Thoughts on Evangelism

Thoughts on Evangelism

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

This week, a friend asked for help in sharing the gospel with a dear person in their life. The following is a conversational guide I put together for how to turn a conversation toward a gospel conversation. I hope it’s helpful.

Transition: “Would it be ok if I changed the subject, and we spent some time talking about Jesus and the soul?”

Soul: “Can we start really basic?

  • Do you believe you have a soul?  
  • That is the spiritual part of you that relates to and is aware of God.”

Sin: “We know from personal experience and the Bible that we are all sinners.

  • Do you think you have done wrong things?”  

Death:“The wrong things that we have done produce guilt, separation, and death in our life. Sin separates/breaks our relationships with people and with God.”

Jesus:“The Gospel (means Good News!) is the message that God is willing to forgive our sins.

  • Jesus is the Savior.
  • He accomplished our salvation on the cross.”

Cross:“On the cross Jesus met the justice of God by bearing the punishment for our sins in His own body.

  • He was a substitute for us.
  • He did this from a motivation of love.”
  • (Romans 6:23, John 3:16)

Resurrection: “Jesus is not still dead. He rose from the dead and lives eternally. He is able to forgive your sins and also give you life that will never end. Jesus is the Savior, body and soul.”

Our Action:“I am inviting you to confess your sins and believe in Jesus as Savior.

  • In His ministry Jesus called for people to believe that He was the Son of God and to follow Him with their lives.
  • He still calls for us to believe in Him and obey Him in this same way.”

Invitation: “Will you confess your sins and believe in Jesus today?

  • The work of salvation was accomplished by Jesus.
  • This glorious forgiveness and life is available to you by grace through faith alone, not by your religious works.” 

If “Yes”: Ask the person to confess their sins in prayer, but out loud, by theirown words.

  • Next, ask the person to express their belief in Jesus as Savior by prayer, but out loud, in their own words.
  • Now, you give thanks to Jesus for forgiving your sins by prayer, in your own words.

If “No”:“You need to understand that you are actively rejecting the grace of God to forgive your sins.

  • Unbelief will not be forgiven by God, but judged.
  • You will face all the just penalty of your sins. There will be judgment.”

A few additional notes on sharing Christ with others:

  • When you feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak to a person about Jesus – SPEAK! Pray for courage and love, then go for it. Forget about formulas and scripts. Speak the truth and God will help you.
  • Pray for the patience and love of Christ as you speak.
  • Really listen to the person’s responses and engage them where they are.
  • Never assume what a person’s answers will be to these questions and statements. People will shock you. The Lord will amaze you in the ways that He is working in a person’s heart, before you arrive, to prepare their heart for your conversation.
  • Refer directly to specific Bible verses as they are applicable.
  • Call for decision. If people are not ready to believe, ask if you can reengage them at a later time to continue the conversation.
  • If a person is not ready to believe at the time of your conversation, make sure they know they can express their confession and belief to Jesus at any time.
  • Never hesitate to tell people about your salvation testimony.
  • Actively seek to turn every conversation with a lost person into a gospel conversation!

May the Lord use your conversations today to lead others to salvation in Jesus,
Pastor Vic

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

We live in difficult and unprecedented times. Christians today are facing moral decisions that no Christian has ever faced before. These decisions are coming to us rapidly in the areas of sexual ethics, technology, and medical ethics. God’s word is sufficient and church history has events that are similar for the sake of comparison, but at the end of the day, we’re in uncharted waters.

Wisdom is the application of biblical truth to particular situations. We are urged to pray and ask God for wisdom. In these days, we should all be praying for wisdom.

Our congregation is being hit hard this week by the presidential executive order which mandates the federal workforce be vaccinated for COVID-19. It’s the general position of the elder board that choosing to be vaccinated for COVID-19, or not be vaccinated for COVID-19, is a personal medical decision. It’s a decision that has many factors that relate to people as individuals. The personal nature of this decision has been complicated by the president mandating a vaccine for federal workers. This executive mandate has bled over to the government contract workforce as well. Many people that have chosen to not receive this vaccine now find their careers in government service threatened.

