Oct 31, 2011

Reformation Day

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31st or the last weekend in October in remembrance of the Reformation. Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg's main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the good news of salvation by grace through faith for Christ's sake. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption. Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance. Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works. Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to escape God's anger and punishment.

The truth of the gospel -- the good news that God is loving and merciful, that He offers each and every one of us forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us -- was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity. The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity. Martin Luther and his colleagues came to understand that if we sinners had to earn salvation by our own merits and good works, we would be lost and completely without hope. But through the working of the Holy Spirit, the reformers rediscovered the gospel -- the wonderful news that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to redeem and justify us. As Luther wrote in his explanation of the Second Article of the Apostles' Creed: I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true. On Reformation Day, we glorify God for what he accomplished in 16th century Germany through His servant, Dr. Martin Luther -- the recovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith for Christ's sake. We also earnestly pray that God would keep all of us faithful to the true gospel and help us to joyfully declare it to the world. This lovely hymn verse encapsulates the theme of our Reformation celebration:

By grace God's Son, our only Savior,
Came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of your own merit
That Jesus died your soul to win?
No, it was grace, and grace alone,
It brought Him from His heav'nly throne.

Oct 30, 2011

Sunday Bulletin, Oct. 30, 2011

Christian Urban Outreach

Christian Urban Outreach has opened a thrift store!
"NU2U Upscale Resale" opens Nov. 1, in Redford.
Proceeds from this new store will benefit education at
Westside Christian Academy, which is run by Christian Urban Outreach.

The address of the store is 25495 Grand River, in Redford Oaks Shopping Center just West of 7 Mile Road.

Space is being set up here at Grace Bible Church, so that members of our congregation, who wish to make donations of used items, may bring them to the church during the next couple of weeks or so. Please leave donations in room 5 and 6 downstairs. After that time, our World Outreach Committee will make arrangements with NU2U to pick up the donations. If you have any questions, please contact Joel Ashby or Bill Wilkins.

Gently used clothing is especially needed!

Their web site is http://www.nu2uupscale.com/ and, they're on FB! Check it out!

Oct 24, 2011

Amazing Grace Ladies Breakfast

Amazing Grace Ladies Breakfast
Sat., Nov. 5, 2011

Make plans and mark the date on your calendar to be at the next
 "Amazing Grace" Women's Breakfast
which is coming up on Saturday, November 5th.
Join us for food and conversation
(in between bites) at Little Daddy's Restaurant which is next to
Southland Mall in Taylor.
We will be meeting at 9:00 AM. and look forward to seeing you there.

~ Marianne Ashby ~

Oct 11, 2011

Blame It on Babylon

Blame It on Babylon

In the book of Revelation, Babylon is a symbol of all that's wrong in the world. It's the system, the way  things are in a sinful creation. Babylon is worldliness. If you study Revelation 17, you'll notice three things about the prostitute Babylon. First, she is attractive. She has royal clothes, purple and scarlet. She glitters with gold and is decked out in pearls and precious stones. She's got her best threads on, alluring and seductive.

Second, the influence of Babylon in pervasive. She sits on many waters, which are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages (Rev. 17:15). Babylon the city literally sat on many waters (Ps. 137:1;
Jer. 51:13), but water here is a metaphor for influence. Babylon is connected and powerful. She is not one kingdom in one place at one time but the pervasive worldliness that reigns in every country, every culture, and every government.

Third, Babylon is impressive. John says, in verse 6, "When I saw her, I marveled greatly." He was astonished at her influence, her power, and her hold on the inhabitants of the earth. The ways of the world always seem more impressive than the way of a crucified Savior.

So how do we avoid the crushing weight of Babylon the Great? The first step is to admit we live in Babylon. Everyone does. We are all tempted to drink from the golden cup filled with abominable things (Rev. 17:4). Every culture has it's "isms" to tempt us to idolatry. In Africa, the test of the faithfulness may involve animism and polygamy. In South Africa, it might be syncretistic versions of Catholicism. In Asia, it might be ancestor worship. In America, the "isms" are a little different.

SCIENTISM: truth is only found in what can be measured, tested, and published by peer review.

BIOLOGICAL DETERMINISM: I am what my genes tell me to be.

JOURNEYISM: As long as I keep searching, maybe people will quit bothering me to find something.

EXPERIENCEISM: The good life can be found only through travel, adventure, and novelty.

PROTESTISM: If I always speak out against the evil out there, I can ignore the evil inside.

HEALTHISM: Younger is always better, and when I get old there will be a pill and a workout video to help me feel young again.

ENTERTAINMENTISM: If it doesn't make me feel something right now, it can't be worth my time.

VOYEURISM: My life is disappointing and boring, so I will do all I can to peer in on celebrities whose lives are more exciting and more dysfunctional.

SPORTSISM: I live and die every weekend based on how well twenty-year-old men push each other over while running around in tights chasing a ball.

PARTYISM: Life pretty much stinks most days, but once or twice a week I have the time of my life; later, I throw up.

POLITICSISM: Everything bad is the other guy's fault, and everything that needs to change in the world can be voted on by Congress.

FAMILYISM: Christ and His church take a back seat to soccer and band.

SEXUALITYISM: My parts are my business and God cannot tell me what they're for or when or how to use them.

SHOPPINGISM: It's not idolatry if it's for my kids or on sale.

ADVOCACYISM: I care therefore I am.

I could go on and on about all the other worldly "isms" of our day. But you get the point. We live and breathe worldliness.

The answer is not to hide in a holy huddle in some Christian ghetto. The problem with the Christian subculture isn't that it's too otherworldly but that it's almost always too worldly. Sure, some of the
movies and music change, but the way of thinking is still the same. The experienceism, the healthism, the entertainmentism are all there because finding us an alternative to Babylon is more difficult than watching different movies. It's living by a different story. It's being shaped by a different set of assumptions. It's demonstrating a different ethic. It's being supremely relevant to a dying world by smashing the idol of relevance. If you want to always be relevant, you must deal with the things that touch eternity, and if you are dealing with eternal things, you always seem a bit irrelevant.

We're foolish if we think that we are not surrounded by Babylon. Everyone is. Worldliness in this country will ruin far more spiritual lives than Islam and new-age spiritualities. "In this world, not of the world," Jesus said. Easier said than done. "Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?" (Prov. 6:27-28). Beware of all the subtle ways the world wants to squeeze you into its mold.

....by Kevin Deyoung; Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI.
This article taken from Tabletalk Magazine, October, 2011

Oct 10, 2011

In Memory

In Loving Memory of
Edna Milburn
Sept. 19, 1924 - Oct. 4, 2011

Grace Bible Church lost one of our long-time members
this month. She was a very sweet woman who cared for others.
During the last years of her life, she was shut-in due to health conditions.

She was the beloved wife of the late Lennie Crown
and the late Aaron Milburn.
Loving mother of David Crown.
Also survived by many loving cousins and friends.