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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
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    Sat, Feb 28th - 9:45AM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.  And He sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.  And they said to Him, Where do You will us to prepare?  And He said to them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the home where he enters in.  And you shall say to the goodman of the house, The Master says to you, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?  And he shall show you a large supper room furnished: there you shall make ready for us.  And they went,and found just as He had said to them: and they made ready the passover.  And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.  And He said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:  For I say to you, I will not eat anything more, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among your selves: For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.  And He took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.  But, behold, the hand of him that betrays Me is with Me on the table.  And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!  And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing (22;7-23)." 

       We can read about this event in Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-25; and John 13.  The Lord's Supper.  This special meal shows us how Jesus fulfilled the great Passover Feast.  It stresses the great need and helps a person to remember the Lord's death.  Scripture is pointedly clear about this.  This meal helps us to keep our minds upon Christ, and at the same time it demonstrates that our minds are upon Him.  "This do in remembrance of Me."  We are to participate in this meal in order to not ever forget what Christ has already done on our behalf.  Are we to observe the Lord's Supper only during "good times"?  No, even in times of great difficulty we are to observe this meal.  We are to never forget the difficulty Jesus faced at the time, and yet He instituted this ceremonial act.  His betrayer sat at the very same table as He.  There were those who were out and about, seeking to find Him, arrest Him, and kill Him.  Despite this difficulty Jesus was determined to observe this celebration.  His conduct is an indictment against loose attitudes and approaches to the Lord's Supper, which Paul wrote about in his letters.  We are to remain obedient through the good times and the bad.

       We see that this passage stresses the need for cautious preparation in approaching Christ and His death.  In three of the gospels we can find the words "made ready."  There were surely servants involved in the cooking of the meal, but the disciples were the ones who went, and made ready for Christ to arrive.  But detailed preparations for the Passover needed to be completed.  All of the meticulous preparations taught that God was to be approached carefully, exactly as directed by God.  It is necessary as God is holy, there is only one way to approach Him: through the blood of the Passover Lamb.  Three acts in this passage stress the need for carefulness in appoaching God.

          1. He went to great pains to keep the Passover despite extreme danger to Himself.

          2.  He had personally made preparations for the observance.

          3.  The disciples found the arrangements already made just as He had said and did their part in preparing the observance.

    Would I keep the Lord's Supper in the face of my own impending death?  Do I value it enough?  Do I observe it too little?  Do I place the comfort of my home, recreation, or the doing of "my own thing" before observing the Lord's Supper? 

       Historically, the Passover refers back to the time when God delivered Israel from Egyptain slavery (Exodus 11:11).  God had pronounced judgment, the taking of the firstborn, upon the people of Egypt for their iniquities.  Before He executed the final judgment, those who believed God were instructed to slay a pure lamb and sprinkle its blood upon the door posts and lintel of their homes.  The blood of the innocent lamb would then serve as a sign that the coming judgment had already been carried out upon the the sacrificial lamb.  Upon seeing the blood God would pass over that house.  Those who believed God appled the blood to their doorways and lived, those who did not believe and did not apply the blood to their doorways died and were destroyed. 

       Symbolically, the Passover portrayed the coming of Christ Jesus as the Savior.  The lamb without blemish pictured His sinless life, and the blood sprinkled on the door posts pictured His blood shed for the believer, sprinkling their heart.  It was a sign that the life and the blood of the innocent lamb had been substituted for the firstborn.  The eating of the lamb pictured the need for spiritual nourishment gained by feeding on Christ, the Bread of life.  The unleavened bread (without yeast) pictured the need for putting evil out of one's life and home.

