A Vineyard Pastor’s Response To Ken Wilson’s Book, “A Letter To My Congregation”

A Vineyard Pastor’s Response To Ken Wilson’s Book, “A Letter To My Congregation”
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I became a pastor in the Association of Vineyard churches 4 years ago. As I have gotten to know this family of Evangelical pastors and churches, I have found them to hold dear the same values that I have had since I planted my first church in 1988…….until now. As I write this, I must make one thing clear. I am not speaking in any capacity for Vineyard USA or its leadership. I am speaking for myself as a pastor within the association who loves the Vineyard, loves being a part of the larger body of Christ and who does his best to reach out to people regardless of where they find themselves in life.

In February, Ken Wilson, the Pastor of the Ann Arbor Michigan Vineyard Church released a book called “A Letter To My Congregation”. In this book, Ken changes his position on the LGBT issue as it pertains to gay marriage and appointing gays to leadership, including pastoral leadership.

This becomes problematic for me on many different levels. On a personal level it flies in the face of everything I have experienced in the 34 years I have been a believer in Jesus. On a theological level it is based on eisegetical biblical interpretation at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst. On a praxis level I have 2 concerns: It violates one of the principles that Vineyard churches, although imperfectly, hold dear. That value is the quest for the radical middle. The second thing that causes me concern is the way that this change has been thrust upon the entire association of Vineyard churches in blatant disregard to the values and beliefs of the rest of the association.

Personal Concerns Ken Wilson’s Change Of Position

I gave my heart to Jesus in 1979. My first pastor was Jerry Cook. In his book “Love Acceptance, and Forgivness”, Jerry writes.

The prophetic lifestyle is person-oriented. For instance, to deal with homosexuality in an alienating way would be to deal with the issue of gay rights. I’m not primarily concerned about that as an issue, but I am concerned with a person who is caught in a lifestyle and who is being led to believe that he or she can never change. The truth is that he or she can change and that Jesus wants him or her to change. A host of people who have changed proves it can be done.

Cook, Jerry; Baldwin, Stanley C. (2011-08-29). Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness: Being Christian in a Non-Christian World (Kindle Locations 504-507). Gospel Light. Kindle Edition.

In the mid 1980’s my own uncle entered into a gay lifestyle. He walked away from the church and chose to indulge his sexual desires. For 15 years my family loved him and welcomed him and never rejected him. Finally God began to work on his heart and he returned to his relationship with Jesus and surrendered his sexuality to the Lord. For 20 years now he has lived a celibate life. I watched him struggle with the condemnation and ostracization he experience from his former gay associates. I watched him lay down his desires and come to acceptance that he was first and foremost called to relationship with Jesus and that is all that mattered.

Ten years into my own marriage I was faced with this issue again. My now ex-wife was dealing with the temptation to engage bi-sexuality. She eventually gave in to that temptation and after 6 years of attempting to find a solution, our marriage finally failed. Later she influenced our daughter to follow in her footsteps.

Another dear friend of mine who is the widow of a former well known Calvary Chapel pastor wept in my arms after discovering that her middle son had been living a gay lifestyle. This woman has been an exemplary model of what it means to go the second and third mile in keeping love and communication alive between her son and herself. She has gone so far as to walk with him as he has gone clubbing in gay clubs. Her son does not know that hours upon hours she has been on her knees praying and weeping for him. Even today those heartbreaking prayers continue.

So when I address this issue, I am not addressing it as some hard-nosed legalist who does not understand the scope of implications associated with this issue. I and others that are part of my life have dealt with this on as personal level. It is not theoretical.

I also know that Jesus changes lives. That includes the lives of thieves, liars, backbiters, gluttons, lovers of money, heterosexuals and homosexuals. That is one of the problems with Ken Wilson’s book. He raises the white flag and forgets the doctrine of progressive sanctification.

Now let me make something clear. My problems and issues with Ken’s book and beliefs are not about being welcoming. I absolutely believe and have practiced being welcoming to anyone who wants to come to the churches I have pastored, including my uncle who was living a gay lifestyle at the time. I welcome all people regardless of sinful proclivity. Where I draw the line is condoning that sin and blessing something that there is no precedent of God ever blessing. Where I draw the line is equating welcoming with condoning. Where I draw the line is whether people still practicing lifestyle sins are qualified for leadership.

Theological Concerns With Ken Wilson’s Book

Ken Wilson uses a seriously flawed form of biblical interpretation called Eisegesis.

Eisegesis is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text. The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda. Eisegesis is best understood when contrasted with exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discover-able meaning of its author, eisegesis occurs when a reader imposes his or her interpretation into and onto the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective.

source: Wikipedia

Ken asserts that there are only 6 verses in the Bible that deal with homosexuality. This belief excludes any passages concerning sex outside of marriage. This excludes the Romans 1:24-28 passage as well. This is clearly a twisting of the subject to try to claim that the Bible is silent or almost silent concerning this issue. It is an attempt to prove a pre-held belief.

Ken furthers this method of biblical interpretation by equating this issue with the issue of divorce and remarriage. In an article explaining and promoting his position and book Ken writes,

It began with a burr beneath the saddle of my conscience: why was I willing to let so many divorced and remarried couples know that they are welcome and wanted while refusing that same welcome to gay and lesbian couples? How could I say to the remarried couples, whose second marriage was clearly condemned by the plain meaning of scripture, “You are welcome and wanted,” while saying to the two mothers raising their adopted child together, “I love you, but I hate your sin”?

I personally find this intellectually dishonest. I cannot believe that Ken is not aware of Dr. David Instone-Brewer’s work on biblical reasons for divorce. Dr. Brewer is senior research fellow in rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge. Dr. Brewster shows how not all remarriage is sin. (source) The fact that Ken qualifies his statement by using the term “plain meaning of scripture.” tells me that he is aware of the work and that he is manipulating the conversation to prove his point. He also conveniently forgets to mention that Jesus provided exceptions even in the plain reading of scripture. Matthew 19:8-9

Elsewhere, Ken also tries to use the example of C.S. Lewis’s marriage to Joy to set a precedent for gay marriage. In an article he wrote on FaithStreet.com he asserts that at the time, the church was against C.S. Lewis’s marriage because of the stance of the Church of England on divorce and remarriage. C.S. Lewis needed a personal friend to go against the stance of the church in order to be married.

This assertion is problematic on two counts. It is using the logic that because the church was wrong before then it must be wrong again. This is a weak argument. It makes the assumption that the church is always wrong. I would contend that the church is not always wrong and to think so reveals a negative image of who the church really is.

