Update from Pastor Matt’s Serbia Trip

Panoramic Henry

Hello Missio Dei Fellowship,
  I thought I would send to you, for your church’s enjoyment, proof that Pr. Matthew is well and heartily teaching in Serbia.
All the students LOVE him, and are SO glad he came back. There was a palpable difference between him being here again, knowing the students, being known by them, and someone who comes here new.
  The attached picture is a panoramic, which I really like.
Miro Igor
  I’m also sending pics that include the books your church so graciously sent to us – and I can say with flattering that these are the best books our library has. We are in such a bad state here because of ignorance, thievery and lack of anything being translated into Serbian. Thank you, thank you, thank you on behalf of the people of Serbia who may not even realize what they’ve been given.
  As far as the books that were shipped, they are supposedly approved for release to us, but have to be inspected in Belgrade. We are told they should be here hopefully today (12/7) by 3:00. That’s the way Serbia works – there’s even a national phrase for it – “Srbska posla.”
Books 3May the Lord return the blessing to your people in a multitude of ways.
Panoramic Henry 2

Hey Christians, #ShoutYourAbortion

downloadThe advent of social media has brought us much to be indebted for. Never before have we been so swiftly and easily able to see the heart condition of a person, whether they hide behind a pseudonym or have the stones enough to just come right out with their given name. Never before have we been able to readily see the cattle head toward the slaughter upon the wide road with such clarity.

We may have believed the road was wide and easy that led to hell, but my God, we surely didn’t comprehend how very wide it actually was! Amazingly, we never quite stopped to think what was upon the road with them along the way – leading them with smoke signals by day, fire by night, masquerading as one worthy of being followed; imitating the very God whom they reject.

You see, there are two sacrifices being offered at the traveling altar of Molech. Some of the herd birth calves along the way, and yet some even become wranglers – training them up in the wisdom of this age in order to maintain that herd mentality by roping them in. These are living sacrifices to Molech, given in service to proselytize the ignorant kidlingers whom will join them later for the bloodier sacrifice. Of course, after ten videos from the CMP, we know all too well what that bloodier sacrifice is. You can’t even hide under a rock and not know about this anymore; you’d have to be the rock…

Yet for the moment, let us think about those living sacrifices being offered up to service of Molech, who speak on his behalf:

“I don’t care if Planned Parenthood provides nothing BUT abortion services. I don’t care if it’s a million-story abortion superpark with abortion waterslides and an abortion electrical parade. Abortion is legal. ABORTION IS LEGAL. If I read one more ‘defense’ of Planned Parenthood that says, ‘it’s not JUST abortions!’ or ‘only 5% of what they do is abortion! And abortions aren’t federally funded!’ I’m going to abort myself. Abortion is legal, culturally necessary, and good for humanity. It has been and will be practiced for millennia. It is essential. It is a fact. By minimizing, denying or apologizing for this fact, you are allowing these venal anti-woman Nazis to frame this debate and continue to chip away at this essential right. Abortion is not tragic. It is not painful. It is a fact. It is a right. Demand it, fight for it, and for the sake of women who have given their lives to defend it, stop apologizing for it.”

Never-you-mind the ironic disregard to Godwin’s Law by those whom declare you can’t rightfully call abortion the “Great American Holocaust” because of that same law.

More to the point, we already knew this was the real disposition behind support of abortion. The flippant terminology and expressions throughout this comment should upset you. #ShoutYourAbortion should upset you. You should have multiple, visceral reactions toward how abortion is being performed, what they are doing with the aborted baby, and the flippant conversations being had not only from the upper echelons of the Planned Parenthood infrastructure – but your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. You should, time and again, be at a loss for words and expressive feelings.

"They use everything about the hog except the squeal" (Upton Sinclair - The Jungle).

“They use everything about the hog except the squeal” (Upton Sinclair – The Jungle).

Sadly, this herd never knows of the slaughter ahead of them. The ones killing infants now in order to appease the gods of this age are so blind to the end-game. Willfully so, yet nonetheless, blind. We know they shall pronounce woe upon themselves and become utterly undone when they stand in judgment before Him. Thus, we cry out not only to snatch the bloody, infant sacrifice from before the altar – but to snatch the living sacrifice to Molech from the hell-fire that awaits them. It has never been about defunding Planned Parenthood (not alone, at least). It has always been about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been about rescuing people from death, physical and spiritual. It is about as grotesque of a situation as you can get, where the lines from Planned Parenthood elites sound like a bad parody of Upton Sinclair’s: The Jungle.

