Archive for November, 2008

24
Nov
08

What is Angel Tree?

This is a special outreach through the ministry of Prison Fellowship to kids who have a parent in prison. stacks_of_giftsWhen you pick up an angel from the tree you agree to purchase a gift in the name of the parent that is in prison.  The imprisoned parent has actually chosen an appropriate gift for their child.  That information has been given to us.  We then purchase the gift and deliver it to the child for the parent.  Pick up your angel today!  Don’t loose it!  Make sure and stick the angel on to your wrapped gift and bring it to church by Sunday, December 21st.  

 

Help Us Deliver the Angel Tree Gifts on Monday, December 22nd at 7 PM and share the love of Jesus.  Sign up at the Information Table!

 


 

20
Nov
08

God, Have You Forgotten About Me?

19073411Genesis 8:1 – But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.

Noah and his family were tossed to and fro by the flood waters for 150 days.  Think about that.  That’s 5 months.  Five months with all those smelly animals, family members in close quarters – daughters-in-law and mother-in-law together.  How about the seasickness? I’m sure there were times when Noah wanted to jump ship!

But, then we read these words, “But God remembered Noah…”  Have you ever felt like God forgot you?  Have you ever prayed, “God, don’t forget about me, please.  I’m here doing what you asked me to do.  Please, don’t forget about me.”  Have you ever felt like God forgot you were standing in line waiting?  Have you ever stood in line, got to the counter, and the person that was supposed to help you walked off and left you waiting?  How many like to be there?  You have things to do, places to go, people to meet, and now you’re frustrated because somebody forgot about you.

Sometimes the writers of the Bible use human language to make God more personal, to help us get our little minds around the situation.  So, they use human words, like the word remembered.  But, God never forgot.  He was simply waiting.

Maybe you feel like you’ve been forgotten.  It seems like when the blessings get handed out, you get passed over.  You’re ship has not come in yet, and you’re wondering if there’s a ship coming.  Know that God has not forgotten you, or your situation.  In time He’ll come. 

In the Bible when we find these words, “God remembered…” it is always accompanied with action.  Here are a few examples.

Genesis 19:29 – So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

Genesis 30:22 – Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.

Exodus 2:24 – And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Hold on.  Don’t give up on your marriage.  Don’t give up on your dream.  Don’t give up on your children.  Don’t throw in the towel in a moment of panic.  Hold on no matter how stinky the situation gets!  God will act in his time when you’re right and the time is right.

 

13
Nov
08

The Dangers of Porn

7363040Sadly pornography has become a multibillion-dollar industry in our country.  It is so private and easy to access.  Just one click of the mouse, in the confines of a cubicle, or a person’s basement is all it takes.  No one has to know.

The lure for many is too great.  Pornography is like a drug.  It releases chemicals in our brain that produce a rush of adrenaline, a kind of high.  It creates a temporary release.  It’s a distraction from the pressure of the real world.  It creates a moment of fantasy. 

Like a drug, after we view it once we want it again.  Over time our senses become callused and we need more of it to get the same stimulation.  Harder and harder kinds of porn are eventually needed to produce the same rush.  Over time our minds become completely warped.  At best pornography will cause sexual frustration, perversion, and anger that will damage and destroy a healthy marriage.   At worst it will lead to violence, rape, child molestation, and even murder.

Check out some of these stats (http://www.safefamilies.org/sfStats.php)

As of 2003, there were 1.3 million pornographic websites; 260 million pages (N2H2, 2003).

The total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide (Internet Filter Review).

U.S. adult DVD/video rentals in 2005: almost 1 billion (Adult Video News).

Hotel viewership for adult films: 55% (cbsnews.com).

Unique worldwide users visiting adult web sites monthly: 72 million (Internet Filter Review).

Number of hardcore pornography titles released in 2005 (U.S.): 13,588 (Internet Filter Review).

Adults admitting to Internet sexual addiction: 10%; 28% of those are women (internet-filter-review.com).

More than 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month (comScore Media Metrix).

More than 20,000 images of child pornography posted online every week (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 10/8/03).

Approximately 20% of all Internet pornography involves children (National Center for Mission & Exploited Children).

“At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago.” (Divorcewizards.com)

What are we to do?  In Matthew 5:29-30 Jesus said, So if your eye – even if it is your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your boy than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your hand – even if it is your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Don’t go gouge out your eye, please!  But do take some drastic measures.  Confess your sin to a trusting, godly, prayerful friend.  Repent of your sins and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ.  Take your computer out of your basement and put it in the kitchen where the whole family can see what you’re doing.  Better yet, consider unplugging the computer all together.  Pray and ask God to renew your mind.  Begin to meditate upon God’s Word.

 

04
Nov
08

How Thomas Bilney Came to Christ

thomas_bilneyThomas Bilney was born near Norwich in 1495.  He was very studious, and would go on to attend Oxford where he earned the degree of doctor of laws and was ordained as a priest.  But neither his study nor his ordination brought him any peace.  He was trying to find rest for his soul through good works, going to mass, taking communion, denying his appetites, and dead religion, but nothing worked.

Then one day he opened up a copy of the newly translated Greek New Testament, a translation that was forbidden by the Catholic church.  He locked himself in his room and the first verse that caught his eye was 1 Timothy 1:15, where the Apostle Paul writes, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

Thomas Bilney realized that if Jesus Christ could save someone like Paul, an angry, violent, murderous, arrogant enemy of the gospel, there was hope for him.  He would write about that moment, “This one sentence, through God’s instruction and inward working…did so exhilarate my heart, being before wounded with the guilt of my sins, and being almost in despair, that even immediately I seemed unto myself inwardly to feel a marvelous comfort and quietness, insomuch that “my bruised bones leaped for joy!” (http://www.williamtyndale.com/0bilney1.htm)

Bilney was a quiet man, but he began to pray for others to come to Christ.  God used him to lead some of the professors at Oxford to Christ, and many others who would be the great leaders of the English Reformation – a revolution that brought much needed religious freedom.  When he shared the gospel he told his personal story and often pointed them to 1 Timothy 1:15, the verse that changed his life. 

He was later arrested for preaching the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone, and would be burned at the stake for his commitment to Jesus, but by this time it was too late.  Too many had been changed and inspired by his witness.  The wheels of the English Reformation were rolling.

Paul’s testimony changed Bilney’s life.  Bilney’s testimony changed the lives of many others.  What’s your testimony?  One of the greatest ways to share the gospel is by sharing your personal testimony.  It will encourage others and they’ll say, “If God can change him or her, I know he can change me too.”  So, humble yourself.  Be transparent.  Ask God to help you see yourself as a sinner, saved and forgiven by grace and grace alone.  Then open your mouth and share how your life has been changed, and watch what God will do.