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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Time to Mourn

As our nation grapples with the evil that befell the people of Newtown, Connecticut, Community of Faith Bible Church joins the grieving families and mourns with them. Our hearts collectively broke upon hearing the horrific news that a mother, school teachers, administrators, and 1st graders were brutally murdered. Recognizing that there is nothing we can do to alleviate the pain of such loss, CFBC turns to our merciful God, and we commit ourselves to pray to our God for comfort and help. Furthermore, CFBC is actively seeking tangible ways to show our love and to support the bereaved families. We will invite all who desire to participate with us when we determine the most Christ-centered and meaningful way to do so.

May you find in Jesus the Lord, who was born to crush the head of the evil one, your hope and security this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Biblical Advice for Brothers Who Want to Find a Wife: Part 3 “Surfing the Internet for a Mate”

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An important question a man has to answer if he wants to find a wife is, “Where should I look?” Since the time that our Lord walked the earth, a believer found a wife or husband in one of three primary circles (from friends of family, church associations, or their network of friendships [work/neighborhood/school etc.]). Fast forward thousands of years to our new digital age, without borders, and a new circle for finding a spouse has arisen—the Internet. Last month, I had the privilege of officiating a wedding where a brother in our church was encouraged by a missionary friend to pursue a sister in the Lord who lived in Brazil. Not knowing a lick of Portuguese, he pursued her via the Internet using Google Translate to communicate. As they say, the rest is His-story. God, who is able to do all things, can certainly bring two believers together from opposite sides of the globe. That’s no problem for Him. But the question for us is, is it prudent to find an Internet spouse? What does the Bible say? Here are a couple of biblical principles that might help you answer this question and find a wife.

1st Is the Internet the most profitable way to look for a wife?
The Bible teaches that Christians can marry anyone they want (so long as they marry another believer “in the Lord” [1 Cor 7:39]). But with the gracious principle of liberty believers have in Christ, we are also commanded to “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,” Eph 5:15. Paul specifically applies this principle to the kinds of relationships believers can enter into. He writes, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable,” 1 Cor 6:12. It seems that in this verse, Paul is responding to the shallow reasoning some single Corinthians used to justify being in relationships that they had no business being in. They seemed to be parading their liberty of not being under the law and therefore considered themselves free to do whatever they wanted. Paul responded that believers do have liberties, but our liberties must be circumvented by the principle that we need to choose ways that are more beneficial and advantageous. So before you turn on your computer to find a wife, make sure you are accurately answering the question, “Is the Internet a more advantageous way for me to find a spouse than looking within the circles of my Christians relationships: church, family, or friendships?

2nd Is the Internet the wisest way to find a match made in heaven?
The miracle of marriage is that God takes two people and makes them into one flesh or one new person (Gen 2:24). The first marriage was paradigmatic in the sense that Adam and Eve were literally of the same bone and flesh. God made Eve from Adam, then rejoined them in marriage. Therefore, their marriage union was the reuniting of a separated single person back into one flesh. Genesis 2:24 applies the reality of the first one flesh union to what God does supernaturally to all monogamous husband and wife unions. A husband and wife by God’s design are to become one in every sense. So in finding a spouse, Christians are finding the person with whom God has so designed for them to become one person. This would suggest that by God’s providence there need to be points of deep compatibility because the husband and wife have to fit together as one new person. If they are different in everything, then they will be prone to having conflicts over everything.

On the surface, it appears that Internet dating services are uniquely designed to address this concern. Those who are looking for a spouse can narrow their search to individuals that meet all their lists of wants: ethnicity, physical appearance, hobbies, personality test similarities, politics, specific Christian convictions, etc. Some sites even guarantee that through their scientific process, their match will be a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thinking Biblically on Election Day Tuesday

With election season right upon us, I thought it might do some good for us to be reminded of three truths about God’s relationship to America and the nations of the earth. First, God is the Sovereign Lord over every nation. Regardless of a nation’s political hierarchy, whether it is democratically governed or ruled by a despot, God is the ultimate and final authority in every land over every government. Therefore, regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats win the White House and Congress, the day after the election—Tuesday—the same Ruler will be governing on His throne—Jesus Christ, the King.

Second, remember the kindness and severity of God (Rom 11:22). Acts 14:16-17 teaches that God shows kindness to the nations of the earth. We shouldn’t forget then, that in His kindness, God is the One who blessed America and made her great. Equally clear, Jeremiah 18:5-10 teaches that through His judgment God brings about the fall of nations that reject Him and His ways. Our Christian influence then matters. Like Israel of old (Jer 29:4-7), the church should live out our God-given convictions in love for the welfare of America. That means we should use our Bible-centered way of thinking, living, and yes, voting, in a day and time when our nation and leaders openly reject God and His ways. Does this mean that we must vote only for Christian politicians? No.

