Posts Tagged ‘Sunday’


One WORLD subscriber, Thomas Sandlin, describes himself as “just an old retiree living in the backwater small town of Liberty Hill, Texas.” But any community with Liberty in its name is not a backwater. Liberty is not a backwater concept. It’s the high-water mark for politics in America, where our Liberty Bell exhorts us, in the words of Leviticus 25:10, to “proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”

 

Sandlin continued, “My pastor cannot get up and tell the congregation how to vote, but he certainly can point out the duty of Christians to participate in the electoral process.” That’s a good distinction, and Sandlin’s letter raised two questions in my mind: What’s the basis for liberty, and when’s the right time to proclaim it?

 

The Old Testament exhortation to liberty comes in the context of Jubilee, the once-in-50-years erasure of financial debts. But the New Testament tells us that Christ’s sacrifice wipes out our deeper debts, so we don’t have to wait half a century to discover liberty. The verses immediately after the famous John 3:16 passage declare, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned.”

 

Because of Christ’s saving power we can live in this world without condemnation. We don’t have to follow medieval exhortations to go behind monastery or nunnery walls to lead the richest Christian life. Liberty in Christ frees us from God’s eternal penalties for disobeying His law. The Holy Spirit increasingly subdues our natural desires to murder or think murderous thoughts, commit adultery, steal, lie, and covet.

 

Apart from Christ, we use our liberty to do all those things, and government grows. Each fatherless child: more social workers and welfare payments. Each theft: more police. And so on. The most important step pastors can take to shrink the size of government is not to give political sermons but to preach Christ crucified and risen. Since much of American politics these days involves people asking government to legitimize sin, bold preaching and teaching on Sunday affects the decisions we make from Monday through Saturday.

 

Does this mean that pastors should ignore politics? No, it just means that pulpit time is too important to spend on campaigns that are like the grass of the field, springing up in Iowa and dying in Chicago. Here’s my key point: We don’t have to politicize churches, because churches are not the only venues in which Christians work together. All through the week Christians can and should form associations, organizations, and political clubs. We have six days of the week to study the issues and love our neighbors as ourselves by warning them about politicians who dishonor parents and defend abortion, unmarried sex, theft, lying, and coveting.

 

Just as liberals think that if government doesn’t do something, it won’t get done, so some Christian conservatives think that if pastors don’t head the parade, Christian values will be ignored—but that’s a lazy layman’s excuse. Pastors function well as reporters, spotlighting problems and teaching us their solution through Christ. God calls others to politics. A century ago Abraham Kuyper famously declared that every inch of this world is Christ’s. So is every minute, and if we don’t from Monday through Saturday form groups with our neighbors to apply what we learn on Sunday, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

 

I’ve twice heard Tony Campolo bring the Clintons and large Democratic audiences to their feet as he delivered his famous sermon, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” (In 1995 they were politically chastened and depressed; in 1997, after a big election win, they thought Sunday had come.) With Election Day coming soon, I don’t object to pastors, after exegeting Scripture, pointing out—to use Tom Sandlin’s words—“the duty of Christians to participate in the electoral process.” They can remind their flocks, “It’s Sunday, but Tuesday’s coming.”

 

The first Tuesday in November is especially important this year, with two alternative beliefs about government, debt, and compassion duking it out. God has given us liberty, and Christians have an obligation not to disdain His gift.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit http://www.worldmag.com.

http://townhall.com/columnists/marvinolasky/2012/10/16/in_church_remember_that_its_sunday_but_tuesdays_coming/page/full/


Months ago we were a part of a significant simulcast called “One Nation Under God.”  By now, most of you have heard of this. And, many of you have ordered it.

It was video-taped last October in Orlando, Florida for the express purpose of informing, educating and stirring hearts and minds for Christ and His Kingdom principles with the purpose of helping people throughout America “understand the times in order to know what to do.”

The DVD includes powerful messages from persons such as Dr. Jim Dobson, David Barton, Lila Rose, and, yes, even Newt Gingrich who has a distinctive message regarding American history.  It is two hours in length.

One individual from southern Florida was so enthused that she asked a local movie theater to show it. She took multiple copies of the DVD that she received from us and distributed it to pastors and others throughout her area.

