Looking forward to hat July 3 has in store!

How will the spirit move? Notice I didn’t ask “IF”… but HOW.

I’m looking for the foundation to shake – as we look at Acts 4:31-33.

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>Christians and Politics

>Ok – so some might think I am nuts for jumping into this – but please bear with me…

For years, the roll of Christians in the public square, particularly in politics has been transformed – In the first century of our nation, preachers boldly preached not only the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the clear application of God’s Word on the Christian’s life.  Among the many areas these bold preachers would address was politics.  Their firm belief was that Christians had a duty to not only vote, but to vote based upon their claimed values.

Early in US History, several state constitutions actually stipulated that elected officials profess Christian faith!

As an example, the Delaware Constitution, Article 22 (adopted Sept. 20, 1776):

Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house,
or appointed to any office or place of trust . . .
shall . . . make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit:
“I ________, do profess faith in God the Father,
and in Jesus Christ His only Son,
and in the Holy Ghost, one God, Blessed for evermore;
and I do acknowledge the holy scripture
of the Old and New Testaments to be
given by divine inspiration.”

While the US Constitution later in Article VI forbids such a religious test for state and national officers, the fact is – our early nation saw the importance of faithful people filling the important offices of this country.

Systematically, the Christian values this nation was founded upon have been eroded.  We can place the blame on many different factors -but my firm belief is that the primary reason – “Christians” have been more and more willing to ignore the values they claim to hold, instead casting votes based on simple emotion, our pocketbooks, or out of fear.

I have even heard some say, in response to bad governmental leaders, that God ordains leaders (from Romans 13).  Unfortunately, this is a cop-out – as God also allowed this nation to be formed as a representative republic -that means that we CHOOSE our leaders.   What kind of leaders might we expect to have if we are willing to vote contrary to the very Word of God?

Just look at the Old Testament history of Israel – when they essentially “voted” first to have a worldly “king” just like “everyone else” – then their continued seeking after the world instead of their amazing relationship with God – their leadership just got worse.

Early voting started today in Arkansas for the incredibly important November “mid-term” elections. If ever the vote of committed and unabashed Christians was important, that time is now.  I won’t tell anyone, in my official capacity as pastor, who to vote for (though I enjoy such private conversation between friends) – I do unhesitatingly proclaim that we should vote our values.  So what are yours?  What is most important to you?  Where do those running for office stand on your issues?  If you fail to ask these questions – then what is the point of voting?  More importantly, if you fail to ask these questions, and then vote accordingly – what gives us the right to complain?

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>I AM, the Movie…

>We at Park View will be hosting a premier of the movie “I AM“.  The producer of the film and 20th Century Fox chose to premier the movie, not in theaters, but in churches nationwide.  Park View was able to be selected as one of the premier sites.  Our screening will be at 7:00PM on Friday, October 22.  There will be no admission charged, and tickets will not be required to attend.

As a brief review of the film, having just finished watching – this is not your typical movie.  This film is engaging, and requires the viewer to actually pay attention to what is going on as the seemingly diverse characters and situations are woven together.

The films essentially depicts the real-live application of God’s Ten Commandments, demonstrating how the rejection of God’s commands results in far-reaching consequences.  Each of us make decisions every day that can affect those around us – and even those we don’t even know.  Idolatry, greed/covetousness, adultery, murder, false witness, and more are demonstrated.   A term to ponder (used in the film) – absolution.  Yet real absolution is not and cannot be given by a man.  Absolution, the forgiveness for sins, only comes through Christ Jesus – God’s provision for “absolution”, or better- covering of, and forgiveness of our sins.  The Great I AM is always near – and will answer when we cry out to Him in real humility and sincerity.

There are some interesting twists in this movie, with an ending that might surprise some, and be somewhat obvious to others – but I will not spoil it for all who plan to see the movie.

This ties rather nicely with this morning’s message – “The Ten Commandments – because He Loves us!”  While it is easy to box up the Commandments as just cold rules by an arbitrary God – the truth is, God gave us His Commandments as the first of two parts of His incredible plan to demonstrate His Love for us.  God gave us the Commandments that we might know we are sinners – that we fall so very short on our own and need something more.  The second part of His plan to demonstrate His love is the work of Jesus Christ in dying on the cross of Calvary to pay the sin debt for the whole world – a Free Gift of Eternal Life for those who believe.  But the work was not done – for Christ rose from the dead and lives today, paying the way to our own eternity in Heaven.  The sad fact is, many leave His gift unused on the table – rejecting God’s Perfect Gift, instead relying on their own ability or “goodness” – and will spend eternity far removed from the presence of God, an eternity described in God’s Word as Hell and the eventually, the Lake of Fire.

Tonight, the message will continue the series on Jesus Christ, with “The Incredible Jesus!”  Come hear how Christ’s character, described in two contrasting illustrations, truly proves the “Incredibleness” (is that really a word?) Jesus!

