Tuesday, December 29, 2009

African Pastor's Conferences 2010

I am leading a team from Berean Baptist to South Africa in January. Please check the Pastor's Blog for updates and pics on our trip. Ben Dickie and Eric Stewart plan to post some photos and updates from time to time.

The topics that I will be sharing with our dear friends in South Africa include worship, prayer, and the subject of brokenness before the Lord. I thought that you might find some of these thoughts and quotes on brokenness and spirituality a blessing to your soul. Read and may the Lord bless each of you!

* In a world where self confidence and self reliance are celebrated it is important to remember that broken people who are have humbled themselves before God and find their strength in Christ are those who have been greatly used by the Lord.

* "Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit...the decline of the knowledge of the Holy has brought on our troubles." A. W. Tozer

* "A glimpse of Jesus will save you, but to gaze on Him will sanctify you." Manley Beasley

* "If you lay yourself at Christ's feet he will take you up in his arms." William Bridge

* Every great man of God or woman of God has passed through times of trial, brokenness, and what is often called the wilderness experience.

* The crushing sorrows and burdens of life may be overwhelming at times but they produce in our lives the things that make us truly useful to God--brokenness, desperation, humility, repentance, tears, tenderness, and patience.

* "God will never come to his right unless we are totally reduced to nothing, so that it may be clearly seen that all that is laudable in us comes from elsewhere." John Calvin

* "Unbelief makes the world a spiritual desert, where no divine footsteps are heard, where no angels ascend and descend, where no living hand adorns the fields, feeds the birds of heaven, or regulates events." F. W. Krummacher

* "Suffering so unbolts the door to the heart that the Word has an easier entrance." Richard Baxter

* What the church of Jesus Christ so desperately needs today are men and women who walk with God in the power and gentleness of the Holy Spirit.

Trials and tribulations are often used by the Lord to mold our hearts into His image. These hard Providences that we often pass through will teach us the importance of brokenness before the Lord. Never forget that broken people are precious to the Lord. A broken and contrite heart He will not despise.

God bless all of you!

Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear Bereans,

I trust that you will all have a Merry Christmas!

keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus.

Remember as you gather as families with friends and loved ones to worship Him.

I would like to ask all of you to keep me in prayer as I head to South Africa on the 31st to speak at the African Pastor's Conferences. Our goal is to encourage our brethren over there to preach Christ in the context of the Doctrines of Grace. May the Lord be pleased to bless us with a strong moving of His Spirit and bring revival and reformation to that part of the world.

My love and prayers are with you all.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Online Sermon & Online Calendar Companion

We at Berean Baptist Church have used two wonderful tools in our ministry. These tools are Online Sermon and Online Calendar Companion. Sermon Companion allows us to upload our weekly messages online and enables us to catalogue them by speaker, topic, date, or series. We also use Sermon Companion on our website for Emmaus Road Academy. Calendar Companion allows us to manage our activities and upcoming events. One unique feature with Calendar Companion is the ability to notify people by email of upcoming events. These are two wonderful tools that will greatly enhance any website and Christian Ministry and they have been a blessing to our congregation here at Berean Baptist Church.

Listen to our sermons and follow our events here:

Berean's Online Sermons

Berean's Online Calendar

I want to encourage all of our brothers and sisters at Berean to utilize these tools in their interaction here at Church and with our Academy. I want to challenge all of you to listen to the weekly messages if you have been shut in, away traveling, or not able to attend our services for any other reason. I am greatly encouraged that because of Sermon Companion many people around the world in Europe, South America, and Africa are listening to our weekly messages! Praise the Lord!

Sincerely, Pastor Dickie

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Always Do Right!

When I was a student many years ago in college a slogan was posted in our dormitory that read, "It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right." Many people today are good at justifying poor behaviour if it leads to some good opportunity or end. I have never forgotten, however, the quote on the dormitory wall. I would encourage all of you to read this quote over and over and reflect on your life. Time is rushing by at such a fast pace. We will all be standing before the Lord before we know it. I pray that all of you will keep that moment in your mind. Let us not justify any gossip, slander, unkindness, mean and unloving spirit, or any un-Christian behavior in our lives. I have often seen people in life do some of the most unkind and un-Christian things and then casually say, "I didn't do anything wrong." We must not deceive ourselves. Always do right! I have always believed that the Lord will bless kindness, patience, generosity, meekness, thankfulness, and love. These are common ingredients in the Christian life. But sadly these things are missing by many who claim to be the people of God. May it never be so in our lives.

My vision and desire for all of those who sit under my ministry is this:

1. Be filled with the Spirit.

2. Follow the golden rule!

3. Be conformed into the image of Christ.

4. Walk with God in humility and kindness.

5. Be considerate of others.

6. Love one another with agape love.

7. Live in the continual practice of praise.

8. Be devoted to the gospel of sovereign grace.

9. Love the people of God for they are indwelled by the Lord of glory.

10. Be passionate in your love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you all!

Love, Pastor Dickie

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Bereans,

Recently I spoke on prayer in the morning service as we have been going through the book of Isaiah. As I reflect on what it means to live the Christian life there are two things that stand out to me that are of utmost importance. The two most important aspects of living for Jesus are prayer and Bible reading. These two activities are critical to true discipleship. Neglect either of these two duties and you will greatly hinder and impair your relationship with God.

One of my favorite books on prayer is by E.M. Bounds entitled, Power Through Prayer. I encourage all of you to read it. My message last Sunday on Hezekiah's prayer gives a number of suggestions and encouragements on prayer. If you did not hear that message you can listen to it on Allgrace.com.

Let me encourage all of you to enjoy the special privileges of drawing near to God in the Word and in prayer. You will be blessed if you seek the Lord with all of your heart.

If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". II Chron. 7:14

"Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not". Jeremiah 33:3

“Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.” D. L. Moody

"Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things.” Andrew Murray.

Our praying, however, needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied, and a courage which never fails." — E.M. Bounds

God bless you all, and keep on striving to walk with God as the days and years of our lives pass.

Yours in Christ, Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The wonderful, incredible, and amazing Bride of Christ!

The Church of Jesus Christ is His precious Bride. This last month as I spent a time resting, reading, and seeking the face of God in the Word and in prayer I jotted down on a note pad various words that came to my mind that described the Church. This list is by no means exhaustive but it captures the essence of many of the ways the Church functions in our lives. I trust this is a blessing to all of you.

The Church is:

1. A Workshop

2. A Refuge

3. A Compass

4. A Foundation

5. A Temple

6. An Army

7. A Hospital

8. A Repair Shop

9. A Bakery

10. A Winery

11. A Library

12. A Hiding Place

13. A Kitchen

14. A Light House

15. A Home

16. A School

17. An Oasis

18. A Bride

19. A City

20. A Kingdom

21. A Dwelling Place

22. An Anchor

23. A Blazing Fire
24. A Witness
25. A Body

Now if you can think of other words that describe the church share them here as well! As I thought of each of these words I was able to think of many verses that could be applied to these descriptions and I thought of various ways that these words could be descriptive of the Church.

