If anyone is interested, here is the letter I am making available.
A few concerned members have asked me if I would be willing to provide a letter for a religious exemption from the vaccine. I realize that not all of our members are in absolute agreement on the issue, but some (including my family and me) have stood against any mandate that would force people or punish people into receiving the vaccine against their will. I certainly feel like there is a religious view involved in the decision, and that it is more than a political view or a preference.
If anyone is interested, here is the letter I am making available.
Tonight, I am preaching on the subject of tithes and offerings (Live at 7pm on our KC Mission Youtube channel)
Because of the nature and style in which I have chosen to present this, I thought that it would be helpful if I provided a handout. After the message is uploaded, I will post a link here, but for now, I am providing this handout for those who join us on live stream.
A while back I wrote an article on here called What is KC Mission after struggling a bit to explain to people what we were doing in the KC area. In that article, I mentioned that I originally thought of calling the work "Project Samaria" and that I would have to explain that another time. Well, I thought today I would take a stab at writing that article.
First, I should state that I believe every church body should be independent and should have their own global vision for the work of Christ. When we read the words in Acts 1:8,
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,"
even thought that was given to a physical group of believers that existed during that time, I believe we should take that same command personally. The command was given by Christ to "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Working with other churches is wonderful, and I'm not against that in any way. I am happy to join up with other churches for special events or to help them knock doors, etc. In fact, when our church goes to different towns to preach the Gospel, we try to find a like-minded church that is closer to them that we can recommend. We use their Gospel tracts or invites if possible. I believe all God's children are in this together. However, I believe our goal should be to go into all the world, just like the first church did.
It actually took the first church, however, a little while to start going into all the world. We don't see it until Acts chapter 8. After Stephen in martyred and the church in Jerusalem begins to be under heavy persecution, they begin going into other regions. Specifically in this chapter, they go to Samaria (remember, "...both in Jerusalem, all in all Judea, and in SAMARIA...").
Well, looking at a map, you can see that Iola is surrounded by a lot of small towns. We are committed to knocking doors in both Iola and in all our "Judea" which I have seen as a radius around us of about 30 miles. My vision for years has been to focus on areas where members of our church live and working on evangelizing those areas, also inviting them to come to our services and providing rides if necessary.
Ultimately, we have to use the resources God gives us. Having a small congregation, and not a lot of people able to evangelize their areas with us and provide rides, etc. for those who want to follow Christ with us; we continue to work those areas slowly and wait for Christ to build His church as He sees fit.
Then, after spending a year praying for laborers that would help us accomplish more in spreading the Gospel in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, etc., a door opened with some like- minded friends in the KC area (more like 90 miles away). Though there are tons of good churches in the area with which they could have continued, they shared in the vision of our church and in many of our methods and practices of which they wanted to be a part. We began working together and ultimately came up with a plan for them to join our church and stay planted where they were.
If you consider what happened in Acts 8, what we are doing isn't much different. Phillip and others went and planted themselves in Samaria, while the apostles stayed in Jerusalem continuing the work. As the believers send from Jerusalem reached souls in Samaria, which was about about 45 mile from Jerusalem (considering modes of transportation, that was considerably further away than the 90 miles we travel to KC), they would get word back to Jerusalem (considering their modes of communication, that was not an easy task like it is for us today with phones and cellphones and computers and internet...), and then some of the apostles would go to Samaria and work with the converts, equipping them to be part of the work.
Below is the story from Acts 8. I would love to see every church have a "project Samaria."
Acts 8:4-8, 14-17
4 ¶ Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed [with them]: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
14 ¶ Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Winter is over, now this!
Winter was pretty mild this year, but it seems every year there is a Sunday or two that I know most churches in our area are going to cancel services. I understand on those days that our already small crowd is going to be even smaller. Yet, every year, I find myself out there shoveling snow, salting the sidewalks, and assisting people across the street in order to (hopefully) get them inside the church building and to their seat safely.
If you trust the weathermen, you would think that every time it snows we are just about guaranteed an accident if we choose to leave the house… and so many don’t. Some are worked up by the sensationalism of the media, some just want an excuse to stay home and binge watch Netflix, and some honestly are just concerned for their safety.
The truth is, every winter in the U.S., an average of 1,836 deaths and 136,309 injuries are attributed to conditions on icy and snowy roads. Obviously not every American is equally at risk. Not every state has icy conditions in the winter. Some states have worse winters than others. Some people are better at driving in icy conditions than others. Some cars are better equipped than others when it comes to handling these conditions… but at the end of the day, there will be wrecks, injuries, and even fatalities.
