Is it Time For Pastors To Step Away from Civil Marriages?

With the recent news that Coeur d’Alene, Idaho city officials ruling that pastors either perform gay marriages or face jail time, it’s time for pastors to remove themselves from the civil function of marriage. Here is the following from the Washington Times:

Coeur d‘Alene, Idaho, city officials have laid down the law to Christian pastors within their community, telling them bluntly via an ordinance that if they refuse to marry homosexuals, they will face jail time and fines.

My suggestion might not avert the jail time, but I think it is time that pastors got out of the wedding business when it comes to the civil side of the institution. I’m not saying that we should quit performing marriages, but we should only do so for Christians before a Holy Triune God. This would mean that the couple would still have to go before the local justice of the peace to complete the marriage for governmental purposes.

I saw this process when I was living in Italy and it worked fine. By taking this approach, we would not be bound by civil authorities to perform that which we find abhorrent. I know this post does not address all the issues, but perhaps it will help us think through the entire relationship between the church and state, given that the state is turning on the church more and more.

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Kenny Loggins and Bad Pictures of Jesus Wannabes

We have been discussing the abuse of the Second Commandment when it comes to portrayals of Christ and I couldn’t help but bring these two photos to light concerning the issue. The first is of Kenny Loggins, a singer-songwriter from the 1980s. Here he is portrayed on the cover of his album Keep the Fire.

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Next, we have this picture I took in the lobby of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Remember, the Seventh Day Adventist are fanatics about worshipping on the seventh day of the week, as opposed to the first day of the week along with the rest of Christendom. They are doing so in an attempt to keep the Fourth Commandment. However, they have no problem breaking Second Commandment with the following painting:

BadJesus

Do you see a strange resemblance between the two pictures? I don’t know about you, but something tells me the artist who drew the Jesus wannabe owes a big apology to Kenny Loggins for copyright infringement.

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Happy Birthday Joey!

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Dear Joey,

Happy birthday! You turn 8 years old today! As I mentioned in your birthday card, you now have front-seat privileges in the car. No more riding in the back seat, well, at least when you can.

I am glad you liked your Lego Minecraft present we got you. I know you love Minecraft. You will have to take some pictures of the things you make with it.

I also like your new glasses. I remember when I first got glasses, I was about your age as well and I remember being able to see the leaves on the trees. You will have to let me know how much better you are seeing. Hopefully the glasses will help you on the soccer field as well.

We miss you and wish we could be there, but trust our LORD that this separation we are going through is only for a short time.

We pray that the LORD blesses you with many, many more birthdays to come.

Love,

Dad & Mrs. Heidi

Rainbow: The Sign of the Covenant

Rainbow

The rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant to all the people. When we see it, we are reminded that He will not bring about judgment via a world-wide flood ever again. This is not to say that He will not bring judgment, but not in the means of a flood. Every time we see a rainbow, we should rejoice in God’s promise to us.

It is at this point that He also states that we will always have the seasons in the order we have them. “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:21-22). This is God’s promise against global warming, or global cooling.

Who Is This?

I see this guy on Facebook all the time and I’m wondering who he is?

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I don’t really need this guy, whoever he is.

Now, will someone please read the Second Commandment again. I posted it below. The idea behind the Second Commandment is that we are not to make images of animals or of God in which to bow down and worship. Most of us understand the animal aspect of this commandment. What they fail to understand is that this commandment is an admonition against images of Christ as well. One way we know this to be true is that the writers of the New Testament do not give physical descriptions of our LORD. They knew what HE looked like in His appearance, but never gave any description of Him other than in the book of Revelation. But that is not what we have above because the imagery used in Revelation is too difficult to reproduce.

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The Mark of the Beast, the Tools of the Great Harlot, and Satan’s Attack on the Church

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In my earlier post, Martyn Lloyd-Jones showed that there were four different groups spoken of in Revelation 13 that the church had to contend with. The first two, government and false religion, are actually easier to spot than the third group, which he identifies as those who have received the mark of the beast.

Notice…we are also told about certain people who receive the mark of the beast on their forehead or on their right hand…These people are just human beings who in their blindness and ignorance have failed to understand what is happening and make themselves the tools of both these enemies — the secular power and the false religions — but they constitute a definite evil which we have to meet.

This enemy of the church is far more difficult to deal with because on the one hand, it is faceless and not confined to any particular institution. But on the other hand, we all see the faces of those who are members of this group all the time. These people are in your family and neighborhoods that think you are a fanatic for following Jesus. These are the people on Facebook that fire off nothing but cliches when you post something about your beliefs. They are the people at Starbucks who are more concerned about what people think about them, than thinking at all. They are the ones that buy into the lies found in the popular media, because they are far too undiscerning to realize the greater deception that is taking place before their eyes. They believe in political correctness, because it is their new religion. They may even claim to be Christians, but when it comes to what is acceptable in society and what Scripture says, they go with society every time.

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The Church and the Attack of Satan

Edisto Church

In Martyn Lloyd-Jones book, The Church and the Last Things, he points out four ways that the devil sets out to attack the church. Drawing from the book of Revelation, he shows that the devil draws from different agencies in order to attack the church. The first agency is that of the government. Referring to the beast found in Revelation 13, he writes:

… this beast is meant to represent the secular powers of the world as they are used by the devil to frustrate God’s plans and destroy the Church. The four beasts in Daniel represent specify secular powers. Now here is beast that stands for all of them together — secular power itself. In the time of John, of course, it was the Roman Empire, and perhaps even before that the Jews themselves. But since then it has been many other secular powers.

