Houston Subpoenas Pastors to Turn Over Their Sermons

HoustonWeHaveAProblem

by Faith Driven Consumer 1154CP on October 15, 2014

Faith Driven Consumer launches #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Campaign at www.HoustonProblem.com

Houston, we have a problem.

In a move that should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American on both sides of the political aisle, the City of Houston has issued subpoenas to a group of pastors demanding that they turn over their sermons, speeches and email communications with congregants referencing homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s openly lesbian mayor.

Why this bullying by government officials into the affairs of the pastors and their churches?

Back in May, the Houston City Council passed an equal rights ordinance that extended “protected class” status upon sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of city contracting, housing, public accommodations and private employees. Known as HERO, this law allows males who self-identify as females to use women’s restrooms—raising legitimate safety concerns for women and children in restroom and change room settings.  In addition, faith-driven employers who object to the normalization of homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism are now forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs in order to do participate fully in the marketplace of goods and services.

Understandably, many faith-driven Houstonians were concerned with this new law. Led by a coalition of 400 local pastors, they exercised their rights as citizens and gathered more than 50,000 petition signatures—nearly three times the 17,269 required—calling for a referendum to allow voters to weigh in on the ordinance and overturn it.  Although the city secretary certified the results, other officials threw out the petition in August due to alleged signature irregularities.

In response, a lawsuit was filed by the coalition. And city officials struck back with the subpoenas—even targeting pastors who are not part of the lawsuit.

Ironically, this alarming breach of religious liberty comes during the month of October – declared by Mayor Parker herself as “National Bullying Prevention Month in Houston.”

In a society like ours that values equality—including the notion that everyone has the right to publicly express deeply held beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal—it is unacceptable for pastors to be bullied and intimated into silence, particularly at the hands of government officials.

Take a moment now to sign our petition to the City of Houston and let them know that pastors and people of faith—who are a significant part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity—share the same fundamental rights as other groups.

As Faith Driven Consumers, we are blessed to live in a nation endowed with a First Amendment that protects freedom of speech and religion. And we are blessed to live in a rich, diverse society where dissenting viewpoints, open discourse and tolerance for those who hold differing beliefs makes us stronger as a nation.

Pastors have been at the very heart of American society since even before our founding as a nation. They were leaders in the fight for every great moral cause—including American independence, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, child labor laws and civil rights. Even today, pastors remain an integral part of the lives of untold hundreds of millions of Americans—advocating and articulating biblical truth on issues like abortion and the redefinition of sexuality, marriage and family.

With ur First Amendment freedoms are increasingly under threat by those who seek to marginalize faith-driven viewpoints on the great issues of our day, Faith Driven Consumers are being called like never before to stand up for our biblical worldview and values in the marketplace of goods, services and ideas.

Share with your family and friends, sign our petition today and make your voice heard.

If not on this issue, then which?  If not now, then when?

Continue reading “Houston Subpoenas Pastors to Turn Over Their Sermons”

It’s Time to Speak UP!

There is a time for everything‚Äö
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

The freedom of religious expression was chief among America’s founding principles. However, today there is an unprecedented effort to deny this most basic of human rights in almost every area of American life. A Time to Speak is a 60-minute film from the American Family Association highlighting the urgent need for Christians to pray, speak out and vote. It is a clarion call for the Church to break the silence and preserve this freedom for the coming generations.

“Our religious freedoms are under full frontal assault. I’m more convinced than ever that A Time To Speak can educate pastors and church leaders on the dangers of losing religious liberty. It will also equip them with resources to turn the tide in the most important endeavor of my lifetime. If we lose now, the window of opportunity to turn it around will close.”

– Don Wildmon, AFA Founder

http://www.atimetospeak.com/

Gullible Christian Progressive Leaders Fall For Iranian Deception

Iran

June 23, 2014 | Ryan Mauro

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A Christian delegation recently visited Iran, led by Pastor Joel C. Hunter, a spiritual advisor to President Obama and a mega-church leader. The Iranian regime hopes that the prospect of better relations will silence concerned Christians. When asked about the oppression of Christians, Hunter replied, “We didn’t go over there to confront people on certain issues.” Continue reading “Gullible Christian Progressive Leaders Fall For Iranian Deception”

Another Look at the Seeker Friendly Church

I recently read an article about seeker friendly churches which basically stated that seekers are no longer seeking.

In the article the author sighted a recent Pew Research Center study that reveals that most Americans do not attend church regularly, and that more and more Americans have no religious affiliation at all. Actually, this segment has grown from 15 to 20 percent in the last five years alone. Among those ages 18-29, the unaffiliated equals 32 percent of the population, and of this group, 88 percent state that they are not looking for any religion that would be right for them.

