In the City, For the City

You may have noticed my use of that tag line in a few recent correspondences. I love the fact that First Baptist Paducah’s campus is located near the center of life in Paducah. That tag line is a way to celebrate that fact – but it’s much more. It also communicates that we are committed to meeting the real needs of the people all around us.

So that you can mark your calendars well in advance, I want to share with you something happening at our church in early 2019. As part of my upcoming 12-week evening series titled “Don’t Mention It: 12 Things Nobody Wants to Talk About in Church,” which will kick off in January, I am bringing Dr. Benjamin Mast to Paducah. Dr. Mast is a professor at the University of Louisville, where he serves as Vice Chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia-related issues.

Please join us on Sunday, January 13, 2019, when Dr. Mast will be our special guest. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. From a Christ-centered perspective, Dr. Mast will highlight the power of the gospel for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and similar conditions.

Did you know that Alzheimer’s is now the most feared diagnosis in America? Just the mention of it causes our friends and neighbors incredible discomfort and angst. Who can blame them? When you start talking about memory, communication, language, the ability to focus, reasoning, judgment, and even visual perception, you’re striking at the heart of who we are as people created in God’s image.

Not only are these conditions feared, but most of them take a slow but debilitating toll on the loved ones who attempt to provide care. People with dementia often develop problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments, and even leaving their neighborhood. Many dementias are progressive, meaning that symptoms start out slowly and gradually worsen. As a pastor, it is becoming more and more obvious to me that nearly everyone in our church and our city – at least from a distance – is being impacted by these tough realities.

God has made an unshakeable commitment to never forget His people! As we learn to trust in that promise, we will also learn practical suggestions for how the church can come alongside families and those who are struggling, offering help and hope to victims of these debilitating diseases. On the evening of January 13, there will be time for Dr. Mast to answer your questions about dementia and its impact on personal identity and faith.

A light supper will be served. Reservations are not required. Please plan to join us.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Those are tremendous words of comfort from Isaiah 49:15. I look forward, with you, to learning to stand on that promise on January 13. Please help me get the word out to our larger community between now and then, because you and I are “in the city, for the city.”

 

Pastor Charles

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Miracles Large and Small

Near Massachusetts Bay, many of the Pilgrims huddled aboard the Mayflower as the days and nights grew colder. Many didn’t make it through that first winter. For those who remained, hope came from a very unlikely source: a Patuxet (Pawtuxet) Native American named Tisquantum. “Squanto” for short.

Squanto’s story? Nothing like a fairy tale. As a boy, he had been kidnapped by a sea captain, sold into slavery, and transported to Europe. First to Spain, and eventually to London. The most amazing thing about the story of Squanto is that, because of his traumatic misfortune, he had learned the English language.

Squanto’s understanding of English enabled this kind young man to teach the weary colonists how to catch fish, cultivate corn, and make peace with the local Wampanoag tribe. None of those were easy tasks. Squanto taught the earliest settlers how to extract maple sap and — in a nutshell — how to survive life in the New World. Nobody but Squanto knew where the lobster were, or how to plant a gourd so that it goes up the cornstalk.

A kernel of corn is a tiny thing. Unless you don’t have any corn.

But Squanto’s story had included far more than its share of sadness and suffering. Before the Pilgrims landed, Squanto had lost everything. At the end of his return voyage across the Atlantic, after ten years of separation from everything familiar to him, he had discovered that his tribe had been completely eradicated by disease. His entire village, gone.

Squanto had found himself alone.

But not for long.

From the perspective of one of those early settlers, can you imagine hearing an Indian brave coming out of the woods speaking English? Unspeakable! (Pun fully intended.)

The truth is that Squanto felt completely at home neither with the English Pilgrims nor with the Wampanoag tribe. But he masterfully brokered deals between them, utilizing his divinely appointed language skills for much higher purposes. At one point the Wampanoag became so angry with the “double-dealing” Squanto that they urged the Pilgrims to kill him. But God had a better plan.

Squanto eventually confessed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Like I, Squanto was plagued by sins and weaknesses, but the grace of God marvelously rescued the Indian friend of the Pilgrims. Squanto died trusting in the merits of a faithful Savior. He would finally be “home.”

