Never before has there been so much uncertainty about marriage and the family. So far this year we have seen the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and a debate in the U. S. Senate about a constitutional amendment to define marriage. Last week the voters in Missouri overwhelmingly approved such an amendment to their state constitution. And today the California Supreme Court voided all the "gay marriages" there were illegally performed earlier this year. The whole issue of gay rights and same-sex marriage will be a big issue in the November elections. Already it has become a major topic of discussion on the Internet, in the classroom, around the water cooler, and in homes across America.
In times like these, it is vital that Christians know what God says about marriage, the family, moral purity, same-sex marriage, the hope for real change, and the challenge to show the love of Christ to those around us. With so many people asking us questions, we have a unique opportunity to explain what the Bible says.
At Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL, we are planning a major new sermon series called "God Speaks Today." Already this year we have heard a great deal about what the pollsters say, what the sociologists and psychologists say, and we're hearing a great deal from our political leaders. The calling of the church--its one unique contribution--is to declare a watching world, "This is what God says." We must equip our own people with the truth and we must proclaim that truth to everyone who will listen.
We're starting by giving each household at Calvary a free copy of Erwin Lutzer's new book, The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage. Later this month we are mailing a postcard with information about the sermon series to every home in Oak Park, River Forest, and Forest Park (40,000 homes). We will also have a banner in front of the church and ads in the local papers. We have already sent a mailing to local pastors inviting them to a special breakfast for discussion and prayer. A mailing to the entire congregation goes out next week that will detail a number of special events in connection with the sermon series. Here are the five sermons in the series:
September 12 Is Marriage Really Made in Heaven?
September 19 Staying Pure in an X-Rated World
September 26 The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage
October 3 Real Hope for Lasting Change
October 10 Christ-Like Love in a World of Hate
I am sharing this with the readers of the weblog because I believe every church in America must take a stand on gay marriage. We don't have a choice. The issue has been forced upon us. Perhaps what we are doing may encourage other churches and other pastors to stand for the truth. Our goal is to present God's truth with "tenacious, winsome courage." We want to speak the truth with a smile, not with a frown.
Please pray for all the details surrounding this sermon series. We anticipate getting a variety of reactions from our community. Pray that we can speak the truth in love. Pray for open hearts to hear God's truth.
Stay tuned to this weblog for more information as we prepare to share "God Speaks Today" with our community.
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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