Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Friday, September 30, 2011

Iron Man!

Into the blistering wilderness of Shur,
the man who walked with kings now walks alone
Torn from the pinnacle of royal power,
stripped of all rank and earthly wealth,
a forsaken man without a country, without a hope,
his soul in turmoil like the hot winds and raging sands
that lash him with the fury of a taskmaster's whip.
He is driven forward,always forward,
by a god unknown,toward a land unseen...
into the molten wilderness of sin,
where granite sentinels stand
as towers of living death to bar his way.
Each night brings the black embrace of loneliness.
In the mocking whisper of the wind,
he hears the echoing voices of the dark...







His tortured mind wondering if they call the memory
of past triumphs or wail foreboding of disasters yet to come
or whether the desert's hot breath
has melted his reason into madness.
He cannot cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips
nor shade the scorching fury of the sun.
All about is desolation.
He can neither bless nor curse
the power that moves him,
for he does not know from where it comes.
Learning that it can be more terrible
to live than to die, he is driven onward
Through the burning crucible of desert,
where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged
for god's great purpose,until at last,
at the end of human strength,
beaten into the dust from which he came,
the metal is ready for the maker's hand.

Many of us remember the scene from the movie The Ten Commandments where Moses is exiled from Egypt and sent out by Ramses into the desert to die. As Moses struggles through the desert, the narrator of the movie reads the above script with heightened music playing in the background to dramatize Moses' struggle and suffering. The narration is given emphasis to illustrate the process that God will take a man or woman through until he or she is fit and ready for the Master's use.

In our world today, great value is placed upon education from the finest of universities with little value placed upon personal experience and the many lessons life has to teach. Unfortunately, many churches today also look at a college degree as a superior achievement for a pastor with little regard to a man's character and faithfulness! God's ways, however, are not man's ways! All through scripture, God molds men and women he desires to use for his glory by taking them through his processes! Like gold refined in a crucible seven times, God refines men and women through the experiences and testings of life.

Last Sunday at Downriver Christian Community Church, we celebrated Pastor John Russell's 60th birthday as well as his 20 years of exemplary, faithful service and leadership as senior pastor at the church. Like Moses in The Ten Commandments movie, Pastor John was molded for service by his submissive attitude to the will of God for his life and the desire to see a church grow in God's grace regardless of the personal cost. Not knowing what lay ahead of him when he entered full-time ministry, he trusted in the Good Shepard to lead him through the valleys of darkness and death, relying on him at every turn and in every circumstance. Having been forged and beaten in the furnace of life, Pastor John emerged formed, hardened, and ready for battle, as a weapon of war useful for the Master's service!

Rock on the Rock, Dude!

It has been my honor and privilege to serve alongside a man of God like Pastor John over these many years. I have witnessed his courage under fire, his wisdom in difficult circumstances, his determination against all odds, and his passion in service to Jesus Christ his King. The Bible states in Romans 13:7 [Give] honor to whom honor [is due]!

Pastor John, all of us at Downriver Christian Community Church congratulate and honor you on your many years of exemplary service and conduct. Well done, good and faithful servant of the Lord! May God continue to lead and bless you abundantly in the years to come!

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shut Up!

"Never miss a chance to shut up!"
- Will Rogers

"What, me worry? I don't have Alzheimer's"
- Alfred E. Newman 

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear televangelists make some of the comments that they do! I thought I heard everything possible from these guys until I heard the ridiculous comments of 700 Club founder and host Pat Robertson this week. Pat is a long-time public personality and has done some tremendous work providing assistance to the poor through numerous programs his organization oversees, but ole Pat leaves the reservation every now and then and walks blindly and directly into the cornfields of public criticism.

