Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Titles: A Caricature Riddle for Discerning the Call to Ministry

Impressive Title “A”
Senior Servant to the Market Vision Paradigm;
Lead Catalyst for Attendance Generation, Statistical Maintenance, Corporate Unit Enlistment, and Organizational Glorification;
Executive Apologist for Spiritual Cosmetology, Abortodiscipleship, Harmartian Camoflage, and Small Group Plan Underachievement;
Doulos of Personal Sacrifice for Para-Biblical Expectations, and Chief Receptionist of Critical Thought and Communications.

Impressive Title “A” is a caricature (exaggerated portrait) of what the American Cultural Church Pastor is becoming. The cultural current is quite brisk.

Alternate Title “B”
Personal Christian Mentor

Alternate Title “B” represents our culture’s words that describe a Biblical Pastor.

Our perspective on ministry may be so far down the cultural corridor that Title “B” seems novel.

One man cannot concentrate on both “A” and “B”.

Pray for our brothers who are expected to fulfill Title “A”.

Consider starting a church where you have an opportunity to seek Title “B”.

Best way to convert from Title “A” to Title “B”?

Consider starting a church where you have an opportunity to seek Title “B”.

Please note: The redeemed in “A” churches and “B” churches are of equal worth to God. Both need Shepherds.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Perspective on Foreknowledge, Predestination, Election and Freewill.

I am not a Calvinist. I am not an Arminian. I am not of Cephas, or Apollos or Spurgeon. I want to be of Christ. The rest of them are dead white European males. God is their judge, not me. They may all be greater than me at the judgment. I can learn from any of them. Frankly, all of them can also learn from all of you.
I am not going to write Bible Study notes. I’m going to “dumb-this-down” so I can proof-read it. Most of you will see where I am coming from and will know what passages I am referring to. My confidence is in the Bible. If you want to ask where such-and-such can be found, then do so. There are many, many folks here that can point it out.

Let me begin by analogy on a topic that I think you will be able to easily agree upon, and then apply the same objectivity to the topics of the title. Note that I have a desire to affect “what you think” and “how you think it”. It might occur to you that the Holy Spirit does the same thing to people all the time.

There is one God. The Father is God, the Son (Word) is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Their identical commonalities far outnumber their differences. The only reason we know there are any differences at all is because God Himself has pointed them out. God is One! It is a mistake to assume or conclude that any differences between Father, Son, and Spirit are significant enough to detract from their unity of being One.

Here is where I apply the analogy to the topics of the title. God has infinite foreknowledge. I think He predestines the route of every photon and the rotation of every electron around every nucleus. I think God knew who would be His before He created everything and decided to do the whole “creation-thing”. I think God has limited freewill. He limits Himself. He won’t lie, He won’t sin. Here is the crux of the matter: All of these attributes of God are primarily ONE. They work together, seamlessly. They are all continually in operation. I think it is a mistake to consider the consequences of one attribute “down-the-line” without considering the rest of the Divine attributes that God has revealed about Himself (like justice, mercy, forgiveness, love and judgment). The understanding of one attribute is enhanced by the way said-attribute is affected by other attributes.

So here is what went down, in my opinion. God decided to create people in His own (spiritual) image, give them limited free will, and then hold them accountable for what they choose. He considered every possible detail of what would happen forever, and then decided to act. The sequence of events have reached this hour; and here we are.

A person has limited freedom to choose. A person (we) can only think about one thing at a time and we are therefore not free to think of many things at the same time. There are virtually infinite numbers of things we could think about (and choose), but we are limited in our ability to do so. We are prevented from thinking of thoughts that never occur to us. Further, (squirrel) we are subject to distractions (scratch nose), and habitual reactions (knee jerks), and to the interference of our thought process by having others put thoughts into our heads. Which, I have been doing for some paragraphs.

Further, I can interfere with your thoughts and freedom to choose and vice-versa. Further, God can interfere with your thoughts and freedom to choose. Freedom of choice is real, but also micro-nebulous. Culpability for our choices is real, and requires an omniscient God to sort it all out.

