Pastor Pete’s Blog

  • Save The Date Rings And Gay Paper
    Christian Myths about Gay Marriage Christian Myths about Gay Marriage

    Christian Myths about Gay Marriage

Christian Myths about Gay Marriage

For the first time in the history of the United States of America, two persons of the same sex can now legally obtain a marriage license in all fifty states. The reaction to this ruling from the Supreme Court has been extreme and divisive on both sides of the argument. Some are overjoyed, many are sympathetically supportive, and others are outraged. Personally, my heart is heavy. Primarily because there are so many false narratives being advanced by people who claim to be disciples of Christ. Because I know the attacks are going to come let me start by saying a few things that I sincerely believe to be true. While I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and as such, I share the biblical view on homosexuality, I am not aggressively attacking those who have chosen this lifestyle. I do love you, pray for you, and deeply desire to hear you, know you, eat with you, and understand you. Furthermore, I would like to ask for forgiveness from those of you who have been shamed, slandered, slurred, and humiliated by my brothers and sisters of the faith. Finally, if my comments below and in subsequent posts share this unholy  spirit in your mind or heart I humbly ask that you would contact me so I can seek forgiveness from you as well. My goal in these posts is simply to present what I consider truth on this issue based on my current understanding of culture, church, and ultimately scripture. Christian Myths about Gay Marriage             Over the past few days, I have been monitoring the news, web, and social media closely. One of the most astonishing revelations for me has been the lack of biblical […]

  • Volunteer message and red pencil
    19 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Recruiting By: Greg Baird 19 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Recruiting By: Greg Baird

    19 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Recruiting By: Greg Baird

19 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Recruiting By: Greg Baird

Every church I know of struggles to recruit the volunteers necessary to function at their maximum capacity. Recruiting is hard work, but Greg Baird has some common sense tips for us all when it comes to keeping that pipeline full of volunteers. 19 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Recruiting By: Greg Baird Start making it more about vision. A big, compelling, well-defined, life-changing vision. Stop making it about need, People won’t buy-in to or commit long-term to great need. Start identifying new places to find leaders. Have you recruited youth? College age? Seniors? What new group can you share your vision with? Stop doing it alone. Equip other leaders (your core leaders, staff, other church staff, etc.) to recruit with you. Start asking! It’s one thing to make the need known…it’s another to actually“make the ask”. Stop pigeon-holing people. Have multiple opportunities available for the people you speak with. Start being clear about available opportunities – specific functions, commitment time, etc. Stop losing volunteers by limiting their freedom to be creative and bringing their own ideas to what they do. Start creating systems to make volunteer assimilation easy, not difficult. Stop relying on cattle calls or bulletin invitations. Start asking personally. Stop making excuses that no one is interested in hearing. Start expressing appreciation to volunteers (personally, individually & corporately). Stop abandoning volunteers once they begin serving. Start being flexible with scheduling, training, subbing, etc. Stop talking about all the challenges you face in your ministry. Start telling stories about great things happening in the lives children, parents & volunteers. Stop doing program beyond your capacity to build teams to meet the need. Start doing what Jesus told us to do in Luke 10:2: “These were his instructions to them:…‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in […]

  • Bad day
    Get Up! Get Up!

    Get Up!

Get Up!

2 Samuel 19:7–8 (NET) —7So get up now and go out and give some encouragement to your servants. For I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out there, not a single man will stay here with you tonight! This disaster will be worse for you than any disaster that has overtaken you from your youth right to the present time!” 8So the king got up and sat at the city gate. When all the people were informed that the king was sitting at the city gate, they all came before him. But the Israelite soldiers had all fled to their own homes. There are difficult days for all leaders. Times of doubt, discouragement, tragedy, spiritual weariness, physical pain, personal hardships, these all abound in the lives of leaders. As a leader you are not immune from these certainties. David the man after God’s own heart faced such days. Two of his sons died violent deaths, Amnon in 1 Samuel 13:28–29 and Absalom here in 1 Samuel 18:15. David cries out “My son, Absalom! My son, my son, Absalom! If only I could have died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33). It is impossible for this writer to imagine a more trying time than one like this. However Joab was right to encourage the King to step out and encourage his people. Leadership requires great courage, and at the advice of Joab David decides to go out and sit at the city gate despite his own personal tragedy, and sorrow. Leaders should never attempt to conceal their emotions in times like this however they must also not concede their responsibility to lead. As a leader you will face […]

