Tag Archives: teaching

Reality Check: Not Feeling Rich Today?

This afternoon, I read the Time.com post in which; “4, out of 10 Millionaires Do Not Feel Rich,”

I became stupified by the idea of having asset’s, revenue’s,,, (whatever they were using to show that they had a proposed net worth of at least a million dollars) and feeling as though I did not qualify as being rich!

Do you get how they could feel that way?

I had an instant flashback to my college years when I had the wonderfully humiliating experience of being almost out of gas in my car, nothing in the fridge at my apartment, a whopping .05 cents in my bank account, and another week and a half to go before my next paycheck from the grocery store that I was working at part time! Talk about Broke!!! I was seriously broke!

I remember very vividly, how I felt when I finally got my paycheck in my hand, (there was no direct deposit back then) and how I felt empowered! Rich enough to catch up my rent for the month, put gas in my tank and even take my girl out to a movie! I knew I wasn’t rich,,, but it wasn’t gonna take much to get me there!

It’s amazing how, looking back on those feelings from 25 years ago seems odd now, when comparing how little it took to give me the feeling of being rich then, to now;

  • having 3 children,
  • a mortgage
  • car loans
  • home/car/life and health insurance
  • utilities
  • education
  • vehicle and property maintenance
  • clothing
  • gas
  • groceries and
  • 2 pages of ancillary budget items (you get the point)

The amount that it would take to create that fuzzy feeling for me now, is at least 400-500 times greater, and even then, the feeling would be heavily influenced by the balance of my savings account.

This, sadly,,, is one of the primary reasons we as Americans are so driven to work more than 10-12 hours a day, spend very little time with our families and most importantly, invest little, or nothing into the Kingdom of God.
This is the reason why Paul, the Apostle of Christ wrote in an Epistle to the Hebrews (12) nearly 2,000 years ago, that we should cast off all of the weights that weigh us down, because they will eliminate our ability to “run the Christian race.” It’s why he referred to all of these things in Matthew (6) as “things that will be destroyed by rust and moth’s, or stolen by thieves and if these things are our treasure, it is where our heart will be as well.
To further complicate our pursuit of riches,,, history and scripture both provide a large number of examples where mankind, and his thirst for wealth, prestige, power, possessions, land, etc. are never satisfied,,, no matter how much we acquire.
Could this be part of the reason why these individuals who have so much, feel as though they do not have enough?
Even I do not even show up on the radar of being a millionaire, I am thankful everyday that I do not need to be a Millionaire in order to “feel rich,” because I am intimately familiar with life’s most fulfilling promises and even though I do not “feel wealthy with stuff,” I still “FEEL RICH” every day of my life with all of the blessings that I have received from God!
Most importantly, knowing that I have been saved from the consequences of sin,,, Yeah, I AM UBER RICH!

“Do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for?”

What is Jesus Worth to You?

In his recently published book entitled: “Radical David Platt invites us to encounter what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what we’ve heard. He challenges us to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences. (ouch)

Platt calls into question a host of comfortable notions that are common among followers of Christ in modern culture, then he proposes a radical response, in that we live the gospel in ways that are true, filled with promise, and ultimately world changing.

I love the idea, but how achievable really is this? How many people do you know that are willing to Abandon Everything for Jesus?

What part of the Gospel is optional?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily… But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

Do you understand the scripture to suggest that we should be ready to give everything up?
Would You?

COLOR BLIND

As you know, we launched this particular Blog series several months ago, entitled: “HOT TOPIX!” as an opportunity to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

By the way: This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. See what you have been missing? Let’s begin with HOT TOPIX #7,

“COLOR BLIND”

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Cor 14:8)
Armies in the ancient world were trained to respond to trumpeted signals, If the trumpeter blew one sound, they would charge – if he blew a different sound, they would retreat, but, if his tune was garbled, or if he didn’t pipe it clearly, then the army would be thrown into confusion

Today, the church is God’s trumpet.
We’re responsible to set the moral tone, but on the issue of Racism, the church has failed – miserably.
If the church had been playing God’s music to our society for the 230 years of our nation’s existence, all the confusion on all the subjects we have discussed could have been avoided, instead the Trumpet of God – the church – has wimped out and failed to take a stand on each of these issues. And if the church isn’t blowing a clear signal, what will come of our world?

UNFORTUNATELY, NON-BELIEVERS HAVE LED THE WAY IN OVERCOMING RACISM
Conservative, Bible-believing churches have largely stayed out of the whole issue of racism. Sadly, I’ve never to my recollection, heard a sermon on the subject, but in keeping our head low (so we can stay out of the fight) we have become silent co-conspirators in the ugly things that have happened in our nation’s history. Even worse, some churches have used tradition, or convenience, or even misused the scripture to justify racism, oppression, and prejudice. Take our worship services for example, many, are still the most segregated public place in our nation.
But here’s the most disgusting thing of it all: In the matter of racism, the church was more like a car’s taillight – merely trailing behind America’s Supreme Court and other secular agencies, when we should have been a headlight, leading the way.
~ It took the Supreme Court to handle a problem that the church should have
straightened out 230 years ago!

Tony Compolo is Italian descent, but he loves to preach in black churches because they are so expressive in their worship.
It’s true! I got the chance to preach to a black church once and it was a blast!
They never asked me back, though.
When whites go to church, they just sit there with their arms crossed and body language says: “Go ahead, say something interesting.”

Getting back to Tony’s story: When you preach, they amen you – like saying “sick‘em to a dog.” But one time, Tony wasn’t getting any affirmation from the crowd. He could tell that he was laying an egg that day. The crowd got quieter, and body language was telling him that he wasn’t ringing their bell. It got even quieter. Finally, there was a pause, and a brother from the back stood up and said: “Help him, Jesus! Help him, Jesus!”

RACISM
A. RACISM – is the attitude that says one human being is superior to another because
of the color of his skin – or his national origin.
Great comment written by a black man in Texas
When I was born – I was black
When I grew up – I was black
When I go in the sun – I am black
When I am cold – I am black
When I am bruised – I am black
When I am sick – I am black
When I die – I am black

Now, you white folks….
When you were born – you were pink
When you grew up – you were white
When you went in the sun – you got red
When you are cold – you’re blue
When you are bruised – you’re purple
When you are sick – you are green
When you die – you are gray
• So, who you calling “colored”?

B. RACISISM IS A PROBLEM ALL OVER THE WORLD
1. Neo-Nazi’s – Skinheads
2. Apartheid
3. Africa’s ethnic cleansing Hutus killing Tutsis, or is it the other way around?
4. Croats, Serbs
5. Japanese and Koreans
6. In Iraq, we seek the Shiites killing the Sunnis, and they both want to kill
the Kurds

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF RACISM?
I.e; Why does one person feel superior to another because of the color of his sin

A. PARENTAL INSTRUCTION
1. For many, our parents taught us to resent those who didn’t look just like us
Often prejudice is simply learned behavior.
a. Kids aren’t born prejudiced – They have to be taught to hate – very carefully taught
b. But, if you grew up with parents who had condescending attitudes toward blacks, or toward whites, or Orientals – whatever – then, you’ll probably carry those thoughts the rest of your life.
3. If you were carefully taught by statement or example to think that way, this is an area the Lord would have you reprogram your mind.

B. IGNORANCE
1. If we don’t know people from other races, we question their motives, or intelligence
We somehow diminish other races…find ways to think less of them as people
At a U.N. dinner, an Oriental fellow was seated next to a typical blowhard type. The blowhard, attempting to make conversation, leaned over and said: “You like soupee?”
The Oriental nodded
When the main course came, the guy said: “You like steakee?”
Oriental nodded
Then, they introduced the speaker for the evening, and it was the Oriental guy, who got up and gave an excellent speech, lasting 40 minutes — in perfect Oxford English.
When he came down and took his seat again, he looked at the blowhard and said: “You like speechee?”

