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Pastor's Commentary

What Is The Church
Sunday, June 02 2019

A lot of people, perhaps most people on the planet could be called “religious” to some extent, in that they have and hold to certain tenets of a perceived or real truth based upon a faith of which point to an external or higher influence that affect their life. Actually Pew Research polls show only about 16% of the world’s population is atheist, and China has the honors with the most, maybe because they lead the world in population. According to Webster’s Dictionary religion is; a belief in and a worship of God, or god/s, a specific system of belief and/or worship built around God, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life. If you watch the news much, you may notice a lot of what happens in the world is religious based, whether it being good or bad. As a result of such a negative face on religion, many question the validity of any religion. Many may wonder who really knows what the truth is, maybe even pondering if there is any truth at all. To that extent I would like to explore one particular group of people that represent the “Church”. For such a large group of people that call themselves Christians and as a result are some of the most persecuted people on the planet, someone better know the truth.

            We’ll begin with this “entity” called the Church. Just what does this word imply and is there in fact a group representative of the Church? First the word Church is often thought of as a building, a place where you will most likely find a Cross, Bibles, Christians and the like. However, the real Church is not a building as it is comprised of a people. Although many do call a House of Worship a Church building, it is in fact a place where the real living people of the Church gather in corporate fellowship. The people that make up the Church are what is called the; “ecclesia”, a Greek word, for; “called out ones”. In other words they have been called out of the world and at least spiritually speaking are no longer part of the world, or its worldly system, but still obviously live in it. This can  be derived from this verse; wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Cor. 6:17,18).

            The “called out ones” can be no more valid a people than the One doing the calling seems to be a fair assumption. Is there verifiable evidence that Jesus the Christ is in fact who He says He is and is qualified to call people out unto Himself to offer what He says He offers? I inject this thought, people that believe what the report of the Lord says; His written Word, Divine manifestations (in some cases), the evidence and witnesses are called believers. These people have come to a place in their life where most have sifted through the heaps of supposed truth/s and came to a solid conclusion that Jesus is in fact who He says He is. Conversely there are folks that no matter the evidence refuse to accept any evidence as truth and as such are called unbelievers.

            The evidence concerning the reality of Jesus really doesn’t need one to prove His existence, however a few examples seem to be order here for our purpose of inquiry. One of the most profound evidences in the entire world is God’s “prophetic word”. It is beyond comprehension, but there is found written in the Word of God, “prophesies”, what many Bible Scholars call; history written in reverse.  Incredible events that have not happened as yet, but were recorded in the Bible, hundreds of years or in many cases thousands of years in advance. I have read where many Bible Scholars believe the Bible is up to one-third prophetic, that alone distances God from all else. As in the case of Jesus’ 1st Coming, so many prophesies (written details) that told of His coming, pertinent facts surrounding His death, the cross, His burial, all in the Bible. There were forty-eight specific and detailed prophesies that would provide verifiable evidence that Jesus was who He said He was when He showed up two thousand years ago. Grant Jeffrey, Bible Scholar; Signature of God, details just seventeen of these prophesies that were fulfilled “to the letter”. With conservative estimates given concerning the odds of (each) individual prophesies fulfillment, Grant derived at an (accumulative) number of all 17 coming to past as; 1 chance in 4.8 trillion X 1 billion X 1 Trillion that all these prophesies could have occurred in one and the same person, Jesus Christ, but it happened. I have seen the math in his calculation, incredible but true. Insurance companies across the world us this same calculator to sell insurance policies.

In another example, some say Jesus was only a good spiritual leader, prophet, teacher, not much else. If that were the case He would take his place among one of the many grave sites or mausoleums of the world where such are presently interred. But the Biblical and historical record shows that His grave is empty, wherein the other great so-called spiritual leaders of the world are dead and still dead. The Romans soldiers became one of the best witnesses concerning Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. They killed Him, they provided security over the Garden Tomb, and were on hand when He arose, even to the giving of detailed accounts of Heavenly music, glowing light, and those that were dead, now seen alive in grave clothes shouting the victory. This information can be corroborated/ obtained in historical archives, check under letters by Pontius Pilate to Caesar. So much more could be said, but the evidence speaks for itself. I believe the written report to be representative of the facts portrayed.