Faithful Christians are going to make different decisions here as to what is best for them. People are falling into four general categories:

  1. Those that already took one of the vaccines weeks or months ago as a choice to protect their personal health.
  2. Those that chose not to be vaccinated for personal medical reasons but do not believe those reasons outweigh openly opposing the executive order and possibly being fired.
  3. Those that chose not to be vaccinated and are now claiming a religious foundation for being exempted from the vaccine.
  4. Those that choose not to be vaccinated and for personal medical reasons and/or freedom of conscience reasons are willing to quit their jobs to not take any form of the vaccine.

I have Christian friends in all four categories. Members of our church fall into all four categories.

A few thoughts here that I think are important. First, we need to make room for fellow Christians to reach different personal choices concerning this vaccine. Intelligent, informed Christians are convinced of different things concerning the science of these vaccines. We must allow people to make their own medical choices and not divide from them over a significant, but not gospel oriented, choice.

Second, I believe this executive order is a serious overreach of government authority but complying with it is not a matter of worship. When Daniel and his friends refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol and when early Christians refused to declare that Caesar was Lord – these were issues of worship.

We face plenty of serious moral decisions in our day, decisions that clearly relate to moral right and moral wrong. Clear moral decisions that we can point to biblical chapter and verse to prove out the right or wrong of the decision. This is not one of those decisions. As a church we can, and will, make different individual decisions related to this vaccine mandate, yet we can still come together in Christ to love and support each other.

I firmly believe there will, soon enough, come a time where our religious liberties will be directly threatened. A time when rules will be put in place that attempt to bring the church under the coercive authority of government. When that day comes, and truly our allegiance to Christ Jesus as Lord is tested, we must stand together. May personal matters not divide us in these days. Let us strive to bear with each other in brotherly love.

Give us wisdom oh Lord,
Pastor Vic



“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:2-8

This Psalm is about the Lord watching over and delivering His people in times of great trouble. I want to bring your attention to the Christian population in Afghanistan. They are our persecuted brothers and sisters. Afghanistan is estimated to have around 150,000 Christians (.3% of the population). These Christians were already a tiny minority in the midst of a traditionally Muslim nation. Now, they are a tiny minority in the midst of the Taliban, a radical Sunni Islamic sect waging jihad on the nation to fully implement sharia law. These Christians are in grave danger and need our prayers.

Reports are coming out of the country from many different sources reporting direct physical threats to Christians. Christians being trapped in their homes in dire need. People’s phones being searched for Bible apps under threat of being shot on the spot if a Bible is found. (Death for owning a Bible is the same penalty enforced in North Korea.) In the end, to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord is to apostatize (forsake) Islam. The sharia law penalty for apostacy is death. Those found believing in Jesus are given three days to decide their fate. To maintain belief in Jesus, means death. Our brothers and sisters are facing a terrible situation.

We saw this gruesome reality work its way out in Iraq under the Islamic State.  Unknown masses of Christians were put to death, or driven out of their homes as refugees, for believing in Jesus as Lord. This Islamic effort was successful in nearly eradicating Christianity from Iraq, one of Christianity’s ancient homes. It’s been some time since this tragedy unfolded, and the reality of radical Islam has been pushed to the back of our minds. It’s now back with a vengeance. Many of those being subjected to these ways have never known this form of oppression. Youths in Kabul have enjoyed American style freedom and prosperity for twenty years and have only heard about the Taliban. Those same youths are now facing the armed reality of the Taliban.

Not only Christians, but women in general are feeling the full force of Islam as they are reduced to property status. Under radical (meaning fully applied) Islam women are enslaved to their possessing husband. They are not allowed to show any part of their body (including their face) which powerfully works to dehumanize them. They are not allowed to go to school, drive, or hold any position of influence. Instead, they are put to labor, as if an animal.

We must truly pray for our Christian brothers, and especially sisters, caught up in this terrifying situation. God knows their names and their needs. The Lord is on their side and will spare them according to His purposes. Let’s pray for:

  • Protection against death, physical abuse, and imprisonment
  • Escape
  • Provision
  • Mercy
  • Wisdom and courage

Let us, in general, pray against the spread of Islam in the world. Pray for the efforts of Christian missionaries amidst Islamic people. May the Lord work in supernatural ways to bring Islamic people to salvation. May the Holy Spirit give them an extra measure of courage to believe in the face of persecution and being cut off from family and friends.

