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  1. Paul A. Lytton says:

    There is one sure, positive, direct, appropriate, Biblical way to answer anyone asking, “What Church do you go to”? Simply respond, “I go to The Church Jesus Built”. Google it, there are several enlightening places to go. The following is just one:

    “The Church That Jesus Built”
    A Sermon by Elder J.L. Davis
    New Zion F.B.H. Church
    Greenville, South Carolina

    Matthew 15:18b; “And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell
    shall not prevail against it”.

    What are the challenges that the church faces? From the first century, while in its
    infancy, to this day, the church has been bombarded with fierce persecutions. It faced
    emperors like Nero, with all of his atrocities, who for the sake of sport hung Christians on
    stakes, covered them with oil, and burned them like torches as he rode his horse in the
    midst of them. But, the church did not die. It faced men like Vespasian, Nero’s general
    who marched into Palestine in 67 A.D. to stamp out a revolt but had to return to Rome
    because Nero killed himself. He, sending his son, (Vespasian that is), and in August of
    A.D. 70, with an army of no less than eighty thousand trained soldiers burned the temple
    in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish theocracy and the cradle of the Christian Church. But
    God forewarned the Christians who forsook the doomed city in time and fled to
    Decapolis beyond Jordan. The church did not die.

    In the fourth century, the Emperor Dicletian came to power, an able and judicious leader,
    who kept the Roman Empire from sinking into dissolution. For twenty years he tolerated
    the church and the Christian faith. But he had a son-in-law by the name of Galerius, a
    cruel and fanatical heathen. He prevailed upon his father-in-law in his old age to
    persecute the church and bring them back under paganism. Churches were destroyed,
    bibles were burned, Christians were deprived of public office, and their civil rights. But
    above all, they were to sacrifice to the pagan gods or face death. But Galerius found out
    “you cannot destroy the church”, and before he died he asked that the church pray for
    him and the welfare of the empire. I could go on and on, but time will not permit. There
    is something unique about the church – It grew out of persecution. Every time they tried
    to stamp it out over here, it popped up over there. It is indestructible, and it’s hell proof.
    Jesus said, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

    So when folk think they can hurt it through persecution, they’re fighting a loosing battle.
    It only gives the church more vigor. I heard Isaiah say, “When the enemy shall come in
    like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him”.

    In order for a man/woman to be effective as a Christian, he must never minimize the
    power of the church. For the church is the body of Christ, it is the vehicle of the Holy
    Ghost, and the Holy Ghost is the “executive arm of the Trinity”. When God commands
    it, the Holy Ghost moves and causes it to be.

    The church is not a social club, where we include who we want and exclude who we
    don’t want. For I heard Isaiah say, “Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and
    he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without
    money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). Then I heard Jesus say, “Come unto me, all ye
    that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). I heard Him
    say in the book of John, “If you come I will in no wise cast you out”.

    The church is unlike any other institution, it’s profoundly deep. Furman University is
    concerned with and focuses on knowledge, but the church focuses on wisdom. Yes, we
    get knowledge from books and universities, but wisdom comes from God.
    Greenville Memorial is concerned about the body, but the church is concerned about the
    soul.

    Psychiatrists practice depth psychology, but the church practices deep faith. Because of
    our faith, we call those things that are not as though they were. For we walk by faith and
    not by sight.

    The optometrist checks the eyes, but the church checks the heart.

    Science sticks with facts, but the church sticks with faith. Science will tell you, in order
    to move a mountain, it will take earth moving and blasting equipment, but I heard Jesus
    say, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove
    hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you”
    (Matthew 17:20).

    In the formative years of our country, the church was the only institution that gave our
    people a sense of dignity and pride. In the rural south or as we call it, in the country, it
    was the only institution that allowed a man to walk behind a mule all week and serve as
    pastor on Sunday morning. It was the only place where you could work in the fields all
    week long and be chairman of the deacon board on Sunday morning. Where you can be a
    domestic worker or housekeeper during the week and serve as President of the Mission
    when you get to church. Before we knew about a degree, other than the degree of the
    sun, the church gave us pride. It’s never been concerned about your social status, but if
    you’ve got clean hands and a pure heart you can make it in the Lord.

