Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mormonism - Christian or Cult?

There is rising interest in the doctrine of Mormonism and the Mormon Church today. Catchy television ads that promote Mormonism and well known TV personalities and political figures such as Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney publicly declare their Mormon faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) must be carefully examined by true Christians to compare Mormon doctrine to Christianity.

Let me give you a partial list of Mormon doctrines which are mostly only revealed to their members only after he/she has demonstrated maturity in their faith. These doctrines are gathered from recognized Mormon authorities and are compiled by Walter Martins Religious InfoNet. The website is www.waltermartin.com. These are only a brief summary of the Mormon doctrine.

1. The true gospel was lost from the earth. They teach there was an apostasy and the true church ceased to exist on the earth.

2. The Book of Mormonism is more correct than the Bible.

3. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormon doctrine page 670.

4. There are many gods - Mormon doctrine page 163.

5. God used to be a man from another planet - Mormon doctrine page 321. Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol. 5; pg. 613-614; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, pg. 333

6. God the Father had a father - Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pg. 476.

7. God resides on a planet near the great star Kolob - Mormon doctrine pg. 428.

8. God is married to a goddess wife and has spirit children-Doct. pg. 516.

9. We were first begotten as spirit children in heaven and then born naturally on earth. Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, pg. 218

10. The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus - Mormon doctrine pg. 129

11. Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers - Mormon doctrine pg. 163

12. Jesus sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins. Journal Discourses, Vol. 3, pg. 247.

13. There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. - Doctrine of salvation, Vol. 1, pg. 188

14. Baptism for the dead - a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the after life, the “newly baptized” person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.

Pastor Virgil Amundson

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From the Desk of Jen Slater: One Thirst

I thought that this was worth sharing...

Worship is something you do every day from the minute you wake up to the moment you go to sleep at night. It’s something you choose. It’s this choice to be selfless instead of selfish. It’s the laying down of your life, your affection, and your love. It’s saying, I’m going to live for you and I’m going to die for you and it’s all for you. You know, Jesus paid everything for me to be close to Him. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that there would be no space between us. So when I think about worship, I think about filling in all the space with worship because He went as far as He could to come to me, He’s done everything he could to get to me. If there’s any space, it’s because I created it. It’s because I gave somebody, some situation, or something that place. In worship there’s a constant choice to remove distractions and say “Jesus, come and fill in this space so there is nothing between us. Here it is……...my heartfelt worship.”

Jen Slater (with quotes from Steffany Frizzell)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Money: Trap or Tool?

Money is one of the greatest tools on earth. It gives options. It gets things accomplished. It has the power to do enormous good in the lives of others. When rightly managed, it can help a household run smoothly and a business operate well. When money is used as a tool for blessing, it can add dignity, value, and opportunities to bless people’s lives. When it’s misused, money can have devastating effects. The Bible says that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil practices.” I Timothy 6:10

At the heart of the drug industry is money. The root of the porn business is money. Gambling is all about money. As Christians, the money that God entrusts to us is intended to be used as a tool to glorify Him. But if money is a tool, then why do some have so much more than others? It’s important to understand our primary calling in life. Once we know what lane to drive in, we need to stay in our lane. Some are called to lead from the middle of the pack, or even from the lower rung.

Not all of us are called to be CEO’s or high level managers. It doesn’t really matter our occupational position as long as God’s call on our lives is our primary focus. When we look at things from a financial perspective, it may be that the level of financial blessings in our lives is directly linked to our specific callings. Not everyone needs millions of dollars to accomplish God’s plan and will for their life. Money is simply a tool, not a measuring stick of success, significance, or personal worth.

If you have been given much in the realm of finances, accept it with humility, responsibility, stewardship, generosity, and a sobering realization that it all came from God. (James 1:17) Also, it can take wings and fly away. (Proverbs 27:24) If you find yourself with modest financial provision, you should thank God and seek to be a great steward of what you have. If you find yourself in need of money, you may need to go back to the basics and claim the promises of God. (Philippines 4:19)

Jesus gave us an important life principle in stating, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Our checkbooks are not just a record of our financial transactions, they are a diary of our priorities. Ask for wisdom and guidance to be an honorable steward of what you have been given. As we prove ourselves faithful stewards, we will be entrusted with more tools.

- Pastor Virgil Amundson

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

End Times?

More than ever, believers and unbelievers alike are thinking about the end of the world. A major catalyst for this wave of interest in the End Times is one of the most prophetic signposts to date: The rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 and the return of Jerusalem to Israeli control in 1967. These two events are significant. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was the main reason those in the early church stopped believing Jesus would return in their generation. Correspondingly, its rebirth has re-established a context for Jesus’ return and has sparked a revival of the study of end time prophecy.