Frankly, no one has any chance of seeing spiritual truth and repenting, unless God intervenes. How can we assume that we can put thoughts into anyone’s head and influence them (!) but the omnipresent Spirit of God can’t do so or won’t do so? We aren’t even capable of keeping track of all the influences that continually alter our thought direction. God can and does influence people all the time, both lost people and saved people.

Important point: I think that God makes the time to see to it that every person has the freedom to choose to humble himself before God in such a way that God can be just when He holds them accountable for what they choose come judgment day.

Summary: (Some will read this, skip the above, and miss the point)

Foreknowledge, predestination, election and freewill are best understood in the whole.

Foreknowledge is knowing the future in infinite detail, including what everyone will think and what they will choose, including how God, Himself, will influence such thoughts and choices.

Predestination is the certainty that it will unfold the way God has chosen, even while God protects and enables the right of all individuals to make a morally culpable choice (or series of choices) for which He can justly hold them accountable. These instances of “limited freewill” are free enough for God to be just when He judges.

Election is deciding to create a series of spirits who will be destined to freely choose their own final consequence, and that choice will be revealed come judgment day. These spirits are elected in the sense that God knew what they would freely choose when He began the whole creation-thing. God knew, and He decided to “do”.

Freewill is real, but is blown all out of proportion to its actual freedom. But we are righteously held responsible for our choices anyway. I think I need a Savior.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Loving Words of Grace, Part Three

To understand how I am approaching this subject, it is best to read Parts One and Two first.

Every person who is born again through Jesus Christ has the right to choose behaviors (like words) that are pleasing to their Heavenly Father. Indeed, factually, the Holy Spirit of God lives in them. The Holy Spirit is their helper, their teacher, their guide. He will empower them to do (speak, write) what is holy. This means that the Christian’s birthright includes Loving Words of Grace.

It is my hope that you are receiving my words as the promise of something better. It is my hope that your spirit is bearing witness to these words and that you are serious about expressing loving words of grace. I wish we had a lot of examples of people to follow. Selah.

One of the reasons that I spend a lot of time trying to “listen” to myself, is that I think the expressions of sin, or holiness, are useful for spiritual discernment. I can discern whether or not I am quenching the Holy Spirit in my life, or whether I am walking in harmony with Him. It is amazing to me, yet very true, that the Holy Spirit indwells individual Christians. The Infinite God Himself, eternal, everywhere, all knowing and all powerful, dwells within each individual Christian. And yet, we can ignore Him and offend Him and He lets us do so.

What patience the Holy Spirit has with us! What kindness! He possesses us, created us, owns us, and yet does not want what we have. He us unselfish, humble, modest and polite. It is no accident that the attributes in this paragraph are taken directly from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 which defines the love of God.

When we are filled with Him, and walking in harmony with Him, then we are pleasant somebodies who gain much. When we are resisting Him by being unloving, we are annoying nothings that gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Part One).

We can choose to follow the world with sinful words that reject others, or we can follow the Holy Spirit with loving words of grace. We can discern our own heart by keeping track of what flows from our hearts. Thus we can discern the nature of our own spirit. And we can discern the hearts of others. When I am found to utter sinful words of rejection, I need to be rescued from sin. When another utters sinful words of rejection, they need to be rescued from sin. The need is always for a rescue from sin. The need is never to drag another’s name and reputation into disrepute unless it is Biblically directed as part of discipline, of faithfulness. And even then the words should be loving words of grace.

So I end this series with three recommendations. Three things you can do, yourself, to become free of sin. God will have a part in it whether you realize it or not; but He will not do these three things ‘to you’ against your will.

First, believe what the Father says about slander and gossip. When you recognize that you have grown up in a vicious and slanderous nation, then reject the practice of the nation. You can learn the truth of the matter by searching the Bible for such words as gossip, slander, rail and revile. Compare what God says about loving and wholesome communication with what God says about sinful and evil communication. The Word can change you (James 1:21).

