One “Sorry” Church – Should Churches Apologize for Speaking Out Against Sin?

April 23, 2008

“Is the church wrong and judgmental for claiming that abortion and homosexuality are sins and contending against them? Pastor Richard Mark Lee of the Family Church in Sugar Hill, Georgia thinks so. What did he do about it? He apologized to the unchurched for being judgmental during a highly publicized church service.

We think that Pastor Richard should also apologize on behalf of God for destroying the earth by flood because of men’s wickedness, destroying Sodom and Gomorah, plaguing the Egyptians and killing their first born, destroying Korah and those who followed him, killing everyone in Jericho, and killing the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel for their false religion.”

Distributed by http://www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com

“One Sorry Church” article, by Chris Rosebrough

Original Article on the Pastor of Family Church’s campaign to apologize for church’s judgmentalism.

Confessions of the Family Church series

“Sorry, Our Apologies” mp3 sermon

Ladies and gentlemen, indeed too long has the Church been judgmental towards other Christians and non-Christians. Judgmental in the sense of hypocritical self-righteous judgment that dishonors God and impedes the flow of the Gospel. Like what Jesus warned about in Matthew 7.

But it all comes down to your definition of the word “judge”, doesn’t it? True Christians know that when the true Gospel is preached, God’s law is taught, and sin is exposed out loud that the typical reaction from non-Christians and baby Christians is: “You’re judging me. The bible says you shouldn’t judge someone. So don’t judge me.” The only problem with that is their understanding of what “judging” truly is. Jesus was not saying “don’t judge another person because that is evil”. He said “don’t judge or you’ll be judged, because the way you judge you will be judged back in the same manner to the same degree” (Matthew 7:1-2).

When people say “Judge not” what they really mean is “You have no right to tell me what I’m doing is right or wrong. Who are you to tell me? You have your definition of right and I have my own. You are supposed to accept me for who I am”. Its the new church campaign of “Tolerance: Anything Goes”! Its crazy. And it seems to be still seeping into some churches, like the one above.

But if the Church is using righteous judgment that honors God, judgment that is fair, humble, Christ-centered and others-exalting, then the Church has no reason at all to apologize. The Church is called to preach the Gospel and live the Gospel. That will inevitably and necessarily involve clearly, boldly, humbly, and lovingly speaking out against what the Bible and God speak out against: SIN. And that sin includes: homosexuality, lust (which is adultery), hate (which is murder), selfishness, pride, anger, unbelief, lying, boasting, disobedience to parents, insubordination to authority, stealing, fornication, etc. All of these are SIN. In fact the Bible also says that even everything that does not come from faith is SIN (Romans 14:23).

So let’s not apologize for judging when we are not judging. Yes some churches do indeed judge falsely in a way that dishonors God. That judging is SIN. But some churches judge rightly in a way that honors God. For that we cannot apologize for. We must stand up boldly and humbly against that which God hates: SIN! We should be rather apologizing for our sinful attitudes and treatment towards the way we live to the world. But not if the what we do, what we say, or how we do it is in line with God’s Word.

The world may get our motives and message mixed up. But let them never mix up our passion and desire: Jesus Christ is supreme over everything and is worthy of all glory and praise and honor and demands you worship Him and warns you of His judgment if you don’t!


Grace Has Arrived, Finally!!! March 17th 2008

March 20, 2008

To All Family, Friends, and complete strangers,

Finally, she is here!!!! And more beautiful than we could have ever imagined! And you thought your baby was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen!

Date of Birth: Monday March 17th, 2008 (3/17/08)

Time of Birth: 3:17pm

Place of Birth: in a bed at the Family Health and Birthing Center; Rincon, Georgia

Time of Labor: 11 1/2 hours (3:45am-3:17pm)

Weight: 8 lbs. 12 oz.

Length: 22 in.

Head: 36 cm

Chest: 35 cm

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Isn’t she absolutely graceful? ;)

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Just minutes after I was privileged to bring her from the womb to Allie’s chest. What a speechless moment of awe!

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Yes, I actually got to cut Gracie’s umbilical cord. It was not hard to do at all and worth it!

