Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Belated Merry Christmas!

Wow, what a couple of weeks! It seems to me that Christmas did not come this year, it pounced!

Trust yours was great!

God Bless,

Pastor Steve

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Death To Sin Through Christ

Hey All,

Ran across this article & thought it was worth a read. ENJOY!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Death To Sin Through Christ

By Charles Finney
©2005 Pure Life Ministries

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11.

The connection of this passage will help us to understand its meaning. Near the close of the previous chapter Paul had said, “The law entered that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” He speaks here of sin as being a reigning principle or monarch, and of grace also as reigning. Then, in chapter 6, he proceeds, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

You observe here that Paul speaks of the man, the old sinner, as being crucified with Christ, so destroyed by the moral power of the Cross that he who was once a sinner shall no longer serve sin. As Christ died for sin, so by a general analogy we die to sin; while, on the other hand, as He rose to a new and infinitely glorious life, so the convert rises to a new and blessed life of purity and holiness. He died for the sake of making an atonement for sin and of creating a moral power that should be effective to kill the love of sin in all hearts; but the Christian dies unto sin in the sense of being divorced from all sympathy with sin and emancipated from its control.

But I must proceed to remark upon the text itself, and shall inquire,

I. What it is to be Dead unto Sin in the Sense of the Text

Being dead to sin must obviously be the opposite of being dead in sin. The latter must undeniably be a state of entire sinfulness a state in which the soul is dead to all good through the power of sin over it. But right over against this, to be dead to sin, must be to be indifferent to its attractions beyond the reach of its influence as fully removed from its influences as the dead are from the objects of sense in this world. As he who is dead in the natural sense has nothing more to do with earthly things, so he who is dead to sin has nothing to do any more with sin’s attractions or with sinning itself.

II. What is it to be Alive unto God?

To be full of life for Him to be altogether active and on the alert to do His will; to make our whole
lives a perpetual offering to Him, constantly delivering up ourselves to Him and His service that we may glorify His name and subserve His interests.

III. What is it to Reckon Ourselves Dead Indeed unto Him?

The word rendered reckon is sometimes rendered account. Abraham’s faith was accounted unto him for righteousness. So, in this passage, reckon must mean believe, esteem yourselves dead indeed unto sin. Account this to be the case. Regard this as truly your relation to sin; you are entirely dead to it; it shall have no more dominion over you.

A careful examination of the passages where this original word is used will show that this is its usual and natural sense. And this gives us the true idea of Gospel faith embracing personally the salvation which is by faith in Jesus Christ. But more of this hereafter.

IV. What is Meant by Reckoning Yourselves Alive Indeed unto God?

Plainly this: that you are to expect to be saved by Jesus Christ and to calculate on this salvation as your own. You are to esteem yourself as wholly dead to sin and as consequently brought into life and peace in Christ Jesus.


This text alone, “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ” most entirely justifies the expectation of living without sin through all-abounding grace. If there were no other passage bearing on this point, this alone is adequate, and for a Christian to offer this only as a reason for such a hope in Him is to offer as good a reason as need be given. There are indeed many others that fully justify this expectation.

“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”-2 Corinthians 6:11-18, and7:1.
This is a very remarkable passage. Note how precept and promise are intermingled, and how, finally, upon the basis of a most glorious promise, is founded the precept enjoining us to perfect holiness. Now what should we think of Paul and of the Divine Spirit who spake through Paul, if He had immediately subjoined, “Take care lest any of you should be led by these remarks to indulge the very dangerous and erroneous expectation that you can “perfect holiness,” or cleanse yourselves from any sin, either of flesh or spirit, in this world? “Would not this have been trifling with the intelligence and Christian sensibility of every reader of his words throughout all time? Should we not account it as substantially blasphemous?

To teach that such an expectation is dangerous is a great deal worse than no teaching at all. Far better to leave men to their own unaided reading of God’s word, for this could scarcely in any case so sadly mislead them, however inclined they might be to the misapprehension. Dangerous to expect salvation from sin? Dangerous? What does this mean? What! Dangerous to expect victory over any sin? If so, what is the Gospel worth? What Gospel have we that can be deemed good news at all? Many indulge the very opposite expectation. Far from expecting any such thing as the apostle authorizes them to expect, they know they have no such expectation.