Our help is in the name of the LORD,

Pastor Vic

Grow in Grace

Grow in Grace

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

              This is the last verse of the epistle of 2 Peter. It is the last words of the apostle Peter to us. It’s a call to make individual progress in the Chrisitan faith. It’s a commendation toward spiritual growth. There can be no neutrality in the Christian life. You are either growing in discipleship toward Spirit-filled maturity in Christ, or falling away in apathy and worldliness. We are convinced that God is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), but we are commanded in passages like this to respond to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in our lives. We must grow up in the gracious ways of Jesus and love the Lord with all our minds by applying ourselves to study out a right knowledge of God. Let me share with you Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones’s six part pattern of Christian living that has helped me focus on how to apply Peter’s command.

              First, you must study the Bible. Studying is different from just cursory reading. Reading is often for relaxing or entertainment. Study is for knowledge, understanding, and life-change. Study takes the time to dig out details, and study takes seriously remembering important things. Lloyd-Jones writes, “You will find invariably that the people who do not grow in grace are the people who are neglecting to read their Bible. On the other hand the people who have grown have been regular, daily students of this Book.” If you need help reading and understanding the Bible, please reach out to an elder. We are happy to point you in the right direction!

              Second, participate in the ‘means of grace’ given to us by God, such as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, gathering of the local church, and biblical preaching. You must walk in these ways. If you neglect these ways in which God pours out His grace in your life, your Christian life will be weak and divided. After you have believed in Jesus as Savior, obey the command to be baptized. Regularly partake of the Lord’s Supper, and in so doing confess your sins and reflect upon the work of Christ on the cross. Do not forsake the local church and the building of vital, meaningful relationships with other Christians. Lastly, bring yourself under the preaching of the Bible. By doing this, you are opening your heart to the work of the Holy Spirit.

              Third, avoid every sinful thing that is harmful to the life and growth of the soul. In terms of a garden, if you let all the weeds grow unchecked, none of the fruit-bearing plants will survive. In a similar way, you must pull up, cut down, and avoid sinful practices in your life. It is a constant theme of the Bible that those who love the world, and count themselves friends of the world, will not grow in grace. The affections of their heart are captured by the world.  We must put to death (mortify) the desires of the flesh, turn away from evil, and walk in holiness.

              Fourth, if spiritual life is to grow, it must be exercised. It is true with the soul, as in all other areas, that knowledge must be applied and acted on to become transformational. We are not called by Jesus to become academics. We are called to become living disciples that observe all the commands of Jesus. We will quickly realize that great knowledge will be corrupted by a weak will. In this we must call out to the Holy Spirit to bear fruits in our lives that only He can bear. The Holy Spirit will take what we learn in the Bible, reveal its truth to us, and help us live it out!

              Fifth, in this process of striving to grow in grace and knowledge, we must each get the right amount of rest. There must be regular periods of rest to maintain the Christian life. You must be able to slow down, cease striving after the world, and unplug enough to regularly have a quiet mind to contemplate the Bible and pray. God has commanded that we keep the sabbath. This builds in a day of rest each week.

              Sixth, you should practice self-examination. You should look at your life objectively. Are you growing? Do you understand more of who God is now than years ago? Is your obedience to the commands of Christ increasing? Do you have a greater sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Most importantly, is the love of God increasing in your life? Does your life bring glory and honor to Jesus? Is God using your life and witness to bring others to salvation? It is very important in self-examination that we remind ourselves that we are justified by faith alone. It is by grace that we are saved through faith. Our hope is fully in the grace of Jesus, but by His grace we will become more like Jesus.

              In closing, Lloyd-Jones writes, “The object of growth is not that I may be better than someone I know to be worse, or better than I used to be; it is that thereby I may glorify God, that God may use me more, that I may be a more efficient instrument in the hand of God. In other words, the motive must be right.”

May we grow in grace for the glory of Jesus Christ,

Pastor Vic

To read more fully on this subject, see chapters 22-25 of Expository Sermons on 2 Peter” by D.M. Lloyd-Jones – available in the church library.

Biblical Counter Arguments

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

 As the world continues to press on us LGBTQ+ Pride month, I will continue to press back with biblical counter arguments. Last week’s article can be found at redeemerVA.org on our church blog. Last week I outlined a basic Christian sexual ethic and position against homosexual and transgender lifestyles. This week I want to provide further resources that I hope will be helpful in speaking to your children, friends, and co-workers about these issues.

