RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2015

Trunk ‘R Treat 2015

On Halloween, our church, First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, hosts Trunk ‘R Treat. It is a wonderful opportunity to bless the community by providing a safe place to dress up and get candy. We decorate the trunks of our cars and give out candy to the kids. This year we also added a bounce house, took family photos, and offered food. With Halloween being on Saturday, we were able to start earlier. We also enjoyed great weather. It was a wonderful activity.

 
 

A comic’s view of Halloween

I find that artists who create our daily comics provide great insight, commentary, and of course, humor, on our daily lives. Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) and Johnny Hart (B. C.) give a perspective of some truly scary Halloween costumes.

Calvin & Hobbes - Halloween costume

BC - Halloween costume

Johnny Hart also provides a unique twist on Halloween treats. It doesn’t count if it’s not candy.

BC - Halloween candy

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Calvin and Hobbes, Fun, Holidays

 

What’s a Christian to do about Halloween?

3By dressing up your children in costumes and taking them “trick or treating” in the neighborhood, are you participating in a pagan ritual and compromising your faith? By giving out candy to children that come trick or treating to your house, are you encouraging the occult and demonic? Can a Christ follower use a holiday such as Halloween for redemptive purposes?

31These are difficult questions, but ones which a Christ follower needs to have an answer for. You may have to agree to disagree with those who come to different conclusions. I served on staff of one church where an associate pastor went ballistic because a person used miniature pumpkins as part of a fall decoration on the church piano. In contrast, my wife and I helped our kids pick out Halloween costumes and went trick or treating with them. We did that for several years until I talked the kids into talking mom out for dinner instead of going trick or treating. (My wife’s birthday is on Halloween and it got lost every year because of Halloween parties.)

46Our church hosts “Trunk ‘R Treat” in the church parking lot each year on October 31 as a way of blessing the community. Church members decorate their cars and we pass out candy, gospel tracts, and tooth brushes from a local dentist. This year, we’re including a bounce house and food to encourage people to stick around so we can connect with them and talk.

To help you develop your own convictions on the subject, read Mike McKinley’s blog post, “Should Christians take part in Halloween celebrations?” You may not agree with his perspective, but it will help you to think biblically on the topic.

 
Image

Are you being transformed by your time in the Scriptures?

PowerPoint Presentation

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Bible Study, Quotes

 

Of princes, presidents, and prime ministers

Tim Challies has written an insightful blog post regarding our tendency to get excited and/or depressed when our party wins/loses an election. In “I went away for just 6 days …” he tells of Canada’s recent election where Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party of Canada were swept into power. Though initially discouraged, Challies says that it was

a sudden and interesting little realization that drew me out of my despair. I found myself pondering the well-known words of Psalm 146:3-4: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” Here the psalmist admits our temptation to find hope in men, to put our trust in princes and presidents and prime ministers. We know better. We know the futility of trusting in men. But still we are prone to it. Still we do it.

And it struck me that there are two sides to this temptation. The temptation is not only to put my hope in politicians but to put my despair in them as well. I will be tempted not only to find too much joy in the election of the person I voted for, but also to sink too far into despair in the election of the person I did not. Either way, whether I soar too high or sink too low, I am declaring that I have put my trust in a man more than in God. I have forgotten that, ultimately, it is God who rules over and through earthly rulers.

Regardless as to whether or not our preferred party wins next Tuesday’s election and next year’s Presidential election here in the USA, God still reigns on his throne. A good reminder as we move into and through the next election cycle.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 28, 2015 in News stories, Quotes, Scripture, Tim Challies

 

If life was lived like Facebook

A friend posted the following tongue-in-cheek article on Facebook. (Thanks, Lynne.) I got a chuckle out of it.

Facebook friends

It also made me think twice about what I post on Facebook or my blog … or not. 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Facebook, Fun

 

The Heart of Generosity

Over the past few weeks, we have been studying the topic of generosity, seeking to understand what Scripture says about money and giving. We have examined passages in the Old Testament (Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; 1 Chronicles 29:10-22) and the New Testament (Mark 12:41-44; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Matthew 25:14-30).

We have gleaned several principles from our study:

  • It all belongs to God (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
  • We give back to God what he has given us (1 Chronicles 29:14-16)
  • We worship God with our first and best (Proverbs 3:9-10)
  • Promise—If we give, God will meet our needs (Proverbs 3:9‑10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • Sequence—We give to God first, then God meets our needs (Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • Challenge—Give generously and see what God does (Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • Rather than tithing (giving 10%), the New Testament teaches generosity (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • While tithing may not be a requirement, it is a good guideline, since it was the pattern of godly people before the Law was given (Genesis 14:17-20; 28:10-22)
  • Our giving should be periodic, personal, planned, proportionate, and properly protected (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
  • Generosity is best determined by what we give when we have little, not when we have much (Mark 12:41-44)
  • We have been blessed in order to be a blessing (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • Use all you are and all you have for God’s glory (Matthew 25:14-30)

As we wrap up this series, we will compare and contrast a couple that was not generous and several churches that were generous.

Ananias & Sapphira

Acts 5:1-11

Churches in Macedonia

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

Influenced by Satan (3)

Inspired by grace (1)

Lived in great affluence (1)

Lived in great affliction (2)

Gave out of their surplus (2)

Gave out of their poverty (2)

Told self-centered lies (3)

Gave with a sense of joy (2)

Kept as much as possible (3)

Gave as much as possible (3)

Reactive—caught up with the emotion of the crowd      (4:32-5:1)

Proactive—they initiated the gift (3)

Felt an obligation to give (4:32-5:1)

Begged for the privilege to give (4)

Concerned for the opinion of others (4)

Concerned for the needs of others (4)

Met expectations

Exceeded expectations (5)

Gave their money (2)

Gave themselves (5)

Appearance of worship (2)

Authentic worship (5)

Revealed a phony faith (2-4)

Confirmed a real faith (5)

Condemned (5, 10)

Commended (1)

A frightening example to avoid (5, 11)

An encouraging example to follow (1)

God doesn’t want our time, talents, and/or treasures. God wants our heart. When he has that, we willingly give him everything else. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

Excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7)

This is the synopsis of a sermon preached at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on October 25, 2015. It is the final sermon in a series on Generosity. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.