Second, humble yourself. If you search, you will find many times when God expects people to humble themselves. When you compare yourself with God, instead of other people, you will come away with a better sense of reality. Reality is accurately discerning your environment. God is the key person wherever you happen to be. His is the important person, everyone else is dust. Only He knows all that is going on, and only He can keep it all in context. Only He knows human motive, often times we don’t even know our own heart. When you humble yourself before the Lord, He gives you grace! You can ignore the grace (for now), but He will give it if you humble yourself.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’”. 1 Peter 5:5

Perhaps this will be a sobering thought for you. God will let you ignore Him and reject His grace. God will not allow you to ignore and reject His opposition. Consider the difficulties you face in this world, and they are all mere vapor in comparison to the fact that the Infinite God will oppose you if you remain proud and will not humble yourself! When God, the ultimate dominating Spirit, who knows more about your life and circumstances than you do, decides to oppose you, then you are as opposed as you can be. He is going to do whatever He wants to do and we are too dull to discern it and too impotent to resist it. There is no plan that will succeed against the Lord.

Far better to choose to walk in submission with Him. We can, if we humble ourselves.

Third, start calling sin “sin”. If God calls my behavior “sin”, then I better call it “sin” too. This also is a good method for discerning the spirit of yourself and others.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us”. 1 John 1:8-10

Several things can easily be understood from the passage above. We can deceive ourselves. Personal deception is not good, personal deception is spiritual blindness. If we confess our sins, He is faithful to cleanse us! We call it sin, and then He actively changes us. Finally, His word is not in those who deny their sins. I strongly suspect that there is a relationship between a person honestly confessing their sins and the person thirsting for God’s word, and treasuring God’s word. A general apology is a shallow start. Calling my sin “an accident” or “a mistake” falls short of the mark. I certainly prefer the company of those who have made a shallow start to the company of those who never, ever, apologize for anything.

Speak Loving Words of Grace. It is a skill as well as a blessing. If it seems like an entirely new language, then God has blessed you with an entirely new way of communicating. Following is a passage that is for all of us. The rights and power of the new birth are eternal and growing. Yes, it gets better and better. We have a great covenant!

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

Grace to us all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Loving Words of Grace; Part Two

Part One should be read before Part Two, or you could find this a little too salty.

It is the Bible-believing Christian’s birthright to communicate with loving words of grace. It is within God’s ideal will for the Christian’s words to be patient, kind, modest, humble, polite, and with a clear attitude that a holy relationship is desired with those who receive such words.

We say and write a great many things. We may be aware of the human consequences that our words ignite. Communication itself is an avenue for sin, and faithfulness to what God has said should result in a humble attitude on our part.

“If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body”. And, “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue (keyboard) is a fire, a world of unrighteousness”. James 3:2, 5, 6

In addition to the visible human consequences of the sins of communication are the spiritual consequences of that sin. Despising the birthright of Loving Words of Grace cannot be thoughtfully done without also despising the time when we must account for what we have said.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak (write), for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36, 37

Since, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (fingers type, Matthew 12:34), it would be well worth our time to consider the way we communicate. If we are not living as we have been called to live, then we are living something less than our birthright. Since “Loving Words of Grace” will not be found by a concordance search, what terms could we use to learn about this topic?

Depending on the English version of the Bible that you use, the warnings against sinful words are related to the terms gossip, slander, railing, and reviling. Slander, railing and reviling are mostly synonymous (mean mostly the same thing). A good guide for learning about the way these terms are translated can be found in the SBC Life article at..

I will address gossip and slander. In using the word slander, it should be noted that you should discover God’s definition from the Bible, and not from the American legal community. Their usage of slander and libel (written slander) are inadequate for discerning God’s intent. It ought not be surprising that American justice is not the final justice, and the American Supreme Court is not the final supreme court.

As used in the Bible, slander is any communication that disparages the reputation of another and is not a part of Biblical discipline exercised through the usage of loving words of grace.

To be as blunt as possible without being rude; slander is using words to drag down someone else without God telling you to do so.

Gossip (often, literally ‘whispering’) is slander where the audience is limited. The person gossiping doesn’t want the ‘dragging down’ of another to go beyond the people the gossiper has chosen. Gossip is still an exercise in slander. When the person gossiping no longer cares who knows what they have to say, it is still slander, not honesty.

How bad is gossip and slander? If we care about being holy, about being like Jesus in this world, then we should take to heart the warnings and instruction that God has given us.

Slander is terrible, it is evil. I have sinned that way. I repent of it. The more clearly I see what slander is, and what it does, the more I reject it and the more I regret the times that I have sought (intentionally or not!) to drag down the reputation of another.