Not only did God rescue Squanto, but God used Squanto to rescue the Pilgrims. This holiday which we call “Thanksgiving” was born out of one unlikely providence after another. From the ship and crew which never should have survived the ocean voyage, to a nation granting religious freedom to all, Thanksgiving is a testimony to our God of miracles.

Sometimes we’re highly tuned in to the Lord’s kindness toward us. At other times we barely notice the extraordinary things which God is doing in our midst. Don’t let that happen this Thanksgiving. As you gather around your table, take the time to notice the absolute goodness of God.

You and I have much for which we should give thanks. Miracles both large and small.

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Rabshakehcadabra

Rabshakeh. I’m reading through Isaiah in my personal devotions, and “Rabshakeh” jumped off the page as I hit Chapter 36.

The time is 701 B.C., and the Northern Kingdom has fallen to Assyria. Now Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is imperiled by this encroaching enemy. In fact, according to this passage, the king of Assyria has already taken the fortified cities of Judah. Not looking good.

The Rabshakeh of Assyria plays a prominent role in this text. We’re never told his name, but we believe that he’s the third-highest ranking officer in the Assyrian army. He approaches Judah’s officials with a message for King Hezekiah, and ultimately for the people: “On what do you rest this trust of yours?” Isaiah 36:4. Interesting question. Interesting question indeed.

The Rabshakeh baits God’s people. “What God can save you? Who can stand against the Assyrian king? Are you dumb enough to lean on some protector whose power is not as evident as mine?” I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the point. It’s a full frontal assault.

“And, by the way, if you’ll only side with me, you’ll no longer have to worry about starving to death … in fact, you’ll have everything you’ll ever need. All will be well. Trust me.”

King Hezekiah has tough decisions to make. Will Judah join forces with Assyria? Will Judah ally with Egypt? Will Judah stand and fight? All the while, the taunts of the Rabshakeh are aimed at undermining the authority of the king in the eyes of the people. In addition to his other problems, Hezekiah may have a widespread rebellion on his hands.

“Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?” Isaiah 36:20. Not only does the Rabshakeh cast doubt on Hezekiah’s authority, but he casts doubt on the authority of God. If you go back and read Second Kings 18:17, you’ll discover that three of Assyria’s most important officers have already arranged for the capital city’s total surrender. It’s as good as done.

Friends, spiritual warfare is as real as the air we breathe! As Christ followers, we are never above it or beyond it. There will always be powerful voices all around us mocking the sovereignty of our God. Mocking the authority of our Christ. Mocking the credibility of our faith.

Their goal is to beat you down, and then to destroy you.

Like a magician as he waves his magic wand, the Rabshakeh promises that he holds the real power, and that the way of real life is in abandoning Israel’s God and serving the more obvious powers of this world. It reminds me of Satan’s “promise” to Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-7): “It will all be yours.” Think about how easy it would be to succumb to such an offer if you were already struggling and terrified.

Maybe that’s where you are today. You’re tired. There are some things about your life that you just can’t figure out, or come to terms with. Some doubts which used to be manageable have now become gigantic. You’re feeling deflated, rejected, and afraid. You’re not sure that the Way of Christ is the only way.

Here is my Word for you today: STAND. Ephesians 6:13. STAND FIRM. The Christ on whom you stand is more than able. He is a sure foundation when we are in trouble. He will never abandon us. And He is infinitely more invested in our ultimate victory than we could ever imagine.

STAND. Take captive every lie, and kill it.

“On what do you rest this trust of yours?”

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Let Freedom Ring

In May 2017, the army detained three Christian believers who were gathering firewood, and forcibly took them into custody. Their bodies were found later; they had been tortured and killed. The gruesome scene I’m describing happened in the Kachin State of Myanmar, once known as Burma.

I want you to meet my new friend, Shawng Htoi. Shawng and I enjoyed breakfast this morning, discussing the land once evangelized by the great missionary William Carey, and the unique complexities and struggles of living out Christ’s gospel among the Burmese. Of particular concern to Shawng is how the church can help revive Christian truths and democratic principles in such a war-torn nation. In that part of God’s world, the persecution of well over four million Christians can be both intense and brutal.

