Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bless You Boys!


With the sounding of those highly anticipated words, hope springs eternal in the hearts of every baseball fan at the start of a new season. Forget last year and the failed expectations and disappointments - a new baseball season renews our youthful hope and gullibility that our favorite team can somehow reach new heights and finally win the World Series. Even fans of the Chicago Cubs will admit that there is a faint hope of possibility springing up in their heads that this year will finally bring about the acquisition of the long lost holy grail of baseball - a World Series Championship!

I remember going down to the old Tiger Stadium as a young fan in the 60's and watching my favorite players. In 1968, players such as Al Kaline, Norm Cash, Willie Horton, Bill Freehan, Jim Northrup, and Mickey Lolich captured the city of Detroit's imagination as well as my own when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games to bring home the title. No ESPN or MLB Channel package existed to watch the games on back in those days. No - we had to sit by a transistor radio in school, straining our ears to hear what was going on with the games that were actually played in the afternoon! It seemed like the entire town came to a standstill as we hung on Ernie Harwell's every descriptive word. When Bill Freehan finally caught the last out, there was celebrating in the streets and the entire town came together to celebrate the exciting accomplishment of our hometown heroes.

In 1984, the Tigers did it again in dramatic fashion, starting the season off 35-5 and cruising through the regular season to the World Series in dominating fashion. Once in the World Series, they crushed the San Diego Padres and once again laid claim to the best baseball team in the world. Players such as Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, "Sweet" Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, "Lance" Parrish, and Jack "The Cat" Morris as well as many others brought renewed pride and hope to a city suffering through economic and civil unrest.

Over the course of the last few years, our beloved Tigers have been in the World Series two times, but have fallen short of the ultimate goal. As the 2013 season gets underway, hope of another World Series title is the topic of every local sports talk show host and water cooler conversation. With players such as Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, Tori Hunter, and Victor Martinez, the anticipation of the Tigers returning to and winning the World Series this year brings to the city a common cause to rally behind and to cheer on. No matter where one may travel in or near the city of Detroit, excitement about the possible is a unifying force.

In the advancement of the kingdom of God throughout the world today, a common excitement should exist to fuel the evangelism and mission outreaches to all parts of the world. With Hall of Famers such as Paul of Tarsus, Peter "The Rock," "The Sons of Thunder" John and James, or "Doctor" Luke rooting us onward toward the ultimate prize, it would be a tragedy if we were to perform below their expectations. Unfortunately, most Christians today sense no anticipation or joy in the work that has been set before them or neglect to honor the players of the past by competing just as hard as they did to bring about victory for their team owner, Jesus Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews instructs his audience: 

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.

Like the excitement surrounding the city of Detroit concerning the possibility of the Tigers going to and winning the World Series this year, may we look forward while keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, anticipating the victories and ultimate successes he will bring to us as we proceed into the season ahead of us. May we cast off the defeatist, forlorn, and depressing spirit of a Chicago Cubs fan at the end of a season and run the race ahead of us with full confidence and assurance that our "Captain" will lead us from victory to victory!

Now, let's play ball!


Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ball of Confusion!

The other night, I was watching a made-for-television movie called The Temptations! It was a wonderful stroll down memory lane watching and listening to songs I dearly loved as a young kid. The movie itself was a very accurate rendering of the origin, development, and ultimate disintegration of one of the most popular and successful singing groups of all time - The Temptations! One scene that really caught my attention was one in which David Ruffin had left the group and had started another Temptations group. There were so many members quitting or joining each group of Temptations that nobody could tell who the real Temptations were. The song "Ball of Confusion" was a microcosm of the turmoil of 60's society as well as in the lives of each of the Temptations at that point in their careers.

As I thought about this part of the movie and each of the Temptations members' lives, I couldn't help but draw a comparison with the current "ball of confusion" associated with the modern church. This epidemic of confusion has at its roots the fact that most Christians do not really know what the Bible says about a host of subjects affecting the world today or even basic Christian theology! A short look at "Christian" blogs or "Christian" Facebook walls would send even the heartiest pastor gasping for air and grabbing his heart in unbelief wondering at what in the world is going on in the heads of most "Christians"!  

Maybe one of the most shocking examples of this type of "confusion" is from some of the posts I have read from "Christians" whom I know very well concerning the subject of homosexuality! While I could have picked some other subject that the "church" seems confused about, I chose homosexuality because it is the current hot potato in culture today. Let me illustrate some of the "confusion" on the subject expressed from "church" leaders or culture guardians who claim to be "Christian".

  • Prominent U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan acknowledged Easter Sunday that the Catholic Church needs to forge a better relationship with the gay and lesbian community. “We gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people,” Dolan said. “And I admit, we haven’t been too good about that. We try our darnedest to make sure we’re not anti-anybody.
  • Pastor Joel Osteen, “Sometimes we look at gay being a bigger sin than being proud or not telling the truth. I don’t think God categorizes sins.”
  • In an interview with the Daily Telegraph ahead of his upcoming retirement from the role of Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams has said that while the Church was “wrong” not to have advocated gay equality..... 
  • Bill O’Reilly: I agree with you a 100-percent. . . . The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That’s where the compelling argument is. “We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else. That’s a compelling argument. And to deny that, you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.

While some of these "leaders"  fight for the maintenance of traditional marriage between one man and one woman, they soften their positions of being against this type of behavior by declaring that they are not "against anybody" or that they "do not discriminate" based on someone's "sexual orientation." While it is commendable that they try to continue to hold the line on Biblical teaching, they ultimately undermine their positions trying to be or sound "inclusive" to all people.

As Christians, our basis for ALL our thinking should be the scriptures and NOT how we or society feel or think. We are admonished in 2 Corinthians 10:5: 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So let's see briefly what some of the scriptures say about homosexuality: 
  • In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)
  • "'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)
  • "'Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Leviticus 18:22)
  • Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. (1 Corinthians 6:9)
  • Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:27-32)

 Let us draw some simple conclusions from these few verses:
1.  Homosexual relations is a sin forbidden by God and is a capital crime punishable by death!
2.  God's terrible judgment fell on cities or people who practiced homosexuality!
3.  Homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God!
4.  Homosexual behavior should not be tolerated or endorsed by Christians in any form or fashion!  

The scriptures call ALL men, regardless of their sin, to repent - change their minds and actions and see things from God's perspective! To speak out against homosexuality or any other sin but then accommodate it in some other sphere of life, or even in the church, as acceptable or to be tolerated is to be inconsistent with God's Word and to be confused with its application to all life and culture. Meshing the two views together into one worldview philosophy is to be synergistic with the world's thinking and God's Holy Word. Diluting from or adding to God's Holy Word is a dangerous and destructive line many churches have already boldly breached.

As the world becomes more accepting, accommodating, and evangelistic of the perversions strictly forbidden in God's Holy Word, and as it pressures the "church" to follow its lead in all areas of life, will the church stand boldly and uncompromisingly on the truth of God's Word or will it continue to bend the knee in contrite humble submission to the world's lead, declarations, and pressures?  May God give the church the spirit of John the Baptist who confronted Herod and his sin with the uncompromising declaration -"It is not lawful for you to...!"

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don