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First family bonding time together, just the three of us!

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Gracie reluctantly being weighed.

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Daddy and his little girl!!

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Happy Chambers family: Papa Jon, Unkee Josh, Grandpa & Grandma Chambers!

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Mommy and Gracie

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Daddy and Gracie (and the video camera of course!)

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Little Peanut Muffin (that’s what we call her, among many other food items) in her car seat headed home for her first time! I had to make this one huge ’cause it captures the cuteness!

THAT’S IF FOR NOW. CHECK BACK LATER FOR MORE UPDATES AND PICS!!! LOVE YOU ALL!

Sincerely,

Jonathan, Allison, and Grace Chambers


Ben Stein Convinced of Scientific Hostility toward Intelligent Design

March 6, 2008

You’ve got to watch this 5 minute teaser video from the upcoming soon-to-be-latest-controversial film: Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed!

And check out Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Ben Stein about this documentary:


Preparing a Sermon – John Stott (with Josh Harris)

February 26, 2008

This excellent article hails from Josh Harris’ site. Great not only for preachers and pastors, but also for any Christian who wishes to read/preach the Word to himself accurately and honorably. Enjoy!

Preparing a Sermon

1. Choose your text and meditate on it. • Read the text, re-read it, re-read it and read it again. • Probe it, chew on it, bore into it, soak in it. • You are not called to preach yourself or your ideas, but charged to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Clarence Edward McCartney: “Put all the Bible you can into it.”

2. Ask questions of the text.
• What does it mean? Or better yet, what did it mean when first spoken or written?
• What did the author intend to affirm or condemn or promise or command?
• What does it say? What is its contemporary message? How does it speak to us today?
• Remember: Keep these questions distinct but together–the text’s meaning is of purely academic interest unless you go on to discern its message for today, it’s significance. But you cannot discover it’s contemporary message without first wrestling with its original meaning.

3.Combine diligent study with fervent prayer.
• All the time you study cry humbly to God for illumination by the Spirit of truth. Like Moses, “I pray you, show me your glory” (Exod 33:18), and Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:9).
• Stott: “I have always found it helpful to do as much of my sermon preparation as possible on my knees, with the Bible open before me, in prayerful study.
• R.W. Dale: “Work without prayer is atheism; and prayer without work is presumption.”

4. Isolate the Dominant Thought of the Text.
• Every text has a main theme, an overriding thrust.
• A sermon is not a lecture, it aims to convey only one major message
• The congregation will forget details of the message, but they should remember the dominant thought, because all the sermon’s details should be marshaled to help them grasp its message and feel its power.
• Once the text’s principle meaning has been determined, express it in a ‘categorical proposition.’
• J.H. Jowett: “I have a conviction that no sermon is ready for preaching…until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as a crystal. I find the getting of that sentence is the hardest, the most exacting and the most fruitful labor in my study…I do not think any sermon ought to be preached, or even written, until that sentence has emerged, clear and lucid as a cloudless moon.”
• Ian Pitt-Watson: “Every sermon should be ruthlessly unitary in its theme.”
• Don’t by-pass the discipline of waiting patiently for the dominant thought to disclose itself. You have to be ready to pray and think yourself deep into the text, even under it, until we give up all pretensions of being its master or manipulator, and become instead its humble and obedient servant.

5. Arrange Your Material to Serve the Dominant Thought
• The goal is not a literary masterpiece, but organization that enables the text’s main thrust to make its maximum impact.
- Ruthlessly discard irrelevant material
- Subordinate material to theme so that it illumines and supports it.
• Golden Rule for Sermon Outlines: Let each text supply its own structure. Let it open itself up like a rose to the morning sun.
• Be precise with your words. It is impossible to convey a precise message without choosing precise words.
• Words to use:
- Simple and Clear words. Ryle: “Preach as if you had asthma.”
- Vivid words. They should conjur up images in the mind.
- Honest words. Beware of exaggerations and be sparing in use of superlatives.
- C.S. Lewis: don’t just tell people how to feel, describe in such a way that people feel it themselves.
- Don’t use words too big for the subject.


6. Remember the Power of Imagination–Illustrate!

• Imagination: the power of the mind by which it conceives of invisible things, and is able to present them as though they were visible to others. (Beecher)
• Remember that humans have trouble grasping abstract concepts–we need them converted into pictures and examples.
• Exert your greatest effort for illustrations that reinforce and serve the dominant thought.
• Think of illustrations as windows that let in light on our subject and help people to more clearly see and appreciate it.
• Beware of illustrations that draw too much attention (to themselves instead of the subject) or which actually take people away from the main point.


7. Add Your Introduction

• It’s better to start with the body so that we don’t twist our text to fit our introduction.
• Stott: A good introduction serves two purposes. First, it arouses interest, stimulates curiosity, and whets the appetite for more. Secondly, it genuinely introduces the theme by leading the hearers into it.
• Don’t make the intro too long or too short. “Men have a natural aversion to abruptness, and delight in a somewhat gradual approach. A building is rarely pleasing in appearance without a porch or some sort of inviting entrance.”

8. Add Your Conclusion
• Conclusions are more difficult. Avoid endlessly circling and never landing. Avoid ending too abruptly.
• A true conclusion goes beyond recapitulation to personal application. (Not that all application should wait till the end–the text needs to be applied as we go along.)
• Nevertheless, it is a mistake to disclose too soon the conclusion to which we are going to come. If we do, we lose people’s sense of expectation. It is better to keep something up our sleeve. Then we can leave to the end that persuading which, by the Holy Spirit’s power, will prevail on people to take action.
• Call the congregation to act! Our expectation as the sermon comes to an end, is not merely that people will understand or remember or enjoy our teaching, but that they will do something about it. If there is no summons, there is no sermon!
• The precise application of your sermon depends on the character of the text. The dominant thought points us to how people should act in response. Does the text call to repentance or stimulate faith? Does it evoke worship, demand obedience, summon to witness, or challenge to service? The text itself determines the particular response we desire.
• Consider the composition of your congregation. It is good to let your mind wander over the church family and ask prayerfully what message God might have for each from your text. Consider their unique circumstances, weaknesses, strengths and temptations.

9. Write Down Your Sermon
• Don’t take too long to get to this stage! Get something on paper, don’t endlessly noodle on vague notes (this is my temptation).
• Writing obliges you to think straight.


10. Edit it Again

• View hitting your time goal (40-45 minutes) as just as essential to its overall effectiveness as anything else you do. People will take more away if you say less.
• Ruthlessly cut the unneeded and extra. Look for places where you can be more concise.
• Err on the side of cutting things–especially long quotes.

11. Pray over Your Message
• Use the 30 minutes before you leave for church to pray over your message.
• Stott: “We need to pray until our text comes freshly alive to us, the glory shines forth from it, the fire burns in our heart, and we begin to experience the explosive power of God’s Word within us.”


The Rebelution – 1 Timothy 4:12

February 1, 2008

If I told you that what the current teenage generation, commonly referred to as Generation Y, needed was not a revolution but a “rebelution”, what would you say? What is a rebelution? A Rebelution!?! What does that mean? Well, it is a new term of the 21st century. But unlike “off the chain”, “that’s tight”, or “that’s wassup”, it has a very deep and significant meaning. In fact, if you go to Wikipedia and look it up you’ll find it defined solely as:

“a Christian ministry organization directed at youth, defined as “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” It was founded in August 2005 by 19-year-old twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris, younger brothers of best-selling author and pastor, Joshua Harris. Originally just a blog, the Rebelution movement has since grown to include a full website and international speaking tour.”

That’s what it is: “a teenage rebellion against low expectations”. Too often teenagers of the 00′s have such low grade, low level, base philosophies on life, meaning, purpose, happiness, and success. Instead of teenagers living for huge things, taking risks for eternal causes, begging for responsibility, and boldly standing for truth they are obsessed with video games, movies, a convenience low-risk life with easy-to-retreat circumstances, shirk back from responsibility, and afraid to stand for anything period. Now I realize that in the last 10 years or less, spiritual awakenings and revivals have broken out among many generational groups. Especially that of the group of people ranging from 20′s to 40′s. So its hard to generalize and stereotype every American teenager as being lazy, worthless, pointless, and irresponsible. However, I think we all can agree in the obvious problem that lies in nearly every American household today: God is not at the center and the Gospel has no place!