What is more disconcerting to me is Ken’s use of C.S. Lewis’s marriage in the first place. C.S. Lewis addressed the issue of homosexuality. In a personal letter to Sheldon Vanauken he addresses his belief on this issue. This was a personal correspondence and C.S. Lewis was in the habit to abbreviate in personal correspondence so please remember that as you are reading this. He is not being derogatory in his use of the word “homo”. It was also written about 50 years ago so the language has changes some in that amount of time.

Letter from C. S. Lewis regarding homosexuality, quoted in Sheldon Vanauken’s A Severe Mercy, pp. 146-148, in response to a question about a couple of Christian students of Vanauken who were homosexual and had come to him for advice:

I have seen less than you but more than I wanted of this terrible problem. I will discuss your letter with those whom I think wise in Christ. This is only an interim report. First, to map out the boundaries within which all discussion must go on, I take it for certain that the physical satisfaction of homosexual desires is sin. This leaves the homo. no worse off than any normal person who is, for whatever reason, prevented from marrying. Second, our speculations on the cause of the abnormality are not what matters and we must be content with ignorance. The disciples were not told why (in terms of efficient cause) the man was born blind (Jn. IX 1-3): only the final cause, that the works of God shd. be made manifest in him. This suggests that in homosexuality, as in every other tribulation, those works can be made manifest: i.e. that every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, wh. will ‘turn the necessity to glorious gain.’ Of course, the first step must be to accept any privations wh., if so disabled, we can’t lawfully get. The homo. has to accept sexual abstinence just as the poor man has to forego otherwise lawful pleasures because he wd. be unjust to his wife and children if he took them. That is merely a negative condition. What shd. the positive life of the homo. be? I wish I had a letter wh. a pious male homo., now dead, once wrote to me–but of course it was the sort of letter one takes care to destroy. He believed that his necessity could be turned to spiritual gain: that there were certain kinds of sympathy and understanding, a certain social role which mere men and mere women cd. not give. But it is all horribly vague and long ago. Perhaps any homo. who humbly accepts his cross and puts himself under Divine guidance will, however, be shown the way. I am sure that any attempt to evade it (e.g. by mock or quasi-marriage with a member of one’s own sex even if this does not lead to any carnal act) is the wrong way. Jealousy (this another homo. admitted to me) is far more rampant and deadly among them than among us. And I don’t think little concessions like wearing the clothes of the other sex in private is the right line, either. It is the duties, burdens, the characteristic virtues of the other sex, I suspect, which the patient must try to cultivate. I have mentioned humility because male homos. (I don’t know about women) are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type. I wish I could be more definite. All I have really said is that, like all other tribulations, it must be offered to God and His guidance how to use it must be sought.

I find Ken’s use of C.S. Lewis’s marriage to Joy to either be once again intellectually dishonest or to be intellectually lazy. Either he did not know that C.S. Lewis did not agree with his position and thus using him to prove his point is not only dishonoring of C.S. Lewis but a sign of intellectual laziness, or he knew and attempted to use the memory of a well-respected theologian who is diametrically opposed to his views, to prove his point and thus was intellectually dishonest in that use. Either way is of grave concern to me.

I am not the only Vineyard pastor or theologian who has concerns with Ken’s theological acumen in this area. Luke Geraty, is a Vineyard pastor and a member of the Society of Vineyard Scholars writes in an article on Think Theology

When Ken explains the two views, he creates a straw man argument. A straw man is a logical fallacy where someone misrepresents a certain viewpoint in order to make his or her readers (or listeners) who are ignorant of the facts quickly agree with and/or affirm the position that the one arguing is presenting. In this case, Ken explains to us that the “traditional” approach is not very welcoming, excludes people, and tends to expect people to get “fixed” before they can join church communities. In ALTMC, Ken connects the “traditional” approach to adjectives like “unwelcoming,” “exclusionary,” and the controversial phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

He also writes in another article on Think Theology

Ken controls his narrative by controlling the information. People picking up his book won’t be aware of the fact that there are reasonable and, in my mind, convincing reasons to reject arguments that affirm the legitimacy of homosexuality within the context of monogamous committed relationships (whether called “civil unions” or “gay marriage”). If you control the data, you can control the narrative, which feels a lot like controlling the evidence to me. I’m hopeful that the people in Ken’s congregation will do a bit more reading.

Thomas Creedy, who is a member of a Vineyard church in the UK, and another member of the Society of Vineyard Scholars writes on his blog

I take issue with the way that Ken sets up the debate. By slapping a new ‘ontological’ reality on the cover page (people who ‘are’ x), the debate is framed. And this is also the case in a key part of his first chapter, ‘Time to Move Beyond a Well-Worn Binary?’. In one sense, absolutely! Binary thinking is a nonsense, as Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim point out so well in their superb ‘Both-And’, especially when the binaries are controlled. Ken identifies the binaries as ‘”open and affirming” and “love the sinner, hate the sin”‘[Kindle loc. 262]. Without wanting to dwell on it, the former is never universally applied (I know of no churches where murderers are affirmed in their murdering, or fraudulent bankers in the fraudster-ing, for example) and the latter is actually a misquotation of Augustine popularized by Gandhi.

Thomas is 23 years old and part of the millennial generation that Ken claims we will lose if we don’t change our beliefs to accommodate their beliefs.

Finally Ken tries to move this debate into what he classifies as “disputable matters.” (Romans 14 and 15) Again it seems to be intellectually dishonest to try to turn something that is clearly disapproved of by Paul in Romans 1:24-28 and then try to use Paul’s writings from the same book to make it disputable.

The Problematic Practices That Led To Ken’s Release Of This Book.

The Association of Vineyard Churches is not perfect. There have been times where we have not held the middle ground. I will be the first to admit that. However pursuing the radical middle is one of our values. We want to position ourselves in the middle between legalism and liberalism, between experientialism and intellectualism.

Ken seems to disregard this value by skewing off to the left with liberal theology. His use of the eisegetic model of biblical interpretation confirms this in my opinion.

Ken also violates a principle of association within a group of churches that associate with one another freely. In the Vineyard, each church is free to associate with the group if they find that their values match those of the group. They are free to leave if they find their values change or no longer match those of the group.

In 2013, Ken submitted a rough draft of his book at a meeting of the Society of Vineyard Scholars. Approximately 1 month later, in May of 2013, the executive team of Vineyard USA released this statement:

First, we must be committed to both mission and holiness. The message of the kingdom is a message of welcome. Anyone can come to the feast- Jesus himself was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. And at the same time, the message of the kingdom is repent, believe, and follow Jesus in every area of life. At times, it can feel as if these two principles are mutually exclusive. But we are convinced they are not. It is possible to offer the radical welcome of Jesus while calling people to high standards of discipleship.

Second, the Bible promotes, celebrates and affirms marriage as a covenantal union between a man and a woman. Marriage is not the highest purpose of humanity. The apostle Paul himself was single, as was Jesus. At the same time, it must be honored as a sign and gift from God.

