Posts tagged ‘Sunday’
When I agreed to write about sexual immorality in thebody of Christ, I thought pulling the information together would be an easy task. As a pastor, counselor, speaker and public health educator, I often address this topic. But as I began to wrestle with the many perspectives from which I could approach the issue, I almost lost myself in a crippling hodgepodge of psychology, sociology and theology.
Finally, I decided that the best approach was the biblical approach. After all, God‘s perspective, clearly revealed in His Word, is the only perspective that really matters.
1. God created our sexuality, and it is beautiful (see Gen. 1:26-28; 2:24-25).
2. Sex within the marriage covenant is holy and pure (see Heb. 13:4).
3. Sex outside the marriage covenant is sin (see 1 Cor. 6:9).
4. Sexual relations with the same sex is an abomination (see Lev. 18:22).
Many nonbelievers would probably reject these statements as trivial, outdated, homophobic, narrow-minded, judgmental, accusatory and discriminatory. Unfortunately, judging from their lifestyles, many Christians do too.
I’m not writing to nonbelievers. I’m writing as a Christian to Christians from a Christian perspective.
I wish sexual immorality were a problem outside the church only. But it’s not. It’s a big problem inside the church, also, among Christians and Christian leaders.
Often when I’ve taught about sexuality in church meetings, I’ve been shocked by the concerns that were expressed to me privately. Take my word for it: Every form of sexual addiction, perversion and practice is alive and well among believers, and it stretches from the pulpit to the vestibule of the church and everywhere in between.
The issues, problems and consequences of carnality and sexual immorality are recorded in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God has given us clear guidelines in His Word. So why are so many believers today involved in sexual sin?
Let me put it bluntly: The reason is that too many of us are refusing to yield totally to the Holy Spirit. We declare with our mouths that we love Jesus; we say we will follow Him wherever He leads us.
But our actions indicate otherwise. Our actions say, “I love you, Jesus, almost as much as I love myself; and I will follow you all the way until I get to the fork in the road where I make the choice to satisfy my own carnal desires. I will believe your Word up to the point at which it disagrees with the secular perspective that explains my behavior. Any variance from that perspective means Your Word is outdated and is not for today.”
How did we get to this place? How did the body of Christ reach the state in which sexual sins are not only overlooked by many Christian leaders but are being openly committed by the keepers of the flame? Blatant immorality, drunkenness, womanizing and perversion are running rampant and unchecked in too many assemblies!
Strong words, you say? Yes, these are very strong words. But strong words are what are needed to rout the “strongman” of immorality. The sins of fornication, adultery, homosexuality and perversion have become deeply rooted in the church and are tolerated by too many of us.
Part of the problem is that we’ve believed the lie that church leaders are “faultless.” That lie has caused many of us to close our eyes to the sexual sins in which some leaders have engaged while serving as our spiritual shepherds. Those “private Bible studies” and late night “counseling sessions” with single folks, unhappy spouses and “sick” members have gone unchallenged and unrebuked by a godly membership.
Now mistresses have the audacity to sit on the front row in the church. Homosexual lovers don’t hesitate to share the platform during praise and worship. Unmarried couples who sleep together Saturday night have no qualms about sitting in church together Sunday morning.
I am aware that I sound angry. I am angry! I’m tired of seeing strong young men and women in the church devastated by the ravages of AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and dysfunctional lifestyles as a result of sexual immorality. It hurts to see the hopes and promises of beautiful teen-agers and young women dashed when they discover that they’re pregnant and the father has disappeared or has announced to the world that the child is not his baby because the pregnant female “sleeps around.”
Who will comfort the young child who has been fondled by a priest, a pastor or a trustee of the church in the church? Who will help rebuild the shattered emotions of the pastor’s wife after she has discovered her husband’s infidelity with the church secretary or the Sunday school teacher, or worse yet, one of the young men in the choir? Who will sound the clarion call to sanctification and holiness in this age of promiscuity and rank immorality?
Needless to say, we need a revival. The principles of sanctification and holiness need to be revived at the altar. We must stop petting folks who want to stay in their sins. We must herald the truth of God’s Word. We must face sexuality immorality squarely in the face and declare holy war on our carnal nature.
God has given us plain and simple instructions throughout the Bible such as those found in Galatians 5:16: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (NKJV). We need to study the Bible and let the Word of God speak to us. We must be willing to hear and to repent of the sin that God reveals in our lives through His Word. After all, we serve a loving and gracious God who is waiting and willing to forgive us, sanctify us and restore us.
The strongman of immorality can and must be overcome in our lives and in our churches. There are specific things we can do to ensure his defeat.