As we look at our own government we can see these truths being played out as well. The government, which is intended for the well-being of mankind and the peace of the Church, is now being used against the Church and the people of God. Every time a judge rules against the convictions of the saints on behalf of government-ordained sin, we see this reality. Every time the government uses its power to silence Christians and attempt to run them out of the marketplace of ideas, we see this.

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Happy Birthday Jessica!

Jessie

Dear Jessica,

As the newest member of the family, and your step-father, both your mother and I wanted to wish you a very happy 28th birthday! Turning 28 is really special because it is only one year away from when your age magically freezes at 29. I’m not sure how you ladies do it, but in a few years, you will still only be 29! So turning 28, really isn’t a big deal at all!

I also would like to let you know, that since we are born in the same month of April, that we have the same astrological sign: the cross! That means a whole lot more than the silly things people say about being a ram or a goat or a bull or some such nonsense, because all the stars will eventually pass away, but not those who have the sign of the cross. This means that you and I are not only father and daughter by marriage, but brother and sister by God’s decree. That relationship we have will never pass away!

Your mother and I really hope that you have a wonderful birthday today and that Justin will take you out and lavish you with gifts, fine food and wine, some silly cake and lots of love and affection. Know that if we were there, we would take you out to a fine restaurant like Cheddars… or even McDonald’s… depending upon our ability buy you dinner, and give you a big family hug.

May the LORD bless you today and with many, many birthdays to come.

Your Loving Parents,

Timothy & Heidi

The Kimberly House

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It was the first time in my life that I had a room all my own. It was the room with the window above the door. For the seven years prior, I had to share a room with either one or two of my brothers. So you can see that the house we moved to on Kimberly Lane in Houston back in the late 1960s was extremely special.

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Hear Him!

A friend on FB was blasted when she decried another movie about a girl who died and went to heaven, and then came back again to make millions on the story. This latest movie is being put together by T.D. JakesWe should not be surprised that Jakes wants to cash in on the new wave of heavenly tourism that is sweeping the nation.

These stories are basically the same: person dies, goes to heaven, sees Jesus riding a pink orangutang, or some such nonsense and then they return from heaven where the next sound heard is that of the cash register. Never mind that the Apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven, and said it was unlawful for any man to speak of what he saw.

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The Danger of the Adamant Teetotaler!

Several days ago, a friend on Facebook asked me how to deal with a fellow Christian who was proclaiming that any and all drinking of alcoholic beverages was a sin. There are still pockets of Christians who believe alcoholic drinks are sinful and never to be touched by Christians. It may seem harmless, but those who hold to these views and force them on others are more of a danger to the gospel than an aid.

My friend wanted to know how to deal with such people, so I will deal with that first, and then show why such views are so dangerous to the gospel.

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7 Things for New Preachers to Consider

I recently had the opportunity to hear a pastor who was relatively new to the ministry. I could tell that he was gifted because he actually preached with zeal for the truth. You would think that zeal for the truth would be considered a requirement for pastors today, but given the shape of the American church, and the number of pastors who sound more like counselors than those called to proclaim God’s truth, preaching the truth with zeal has fallen on hard times. When you are more likely to hear what the Bible actually says from an enemy of the gospel, rather than from a preacher of the gospel, then you know we are indeed in the last days.

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Sojourners Of A Living Hope

NOTE: This is my intro for the sermon I will be preaching this morning at Christ Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. While it seems that the sermon intro is sad, it leads into the reality that the believer has a living hope in Christ. That hope is a greater reality than the reality we experience on this side of glory.

One of our great desires we all have in our lives is to have a place we call home. We all long for it. We want some place we know. We want a place that is familiar to us. We want to know it is always going to be there. We want to know that it will have some changes to it, but not too much.

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Are You Willing To Stand For Christ In Opposition to Sexual Immorality?

I am pleased to see that there are evangelicals preparing to stand in civil disobedience against the coming Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. This is assuming the ruling will go against biblical definitions of marriage. I don’t have high-hopes from the court. Therefore we will need to be organized as believers when the time comes and to prepare our response to the decision if the court imposes SSM upon us.

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Downtown Bristol

Bristol is really a unique town. As you look at these pictures, realize I’m standing in Bristol, VA, and across the street is Bristol, TN. The street’s name is State Street and I’ve been told there is a plaque in the middle of the street indicating the state line. I didn’t feel brave enough to walk out in the middle and look for it. However, if I ever do, I will post photos of it here.

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Bill O’Reilly Still Doesn’t Get It

Apparently Bill O’Reilly went on the offensive in attacking Christians who believe that you must be born again by faith in Jesus Christ or you go to hell. He called this reality “disturbing.” The guys at Young Conservatives have the full story.

I don’t care much for O’Reilly and I am not sure why so many Christians watch his show. When it comes to his religious views, he is quite hostile to true Christianity. He believes that the Bible and what we believe have no place in the public square. He believes that we should not fight the battle against gay marriage using Scripture. He believes that we should only stick to the words of Jesus, showing that he has never actually read the words of Jesus.

Even in his book, Killing Jesus, he is no friend of Christianity. While he does a good job showing some of the historical truths that surrounded Christ’s death, he failed to look at that death through the eyes of faith. This is why he doesn’t really believe in the Bible or the miracles.

O’Reilly is a good Roman Catholic. But he is still an enemy of the faith. This is why I haven’t watched his show for years. I wish more Christians would turn him off.

Finding a Spouse on Christian Mingle

My wife and I have had several people ask us about using Christian dating sites to find a spouse, since she and I used a Christian dating site to find each other. I guess you could say we were one of the success stories for Christian Mingle, the site we used. But allow me to stipulate that God was the One who was successful, not the website.

So the question is: Can God use a dating web site to bring two of His children together?

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