Help My Doubt

Faith seeking reason- Mark 9:24

Overflow- Postlude

My delegate and I returned from a denominational conference in Florida on Saturday night and tried to share our experience with everyone during worship. For my part I continued working from God’s use of David in earlier history and James in more recent history of the church.

My conclusions were that God wants us to submit to our leadership by trusting His Spirit’s work through them. I think that was probably hard for our people to hear. I have been critical of our leadership but have confessed that as sin. There are times to criticize leadership but not the way I was doing it.

Another conclusion I think was hard to hear was my conviction that we are ready to, and must, make ministry to those outside our church a higher priority. There is a time for introspection and membership care but I have worked with our leaders to do that for 6 years and now, as James said, “it seems good to us and the Holy Spirit…that we should not make it hard for the outsiders who are turning towards God”.  God loves sinners much more than we are and I confessed my unloving attitude too.

I’m already feeling less excited as my soul returns to the daily grind but my convictions remain. In the months ahead I will be talking with our leaders to see how God can guide our worship, small groups and work teams into more inviting ministries for our neighbors without abandoning God’s family. Change takes time and it is ultimately God’s work in the heart and mind but I think we all know it is necessary. Love is patient.  God is love.

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April 26, 2010 Posted by | Sermons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Annual Conference- Prelude

Our Bishop called hundreds of our churches spanning multiple conferences on the east coast to a combined conference in Florida this year. Of course, I am excited about the idea of going to a hotel in a much warmer state but I also believe there is spiritual power in his leadership.

During worship this week I reviewed the way God used David to rebuild faithfulness and unity in Israel when he inherited the throne from Saul. I also reviewed the way God used Peter to guard and grow faithful unity in Jerusalem when there was sharp disagreement regarding the place of Old Testament law in the life of Gentile believers.  Both occasions seemed to require significant sacrifice of time and money but for good reason.

Given the sad state of the church in our country at the present time I think it could very well be God’s will to use our leaders to rebuild and grow faithful  unity in our church. We do have worldliness which needs to be corrected. We do have cultural confusion which needs guidance from God.  I am excited about our leader’s call to meet in Florida and I can’t wait to come back and share with my brothers and sisters in Christ what the Spirit is saying to our church.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Sermons | Leave a comment

The Christian Journey (13): Secret Societies

This is a fairly strange doctrine to me because I know so little about secret societies. I have never been invited to join one and no one in my family has ever been a member. I have a few friends who belong to the Lion’s club or even Freemasonry but we have not talked about it. Nevertheless, our church leaders have found it important enough to address and have done so for hundreds of years.

Our doctrine states (in part):

“The Christian’s supreme loyalty is to Jesus Christ who is Lord. In every association Christians must keep themselves free to follow Christ and obey the will of God. Therefore, as members of the Free Methodist Church we abstain from membership in secret societies.”

The logical question is whether individual  secret societies actually challenge a Christian’s loyalty to Jesus.  I used the Masons as an example.  While they would certainly deny any competition with Christianity, their doctrine requires members to take this oath:

“I…do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that I will always hail, ever conceal and never reveal any of the arts, parts or points of the secret arts and mysteries of ancient Freemasonry which I have received, am about to receive, or may hereafter be instructed in… (always on penalty of mayhem and violent death; quoted from “The Deadly Deception: Freemasonry Exposed…By One of its Top Leaders”, by Jim Shaw and Tom McKenney, p.138)”.

There are many more examples of ungodly requirements in Freemasonry but this promise makes it clear that they expect their members to be secretly loyal even when the loyalty conflicts with their loyalty to Jesus.

God warned His children about such things many times in history. Freemasonry is an example of why God says, “14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14), and that is why we have a doctrine against secret societies in our church.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Sermons | Leave a comment

The Christian Journey (12): False Worship

What do witches have to do with Easter? That’s the question I tried to answer as my voice failed almost completely.

By combining God’s word given through Moses and also given through John, in his 1st letter rather than his gospel, I tried to describe our worthy object of worship. We are not to love the “world” which worships created things like nature or spirits. Rather, we should love Jesus who created the world and died to free us from the curse of sin.

It was nice to see the excitement that Easter created again this year. It feels good to be with others who understand and desire true worship.

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Sermons | Leave a comment