Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Don't Know!!!

I don't know about you, but when someone gets sick or is seriously injured, most of us would call a doctor to treat the sickness or injury. We place tremendous amounts of faith in and resources at the disposal of these men and women to help us in our physical aliments. A good doctor is someone in whom we have deep trust and respect. If we had a doctor who didn't know the answers to our questions or the proper treatment for our problems, like Dr. Caldwell in the above clip, we would soon search out another doctor to take care of us or our loved ones. It would be inconceivable, foolish, and possibly fatal to place one's complete trust in an incompetent, uninformed doctor whose loyalties are divided between the post office and the medical field!

Many Christians are seeking help from spiritual Dr. Caldwells and are finding out the hard way that these pretenders are not providing what they really need. Recently, I picked up a magazine from a supposedly orthodox Christian organization that was dealing with the issue of commending homosexual marriage both for its leadership and membership. The article, which was written by those opposed to homosexuality, made references to the Bible and many other sources for its condemnation of the church organization sanctioning the practice. The article was signed by those who were adamantly against what the church wanted to do and were stating the reasons for their opposition. The argument and reasons were well written and stated and provided the reader a well thought out Biblical reply. What caught my attention, however, were the names and titles of the signers of the letter of dissent. Many of the names were those of women who had the titles of Elder or Reverend. Now the reason I found this so interesting was the fact that the Bible does not sanction women as "Elders" or "Reverends"! 1st Timothy and Titus lay out the Biblical requirements for governmental leadership in individual local churches, and the responsibility ALWAYS fell on the shoulders of a man! Now the reason I bring this observation up is not to discuss the controversial topic of women in church governmental roles, but to illustrate the importance of not deviating anywhere from the authority of the Scriptures!

If a church group or organization ignores the clear Biblical teaching in one area and decides for themselves what is "proper and correct," all other Biblical areas of teaching are now open to be ignored or challenged. Eventually, the historical and Biblical orthodox teachings of the church will crumble and fall like a house of cards! This particular church ignored the clear Biblical teaching about only men holding these particular positions and sanctioned women to enter into these roles. Now, the very women who violated Biblical authority in the first place by moving into these particular roles are now trying to use "Biblical Authority" to keep others out of other Biblically-defined roles. The problem in all this, as I already stated, is once Biblical authority is breached in one area, every other area will now be open to attack and the whole dam will eventually give way and spill out!

It should come as no great surprise to any of these women that their objections will be dismissed and ignored. This church organization will continue to ignore "Biblical Authority" and decide for themselves what is proper and right in their particular organization. If it was done once in order to ordain these women to the ministry, then the allowing of open homosexuals in the ministry and congregation should not come as a shock to anyone. I'm sure if any one of these women were pressed to respond to and give Biblical justifications for the decisions this organization makes, their reply - like Doctor Caldwell in the short video - would be...I don't know!

Stay holy my friends,
Pastor Don

Click here to read the Theology Matters - Press Release

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Muchas Gracias!

Last Sunday provided the 2011 Downriver Christian Community Church Mission Team an opportunity to share and review with the DCCC family the wonderful things God did through and for them while in Mexico! As the overseeing pastor on the trip, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to ALL members of the team and to those who assisted with the success of this year's mission trip. Without all your hard work, prayer, encouragement, training, critique, and dedication prior to the trip, the mission trip would have been a complete failure.

Also, a BIG thank you goes out to all DCCC members and friends who supported the mission trip with prayers and financial support! Your generosity will be remembered by the Lord for the fragrant offering that it was. May the Lord Jesus Christ himself bless you abundantly for your wonderful gifts of support.

For those who did not see the pictures from the trip, this post will provide the DVD for your viewing pleasure. Please get with one or more of the trip members for their stories and memories from the mission trip experience so you can really appreciate the work that was done. I hope that these pictures will provoke in you a desire to go on the mission trip next year with us. It will be an experience you will always treasure!

Muchas Gracias,

Pastor Don

Minnie From West Virginnie!

Over the past three years, I've been visiting my uncle who is living in a nursing home in the area. He is in good shape and spirits, but has trouble walking due to complications from diabetes. Because of his complications, he needs full-time nursing assistance. While visiting with him over this time period, I've had the opportunity to meet many different people who are living in the nursing home with him. Most of these people need full-time help and are approaching the end of their lives. I knew a couple of the people who passed away and know how difficult it is on my uncle when he has become friends with them.

Recently while visiting with my uncle, I began talking to a woman who lives at the nursing home. This woman's name is Minnie, and I have talked to her on many occasions in the past and knew some of her personal history. Minnie is from West Virginia and has been at the nursing home for quite a while. She is limited in what she can do, but she gets around the nursing home in a wheelchair pretty well. She is near 90 years old, but has a lot of spunk and a very humorous wit about her.

