Good evening brothers and sisters,
This past Tuesday evening, a number of us were treated to a very helpful and interesting presentation of the ministry in which Mike McCabe is/was engaged. I say “was” for the simple reason that, at this point, he has no idea whether or not he and his family will be allowed back into China. Things are in great flux at this juncture.
While the persecution of Christians in China is not widespread at this point, China’s current Premier, Li Keqiang, seemingly, is committed to eradicating Christianity in his country. More and more pressure is being put on various “unregistered” churches. Of course we understand that trying to get rid of Christianity is a fool’s errand. Better to try to stop the waves of the ocean from crashing upon the shore than to try to stop the spread of Christianity. Historically, intense persecution of Christians has resulted in even greater growth.
Mike gave us a glorious example of just that sort of response to persecution. One of the churches he was involved with was forced out of their building and all of their property, including a library of in excess of 3,800 books, was confiscated. This dispersion of the believers there led to the establishment of two churches of about 100 each. Within six months, each church grew to about 200 members. Due to space limitations, each of those 2 churches planted another church of about 100 each. All 4 churches continue to grow so that within 3 years, there were 4 churches, each with a membership of roughly 200 members. Clearly, the action of shutting down the first of these churches did not have the desired effect. Rather it led to the formation of 4 churches, each the size of the original church. So much for stamping out Christianity in China.
This Lord’s Day we will be giving consideration to the second of three nouns from our Vision Statement that serve to identify the means by which we may reflect the glory of God. We exist to reflect the glory of God in our passion for, our devotion to and exaltation of Lord Jesus Christ. We will be addressing the question, “What does devotion to Christ look like…what will it entail?” I will get the completed Order of Worship out to you in the next day or so.
Please be sure to pray for Pastor Tim. Tomorrow evening he will be interviewed and examined by members of the Candidates and Credentials Committee of POH…Presbytery of Ohio. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle in finalizing our call to him to be the next pastor of CCOPC. That interview and examination will take place in Columbus, OH at Grace OPC. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. If any of you want to make the trek over, you are more than welcome to do so. Our Presbytery meetings are always open to anyone unless sensitive material is to be discussed.
Each year the Lebanon public library comes out two times (once in June and again in July) to use our building for a story time for any children in the area. They always leave a good number of books for various age groups. This year they (apparently) were not cleared to do the story time but they were permitted to bring out books to our building. Soo0, on the pew sitting in the middle entrance, you will find a goodly number of books that are free for the taking…first come, first served. I cannot vouch for the quality or content of any of those books so, parents, you will need to exercise due diligence in making sure the content is appropriate. This is the last date these books will be available. What remains will go to Goodwill.
Please remember that this Lord’s Day is Feet ‘n Eat at Turkey Run State Park. Brian has secured the Newby Gulch Shelter for us. It looks like we’re going to have decent weather, although a bit on the warmish side, but no complaints here.
The following Lord’s Day (July 7) our Fellowship Meal will have a “cookout” theme. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. Weather permitting, we will be outdoors. The Deacons will provide the burgers and dogs then each family can bring a couple of side dishes to share with one another. To be on safe side, you might also bring whatever condiments your family perfers. As always, be sure to bring enough to feed your family. Also, be sure to bring chairs, blankets, etc. to sit on as we “picnic” together. If the weather does not cooperate, we will still plan on grilling outdoors but eating indoors. I’m not sure who the chefs are that will be doing the grilling, but we have several “grill masters” in our midst.
