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What Donald Trump Should Have Said After Charlottesville

What Donald Trump Should Have Said After Charlottesville.

In 1977, the ACLU defended the right of the Ku Klux Klan to march through Skokie, Illinois, through a neighborhood where many survivors of the Holocaust lived, and even defended the KKK’s right to wear Swastikas! The motive of the KKK was not love, but hate. Yet the ACLU argued that censoring certain speech or forms of expression gave the government too much power that could be used against any particular group of people at any time, if that group fell out of favor. In other words, if the KKK could be censored and not permitted to march, so too could gay pride marches be banned.

The ACLU holds that the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech, also protects the rights of those who express things we hate and find repulsive. The Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Illinois found that merely expressing reprehensible views is not a legitimate reason to suppress that speech, no matter how offensive it is. The First Amendment is necessary to a democracy and to a free people, lest the government begin to decide who does and who does not have the right to speak. If that right is lost to the people, then whatever majority is in power can then take away our right to speak and protest.

By the same token, freedom of speech does not justify any violence in support of those views. But equally, it does not extend a right to others to use violence to stop, prevent or oppose those views. Unfortunately, we saw violence of both sides of this clash in Charlottesville, and it is symptomatic of our deep divide in our country. Racism is hatred, and it isn’t right; but opposing hate with hatred does not end racism.

The question we face is whether we are willing to abandon the right of free speech and destroy our history and our democracy, simply because some group expresses hateful or offensive ideas? If we do, we are becoming the very thing we say we hate… we become like the Nazi Party or the Communist Party, where any views that do not align with the party line can be oppressed, punished by force and imprisonment. We know where that ends. It ends in a dictatorship or madness like we have witnessed with ISIS.

In the 1960’s, the governments of several states tried to prevent Civil Rights marches with billy clubs and water hoses. They beat the protestors, threw them in jail, and murdered some. Yet the federal government protected their right to speak, to march and to protest. Today, we are required to do the same for all factions of our society; whether they be in the minority or the majority; whether they be right or wrong.

So the question is, how should we respond to those who espouse hatred of any race or class of people?

Martin Luther King, Jr. faced this same problem in the Civil Rights movement. He said that God had called us to love our enemies, but he did not call us to like our enemies, for that would be “impossible.” It is impossible to like those who hate you and want to abuse you, but it is possible to love them. To love them means you might have to suffer in order to change their conscience. His eloquent defense of non-violent protest is recorded in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail. I encourage everyone to read it.

That being said, the actions that led to the death of the innocent, produced by this same hatred that caused the death of many Civil Rights workers, can be punished by force of law. But if we respond to hate with hate, we have become no better than those who oppose us. Hate will not bring reconciliation or cause our nation to come together as one people. And we also need to grow up as a people. We cannot hide ourselves from every offensive thought or remark. We cannot put up safe zones that protect us from every “trigger” or wall ourselves off from everything that makes us uncomfortable. The free flow of ideas in a democracy requires us to listen and hear the ideas of others. It does not require us to agree with those views, but we must be willing to endure them.

That which unites us as a people, is greater than what divides us, if we will focus on love and helping one another. And as a government, we may disagree with what someone says, but we must also defend to the death their right to say it. That is the meaning of free speech.

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The Church Unleashed

The Church Unleashed….

From a conference with Frank R. Tillapaugh   who wrote: Unleashing the Church: Getting People Out of the Fortress and into Ministry

Bear Valley Baptist Church grew from 100 to 10,000 in a decade.

Principle 1:  Everyone on the wall.

Nehemiah 4:7-18 “ But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. In Judah it was said, ‘‘The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.’’ And our enemies said, ‘‘They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.’’… So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’’ When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.

Principle 2.  Everyone Has a calling From God and all are called to be ministers of salvation.

Ephesians 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,  to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Principle 3: How to find your calling by asking God and listening to his answers.

Examples:

MOPS Ministry,  Mothers of Preschoolers, started by a high school graduate stay at home mom. http://www.mops.org/about/history/

Sports Speakers Evangelistic Dinner meetings.

Locally:  CEF, Carpenter’s Helpers, Crisis Bread Basket. Nursing Home visitations, etc.

Not everything has to be huge to be God’s Will.

Principle 4:  Guidelines for Para-church Ministries

1. Stay out of Moral Trouble

2. Stay out of doctrinal trouble

3. Run it by the leadership, just for safety’s sake.

4. Don’t ask the pastor to run the ministry (it is Your Ministry that God gave You!)

5. When you bring it to the congregation to ask for volunteers or helpers if you need them, trust God with the outcome. i.e., if you don’t get the help you need, it may not be the right time or possibly  it isn’t the Lord’s will.

