Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Amos 8:11-13

11"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it. "In that day the beautiful virgins And the young men will faint from thirst.

The effects of failing to teach and preach expositionally have been experienced by each of us. We simply don't have the will to think deeply (
Joshua 1:8) about the scriptures when imagery (video, PowerPoint and drama) is used to renew our mind, (Romans 12:1-2) and teach what is "in" the text. It is necessary to think, and thinking is a skill that is not taught in the modern day "church". In the past many of us experienced and then realized that Hollywood movies like the "Passion of the Christ" are the tool of the modern day "evangelist". As such, they fall woefully short of the ability of expositional, verse by verse preaching and the activity of the Holy Spirit enabling the believer when studying and thinking deeply about the text. Thank you Pastor Dustin for faithful preaching and to you, our church body for Family Bible Study wherein we know the truth by the Grace of God to the Glory of The Holy Spirit as He works in us to not only know, but to also will and obey.

I know it takes time and effort. I've had to work thru and am still working thru the discipline that is necessary to think deeply about the Scripture and making the necessary time and hard work to do so. I want to recognize that difficult effort and exhort all of us to work hard to think deeply about the Word of God, therefore having the understanding that the Holy Spirit works in us and to His Glory. Below are a few quotes from a typical postmodern, evangellyfish, mystic ministry that applauds the movie as the basis for an understanding of the "truth" that should rightly come from the Holy Spirit renewing the mind and the efforts and discipline of deep thought concerning the text of the Scripture. No apologies for naming a well know and trusted ministry (Romans 16:17-18) we must get used to it, it's the right thing to do, that is to "mark" them.

While I will take the time to expand on the bold issues in the following email, it will likely be well into the new year to do it justice. Won't you email me your comments or hit the church blog to comment on the following email. While I have made bold the text that is problematic, note the underlined text for favorable, accurate comments too.

God bless you as you examine the advent of Jesus Christ as he took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). By the way,
Attend full length movies for entertainment not for Bible teaching or evangelism.

Pastor Sterling VanDerwerker

Shepherd's Fellowship of Greensboro

Sovereign Grace Baptist Church



-----Original Message-----
From: Shadow Mountain Community Church
Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 6:57 PM
To: Sterling VanDerwerker
Subject: Love from your Pastor
Dear Sterling,

December 1st brings us into the intense period of the year we know as “The Christmas Season.” We initiated the season last night by going to see “The Nativity Story.” Over two thousand of us viewed this film, and I was there after the first showing to catch your reactions. Here is what I remember about your comments:

  • “I cried throughout much of the film.”
  • “This made the story of our Savior’s birth come alive for me.”
  • I saw Joseph and Mary for the first time as real people.”
  • “Thank you, Pastor, for encouraging us to see this film. It changed the meaning of Christmas for us.”
  • I can’t believe all that Mary and Joseph went through to be obedient to God.”
  • “I hope everyone in our church gets to see this movie.”

Today the movie opens in 3,000 theatres in the United States and over 8,000 theaters world-wide. Let’s pray that it will have a successful weekend at the box office. Every time a faith-based film succeeds, it opens the door for additional quality films.

Even the New York Times, a notoriously liberal paper, had good things to say about this movie:

Rather than trying to reinterpret or modernize a well-known cherished story, the filmmakers have rendered it with a quiet, unassuming professionalism...”

If you did not get to the movie this weekend, I hope you will make an effort to see it soon.

This weekend, we continue with our “Why The Nativity Series.” “Why Bethlehem?” is my message for Saturday night and Sunday morning. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem the prophet Micah predicted that it would happen. But why? Why would God choose such a place for the birth of His Son? We will explore some of the answers to that question this weekend at Shadow Mountain.

Please remember also that this weekend is our December celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Let’s come to the services prepared to draw the line between the cradle and the cross.

When you come on campus for the weekend events, you will see the Grand Central Theme everywhere. The “Rockefeller Center” skating rink is up and already in use. When you walk into the Worship Center, the entire stage area has been made ready for the Christmas production. It is the most massive and realistic set we have ever used, and if you weren’t already excited about the Christmas production, this ought to do it.

By the way, there are still tickets available for the Christmas production. You can see what is still available by going to the website which is www.shadowmountain.org/christmas.

I have been asked to remind you that this would be a great time to use shuttle parking for the weekend services. What we have done in the parking area in front of the Worship Center has taken some parking spots so we need to compensate for that with off-site parking. Thanks for helping us with this.

Finally, I want to urge you to attend the Sunday night service. Our children are presenting their Christmas production, “Miracle on Main Street.”

Thanks to the over five hundred of you who brought back bags of food to help us feed the hungry during this season.

The skating rink experience will be available throughout the month of December from 4 till 10 pm each day. The charge for this event is simply to help cover the cost of making it available. We have been given some gifts to take the edge off of the expense. Our costs for skating are less than half of all the other venues where this is happening-- $5 for children, $10 for adults and $20 for entire families.

Please let us know if you are aware of families for whom this charge will be a challenge, and we will help them. We don’t want anyone to be left out because of the cost of the event.

Love from your Pastor,

David Jeremiah

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