Third, we believe that all humans are to be treated with kindness and compassion, as the image-bearers of God on earth. We are all sinful, and it is profoundly unbiblical to pick out one sin that is stigmatized above others. In the history of the church, homosexual persons experienced such sinful stigmatization. We repent and renounce this sort of sinful treatment.

Fourth, we believe that outside of the boundaries of marriage, the Bible calls for abstinence. We know that in our culture, premarital sex, along with many other forms of non-marital sex, has become normative. We want to lovingly help people of any sexual orientation to live up to this standard. We recognize that it can be a difficult journey, and there must be grace along the way. The powerful, beautiful gift of human sexuality must be stewarded with seriousness and compassion within our movement.

Source: Wikipedia

Clearly Ken Wilson’s position on this issue is not in agreement with the leadership of Vineyard USA. He even admits this in an interview granted to the Detroit Free Press and an article he wrote on the Huffington Post. As a member of a free association, it is incumbent upon those that are in disagreement with the leadership to amicably remove themselves from that association. Ken Wilson has not done so and that makes me question his motives in all of this.

I am praying for Ken, the executive team of Vineyard USA and for the pastors and members of the association. I would ask all of you to pray for us too as we deal with these turbulent issues.

Blessings!

Pastor Duke

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A Vineyard Pastor's Response To Ken Wilson's Book,
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Vineyard Pastor Duke Taber gives a fiery rebuttal to Ken Wilson's book "A letter to my congregation"
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Pastor Duke Taber has been a believer in Jesus for 33 years. He has been a pastor for over 20 years and is currently serving at Mid-Peninsula Vineyard Christian Church. He was formerly the secretary treasurer of White Pine County Ministerial Association. He is an alumnus of LIFE Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a syndicated blogger at The Christian Post and Believe.com.
  • Mark Young

    Thank you, Pastor Duke for this very well thought out response to Ken Wilson’s book. Having been in the Vineyard movement now for more that 15 years I am saddened by all of this as well as surprised by the silence on the part of the Vineyard senior leadership once the book was published. I love the Vineyard and everything is stands for, but that implies taking a stand, which in this case they (we) are not doing.

    • http://taberstruths.com DukeTaber

      Mark, Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I waited to respond to the book for a season myself. Having been in ministry since 1988 I have learned not to immediately respond to things. It allows time for the Holy Spirit to work things out Himself. However when Ken took his position to the mainstream press, and it was starting to look like the entire Vineyard was going to be viewed in the light of Ken’s position, then I decided it was time to speak out.

      I published this article first on this website so I could maintain author rights, however it was written specifically with a larger audience in view. It has been syndicated to the Christian Post. http://blogs.christianpost.com/smallpreacher-biggod/a-vineyard-pastors-response-to-ken-wilsons-book-a-letter-to-my-congregation-20980/ It is my hope that the article will bring a perspective to the table that is not being heard.

      It has made me nervous that there has been no official response from VUSA, but I have been reassured by sources closer to the leadership than I am that it is being worked on and addressed.

      • https://www.facebook.com/Godgirlsgold God Girls Gold

        Our observation of Pastor Wilson is as follows

        1) He tends to be trendy. His first church was part of the ground-breaking Catholic Charismatic movement known as the Word of God community. Even then, his fellowship was the ‘non-denominational’ one known as The Free Church.
        When John Wimber was brought to Ann Arbor by the Word of God community in the mid-80’s, Ken decided to ride that trend, starting the Milan Vineyard church several years thereafter.

        During the short-lived Toronto Blessing phase of the Vineyard, Ken’s church was front and center, attempting to emulate that movement in all it’s glory. Subsequent to that, the church began it’s long, inglorious lurch to the left finally ending in the inevitable (if not already obvious anyway) full acceptance of gay marriage.

        2) Ken tends to view himself as a scholar. He seems to see himself at times as almost a historian chronicling the church as a dispassionate 3rd party observer. This might help explain his recent but quickly formed bond with one of the leaders of the emergent church movement, the appropriately named Phyllis Tickle. (For those that have EARS to hear.) It also may account for the fact that his eldest daughter announced, way back in the 90’s, that she did not even believe in “marriage.” Although that may also be in part due to whatever they were putting in the water supply in Ann Arbor Mi where she was raised.

        3) Speaking of which, as is the case for many men of God who go soft in their latter years, Ken simply may be unduly influenced by the younger women in his life. Most of whom tend to have fairly stout liberal views. But, we will leave that rich meat phenomena for another discussion.

        Like this kind of clear-eyed analysis? Then check out our FB fan page. It’s chock full of this and a whole lot more. God! Girls!! Gold~ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=176937425750404

  • David_Smith

    Excellent presentation Duke. The M.Div.’s agree with you and more importantly so does God and His Word.

    • http://taberstruths.com DukeTaber

      Thanks David!

  • Brent

    I appreciate the presentation and the tone of attempting to stand with scripture. However, I find the thinking here on divorce faulty. Virtually every church father condemned divorce and were exceedingly strict when discussing the two possible “outs” mentioned by Jesus and Paul (see http://www.danielrjennings.org/ThisHistoryOfChristianThoughtOnMarriageDivorceAndRemarriage.pdf). When it came to remarriage they tended to speak with one voice…it was not allowed. For some that meant forever…for others that meant until at least the former spouse had died. This view point was held by the majority of Christians/priests/pastors/theologians until the 20th century. We have had a radical shift in the last 100 years and have ignored the plain meaning of scripture on these passages. If we want to be defenders of traditional marriage, maybe we should learn our own traditions.

