Something About UsWho We Are and What We Do
Let me see.
How do you fill in a page like this? What are the rules? The etiquette? The modus operandi?
Do you simply list the important things you may have done or said or written or eaten or visited or felt or… whatever, in a resume, bullet-point type of order? Is that what people need to know to discover who you are and what kind of platform you have to speak from? And, if so, how then do you list them? Does your list move in chronological order from eternity past to the present, from the “foundation of the world” until last Tuesday?
Or do you maybe list them in the order of their importance? But then, important to whom? Who determines what is truly important and worthy of mention and what is just bland, boring, recycle bin fluff? Do you, the reader on your side of the screen? Or do I, the writer on this side? Maybe it should be my wife or my family? Possibly the neighbors across the street or the people I go to church with?
No, this seems too cold, too formal, and far too academic.
For the sake of brevity, I think I’m going to tell you a bit about me this way:
- Christian – I affirm that Jesus is my Lord and Savior and the passion of my life.
- Protestant – I affirm the five “solas” of the Reformation.
- Reformed – I affirm the doctrines of grace and in the sovereignty of God.
- Evangelical – I believe the Gospel (which is the original and truest meaning of “evangelical”) and I believe all of it.
- Conservative – I tend to be traditional and restrained in my beliefs and cautious towards change, especially when it seems to be change merely for the sake of change. Why? Because I don’t particularly trust the organized church, our government, the media, or the culture in which we live. Or you, for that matter.
- Unfinished – Absolutely! The Lord is still working on me to teach me, among other things, how great He is and how unfinished I am. Seems I have to learn that lesson almost every day. Sometimes twice.
Then, on a more personal level…
- Married – I am married to my best friend and have been so for a little over 40 years.
- Father – I am the father of five and the grandfather of thirteen and counting.
- Pastor – I am the pastor of The Church Without Walls (www.thechurchwithoutwalls.org) in Gastonia, NC. We are a church made up of people who love Jesus but have had less than a positive experience with church. Oh, do you know some people like that? I’m not surprised. They seem to breed like kudzu.
- Author – Finally, I am also the author of Love Jesus, Hate Church, which is a book that examines the senseless and hurtful experiences we often endure within our current church structure. It is a book about emerging faith, absolute truths, and offers hope to those who have taken an honest look at the church, scratched their head, and said, “You know, this ain’t the way church is suppose to be. Something must be wrong. Bad wrong.” You can download a free copy here.
What I Believe
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth;
for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”
The following is what I like to call my personal doctrinal statement. It is what I believe about the essentials and how that belief impacts my life. I guess you could call it my Creed. It is something that I believe with all my being, something I am passionate about, and something I will not compromise on.
I recognize that there is only one true and living God who exists as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is worthy of all honor, praise and glory as the One who made all things and holds all things together (See Exodus 20:2-3; Colossians 1:16-17).
I recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. I believe that He came to destroy the works of the devil and that He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them (See John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8).
I believe that God demonstrated His own love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I believe that He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to His kingdom, and in Him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (See Romans 5:8; Colossians 1:13-14).
I believe that I am now a child of God and that I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, that it was a gift and not the result of any works on my part (See Ephesians 2:6,8-9; 1 John 3:1-3).
I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. I put no confidence in the flesh, for the weapons of warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds. I put on the full armor of God. I resolve to stand firm in my faith and resist the evil one (See 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:10-20; Philippians 3:3).
I believe that apart from Christ I can do nothing, so I declare myself dependent on Him. I choose to abide in Christ in order to bear much fruit and glorify my Father. I announce to Satan that Jesus is my Lord. I reject any counterfeit gifts or works of Satan in my life (See John 15:5,8; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
I believe that the truth will set me free and that Jesus is the truth. If He sets me free, I will be free indeed. I recognize that walking in the light is the only path of true fellowship with God and man. Therefore, I stand against Satan’s deception by taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ. I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative standard for truth and life and I choose to speak the truth in love (See John 8:32,36; 14:6; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 John 1:3-7).
I choose to present my body to God as a living sacrifice and the members of my body as instruments of righteousness. I choose to renew my mind in the living Word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect. I put off the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self, and I declare myself to be a new creation in Christ (See Romans 6;13; 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-10).
By faith, I choose to be filled with the Spirit so that I can be guided into all truth. I choose to walk by the Spirit so that I will not carry out the desires of the flesh (See John 16:13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18).
I renounce all selfish goals and choose the ultimate goal of love. I choose to obey the two greatest commandments: to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (See Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Timothy 1:5).
