Greetings, everyone! Hallelujah, Christ is risen! He is risen from the dead! Let all who trust in Him give praise, praise to our exalted Head!
TODAY is the last day of quizzing for our Nationals Bible Quiz Team members. Pray for them as they compete and as they travel back from Wisconsin overnight, arriving in St. Joe mid-morning tomorrow. Follow this link, then click on site 1, 2, or 3 to see some of the quizzing live streamed.
TOMORROW is THE LORD’S DAY!
We will gather for Bible Study at 9:30 am followed by corporate worship at 10:40. Dads, I want to exhort you especially on this point: One of the best things you can do for your family's discipleship long-term is to lead your family to consistent, weekly attendance at Bible Study and worship. Moms, if Dad is unable or unwilling to lead out on this point, it is up to you to make sure you and your family are present. Providential hindrances (the proverbial "ox in the ditch") and works of necessity (police, fire, EMS, emergency healthcare, folks who keep our utilities functioning) are exceptions, but otherwise, worship with God's people on the Lord's Day. That is a commitment you will never regret.
As we gather, we will be reading the following Scriptures. Take a few moments to read and meditate on them as you prepare for corporate worship:
Fighter Verses: Psalm 1:1-23-4
Call to Worship: Psalm 23
Scripture Readings: Acts 4:5-12; 1 John 3:16-24
Assurance of God's Pardon: John 10:9-11
Sermon Text: Luke 5:27-32
Benediction: Romans 15:5-6; 13; 33
ICYMI Last Sunday’s Message "Forgiven and Healed" Luke 5:17-26
Please visit our YouTube Channel to see the edited service video.
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
Week 17 of the 5 Day Bible Reading Program.
Read through the entire Bible following this plan, or read only the New Testament (in italics).
Day One: 1 Samuel 9-10; Acts 8
Day Two: 1 Samuel 11-13; Psalm 38; Acts 9
Day Three: 1 Samuel 14; Psalm 124; Acts 10
Day Four: 1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 1; Psalm 39; Acts 11
Day Five: 1 Samuel 17; 1 Chronicles 2; Acts 12
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I recommend podcasts from time to time, and one that I recommend on a recurring basis is The Briefing, a daily 25-minute podcast with Al Mohler. Dr. Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the more insightful commentators on culture from a biblical worldview. This episode from Thursday describes what is going on in England and Australia to effectively silence Christian teaching and Christian morality, specifically when it comes to the advancement of the LGBTQ+ agenda. The current controversy involves government bans on so-called "conversion therapy," a loaded term which formerly referred to extreme techniques such as electro-shock therapy to try to "convert" someone from homosexuality to heterosexuality, often employed against their will. Now the term "conversion therapy" is being used to refer to any and all attempts to help someone change unwanted homosexual desires, behaviors, or orientation by any means, including parental conversation with their own teenagers, preaching from Christian pulpits, and even prayer. Mohler discusses how this is coming to America.
The revolution is on our doorstep, and it is not going away.
What can Christians who are committed to the Bible and the Lordship of Christ do?
1. Keep preaching and teaching the truth.
2. Keep standing athwart the coming revolution and shouting, "Stop!" (apologies to William F. Buckley)
3. Be prepared to go to jail. We recently saw this happen in Canada in a church where the pastor dared to defy the provincial government mandate on limiting gatherings. He was jailed, and only released due to public outcry.
4. Be prepared to go "underground." I have been advocating this for years. Churches of the future America will need to meet secretly in homes for worship, teaching, and fellowship because public gathering will be outlawed or greatly curtailed.
5. Be prepared to surrender comforts and privileges. If jail and harassment by the police are not used, other means will be. This will be the soft totalitarianism of a "social credit" system, not unlike what is going on in China now. The public is monitored by the technology they voluntarily use (smart phones, electronic tablets, and computers combined with public cameras and facial recognition software). Those who download the speeches of the Communist Party chairman, who buy things approved by the Party, go places approved by the Party, etc., will have a higher social credit score, resulting in more "freedoms" granted by the Party. More freedom of movement; more favor from the Party in issuing government contracts, loans, and grants; more economic opportunity in terms of job promotion and higher wages; more freedom from harassment by the state police. On the other hand, those who use their devices to listen to Christian sermons or read the Bible, who buy things not approved by the Party, who go to church, etc., will have a lower social credit score. Their movement is impeded, their employment is stifled, they are frequently harassed by the state police, and they may even be jailed for their activities, especially for religious or free-speech activities.
This last item is the most pernicious because it is coercion by voluntary means. Those who go along with the prevailing opinion of the secular state will be treated with preference, while those who go against it will be treated with disfavor.
To all this, what Jesus said to His disciples should sustain us as well: "In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
See you in church!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Greg Dixon