Why We Do 180 Weekend

180

For many years, right around Super Bowl weekend, Parkwood has lead in a student gathering for churches across greater Gaston County to bring their youth groups, large and small, to hear the Gospel presented, to worship the Lord, and to make lasting friendships with their peers and discipling relationships with their small group leaders.

This year, over 30 different local churches will come to the main sessions at two locations; Parkwood and Bethlehem. Parkwood will have over 100 volunteers to serve the 200 students affiliated with Parkwood and the thousand affiliated with other churches. We see this as a great way to galvanize with other youth and student workers out of obedience to God. Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). Paul wrote, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). Coming together for the gospel is a must, as that furthers His glory among the world.

Titus 2:1 says, “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Paul tells the Ephesians in Acts 20:27, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” The truth of God’s Word will be proclaimed in 3 different settings throughout the weekend: large group at Parkwood, small groups in homes (Acts 20:20), and throughout the day (Deuteronomy 6:7). Parkwood hosts 3 large group gatherings that are structured like our Sunday morning services. From what is faithfully taught there, the small groups then return to their host homes to discuss the Bible deeper with their leaders. The third way the Bible is taught is through one-on-one conversations. Small group leaders are trained to leverage regular conversations into gospel conversations. [Read more…]

5 Issues the Sanctity of Life Affects

Sanctity of Life

January 22, 2017 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Every year we specifically remind one another life is God-given and God-made. As we remind one another of this, we are sobered in that many disagree with this. We can easily sobered knowing such a biblically-based belief is so counter cultural. Below are 5 articles or messages that will help your understanding of the importance and effects Sanctity of Life has on life as a Christian, American, and citizen of the world.

Understand the Sanctity of Life and ethics. Carrie Earll and Focus on the Family explain the value of life is unquantifiable, and the baseline reason is found in that humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Human dignity and distinction are derived from this, and this is what drives our conviction.

Understand the Sanctity of Life in the face of abortion. John Piper, in this resource of 3 transcribed sermons, articulates abortion factually, exhorts us to consider Lordship, and the call to follow Jesus despite all else in the world. The last sentence is a gracious summation we need regular reminder of: “Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.”

Understand the Sanctity of Life and the American tax dollar. Joe Carter of the ERLC provides a credible exposé on the federally-funded Planned Parenthood, the nation’s most used women’s health organization and the largest provider of abortions in America.

Understand the Sanctity of Life Sunday and why we ought to pray it become unnecessary. Russell Moore, through anecdotes and cultural insight, reminds us that this Sunday is not meant to remain with the church for the rest of our history, unlike Christmas or Easter. A good prayer to pray is that this Sunday emphasis would be removed by the Lord orchestrating orphans to be adopted and abortions to be removed from the face of the earth.

Understand the Sanctity of Life as it relates to the world. David Platt helps us see that the issue does not exist in America, alone. The issue of devaluing human life is worldwide, and the answer is “make disciples of all nations, by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20).

While the fight and disagreement about this issue transpires outside of the church and in the public square, we must have our minds set that when we gather, we gather not to argue about this issue, but to celebrate God and honor Him by strengthening one another and believing His Word.

How the Virgin Birth Confounds False Religions

the-incarnation-web-1360x277Jesus, born of a virgin woman, foretold in Old Testament prophecies. Jesus, sent by the Father, atoning for sin, now worshipped. Jesus is God and man. Many are prone to ask, “Well, which is it? God or man?” The similarity between people who have grown up hearing the Christmas story and those who have grown up in the shadows of other world religions is their misunderstanding of Jesus’ identity and nature. The Virgin Birth says He is both.

The following provides reason for why the Incarnation must be understood well by disciples of Jesus. The Incarnation causes disagreements about worldview, divinity, practices, and implications across the board, which warrant thoughtful dialogue.

The following beliefs discussed do not encompass the entirety of the religion. They are primarily representative of largely held views by the majority of adherents.

 

Animism

Animism takes on different forms across the globe since it is largely based on local traditions and teaching. Romans 1 provides insight that Animistic cultures have exchanged God’s clear “eternal power and divine nature” “for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” In the main of Animism, beings and forces can be manipulated for human use, but the Father sending Jesus makes a clear declaration that His mission is going to be accomplished, highlighting the inability of man and occultic divinatory powers. The Virgin Birth squares up with Animism to say God is the supreme power.

Atheism

The miracle of God in human flesh confronts the foundational Atheistic tenets of mankind is basically good and that it is impossible to know if God exists. We must ask and answer the question, “Why was Jesus born of a virgin if mankind is basically good?” The answer: we aren’t basically good. An Atheist Ethicist says, “Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality.” She says thinking about that drives her to depression, So virgin birthing is the purest human conduit for human life. While miraculous, all must concede it is “as pure as it gets.” The historical birth and life of Jesus is not in dispute, so we must wrestle with God not existing with Jesus being Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Only two possibilities exist: God is not with us because He does not exist or God exists and is with us.