While we were watching a Tiger ballgame together, the topic of conversation turned from Tiger baseball to music. It seems that Minnie loves music and quickly launched into her favorite song, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. Since I knew the song also, I joined Minnie in an off-tune version of the song. As I began singing with her, her face lit up with joy! I must confess that I have never had anyone's face light up with joy when I have sung with them or for them! Old Minnie and I just sang that tune over and over again until she tired out. When she was exhausted from singing the song, there was an expression of joy all over her face. She just sat there in her wheelchair and smiled. She told me that she used to sing that song all the time as a little girl and how she loved going to church. In fact, one time when her church service concluded by singing that song, the pastor fell over at the song's completion and died of a heart attack! I guess the roll was being called up yonder, and he was now there! What a way to go into the next life! As I sat listening to Minnie tell her church-related stories, I thought to myself that I had to get Minnie a CD with her favorite song on it so that she could listen and sing with it all day.

When I returned from my summer vacation, I had a CD made for Minnie at the church. The songs I included on the CD were all old-time Gospel songs sung by famous country artists. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and the Gaithers were just of few of the recording artists I included on the CD. When I presented the CD to Minnie the next time I saw her, she was overwhelmed with the simple gift. She sat in her wheelchair thanking me over and over for the music with tears coming down her cheeks. Her face lit up again as she began thinking about the music on the CD. When I told her who some of the artists were on the CD, she started to laugh. It just so happened that most of these people were her favorite singers. I was afraid during my vacation that Minnie might pass before I could get her the CD. I was more blessed by her reaction to receiving the CD than she could ever know!

I tell this short, touching story because of the impact these people and their simple songs made on a young woman who lived in an obscure coal mining town somewhere in West Virginia. It had been many years since this woman had heard these songs and, when she did, they reminded her of years past and good times that were very precious to her. It dawned on me how something so small and insignificant to us might mean the world to someone else. I also reflected on the eternal mark that remained on this woman's soul and the reaction from her after she heard these songs.

Next week at the church, we will be sponsoring the Vacation Bible School outreach to the city of Melvindale and the surrounding communities. We have been doing this for years and the entire week is quite an event for the children! There will be many "Minnies from West Virginnie" in attendance and this could be a great opportunity for each one of us to make an eternal impression on some future servant of God. We never know how God can or will use us, but the seed we sow may change the direction of someone's life for the glory of God! The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 3:7, "It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow." (LT)

May we plant some valuable seed in a young generation at the upcoming Vacation Bible School, trusting that God will bring forth a harvest of souls resounding in His glory. And in their future, when the roll is called up yonder, they'll all be there!

Stay holy my friends!

Pastor Don

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here?

After the very successful completion of the 2011 Mexico Mission Trip, the question - like the refrain in Guns-N-Roses famous song asks - where do we go from here? Are we going to run around aimlessly, screaming hopelessly like Axle Rose on stage, or are we going to focus with laser-like accuracy on a new goal and mission? Once a desired destination has been reached, what comes next on the agenda? Is it time to retreat back to the "old way" of life now that a mission has been accomplished or should the completion of a recent mission spark a new desire and attitude to catapult oneself to a deeper and more dedicated level of commitment to Jesus Christ?  Does an attitude of "been there and done that" now dominate the spiritual walk of a believer and render that individual complacent and ineffective or does an attitude of "I want more of His life" motivate us anew toward serving and expanding the kingdom of God in our communities?

Every coach in the sports world understands a very real, scary, and understandable fact - success many times breeds complacency! This is terrifying to a coach because once his team drinks from the cup of success, it is a very difficult thing to motivate his team for the challenge of another championship run . A coach's job "security" is based upon attaining "success," and a championship trophy is the telltale measure of that goal in the sports world. Players soon believe in themselves that there is no need for improvement or harder work for the upcoming season. The achievement of a previous goal can undermine new accomplishments and goals. During the off season, they begin to forget the "little" things that got them the championship in the first place and stray from their training and dedication to the attaining of a second goal. Critical self-evaluation and hard work are replaced with slothfulness and deceitful self adulation! When the team reassembles for the start of a new season, coaches realize that their job has just gotten a lot harder because their influence with the players has diminished. "Knowing better than the coach," "questioning his decisions," or "coasting" in preparation for the upcoming season and games are attitudes that begin to surface, corrode, and affect a team's performance. Many teams go from World Champions one year to "a bunch of bums" in just one years time!

Other teams, however, are able to overcome those attitudes and temptations to empower themselves and embrace challenges for greater things in their future. Having tasted from the "golden cup," an insatiable drive consumes them to "repeat" or "three-peat" their success!  Ascending higher than other teams before them now becomes the ultimate goal and nothing will stand in their way until it is accomplished! A new and invigorated desire consumes them in their pursuit of another championship, and God help whomever or whatever gets in their way!

Philippians 3:12-14 says:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

When we keep our eyes and hearts focused on the ultimate goal of loving and serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will not run aimlessly or without purpose in our spiritual life like Axle Rose's theatrics on stage. We will not rest on past accomplishments, experiences, and victories, but rather we will run with perseverance the race set out before us. And Axle, sweet child of mine, in answer to your song's repetitious question, we Christians definitely know where we are going from here! It's from victory to victory in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!

Stay Holy My Friends!
Pastor Don