So what does the Bible have to say about how bad slander is? Note the terrible sins that God’s word lists along with slander. The following passages are far less than exhaustive.

Murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness. Matthew 15:19

Evil, murder, deceit, maliciousness, haters of God, insolent, haughty, faithless, ruthless. Romans 1:29, 30

Sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, drunkenness, swindling. 1 Corinthians 5:11

Again, it is a good thing to meditate on what overflows from the abundance of our hearts, because it defines the nature of our heart. I have the chance to seek repentance when I realize I am sinning. I take no comfort in knowing that my slanderous words are mild as compared to the slanderous words of Americans in general.

It is always hopeful to realize that my sins can be forgiven through my whole-hearted faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. This hope is for everyone who follows Him.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers (slanderers), nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you (like me). But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“Washed, sanctified, justified”. That is our hope.

If you are born of God, embrace your birthright and use loving words of grace.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Loving Words of Grace are the Christian’s Birthright

Part One

One Birthright (of many) from the New Birth

A ‘birthright’ is a right given to someone by their birth. Because they have been born, they have a right to something. That ‘something’ is theirs. That ‘something’ belongs to them and they can take advantage of it and use it for themselves or others. It is their right. It belongs to them.

A Christian is born again through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Because they have been born this way, they have a right from God to express loving words of grace. This right to express loving words of grace is yours as a Christian. It belongs to you and you can use it for yourself and others. Since words can be spoken and written, and since we speak and write quite often, it would be offensive to God if we ignore (despise, have contempt for) the right He has given to us. Dare we say, “Lord, I am just not motivated by the rights you have given”?

Esau had the birthright of the firstborn, a double portion of his father’s estate. God saw fit to record Esau’s contempt for the birthright that was his. You are probably familiar with the story found in Genesis 25:29-34.

Esau said, “of what use is a birthright to me?” (25:32)

Thus Esau despised his birthright (25:34). A bowl of beans was more important to him.

Esau’s reputation stands low because of what God has said. I know that I will not please God if I ignore the birthright He has given to me. And I know that God has given to me, and all Christians, the right (by new birth) to communicate with loving and gracious words.

Here is what I mean by ‘grace’. Grace is a favorable attitude toward someone regardless of who they are and what they have done. It means the door is open to that someone for a holy relationship, God’s way.

Here is what I mean by ‘love’ (agape). God defines His love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It is my desire to call attention to the way love affects communication through the spoken and written word. Specifically, “Love is patient and kind; love does not boast; it is not arrogant (proud) or rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5a

I am asserting that God gives all Christians the right to disagree with others through words that are both gracious and loving; even if the disagreement involves sin. May God richly bless this birthright He has given to us; and may we not despise it.

Communicating with Grace

“Let your speech (and writing) always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6

Therefore, the vast majority of our words should be gracious, that is, the vast majority of our words should display a favorable attitude toward the other, so that it is clear that a holy relationship is desired. If we use words that hurt, or cast doubt on the other, then they rightly conclude that we are after a victory over them. The conversation becomes a contest where people get hurt, and any chance of a holy relationship can disappear over the distant horizon. When it is needful to say something ‘salty’ (spicy, it can sting) our words should be few. This is how we ought to answer each person.

And as always, it can be a trial of our faith to do what we ought to do when others are out for victory.

Christians should reflect upon whether the world’s way of debate and argument is godless or not. We affect the lives of others with our words more than we affect them any other way.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths (keyboards) but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Jesus prayed in John 17 that His followers should be one, as He and the Father were one. This comes to pass when we refuse to use talk that corrupts the Christian families’ relationships. No one enjoys being publicly embarrassed and humiliated. And ‘building yourself up’ by sending graceless words at your opponent is a sinful interpretation of this passage. It is not a good thing when we finish a disagreement with the other person doubting whether we want a relationship with them at all.

If we must compete with one another, let it be as follows. “Out do one another in showing honor.”      Romans 12:10

While there are times when we should ‘correct’ and even ‘reprove’ one another (2 Timothy 3:16), it does not follow that such times should lead us to use words in an ungodly way. From time to time Christians should evaluate whether they have been practicing worldly (godless) methods of communication. From kindergarten to grave American Christians are surrounded by multitudes of people who drag each other down for personal gain or satisfaction.