In Myanmar, thousands and thousands of Christians live in IDP (“internally displaced”) camps. They have limited access to food and healthcare. Other Christ followers have their properties invaded by Buddhist, Muslim, or tribal authorities. The Radical Buddhist movement Ma Ba Tha proclaims itself as the protector of Buddhism, the country’s national religion.

In strikingly sharp contrast, America’s rich heritage of religious liberty can only be described as groundbreaking on the global stage. Enshrined in our Bill of Rights, and drawn from the Bible’s absolutely radical affirmation of every person created in God’s own image, we have been uniquely gifted with a freedom unparalleled in human history. I wish I could tell you that I’m consciously thankful for our religious freedom every day, but the truth is that I often need a wake-up call. Today mine came in the form of Shawng.

As we enter the season of turkeys and trimmings, please don’t forget the Pilgrims. Our Sovereign Lord transformed the pain of their persecution into the constitutional republic which you and I would inherit. Some people despise the notion of American exceptionalism, but I am not among them. All you have to do is look beyond your nose to discover how difficult it is for peaceful democracy and basic freedom to take hold and flourish. Here and now, we are blessed.

Let’s make sure to live out our uncommon blessing by taking Christ’s gracious good news to Myanmar, and to every other corner of the earth. It was Carey who said: “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.”

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Gates Open Wide

Sometimes it gets lost in the trick-or-treating, but don’t let it. Happy Reformation! Reformation Day was October 31, to be exact. It was that date in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. I had the privilege of being there in 1995, so I’ll include an old pic. (Just to be clear: I’m not old, just the photo.)

Why did the Reformation matter? Because the old religious system was very broken. Not just in the buying and selling of indulgences like tickets to heaven, but in the understanding of how a sinful person is justified before a holy God. Without the Reformation, there was no assurance of heaven for anyone – as a person’s confidence in eternal life could be no greater than that person’s confidence in their own sinlessness. Try that on for size.

If all we can get from God is some kind of enabling grace that modifies our behavior until we’re somehow worthy of salvation, I’m closing up shop and going home. That is no gospel. That is no comfort at all, in life or in death (Romans 3:23).

The Reformation mattered. It still matters.

When he was a young man, Martin Luther was terrified of death. He realized his own terror when he was nearly struck by lightning in a violent thunderstorm. But God used that moment to ignite Luther’s journey toward understanding salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Bible had taught that all along, but the truth of it had been eclipsed by religiosity and pride.

Check out Romans 1:16-17 today. Read it to your kids or grandkids. In German, as in Hebrew, Greek, and even Latin, “justice” and “righteousness” are the exact same word! The gospel of Jesus is “good news” only when we understand this, friends: a justified (“saved”) person lives by a gift of God – that is, by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). God credits us with righteousness because Christ endured the just punishment for our unrighteousness. We died with Him. We live with Him. We will be raised with Him.

Once Luther understood that, the truths of the gospel were reawakened for many people all over the world. Including us! There was tremendous opposition, of course, but that is always the reality whenever THE TRUTH is proclaimed.

Do you love the gospel? Does even the thought of it make you smile? Are you grateful for grace? Martin Luther, now transformed by Christ’s Spirit, recorded: “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”

The “Father of the English Bible,” William Tyndale, would pay a steep price for trusting firmly in Christ. Tyndale found the good news of Christ so incredibly marvelous that he called the gospel “merry, glad, and joyful tidings.” It was such good news for Tyndale that he could be strangled and burned at the stake with a song in his heart which made him “sing, dance, and leap for joy!”

Please don’t miss it.

Today we say “farewell for now” to our dear friend, Pam. I’m so glad that I know that Pam is with the Lord. She has passed through gates open wide. You see, I’m not counting on Pam’s righteousness for her resurrection. I’m counting on Christ’s. Hallelujah!

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Sex and the Gospel

Now that I have your attention …

Last night, as Pastor Steve headed off for the Philippines, I enjoyed the privilege of teaching our students. My assigned text was Proverbs 5. Here is the main theme which I developed for the kids: “Sex is like fire. In your fireplace, it keeps you warm. Outside your fireplace, it burns your house down!” I hope I captured the spirit and wisdom of that great chapter.

