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Love Suffers Long

Love Suffers Long

One day a child came to her mother and said, “Mom, I simply don’t love my brother.” The mother—who generally knows all things and heard the two arguing earlier–looked at her daughter and said, “Sweetheart, you are confusing your lack of love with one behavior you didn’t like from your brother. But love is long-suffering. It is patient. What you meant to say is that you are frustrated with your brother.” The daughter went away pensive and thought long and hard about what her mom said. She later came to her mother and said: “Mom, if love suffers long, how long must love suffer?”

Our Lord Jesus daily shows his longsuffering toward us. Were it not for long patience, we would never come to his table. But today, he gives us the same answer. His love is longsuffering. Thanks be to God.

CREC Statement on Sexuality

CREC Statement on Sexuality

July 16, 2018

The CREC affirms the Bible’s teaching on the creation of man and woman and the establishment of the marriage relationship as only between one man and one woman. There are two sexes, male and female. We stand against all attempts to confuse the Bible’s clear teaching in this area.

The CREC believes that Christians who struggle with various sexual temptations should receive ongoing pastoral care, including those who are tempted to engage in sexual perversions. At the same time, we believe that any teaching that combines LGBTQ identity with identity in Christ is completely unbiblical.

 We believe that encouraging Christians who face certain sexual temptations to identify as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, whether in sexually active relationships or not, is unbiblical, and further, that this teaching will have destructive effects in the long term, both for individuals who follow it and for any Christian bodies that accommodate it.

 We exhort all ecclesiastical bodies to declare the Bible’s full and clear teaching on sexual behavior, whether in desires or actions, and to encourage individuals to repent of sinful desires and sexual behavior as they turn to Christ to resist temptation.

 We encourage patient pastoral care for struggling individuals who repent of their sins and seek to be obedient to Jesus.

We exhort the broader Christian Church, and particularly Reformed Churches, to hold their churches and pastors accountable to faithful biblical doctrine and practice in all areas of sexuality.

Virgil Hurt

Presiding Minister of Council

Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC)

Handout for Lecture on the New Heavens and Earth with Dr. Steve Jeffery

Download the handout

Heaven, Pensacola – Handout – letter, cut final appendix

 

The Parental Voice

The Parental Voice

We do live in an age of luxurious education. We have well equipped teachers, well developed programs, insightful on-line training. But the danger of such luxuries is that we as parents think we are doing our job by simply exposing, dropping off, or turning on something non-harmful. We are wrong to think this way. Our children’s knowledge is to be fundamentally formed by our parental understanding of the world. We can’t replace others’ affection for our affection, others’ words for our words. Our children need to hear from us that Joseph was a faithful servant, that Ruth was a loyal bride, and that Jesus is the greater king. Others may say all these things, but we need to be the central communicators of those realities daily. We must be constantly communicating and challenging their loves and habits. In the end of the day, it’s our voices speaking truth in love they need to hear most.

Mr. Trump, give Christians what they want!

Mr. Trump, give Christians what they want!

Party loyalists who overlook the president’s moral failures, his lack of political coherence on certain affairs, his discombobulated tweets and his incessant hunger for uproars need to check their principles.
 
The Christian does not think as a party-aficionado first, he thinks as a biblical image-bearer. He needs to see evil and wrong and opine against such deeds whether it fits our narrative or not. I believe any conservative who understands political history and theory is capable of seeing many faults in our current president. In fact, the wise conserver(tive) of truth see untruths whether from the lips of a Republican or a Democrat.
 
At the same time, it is clear to assume that the president’s unorthodox ways have shaken liberalism’s tree leaving it partly naked. I think it is right and good for liberalism’s anti-christian agenda to be exposed for what it is. It is like the seat of the scornful full of deceit and lies. Among the many lies articulated is the lie that life in the womb is disposable; a product of a male and female misfortune that now must suffer a painful death. This devilish lie needs to be revealed as a sacrament of paganism.
 
At this stage of history, we need to see that our current president is at a position to pick someone to the Supreme Court of this country that will likely shape moral, legal policies for a generation. Let’s refuse to play this neutrality game where we simply ask for a conservative judge (see O’Connor). Conservative presidents of the past have nominated judges who ended up swallowing the false premise of neutrality and have made disastrous decisions. My prayer is that Trump will honor the pro-life cause nominating someone who will uphold the fundamental principle of life; for, without life, the concepts of liberty and justice are mute.
 
Personal Salvation as the First of All

Personal Salvation as the First of All

What the modern evangelical has done is to place all his efforts in the “I am going to heaven” basket while forgetting the “on earth as it is in heaven” basket. The result of this is the catastrophic overemphasis on one dimension of salvation and an underemphasis on the bigger salvific plan God has for the world.

The Bible speaks of the importance of personal salvation, but not as the end all, but the first of all. In other words, personal salvation means immediate incorporation into the work of God in the world. God’s earth is to imitate the quality of life in heaven. This heavenly life cannot be fulfilled unless we look into the entire premise of salvation which is to place a man into a new war-zone. Before he fought for a serpent-king, but now he fights for a savior-king. And this king is eager to see this world made into the glory of the next. Heaven, then, is a glorious resting place. The new heavens and earth is our eternal dwelling place. Our work now is to work as redeemed humanity for that reality in every area of our lives.