    It’s been said that wherever God builds a church, Satan builds a chapel near by. The
    enemy no longer fights the church from without, but he’s gotten on the inside fighting
    from within the church. He’s gotten in the saints, sowing seeds of envy, strife, and
    divisions. There is too much quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, too many factions
    or what we call clicks in the church, too much gossip, arrogance, and disorder. Those
    things that are an abomination to the Lord have crept into the church. A proud look, or
    haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood (in the church they don’t
    literally kill you, but they kill your character). A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
    feet that run to mischief, sowing discord among the brethren. These things doth the Lord
    hate.

    But the church is to be a saving station, an oasis in the wilderness. In the church we
    ought to do as Jesus commanded saying, “Let your light so shine before men, that they
    may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven”. If we lift up
    Jesus, I can hear God saying, “Behold I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth;
    shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
    (Isaiah 43:19).

    I don’t know about you, but the church is my spiritual gymnasium. It is where my soul
    takes its spiritual exercise. For I head the psalmist say “My soul shall make her boast in
    the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad”.
    It is my spiritual cafeteria, it is where David declared, “He prepareth a table before me in
    the presence of mine enemies, he anointeth my head with oil” and yes, when I enter into
    His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise, He will make my cup run
    over.

    I know that in God’s house, in the church, I can find safety that ADT can’t provide, for I
    heard Jesus say, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not
    prevail against it”.

    The church is the only institution that Jesus is coming back for. He won’t be back for
    Bank of America. He’s not coming back for U.S.C. or Notre Dame, University of
    Georgia, or Florida State. No, He’s not coming back for Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta
    Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho, nor Kappa Alpha Psi. But He’s coming for His bride,
    the church, adorned for her husband. He’ll be looking for that church without a spot or
    wrinkle.

    You can be a member of many organizations without Jesus, but to be a member of the
    Church that Jesus is talking about you’ve got to have Jesus as Lord of your life.

    You can go to heaven without health, you can make it without wealth, you can go without
    fame, or even a great name; you can make it without learning or great earnings, without
    culture, beauty, or friends, but without Jesus you just can’t make it.

    I wonder do you know Him? Let me tell you about Him:

    He’s the First and Last, the beginning and the End!

    He’s unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone!

    He was bruised and brought healing!

    Pierced and eased pain!

    Persecuted and brought freedom!
    Died and brought life!

    He’s risen and brings power!

    The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him,
    leaders can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him, the Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him,
    Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him, and the New Age can’t replace
    Him.

    Let me tell you what He means to me. He’s my way out of no way, my help in the time
    of trouble, my friend when I’m lonely, my bread when I’m hungry, water when I am
    thirsty.

    The reason why Jesus could declare, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates
    of hell shall not prevail against it”, is because the Church that Jesus is talking about is not
    built with brick and mortar, wood, or stone, but it is built with His shed blood. Therefore,
    the church is sealed by the blood of Jesus, and the devil can not penetrate the blood.
    There’s power in the blood. Stay in the church! (The Church Jesus Built) ( And ask them to come to the Church with you)

  2. No movie for me, but I’ll be taking my son to Seal Beach to check out the USS Sampson.

  3. oh yeah… FIRST!

    (That’s my first first…)

  4. Reuben says:

    I just split in half.

    Sent it off to Stephanie Drury.

  5. Obama a liberal Christian… vs Romney a Mormon…

    Evangelicals would vote for a gay whale over a democrat…

    I still get people trying to convince me that Obama is a Muslim….I say
    What is your evidence?
    What consequences has it had in the last four years?
    Frankly I wish all Muslims were like Obama…
    Tell me why I should be as stressed as you are about it…

    Then I wonder if the Birthers were as upset at Romney about his tax returns as about the Birth Certificate…

    A lifelong Republican here… pretty sick of it all. Am I alone?

    Ok so I will confess, I think Obama is a Christian…of a liberal ilk… I think he was born in America and his election was remarkable… I think he did some good things that I was against but worked out (like bail out the automakers)… I think he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, Clinton’s line but he was full of it when he claimed it… I think single payer health care is coming and is necessary and I will hate it but accept it and it will further break our country… I think we broke the back of Russia with the arms race and I think those chickens are coming home to roost because we cannot afford our the military and we cannot afford to dismantle it…

    And I think in four years we will recycle these arguments… when Obama leaves after his second term…

    Also, I am not comfortable with the ratification of Mormonism by the evangelical electorate who are showing how little they care about truth when politics are involved.