C. FEAR
1. “They’re taking over. They’re taking our jobs.”
2. ‘They’re taking over our neighborhood – property values may suffer.”
3. “My daughter may marry one of them”
4. “There’s getting to be more of them than there is of us”
5. Cultural stereotyping. Prejudging = prejudice

D. OUR SINFUL NATURE
1. Because we have inherited the sinful nature, we have a desire to feel superior to other people. We want to exclude, demean, humiliate other people because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
2. We feel better about ourselves if we can look down on others
3. Racism is arrogance, and ignorance….but the bottom line: it is sinful

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show
favoritism. …..
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as
yourself, you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers (Jas 2:1, 8-9)

III. IS GOD A RACIST?
A. GOD TAUGHT MIRIAM A LESSON
1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.
9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.
10 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy;
(Numbers 12:1, 9-10)
1. Moses’ wife was “Cushite” = Ethiopian
2. But, the interracial marriage was dividing the family, as they do to this very day
3. God’s response: The Lord’s anger…Miriam got leprous…Moses pleaded for her healing, which the Lord granted – after 7 days

B. GOD TAUGHT PETER A LESSON
1. Peter was the poster-boy for racism in the first century
2. But God sent visions to him about that – and insisted that he go to a Gentile’s
house, which he did – begrudgingly
3. Now, this former racist made a remarkable statement
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

C. GOD TAUGHT THE DISCIPLES A LESSON
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)

D. GOD TEACHES THE CHURCH A LESSON
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” (Rev 7:9-10)
Shouldn’t the church on earth look the way it will look in heaven?

OUR RESPONSE TO RACISM MUST BE…..

#1 CONFESS OUR SIN
Tony Evans, a nationally known preacher says: “Racism is not a bad habit. It is not a mistake. It is sin. And therefore, the answer is not sociology – it is theology.”
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

Most of us don’t think of ourselves as racist, but sadly, most of us are racist – at some level, just as we all have some measure of pride, greed, etc. We can’t get away with justifying ourselves by saying: “That’s how my parents taught me,” or…. “I had bad experiences with people from this or that race.”

I was so disturbed by the racist, anti-Semitic comments Mel Gibson made recently when he was arrested for drunk driving. The terrible thing about this is that so many Jews were against his movie, “The Passion of the Christ” because they said it was anti-Semitic. The continual response was that it wasn’t at all anti-Semitic. But when Gibson had that meltdown at his arrest, and spewed anti-Semitic comments, he undercut the value of a great film!
Likewise, we undercut everything our Savior stands for when we are racist! So, we need to ask God to:
#1 Reveal to us our racist tendencies
#2 Work with His Spirit within us to transform our heart and mind.
#3 BE COMMITTED TO RECONCILIATION

Reconciliation is God’s will for us.
Now he had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4) Jesus was traveling north, between Judea and Galilee. All Jews would take the long way around, crossing the Jordan River and then coming back across again, once they were above Samaria. But Jesus HAD to go through Samaria because the Samaritans mattered to God.
Jesus came not only to reconcile man to God – but People to one another

Paul writes to the Ephesians: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility(Eph 2:13-14)

The Jews put up a 5’ high wall in the temple that Paul here calls the “dividing wall of hostility” On that very stone from that wall, found recently by archaeologists, it says that “no Gentile is to go beyond this point, for if he does, he will only have himself to blame for his death which will surely follow.”

Obviously, God intended the church to be a place of reconciliation.

Martin Luther King’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream” on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial, said:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

Well, I have a dream of our church being a model of reconciliation to everyone we can touch. Here, people of every tribe, and language, and nation are unified under the banner of Jesus’ cross.
Our church is not a yuppie church, a baby boomer church, a DINKs (double income-no kids) church, a generation X church, a retirees church, a black church, a white church – – – Our church is all of these things! We are a Christian church, where Black/White, Asian/Hispanics rich/poor, young/old experience welcome hearts, where they feel wanted, needed, and appreciated.

The world isn’t much impressed with beautiful church buildings – but what captures their eye is a group of people who treat each other with respect and grace – across the board …. Where genuine love flows like a river. Where they see people living in peace and acceptance where elsewhere, there is hostility.
– – – That’s where Jesus is praised!

#2 BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER RACES
Jesus didn’t just say “Hi” to the Samaritan woman – he deliberately struck up a conversation with her. She was so impressed she went to her village and brought out the whole town (also Samaritans) to meet him. He stayed there for two days, teaching them
The first thing that we can do to someone who has sucked up all the courage they can find and come to our church is to look them in the eye and warmly greet them.

#3 FORGIVE PAST OFFENSES
Don’t get caught up in bitterness, holding grudges is like mixing poison for someone else and then drinking it yourself.
Everyone is bitter! Whites are bitter about affirmative action and reverse discrimination, Blacks are bitter when slighted by whites, or treated unfairly, etc. But we are supposed to respond differently than the world! Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph 4:31-32)

Keith Richburg is a Washington Post reporter who spent three and a half years in Africa as a reporter. After this, he wrote a book “Out of America,” in which he talks about the negative view of Africa that he developed in his time spent there; “I am not a hyphenated American. Though slavery was a terrible sin, I’m thankful to be living in America and not Africa today. Is there anything left of Africa in those slaves who made that torturous journey across the Atlantic. Is there anything left of Europe in the white Americans who sailed that same ocean – English Americans, or Dutch Americans?
I see the flaws in America, I curse the intolerance, but even with all that, I recognize that it is the only place I truly belong. It is home. And, I feel for Africa’s suffering and empathize with its pain, but most of all I thank God my ancestors got out. I thank God I’m an American.”

Reminds me of Joseph, in the O.T., sold as a slave into Egypt. When he had the chance to return vengeance on his brothers, he refused, saying he’s not bitter. “You meant it for evil, but God has used it for good.”

So, none of us should play the race card – we must play the grace card because the Bible says: “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

CONCLUSION: THE STORY OF JOHNNY LEE CLARY
Johnny Lee Clary was raised by a racist father who taught him to stick his head out the car window and shout racial slurs as they passed by blacks. Dad would pat him on the back and say: “That’s my boy!”
His mother was an alcoholic, who didn’t pay him any attention. His grandmother was a Christian who took him to Sunday School every week until one time he came home singing:
“Jesus loves the little children – All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
From that day on he wasn’t allowed to go to church.

When he was 11, he was in the room when his father put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. His mother couldn’t take care of him, so he was sent to California to live with his older sister and her ex-con boyfriend, whose only interest in him was the government check she got each month.

One day while watching TV, he saw a guy talk about the Ku Klux Klan, and found out how to join. In essence, they adopted him and he counted the KKK as his only family. He rose rapidly through the ranks and ultimately became the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, then, one day, Johnny got the chance to do a radio debate with a state leader of the NAACP – a preacher named Wade Watts.

Preacher Watts completely shook up Johnny Clary. Instead of coming in with an angry spirit, preacher met him in the hallway, and put out his hand and said: “Hello there, Mr. Clary. I’m Wade Watts. I just want to tell you I love you and Jesus loves you.” Clary was so stunned he shook Wade Watts’ hand. Suddenly he realized he broke a major KKK rule, and Watts saw him looking at his hand with a stunned expression on his face. Watts laughed and said: “Don’t worry, Johnny. It don’t come off.”

Johnny started calling him names, and Preacher said: “God bless you, Johnny. You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you. I’m gonna love you and I’m gonna pray for you, whether you like it or not.” Clary says he didn’t know how to deal with that. He had never had that happen to me before.

After the radio debate, Wade Watts came running up to Clary, holding his baby. “Mr. Clary, this is my daughter Tia.” He held her out with her shining dark eyes looking straight at Clary and he said: “You say you hate all black people, Mr. Clary. Just tell me – how can you hate this child?”

As a result of this, the KKK set fire to Watts’ church, drove by his house calling him names, threw trash all over his lawn. Then they showed up wearing their sheets and hoods, and called out to him: “Get on out here, boy, we got something for you.” And he comes outside and he says, “Boys, Halloween’s four more months away. I got no trick or treat in here for you. Come back in October.” And he went back in the house.

They were running out of ideas, but one day they burned a cross across the street from his house. He came outside and asked us if they needed hotdogs or marshmallows for their barbeque. One day Clary called him up and disguised his voice and said, “Hey, boy, you’d better be afraid. We’re coming to get you, boy. You don’t know who we are but we know who you are.” Watts: “Hello, Johnny. Let me do something for you, and he began to pray: ‘Dear Lord, please forgive Johnny for being so stupid. He doesn’t mean to be so ornery, he has a good boy trying to get out somewhere in there.’”

