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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Awana Camp – Day 2

Today was Day 2 of First Central‘s Awana Camp at Pine Brook Camp in Shutesbury. We learned about the nature of sin in our Bible lessons–Dave Krok and Chris Ames taught about our sin nature and how Christ dealt with our sin on the cross. We went canoeing, practiced archery, went swimming at Lake Wyola, played games, did tie-dye crafts, and had a great time.

 
 

Awana Camp – Day 1

Today was the first day of Awana Camp, the joint venture of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee & Second Baptist Church of South Hadley, held at the Pine Brook Camp and Conference Center in Shutesbury. We had a Bible lesson, worship time, games, Minute-to-Win-It, good food, and great fun.

 
 

Voting dilemmas

Peanuts - election dilemma

Timely and appropriate, especially in this year’s election.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Fun, Politics

 

We could picnic all day

Today was the annual picnic for First Central Bible Church. In the past, we held the worship service at church and the afternoon picnic at Look Park in Northampton. In an effort to change things up and add some variety, we decided to hold everything at Buttery Brook Park in South Hadley. We had an outdoor worship service at 10AM followed by the lunch provided by our hospitality team. In the afternoon, we held a variety of games including driving a nail contest, pickle spitting, and balloon toss. Some families made use of the spray water park, playground, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pit. It was a wonderful time of worship and fellowship. We’re already talking about reserving the park for next year’s event.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in First Central Bible Church, Photos

 

El Elyon – The Most High God

Where do you find security?

When we were children, we turned to various sources of security when we were scared—a night light, a blanket, an older brother, or our dad. Maybe we turned to comic book superheroes and debated whether or not the Marvel heroes were stronger than the DC family. Whatever source we turned to, it was because we wanted someone or something that is bigger and stronger and can make us feel secure.

As adults, we might turn to money, status, success, or pleasure to find that feeling of security. We might research other religions to provide hope for the future. We need to be careful, however, because the things we put our trust in can easily become the things we worship. Matthew 6:21 illustrates this fact, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our challenge is similar to what Abram went through in the early stages of his faith journey.

In Genesis 14:1-16, Abram goes into battle to rescue his nephew, Lot. He is outnumbered and outgunned. And yet, he is victorious because God delivers him. On the way home, he meets an individual who introduces him to El Elyon, the Most High God. Abram discovers that the Most High God is the only one who is worthy to be worshipped.

Based on Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, we learn the principle that in a world that worships comfort, pleasure, money, status, success, power, and a host of other lesser gods, El Elyon, The Most High God, deserves our wholehearted worship and allegiance.

In Genesis 12, God calls Abram to leave Ur and journey to the Promised Land. Abram brings his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and his father, Terah. Terah dies in Haran. In chapter 13, Abram’s and Lot’s herds grow to the point where they need to separate and seek different grazing areas. Lot chooses the valley near Sodom and Gomorrah because it is well watered and looks better.

Genesis 14 opens with the explanation that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are aligned with three other kings in the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley had been conquered and was subject for 12 years (4). During the thirteenth year, they rebelled (4). In year fourteen, there was payback (5).

Four kings, Chedorlaomer and his allies, attack and capture the five kings and their armies. Lot is captured and carried off as a prisoner (1-12). One fugitive escapes and comes to Abram (13). Abram organizes his forces of 318 men and chases the marauders 240 miles and defeats them. Abram returns home with the captives and the spoils of war (14-16).

After the victorious battle, Abraham begins the return trip with Lot and his possessions and family and other captives. On the way home, Abram is met by two kings, Bera, king of Sodom, and Melchizedek, king of Salem (17-24).

King

Bera, King of Sodom

Melchizedek, King of Salem

Meaning of name

Bera – gift

Sodom – burning

Melchizedek – king of righteousness

Salem – peace

Character

Wicked

Righteous

Attitude

Serves self Serves Most High God

(Demonstrates that the Most High God is known outside of Israel—see Daniel)

Believes that prosperity comes from man

Proclaims victory and blessing come from God

Relationship to Abram

Acted superior to Abram even though defeated in battle and rescued

Abram recognized him as a spiritual superior

Makes demands of Abram

Honors Abram

Offers to bargain

Offers a blessing

Implications of choice

If you accept the gift from the world, you will get scorched

If you accept the gift of righteousness, you will receive peace

Abram’s response

Abram rejects the offer and receives nothing from Bera

Abram receives the blessing and gives a tithe as an offering of worship

Abram declares his allegiance to the Most High God

From this meeting (Genesis 14:17-24), we learn several key facts about El Elyon, the Most High God.

El Elyon created, owns, and rules the universe (19). Elohim is the strong one who created the world. El Elyon is the Most High God who owns it all.

Everything—heaven and earth—belongs to him.

El Elyon protects and delivers (20). Abram went into battle with 318 trained men against the armies of four kings (1-16). He chased them for 140 miles and defeated them in a surprise attack. He then chased them for another 100 miles. And he was victorious and routed the enemy at every turn. Why? Melchizedek explained that God delivered the enemy into Abram’s hand.

