During Friday nights of SWO13, Brody Holloway teaches from Acts 1:1-11.”Be my witnesses” is the promise to the believer. We have the truth of the Gospel. Nothing would be more wicked than to keep the truth to ourselves and not proclaim the Gospel.
Seems like there are a lot of professing Christians who have now moved to a position of support, regarding same-sex marriage. We expect it out of Hollywood and pop-culture in general. We shouldn’t be surprised that politicians are following the cultural tide. But we should be appalled that those who profess the name of Christ would stand on those things that reject the Word of God as our authority. It is scary to see and hear the number of young Christians who are allowing the culture, rather than the scripture, to shape their beliefs, opinions, and overall worldview. People often misuse and misinterpret a verse or passage of scripture to support an opposing view, but the Word of God is clear on this. There is a constant, overarching theme in scripture when it comes to marriage and what God intends it to be. I want to point out three things that God intends marriage to produce, and provide, for this world. So-called same-sex marriage fails at all three points.
Marriage is for Making Babies
The first one is simple and obvious. Even though we live in a society in which 30 million children live without both parents at home, we know that God intends for Godly marriages to produce Godly legacies. This requires that the most intimate physical act between two people be expressed and enjoyed in such a way that God is glorified. One of the earliest mandates God gave humanity was to reproduce it’s own kind. In Genesis 1:28, God tells man to “be fruitful and multiply.” God then brings the first man the first bride and performs the first marriage. It is a biblical marriage, and it involves a man and a woman. It takes a man and a woman to make a baby. Two men cannot do it. Two women cannot do it. God designed it that way. He reiterates this mandate to Noah when the earth is in need of repopulation following the flood.
Marriage is for Making Us Holy (sanctification)
Within the context of a marriage, we are called to serve one another in the progressive work of the Holy Spirit in making us more like Christ. This requires a relationship between two people that is, what we will call, “complementarian.” To make it simple, a husband and wife are to serve one another in such a way that they are growing in Christ. My highest priority in marriage is the spiritual growth and discipleship of my wife, Little. Through this, our kids will grow in their own faith. We are in an amazing position to reflect the Trinitarian love of God.
If marriage is the most intimate of relationships, then even our sexuality is to serve holiness. By God’s grace, he even made sex and sexuality to be very gratifying and pleasurable, but not without design. The goal of it all is to bring holiness, and that requires complimentarianism. Paul says in Ephesians 5:26 that I am laboring for my wife’s sanctification. This is the high calling of being a man, a husband, in marriage.
Marriage Shows us the Relationship of Christ and His Bride, the Church
The church is not the same as Christ, the head of the church. Paul tells the Ephesians that Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is a self-sacrificial love. Even within the biblical idea of submission, we have the church submitting to Christ and Christ submitting to the father. The Son is, no doubt, equal to the Father, and that is the picture wives are given of submission. The Son, however, shows us how to serve our wives, by laying down his own life, and even his own position, to be murdered for his bride and for her salvation.
Same-sex marriage cannot duplicate any of this. Marriage, then, is a biblical mandate. Anything seen by God as a mandate is not negotiable. The Corinthian church gives us clear examples of what happens when a church is shaped by the culture. God does not negotiate or compromise when it comes to his character and our holiness. Marriage is so woven into the story of redemption that it is impossible to sever the two. On a more sobering note, perhaps the reason so many “church kids” are climbing on board the same-sex marriage bandwagon, is because they have never seen a heterosexual marriage cover these three biblical realities. We should be convicted and convinced of the high call of marriage, and we should labor to that end in our own marriages, and pray toward that end in our singleness.
The church is still the bride of Christ, and nothing can legislate away that reality.
I wanted to give everyone an update on the Ugandan adoption. We have been completely blown away by the support that we have received on this. We completely stepped into this thing by faith, trusting that The Lord would provide for our financial needs. At the same time, we want to do our part and give some things up as a family so that both Little and Me, as well as all three of our kids, are taking an active part in this whole process. One of the sweetest things that I have experienced through this process has been my little Lailee Mae (7 yrs old) handing me a letter with three wrinkly one dollar bills in it. She had been hanging on to those bills for a while, praying about what to do with them. She had written the words, “Ugadda adopshon.” Pretty cool.
We have seen gifts come from close friends and ministry partners, as well as complete strangers who have felt the call by God to give to this. Praise The Lord for the obedience and faithfulness of His people. Thanks to all of you who have given faithfully and also, thanks to everyone who is praying for us and for our boys.
There is one new development that we wanted to share. Originally we thought that we were being referred to two brothers, ages 4 and 5. It turns out that the boys are actually not related, and they are both 5 years old. We are excited regardless, but we are learning what a challenge it can be in working with a third-world government agency. We know that God has picked these two little guys out for our family to raise, and we have recently gotten to see pictures of them, and even learned their names! For now, those things are confidential, but we will share as soon as we are able.
Please continue to pray, and ask The Lord to give us wisdom as we move forward in this process. It has already been a great growing experience for us as a family. We can’t wait to see all that The Lord has in store for us and our newly expanding family.
Not surprisingly, Kilby has already requested that we pursue an Indian adoption when this is all finalized.
Good to know my Passport is up for renewal this year…
We are in full swing at SWO right now getting ready for the Summer Programs. We have more students on the books to attend Snowbird Summer Camps and programs than we have ever had at this point in the year. We hit the 99 percent mark in our SWO camp registration numbers last week, and our SMO missions program is at 85 percent. The OLD School program is up as well. There is a lot to do to get ready for Summer, but nothing as big or as important as the selection, training, and assigning of our summer staff.