A great word of thanks to all of you for your prayers and encouragement during the last month when I was away. And I want to thank the office staff, our elders and deacons and of course Pastor Eric for all their labors for the Lord. Amen!!!

The pictures are of Kings Chapel in Cambridge, England.

My love to you all, In Christ, Pastor Dickie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Bereans,

I trust that you are all well and enjoying your summer. Mary and I have been resting and spending our time off relaxing, reading, and meditating on the things of the Lord. I am looking forward to coming back in September to resume the ministry among you all. Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughtful words during this time of spiritual rest and refreshment. One of the things that I have been doing is editing and revising a book on the blood of Jesus that I am planning on publishing through The Emmaus Road Press. I am almost done with this project and I am very excited because I believe this book will be a great blessing to all those who read it. Keep me in your prayers as I finish this project.

Recently I was meditating on the text in Matthew's gospel 25:21 that reads, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." These words were from the Lord Jesus. They represent what we trust you will all hear when you stand before God in the day of judgment. I want to share some thoughts with you on this text.

A life "Well done" is a life that was:

1. Lived for God's glory.

2. Filled with the Spirit.

3. Focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. And conformed to the image of Christ.

This is the essence of a "Well done" life.

A "Good and faithful servant."

1. Only God is good in the absolute sense.

2.We are good only so far as we have been justified by God's grace. If God declares or pronounces us good then we can rejoice indeed!

3. Faithfulness is seen in our obedience to the calling of God and the will of God. We have been called into fellowship with His Son. We have been called to be saints, Romans 1:7. God's will for us is summarized in Micah 6:8 and Romans 12:1-2.

4. We are servants. First of all, we are servants to the triune God. And secondly, we are servants to our brothers and sisters in Christ. One of the great characteristics of the children of God is that they are servants. The attitude of joyful and humble servanthood characterizes all those who have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

"Enter into the joy of thy Lord."

1. It is the Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom.

2. The Father is filled with joy at His Children's spiritual blessings and prosperity. When we enter the eternal state with all of its many blessings and privileges it will bring the Lord great joy.

3. The Lord Jesus went to the cross and suffered it's shame, reproach and the wrath of His Father with joy because of the knowledge that this death would secure eternal blessings for those the Father had given to Him. Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Here are some questions that this text calls us to ask:

1. Will you hear these precious words on the day of judgment?

2. Does our conscience, our friends, and the Holy Spirit confirm to us that we are "good and faithful servants?"

3. The joy of the Lord is not just a future in heaven. It is also a present reality right now as we daily walk with God. Is this the reality we are living in right now?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some Thoughts On Walking With God

Dear Bereans,

This month I am taking some time off to rest and replenish the spiritual wells of my heart. While I am away from Church I will be praying for each of you. I thought that as I am absent from the Church that it might be good to give some practical advice on walking with God that each of you might seek to pursue in your daily walk with the Lord. Here are some thoughts that I have had recently about the kinds of things that we each need to work on in our walk with the Lord. I am not putting these in any particular order but just as they come to my mind as I type this up for you.

1. To walk with God we need to live in the atmosphere of prayer and praise.

2. Walking with God means also that we must live in the Word. The Scriptures must nourish our souls on a daily basis. Feast on the Word of God!

3. Those who walk with God will develop a hunger for the Lord's presence. Do you hunger and thirst for the Living God? Walking with God means we are learning to live in God's presence.

4. Those who walk with God will be servants. Being a servant to our fellow man is not only an aspect of walking with God but is also part of what it means to be Christ like. Who have you served lately?

5. Be approachable! Those who are walking with God must not be angry or distant to those who would draw near. Are we the kind of people that others do not hesitate to approach with questions or concerns?

6. Be pleasant to be around. What kind of person are we in our interactions with those that we work or live with? Are we pleasant or are we snippy, feisty, and hard to live with? Do people enjoy our presence or do they sigh with relief when we leave?

7. Those who walk with God must also be good listeners. Jesus was a good listener. We must follow His example. Are you patient to listen to those in your family and those that you work with? Do you listen with good eye contact? Some people are always talking about themselves. They dominate every conversation with all that they have done, their accomplishments and what they think. Hey, let's each stop and just for once be good listeners to those around us!

8. Be an encourager. Nothing is more delightful than to be around those who are positive and uplifting. I cannot imagine someone truly walking with God who is not also an encourager. Jesus was such with His disciples. There are just two kinds of people: those who build up and those who tear down. Which one are you?

9. Show your love to those you live with by a tender touch or a hug. Today, in our world, we need people in the body of Christ to be huggers. Give those around you a hug. A smile would be a blessing as well! Those who walk with God have learned and experienced His love and must therefore share that love with others.

10. The people who walk with God must look for ways to affirm and to edify others. This is a discouraging world. What the Church often needs is to have a good number of praise warriors. Not just prayer warriors but praise warriors. Praise uplifts and encourages us.

11. I think that those who walk with God will also be those who will often be heard to say, "I love you." These words need to be heard every day in our homes and with those that we live and work with. How often do we say this to our wives, husbands, children or friends?

12. Those who walk with God will not poison those around them with negative words, rude behavior, scowling looks or a critical spirit. Those who walk with God will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. You know...love, joy, peace, etc.

13. Those who are walking with God will not be a wet blanket to dampen every one's hopes and spirit. They will like a light to brighten up the room into which they walk. Let people see the light of Christ in our lives.

14. Finally, those who walk with God will be leaders. They will lead others to be like Christ. Study the New Testament and pour over its pages searching for every clue on how our Lord lived, walked, responded and behaved in His every day life. Let us all desire to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

These are just some practical thoughts on what is involved in walking with God. May we each strive to walk with God every day so that our lives will be a blessing to all those around us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dear Bereans, please check out this link. Ken Ham of AIG had some nice things to say about you after his visit with us a few weeks ago! I am so proud of my Berean family. Keep up the good work of living for Jesus. You shine like lights in the night of this unbelieving world.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Bereans,

I would like to take this opportunity to share with each of you some of the major principles that have shaped my philosophy of ministry over the years. It has been my joy to serve the Lord in a number of different churches across the country. I have served the Lord in Flint, Michigan, Midland Michigan, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then Grand Blanc, Michigan. I have been here in Grand Blanc since 1982. During these years I have tried very hard to live up to the principles that I have found in the Word of God. I trust that these thoughts that I will share with you will not only bless you but help you to think biblically in every area of your life.

1. Live for the glory of God. This is the most important principle that we can use to shape our lives and our decisions. Paul says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Whenever I make any decision for my life or for the Church I always ask myself, "What will bring God the most glory?" God's glory trumps everything in my life. That is the most important thing. We should all live with this foremost in mind in all that we do both in or out of the Church.

2. Let love be prominent attribute in your life. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34-35. Love is the one way that we can show the world that we belong to Christ. Love must be the most visible characteristic in our lives. Love should manifest itself in the following ways.

* Love your enemies.

* Love those who oppose you or disagree with you.

* Be patient with those who are stubborn and hard to work with.

* Be forbearing with those who are difficult to work with or who might annoy you.

* Be kind to those who are often unkind or mean spirited.