Of some yet more than this is true they expect to count themselves always in sin. They depend on reckoning themselves, not dead indeed unto sin, but somewhat alive to it through all their mortal life, and in part alive to God through Jesus Christ. It follows as quite a thing of course that expecting no such thing as complete victory over sin they will use no appropriate means, since faith stands foremost among those means, and faith must include at least a confidence that the thing sought is possible to be attained.

There are two distinct views of salvation entertained among professed Christians, and correspondingly two distinct classes of professors often embraced within the same church. The one class regard the Gospel as a salvation from sin. They think more of this and value it more than the hope of heaven, or of earth either.

The great thing with them is to realize the idea of deliverance from sin. This constitutes the charm and glory of the Gospel. They seek this more than to be saved from hell. They care more by far to be saved from sin itself than from its penal consequences. Of the latter they think and pray but little. It is their glory and their joy that Christ is sent to deliver them from their bondage in iniquity to lift them up from their wretched state and give them the liberty of love. This they labor to realize; this is to them the good news of Gospel salvation.

The other class are mostly anxious to be saved from hell. The punishment due for sin is the thing they chiefly fear. In fact, fear has been mainly the spring of their religious efforts. The Gospel is not thought of as a means of deliverance from sin, but as a great system of indulgences, a vast accommodation to take off the fear and danger of damnation, while yet it leaves them in their sin. Now, here I do not by any means imply that they will call their system of Gospel faith a scheme of indulgences: the name doubtless will be an offence to them. They may not have distinctly considered this point, and may have failed to notice that in fact it is such and nothing better.

They seem not to notice that a scheme of salvation that removes the fear of damnation for sin, and which yet leaves them in their sins to live for themselves, to please themselves, and which holds that Christ will at last bring them to heaven notwithstanding their having lived in sin all their days, must be a vast scheme of indulgences. Indeed, it is a compromise on a most magnificent scale. By virtue of it, the whole Church is expected to wallow on in sin through life, and be none the less sure of heaven at last. He has come to break the power of sin in the heart, and to be the life of the believer, working in him a perpetual salvation from sin, aiming to bring him thus, and only thus, to heaven at last. What is faith? what but the actual giving of yourself up to Christ that He may do this work for you and in you? What are you to believe of Christ if not this, that He is to save His people from their sins? Does the Bible tell you to expect something different and less than this?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dr. Bauder Does It Again!

Once again Dr. Bauder rings the bell! I love the way he is able to put his finger on the pulse of what is going on in our churches today. Agree or disagree, you must admit that he has a handle on issues that confront the church in general today!

As least that is the way I see it.....

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Monday, December 19, 2005


By Dr. Kevin Bauder

Once I was following a semi down a very straight freeway. He was traveling near the speed limit and I was following at a safe distance, or so I thought. The problem is that he was opaque. I had no idea what was in front of him. Suddenly he lurched into the left lane, revealing a car that was all but stopped in the lane in front of me. No amount of braking would let me miss it. A quick glance in the mirror revealed a slim space between the rapidly decelerating truck and the car that was just behind me to my left. I was able to dodge left into that space, narrowly avoiding an all-but-certainly-fatal collision. Within seconds my heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I had a funny taste in my mouth.

That was excitement.

After working as a manager for my high-school football team, I tried out for the team during my senior year. I was never a great player, partly because at 6’ 3” and 140 pounds, I got pushed all over the field. I finally gravitated to the position of defensive end (don’t ask my why). Near the end of the season, the starter was out on injuries and the backup d-end sprained an ankle early in the game. The coach pulled up a defensive halfback to cover the position, but the back didn’t know how to play it. He was getting run over, and his absence in the backfield left us susceptible to the long pass. Finally, I went to the coach and told him that I could play the position. He took a long look at me, and then put me in the game. It was great. The first play I took out a sweep. The second or third play I leaped to intercept a wobbly pass that was intended for a receiver in the flat (there were some advantages to being tall). It turned the game around. I was a hero!

That was excitement.

High in the Flat-Tops wilderness, I wounded a big buck on the far side of a canyon. To track him I had to scramble down through the canyon, cross the river, then climb up the other side. By rights it was a technical climb, nearly vertical both ways. But I wasn’t about to let the buck get away! About sixty feet up the far side, the shale gave way and I found myself tumbling feet-over-ears down the canyon wall. By rights I should have died. The next thing I knew, I was sitting upright in the ice-cold river at the bottom of the canyon. I have no idea how long I’d been there. My rifle was actually across my knees.