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>More Condolences and Prayers

>I can’t say that I have ever been a believer in “death happens in threes”… but that being said, our church family has been touched by yet two more deaths.

Prayers are extended for the Walter McKamy family. Walter was a former member of Park View, and a very trusted and loved man.  His passing has affected many in our church family.  Visitation for Bro. McKamy was Friday, and the family had a private memorial on Saturday.

The other is the passing of Sister Ethel Glover, a long-time member of Park View.  Prayers for her family, friends and extended family, for comfort of hurting hearts, for strengthening of family bonds, and ultimately – for God’s Glory to be shown through it all.  Visitation will be at Noon on Monday, October 11, with the funeral to follow at 1:00PM at Park View Baptist Church.  Bro. Rick Bowlan will officiate.

While hearts ache for the loved ones lost to us, we also have to celebrate the ultimate victory that Sister Glover, and Brother McKamy are now partakers of – both the physical battles they both so valiantly fought, but for their Homecoming into their Savior’s Arms.  I pray that the family and friends of these loved ones will be able to take comfort in this reality – and that a glad reunion day is coming for all who know Christ as Savior!

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>Updates and Thoughts

>Condolences to David and Sandra Wilson, and many prayers for them and their family, on the passing of David’s mother on Friday, October 2.  I know they all need encouragement and prayers.

Also, for several others among our congregation who are facing various difficulties, from medical, to emotional, financial, and spiritual, many prayers are needed.  I won’t list them here, but the Lord knows their needs.

And finally, for myself.  I am always hesitant to request prayers for my own needs – partially because of the fact that I am a man, and much like the stereotypical male, I don’t like to ask for help (a sign of weakness?), and partially because I want to “take care of it myself”.  This is obviously wrong-headed.  After all, seeking help, especially Divine help, is the doorway to Eternal Life.  But far too often, we (I), tend to forget God’s directive to carry everything to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6).  But I have come to a point that I cannot deny that I need help – and the prayers of others.

In a previous post, I listed a few things that are weighing heavily on my heart.  One that I didn’t mention is the apparent unintentional damaging of a relationship with a brother and sister in Christ.  I believe that the biblical avenue towards restoration is through a contrite heart, sincere humility, and loving presentation of the truth, all in a spirit of reconciliation.  Unfortunately, the damage resulting from a misunderstanding and misinterpreting of something said is often done long before any explanation or reality can be.  I have placed the whole issue now in the Lord’s more than capable hands, yet I am still burdened with what I might still could do to reconcile.  I hold on to the promise of Philippians 4:13.

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>A lot on my mind…

>dictionaryI live life with a head full of thoughts.  I know I’m not alone in this, but still – so much floods my mind.  First, I see the great things God has been doing recently here at Park View – from the additions by letter and by baptism, to the incredibly supportive people who continue to encourage me as we all grow in Christ.

But at the same time, this is all somewhat tempered by so many other things – from my Father-In-Law, who as am typing this post is at his first visit with the Oncologist for the lymphoma he was recently diagnosed with.  I see my wife who is trying her best to be strong, keeping a smile and positive attitude, though she can be read like a book – her concern is quite evident.  I see my Mother-In-Law who has never really had to deal with this kind of situation, and really isn’t sure how to feel or act, though the deep concern is quite evident.  And I see my daughters who are both too young to really grasp what is going on with their Papaw.  To be totally honest, this is really my first time dealing with cancer in the immediate family.  I find my mind wandering around, grasping for answers.

Then… I remember so clearly what God has promised – that He will work all things to the good of those who love Him.  We may never (at least while on this earth) truly grasp why these things happen to US, but one thing is certain – God can and will use all to His glory and for our benefit.  I also remind myself each and every day that God is firmly in control – nothing happens outside of His will – either directly, or by His permission.  I read a sign on another church the other day that really kind of sums it up: “Worrying is a waste of time because God is in control”.  How truth that is!

Yet another thing on my mind – something that really is a regular part of my thoughts… is why people do what they do, and act they way they act.  While I can grasp how people who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can freely and unapologetically make really bad decisions and do bad things.  What amazes me is how some who profess such a relationship can also do some of the very same things, say some of the nastiest things, and make decisions that are made without looking to God and the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

And the final two things for this entry:

Addicted – look it up in the dictionary.  Sunday morning, I will preach from 1 Corinthians 16 – leading up to what we SHOULD be addicted too.  I hope you can join us for worship and preaching!  Also – we have prayer at 9:30am, Devotional at 9:45am, and Sunday school for all agest from 10-10:45am.  Park View Kids program runs from 9:45am – Noon for ages 3-12, and a nursery is available.

And Finally – Tomorrow (Saturday, September 25), we are having a Rummage Sale.  We have an amazing assortment of items – from children-adult clothing, electronics, collectibles, furniture, kitchen stuff, technology, and so much more – all for very low prices (and most prices are negotiable!).  We are located at 900 Donovan Briley Blvd., North Little Rock, AR  72118900 Donovan Briley Blvd. North Little Rock, AR.