* Don't speak behind some one's back by gossiping, backbiting, or slandering people.

* Be slow to criticize, complain, grumble or pout.

* Be swift to forgive.

* Don't hold grudges, keep score, or judge people by what happened in the past.

* Give people the benefit of the doubt.

* Be approachable. That means be a good listener, empathize and care for people.

3. It is more blessed to give than to receive. This is taught to us by the Lord Jesus and was quoted by the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 20:35. I have felt that God's people must learn the wonderful principle of what I call "godly generosity." God Himself was the most generous giver when He gave His Son to be our Savior. Being generous to the poor, the needy, and those people that we are able to bless when it is in our power to do so makes us truly godly. Generosity is just one attribute of being a godly Christian. If we are to err let it be on the side of being gracious and generous to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have always tried to put the needs, the concerns, and the feelings of other people before my own. This is one principle that I have tried to follow over the years. One of the ways that I have tried to demonstrate this was by taking care of the Lord's servants. I have been on the receiving end of unjust criticism, hateful remarks and misrepresenting attacks. I have known the betrayal of those that I thought were friends. I have felt the wounds that unkind words can cause. Because of this, I have tried to be a friend to other ministers in a way that I often needed, but many times never received. Therefore, I have sought to honor God's servants every way I can. When we have been privileged to have some of the choice servants of God in our midst at Berean Baptist I have tried to have our church show them the respect, kindness, and generosity that is becoming to a servant of God. Of course this applies to all the body as well. Let us seek this godly and generous spirit to all that we meet in life both in the ministry and to all the family of God. Whenever we have an opportunity to help, to serve, to honor, to be thoughtful to those in the body of Christ we should do so and do it with joy. It is a shame when people look at some in the Church and say they are like Scrooge. Let us be like Christ!

4. Live in the spirit of praise. It is very important that we all live in the atmosphere of praise. God inhabits the praises of His people. That means when God's people praise Him He is pleased to draw near. This is one way to ensure that the presence of God is with us. We must be a praising people. It is always easier to be negative, critical, mean spirited, and be a complainer. Why is this so? I would suggest it is because it is in our fallen nature to be this way. Oddly, some people have actually thought that a critical spirit is being godly or Christ like. I think this is a mistake. There are times, to be sure, that we must correct, rebuke, and confront sin in the lives of those in the church. But we must aim at being a people that are positive, friendly, loving, and gracious with all that we meet. If you read the book on legendary coach John Wooden entitled "Wooden" one of the main things that comes out of that book is that this gracious Christian coach and gentleman lived in this manner. Wooden over and over again makes comments about this attitude of complaining, whining, and grumbling. We need to be seen as a different people. We are the people of God and need to live in the spirit and atmosphere of praise. I have tried to do this myself and I urge all of our church family to aim at this noble goal of being a people known for their praise and love of God. Let us live our lives in the habit of praising God. This means that we should not be found praising God while at the same time we are tearing our brothers or sisters down by our criticism and complaining.

5. Learn to die to self on a daily basis. Dying to self is one of the principles that I have tried to live by over the years. Dying to self means simply means we do not live by putting our wishes, our wants, our needs, our feelings before others. We must learn to die to these things. We must live by the great principles of Christ and always think of others first before we think of ourselves. It is not easy to die to self. It is very natural to demand our rights. It is a part of our fallen nature to want to seek revenge, to get even, to keep score, and to put our feelings first. But this is not the Christ like thing to do. Let us all aim to so live before a holy God that we will seek to die to self on a daily basis. The body of Christ is greatly honored and esteemed when its members live in this way. The great Christians of history have been people who have practiced this virtue of dying to self. Our heroes should be godly Christians who have modeled this noble behaviour that makes us like the Lord Jesus Christ.

6. Be filled with the Spirit. It should be the goal of the Christian to be filled with God's holy Spirit on a daily basis. Paul the Apostle lists the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. When a Christian is filled with the Spirit these fruits will be visible in their actions and daily life. This is crucial to everything that we do. Most of the problems we face in our marriages, our work, our families, and in all of our human relationships can be traced to a lack of being spiritual in this sense of having our lives conformed to Christ. A spiritual man or woman will have great advantages over the person who lives in the flesh. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means that we must ask God to fill us on a daily basis. We must pray and ask the Lord to take control of our lives, to enable us to live in the power of His holy Spirit and in the power of his presence. This is not an option. Every Christian must seek to be filled with God's Holy Spirit every day of their lives. The future and the glory of the Church depends on our obedience here. Many times the quarrels, the disputes, the wrangling, and the fighting in the Church are due to the fact that the parties involved are not filled and walking in the Spirit. Let us make sure that this is our daily goal. No one should serve in the Church in any capacity if they cannot make this commitment to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to walk in His power and in His presence on a daily basis.

These are just some of the principles that I am trying to live by. No one is perfect. We all make many mistakes and have many failures to be forgiven from and to overcome. But if we will seek to live for Jesus by implementing these simple principles we will see the glory of God fill our Church. To this grand end may we all live.

God bless you all.

Pastor Dickie

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July

I want to wish the church family a happy 4th of July. Travel safe and enjoy the holiday! We have a wonderful country and none of us should take it for granted.

One of the things that has made this a great country has been the powerful and convicting preaching of the Word of God. We need the Lord to raise up a mighty army of faithful preachers who will declare the whole counsel of God to our generation.

As a pastor I am always examining not only my life but the fruit and the actions of those who sit under my ministry. Here are some of the things that we all need to practice in our lives. If we are a holy people then this nation will have the kind of citizens that will lead it forward in this century.

1. We need to be spiritual people who display the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gal. 5:22-23.

2. We need to be a people who walk with God in our daily lives.

3. We need to be prayer warriors for our families, our church and our nation.

4. We need to be committed to being honest, faithful, dedicated and compassionate in our dealings with our neighbors and friends.

5. We need to fear God and not man.

6. We need to live for the glory of God.

7. We need to practice the presence of God in our lives.

8. We need to abhor all that is evil and to love all that is good and pure.

9. We need to forgive our enemies and those who have hurt or disappointed us.

10. Most of all we need to love the Lord Jesus Christ supremely.

On this holiday may our blessed Lord have all the glory! In spite of all the concerns that we have as Americans let us never forget that as my late brother in law Del Fehsenfeld used to say, "As long as God is on the throne revival is as possible as the sun rising tomorrow morning!"

Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on Christ!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Friday, June 26, 2009

Filling the earth with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!

Last January I had the privilege of preaching in South Africa at an African Pastor’s Conference (APC). I have been invited to attend once again this coming January. While I am still praying and seeking the Lord’s will in this invitation I would ask each of you to pray with me that the Lord would continue to bless the conferences and raise up an army of godly men filled with passion and love for Christ.

We have been supporting conferences in South Africa, Brazil, Europe and Great Britain. My prayer is that the doctrines of justification by faith alone and the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace will be spread throughout the earth for the glory of the Lord.

Below is a report of the African conferences that I was able to attend and which we supported financially. I trust you are all encouraged by reading this report.