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Acts 5:38-39 38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The enemy of our souls doesn't just distract us from our mission by sin. Many times he will distract us by bringing conflicts to us in an attempt to get us involved in a battle that is not ours. Recently this happened to me. I got [more]
The Cost Of Taking A Stand
Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. There have been 3 times in my life where I took major stands against the crowd for the sake of Jesus and His gospel. Each time I did, it came with a cost. The first time was in the late 80's when the seeker sensitive movement started becoming the latest fad within the denomination I was a part of. The second time was after I wrestled with the issue of whether or not the tragedy of divorce [more]
The Main And The Plain
Last night I found myself watching a Christian TV program. Yeah, you got it right. The guy who never watches Christian TV was watching a church service or conference from the Netherlands. I got caught by listening to the worship service being sung in English with strong Dutch accents.  It was something I hadn't heard before. Well, only later did I realize that a fairly famous American pastor was going to be the guest speaker. He is famous in some parts of the Charismatic movement. I am not going to name who it was just because in all honesty this [more]
God’s Tool Or God’s Partner?
Recently I saw a picture by Evangelist Reinhard Bonke about how God is not just interested in what he can use us for but instead loves us. It came with a quote that goes like this. God has business with each of us personally, not merely as His servants or instruments. He loves us, but not because we are useful to Him. You and I don't have relationships based on what we can get out of somebody. Neither does God have a relationship with us just so He can use us as tools. Being used by God is simply one [more]
Remember Lot’s Wife
Luke 17:32 "Remember Lot's wife. Most of us are familiar with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and how Abraham's cousin Lot barely escaped with his life. However what we do not talk about very often is Lot's wife. She was the one who turned back to look one last time at what she was leaving behind and in doing so, ended up becoming a pillar of salt. Jesus told us to remember Lot's wife in context of looking for His return. It was a warning to us not to be attached to our cultural lifestyle here on earth. It [more]
Lift Up Your Eyes
Looking Upward Last night as I was doing my regular walk with the Lord where I just walk in my neighborhood talking to Jesus about what I see going on in my life, I had the Lord speak to my heart a simple phrase yet quite profound. He said "Life up your eyes". Immediately I had 3 scriptures come to mind that all said "Lift up your eyes". These scriptures all have to do with what I call having a heavenly mindset. I am not talking about being so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good, but it is [more]
Crowdfunding For Christians
The other day I had something interesting happen. I was on the phone to my friend Chris Michaels. We were talking about the struggles his church was facing in finding a pastor and how to support him once they do. In the midst of that conversation we started talking about crowdfunding. Now for those of you that do not know what crowd funding is,  it is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. All of a sudden the Holy Spirit started to speak [more]
How To Have Contagious Faith
This morning I was reminded of how many times Jesus associated with sinners. It was a total shock to the religious people of the day. He would eat and drink with tax collectors and women of ill repute. He would touch the lepers. All of these things flew in the face of the standard teaching of the day. This attitude still prevails today. This type of teaching still flourishes. Why? It stems from a mentality that somehow sin is contagious. People still believe that somehow if we hang around people who sin, that their sin will somehow taint us. Is [more]
Embracing Transition In Your Life
When I first started this website I wrote strictly for the fun of it and because I had things I wanted to share with the world. The obstacle that I faced is that I had about 200 people in the whole world that knew who Duke Taber was.  Somehow I had to get the message in my heart to the world. I had to go through a transition. I had to learn how to write in order to answer people's questions they have when they are searching the internet. I went through that transition. This site took off. What I [more]
Have We Lost The Battle?
Time and time again I hear people talking about the lack of spiritual fervor in our nation. We see the forces of evil seeming to gain the upper hand. Moral standards no longer seem important. Attendance of worship services is an afterthought rather than a priority. Does this mean we have lost the battle? Is it time to give up and find an enclave to wait for the return of Jesus? I am asking you to take 26 minutes out of your life to watch something that is not titillating. In fact the speaker is not dynamic. However he is [more]
Top 10 Verses People Think Are In The Bible
Is That Bible Verse Really In The Bible? Many times when I am doing research into what people are looking for about the Bible I come across some strange things. One of the more common of those things are people searching for things that are not in the Bible. So I comprised a list of the top 10 sayings that people search for that are not in the Bible. Hopefully this will clear the air about some of the quotes attributed to the Bible that are not actually the Bible. We shall see. 10 So Called Bible Verses That Are [more]
What Does The Bible Say About Peace?
The Peace of God, Peace With Men, and Peace On Earth The Bible talks a lot about peace. However it talks about a lot of different types of peace. In order to answer the question of what does the Bible say about peace we first have to answer the question of what type of peace are you talking about. You may be looking for answers about how to have peace of mind. You might be talking about how to have peace with other people. You might be looking for what the Bible says about peace in the middle east. All [more]
How To Pray The Lord’s Prayer: A Bible Study
Our Father Which Art In Heaven Lord’s Prayer also commonly called the Our Father prayer by Catholics was never meant to be something that was just memorized and prayed as some kind of mantra or magical prayer. It was meant to be a teaching on how to pray. In this series I am going to teach the Lord’s prayer and we are going to learn the meaning of the model prayer that Jesus gave and together maybe we will all learn better how to pray. Let me give you just a little background. The disciples came to Jesus [more]
Where In The Bible Does It Talk About The Rapture?
The term "rapture" is actually never used in the Bible. The concept of a "rapture" is in the Bible. The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the "being caught up". The Koine Greek of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 uses the verb form ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagisometha), which means "we shall be caught up" or "taken away", with the connotation that this is a sudden event. The dictionary form of this Greek verb is harpazō (ἁρπάζω). This use is also seen in such texts as Acts 8:39, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and Revelation 12:5. The primary passage for the belief in the rapture [more]
What Was Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh?
There has been a lot of speculation about what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that a thorn in the flesh was given to him. Most of those speculations come from people who already have a preconceived idea about sickness, the supernatural, and thus read into this passage things that are not there. So let's take a look at Paul's thorn in the flesh and really see what he was talking about apart from preconceived ideas of God sending sickness and the lack of the supernatural in people's lives. Paul's Thorn In The Flesh In The Bible 2 Corinthians [more]
Ask The Pastor: How Long Should A Person Wait For God’s Choice For A Mate?
One of the Taber's Truths readers sent in a question that goes like this. " I have 2 friends who married late in life, 1 was 39 and the other was 55, waiting for their perfect Christian man. Both lost out on motherhood. I don't want to do that too my children. I praying that I am not too off." When dealing with dating and relationships, we must understand that there is God's side and the individual's side. The short answer to this question is that we should wait as long as it takes. However the length of time that it takes [more]
When God Opens Doors
I think we have all heard the saying that when God closes a door, He opens a window. It is usually spoken to encourage someone who has had something not work out in their life. However we do not hear much about God opening doors. Today I want to share a little about what I have learned about God opening doors. You see, although encouraging people is important, I think people need to understand how to tell if God is opening a door or not in the first place. So let's take a look at the heart of God towards [more]