Inventors of evil know how to mobilize well.

Evil men and women will only continue to do what they know and are sold into bondage to do. They will continue to be inventors of evil unless they are brought to new life by the Spirit of God. So while they hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion with blood upon their hands, push it right back on them. Heap coals upon their heads through the display of love which is a concept so foreign to them, even though they use it militantly. Speak plainly to this sin; do not mince your words. Speak plainly to the gospel; do not hold back and refrain from any part. Speak plainly to what it looks like to walk in those deeds which He prepared beforehand for the purpose of His glory.

Stop being indifferent and do something. If you have done something – good; persevere in this until the end.

While you should not be known as a one-trick, abortive-opposing pony – you can’t ignore this topic. If you uphold the full truth of God, speaking out against abortion will undoubtedly be part of your identity in Christ. Simply put: abortion does not make your entire identity in Christ. Christ does this. Yet if your identity is in Christ, you should speak plainly to what abortion is and you should actually, physically go do something about it besides posting on social media.

If you claim Christ and you just don’t care, or you support this woefully wicked agenda, you might just find yourself on that broad road with Ol’ Molech as well. Can you truthfully tell me your affection is for Christ when you so clearly “nothing” or despise one with the Imago Dei?

You can’t #ShoutYourAbortion and tell me you really love God.

Care Net Walk for Life: Sign Up Now to Participate

11412138_1233514276665316_8459529243729626902_nThe Care Net Family Resource Center Run/Walk for Life allows the ministry to offer hope and help in the name of Christ to men and women with issues of crisis pregnancies.  By supporting the Run/Walk for Life, you allow us to provide all of our services free of charge.  Your help does make a huge difference — right here in your community.  Give women, men and unborn children a chance to discover new life.

This year the event will begin at a new location, Christ the King Church, 5934 8th Avenue in Kenosha and now include a 5K run/walk as well as the traditional 2 mile walk.

September 19, 2015
8:30am-10:30am

How to Participate

Individuals

If you are walking as an individual, you can either register online or as you check in the day of the event.  Collect $150 or more in pledges and you will receive a free t-shirt.  If you collect $350 in pledges or more, you will receive a free hoodie.

Teams

A team consists of at least two, but no more than six participants.  Each team commits to collecting at least $650 in pledges.  Only the team captain should form their team online.  The day of the Run/Walk, team members should inform the registration attendant that they are part of a team so that their sponsor sheet and any collected money can be credited to their team. Teams with a total of $650 or more in pledges will get a free t-shirt for each member. If  the team total pledges is $1500 or more, team members will receive a free hoodie.

Click here to sign up!

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen

3167352760_3d855afb16_zAs the debacle of Planned Parenthood’s practice continues to be revealed to our nation I am left with fewer words each time. I have plenty to say – but in reality, I believe images and videos to be more powerful than what I can write in this blog post.

For Christians, this should strengthen our resolve to support life. For those who don the name of “Christian” and support abortion – you cannot support two conflicting agendas. Scripture is very clear and so is the practice of abortion. The two value systems are diametrically opposed; therefore, you cannot support both. You will either uphold with conviction the truth of God – or – you will side with those whom hate Him. I believe you’ve already made that choice.

It should also provide an in depth commentary for us on the reality of the doctrines of sin. The only reason we should be surprised at this whole thing is simply due to naivety on the practices of this company (which is no longer the case for the whole of the world) and a lack of depth in your understanding of sin. Sin truly devastates and maligns all things good. Everything.

There is not one person, save the blind and deaf, mentally handicapped, or child, who is excusable in not knowing what has taken place in abortive practices since Roe V. Wade. It is everywhere. Planned Parenthood cannot unspin what is being shown. Corporations are denouncing support swiftly. Public outcry is only growing, even against hordes saying it is malarkey.

We can debate whether the Center for Medical Progress is using deceptive means and editorial hijinks for the grand unveiling of this sin. However, this isn’t the issue. Not in the least. The root issue is not even the killing of the unborn. It is a hatred for God. Naturally, hating the image-giver distorts and causes you to hate the image-bearer.

In all things, the Giver and Sustainer of life makes known the path of redemption through Jesus Christ. He makes known through creation His indelible image – especially through these little ones. He makes this known even in your isolation, for you bear the image of your Creator. Even the blind and deaf cannot escape this reality.

