Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What You May Not Know About Christmas

Today’s article (see below) will allow a bit of a father’s pride to show through.  It was written by my daughter.  She had done her own research with the intention of drawing her own conclusions and explaining why she believed what she believed to her friends.  She then sent it to me to edit and criticize… I asked for permission to send it out on my “Jottings”
Christians that study scripture will rapidly find themselves in a dilemma.  What can we participate in and defend?  For example, only a light reading of scripture reveals that the nativity scenes pass on a sorely mistaken view of what actually happened the night our Lord was born. As the ACLU attacks their placement in public places with a view to attacking Christianity… Our dilemma is, how do we defend Christianity without defending what is not really Christianity?
There is a certain joy that comes with watching your children come of age and establish families of their own.  That joy runs even deeper as you watch them choose Christian spouses and then establish Christian families.
Yours in Christ,
Jerry Blount

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What You May Not Know About Christmas...

What does the Bible say?

I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday- the reason being that the Bible doesn’t tell me to. Under the Old Law, God was very specific about the holy days He wanted observed. He told what event was to be remembered, what should be taught, how and when to observe the celebration. Today… we aren’t under the Old Law anymore (refer to Hebrews 8-10), and God radically changed the way worship occurs in the New Testament. The only way we are commanded to remember Christ with a ceremony today is the Lord's Supper which we observe every Sunday. (1 Cor 11:23-26, Ac 20:7). The New Testament church did not celebrate the birth of Christ in any special way. If Jesus wanted us to celebrate His birthday, He would have told us to celebrate it, when and how to celebrate it. God has given us all instruction about life and godliness in the scriptures (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s not my place to add in any religious holidays or observances that God didn’t command (Rev. 22:18).
 
 
When was Jesus born?

         No one knows the date Jesus was born! Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 describe Christ’s birth. December 25th, or any Roman or Hebrew equivalent is not mentioned! What we do know is that the shepherds were abiding in the fields, watching over their sheep at night (Luke 2:8), which wouldn’t be the case in December. “It's a well-known fact that December falls in the middle of the rainy season in Palestine, and the sheep were kept in the fold at that time of the year.”3 (Refer to Ezra 10:9-13, Song of Solomon 2:11, which show winter as the rainy season and shepherds could not be out on the cold, open fields at night with their sheep.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

Today in lieu of my writings I am sending the declaration pasted below.  As you can see, several religious leaders of our country are now calling for civil disobedience as our government has begun trying to silence churches.  The writers included Orthodox, Catholic, and various evangelical groups.  In my estimation this is rather unprecedented.  Apparently 150+ people were involved in it. It was at 180,000 people by Sunday.  Today, it has grown to over 230,000.  It is very long… but it is very well done. You’ll be glad you read it.

You’ll read below of the government trying to force churches to participate in homosexual marriages, abortions etc. Their normal weapon is the IRS.  I personally believe that all churches would be better off if they weren’t tax exempt.  It just muddies up the picture when a church is beholden to the government for anything!

As you will see below, the government is now trying to use that exemption as a weapon to cow the churches into silence.   John the Baptist lost his head crying out against Herod’s adultery.  If we lose our tax exemptions over crying out on behalf of the unborn, the weak and the elderly…. So be it!



Yours in Christ,
Jerry Blount

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Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience
Drafted October 20, 2009
Released November 20, 2009

Preamble
Christians are heirs of a 2,000 year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.
 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

God "Character Profiles" a False Teacher

"Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.  For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting." (Romans 16:17-18)

Have you noticed that when doctrinal disputes take place among the leaders within the realm of Christianity, their doctrinal points are sometimes hard to follow?  Sometimes the rank and file among Christians just get so lost that they make their decisions not on the truths or errors being discussed but on the basis of where they “wish” to go… or what they “want” to do. Normally that means taking the easy route, or just following the crowd.

Part of the reason for all of this is that the offer made by the false teacher is normally “easier” than the narrow road. How many times have you been told as a Christian that, “You need to just loosen up?”  Today, there is a drive to relax God’s teaching on a variety of things ranging from the way the church is run to throwing out His morality laws in a variety of areas … particularly Marriage.

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned."  (II Peter 2:1-2)

Monday, October 12, 2009

So You're a Christian... What Does That Mean?


“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Acts 11:26



Today we live in a world where almost anything seems to be defined as Christian or in the name of Christ.  Most in our society still identify themselves as Christian… yet most also don’t worship God with any regularity.
Most politicians claim to be Christians… That being said, why are we are not the least bit surprised when one of them lies or has an extra marital fling? How can this be? 

