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Sunday, May 01, 2022

Here is an excellent article explaining why we encourage a prom alternative... There are several other good articles as well. May want to bookmark this one!

Every year at this time, I’m reminded when I go to the hairdresser’s that it’s almost time for prom. Then when I go to my favorite consignment shop, I’m reminded by the mother-daughter browsing clientele that it’s almost time for prom. When I look at Facebook, I’m reminded by the prom-posals that have been captured on video that it’s almost time for prom. Truly a lot of time and effort go into the planning and execution of what America has come to view as a sort of rite of passage for teens to enter the world of “adulting”…at least on some social level. Teens know that they are expected to attend, so much so that, if they are not planning to be there (and I mean planning in a comprehensive sense of the term), some explanation is expected.

Today, I hope readers will take the time to listen to a couple of perspectives on the prom. Be sure you listen through to the perspective of a band director in one of our local high schools. May God bless all of our teens who are approaching all of the decisions that go with prom night. One of those decisions is both difficult and consequential.

Is There Life After Prom?

Monday, April 25, 2022

(This is a rather long article, but I would ask that you read it, all of it, before you assume you know what I am going to say. I have no desire to “spy out another person’s liberty,” but at the same time, I do desire to warn brethren of pitfalls that can harm them.  I hope you will find it balanced and truthful, and worthy to share with your Christian friends. — Steve Higginbotham).

I believe the headlines say it all: “How To Have The Most Romantic Night Ever,” “Tonight Will Last Forever,” “Dresses So Hot They Sizzle,” “Your Hottest Prom Body,” and “Sex – It’s Your Call.” These are the messages being marketed to teens regarding the High School rite of passage called, “The Prom.”  These were the headlines of such magazines as “Seventeen,”  “Young & Modern,” “Prom Magazine,” “Your Prom,” and “Modern Bride,” which all published special issues promoting the Prom.  I believe that these popular teen magazines are sending our young people some rather disturbing messages about priorities in life as well as sexual purity.

Before picking out a dress or a tux, or helping your children to do so, I would like for you to weigh the following thoughts before deciding to attend the Prom.

First of all, there is the issue of dancing to consider. Is dancing wrong? No, not necessarily.   There is no sin in moving one’s feet to the rhythm of music.  Not all dancing involves indecent dress, unchaste contact, or illicit movement.  In fact, the Bible records instances when righteous men danced as an expression of their joy (1 Chronicles 15:25-29).

However, dancing that calls for close bodily contact between unmarried males and females; that involves indecent and suggestive bodily movements; and involves impure handling of a dance partner is wrong.  The kind of dancing that God’s word condemns is the kind of dancing that stirs one to have impure thoughts, and act in impure ways.  Frankly, that is precisely the problem with most of the dancing that takes place today.  Its appeal is sex.  Now, there is nothing wrong with sexual attraction either.  In fact, sexual attraction is a perfectly healthy matter that God created.  However, that attraction must be kept within proper bounds.  It should never be tantalized or it will very likely get out of control.  Unmarried people who have no legitimate means to fulfill their sexual desires need to be extremely careful to avoid any situation that could feed or flame such desires.

While it is true that the Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not dance,” it does say that those who practice “reveling,” “licentiousness,” and “such like sins” shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).  There was a time when there was hardly any Christian who would openly defend dancing.  The preachers of times past taught against it, and the congregation concurred.  So, what has happened?  Were the preachers of yesterday wrong about dancing?  Has dancing cleaned up its act?  Have God’s moral standards changed?

Without any question, none would argue that dancing has not become moral over the years.  If anything, the modern dance is more sensuous today than it ever has been.  Furthermore, preachers of the past were correct in preaching and warning against fleshly lusts which war against the soul (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 2:11).  And of course, God’s moral law has not changed (Matthew 24:35).  What has changed is the level of discipleship to which some are willing to commit themselves.  Some apparently seem to be more willing to justify what they desire to do than they are willing to justify God’s high moral calling.