Just last night we heard of a local church showing “One Nation Under God” to a Wednesday night service and people were talking about it the next day.

“Why Christians Must Vote. We took the last 30 minutes of the DVD – “One Nation Under God” with David Barton, the presenter, and entitled it   “Why Christians Must Vote.” It is a very effective short video that documents what happens when Christians vote and what happens when they don’t vote their Biblical values.

We also continue to make available the 93 minute DVD “Agenda: Grinding America Down.”   I can’t overstate the significance of this DVD as so many that have seen it have been moved to tears at the truth telling power of this DVD. Because of the significance of the message  we asked the producer Curtis Bowers to be one of our featured speakers at our conference this past summer.   He received a standing ovation!

Friends: We can take these important messages and share them in our churches, in our Sunday School classes, small groups, with our families. This is something we each can do in these days of significance!

Lastly, I would urge you to do as many others.  Check out our video folder by clicking on video on our red banner at the top of our web page at www.americandecency.org

You will see some of the messages referenced above and more.   This came at the urgings of our friend from Southern California who asked us to place these DVDs on our webpage so churches could readily encourage their congregations during their Sunday School hours, midweek services, etc..

Please also note the 3 minute video clip entitled “Test of Fire”. It is a well-done informational piece that many are using to stir people to vote.

In addition, check out “Voices Without a Vote.” Lastly, we have just put up a video clip from Bishop EW Jackson . It is entitled

Bishop Jackson’s message to Black Christians.

Check out Wallbuilders state by state voter’s guide below. http://www.christianvoterguide.com/?utm_source=WallBuilders+Mailings&utm_campaign=a836e33c24-VotingResources9_28_2012&utm_medium=email

An apology to those of you looking for our updated advertiser results for programs such as “The New Normal”, “666 Park Park Avenue” and others. We have one staff person out on a short term mission to Brazil and another dealing with family health issues.  We’ll be back at it again next week!

http://www.americandecency.org/full_article.php?article_no=1490


Two take action opportunities below!  We urge you to forward this to others!

Note:  Due to staff shortages this week, we were unable to compile these alerts and advertiser contact information earlier in the week.  Therefore, this email contains two separate take action links – one for NBC’s “The New Normal” and another for ABC’s new demonic show, “666 Park Avenue.”  See below for a synopsis of each show and action links to contact the sponsor. 

First, “666” Park Avenue:

ABC’s “666 Park Avenue premiered this past Sunday – living up to the “666” in the show’s title.  This is how ABC itself described the show on its own website:

“What would you do to have everything you desire? Step inside 666 Park Avenue, New York’s most seductive address. We all have some burning needs, desires and ambitions. For the residents of The Drake, the premier apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, these will all be met – for a price – courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But be careful what you wish for, because the price you have to pay is your soul. ABC’s wickedly sensual, sexy and spine-tingling new drama about fulfilling our deepest desires, 666 Park Avenue, will air Sundays from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET.  …

Take Action!  Click hereto contact the advertisers empowering the gruesome themes of “666 Park Avenue.”

Sponsors include:  Campbell’s soup, Ford, Chevrolet, Target, Old Navy, Kraft foods (Triscuit crackers), Quiznos subs, Marshall’s clothing stores, AquaFresh, Alka-Seltzer, Maybelline, T-Mobile.

In short, the show takes place in a creepy apartment building where the building’s owner, Gavin Doran who is supposedly the embodiment of the Devil makes deals with the building’s residents to fulfill their deepest desires – in exchange for their souls.  That is, until Doran/the devil is tired of toying with them and his victims then come to a gruesome end.

The premiere episode opened with one such sinister scene when one of the building’s tenants who had sold his soul tries to escape the clutches of Doran.  When he thinks he has, fleeing the building he falls to his knees exclaiming:  “Oh dear God, I thank you!!”  Only to be followed by hideous, demonic sounds as he is horrifically sucked back into the building to meet his death.

How interesting that ABC has the character praise God for his salvation, only to be conquered by the forces of evil.  Is ABC, with its long history of ridiculing and mischaracterizing Christianity, trying to portray God as weak?  That seemed to be the point.  Also of note, ABC chose to air this demonic show on Sunday night, the Lord’s Day – just as they aired the offensive show “GCB” on Sundays last year.