One day they were watching Preacher Watts, when he went into a restaurant, so they gathered about 30 KKK member’s, went into the restaurant, surrounded his table and Clary said: “I’m gonna make you a promise,,, I promise we’re gonna do the same thing to you that you do to that chicken. So you think real hard before you touch that chicken.” So he looked at me and looked at the Klan, then he picked up the chicken and he kissed it. And when he kissed the chicken, the whole restaurant exploded in laughter. Even Johnny’s KKK buddies started laughing, so he got mad at them and told them they couldn’t wear their hood and sheets for 2 weeks.

Johnny Clary concludes this story by saying: “And that’s how one old black man defeated the entire Ku Klux Klan.”

Eventually Johnny left the KKK, drank himself half to death, put a gun to his head and said: “Well daddy, I’m following in your footsteps….”
Strangely though, the light coming through the grimy window of his apartment fell on an old Bible, gathering dust in the corner. Hoping for another way, he put down the gun, picked up the Bible and it fell open to Luke 15, the Prodigal Son. And that night another prodigal decided to come home

Johnny joined a multi-racial church, studied, and grew in his relationship with Christ. 2 years later, he picked up the phone and called Mr. Watts. When he came to the phone, Watts said: “Is this that Ku Klux Klansman? Hello, Johnny Lee.”

Johnny told of his conversion, and the interracial church he’s attending. Watts could hardly contain himself and insisted he come and preach at his pulpit, which he gladly did.

Now, Clary finds himself preaching to a mostly black church, where he tells his story. He told them that racism is a learned characteristic – but that love can be learned as well. When he was finished, a teenage girl got to her feet and ran down the aisle, threw her arms around him and hugged him. A weeping Preacher Watts leaned over and told Johnny: “That’s Tia, my baby.”

THE GROUND IS TRULY LEVEL AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

“WHEN THE VOW BREAKS”

I do not need to tell you that our society has embraced divorce,,, did you hear the one about the woman who was married 4 times? First, to a Millionaire, Then to an Actor, Then, to a Minister, Then, an Undertaker; “One for the money, Two for the show, Three to get ready, and Four to go”
(yeah, I thought this one was corny too)

But sadly, The effects springing from Divorce, are really huge! All kinds of problems result and let’s just face it, men aren’t designed to live by themselves because after just a few months, all the houseplants are dead –- but there’s something growing very successfully in the refrigerator.

STATISTICS: What are the RIPPLE effects of Divorce?
For the Divorcees:
#1. Divorce is the #2 greatest cause of stress,,, with the death of a spouse being #1. (This places it way above the normally recognized stressors, such as: loss of a job, financial failures, a prison sentence, etc.)
#2. Men who are divorced suffer an increased rate of cancer equal to those who are smoking a pack of cigarettes per day
#3. Divorce is like death of a spouse, only it carries the increased stress associated with rejection
#4. 10 years after a divorce, only 10% of divorcee’s say that their life has improved!
#5. 80% of divorcee’s report that they regret their divorce!

RIPPLE effects…
For the Children:
#1. The children of divorce are most certainly the biggest losers
#2. Divorce is destroying the kids… According to Dr. Judith Wallerstein, Family law, author of “Second Chances;” Long-term psychological devastation results in the kids of divorce and there are greater incidences of injury, asthma, headaches, and learning disabilities.
#3. They are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
#4. 70% more likely to be expelled from school
#5. 12 times more likely to be sentenced to jail
#6. Much more likely to have divorce in their own lives
#7. Fatherlessness is the #1 predictor of violent, antisocial behavior among children.

RIPPLE effects…
For the Finances:
#1. Divorce is a recipe for Poverty.
A. Time Mag. reported that in 2000 the average total household wealth of those Americans aged {decade} between 51 and 61 was $132,200 if married – If divorced, $33,700
B. Ohio State University researcher, Jay Zagorsky says that “divorce looks like one of the fastest ways to destroy your wealth. Getting married for a few years and then getting divorced is clearly not the path to financial independence.”

RIPPLE effects…
For Re-marriage:
#1. Re-marriage has its own set of dynamics and problems
• kids from the other marriage
• dealing with ex’s
Dr. Laura Schlessinger says that: “Of those who divorce in order to marry someone else, only 10% will actually marry that person, and 70% of them will divorce, i.e; only 3% of remarriages will experience a lasting marriage.

One poor husband in a re-marriage situation was doing his best. He really tried to do everything right – to be romantic with his second wife. He tried to remember all the right dates (birthday, anniversaries), but usually messed up.
One time he actually remembered – all by himself! He was so proud! He went out and bought a big spray of flowers and came into the house bellowing: “Happy 5th anniversary, dear! Bet you’re surprised I remembered!”
She was quick to respond: “You’re right! I am surprised, considering this is the anniversary of your first marriage.”

According to research, “the #1 factor in marital longevity is Endurance.”
1. Greater happiness was found by working through marital difficulty rather than running from it.
2. IN a Study conducted by Dr. Mavis Hethering, of the University of Virginia, “Out of 144 couples who had been divorced one year:
63% of the men, and 73% of the women confessed that they made a mistake by getting divorced. They stated that their marriages might have been saved if they had put in greater effort to just solve the problems instead of leaving them.
3. Another Study: After 10 years of divorce, only 10% of the divorcees said that their life had improved or that they had greater happiness since their divorce.

BUT, SADLY, PEOPLE JUST GIVE UP!
1. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980’s, the Iraqi air force was equipped with the Russian built MIG 29 one of the most technologically advanced planes of all time. Even though it was an excellent plane, they suffered a remarkably high loss rate. This was especially odd since Iran had inferior planes.
Here’s what happened. The Mig-29’s were equipped with an alarm that warned the pilot whenever a guided missile had locked on to their plane. The alarm was designed to allow the pilot to take evasive measures, which were often quite successful.
But, the Iraqi pilots would eject rather than fight whenever they heard the alarm. They bailed out rather than fight.
So the Key is: NEVER GIVE UP
Dr. Paul Meier, an experienced Christian counselor, says he has never yet seen any marital conflicts that were not solvable – if both partners were willing to work at it.

2. Researchers at the University of Chicago reviewed data on 5,232 marriages. They discovered that 2/3 of those who said they had been unhappily married, but chose to keep trying, reported 5 years later that they were happily married.

Translation: “Divorce is rarely ,a legitimate, or logical solution.

Which brings up the inevitable question of: ” Where does the Divorced person stand with God?”

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS:

TRUTH #1: God hates Divorce
A. Mal 2:16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel…..

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t’ hate it! Divorce is ALWAYS a terrible solution, much like Amputation is ALWAYS a terrible solution… but sometimes, that’s all that can be done.

TWO AMAZING FACTS:
#1 GOD INVENTED DIVORCE
He instructed Moses to write:
“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house” (Deut 24:1)
a. Hardhearted men were kicking their wives out of the home, without divorcing them, then marrying their next victim
b. Kicking them out w/o a divorce meant the wife was still married – SHE COULD NOT REMARRY!
c. This created tremendous suffering because women couldn’t survive in that culture without a husband because women weren’t allowed to get jobs in those days, but because her hubby hadn’t divorced her, she couldn’t remarry and they were stuck in abject poverty, and if no one took mercy on them, starvation — or prostitution — were the only options
d. So, in God’s mercy, He created divorce, even though it was against His will
So, if husband decided to kick her out, God’s Law required him to give her a “certificate of divorce” (Deut 24:2) “and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man…”
Notice, she became another man’s “wife” – God recognized her new marriage
e. Clearly, the certificate of divorce had the effect of freeing her to re-marry

Even though God hates divorce, he invented it to protect women from men who would abuse the covenant of marriage!

AMAZING FACT #2:
DID YOU KNOW THAT GOD, IS A DIVORCEE, HIMSELF?
1. God had entered a marriage covenant with Israel
2. God considered Israel to be His bride, and expected her to remain faithful to their marriage bond……just as in a human marriage
3. He didn’t want a divorce any more than any of us would want a divorce, but it happened — Don’t think that God loved Israel any less than you love your spouse
4. Israel was unfaithful to her Husband, and “prostituted” herself with idolatries
5. Jer 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.
6. So….God, Himself, has experienced the pain of being rejected by an adulterous spouse…..and the suffering of divorce.
7. He knows what it feels like to be divorced – he’s been there!!!