Second, there is an issue of modesty.  Many of the dresses that are worn at the Prom are “short at both ends.”  I have been in the presence of young girls (Christian girls) who were bragging about how low-cut their  dresses were, and how much cleavage they showed.  In stark contrast to the mindset of these girls, the apostle Paul instructed women to dress in a manner that professed godliness (1 Timothy 2:9-10).  Clothing that exposes or emphasizes those parts of the body that create lust is certainly inappropriate.  What is the message of the clothing worn to the Prom?  Does it profess one’s sexuality?  Does it tease, and entice?  Or does it profess godliness and purity?

Third, there is an issue of priority.  Is being at the “in” place, and having the approval of one’s peers more important than one’s commitment to Jesus?  Is one’s desire for peer acceptance stronger than one’s desire for God’s acceptance?

I have heard some parents speak and act as though their children will be scarred for life if they do not attend the Prom.  Quite the contrary, my concerns are that a young person might be scarred for life if they do attend the Prom.  Several years ago, the local Proms in the town in which I preached, resulted in…

  • Guys and girls renting cabins at a local state park where some spent the night drinking and engaging in sexual immorality.
  • Public intoxication resulting in arrests by the local police force.
  • “Dirty dancing” (and that’s the way I will describe it.  To be more specific would be offensive) performed on the “chaperoned” dance floor which is then broadcast over our local cable system.
  • Immodest, revealing, clothing worn which leaves little to the imagination, and must elicit impure thoughts from those of the opposite sex.
  • Young people lying to their parents about their whereabouts while staying out all evening and returning home in the morning.
  • Parents who forced their children to attend the Prom against the child’s own wishes.
  • Parents who attempted to convince other people’s children to attend the Prom because they would be missing out on one of the most important nights of their life.

And here’s the clincher…every one of the actions mentioned above were done, not by the non-Christians living in our community, but by young people who are members of the Lord’s church — Christians!  If this is the way that disciples of Jesus conduct themselves at this event, then how do you suppose the world acts?  It is no wonder that our school systems would annually mail out a letter to area churches asking for their help in keeping what they described as “one of the most dangerous nights of the year for our young people” as safe as possible?

I fear for those who go to a dance, spend all night with their date, come home the next morning (which happens to be the Lord’s day), and find themselves too exhausted, because of their carousing, to go to worship or to truly worship in spirit the one who shed his blood for their redemption.  Do we really think that such actions will be pardoned or excused because, after all, “it’s the Prom?”

Young people, keep your commitment that you made to the Lord.  Guard your heart and mind from the fleshly lusts which war against your soul (1 Peter 2:11), and guard your influence as well (1 Timothy 4:12).

Parents, help your son or daughter make decisions when those decisions have the potential to harm their relationship to Jesus.  If your child isn’t strong enough, or mature enough to make a responsible decision, then exercise your parental obligation and make that decision for him.  Periodically, because of the tremendous peer pressure they are under, young people need your help to say  “no” and be strong for them.  Help them make Christ-focused decisions that will bring honor to God.

Friends, whether Christian teens can attend the Prom and abstain from immorality and guard their heart as well as their influence is a decision that ultimately they will have to make, but allow me to remind you that the Prom is only one night of out an entire lifetime of events.  That single night won’t “make” your life, but it certainly has the potential to adversely affect it.  I, and thousands more just like me, can assure you that there is life without a Prom.

God Is Fighting For Us!

Monday, March 07, 2022

“Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness accord-ing to the word of Elisha” (2 Kings 6:16-18).

With all the talk of war lately, it is comforting to know that God’s army is larger than any army in the world, including Satan’s. As Christians, we are fighting in a spiritual war where Satan seems to be winning. Satan fools us into believing that he has won the battles that we face and because we believe this we give up and quit. When Satan tries to make us give up, we need to be reminded that God is much stronger than Satan could ever imagine.

For those who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, God will give victory over Satan. God’s precious Word tells us that Christ has the power to overcome sin and death (Romans 8:37). Thus, by obeying His Word, we as Christians can benefit from Christ’s victory. We as Christians must remember that our God is great, powerful, and almighty. When we are faced with difficult times may we remember the advice of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:16-18, “Don’t be afraid…Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

God can do amazing things when our eyes are open to His will. God will fight for us and will help us win the battles of life. May we always remember that God is fighting for us!