That was excitement.

Several times I’ve sat through professional sporting events. One that stands out in my memory was a football game during which the crowd was exceptionally obscene. I remember after one touchdown hearing a fan shout “That’ll show the blanking Packers that we blanking mean blanking business when we get to blanking Green Bay.” The crowd around him erupted in frenzied cheers (no doubt demonstrating how athletics had contributed to the development of their character).

That was excitement.

On December 20, 1975, I had a knot in the pit of my stomach. This was the day I had waited for. More than anything I’d ever wished for, I wanted to marry Debra Sue Wright. I remember hoping that the Rapture wouldn’t come until after were could be married. The anticipation was drawing to an apex. Finally the moment arrived, and I gazed upon her as she stepped down the aisle at her father’s arm. Looking into her eyes and speaking the vows was the most important earthly thing I’d ever done (or have done since).

That was excitement.

The word “excitement” covers a lot of territory. Holding your first child for the first time is exciting. Shooting your first deer is exciting. Standing on the edge of a precipice is exciting. Bungee jumping is exciting. All of these events are exciting, but they are not exciting in the same way and the excitement is not the same excitement. Would it have been appropriate to feel the narrowly-missed-collision excitement on my wedding day? Of course not.

Occasionally I hear things like this during worship services:

“We need more excitement in our church.”

“Put some excitement into your singing, now!”

“Are you excited to be here?”

My usual response is simply to be puzzled. I am puzzled because I do not know what these people mean. What do they want from me? Falling-down-the-mountain excitement? Football-hero excitement? Holding-the-first-baby excitement? I never know.

I never know because they never say. If they would tell me what they wanted, I might be able to comply. What sort of excitement do they consider appropriate to feel and to demonstrate when the church gathers in the presence of God? If they do not tell me, I will never know. And as long as they stop with the word “excitement,” they do not tell me.

Actually, I suspect they do not tell me because they do not know themselves. The nasty suspicion arises that they have never reflected upon their own inner states sufficiently to recognize that they actually experience different kinds of excitement. The nastier suspicion also arises that they have never reflected upon the character of God or the purpose of worship in order to ask themselves what excitements are ordinate. If some excitements are improper for a wedding, certainly some are improper for worship.

But the demand for excitement serves the purpose of a Rorschach ink-blot. You can put whatever you want into it. And people do. And our churches show it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Iowa Attorney General seeks $17 million for drug treatment

As Seen at the Des Moines Register Web Site http://www.dmregister.com
December 20, 2005
(Editing By PSC)

Attorney General Tom Miller today said the Legislature needs to increase spending on drug treatment programs because of the link between addiction and crime.

‘‘The most important thing we can do to fight crime in Iowa is to adequately fund drug treatment,’’ said Attorney General Tom Miller. ‘‘It is the crime problem of Iowa and the crime problem of America.’’

Miller asked lawmakers to spend an extra $17 million on drug treatment programs. The state currently spends about $50 million on those programs.

He said spending on such programs has dropped by about $10 million since 2001, a 13 percent decline. At the same time, the state has seen an increase in methamphetamine addiction, he said.‘‘

The Legislature has let us down,’’ Miller said at a news conference.

Miller’s proposal offers an additional $7 million in treatment programs developed by state agencies, $7 million to pay for treatment programs aimed at addicts who have children and $3 million to expand the state’s drug court program.

Last week, Miller said he wanted to ask lawmakers for $25 million for drug treatment, but his staff later said his proposal would likely be less.

Senate Republican President Jeff Lamberti, of Ankeny, said lawmakers are willing to listen.

‘‘I think there’s probably a need for more treatment options,’’ he said. ‘‘Whether we can come up with $17 million remains to be seen.’’


The way I see it, this makes my head hurt! Are you kidding me, Do You Hear The Words That Are Coming Out Of Your Mouth!?!?!?!?!? Is this the very best idea that our Attorney General can come up with!?!?!?

Is it just me or does anyone else see the absolute absurdity of A.G. Miller's statement? Here is what I see him saying..."We have a drug problem, therefore, we need better treatment programs."