Mission vs. Maintenance

NASA, the Early years vs Later Years

What is the Church?   1577 ekklesia ekklesia {ek-klay-see’-ah}

1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly

   1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating

Who is the Church then:  is it buildings? carpet? 

You are the Church

The Great Commission is:

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in {Or into} the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’’

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Law, Lawlessness and Legalism

Law, Lawlessness & Legalism.

Gary talked last week about judging, and the way “Judge not, lest you be judged” has been misinterpreted to mean that no matter what anyone does, we should not judge the behavior. He pointed out that we are not to condemn someone for their sins, lest we get condemned for ours, but that does NOT mean we are not to discern what is right and wrong, or identify certain behaviors as sin.

We have all known people or been in churches where we have felt their judgment. This judgment often takes the form of Religious Legalism and the pointed finger of accusation. This judgment can come as a result of real, bad behavior, or sin, like stealing; or it can come from religious legalism about externals like length of hair, card playing, make up, dancing, and the color of the carpet in church. Because of this legalistic attitude, in reaction to it, people often begin to err on the other extreme of lawlessness. They often appeal to Grace, implying that if you are for grace then you really shouldn’t judge anyone’s behavior and everything is acceptable to God because God doesn’t judge and he loves everyone. True enough, he does love everyone, but that does not mean he approves of everyone’s actions.

Now today, most people who think grace means you shouldn’t judge then means that you shouldn’t judge whether homosexuality, fornication, abortion or adultery are wrong. They immediately want to apply grace to sexual behaviors. And if anyone says these things are wrong, then these Christians are being legalistic and judgmental.

Today I want to talk about the Law and Paul’s understanding of Grace. While today, most people want to apply grace to homosexuality and sex outside of marriage, the same people are not very graceful if you happen to be Conservative Christians, nor are they tolerant of racists and rapists. In other words, even their tolerance and grace only goes so far. The same people who don’t want anyone to judge sexual behaviors will furiously judge racists and rapists. At the same time, they may give Islamic legalists a pass….weird … My point is, they too judge lawbreakers, only certain types of lawlessness.

First of all we must ask, “what is the purpose of the Law?” The Law was given to protect us from harm and to protect others from us doing harm to them. I compare the Law to a sign post that says: Bridge Out Ahead!
bridge out

Now if someone says, I don’t care what that sign says, I’m going to do what I want and rushes straight ahead anyway, ignoring the signpost or the law, doesn’t make it right. You end up like this:ignoring the bridge out sign

The Law defines sin, and the problem with sin is that it distorts the image of God in us. It is less than God desires for us. It damages us and enslaves us. We know the power of sin in addiction to drugs, alcohol, lust, pornography, greed, seeking power over others, and low self-esteem, physical abuse, self-hatred, shame, and guilt. God hates sin because it does damage to us and to the Creation. And sin causes us to do harm to others.

The problem with the Law, Paul stated is that while the “Law is Good” it is powerless to stop sinful behavior or sinful desire. In fact, the very command ‘not to lust’ for example, turned lust into a forbidden fruit and made the temptation to sin all the more powerful. (Romans 7). So people responded, “Well if I can’t stop sinning, I might as well give into it and let Grace cover me with forgiveness.” Paul faced this situation in Corinth, where a man started sleeping with his father’s wife. Paul’s reaction was furious to think that his message of God’s grace in Christ could be so seriously misinterpreted to mean that any kind of behavior was now lawful.

“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, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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

Well, you might say, if the law won’t help us be good, and grace doesn’t mean that we can go on sinning on purpose, then what do we do?

Paul’s answer is Holiness. And we will get to that in a minute.
Romans 6:13-23 “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:13-23

So, how can Paul preach grace and that all sins are forgiven, and preach that the Law is no longer binding on us, yet still believe certain things are evil and sin?

First of all, there are two meanings to the word Law:
1. A moral standard of right and wrong written down in a legal code
2. The Jewish Religious Law called the Torah.
When Paul says we are not justified by the law, he means that neither following the Torah or the legal code will save us, because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Everyone needs forgiveness through Jesus Christ. His argument against the Law though in Galatians and Romans is against requiring people to follow the religious codes of the Torah, like how long your hair should be, what foods to eat, whether to be circumcised, etc. These things have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ and are no longer binding.

But the MORAL law, the standard of right and wrong, has never passed away because it reflects the righteous character of the Holy God of Love. Paul is saying that lying, cheating, stealing, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, adultery, murder, etc. are still WRONG. And living in those ways is incompatible with the life of faith.

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’’and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

So, if all fall short in attitude of the heart if not in deeds, and if we can’t make it into heaven by being good people and following the law, then how can Paul or God expect us to be moral?