Many of you have served on SWO summer staff, and you know the depth of impact that our staff have on the students and leaders that we minister to. This year we have staff from all over the world. From Malawi to Canada to Sweden, and from more than 20 states in the U.S, over 100 seasonal summer staff have applied, been selected, and committed to spend 12 weeks here this summer. We are preparing for our orientation weekend, which is coming up in a few weeks. On April 12-14 the SWO13 staff will come in for a weekend training event, which will focus on ministry philosophy and discipleship. There is nothing that we put more effort into than the spiritual growth and development of our staff. If these guys are being ministered to and maturing in their individual walks with the Lord, then student ministry will be most effective.
Please pray for the SWO13 staff as God uses them in the lives of the thousands of students who will come through this summer. Pray for them now as the Lord is preparing them for all that He is going to do through them.
This summer will be life-changing for more than just students who attend.
At a SWO13 Winter Retreat, Brody preaches out of Romans 1 on an appropriate response to the truth of the Gospel. Believers will fear God with the understanding that, “A proper fear of the Lord will drive you into the safety that your relationship with the Lord provides.” Instead of suppressing the truth, we should respond to God’s revelation of Himself by honoring and glorifying Him, especially through giving thanks.
Brody preaches out of Romans 1 at a SWO13 Winter Retreat. Focusing on verse 18, he notes that God’s wrath is motivated by His justice and righteousness. God pours out His wrath because of His righteousness, and believers are saved from His wrath because He gives us His righteousness. The love of God accompanies the wrath of God because His characteristics cannot be separated from His nature.
The 2013 event was another packed house. Thanks to everyone who attended. We had more than 50 reserve staff come in for the weekend to lead small groups and run rec. We could never pull off a weekend like this without help.
We saw students come from all over the Southeast, representing eight states and driving from as far as South Florida and Northern Virginia. We even saw a kid from Germany who is here as an exchange student pray to receive Christ! Thanks to everyone who was following the weekend and praying for us.
Students were challenged from a lot of different staff testimonies, and the SWO band led us in worship. On Friday night, we kicked off the weekend with a challenge from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 to realize that Christ not only saves us from sin, including sexual sin, but he also FREES us from it. He doesn’t save us then leave us to fend for ourselves. On Saturday we had a panel discussion on biblical sexuality, focusing on the issue of homosexuality. This session was optional but was attended by 90 percent of students and leaders. We couldn’t have expected such a great turnout. Then we closed out the day with an extended time of worship led by the SWO band.
Sunday morning we looked at 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 and were challenged to “Abstain by Fighting.” There is no passive approach to sexual purity, whether you are married or single. Anyway, that is a quick recap, but we will get those sessions up on podcast in the next few days. Thanks again to everyone who showed up. And to everyone who left focused and committed to honor God sexually in singleness or marriage. We are praying for you! Fight on!
I don’t know why, but “missions” is a subject that seems to make people nervous. It seems that whenever we start talking about reaching the unreached or seeing the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth, folks start squirming. For most American Christians, the thought of “having” to go to some other part of the world and minister to a people group of a different culture and language is scary. In fact, it stirs in most of us a tight-fisted attitude of rebellion.
There is, no doubt, a Jonah-type syndrome in the American church. The need is obvious, and the fields are white for harvest. And everyone seems to be looking for the first ship to Tarshish. There really are only a few laborers. I think that the very word “missions” still conjures up images of spear-chucking natives bent on killing and eating foreign human flesh. And that scares people. But we will be held responsible for what we do with the Great Commission.
Jesus gave us clear instructions before he left to have a seat at the right of God the father: We are to baptize people from EVERY language and nation. We are to teach them the commands of Christ and scripture. The American church needs desperately to realize that no other generation has had the resources that we have to reach the world.
Technology is amazing, and rather than using it simply to keep in touch with old high school teammates and ex-girlfriends, we should be seizing the opportunity it gives us to make a global impact. Through websites like www.joshuaproject.net, we can learn of needs of foreign people groups and pray and give to the work of the Gospel to reach those groups. If we are too weak-spirited to go, we should first repent of our attitude of self-preservation, and then learn how we might give to the work and support of those obedient to go and do what God has called us to do.
We can pray for these groups, pray for missionaries, and write letters of support to those who are serving in the field. We do this as a family, and many of you have taken part in our letter writing campaign at SWO Underground. There are so many opportunities to give our resources and to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are willing to forsake all for the sake of the Gospel. We ALL have a responsibility to close the gap on the 3 billion who have never heard.
This past year, we saw students from all over the United States raise more than $30,000 so that part of the Bible could be translated into the language of an unreached people group. Many of you participated in this, known at SWO as the Garia Project. I am excited to share with our readers that the project — Phase 1 — is complete. The Gospel of Mark has been successfully translated into the Garia language!
For the first time in history, this South Asian people have the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus, in their language! This is a good reminder that there are things we can do from right here at home. The fields really are white, and for the first time in history, we have the means necessary to begin the harvest. Pray about how you might give if you are not able or willing to go. SWO has opportunities for partnership in the global work of the Gospel. To find out more, email us at email@example.com.
Looks like SWO will be offering a new rec this summer. Check it out!
There are so many options of things to do when it floods.