Now mind you, this is only in the winter time! However, every time you get behind the wheel, you are risking your own well-being and the well-being of others. The statistics are enough to scare you into giving up driving altogether, but let’s be honest - the majority of us are going to take our chances.
As a pastor, I know there are dangers out there. When I have an elderly member who says “I’m afraid to drive on the ice,” or “I can’t see very well at night and don’t think I should come to the night services,” I certainly don’t get mad at them. I may offer them some transportation, or I will encourage them to just stay home and be safe.
So, my take on the whole coronavirus scare is very similar. This year, something like 23,000 people died from the flu, and every time we left our house or pushed a shopping cart, we were at risk. I realize the coronavirus might be way more contagious and maybe even deadlier if not controlled. I know that we are risking harm to ourselves or others (much like we are every time we get behind the wheel... especially when it is icy). I know some parts of the country are at higher risk than others. I know some people are more likely to die if they contract the virus...
For all those reasons, I’m not against people choosing to shut down their services, nor am I against people choosing to stay home if the services continue. That is their prerogative, and I trust they are trying to do what they believe is the safest for their congregation or themselves.
At the same time, I personally have seen God do some amazing things among a handful of people that meet together in spite of the extra challenges or risks they took to assemble together in difficult times. To some folks, the few times we meet together with one another is more important to their well-being than going out to the grocery store to buy some more toilet paper and Clorox wipes. To some, it means more to come in and be fed from the Word of God than to go inside a fast food restaurant and order their food to go. To some, it means more to continue giving out the Gospel in these times than it does to raise money for distributing masks and latex gloves to the community.
Quite frankly, I AM concerned about the government forcing a church to shut down or pay a fine and/or face jail time. That doesn't sit well with me at all, but I'm not looking for a fight with the government. The very nature of separation of church and state is "I'll stay out of your business, and you stay out of my Father's business." If they want to limit how many kids can be in a daycare at one time or how many workers can be in one particular place of business or another... fine with me.
My policy for keeping the church doors open is the same as it has always been. I always plan on having services if I can at all make it, but I won't try to coerce anyone to make it who does not feel it is safe to come. With all that being said, here are some policies I will try to enforce during this time:
It is important to preach the Gospel to every creature, but we want to do all that we can to take it the next step and begin to encourage people to get baptized, get involved in a good church, and to begin growing in the Lord. Following is a general overview of a plan we are implementing:
I think perhaps I have done a poor job of trying to explain this work, and so I'm going to try to lay it out in this article so that when I am asked in the future, I can just refer people here.
Is KC Mission some sort of humanitarian program?
No, we don't give out soup and blankets to homeless people... it isn't THAT type of "mission." We give out the Gospel and try to rescue souls from Hell; THAT is the mission we are on!
Is KC Mission a church?
No. This is a ministry of our church--Iola Baptist Temple. All those who are involved in this work are under the authority of IBT and are encouraged to join (in accordance to our church bylaws) to be covenanted together with us to accomplish the work of the church in an organized and orderly way.
So, it is a church plant?
Yes and no. Some of the confusion here has to do with how this phrase is used today. I don't particularly care for the modern practice of "planting churches" and what that looks like in our current era, and so I have not wanted to embrace that phrase. As a result, people who think of us as a "church plant" are really confused. "Why the name KC Mission? Shouldn't it be Such-and-such Baptist Church?" Well, honestly, I'm not a fan of the method where a man gets ordained as a "pastor," raises support for a couple years, finds a building in the area he wants to "plant a church," and then he starts canvasing the area in hopes of getting the community to come attend his services.
Now, a lot of good guys do it this way, and I'm not complaining. Neither do I want to start a debate and cause problems, so instead, I just remain mostly quiet on the matter. As a result, I'm afraid that we are the ones who end up appearing very unorthodox and unscriptural. So, let me explain:
There is definitely a distant vision of one day seeing this work become an independent Baptist church with an ordained pastor to lead it. However, we have no current plans of this happening anytime soon. Right now, we just want to stay focused on our mission.
What about the term "Satellite church?"
Well, that title might seem to fit the closest as far as how we appear in terms of meeting in a location (albeit a very flexible and temporary location) that is nearly two hours away from the town where our church typically meets. But it isn't a separate church that livestreams my preaching or that I show up to as a guest speaker... if that was the case, there are far better preachers they could listen to every time they meet! I work with this group as much as possible and then they also try to come to Iola from time to time to meet with the rest of our members. We meet together twice per week in KC for preaching and/or ministry training and three times per week for soul-winning.