  • Shepherds Cave
    Israel Day 12 May 29, 2014 Israel Day 12 May 29, 2014

    Israel Day 12 May 29, 2014

Israel Day 12 May 29, 2014

Today was a free day for our group so we all got to choose what we wanted to do. I decided to book a tour guide to take me around and show me some of the sites that were the most interesting. I was hoping some others in the group would join me and split the expenses but everyone else wanted to save the money for other things. I almost decided not to go but I am glad I stuck with my original plan. I have enjoyed everyday here in Israel. Each day has been full of its own surprises, frustrations, and enlightening moments. However, today was the most amazing day I have had. This was in large part due to my tour guide Esseam. We did not get to go to Bethlehem on any of our group excursions so that was very high on my list. This was the first place we went this morning. Bethlehem is in the West Bank so we had to pass through a checkpoint but they did not even stop our car. On the way out it was the same we just drove right through as the guards waved. I was surprised because I had only heard about how hard it was to get in and out of Bethlehem. Our first stop was Boaz and Naomi’s field, or the shepherds field. According to archeological evidence and local traditions this is the place that Boaz owned. There is also a cave on the site just behind the church that marks the spot the shepherds had their encounter with the angel that was a cave that has been confirmed to have been used by shepherds during the time period. It was […]

  • My Roommate Ray
    Day 11 May 28, 2014 Day 11 May 28, 2014

    Day 11 May 28, 2014

Day 11 May 28, 2014

Today was a massively wonderful and disappointing day all at the sometime. The sites and stories were the wonderful part along with some family stuff.  Today was my wedding anniversary. It’s the first one I have not been there to celebrate with my wife and it felt strange. I was blessed to be able to call home and talk to her this afternoon as she was waking up.  That really helped put the rest of the day in perspective and there was really nothing that could have ruined this day.  However the tour guide and bus were the disappointing part. They showed up late of course. We drove to Masada and after our tour it took almost an hour to get them to come and pick us up. That wasted time was really disappointing. Today was the last chance we had to see some of the sites so the late start and delay at Masada caused everything else to be cut short. Then on the way home there was something wrong with the bus and we drove about 10 mph for really long way. My roommate (Ray) and I finally got out and walked the last few miles to the hotel. Our day started at Masada. This is a huge desert fortress built on top of a large mountain overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built this place for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. This guy really was a master builder. I was so amazed at the thought that went into this fortress that was designed to be a place of refuge and last stand if needed. In this day there was really no easy way to […]

  • My roommate took some pictures of me praying at the wall. In case you are wondering you have to have a hat on to pray at the wall...
    Israel Day 10 May 27, 2014 Israel Day 10 May 27, 2014

    Israel Day 10 May 27, 2014

Israel Day 10 May 27, 2014

Today was the day we were scheduled to travel out to a few sites with a tour bus, however we learned early this morning that the bus was not able to meet us. So we spent the day wandering the streets of Jerusalem instead. It was a great day but a long one. For those considering coming to Israel be prepared to walk a lot. Here in Jerusalem you get the feeling that everything is uphill as well. Some in our group were really struggling today to keep up and we are all tired after a day in the old city. Our first stop took us just down a very step hill from our hotel to the Garden of Gethsemane or Mount of Olives where Jesus went to pray on the night he was betrayed. The Mt of Olives gained its name from its extensive olive groves which were renowned in antiquity (Zec 14:4; Mk 11:1). [1] There is good reason to believe this could be the exact place. From this garden you can see the Golden Gate which is sealed and said to only be opened at the return of Christ. You can also see where the Lions gate leads into the city. There are also two extremely large olive trees here. Tradition and science according to some say that at least one of these trees was here the night Jesus prayed. Olive trees are known to live for over 1,000 years in some cases so it is not impossible to think that Jesus would have prayed near or under one of these very trees. Of course there is a church built here and there is a rock exposed in the floor of the […]

  • Caesarea Maritima amphitheater from the top
    Israel Day 9 May 26, 2014 Israel Day 9 May 26, 2014

    Israel Day 9 May 26, 2014

Israel Day 9 May 26, 2014

Today was another overwhelming day for me. This morning I stood on the stones where Paul made his appeal in Acts 25 before eventually being sent to Rome where he was later executed. Tonight I lay down to sleep on top of the Mount of Olives near the spot my Savior spent his final hours in prayer before his passion began. Each day of our journey here has presented me with different views, challenged me in different ways, and brought about a variety of emotions. Words are not able to express these things but I hope my detailed journal will help me share how wonderful this trip has been, and keep these memories fresh in my own mind long after I return. So here is a play by play of today. We started the day by leaving Nazareth and driving to “Caesarea (“city of Caesar”). This is a coastal city of Palestine that served as capital of the Roman province (Acts 8:40). Built by Herod the Great, it is located 37 km. (23 mi.) from the foot of Mount Carmel; also called Caesarea Maritima.”[1] This city was built between 22-10 B.C.E. and is believed to be about 8,000 acres though not all of it has been uncovered. This city “became the administrative center of the country throughout the period of Roman occupation. Three Roman governors of Palestine lived here: Felix (Acts 24), Festus (Acts 25:1, 4, 6, 13), and Pontius Pilate, who visited Jerusalem on special occasions (as in John 19). Archaeologists found Pilate’s name carved in stone in the theater at Caesarea.”[2] This city also sits right on the Mediterranean Sea so it was a major seaport as well. There were not any good […]

