Sunday, June 18, 2006

Started Pod-casting

In an attempt to keep up with technology, I have started to pod-cast the messages of our Sunday services. The podcasts are still in the formative stage, and will probably be plagued by problems as I work to incorporate all the aspects of a pod-cast to the feed. If you are interested check out Messages From Bethel Exeter

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

General Synod 2006

Another General Synod (GS) has come and gone. From the reports I have heard so far, I cannot say that I consider this a positive GS. The positive thing that I heard of was that the attitudes of the delegates was supposedly quite good. However, the that being said, the things that are important for the denominations ability to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, were not. The overtures dealing with the 3 year dialog on homosexuality were all turned down. There was some hope when GS voted against the recommendation by the advisory committee on the overture from Classis Ontario which called for the dialog to be clearly defined as dealing with how to minister to those struggling with homosexuality rather than dealing with whether it is sinful. However, simply voting down the recommendation does not mean the overture is accepted. When a friendly motion to that overture that was even more open in its statement was presented it was voted down. I cannot remember the wording of the final motion that was made on this, but I cannot say I was happy with it. I will try to get the actual text and comment on it more, but my take on it was that it still leaves open the door to trying to maintain unity with people who do the exegetical gymnastics needed to say that homosexual behavior is acceptable in certain settings. To say that is to strike to the heart of the good news that Jesus has not only faced the punishment our sins deserve, but that he has also set those who believe in him free from their bondage to sin because it still gives sin the upper hand. I don't know where this will lead, but I can't imagine it would be to a good place. The other overture that was basically buried was one from Classis California which called for severing our ties with the United Church of Christ in the USA. That denomination not only has a policy that encourages churches to accept and ordain practicing homosexuals, bisexuals, etc; but they also have in their fellowship several congregations that are Unitarian Universalists. This overture was declared out of order by the president of the GS because Classis California has not paid their entire assessments. This is not to say that I would have expected this overture to pass as similar ones have come in previous GS meetings and have not been supported. The final concern I have is the fact that the GS, unlike previous years, decided that the Lord's Day really isn't that important, so to cut the meeting length shorter by one day, they decided to do business on Sunday. As a person who is becoming more and more convinced that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, I doubt that such a move pleases God, nor will it be blessed by God. Even if Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath, it is a day that has been set aside for the worship of God through Christ. By making it into yet another business day, even when it is church business, removes what sets it apart. Once again we have all this talk about seeking to have the denomination grow, but we continue to think that we can have real growth while being in disobedience to God. To think that is not only arrogant, it is dead wrong.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dry Bones

I found this great quote from Matthew Henry as I was researching my Sunday sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14. Here he is talking about how the Lord commanded Ezekiel to prophecy to the dry bones. But we call in vain, still they are dead, still they are very dry; we must therefore be earnest with God in prayer for the working of the Spirit with the word: Come, O breath! and breathe upon them. God's grace can save souls without our preaching, but our preaching cannot save them without God's grace, and that grace must be sought by prayer. Note, Ministers must faithfully and diligently use the means of grace, even with those that there seems little probability of gaining upon. To prophesy upon dry bones seems as great a penance as to water a dry stick; and yet, whether they will hear or forbear, we must discharge our trust, must prophesy as we are commanded, in the name of him who raises the dead and is the fountain of life.