Six African Pastors’ conferences were held in South Africa during January. My portfolio was to see that these conferences ran smoothly and that included organizing the display of the books which are sold at subsidized prices thereby bringing very considerable advantage to the pastors. This latter responsibility was made a pleasure by diligent workers at each conference who know the book trade. Cornerstone Baptist Church, Bolton, generously and whole-heartedly supported me in these travels in sunny South Africa. My first pastorate was in Mandini, Kwazulu and with that background I have great sympathy for the needs of African pastors who live in an economic climate very different to ours.

The first conference was held at Mseleni near the border between Mozambique and South Africa, Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa (Central Baptist Church, Chingola, Zambia) spoke very challengingly on ‘The marks of faithful ministry’, and Pastor Raymond Zulu, with the advantage of preaching in his mother tongue, soared wonderfully on the theme, ‘The Word of God as our sure foundation’.

Our second conference at Koinonia Conference Centre was nearby the town of Hillcrest which in turn is not that far from the city Durban. The Speakers included Choolwe, Raymond, Dennis Hustedt (Utah, USA) and myself. The response was encouragingly very positive. Such is the increasing interest and edification that the pastors are calling for an extension to this work to reach the youth and from them so seek to build up a future body of able ministers of the Gospel. We will have our work cut out to wrestle with this challenge and act positively.

Our third stop was in the Eastern Cape in at the city of Port Elizabeth, where Dr Paul Stoltz organized the three day conference. Pastor Bob Dickie (Berean Baptist Church in Flint Michigan USA) also expounded the awe inspiring subject of Worship. We also had an outstanding Q & A session. Some interesting topics were discussed including the role of women in ministry. This cropped up at most of the conferences. It seems to be a recurring theme that may need to be addressed sensitively in the future.

The fourth conference was near the beautiful city of Pretoria. This time the speakers included Pastor Irving Steggles (Birchleigh Baptist Church, Kempton Park). He spoke on revival and delivered the conference sermon (’Motivation in the Ministry’). The conference was a tremendous success under the very capable leadership and organizational skills of Irving Steggles. The Book table ministry was also a great blessing here. The three days and two nights, including six meals cost each person the equivalent astounding sum of 70 Rand (£5.00). This is an admirable demonstration on just how far money given by churches in both the USA and the UK can go towards financing more APC’s in future years.

The fifth conference was in the large Free State town of Welkom. This once rich gold-mining town is now not far from poverty. Even the local fire engines have been repossessed by the manufacturers. The local CESA (Church of England in South Africa which is a reformed denomination) minister, George van der Westhuizen, acted as host to the conference at his church building. There was tremendous response to the preachers Choolwe and Raymond. On a personal note heartbreak and challenge came to me the next day when the three of us visited Morning Star, a crèche for 85 local HIV positive children. What an inspiring work is done by the ladies there, especially Joan Adams who is responsible for running it.

Finally the last of the conferences took place at Newcastle. This was a first time event and was capably organized by pastor Paul Jacobs. Here we saw demonstrated what can be done when a whole church supports a conference like this. This practical backing came from the Newcastle Baptist Church. Apart from the books hardly any subsidy is needed when this takes place. Some were disappointed inasmuch that they did not have enough time to secure enough money to purchase more of the discounted books that were available. In Newcastle they all wanted us to stay on for a second day. Lord willing next year we will.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

This Sunday is Father's Day. I want to wish all of the men of our church a happy and wonderful Father's Day. Not all of us have children but all of us have a father. Whether your father is living and has passed away this is a day to pause for a few moments and to thank the Lord for the wonderful gift He has given us in the Fathers that He placed over us. Yes, I believe that every father is a gift from God. Even if the father you have did not or does not know the Lord. The Lord is wise and knows exactly what He is doing. When He gave you your father He knew what was best for you. May we all show our gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful gift of life that came to each of us through the biological father that brought us into life.

I was reading a column by Cal Thomas on his love and respect for his father and it brought tears to my eyes. It caused me to think about my father who passed away back in 1989. The years have come and gone but the void and pain that I still feel at times haunts me. I trust this column by Cal Thomas will be a blessing to you all.

A Father's Day card

Cal Thomas

Thursday, June 12, 2003

He's been gone 20 years this month. Funny how when I write this, I wonder if some readers might think he walked out on us, as many do. No, Dad left us the only way he would. He died in June, 1983.

I still miss sending him a Father's Day card and finding a present beyond the predictable tie he might like. Shopping for a card by an anonymous rhymer that expressed the right sentiment was always a challenge, so I wrote notes and eventually a letter telling him how much I loved him and what he meant to me. He framed it and hung it in his office.

People of a certain age think he was Lowell Thomas - the famous newscaster and Fox Movie tone newsreel narrator of another era. That's because Lowell and I share the same last name and the same profession. But, no, Clinton Samuel Thomas was nothing special to the world, only to his family. And he was special to my brother, Marshall, who was born with a defect diagnosed as mental retardation. How Dad treated my brother taught me a profound lesson. He spent a lot of money on doctors and in search of the right environment for my brother after keeping him at home for years when many suggested institutionalization.

My father survived the Great Depression and World War II, and these experiences burnished his character and honor and made him realize that things are less valuable than people, family and relationships. We never lacked the essential things as I grew up and did not miss luxurious things.

I remember when he took me to buy my first suit and told me, at age 12, how I was becoming a man. I recall the baseball games and the smell of hot dogs and real grass and how good it felt doing guy stuff with him. I inherited no money but got his fishing tackle box. Priceless.

Are too many men too busy to be much more than biological fathers today? Have they convinced themselves that more hours on the job in order to buy more stuff is of greater importance than inhabiting their place in the home and their position as father in the hearts of their children?

My recent high school reunion concluded with a tour of the old building. When we arrived at the gymnasium - where I had played basketball - a classmate asked me what I remembered most about those games. I said that while I recalled a few shots that actually went in, what I remembered most was that my Dad attended every home game. I pointed to where he sat on the upper row. It is an image burned into my heart and mind. One year he promised a steak dinner to the entire team if we beat our arch-rival. We did, and he came through. On that night, my teammates seemed to love him as much as I did.

My father treated my mother with honor and respect. He never let me call an adult by his or her first name and demanded I show respect to my elders. When he let me drive shortly after my 16th birthday, he made it clear he had rules for using his car, just as there are rules of the road. When he said he wanted me back at a certain time, if I wanted to drive again, I returned at the appointed hour until I was able to buy my own car (with his help on the bank note).

Times change, but standards don't. Not a family on my boyhood street experienced divorce. Now divorce is common. Then, a battered woman was a rare occurrence. Now it is far too frequent. Boys were taught by their fathers to respect women. Most guys I knew in high school were virgins, though many lied about it. "Safe sex" meant saving it for marriage.