That is the equivalent of saying that in order to stop food fights in the school cafeteria we will buy more mops & buckets!

What fires me up even more is Senate Republican President Jeff Lamberti, of Ankeny, saying that lawmakers are willing to listen to this garbage!

Stop the madness, the way I see it, if you want to reduce the drug problem in Iowa start with enforcing the laws that are already on the books, maybe strengthening those laws and prosecute the offenders. Stop coddling these vermin and make them serve their sentences!

That is the way I see it, What say you?

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Do You Have Any Idea How That Sounds!!!

I have a friend and we often comment to one another about the things people say and wonder if they ever really hear the word that are coming out of their mouths. On the other hand sometime you see sign that people have posted around and you really have to wonder did anyone actually read this before it was posted!?!?!?

For example:


In a Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In an office:

In an office:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer's field:

Message on a leaflet:

On a repair shop door:

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Bumper Sticker That Make Me Laugh

Bumper stickers:

I love animals, they taste great.

EARTH FIRST! We'll stripmine the other planets later.

"Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes."

Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot.

He who laughs last thinks slowest!

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.

I won't rise to the occasion, but I'll slide over to it.

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.

Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

Okay, who put a "stop payment" on my reality check?

Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs.

We have enough youth, how about a fountain of SMART?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Applied Biblical Authority

By Dr. Kevin Bauder
Sola Scriptura—what does that mean?

Historically, it has meant that the Bible is the final authority for faith and order, the only source that mediates God’s authority on any given question. The final appeal is always to Scripture.

It has never meant that the Bible was our only source of information about the world, not even about those parts of the world that are directly relevant to the life of faith.

More often than not, the applicability of Scripture to life depends upon information drawn from outside the pages of Scripture. If this were not so, the Bible would leave most of life unaddressed.

We begin with a biblical principle. A principle is a moral generalization. It must be stated or directly implied by the Scriptures themselves.

In order to apply that principle to a given situation, we must have a warrant. Occasionally we can find a warrant in some other passage of Scripture. More often than not, we must seek a warrant in extra-biblical information.

Most Christians agree that the principle, “we must generally consume those substances that promote bodily health and avoid those that produce bodily harm” is biblical. They could point to specific passages that they believe justify this principle. What they cannot point to is a biblical passage that applies this principle to vitamins, chocolate, cigarettes, or Red Bull.

That does not mean that the principle is not relevant to vitamins, chocolate, cigarettes, or Red Bull. It simply means that we need further information in order to see how the principle applies. For each of these substances we might ask, To what degree and in what proportion does this substance contribute to the health of the body, and to what degree does it harm the body? We should have no difficulty, given what we know, in saying that taking vitamins (in the correct proportions) is virtuous and smoking cigarettes is vicious.

Here’s the rub: once we know the truth about cigarettes, for example, our knowledge binds us to the biblical principle. Even though the application of the principle requires a warrant from outside Scripture, the application is just as authoritative as Scripture itself.

In fact, if we reject the notion of extrabiblical warrants, we commit ourselves to a particularly venomous version of moral nihilism. There is virtually no activity that we take to be prohibited by Scripture that cannot be caviled if we are forced to rely upon the bare text to provide its own applications.

“Thou shalt not murder.”

“I did not commit murder. True, I pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger. But I have no biblical revelation for the notion that guns launch projectiles at sufficient speed to kill. I might have suspected it on grounds of experience, but we can’t make our experience authoritative in moral matters. There is no Biblical passage that says we can’t point guns at people and pull the trigger.”

“He who looketh upon a woman to lust after her…”

“Why, yes, I have a subscription to Hustler. It has great articles, and the photographic technique is just amazing. Lust? No, not me. I’m interested in the interplay of light, hue, and line. The fact that you could lust after this wonderful photography just shows that you have a dirty mind. After all, there isn’t any verse in the Bible that says a pure-minded person shouldn’t look at pictures of nekkid women.”

If we refuse to admit outside sources of information, then these arguments are irrefutable. On the other hand, if we do recognize that we find warrants outside of Scripture for the application of biblical principles, then we are duty-bound to take all of life seriously and to inquire into its meaning.

Sola Scriptura, yes.

Nuda Scripture, no.

