To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Devaluing The Office.

One of my concerns concerning the presidency of Donald Trump is that of devaluing the office of President of the United States of America. His continual stream of tweets seems emblematic of general conduct which is not fitting of someone who holds such an august position. It seems as though he concluded he got himself into office through his tweets so he will go on in office in the same manner. Yet I am left feeling that dealing with the matters of state deserves more decorum than is inculcated by the tweet culture.

Moreover, the way he refers to people at times just does not seem to have the appropriate courtesy. You can disagree with people vehemently, but that does not mean that you use terms of disdain. Here is one former adviser written-off in a derisory fashion.

It seems that he is just treating the office of President like he would that of a CEO in his organisation. Recruit and hire those who will build the organisation, and if they no longer work for the benefit of the organisation then fire them and besmirch their reputation. It just seems so tacky.

And how can you reasonably conduct the issues of possible nuclear conflict by just referring to the leader of the other nation, namely Kin Jung Un, as “rocket man” and proudly declare that “my nuclear button is bigger than yours?”

This all reminds me of how we are called to be careful of upholding the honour of any office we hold. If you are an elder of a church, for example, your conduct should be becoming of that office. Otherwise it is demeaning of the calling.

Singleness.

All of us either are or have been single. Although, God calls many to be married; He also calls many to be single. To be single is not a second class state. Churches therefore should value everyone in their particular calling. Never, should we pityingly give the impression to single people that one day they will find Mr Right or Miss Right and then everything will be fine. Let us look then at this calling to singleness.

The LORD Jesus

Let us remind ourselves that the only perfect life lived on earth was by a single man. Our Saviour was sinless in all His ways and lived as such without ever being married. Immediately then we realise that singleness is not a second class state to be in.

Also the LORD had close relationships with both men and women. We remember the family in Bethany who welcomed Him to their home; Martha, Mary and Lazarus. His twelve disciples shared in His ministry and developed a closeness to Him. The world around us leads us to think that any close relationship must have a sexual element to it. This thinking is wrong and single people should be encouraged to cultivate close and wholesome relationships. The relationship of David to Jonathan is an example of this.

Purity

The life of our LORD Jesus reminds us that it is most wonderfully possible to live a life of purity in the sight of our God. The calling to singleness is also a calling to sexual purity. Paul could say that to Timothy keep yourself pure (1 Tim. 5:22b) and that should be the desire of all that all single. The Lord in His Word prohibits sex outside of marriage and we fall into sin if we fail in this area. Single people who are “courting” before marriage should be particularly be aware of this. Sex is for marriage and nowhere else.

Freedom

Many think that if only they were within the security of a marriage relationship then they would be really free. However, Paul says effectively that the reverse is true in 1 Cor. 7:32b-34 An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband.  Here Paul is showing that the unmarried person is advantaged over a married person in that they are free to devote themselves to their LORD. A married person has legitimate obligations to fulfil which mean that their freedom in rendering service to their God is to a degree hindered.

Of course herein there is a challenge to the unmarried to make sure that they use their extra freedom profitably. So easily we fritter away the time we have available to serve our LORD.

Relationship

One of the great things that an unmarried person can miss is that of having a close relationships to another individual. However, one of the great things about being a Christian is that we have a relationship with our Eternal Father God in heaven. Satan would want to persuade the single person that they are lonely and missing out in living a fulfilled life. We should fight against these lies. The Lord is our faithful companion who has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Paul knew something of this wonderful enduring relationship and could say towards the end of his life when facing trial that At my first defence, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength (2 Tim. 4:16-17a). People will let us down; even the very best of them. However, the LORD will never let us down. How amazing it is that we have such a great God.

(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of December 2004).

Funeral Statement

Below is a somewhat unique document. Jerry Haglund who passed away to be with the Lord on August 13th 2007 wrote this so that it could be read at his funeral.  I have set it down exactly as Jerry wrote it.

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Some funerals are less sad than others! You may think that this is a strange statement to make, so let me explain what I mean.