TRUTH #2: GOD SEES MARRIAGE AS A LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT

QUESTION #1: Mat 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
a. Divorce was a hot issue in the first century, just like today
b. They all had their own interpretations of what Moses wrote:
c. “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of
divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house” (Deut 24:1)
1. The terms “displeasing” and “something indecent” are the basis of
their question i.e; What is “indecent” or “displeasing”?
2. There were two schools of thought among the Jews:
a. Shammai: Only adultery could bring about divorce
b. Hillel: Anything that displeases the husband, including a few new wrinkles, or talks too much,
3. Needless to say: Hillel’s teachings were by far the most popular!!!!
4. Under Hillel’s teaching, a man could divorce his wife if she burned dinner.

JESUS’ ANSWER TO QUESTION #1
(Matt 19:4-6) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ (5) and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (6) So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
a. Jesus looks back to creation of Adam and Eve
b. Jesus is saying that the creation shows God’s intention. Adam and Eve were God’s pattern for marriage
1 man
1 woman
For life
c. It’s not that hard to understand, but many government legislatures – and even churches can’t seem to pick it up!
—————————–

QUESTION #2
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Mt 19:7)
a. The Pharisees understood what Jesus was saying – – – That marriage
(according to God’s plan is “till death do us part.”
b. Now they ask: If that is so, why does Moses talk about a “certificate of divorce”? Are you saying Moses was wrong when he wrote Deut 24:1?

JESUS’ ANSWER TO QUESTION #2
“Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Mt 19:8)
A. Jesus Answer:
1. God’s standards are unchanged – – –
2. But because of the hardness of man’s heart, God permitted divorce
a. God permitted it to mitigate the disaster being caused by man’s hardness
b. He permitted divorce because men refused to come up to His standards, and God needed to protect the wives
B. “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Mt 19:9)
– – – Just to make sure everyone understands, he says it bluntly,
“So, lets say that you were having struggles with your spouse, you’re
considering divorce, and you wanted to know what you should do. So, you came to COUNSELOR, JESUS, and asked Him what you should do, what would he tell you???

TRUTH #3: GOD STARTS WITH EVERY ONE OF US, WHERE WE ARE

Consider how things were among the Jews in the first century: 1. As noted earlier, Hillel’s teachings had swept Jewish culture
a. The Pharisees – ultra conservative religious leaders – obviously clung to the teachings of Hillel
b. The common people followed suit
– – – People seem to rise no higher than the lowest acceptable level

Two Shockers:
Shocker #1: 90% OF THE JEWISH POPULATION OF JESUS’ DAY HAD BEEN DIVORCED AND REMARRIED 5 TIMES OR MORE!
a. Remember the Woman at the well???? (John 4)
Q. How many husbands did she have?
A. She had 5 husbands and the man she was currently with was NOT her husband
b. Divorce was far more prevalent than what we see today

Shocker #2: EVEN THE DISCIPLES COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT GOD
INTENDED MARRIAGE TO BE FOR LIFE
a. Remember the passage in Mt 19 where Jesus said God created Adam and Eve, and that we were not to divorce except for adultery?????
b. Do you know what the disciples said in response to this????
“The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt 19:10)
1. That’s Peter, James, John, and the other guys
2. They figured: If it’s one woman for life, it is best to stay single!
3. They considered being stuck with your first wife for life would be like being sentenced to a lifetime in the jail. There’s no escape from that woman!!!
4. “Esposa” = Spanish word for “wife” – also means “Handcuffs”
5. They were still thinking like their culture…..a long way from Christ’s thinking
6. I would not be the least bit surprised if Peter James and John and the others had been divorced and remarried…….
………..especially Peter!
c. BUT WHEN WE COME TO JESUS, WE COME “JUST AS I AM”
1. We come to Him as we are….
2. We would think that in an environment of divorce like we see in 1st century Israel, Jesus would say something like: “All you who were divorced and remarried must Divorce your current spouse and go back to your first spouse and anyone who has been divorced should have no part of the church, and anyone who is married to a divorcee is living in adultery and bound to hell …because that’s what preachers are preaching today!

BUT JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WOMAN AT THE WELL IS INSTRUCTIVE:

A. WHAT DID JESUS SAY TO THE WOMAN AT THE WELL?
John 4:16 “He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” (17) “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. (18) The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (Jn 4:16-18)
1. HE SPOKE OF HER 5 HUSBANDS, WHICH MEANS HE RECOGNIZED EACH OF HER SUCCEEDING MARRIAGES AS VALID
a. He did NOT say: “You had 1 husband and have been living in sin ever since”
b. He did NOT say: “You must divorce your current husband and go back to your first husband – or if that is not possible, live in celibacy all your life”
c. Since He referred to each succeeding man as her “husband” “…you have had 5 husbands….” He must have recognized her previous divorces and remarriages as real marriages
2. IN CONTRAST, JESUS DID NOT RECOGNIZE HER LIVING WITH A MAN AS BEING IN A MARRIED STATE – HE DIFFERENTIATED THAT FROM HER MARRIAGES.
3. MOST IMPORTANT: JESUS WAS NOT RUDE OR BITTER TOWARD HER. HE TREATED HER WITH DIGNITY AND LOVE
a. Even though she was living in an immoral relationship with her boyfriend, roommate, lover – whatever you want to call it
b. He still didn’t treat her with disdain as so many churches treat people today who are living in similar circumstances
c. Notice that Jesus did not ignore her past, but neither did He lock her into her past and allow it to limit her future
d. It’s good to stand for the sanctity of marriage – but we must balance our stand with a Christ-like spirit in accepting people from wherever they come
e. Jesus didn’t approve of her relationships, but He didn’t lock her into her past, either

WHAT SHOULD BE MY ATTITUDE TOWARD THE DIVORCED? SHOULD WE HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE AS JESUS?
1. What a revolutionary concept!!!
2. Jesus upheld God’s plan of marriage for life…..
….He taught that plan plainly
3. But, at the same time, he loved those whose marriages had not lived up to that standard

CONCLUSION: Wherever you are at this moment, move towards the Cross.
A. God always starts with people where they are
1. If you’re divorced, you probably won’t be able to unscramble the results of your failed marriage
2. If you initiated a divorce for some illegitimate reason, what should you do? Move toward the cross
3. If you did your very best in your home, and your spouse cast you out of his/her life, what do you do? Move toward the cross
4. Jesus said: Jn 6:37b “…and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

B. WHO ARE YOU – WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
1. Wherever you are right now – whatever we have done – move toward the cross.

HERE IS MCC’s POSITION PAPER ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Mid-Lakes Christian Church

The Bible says that the institution of marriage was created by God (Gen. 2:21-25). Therefore we believe God’s Word should be our source of authority for defining marriage and setting the boundaries for the marriage relationship. The Bible says that God intends for marriage to be a monogamous, life-long, loving relationship between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:6). Marriage is the highest of all human relationships, provided by God as the best environment for relational intimacy (Gen. 2:18, 25) and child rearing (Gen. 1:27-28). The love between a husband and a wife is to be an illustration of the love and faithfulness between God and his people (Mal. 2:13-16; Eph. 5:22-33).

God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), but because of the influence of sin in the world (Jesus called it “the hardness of your hearts” in Matt. 19:8), the Bible makes some concessions for divorce and remarriage. The Scriptures give two justifiable reasons for divorce: adultery (Matt. 19:9) and abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15). Divorce is allowable in the case of marital unfaithfulness because the marriage covenant has been broken, but this is a concession and not a command. God still hates divorce, and if at all possible, if the unfaithful spouse shows signs of repentance and a willingness to recommit, we encourage the innocent party to seek forgiveness and restoration.

The Mid-Lakes elders have identified five scenarios under which a person who has been previously married may marry again. Any Mid-Lakes member desiring to be remarried by one of our ministers or in our building must meet one of these five criteria:
The former spouse has passed away (1 Cor. 7:39).
The divorce occurred prior to salvation (2 Cor. 5:17).
The former spouse has remarried (Deut. 24:1-4).
Abandonment by the former spouse (1 Cor. 7:15).
Adultery broke the marriage covenant (Matt. 19:9). When the one desiring to remarry was the guilty party, there must first be signs of repentance and a desire to reconcile with his or her former spouse. If the former spouse is unable or unwilling to reconcile, then after prayer and godly counsel we may allow the person to remarry.

We recognize that these biblical parameters do not allow divorce under other circumstances where divorce might seem warranted. The Bible does make a distinction between physical separation and divorce (1 Cor. 7:5), so we would counsel people in certain difficult situations that physical separation may be warranted until a godly counselor advises otherwise.