I would remind you to start where I left off last week – with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should not expect people to follow in the ways of Jesus if they do not love Jesus. Begin by introducing people to who Jesus is. You’re wrong to assume that people know who Jesus is or what He taught about anything. Introduce people to the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, but in doing this, don’t skip the hard news about sin and God’s holiness. Tell people your testimony. Tell people how you were once lost in sin and death, until Jesus forgave your sins and gave you new life. Speak of the joy of living according to God’s will!

That said, there is a great divide between the deeply humanistic thinking of so many people today, and the will of God. How are we to bridge this gap in discussion and debate? Below are a few resources I hope will be helpful. First:
We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, and the very meaning of right and wrong by R. Albert Mohler
I highly recommend this short and very practical book. The first chapters address how as an American culture we have moved so rapidly from a generally Christian sexual ethic to where we are today. This historical overview is not only vital to understand, but will cause you to stop and consider what ground you may have given up in your own life. He then moves into defining Christian ethics, the place and role of religious liberty, and the role of the local church in our present struggle. The book ends with an extended question and answer section. Mohler directly answers many of the most common and thorny questions related to the LGBTQ+ movement in America.
The Gender Spectrum by Sue Bohlin

Raising Gender Healthy Kids by Sue Bohlin
I recommend this series of blog posts by Sue Bohlin, writer for Probe Ministries. In this series of posts Sue specifically relates the conversation to raising gender healthy children. It is vital that we not hide from these issues as we raise our kids. Our children are being bombarded by LGBTQ+ propaganda from every side. We need to understand basics of how to affirm our children in the gender God gave them, and help them grow up into the men and women God would have them to be. I hope these resources are helpful.
May Jesus give us wisdom, courage, and grace,
Pastor Vic

Pride Month

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:9-11

We are now in the midst of June. Not long ago June began to be recognized as gay pride month, but has now been expanded to pride month for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual, queer, + (+ being any other sexual combination that can be imagined in the future). This group, which loves to paint itself as an oppressed minority, now sits in a place of unprecedented power. They have used the force of shame and unrelenting power politics to come into a place of controlling the national conversation on sexual ethics. In a short period of time, these sexual acts have moved from being understood as sinful, to being passionately advocated for across every spectrum of our country.

It is very important in our thinking to separate allowance and advocacy. In America we are thankful for the freedom of personal expression and freedom of religious practice. However, with the issue of LGBTQ+ practice, we have a collision of sexual practice and Christian belief. We have two camps that oppose each other. A position of allowance says that each has the right to do as they please, peaceably. For the most part, Christians can, and have been, tolerant of a serious change in sexual ethics in this country. However, though the LGBTQ+ community constantly preaches tolerance, this is not what they practice. The leaders of the LGBTQ+ community demand advocacy. It is not enough for them to be free to act as they choose, they demand that Christians everywhere support and affirm what they are doing as right before God. They demand that we advocate their position.

From this position, leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement have made advocacy for this new sexual ethic the official position of the US federal government. The LGBTQ flag is flown publicly around the world at our embassies under the US flag. Every federal agency has special programs within each agency to advocate the moral goodness of LGBTQ+ sexual choices. Across the country in every state that receives federal funding, for any law enforcement, school, child protective service, or any other partially federally funded initiative, there is attached to it a mandatory and forceful block of re-education. Every employee or person in contact with that department will feel the direct pressure. This re-education is not for freedom of practice, but forced support and affirmation of every possible LGBTQ+ sexual act or expression.

The power of the federal government and public shaming has now also influenced nearly every private business as well. If a private company does not in some way publicly support and affirm all LGBTQ+ sexual expression, without reservation, that company is openly attacked and shamed until they are brought into submission. Due to this aggressive, offensive campaign, only the most openly Christian companies have withstood this pressure. It is now the exception to find a business that does not somehow acknowledge and celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month.

As Christians, we cannot support or advocate actions that God has clearly forbidden as sinful. The Bible is not unclear on sexual morality, and we must have the courage to live out God’s will. From the first pages of Genesis, to the words of the Old Testament prophets, to the teaching of Jesus, to the letters of Paul, to the final pages of Revelation – the Bible clearly sets forward mandatory boundaries for our sexual expression. This is a Christian sexual ethic. Despite what is being shouted from every corner in our day, what you do sexually IS a moral act and DOES have consequences in your relationship to God and others. There is only one God-ordained, or God blessed, sexual expression – which is sex between a biological man and a biological woman inside of marriage. In our day, even this needs to be further clarified. The Bible uses the word “fornication” to condemn sex between people before marriage. The Bible uses the word “adultery” to condemn sex between people that are married, but not to each other. The Bible clearly condemns sex between two people of the same sex (homosexuality), and the Bible clearly establishes gender as a fixed object (established by God). This is a biblical sexual ethic.