So, to try to clear it all up, here is what KC Mission is... are you ready?
KC mission is a "mission" work in "Kansas City!"
Thus the title "KC Mission" (Originally I thought of calling this work "Operation Samaria"... but I'll have to explain that in another post sometime).
In closing, let me state the mission of Iola Baptist Temple's work in KC (which we call "KC Misson")
1) Our mission is to knock on every door in the Kansas City metro with the sole purpose of presenting a clear and thorough Gospel presentation and inviting those who believe the Gospel to call upon the Lord for their salvation.
2) Our mission is to train disciples of Christ for church ministry, and to raise new laborers who will join us in fulfilling the #1 mission.
If you or your church would like to team up with us or would like us to knock any doors in your area, contact us and let us know.
If you want a basic demonstration of what we do, I just recently uploaded a nine-part seminar that includes a demonstration.
A while back I covered this topic in a Sunday School class and thought it would be good to share. This is based off of the outline I handed out to everyone in Sunday School class. I left the underlined words for emphasis (these were blanks in the original handout).
One of the most common questions I get deals with depression, so hopefully this can help someone!
Depression is very real, and anyone can experience it to different degrees. It is not always justified and could possibly even be a sin against God… but we must be careful not to judge unrighteously. Those of us who don’t understand it may be tempted to react according to how we feel about the situation and fail to consider the person who is depressed.
Here are a few basic thoughts to consider if you are dealing with someone you think is depressed:
Here are a few basic thoughts to consider when you are the one who is depressed:
But my thoughts aren’t nearly as important as “What does the Bible say?” So here are a few examples of depression in the Bible:
1. Depression caused by grief (or “Sorrow of heart”)
Example: David (2 Samuel 12:15-24)
In this case, David had brought the situation on himself as a result of his sins... and he knew it. Still, the situation he was going through caused him much grief that he couldn't bear. His son was very sick and was about to die. Often, when someone is going through depression they will show the same signs David did, which are these:
How did others respond? Well, those who loved him and cared about him tried to feed him. They tried to talk with him. They tried to get him out of bed... Ultimately, he refused these things, and nobody knew how to help him.
How did God deal with him? It certainly was no surprise to God that David was grieving. After all, God was the one who brought these circumstances, and He had a reason for them. So, He continued on with the lesson He was teaching David because it was best for everyone. Though it may be difficult, we need to trust that God knows what is best for everyone, and He will get us through difficult times if we will trust Him.
Example: Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-4)
Nehemiah is another character who showed signs of depression. In this story, Nehemiah is depressed about something righteous--God's city is destroyed and without walls and it is vexing Nehemiah's soul. The main sign in this example was that he had a sad countenance in front of the king who knew this was abnormal behavior.
We can learn something here from the actions of the king who cared about Nehemiah. He simply asked him what was wrong.
Then, since it was in his power to do so, he gave Nehemiah what he wanted and allowed him to help rebuild the walls. Obviously, we can't always give people what they want (nor should we), but sometimes it is the right thing to do.
In this case, God miraculously provided for Nehemiah. He blessed him in the end! He protected him even though he would go on to endure very trying times as a result of this endeavor to build the wall for the Lord and His people.
2. Depression caused by exhaustion
Example: Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-8)
Here is another example where a godly man was doing all he could for the Lord and just got to a point where he couldn't go any further. He had seen that God was with him and was blessing Him, but that was slowly hidden in the background of the new trouble he had gained. He was now on the run from those who sought to kill him, and physically he couldn’t go on. It was so bad that he actually asked God to take his life, and then he went to sleep…
Elijah was all alone, apparently, and though there was no one around to help comfort and encourage him, God stepped in to comfort him. God allowed Elijah to sleep awhile, then He sent an angel to feed him, and then God allowed him to sleep some more!
Honestly, that is sometimes all a person needs when they are depressed. Let them get some good food and some good rest, and then they can get back out there and do the work some more! He seems to have awakened with a renewed strength to push on, and God led him to his next challenge (This type of depression should pass fairly quickly for a man or woman of God!)
3. Depression caused by anger at God
Example: Jonah (Jonah 4)
In this example, Jonah doesn't like the way God worked in his life and he literally acts like a spoiled brat! He huffs and puffs and shows his disapproval. He is upset that God would show mercy on a people that he hated... and so he went into a bout of selfish depression.