1. Flee temptation. If you are struggling to overcome sexual sin, it is your responsibility to flee temptation. Be wise. Avoid situations that would contribute to sexual arousal. For example, if you are dating, don’t allow your date to sexually arouse you with kisses, touches or any other kind of stimulation.
If soft music turns you on, put on some hymns or a loud Kirk Franklin album. Play a marching band if you must!
More importantly, associate with those who have the same attitude about sexual purity that you do. I know it can be difficult to track them down, but there are saved brothers and sisters out there somewhere. Entreat the Holy Spirit to help you find them.
2. Ask for help. If you need special help, seek out a Christian therapist or physician who is trained in handling the behavioral problems and addictions that have a stranglehold on your life. All healing comes from the Lord, but not everyone is able to get free from behavioral problems without assistance.
3. Take the risks seriously. If you know what is right but are choosing to live in willful disobedience, I ask: Is it worth the risk? As a Christian participating in a sexually immoral lifestyle, you risk death from incurable, sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis and more. You risk losing your mate and your family because of your unfaithfulness. You risk losing your self-esteem and the respect of your peers and neighbors. You risk devastating your business or profession, especially if you are in ministry. Worst of all, you risk your fellowship with the Lord.
4. Make a commitment. It doesn’t matter whether the behavior you’re involved in is “trendy” or not. As a Christian, you are a “slave of righteousness,” and your call is to crucify the lusts of the flesh. It is possible to live holy if you desire to do so. Commit yourself to staying before the Lord on a daily basis and avoiding anything that would contribute to your taste for immoral pleasures or gratification outside of marriage.
5. Confront unfaithfulness. If you are a Christian wife and your husband has been unfaithful, ask yourself: Is your spouse truly repentant, and will he remain faithful after repentance? Is the unfaithfulness a continuous practice, or was it just one breach of fidelity? Is your spouse a professing Christian, or does he just go to church on Sunday? Is he a Spirit-filled man whom Satan tripped up but who is now truly repentant?
Only you can answer these questions. Forgiveness is possible–and biblical–but the Bible also says that you are not obligated to remain with an unfaithful mate. If you choose to stay with him, you must realize that your husband’s unfaithfulness could well mean your early demise from undetected disease. Given the severity of the sexual diseases among us, I strongly suggest a period of sexual abstinence and then the use of protection at all times, even after lab reports have determined that your mate is disease-free.
Even if your husband is a pastor or church leader, do not hesitate to confront him head-on about his infidelity and report it to the other church authorities. Women must stop shielding and hiding such behavior. Many are suffering physical abuse and threats from these “spiritual leaders” because they are too afraid or too embarrassed to expose them.
Stop being a punching bag for these unregenerate heathen! The Word tells us that a man is worse than an infidel if he neglects his family (see 1 Tim. 5:8). Seek legal help to get the support you need to maintain your family and yourself. There are laws on the books that address adultery!
6. Don’t accept excuses. If you are a member of a congregation and discover that one of your leaders is being sexually immoral, you have a responsibility to bring it to the attention of the church leadership. This action must not be based on hearsay or gossip. But if you know without a doubt, then it is your duty as a Christian to pull the covers off this festering boil that affects the whole body of Christ.
There are no excuses. We do things because we want to do them, and your pastor or leader is no exception. Besides, how can you sit under the leadership of a hypocrite who thumbs his nose at God’s state of holy matrimony?
Yes, it takes courage to uncover sin, but it must be done–even if you are rejected by the leadership. Even if you’re called a liar! Just pick up your marbles and move to another ministry after you have sought God’s face. You don’t want to find that you’ve run from the frying pan into the fire.
7. Confess your sin. If you are a Christian leader, pastor or minister involved in sexual immorality, you need to confess your sin and seek serious counseling–both psychological and spiritual. I personally believe you need to be relieved of your position during this process. You cannot continue on as though nothing has happened. There needs to be public repentance and restoration before you mount the pulpit again or accept any kind of leadership position.
8. Stand up for holiness. To all believers and ministers of the gospel, I say: Wake up! We need to combine forces to lead a strong, faith-based, biblical attack on the scourge of sexual immorality that has become epidemic in our congregations.
It is time to stand up for Jesus. It is time to rebuild the walls of holiness and sexual purity in the church so that we are no longer a reproach to the world. In the words of Nehemiah 2:8: “Let us rise up and build!”
Judy Ann Fisher is the founderof the Full Gospel Church of the Lord’s Missions International in Washington, D.C. She is a gifted businesswoman, she is owner of several companies and has traveled extensively as a motivator, lecturer and presenter of her Human Sexuality series.
GAZA CITY, Gaza — A Gaza sniper shot dead an Israeli civilian over the border Tuesday and Israel hit back with airstrikes on two Hamas training camps, which hospital officials said killed a Palestinian girl near one of the targets.