Spiritual Hunger
Have you ever had this happen? You are minding your own business and just doing the duties that come with your day and all of a sudden you realize that you need to stop what you are doing and satisfy this strange need that has arisen in your life. You are feeling a rumbling in your stomach and a craving has come upon you. You have to stop what you are doing and satisfy this urge. You have to eat. It is called hunger. Now consider this. Have you been going along in your spiritual life and the duties that [more]
The Tearing Down Of Strongholds
Many people when they talk of the tearing down of strongholds try to make this something more than it is. They try to give the devil credit for something that in this case, he has nothing to do with. The Apostle Paul when he talks about the tearing down of strongholds, is not talking about demonic activity but instead is talking about human activity within our minds. So let's take a look at the passage in 2 Corinthians 10 where Paul is talking about the tearing down of strongholds and let's learn how we can tear down these things within [more]
Christian Revival – What is it?
Christian revival, renewal, outpouring, or times of refreshing, no matter what you call it, is something that has been happening ever since the first outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I honestly don't care what you call it. Quibbling over semantics is silly. The fact of the matter is that there have been ebbs and flows of spiritual fervor throughout the history of Christianity. Until the time where there is no longer a war between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God; until such a time as the war between the flesh and the Spirit [more]
Living A Life Of Faith In An Age Of Reason
We live in an age where it seems that anything that has to do with the Christian faith is under attack by Atheists and their prophets of reason. I recently saw an article about another prophet of reason prognosticating that religion would be dead by 2041. I felt that it was time for me to address this issue and remind everyone that this is nothing new. The questions concerning the reasonableness of Christianity have gone back for centuries. Man has always wanted to view himself as the final authority in all things and to set himself up as a God. German [more]
Do You Have A Healthy Spiritual Life?
One of the things I have found during the 33 years I have been a believer is the importance of having a healthy spiritual life. In our age where we fill all of our free time with activities, many times our spiritual life is left hanging. If we are to be the type believer that ministers out of the overflow that God gives us, we must make having a healthy spiritual life a priority. So in this article I hope to share with you some of the things that I have learned about having a healthy spiritual life and how [more]
Ask The Pastor: Women’s Apparel And The Bible
Last week I started a section of Taber's Truths called "Ask The Pastor" Within a couple of days I received a letter asking me to address the issue of women wearing pants. I considered whether or not I wanted to address this issue or ask one of the female contributors to this website to handle the question. I decided that I would handle the question because for years women were subjugated rather than led in a godly manner by men and that subjugation caused them to have to live in ways that really were not in line with biblical principles [more]
The God Of Restoration
When I talk about the God of restoration, I do not come to you from a perspective of just teaching a biblical principle. I come to you from a lifetime of experience seeing God restore my own life. So this article comes straight from my heart. You see, more than once I have lost everything. I lost family, friends, finances, and even my good name. However I always kept the advice that a dear friend of mine gave to me. "You worry about your character and let God worry about your reputation, life, and circumstances." Now that does not mean [more]
Why Should A Christian Be Baptized In Water?
In a few weeks my church and a local Assembly of God church in my area will be holding a joint water baptism service. I thought it would be a good time to write down my thoughts concerning water baptism and why a Christian should get baptized in water. Both the Assemblies of God and my church which is part of the Association of Vineyard churches have 2 ordinances that we observe. They are communion and water baptism. These ordinances are practiced by every major Evangelical church across the world and also are practiced in some form by many other [more]
Christian Consumerism
A while back I came across a faux news article on how a mega-church sent a letter to it's members telling them that they had to start giving or volunteering in order to continue to attend the church. I posted it on my Facebook page just to see the reactions the fake news story would get. The reactions, needless to say, were very revealing. Most were outraged that a church would actually require something of it's members. One person actually said that some people didn't have the money time or ability to give back to their church. These types of [more]
Communion At Home – Is It Biblical?
I get a lot of people coming to my list of communion scriptures searching for information concerning taking communion at home. I thought that it would be helpful to go into more depth on taking communion at home and look at some of the issues surrounding the subject. So we will take a look at whether or not the Bible talks about the necessity of having a minister or priest bless the sacraments, whether or not communion has to be a group event, and the motive behind taking communion in the first place. In order to do this, we are [more]
Stones Of Remembrance
There is a very good Bible teaching that can be found in the story of Joshua and the stones of remembrance. The story is found in Joshua 4. Let me set the stage just a little bit before we go into the story. The children of Israel had been delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. They had spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness because they had not believed that God would overcome the obstacles in front of them the first time. Now they finally put faith into the promise of God that He would give them the [more]
Becoming A Church Without Borders
This morning I want to share with you the vision I am sharing with my own congregation at the Vineyard Church of Pine Haven. We are a small town church in a community of 500 in rural Wyoming. Our building will seat 100 people. Yet I believe that God is calling even us, a small church in a sparsely populated area to be a church without borders. Listen To Pastor Duke Share This Message On Being A Church Without Borders. Podcast Powered By Podbean   A little over 2000 years ago, a small gathering of believers was given a commission to [more]
5 Biblical Insights About Vision
Recently I came across a video blog by Phil Strout talking about qualities found in successful leaders. In those videos I found some principles that I have always believed concerning vision. So I wanted to pass along to you those biblical insights about vision so you too can implement these principles in your life and ministry. The book of Proverbs states in chapter 29 this statement. Proverbs 29:18  18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: Now I could go on and on about how people need vision and that leaders need to instill vision but in all honesty [more]
The God Who Comforts – A Mothers Day Message
This week at my church I won't be sharing a traditional Mother's Day sermon but instead will be sharing a message about the God who comforts as a mother who comforts her child. Often times we place upon God attributes that show severity and rigidness. However I would like to show you the God who is willing to comfort us as a mother comforts her child. So let me start by sharing with you a verse out of the book of Isaiah chapter 66 and verse 13. Listen To The Podcast Of Pastor Duke Sharing This Mother's Day Sermon Podcast [more]
Walk By Faith Not By Sight
Walking by faith is something that at one time or another we all struggle with. We can be inspired by a great sermon or someone giving us a word of encouragement, but as soon as the emotions of that event face, we are faced with whether or not we will walk by faith and not by sight, or we will look around and say "it must not have been God afterall." This morning, I want to challenge you. Not because you are somehow missing it or a failure in your Christian life, but I want to challenge you to overcome. [more]
Codependent Tendencies Between Church Leaders And Church Members
I am the first to admit that I am an imperfect leader. I am an imperfect church member. I am an imperfect man. There have been times in my life where I have done or allowed some pretty dumb things in my life. So when I talk about codependent tendencies between church leaders and church members, I am not trying to raise myself up on a pedestal by pointing out the flaws of other. I am trying to bring to light something that I have both wrestled with personally and seen operating within some churches in the hopes that by [more]