El Elyon deserves our worship (20). Abram recognizes God’s position—Most High, Creator, Owner. He recognizes God’s protection and deliverance—gave enemy into his hand. Abram responds in worship. Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils as an act of worship.

El Elyon has earned our allegiance (22). Abram did not pursue comfort (13:10), the spoils of war (21), or political patronage (23). Instead, he swore an oath to serve the Most High God (22).

Are you following the gods of this world, or have you pledged your allegiance to the Most High God? The Most High God is the only one worthy to the worshipped. The Most High God deserves our allegiance and devotion.

This is the synopsis of a message delivered at the Annual Picnic of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 26, 2016. It is part of a series on the Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Proposed State Legislation Jeopardizes Religious Freedom of California Christian Higher Education

BARRY H. COREY

Office of the President

Biola logo

Dear Biola alumni, donors and parents,

It is unprecedented for Biola University to reach out to our community regarding legislative issues, but California Senate Bill 1146 could significantly challenge Biola University’s ability to continue in the mission that has guided us for 108 years. Though Biola and other faith-based colleges and universities have worked closely with California lawmakers in recent months to find an agreeable compromise on the language of this bill, negotiations seem to have now reached an impasse. SB 1146, if passed, would substantially interfere with the ability of California’s faith-based colleges and universities to live out their religious convictions and expect their students to do the same.

As the president of Biola University, I am asking for your help today. I am asking our community of supporters, even those who live outside of California, to raise awareness about Senate Bill 1146 and the consequences it could have for California’s faith-based colleges and universities.

SB 1146, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), seeks to eliminate the current religious exemption in California that fully protects the freedom of Biola University, along with dozens of other California faith-based universities, to operate in a manner consistent with our religious mission and faith tenets. The provisions of the proposed bill represent a dramatic narrowing of religious freedom in California. It would mean schools like Biola would no longer be able to determine for themselves the scope of their religious convictions as applied in student conduct policies, housing and restroom/locker facilities, and other matters of religious expression and practical campus life. Though the free exercise of religion is guaranteed by both the U.S. and California Constitutions, SB 1146 would make religious institutions like Biola vulnerable to anti-discrimination lawsuits and unprecedented government policing.

This bill, if it became law, would diminish religious liberty in California higher education. It would unfairly harm faith-based institutions and it would weaken the rich educational diversity of our state.

Faith-based institutions of higher education are making profound contributions to the intellectual and common good of society, contributions not in spite of but because of our deeply held faith convictions. Our presence in society enriches it rather than diminishes it. We provide economic vitality to our communities. Our graduates leave with servant-leader hearts. Our focus on ethics and integrity is inherent to all our programs. A disproportionate number of our graduates seek careers in public service or non-profit organizations. Why would California want to harm institutions like this?

STOPPING SB 1146 REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION

Right now SB 1146 is being heard by the California Assembly’s various committees. It has already passed the California Senate. On Tuesday, June 28 it will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. If approved, it will then move to the Appropriations Committee and then the Assembly for a full vote, likely in August. The best chance to stop it is before it reaches the Assembly floor for debate and vote. Updates on the status of SB 1146, and timely action steps you can take to help oppose the bill, will be posted on this website, so check back regularly to stay informed.

HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP IT:

·        Step #1 — Spread the Word. Forward this email to parents, students or alumni of faith-based colleges and universities, churches or others who value religious freedom for faith-based institutions in California. Anyone who has an affinity for faith-based higher education should know about this threatening bill.

·        Step #2 — Social Media. Express your concerns about the bill on social media using hashtag #SB1146. On www.opposesb1146.com you can find suggested social media posts, as well as FAQs about the bill. Please express your concerns with civility and respect.

·        Step #3 — Pray. Pray for this moment in California history when our deeply held beliefs are being challenged. Pray that Biola is able to continue living and educating in ways that are consistent with biblical convictions. Pray that our mission can remain unchanged: to prepare our students in mind and character, through a biblically grounded education, to impact the world for Christ.

In closing, I want to assure you that while this law is intended to alter the heart and soul of schools like Biola, we will continue to advocate for our religious liberty. If this bill is passed and signed by the governor into law, we would join other California religious institutions in exercising our constitutional rights to pursue legal action and, if necessary, ask the Supreme Court to intervene. If SB 1146 becomes law, it would likely not impact Biola in the near future as legal action would be filed. We would prefer, however, that this bill be stopped or amended now rather than resorting to litigation later. So please join us in raising awareness about this bill and its consequences for faith-based higher education in California.

Thank you for your prayer and support in this issue.

In Christ,

Barry H. Corey President

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:5-6)

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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Biola University, Culture

 

Stop Dying!

Another article from The Moscow Times for the OIR file (Only In Russia) – “Russian Health Ministry Bans Patients from Dying to ‘Not Ruin Stats'”

Who knew that too many deaths spoiled the health statistics?

Thanks go to Norm Eddy and John Musgrave for posting the original article. It certainly gave me a reason to chuckle and roll my eyes.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in News stories, Russia