***********

We also urge you to contact the advertisers of this week’s episode of NBC’s “The New Normal.”

Take Action!  Click here to contact the advertisers of the offensive themes and bigotry of “The New Normal.”

Sponsors include repeat offenders:  Campbell’s soup, Burlington Coat Factory, Allegra, and Procter and Gamble (Pampers), as well as Disney theme parks and DVDs, Swanson broth, T-Mobile, Marshall’s, Target, and Visa.

Note:  Campbell’s soup, Target, T-Mobile, Marshall’s, and Procter & Gamble advertised on both of these concerning shows – “666 Park Avenue” and “The New Normal.”

“The New Normal” is supposedly championing the cause of “tolerance and acceptance” within the show’s premise of two gay men and their quest to have a baby via a surrogate mother.  However, their “tolerance” turns to hate-filled bigotry toward any viewpoints and values that differ from their own.

In fact, as one reviewer wrote:  The New Normalis a deceptive show, one that touts itself as open to all kinds of people yet openly mocks people who are actually different.

(Click here to read our past synopsis of “The New Normal.”)

In this week’s episode, entitled “Nana-gasm,” the conservative, Christian grandmother – always depicted as rude, bigoted, racist, and intolerant – hooks up with a man she met in the hotel lobby.  Nana hasn’t had sex in years – her former husband turned out to be a closeted homosexual – until she goes to bed with this total stranger.  You can probably guess from the play on words of the title what the explicit theme of the episode is.  Suffice it to say, the vulgar and tasteless storyline centers on Nana becoming sexually promiscuous.

Click here to contact the sponsors of “The New Normal.”

And,

Click hereto contact the sponsors of “666 Park Avenue.”

http://americandecency.org/full_article.php?article_no=1464


“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”Genesis 2:2–3

One of the main misconceptions about the Jewish observance of the Sabbath is the prohibition about working on that day. How do we define work? Are we able to do anything at all? Many view prohibitions like lighting a fire or cooking on the Sabbath as antiquated because today these activities involve so little effort that they can hardly be considered work.

For answers, we turn to God’s word. In Exodus 35:3, it clearly prohibits milekhet machashevet (me-LECH-et maak-a-CHEV), which means “creative work” in Hebrew. For six days we are permitted — even commanded — to work and subdue nature. In this capacity, we serve as God’s co-partners in the creation of the world. But on the seventh day, we are commanded to take a break from our own creative work so we could focus on the true Creator — God.

You see, God knows us all too well. He recognized and anticipated that our intelligence and creativity might lead us to forget the actual source of our own creative power. As human beings, we can easily get caught up in what we do and how much we accomplish, neglect the spiritual side of life, and turn away from Him. Doubt that’s true? Flip a few pages in your Bible from Genesis 2 to Genesis 11 and the story of the Tower of Babel.

We all know the story:  The act of building a tower reaching to the sky reflected man’s attempt to dethrone God, to rid Him of divine sovereignty, and to fill that vacuum with man’s creative genius. This is why God decided to confuse their language and scatter them all over the world. They lost their focus on the true Creator.

When we refrain from all creative activities on the Sabbath — including cooking — we are acknowledging that God is the ultimate source of being and creation. We affirm that the earth belongs to the Him and that man is not God.

Consider how you might change your attitudes and behaviors on Sunday to keep your focus on God. In what ways can you affirm God as Creator?

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/gods-stop-sign-2


Are conservative Christians fighters by nature who thrive on the front lines of the culture wars? While there may be some of us who tend to be more confrontational, a recent incident suggests to me that most of us who identify as followers of Jesus are drawn to compassion more than conflict and are given to building friendships more than engaging in fights.

Last week, one of the pastors of my home congregation was informed by the police that there would be a gay protest outside of our church service on Sunday morning. A local gay website carried this announcement: “We will meet just before Service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day. Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.”

In response, I wrote on my blog: “On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!”

Interestingly, the blog entry, which ran about 325 words, received more hits than any of my previous entries. What made it so attractive?

Scott Volk, the pastor who received the heads-up from the police, posted a gracious invitation to the protesters on the same gay website that announced the event, letting them know they would be welcomed warmly. “In all our years here,” he wrote, “we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest.”

