Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mt. Zion Baptist Church Christmas Cantata 2012

Mt. Zion Baptist Church is presenting a unique rendition of Bible Truth Music's "The Journey of Christmas" for her annual Christmas Cantata (music and drama).  We would love for you to come and join us for one of the Cantata evenings.  Be sure to invite your family and friends because this presentation is sure to kick off your Christmas season!

WHEN:  Dec. 8-9 (Sat./Sun.) at 6:30 nightly.
WHERE: MZBC Annex Building (aka the gymnasium). [48 Muddy Creek Forks Road, Brogue, PA, 17309]
WHO: Everyone.
Nursery care is provided and in the same building.  For more information please call 717-927-9227 or click on www.mtziononline.org.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Remembering Grandma Starr

Grandma Starr was an amazing Christian lady.  She was such a lovely grandmother to me (even though I am related to her only by law, she told me that I am a part of her family).  Her mind was so sharp that even at 97 she could recall names and events of so many people.  She loved working crossword puzzles, knitting, and talking about the Lord.  I know she prayed for me and my family.  She was a giver and a classic example of what a Christian grandma should be like.  We can take the pain of her absence because we know that she is alive and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Heaven grows sweeter everyday.

 Ada Virginia Starr, 97 of Montpelier died peacefully Thursday afternoon in her home. She was born on May 13, 1915 in Butler Indiana to Oscar Isaiah and Addie Elizabeth (Frick) Miser. Virginia graduated from Montpelier High School in 1933. Virginia was a homemaker for her entire life. She was a member of New Beginnings Church (formerly Central United Brethren) in Montpelier. She had many friends due to her loving hospitality and listening ear. She was known for her hand-knitted and crocheted specialties which have been enjoyed all over the United States and Canada. She was also an avid crossword puzzle enthusiast. She is survived by three sons Dr. Lyle Duane (Carolyn) Starr of East Burke, Vermont, Darrel (Vivian) Starr of Plymouth, Minnesota, Reverend Randy (Shirley) Starr of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, one daughter Nancy (Jim) Wilkinson of Montpelier, Ohio, nine grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, husband Lyle E. Starr on May 14th 1995, a great granddaughter Cassandra Starr, three brothers Kermit, Millard and Paul Miser and three sisters Myrtle Watson, Ollie Blaine and Zelma Houser. Visitation for Virginia will be on Sunday, November 25th from 5-8pm at the Wilson-Geesey Funeral Home in Montpelier. Services will be Monday at 11 am at the funeral home. Pastor Dennis Rowe, former pastor of Central United Brethren Church in Montpelier, currently of Fort Wayne, Indiana will officiate. Graveside services will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Montpelier. Memorials may be made to Hospital Hospice in Bryan, Ohio.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

I love Thanksgiving Day.  I love that family and friends can get together.  I love the food that adds delight to the occasion.  I love the attitude of thankfulness.  I love how we stop and are reminded of what is truly important and valuable in life.  I love giving God the glory for His loving kindness and tender mercies.
President George Washington called on the nation to give thanks to God for His Providential blessings. He was careful to deflect praise for himself and was preparing the Republic to function without him and to look to Almighty God who is our great Lord and Ruler of Nations. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

      Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
      Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
      and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go: Washington

Friday, November 9, 2012

Post election perspective

You are probably thinking “oh well, here goes another blog article about the election” and of course, you are right to think that, but to dismiss this as yet another, I’ll let you judge whether or not you will read anything like this in blogdom.  I say that because not very many in blogdom come from my perspective which is essentially Christian-Baptist-American-Conservative and in that particular order with that particular point of view.  So if you are already “dismissive” then fine, I hope you have a good day, see you later. I am going to succinctly share my thoughts about what happened and what I plan on doing to conserve and promote the founding principles and fundamental liberties of the American social order and civility.