Christians are not against sex – they are for Christian marriage. Christians are not closed-minded for maintaining virginity until marriage – they advocate this as a virtue. Christians are not afraid of (phobic of) homosexuals – they condemn their actions as morally wrong. Christians are not hateful for recognizing the birth gender of a person – they are helping that person understand and accept who God made them to be. As followers of Christ, we cannot and must not give up ground on sexual ethics. We have no right to declare as good what God has declared evil. However, I do not expect the tide of LGBTQ+ pressure to change anytime soon. In fact, I believe the opposite. I believe that most of us will have to pay a personal price to maintain our biblical Christian morality. It almost certainly will mean losing friends, could mean losing customers, and may mean losing a long-time job.

I write these words with all seriousness and sobriety. Everyone of us needs to clarify in our minds, and in your personal situation, lines that you know you cannot cross without personally entering into affirming and advocating what is sinful. This should include, at a minimum, not signing a statement pushed on you at the end of a re-training session that you will affirm and support all things LGBTQ+. It should include not wearing on your person, or on your work uniform, some advocacy for LGBTQ+ sexuality. It must include continuing to uphold a Christian sexual morality even if a close friend, family member, or child chooses to enter into LGBTQ+ sexuality or gender transformation.

It’s important to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts. He was a Roman citizen, and as such, often asserted His rights (Acts 16:37-38, 22:25-29, 23:26-27). Because of this, he was freed from prison and persecution on a number of occasions. We have a constitutional right to the free practice of our Christian faith. I urge you to draw your boundary lines, pray for wisdom, pray for courage, pray for Christian love and grace, and then stand without compromise for what God has declared to be morally right and good. When it comes down to it, assert your right to practice the most long-standing religion in this country – biblical Christianity.

I began this article with clarifying our position and pressing for you to hold that position, but we must end with the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance and faith. If there is no recognition of sin, then there is no humility, and there is no need for a Savior. With no preaching of sin we end up exactly where we find ourselves today – passionately and proudly advocating for the affirmation of sin. Jesus taught that God hates pride and that our sexual sins will keep us from ever entering the kingdom of God. It is never unloving to tell someone the truth, when you are telling them the truth for the purpose of their redemption. Awareness of sin always comes before salvation, but our co-workers, neighbors, and family members will never be aware of their sin if we affirm them in it.

Jesus, the apostles, and Paul went from town to town proclaiming sin and the open door of forgiveness by grace through Jesus Christ. The reaction was always the same. Some openly hated and mocked them. Some plotted against them murder and prison. Some didn’t care and just walked away. Some came back again to consider what they had to say. But everywhere they went – SOME BELIEVED.

This month as we are surrounded by a rising storm of ungodliness, set your foot upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord (Matthew 7:24-27). Consider Him who endured such persecution from evil men and stand firm (Hebrews 12:1-4)!

Let us live as a holy people set apart from the world,

Pastor Vic


“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30    

I would like to speak to a common and understandable struggle that came from last Sunday’s sermon on divorce. If two people are in a long-term miserable marriage, why should they stay married? The unhappiness of this couple’s relationship affects the family, children, and everyone related to them. The blame for this prison of dysfunction is often laid on Jesus. It’s often said, “If they only had the freedom to divorce, they could be happy.”
This reasoning makes two wrong assumptions. First, it assumes the problem is with the relationship and not the individuals. If the two people could separate, they would leave their misery behind. Second, that the will of God in marriage is not universally good. Instead, marriage is only good when you have a match of two good people. Let’s examine both of these wrong assumptions.
First, a miserable marriage comes from one, or both, spouses living in a constant pattern of sin. The problem is not with the “relationship,” the problem is with the individuals. If they divorce without justification from their present situation, they would simply take their sin with them into loneliness or their next marriage. This is the basic reason why people that divorce, without biblical justification, have a high rate of divorcing again and again. Their personal sin problems compound, instead of resolve. However, EVERY marriage is made up of two sinners. It’s a false notion that good marriages come from “two happy people” married to each other. I have met countless couples that were miserable together, but from an outside perspective, had no reason for unhappiness. 
This goes to the second argument: “That the will of God in marriage is not universally good.” The will of God in marriage IS universally good, because it is used by God to help sanctify (make more godly and drive out sin) two sinners in a marriage relationship. Selfishness destroys relationships. The primary way, designed by God, to truly drive out selfishness is marriage and family. The long-term nature of biblical marriage and children, acted upon by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, will radically change you