You Don't See This Everyday

Iowan bags a 14-pointer — and it's a doe

Female deer usually don't have antlers — let alone ones this big, experts say.


December 17, 2005

Eric Weymiller of rural Harpers Ferry was excited about shooting a large-antlered whitetail deer during Iowa's first shotgun season.

But the excitement grew even more when he started to field-dress the animal.

"I noticed right away, it was missing some plumbing," said Weymiller, 25, who shot the animal Dec. 7 in Allamakee County.

What he thought was a buck actually was a doe — sporting antlers with 14 tines. That's a big rack, even for a buck.

"I stopped field-dressing the animal and called a DNR biologist," Weymiller said. "I wanted them to document this."

Biologist Terry Hainfield, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in northeast Iowa, confirmed the animal was a doe. "It is unusual to find a doe with antlers, but what makes this particularly unusual is that the antlers had hardened and grown so big," Hainfield said.

More research will be required to determine whether the antlers are of record size for a doe. Other than state officials, probably no one keeps records on doe antlers, said Jack Reneau, director of big game records for the Boone and Crockett Club, a Montana-based organization that keeps track of record antlers and horns.

"We have no antlers on record that have been from a doe," he said.

Although Reneau hears of one or two antlered does a year in the United States, their antlers have been in the velvet growing stage and have never been as large as those on the doe Weymiller shot. Velvet is like a skin that covers antlers and supplies blood so they can grow.

Weymiller will have to wait about 60 days for the antlers to dry before they can be officially scored.Hainfield said it takes a second boost of testosterone to drop the velvet and harden the antlers — and that second boost is rare for does."

There are a number of reasons a doe could have enough testosterone to grow and harden the antlers," he said.

One explanation would be that a deer had both male and female reproductive organs — but Weymiller's deer was strictly female. Another reason is a deer's body might simply produce extra testosterone. And when a deer has twins, one male and one female, in the uterus, the two fetuses can share hormones, Hainfield said, resulting in a female with additional testosterone.

It Is A God Thing

I received a call on Thursday the 15th to drive the Jr. High basketball team to Blairsburg, Iowa for a 4:15 set of games. The weather was just so-so on the way down, but as we approached this small community in central Iowa the weather began to get much worse. I noticed as I had entered into town that the streets were extremely slick but the highways and interstate was clear. We arrived safely at the school and I settled in to watch the games.

After the 3rd quarter of the second game I returned to the bus to prepare for our trip home. Soon the bus was loaded and we were on our way. We entered the interstate & began our trek north. I noticed a very strong headwind but when you’re driving a transit bus (a flat nosed bus) almost any wind can feel strong.

By now the sun had long set and it was dark and traffic seemed heavy. Not more that 5 miles into our trip I noticed that something was very wrong just ahead on the side of the road. As we approached, I made out the outline of a semi tractor trailer in the median of the interstate. We were traveling about 60 mph when I realized that the cab of the truck was in the median but the trailer was setting across 1½ lanes of the road!

I touched the brakes and the bus immediately began to fishtail on me! BLACK ICE! The rear end of the bus came around on the passenger side. The coaches, seeing the situation, began telling the boy to hold on because we are going into the ditch. I immediately corrected by steering into the direction of the skid, the bus began to correct and straighten out only to slid past center and begin to come around on the drivers side! Mind you that the tractor trailer is closing in fast, I gently corrected again, hoping to take the ditch and not hit the trailer, when the bus responded perfectly and we passed by the end of the trailer.

One of the coaches said it was one of the greatest piece of driving that he had ever seen! The truth is that I had very little to do with the safe travel that night. It truly was a God Thing!

Praise the Lord for His watchcare & protection over us!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Starting my pursuit - Master of Arts

Lynn & I have made the decision that I should begin the pursuit of my masters degree.

I'm looking at a Master of Arts in the area of Pastoral Studies. The decision of which school attend for this level of education was a tough one. Our desire was not to leave our present ministry so the choices narrowed to just a couple: Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis or Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in Ankeny. We settled on Ankeny because that is where Daniel is attending and I would have the opportunity to take a couple of classes with him from time to time.

