Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bill's Short Sermon for Sunday 4/21/11

Bill Says: For the last couple of months I have had this little voice in  my head telling me I need to shout out a warning to our congregation, but I often have trouble listening to this voice- until a brick falls on my head. The last couple of weeks people have mentioned things to me, which had a direct bearing to the message I was given and then just a couple days prior to Sunday, I was again approached by a member with the same concerns. So, yes, I'm a bit hard of hearing at times and I am always concerned I may be speaking out about my own concerns, thoughts, worries and of course worse of all- my opinions, that I tend to refrain from speaking out. But now, as senior deacon for the church I need to sincerely listen, evaluate and especially pray and if the go ahead if given by my pastor- to speak out. And this is what I did this last Sunday.

I asked the pastor for a few moments of time to address the congregation, though there wasn't a whole lot of people there. Weather was great, people weary of a long winter all out doing things and our worship teams was down to a quartet. BUT, our church is under serious spiritual attack and the Word of God, and this message, will spread.

We have a Religious Spirit assaulting our fellowship, attempting to cause splits in the church body, repeated bouts of discouragement and dismay among the brethren, too many people quick to judge their fellows and of course the old labeling bit. A simple word of rebuke, meant in humor, could easily drive a person away from church. "Your hair looks funny", " Your clothes- when did you wash them last?" and my favorite- "Christians shouldn't drink alcohol or smoke."

For those of you who are not aware, Moose Pass Community Church was previously known as Moose Pass Baptist Church. We had this small mobile temporary structure, which had far out lived its temp status by a good 40-yrs and it was hooked to a 1950's style 12 by 50 foot mobile home, ( this was where the visiting pastors lived). They Baptist Convention, which owned this structure and property, would have retired pastors volunteer to come to Alaska for 6-month stays as missionaries. Church membership was about 6-8 people back then and often only 5. Then things began to stir and people began to move to Moose Pass, such as us, and attend church. Strangely enough, most of them were not Baptist. So, we eventually changed the name, but we were still connected to the Baptist Convention since they owned the place. The building was sort of falling down around our ears and we needed to do something. Membership bloomed to around 40 people, with another 10 or so individuals attending when they could. Christmas and Easter could have 75 or more people and you could hear the building complain with loud groans. Our worship team grew from a piano player to an 8-member team; drums, congas( me), mandolin/flute, bass, 2-guitar players and keyboard/violin, and a young singer. We were even invited to be the closing act at the Seward Music Festival, 10-songs ( most written by a member of the team), and that was a lot of fun.

Through a lot of prayer over nearly 10-years, ( Mona and I began praying over this property once we had moved into ours), and the gift of $200,000 ( YES! This was a cash gift given to us), from a church body in Soldotna, we were able to purchase half of the property next door to our home. This came with a 4,000 square foot home for our pastors and a two-bedroom apartment for one of our seniors. We were then given our old church to sell, sold for $46,000 cash and with a loan on our new property, we were able to purchase the property connected to our parsonage. This involved another acre of land, which held a 4,000 square foot metal warehouse- also known as the bus barn. The former owner drove school buses for the area and parked 4 buses in this building. We then began transforming the bus barn into our new church. Several teams from the Lower 48 have come up to help us, bringing funds, their muscles and sweat and we now have the place framed and mostly sheet-rocked. The sanctuary, which has a cathedral style ceiling, will seat 100 people, and the rest of the building will have two classrooms, conference room, two bathrooms, a very nice kitchen, a nursery and pastor's office. We will have room for our food bank storage and a nice stage for the worship team. We still have a lot of work to do, needing a new septic field/tank and a new well. We also need more money, but this has been coming in too. The new church, hopefully we will be in by late summer, will be on high ground and we all look forward to the day we can mount our huge cross on the roof so passer-bys will know this is now a church. I will only have to walk about 40-yards to go to church- so much for my excuses about being late! I also won't have to haul my drums for Sunday service.

For now we hold our services at the Moose Pass School and summer Sunday night services on the new property around a bonfire.

But with the building of the new church, the enemy's forces have begun their attack against us. They do not want this place built and are causing a lot of problems for the church members. This was what my short sermon was about- We need to love our brothers and sisters more and judge less. We need to welcome the sinners, for all of us have sinned. We need to comfort the lost, the angry and the hurting. We need to open our church, which is the Lord's church, to Homosexuals, drug users and alcoholics, wife and husband beaters, any other addictions you can think of and speak to them about the Lord's love. For HE would be hanging with these people and HE wants us to love them and show them God's love through relationships and NOT Bible thumping- which normally just drives them away. We cannot pass judgement on someone and say God told me to tell you this, if there is no relationship already in place. ( Mona remembers when a nice lady came up to her and said, "The Lord told me to tell you that you shouldn't wear your nose ring any more") Otherwise the person is liable to smack you in the kisser, or walk away and have a foul taste in their mouths for Christians after that. We need to love them, tattoos, nose rings and all and teach them up in the Word of God so they will know what is right and wrong. What is really important and was is simply wasted foolishness to be concerned about. We especially do NOT need to use our own opinions, thinking its of course God's Will, to get someone to change. Often we want them to fit in our idea of a cookie cutter Christian mode and this can drive so many people away.

A Religious Spirit can whisper in your ear, using Biblical scripture, and telling you to address someone else's problem with blunt force trauma effect. Lucifer knows the Bible better than us, he was probably hanging around the meeting house, causing confusion and bitterness, as the men put the first Bible together. He challenged Jesus with scripture, but our Lord was too smart for him and fought him off with using scripture in return. Demons was to confuse, to destroy and drive us away from God.

In our 30-years of marriage, nearly 31-years, the Lord has taken Mona and I through some real interesting stuff. We've entered into Spiritual Warfare against demons posing as ghosts, entered into warfare against Witches convents as pretty young Christians, gone up against all forms of Religious Spirits; which brought about church splits, marriage break-ups and disrupted many a church gathering, and even ex-communication. We've been Sunday school teachers for kids and adults, Youth group leaders, Cell-Group pastors and now deacons. ( I'm used to the Elder title- Deacon is still Baptist, but our by-laws say deacon and it is a very little thing). We were even brought here to be part of a Baptist fellowship and for an ex-Mormon, saved in a Four-Square Church and spent most my time in either Assembly of God or Non-denominational fellowships, this is strange. We have seen a lot, but still have so much to learn about God and His ways.

I remember a particular incident in my life, one in which I truly knew the Lord was transforming me into a better person. I used to have a real problem with homosexuals, until the day I had this gay young man in my home in North Pole, who was dying of AIDS. He had been a serving Christian, but from his lifestyle he was spurned from the church and though he still loved God, he was bitter. Not so much over his coming death, though he was frightened, but by the way the church had mistreated him. Not even really thinking about it, I and Mona were laying hands on this young man, praying over him and hugging him. Something truly broke in me that day and I really believe that for a moment there I saw this young man as the Lord saw him. A very injured person who needed the Lord's comforting love. The young man died, but I will never forget that moment and my whole thought process involving homosexuals changed. I know what the Word of God says, I believe it and I also know that the Lord God would be loving to all persons if they would come to him. Like the Beatles said  in their song, "All we need is love". But God's love!!!!!! and our love to our fellow man.

Some churches won't let you in their doors because of the color of your skins, your apparent sinful life styles, the shape of the clothes you wear and even the length of your hair ( guys). There are some churches that won't allow a woman to speak- at all! Some that play with snakes and others that believe there is no hell. This is religion!  Jesus Christ is not about religion!!!!

So, that was my sermon. God bless all of you!!!!!

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