Help My Unbelief
Have you ever struggled with doubts and unbelief? Have you ever felt bad because had thoughts that something was impossible? Have you felt condemned because others told you that if you had doubts, God would not answer your prayer? I think we all have had at one time a struggle with unbelief and we have prayed the same prayer that the man who had a demon possessed son prayed in Mark 9:24 Listen To The Podcast Of Help My Unbelief Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast Powered By Podbean   The "Help My Unbelief" Scripture Mark 9:24 [more]
It seems that in today's society we are busier and busier and have less time to schedule events during the week. Mid-week services are dwindling or non-existent and home groups are not the cure-all that proponents claim them to be. So what is the solution? How about accomplishing the same thing you would accomplish at your brick and mortar building but doing so online? That is where building an online social network for your church comes in. In the following picture I am going to show you that there has been a cultural shift in how we relate to one [more]
What Is God’s Call?
If you are around Christians any length of time at all, you will hear them say that they feel "called" by God to do something. They may say that they are trying to discern the call of God on their life, or they may say that they are answering God's call, or even say they are called to ministry. Hopefully I will be able to answer for you what is the call of God and whether or not you are experiencing this very real phenomenon. Where Do We Get The Term "Call Of God"? The concept of being called comes [more]
A Biblical Wedding Ceremony
Are you getting married? Well, so am I! I am not into big public announcements. It seems like when I do, something gets in the way, however I am excited. For me it is important to have a biblical marriage and a Christian marriage ceremony. It is amazing to me how many wedding ceremonies are out there but how many really do not incorporate our faith in a meaningful way. So I wanted to share with you the marriage ceremony that I recommend to believers and also the one that will be used at my own wedding. A Biblically Based [more]
What Does The Bible Say About Profanity?
With our morals and values being challenged at every corner in today's world, I thought a study on what the Bible says about profanity would be in order. I will be the first one to admit that when I first got saved, and at a couple of other times in my life, I allowed myself to have quite the potty mouth. So my intent with this post is not to point fingers at those who do not have very good control over their tongue, but instead to give you a reasoned approach to the question of cursing and the biblical [more]
Galatians 101 – Studies From The Book Of Galatians
I have just completed my sermon series on the book of Galatians. To me, the book of Galatians is the Magna Carta of the Christian faith. In it we find what the Apostle Paul was willing to live and die for. It is probably the most applicable, yet most ignored of all the books in the New Testament. We may read it, but we don't really believe what it says. So if you come upon this page, I pray that God will open your ears and heart and turn you into the new creation that He has planned for you [more]
Boasting In The Cross Of Christ
This is the final message in my series on the book of Galatians. Paul has hand written an entire book of the Bible defending the message of grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross. When he puts his finishing thoughts together, he boils it down to the motives of those that opposed grace, the place where he places his trust, and what when it has been all said and done, knowing what is truly important. So let's take a look at what Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with. The Boasting In The Cross Of Christ [more]
You Shall Reap As You Sow
We are coming to the end of the series on the book of Galatians. In Galatians 6, Paul finishes his letter with a principle that many have quoted but in all honesty, few apply in it's proper application. Many try to teach that it has to do with money or physical things, however that is the least of the applications of this passage. So let's take a look at what Paul is trying to get across to the Galatian church and how we can apply it to our lives. The Reap What You Sow Bible Verse Galatians 6:1-10 1 Dear [more]
The Legacy Of The Heresy Hunters
Heresy hunting seems to have become quite a popular pastime with many radio broadcasters and internet bloggers. Recently I ran across a response by Tim Challies (www.challies.com) concerning some heresy hunters coming after him. He is a Christian blogger, author and fellow pastor who holds to what most would call a "reformed" theology. I for one cannot even fathom why the heresy hunting crowd would go after such a person with this background. However, Tim is not the first person from a standard theological position that these "Christian watchdogs" have gone after. Hank Hannegraff of the Christian Research [more]
Do People Who Commit Suicide Go To Heaven?
The topic of suicide is not addressed very often in Christian circles and when it is, it is usually coupled with very emotional responses that are not reasoned out very well. With the tragedy of what has happened to Rick Warren's family and the inevitable public discussion that will happen because of it, Let me start off by sharing that I have not been immune to this type of tragedy. At age 18, my father is suspected of committing suicide. It was the early 80's and AIDS had just started being widespread. He engaged in a lifestyle of drugs and [more]
Church Outreach Ideas
Many of us have heard sermons or know that church outreach is very important to the health of a church and individual believers. The problem is that most of us don't even know where to get started. It is one thing to hear the pastor say we need to "evangelize" but it is quite another thing for us to translate that into actions other than knocking on doors, passing out tracts, or buying a tent and holding evangelistic meetings across the country. Most of those things are beyond our comfort zone or ability to do, so I thought I would [more]
Leadership Styles and Making Disciples
Recently I had a great conversation with Allen Hodges, who is a dear friend of mine and the pastor of the Billings Montana Vineyard Church. We talked about leadership styles and it's effect on making disciples. Out of that conversation and my subsequent mulling over what was said has caused me to write this article. There are probably just as many leadership styles as there are personalities. There are also church traditions and expectations that influence or even dictate certain leadership styles. If you understand this, then you will also understand that there is not one "right" leadership style. Just [more]
Rethinking Funding For Church Planting
Funding for church planting is a subject that many church planters wrestle with as they are starting out with their new church plant. Having successfully planted 2 churches in my life and resurrecting a 3rd church, I have a little experience on this subject. Recently I read a question by a prospective church planter about how to juggle priorities when being a bi-vocational church planter. He was wondering how he could manage his job, family priorities, and a church plant. My reaction to the question surprised even myself. Here is what I said. Derek, you bring up a great question. [more]
Why Do Christians Celebrate Easter?
I am sure that there are many articles written on Christians celebrating Easter. However I would like to give you a fresh perspective on why Christians celebrate Easter. Easter is a celebration of Christ rising from the dead but it is also symbolic of believers rising from their old life into their new life. It is this new life perspective that I am going to share with you today and then begin an 8 day devotion on the Easter Holy Week. Easter - The Time To Rise Let us go back in time with our imagination. It is the early [more]
Falling From Grace
Today as we continue the series on the book of Galatians, we are going to look at chapter 5 where Paul talks about falling from grace. Today, many churches and Christians equate falling from grace as falling into sin. However this is not what the Apostle Paul is talking about. He is still talking about the difference between performance mentality religion and relational Christianity. So let's take a look at the passage where he refers to falling from grace. The Falling From Grace Bible Verse Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, [more]
The Plans Of Man And The Plans Of God
Recently I have had a poignant reminder of how man may plan his ways but God's plans are not always the same. Sometimes we think we know best what needs to happen and what needs to be done in our life. We wrestle with truly allowing God to plan our life and let Him be the one who leads and guides us. I can think of 2 very good examples in my life where this has been the case. The first one had to do with a person who I loved deeply but did not reciprocate that love. My plans [more]
