Great opportunites this week to understand Islam!

Check out the speaking schedule of James White.  Please note the various meetings this week concerning Islam: Thursday and Sunday evenings, and Saturday afternoon.  I plan on trying to get to several if not all of them.  I recommend them to you because we live in a changing community, and these types of events can help us to better live with and witness to our neighbors.
James White Schedule
James White Schedule

A/V and some comments on Apostasy

Two new audio sermons have been posted on the website, with some video soon to follow!

I know that some of you are upset and concerned about Kevin Cordle’s situation.  Please continue to pray for both him and his family.  I also recently received a letter from “Grace to You” that details the same type of situation:

“It grieves me to bring you sad news from within our own ministry family about someone who has walked away from the Lord. Several months ago, we received a shocking, heartbreaking letter. It was from a long-time listener and supporter of Grace to You named Steve. His short note explained in stark, simple language that he has rejected Christ, turned his back on the church, and wants nothing further to do with our ministry. He wrote:

‘Over many years I have been blessed to receive free tapes, CDs, and books from your ministry. Thank you. At the time, I really appreciated them.

Now I no longer believe in the God of the Bible or in Jesus Christ. Ten years of full-time ministry proved to me that there is no God and that the God of the Bible does not care. I now reject Christianity and have come to peace. What was at first a great loss has now turned to joy, peace, and freedom. I did not leave the faith because of some extreme sin. I left because the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all a fantasy. I’m happy I now live in the real world.'”

Someone asked me about situations like these, and this was my response to them in an email:

“I like the contrast between ‘head’ knowledge and ‘heart’ knowledge. He may have known some things intellectually, without ever fully believing them in his heart.

John spoke about this kind of thing in 1 John 2:19:

‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.’

If his conversion was genuine, then he will come back, and this will just be a dark time in his spiritual journey.  If he was not really converted, then my prayer is that he will finally repent and believe.”

Summer Sermon Schedule

I saw several people pick up a copy of the church covenant from the back table this past Sunday.  I’ve mentioned it on my pastor’s blog, but I thought that I would also take this opportunity to let you know what’s up for the rest of the summer.

For several years now the elder board has been talking about our church and its identity.  As you know, there is a lot of talk about vision statements, mission statements, and core values in our society today.  In trying to wrestle with these ideas/issues, we discussed different ways of approaching the questions, and even went so far as to start the “envisioning” process from scratch.  However, numerous obstacles arose.  Last year Herb Moen pointed out that we did have a church covenant that could form the basis for our discussion. What a concept!  Especially considering some of the literature out there that talks about the importance of an organization’s DNA and how difficult it can be to change it.

So we looked at the covenant, and came up with what we think is a good document that is more contemporary and sums up our core values as a church.  We’re going to spend the next couple of months studying it on Sunday morning, and then we’re going to have an opportunity to discuss it together and vote on it at a church business meeting.  I’ve attached both covenants as a word file, and here is the sermon schedule for the summer (the titles may change, but the idea’s won’t):

June 7  “Proverbs on Age”

June 14  “Proverbs on Drinking”

June 21  “Proverbs on Parenting”

June 28  “Why Church Membership?”

July 5   “The Basis for Church Membership”

July 12  “Why Believer’s Baptism?”

July 19  “Why a Covenant, Anyway?”

July 26  “The Importance of Being a Caring Community”

August 2  “The Importance of Personal and Family Devotions”

August 9   “The Importance of Corporate Worship”

August 16   “The Importance of Persistent Evangelism”

August 23   “The Importance of Systematic Giving”

August 30   “The Importance of Ethical Living”

Sept. 6   “The Importance of Ongoing Discipleship”

We also have some neat ideas/programs for this fall, so stay tuned for more!  And take a moment to look around on Sunday morning.  There are a lot of new faces that we need to welcome.  Your next best friend my be sitting near you (per Sunday’s sermon!).

Mission updates/opportunities

Please don’t forget about our upcoming mission’s luncheon on June 7th.  Paul and Christina Eckhoff will be sharing with us as we enjoy our potluck lunch.  I’m looking forward to sampling all of the dishes!

Also, Dan Utley will be with us on July 5th to talk about his new ministry direction.  He is now working with SCORE International to help churches in the U.S. to build relationships with churches in other countries.  One way that he helps is by arranging mission trips to other countries.

Dan has some openings for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in August (8-15).  The purpose of the trip is to “minister to Dominican churches, missionaries, and people through service, encouragement and authentic love.” The basic cost for the trip is $1495,  and you must have a valid passport and have your polio and tetanus shots up to date.  Please let me know if you need Dan’s contact information.

Even if you can’t go on the trip, you can still help.  Dan is asking that we collect coloring books, crayons, small bottles of bubbles, Spanish Tracts, children’s clothing, small toys, and stuffed animals.  He’ll be able to pick it all up when he is here in July.  He is also looking for monetary gifts to take with him in order to purchase food items to distribute to poor families in the Sugarcane Villages.