When Sunday morning came, about ten protesters showed up, and they were greeted with water, snacks, and genuine Christian love. Within a few minutes of dialog, they left, telling us we were too nice and loving to deserve a protest. When I posted an announcement on my Facebook page with this update, it received more “Likes” than any other post in memory. What prompted such a positive response?

On Monday, the organizer of the protest called into my radio show to apologize publicly for the protest, explaining that their “anger . . . was aimed [in] the wrong direction.” He continued, “Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic.”

He accepted my invitation to meet him for dinner in the near future, not for the purpose of having a theological argument (I assured him that was not my intent) but to discuss how we could live side by side in the same city with such profound differences dividing us.

On Tuesday, I posted an article in the opinion section of a Christian news site, recounting this narrative and ending with the conviction that it is possible to “reach out and resist,” meaning reaching out to the LGBT community with compassion while resisting the activist agenda with courage. And I quoted Pastor Scott’s invitation to those who doubted his claims to truly love LGBT people to join him and his family for dinner one night. As he wrote, “to call someone hateful without ever meeting them, seeing them, or hearing them speak, is an indication of a heart that needs love. I make myself available.”

The response to my article, which was not triumphant in tone and put an emphasis on Christian grace, was amazing: Within 36 hours of being posted, it had been shared more than 12,000 times, whereas I was told that the average opinion piece there receives about 100 shares.

It looks like a clear pattern had emerged in the responses to my blog, Facebook post, and article. The Christian readers were thrilled to see love in action.

Without a doubt, when we are convinced of the rightness of an issue, as people with strong biblical beliefs, we will take a stand, regardless of cost or consequence. (I know there are cowards and hypocrites among us, but there are plenty of committed Christians who are willing to stand up for what is right, even when it means swimming against the tide and going against the grain.) And there’s no question that some of us are drawn to conflict and controversy.

But for the most part, we would rather be friends than fighters, ambassadors of reconciliation rather than culture warriors. The events of this past week underscore that clearly.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire, and his latest book is The Real Kosher Jesus.

http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2012/08/30/christians_would_rather_be_friends_than_fighters/page/full/


A megachurch  in San Antonio, Texas, is not going to avoid the elephant in the room any  longer. Its pastors have  decided to talk from the pulpit about the upcoming presidential election.

“This is a big one,” said Pastor Randy Frazee to the Oak Hills Church  congregation on Sunday regarding the Nov. 6, 2012, election. “It seems like  maybe with the state of the economy, the state of world affairs, the state of  ongoing wards, there just seems to be a lot at stake right now.”

“Maybe this upcoming election might unite us or it might further divide us,”  the senior minister said, describing this year’s election as “a little bit more  polarized” than previous ones he has participated in.

During his sermon Sunday, Frazee didn’t tell the congregation who would make  a better president for the next four years – Barack  Obama or Mitt Romney. He  didn’t discuss specific policies either. But he did call on Christians to cast a  vote for Jesus.

He wasn’t suggesting that Christians write in Jesus on the ballot but he was  encouraging them to make Jesus the “president” and lord of their lives and then  vote accordingly.

“Jesus for President” is Oak Hills’ newest sermon series that will run for  four more weeks, with renowned author Max Lucado scheduled to speak next. The  series, the church says, “isn’t about … Republican or Democratic parties, hot  button political issues and political rallies.” Instead, it “seeks to capture  biblical principles and encourage you to live them out in your life.”

“When we let Christ rule our lives and decisions we join His campaign.”

One major biblical principle that Frazee highlighted on Sunday is the value  of every life, what he listed as part of Jesus’ “Bill of Rights.”

During the Greek and Roman empires, women were highly devalued, the pastor  cited. It was common practice at the time to kill baby girls upon delivery, abortion was prevalent, daughters  were forced to marry before puberty, and female widows were pressured to remarry  so that their inheritance from their late husbands would be transferred to their  new husbands.

It was Jesus who valued women. And following the principles of Jesus,  Christians in the early years prohibited infanticide and abortion, and protected  young girls and widows. Sociologist Rodney Stark believes this contributed to  the rapid growth of Christianity and thus impacted society.