I have to give you the short version here, because this sermon is already too long. If you are in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit of the Living God lives in you and He is righteous and will lead you into good desires and guide you into right conduct, and above all will lead you to love your neighbor as yourself…. IF YOU WILL YIELD to Him and not insist upon your selfish ways. Paul is saying that through Jesus and new covenant has been written into your hearts, where you and your conscience know the difference between right and wrong. God has called you to a higher righteousness than merely obeying the legal requirements of the law, he has called you into Holiness, and to dwell with him in holy fellowship. You cannot continue to sin on purpose and be immoral and live in holiness. Paul expects you to be holy.
I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people – Leviticus 26:11, 12
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more – Jeremiah 31:31-34

So, how do we treat others who are disobeying the moral law of God.
1. We are to love them, just as God loved us when we were still in sin and separated from him.
2. We are not to approve, endorse, or justify sin. You can’t say homosexuality or fornication is right, when the moral law of God says it is worthy of death, no matter what the culture tells you you should believe and approve of.
Why don’t we just go along with unrighteousness and call evil good ? Because it is harmful to them and it is not loving.
This holiness is now accomplished by the agency of the Spirit who is able to do in us what we could not do for ourselves:
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do…so that the JUST REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit – Romans 8:1-5, NRSV
Thus the Holy Spirit enables us to be a holy people, and Paul cannot separate the demand of God for holiness in us from the saving and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. It is not human works of the law that produce holiness in us, but the Spirit. The reason that sexual impurity and idolatry are forbidden and excluded from the NT community is that they violate the norms of love; and love is the character of holiness… So the Law of Christ is the Law of Love, but it is not a law that is empty of content. The “just requirements” of the Law now fulfilled in us by the Spirit – in Paul’s mind – necessarily include sexual purity, no thievery, no idolatry, no homosexuality, etc. (I Cor. 6:9). And so there is no contradiction between the idea of being saved by faith through grace, not by works of the flesh, and the new Law of Love, which reflects the character of God in sanctified conduct. We are to be holy because He is holy. Any other lifestyle is incompatible with the character of holiness that now lives in us because a Holy God lives within us, and such conduct defiles his dwelling place.

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Invention #2 in Cm

Invention #2 in Cm PDF File

Invention #2 in Cm ©1985 Jefferis Kent Peterson, Baroque Style Invention

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Come to the Table – A Communion Hymn

Click for the Score

COME TO THE TABLE

Chorus :
COME TO THE TABLE
HE’S WAITING FOR YOU
THE BREAD IS PREPARED
AND THE WINE IS THERE TOO

COME TO THE TABLE
IT’S WAITING FOR YOU
LET YOUR SINS BE FORGIVEN,
YOUR LIFE BE RENEWED

Verses:
FOR THE SAVIOR SPREADS OUT HIS ARMS OPEN WIDE
AND IN LOVE HE BIDS YOU TO COME
TASTE OF FORGIVENESS,
HE’S POURED OUT HIS BLOOD:
HIS LIFE IN THE FRUIT OF THE VINE

Chorus

SEE HIS BODY: IT’S COVERED WITH SCARS
IT’S THE PRICE HE’S PAID FOR YOUR SINS!
TASTE OF HIS HEALING
HE’S GIVEN US BREAD:
HIS BODY IS WOUNDED FOR OURS

Chorus

SEE HIS BODY: IT’S BATTERED AND MARRED
IT’S THE PRICE HE WAS WILLING TO PAY
SEE HOW HE LOVES YOU –
HE STETCHED OUT HIS ARMS
SAYING “COME UNTO ME TODAY “

©1996 Jefferis Kent Peterson, UBP

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Our God is Able – A Hymn

Our God Is Able – Score

Click on Score above for PDF file. Hear it by clicking the arrow below.

Our God is Able
Ps. 37:16; Eph. 3:20
©1997 Jefferis Kent Peterson, I
_____________________________

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do all we ask Him to do
His hand is mighty and He is fighting
For His dreams to come true

Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do what He’s promised for you
If you will trust Him, take delight in Him,
He’ll give His blessing to you.

(chorus)
O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do all you ask Him to do
If you will serve Him and not desert Him,
He’ll fight the fight for you!

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do more ‘n we ask Him to do
Don’t be uncertain where things concern Him,
He’ll be faithful to you

O Our God is able Exceedingly able
To do what we ask Him to do
Give your life to Him, be renewed in Him,
He has the best for you.

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Invention #1 in Fm

I am working to upgrade my musical composition audio and print output.  I’m using Finale to re-score, and Music-to-XML to scan in old pieces.

Invention #1 in Fm

In the Name of the Father,  Composed at Conn College, Dec. 1973-Jan1974

Fm Invention – Score

Click on  Score above for PDF file.  Hear it by clicking the arrow below.

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