Christians believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (as God incarnate) when He said,”Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Again “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life.”John 3:15 and “For God so loved the world , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

I believe that in June 1952, when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, I received the gift of eternal life. Further, I believe that at the moment that I died I went into the presence of God. Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when he was writing to the Christians in Philippi said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Therefore my funeral is less sad for those present here today who are Christians, for they know that I am in the presence of the Lord . Many who conduct funeral services will, I believe, have a lot of explaining to do to God for deceiving people. To sum up their messages to their congregation is ‘rest assured that your loved one is now at peace and in the presence of the Lord.’ even though they may not have committed their lives to God, or prayed, or read the bible, or worshiped God , that somehow it will all be forgotten of God.

It is a fact of human nature that we are to accept the pleasant facts of life, but ignore the unpleasant ones. To sum up, there is a hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained ; and heaven is not gained by good works, but by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour, believing that when he died on the cross it was able to pay the penalty for our sin. I do hope that all present here today, by faith, with assurance that they know their eternal destiny will be in heaven in the presence of God.

Bodily Contact.

Before marriage May Lin and myself covenanted that we would not allow certain parts of our bodies to be in contact. It is an absolute non-negotiable of Scripture that any sexual engagement is prohibited outside of marriage. However, wisdom would inform us that it is best to make sure that we do not provoke any unnecessary sexual stimulation.

So May Lin and myself determined that even in a fully clothed state certain erogenous parts of our bodies would not come into contact. This is something we have never regretted doing. There is something wrong if a couple “go-as-far” as they can without transgressing sexually before marriage.

The course that May Lin and myself chose, I believe:

  1. Meant that our relationship was built on a solid spiritual and companionship foundation before we engaged in the “icing” of the physical relationship.
  2. We had a built-in safety net which stopped us stirring up sexual energies that can soon lead to sin.
  3. Our sexual relationship has been the more special within marriage.

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for January 2018 with an article on worship.

Bad News.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord (Ps 112:7). Now that is a big scripture! Why is it so big? It is so big because it taps into the very heart of our lives. Although, we are not always aware of it, or conscious of it, there is a residual fear in our lives of bad news. We wonder what will happen if an illness is diagnosed, the authorities come against us, a child suffers misfortune, a loved one passes away. There are a multitude of bad news outcomes that can come into our lives and cause us distress, alarm, concern and despair. 

But the Psalmist speaks here of those who have no fear of bad news. They have set themselves upon God to such a degree, they are strong in faith trusting in the Lord, that no bad news is going to rattle them. At the heart of all this is an awareness of who the Lord is. There is an awareness that He is good and that he is sovereign. The trusting one knows this God as a caring Father who is always working everything for the good of his children.

Not not only is He good, but He also has all power so that He controls all. Accordingly the true believer knows that nothing will be outside of His determining hand.

Moreover there is an awareness of the great truth of 1 Corinthians 10:13 that No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. However bad the news, there is always a way through for those who are of faith and trusting in the Lord.

Oh this is all so major.

When someone is “put out of fellowship” is that just a matter That relates to the church responsible for disciplining or does it involve other churches? I would strongly contend that it involves all other churches. To substantiate that assertion I would make the following points:-

  • Unity.

As churches we stand together. We are all churches of one Master. When Paul wrote to the church at Colosse he said After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea (Col. 4:16). The implication here is that there is one truth for all churches. Accordingly when offence has been caused against one church there is a sense it is against all the Lord’s people; against all true churches. There is unity.

  • Grace.

The whole purpose of a person being disfellowshipped is that they will come to repentance. When Paul says in 1 Cor 5:5a to hand this man over to Satan he is saying that the man who has engaged in gross sin should be placed in Satan’s place, the world. In such a place they feel the lack of fellowship with God and His people. Such a miserable experience should lead to repentance and restoration. If they can just go to another church then this gracious design of the Lord is enfeebled. The mechanism for bringing restoration is stopped.

  • Fellowship.

Churches share together in the grace of God. Whatever our denominational label if a church is a true Bible church seeking to declare the gospel and honour Jesus as Lord then we are in fellowship with them. This means we share in the Lord’s goodness and grace grace together. Accordingly, if a sinning, unrepentant, excommunicated person is accepted by another church then that is a “slap-in-the-face” for the first church. It is indicating that we disagree with you.

  • Wisdom.

If someone is just allowed to drift off to another church and become part of that church without any communication between the churches then trouble is being stored up for the future. This is because at some point it is likely that word will come to either or both churches of what has happened and there will be some messy unravelling that has to take place. It is best that right from the beginning, as much as is possible, there is communication between the churches.

 

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