The Navigator: 12.2.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 12/5

  • Sammy continues his sermon series on the “Ancestry.com” of Jesus.
  • Silent Communion: 4-6pm; Tell your class to arrive any time within that time frame.  There will be tables set up on the floor at the front of the sanctuary.  When there is an empty seat they can take a seat and partake of the Lord’s Supper as a family or individual.
  • Fostering Hope: Sunday evening in the FLC

 

This week’s tip:  Beware of these Pitfalls of Ministry

A friend working on a grad-studies paper on “ministry pitfalls” contacted me recently to get my input.  As I thought about what I wrote and sent to her it occurred to me these pitfalls can be easily translated to volunteer church leadership.

Read the blog here and send me your thoughts.

 

HOMOSEXUALITY & MINISTRY: One story and my response

From the article linked below:

Former Southern Baptist Convention President, James Merritt, has resigned from his position as a visiting professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary amid controversy that followed his decision to share a short message by his son, who is gay.

I was heart-sick as I read through comments on Twitter attacking Merritt’s son.

You can read about this story here.

The conflict is as follows:  James Merritt’s son, Jonathan, is gay.  But, Jonathan is a Christian and preaches gospel messages. Although James and Jonathan know full well they disagree on sexuality, James loves his son more than life itself, was proud of his son, and shared his son’s sermon on social media.

The pharisees of social media exploded with vitriol.  Both James and Jonathan were vilified with hateful comments, many of which were hurled by a newly formed group within the Southern Baptist Convention.  They call themselves the Conservative Baptist Network, or CBN.  In response to the formation of this group, Southern Baptist Seminary president, Albert Mohler, tweeted,

“We already have a conservative Baptist network.  It’s called the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Both James and Jonathan have been flooded with love and support.

About the CBN’s treatment of Merritt, one pastor tweeted,

My pastor asked me today if i had heard of what is happening and for my thoughts. He wanted to make sure his idea that the CBN was blatantly attacking without grace a man who’s navigating a difficult situation was accurate. I agreed with him.

I could share my opinion on the CBN.  But, I won’t, for now.  Suffice it to say, I disagree with just about every aspect of their divisive methods and political motives.

I resisted commenting on the topic of James Merritt supporting his son because, frankly, God hadn’t given me permission to do so.  But, finally God said, “Now.” So I did.  I don’t shrink from controversial issues of the day.  Homosexuality being sin is clear.  Homosexuality being an orientation is complicated.  Posting self-righteous hatred on social media will win the ear of no one.

Below is what I posted on Twitter. 

My kids earned degrees in fine arts. They were surrounded by gay and lesbian classmates. Those gay and lesbian kids were/are precious, respectful, and some of the kindest people I’ve met. We’ve had them in our home, taken them out to eat. I even told one young gay man I would raise him as my own if I could.

Does this mean I agree with their lifestyle? Absolutely not. And they all know that. However, these kids are people. People who have feelings. And, given the suicide rate among the LGBT, many are looking for answers and hope.

I’ve been in vocational ministry almost 40 years. Spurgeon said, “I don’t preach a soft gospel.” Likewise, my biblical worldview is uncompromising. That said, Jesus had the profound ability to love people deeply while simultaneously strongly opposing their lifestyle. We can do the same.

Calling out and taking cheap-shots – publicly via social media – at anyone, much less someone’s child is the reason (as I heard one preacher say decades ago) bars are full and churches are empty.

It’s significant that the people Jesus spent the most time calling out for sin was the self-righteous Pharisees.

Paul addressed this very topic when he wrote to the Philippians.  Some of the believers were troubled that some with less-than-pure-motives were preaching the gospel.  Paul, in essence said, “Relax.  Let them preach.  Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.”

 

**Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent conversation where the Christian faith is concerned.

Watch this brief video of Dr. John Lennox, professor of Mathematics at Oxford, explain why human consciousness is yet another reason to believe in God.  The clip is less than four minutes.

 

QUOTE of the WEEK:

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” – John Stott.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Sorry ladies!  Too funny not to share.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 12/5 – Silent Communion; 4-6pm; Fostering Hope to follow in FLC
  • 12/8 – Children’s Ministry Family Night
  • 12/12 – Christmas Sing-along with the SonShiner Choir; 5pm
  • 12/24 – Christmas Eve Service; 5pm
  • 1/2 – Combined Worship; all Small Groups meet at early hour

 

SOUL FOOD: The Daily Grind of Faith

While we would rather spend our lives on the proverbial “mountain top,” the “valley” is actually where God has created us to be most of the time. Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick