“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-15, NASB95)

Christianity,

The Pope Tells Africans Condoms Increase HIV Problem

Perhaps the pope simply put his foot in his mouth, but either way, the statement doesn’t sound like one of wisdom.

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the plane heading to Yaounde. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

From what I understand, the condom completely stops the transmission of the HIV virus to the other person. Of course, abstinence is the best way and I that’s what the pope wants, but to go so far to say that using condoms increases the HIV problem? That’s just complete contrary to the truth. Even the nurses and people in the churches there in Africa that serve the African are not liking what the pope is saying. And furthermore, if the people who are having unsafe sex are unmarried, and having sex with multiple partners, they are also likely unrepentant, unbelievers who are not interested in satisfying the religious dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. For them, the pope should be more concerned for them coming to faith and repentance rather than propagating nonsense that condoms worsen the spread of HIV.

In my opinion, the Roman Catholic Church would not provide them true faith and more likely worsen their spiritual matter. They need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ without the baggage of traditions and nonsensical sayings of popes. They’ll need to go to a protestant church for that. And I might add that they should go to one that hasn’t diluted or marketed the gospel. But in any case, the Roman Catholic Church and their pope make physical (HIV) and spiritual health worse.

Click here to read the entire new article

Church History

Lately I’ve been learning church history at West Hills Community Church. Phil Starke is teaching it and using the book “The Story of Christianity’ by Justo Gonzalez. Now we are going through the Reformation period and learning about the various religious figures as they interact with political rulers and common people of the times. I often think of History as boring, but lately I find it’s really facinating to learn about a world and time that is so much different from our own. It’s something like watching an old film with all the old cars and old fashioned clothing. There’s something of a nostalgic curiosity that keeps my interest. It something like people watching. As the people walk by, your imagination is awakened to wonder what it must have been like for them. It’s also like hearing the news of some big event that has happened on the other side of the world, except it’s in another time.

And for Christians, it is valuable to learn about the people who have come before us and have understanding and a perspective on where we are today. I’ve been taking notes, and I picked one to share because it was news to me. We often think of the Jews as mainly being persecuted by the Nazi’s, but I rarely associate the Jews with being persecuted by Christians, yet I’m learning more and more that history tells exactly this story. The following talks about the acts of Queen Isabelle of Spain 1492.

200,000 Spainiards of the Jewish faith were thus condemned to exile – which many times led to death, capture by pirates, and other misfortunes. (Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity v2, 113)

In my Pastoral ministry class our pastor Mike Burchfield also echoed the reality that many Jews will think of Christians as hypocritical or at least naive of the history of the Christian church as they try to share the gospel of Jesus with Jews. During the persecution of Jews by the Nazi’s, the Lutheran Church of Germany had officially sanctioned and supported the murderous work of Hitler and his murder of the Jews. For the Jew, in the back of their mind, they may associate Christianity with acts of persecution against Jews which have been proven to be murderous evils. Consider, if Jesus Christ is Savior, then church history doesn’t give a helpful testimony of Christianity saving the Jews.

But thankfully, history has also shown that these evils come from people who have a very questionable and I would say complete lack of authentic faith in Christ. For by their fruit you will know them, and certainly these people like Hitler and Queen Isabella seemed to have more interest in their own political agenda’s and struggles for power rather than an interest in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Family,

Unclaimed Baggage

Our last trip to Alabama I think Walmart was the first most frequently visited store, and then Unclaimed Baggage was probably the second most visited store. All it takes is to find one good item, real cheap and it’s enough motivation to keep you going back.

The first trip I found a package of that was stuffed with stationary that looked promising. I couldn’t see all that was in there, but for a couple dollars, I figured it was worth it. After purchasing it, the inside contained way more than I expected. There were postcards from Jerusalem, bookmarks with an illustration of the last supper, and many other goodies. It was probably well over $20 worth of various items jammed into a bag and sold for just a couple dollars! I was on an unclaimed baggage high!

The next time we went I found some Felco pruners for only a few dollars. These are special Swiss made pruners that normally sell new for $50! They work great and I use them today.

Ah, the good memories of Unclaimed Baggage. Sure, sometimes you don’t find a thing and it’s just a building full of junk, but then there’s those days that it seems like you found the best deal on the planet.

The kids liked rummaging through the stuff too.

In the photo above, Jenn and Matthew are trying on some masks we found.