JUNE 7, 2023

Dear Friends,

It was in early June, about five years ago, when I first realized that Pride Month had become a thing. Mary Ann and I were in Plano Texas where we were attending a weekend marriage conference. We had arrived a day ahead of the event, and our hotel was adjacent to a nearby shopping and entertainment venue. So we decided to stroll through the area and find a place for dinner.

It seemed that every shop in the area had decided to make sure customers knew that they were on board. Rainbow flags were everywhere. Windows had signs and stickers offering support for LGBTQ+ pride. Those few store owners who had no flags or banners stood out. It was clear that everyone was supposed to be on board.

I thought about that weekend in Plano on Sunday as Matt prayed for us, for our neighbors and friends and for our culture during this month. And I thought I would pass along some thoughts from Jonathan Leeman, one of the pastors at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC about what our posture and mindset should be during June (you can read Jonathan’s full article here).

1. IN EVERYTHING YOU DO, LOVE (Mark 12:29-31)
Don’t take love for granted… Loving our neighbor should animate everything we say and do this month. We stand up for truth for love’s sake. We swim upstream for love’s sake. We share the gospel for love’s sake. We say, “No, I can’t do that” at work for love’s sake. We turn the right cheek to those who strike us on the left for love’s sake.

We must always love—both God and our neighbor.

“If you love me,” Jesus said, “you will keep my commandments. . . Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”

Love, in the Bible, always works together with righteousness, obedience, and truth. Love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth,” (1 Cor. 13:6).

Today’s culture has completely swallowed hell’s view of love: love means whatever you want it to mean… Real love always points people to the God who is love, and anything that draws people away from this righteous and holy God is not love but is a deceiver.

3. NEVER LIE (Exodus 20:16)
Many situations at school or work will place you into situations where lying might seem like the easy road out of a dilemma. But Christians should not lie. Short-term gains never outweigh long-term compromises. Scripture’s positive command to speak the truth in love doesn’t mean we have to speak up at every moment in which we could. Sometimes silence is acceptable. Yet Christians must never lie.

4. NEVER AFFIRM EVIL (Ephesians 5:11)
Just as you should never lie, so you should never participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, and you should never give approval to anything that provokes God’s judgment.

As we’ve seen in our current series on the Seven Deadly Sins, all of us struggle with temptation in so many ways: sexual sin, greed, anger, envy, gluttony – the list is long.

We’re no better than anyone on the outside because we’re all here by mercy and grace. Our worth and value and righteousness and hope is vicarious, imputed from Christ. What a gracious and loving Savior he is!

We must consider three kinds of judging during times like Pride month.

First, we don’t want to wrongly judge what’s right and wrong, as with the false prophets who said, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.

Second, which is another version of the first, we don’t want to overlook our own sins while condemning others, as with the Pharisee in Luke 18 who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men.”

Third, we don’t want to wrongly condemn our brothers and sisters when our consciences draw different conclusions amidst some of these tough situational dilemmas (attending a Gay wedding, calling people by their preferred pronouns, etc).

Remember that along with “sexual immorality” and “idolatry” in Paul’s list of “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5, he also includes “dissensions” and “divisions” in that list.

When the challenging work or school dilemmas come, it won’t always be clear how all of the above biblical texts apply. Sometimes, it might feel like one text commends one path while another text commends another path. Choosing the best course of action will require much wisdom as we study the Scriptures and discuss our dilemmas together.

I hope that is helpful for you as it was for me. And I hope you’ll continue to pray for wisdom as you navigate the challenges of living faithfully for Christ during Pride Month.

For those of you who, like me, remember some of the classic songs from the early days of Contemporary Christian Music, do I have a treat for you.

Two weeks from tonight, on Wednesday, June 21, we’ll be hosting an intimate evening with Grammy and Dove Award singer/songwriter Bruce Carroll.

Bruce is best known for songs like Who Will Be Jesus, Sometimes Miracles Hide, The Great Exchange, Walk On and many more.

Here’s one of my favorite songs from Bruce.
Bruce will be joined by a friend, Nick Twomey from a ministry called Biglife. He’ll be sharing about what Biglife is all about and about their current project where they are providing for believers, and particularly for orphans in Afghanistan. The concert is free, and while the goal is to share with us about Biglife and their work, there’s no requirement that anyone do anything to support the ministry.

This will be a great evening of music and fun. We’ll have coffee and desserts for everyone. We’re planning to crowd into the Living Room at church unless we can’t make room everyone who wants to come.

We’ll be posting this on our Facebook page soon, so let’s spread the word. Find the link, like it and pass it on.

We have a bunch of kids signed up for the upcoming Backyard Bible Club. It takes place June 19-23. And it’s going to be super fun!

There’s still room for more kids. You can sign up kids here.

We have lunch plans for you for Sunday, June 25. As some of our students head to Memphis for their Street Reach outreach week, we’ll be sending them off with a Spaghetti lunch fund raising event.
Lunch will be on a donation basis. All proceeds will go to help cover some of the costs associated with the Street Reach outreach in Memphis.

Crowder. Magic Springs. July 29.
Our students are making plans to go. If you’d like to tag along, talk to Cole and let him know. Or click here for details and to register now.

The NxtGen young adult ministry meets next Tuesday. 7:00 pm at the church.

If you haven’t yet signed up to provide a meal for the Harris family following the birth of their son, you can still hop on the meal train by clicking here and signing up.

I’ve shared this with you before, but I wanted to remind you that we’ll be hosting a weeklong event July 17-21 for Middle School or Senior High students. It’s the Anchored Apologetics Conference, led by the Director of Downline Ministries in Little Rock, Dr. Danny Hinton.

The cost for the weeklong event is $150 per student. But here’s good news for our students – because we’re hosting the event, our students can participate for free. FREE.

Click here to find out more and to register. If you have any questions about the event, contact Danny Hinton directly: hintondaniel100@gmail.com.

Here is our regular monthly update on our monthly giving and expenses in May:

May giving: $32,395
May operating expenses: $41,331

Mortgage Principal Paid in May: $3,956
Total Remaining Mortgage Debt: $1,266,874

Year to date giving: $155,873
Year to date operating expenses: $197,473

Cash on hand: $151,099

As always, we are grateful for your generous giving and your support of our church. You can give easily online by clicking here. Or save the church the bank service charges and give by putting a check in the giving box on Sunday or mailing your check to P.O. Box 26677, Little Rock, AR 72221.

If you have any questions about our finances, please reach out to me or to Tim Friesen.

If I asked you for your list of the most egregious sins, would the sin of sloth even make your top 10 list? Probably not. So how did it wind up on the list of the seven deadly sins? Sloth? Is it really that big a deal? And in a culture where people often don’t take their allotted vacation days from work, is sloth an issue in our day? We’ll take a look at the sin of laziness Sunday.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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