Nevertheless, the Christian birthright is to use loving words of grace. Any victory that requires the use of unholy communication is, by definition, outside of the kingdom of God. It is worthwhile for us to ask if unloving words that reject others are the result of walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. 

Communicating in love

“1  If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4  Love is patient and kind; love does not boast; it is not arrogant (proud) 5  or rude.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-5

Verse 1 says that no matter what I say, if it is not in love (patience, kindness, modesty, humility, politeness) then I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. When we are having a conversation with loving words of grace, building one another up, showing honor to one another, and someone starts repeatedly banging a gong or a cymbal, then meaningful conversation is over! We have a major distraction. Impatient words, mean words, boastful words, proud words and rude words immerse loving and gracious words under annoying noise. Christian fellowship is quenched by sin.

Verse 2 and 3 can be accurately abbreviated by saying that no matter what I think (verse 2) or what I do (verse 3), without love I am nothing. It is not unreasonable to conclude that our words are directly related to our thoughts, and communication itself is something we ‘do’.

Therefore, is it fair to say: “No matter what I say, if it is not in a loving way then I am an annoying nothing who gains nothing”?

But the Christian birthright of speaking loving words of grace offers the blessing of us being “Pleasant somebodies who gain something”. I am confident that God sees things this way. It is worthwhile for Christians to consider who it is that they want to please. Choose to please God.

This idea of ‘loving words of grace’ is too idealistic!

I think God disagrees that it is too idealistic. Rather, it is just ‘ideal’.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Matthew 5:48

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15, 16

Choosing the virtue of ‘loving words of grace’ is no more impractical than our Lord’s words about perfection and holiness. Indeed, loving words of grace are needed to fulfill perfection and holiness.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Master and our Savior from sin. If you do not reject Him as your Master, then He will also save you from the wrath that follows the Day of Judgment. And our words are a major part of that Day.

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (hand writes). The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak (write), for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37

Loving words of grace will be a normal part of eternal life when sin is removed!

The above statement is easy to agree with, right?

You may have just unwrapped a major insight. Eternal life begins the moment you are born again. Eternal life can be yours right now. Live it now. Sin is the problem. Eternal life being ‘far off’ is not the problem.

“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” 1 Timothy 5:11, 12

Believe that eternal life is for now. Get rid of the sin. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. Let loving words of grace build others up. It is your right by the new birth. Don’t despise this birthright, treasure it. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

As Citizens; vote your preference. As Christians; Clean Your OWN House!

Yes, I am also unhappy with what the United States is doing in regard to defining marriage.

Yes, I am glad that many are working politically against the trend of redefinition. Vote! Lovingly and faithfully express your political opinion.

But I want to ask you: How many 'signs of the times' do you need before you can predict the final destination? Why believe that a secular nation will care about what God has said? It is time for the remnant to own the responsibility of teaching the truth of God to their own family. It is time for the remnant to put significant effort into preparing their own to endure with faithfulness and love the times that will come.

It is time for the church (ecclesia) to actually 'come out' of the world; and this is clearly seen as the world does not want your influence. The United States of America is NOT the Kingdom of God. Faithful Christians are citizens of the Kingdom first. 

Christians are still free to emphasize God’s purpose of marriage. Why wait until the concept of ‘marriage’ is further maimed within our culture? Perhaps we could equip our congregations with what is right in God’s eyes whether the culture ever agrees or not.

I wonder, should we ignore the need for our young people to know about God’s purpose of marriage? Perhaps you do not ‘feel’ a need to set the whole culture right. Can’t we try to equip the next generation with the truth of God?

So I am putting up a ‘model’; a ‘work in progress’, of what could be said as part of the wedding ceremony. I am looking to others to give improvements.

This post is only about constructing the words of a wedding ceremony that is faithful to the Words of God.


Hello Everyone,

We are gathered here, in the presence of God, as witnesses to what is about to take place. We are here to see and hear the commitment that {Groom} and {Bride} are making in this public setting.

{Groom} and {Bride} are entering into a covenant with God and each other, to live together as husband and wife, with the presence of God, Himself, as the primary blessing of their union.