We counsel those who recognize they were remarried outside of the biblical boundaries to repent of their pattern of divorcing and remain faithful to the one to whom they are currently married (Deut. 24:1-4). The grace of Christ can be extended to those who have been divorced for unbiblical reasons. Those who have made wrong decisions in the past cannot undo their mistakes, but must be faithful to Christ in the situation in which they currently find themselves.

Questions often arise as to whether a person who has been divorced is eligible for a leadership position at Mid-Lakes. Because the Scripture says that an elder must be “the husband of but one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2 – literally “a one-woman man”), some contend that a person desiring to be an elder or pastor in the church must not have been divorced. It is our position that a divorce in a person’s past does not automatically exclude him from future church leadership. The passage in 1 Timothy 3 also says that an elder must not be given to drunkenness or violence. Most Christians agree that if a man got drunk or was in a fight many years ago as a youngster, that event should not disqualify him from leadership. The nature and circumstances of the offense and the length of time of proven credibility are all taken into account in determining whether a person is qualified for a leadership position. The same should apply to a person’s past divorce. If murder didn’t disqualify Paul from becoming an apostle and missionary after a decade of proven credibility, a divorce in someone’s past shouldn’t automatically disqualify that person from serving as a church leader.

We have instituted several policies and practices to help protect the members of our church from the trauma of divorce and to hold high the ideals of biblical marriage and sexual purity. We frequently preach about marriage, and we provide frequent classes, to our church attendees. We confront and counsel those whom we know are unfaithful to their spouses. Unmarried couples who are cohabiting are asked to repent of their sexual impurity and separate before they may be married in the church or by one of our ministers. Cohabiting couples desiring to become members of the church must separate or get married before membership is granted.

According to Jesus Christ’s instructions in the Bible, Christians must live in a manner distinct from that of the world. Christians are commanded to hold to a higher standard of moral virtue and purity, guided by the principles of God’s Holy Word. We have instituted these guidelines and practices in an effort to help our members to reflect Christ’s love for the church in their marriages.

“WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY ABOUT….?

As we shared with you last week, we have re-launched a series from last year, entitled: “HOT TOPICS!” (Yup, more controversial stuff from Mid-Lakes)
The beauty in doing this though, is how we have a much larger blog family than last year and there are even a few who say they are anxious to re-visit the topic’s as well. Soooo, we’re diving back in and addressing issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,
But the thing to remember, is as we strive to become more like Jesus,,, these issues must be addressed.
Are you ready?

BTW, this information was stolen from the Pastor’s notes, on the Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra last year. (See what you missed?)

Let’s begin:

A very proud Dad is attending his son’s graduation from Marine basic training… Dad has some time to kill before the festivities, so he visits the base’s PX. There, he sees a tee shirt that was folded for display and he liked the color, so he bought it.

He put it on, and without realizing it, walked all around the base with a Tee shirt that read: “My boyfriend is a Marine” on the back of the shirt.

Our culture has changed drastically in the last couple of decades, homosexuality is a huge emotional football, evoking all kinds of emotions from fear, to anger, and even hatred. It is causing many parents to grieve, and many, who are caught in homosexuality have shame, sorrow, despair, and heartache, while others claim to have great joy.

Sadly, some pharisaic “Christians” are showing hatred and their attitudes show them to be out of touch with Jesus. On that note, homosexual hatred is being returned in kind, believe me.

CERTAIN CONTROVERSY

I don’t know any topic that creates more vehement reactions in people – even in the church! (Except perhaps the current MCC controversy over Hawaiian Shirts!) inside joke…

Oddly, there are many people who view homosexuality as harmless – they believe everyone should be tolerant of anything that goes on. Others are facing self-doubt about their own passions, while others, who are in same-sex relationships, have much to say about it, that’s for sure

Then there are the many Kids, who think homosexuality is cool and are considering experimenting with it. This has clearly become much more than just one of the more controversial and divisive topics in the church and even in society at large.

WE FULLY REALIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL BE SATISFIED WITH THIS ARTICLE, But, when you are done, at least you’ll know what the Bible says on the subject in spite of the fact that there may be many who don’t care. I can’t control your response, or even how you feel about the subjects, but as a minister of the Gospel I have a responsibility to tell the truth, and that, I will endeavor to do.

MY GOAL….

To present this topic with truth, hope, and grace… When I’m done, you can get alone with God and sort out the issues with Him.

Now, let’s try to view objectively the Bible’s teaching on this controversial subject

HOMOSEXUALITY THROUGH HISTORY

1.      The Bible tells us that early in man’s history, a whole city, Sodom (and others, too) had a full-blown case of homosexuality and a variety of other sins, as well.    (Genesis 19)

2.      The Greeks were notoriously homosexual.   They had a school for girls on the Island of Lesbos, which is where we get our term for female homosexuality, “lesbian”

3.      Roman Empire was committed to homosexuality (14 of the first 15 emperors)

4.      In the early 1900’s, Freud and others declared homosexuality to be a result of environment of children as they are raised – They considered it a mental illness

5.      Then a few decades ago, other psychologists determined it was a genetic thing.

6.      Finally, homosexuality got “cured” overnight-by a simple vote.   They got the American Psychiatric Association to say that same-sex sex was “not a disorder.”   It became merely “a condition” – as neutral as left-handedness.

7.      They actually managed to normalize it

8.      But, today, after a huge effort by the homosexual activists, we see homosexuality is actually being pushed on the population

a.            A high number of gays are now all over the television, movies…

b.            Today, it’s being pushed in classrooms as young as middle-school through college with pro-homosexual diversity training

c.            There is a lot of social pressure to make sure that no one speaks out against homosexuality.   (That’s just not PC any more)

1.      The Christian football player, Reggi White lost a lucrative advertising endorsement because he publicly spoke out against homosexuality.   He’d have been more than safe if he had spoken out against Christianity, though.

2.      The Christian world-view and the world’s viewpoint will constantly be in conflict with each other.

3.      Those who don’t embrace the Bible are expecting the church to be tolerant of every wind of teaching that the world wants us to meekly accept.    They resent us when we remind them of sin

d.            If the church doesn’t accept their life-style, it is accused of being bigoted, self-righteous and homophobic

e.            But the truth is that the Bible does condemn this sin – along with all other sins – and nothing that they say will change that

f.            Unless the Bible recants it’s position, we cannot be budged from ours

g.            People tell us that we should be “tolerant” –  but, tolerance is the easy virtue of people for who don’t stand for anything….

TODAY, EVERYONE IS VERY AWARE OF THE ISSUE

1.      It’s all over the news

2.      It’s on everyone’s mind today

3.      Chuck Lee, assoc min at one of our churches went to airport to pick up his wife.   He was carrying a dozen red roses.   Three ladies walking past him on the sidewalk:   “Oooo, Lucky gal”

Chuck said:  “No!  Lucky guy!”

And the three women gasped….

  • He meant of course, that he was a lucky guy for having his wonderful wife

BUT WHAT REALLY SHOCKS ME IS THE CHURCHES OF TODAY

1.      If the church – the nation’s moral anchor – has lost its hold, where will the nation be?

2.      In an attempt to appear “relevant” to our world, many churches have compromised biblical standards

3.      Rather than becoming the salt of the earth – churches are trying to be sugar.

THE PICTURE THAT THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY IS TRYING TO PAINT

1.      Homosexuals try to convince us that they are committed to stable, monogamous relationships, but the Institute for Sex Research paints a different picture.

a.            Only 10% of the homosexual community could be even relatively considered monogamous.

b.            Therefore, 90% are promiscuous

3.      Certainly, heterosexuals aren’t all monogamous, either, but a much higher percentage than homosexuals are!

PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES OF HOMOSEXUALITY

HOMOSEXUAL MEN:

1.      ARE 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO ATTEMPT SUICIDE than heterosexuals

2.      AVERAGE AGE IF HOMOSEXUAL DYING OF AGE IS 39.

3.      AVERAGE AGE OF DYING EXCLUDING AIDS IS 41

4.      THE AVERAGE HETEROSEXUAL MAN WILL LIVE TO 75

5.      ONLY 1% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN DIE OF OLD AGE

WHY?