Wherever you stand, you cannot un-see what has been seen. Even if you ignore what is being unraveled before the world, you will not stand in the Day of Judgment to plead your case.

Yet if you would but humble yourselves, turn from your sins, and believe upon the Christ who spilled His blood at Calvary, you will stand. You will stand on the basis of His merit.

As originally posted @ gilsongraybert.wordpress.com

Internet Community Cannot Replace the Church

8583949219_f55657573e_zWhen we think of the Christian walk in the Western world, we often think of it in personal terms. Yet if we follow the logic of the New Testament, we are saved unto a body in Christ with whom we covenant. Part of this covenant is the mutual pursuit of holiness. While the temptation is always there to pull back rather than reveal my warts, I know this will not yield the fruit of repentance. In an age where we can use social media communication to give a slanted portrait of our lives, this covenant is especially relevant.

For that reason, I am often perturbed when I see vague social media posts asking for prayer in deliverance from sin. The reasons are many, yet namely; it seems to be a concealment of one’s sin from their local church body in order to avoid confrontation and vulnerability, all the while, cloaking it in a self-perceived nobility to quell the conscious.

Social media simply doesn’t allow one to press more firmly on the individual to reveal what is below the surface. Sin is rarely in isolation; the heart is quick to devise ways of concealing the grossness and depth of our sins. It is difficult enough for one to own up to the fullness of their sin between trusted confidants, let alone individuals with whom they have no meaningful relationship.

Let’s entertain the idea that someone is opening up within a Facebook group of strangers with the ongoing sin of pornography. They openly acknowledge it as sin, the desire for repentance, and so forth. Beyond the immediate consequence of a lack of accountability, they have sought consolation from those whom are not intended to shepherd over them. These same individuals who offer consolation are not in a position of authority, nor are they held to account for the well being of this individual’s soul.

In lieu of this, there is rarely a call to repentance – yet even if there is, there is simply no process to see this through. There will be no formal disciplinary action, further admonition, discipleship training on a healthy, biblical sexuality, and no impartial inspection. Most will offer trite words of encouragement speaking about the grace of God. Let me make this clear – my intent is not to say the grace of God is cheap; it is incredibly pricey. The grace offered by those whom cannot call one to true repentance, is cheap. They may point effectively to the cross for the forgiveness of sin, yet they do not effectively point to the need for personal holiness.

Additionally, there are other problematic inferences in seeking this kind of counsel. It cannot lead to more probing questions; i.e. how often, how long has this been going on, who knows of it (one’s spouse, church leadership), what kind of pornography it is (is it child porn? If so, legal repercussions must also take place), has this manifested itself in tangible ways (strip clubs, prostitution, infidelity, casual sex, rape; again, if so, legal repercussions must also follow for some circumstances).

If it is solely relegated to legal pornographic expressions, what other sins can be identified with it? What measures are they taking to guard their eyes and heart? What movies/television shows are they watching? What does their browser history look like? What are they reading? What are they listening to? There are countless other questions needing to be asked and dealt with appropriately in order to apply the healing salve of repentance and faith in Christ. Internet groups simply cannot offer this, thus, anonymity often wins the day.

The job of the church is not simply to perform Sunday services and potluck dinners. We gather as a community of believers in order to unify through a common covenant. We are to carry the burdens of one another in the bond of grace in order to represent a more full, purer picture of the call upon believers. Grace is not simply a means to avoid Hell; it radically transforms us into the image of Christ as we live the cruciform life.

On an individual basis, no person can thrive and find lasting repentance apart from this community. We are called to a body that will faithfully deliver the wounds of a true friend, proclaiming that those who make a practice of such deeds cannot inherit the kingdom of God – yet remind us all the while of the abundant hope found in the gospel of our Lord.  It is an incredibly difficult thing to ask of our brothers and sisters to “pierce” us and reveal sin – yet as we step out in faith with a broken and contrite heart, we will find He is pleased to continue that refining work in us.

Some Thoughts on Athens

As most of you know, a little over a week and half ago Pastor Matt and I left for Athens, Greece to teach the leaders of a migrant Romanian church. This group of men had been learning from the curriculum and teachers of Training Leaders International (TLI) for the past three years. They’ve been on a long journey and have worked really hard. In fact, they, along with other migrant people groups in Athens, were the first group ever to complete the TLI program and graduate. It was an honor to watch each of them receive their diplomas and I was deeply encouraged by the work God appears to be doing in Athens. Pastor Matt went on to Romania, but I am now [Read more…]