My favorite picture is of Dad feeding me a bottle when I was 6 weeks old. He is dressed in a suit and a large smile. His right hand holds the bottle, while his left hand is cupped around my shoulders. It is a picture of security and serenity. I wish more boys had fathers like mine. I wish even more that mine was still with me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dr. Edgar Andrews will be with us this Sunday. Dr. Andrews is the former chairman of the science department from the University of London, England. Professor Andrews has been recognized as one of the top physicists in the entire world. We are very privileged to have him as our guest speaker once again. I have been greatly blessed over the years for the deep and personal friendship that Dr. Andrews has given to me. Much of my ministry has been shaped and inspired by his spiritual mentorship. I trust that all of you will be blessed by his ministry with us this weekend.

Our office staff is taking a trip to Tawas for a dinner cruise out to Charity Island. Dr. Andrews will be our special guest and will speak to the staff on Saturday morning.

Last week I spoke at a Leadership seminar for the Team in Louisville, Kentucky. I quoted a poem in my Sunday message and was asked to put that poem on the blog. I trust that you will all be blessed by the words of this poetic rendition of a revival that was recorded many years ago in Texas.

The Ninety Men In The Marshall’s Den

“I’m going to preach and I’m going to teach, to the ninety men in here, (while a storm was raging outside). Of the words of love, from the throne above, and his words rang out loud and clear. I’ll preach for you of a Savior true, and a happy home on high. Where the angels dwell, where all are saved from Hell, and where the righteous never die. And he said a prayer in the prison there, as the ninety bowed their heads, to the old Choctaw and the Chickasaw, to the whites and the blacks and the reds. He prayed for the chief in his unbelief, and the dark highwayman bold, to the robber crew and the bandits too, to the criminals young and old. And he sang a hymn in the prison grim, he sang, “Turn sinner, turn.” “It’s not too late to reach God’s gate while the lamp holds out to burn.” And then from his bed, from the black and the red, a broken outlaw too. With trembling steps to the parson crept, and he shivered as all in the cold. As the lightning’s flashed, and thunders crashed, showed his features pale and stern, as he bowed his head he solemnly said, “I am resolved to turn.” And it seemed to me I will never see, a scene so great so grand, as the white and the red and their darkened friends around that Christian one did stand. While the light came down, like a silver crown, for the promise came to all. For the ninety men in the marshal’s den heard only the Savior’s call. And the lightning’s flashed, and the thunders crashed, showed their features pale and stern. As they all bowed their heads they solemnly said, “We are resolved to turn.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I Believe The Bible Is The Word Of God

I spoke at a conference last weekend in Orlando, Florida. One of the topics that I spoke on was the subject of why I believe the Bible is the Word of God. Here is some of the material that I covered. I trust that this encourages you and helps you in your defense of the gospel.

Five Ways To Prove That The Bible Is The Word Of God

Text: II Timothy 3:16,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”


A few years ago I went to Mississippi to watch the Southeastern Conference track championships. Mary and I had dinner after the meet with the team from Tennessee. Some of the female athletes were telling us about how several of their friends tried to sneak into a movie. They told us that as these students were attempting to sneak in, an attendant approached them and asked, “Excuse me, do you have tickets?” And one of the students replied, “No, we’re looking for the restrooms.” But the other student responded and said, “I can’t lie. We are trying to sneak into the movie.” I thought to myself, “Ah, an honest thief.” This is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a figure of speech that contains two words or phrases that are seemingly contradictory. It is like saying a “tiny giant,” or a “good serial killer,” an “angelic devil,” or “an honest thief.” Here was a student that could not lie but had no scruples about stealing. The problem with all men is that we have these glaring inconsistencies about our ethics and morality.

The Law of God is like a net, a mirror, and an umpire!

The law of God is like a net, has a way of catching all of us in its meshes sooner or later. The law of God is like a mirror that sooner or later will show us our moral failures. The law of God is like an umpire in the soul that sooner or later will cry, “Your out!” Whether we understand the letter of the law or the spiritual nature of the law with its broader applications, sooner or later we are all crushed by its condemning power. The Bible teaches us that by the works of the law no flesh (person) shall be justified (that is made acceptable to a holy God). The Bible is relevant because it tells us of our sins. The Bible tells us we have offended a holy God who will hold us accountable for our sinful actions. The Bible, with its laws, convicts us of sin and shows us our need of a Savior. But when people reject the Bible, they we won’t listen to its message for their lives. This is why it is so important to believe in the Bible and to trust its contents.

The English word Bible comes from the Greek word biblia, biblia, and means books. The word Scripture comes from the Latin word scriptura and means writings of a sacred nature. Jesus Christ referred to the revelation of His Father by two different phrases:

1. The Scriptures
2. The Word of God

In this text, the word inspiration comes from the Greek word “theopneustos”, and means God-breathed. What the apostle is telling us here is that the Word of God was given to us by the Lord and is His Word that was breathed into the minds of those who were used to write it. This is a very special book that we have in our hands today. Let us never take the Bible for granted. It is a God-breathed book.

There are many different world religions and so-called sacred writings. But I believe that the Bible alone is the Word of God. If someone was to ask me why I believe the Bible, one answer is because the Bible claims to be the Word of God. Jesus Christ taught that the Old Testament was the infallible Word of the living God, and He promised and predicted the coming of the New Testament. John 14:25-26. 16:13. Some people might respond that to believe that the Bible is the Word of God because it claims to be is circular reasoning. They may say this is simply nonsense. Just because a man claims to be a pumpkin does not make him one. Just because I claim to be a basketball and was dribbling sown the street and came in here tonight does not mean that I am really a basketball. In philosophical terms, this is called an informal fallacy, (an informal fallacy is an argument whose stated premises fail to support the conclusion). But in the case of the Bible, the Bible not only claims to be the Word of God, it authenticates it’s own truth claims, i.e. it proves itself to be the Word of God. For example:

1. The Bible claims to be the Word of the eternal and living God
more than 3000 times. (it contains the phrase, “Thus saith the
2. The Bible is self authenticating, i.e. it has its own intrinsic
a. The Bible has one theme from beginning to end.
b. The Bible has no contradictions within its pages even though it was
written over a period of 1500 years by 40 different authors.
c. The Bible contains both internal and external evidence
to authenticate and prove its divine message and truth claims.
d. There is no evidence that the text of the Bible has been corrupted
after 2000 years of being copied and passed on to each new
generation. The ancient Jews kept tabs on every letter, syllable,
word, and paragraph. The science of Textual Criticism demonstrates
the accuracy and the reliability of the Bible.
3. When the Bible was written, it was the only book at that time
that claimed to be the written revelation of the eternal God. Since then
there are two other books that also claim to be the Word of God, The
Koran and the Book of Mormon. But do these books have any
supporting evidence to verify their truth claims?

There is a wonderful old poem entitled--

The Bible”

Though the cover is worn, and the pages are torn,
And places bear traces of tears,
Yet more precious than gold is this book worn and old,
That can shatter and scatter my fears.
When I prayerfully look in this precious old book
As my eyes scan the pages I see,
Many tokens of love from the Father above,
Who is nearest and dearest to me.
This old book is my guide, tis a friend by my side,
It will lighten and brighten my way.
And each promise I find, soothes and gladdens my mind,
As I read it and heed it today.

How do we know that this precious book is the Word of God? By this question we are trying to discover if the Bible is reliable, God-breathed, trustworthy, inspired, and indeed the living Word of God.