· June 30–Feet ‘n Eat at Turkey Run State Park
· July 7– Fellowship Meal…the theme for July’s pitch-in will be “cookout”
· July 14–Young Adults Fellowship Group
· July 21–Adults Fellowship Group (westsiders)
· July 28–Neighborhood Fellowship
All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.― John Calvin
God will try our faith before he satisfies our sight.― William Bates
God is honoured by our scrupulous obedience. —Alec Motyer
Despite what our culture tells you, real joy is not found in listening to yourself; it’s found in listening intently to God. —Matt Smethurst
We pursue sexual sin not because our hedonism is too strong but because our hunger for pleasure is so small we settle for a cheap imitation of the real thing: porn. —Benjamin Vrbicek
Suffering is not an embarrassment to the Christian faith. It is the thread with which Christ’s name is stitched into our lives. —Rebecca McLaughlin
Christ calls human beings to humble, but not to stifle, their intellect. —John Stott
Richard D. Phillips
Given what World Magazine once called a “major, well-funded push” to promote the acceptance of evolution among evangelical Christians, the case must be persuasively made against the compatibility of evolution and the Bible. In answer to a pro-evolutionary stance, I am one of those Bible teachers who believe that the implications of evolution involve sweeping changes to the Christian faith and life.
While I appreciate the moderate spirit of many who want to find a way to accept evolution alongside the Bible, I find that the more radical voices are here more helpful. For instance, I share the view of Peter Enns in the conclusion to his book The Evolution of Adam, writing that “evolution… cannot simply be grafted onto evangelical Christian faith as an add-on,” but requires a fundamental rethinking of doctrines pertaining to creation, humanity, sin, death, and salvation. READ MORE…
10 Things to Know about What the Bible Teaches on God and Human Government
The following is adapted from J. Budziszewski, Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action (Baker Academic, 2006). READ MORE…
Love & Believing the Best – Refresher
It was a few months after surgery and the bills started arriving. Thirty thousand for this, forty for that. My medical bills were racking up. Thankfully, the co-op to which I belong (and my godly wife) had a handle on things and were coming through in the clutch. But there was one reimbursement that was absent, and it was a big one. A check from a co-op member in the sum of several thousand dollars was supposed to come in to pay the hospital, but it was late. One month. Then two. I lost my cool on more than on occasion. “Where is that check?!” “Who is this person keeping us hanging like that?” “Don’t they know that we have six-figure bills here?”
Then my wife got the letter. Along with the check was an apology from the individual. “I am so sorry that this is late. I have cancer and am going through rounds of chemotherapy right now, and, because of that, have been experiencing memory loss.” READ MORE…
Piper: No Desire to Read the Bible?
I’ve learned a lot from this book so far, as I usually do from John Piper. This excerpt here is the best part I’ve read so far. It touches on something I’ve experienced and I imagine you have too. He’s discussing the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 119:36, “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.”
Over the years in my pastoral ministry, many people have complained to me that they do not have motivation to read the Bible. They have a sense of duty that they should, but the desire is not there. It is remarkable how many of those people feel that the absence of the desire is the last nail in the coffin of joyful meditation on God’s word. READ MORE…
Why Men Can Speak on Abortion
It seems silly this objection is given so much attention. Unfortunately, any male pro-life advocate involved in the abortion debate will eventually, at one time or another, hear something like the following protest from an abortion-choice female:
You’re a man. Men can’t get pregnant. Abortion is a women’s issue. Therefore, you can’t speak on abortion.
Or the more popular slogan, “No uterus, no opinion.” Pro-life advocates have been quick to offer persuasive rejoinders. READ MORE…
The Heart of the Calvinist-Arminian Divide
Pastor John, today’s question will prompt a lot of thoughts about the distinction between Calvinism and Arminianism when it comes to the power of God’s grace. As listeners may know, you are hoping to finish up a big, new book project on God’s providence this summer. I know these questions about God’s sovereignty are on the front of your mind. Here’s the email.
“Hello, Pastor John! I’m a 26-year-old man in full-time ministry working primarily with collegiate golfers. In a recent Bible study, one of the older men in our group brought up the topic of ‘prevenient grace’ — the idea that the Holy Spirit enables everyone to potentially believe, if they choose to cooperate. I was unprepared in the moment. I am Reformed and believe wholly in the sovereignty of God in salvation. I believe we are saved by grace, through faith, and this faith is not our ‘own doing’ but is rather a ‘gift of God,’ coming to the elect from outside of us (Ephesians 2:8). But I was really unprepared to respond in that moment. I’d love to hear your answer. How do you address ‘prevenient grace’?” READ MORE…
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.” J. Gresham Machen
“When Christ calls a man – he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer