see are bills, political ads, and credit card offers. We get plenty of junk in our postal mail just like in our email. But what do you feel if you get an actual handwritten letter? Or even a typed letter from someone you know? It’s exciting!

I have been trying this year to be disciplined in writing regular letters. Emails are great, but they are not the same thing as receiving a letter. We also know that the written word is powerful. It can build up, or it can tear down. So here is some of the types of letters I have written this year.

  • Letters to the sick
  • Letters to the discouraged
  • Letters to political leaders
  • Letters to churches
  • Letters to church leaders
  • Letters of encouragement
  • Letters of question
  • Letters of rebuke

What I have found in all of these is that people are appreciative of the written word. Ok, maybe not so much from the letters of rebuke, though I have received written responses for those as well. Emails are cheap and can be very impersonal. But a letter shows that someone cared enough to spend time, effort, and money to send them something personal.

I don’t think this is a coincidence. After all, the majority of the New Testament was delivered to us as letters. Letters are powerful. My encouragement to you today is to think of someone you have something to say to and sit and write a letter. It will be a great experience. Rediscover the lost art (and joy) of letter writing.

Bishops Continue To Defy Scripture

On Reformation Day I sent a letter of rebuke to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. It is time that the Bishops either enforce church policies and uphold Scripture, or the Council needs to be done away with. They must be disciplined. But over the weekend, instead of moving back towards the Scriptures and enforcing the policies of the church, five Bishops have said their conferences will be a safe haven for LGBTQ.

It is no surprise that this comes out of the Western Conferences of the United Methodist Church. After all, in the Mountain Sky Conference they have Karen Oliveto, the first openly homosexual Bishop of the church.

As I said in my letter on October 31st, every day that Oliveto remains on the Council of Bishops makes a mockery of the church and defies Scripture. She must be removed immediately. The church must immediately hold trials and enact church discipline against Oliveto and other Bishops that are “championing” this cause.

The Bishops seem to act as if they are surprised that the UMC is barreling forward towards a denominational split in May. Why should this be a surprise? They are defying the Scriptures. If anything, they should expect this.

What is worse, Kenneth Carter, the current President of the Council of Bishops, has suggested that there be an immediate moratorium on trials against LGBTQ issues and that there should be a future conversation on the relaxation of the trust clause.

The real tragedy in all of this is that it is obvious this could all be about money. Let’s face it, the Bishops want to force churches to stay. If they lose churches, the denomination loses income. If the denomination loses income, who will fill the purses of the Bishops? By the way, Bishops make over $100k a year!

They ignore Scripture. You cannot legitimately claim that Romans 1 is discussing a cultural issue. Paul clearly states that homosexuality is against God and the laws of nature. Yet, here we are with a major church pushing to accept sin as normal. This must stop!

Reformation Day 2019

Today we celebrate Reformation Day. 502 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Contrary to popular belief, this was not an act of defiance against the church. Luther simply wanted a debate. He had no idea that he was about to spark the Protestant Reformation.

What Luther did not anticipate was that his theses would be translated by some students from Latin, the language of scholars, into German, the language of the people. Once this happened, there was no turning back.

In the 16th Century, Pope Leo X had continued work on St. Peter’s Cathedral that had been started by his predecessor. However, the church was out of money. So the Pope made a deal with Albert of Brandenberg who was seeking another Bishop position in the church. The deal was an indulgence to pay for St. Peter’s and to free souls from purgatory as a result.

John Tetzel was commissioned to sell this indulgences throughout Germany. His famous line was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” It was this background that prompted Luther to call into question the practice of indulgences sparking the Reformation.

The Reformation was a call to action. A call to Scriptural fidelity. A rediscovery of the truth that we are justified by faith alone.

Today, 502 years later, we are desperately in need of another reformation. I spoke about this on Sunday We live in a culture today, and even churches today, that want to bow down to sin. Two at the forefront are LGBT and Abortion, not to mention science. We are told that we are to filter scripture through the lens of these agendas. However, that is not how we are to go about our lives.

As Christians, we are to filter everything through the lens of Scripture and Scripture alone. It’s not supposed to be the other way around. Christians need to take a stand today with the boldness of Martin Luther. Stand on Scripture, not on culture.

Soli Deo Gloria

Joe Biden Denied Communion: A Question of Faith

It has been reported that, over the weekend, former Vice President Joe Biden was denied communion at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina by Rev. Robert Morey due to the presidential candidates public stance on Abortion.. Morey stated:

Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.

Rev. Robert Morey

Naturally, this started a firestorm regarding faith and politics. Biden has long held that his religious beliefs should not dictate his political positions. But the group, Faithful America, said that the Catholic Bishop in South Carolina should rebuke Morey and force him to apologize to Biden. They claim:

Jesus said, ‘Take, eat — when you do this, do this in remembrance of me.’ He didn’t say, ‘Take, eat — but only if you agree with certain American political positions

Rev. Nathan Empsall – Faithful America

But is this truly all the Bible has to say about communion? If it were, then yes, I would agree with the stance that one’s political views should not be taken into account. However, this is not the only thing that the Bible says about the Lord’s Supper.

