June 29, 2022

 

A Word from Walker

 
It is not uncommon for me to approach writing my monthly newsletter with a bit of trepidation. Whether it is driven by my desire to say something that is truly helpful, or it is triggered by wondering how I could address a current issue from a biblically faithful perspective, I have always recognized both the opportunity and obligation writing this article affords. This particular article feels like it is weighted by all of the aforementioned motivations and even some more unspoken ones. So, here goes my latest effort.
  
Last week the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade decision made almost fifty years ago which made abortion legal in all states. For orthodox Christians, this decision last week by SCOTUS represented the result of a lot of prayer, peaceful protests, increased involvement in the political process and compassionate care of those who were dealing with unwanted pregnancies. While it pushed this decision back to the States to legislatively determine what to do next, it once again brought to the forefront how deeply divided our country is today over what some have coined “culture wars.” I have lived for sixty-one years and don’t recall a time when things were this conflicted, including the tumultuous days of the late 1960’s. How should we respond in such days of vitriolic rhetoric and threats of further civil unrest?
 
I do not think a faithful Christ-follower should operate from a spirit of triumphalism or fear. On the one hand we shouldn’t gloat, brag or treat those who disagree with us with disrespect. There should be a diffused type of humility about us that reflects how the perfect Son of God operated in the midst of sinful people (Phil. 2:1-11). On the other hand, we shouldn’t back away from our convictions concerning what we believe to be true about the inherent value of all life, especially the unborn. As we seek to strike this balance, it is important to remember that people support on demand abortion all the way through the third trimester for various reasons. This viewpoint can range from a simple view of women’s reproductive rights all the way to a hedonistic approach to life where there should be no challenging consequences or inherent responsibilities attached to sexual encounters. Because of this, we should be ready to give a defense for the beliefs we live by, especially when dialoging with people about this issue (1 Pet. 3:15).
 
As I have mentioned in previous articles, Christians are to be salt and light in a beautiful and yet broken world (Matt. 5:13-16). This means that this is not just about the words you speak but also the very way you live that illustrates the blessing of being a follower of Christ. There are both comforting and challenging applications of what this looks like on a day-by-day basis. We want to help the hurting and confront falsehood. This balance enables us to be kind and courageous. Without this Spirit-empowered approach we will either find ourselves being harsh apologists or fickle witnesses. Neither extreme accurately reflects the power of the Gospel to bring forgiveness and transformation.
 
I am in prayer for all of us as we move forward during these days of great conflict and even more powerful opportunities to not lose hope. God is at work in the midst of all of this. May we discover what he is doing and join him in the ever-expanding work of redemption upon the earth.
 
In Christ,
Walker
  

June 1, 2022

 

Craig's Comments 

    
Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. Acts 13:1-3
 
Reading this passage, we may experience a type of culture shock as the church at Antioch realizes how blessed they are with leadership and instead of focusing on growth and momentum inside of the church (not a building, as the first building did not appear for 300 years), they said we need to send these men and start new works! That passion for sending is what we are praying toward at the PMBA! It defies all modern logic as we aspire to bigger and better churches, but the challenge to send did not come from a denominational entity or any other group, rather it was the Holy Spirit!
 
This should definitely cause us to pause. Pastors like J.D. Greear have testified many times that they could never out give God. Every time that they sent out planters, missionaries, etc. God always brought more people to fill their shoes. Such faith eludes so many these days as we aspire to elusive goals of organizational strength and stability. Amazingly, a PMBA church plant currently has three planters that they are not only seeking to send out, but also to help to fund and support with members from the congregation. That is what happened in Antioch! Sending out the gifted to make a Kingdom difference where we live, work, and play.
 
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For most of you reading this, you are nowhere near being ready to plant a church. You may be wondering what it means to even share your faith or make disciples. It has been said that every journey begins with a step! As we seek to advance the Kingdom through the network of the PMBA, we are mindful of the need for everyone to have a definite beginning of their faith as well as a trajectory toward growth. So many churches are engaging in such on a regular basis to encourage those in their congregations to serve and grow in their faith.
 
Recently Glenn View Baptist Church and Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Union Cross joined forces to assemble over 10,000 meals in partnership with an organization called Feed the Hunger Inc. https://www.feedthehunger.org/
 
While discipleship is not complete in the act of serving, it is definitely a step in the right direction when we envision the essence of being Christ followers! Sharing the Good News through acts of service is one effective tool that God has given us to communicate His great love.
 
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Having shared these exciting advances in the Kingdom through the faithfulness of PMBA churches, this brings us to this Summer. We are shifting the emphasis from a Missions Blast Month to Summer Serve. How might God lead your church to engage the community this Summer? Many churches already have exciting plans involving Vacation Bible School and other outreaches. Collide Church is ramping up for a city-wide outreach that they call Impact Yadkin. You may still be recovering from the recent pandemic and feel unsure about how God is leading your church. We would love to join you in praying and assessing the needs that exist in your circle of influence. If we can be of assistance in any form or fashion, please be in touch with us today!
 
Craig