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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Sunday Sevice, May 1, 2005; Politics


Free Church:

A church not controlled by the government. If you are in America you may be thinking a free church title is redundant since the Constitution guarantees the government will not interfere with religion. Unfortunately congress, who is supposed to create the few federal laws in areas not addressed by the States, has created a plethora of agencies that make regulations with the effect of laws. Many churches have incorporated, and are now controlled by State incorporation law. The IRS, that behemoth that considers all citizens guilty until they prove themselves innocent, has taken away a church's tax free status for saying things in the pulpit that politicians dislike. It is ok for politicians to grab votes by speaking at a church, but against IRS rules for a church leader to make conservative pronouncements.

How did the Church get under the thumb of the IRS? By filing for tax free status they became a nonprofit organization, not a church, at least in the IRS eyes. As a corporation they must follow all the statutes, regulations, and forms required by government. The church has done this to themselves.

If your church is not incorporated or is not recognized by the IRS by their 501c3 edict is there a problem for contributors? According to Free the 501c3 Church and ecclesia.org there is no problem. The direct quote from the second site:

According to the Internal Revenue Code, "a church, its integrated auxiliaries, and conventions and associations of the church are excluded from taxation." United States Code, Title 26, § 508(c)(1)(A).

Section 508(c) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that churches are not required to apply for recognition of Section 501(c)(3) status in order to be exempt from federal taxation or to receive tax deductible contributions. Churches are automatically exempt from Federal income tax, and contributions to churches are deductible by donors under section 170.

Only if Churches put themselves under the law, will they be controlled by law.

We believe that scripture teaches that the head of the church is Jesus Christ. At Junior Partner Ministries, our university, and our partner charities we will accept no other authority. We are not and will not be incorporated. We will not file for an IRS ruling of 501c3 status. God's Church is not exempt from taxes, it is outside of tax. By the provisions of the First Amendment to the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The Church is therefore immune to government limitations; unless a local church willingly subjects itself to government control, and thereby surrenders Christ's headship.

Jesus is Lord!

God is our source, not the government; and not even you my friend.

If we get no tax benefit, well and good, God is able to supply all our needs, exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think. We think those who contribute to our church are safe taking their deductions if they wish; but regardless of man's rules we will not trade God's unlimited provision for man's limited promise.

If you can not give joyfully, don't give. God will provide for us from some other quarter. Jesus Christ is our source.

And now, a bit of political talk from the pulpit. I will speak as God leads. I have no tax status to protect by silence.

I believe that a libertarian philosophy is the most advantageous to the spreading of the gospel. The smaller the government, the more free the people to embrace anything they chose, the greater our freedom to preach as we are led. God's love is what we will use to draw the lost to him; we can not, and should not try to legislate our values. Once values are legislated then controls will also be asserted against us. Freedom must be for all to live, talk, and act as they wish; as long as they do not interrupt others rights to the same. In that non restrictive environment we will be able to move when and where God leads, without man's restrictions.

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.

Thomas Paine

We can trust God to take care of all the negatives that sincere people will claim arise from freedom. We just need our freedom and the willingness to follow Jesus.

If we want freedom to worship and live our lives as we wish, then we can not restrict others rights to do the same without being hypocrites. We must bring sinners to Jesus, not seek to separate sinners from their sin. As long as no harm comes to others, as long as no harm comes to others rights to do as they wish, then we should not seek to control other's actions. If we do not want others controlling us, then we should respect the freedoms of all.

Preach Jesus; crucified for us, and resurrected in power.

In apologetics it is better to study the Bible and let the Holy Spirit guide you in refuting error by using scripture, rather than studying error looking for weakness. So in witnessing about the love of God it is better to show love than condemning the tragedy of sin in the unsaved.

Use your time well. Bring sinners to Jesus. Bring Jesus to the sinners. Don't bother to try and push sinners away from sin. There is a frustrating circle of sin, where experimentation creates dependence, and with dependence comes less pleasure and still more dependence. This cycle can only be broken by Jesus Christ. Jesus offers expanding joy to replace the fading short term pleasures of a wasted life.

If you do not yet know the growing joy of a full relationship with God, start now.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Surrounded by a world of sin

Sin is evident everywhere we turn.

What is a Christian to do when we see the unsaved doing things that separate them from God?

We are to love them.