We are actively praying specifically for a couple of things that I would ask you to pray with us if you feel so lead: first is the considerable cost of this endeavor. According to my calculations we think it will cost us approximately $1, 000 for each 3 hour class. Just a bit less for the 2 hour classes. This amount includes tuition, books, food and fuel. I will be able to stay with Carol, my mother in law so there is no cost for lodging. (Thanks, Carol!) Secondly I'm praying for a laptop computer. I really believe that this would be the easiest way to do my seminary work as well as keep up with my sermon prep and other work I would need to do for the C.L. Church ministry. I have been researching this possibilities and think it will take the better part of $1,000 to cover the laptop, software and accessories. Finally, we are praying that I would be able to complete this entire project in the least amount of time as is possible. Yes, its true, I did squeeze a 4 year degree into the space of just 9 years but I looking for a little different outcome in this experience!

As you can tell there is a lot that must come together for this to be a success, but we are trusting God for the details and are submitted to His guidance & leading.

Thanks for praying with us!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dr. Bauder Makes Me Think

One of the things htat really fires me up in when people write thing that make me think. In light of that I want to introduce you to Dr. Kevin Bauder. Dr. Bauder is the President of Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis, and he is quickly becomming one of my favorite writers. Case in point is the following article I hope you are caused to think as I was...

Posted by Kevin T. Bauder on his weblog http://nossobrii.blogspot.com

May churches observe special days or seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost? Does the Rule of Prescription permit such observances?

This is a different question than asking whether these observances should be made obligatory. We must not make anything obligatory that Scripture itself does not (either directly or in principle). The obligatory observances of the New Testament church are two in number: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. To require any others is to presume upon the Lord’s authority.

The church does, however, have the obligation to teach all the whole counsel of God, the whole truth of God’s character, His dealings with humanity, and His expectations of His saints. Part of this includes the great events of salvation history, and particularly the events surrounding the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord, and the inauguration of His church. It also includes the spiritual exercises: prayer, fasting, study, memorization, silence, witness, and so forth.

Every responsible ministry will find ways to teach all of these. Each of these is a fit topic of public instruction. The problem is that no church can find a way to address them all at once. We cannot imagine a church service that covers the whole scope of salvation history and the full exercise of the life of faith. So we pick and choose. In one service we emphasize one thing, and in another service we emphasize a different thing.

Some aspects of salvation history and the life of faith are so important that we will want to return to them regularly. Planning and scheduling a focus on these apects will help to keep us from neglecting them. It is proper for a church to schedule regular services devoted to prayer, for example.

The most important aspects of the Christian faith may well be made the focus of special days or even seasons. Why would it be wrong to set aside a season of the year for fasting, self-examination, and contrition? Why would it be immoral during one season to focus upon the incarnation of our Lord, and during another to dwell upon his passion? Why would it be subversive to celebrate, not only the “week-iversary” of the resurrection on each Lord’s Day, but the anniversary of His resurrection at Easter?

The right use of these seasons will embellish and not detract from the focus upon these events and exercises throughout the rest of the year. Christmas should not be the only time that we celebrate the incarnation, but it can become the lens that keeps the incarnation in our minds throughout the year. Lent should not be our only fast, but it may become a fast that informs all of our other fasts.

None of this authorizes us to make these observances obligatory, to bind them as burdens upon our brethren. Nor does this mean that we are permitted to import the bric-a-brac of the world or the festoonments of sacerdotalism into these observances. To celebrate Christmas does not mean that we should put up a Christmas tree in church. To observe Lent does not permit us to seek priestly absolution from our sins.

I think we can go one step further. While this rests upon shakier ground, I think it might also be permissible to take time occasionally to expound God’s dealings with His church and His saints throughout the ages. It does no dishonor to God, Scripture, or truth to spend a service discussing the issues and accomplishments of people like Spurgeon, Edwards, Williams, Luther, Wycklif, Hus, Patrick, Nicholas, Athanasius, or Irenaeus. Such “saint’s days” can be observed occasionally, not to venerate the saint, but to glorify God for His care of His church.

In short, even a devoted advocate of the Rule of Prescription can find justification for the observance of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Lent, Advent, Thanksgiving, Reformation Day, and a host of others. These days are not a problem in themselves, though they may be abused. But so may baptism and communion.

Kevin T. Bauder said in response to David:Of course, the whole point of my argument is that the observance of (some) holidays is perfectly consistent with the Rule of Prescription. This is one effort to get back to that discussion and to answer one of the serious questions that you raised about it. As you have noted, this conversation about the Rule of Prescription is rather a slow-motion affair. But we’ll discuss each aspect in good time.