The third truth is this: All governing officials in every land, whether they believe in the God of the Bible or not, are His servants, and they will answer to Him (Rom 13:1-7). This means that Christians can, in good faith, vote for non-Christian governing officials who they discern will biblically bring about the welfare of America because they best align with the morals and worldview of the Bible. In these days, with what obviously seems like the wrath of God pouring out upon our heads (Rom 1:18-32), I hope this advice helps.

Until Jesus returns, may all true American Christians do all that we can for the welfare of America.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Biblical Advice for Brothers Who Want to Find a Wife Part 2

I love everything about weddings. I love their beauty. I love the mystery how out of all the billions of people on earth one man and one woman fall so in love that they vow to join together in a lifelong monogamous union. I love that out of all the ways God reveals His glory, He uniquely designed marriage to display His love for His people. With all that marriage offers and is (leading Peter to call it “the grace of life”) why would any godly brother let it pass him by? If you don’t want marriage to pass you by, then keep reading and let me offer you five more tips of biblical advice on how to find a wife.

1st Pray for a Wife
I know this sounds obvious, but first you must pray. John 15:7 promises, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” God wants us to pray. He is the One who commands, “ask for whatever you wish!” By abiding in Jesus’ words, our prayer will be, “Father let Your will be done in my life, not mine.” When we pray in God’s will (and praying for a wife is), then we can be assured that He hears us. Persevere in prayer, brothers, God is not trying to trick you. He promises that “we must not only believe that He is, but that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6). So while God commands us to pray, He also promises to answer! Therefore, in order to find a wife, pray fervently. There is nothing that I prayed harder and longer for than for a wife. There was a saying that went around some years ago using the acronym for pray called P.U.S.H. It stood for Pray Until Something Happens. God answers prayer! His answer might be “no,” “not this one,” or “wait,” but He will answer, and you must pray believing that. So keep PUSHING until you get a wife!

2nd Lead Your Sisters
Back in the day, farmers used to pray with a hoe in their hand.  That meant that although they prayed depending on God to do everything, they knew that God would work His answer out through them. Not surprisingly, the surest way to not find a wife is to pray and then avoid spending time with sisters in Christ. That being said, the Bible doesn’t call single men to be Casanovas. In 1 Timothy 5:2, Paul through Timothy commands single men to treat women “as sisters in all purity.” So before you can be a good husband, learn to be a good brother. Single men, leading means initiating! You must organize times in your church to encourage your sisters in Christ. You set up fun events like bowling outings. You plan ministry trips to the Union Rescue Mission. Always escort the single sisters in your church to banquets. Be gentle, hold doors, greet them, encourage them. In other words, lead while you are learning to be good platonic brothers/friends. And establish your brother-sister relationships in such a way that you maintain the godly reputation of being a one-woman kind of man (1 Tim 3:2). Don’t be a flirt, and don’t casually enter in and out of so-called dating relations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Biblical Advice for Brothers Who Want to Find a Wife

According to a Washington Post article dated 2011, the proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows. It went on to say . . .

The marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits. In 1960, for example, 72 percent of all adults were married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a couple of years older.

NY Times similarly reported:

Married couples have dropped below half of all American households for the first time, the Census Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less traditional forms. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010, according to data being made public Thursday and analyzed by the Brookings Institution. This was far below the 78 percent of households occupied by married couples in 1950.

For anyone working in an urban context, that’s a stunning stat. In 1950, eight out of every ten households in America were occupied by married couples.

A Pew survey done last year gives helpful insight to this seismic shift in attitude towards marriage. It determined that more than four in ten Americans younger than 30 consider marriage passe. D’Vera Cohn, a Pew researcher, concluded that many young adults today “…see marriage as an obsolete social environment.”

In an urban context, it’s worse. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, one study showed that the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics led Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin lamented, “I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today.”

In another Washington Post article written by Joy Jones, whose title came from one of her black 6th grade students, “Marriage is for White People,” wrote:
  • I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.
  • "That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."
  • "Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."
  • And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."

It is obvious from these stories and statistics that for many Americans marriage is no longer esteemed as it once was. And sadly for far too many Christians, the world’s way of thinking (Rom 12:2) has successfully influenced the attitudes and actions of Christians.

But what do the Scriptures say about the importance of marriage? If Christians will be Christ-like, then they have to learn how to think biblically. So what significance does the Bible place upon the institute of marriage?