Needless to say, this is a subject which strikes close to home. For all of us, the lure toward ignoring God’s “guardrails of grace” (my term from last night) is an ever-present danger. In response to a question about the secret to getting beyond sexual temptation, an 80-year-old once remarked: “You’ll have to ask an 81-year-old.”

Please allow me to share my observations from many years as an observer of popular culture, and particularly of those ideas which tend to invade (or even be created by) our evangelical subculture. I have seen both of these mindsets alive and well. Both are wrong. Both severely miss God’s mark.

  1. Sex is a dirty word.

It’s a necessary evil at best. It shouldn’t be talked about in polite company. The goal of life is to wrestle our flesh to the ground, and to prevail over our carnal appetites. When it comes to our sexuality, there is no celebration – but only a problem with which to contend as long as we live. Sex is bad.

  1. Sex is everything.

Life is all about sex. Life is all about pleasure. Life is all about getting what I want, when I want it. When it comes to sexuality, whatever I feel, I ought to do – because, obviously, I am no stronger than my natural urges. The real secret to freedom is to pursue whatever kind of sex I crave. Sex is god.

Both mindsets are serious distortions of God’s truth. That makes both, lies.

Sex is one of God’s best gifts – it was given by Him for us. It was also given by Him for His glory. But never forget this: your sexuality is an important part of who you are, but it is not you. You are more than your sexuality. I feel the need to clarify that because our culture is presently trying to convince all of us that we “are” whatever we are tempted by. Thank God that’s absolutely not true (First Corinthians 10:13)!

We live in a world that has gone sexually insane. This is no time for silence on the part of God’s people! This is the time for us to shine brightly with an understanding and proclamation of human sexuality that is both Biblical and bold! This is the time for us to love and embrace all kinds of people trapped in every kind of sexual dysfunction and distraction … and to see them captivated by the wonder and joy of King Jesus! Whether they know it or not, every one of them already bears the image of their gracious Creator.

Whatever your sexual temptation, you are not alone. Because our world is broken and desperately in need of a Savior, you and I are battered every day by an onslaught of godless corruptions of the one thing which God designed to be the most beautiful representation of the love between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:31-32). Like everything else, the picture of sex has been distorted.

Will you join me in helping us all – students and octogenarians alike – recapture a vision of something beautiful?

… “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come …” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12).

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Autumn in New England

Mystery Trip 2018 is off to a great start! 21 of us from First Baptist Paducah landed in Boston on Wednesday, and we hit the ground running. The USS Constitution was one of our first stops, where we climbed aboard to get a taste of the harbor and the history which make the city famous. Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, dinner at the Bull and Finch (home of “Cheers”), and the kickoff of our highly competitive cell phone photo contest rounded out Day 1.

With the entire region experiencing near-ecstasy cheering on their beloved Red Sox, we began yesterday at the Paul Revere House, and walked from there to “The Old North Church” … then it was across the Charles River to Cambridge and Harvard University … then it was a gorgeous drive out to Lexington and Concord. It was more than a full day, and more than a few bowls of clam chowder mysteriously disappeared along the way.

Today we’re diving head-first into the history and charm of Providence, Rhode Island. We’re soaking up a renewed appreciation for religious liberty in America by exploring the profound influences of Roger Williams. Launching from a guided tour of the First Baptist Church in America, we’re taking in some of the most beautiful sites in the Northeast, including the mansions and coastline of Newport. We’ll enjoy walking, shopping, and dinner by the sea.

Tomorrow we’ll take in Plymouth and the Monument to the Forefathers, rich with even more church history. Then we’ll check into our hotel on Cape Cod. There will be much more to see and do there, including an island tour on Martha’s Vineyard.

Truly grateful to our gracious God for the amazing gift of Christian fellowship, we are having a blast simply hanging out together. And, should any Redcoats appear on the horizon, Glenda is more than ready!

 

Pastor Charles

 

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Fake Faith?