As for trees and other decorations, my concerns there are not so much related to the Rule of Prescription as they are to the Principle of Distraction. I’m basing this upon my own observation, and not upon strictly biblical teaching, which means that I’m not going to be terribly upset with a church that does otherwise (my own church does). But it seems to me that by mixing the two Christmases (the theological holiday and the cultural holiday) we run the risk of diluting the theological content and distracting people from the main point. This becomes more and more the case as we see the trappings of the cultural holiday isolated from the theological content throughout our civilization.

I think I would rather save the accouterments of the cultural celebration for cultural settings, while maintaining the theological content in stark form. Where there is genuine overlap (for instance, in the true history of St. Nicholas), then we may be able to maintain some of the cultural accompaniments—perhaps sometimes in modified form.

I also question whether anything in church should be done purely for the sake of decoration. Given a choice, I would prefer a worship environment in which each element is included for its communicative power. Of course, all of this introduces new subject matter that I don’t have time to pursue now. Eventually this will come up again.

Good Stuff!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

On A Lighter Note.....

After that last post I thought I should lighten things up a bit. I'm not sure who sent this to me but I got a real chuckle out of these. Trying to bring you a smile!

I remain,
Pastor Steve

Dear Milkman...

"Dear Milkman, I've just had a baby, please leave another one."

"Please leave an extra pint of paralyzed milk."

"Please don't leave any more milk. All they do is drink it"

"Milkman please close the gate behind you because the birds keep pecking the tops off the milk."

"Sorry not to have paid your bill before, but my wife had a baby and I've been carrying it around in my pocket for weeks."

"Sorry about yesterday's note. I didn't mean one egg and a dozen pints, but the other way round."

"When you leave my milk knock on my bedroom window and wake me because I want you 'to give me a hand to turn the mattress."

"My daughter says she wants a milkshake. Do you do it before you deliver or do I have to shake the bottle."

"Please send me a form for cheap milk, for I have a baby two months old and did not know about it until a neighbor told me"

"Milk is needed for the baby. Father is unable to supply it."

"From now on please leave two pints every other day and one pint on the days in between, except Wednesdays and Saturdays when I don't want any milk."

"My back door is open. Please put milk in 'fridge, get money out of cup in drawer and leave change on kitchen table, because we want to play bingo tonight."

"Please leave no milk today. When I say today, I mean tomorrow, for I wrote this note yesterday or is it today?"

"When you come with the milk please put the coal on the boiler, let dog out and put newspaper inside the screen door. PS. Don't leave any milk."

"No milk. Please do not leave milk at No. 14 either as he is dead until further notice."

Gang Founder Claimed Innocence Until the End


SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (AP) - Stanley Tookie Williams maintained his innocence right up until his death, even when an admission of guilt may have spared him execution...

Williams, the Crips gang co-founder whose case stirred a national debate about capital punishment versus the possibility of redemption, was executed Tuesday morning for killing four people in 1979.

Williams, 51, died at 12:35 a.m. Officials at San Quentin State Prison seemed to have trouble injecting the lethal mixture into his muscular arm. As they struggled to find a vein, Williams looked up repeatedly and appeared frustrated, shaking his head at supporters and other witnesses...

Williams' case became one of the nation's biggest death-row cause celebres in decades, with Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes arguing that Williams' sentence should be commuted to life in prison because he had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of gangs and violence.

In the days leading up to the execution, state and federal courts refused to reopen his case. Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied Williams' request for clemency, suggesting that his supposed change of heart was not genuine because he had not shown any real remorse for the killings committed by the Crips.

"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

Pastor Steve's Thoughts:

It seem that in America today if someone will just say "SORRY" then all is forgiven. However, from a Biblical perspective there is far more involved in the seeking of forgiveness. One must take responsibility for their actions, it is not just enough to say your sorry but you must bring forth the works of repentance.

Did Mr. Williams ever admit that he was wrong? Did he ever admit to doing anything as a founder/member of the Crips? Did he ever ask anyone for forgiveness? Did he ever ask God for forgiveness? The answer to these questions is that we do not know, and we may never know. However, this we do know, Mr. Williams was defiant to the very end. After being found GUILTY in a court of law, he to his death refused to admit any wrong doing. He did write some children's books about the dangers of gangs and so on but that hardly shows a repentant heart.