  • The Bible explicitly teaches that God made marriage.
  • In the OT, God, Himself, performs the first wedding ceremony.
  • In the NT, Jesus performs His first miracle at a wedding, allowing His presence to affirm the beauty and dignity of marriage.
  • The people of God in the OT are extolled as God’s wife.
  • In the NT, the church is given the lofty title of the bride of Christ.
  • The love between a man and a woman is marveled over as one of the great mysteries in life. Proverbs 30:18-19 says it this way:
There are three things, which are too wonderful for me,
four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
and the way of a man with a maid.
  • The Bible teaches that marriage itself existed as a mystery throughout the history of the world to be unveiled in the NT as the God-ordained picture of what His love relationship with His people would look like.
  • In the beginning, only after God officiated the first marriage did He say, “Behold it is very good.”
  • And interestingly, the end of history reaches its apex with the marriage supper of the Lamb.

From this brief survey, it would be hard to conclude anything other than the fact that the Bible places a tremendous amount of importance on marriage.

There is even an entire book of the Bible—The Song of Songs—dedicated to expressing the wonder and joy of marital love. And because these truths are so self-evident, I am not sure that there has ever been a time in history, or a place in the word, where there has been a need to appeal to men to seek and find a wife.

But here we are today, faced with this life and death challenge for the church and our society—men, even Christian men, in critically high numbers are not getting married. As marriage declines, a million other biblical expectations will decline with it. So what does the Bible teach about the significant of marriage? Let’s look at that together.

1st The Bible Teaches All (Including men) that Marriage is Important

Hebrews 13:4, says “Marriage is to be held in honor among all.” The meaning of the verse is clear, regardless of how outdated the world may consider marriage; regardless of the number of people shacking. The Bible says “to all” Christian men and to whoever else will listen, that marriage is to be held in honor. That is to say that marriage is to be thought of as valuable as gold and jewels. It is to be sought after like a great treasure and to be held in high regard and with great respect.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney—The President Who’d Work for 53% of Americans

Let me affirm again up front that my political stance is that I am waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to return and establish His righteous rule over the entire earth. Therefore, I don’t expect a Democratic or Republican President to fix all the problems in America and establish the pristine kingdom of God on earth. I am waiting for Jesus to do that, and I believe that He alone can and will. But until He returns, my hope and prayer is for a government that will allow me to live for my Lord and Savior now in peace.

Having said that, as a Christian, I am thankful for the privilege to biblically assess what both candidates say and believe. To do that, it really does help to hear them give candid remarks that express their genuine beliefs, even if they come from an open mic like Mitt Romney’s at a recent $50,000/plate fundraiser.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney essentially said that 47% of Americans do not pay taxes, believe they are entitled to have the government take care of them, and will vote for Barrack Obama no matter what. So Mitt Romney said, and I quote, “So my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them (that) they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Here’s the video clip. You can hear it for yourself.

If a President believes that’s the problem, shouldn’t he have a deep conviction try to persuade those people to embrace a worldview to be personally responsible instead of writing them off?

Regarding the compassion of God for the needy, the poor, the widows, orphans, and the downcast, the Bible says:

  • “‘Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God,” Lev. 19:10.
  • “He is a father to the fatherless and an advocate for widows. God rules from his holy palace. God settles those who have been deserted in their own homes,” Psa. 68:5-6.
  • “Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops and exact a grain tax from them, you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone, nor will you drink the wine from the fine vineyards you planted. Certainly I am aware of your many rebellious acts and your numerous sins. You torment the innocent, you take bribes, and you deny justice to the needy at the city gate,” Amos 5:11-12.
I am glad Jesus is returning. He always has my vote. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Democratic Delegates Vote for a Godless America

Per the LA Times, here's the text corresponding to the vote:

"I, uh, I guess I'll do that one more time," Villaraigosa said after a second vote of delegates in the Time Warner Cable Arena resulted in equally loud "ayes" and "nos." 

"You've got to rule, and then you've got to let them do what they're gonna do," a woman standing to his left could be heard saying in a feed carried by C-SPAN. 

After a third attempt, Villaraigosa declared that the amendments had passed.
"In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative," he said, drawing large boos and shouts of objections. 

