Below is our archive of public news and announcements.
Creation vs. Evolution by Steve Patton
A Chinese paleontologist lectures around the world saying that recent fossil finds in his country are inconsistent with the Darwinian theory of evolution. His reason: The major animal groups appear abruptly in the rocks over a relatively short time, rather than evolving gradually from a common ancestor as Darwin’s theory predicts. When this conclusion upsets American scientists, he wryly comments: “In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”
There is nothing more sacred to our secular educational system today than belief in Darwinian evolution. It must be accepted without question or the scientific/educational community will figuratively toss you out on your head. This is because the philosophy of science no longer begins with a commitment to seeking out the truths of nature with an open-minded yet skeptical approach to experimentation. Rather it begins with a required acceptance of Scientific Naturalism – a philosophy that believes that Nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. That leaves no room for a belief in an intelligent designer, a Creator God. He is excluded, not by evidence but by philosophical presupposition. The result is you must reject any evidence that may suggest an Intelligent Designer and accept only evidence that promotes Scientific Naturalism.
My study of this topic over the years has only strengthened my belief in the Genesis account of the origin of all things. The scientific evidence supporting it is strong. I have full confidence that no greater truth was ever stated than, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
"Let This One Pass" by Steve Patton
He had been walking all morning and was tired. The day was hot and the journey was not over. He was near a town full of people who didn’t like his kind. So he sat down by a well and sent his friends into town to get some food. A Samaritan woman came to the well to get water, someone his people despised and with which they refused to associate. This was certainly a time to just ignore the woman and quietly wait for his friends to return with some food. But Jesus didn’t do that. Though everything about the situation said, “Let this one pass,” He did not do it. Here was a soul to teach.
The result was a town full of people came out to hear the words of Jesus and many people were led to the Lord. Who woulda thought!
This account from John’s gospel (4:1-42) illustrates how open doors are often where we least expect them. The secret is being open and aware to the souls around you. We fill our mind with our jobs, our daily chores, our recreation and entertainment, our emails, games, family and friends. Nothing wrong with that. Except all those things bring us into contact with souls – lost souls – and we must see them that way. I know every conversation we have can’t include an offer of spiritual teaching. However, if we are sensitive and thoughtful about others' lives throughout the day we will begin to see how many open doors God places before us. There are Christians in this congregation today who are here because someone saw them as a friend, neighbor or associate in need of the Lord. And they talked to them.
How many open doors will be placed in front of you this week? Pray for opportunities and then keep yourself aware each day of doors God opens. God will lead you to a soul.
From the desk of Steve Patton
"But the Day of the Lord Will Come…” - 2 Peter 3.10
As Peter closes his last epistle, he builds toward a climax. The end is clear. It will be certain destruction! But not only will humankind be destroyed, so will the heavens and earth. The day of God’s judgment is coming. It is coming “like a thief” Peter says. “The heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” Scripture warns “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). What fear that should strike in the hearts of the ungodly! If you are unprepared to meet God, take these warnings to heart - now!
But, in the same context, Peter also writes comfort to the Lord’s people. He says we should be “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (3:12) and “according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (3:13). The Day of the Lord brings joy to the believer. Hope is realized! Faith is replaced by sight! The end brings rejoicing and happiness beyond measure. The journey will be ended. Eternal rest is ours.
After two years of one of the most arduous and amazing journeys in American history - the Lewis and Clark expedition across the uncharted territory of the Northwest - William Clark wrote in his journal: “Ocean in view. Oh the Joy!” I cannot imagine what that moment was like for those men.They had suffered immeasurably and one comrade had died. I know it was a moment they would never forget.
Can you look forward with hope to your earthly journey’s end? Do you live in fear or in faith? Will you be able to say, "Oh the joy!" The Lord invites you to be His forever - if you undertake the journey and endure to the end. If so, we all should be able to say with the apostle Paul, “Oh Lord, come!”
Somebody Had To Do It! by Steve Patton
“Malchijah the son of Rechab, ... repaired the Dung Gate.” - Nehemiah 3:14
Taylor has been teaching an excellent class on Ezra/Nehemiah that has helped me reflect on some new things. In the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, different families had responsibility for a wall section, a gate, or a tower. Some rebuilt the Fountain Gate. Others the Valley Gate. Others repaired David's sepulchre walls. Shelah rebuilt the walls by the King’s Garden. What an honor! But Malchijah was assigned…the Dung Gate.
The Dung Gate is assumed to be at the southern end of the wall overlooking the Valley of Hinnom. All the city’s garbage and refuse was dumped there. I rather doubt Malchijah’s great-grandchildren would later brag about what part of the wall their ancestor rebuilt. I wonder if Shelah’s kids made fun of Malchijah’s kids about their father’s Dung Gate assignment.
But someone had to do it. The King’s Garden walls were important but they were worthless if ALL the wall was not rebuilt. The Dung Gate had to be repaired. Everyone likes the prestigious jobs. Few care about the seemingly lowly tasks because they can be unpleasant. Sometimes we think, “Anybody can do that. I have skills for more important jobs." After all, what glory or satisfaction is there in repairing "dung gates?"
When Jesus got up from His hands and knees after washing his disciples dirty, smelly feet, He reminded them: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13.14,15)
Jesus emphasized the greatest in his kingdom would be the lowliest - the ones willing to repair the dung gates. Maybe there is little honor among men in such tasks. But there is great honor in God’s eyes for such willing and humble service.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28)
True servants are ready to do anything. There are no unimportant tasks in the kingdom. Be ready to serve humbly. God will honor those who honor Him by such humble work.
2017 Bible Reading Plan
Commit to spending some time each week in 2017 paying attention to the message of the prophets! Download the Bible reading schedule here. This week's reading is Lamentations 1-5.
From the desk of Joshua Creel
It's Not A Sin If You Don't Act?
Being tempted isn't a sin. I've said that many times to many people. I've said it to people who were struggling with sin, seeking to encourage them that not acting on the temptation is itself a victory. And this is true... in part. After all, we know our Savior was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4.15). Being tempted isn't a sin.
However, we might have mistakenly lumped temptation in with desire. Temptation arises from an external stimulus and seeks to arouse our desire. And when our desire is sufficiently enticed, we sin (James 1.14-15). So, it's not just the actions that are wrong, but the condition of our heart which make those actions possible. This was Jesus' point in the sermon on the mount when He emphasized that true righteousness warns against more than the actions of murder and adultery, but must govern the hatred and lust within (Matthew 5.21-28). It is why He said our sinful actions proceed from the heart (Matthew 15.19).
We cannot prevent temptation from coming our way; the world is filled with them. But our aim is to condition our hearts so that not only do we refrain from acting on temptation, our hearts don't even desire to act! Then we will truly be "pure in heart" and have the hope of seeing God (Matthew 5.8).