And as always – visit our web site:  http://www.parkviewonline.org

Have a blessed day!

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>Blessed Day – We need more of them!!!

>The Lord works in amazing ways!  I won’t go into all the things on my heart – but things just were so special today.  King Agrippa was the character of choice for illustrating how so many in the world hear the Gospel, but never actually respond – the proverbial “missed heaven by ‘THIS’ much…”.  It really brought me back to so many experiences in my own life, when I heard the Gospel preached clearly – and how I even may have had some “emotional connection” to the words, but unfortunately didn’t fully accept them – how I too spent many years “nearly convinced to become a Christian”.  This all caused me to be overwhelmed with joy, that God didn’t give up on me – that His forbearance and longsuffering continued until that fatefully day when He once again, via the Holy Spirit, touched my heart with the wonderful Gospel!  

Just what did it take to “convince” you?  Or have you been convinced?  The rich man who died at the same time as the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16) realized too late, that he had missed the truth.  And as the response back to his crying out for Lazarus to go back and warn his brothers reminds us – if they haven’t believed, with all the scriptures and prophets, then one more isn’t going to help.  

Our morning concluded with the baptism of Ms. Annie!  What a joyful time.

The evening message came from 1 Corinthians 14, as another step on the “Blueprint For The Church” series that has stretched most of this year.  This follows up Chapter 13’s focus on spiritual gifts, and their purpose – and addressed the problem with the use of spiritual gifts (or maybe even faked gifts) in the church at Corinth.  My studies led me to pursue two theories on the kind of “gift of tongues” that Paul was specifically addressing.  Dr. John MacArthur goes down the path of paganism – that some in the Corinthian church were practicing their old pagan worship “techniques” that included getting stupid-drunk until they only uttered ecstatic speech until passing out – a definite misuse of the claim to speaking tongues!  Yet another theory that I looked at was that the “tongues” used by the Corinthians was the Hebrew language – that because Hebrew by that time had fallen into “dead language” status – but that some Jewish members of the Corinthian church would sing, read, and preach/teach in Hebrew as a sign of their “superiority” to the gentile believers – thus the reason Paul says that they pray/sing/speak to God, but not to the edification of the church.  

While I am not totally convinced if either, neither, or both of these have some solid foundation, I believe the way the Corinthians were practicing the “gift of tongues” was wrong -either way.  Paul clearly and repeatedly says what the REAL gift of tongues was given for – much as the Day of Pentecost – when people from all over the world, with different heart languages, heard the Gospel in their own native tongue… languages that the Apostles wouldn’t be expected to be able to speak – The purpose was to speak-forth (the general New Testament definition of “prophecy”) the Gospel so that the hearers could understand.  But it was also given as a sign – because there would be no reasonable expectation that the Apostles could speak the wide variety of languages present that day…  A miraculous sign—

So the gift of tongues, as express by Paul and demonstrated over and over, was not about building one’s self up.  It was not to prove any superiority.  It was simply a way of communicating – a sign because it was unknown to the speaker.  And an interpreter so that all could benefit.  The gift was just as every other spiritual gift – to edify the Church and to glorify God.  

The long and short – if we are called by God unto salvation in Jesus Christ, we are endowed with Spiritual Gifts – not for our own use and puffing up, but to strengthen, encourage, and lift up our brothers and sisters, and to aid in the sending forth (or speaking-forth “prophecy”) of the Gospel of Christ.  One of our “jobs” as a local church is to help all believers to discover and USE their spiritual gifts.  Because unused spiritual gifts tend to waste away, or become misused.

Because I didn’t want to be accused of doing what I have specifically said preachers should not do – skipping uncomfortable or controversial passages – I did briefly address verse 25 – Paul’s admonition for women to “not speak in the churches”.  This passage has been so abused that it has lost, for many, any meaning at all.  But when we consider that Paul was addressing a particular people, in a particular time – we can gather, by connecting to the surrounding text, the context.  Paul was addressing disorder.  God’s Word is clear here, and elsewhere, that women are not to usurp men’s proper and biblical roles.  Preaching/prophecy (exhortation) in the regular meeting of the church body is not appropriate, and in fact is a “disgrace”.  God is not the author of confusion – and just as the abuse of the gift of tongues (or the fraudulent misuse as may very well be), women were apparently not being submissive to order in the church.  Paul doesn’t prohibit women from having roles in the work of the church.  He doesn’t even say that women cannot pray or speak publicly.  Instead, he is reinforcing that there is an order to the regular worship in the congregation of the saints – the local church.  By standing up and questioning the speaker (or preacher), by trying to BE the preacher – women were stepping outside their biblical roles, creating disorder.  While this is not a popular interpretation – I believe that linguistically, historically, and contextually, this is on the right track.  

Now that I have opened up a can of worms, I will depart for now!  Until next time…
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