       In addition, the Jewish Passover Feast was celebrated by using four food and drink items. (1) A bowl of salt water was conspicuously placed on the table to remind the family of the tears shed by their forefathers in their 430 years of Egyptian bondage. (2) A bitter salad-like plate was to remind them of their forefather's bitter experiences of slavery.  (3) A paste-like mixture of fruit (charosheth) with cinnamon sticks was to remind them of their forefather's toil in making bricks from clay and straw for the Egyptian cities and temples.  (4) Four cups of wine were used to remind them of God's four promises in Exodus 6:6-8 to deliver their forefathers from Egyptain slavery.

       Celebrating the Passover for the Jew was all historical.  It celebrated something that had happened in the past.  However, the Lord's Supper celebrated something much more than history.  It is a celebration of the living Christ in the heart and life of each believer until He returns.  It is a remembrance of the potential power of the living Christ within the life of the believer right now, to be accessed right now, today!

       The great significance of the Lord's Supper is shown by a couple of things.  It is obviously tied to the Lord's death on the cross.  Jesus said "Before I suffer" "I will not any more eat until..." "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until..."  Christ was tying both the Passover Feast and the Lord's Supper to His imminent death.  This last supper pictures a great supper, a glorious promise.  Note what Christ said, that He was going to eat and drink again when all things were fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  He was promising to celebrate the Supper with His followers in the future.  It will be at the great Marriage Feast of the Lamb.  It is the promise of sitting with Christ in His kingdom, of being a part of the new heaven and the new earth, of being perfected and living eternally.  This meal observance ties so many other things together, it is like lacing up a pair of shoes and then tying that bow at the end to keep the laces from flopping around as you walk. 

       What is the meaning of this Last Supper?  There is the meaning of the bread.  Jesus taking and breaking the bread symbolized His broken body.  It symbolized His sacrifice as a victime for man's deliverance from his sins (Isaiah 53:5).  The early Church sometimes simply called this the "breaking of bread (Acts 2:42, 46; I Corinthians 10:16).  Under the Old Testament the broken bread represented the sufferings of the Israelites.  Under the New Testament the bread represents the broken body of Christ.  Jesus said that His body was broken and given for us.  He suffered and died for us: on our behalf, in our place.  He bore the judgment against our sin by dying for us.  The meaning of the cup was identified as being His blood of the New Testament.  He simply meant that His blood establishes a new covenant with God; His blood allows a new relationship between God and man.

       We need to notice His exact words:

          a. "This is My blood."  His blood, which was shed from His body, was to become the sign or symbol of the new covenant.  His blood was to take the place of the sacrifice of animals.

          b. "The new testament." His blood, the sacrifice of His life established a New Testament, a new covenant between God and us.  Faith in His blood and sacrifice is the Way people are now to approach God.  Under the Old Testament, a person who wanted a right relationship with God approached God through the sacrifice of an animals's blood upon the brazen altar.  That person believed that God accepted them because of the sacrifice of the animal's life and blood on their behalf.  But it was only a temporary "band aid" for it was insufficient.  Now, under the New Testament, the believer believes that God accepts them because of the sacrifice of Christ.  A person's sins are forgiven and they become acceptable to God by believing that Christ's blood was shed for their salvation.  God will "pass over" them when executing His final judgment upon mankind for He will see the blood of Christ applied to their hearts and lives.

       "In remembrance of Me."  By fulfilling the Passover with the shedding of His own blood, Christ was tying the Lord's Supper to the Passover Feast.  He was showing His disciples that He was, first of all, the great Liberator.  A liberator differs from a deliverer.  A deliverer might deliver a person into something as bad or even worse than that which currently enslaves them, but not a liberator.  A liberator sets a person free from whatever bondage grips him/her.  As the disciples partook of the Supper they werre to remember how God liberated Israel from Egyptain slavery; to remember how the Lord's blood liberated them from earthly and sinful slavery.  The Lord's Supper is to remind the disciples how the blood of the Lamb keeps them safe from the terrible hand of God's judgment; to remember how the blood of Christ makes it possible for Him to return and to liberate them into the eternal presence of God's glory.