Unfortunately, the author seemingly went on to say that churches need to continue on with pretty much more of the same, just repackaged.

I guess my question is where is this seeker sensitive, reinvention of the church leading us? As a pastor who has not embraced the seeker friendly church model I have found all this seeker sensitive emphasis to be troubling in a number of ways. Continue reading “Another Look at the Seeker Friendly Church”

Doing What Doesn’t Matter Where it Doesn’t Work

In my estimation, one of the greatest traps of ministry can be the false assumption that activity is synonymous with productivity. As a result we can easily find ourselves involved in far too many causes and pursuits that may actually dull us to the reality that what we are doing is robbing us of true kingdom purposes. (Psalm 127:1 NKJV) Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

While I am sure that this is true of pastors and leaders in nearly any country, it is especially true in the United States. Where the culture has become a whirlwind of seemingly endless activity. This whirlwind of activity creates a challenge for the modern minister of the gospel, simply due to the very fact that we are inundated with so many possible choices. “This is the most invasive culture in history.” Oz Guinness

Before I go any further, let me first of all assure you that I have not arrived, nor have I mastered this problem in my own life and ministry. I am a bit ADD by nature, and can find myself easily distracted from what I really need to be pursuing. “The kingdom of darkness could best be described as distractions” Oswald Chambers Man isn’t that the truth!

This brings me to the primary focus of this issue. If we are not careful to step back from what we are doing, and really take a good look at the fruitfulness of our ministry and the activities we are involved in, we can easily fall prey to the mistaken notion that if we just keep working hard at what we are doing we will eventually see it pay off in the long run. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” Anthony Robbins

I have witnessed this first hand in the lives of many pastors, and their churches. Is a matter of fact, there are entire denominations that are completely trapped in this delusion. Because they have failed to take a good hard look at their methods, and fruitfulness, they are actually trapped in a mode of ministry that is perpetuating this very problem. Many of these churches do not even realize that their traditions, and methods of ministry are completely out of touch with the world around them. When you walk into some of these churches it’s almost like stepping into a room where time has been suspended. Their preaching, and ministry methods simply do not relate to where people are at in the modern world.

On the other hand, we have the Emerging Church camp that seeks to be relevant. Unfortunately, many in this camp also have fallen prey to the very thing they are attempting to avoid. They have diluted the power of the word of God, and the moving of the Holy Spirit, in an attempt to relate to modern culture. We dare not compromise the integrity of the Scriptures, or we have just another man focused structure, with no life of God.

So just exactly how do we take a good hard look at what we are doing, and bring about the needed transformation that is necessary to see God’s will accomplished in the ministry that God has called us to?

First of all we need to seek the face of the Lord, and ask Him just exactly what and how He wants to build His church? Believe me, He really does want to reveal His will to us.

In addition to seeking the Lord in prayer, I believe we really need to consider the actual fruitfulness of what we are doing. We need to evaluate everything by this standard. Out of everything our ministry may be involved in, which are those things that are actually bearing measurable worthwhile results? In other words, are people being saved, healed or transformed as a result of this activity, or is it just another of the many activities that waste our time, resources and energies?

I have witnessed churches that do events year after year, spend thousands of dollars, and yet by all practical purposes see very few if any people saved, or transformed as a result. Yet they continue to carry on with these events just because someone came up with the idea, and doesn’t want to admit that it is not really worth the time and energy to continue it. There is an old saying that could readily apply to this situation. “Don’t try to ride a dead horse.” You see many ministries are trying to ride some activity that will never take them to where they ultimately are attempting to arrive. This is “doing what doesn’t work, where it doesn’t matter.” Unfortunately churches, and other ministries are rife with this sort of activity.

“Fighting with no stated goal can also lead to a war of attrition—a slow defeat in which you actually seem to be winning. What you are busy doing looks right, and brings results, but you can’t see the long-range damage your results are masking. You can’t see that what you are doing cannot take you where you really want to go. Eventually your army will atrophy.’’ Mario Murillo—Fresh Impact

I am of the opinion, that if what we have been doing is not reaching our cities, transforming communities, and impacting our society as a whole then it is time to reevaluate our priorities, and objectives. It is time to make God’s priorities our priorities. Namely the great commission. Winning souls is at the top of God’s agenda, and yet we are often so encumbered with feeding the fed, and reaching the reached, that we have little time or energy left in our tanks to carry out the great commission. You will notice that we don’t call it the great suggestion do we?

‘If people are lost outside of Christ, and if faith in Jesus Christ is the only avenue of redemption, what could possibly be a higher priority than spreading the gospel as far as we can as fast as we can?’ David Shibley

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