1.       43% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN ADMIT TO 500 OR MORE DIFFERENT SEXUAL PARTNERS

2.      28% BOAST OF OVER 1000 SEXUAL PARTNERS (obviously they are nearly all strangers)

3.      AT ANY TIME, 78% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN ARE CURRENTLY SUFFERING FROM AT LEAST ONE STD

THEIR PASSION AND RESTLESSNESS ARE FREIGHTING

1. It’s not a life-style —  it’s a death-style

2.      Most people thinking smoking is deadly

a.      But, the average smoking male dies at 66

b.      The average homosexual dies at 41.

c.      Meaning, a smoker will live 25 years longer than the homosexual even if he doesn’t contract AIDS.   And the non-smoker, hetero will live 34 years longer

3.      Homosexuality isn’t a life-style — it’s a death style!

GET THIS:    HOMOSEXUALS ARE ONLY 2% OF THE USA POPULATION, BUT THEY ARE INFECTED WITH 50% OF ALL STD’s

HOMOSEXUAL WOMEN

AVERAGE AGE AT DEATH IS 45, COMPARED TO 79 FOR NON-LESBIAN WOMEN

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

A.            NOTHING!  ….  AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT HOMOSEXUALS SAY.

1.      The truth is that, as homosexuals gleefully point out, Jesus didn’t say one word about it.   They believe this shows Jesus’ approval

2.      Actually, Jesus may have said something, but not recorded.   John tells us that;

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.    (Jn 21:25)

B.            BUT, WE MUST REMEMBER THAT JESUS SPENT HIS ENTIRE MINISTRY AMONG THE JEWS

1.      The Jews had a “zero tolerance policy” toward homosexuality. Homosexuality didn’t exist there. So, it was one of those topics that just didn’t come up

2.      But, beside that, making an argument from the Bible’s silence is not very compelling:

a.      To use their logic, we could say that Jesus approved of rape, wife beating, child molestation, incest, bestiality – because nothing He may have said about those things is recorded either.

b.      The truth is that every time Jesus discussed legitimate sexuality, it was always heterosexuality

c.      And he spoke only of celibacy as the only alternative to marriage.

C.            SO, WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

1.      “ ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.    (Lev 18:22) ~  In Lev 20:13, God says the penalty for such sin is death.

2.      In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.   (Jude vs 7)

~            Here Jude is reminding us of the terrible destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 19:1-8.    God totally destroyed their city for a sin whose name continues to this day – sodomy.

3.      Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.   Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.    (Rom 1:26-27)

C.            WHAT IS JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD THE HOMOSEXUAL?

1.      We all know the answer to that – He loves them

2.      He loves adulterers, liars, murderers, too

3.      But that doesn’t mean that He approves of their behavior

4.      But, love is different than salvation

III.        WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY….

A.           WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO STRAIGHT, OR HETEROSEXUAL INDIVIDUALS

1.            DO NOT EXPERIMENT

a.     This is sin – and all sin is contagious

b.      The reason people are enslaved to homosexuality is because it was fun at first for them. But sin starts out as fun…becomes enslavement…and ends in death

c.      There’s nothing glamorous about becoming a slave to sin

d.      There’s nothing glamorous about the diseases you will in all likelihood contract

2.            CLING TO THE TRUTH

a.       We must find the proper balance between : “love” and “truth”

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  (Eph 4:15)

b.      But, love doesn’t mean we’ll back off on truth – In fact, love demands the truth!

Especially with so much at stake

c.       Sometimes, in an effort to be “nice,” the church does not stand as strongly as it should against sin.

1.      I agree that we should be nice. We have a loving God; we should be loving people.

2.      But we need to understand that we do not love people, when we tolerate their sin. We are not doing them a favor when we say, “everything is fine,” when everything isn’t fine.

3.      That is not love; that is just cowardice. We are afraid to say the truth.

4.      Sometimes the church is afraid to say the truth, and that is sad because if there is one place in our society where we ought to speak plainly – not cruelly, not harshly – but plainly, it is in church.

5.      And homosexuals need to understand that it’s not “gay-bashing” to tell the truth

e.       Don’t allow our society’s standards to dictate your position on anything

f.        Even once conservative groups are caving in.

Recently, at Calvin College (CRC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, great turmoil was raised as an anti-homosexual rights speaker arrived on campus. More than one thousand students attended his speech, so the school’s administrators decided that they must also present the pro-homosexual view.

The problem is that homosexual activists (and our P.C. society in general) want the church to say that homosexual patterns of behavior are not sinful.  They want us to say that it is all right for them to live that sort of lifestyle.   And we cannot do that.

If a serial killer commits 25 murders, we will not say:  That’s all right, you are just living an alternative lifestyle, Right?

We won’t say to someone, like John Dillinger, that it’s ok to go around robbing banks and shooting cops, Right?

If someone is doing drugs, that is not all right – and we need to say that.

Homosexuals are the only group which demand that the church accept their sin without teaching them to repent.

3.      BE LOVING TO ALL– there is no difference

Remember:   Just because you’re not tempted in this area doesn’t make you one bit superior and loving people who are caught up in sin is not the same thing as compromising the truth. We aren’t abandoning Christ when we treat homosexuals with grace – we’re fulfilling His commands, giving acceptance is not the same thing as giving approval

In an interview Hugh Downs had with Billy Graham on the 20/20 program, the subject turned to homosexuality.   Downs asked Billy:   “If you had a homosexual child, would you love him?”

Graham answered:   “Why, I would love that one even more.”

The only difference is Jesus can’t love anyone more than He already does – He loves each of us as far as love can go.

4.      RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PREFERENCE AND PRACTICE

It’s not a sin to experience homosexual desires, being tempted is NOT sin!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.  (Heb 4:15)

The term “high priest” refers to part of Jesus’ ministry towards us;

2.            Notice, He was:   “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was

without sin”

c.            Homosexuals / Heterosexuals – everyone has temptations:

  • Alcoholics,  compulsive gamblers,  Eating disorders
  • No one has bragging rights

Even Homosexuals who have come out of it still will struggle, as anyone with an addiction does….

1.    Their passions still surface?                                    Yes             That’s called Temptation

2.    Can they be overcome?                                               Yes            That’s called self-denial

3.    Can desire for the opposite sex be rekindled?       Yes            That’s called the transformation of                                                                                                                           the Holy Spirit

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO THE “HOMOSEXUAL”?

1.        OPEN UP TO THE TRUTH

a.        The first step is to hear the word of the Lord

b.        Many homosexuals are in a state of denial

1.      First, they won’t even admit that they have a spiritual problem, or that the Bible even speaks on the problem

2.      Second, they say that it doesn’t matter if it is a sin – that’s how God made them and they cannot change.

Elizabeth Birch, former director of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender advocacy group in the nation says that: “Biblical teachings against homosexuality are the equivalent of prohibitions against eating shellfish.” She also objects to the idea that homosexuals can change. She believes that homosexuality is an immutable, natural characteristic, and can never be changed.

2.      UNDERSTAND THAT YOU MUST CHANGE

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(I Cor 6:9-10)

Repentance is key

God doesn’t necessarily have a plan for the homosexual to turn around today, and then tomorrow get married, and have a family. Some, if not most, will fight this temptation all their days – every day.   Just as we all fight temptation – every day. But God is expecting that we all must develop self-control and not act on our lusts, like the rest of mankind

3.            UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN CHANGE

Homosexuals want to believe that their orientation is genetic, the logic being that if God made me this way, I’m not responsible – and I can’t change – besides, I don’t need to change because it’s not my fault. Therefore, only bigots would expect me to change my lifestyle.

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were.   But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.   (I Cor 6:9-11)

Homosexuals must understand that they may have those same sex desires the rest of their lives… But they must also realize that everyone has their own problems and temptations to overcome.

CHANGE OR DIE!

Get in touch with Celebrate Recovery here at MCC!

Call:    EXODUS INTERNATIONAL www.exodusinternational.org/

IT’S TIME TO MAKE THE MOVE

a.            It’s time to take the risk and make the decision to change

b.            It’s time to trust the church to love you anyway

IN FACT, IT’S TIME FOR ALL OF US TO MAKE THE MOVE!