The answer to a miserable and failed marriage is not divorce. This excludes the justified reasons for divorce spoken about Sunday, but speaks to the reality that most failed marriages result from anger, harsh words, selfish spending, relational withdrawal, an unwillingness to serve a spouse in need, inflexibility, selfish personal career choices, and so on. All of these reasons are sinful. The answer to our sin is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The main point I want to make here is that the answer to our miserable relationships, destroyed by sin and selfishness, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are in a struggling marriage, do not focus on escaping the marriage. Instead, examine yourself and look to Jesus. Jesus came to save sinners. The Holy Spirit has been sent to accomplish the radical transformation of selfish sinners into servant-hearted people that bless those around them. If you know people who are in a terrible marriage, please do not center your conversations with them around nursing their selfishness or encouraging them to run away from their sins. Point them to Jesus and the gospel of forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith. When you see others in a low and beat-down place, don’t encourage them to run further into the darkness; point them to Jesus who can make all things new. Jesus can, and will, give them rest for their souls.          

Speak the gospel truth, for the truth alone can set you free. 

May our marriages be strengthened by the Holy Spirit this week,
Pastor Vic

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:18-19

In this passage (Matthew 4:18-22) Jesus calls out three of His nearest disciples: Peter, James, and John. He calls them away from their life work of fishing, and instead calls them to be “fishers of men.” Jesus calls them to take up a new work and direct their energies toward a different end. He calls for them to leave behind business as usual. I’m not a great fisherman by any stretch, but I’ve done enough to understand why Jesus compares the seeking of lost souls to fishing. 

First, fishing requires patience and dedication. Catching good fish isn’t easy. It takes time. Often, it involves waking up early or staying up late into the night. It’s not about what time is convenient for the fisherman, but what time the fish are active. Sometimes your line gets stuck in the tree. Sometimes it gets stuck on the bottom. Many times you’ll do everything you know how to do, stay out for hours and hours, and come home with nothing.

Second, fishing requires skill and lures. There’s a fishing store I go past every summer on the way to the beach. It’s a huge place with every lure imaginable. There are salt water lures, fresh water lures, trolling lures, and deep water lures. They’re all employed in different ways for different fish in different places, but the fisherman must have the knowledge and skill to select and use the right lure. Some fly fishermen will make their own lures out of available material appropriate to the situation.

Third, is the thrill of the catch! After all the preparation and patience, there are few things as thrilling as pulling in a big fish. Getting a fish on the hook only begins the fight to get it in the boat! Pulling in a big fish that you know will result in a delicious meal is ultimately why people spend all the time and effort to go fishing.

It’s not an accident or coincidence that Jesus compared fishing to the labor of seeking after the souls of lost people. Seeking after the lost requires dedication and patience. It will require early mornings and late nights. Patience to care and listen to people’s struggles, dedication to continue intentionally engaging people with the gospel, and late nights counseling and answering tough questions. But all this is done from a motivation, not of duty, but of love for the lost.

Seeking lost souls is also a process that requires skill. Sincerity is vital, but not enough by itself. We need knowledge and skill to answer real and deeply meaningful questions about God. We need wisdom to discern right from wrong. We need clarity of speech to explain difficult spiritual realities with plain simplicity. 

Lastly, there is unmatched joy of being a part of seeing someone come to believe in Jesus as their Savior! There is absolutely nothing more thrilling than seeing the work of God upon someone’s heart to bring life out of death! There’s joy in seeing despair changed to hope, addiction broken, and the desires of the flesh transformed. This does not usually happen with just a few conversations. It can take years of engaging someone with Gospel conversations before the Lord opens their heart and by mercy causes them to be born again (1 Peter 1:3).

Have you obeyed the call of Jesus to be a fisher of men? Do you seek after the souls of lost people like a skilled and persevering fisherman? When was the last time you directly spoke with someone about the state of their soul? Have you ever experienced the immense joy of leading another person to salvation? Let’s take seriously the call of Jesus and make disciples of all nations. Let’s be fishers of men!