Mark T. Tonkery

The Awesome Responsibility of Church Leadership

Monday, February 28, 2022

By Wayne Jackson



James A. Garfield was the twentieth president of the United States, serving less than four months before he was assassinated. He was a member of the church and served as an elder. When Garfield relinquished his role as an elder, it is said that he stated, “I resign the highest office in the land to become president of the United States.” Serving as an elder in Christ’s church is the highest position a man can attain on this earth.

The responsibility of elders is to oversee the flock of God among them, watching in behalf of their souls, being aware that they will give account to the Lord for the exercise of their leadership (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2). One aspect of the elder’s obligation is to “admonish” us when they see we are in spiritual danger (1 Thessalonians 5:12).

The term “admonish” conveys the companion ideas of encouragement, and when necessary, reproof. When the child of God has spiritual difficulties, and his elders seek to assist with loving care, the devout person will appreciate that, and respond with grateful improvement. To resist affectionate counsel that is in harmony with the Scriptures is an act of rebellion against God himself (cf. 1 Samuel 8:7b), and the offender will give account for his conduct on the Day of Judgment.

In criminal law there is the common practice of flight to avoid prosecution. Law-breakers frequently labor under the illusion that if they flee jurisdiction they will be free from their legal responsibility. But such cannot be tolerated in a law-abiding society, as reasonable people know; rather, one must accept accountability for his deeds within the environment where the inappropriate actions have taken place.

Similarly, it sometimes is the case that church members will drift into outrageous and sinful patterns of behavior. When approached by the elders for spiritual counsel, they resist. If the godly leaders begin to apply gentle pressure, the resistance becomes more determined. Finally, when it becomes apparent that the shepherds are going to apply a firmer approach in their attempts to help the wayward soul, the tactic then becomes: “flight to avoid prosecution.” Or, in the more common “church” jargon: “I am withdrawing my membership.”

Congregational membership is both an obligation and an option. There is no conflict in this statement. It is an obligation that a Christian identify with a local group whenever a faithful church is available. The Lord never intended that the child of God be an “island unto himself,” traversing the countryside with his “membership” in his back pocket, so to speak. There are corporate obligations (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25; 13:17).

On the other hand, a person has the option of making his own congregational choice. No eldership has the right to demand that all Christians—within a certain radial sphere of the local building—identify with them.

When one seeks membership in a congregation, and places himself under the leadership of local elders, he has taken on a responsibility to be regarded with great reverence. He may not misbehave, and when approached by godly elders, declare (in essence): “You have no authority over me. I will do as I please. I will leave this church and you can do nothing about it.”

If one wishes to leave, fine; he has the option to do so. But if there is “unfinished business,” that may not be ignored. The offenders must take responsibility for their actions and make matters right with the congregation they suddenly have found so distasteful.

Right is right; and accountability is both expected and required. Unfortunately, in too many instances the practice is: “Just let them go; out of sight out of mind.” Such does not reflect responsible leadership.



I knew you'd come

Thursday, February 24, 2022

 I read the story of two friends in World War I who were inseparable. They had enlisted together, trained together, were shipped overseas together, and fought side-by-side in the trenches. During an attack, one of the men was critically wounded in a field filled with barbed wire obstacles. He was unable to crawl back to his foxhole. The entire area was under enemy crossfire, and it was suicidal to try to reach him. Yet his friend decided to do just that. The sergeant told him, "It's too late. You can't do him any good, and you'll only get yourself killed." But the man went anyway. He returned a few minutes later, carrying his friend. But he himself had been mortally wounded. The sergeant was both angry and deeply moved. He blurted out, "What a waste! He's dead and you're dying. It just wasn't worth it." With almost his last breath, the dying man replied, "Oh, yes it was, Sarge. When I got to him, the only thing he said was, 'I knew you'd come, Jim.'" (by Doug Lyon)

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