Yesterday I received an Email from one of our church members who relayed a conversation she had at work. In a nutshell, her coworker was talking about “faith,” but it was apparent to our fellow church member that the “faith” being described was suspect at best. Because I believe that this issue of “faith” impacts so many of us who are engaging in the public square, I wanted to share with you an expanded version of my Email response which I penned yesterday. I hope that you find this helpful, as you seek to know Christ and make Him known.

First of all, let me say that our culture largely misunderstands the word “faith.” It’s about as common to misunderstand faith as it is to believe that we become angels when we die, or to believe that good people go to heaven. The workplace conversation relayed to me typifies that.

Let me try to break this down. Many people out there think that “faith” is the goal – as if there were something of value in simply having “faith.”

The Bible presents faith as the means by which we know Christ – so the matter of ultimate importance is Christ, not “faith.” We evangelicals contend for “faith alone” – that was a cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation. Absolutely we do! But what makes faith saving faith is its object: CHRIST! If the object of a person’s faith is not Christ, then there’s not enough faith in the world to merit or produce one thing of value.

Faith is the instrument that God uses to bring us into a saving relationship with Himself. But that does not make faith the basis of our salvation. Faith is merely the channel by which God grants us salvation. B.B. Warfield once said: “The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Savior on whom it rests … It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but that Christ saves through faith.”

You can think of our faith as the conduit by which we know Christ, and that’s important to understand so that we never think we’re earning God’s favor by our own works. But that doesn’t make “faith” the object: the object must always be Christ.

Please don’t ever forget this part. Biblical faith has three essential aspects (I’ll include the Latin word for each):

  • Our faith must include content (notitia). What we believe matters. For example, I must believe that Christ is the Son of God, that He is my Savior, that on the Cross He provided an atonement for my sin, that He rose from the dead in victory, and the like. I must believe the gospel.
  • Our faith must include conviction (assensus). I must believe that the gospel is true. A person can know about the Christian faith and yet not believe that it is true. I’m not implying that you and I can never have a doubt, but I’m simply saying that our “faith” will be accompanied by intellectual affirmation and conviction if we are saved – if we truly belong to Christ. Before anyone can really trust in Jesus Christ, that person must believe that Christ indeed is the Savior – that He is who He claimed to be.
  • Our faith must include personal trust and reliance (fiducia). This means more than mere intellectual assent. It means that I’m all in. I’m trusting with all of me. I’m trusting with my life.

So you can see why we might need to ask more questions when somebody tells us they have “faith.” Faith in what? Faith in whom?

Furthermore, many people today misunderstand “faith” to be nothing more than positive or wishful thinking. The notion is something like this: if you believe it sincerely enough, it’s true. More sincerity equals more faith. Think about how ridiculous that is. No normal person operates under that assumption for five minutes when it comes to determining whether or not the elevator is safe, or what day the tax bill is due.

This is why our culture now demands moral relativism in the area of “religion.” From every corner, we hear cries of: “Don’t you dare claim to tell me – or even claim to know – what is true and what is not!” We have actually come to believe that “he has his truth” and “she has her truth” … and that both “truths” can be true – even when they contradict. Nonsense! We’ve lost our mind, and – as a relatively civilized society – we’re drowning in this stuff.

Again, the weakness is the belief that “faith” in and of itself is where the value lies. The value lies in Christ.

“All it takes is faith and trust.” Wonderful words of Jesus. When did He say that? What’s the verse? Oh … that’s right. That wasn’t Jesus. It was Peter Pan.

So glad that you’re out there sharing THE TRUTH (John 14:6)!

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

Ain’t Gonna Study

Last night I was captivated by Isaiah 2:1-5.

The Prophet Isaiah, more than seven centuries before the birth of Christ, was sent to warn the nation of Judah – the southern kingdom – that God was very displeased with them. Israel, Judah’s northern neighbor, was being threatened by a growing, aggressive Assyrian military. In a bold political move, Israel’s king joined forces with the kings of Aram (now Syria) to thwart an Assyrian takeover of Israel. This new coalition asked Judah’s King Ahaz to get on board. But Ahaz chose instead to make a deal with Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria. In 722-721 B.C., Assyria overran Israel and dispersed the northern tribes. Judah survived, but at the steep price of having betrayed her own kinsmen.