Once again, the; “called out ones”.  This is not a new concept, as it has its origin back in the days of Abraham, some two thousand years before Christ came the first time. In the days of the Old Testament, God would call a group of people out from the rest of the world to follow Him and be His chosen people. That’s not to imply God had no use for the rest of the people on the planet, but He had a special purpose for His chosen ones. Most folks have never heard this before, but long before God revealed Himself to Abraham, He revealed Himself to mankind. We live in a time where we people have been taught to believe things happened randomly, random life, the many random life forms, intricate detail, all random, everything. But here is something that blows the random foolishness out the window. When the Universe was created, (not exploded), God in His infinite wisdom placed the star system in a Divine pattern. It’s called the Zodiac, these patterns, everything from pots and pans to a “lion” and a “serpent”, a virgin as in Virgo all reveals a timeless message. By connecting the dots, pictures are formed, it’s where dot to dot coloring books came from, I think. The story of the plan of salvation was being revealed on the biggest screen in world, the Universe. It would tell of how a serpent (devil) would try to kill a child (Jesus), and in the end, the serpent gets slain, plus so much more, space here too limited to share. These planet configurations would forever be an “object lesson” to humanity of someone, somewhere is bigger than us a/The Creator. Now back to how God would call a chosen people to Himself, ye a forerunner of the Church.

            History shows mankind failed to connect the dots of the celestial plan of God as moral decadence and violence ruled the planet. God would send a flood and basically start over with the exception of 8 people, Noah and family, who were found righteous. In due time God would raise up Abraham who would be a Father to a Nation of people who would become God’s chosen ones (the called out ones). These chosen ones of old would “represent” God in the world. They were to walk a different walk, talk a different talk (talk in light of His Word) worship God a certain way, and be very obedient in every way to the will and purpose of God. In this another object lesson, a contrast would develop in that there were those that would follow the plan of God from those that did not, or refused to do so. Fast forward to Jesus’ day and time. He would call out people and say follow Me, and they did. As a matter of fact in John’s Gospel; as many as received Him, to them gave He power (authority) to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on His name (John 1:12). And those that respond to the call of, coming out of the world and being separated unto Him are the believers, the called out ones, the Christians, the ones that make up the Church in discussion.

            When a person accepts the Lord as his/her Savior, they willfully and deliberately want to follow the Lord and be a part of the called out group of people that we call the Church. A good many of these folks are rough in the beginning, as they were deep in the world and its ways, maybe for a long time. Though the Church should be exemplary in action and deed always, none are perfect, though striving for perfection is the goal, but in the end there is only one who was perfect, that is the one who called us out to follow Him, Jesus. Those that are part of the Church, the called out ones, are actually part of the Body of Christ Himself. As our human bodies are made up billions of cells, so is the Body of Christ made up of million/billions of Christians. And because of this, the people of Christ are able to be what they are called out to be, and that is a peculiar people unto the Lord. And like the Old Testament Church we represent Christ to the world. In my opening paragraph I mentioned the Church being persecuted across the world, what’s behind that I wonder? In conclusion, if we accept the existence of God, then we have to accept the fact that He has a people as He says, and if He has a people, then they have a purpose and a message. To silence the messenger is silence the message.

Pastor Thomas Nosworthy

Light the Way Ministries.

lightthewayministries.org

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Special Guest Commentary

101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS

TO

INSPIRE PATRIOTISM

Introduction

You might be wondering what prompted the writing of this bodacious quotation book? What better time than now to be reminded of how both essential and fragile our country is. America is experiencing one of its darkest periods in recent history.  For over three years, we have witnessed some truly vicious and ugly political unrest.

          A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever!  President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that  were fairer to America.

          Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.

          The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.    

           Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case.     Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category.  And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.

          Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!

            Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)

          Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness.  I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are  the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.  

           The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.

           Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention.  The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.

           That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.”  Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.

          A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.”  I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!

          All across our country,  statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.

           Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become.  I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white,  Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact.  People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.    

          Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots,  and harms people, as the same thing.        The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost.  Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.

           But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?

           I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?'  Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance?  That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.

          I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)

            There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.

           I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began.  That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.

            I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  (Mark 3:25)

            America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce.  But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.

          We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!

            How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.

          It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.

 

More Commentaries 

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