The Bible uses the term in only 3 places: Acts 11:26, 26:28, and I Peter 4:16.  At it’s simplest level, it means a follower of Christ. 

What does it mean when you call yourself a Christian, a follower of Christ?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Precious Death of a Christian

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  
O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, 
and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. 
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
and will call upon the name of the Lord." (Psalm 116:15-17) 


After my last “jotting,”  I received word that a Christian lady that I had only once met was dying.  Last month the father of a dear friend, and a dear friend, who was the wife of a dear friend, (all Christians) had passed away.  Yet another friend sent me the linked video of a gospel preacher’s saying farewell to his congregation 5 days before his cancerous death… after preaching there for 40 years.  You can click 
here to listen to his last sermon.   

There is a beauty to knowing you have done the best you could with all integrity and now it is time to receive your reward.  Not because you are famous, but because your Lord knows you… and you know Him.  You are not just one of the endless hordes… you matter; God knows and cares for you.

We use euphemisms to try to soften every aspect of death.  On the contrary, our Lord teaches us to embrace it.  We cannot control death, that is why we fear it so.  We can cause it, but we cannot avoid it.  He has promised that we need not fear.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Read the Health Care Bill


 I (like many) have been watching with growing apprehension the health care takeover that is brewing in Washington.  I think the thing that scared me the most was when it came out that it was 1100 pages… and that the guys voting on it were rushing so fast they hadn’t even read it!

That’s like a preacher preaching without using the word of God.  Today a lot of people preach that way… but it isn’t very bright.

Like you, I have seen a mountain of internet scare stories floating around regarding this bill. Those things often bring reproach on thoughtful people. When we forward things we need to be sure they are valid. 

For that reason, among others, I rarely forward articles, but this is  an exception.  This article that comes with the text from the bill. He says he has read it…. All of it.  I certainly haven’t! This article is a Christian’s reaction to this bill, so please read and consider this article in the light of Washington’s turmoil.

Here is a link to the bill everyone is fussing over if you wish to read all 1100 pages of it! There is an opinion poll beside it…. Only 14% of the people that read this were in favor of it.  You can participate in the poll beside this bill if you wish.


When you are through reading this article… you can take a one question poll on Obama’s economics performance also if you wish. . (After you vote, you will see a second page that shows the running opinion totals)

Let me be clear, I have not fully read this bill… I tried to and could not make heads or tails out of the silly thing.  It keeps on referring to this section or that.  It will take a specialist to implement. 

This Christian has read it, and he provides the text from the bill he is commenting on. 

Then, I have provided you a link above to the entire bill so you can cross reference his quote, and comments to form your own informed opinion if you wish.

One other sidelight.  I have added/expanded and updated my online library.  If you wish a one stop online Bible library… I have provided you with one.  You will find a good collection of Bible dictionaries/encyclopedia. You’ll also find a good collection of commentaries, and historical works.  It is the study library that I use.  

Enjoy!

Jerry Blount


I Read The Bill
by Tom Wacaster

I have listened with great interest and concern to the “pros” and “cons” of the impending health bill that has been drawn up by the House of Representatives.   Few, if any, of our representatives have actually read the bill in its entirety.   In contrast a growing number of concerned citizens have taken the time to download and examine this piece of legislation in detail.  I downloaded HR3200, and have spent a total of slightly more than ten hours reading the bill, page by page, and line by line.   I can confidently say that I have read the bill.  Having said that, there are some observations I want to make relative to a “political coup” that is presently underway in the very halls of our Congress. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Come With Us

Come with us and we will do you good for the Lord has promised! A Christian’s offer from 1700 BC? (Numbers 10:28-36)

Since we started a new congregation back in October… we have been going about the countryside and making this kind of an offer to various folks all around us.

“Come with us and help us start a new congregation. We offer you a once in a life time opportunity to step out of the shadows and do something, be someone special!”

Or perhaps, “You can go on doing what you have always done and when your life is done… you will have done what everyone else has… But you could choose to come out and do something special! You could help to place the name of Christ where it has never been!”

We have worded this offer in various ways but it has come down to a special opportunity to start a new work where you are important rather than just being a nameless number in a multitude.

If you worship God among hundreds or even thousands… what will your impact be? Where can you do the most good? Where will your children learn the greatest lessons on their need to take up the yoke of the Lord Jesus? Even your children have a chance to be on the front lines for Jesus!