There are many skeptics who tell us that this precious old book cannot and should not be trusted. Skeptics such as:

1. Voltaire- a pseudonym of Francois-Marie Arouet a French skeptic.
2. David Hume- a Scottish empiricist philosopher and agnostic.
3. Karl Marx- a Jewish atheist who was a communist.
4. Sigmund Freud- an Austrian psychologist and atheist.
5. Friedrich Nietzsche- a German philosopher and atheist.
6. George Santayana- an American philosopher and poet and atheist
who held to the notion that to believe in anything, including self is irrational.
7. Richard Dawkins- British atheist and author who is making an all out attack on the
Bible and Christianity.

If I was asked to defend the Bible, or to explain why I believe that it is the Word of God, I would use five basic arguments. If, after considering these five arguments, you are convinced that the Bible is the Word of God, then you must also accept that the message of the Bible is to be trusted and believed.

Our Theme: Five Ways To Demonstrate That The Bible Is The
Word Of God

Our Outline:
I. Prophetically
II. Historically
III. Scientifically
V. Morally
V. Dynamically

If you would like to hear the full message on this text I plan to preach on this point this Sunday at our second service. You can listen to the message by clicking on our online sermons at Allgrace.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Answers In Genesis Conference

At Berean

Was A Great Success!

I want to praise the Lord for the wonderful conference that we had at Berean Baptist Church this past weekend of May 17th. We were privileged to have had with us Ken Ham from Answers In Genesis. The conference was a tremendous blessing to all who attended. I was told we had well over 700 people in attendance! Not everyone could stay for all the services, but with many coming to the different services we probably had nearly a thousand different people throughout the day.

The important thing, however, is that those who came were given some tremendous materials and inspiration to help repair the foundation of the Christian faith that has been so badly eroded in our day. Ken Ham set forth the proper presuppositions that believers need to know when defending their faith to this Post-modern generation. The messages will be posted on our web sight at allgrace.com. You can listen to them by clicking on online sermons.

The one challenge I want to leave with our Church family is that we must not treat Sunday's like this one as a form of Christian entertainment. We need to be doers of the Word and not just hearers of the Word. This conference will be a great success if we each absorb the material and if we share what we have learned with others. This means keeping the information flowing, and continuing to invite people to Church and sharing the gospel with others. Ken Ham's messages were powerful and convicting. If you did not attend please listen to them.

I would also like to thank all the office staff that worked so hard to plan, organize, and to make sure that this conference was a great blessing to our Church family. We had a small army of volunteers and workers at Church on Sunday morning that did a marvelous job as well in serving around the Church. A special word of thanks goes to several of our elders who gave several thousand dollars to pay for all the expensesof the conference. Sacrificial giving for the glory of the Lord is laying up treasures in Heaven! From my heart I thank all those who served, who came, who gave offerings, and who invited others to join us for this special day.

Next fall we are hoping to have Dr. John Blanchard back with us. This AIG conference will be an inspiration for the upcoming conference with John Blanchard!

God bless you all.

In Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Friday, May 1, 2009

Please be praying for our upcoming meeting with Ken Ham from the Creation Museum in Kentucky!

Answers In Genesis Conference At Berean Baptist Church, May 17, 2009.

Ken Ham will be with us at Berean Baptist Church to share with our congregation and friends a seminar that will help us to bring reformation to our land by reclaiming the foundations of our faith which are based in the Bible. Ken Ham is one of North America's most popular speakers, best-selling authors and radio host. I want to invite all of you to attend and if possible to bring at least one person with you to hear this seminar.

The purpose of this conference is to help you to be able to answer some of the most-asked questions about the Bible! You will discover biblical truth and the reliability of the Scriptures. In this Post-Modern age, where the Bible is continually under attack, you will find your faith in the Word of God strengthened and enriched. Please plan to attend.

The topics of Ken's messages are:

1. "The Relevance of Genesis in Today's World."

2. "The Loss of Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth."

3. "Defending the Christian Faith in Today's World."

4. "How to Reach the Secularized World with the Gospel."

See you all on the 17th of May!

In Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I want to wish all of you a wonderful Easter!
Here is an outline of an Easter Message that I gave to the church last year. I trust it will be a blessing to all of you.
Why Seek Ye The Living Among The Dead?

Text: Luke 24:5, “…Why seek ye the living among the dead?”


The resurrection is the crowning proof of the deity of Christ. It is this great doctrine that separates everything else from Christianity. We have often stated that if the resurrection had not taken place there would be no gospel. The importance of the resurrection can be stated by the following points:

1. The resurrection proves the deity of Christ
2. The resurrection assures us of acceptance with God
3. The resurrection is at the heart of the gospel
4. The resurrection is the very foundation that the gospel
stands upon

The Arrogance Of Unbelief

When we attempt to share our faith in the Deity of Christ and in His resurrection, we find that many people have a deep-seated bias and hatred towards the gospel. They often oppose the Christian faith without really considering the evidence for it. For example, if we asked some of these people questions such as, “Do you know why we believe the Bible to be true?” or “Do you know why the Bible alone is the Word God?” or “Do you know what the evidence is for the resurrection of Christ?”-- these people would, for the most part, have to answer “No.” And many times they display a rudeness, arrogance, and contempt for the Christian faith that is hard to explain, except that there is this deep-seated bias and prejudice against it. This reminds me of a story I once read about a lion in Africa who went around to all the other animals asking, “Who is the king of the jungle?” The story goes like this: A lion in Africa went up to the big, fat hippo and said, “Who is the king of the jungle?” and the big fat hippo replied, “You are of course!” And the lion went over to the giraffe and said, “Who is the king of the jungle?” and the giraffe replied and said, “You are, O mighty lion.” Then the lion went over to the baboons and said, “Do you know who the king of the jungle is?” and the baboons all stood still trembling in their tracks and said, “You are, O great one of the jungle.” And the lion went over to the big rhino and said, “Who is the king of the jungle?” and the rhino replied, “We all know that you are, O mighty lion!” And finally, the lion went over to a big elephant that was walking along the river where the trees and water meet, and the lion said to the elephant, “Who is the king of the jungle?” And the elephant reached down with his long trunk and wrapped it around the lion and picked him up and slammed the lion against one tree and then another. Then the elephant slammed the lion to the ground and dragged him all around in the dirt, and then picked him up again and slammed him back into the trees again. Then he threw the lion back down on the ground and slammed the lion up and down in the dirt. Finally, the elephant picked the lion up and threw him into the river. The lion came out of the river all wet, humbled, and very subdued. He shook off the water, got his bearings. and then said to the elephant, “Hey! Just because you don’t know the answer to the question you don’t have to be rude about it!” I understand that for many people, who are not Christians, there is arrogance in their unbelief. This arrogance is very hard to understand since they have not considered the evidence for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This arrogance is just biased unbelief.