       The glorious aspects of this passage do contain some darkness, some wickedness.  Christ was also using the Lord's Supper to make three appeals.  He used this meal to appeal to a sinner.  Judas Iscariot had forsaken Him, thinking his sin was hid and unknown to all, but Christ knew.  Christ saw all, everything that Judas had said, done, and agreed to still do in the future.  He used this meal to warn the sinner.  "Woe to that man," Christ said.  "Woe" means wrath and sorrow, anger and pity.  It was a grieving denunciation, a heartrending pronouncement of judgment upon a person.  Judas was blinded by Satan and could not comprehend the price of this denunciation of himself by the Messiah.  It grieved the heart of Jesus to make such a pronouncement upon Judas.  What this means to us today is that Christ Jesus knows our destiny, the terrible fate that awaits each and every person who refuses to believe in Him.  God gives advance warning to every person, just as He gave Judas advanced warning.  Sinners can still repent when they first hear about judgment.  They can still be saved as long as they are alive.  It is God's grace that warns us of the consequences of our sins, of coming judgment.  Sinners are never compelled to repent of their denial or betrayal of Christ.  Judas was not forced to turn from his impending evil; neither are any other sinners.  It is God's grace that respects our will and desires.  God loves and cares, warns and speaks frankly, but He never forces obedience to Himself.

       Finally, Christ used the Lord's Supper to stir the searching of hearts.  The disciples were stirred to ask, "Is it I?"  They looked at themselves.  They were not accusing one another, rather each one feared that he might be so weak that he might fall.  So too must each of us today look ourselves and do an assessment.  Are being so weak that we run the risk of stumbing and falling into sin again?  Are we on the verge of betraying our Lord and Master, as Judas Iscariot did?  Are we selling Christ out in our lives for the sake of earning a little more money?

    That is all for today, beloved!  Grace and peace be yours this day!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Mon, Feb 23rd - 9:57PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



       Let us consider the error of the religionists in the passage from yesterday.  It was fourfold.

    1.  They misinterpreted and corrupted God's Word.
    2.  They committed serious sins in God's eyes.
    3.  They rejected God's way of righteousness, God's Messiah, which is Jesus Christ.
    4.  They allowed religion in its tradition and ritual, ceremony and rules to become more important than meeting the basic needs of people.  They ignored the need for spiritual, mental, and physical health.  Jesus as the Messiah was bound to expose such error.  Thus, the battle lines were rigidly drawn.

       Christ came to liberate people from such enslaving behavior.  He had to liberate them so they could be saved and worship God in freedom of spirit.  

    Of course, the second opponent of Jesus was Satan.  He is the spiritual being who is out to destroy the relationship between God and people.  In wrath and bitter hostility he strives against God.  Satan is seen entering Judas Iscariot, stirring him to strike up a bargain to betray Jesus.  Later Satan will enter Judas again and urge him to go ahead and finish his work of betrayal.  If Satan could destroy Jesus, keep Him from fulfilling His work on earth, then man could never be saved.  Satan had no idea that God was going to save the world through the death of Christ upon a cross.  Satan is not omniscient, he could not possibly know what God was about to accomplish.  Satan had tried repeatedly to have Jesus killed, even as a child.

       The third opponent of Jesus was a covetous man, a man who went his own way in life.  Judas Iscariot was just such a man.  Consider this:

     1.  He was a professing disciple.  In fact, he was one of the twelve apostles.  Judas had been personally chosen by Jesus.  He had some unique qualities that had caused Jesus to choose him.  Judas knew Jesus face to face.  Judas walked with Jesus each and every day.  Judas heard most, if not all, that Jesus taught.  Judas saw most, if not all, that Jesus did.  Judas was trained by Jesus Himself.  Judas served Jesus, even on witnessing tours.  Judas was warned of sin's consequences by Jesus Himself.  Despite all of this, his life was terribly tragic.  He was gifted and was given great opportunity, yet he chucked it all away.  Why?  Because he chose to turn his back on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He went to the chief priests and put his fate into their hands instead of placing it into the hands of God.  He allowed his craving for money to blind him to the truth about Jesus, that He was truly the Son of God who demanded loyalty above all else that might be going on all around a person.  Doubt entered into Judas' heart and mind, causing him to wonder if Jesus wasn't really the King of the Jews that everyone had been waiting for.  
     2.  Judas hobnobbed with the world.  His mind and heart was upon worldly acceptance, position, recognition, influence, power, and wealth.  He decided that Jesus was no longer the "winning side" and that the chief priests of the Sanhedrin were.  
     3.  Judas coveted the world and its coffers of money.  Greed and the love of money was his downfall.  Judas said it himself, "What will you give me, and I will give Him to you?"  He obviously was gifted to properly handle money as he was picked to be treasurer over such men as Matthew, Peter, James, and John.  Judas at some point in time had begun to embezzle from the money bag of the disciples (John 12:6).  Judas apparently became disillusioned in Jesus after the triumphal entry to Jerusalem.  Jesus did not immediately ascend the throne of David and set up the Kingdom.  Judas became convinced that he had been mistaken about Jesus.  Jesus couldn't be the real Messiah.  
     4.  Judas made a covenant with the world.  Notice the words, "He promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him."  Instead of covenanting with God, he made a pact with the world.  He believed that it was the correct course of action, that it would place him in the most favorable position to gain wealth and position.  In the end Judas finally realized to late that he had been horribly wrong in his beliefs about Christ Jesus.

    Next time I look at the Lord's Supper, which followed rather closely after the above passage.  It must be seen what the great purpose of the meal was, what the significance of it was, what the meaning of the meal was, and what the great appeal of the meal was.  Until then, grace and peace be yours, brothers and sisters!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Mon, Feb 23rd - 9:57PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



       Let us consider the error of the religionists in the passage from yesterday.  It was fourfold.

    1.  They misinterpreted and corrupted God's Word.
    2.  They committed serious sins in God's eyes.
    3.  They rejected God's way of righteousness, God's Messiah, which is Jesus Christ.
    4.  They allowed religion in its tradition and ritual, ceremony and rules to become more important than meeting the basic needs of people.  They ignored the need for spiritual, mental, and physical health.  Jesus as the Messiah was bound to expose such error.  Thus, the battle lines were rigidly drawn.

       Christ came to liberate people from such enslaving behavior.  He had to liberate them so they could be saved and worship God in freedom of spirit.  

    Of course, the second opponent of Jesus was Satan.  He is the spiritual being who is out to destroy the relationship between God and people.  In wrath and bitter hostility he strives against God.  Satan is seen entering Judas Iscariot, stirring him to strike up a bargain to betray Jesus.  Later Satan will enter Judas again and urge him to go ahead and finish his work of betrayal.  If Satan could destroy Jesus, keep Him from fulfilling His work on earth, then man could never be saved.  Satan had no idea that God was going to save the world through the death of Christ upon a cross.  Satan is not omniscient, he could not possibly know what God was about to accomplish.  Satan had tried repeatedly to have Jesus killed, even as a child.

       The third opponent of Jesus was a covetous man, a man who went his own way in life.  Judas Iscariot was just such a man.  Consider this:

     1.  He was a professing disciple.  In fact, he was one of the twelve apostles.  Judas had been personally chosen by Jesus.  He had some unique qualities that had caused Jesus to choose him.  Judas knew Jesus face to face.  Judas walked with Jesus each and every day.  Judas heard most, if not all, that Jesus taught.  Judas saw most, if not all, that Jesus did.  Judas was trained by Jesus Himself.  Judas served Jesus, even on witnessing tours.  Judas was warned of sin's consequences by Jesus Himself.  Despite all of this, his life was terribly tragic.  He was gifted and was given great opportunity, yet he chucked it all away.  Why?  Because he chose to turn his back on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He went to the chief priests and put his fate into their hands instead of placing it into the hands of God.  He allowed his craving for money to blind him to the truth about Jesus, that He was truly the Son of God who demanded loyalty above all else that might be going on all around a person.  Doubt entered into Judas' heart and mind, causing him to wonder if Jesus wasn't really the King of the Jews that everyone had been waiting for.  
     2.  Judas hobnobbed with the world.  His mind and heart was upon worldly acceptance, position, recognition, influence, power, and wealth.  He decided that Jesus was no longer the "winning side" and that the chief priests of the Sanhedrin were.  
     3.  Judas coveted the world and its coffers of money.  Greed and the love of money was his downfall.  Judas said it himself, "What will you give me, and I will give Him to you?"  He obviously was gifted to properly handle money as he was picked to be treasurer over such men as Matthew, Peter, James, and John.  Judas at some point in time had begun to embezzle from the money bag of the disciples (John 12:6).  Judas apparently became disillusioned in Jesus after the triumphal entry to Jerusalem.  Jesus did not immediately ascend the throne of David and set up the Kingdom.  Judas became convinced that he had been mistaken about Jesus.  Jesus couldn't be the real Messiah.  
     4.  Judas made a covenant with the world.  Notice the words, "He promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him."  Instead of covenanting with God, he made a pact with the world.  He believed that it was the correct course of action, that it would place him in the most favorable position to gain wealth and position.  In the end Judas finally realized to late that he had been horribly wrong in his beliefs about Christ Jesus.

    Next time I look at the Lord's Supper, which followed rather closely after the above passage.  It must be seen what the great purpose of the meal was, what the significance of it was, what the meaning of the meal was, and what the great appeal of the meal was.  Until then, grace and peace be yours, brothers and sisters!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Sun, Feb 22nd - 10:10PM

    STUDY IN LUKE



    "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew close, which is called the Passover.  And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him; for they feared the people.  Then satan entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.  And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.  And they were glad, and ovenanted to give him money.  And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitudes(22:1-6)." 

       After a lengthy absence from this site, I have returned!  Let us resume in chapter twenty-two of Luke's account, shall we?  Immediately in this chapter we are informed that the Passover was also known as the feast of unleavened bread.  It is forever tied to the death of Jesus Christ.  This passage begins the final stage of Christ's life before He dies upon the cross.  Luke sets the stage for us in what is dramatic fashion.  He mentions that it is the Passover preparation time, and that there were those who gathered together to plot Christ's death.  What two diametrically opposed scenes!  The Passover was a feast, a joyous and festive occasion.  All of God's people were to be celebrating God's glorious deliverance of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.  But we can see that during the days of this joyous celebration of freedom from persecution and slavery, Jesus' murder was being plotted.  Worse, it was being plotted by religionists, those who should have been taking the lead in the Passover. 

       The Passover was also called the feast of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:5-8).  On the first day of that week all preparations were made for the celebration.  Preparations included securing the lamb and taking it to the temple to be sacrificed, securing the items of food and drink necessary for the Passover and arranging the room for the feast.  But there were two preparations for which the Feast of Unleavened Bread received its name.

       1.  On the night of the Passover, God had told Israel to make final preparations for being delivered from Egyptian bondage.  But the Israelites did not have time to bake leavened bread.  They had to bake bread without leaven because of the time it takes for leavened bread to rise.  This Feast is a ceremony by which Israel remembered God's glorious deliverance of their ancestors from Egyptian bondage.

       2.  There was a ceremony by which all leaven within the house had to be removed.  It must be remembered that leaven was symbol of evil to the Jews.  In removing all leaven, they were picturing the need for putting evil out of their lives and household.  There was an actual search made throughout the entire house.  Whatever leaven was found, no matter how small, it was taken from out of the house.  By doing this, the Israelites were indicating they wanted to included among the faithful of their ancestors.  They wanted to be known as the faithful who purified and cleansed their lives and households for the journey of deliverance from bondage and slavery.