    The sheer hypocrisy of damning Obama’s nonexistent Muslim faith and tacitly endorsing Romney’s Mormonism will have consequences… probably not as big as I think but it will matter and it will do much to make Mormonism an alternative Christianity like Protestantism and Catholicism.

    Have a good sabbath

  6. erunner says:

    This is one hate generating election and I’m concerned that no matter who wins we very well may see rioting across our nation. Hope I’m wrong.

  7. Paul A. Lytton – thank you for that sermon – very good.

  8. jlo says:

    What I keep hearing from the evangelical tribe is not the Mormons are non-believers, but that they are pre-Christian. To which my response is that still makes them as much of a non-believer as any Atheist or Muslim, etc. They keep telling me it’s different, subtle but different. Go figure.

  9. Lutheran says:

    ‘the ratification of Mormonism by the evangelical electorate who are showing how little they care about truth when politics are involved.’

    Preach it, Dread. That’s the truth.

    Mormons pre-Christian? What a horselaugh. They certainly don’t consider themselves as such. They say theirs is the True Church, raised up by Joseph Smith, etc. They probably consider US pre-Christian, until we join Their True Church.

  10. DavidH says:

    “Also, I am not comfortable with the ratification of Mormonism by the evangelical electorate who are showing how little they care about truth when politics are involved. ”

    This is one of the primary reasons I will not vote for Romney. I’m not going to let political expediency trump my faith.

    After years of researching Mormonism, and having a friend who is a Mormon outcast (I’ve learned so much from him. His dad was high up in the Mormon hierarchy.), I cannot in good conscience for the man.

  11. Lutheran says:

    DavidH,

    Aren’t there a lot of burned-out Mormons out there?I think they call them jack Mormons. Is that right?

    In the evangelical world, you’ll find the same thing. They call areas where revivalism has been popular, “burned out districts.” For example, northern New York State where Finney — and, probably not concidentailly, Joseph Smith came from. Any churches wishing to get something going in these areas after that….damn near impossible. People get a taste of the Truth but they’re burned out against any real, in-depth Xanity.

  12. Lutheran says:

    I’ve also always been intrigued by the fact that Utah has the highest depression rate of all 50 states. I don’t doubt it may be at least in part attributal to the Mormonism. It’s basically a “Law” religion. That perfectionism and striving can take a toll, IMHO.

  13. Bryan Stupar says:

    To be fair (from my perspective) I previewed the movie and didn’t find it to be ‘anti-democrat’ but rather, ‘anti-Obama ideology’. In fact to be fair to Democrats, the movie (from what I recall) portrays Obama as even more redial than a typical democrat. If one was a red-blooded democrat (not necessarily in line w/ all of Obama’s ideology) I wouldn’t think they would feel alienated/marginalized.
    Again…this was just my take-away from the movie.

  14. Lutheran says:

    Unlike some on here, I don’t have a problem voting for a Mormon, per se.

    However, I could never vote for Romney. His policies blow.

    If you can figure out what they are from one week to the next. 🙂

  15. Here is an offering from the Men’s Network of The Lutheran Hour Ministries. Unlike the CC way of telling their people what to do and how to vote – this speaks of the relationship of Church and State and the 2 kingdoms of God. Totally non partisan.

    It’s called The Intersection of Church and State. It’s brand new and was on TV 2 weeks ago.

    http://www.lhmmen.com/studyvideofull.asp?ID=21040&fid=2600&mode

  16. Well, the difference between Obama and Romney really shrunk this week. The only thing that really separated them was the abortion issue and both Romney and Ryan rolled on this – both denying that they had any plans to work at overturning Roe.

  17. Ixtlan says:

    @13
    depression in Utah……. ever been there in the winter?

  18. erunner says:

    Paul A. Lytton, Thank you for your post.

  19. forgot to post another thank you from this corner to Paul A. Lytton – a good read this morning

  20. Em says:

    almost my parting shot – i just took a quick glance at the link at #20 and it reminded me once again that science will declare that our brain is the sum and substance of who we are – it isn’t – it is just the processing center for our soul’s use of our bodies – says me

  21. Reuben says:

    Today is a strange day in Colorado.

    There was a nationally covered abduction of a child here not too long ago. The child was found some time later in pieces, left in a field.