  • Cookies and Cream Gelato on the Sabbath!
    Day 8 May 25, 2014 Day 8 May 25, 2014

    Day 8 May 25, 2014

Day 8 May 25, 2014

Today was the Sabbath so we worshiped and rested. It was great. The day started off at the Baptist church down the road. The worship was great and the sermon was good. I did not understand most of the songs but really enjoyed the spirit that filled that place. We were given little boxes that transmitted a translated version of the sermon but the battery on mine ran out only a few minutes into the Pastors message. I followed along on the power point and in my bible. The pastor was talking about Faith and mostly the faith of Abraham. He had some good points from what I could make out. After church we went back to NETS for lunch. We had sandwiches and it was great. It is strange how a common food like a sandwich can taste so good after you have been without it for a week. There was a sweet time of fellowship, then a long period of using the Wi-Fi up at NETS to call home and send some emails. Then we all slowly made our way back to the hotel taking in the scenery of Nazareth one last time from atop the hill. Everyone did there own thing this afternoon. I spent sometime in prayer, then started reading a book. Tonight we ate here at the hotel and then, headed down the street looking for some Gelato. We finally found a place that was open and everyone sat outside in the cool breeze visiting and laughing. I am amazed that just a few days ago I did not know these people at all and tonight we are true friends. This has been a great trip in so many ways […]

  • Israelite Wall
    Israel Day 7 Israel Day 7

    Israel Day 7

Israel Day 7

Today was another amazing day in Israel full of adventure. We started this morning by traveling to Hazor. On the way we passed through Cana where Jesus preformed his first miracle at the wedding by turning the water into wine. Hazor is a great archeological cite located in the Upper Galilee, north of the Sea of Galilee, in the southern Hula Valley. Its history starts sometime in the early Bronze Age. The city has been found by name in Egyptian records as well as the biblical account. At one time they believe this city had about 15,000 residents which is amazing. There is an upper and lower city that have been inhabited by many people over the years. The most amazing feature to me is the water source. They dug a hole 45 meters deep, then tunneled another 25 meters outside the city walls to get to the water source. They did this so that the city could have water even when they were under attack or under siege. There is a lookout tower on the far end of the ruins that gives an amazing view and you can really understand why this was such and important and strategic location. According to the Books of Kings, this town, along with Megiddo, and Gezer, was very fortified and expanded by King Solomon.You can read about this city in the Bible in 2 Kings 15:29, 2 Kings 23:8, and Joshua 11:1-12. Next we traveled to Tel Dan which is now a nature reserve and has some biblical ruins as well. This cite is very different from Hazor. Here you find lush green vegetation everywhere because water is so abundant. There is a huge natural spring that is […]

  • Standing on the edge of the precipice
    Israel Day 6 2014 Israel Day 6 2014

    Israel Day 6 2014

Israel Day 6 2014

Today was another amazing, and full day in Israel. We started out this morning with the usual routine of breakfast and then departed our hotel for Mount Precipice. This is likely the place that the events recorded in Luke 4:29–30  took place. The scripture says…29They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.30But he passed through the crowd and went on his way. [1] Standing up on this high spot really brings the situation into perspective. The hill gradually climbs to the precipice where you are surrounded on three sides by a steep and large drop. Being pushed or thrown from here would mean certain death. Seeing these kinds of places really brings the bible to life. While thinking about what happened here on the precipice and considering the scripture was great, the view is really what makes this place worth visiting. From here you can see so much biblical history. Off to my right I saw Mount Tabor. I wrote about some of the things that happened here on Tabor in the journal entry for day 2 when we first arrived in Nazareth. This is a very important biblical site and one that I never realized was so close to the home town of Jesus. Some new information I learned today about Tabor is that at the foot of the city is the city of Debareh where Deborah lived.  She was, an Israelite judge, and played a major role in the war against the Canaanites (Jgs 4:6, 12; 5:1, 12).[2] It all happened in the valley below. Then looking straight […]

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