Single Christians As Leaders
Recently I got my feathers ruffled. That happens at times when people say or do things that are contrary to the things I hold dear or contrary to biblical teachings or both. This time it was both. I was sitting down having dinner with some friends of mine who are in pastoral ministry and looking to retire. We were talking about what they were looking for in a replacement for them. In the context of that conversation the statement was made, "we would not consider someone who was not married". What! Now I understand that there is a generational difference [more]
Self Promotion or God Promotion
Early in my Christian life while I was starting the first church that I started, I had a district leader make a statement that stuck with me all throughout my life. He said, "I am not sure if you have holy ambition or are wholly ambitious." That sent me down a path of self discovery that eventually led to my belief in pursuing servanthood and obscurity rather than climbing the ecclesiastical corporate ladder. So let me share with you what I believe is a biblical mandate for promotion compared to what is accepted as the normal way within the church [more]
The Top Christian Social Networking Sites For 2013
Many Christians have gotten a little fed up with Facebook. Whether they are finding that their posts mysteriously disappear, or are not shared with all of their friends due to Facebook's decision to censor religious speech, (http://www.christianpost.com/news/facebook-google-apple-censoring-religious-speech-55736/) or they are tired of posts that use inappropriate pictures or language, or they just want a place where they can go to get uplifted and encouraged, Christians have been looking for alternatives to Facebook. It was because of this need that Taber's Truths decided to enter the Christian social networking niche and launch Christian Faithbook. However, since [more]
What Is The Blessing Of Abraham?
Today I am continuing my series on the book of Galatians. Last week we learned that many of us had become just like the Galatian Christians and had become foolish Christians. This week we are going to learn that there is a promise of blessing that God promised to Abraham that is transferred to us because we are part of Christ. So let's take a look at Galatians 3:10-14 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which [more]
Oh Foolish Christians!
This morning I am continuing my series on the book of Galatians. In chapter 3 the Apostle Paul gets pretty blunt with the Galatian church concerning their foolishness in trying to go back to a works orientated relationship with God. In fact he calls them foolish. Unfortunately in the church today, many Christians have not heeded the warnings given by the Apostle Paul and they are doing the same thing as the Galatian Christians were doing in his day. They are still trying to come up with some type of works that will allow them to feel as though they [more]
Freely You Have Received, Freely Give
This morning I want to share with you something that I have learned over the last 33 years of being a Christian that truly separates those that are successful from those that are not. It has to do with whether or not you have a giving and generous spirit or what I call a miserly spirit. Now I am really not talking about money. What I am talking about is what Jesus was talking about when He made this statement. Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. [more]
When The Enemy Comes In Like A Flood
Over the 33 years I have been a believer in Jesus there has been many times where I have gone through trials, testings, and battles. I can't say that they were fun times but the were both necessary and part of building my faith to where it is today. When the enemy comes in like a flood, you can be rest assured it is not because you are doing something wrong, but it is because you are doing something right. So let me encourage you in your own spiritual walk and share with you some of the things I have [more]
What Is The Meaning Of Grace?
What’s that thing called Grace? It’s a funny thing this thing called Grace.  We all want it.  We don’t like to give it.  We often try to give it with strings attached.  We want it back.  Often we demand it!  God gave us this amazing gift, called “Grace”, often defined as “unmerited favor”. One of my favorite scriptures about grace is 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power [more]
Staying Right With God
Today I am continuing my series on the book of Galatians. Last week I shared with you what was the message of the gospel of grace. This week I will be sharing with you how you can maintain your relationship with God. We will be looking at the passage found in Galatians 2:11-21. In this passage we see a confrontation happen between Peter and Paul. Paul confronts Peter about truly living a life of grace vs. a life of law and grace combined. The confrontation starts out with Peter coming to visit Paul in Antioch. At first, Peter lives in [more]
My Sermon For A New Year
This new year is a landmark one for me. On New Year's eve I turn 50. This has caused me to do a lot of reflection and this sermon is a a result of that reflection. The New Year's holiday is one that signifies putting the past behind us and looking forward to the future. For me, the past is getting longer and the future is getting shorter but does that mean that God does not have a lot of life and adventure in front of me? This is the question that I had to ask myself. So join with [more]
What To Expect When Your Church Changes Pastors
One of the things that God has used me in over the years in ministry is healing wounded churches. Regardless of whether or not this is your first pastoral transition or one of many, I hope that you will take what I am about to share with you to heart and then apply it in a relevant way to those that love Jesus there in your community. Any time you have a pastoral transition it is a tough season for the body of Christ at a church. This is especially true for the Vineyard churches that I am now part [more]
Joseph, A Biblical Example Of A Godly Stepfather
I am continuing my series on the perspectives of Christmas by taking a look at Joseph who was betrothed to Mary. So far we have looked at Christmas from God's perspective through the incarnation of Christ, the perspective of the shepherds, the perspective of the wise men, and what Christmas is about seen in the faith of Mary. Now it is time to look through the eyes of Joseph at all that was happening during the birth of Jesus. To me, Joseph is a prime biblical example of a godly stepfather. Joseph And The Christmas Story Matthew 1:18-25 The Birth [more]
Finding Your Voice As A Leader
It has been said that the way you know if someone is a leader is whether or not they have followers. This is true to a certain extent but there is more than one type of leader. You can be a leader because you are a rebel. You can be a leader because you speak for those that are afraid to move forward. So being an authentic leader of God's people is more than just having followers. It is finding the voice that God has designed for you to have to lead His people forward into the destiny that He [more]
Mary, The Mother Of Jesus – An Overlooked Woman Of Faith
In continuing on in my series on the perspectives of Christmas, I want to share with you about a woman who many Evangelicals overlook at Christmas time. I believe she is overlooked because of a backlash of Protestantism that does not accept certain doctrines within the Roman Catholic Church so instead of giving the appearance that we might agree with those doctrines, we just don't talk much about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary is a prime example of a woman of faith. She allowed God to use her and submitted to His will no matter what the cost. So [more]
The Three Wise Men And The Christmas Star Of Bethlehem
Today I am continuing my series on the perspectives of those involved in the Christmas story. In my first article I talked about God's perspective on the incarnation of Christ, and in my second article I talked about the perspectives of the shepherds. Today I am going to attempt to share with you the perspectives of the Magi, the three wise men, who followed a star from the east to find Jesus. In order to do this we are going to look at who were the magi or wise men and we are going to look at what the Christmas [more]
Biblical Confrontation – A Look At Matthew 18
Nobody likes confrontation. For many years, I avoided confrontation like the plague. Yet there is a time and a place when you need to confront people otherwise they will continue to abuse you or sin against you.  The purpose of confrontation is not to start a fight or get into an argument, but the purpose is to bring the problem to a resolution. If you will follow the principles of biblical confrontation usually you will gain a brother on the first attempt and resolve an issue. However sometimes what ends up happening is your discover that they have a hard [more]
The Shepherds At Christmas