Buddhism

Buddhists principally believe people are aggregates of matter, feeling, and awareness, and the nature of Christ clearly disputes this. His birth necessitates Him Divine, which would be an impossibility if people are only the abstracts matter, feeling, and awareness. With Christ taking on flesh, the Bible speaks to Jesus’ body (Luke 2:40), a human mind (Luke 2:52), a human soul (John 12:27), human emotions (Mt 8:10, John 11:35) and human observation (Mt 13:53-58), all of which go beyond an aggregation of just matter, feelings, and awareness.

Cultural Christianity

The uniqueness of Jesus’ birth does not allow Jesus to be a functional Savior without Lordship. The undergirding thought for Cultural Christians is that the birth brings good gifts at Christmas celebrations, and His life provides good ideas for us to live by. Births of regular people who go on to be notable teachers, scholars, or philosophers may produce this type of response and following, but the birth of Jesus Christ is a different category, altogether. Only one person has been fully God and fully man. This is the most unique person of all history. Since Jesus is man, He is relatable to us. Since Jesus is God, He is authority to us. Jesus is not a menu which you pick and choose. He is all or nothing.

Hinduism

The most familiar aspect of Hinduism to most of the Western world is reincarnation–that your spirit comes back as a different being in the next life and was something different in the past life. The underlying purpose and principle of reincarnation is contradicted when Jesus is born. Reincarnating provides the human solution: the opportunity to be liberated from this life through enlightenment. Once the first human is birthed who does not need liberation or enlightenment, the whole system is thrown off. Also, His birth was not a spiritual rebirth from a former life, like everyone else’s would be according to this belief. Jesus has existed from the beginning of eternity, so He created the creation He then inhabited upon his birth.

Islam

The Qur’an teaches Jesus was born sinless of a virgin, but that Jesus could not be God’s Son because “It is not proper for God to have children.” (19:93) Another verse claims He is “above having a son.” (4:171) This misunderstanding of the Father’s relation to Mary ultimately comes from not believing Jesus is God Himself. Islam teaches prophets are men who cannot lie about God, and when Jesus is put on the spot, He says, “I AM.” The truth of Jesus is encapsulated in His Divine birth, but the Islamic view of Jesus’ nature leads Muslims to blaspheme against the power and sovereignty of God.

Judaism

In the time of Jesus, Jews awaited the Messiah, but most thought in political resurgences rather than spiritual salvation. Modern Jews refute Jesus as the Messiah their prophecies foretell. If passages like Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7 correlate with the New Testament Gospel accounts like Luke 1-2 or Matthew 1-2, then there is no way both Jew and Christian can be right about the Messiah. Either Jesus is the long awaited Savior, or He isn’t. His birth would be the first aspect of His life to dispute or confirm. He is either God with us and Jews need to be shown, or He is another false teacher and Christians are severely misled.
The Christian belief that Jesus came to Earth the way the Bible says He did flies in the face of relative truth and tolerating everyone’s beliefs as “good for them.” Brothers and sisters, be gracious with those that don’t agree with Scripture, but be resolved in the truth of God, and when you speak, speak of Jesus as the King–the one who separates truth from falsehood.

Guest Blog From an Aspiring Missionary

At the age of 15, the Lord burdened my heart for the nations in a way that was different from brothers and sisters around me. I knew the trajectory of my life had come into focus on my first international missions experience. Due to the support and mission at Parkwood, I’ve been able to spend anywhere from a week to 10 weeks in different countries making disciples and leading others to do the same. The time is drawing near when my family will become “official” missionaries working among unreached peoples in Central Asia.

William Carey is best known as a British missionary who served until his death in 1834 in India. Some regard Carey as the “Father of Modern Missions.” Currently, the International MiWilliam Careyssion Board is discussing professionals using their jobs to take the Gospel to the unreached. Carey wrote about that in 1792. Currently, common practice is to send missionaries to join missionary teams rather than to work independently. Carey advocated that to be a better practice in his day. Currently, unreached people groups are the focus of missionary sending. Carey produced one of the first charts statistically accounting for how many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans (we would now delineate as Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, and Atheists) exist in every part of the world. He wrote an essay, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, that is still pertinent to our considerations of to what the Gospel’s calls our lives. Friends, family, and strangers have all made sure I was aware I could make disciples in my city because not everyone is a Christians here. The same have also given reasons as to why most individuals shouldn’t go, but, brothers and sisters, please contemplate William Carey’s rebuttals that he wrote before 1800.

“They are too far away.”

“Whatever objections might have been made on that account before the invention of the mariner’s compass, nothing can be alleged for it, with any colour of plausibility in the present age…Yea, and providence seems in a manner to invite us to the trial, as there are to our knowledge trading companies, whose commerce lies in many of the places where, these barbarians dwell.”

The compass was thought of as technology sufficient to get to all peoples. May I ask, what is our excuse when we can communicate instantly with 40% of the world?

“The way of life is too barbaric.” [Read more…]