Let's say for the sake of argument that Mr. Williams had said that he was sorry, does that really relinquish him from the penalty of his crime? I think not! No matter what anyone has done God stands ready to forgive if they will recognize their sin as an offence to a Holy God, confess that sin and receive the gift of God's salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Romans 10:9-10 tells us: "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." We know that salvation and forgiveness are offered and can be obtained from God, however, that in no way removes every consequence of our sin.

For example, a teenage girl gets pregnant, if she as for God forgiveness we know that God forgives sin. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Does that make her any less pregnant? The answer in NO!

Mr. Williams committed murder and was found guilty in a court of law. For those crimes he was sentenced to death by lethal injection by the State of California. That sentence was carried out very early this morning. Thus closing the final chapter in this sad story. The government doing what they were ordained to do by God himself. Romans 13:1-5: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake."

Agree or disagree, that is the way I see it,

I remain,
Pastor Steve

Christmas in England

I have a nephew that is living and working in England with his wife and 3 boys. I just received an email from them and in it Dave's wife Marron describes Christmas in England. I thought it was cool because sometimes we get into the mind set that everyone dose everything just like we do here in the States. Silly us! Enjoy!


The Cox family has had another busy year, another move of household, and yet another first…we are staying here for Christmas. Like everything else in our lives, the holidays are celebrated a little differently over here.

First, they say Happy Christmas and not Merry Christmas. A pleasant difference is that Christmas is in the schools. All the classrooms have a tree and decorate it to the hilt. Lewis’ school concert had Christmas songs and Andrew was selected to play in the band for the High School play; Jesus Christ Superstar. Another difference in the school is the exchanging of Christmas cards. They are handed out to everyone like the USA classes do Valentines Cards---Valentines is only for lovers!

Candy canes must only be American, as they are not here. Christmas pudding (usually an alcoholic cake and chocolate sauce) and mince pies (nuts, dried fruits, and lots of sugar) are as common as you would find candy canes in the USA. Advent calendars are a really big part of the holiday and most children have ones with chocolate in each opening. The boys enjoy opening each day slot to find a chocolate or little toy…Andrew has found some guitar picks, Lewis found some Lego pieces, and Nicholas has found some magnetic. They sing Rudolph here, but have never seen the movie or even know the story. No Frosty or even Charlie Brown Christmas either! The T.V. Company hasn’t cashed in on the holidays like the USA T.V. We miss that part of the holidays.

But they do have Christmas Crackers! Christmas crackers were invented by a London confectioner, Tom Smith, in the mid 19th century. The original cracker contained a sweetmeat, a sentimental verse, and a ‘snap’ that creates the bang as it is pulled open. Nowadays, the sweet has been replaced by a small toy, the verse replaced by a joke or motto, and a paper hat has been added. They are in every color and decorative style to cater to everyone. They are pulled like USA would break a turkey wish bone.

The 26th is also a big holiday; it started as St. Stephen’s Day. King Wenceslas started the tradition by trudging through freezing snow on St. Stephen’s Day to take food, wine, and logs to a poor man. After that, Boxing Day was started with the custom of distributing of food, money, and gifts to the less fortunate. This doesn’t make sense to me that it is after Christmas, but there are lots of things that don’t make sense but still followed as tradition. On Boxing Day we are going to Warwick Castle.

We visited Cadbury World (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory); we visited ‘Father Christmas’ on a steam train ride through the Peak district (like Polar Express); we are baking lots of cookies (family tradition); we are going to school parties, concerts, and plays (as proud parents); and we are sending our LOVE and PEACE to all our family and friends. We pray everyone is healthy and has a Very Merry Christmas!


David, Marron, Andrew, Nicholas, and Lewis

My Little Corner of the World Wide Web!

Well I've finally done it! I'm taking over my own little corner of the web. I have been looking at others blog sites and realized that this is not that hard to set up and run so I'm giving it a spin.

My plan is to let you in on what drives me, what motivates me & what fires me up!

Please, don't be a stranger! stop by often be nice and leave a note or comment on what I've written.

Blog with you soon!

Pastor Steve
1 Timothy 1:16