God save the children! #defundPP
A few of us from Ashland participated in the national protest against Planned Parenthood by standing & praying outside the Mansfield Planned Parenthood facility. A good number of people came out from a variety of churches too. It was a great statement.
God save the children! #defundPP
Dave Sheldon, who attends Providence Church, and his daughter Keri have just published the book they have been working on together for the last several months. The book is entitled "Resolute: An Unwavering Stance on the Truth of God's Word."
Here is a summation of the book as taken from their website:
The standard for Christianity is pure and sound biblical doctrine. If that standard is compromised, muddled thinking and false teaching become the new norm. Is it possible that even current mainstream evangelicalism has submitted to such negotiated ways? To find out, this book addresses three popular topics including hearing God's voice, experiencing God, and telling "your" story.
This past week a YouTube video of twin boys native to Ashland went viral. The video shows them calling their father to tell him that they have become homosexuals. Because the video is being celebrated and given radical attention world-wide, we wish to direct your attention to the following audio which was presented in February of 2013 by our elder, Jim Deweese.
The message is entitled, "Same Sex Marriage: Does it Matter?" While it focuses mainly on the contemporary challenge to the traditional family and the covenant institution of marriage, it does serve well to expresses that homosexuality is a grievous sin against God.
We hope that the Biblical rule for sexuality (i.e. man's having been designed to express his God given sexual yearnings in the bond of marriage with a woman), will be heeded by all in Ashland and that true repentance will be granted to these boys.
We enjoyed seeing God's promises affirmed this past week as six young people were baptized. What a joy it is to remember that our God washes away our sin and brings us into fellowship with His people! (Click a picture to see a larger view.)
Covenant is one of the primary themes in Scripture. It is also one of the doctrines that sets Providence Church apart from virtually every other church in our area.
Because the idea of covenant is so central to who we are and the book to which we hold, we want every family in our church to understand it.
To that end we have purchased numerous copies of B.N. Howard's, "The Book of the Covenant," and are giving them out to families and 'friends' of Providence Church. You can pick up your free copy at the church's resource table.
This fall we will also have a corresponding study on Sunday mornings to discuss the book together. Dates for discussion are as follows: Aug. 31, Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Nov. 30, Dec. 21.
We've had a number of new members added to our number this year at Providence church. The pic shows the two of the four children that have been born into our covenant families in 2014.
We praise the Lord that He has blessed us so, and we praise God that our families have a high regard for the Scripture's command to be "fruitful and multiply."
All this is to say that Providence Church, unlike many other churches today, won't be dying out anytime soon.
But there is another reason why this picture noteworthy. It displays something of our church's unity. These families came forward on Sunday for a child dedication. They took vows to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and Matt (who is at the pulpit) closed this part of the service by praying for them.
What's the big deal? It is this: Matt is believes Scripture teaches paedo-baptism. In other words, Matt is supporting these families despite their difference of opinion on the matter of when baptism should be applied--just like the other elders (and credo-baptist congregants) support his family (and other paedo's in the congregation) in so far as they can when it comes to the baptism of an infant or covenant child.
In other words, there is a difference of opinion on this matter, and we have to deal with it. At Providence we seek to love and accept each other in the Lord despite our quibble over water's application.
Baptism, while an important issue, isn't a fundamental issue. For at least 500 years the church has been divided upon it and good Christian men have disagreed. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a strident division. We at Providence have sought to demonstrate that the sign of our unity (the sacrament of baptism, which signifies our union with Christ and each other) does not have to be an issue that actually breaks our unity.
These two dynamics of our church home here in Ashland are just some of what makes Providence such a great place to worship.
This Sunday we will have guest preacher, Mark Robinette, and his friend from Myanmar, Nang Taing.
Providence has begun to support Pastor Robinette's work in Myanmar. We encourage you to visit the Mission to Myanmar website and like their page on facebook to follow their work.
Pastor Robinette is seeking to aid the growing church in Myanmar by providing resources and pastoral training to the native ministers.
If you've just moved to the Ashland, Mansfield, or Wooster areas, you've got to find a church. But what criteria do you use for making such a decision ?
In our first post in this series we said that a godly church needs to be Scripture based church. By that we meant one that actually reads the Bible during its services.