While American marriage is little more than a social contract; Christian marriage is a Covenant first, and a contract second. The Covenant is major, and binding for their lifetimes. The contract is legally binding, but far less meaningful. Only wickedness or death will break the Covenant. They are about to commit themselves to God and one another for the rest of their lives. This is a holy moment.

{Prayer}  “Holy God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Judge of All Mankind, we come before you in humility and faith in your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to ask for your blessing upon {Groom} and {Bride}. They have faith in You, and give themselves entirely to you, knowing that you will lead them throughout their lives; through better times and worse, though richer or poorer, through sickness and health, ‘till death do they part, or the Lord Jesus Christ, returns.”

“We acknowledge our sins before you though we cannot fathom how terrible they are. We thank you for your gracious gift of forgiveness through Christ’s blood, shed on the cross. We hope to live eternal life in your presence, through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and through your Holy Spirit living in us.”

{Groom}, do you take {Bride} to be your Christian wife, to love her as Christ loved the church, to give yourself up for her, to encourage her growth in Christlikeness, to lead your family in the holy spiritual priorities of:  personal repentance, personal humility, confession of your own sin, willingness to forgive, Christian love, and continuous meaningful discipleship under the leadership of God’s Holy Word and Holy Spirit?

{Groom} “I agree, and I will do it!”

{Bride}, do you take {Groom} to be your Christian husband, to submit to him as to the Lord, as the church itself submits to Christ, to encourage his growth in Christlikeness, to lead in the holy spiritual priorities of:  personal repentance, personal humility, confession of your own sin, willingness to forgive, Christian love, and continuous meaningful discipleship under the leadership of God’s Holy Word and the Holy Spirit?

{Bride} “I agree, and I will do it!”

{Groom}, if you are committed to this action, then repeat after me; “{Bride}, with this ring, I pledge my life and love, and enter this marriage covenant with God and you, in the name of the Father, and Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

{Bride}, if you are committed to this action, then repeat after me; “{Groom}, with this ring, I pledge my life and love, and enter this marriage covenant with God and you, in the name of the Father, and Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Since {Groom} and {Bride} have freely entered into a marriage covenant before all of you, you are asked to pray for them and encourage them to remain faithful to their commitments to God and each other.

{Prayer} “Sovereign Lord, you have entered into covenant with your children, {Groom, first name} and {Bride, first name}, we ask in Jesus’ name that you seal this covenant, and bless them abundantly, that your love* may abound in them more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to your own Glory and Praise. Amen”

According to our Lord’s own word; “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Amen, and Amen.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you {Husband and Wife, named as they desire}.

{To husband}, You may modestly kiss the bride.


Again, this is only a first ‘model’, I welcome your suggestions.

It is all worthy of thought.

*Philippians 1:9-11

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I am Warning others about YOU; when you warn them sinfully.

These are truly interesting times. It would appear that contemporary Christians need more experience with discerning right and wrong. The basic discernment of right and wrong should not be taken for granted.

The brothers in the New Testament had some difficult things to say about Judas, Alexander the metalworker, and others. Yet they also had more dramatic things to say about gossip and Biblical slander.

“they learn to be…gossips…saying what they should not. …For some have already strayed after Satan.”  1 Timothy 5:13, 15 ESV (lifted accurately out of context)

“..a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness,…They are gossips, slanderers,….Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”  Romans 1:28, 29, 30, 32  ESV (accurately abbreviated and lifted accurately out of context)

A whole lot more could be quoted. It seems like we are appalled at religious groups and denounce other religious groups who are too timid to be decisive about ministerial pedophilia or the ordination of lesbian bishops; but cannot see our own wickedness.

While we may each view Baptist life from our own preference regarding “us” and “them”, conspiracy theories, and personal annoyances; I think it is important to remember that we can sin in the way we talk of others. I doubt it is a good idea to ignore what God says is sin; and let our words run passionate without regard for what God may think about our words.

Surely it is possible to gossip about, and Biblically slander (insert the name of a person who peeves you here) __________________________ .  Surely it is possible to gossip about, and slander even Judas or Alexander the metalworker.

I find it impossible to believe that those who do so are led by the Holy Spirit.

If I warn you about someone and I am gossiping; beware of me first.

Woe is me. Woe is we.