It appears that no one else was around to see this behavior, but God certainly did! God Rebuked him (rather mercifully, really) and asked him a question that any person going through this type of depression needs to be asked...
"Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?" Jonah 4:4
There is no evidence that Jonah ever came out of this depression. Perhaps he did (I hope so), but by experience I can say that few seldom do! There is little you can do to help a person like this, so you are best off to leave them alone and focus your attention on better things.
In the last lesson we talked a little about how various aspects of the Charismatic Movement have crept into evangelical (even Baptist) churches. We talked about the focus on emotionalism and experience; there exists among churches today an unhealthy desire to be controlled by the supernatural. Also, we talked about how there is a fear of losing salvation that can be associated with the Charismatic movement. Finally, we talked abou how there is a motivation toward physical and financial self-improvement).
Before we start talking about the individual aspects of the Charismatic Movement, I want to start by explaining some of the things that led up to this movement becoming so popular. To begin with, let's simply consider the history of human nature. All of the desires mentioned above naturally appeal to our human flesh and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Therefore we can expect to find some of these thoughts all throughout history to some degree. Really, we even see it in Paul’s day. There were men who were seeking the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-24)
But in more recent history, the Charismatic movement began with the “Holiness Movement.”
“Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20th century among radical adherents of the Holiness movement who were energized by revivalism and expectation for the imminent Second Coming of Christ. Believing that they were living in the end times, they expected God to spiritually renew the Christian Church thereby bringing to pass the restoration of spiritual gifts and the evangelization of the world.”
The main doctrinal beliefs of the Holiness movement largely came from the influence of Methodism (John Westly), and also (to a lesser degree) the Anabaptists. But this idea of "revivalism" inspired some to desire to be back in the “Apostolic Age.” People wanted to be able to practice the supernatural things they read about the apostles doing.
But we will skip forward through history to 1900. During this time, the teachings of Charles F. Parham (although not very popular) began to slowly spread (he was based in Topeka, KS). Parham’s beliefs included speaking in tongues as a sign of “Spirit baptism.” Soon, several young, African Americans were influence by Parham’s teachings, including a man named William J. Seymour
Considering the fact that America had seen a century or so of “snake_ oil _salesmen,” it makes sense that this would carried over into the spiritual realm as well. It is worth noting that during this time many cults were springing up. And people were looking for something "new."
Well, eventually Parham was arrested for the accusation that he was practicing homosexuality, but later the charges were dropped without enough evidence to prove it. These allegations caused a lot of persecution among Parham’s followers, and eventually William Seymour rose as a leader among the group.
Seymour eventually led in a 3-year long revival on Azusa Street in Los Angeles that became known as “the Azusa Street Revival”
This revival began in a small house in a very poor town.
“Seymour and his small group of new followers soon relocated to the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry at 216 North Bonnie Brae Street. White families from local holiness churches began to attend as well. The group would get together regularly and pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On April 9, 1906, after five weeks of Seymour's preaching and prayer, and three days into an intended 10-day fast, Edward S. Lee spoke in tongues for the first time. At the next meeting, Seymour shared Lee's testimony and preached a sermon on Acts 2:4 and soon six others began to speak in tongues as well, including Jennie Moore, who would later become Seymour's wife. A few days later, on April 12, Seymour spoke in tongues for the first time after praying all night long.
News of the events at North Bonnie Brae St. quickly circulated among the African American, Latino and White residents of the city, and for several nights, various speakers would preach to the crowds of curious and interested onlookers from the front porch of the Asberry home. Members of the audience included people from a broad spectrum of income levels and religious backgrounds. Hutchins eventually spoke in tongues as her whole congregation began to attend the meetings. Soon the crowds became very large and were full of people speaking in tongues, shouting, singing and moaning. Finally, the front porch collapsed, forcing the group to begin looking for a new meeting place. A resident of the neighborhood described the happenings at 216 North Bonnie Brae with the following words:
They shouted three days and three nights. It was Easter season. The people came from everywhere. By the next morning there was no way of getting near the house. As people came in they would fall under God's power; and the whole city was stirred. They shouted until the foundation of the house gave way, but no one was hurt.”
This meeting was then moved to Azusa Street where the meeting continued. Today, different groups will point to this revival as the start of their movement (typically called Pentecostalism), but, as we saw in the last lesson, the Charismatic movement spread to many groups that would not necessarily call themselves Pentecostal in doctrine. This was the start of what is called the "first wave" of the Charismatic movement.
In the next lesson we will talk about all "three waves" of the Charismatic movement.
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