The Danger of High Standards

The Danger of High Standards

Demanding high standards for our children is a noble thing. Demanding high standards while frustrating them in the process is foolish. In other words, our high standards need to be loving standards. We need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins lest we sin attempting to love.
In parenting, we need a healthy dose of humility. This is hard in an age when grades matter more than godliness; external obedience more than internal motivation. We cannot, however, allow our high standards to usurp the proper place for training in love. We need an end result where our children desire the good, true, and beautiful because they are infinitely better than the alternatives. It is possible that in our high standards we lose the purpose of the law: to direct our children to the God of the law.

Happy 4th of July Citizens of Heaven!

Happy 4th of July Citizens of Heaven!

About five years ago I became a U.S. citizen. I will give you five seconds to look at the picture. Go ahead. I will sing the jeopardy song on my end. Good friends from church came out to support me, I was wearing a stunning red tie, and smiling like a kid in a soccer store. It was an amazing day! As I enter this 4th of July, I find myself thankful, honored, blessed and all those kinds of feelings used to describe the story of a bare-footed little kid who grew up around slums in Northeastern Brazil and now is a father of five living in this great land of the free and home of the brave.

O, say, on this day can you see the millions of happy grills preparing one of America’s greatest inventions: hot dogs. But beyond all the fireworks, parades, and the good and healthy national festivities, we also remember that in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.

Sovereignty is good. It is right. And I believe there was much wisdom in that threefold pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness. By and large, this country provides the best and most excellent environment for the pursuit of this trinity of virtues. It is also true that we have not followed those principles too well in this nation. We have despised life by disposing of unborn infants, we have forgotten that God set us free from ourselves and the tyranny of sin, and instead of using our liberties to worship the Three-and-One Creator, we have used our liberties to chase after speechless idols. Washington has become a place of secret handshakes, unwarranted transactions, political elitism, sophist rhetoric, and cowardice. We have traded happiness and found contentment in a pot of stew. We gave up the perilous fight to amuse ourselves to death.

On a day like this one, it is important to give thanks for this nation, but keeping things in right perspective is even more critical. We are first and foremost heavenly citizens planted in this bright stars country to proclaim allegiance to one true King. The intrinsic value of this nation does not grant life, liberty, and happiness; it is the inherent perfection of a heavenly country that urges us to such pursuits. And we should pray as visibly as the bombs bursting in the air that this nation would join that divine proclamation. After all, we are Americans. We are not pessimists. We know that even in the darkest moment of this country’s history, God is still on the throne, and He does not hit the pause button to the advances of his kingdom.

Happy 4th of July! Be good citizens of this nation. With every juicy bite of watermelon, with every patriotic song, with every red, white and blue decoration, give thanks to God. But don’t forget your first love. Don’t forget to sing psalms so loudly that the enemies will think there is an army of giants coming at them, to speak the truth so firmly that Washington will be unable to shut her ears. Love so convincingly that godly marriages would be honored. Obey the Lord your God, petition his mercy that God would spare us in doing evil and bless us in doing good. And may good triumph over evil in this land.

Pride and the Table

Pride and the Table

There was once a man who was very proud. “I have no need for church,” he said. “I have earned all the respect I will ever need from my scientific community. Look at my awards displayed so beautifully in my office!” That night the man died. As he was ushered into the presence of God, the Lord said: “Depart from me, worker of iniquity.” “But, but,” the man stuttered, “I tried to find you in nature and you weren’t there, I tried to find you in philosophy and you weren’t there; why should I be sent away from paradise when I honestly searched for you?” God responded: “When you were a child you knew me, you were baptized into my name, but as you grew you despised my name when you left the church, you despised my community when you left my people, and you despised my food when you chose to dine with false gods. Now, depart from me!” It is no trivial thing to despise the true God and his true bride, the church. The moral as we come to this table is: “Don’t despise the body. Don’t forsake your Lord. This table is yours.

Jordan Peterson’s Appeal

Jordan Peterson’s Appeal

I am a fan of Jordan Peterson. I’ve read his 12 Rules and listened to many of his youtube videos. A quick glance through his material and any rational human being will conclude that this man has made an art out of common sense. There are hundreds of young men who once had no purpose in life and after reading his book or watching his youtube videos are now finding a reason to get out of bed, putting the gaming and the energy drinks away and conquering their little world. The whole thing is rather inspiring.

Yes, it is true, Peterson does not love Jesus. In biblical terms, he hates Jesus. At the same time, he acknowledges his open dependence on the Judeo-Christian tradition for morality and meaning. He believes in human depravity. He observes this plainly when he writes:

“I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”

Further, Peterson treats language like a beautiful work of art. He doesn’t waste his words. He treats them carefully like a mother her newborn. Christians can learn a bit about language and rhetoric listening to Peterson argue and make a case. But in the end, the compelling case for Peterson is not that he speaks well or treats common sense with respect, it’s that he blatantly borrows a view of reality from our Christian revelation. That’s the compelling part. My prayer is for God to intervene in his life and thunder into him the Logos of God and make him a consistent apologist for the true faith.