In our text this morning, we have the statement from the angel, “Why seek you the living among the dead?” In this account by Luke, the women came to the tomb of Jesus very early in the morning with spices that they had hoped to use to pour on the Lord’s body. When they arrived, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. As the women stood near the tomb very perplexed, two angels appeared to them and asked this great question, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” This is a very relevant question for everyone to ask themselves, as well. This is the question with two options. These two choices or options are open for all of us to choose.

Our Theme: The Questions With Two Choices

Our Outline:

I. Choice One: Seek Christ, The Risen Savior, And You Find Life
II. Choice Two: Seek The Dead And Find Death

I. Choice One: Seek Christ The Risen Savior And You Find Life

A. Jesus Christ is the risen and the living Son of God.

1. The resurrection proves this.
a. The resurrection is the rock of Gibraltar of the Christian evidences.
b. Everything stands or falls on this one crucial point.

2. Why would the early Christians tell their opponents, as did the Apostle Paul, that this was most crucial point of Christian evidence? By doing this they left themselves open to attack at precisely that very point. Of course the answer is that they had certainty that the resurrection can stand the scrutiny of all and any enemies.

B. Christ, as the risen Savior provides life for each of those who come to Him by faith.

1. Abundant life- John 10:10, “…I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly.”
2. Spiritual life- John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
3. Eternal life-I John 5:11-12, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

C. Those who seek Christ find this life.

II. Choice Two: Seek The Dead And Find Death

A. The women in our text made a serious mistake; they sought Christ in an empty tomb.

1. All the world’s philosophies are like empty tombs.
2. All the religions that reject the divinity of Jesus Christ are also empty tombs.

3. These philosophies and religions are empty because they have no Christ in them and they

have no gospel in them.

B. Those who make a similar mistake find death.

1. Any religion or philosophy that has no Christ has no hope of offering spiritual life to those

who seek life there.
2. These religions and philosophies are just empty tombs where only death and despair can

be found.

C. There is only one way to heaven and to eternal life.

1. It is Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by


D. The bottom line is this—anti-Christian philosophies and religions only produce death.

1. They are based on dead works that cannot satisfy either the law or the justice of God.
2. They are based on dead ideas that have had their origin in men rather than in God.
3. And how about many churches that are dead? Jesus warned against the dead and corrupt

teachings of the Pharisees. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are

like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of

dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" Mat 23:27. Any church that has departed from

teaching the gospel of justification by faith alone is a dead church. Any church that does

not have a pastor who is filled with the Spirit is a dead church just like this whitened

sepulcher that Jesus mentions here.

4. There are denominations that are dead. This is because they have left the historic

Christian faith long ago.

5. There are seminaries that are dead. In many of these places they kill the prophets and

bury the word. They are not seminaries but cemeteries.


The message of these two angels draws a distinction between life and death. The question has two choices, choose life or choose death. The angels said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” This is the great question that we must ask ourselves today. I cry out to this generation, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Home From Malta!

I have arrived home from the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. I went there with elder Chris Brady and my son Bob III. The purpose of this trip was to visit pastor Paul Mizzi, who is a Reformed Baptist pastor of Trinity Evangelical Church in Malta. We had a delightful time with Pastor Mizzi and the people of his church. Paul and his brother Joe have come to faith in Christ and were once Roman Catholics. Malta is at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. On a pap Malta is just below Sicily. Malta was the sight of two great sieges in the past. First, in 1565 the Muslim army and navy attacked the Island in the Great Siege of Malta. That battle had tremendous significance as all of Europe held its breath. The outcome of that battle would shape Europe for the next 400 years. The Island held out and the advance of Islam in Europe was prevented. Then second great siege was during WWII. The Germans bombed Malta but could not break the spirit of these courageous people.

Today the Island of Malta is strategically positioned between Islamic northern Africa and Europe. The country of Malta is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and stands in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry of pastor Paul Mizzi is greatly needed for the gospel of Christ to be given to the people of Malta. This is a great mission field and is wide open for the preaching of the great doctrines of grace, especially Justification by faith alone. We are hoping to establish a good relationship with these dear brothers and sisters in Christ to help them in their ministry on this beautiful and historic Island.

Ken Link, a dear brother in Christ from England, made his 100th visit to the Island to show us around and to be our host. I am deeply grateful for his help, service, and friendship that we developed during this visit. I trust that we will be able to see Ken in the future and to enjoy fellowship in Christ once again.

Paul's brother Joe wrote a wonderful Little book on Catholicism titled Test All Things. I am going to order a number of these books and would encourage all of you at Berean to read it. This book will not just help you to understand the Roman Catholic faith and its many errors, it will also help you to understand true historic gospel of God's sovereign grace. After reading this book on the flight home from Malta I found that these were the main questions that need to be answered by those who would witness to their Catholic friends.

1. Is the Bible alone our guide to salvation, or do we need the traditions of the Church to teach and guide us as well?

2. Who is the foundation of the Church, Jesus or Peter?

3. Does the Bible distinguish between mortal sin and venial sin?

4. How is a sinner justified before a holy God?

5. Does baptism play a part in a sinners salvation and regeneration.

6. Do earthly priests have power to forgive men of their sins?
7. Is the doctrine of purgatory taught in the Bible?
8. Is the sacrifice of Christ complete and final, or do we need a weekly sacrifice at Mass to save us from our sins?
9. Does the Bible teach us to pray to Mary or to worship Mary?
These questions are at the heart of the debate between Roman Catholicism and the true gospel of Jesus Christ. To be wrong on these questions and issues is to put one's soul in grave and serious danger. The book by Joe Mizzi will answer these questions and give us wonderful insights into the gospel of the New Testament. I highly encourage all of you to read this book. I will try to have copies at the church as soon as possible.

I want to thank all of you for praying for us while we were gone, and I would like to thank Pastor Eric, the elders, deacons, and staff at Berean who kept the ministry moving as we were gone. Next week I plan to have Chris Brady give a brief report of our trip.

God bless all of you!

Pastor Dickie

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where Have Our Values Gone?

I am greatly concerned that in our country today we are seeing our moral and spiritual values slipping away from us. I am posting an article that sheds some light on the decline of Western Morality. While the aritcle makes many good points let me remind my readers that only a true revival of the preaching of the doctrines of grace and a mighty stirring of God's Spirit will stop the erosion of our nation's integrity, faith, and morality.

The Decline Of Western Values
Dennis Prager

With the decline of the authority of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many people stopped looking to external sources of moral standards in order to decide what is right and wrong. Instead of being guided by God, the Bible and religion, great numbers -- in Western Europe, the great majority -- have looked elsewhere for moral and social guidelines.

For many millions in the twentieth century, those guidelines were provided by Marxism, Communism, Fascism or Nazism. For many millions today, those guidelines are ? feelings. With the ascendancy of leftist values that has followed the decline of Judeo-Christian religion, personal feelings have supplanted universal standards. In fact, feelings are the major unifying characteristic among contemporary liberal positions.

Aside from reliance on feelings, how else can one explain a person who believes, let alone proudly announces on a bumper sticker, that "War is not the answer"? I know of no comparable conservative bumper sticker that is so demonstrably false and morally ignorant. Almost every great evil has been solved by war -- from slavery in America to the Holocaust in Europe. Auschwitz was liberated by soldiers making war, not by pacifists who would have allowed the Nazis to murder every Jew in Europe.