So many Old Testament prophetic passages would be irrelevant if there were no nation of Israel, no gathering place on earth for Jewish people. When Israel came back into existence a few decades ago, a context was reestablished for numerous specific and literal end-of-the-age prophecies. These prophecies involve a specific place and a specific people.

The City of David, Jerusalem, was chosen as the capital by its ancient namesake because David knew that the location was special to God. God cares deeply about the strategic little plot of land, and has great plans for it. The return of Jews to the land of promise is a major signal to the church of a change in season. It is the beginning of the sequence of signs and events, which will culminate in the birthing of another age. That age is called the kingdom age.

Jesus listed the signs that will indicate the End Times are near in Matthew 24:4-8. He called the signs “the beginning of sorrows.” These signs will include deceptive leaders, wars, ethnic conflicts, famines, plagues, earthquakes, and a significant increase in the persecution of believers. These dramatic events will mark the turning point of human history, as mankind embarks on a descent into trouble and judgment. This will lead the world into a time of “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of time, no, nor shall ever be.” (Matthew 24:21)

To the believer Jesus reminded us in Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh.”

- Pastor Virgil Amundson

Friday, June 3, 2011

Restoration Follows Brokenness: Flowers Can Bloom In the Strangest Places

I have in the center of my driveway at my house a garden of large rocks with a spruce tree planted in the center. The dirt is covered by landscape fabric and I have planted a few hostas and shrubs along with a covering of mulch.

Something has happened to beautify this landscape of rock, shrubs, and mulch that surprised me. Somehow, some beautiful little flowers have popped through the dirt and fabric. They are called “Johnny Jump-Ups.”

These flowers remind me of how beautiful flowers can still grow out of the mounds of dirt in your life. Consider Joseph of old who had more bad things happen to him, starting with being abandoned by his own brothers who threw him into a pit, to where he ended up in prison on false charges. Joseph learned, “Life is not always fair, but God is just!” He said to his brothers at the end of all his suffering, “It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” (Genesis 45:5)

The condition of life will either make us bitter or better!

When King David suffered all his disaster, he determined to allow suffering to produce its finished product: brokenness. He found his kingdom gone, his associates disbanded, and his greatest pain—the loss of his dearest son. He bowed his head to the ground, clothed in sackcloth, and anointed his head with ashes. But he refused to become bitter. Out of his brokenness came restoration and because of this understanding, David was called a man after God’s own heart.

Life is not always 100 percent great. If you have suffered loss of any kind, remember that God is a God of restoration. Restoration follows brokenness. Beautiful flowers can still grow out of the mounds of dirt in your life. They are not looking for a perfect yard; they can grow in the most unlikely places. The quicker you recognize the fruit that suffering produces, the quicker you can move on! A Christian is like a teabag: not worth much until they have been through some hot water!

- Pastor Virg
il Amundson

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No One Can Forget, Who Does Not Forgive

Have you ever heard or said, “Well, I forgive you, but I will never forget what you did!?”

I once heard a well known radio preacher say that only 10% of what we experience in life is what happens to us; the other 90% is our response. You probably have little or no control over the 10% that comes your way, but you do have control over the 90% (your reactions.)

There is so much pain and suffering in homes today. Most of us have undoubtedly had grief of some kind—an abusive father, an overbearing mother, a neglectful mate, a rebellious child, a divorce, the loss of a loved one, disrespect from someone in authority over you. These are just a few things we have had little control over.

I have met people who have been deeply hurt who confess that they refuse to forget the wrong that happened to them. They build a monument of bitterness that requires their constant attention to maintain. They constantly have to polish up the details and replay the words again and again.

They want the person who offended them to feel guilty and shameful for their actions which only keep the flaming embers of unforgiveness red hot! Someone said, “Unforgiveness is like a burning ember that you want to hurl at the person who hurt you: the longer you hold it, the more it burns you!”

There are three things you need to do to overcome the debilitating thinking of never forgetting the wrong done to you. First, stop speaking that! Allow every detail to become vague by not replaying the words or polishing the details. Stop telling yourself that you can’t forget. Start “blessing those who have cursed you and pray for those who have despitefully used you.” Matthew 5:44

Secondly, as you forgive you must release them from guilt. Until you release them from guilt, you will not be released from guilt yourself, because if you sow to the wind, you will reap the whirlwind. Hosea 8:7

Focus on the blood of Jesus. This is what gives you the power to release. You can do this by the Spirit of God in you. “The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:7 All guilt whether given or received, will bow to the blood of Jesus!

Third, start speaking it out loud! Tell the devil, tell yourself, tell your family and friends, and remind God by confessing openly “I will overcome this and forget the pain, because of the blood of Jesus and the word of my testimony.” Rev. 12:11

- Pastor Virgil Amundson