Today we want to stress how important it is to find a church where the Gospel is preached.
The pulpit ministry of a church should simply be an extension of the church's Scriptural commitment. But you have to recognize that not all churches that "preach the Bible" preach the gospel.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, has expressed that much of what passes as "biblical preaching" in our contemporary society is nothing more than moralistic, therapeutic deism. That is to say, the minister will read a Bible passage(s) and then give you tips on how to live a better life. Coupled with vague references to a benevolent deity who would never send you to hell (so long as you are doing your best), this preaching amounts to nothing other than a mish-mash of self-help mumbo jumbo.
Such messages have nothing to do with the gospel.
True preaching of the gospel will no doubt explain the full extent of God's law. It will certainly point you to what God requires of your life. But it will also point you to Christ, the who has become the Savior of those who have failed to live up to that standard.
Let me give you a couple of illustrations. I grew up in a "liberal" church. This church had an excellent liturgy. They read large passages of Scripture, recited the creeds, and sang the old hymns of the faith. However, the preaching was a major fail. I actually sought to keep track of how many times the minister made reference to God or Christ. There were many weeks where I didn't hear a single mention of either.
I attended another church later in life for about 6 months. It was what you might call an "evangelical church." The people were strong believers and they sincerely loved the Lord. However, the pastor, though he too was a dear brother in the Lord, rarely talked about the gospel and pressed its significance upon the congregation.
Another illustration may be witnessed in the experience of one couple who attended a church I used to pastor. They had recently moved to the area and had visited many churches. Despite their best efforts, they failed to find any who even recognized our need for the gospel. In her own words, she said, "Nobody ever has mentioned anything about sin!"
Each of these is an example of a deep deficiency in a church's preaching ministry.
The ultimate point of a sermon should be to "bring Christ to the fore." That is to say, a minister should highlight what God has done (or is doing) through Christ to save sinners.
Of course, one shouldn't write off a church because he didn't hear the gospel once or twice in any given month. You'll want to look at the overall trajectory and consider whether or not the overall scope of the ministry is one that is gospel centered.
For instance, ask yourself questions like these: "Am I learning about Jesus here? Do I hear the gospel a good majority of the time? Is this a place where I could bring my unsaved friends and be assured that they would be confronted with the saving work of God?"
Another way to look at it is like this: When you leave church on a given Sunday, do you think, "Boy, I can do it!" (moralism). Or do you find yourself saying, "Wow! He did that for me?" (gospel).
If you feel greatly humbled and overcome with awe because you've met Christ at the cross, you know that this particular church loves the gospel and is committed to Christ.
We at Providence church want to help you grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. But we don't think we are the only church in the Ashland, Mansfield, or Wooster areas.
As a matter of fact, if you are hindered from connecting with Providence, we'll help you find a godly church where your soul with profit spiritually.
We know that Christ honoring churches are few and far between in the Mid Ohio area, and it can be tough finding a local body of believers with which to fellowship.
To that end, we are putting together a series of posts on "Choosing the Right Church." Over the next couple of posts, we will be highlighting a few of the top priorities that you should keep in mind when choosing a church.
We want to kick it off by reminding you that a godly church will be one that honors God's word. Of course, no false church is going to come out and say, "Hey, we don't really give a whoot about God's word here." So its important to understand what makes for a church that really respects God's word.
A church that takes the Bible seriously will be a church that is dedicated to reading it during their services. And we are not talking about a fleeting verse or two here or there. A service should have at least one hearty Scripture reading.
If a church really believes that "All Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, and training in righteousness," and is convicted that God's word "does not return void," then it logically follows that they will integrate significant portions of it into their services.
Think of it this way: If you go to a restaurant, you should expect to get some food. If you go to church, you should expect to hear from God.
God speaks to us through His word, the Bible, and any church that isn't opening the Bible and reading a good deal of it each Sunday cannot be said to be listening to God.
The latest Providence Church newsletter has just come out. This issue takes a brief look at the doctrine of vocation.
Christianity is unique among religions because it exalts work and gives it dignity. Reformed Theology has historically been distinctive too, because it puts an emphasis on bringing all of life under the lordship of Christ.
Why is this issue entitled, "Get Out & Spread the Manure"? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out!
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