Just recently, Pat was asked a question on his television program by a caller. The caller told Pat about a situation in which a friend of his had a wife who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The caller went on to state that his friend was seeing another woman all the while he was still married to his wife with Alzheimer's and wanted to know what Pat's "advice" was in dealing with his friend and his situation. The following is an article from The Los Angeles Times about the comments:

The controversy stems from comments Robertson made recently on the "700 Club" program on Christian Broadcast Network. His comments came in response to a caller who said that a friend had begun dating other women while his wife lies seriously ill with Alzheimer's, and justifies it by saying that "his wife, as he knows her, is gone." Robertson said he agrees with the man: "What he says basically is correct. I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her." His co-host pressed Robertson about whether that violates the marriage vows. Robertson responded that Alzheimer's "is a kind of death" and added, "I certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip on you" for choosing divorce in such a scenario.

Naturally, Pat's comments set off a tsunami of public criticism and shock. How could a "man of God" who purports to live by the "teaching of the Bible" suggest any such course of action? Here are just a couple of the comments from people who responded to The Times article:

  • For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do you part. How come people want to bail on this contract after it gets inconvenient for them? Like when someone gets sick!! Usually when people get divorced it's mutual!!
  • So what don't you understand about "in sickness and in health?
  • This is evangelism at its best. An abortion is bad, but throwing a living human being to the scrap heap is okay.
  • I took a vow "sickness and in health, til death do us part." I tend to with my man until the end. Why? Because I love him. - From a gay married man.

Isn't amazing how non-Christian people from the world have more "Biblical" sense about this issue than Pat Roberson! Pat was provided a great opportunity to provide Biblical direction for this particular caller, but instead went with his "personal opinion"!  I thought if we are going to give "personal opinion" as counsel to those seeking spiritual guidance instead of "scriptural counsel," then I too would like to "suggest" some ways this man could "care" for his suffering wife:
  • He could place his wife on an iceberg like the Eskimos do and push her out to sea. (Let nature takes it's course!)
  • He could call Dr. Jack Kevorkian for "end of life counseling and care" (Oops, the compassionate Dr. Kevorkian is not around anymore!)
  • He could call Family Social Services for help. (No one would ever find her again since she would be eternally lost in a sea of red tape!)
  • He could call Oprah or Dr. Phil for advice! (They always know the right thing to do!)
  • He could place her in front of the television set and  make her watch 24 continuous hours of PBS or Rachel Maddow. (That would finish off just about anyone!)

When we, as ministers of God, reject the Bible as the source of wisdom for all of life's problems, we quickly descend on the slippery slope of human wisdom and foolishness into absurdity! All opinions become valid and no reliable point of reference is needed or useful. Pat Robertson should take heed to Proverbs 17:28 which states:
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

In other words Pat, if you are not going to quote the Bible as authoritative with these types of questions, do yourself and all us Christians a big favor and just SHUT UP!

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm Spartacus!

In 1960, the movie Spartacus previewed to sold out audiences across the nation and rave movie reviews in the national papers. The story line of the movie is about a run-away slave who rebelled against the Romans in 72 B.C. and leads a group of slaves to freedom, throwing off the yoke of Roman tyranny and oppression. The leader of this group of slaves is named Spartacus, a run-away gladiator and slave himself! As Spartacus gains followers in the movie, the Romans realize that this movement MUST be put down and exterminated. To allow this group of rebels to grow in numbers and influence would undermine all the power that Rome had achieved and exhibited!