The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that when we take communion, as a remembrance to what Christ has accomplished, we are to examine ourselves so that we do not take the bread and cup in a manner that is unworthy (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

This is not something that a Christian, or the church, should take lightly. We need to examine ourselves each time we come to the Lord’s Table to see what in our lives needs to be repented of and changed.

Abortion is an intentional killing of a human baby no matter what the United States Supreme Court says. The ten commandments make very clear, you shall not kill (Exodus 20:13). There is no way around that fact. This makes abortion a sin. To advocate abortion, is to openly advocate sin. Paul warns against this as well in Romans 1:32.

While the Catholic Church is in error on many fronts, today, a single priest, has stood up to the culture for truth.

Methodist Bishops Must Be Disciplined

Part of the folly of the United Methodist Church is the spineless Council of Bishops who refuse to uphold scripture and the UMC Book of Discipline. This is despite the vote that happened at the Special General Conference in February. We are fully prepared to see this same battle next May. We saw this on full display this past week in the Greater New Jersey Conference. Bishop John Schol proclaimed, and even celebrated, that he will not pass along any complaints regarding LGBTQ. Here is what he said:

Today, I take my own step, and I invite you to take a step with me. I will not forward complaints concerning homosexuality for trial. I will not participate in the ongoing harm and division of our church. I will not participate in excluding faithful United Methodists, faithful and fruitful LGBTQ United Methodists from serving God. I will not prevent caring, loving LGBTQ people who in the United Methodist tradition want to enter into a covenant with God and one another.

Bishop John Schol

This flies in the face of Church Doctrine and Scripture. Romans 1 makes perfectly clear that the LGBTQ lifestyle is sin. The Book of Discipline affirms this.

The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.

Book of Discipline 2016

If the Bishops are going to defy the discipline it is time that the members of the church who follow Scripture to file formal complaints. The time to act is now.

Please sign our petition to take formal action against Bishop Schol at https://www.change.org/p/united-methodist-church-united-methodist-church-bishop-disciplinary-action

The (Sad) State of Christianity

I have been witness to things over the years that makes my skin crawl. The state of the church universal, but particularly in the United States and Europe, is appalling. 500 years ago, Martin Luther sparked a Reformation that would forever change the course of church and human history. His courage and steadfastness in his search for truth is inspiring and served the church well. God did, and continues to use Luther in a mighty way.

However, today we are in need of reformation again. The church is falling back into darkness. We see a renewal to have bonds with the Roman Catholic Church that continues in its heresy. We see the rise of LGBT sympathizers in the church defying God and His created order. We see prosperity gospel being preached through the lands. We see the gifts of tongues being abused and falsified.

While all of this is happening we see the church losing the culture. Christianity is no longer an acceptable position in the eyes of the culture. This is nobody’s fault but the church. We have lost our way. We are more worried about appeasing the lost rather than telling the truth to the lost. We cater our church services to the lost which leaves us with shallow theology in the service leading to theological illiteracy in the pew.

Scripture has also lost its place as the source of truth that we are to live by. Science, which changes frequently, has replaced the Bible. Evolution is the mantra of the day despite the fact it goes directly against logic and what the Creator has told us happened. Are we really that wise? No.

Paul tells us in Romans that because we defy God we are left to our own ways. Professing ourselves, the human race, to be wise, we are becoming fools.

Where is the church? Where are the godly leaders? Where is Scripture? Why are we not fighting back? Are we afraid? Or do we just not care?

Church it is time for a new reformation. We must bring back biblical standards and authority. We must bring back rich theology. We must rediscover that the church is to feed the believers so that we can go out and preach to the lost. Stand up church!

Thoughts on the United Methodist Church

I go to a United Methodist Church. I sometimes preach at a United Methodist Church. But I have real problems with the United Methodist Church.

This year at GC2019, the church decided to strengthen the ban on LGBT in the Book of Discipline. Of course, this should never have even been a question. Scripture is clear that practicing homosexuality, professing homosexuality, and anything else that falls within LGBT is sin. Romans 1 makes this abundantly clear as do other places in Scripture.

Yet, there is a large part of the United Methodist Church that seeks to ignore, twist, and distort these passages to fit their political views or to appease people, or to just not have to make the hard and tough decisions.

In the months following the February decision to enact the Traditional Plan, we have seen an active push from One Church Plan supporters, and other plan supporters to undermine the decision. There are active pushes to elect new delegates that would overturn the decision. There have been Judicial Council complaints. There has been flat out defiance and rebellion against the plan. So where does this leave us? What are we to do?

If the Bishops will not enforce the discipline, and, in fact, keep helping to undermine the duly passed Traditional Plan, then the United Methodist Church needs to dissolve or remove Bishops who will not enforce the polices of the church. Since the latter is not going to happen, dissolution is our only option.

Those who seek to follow the Bible cannot stay in fellowship with those who defy Scripture. 2 John 11-13 clearly states that we are not to maintain connection with those who do not follow Christ’s teachings in the church.

The UMC has come to an end. There is no unity. It is a false unity. Continuing with this broken fellowship, this unyoked fellowship, only hurts the body of Christ.

It is my recommendation that at GC2020 they just end it all. Let all the churches go their own ways and decide for themselves whether they will follow the LGBT culture, or follow God’s Word.