       I mentioned that there were religionists plotting behind closed doors on how to murder Jesus, instead of leading the Passover preparations.  They plotted deliberately to use deception and lies (Matthew 26:4; Mark 14:1).  What they set about doing had already been described in the Old Testament in Jeremiah, "And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity (9:5)."    They sought to murder Jesus because they were extremely fearful of the people who flocked to hear Him speak.  The more people who listened to Jesus meant the fewer people who remained to listen to them.  Due to this growing desparity the religionists chose to get rid of Jesus away from the sight of the crowds who supported Him. 

       It is difficult for our modern mind to understand what their conflict with Christ was all about.  So much of the conflict had to do with rules and regulations that seen so petty and trivial to us today.  In order to gain understanding of this conflict, we must look at four facts.

        1.  The Jewish nation had been held together by their religious beliefs.  Through the centuries they had been conquered by army after army, and by the millions they had been deported and scattered over the known world.  Even in the day of Jesus they were enslaved by Rome.  Their religion was the binding force that kept Jews together in even the most desperate times through

                     a. their belief that God had called them to be a distinctive people who worshipped the only true and living God, and

                     b. their rules governing the Sabbath and the temple. 

    This belief and those rules protected them from alien beliefs and from being assimilated by other cultures through intermarriage.  Their religion maintained their distinctiveness as a people and as a nation.  This distinctiveness continues even today.  In Jesus' day the Jewish leaders knew this.  They knew that their religion was the binding force that held their nation together.  Therefore, they opposed anyone or anything that threatened or attempted to break the laws of their religion. 

        2.   The religionists were men of deep conviction.  They were strong in their beliefs.  Thus, they were steeped in religious belief and practice, law and custom, tradition and ritual, ceremony and liturgy, rules and regulations.  To break any law or rule governing any belief or practice was serious offence, for it taught loose behavior.  And loose behavior, once it had spread enough, would weaken their religion which was the binding force that held their people together as a distinctive group.  Therefore, Jesus was committing a great offense by breaking the law.  He was weakening their religion and threatening their nation, to their way of thinking. 

        3.   They were men who had profession, position, recognition, esteem, livelihood and security.  Anyone who went contrary to what they believed and taught was a threat to all that they had.  Every time Jesus "broke" the law He was undermining their very position and security.

        4.   They were exposed by Jesus.  In order for the religionists and the people to know the truth, Jesus had to point out where they were wrong and what they needed to do to get right with God.  Both the sin of men and the truth of God had to be proclaimed.  Is it any different today?  Should it be any different today?  The religionists could not stomach the truth, they refused to accept the truth.  How could they possibly not be acceptable to God?  They were the very ones who professed God.  They felt that they had absolutely no sin, at least not enough sin to bar them from God.  Thus, anyone accusing them of being so wrong and so depraved must be of the devil.  We must remain aware that there were at least four responses to Jesus by the religionists:

             a. Some were sincere men of deep conviction.  They actually thought Jesus was an imposter, a deceiver, a false messiah.  Saul of Tarsus would be a good example of this type of person.

             b. Some were open-minded enough to seek the truth.  They sought Him out in order to discover the truth.  Nicomdemus is an example of this.

             c. Some did believe and trust Christ(Luke 13:31, Matthew 23:13-36).

             d. Some were just professional priests and ministers who looked at Jesus as a direct threat.  They held the position because of the prestige, comfort, livelihood, and security they received from it.  Caiphas and Annas are examples of this.  Today we still have ministers, pastors, and priests, who only seek those positions for the money, status, fame, etc. that they can gain from it.  They do not really have the needs of the people as their first priority in their lives.  They are a blemish, a spot, a cancer, upon the body of true believers in Christ, something that we are forced to apologize for. 

    Next time I will continue on with this passage of scripture.  May you have the peace of Christ within you always.

    ~Eric



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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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