ConnectFor those of you who are interested in some of the ongoing discussions that were a part of the recent 37th General Assembly of the PCA, byFaith Magazine has some interesting articles that are of use.  Click HERE for a listing and links to the different GA articles.

If you would like to read a brief discussion concerning the study commitee of Women’s roles, click HERE.  To read a synopsis of this discussion on the floor of GA, click HERE

Posted by: Ted Mattis | 18/06/2009

37th General Assembly of the PCA update

Connect Well, I decided to take a step out of the Assembly because i have been compelled all day to write this post. In fact, if I had time., I would have done this last night.  And basically I wanted to say this, never in my 14 years of being on the ‘professional’ side of the PCA have I been as encouraged as I was last night.  Skip Ryan, former pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church, spoke candidly about the bending of his moral compass and the consequences he faced as a result.  It is a testimony of great candor and honesty, absent of the veneer we have all grown so accustomed to seeing and often requiring of those in higher ‘spiritual’ offices.  It’s the very thing that could actually make our denomination effective as a Gospel witness- if we all lost the veneer and allowed the TRUTH about ourselves to be the basis of our relationships and our worship, we might just experience renewal and revival in the church, as well as having a credible and effectiveness witness in our world.

Listen to Skip Ryan’s Testimony here

Second, Paul Kooistra, former President of Covenant Theological Seminary, and Coordinator for Mission to the World, delivered a timely sermon, which, in his way, tenderly indicted our denomination of having her eyes off of Jesus and being far too wrapped up in herself, asking the Assembly to consider the question, “Do we reflect the radiance of the Lord Jesus Christ- Do we look like a bride smitten with her Bridegroom?” Among other comments made, Dr. Kooistra said,   “You cannot be full of Christ and full of yourself at the same time.”  From 1Corinthians 1:26 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth,” Dr. Kooistra challenged all of us to truly grapple with the reality that the quest for a bunch of nobodies to be somebodies is futile and counter Christ. Psalm 115:1 says, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us.  but to your name be the glory…”

Listen to Dr. Kooistra’s sermon here

Posted by: Ted Mattis | 12/06/2009

It’s About Time…. ( pass it on )

Posted by: Ted Mattis | 01/06/2009

I Need Your Help

question_mark

I really do need your help. In a way, what I am about to say is rhetorical, but in another way, it isn’t. I believe that ‘sex’ is a wonderful gift from God given to be enjoyed by two people committed to one another in marriage (yes, man and woman!). If I have already lost you here, I have no apologies. Now, I am no prude and I fully understand the seduction of pleasure having fallen victim to it myself. I am fully versed in the weakness of the human will to resist the promise of ‘forbidden fruit.’ Much of my personal shame is the direct consequence of this particular weakness.

It is no secret that sexuality and sexual aberration are ‘hot topics’ today in our country. I am also fully aware of the epidemic status of pedophilia in our country. How many Datelines do we have to watch exposing this heinous reality in our world to get the picture. Every week another story is posted about a child abduction. The sex trade overseas has even made its way into Hollywood’s conscience in movies like ‘Taken.’ It’s a real problem.

Here’s my problem and where I need your help. Today in Memphis, TN, at the Shelby County Courthouse, elected officials ( County Commissioners ) are voting on an ordinance that actually protects pedophiles from ‘discrimination.’ County Commissioner, Steve Mulroy, a graduate of Cornell Law School and William & Mary- JD (obviously a bright man), who claims to ‘know God’ (he’s Catholic), and has two young children himself is the author of this ordinance and will argue in favor of it.

I know that Jesus, in whom I believe and have entrusted my life, looked upon the outcast, the downtrodden, the least and the lost with compassion. I was one of them. I have been the recipient of that care. But never in my life did that compassion condone my former lifestyle, but with pity He  pursued my radical rehabilitation. He did not pursue my protection but my rehabilitation. He is very clear that no one, not the idolaters, the homosexuals, the fornicators, the perverse…will ever see or know God. He does take pity and offers them new life- complete transformation…but is clear that those who continue in this manner of life will only prove themselves not be followers or knowers of God, willfully exchanging true freedom for the gas chamber of their own rebellion.  But because of who He is, not wishing anyone to perish, he pursues to the downtrodden, the perverse, the outcast….TO RESTORE THEM….TO REHABILITATE THEM.