That does not mean we are to join with them in sinning; it means we are to exhibit the joy that dwells in us, so they may see the God that is in us.

As Jesus said in Matthew 5: 44, 45 "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust."

All who are not in Jesus are in sin. If you have accepted Christ's sacrifice and made him your Lord then you are covered with his rightiousness. See our 4-17-2005 message, and read the book of I John. I'll quote just I John 3: 10, 11 "In this the children of God are made manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not rightiousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."

"For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" ... Romans 3: 23, 24

We are sinners who have accepted Christ, we have been justified by his grace. Those who have not accepted Christ do not have that covering. We sin, and try to overcome it, they sin and are overcome by it. Our actions are not pure, and we are hypocrites if we shout at those outside of Christ about their impure actions. Our proper response is love. We are to bring them to Jesus who is able to help them as he is helping us in overcoming temptations.

If you feel you must shout at unbelievers, shout at them about Jesus Christ's love for them. What they do with their lives of sin is their problem, just as how we seek to be victorious over sin in our lives is our problem. Don't concentrate on the problem, concentrate on the solution.

Jesus Christ Is Lord!


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sunday Service, Walk in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

No condemnation.

Are you in Christ Jesus? Are you doing as he asks? If your life is dedicated to him, your failings are not an issue. Where you can get into trouble is when you try to run ahead of God and do it yourself. It is not your flesh that will accomplish God's will; it is your obedience to the Holy Spirit.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Galatians 5:18

And Jesus said in John 16: 7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. "

Jesus said he would send us the comforter since he was leaving. A physical Jesus could only be one place at a time. The Holy Spirit can be in, around, above , below, and through you. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, walk in his leading, know and follow the direct touch of God.

Walk after the Spirit.

No Condemnation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mid week Service, Love

Then one of them, a lawyer,asked tempting him and saying "Master which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said unto him "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:35-40 ( KJV), see also Luke 10: 25-37

The story goes that as John the beloved aged he attended regular services, but didn't stay long. He would come in, say "Love one Another," and leave. One time as he was getting ready to leave someone asked him why he didn't get into the deeper things of the Spirit. John is said to have replied, " Once you learn and do the first thing, we will go on to the second."

Let's learn to love. No need to complain or critisize; let's do love first.

I love you is a nice thing to hear. Say it often, to others, and to Jesus.

God Loves us more than we love ourselves. God is smarter and wiser than we are. If we want what is best for ourselves, for the body of Christ, for everyone, we will do what God asks.



Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday Service, 4-17-2005: A recurring theme

Time for some tough love. I need help, so do you, let us pray for each other.

These six things does the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination to him. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6: 16-19

There seem to be sins that some in each age and society find abhorrent.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the lord than sacrifice. An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin. Proverbs 21: 3,4

Sin has been defined as missing the target. God has expectations that we are unable to fulfill; alone. That is why Christ came, and fulfilled all of God's expectations. God made a relationship with him possible by not leaving us alone. Jesus sacrificed his completed life so that we could be covered by his perfection. He paid the price for us.

We are in no position to point at others and scream about their sin when we are so saturated with sin ourselves. We all need God's cleansing and forgiveness; and this within the Church.

We have no place to condemn any particular sin of those who have not found Christ's forgiveness. Everything done outside of Christ's covering is sin.

This is tough. The plowing of the wicked is sin.

Picture a man who goes to work each day, works hard for his family, and comes home tired at the end of the day. In Biblical times this might be pictured as a farmer. If the farmer is an unrepentant sinner, the same as we once were, then that hard work is sin. Nothing done outside of Jesus is perfect enough to receive God's endorsement.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3: 16, 17

We can point fingers all we wish, but the sinner's choice of sins is of no consequence. Everything he does misses the target. It is our responsibility to present him with the remedy to sin. Everything done
that is not done in Christ, is sin.

Before we condemn sin in the world, we need to condemn sin in the church:
"he that soweth discord among brethren." Before we condemn sin in the church, we need to condemn sin in ourselves, and seek God's cleansing and help.

Read Matthew 7: 1-5 starting with:

Judge not that ye be not judged. ....

Jesus is Lord!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Wednesday Service, 04/13/2005; Unity of believers


I'm sure you have heard of families where they don't talk to each other, anger forced them apart, and now that can't remember what the argument was about. We can't let our pride divide the body of Christ, be re-united today.