Below is a copy of MCC’s position paper on the subject of homosexuality.  We have this pamphlet available in the foyer in the booklet called:  “WHERE WE STAND ON THE HOT TOPICS”

HOMOSEXUALITY

Mid-Lakes Christian Church

Mid-Lakes Christian Church is an evangelical church, maintaining that the Bible is God’s Word and our final source of authority in doctrine and practice.  Therefore, it is the stance of our church that homosexuality is a sin against God but is not an unforgivable sin (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:18; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).  We believe that God calls those engaged in homosexual behavior to repent of their sin and commit to celibacy.  Christ said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).  In the same way, Christ calls those engaged in homosexual sin to repent and accept Christ’s love and forgiveness.  Paul reminded the Corinthians that those engaged in certain behaviors, including “homosexual offenders,” who refused to repent, would not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But then he added, “such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  The wonderful message to the person engaging in homosexual behavior is that through the power of Christ he or she can change.  The temptation may remain, but the Holy Spirit can give you the power to remain celibate and pure.

Christians should therefore reach out to those engaged in homosexual behavior with Christ’s message of love and forgiveness without endorsing the behavior.  If you discover that your child is addicted to drugs, the loving thing to do is to express compassion and understanding, and to help him overcome his addiction.  The same should be our attitude when we discover that a loved one is addicted to a sexual sin.  Mid-Lakes Christian Church recommends ministries that reach out to those struggling with homosexuality, including Crossover Ministries and Exodus International.

Those engaged in the homosexual lifestyle are encouraged to become part of the Mid Lakes Family, to attend services at Mid-Lakes Christian Church. If a person expresses a desire to commit to Christ or become a member of the church and is involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship, whether homosexuality, adultery, cohabiting without marriage, or other, he or she will be encouraged to commit to a life of sexual purity.  Any person willing to make such a commitment can be baptized and synchronously accepted into membership.

If a Mid-Lakes member is found to be engaged in sexual sin, he or she is asked to repent and commit to sexual purity. Those willing to repent are guided to counseling services and support groups that are available to help them overcome their temptations. Those unwilling to repent are not asked to leave, but are asked to withdraw their membership.

Just as a loving parent should extend mercy and truth to a child addicted to drugs, so we believe a loving church should extend both mercy and truth to those who have been engaged in homosexuality. Anyone struggling with this area of his or her life needs to know that Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and access to power through the Holy Spirit to live a life of freedom and sexual purity.

BECOMING A+ CHRISTIANS IN A XXX WORLD

Just for the Fun of it, we are launching a Blog series, entitled: “HOT TOPICS!” (Doesn’t that sound interesting?)
This is an opportunity for us to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

Do I Have To?

But as we strive to become more like Jesus,,, these are issues that we absolutely must talk about. Are you ready?

This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. (See what you missed?)

Let’s begin

As we deal with “Becoming A+ Christians in a XXX World,” It is unfortunate that satan has manufactured so many lies that it seems impossible to find the right way for our lives.
That is why the Bible says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov 14:12)
As we walk through this topic, we’ll be studying questions like:
➢ What about homosexuality
➢ Divorce
➢ Addictions, like alcohol, gambling, drugs
➢ Internet, and porn
➢ Abortion
➢ The Occult

But today, we’ll be dealing with the seriously HOT TOPIC of: “What does God have to say about sex outside of marriage?” (did somebody just say ouch?)

Unfortunately, the world is SHOUTING it’s answers to all of these questions,,, and sadly, the church has become timid, seemingly, afraid to speak out. Many churches simply acquiesce to the standards that are being shouted out through lifestyles, television, movies, activities in universities, clubs, bars and the millions of other social avenues available today for us to interact with society at large.

Professor and Christian author, Howard Hendricks said it right: “In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering.”
But we must not stutter! We must “speak the truth in love” as Paul says – but boldly, so there can be no misunderstanding.

Quite often, this is hard for Christians to talk about, we feel like the father who’s son, at a boarding school, just turned 14. It’s awkward…
Dad realized it was that time for “THE TALK” – the talk that all dads hate to have with their sons, So, he took the coward’s way out – He wrote a letter:
“Dear Son,
Now that you have reached the magical age of 14, the time has come for me to tell you about the bees and flowers.
There is a male bee and a female bee, (although I haven’t the slightest idea which is which.)
As for the flowers – we get ours from Plaza Florists. They’re in the book. Well, that takes care of that. We should talk again soon…


Affectionately,
Your Father.”

We tend to feel pretty smart about these issues, but when it comes down to it, we may not know all that we think we know…

I love the story about a 4-year-old girl who had a habit of sucking her thumb. Mom tried to scare her out of the habit by saying that if she keeps sucking her thumb, she’ll eventually blow up like a balloon.
The next day, mom and the 4-year-old were at church, standing next to a very pregnant lady. The little girl walked up to the expectant mother pointed to her tummy and said: “I know what you’ve been doing!”

Our modern society is TRIVIALIZING the Momentous!

A. WE’VE TRIVIALIZED SEX BY DESCRIBING IT AS “CASUAL SEX!”
(It is important to note here that there is NOTHING CASUAL about sex.)

Let’s see what sexual relationships outside of marriage accomplish…. They:

  1. Anger God
  2. Destroy your marriage
  3. Eliminate your self-esteem, reputation
  4. Destroy your walk with God
  5. Endanger your health
  6. Risk destroying a potential child’s life, (assuming he is allowed to live) And….
  7. They destroy all these things for your partner, too

– – – So….what’s so casual about it?
We say that our society has over-emphasized sex – but the truth is they don’t emphasize it enough. They’ve TRIVIALIZED it!

A great story about a mom taking with her daughter before going out on her first date. Mom says: “Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away when your with a boy, so Remember, a short moment of indiscretion could ruin your life.”
The daughter: “Don’t worry, Mom, I don’t plan on ruining my life until I get married.”

B. WE’VE TRIVIALIZED SEX BY TALKING ABOUT: “SAFE SEX.”
(In our society, this term is never used of marital sex, which is the only safe sex)

There are a raft of sexually transmitted diseases out there, and many of them deadly. Instead of doing the right thing and teaching abstinence, the issue of Sex is dealt with in conversations where it is referred to as “Safe Sex.”

It is sadistic for parents, school systems, and Planned Parenthood, etc., to pass out condoms to kids and give them a pat on the head, telling them all about “safe sex,” they are deliberately perverting our children.

School systems from middle school through college should be sued for perverting kids and risking their health. It’s depraved indifference. When a student gets pregnant or picks up an STD, the school system should be sued for encouraging their extremely risky behavior!
Here’s why…..

  • First of all, when they pass out condoms, they are conferring adult approval to immoral and self-destructive behavior… “If today’s schools were teaching drug education the way they teach sex education, they would be handing out clean needles and showing the kids how to shoot up.”
  • Secondly, condoms have a 15% failure rate – they leak either because of flaws in the latex, or by breaking from deterioration.

Imagine you are at a parachute school and the instructor tells your class of 20 students: “3 of you are going to drop like a rock, but don’t let that worry you – it’s only 15%! Ok, now lets load up and have fun!” Whatever…

But our educational leaders avoid the stark reality of their own research…..
-No wonder so many kids are surprised by their pregnancies
-No wonder so many kids who are practicing what they consider to be “safe sex” are surprised with their diseases;

Fact!: “The AIDS Virus is 1000 times smaller than sperm”
Fact!: “The rubber comprising a latex condom has intrinsic voids about 5 microns in size!” (The HIV virus is 0.1 micron.) source: (Roland, Rubber World. June 1993. Roland and Sobieski, Rubber Chemistry and Technology. Vol. 62, 1989.)
Fact!: “The University of Texas tested condoms against the AIDS virus and found the failure rate to be 31%!”

Dr. Robert C. Noble, professor at University of Ky said this: “Doctors can’t fix most of the things you can catch out there. There’s no cure for AIDS. There’s no cure for herpes or genital warts. Gonorrhea can ruin your chances of ever getting pregnant and can harm your baby if you do. That afternoon in the motel may leave you with an infection that you’ll have to explain to your spouse.

There is no safe sex outside of marriage and Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we are facing. If the condom breaks, there is a possibility that you may die.
We should stop kidding ourselves.

Fact!: “The United States’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 56 million Americans have an incurable STD. That means 1 in 5 Americans are infected!”

At a recent conference of 800 “sexologists,” Dr. Theresa Crenshaw asked them to raise their hands if they would trust a condom to protect them with a person known to have HIV. At first, not one raised their hand. Finally one raised his hand.
Dr. Crenshaw went on to tell them that it is irresponsible for therapists and counselors to give advice to others which they would not follow themselves.
She said: “The point is, putting a mere balloon between a healthy body and a deadly disease is not safe.”