The Israeli man, who the military said was working on Israel’s security fence, was the first Israeli killed on the Gaza frontier in more than a year.
His death, which drew a swift threat of retaliation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came amid heightened tensions after two suspected Palestinian attacks — a bus bombing near Tel Aviv on Sunday that caused no casualties and the wounding of an Israeli policeman in a stabbing on Monday.
Officials from Hamas, the Islamic group which rules Gaza, and witnesses said Israeli aircraft bombed the group’s training camps in Khan Younis and al-Bureij. Witnesses said Israeli tanks fired shells east of Gaza city.
Gaza hospital officials said a girl, whom they estimated was two-years-old, was killed by shrapnel during the Israeli strike on the Bureij facility.
She was standing with other family members outside their home near the camp and two of her brothers were wounded, the officials said.
Earlier, a Palestinian was killed in a separate incident in northern Gaza, hospital officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said he was handling an explosive device near the security fence and that soldiers fired at him after warnings.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the sniper attack, which followed a Palestinian rocket strike on southern Israel on Sunday that caused no casualties.
“This is an extremely grave incident and we will not ignore it,” said Netanyahu, who was visiting the southern town of Sderot, about a kilometer [half a mile] from the Gaza border, at the time of the shooting.
“Our policy has been to thwart [Palestinian attacks] and to respond [to them] forcefully, and that is what we will do in this case,” he said, referring to the shooting, in a statement released by his office.
However, since an eight-day war in November 2012, both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers have been wary of taking military action that could trigger widescale fighting.
No one was hurt in Sunday’s bomb blast on the bus, which had been evacuated after the explosives were spotted, and the wounded policeman was expected to recover.
But the incidents, which Israel blamed on Palestinian militants, fueled concerns of a new Palestinian uprising as peace talks show few signs of progress.
Hamas praised Sunday’s bus bombing — the first in Israel in more than a year — but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
Violence in the West Bank has increased in recent months. At least 19 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the occupied territory since the U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood resumed in July after a three-year break.
ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts
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Notable elders of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are no longer glossing over the raging crisis in the party.
And they have put the blame for the turbulence in the party on President Goodluck Jonathan, whom they accused of failing to show a mastering of intra-party crisis management.
Consequently, the elders who are mostly founding fathers of the party, said the defection that has swept across the PDP within a month, had shown that something urgent must be done to save the party form total collapse.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that among the options being considered by the founding fathers is to stop Jonathan from flying the PDP flag in the 2015 presidential election.
According to them, this is the most feasible way of keeping the party afloat at the centre and building confidence in those that have left or plan to leave to return and remain in the PDP.
Lately, the PDP has faced a formidable challenge from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as the party, formed barely six months ago, has become the entry point for aggrieved members of the ruling party.
Five PDP governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives have so far dumped the PDP have dumped for the APC. With the development, APC has clinched the majority seats in the Lower Chamber with 172 to PDP’s 171.
Worried by these developments, the concerned party elders, LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt have resolved to “advise” President Jonathan to opt out of the 2015 presidential race to “save the PDP from being disgraced out of office.”
A founding father of the PDP confided in our correspondent last night that the challenges faced by the party were due to the refusal of the presidency and the PDP hierarchy to accept certain critical decisions taken to salvage the party.
According to him, two things now pose challenges to the PDP – allowing President Jonathan to contest and “lose the election in the face of the current crisis and advising him to step aside and search for a credible successor to re-bounce the party to its former position.”
He said: “All these things that are happening now some of us predicted them long time ago, especially before the ranks of the PDP governors split just before the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF’s) election because we saw it all coming and we warned against some actions, but some of us were taken as enemies who wanted someone out of office either as chairman or whatever.
“I can tell you authoritatively that as things are now, drastic measures have to be taken to save the party and no one should be scared to say the truth because our refusal to say the truth has largely been responsible for where we have found ourselves.
“If you look at the demands of the G-7 governors, two things were very topical – and that is the resignation of Tukur as national chairman of the PDP and that the president should not contest.
“The view of some of us was that we should pick one of the two and sacrifice one for the other, but all our pleas have always fallen on deaf ears because of the lust for lies on the part of some of our members who misinterpret issues as they arise,” he said.
The elder continued: “Now before our very eyes, five governors have abandoned the party; as if that is not enough, 37 lawmakers have also defected. Can we still say we don’t have problems in the party?
The only way out of this debacle is for us to come out courageous and say the truth as things have reached a point that any measure to save the party should be seen as important as saving the ambition of an individual.