We make this offer to you… Jesus knows you but we’d like to! 

Jesus will always do you good… Now we’d like to! 

Today’s article is based on very similar ancient offer given by Moses to his father in-law Hobab (a.k.a. Jethro) and some of Hobab’s extended family. It is the kind of offer that a Christian or a church should regularly give today. We’ll look at this virtually unknown offer… made long ago to a family outside of Judaism.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Christian, The Bible, and the Practice of Abortion

I am certain virtually everyone has heard of the murder of Dr Tiller here in Wichita.  This one strikes close to home for us.  Our new congregation meets right around the corner from his infamous abortion clinic.
What a thing for a community to be known for!  We are the abortion capital of the world.  People literally come here from all over because you can get away with things here that you just cannot do elsewhere.  Dr. Tiller would do things that no man of conscience could do.

 Here is a
link to an undercover video made of him bragging about his procedures and complaining about the born alive protection act.  You’ll have to sign in and confirm you are over 18 if you wish to watch it because of a couple of his photos he shows at the beginning of the video.  Dr. Tiller was giving a speech while being honored by the National Education Association as a hero.  After said speech he was interviewed by some that he perceived as friends and appears not to realize he is on tape.  He speaks rather freely of his monstrous trade. There are a couple of rather important quotes in that video:
“Let’s say you have 15 or 16 and you had one slip out with a heartbeat, that is not a viable fetus, but that is born alive or has a heart beat. Then you have to take that non-viable fetus and rush it to the hospital against the woman’s wishes.” 
“If the baby is born alive it is sloppy medicine and it shouldn’t be done.”
““I have done (them) up to the day before delivery.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Should Churches Worship Money?

Wherefore Come out from among them, and be ye separate...

"For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10)
Did you ever begin wondering if “going to church” was about raising money?  In some churches there is a constant drive for the raising of money.  There's a collection for this project. There's a collection for the missionaries in some far away land.  There's a collection for the missionaries in some other far away land.

 Once in Florida I was studying with a neighbor who asked me about our attitude toward money.  It seemed like a strange question.  Well, come to find out, he had gone to church with his wife. . .   (the man considered himself an unbeliever).  During the service they had taken up a collection for the building fund.  To make a long story short, they didn’t get enough money.  The preacher ordered the doors to be locked, with the admonition that “no one is to leave the room!”  They passed the plate a total of three times.

Amongst so many of today’s churches, if you finally make it through all the contributions, then they start up with the fundraisers.  They have garage sales, auctions, cookies, donuts, chili feeds etc. A few years back a law office sent me a letter promising us a large contribution if our young people would be sent out to deliver neighborhood fliers promoting his law firm!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marriage, Divorce & Re-Marriage

Since I started this email list I have gotten numerous questions surrounding the Bible's teaching on Marriage, divorce and remarriage. I sent this particular article out some three years ago but because of the flurry of questions recently I have decided to send it again. I try to give a straight answer, even to difficult questions, so here is a fairly comprehensive study on this matter. 
Marriage, divorce and remarriage is obviously a volatile subject. It is not difficult to determine the Bible's core teaching surrounding this subject. Our greatest obstacle is just accepting what God has spoken. The leadership of church after church have been forced of late to decide whether they will stay with God’s teaching or follow the way of the world.  Sadly because of the drive to “fit in” most will follow the way of the world.

A fairly normal response after comprehending what the Bible says is to journey down an endless path of "what ifs." I think that you will find most of the "what ifs" that you are likely to encounter are directed to some passage in the study that follows. The approach you'll find below is what I would label as "self help." I have given you the passages and then asked the appropriate questions. For the most part the broad questions aren’t hard to answer.  Some specifics get sticky, but that doesn’t change the fact that most questions are easy to answer.


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Church of the Less Noble

The Three Month Old Church at Thessalonica...
"Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily {to see} whether these things were so."  (Acts 17:11)

The church at Thessalonica was founded in an uproar. 

After only three weeks of teaching, Paul had flee for his life leaving this group of new Christians behind to fend for themselves.  Not only that, but the people from the community of Thessalonica pursued Paul some 60 miles to Berea and tried their dead level best to destroy Paul’s efforts in Berea.

The establishment of the church at Thessalonica so upset the status quo, that Thessalonian community was outraged that anyone would buy into this new thing called "Christianity"… They found it to be an incredible inconvenience that the gospel was all true.  The Jewish community didn’t want to hear it, and was angry at those “less enlightened” Greeks who were loyal to the truth. Here is the text...