I have a 13 year old daughter.  Am I to assume that her well being should be subjugated for the ‘rights’ of one who would seek to violate her?  If I owned a business in which my children freely roam, am I to assume that a sexual predator would be protected by law in my environment?  Is this ordinance contrary to current law?  Don’t we put pedophiles in prison?  If one of these poor, hurting, lost, sexually aberrant seeks to violate my child,  I will discriminate.  I will do more than that.  I would even defend Mr. Mulroy’s children.  Here’s my problem, if faced with that situation, would he?

What has gone wrong in our city that anyone would be willing to sacrifice our children on the altar of ‘tolerance’?

Somebody please write legislation that values, serves and protects the well-being of our community, above that of the individual.

Please contact Steve Mulroy

Mulroy_06_sm2 Commissioner Steve Mulroy

District 5

(901) 545-4301

steve.mulroy@shelbycountytn.gov

Tell him how ‘proud’ you are to have him in leadership!!! ( in text language that learned from my kids- ‘jk’)

John 12.35

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.

John 3.19

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

John 8.12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Posted by: Ted Mattis | 09/05/2009

Muslim Demographics

A Real Wake Up Call!!

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Posted by: Ted Mattis | 28/04/2009

Theology & Art

rembrandt-return-of-the-prodigal-son1 A few years ago I was invited to participate in a weekend conference out in the middle of nowhere. I was the ‘music’ guy and there was a keynote speaker. I was so looking forward to getting away from all the hustle and bustle of full time ministry and soak in some much needed R & R. Tucked away in the woods, I looked forward to retreating into some kind of ‘aimless’ bliss. I had had my fill of all those ‘sermons’ and lectures that I had heard or even taught. I just wanted to rest. I didn’t have much interest in sitting and listening to yet another speaker. I did my thing. Sat down. And in came the speaker carrying a large frame. He placed it on an easel and began to set the stage for the weekend. “We are going to talk about you this weekend, but not in the way you might think or are used to.” He turned to the easel, pulled back the covering and unveiled Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son.” It’s a striking image of pain and love. A son having wandered and squandered, a Father deeply delighting in the return of his son and a contemptuous brother. It just oozes emotion. For the next two days our speaker called us to the details of the image- the intimate details. He called us to look at the condition of the son, his broken sandals, his tattered clothes, his mangy head. He called us to scrutinize the posture of the Father- gentle and embracing, quiet and comforting. Both the father’s hands embrace his lost son. He stoops down to him. The Older brother is calloused and distant, unapologetic- hands folded, clothes are meticulous- he is not amused.

As the speaker talked I found myself breaking on the inside. Tears welled up as he showed me the love in the Father’s hands. It came alive to me in the details of the image. I could identify with the tattered body of the wayward son in ways I hadn’t before. What was happening? I had heard this all before many, many times. Why now? Was it because my guard was down being so far away, or was the Great God of the universe speaking to me in ways outside of my orthodox box? My heart was being accessed through a very unfamiliar avenue. My guard had been dismantled by the unexpected: the power of art.

Art is an interesting phenomenon. Michelangelo said, “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” True and enduring artists always speak of their ‘connection’ to higher power be it God or whatever they choose to call Him. The reality is that they experience union with a power not of themselves. Some have explained the experience of creativity as an uncontrollable force that must have its expression. For the artist, their art is the expression of their communion with the ‘divine perfection,’ or the irresistible movement of the Holy Spirit, whether they recognize Him as such or not.

Most of us reduce art to forms and their substance- paintings, sculptures, photographs, music, poetry, etc… But the true purpose of real art is to reveal, or at least to point to a deeper reality- to engage us in a deeper life. Art, in its truest essence, has as its central purpose the revelation of God- the ‘divine perfection.’ Francis Schaeffer said years ago, “Wherever God is there will be music, laughter and poetry.” Why? Because the celebration and expression of the divine perfection is manifested most authentically in art. Art is in its essence the only true creative endeavor of man- it is to imitate God Himself in His essence. Art has much to teach us about God if we will but have our eyes open to it. He is our Masterpiece. He is Beauty. And art is the revelation of beauty. The revelation of God.

So….those hands on the Prodigal’s back…the hands…they belong to God. The Prodigal’s back….that’s my back…maybe even yours. And it is in my darkest moments, when I feel haggered and broken, ashamed and obscene…when I humble myself to my God, that is when I experience the tenderness of my Father’s love… It is not just a story…it is ART.

Posted by: Ted Mattis | 17/04/2009

You don’t have to be an NRA member to be concerned…

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