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11 months ago

Pastor Harry Reeder: Some evangelicals disagree, but here’s why it’s good to emphasize church celebrations during Christmas


 

 

 

 

 

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ISIS violence

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I’d like to cover a story today dealing with an attack that took place over our Thanksgiving Day weekend. Militants attacked a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing over 300 people, including 27 children. Another 128 suffered injuries.

DR. REEDER: Now wait just a minute. Did you just say that Muslims attacked Muslims? Well, the answer to that is “yes” and “no.”

What’s really been interesting is you have seen the movement of ISIS. ISIS as a caliphate movement sought to be faithful to all of the injunctions of the Koran’s call to put the world under Sharia Law. Therefore, they would take a Holy War not only against Christians and Jews and secularists, but they would also bring their Holy War upon Muslim heretics.

But there is no offshoot of Islam that is more despised than the Sufi heretical movement from their perspective – they would call it a heresy. One of the reasons is because they have something akin to saints and sainthood and people that they would speak to – either to speak to Allah they would speak through these people and therefore any intercessory work that you do speak to anyone other than Allah in your prayers is considered a rank heresy.

That and a number of other things. So the Sufi branch of Islam is not considered within the boundaries of Islam is considered a cult of the cult and therefore they are targets of the caliphate movement as well.

So now we see Muslims upon Muslims but then again, if you ask an ISIS Muslim, the ISIS warrior, they would say, “No, this is not a valid Islamic expression, therefore, we are not bringing war against Muslims but upon Muslim heretics is what we’re doing.”

Therefore, we have this horrendous act of these gunmen surrounding during the worship services taking place in the Sufi mosque producing this genocidal slaughter of human beings that took place in Egypt. Of course, Egypt itself is under the attack of the ISIS caliphate, as well.

Interestingly, Tom, it happens in a Sufi mosque in what is called the Sinai, which is, of course, the very region where the Israelites existed for 40 years as the Lord was disciplining them to bring them into the Promised Land under Joshua.

But for 40 years having been delivered from Egypt, they wandered in that very area where this atrocity took place. They wandered where the Lord sustained them from marauding nations and supplied for them the manna from heaven and prepared them to cross over the river Jordan under Joshua to give them the Promised Land.

Advent season

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me switch gears. Today is December the 1st. I don’t know where 2017 went – it flew by – but here we are in the final month. We’re in the Advent Season. Let’s switch gears from the news of the day to look at the Good News of the coming of Jesus Christ in the Advent.

DR. REEDER: Yes, a glorious message of the unique Gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ. Not a man-made religion whereby what do we do thinking that we can be right with God. But the glorious good news that those who are not right with God, cannot be right with God because of our sin, and are incapable in a man-made religion to be right with God that God has done what we could not do.

And when there was no way God has made the way and that way is His Son Jesus who is The Way, the Truth and the Life and we celebrate His birth into this world. We celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 1:15 that this “is a trustworthy statement serving full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Praise the Lord that He came into the world in order to go to the cross to pay for our sins and then He is risen in victory, He is ascended, He now intercedes for us and is coming again to bring His people to Himself and to a new Heavens and a new Earth. Oh, the glorious, wonderful Gospel of Saving Grace in Jesus Christ.

Briarwood Christmas events in Birmingham

Well, Tom, I know, at Briarwood, we have a wonderful time to celebrate this season because of two things: 1) By focusing on the birth of Christ we get an opportunity to focus on the gospel in a very succinct way.

God’s purposes and God’s plan were seen in the person of Jesus as the Son of God humbled himself, not by subtracting His deity but by adding humanity to come into this world. Since by a man came death. 2) Adam, now a man, the second Adam, Jesus the Messiah, by Him comes the resurrection of the dead, comes life itself. So that’s what we get to celebrate.

I know, even as you and I speak, we’re on the verge of one of our first events – the Angel Tree Carnival. We do Samaritan’s Purse ministry, packing the shoe boxes to send all over the world. And we also do Angel Tree, in which we pack boxes and take them to the children of prisoners and minister to them.

The next week is the big walk-through nativity, 14 scenes of the birth, the life of Jesus, His death, and His resurrection. Then our Briarwood ballet, Sunday on December the 10th, “Glory to the Newborn King.”

And then, the most unbelievable, phenomenal choral symphonic concert, phenomenal choir and it is so exciting. We’ll be doing that on December 17th. Break forth into singing – the Lord has come and we join the angels in singing to the Glory of God. You just do not want to miss that.

Our wonderful Christmas Eve services, we have a 5:00 family candlelight festival, 7:00 family candlelight festival – we just can’t get everybody into the 5:00. We conclude our Advent celebrations with the Christmas Eve communion service that Sunday night on December the 24th.

We love this time because it’s not only a chance to focus all the texts of Scripture why Jesus came into the world, but it also allows us to bring our friends and invite our friends to come and enjoy these marvelous celebrations and hear the glorious truth that Jesus Christ, who is no friend to sin, is a friend to sinners because He has come to save us from our sins.