I believe that the Lord Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth and He is the head over all rule and authority. I am complete in Him. I believe that Satan and his demons are subject to me in Christ since I am a member of Christ’s Body. Therefore, I obey the command to submit to God and to resist the devil, and I command Satan in the name of Christ to leave my presence (See Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 2:10; James 4:7).
Note: For a more detailed Doctrinal Statement, see www.thechurchwithoutwalls.org
*From Neil Anderson’s – Steps to Freedom in Christ
To Find Out More About Our Church...
The world is spinning, staggering, and struggling from the Chinese coronavirus now called COVID-19 to conceal the fact that it came from China. The jury is still out whether it was manmade or natural and whether it was released accidentally or used by the Chinese Communist Party as germ warfare. As of today, there have been more than 12 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 260,000 deaths.
However, many of the deaths are suspect since gunshot deaths, heart attacks, etc., were classified as COVID-19. Hospitals are paid much more if deaths are COVID deaths. As always, follow the money. It would be helpful (and honest) if any health official speaking to the media, be required to inform the public if that official holds any relevant patents or any stock in any relevant drug or vaccine company.
It is not commonly known that 56 individual patents were discovered to be owned or shared by one or more members of committees within the Centers for Disease Control. However, I don’t think the CDC sells masks— yet.
There has been much controversy as to whether masks are useful or useless against COVID; however, a Danish study, released November 18, suggests “face masks did not significantly protect wearers from the coronavirus compared to those without masks.” The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, may determine and terminate the mask debate.
The issue is bigger than whether a mask helps protect from COVID or not: does any entity of government have the authority to require masks? The “experts” have been all over the map about this. Moreover, the worldwide lockdowns have been one of the most contentious, challenged, combative, and caustic decisions government officials have made. The charge is made that Socialists in the U.S. government want to destroy the present system to build upon its ashes a utopian society.
Whether true or not, the lockdowns have destroyed most of America’s restaurants and almost crippled travel-related businesses. That is true globally. It seems the cure is worse than the curse by destroying society.
President Trump pushed and bribed health officials and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate efforts to develop a vaccine that would be given freely to Americans. Many billions of tax dollars were spent to accomplish that purpose. We are told that two vaccines are about ready, and both are 95% effective. Another one will be ready in January.
Let me remind you that we have been given medical assurances regarding other diseases with some massive medical failures such as the thalidomide scandal in the 1950s, the HIV-tainted blood scandal in Japan in the 1980s, the swine flu in 2009, and others. WebMD admitted the flu vaccine for the 2018–2019 season was only 29 percent effective and the vaccine for the 2014-15 flu season was only 19% effective.
But you can trust the COVID vaccine. Right?
Each of us, when presented with the call of Christ, goes through certain stages of our commitment to Him. This happened with all the disciples, even Peter. We start out optimistic and full of hope and then, if we’re not careful, we end up sad, apathetic, and discouraged because things didn’t turn out the way we envisioned in the beginning. Or, we begin our relationship with Christ at a full sprint, with reckless abandon, only to lose our fervency over time as we see others do the same.
But this is not the way our life with Him was designed from the beginning. If you remember, we were bought with a price and no longer belong to ourselves. We are now His and His alone.
Just think, in John 2:11 the disciples believed in Him but had yet to totally commit their lives to Him. Their belief and commitment to Jesus at this time was much like our commitment to Him today. We maintain our independence and call our own shots yet claim total devotion to the Lord. But that is not what He was looking for then.
Nor is it what He is looking for now.
In this study, we’ll look at how long it took Peter to move from part-time follower to forsaking all for the Lord. It is a gradual process of letting go of what you know and embracing the unknown by faith. And as it was with Peter then, so it is with many of us today.
As a church we’ve been studying about faith, especially trying to answer the question, How do we learn to live by faith? And if you remember, last Sunday we talked about learning how to trust God in all His promises. But there are other ways whereby our faith can grow. One of them is by having our faith tested.
As Augustine once said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Couldn’t agree more.
I realized that our church now is under some trials and tribulations. It seems Covid-19 has infected almost every family in our church and it appears it may be another week or so before things can get back to normal. So what I wanted to do is send you just a bit of daily encouragement by following up with what we talked about the last Sunday we were together.
And our text is going to be found in 1 Peter 1:3-9. So let’s jump right in.
Peter is speaking about joy and rejoicing in the midst of trials and tribulations. His words tell us much about faith and the reason for the bad things that God allows to happen to His children.
1 Peter 1:3-9 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (why) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
Untested faith is just a pipe dream. It’s something that we do, something we accept, something that we say. But once faith is tested it becomes alive to us as something we can rely on and grow as the Lord brings even more circumstances into our life in order to test our faith. Our faith must be tested to grow.