As this chapter begins to unfold, God’s heart is broken over Judah’s behavior. Remember, Judah is where Jerusalem was located – the city of Solomon’s temple. Isaiah calls Jerusalem and the temple “the mountain of the Lord.” This is God’s mountain, but the people occupying it are acting like they don’t even know God. They’ve made a diabolical deal to serve their own foolish and short-sighted interests. Their selfishness has resulted in war. Tens of thousands are now dead.

If you have your Bible open, go back and read Chapter 1 as well. The displeasure of God over the wickedness of Judah is deep. The Lord is not pleased with the people’s services or their sacrifices, because neither is accompanied by a sincere desire for God’s justice. Nor are the people striving to implement God’s justice when it comes to their own actions. They are not caring for or defending the oppressed, the fatherless, the widows, and others over whom society has trampled. They have grown cold. Their love is gone.

I would point out that Verse 18 is a ray of hope. It’s almost like God just “can’t” dish out bad news without offering the hope of the gospel. I love that about God!

So Chapter 2 contains this new vision …

  • God’s mountain will be chief among all mountains.
  • All  the nations will stream to it.
  • Many peoples (from all ethnic groups) will come.
  • God will show all of them who He really is, and He will teach them how to find life – and to live – in Him.
  • Instead of fighting with each other – their natural impulse – the people will be brought together by God.
  • There will be no need for military strategy or prowess anymore, because “the light of the Lord” will bring Peace on Earth!

I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like good news to me!

Not just because of the events surrounding the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but certainly highlighted by them, I don’t have to tell you that our own nation is sorely divided. Is that the understatement of the day? You don’t have to be a dictator or a demonstrator – you don’t have to be a Hutu or a Tutsi, or a Democrat, or a Republican – to be at war with your neighbor. Just look around. Regarding our current American landscape, quite frankly, I don’t think we stand a chance at reconciliation without Jesus.

Without a clear victory of Christ’s glorious gospel in our divided day, there may be no turning back from our national anger.

My only hope is in the mountain of the Lord. There, and there only, do I stand.

 

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts

The Spat in the Hat

Sometimes, as the senior pastor of this amazing congregation, I’m forced into debates I don’t like. At all. This is one of them. However, if I don’t address this, I will be forsaking what God has called me to do: to lead this body of believers into understanding and applying God’s Word as it relates to us here and now. So I will wade in, kicking and screaming …

This Sunday my text will be Esther 2:19-23. As we continue to explore the depths of this great story, my intention is to focus on the wisdom of Mordecai as he learned to always THINK AHEAD – both for his sake, and for Esther’s sake. And ultimately for the sake of the people of God.

As the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me this week, He has forced my hand to make an application of this text as it relates to a debate which has arisen among some of our church members regarding the propriety (or not) of men wearing hats in a worship service. What are we to do?

You may be thinking, in regard to your particular position on this issue: “Most people at FBC Paducah see this the way I do.” If that’s what you’re thinking, may I say something to you in love? You’re making a factually incorrect assumption. We have about as many opinions on this as we have people, all the way from “that’s the most disrespectful thing I can imagine” to “who cares, as long as they’re wearing pants.”

You may also be thinking that this is only a generational issue. That’s true in part, but not entirely. These emotionally-charged issues are deeper than older vs. younger. But I would say this: if we don’t learn how to work through controversies like this as a family of faith, then we will quickly lose one of our greatest assets, and that is the fact that we are a multigenerational church called to serve Christ together in love.

So, on Sunday, we will drink deeply not only from the Old Testament Book of Esther, but from the New Testament Book of First Corinthians. We need you to be part of the journey. You matter.

Maybe you’re not worked up about hats, one way or the other. Fine. But you will be able to apply this teaching (“Lord willing,” said the pastor, humbly) to other areas of church life and ministry about which sincere sisters and brothers in Christ find themselves in disagreement.

Please be in prayer for an outpouring of God’s Spirit “for such a time as this!”

If you were thinking of skipping or sleeping in, don’t.

 

Pastor Charles

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