The entire edifice of moral relativism, a foundation of leftist ideology, is built on the notion of feelings deciding right and wrong. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
The animals-and-humans-are-equivalent movement is based entirely on feelings. People see chickens killed and lobsters boiled, feel for the animals, and shortly thereafter abandon thought completely, and equate chicken and lobster suffering to that of a person under the same circumstances.

The unprecedented support of liberals for radically redefining the basic institution of society, marriage and the family is another a product of feelings -- sympathy for homosexuals. Thinking through the effects of such a radical redefinition on society and its children is not a liberal concern.

The "self-esteem movement" -- now conceded to have been a great producer of mediocrity and narcissism -- was entirely a liberal invention based on feelings for kids. The liberal preoccupation with whether America is loved or hated is also entirely feelings-based. The Left wants to be loved; the conservative wants to do what is right and deems world opinion fickle at best and immoral at worst.

Sexual harassment laws have created a feelings-industrial complex. The entire concept of "hostile work environment" is feelings based. If one woman resents a swimsuit calendar on a co-worker's desk, laws have now been passed whose sole purpose is to protect her from having uncomfortable feelings.

For liberals, the entire worth of the human fetus is determined by the mother's feelings. If she feels the nascent human life she is carrying is worth nothing, it is worth nothing. If she feels it is infinitely precious, it is infinitely precious.

Almost everything is affected by liberal feelings. For example, liberal opposition to calling a Christmas party by its rightful name is based on liberals' concern that non-Christians will feel bad. And for those liberals, nothing else matters -- not the legitimate desire of the vast majority of Americans to celebrate their holiday, let alone the narcissism of those non-Christians "offended" by a Christmas party.

And why do liberals continue to endorse race-based affirmative action at universities despite the mounting evidence that it hurts blacks more than it helps? Again, a major reason is feelings -- sympathy for blacks and the historic racism African-Americans have endured.

Very often, liberals are far more concerned with purity of motive than with moral results. That's why so many liberals still oppose the liberation of Iraq -- so what if Iraqis risk their lives to vote? It's George W. Bush's motives that liberals care about, not spreading liberty in the Arab world.

Elevating motives above results is a significant part of liberalism. What matters is believing that one is well intentioned -- that one cares for the poor, hates racism, loathes inequality and loves peace. Bi-lingual education hurts Latino children. But as a compassionate person -- and "compassionate" is the self-definition of most liberals -- that is not the liberal's real concern. His concern is with an immigrant child's uncomfortable feelings when first immersed in English.
Reliance on feelings in determining one's political and social positions is the major reason young people tend to have liberal/left positions -- they feel passionately but do not have the maturity to question those passions. It is also one reason women, especially single women, are more liberal than men -- it is women's nature to rely on emotions when making decisions. (For those unused to anything but adulation directed at the female of the human species, let me make it clear that men, too, cannot rely on their nature, which leans toward settling differences through raw physical power. Both sexes have a lot of self-correcting to do.)

To be fair, feelings also play a major role in many conservatives' beliefs. Patriotism is largely a feeling; religious faith is filled with emotion, and religion has too often been dictated by emotion. But far more conservative positions are based on "What is right?" rather than on "How do I feel?" That is why a religious woman who is pregnant but does not wish to be is far less likely to have an abortion than a secular woman in the same circumstances. Her values are higher than her feelings. And that, in a nutshell, is what our culture war is about -- Judeo-Christian values versus liberal/leftist feelings.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Evaluation of The Shack

Dear Bereans,

I want to share with you a brief summary of my review of the novel The Shack. You can receive the entire review by getting it off the book rack in the narthex of the church. Or, if you are out of town, you can request it from our church office at Berean. Just send us an email and I will have it sent to you by mail.

I am writing this review because I believe that this book is very dangerous. It completely distorts the gospel of God's grace and misrepresents many other doctrines as well. I hope that what you read here will be of help to you. Here are a few of the pages that this review contains:

As I began to read The Shack, I was shocked and appalled by what it contained. The review that follows here will be the analysis of my time spent going over this book and studying its pages. I assume the author must have written this book with all good intentions to being a blessing to the body of Christ. Having read this book I am convinced that, whatever the author’s intentions and motives were for writing it, he knew exactly what he was doing. The author is promoting a Christian worldview that is Postmodern, contemporary, and Arminian in its presuppositions.

Let me say up front that this book is an engaging story. It touches the emotions of the soul on a number of very deep levels. This is one of the reasons The Shack has had such an impact on those who have read it. The book is a novel, and the story is very moving. One almost feels he is in a Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincaid painting when reading this book. All the human emotions of sight, sound, smell, and feelings are utilized to make it a very dramatic experience when reading it. But aside from the popularity of an emotionally gripping narrative, one must ask-- “Does this justify reading a book that is seriously flawed in its theological and worldview foundation?” I think there are many other books that could and should be read that are not filled with the doctrinal errors and the heresies that this book is riddled with. In these days in which we live, we need to give ourselves to reading the best of Christian literature from both the past and the present. I am always a bit skeptical of anything that is being produced in our current culture. We are a culture that has been described as being Postmodern. It is a culture that has embraced, in the area of Christian values and thought, much that is man-centered, Arminian, and has been corrupted by what some have called the cult of Pop-culture.

Author- William P. Young was born in Canada and raised among a stone-age tribe by his missionary parents in Papua, New Guinea.

Synopsis- The Shack is a fictional story that seeks to provide answers to the great question, “Where is God when people suffer with pain, sorrow and disappointments?” Mack, the main character, has lived under the burden of The Great Sadness since the abduction and murder of his daughter four years previous. He then receives a note from God (”Papa”), inviting him to return to the shack — the scene of his daughter’s murder — for a time together. When he returns to the scene, Mack is treated to a weekend encounter with the Godhead. Each member of the Trinity is present: “Papa” - a large, jolly, Aunt Jamima-type, African-American woman (representing the Father); “Sarayu” – a beautiful, sensual woman of Asian descent (representing the Holy Spirit); and “Jesus” - a Middle Eastern carpenter who is portrayed as a silly and almost goofy person. Most of the book is Mack’s dialogue with these characters from this point on. They discuss a number of topics, all of which are to help Mack deal with The Great Sadness from his little girls murder. By the time the weekend is over, Mack is a changed man because of his conversations with the Trinity. This change in Mack’s character is not clearly defined or explained. It is hard to see that Mack has come to what we would call true regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit. So much has been left unsaid that the reader is left to guess whether or not Mack has been born again.

Dr. Al Mohler, who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary gave a review of this controversial book entitled, “A Look at The Shack” on The Albert Mohler Radio Program (www.albertmohler.com). Dr. Mohler states of The Shack:

· “This book includes undiluted heresy.”
· “This book simply, by any measure, falls far short of biblical Christianity.”
· “Regardless of intention (I can’t read the [author's] heart), I can tell you that the effect of the book is indeed deeply subversive of the Christian faith, and I think inherently seductive as well.”