"To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again. Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever." Psalm 28

The Lord has always distinguished between those who are his people, and those who are against him.

The church is not a denomination. We commonly hear this term in something like this...."what denomination are you?" The church that you read about in the Bible is not a denomination, in the sense that the term is used today.

1. The word denomination, in addition to the usage today, means unit or value when applied to money. It also means name or designation, especially one serving to classify a set of things. It is to use a name to designate that a certain thing is different to something else.

2. Jesus did not build denominations. Jesus said he would build his church (Mt 16.18). Jesus is serving as "head over the church, which is his body" (Eph 1.22-23). Paul would say that there is "one body" (one church; Eph 4.4). Paul also said Jesus is "the Savior of the body" (Eph 5.23). Jesus built a church, and there are many people, of all kinds of cultures and colors, but the Bible does not ever speak of the church that Jesus built as being anything less than one body in Christ.

3. Denominating yourself, or separating and naming yourself something other than what’s read about in the Bible is the very thing Paul tells people NOT to do (I Cor 1.10-17). Dividing the church, according to our thoughts, is taking on authority we are not given. God did not ask his sheep to "denominate" from other people. Everywhere you read in the word, people are told to be of "like minds."

We are about one month away from our Send Me Home and I am getting excited. The shepherds have encouraged us to be a part of this work and many of you have already decided you will participate, and that is so encouraging. We have experienced folks and 7th graders that will be working together in our community.

We are ALL trying to learn to become more comfortable with talking about Jesus to others in this city. We must be those who are moving closer and closer to that level of confidence that will allow us to be the messengers of the gospel of Christ. God can help any of us that may struggle with fears, or lack of knowledge.

And if you are not going to be able to participate in this work, during the week of the campaign, then please take up the great, and needed, work of prayer for those who will be going. Pray and pray some more. God hears our crying. He responds to our pleas. He is willing to be involved where we call on him to act.

This is not a one time event at which we are aiming, but a transition from being only concerned about what happens inside this place, and becoming more and more concerned about those who are outside of Jesus. To find them, we have to go out to them. May God lead us to people that need to hear something from Him.

Hell is a real place with real people in it.

That is not what we want to be at the center of our attention. We prefer things like success, peace, love or heaven.

Jesus said there was such a place as hell. "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell" (Mk 9.45).

Jesus said it was not a place to be desired. "In hell, where he was in torment...[the rich man said]...I am in agony in this fire" (Lk 16.23ff).

Jesus said that those sentenced to hell will not escape the judgment brought against them. "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" (Mt 23.33).

Jesus said to fear God. "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt 10.28).

Hell is real. It is not a place people will enjoy, or where they will find rest. Those condemned to hell will absolutely spend eternity there. We should fear God, who will bring these things to pass. The way of escape is only in this life, and only through Jesus. We preach Him!

Men Praying in Class

Teachers, it is not a discredit to your contribution for us to bring in men to pray for the kids. We are not displeased with your prayers at the beginning of class with the kids, but we are delighted to get more influences in the room with the kids. So here is what we are asking of teachers: plan your classes to be wrapped up around the first bell, so that some men can come in the class, after the bell has rung, and encourage the kids to love and serve God, and pray for them. Please have your kids names on a sheet of paper so that we remove the opportunity to forget a child's name during the prayer led by the men. These men will be circulating from room to room, so it will be different men each week of the month, but will repeat itself monthly. There are 40 men that agreed to come to your rooms beginning in May.

Men, please see me for a copy of the schedule. I will be sending you a text to remind you of your time on Friday, and I will rotate you into different rooms each month. Your text message will include what week you have responsibility and where you are supposed to go. If you want to participate, let me know. Pray for these men!

This is one way that we are bringing our adult men into greater view in the classrooms. Kids that constantly see loving teachers, and strong men of faith, will be blessed. It takes everybody doing their part.