Christians may differ on all manner things, but there are a few absolutes we all adhere to. As Christians we should concentrate on celebrating our unity. Share fellowship with a brother of another denomination today, lets remove artificial barriers.

Here is a piece from the Church page of the Junior Partner home page.

Learn the basics. evangelists seldom go beyond the basics; you can see how they function in the Body of Christ. An evangelist will help with the birth of new Christians, and give them milk to start their journey. Their messages are a great way to review basic truths. These truths should be at the foundation of any true community of believers. They should be the foundation of your faith.

A) Eternal salvation is a gift not earned through works.

B) Salvation is only through Jesus Christ’s willing, sacrificial death for you.

C) The great mystery of the Trinity, one God, three persons; Father God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ. Look at Matthew 3: 16, 17 to see the three interacting. Now read the Whole chapter, then the whole book of Matthew to get the quote in context.

D) Jesus was God made flesh among us, Jesus died for us, Jesus rose from the dead in victory, and Jesus Now sits at the right hand of the Father.

As you grow, you will become aware of a huge list of areas where you need God’s help to change. You will also notice others are in need of change. There are two points to consider here. First, what bothers you most in others may be a problem you need to work on in yourself. Second, what God considers the most important problem in another may not bother you at all. Have patience with your fellow Christians, pray for them as God works his will in them in God’s order and time; and pray they will have patience with you.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sunday, 04/10/2005


I've pulled this weeks service directly from the JPM website. It is so easy to commit something to God, and so hard to leave it in his hands. What is begun in the spirit is not made perfect in the flesh.

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? Luke 12:25 (KJV)

Christ asked this of his disciples. Think about it, what would happen if you were suddenly a foot taller. Jesus knows how we think, listen to the 27th verse that follows. Consider the lilies how they grow:they toil not, they spin not, and yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Jesus just gave you a hint at the power of God. If God does one thing for you, he will change all things related so the entire project succeeds. God will not make you a foot taller without providing wonderful clothes for your new frame.

If God does it, there is a good reason for it to be done. If God does it, he will take care of all the issues arising from his action. If God leads, follow, he will prepare the path for you.

God bless.

Jesus is Lord!


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wednesday Service 04/06-2005


II Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Tithes and offerings:

As a new testament believer, what are your financial responsibilities? I will catch a bit of flack on this one; Your responsibility is to give cheerfully as God directs.

That it.

Your priority as a believer is to get close to God. Seek his face. Rejoice in his presence. If you can't give cheerfully, don't give!

God loves us more than we love ourselves. God is smarter than we are. God is wiser than we are.

There is a modern term called "stakeholder," that implies everyone affected by something. It is frequently carried to far and used as an excuse to claim renumeration without effort. With God we can be sure his love will lead us to a route that is best for all.

If we do as God directs, all stakeholders will get what is best for them. Follow God and it will yield maximum benefit for you, your family, the church; in effect, everyone.

God is big enough to take care of all the ramifications of our actions.

Trust God and his love.

Give as he directs.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sunday service, 04/03/2005


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.---Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by
the word of God----By faith Abel offered God a more excellent sacrifice----By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death---But without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.---By faith Noah---By faith Abraham---Through faith also Sara---wherefore God is not ashamed to be called there God---By faith Isaac---By faith Jacob--- (all from Hebrews chapter 11)

There are more heros of faith listed, read the chapter, better yet read all of Hebrews. We are not saved by works, we are not saved by good deeds, God does not grade on the curve. Our only way into the presence of God, that place where joy dwells, is through faith.

Faith is substance. Hope is the blueprint, faith is the construction materials. We show our faith by diligently seeking God; and he will reward that search. Faith is not a short term tool to bend the world into the shape we want. Faith is like the air we breath, it is a constant companion in our walk with Christ.

God will talk to you.

Spend time reading the Bible so you know God's voice. Seek God. He will be found. Once you are walking with God you will discover; faith is an act.

God has made promises to you. How long do you walk according to his promise? Can you give up after a day, a week, maybe a couple of years of waiting is enough to forget his promise and move on?

Lets go back to Hebrews 11:39 for the answer: And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.

How long do you stand with God? How long do you walk in faith? Those heros died in faith, never having received the promise.

That is how long you must be prepared to wait.

Of course we can live a joy filled life in the meantime.

Jesus is Lord!