 A local Los Angeles (democratic) political commentator had his sound engineer measure the how loudly the three votes measured, and here were his results:
  • He measured the first vote 4 for the yays and 3 for the nays. No 2/3 required majority there. 
  • The second vote measured an even 7 to 7. The measure doesn't pass with that vote either.
  • Then when a woman on stage encouraged the stunned looking Villaraigosa to just rule and let the delegates do whatever they're gonna do, he ruled that the the third vote passed with the yays being 2/3 louder when in fact the yays measured 10 and the nays actually louder at 11.
My personal position on political parties is to look to Jesus and wait for His kingdom. But how stunning that with the world watching and looking, the majority of the democratic delegates vote God out of their platform and reject Jerusalem's position as being the capital of Israel, and then refuse to re-include them in their platform. And then to appease the powers who wanted to save face and pretend that the majority of delegates are opposed to a godless society, Villaraigosa openly lies in front of their world, dismisses the procedure they just agreed to and with a complete lack of integrity rules that the majority agreed to change the platform, only to have the majority of delegates in turn boo his ruling to reinstate God into their platform.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Allyson Felix's Golden Race into History

For many Christian Los Angelinos, the London 2012 Olympic Games will forever be special because of Allyson Felix. Her father, Dr. Paul Felix, a professor at The Master’s Seminary and President of the Los Angeles Bible Training School, has trained Christian leaders who serve all over the world. Allyson’s mother Marlean, as wise as she is beautiful, has touched the hearts of Christian women everywhere as a conference speaker. Her brother and manager Wes Felix, a standout track star himself, dominated the Pac-12 in sprints during his running days at USC. The Felix family is beloved by Christians near and far, and because of that, Christians everywhere were praying and rooting for Allyson.

So as Allyson entered the blocks for the 200 meters final, we all collectively held our breath, as she raced not for time but for history. God made her fast. The world already knew that. The question this 200-meter race would determine was if He made her as fast as the legends of track and field. It would take nothing less than gold to confirm that. Of course Allyson is much too humble to believe that she was running for history. But no other track and field athlete has ever accomplished what she has, winning the US national titles in the 100, 200, and 400 meters. Her margins of victory in the 200 are unparalleled. Her times are unsurpassed in history by non-steroid users. The span of her dominance approaching 10 years was already the stuff of legends, but  . . . not without winning on the grandest stage of all of human athletics—the Olympics. Without gold her legacy would say that she was only great.  

So when the gun sounded uncoiling, her indomitable spirit into her effortless gliding stride, running with eagle’s wings for gold, His-story was confirmed. On August 8th at the London 2012 Olympic games, Allyson Felix ran into the annals of history, securing her place among the greatest track and field athletes—ever. While everyone rejoiced, and some shed tears of joy, I am sure that God smiled at the darling of track whom He had made. Well done, Allyson! Congratulations to the Felix family. You are an inspiration to many—certainly to me and my family—Soli Deo Gloria (to God be the glory)!!! I can’t wait for Rio.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Questions about the Penn State Tragedy

What does it profit coaches and school administrators to win the most football games in history and to lose their souls? 

What will we it take for us to get to the point when we start protecting the victims instead of defending the victors? 

This is a tragedy for Penn State, college football fans, but most importantly for the innocent boys crushed by powerful men trying to keep the facade of a righteous reputation by doing evil. And why Penn State officials? Was it really to win more football games?!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Remembering Mr. Wonderful!

This is a guest post written by Carolyn Harris, a member of Community of Faith Bible Church and wife of George Harris, missionary serving The Voice of Children. I thank God for sister Harris allowing me to post an email she sent in response to the passing of Pastor Sills. Her sentiments captured so well the heart of Pastor Sills. In life and now in his death, God used him to encourage souls with his love for Jesus and people. Here is her tribute:

I'll always remember these words, "Honey I'm home!"  These were the words spoken by Pastor Calvin Sills to his wife, Sister Lutelia, on the day he arrived home from the hospital in late June. His expression of love for her and the joy on his face on being home brought tears to my eyes and those words will forever be embedded in my memory. There was another time when he ministered to my heart and soul. George and I were visiting him in the hospital. The doctor on duty came in and out of his room several times. She would discuss his prognosis with him and sought to comfort him with her knowledge and through her warm and caring voice. He would listen and from time to time, respond. On one occasion, when the doctor left his room, he (Pastor Sills) started to sing:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.
I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Sometimes he would chuckle. I interpreted that chuckle to mean that despite what we saw, felt, or heard, he had lived and worked everything out with his Maker. Everything was "WONDERFUL"! When I reflect on learning of Pastor Sills death, I think of the announcement he made to his wife and I could hear him say, "JESUS, I'M HOME!", as he entered the gates of heaven. 
Carolyn L. Harris 

Please pray for Pastor Sills' family to experience God's comfort and the love of Christ. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones," Psalm 116:15. I'll miss this great solider of Christ.