    Yesterday, an 18 year old boy walked up to a 13 year old boy for assistance in contacting his ex-girlfriend, so he could attempt to resolve a recent breakup. The 13 year old boy panicked and ran home, while his mother managed to take a photo of the 18 year old leaving the scene in his car.

    The picture went viral in minutes. People called into radio stations, claiming that they would go vigilante on the first child killer they saw in the car pictured not minutes ago.

    The 18 year old boy found out he was all over the news, and turned himself in to police, explaining that he was simply attempting to get the kid to knock on a door for him.

    My son was told at church today that he was not allowed to go outside or down to the basement to play. He had to be under the supervision of an adult at all times. He went to the basement anyway, sending us into a panic looking for him.

    I have seriously considered purchasing a concealed firearm and license, as a result of all of this.

    In the kitchen this morning, talking with the priest’s wife, I said that had my child been abducted, I would be on the news. The manhunt would have included me, because I would hunt the trash down that hurt my son, and put a bullet into his/her forehead, and have it on youtube by the end of the day.

    The scary thing is, I know that is what I would do.

    Listening to the radio, and hearing some of the comments from Coloradans today, I realized that tens of thousands are gripped with a fear that was not there a week ago. The schools are doing “Stranger Danger” classes. The teachers are sending out letters explaining that if we keep our sick child home from school, they had better call god and everyone first, before the school calls the FBI and helicopters.

    I am reluctant to send James beyond the safety of the enclosed back yard. He is damn well going to karate classes till he is 21. If I could strap a tazer to his side and trust him to only use it in self defense, he would have one right now.

    I am writing this, because I saw that one person, and one horrific event, nationally televised, and ending in the worst possible way, has impacted people deeply, and shown them things, maybe about themselves, that they never imagined possible.

    I know it has done that to me.

  22. Em says:

    as a child i can recall three different incidents; two involved perverts in cars and the other a mysterious unnamed threat that had the school instruct the students to not go down a certain street and not talk to or go near any stranger for the rest of the year … when my girls were in grammar school they walked a residential street through a rather wooded area (1960s) and, if my neighbor hadn’t been a policeman, i would never have been aware that there was anything going on … they were having trouble catching a rapist whose M.O. i won’t describe as it was very quiet and very effective – this went on for about 3 years and not one incident made the news … does the publicity goad activity or are things worse now?
    we, as children, knew not to talk to strangers and just accepted that life had its risks and its rules … i think it is the same today, but there’s always that one trusting child and there must be more ugly people on the hunt for them than there used to be … we certainly seem to have a general public mental attitude of celebrating the bizzarre that we never used to have – even the authority figures are marginalized now, to say nothing of God, Himself
    prayer seems so overwhelmed with destruction at times – but we pray on

  23. Mark says:

    Romney’s Mormonism is a non-issue to this republican evangelical the same way Bob Dole’s passive Methodism was a non-issue. I vote for a political leader not a religious leader. The President’s policies are important- not his faith. If he’s an evangelical like me, great. If not- so what. Obama had four years on the job and has been an abysmal failure. He’s spent 4 years working for re-election, not running the country. He has no new ideas and more of the same is a frightening thought. He has to go. I’d vote for a Hasidic Jew if he had the right programs for our future- and most Republicans feel the same way. There is nothing hypocritical about supporting Romney.

  24. Since I don’t do it often, I just want to agree with the first part of Mark’s last post. Romney’s Mormonism doesn’t matter one bit for political office. Just like Obama’s Christianity doesn’t matter.
    I can’t think of a single President who has carried his Christian values into office.

    I should take that back – several have carried “their” christian values into office – only they didn’t bring God’s values in with them.

    I find it a little disheartening that neither Romney nor Ryan have a pro life plan. They seem to have the wink and a nod – but that’s it. When asked if they would work to reverse Roe, they both stare like a deer caught in the headlights. Which means, that no matter what they say, they have the same “life” game plan as Obama… do nothing.

  25. Babylon' Dread says:

    I was clear… voting for Romney is not hypocritical for a Christian… unless that Christian has been damning Obama’s religion and/or damning him as a secret Muslim… Those people are blind, silly, and disingenuous …. and yes hypocritical

    On the other hand I think Christian voters need to accept the fact that voting for Romney will help to mainstream Mormonism… and I think it is a pernicious path.

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