May Jesus burden us for lost souls,

Pastor Vic

Present Darkness

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12

Ephesians chapter six speaks of a standing against a “present darkness” and an “evil day.” Since the founding of this country, Christians have enjoyed a degree of religious freedom unprecedented in world history. I am alarmed that this long precedent is soon to change. It seems that the storm clouds have moved from the horizon to directly overhead. The country has progressively slid into a state of deep moral rebellion. We now live in a majority non-Christian country. The discussion has fundamentally changed. Talk is no longer about rebellious people doing sinful things, but sinful people holding the seats of power and attempting to force Christian people to give up their fundamental beliefs. I have long felt that the decisive strike against the church would come from the lesbian gay bi-sexual transgender queer (LGBTQ) community. This is fair to project because of biblical precedent. Homosexuality first comes on the scene in the Bible (Genesis 19) in a radically militant way. This community continues in its militancy today.

The LGBTQ community is not satisfied with being allowed to live as they choose in a free society. Their various passionate advocacy groups now see an open door of sympathy and opportunity in the Biden administration and the Democrat congressional majorities. They are pressing their case as far as they can. You should be aware of what is happening:

  1. The Equality Act: This act would add people identifying as LGBTQ to the Civil Rights Act as an additional protected class. This means that any person or organization that “discriminates” against an LGBTQ person would be open to criminal prosecution. This would mean that Christian churches, schools, camps, and hospitals would be forced to hire, accommodate, and not speak against homosexual or transgender issues in any way. This act has already passed the house with NO religious exemptions of any sort.
  2. Christian Colleges: An anti-religious exemption advocacy group filed a massive lawsuit last week against Christian Colleges and Universities nationwide. The suit is now being considered by the Biden controlled Department of Education. The purpose of the suit is to force the Department of Education to remove ALL federal funding from Colleges and Universities that do not fully approve of and promote LGBTQ lifestyles. These schools, as Christian schools, all have codes of conduct forbidding what the Bible forbids – homosexual and transgender sexual acts. If the lawsuit is successful all federal student aid and grants would be shut off. Certain business publications project that this could instantly close the doors of almost half the Christian Universities in the country that have become dependent on such funding.
  3. The US Military: The US military has fully reversed course on all things related to LGBTQ. In a powerful show of support to the transgender military community, transgender people were recently applauded and encouraged to become “more visible.” They have entered into a specially protected and promoted class. It is now being publicized as a recruiting tool that the military will pay for sex-reassignment surgery and subsequent hormone therapy to those who enlist.
  4. College Sports: Nationally the advancement of Oral Roberts University and Baylor University in the NCAA men’s college basketball national tournament has been passionately condemned by sports writers of major news outlets. They have been condemned because both Christian schools have codes of conduct that forbid homosexuality and transgender lifestyles on biblical grounds. The sports writers have begun publically campaigning to have all schools that hold anti-LGBTQ stances to be removed from NCAA sporting events. 

These things are happening now, and if the Equality Act is passed, and opposition to homosexuality and transgender issues becomes criminal, other effects similar to these will immediately follow. Almost certainly, colleges and universities that lose all federal funding and their sports programs for “discrimination” will also lose their accreditation. Then finally, it’s hard to believe that churches will continue to receive favorable tax status if it is considered a criminal place of “discrimination” for practicing biblical Christianity. If financial penalties are first used to starve out colleges and universities, they will be used against churches next.

Don’t be deceived, these measures of financial coercion and constant public shaming are being brought to bear in an attempt to force Christian people to abandon a biblical Christian sexual ethic. As Albert Mohler states, a great “sorting” is about to happen. The sorting will be between those who will hold to a biblical sexual ethic that is willing to name sexual sin, and those who fully place sexuality in the free expression category.

As a church I want to focus on a few issues. First, the very first freedom enshrined in the Bill of Rights is the free practice of religion. Practice means that we get to act on our religion. We get to live out what we believe in the public square. You do not have freedom of religion if you are only allowed to act a certain way within the four walls of your church. This right was not created by the authors of the Bill of Rights, but recognized as a right from God. Human government does not have the authority to dictate moral mandates to God.