Should evangelicals downplay seasonal celebrations?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, there are some in the Evangelical Christian circles who want to downplay these certain celebrations. The thought is every Sunday ought to be the same celebration as it would be around Christmas and Easter. Is it proper that we magnify and celebrate this season?

DR. REEDER: Well, you know, in the Old Testament you had certain feast days and what happened in the New Testament, in the New Covenant and in the early church by the apostolic leaders and then those that they disciple was kind of a development of a non-conscience binding.

In other words, these are not things that we would bind any church to do, but it’s good to have feasts, it’s good to call for fast, and it’s good to have feasting times. And so the early church – kind of as a reflection of the Old Testament, three great feasts of the Old Testament – the early church also had its three feasts around the celebrations of the birth of Jesus in the Advent season, the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus during the Easter season, and then the celebrations of the outpouring of the Spirit of God at Pentecost. And so, mirroring the Old Testament feasts were these feasts.

I would totally agree that’s one of the things I love about Briarwood and meeting with our team that plans the worship – every Sunday is Easter and every Sunday is Christmas as far as we’re concerned.

This doesn’t mean that we love the Lord more during these feasts, it’s just a season of focus that in the culture gives us a bridge to talk to people about the Lord that we don’t always have. It’s a ready opportunity for us to tell them. As one person said, Jesus is the reason for the season and we would like to tell you about Him. So on the one hand, I would agree with my friends.

There is nothing in the Bible that should bind anyone’s conscience to the celebration of an Advent season. We celebrate the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus every Lord’s Day and each and every day of life.

But there’s also nothing that prevents us from having seasons that we embrace as an opportunity to focus on one theological dynamic of the life of Jesus that opens up an opportunity to declare the majesty of the Gospel of Grace and it provides a bridge for us into the world to invite people to hear of the Savior we tell them about each and every day.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

42 mins ago

Modern day “Goldilocks” finds stranger’s home “just right” with amenities

An Alabama woman says a man broke into her house and made himself breakfast, took a bath, and washed his clothes.

Mary Royster tells WAAY-TV she came home Tuesday and found a strange man who wouldn’t leave — he told her he was waiting for his clothes to dry.

Thirty-one-year-old Tyler Love is now back at the Limestone County jail on a charge of burglary.

He had been released just last week after serving time for another burglary.

Royster says “every drawer” in her house had been searched through, and Love made himself scrambled eggs, took a bath, shaved and brushed his teeth.

Royster says finding the man in her home was scary, but he wasn’t violent and she can laugh about it now.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

Alabama sets new record for number of jobs, number of people employed

Alabama has once again broken employment and job records during Governor Kay Ivey’s tenure.

According to data released on Friday, wage and salary employment in September reached a new record high, as did the number of people counted as working, for the fifth month in a row.

“Not only are we experiencing record high employment, this month we’ve also broken another record – our economy is currently supporting the most number of jobs in history!” Ivey said in a statement. “September’s job count of 2,048,000 bypasses the previous record of 2,045,800, which was set in December 2007.”

Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington stressed that the state’s booming economy has been over-performing experts’ expectations.

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“In January, economists predicted that Alabama would see job growth of 27,000 in 2018. I’m pleased to say that, year-to-date, we’ve already seen job growth of 47,000, surpassing that prediction by 20,000 jobs, and we still have three months left to grow,” Washington said.

Wage and salary employment increased in September by 9,100, and, over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 26,800.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate is 4.1 percent. This rate represents 2,117,027 people working, which is also a record high. In August, 2,112,099 people were counted as employed, and 2,082,085 were counted as employed in September of last year.

“This is the fifth month in a row that we’ve announced that more people are working in Alabama than ever before. Alabama’s businesses are hiring, Alabamians are working, and wages are rising,” Ivey added.

Average weekly earnings increased over the year by $53.82. Manufacturing weekly earnings increased by $27.18 over the year, and construction weekly earnings were up $55.08 over the year.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Republicans draw big crowd for Fairhope rally as Election Day nears

FAIRHOPE – Complacency may be a concern for Republicans in some parts of Alabama as Election Day approaches, but it isn’t as prevalent of a concern in ruby-red Baldwin County.

With several hundred on hand at Fairhope’s Oak Hollow Farms, Rep. Bradley Byrne and Gov. Kay Ivey rallied attendees that offered the impression of being engaged and motivated to show up at the polls to vote on November 6.

The event, a fish fry, was put on by the Baldwin County Republican Party and featured other candidates running for statewide office, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Alabama Supreme Court chief justice hopeful Tom Parker.

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Parker said it was his impression that Republicans, not just in Baldwin County, but throughout the state, were fired up based on the Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court associate justice confirmation process.