Frazee asked Christians to rediscover the principle of seeing people the way  Jesus sees them – with extreme value. Today, the largest group of people who are  devalued in society are children, Frazee said.

More than 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system or waiting to  be on it, 13 million worldwide are awaiting adoption, and 42 million worldwide  are aborted annually, he said.

“What if the body of Christ, what if the church were to value these children  and act on that declaration like the church did for women in the first 350 years  of the church?” Frazee asked.

Lamenting the problem of the breakdown of families today, the Texas pastor  urged believers to help build stronger families – whether through adoption,  mentoring, fostering, supporting other families, or simply praying for children  at risk by name.

By building such families on biblical grounds, Frazee believes there could be  a seismic shift in faith around the world.

Though he did not discuss politics specifically, Frazee did encourage the  congregation to let their voice and values count during the presidential  election.

“Max and myself are inviting you to pray for your leaders and we’re inviting  you with all that Jesus has been teaching you and has done for you to simply  take that with you whatever you do, including vote,” he stated.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/texas-pastor-tells-church-to-vote-for-jesus-but-not-as-us-president-79612/#HuRjSV7LfCwlYgzO.99


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

One problem with Bible-polished rule keepers is that from a distance we all tend to look pretty good. Especially compared to those who don’t keep God’s rules. And believing that we are looking good keeps us thinking pretty well about ourselves, which destroys any thought about how stunningly wonderful God’s grace is to us.

When I taught on Sundays at the church where I served as a teaching pastor, my face was broadcast on three big screens at the front of the church—sort of an evangelical jumbo-tron! I have to admit, I’m not crazy about people being able to see my face from that close range, magnified hundreds of times! No matter how hard I have worked to look my best, my increasingly flawed face—wrinkles, spots, and blemishes—is projected larger than life for all to see. And, as unsettling as it is, I have to say to myself, “That’s you, baby—like it or not!”

Seeing ourselves for who we really are and admitting it is the first step in understanding the richness of God’s grace. Grace becomes an amazing gift when we finally see ourselves the way God sees us—up close and personal, magnified hundreds of times, warts and flaws front and center. The apostle Paul wrote, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

No use kidding ourselves. God is well aware of everything in your life and mine—actions, attitudes, thoughts, and responses. Game’s up! I’m a sinner, and so are you. We don’t need a Sunday jumbo-tron to discover that. What is so surprising is that it is our terribly broken condition that prompts God’s grace and love to flow to us. It’s our blemishes, our sin, and our stupid self-centeredness that makes us desperately in need of God’s grace. And thankfully He is willing to give it abundantly!

When I first got married, I tried so hard to make Martie believe I was a great husband. I didn’t want her to know how selfish I could be, and I tried to veil my insecurities so she’d think I was strong and confident. Inevitably, though, the real me showed up. My selfish agenda was out there in plain view for her and everyone else to see. Guess what? She loves me still. Through the years her love has not been dependent on me being husband of the year or father of the decade. I thank God for that. Her love for me is like God’s love for all of us. It was demonstrated in spite of our failures, not withheld because of them. That’s the grace that God chooses to love us with. And that’s the grace that drives me to want to love Him in return.

Feeling broken today? Or unlovely, out of place, behind the times, too little too late? Are you stuck in a stubborn pattern of sin you can’t break? God’s got you on His screen, nothing is hidden from His view, and still in this moment you are the object of His love and grace.

If you find it hard to develop a heart of love for God, it may be that you have spent too much time thinking about how cool you are. We all need a huge reality check! Seeing yourself as you really are and knowing that He loves you still is a great way to stimulate your heart to express your love and gratitude to Him in return.

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • What makes it hard for you to see yourself as the sinner you really are—Comparison, rationalization, excuses, pride?
  • Write down the sins that constantly pop up in your life. Ask yourself, “Where would I be today if it weren’t for God’s grace in my life?”
  • Who needs the touch of God’s grace from you in spite of their sin?
  • Does the realization of the unbelievable grace of God in your life make you feel more free to keep sinning or motivate you to clean up your act? Why?
  • What difference would it make if you lived as a debtor to His grace rather than in a self-deceived sense of how good you are?
  • Take a few moments today to thank God for the love He showed you in Jesus.

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/love-and-life-on-the-big-screen/