What happened?
1. Our eyes were partially fixed on the polls when the culture around us was screaming.  The culture (way of living) is a far more superior indicator (and still is) of where we as a nation are heading.  Our music, movies, web, television programs are filled with violence, perverseness, and varying degrees of ungodliness.  Our news and press (journalism) no longer “press” for information, asks tough questions, and has become a partner to campaigns (that would be on either political sides).
2. We thought the economic issue would trump the moral issues.  Make no mistake about it; economics (like most everything else) is itself a moral issue.  This election revealed our nation’s morals.  And while it is somewhat consoling to find a relatively healthy split among voters what is concerning is that the vast majority are on the wrong side of morality.  The various voter referendums demonstrate this.  I hope that these voter referendums get challenged with the same vigor that met previous referendums when the shoe was on the other foot.  It is insidious that so many issues were swept in the ballots and that it made its way into this particularly historic election.  It is also pathetic that so many virtuous people didn’t win the Senate.
3. Conservatives are getting upset with the GOP (and still is) for compromising founding principles.  When you lose liberty it is difficult to get it back.  I voted for (and was okay with it) the GOP ticket because it was the only proper alternative.  The GOP selected candidate and party is just not tough enough.
4. We lost, again.  The ramifications are so overwhelming but let me put it lucidly: America has chosen to be more socialist.
What can I do? 
1. Spread the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Always, always, always remember – the gateway to conservatism is Christianity.  Men must hear the Biblical truths that we are fundamentally spiritually fallen creatures.  The greatest need cannot possibly be solved, met, or provided for by man.  This is a matter of redemption and faith more so than popularity and comfort.  The Gospel message shows man who he really is, and points him to his Redeemer.
2. Promote religious freedom and separation of church and state (not God and country).  Part of the reason I am a Baptist is because historically it is the only movement that championed religious freedom.  Our founding documents were shaped by principles of Christianity and the Baptist faith.  If you take a look back (history) then you’ll know where you are (present) and where you want to be (future).
3. Be thankful.  Rejoice in the Lord, and be thankful that we have the liberties we still have.  We may have a starkly different America, but we still have America.  It isn’t “Amerika” yet.  Be thankful we are still free to worship God and evangelize.  Don’t think for one moment that the “new” and more socialized America will remain stagnant.  We need eternal vigilance.
4. Continue to educate yourself with the principles of liberty that you have been given.  The more you know about the founding principles the more confidence you will have to refute socialism.  It is only when you educate yourself that you can properly educate others.   Mark and avoid pseudo-conservatives.  How can you identify them?  Easy, just ask does popularity or money change their views?  If yes, they have no courage and deserve no hearing.
5. Pray, read the Bible, and work for Him.  He will never disappoint you.  Get more involved in church.  Listen closer to the preaching of God’s word.  Obey your Pastor (if he is Biblically qualified).  Win as much as you can to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Stop patronizing compromising Christians and fake conservatives.
6. Leave, leave, leave the results to God.  Give Him the glory and don’t steal it for your own.
7. Remember the battle and the solution is fundamentally spiritual.
Now, let’s get busy doing that which is Biblically right!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Talk, talk, talk the Bible way (part 2)

Review – In the last post (which you can read below) we looked at the person of God as the basis of good speech and its effects on relationships.  And now we move on to two main and final points for the completion of this series.

Communication Frustrations

Because communication is a two-way street, here are some red flags to notice in the area of words and speech.  Bad communication can cause problems and frustration in relationships, here are some Biblical considerations:

First, Answering, or responding, or making a judgment call, or a decision (tautological, I know) is shameful communication.  The Bible says: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Pro. 18:13).  Here are some Biblical considerations that could help refute this terrible habit.
a.       Ps. 39:1 -  I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
b.      Pro. 13:3 -  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
c.       Pro. 21:23 - Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
d.      James 1:19 - Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
e.      1 Peter 3:10 -  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

Second is being hasty with words.  Have you ever had a conversation with somebody and you haven’t finished your thoughts, and you were interrupted?  Usually, I am the one interrupting, ha!  I get this way.  I speak by experience.  It can be disrespectful at times and therefore not good.  Sometimes, this attitude demonstrates a lack of valuing the other person’s words or ideas.  Sometimes, it’s dismissive.  At any rate, the Bible has something to say about this.  At times, we should tell ourselves to temper our words.
a.       Ecc. 5:2 - Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
b.      Pro. 10:19 - In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
c.       Pro. 17:27 - He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Third, cutting words.  Someone said: “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but names (or words) will never harm me.”  I don’t know if the person who said that ever existed.  Our words can be mediums of destruction, and so we must take great care of not only what we say but how we say it.
a.       Ps. 50:19 - Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
b.      Ps. 52:2 - Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
c.       Ps. 52:4 - Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
d.      Ps. 57:4 - My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
e.      Ps. 64:3 - Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words.

We all need to practice James 1:19 in the area of words and speech.  Sometimes it is wise and best to "suspend judgment" (as Mortimer Adler teaches in his epic book How to Read a Book).  A critic always solicits an immediate response.  Don’t act like a critic by being hasty with words.  Our goal in communication is to further relationships, not necessarily “winning” an argument-scrimmage.  And what about giving someone that undivided attention?  You're not texting, "Tweeting", checking your phone, refreshing a browser, turning a page, managing one more item, but totally tuned into the other person, with eye contact giving them your undivided attention.  The thing about speaking is the other half of listening.  When we talk too much it is obvious we listen very little.  But listening is for an entirely different blog post.

Communication Fundamentals

A.      Our words reflect what is in our hearts, it’s like a window to the heart.  Matt. 12:34 - O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
B.      Our words will one day be judged by God – Ps. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.  Matt. 12:36 -  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  If we must give account to every idle word, how much more shall we be held accountable for words that we speak on purpose?
C.      It is more important to focus on how we say things than what we actually say.  Pro. 15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.  1 Pet. 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.  Always ask yourself: "is there a better way of saying it?"
D.      Our words can greatly influence our entire being and others around us.  Prov. 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  James 3:1 ¶ My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.  [2] For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.  [3] Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. [4] Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

I trust that if anything else that you and I would be drawn to the study of God’s word re: words, speech, mouth, tongue, etc.  And more than just looking at these verses actually put them into practice.  That would make for good communication.