Saturday, April 16, 2016

New Sermon Series

Currently we are exploring on Sunday AM - The Wilderness Wanderings found in Exodus and Numbers. On Wednesday nites we are looking at the courage of Joshua.

What are you learning? Preaching on?

Books I'm Reading: Spring 2016

I had just finished reading "Dangerous Calling" by Paul David Tripp. A book which hits you right home and talks about the challenges of ministry and the balance needed. The author hit home and stepped on my toes more than a few times. He talked about the struggles, celebrity status, pride, and not forgetting who you are in ministry.

I have just started : Re: Vision The Key to Transforming your Church by Aubrey Malphurs and Gordon E. Penford.

So what are you reading?

HB - 19

HB 19 summary:

Ministers or other persons authorized to celebrate rites of matrimony; no oath required. Provides that no oath shall be required of a minister or other person who seeks authorization to perform the rites of matrimony and that no such authorized minister or other person shall be considered an officer of the Commonwealth by virtue of such authorization.


The Following was from the Family Foundation:


Amidst a flurry of vetoes, late last week, the Governor signed a bill to clarify that those members of the clergy and others who receive state authorization to solemnize weddings in Virginia will not have to take an oath to the state as a condition for that authorization.  In other words, individuals who officiate weddings won’t be considered officers of the state by doing so.  As a consequence, they cannot be required to officiate a wedding ceremony with which they disagree.

This was simply never an issue until last June, when the U.S. Supreme Court created a constitutional “right” to same-sex “marriage.” As a predictable result, anyone and anything remotely connected with marriages and weddings has been coming under fire – including pastors, priests and ministers.    Â

The good news is that this bill, HB 19, introduced by Delegate Chris Head (R-17, Roanoke), will hopefully put a little bit more distance between pastors and religious persecution by their government. Notwithstanding, most everyone recognizes that pastors should already be protected in this way and shouldn’t be forced to perform a wedding ceremony that violates their faith tenets.  So although the Governor’s signature on HB 19 was a nice gesture, it hasn’t exactly has not made him a friend of religious liberty.  Â

Though rather alarmingly, despite the broad consensus on protections for pastors, many Democrats in the Senate and House of Delegates have entered very dangerous territory on this issue.  Out of nineteen Senate Democrats, only one – Sen. Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax) – voted for the bill.  Taking the Senate floor after watching a spirited back-and-forth debate among his colleagues, Sen. Peterson remarked,

“[A]re we going to put people in jail or hold them civilly liable because they say: ‘I didn't take this oath and agree to perform marriages to do every marriage under the sun’? … Some of the rhetoric I hear is: ‘gosh, if you don't perform all marriages then you ought to be punished because you are a bad person.’ I am uncomfortable with some of the rhetoric frankly coming from my side of the aisle. Maybe this bill is more necessary than I thought.

All is it says is if you are a not a public official and come forward voluntarily to officiate marriages, you don't become an officer of the state and you don't have to be subject to criminal penalties.” "

So in short ... a minister can officiate weddings (As a minister in Virginia) those weddings in which aren't contrary to his beliefs.

Several things come to mind for me:

1. I think this is a good thing.

2. I'm a skeptic though, and wonder why isn't on the news and more "protest" but I digress and am glad.

3. I wonder if other states have such laws to protect their ministers.

Anyways ...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Challenges; Embracing My Saviour

By Gerrard Fess

(The Following is inspired by "Your Context, Your Calling" Christian Standard magazine's recent issue with writing based upon my own calling and context)

Since my youth, I knew I wanted to be a preacher. There was no escaping it. My home church had a prolonged impact on my life. A little ole church in Selkirk, Ontario; that helped shape a dysfunctional kid to be inspired by God. During my training at Mid-Atlantic Christian University (then Roanoke Bible College), I was instilled to love God and love people.

I would of never have thought where God would have me years later. From a few youth ministries to currently my second preaching ministry. I know that I've made mistakes along the way but am thrilled where God has me. When God calls; we follow. I'd always thought that one day I'd be ministering back "Home" in Canada; but that door has been closed several times over. (Thus I joke with some that I'm a missionary to the Americans) In a "weird" turn of events - my family of 5 would be lead back to the place we'll call "Home." an area where we had a previous youth ministry, an area where two of my children were born. A ministry where my wife's grandfather use to be an elder.

Ministering in a traditional church, where my predecessor, served almost thirty years and I knew him.

Bonnie Brae (literally translated "Beautiful hill") Church of Christ is not a megachurch by any stretch of the imagination. A small church with a Big heart for Jesus. Located in the Greater Richmond Area (or RVA as some call it) a place of vast history and potential for growth.

One of the saying I hear new churches quote "We're not your Grandparents' Church" Fact is for us: "We are your Grandparents' Church ...and everyone loves Grandma." Embracing who we are; what we value was just the beginning.

Over twenty years of ministry, with young children, has taught me to be patient. Don't be a bull in a China Shop./ My godly church leaders have taken a chance on a young preacher. We're trying to reach our community by serving. Partnering with a local food pantry (Called "Lamb's Basket"), a local Christian camp (Oak Hill) , a Christian Home (Golden Age Christian Village).

Serving by partnering with missions overseas and praying for the underground church. I still hear that cry from the class of 1995 as our motto "May all who come behind us; find us faithful." Or in the words of the late youthworker, Mike Yaconelli "What a ride!!" What a ride it had been and continues to be. A family that is Bonnie Brae.

-Gerrard Fess serves as the preacher at Bonnie Brae Church of Christ in Henrico, Virginia. Married to Valerie adn has three children: Kendra, Nicole and Brian.

(c) 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Twelve Characteristics of a Spiritual Leader

1.A Spiritual Leader is to be Blameless.

2.A Spiritual Leader is to be Devoted.

3.A Spiritual Leader is to be Respected by his Family.

4.A Spiritual Leader is Not to be Arrogant.

5.A Spiritual Leader Must handle Anger Correctly.

6.A Spiritual Leader is to be Temperate.

7.A Spiritual Leader is Not to be Contentious

8.A Spiritual Leader is Not to be Greedy.

9.A Spiritual Leader is to be Hospitable.

10.A Spiritual Leader is to Love Goodness.

11. A Spiritual Leader is to have a Sober Mind.

12. A Spiritual Leader is to be Holy and Upright.

** Based on characteristics given in the epistles of Timothy and Titus.

Any others to add?

How Spiritual of a leader ate you? Fall short in any areas?