“The only way for us to come out strong as a party is to humbly advise the president to save the PDP from being disgraced in 2015 because what is happening now is like a wild fire that might not extinguish easily unless we take steps to make some painful sacrifices to save the party,” he said.
The source, who is a pro-Jonathan party elder, said some selected elders of the PDP would have audience with President Jonathan shortly after the New Year and explore the possibilities of having him to consider their position.
LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that once the president acceded to the position of the elders, a subtle search for a successor would commence in earnest.
Among those in the new clamour, which the source, called Third Force, are a former Senate president, a former minister and some members of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).
Source: Radio Biafra.
The Minneapolis-based discounter says it will offer 10 percent off for people who shop Saturday and Sunday.
Target says it’s heard of “very few” reports of fraud since thieves stole the credit and debit card information of about 40 million shoppers. But the chain is continuing to reach out to customers.
Some potential fraud victims say they’re having trouble getting in touch with Target through its website and call centers. CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized Friday and says the company is working hard to resolve the issues.
Target hasn’t disclosed exactly how the breach occurred but says it has fixed the problem.
By Pastor Bobby Schuller
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”
–1 John 1:3-4
I walk most Sunday mornings in Peter‘s Canyon not far from our home. There, I see birds flying and the sun as it rises over the mountains. The warmth of the sun comes over me and I feel the waves and waves of God‘s goodness as a gift to me, and to you, too. The music on Sunday mornings is also a gift from God being given through musicians to you and me. God wants to bless us with goodness.
In the Reformed Church, we call these common graces, the good and wonderful things that God gives to us every day, free gifts because he loves us. God has a giving posture. God is an openhanded God, a giving God, a God that hugs, a God that encourages, a God that loves.
That is the posture of God’s heart. He gave us Jesus at Christmastime…to be born and later die for us so that we will have eternal life. Through Christ, we have hope.
Reflection: Name some common graces that you have received this week.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, battered since 2011 by a high-profile child sex abuse scandal, said on Sunday it had found five priests previously placed on administrative leave, including one accused of sexual abuse, unsuitable to hold their ministry.
Following a church investigation Archbishop Charles J. Chaput determined that there was a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor against a 58-year-old priest identified as Michael A. Chapman, according to a church statement. It gave no further details on the allegation.
Chapman was not immediately available for comment.
The other four suspended priests were determined to have violated standards of behavior and boundaries, the church said without elaborating. A church document defines one of the boundaries as pertaining to appropriate behavior with children.
The church said it had already reported the allegations against the men to the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, and an archdiocese spokesman said he was not aware of any criminal charges against the men.
Calls to the district attorney’s office were not immediately returned on Sunday.
The move means the suspended priests can have no public ministry, administer sacraments, wear clerical garb or present themselves as priests. All the men declared unsuitable for their ministry on Sunday had been suspended for some time, with four of them dating back to 2011.
The allegations against the five grew out of a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report that ended with the jailing of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic Church official convicted in a child sex abuse scandal.
Lynn, the one-time secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese, was convicted last year of endangering the welfare of a child by reassigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.
Lynn’s case is under appeal.
“There’s only one reason to delay and to lump multiple accused predator priests together for one big announcement,” Clohessy said before the church released its statement on Sunday.
“Chaput simply wants to try and make sure there’s just one story about child-molesting clerics, not several stories.”
Kenneth Gavin, the archdiocese spokesman, said on Sunday the grand jury found in its report that other cases should be studied, although no indictments were issued, and no names were listed at the time.
Gavin said the archdiocese launched its own investigation to seek other possible violations. Before Sunday, 26 priests were placed on leave since 2011, but eight of them were later found suitable for the ministry, and another nine were found unsuitable.
In addition to Chapman, the other priests whose suspensions were announced on Sunday ranged in age from 40 to 75. One is a 75-year-old former military chaplain for the Pennsylvania National Guard and U.S. Air Force, who has also served in parish schools.
Also on Sunday, two priests were cleared by the church of any wrongdoing. Gavin said a decision has not been made about what may come next for them.
Separately in Minnesota, Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis apologized on Sunday for having “overlooked” the problem of sexual abuse by priests.
These were his first public comments on the matter since the archdiocese was forced this month by a judge to release the names of about 30 priests suspected of abusing minors over a span of decades.
“When I arrived here seven years ago one of the first things I was told is that this whole question of clerical sexual abuse had been taken care of,” Nienstedt told reporters after addressing parishioners at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, southwest of Minneapolis.
“Unfortunately I believed that.”
In videotaped comments posted on the Star Tribune newspaper’s website, Nienstedt said he wanted to “hold up the 97 percent of our priests who are honest, noble, hardworking, selfless individuals.”
A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Paul Simao
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