Second, know what the Bible teaches about sexual ethics. Learn clearly what the Bible says about how we should conduct ourselves sexually. This is not a small or secondary matter in the Bible. The idea that gender is assigned by God, and reserving sex for marriage between one man and one woman is basic to walking in obedience to God’s will.

Third, we must stand together as a church. We will greatly need each other in prayer, encouragement, wise counsel, and financial help in the coming days. These issues are not far off. They are in our face and in our midst. We cannot whisper in the corners about these things when they affect our families, our children, and our neighbors. We must help each other where help is needed and pray where prayer is needed. We must also be prepared to make sacrifices for obeying God. I am convinced that sooner than later someone in our church will lose their job because of an unwillingness to accept and participate in the LGBTQ militant agenda. We must stand together at that time and help.

Fourth, we must not fear. The true Christian church, those who believe in Jesus and follow His commands, will never fail. Persecution has come in various waves and forms throughout church history. Each time the church spreads and grows stronger, even through the fire of trial and hardship. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; He will always provide for those that are not ashamed of His name.

Fifth, we must never stop preaching the gospel to a lost and dying world. We must love the lost and speak to them the commands of Christ with sincere hope that they will come to repentance and faith. We must truly welcome LGBTQ people into our congregation. We welcome them to hear the preaching of God’s word, not to approve of their sin. And when the Lord brings them to salvation, we must help them unwind the complicated consequences of such deception.

May Jesus strengthen us, make us wise, and fill us with the Holy Spirit to effectively live for Jesus in our time and seek the lost for Christ.

Stand firm in Jesus our Lord,

Pastor Vic



“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.” Acts 2:22-24

Peter preached these words to the international crowd that was gathered by the will of God at the day of Pentecost. This was the day that God the Father chose to pour out His Holy Spirit on the newly formed church, and the day Peter first preached to the world with great boldness. He preached Christ crucified and raised from the dead. This was, and is now, the most amazing news anyone can proclaim. There was a man named Jesus, the very Son of God, miraculously born of a virgin. He lived a perfect, exemplary life, preached God’s truth with authority and power, and performed countless miracles and wondrous signs. But in the end, he threatened the Jewish religious establishment, and those religious enemies falsely accused Him and brought Him before a Roman court. In that court they stirred up the mob to press the Roman judge, Pontius Pilate, to crucify a man he declared to be innocent. The Scriptures tell us that Satan was directly involved with these events, pressing hard to destroy Jesus and His coming kingdom.

Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers between two criminals. He had a crown of thorns upon His precious head, and a sign nailed to his cross to undermine His claim to be a king. He was spat upon, mocked, and forsaken by His disciples who claimed they would stand with Him through anything. In His agony he was offered vinegar to quench His thirst. The sky grew dark. The veil of the temple, dividing the presence of God from those outside, was torn in two from top to bottom by God Himself. And Jesus, in His infinite mercy, called out that God might forgive those who had done this to Him, because they didn’t know what they were doing. Then He bowed His head and died.

The Jews that opposed Jesus thought they had won a great victory. Satan, our great adversary, thought he had won the defining victory, at long last. But in actuality, the real actions of evil men that were meant for evil accomplished the perfect will of God. From before the foundations of the world, God had a definite plan to glorify Himself through saving sinful men and women. Not by works, so that none of us can boast, but by the magnificent grace and mercy of God. Upon the cross, Jesus satisfied the justice of God so that we might be rightly and truly forgiven. But none of this means anything if Jesus had remained dead. It would be a wonderful story from history – not a transformational message for you and me 2000 years later.

It was not possible that the Creator and Author of Life remain dead. God raised up Jesus from the dead! The “pangs of death were loosed” from Him, never to die again. He is the “first born from the dead.” This is not figurative language. This is not symbolic language. This is a new reality. This is what Jesus offers to those who believe in Him – eternal life. A whole new existence comes to those who believe in this risen Jesus. He will give us His life. When we die, we will not cease to exist. On the last day, our bodies will be raised like His, and we will reign with Him forever in new life. This hope of eternal life changes everything. It changes our future and our present. By the grace of the risen Jesus, we are forgiven our sins and pass from death to eternal life.

This is what Easter is all about. Lift up your face. Look to the heavens. Look up from your struggles today, and seek the risen Savior. Join us Sunday for worship. Bring a friend who needs to hear this good news. Make much of Jesus. He has risen from the dead!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Vic