Today I am continuing my series on the Christmas story. Last week I shared with my congregation and with you about the incarnation of Christ from God's perspective. Today I shared with them the Christmas story from the shepherds perspective. It is very important that we look at the Christmas story from all the perspectives of the participants. When we do this we get insight into the heart and purpose of God. So take a moment and follow along with me as I try to share what the shepherds must have been experiencing and thinking at Christmas. The Shepherds Guarding [more]
God And Creativity
One of the things I have always failed to understand is why Christians fall into the trap of copying others rather than allowing God to develop them into the unique and creative expression of Jesus that He has designed for them. Emulation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it short cuts God's design for a person's life. He didn't create them to be a carbon copy of someone else. He created them to be an unique expression of His creativity in and of themselves. Whether we are talking about our life among our friends, family, or co-workers, or [more]
How To Become A Bold Christian
Bold Faith I have been blogging and running this website now for over a year and a half. My Facebook fan page has been in existence for almost as long, although it has only really been active about 6 months. One of the things that I have noticed since I have been interacting with the broader church in general is that there is a real lack of boldness when it comes to people talking about, and sharing their faith. This is especially true for those that live in the western world and even worse in the United States. Because of [more]
How To Keep Christ In Christmas – Lessons From The Incarnation Of Christ
God With Us Every Christmas there is a big push to "keep Christ in Christmas". There is good reason for this push because of the secularization of our society and this very Christian holiday. However this year I have taken a step back to really think about what it means to keep Christ in Christmas. Are we just trying to keep the name Christ in the word Christmas? Are we trying to keep the religious symbolism of the Christian holiday? What does it truly mean to keep Christ in Christmas? Because of these questions I decided to look once again [more]
Dealing With Divorce During The Holidays – Putting Your Children First
Rising Above the Pain During the Holidays The holiday season is a very stressful time for both those that have been or are going through divorce and for the children who are the innocent victims of divorce. Parents are tempted, because of their woundedness and insecurities, to pit their children against the other parent. This is a very painful experience for the child. It is because of what I have observed divorced parents do and because of the pain my own children have experienced that I am writing this article. I am appealing to all divorced parents to rise up [more]
How To Study The Bible Online
Using the Internet to Study the Bible One of the things that has amazed me in providing this website to people is the amount of people that come to it from other countries and territories around the world. The hunger for the word of God and to find out what the Bible says on certain subjects both humbles and amazes me. So far, just in the first 2 weeks of November, we have had people from 142 countries and territories around the world visit this site. This led me to think that an article on how to study the Bible [more]
Is Thanksgiving A Christian Holiday?
It is time once again for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. It has traditionally been a time where we set aside our daily labors and give thanks to God for His abundant providence upon us. However in recent years, with the secularization of our society, questions have arisen as to whether Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday. Now, I think it would be remiss to say that Thanksgiving or the ability to give thanks is exclusive to Christianity. However the concept of giving thanks assumes a belief in God, for if you are not giving thanks to God, then [more]
Greater Love Has No Man – A Veteran’s Day Message
A Sermon For Our Veteran Soldiers This Sunday, my church has the privilege of hosting our community's Veteran's day service.  For me, it is a great honor to be able to speak both for our community and as a representative of Jesus to these great men and women who have served our country so faithfully. My Veteran's Day Message - Greater Love Has No Man The text for my message comes from Jesus Himself. It is found in John's gospel chapter 15. John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s [more]
Will Christians Stop Selling Their Birthright For A Political Bowl Of Stew?
Well the election is over and my heart is both grieved and at peace. It wouldn't have mattered if the outcome had been different and the other political party's candidate had won. My heart still would have been grieved. Why? Because people would have been celebrating the victory of evil. Why you may ask, is my heart at peace? Because tomorrow morning I will wake up knowing that I did not sell my vote for false promises. I did not give my birthright away for a bowl of stew. Let me show you what I am talking about. Esau Selling [more]
Ordinary People Trusting An Extraordinary God
This morning I want to share with you what I shared with my congregation last Sunday. The messages was entitled, "Ordinary People and an Extraordinary God. The reason I shared this message with them and hopefully what will be accomplished when you read this is that in our society, we seem to think that God will only use superstars. That ordinary people are really not all that important. Well nothing is farther from the truth and  I have been around people in the church for 33 years now. There is a propensity to celebrate the great man of God. In [more]
How To Follow Jesus
I Have Decided To Follow Jesus It has been 33 years since I made the decision to follow Jesus. Sometimes because of the years, I forget that people need to learn the first steps to take in their Christian walk. So When I gave my life to Jesus and made the decision to follow Him, I was absolutely ignorant about anything to do with Christianity and following Jesus. I grew up in a family that went to church only on holidays and the church they went to was more religious than it was anything else. Absolutely everything I learned after [more]
Topical Or Expository Preaching – Which Is Better?
Is There a Better Method of Preaching? I have been in ministry now since 1988 and although that does not make me an expert on preaching, I have preached more sermons than I personally ever needed to preach. Many times people have either asked me or tried to prove to me that one form of preaching was superior to another form. In fact, some denominations go so far as to require that their pastors use one form of preaching on Sunday morning. Personally I find this a little silly because both types of preaching, whether it be topical or expository [more]
God and Natural Disasters – Has The Almighty Had Enough?
I have hesitated even writing about this topic. It is one that can cause a lot of furor and make people polarize to opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand we have the ding dongs at Westboro Baptist Church celebrating that God is smiting the East coast, and on the other end we have people totally ignoring any divine attribute that might be going on with natural disasters claiming it is all because of global climate change.  As most of you know, I try not to swing to extremes. I have found them counterproductive and destructive to our Christian [more]
Is It Biblical To Make Decisions Based On The Lesser Of Two Evils?
Ever since I was a little boy I have heard people talk about making choices based on the lesser of two evils.  It is because of this deep soul searching about how I make my decisions that has led me to make some decisions that have been extremely unpopular recently. Dear friends have not understood how I could totally buck the system, including most conservatives Christian or not, and not just follow along with the conventional wisdom. So I think I have finally worked through the issues enough to be able to write down my thoughts as to why I [more]
Church Leadership – What Is A Biblical Form Of Church Government?
Is There a Biblical Form of Church Government? I had a dear friend today write me and ask me to show her the biblical model for church leadership and government. It seems that her local church is going through a tough time on this issue and it is the second time in about as many years that this has happened. The last time it happened it caused a painful split in the church. I am not an expert on church government but I have walked a few miles in different forms of church government over the years. The different forms [more]
Life Lessons From King David In The Bible
Learning From King David in the Bible It is the process that we see in the life of David that for me is so inspiring. God takes David, a simple shepherd boy and gives him a calling at a young age. He then gives David a test where He places his faith in God which launches him into a position of popularity. He is then given a desert experience where his character is tested but finally God accomplishes in David His purposes for David's life. Man Looks On The Outside, God Looks On The Inside. We begin the story of [more]