The movie finally concludes with an epic scene with the Roman legions and Spartacus' army facing each other in an ultimate battle for freedom. The battle begins well for Spartacus and his army, but with the arrival of more Roman legions, Spartacus and his men are quickly overcome and defeated. As the remaining surviving slaves are rounded up, they are granted their lives and the suspension of most extreme form of punishment, meaning crucifixion, IF they would only point out the body of the dead Spartacus or identify the man if he were still living. Spartacus stands to identify himself and save his men from a terrible death, but is beaten to the draw when man after man stands and identifies himself as Spartacus! The commander of the Roman legions is surprised at the loyalty of the slaves to their leader Spartacus. They would rather suffer the extreme and horrifying punishment of crucifixion rather than betray a man they love so dearly! The movie concludes with ALL the remaining followers of Spartacus being crucified for their part in the rebellion against Rome and their failure to identify Spartacus for the Romans.
I use this movie and its story line because on September 11th, 2011, Downriver Christian Community Church added seven new members to its church body. Like the slaves in the movie Spartacus, the new members made a public commitment to be identified with Jesus Christ and his life, death, and resurrection rather than to return to their former way of lives as slaves to sin. As I participated in the official setting-in ceremony, I was overwhelmed again and again by the determination of each man and woman to lay down their lives by being identified with the name of their leader and commander, Jesus Christ!  To bear the reproach of the world because of the name of Jesus is an honor and privilege of the highest magnitude! Like Spartacus in the classic movie, I'm sure Jesus sheds a tear every time someone stands and takes his name as their own and chooses to die with Christ rather than live unto himself! The Apostle Paul said, "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better" (NLT).

On behalf of the pastors and leadership at Downriver Christian Community Church, I would like to extend a hearty welcome and thank you to all the new members. Your determination, courage, and public confession of Christ was thrilling to behold, witness, and participate in. As you start off your new life in the church body:

‘“The LORD bless you and keep you; 
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
Numbers 6:24-26

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lord of the Flies!

Lord of the Flies: Scene 1 of 11

Recently, I read an article from The Lookout that details a plan by PayPal founder Peter Thiel to build "sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms" out in the ocean. Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire tycoon whose eccentric idea is to collect a group of "libertarians" who want their own society that is "free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place."

From The Lookout:
Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

Now, what really intrigued me from the article is his idea to start "from scratch free" a society "free of regulations and moral codes from any existing place." I immediately thought of an old book that many of us had to read in high school. The name of this book is Lord of the Flies! The book is about a group of kids that becomes stranded on a desert island after the plane the group was in crashes after a nuclear war. The book beautifully illustrates a "group of people" who slowly reject all Christian law and descend into humanistic "self-rule" with no need for a God or his law and free themselves from the "moral codes of any existing place"! As the book progresses, the group of youths becomes more and more animalistic in behavior until order and safety is finally restored by the arrival of a military rescue team.

It was comical to me from The Lookout article that the people wanted looser building codes! I was wondering if that applied to the oil rig-like platform they wanted to build? Would they insist to its builders that they disregard physical and building laws relied upon to build their floating nation? Would a weld or even the steel used have to meet some type of minimal standard for safety or would the builders have the "liberty" to use whatever material they thought was sufficient? This would also apply to all the various building on this platform and minimal or no requirements for their construction.

Then there was the statement "free from the laws....and moral codes from any existing place"! Are you kidding me! Whose moral code, if any, was going to rule the platform? When some type of disagreement or problem arose, what "code" would they consult as their standard of right and wrong? Who would establish this code and by what method? What if there were people on the platform who did not agree with the "code" and insisted that their "code" apply instead. What about "pirates" who invaded the platform and wanted to rape and pillage? What moral code would the inhabitants of the platform want to apply to or force upon them? These and similar questions will pose a tough challenge to "libertarians" insisting on personal liberty!

The truth of the matter is that this idea of a moral code free from an already existing place has already been tried in Russia, Cuba, Cambodia, and in other countries...and is on the rise in the United States. It has met with the same disastrous results as the boys in the Lord of the Flies movie - chaos, death, and tyranny!

Psalm 2 says:
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say,
“and throw off their fetters.”

When man tries to free himself of God's moral laws, disaster is the end result! Man can no more exist free from God's moral law than a fish can survive out of water. Every attempt to violate or set aside God's moral law ends badly for man.

Psalm 2 also says:
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath...

If this "utopian island" ever comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see the "moral code" established and enforced and what it is ultimately based on! Hopefully, the construction and material of the island itself will have firm and established laws that are not arbitrarily left to the discretion of the builders or planners. If they are, like their self-determined and established "moral code," rescue will only come from a firmly established code - that of God and not of man!

All aboard maties, if you dare!

Stay Holy My Friends,

Pastor Don