So in the same fashion of their older brother and pastor Joshua Harris, their ex-pastor C.J. Mahaney, and probable mentor John Piper, Alex and Brett Harris are embarking on a powerful and noble adventure to reach this teenage generation: specifically those from 13-19 years of age. But the buck doesn’t stop there because many parents have been greatly effected by their ministry, The Rebelution, too. So their purpose is to destroy the thinking and doing of most teenagers today by attacking and rebelling against low expectations and start raising the bar in every facet and avenue of life for Jesus Christ!

If you have some up & coming teenagers, out & going teenagers, or current teenagers, then get involved in this ministry. Go to the site. Pre-order their new book. Go to one of the conference dates. Get involved in raising your child/children to live BIG, HARD, and STRONG for God through Jesus Christ.

So I highly recommend engaging yourself in the following resources from their ministry:

The Rebelution

Do Hard Things book

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Rebelution Tour 2008 Promo Video


Mormon Debate at Burger King

January 25, 2008

I stumbled upon this video at Youtube and was a bit baffled. First of all the title “A Christian OWNS 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses in a Burger King parking lot” interested me. (They are actually 2 Mormons). Although it did seem a bit prideful. Of course the people in the video might’ve had nothing to do with the title. Although as you watch this video (6 minutes) you’ll be able to tell that the title and the word “OWNS” may be accurate. Accurate in the sense of the prideful attitude of the Christian, not that he destroys their argument.

In this video, 2 white Mormons on bikes approach a seemingly innocent black gentlemen in a Burger King parking lot. To their surprise though they end up approaching a passionate and somewhat embittered believer in the Bible. And he seems to have some knowledge of the Mormon faith and of the Word too. The black guy does make some valid points and a good case as to his own faith. He even makes a good case about the typical approach and conversation style of Mormons. Although at one point, the Mormon on the right does seem to press hard on his agenda (that of come and teach and talk instead of listen and dialogue). To this the black man responds with some hostility and passion. And his words end up slapping him back in the face toward the end as he totally disses both of the Mormons and leaves a final commentary of the conversation at the end of the video that sounds very prideful, arrogant, and mean.

Both parties hearts are in the right place but overall it seems like a failed witnessing encounter. It could result in some fruit definitely. But the way the black gentleman ended it seems to show a poor Gospel attitude and lack of humility and love for the Mormon. Despite the Mormons’ approach, he could have still labored with them. However he may have felt no need to continue. Which sometimes is very wise. Oh well, watch and see for yourself and see what you get out of it. Is the black guy too harsh? Do the white guys press too much or not listen well? How’s the black man’s attitude toward the end? Do you detect any pride in him or the Mormons? We all could us a humble orthodoxy in our walk and talk with Christ.

Check out a more extensive review on this video and its related topic at Emissary7!


Wall Street Journal on Church Discipline

January 18, 2008

Today the Wall Street Journal did an article on the often forgotten and much needed practice of Church discipline. It examined several churches across the country that have taken up this practice and the results it has had. One of these examined churches was First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama pastored by Jeff Noblit. In this article entitled, “Banned from Church, Reviving an ancient practice, churches are exposing sinners and shunning those who won’t repent”, Noblit is given a quick blurb about the effects church discipline has had on their church.

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Of course the Wall Street Journal heralds the seemingly “negative” aspects of church discipline rather than the need for it and its often positive result. As seen in this sad portrayal here. Here is what it said about Noblit:

“First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Ala., a 1,000-member congregation, expels five to seven members a year for “blatant, undeniable patterns of willful sin,” which have included adultery, drunkenness and refusal to honor church elders. About 400 people have left the church over the years for what they view as an overly harsh persecution of sinners, Pastor Jeff Noblit says.”

Click here to read the rest of this article…

Also don’t forget to check out how you can attend the next True Church Conference at First Baptist Church Muscle Shoals by clicking the following image below, which just happens to be on “Church Discipline: The Missing Key to True Church Growth”:

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