“Republican voters are so incensed post-Kavanaugh after they saw what the Democrats did and what they condone,” Parker said to Yellowhammer News. “And we’re just trying to remind the people of who they have running against the Republican officials. They are the people getting money from Soros, Planned Parenthood. They condone violence. They are advocating anarchy. And we do not need that in our judiciary. We need the rule of law and respect for law rather than judges who will bend things in order to accomplish political goals. We need people who will protect Alabama values, which are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Constitutions.”

Parker said that Baldwin County was part of a campaign effort that included county fairs, local events and Republican events.

“All I’m hearing is anger post-Kavanaugh generated because of those Democrats who were paying to protest,” he added. “And then when they did acts of violence, they wouldn’t condemn it. They’re condoning it. That’s so uncivil and so un-American.”

Daphne native Matt Simpson, the Republican nominee for the State House District 96 election, who is heavily favored in his contest against Democratic nominee Maurice Horsey, explained that having Gov. Kay Ivey making an appearance in Baldwin County generated excitement.

“We’re excited,” Simpson said. “Anytime we can get the governor in this area in south Alabama, we’re excited. We expect a good turnout in Baldwin County. Baldwin County is a very red county, one of the reddest in the state. We think the voters of the area are motivated. We think there’s going to be an opportunity for people to show just how motivated they are to support Republican principles and to make sure we keep Republicans in office.”

Simpson also echoed what Parker had said about the so-called Kavanaugh effect, noting that the backlash against the Democratic Party’s tactics would be on display when Baldwin County voters head to the polls.

“I think complacency has taken a backseat,” he added. “The Kavanaugh hearings have really fired up the Republican base. I think you saw what Democrats will do once they get in power and how they will try to take power from Republicans through the lies and the smears that they’ve done. And I think people are excited to show that’s not how we run things. That’s not what we want as a general public. We want our voice heard, and we won’t accept that type of behavior.”

Simpson said the I-10 bridge was the biggest issue on the minds of Baldwin County voters given its impact on the local economy, tourism and residents’ way of life. On the national level, he said Baldwin County voters were firmly in support of President Donald Trump given the success of the economy and how Trump’s leadership showed that if free market principles were implemented, the economy could flourish.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 hours ago

Public Policy Foundation: ‘Amendment 4 would save Alabama taxpayers millions’

The Alabama Public Policy Foundation (APPF) issued a press release on Thursday in an effort to educate voters about the virtues of voting “yes” on Amendment 4 on the November 6 general election ballot.

Rosemary Elebash, an APPF board member and state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), explained that the amendment would save Alabama taxpayers millions of dollars by eliminating costly special elections when a regularly scheduled election is already imminent.

“Under current law, the governor must call a special election to fill legislative seats vacated due to death or resignation, even if there are only a few months remaining in the term,” Elebash outlined. “Each legislative special election costs from $90,000 to $900,000 per county, based on the number of voters and polling locations. These sometimes occur when candidates already have qualified for the next general election or when the Legislature is not scheduled to meet again before the end of the term.”

APPF noted that money spent on late-term special elections could be used for other services important to Alabama taxpayers. In addition to the wasteful cost, Elebash said back-to-back balloting can create fatigue and confusion for voters.

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“In recent years, we’ve seen candidates win special elections and immediately begin campaigning for a regular primary election a month or two later,” she said.

Amendment 4 would allow Alabama Senate and House of Representatives seats to remain open if vacated on or after Oct. 1 of the third year of a four-year term. The longest a seat would remain vacant would be 14 months. The amendment only applies to these state legislative seats, and the governor would still be required to schedule special elections for vacancies occurring earlier in a term.

You can read the objective Fair Ballot Commission’s explanation of Amendment 4 here.

APPF is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization “created to promote educational, social, financial and economic policies to enhance the well-being of Alabama citizens.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

Kay Ivey: Walt Maddox ‘misguided’ on calls to expand Medicaid

FAIRHOPE – Gov. Kay Ivey isn’t necessarily buying into the notion that the expansion of Medicaid could be a win-win for Alabama, as her Democratic opponent Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox has portrayed it.

Medicaid expansion has been a key component of Maddox’s campaign, and it has been something Republican lawmakers have resisted given its potential future cost to state taxpayers.

Thursday night, before taking the stage at Baldwin County’s Oak Hollow Farms for a political rally, Ivey fielded questions from reporters, one of which dealt with the expansion of Medicaid.

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She expressed her support for quality health care, but described Maddox’s push as “misguided.”

“It’s important that we have the availability of quality health care for our people,” she said to Yellowhammer News. “That’s for sure. But at the same time, we’ve got to be sure we’re doing all we can with the Medicaid program, and nobody has come up with how we’re going to pay back the high cost if we expand it. So, I think my opponent is misguided again.”

In recent weeks, Maddox has been pushing Medicaid expansion on his bus tour of Alabama, and on Thursday, his second TV ad began airing across the state that doubles down on the proposal.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.