Even though we are addressing a large number of facts and concerns about the teachings of “SAFE Sex,”
None of this even touches the problem of unwanted pregnancies, which destroy the lives of the “lovers,” and their families on both sides, and the poor unwanted child, who will never enjoy a normal family relationship

Beyond that, of course, there is the pressure to kill the unborn child, which if she yields, will lead to the ruin the mother’s life with perpetual guilt.

What a tangled mess we’ve made of our lives.

I know that many think that God sits in heaven devising ways to put passions into our hearts and then telling us not to follow them, but the truth is that sexual relations outside of marriage are displeasing to God because of their destructive behavior.

  • Self-destructive to us, personally
  • Destructive to our marriages, children, and future children
  • Destructive to our extended families
  • Destructive to the sexual partner
  • Destructive to our church, and even our community

Immorality breeds pain, heartbreak, and wretchedness, and that’s why God has placed a fence around the mountain of sex….because He knows what’s best for us.

God’s aim is not to keep us from experiencing pleasure, but rather to keep us from destroying ourselves and everyone whose life our life touches.

Websites to check out condom failure rates:
http://www.prolife.com/CONDOMS.html
http://www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/malecondom.html
http://www.hli.org/index.php/condoms/139?task=view

C. WE’VE TRIVIALIZED SEX BY CALLING IT: “CONSENSUAL SEX!”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.” (6a)

We constantly hear warnings about Con-Men, i.e; Men who work the confidence game. They will promise a new roof…. take your money and run. Paul is saying that no one who is a Christian should become a con-man, “wrong his brother,” or “take advantage of him”
Def:= to defraud someone, to steal, to pull a con

Sure, it’s “CONSENSUAL SEX” – in the same way as Con-men work at consensual stealing, they don’t use guns, they use stealth, lies, the ruse. They get you to give your money to them, gladly!
CONSENSUAL SEX is the same thing.

Con men will say anything to get you to cooperate with them in their scheme, that’s what happens with immoral sexual relationships where, often, words like: “I love you so much” flow freely.

How is this stealing?
If you are married, you are stealing what belongs to your spouse, Likewise, if your partner is married, you’re stealing from his/her spouse.
If we’re unmarried….we are stealing what belongs to future spouses.
In addition, we are stealing from the potential child, who will come from this relationship and who will most likely, never know a normal mother / father relationship.
Finally, everyone is being robbed of dignity, self-respect, purity, and their walk with God

D. WE’VE TRIVIALIZED THE WORD: “LOVERS”

It is no wonder that extra-marital sex angers God so much, those who engage in extra-marital sex do not view their partner as someone who is precious, sacred, valuable…..
Instead, their partner is a collection of body parts to be exploited for one’s own pleasure – – – No wonder God is so angry about this!

The truth is, love has nothing to do with it because we don not exploit the one we love.

Sadly, guys will lie to their “partners” about their commitment and love – and according to research, women will believe it.
A study at a Midwestern college showed that 80% of the women who were living with a man believed they would marry, but only 12% of the guys believed that. This only compounds the problem, since this 80/12 philosophy has led to the delay of marriage.

Since women are disrespecting themselves so much that they don’t require marriage any longer before giving guys what they want, the guys see no need at all to commit themselves to marriage
To put it crudely, men are asking: “Why should I buy the cow when I can get the milk for free.”
That may seem offensive, but that’s what’s happening, and women have no one to blame for their estate but themselves.

Marriage was created for the protection of women, and children. Many Modern Women have sold out their last hope for themselves and their kids by giving in.

According to scripture, PROMISCUITY ENRAGES GOD

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor 6:9-10)

Many of us have been sexually immoral in the past and many are still carrying around guilt from those days – maybe even years later, But, I have some really good news….
As Paul continues his discussion with the Corinthians…The next verse says…..
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor 6:11)

ACTION STEPS

A. AVOIDING SEXUAL SIN STARTS WITH THE MIND

#1 STOP POSSIBILITY THINKING
a. Adultery begins long before the one-night-stand
b. It doesn’t start with the act, but with the imagination that considers such an action a possibility. After all, my wife/husband will never know. Never find out.
c. Even if your spouse never finds out – you’ll always know

I’ll never forget visiting an elder who was a great leader, highly respected, who had been a Christian all his life. He was on his death bed (cancer) and before I left, he asked his wife to leave the room. Once she was gone, he said: “There was a time in our marriage that I was unfaithful to my wife – do you think I should tell her before I die?”
He’d been carrying his infidelity for many years.

#2 RECOGNIZE THE BIG LIE
No mater what our culture says, sinful sex is not:
“Casual”
“Safe”
“Consensual”
And, it’s anything but: “Love”

#3 DO A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS…

Extra marital sex results in;
a. Disease
b. Unwanted pregnancy
c. Breaking up a home
d. Guilt
e. Broken children
f. The wrath of God
– – – where’s the good news in all this?

B. MAKE BEHAVIORAL CHANGES

#1 GET SERIOUS – MAKE A COMMITMENT
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Job 31:1

a. Learn self-control

b. Some people think that if they get involved in immorality it will ease their passions. They think it will take away their thirst for sex.

c. But just the opposite is true. Sexual passions are addictive.

d. Like all addictions, they are easier to prevent than to cure

e. Having more sinful relationships are no more a treatment for lust than drinking more whiskey is a treatment for alcoholism.

#2 GET SERIOUS – AVOID TEMPTING PEOPLE AND PLACES

PEOPLE

1. Are your friends the kind of people who reject God’s standards?
2. We need to ask ourselves why we hang around the people we hang with.
3. Why am I attracted to friendships with ungodly people?

b. PLACES
1. It’s foolish for an alcoholic to go to a bar to sip water. You just don’t go there.
2. And, we all know of places, events, people – who will lead us into sin. Just get decisive and stay away from them
3. And, guys, if someone says that you’re not a man if you don’t have sex with them, tell her that cockroaches have sex – so what does that tell you???

c. MODESTY
1. Many Christian girls and women may not have sexual addictions, but they dress like they do because they have accepted the culture we live in
2. So, everything they have is tight, or short, or low – or all 3
3. Women must not use their bodies to generate lust in men. If your figure is that good, you don’t have to show it off.
4. The lame excuse many women use is: “Well, that’s his problem” or “He can look the other way” doesn’t cut it, and isn’t based on reality.
5. If your dress creates lust within men, you have led them into sin, and you’re as guilty as they are.

#3 GET SERIOUS – DEVELOP AN APPROPRIATE FEAR
We need to dread our own weakness
1. We think too highly of ourselves. We think we can handle these situations. So, we walk into them, and up with moral failure
2. Someone was interviewing the well-known Christian speaker and author,
Gordon McDonald.
The interviewer asked: “If Satan were to be successful at destroying your life with sin, how do you think he would do it?”
McDonald: “Well, certainly he can tempt me in many ways, but one area he’ll not be successful in is my marriage.”

Soon thereafter, through a series of seemingly innocent events, he found himself in an affair. That’s why Paul says:
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (I Cor 10:12)

A young priest was talking to an old priest, saying: “When will I be freed from lusting after women?” The older priest replied: “Son, I wouldn’t trust myself around a pretty women until I’ve been dead for 3 days.”

SO…….
A. HAVE YOU BEEN THERE? IF SO…..
1. You probably cringe every time you think of it.
2. You’re probably questioning whether God can forgive you. Satan draws us into sin and then keeps reminding us of our guilt after we went there.
3. I have a text for you:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Cor 5:21)

B. ARE YOU THERE NOW?
1. Are you doing the live-in thing
2. Married, having an affair?
3. Kids doing the touchy-feely thing

IF SO……
1. If you are in these situations, get out of it now!
2. Get out of it like you’re running out of a burning house
3. “Flee from sexual immorality.” (I Cor 6:18a)

HERE’S WHY…..
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb 13:4)

God’s not a kill-joy! He’s the one who invented sex! But He intended it only for within the marriage relationship. But, God will surely judge those who are sexually immoral.

As a ministry of Mid Lakes Christian Church in Tavares, FL., we want you to know that there is a place you can go, where you will be loved, you can find help, and most importantly, you can find out what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We look forward to seeing you soon, or hearing from you.www.Mid-Lakes.org