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Memorial Day



Go look in on your children still asleep
within their bed.
Remind yourself they're safe and warm
because of some long dead.

Go for a walk through cemeteries
lined with little flags.
Take time to ponder home bound heroes
flown in body bags.

Go stand between those granite stones
engraved with names and dates.
Imagine all who died defending
our United States.

Go on and kneel beside a marker
offering a prayer
with gratitude for those who gave their lives
defeating terror.

Go home and count your blessings
from the hands of those now gone.
Then vow to the Almighty that their
mem'ry will live on.

by Greg Asimakoupoulos

Always Honor & Remember!!

Stranger Danger

"I'm getting a degree from

Pensacola Christian College! Can you come to my graduation ceremony?" That was the excited news and invitation we received back in January as one of our dear friends [author's note: she happened to have been one of the first young ladies from our very first youth group out of Calvary Baptist Church of Yucca Valley, CA] was finalizing plans for those who could attend her graduation in May 2008. So it was with enthusiasm and trepidation that we willingly drove 8 1/2 hours to attend her graduation ceremony at Pensacola Christian College (PCC). You see Kimberly had attended PCC as a student for a couple of years until her mother had a heart attack and she went home to care for her. And we both had worked on staff there for a couple of years (about 15 years ago). Now, understand I like PCC and have encouraged young people from my youth groups over the years to visit and attend PCC. I have always wanted to encourage my young people to get a solid Christian, bible-based education with an environment that is nurturing and supporting and I feel PCC provides this and more! I enjoy visiting the campus and even have the PCC ensembles in to present the college and to minister to my church. I have endorsed PCC for a long time and if invited I would be willing to preach or teach there because I support their stand on the Bible, on separation, and on the Christian walk. But someone like me who is an anomaly in the IFB circles coming to the pulpit after nearly 17 yrs in the military and earning a pastoral degree from Liberty University (online distance learning program) while serving in the Marine Corps...yep not quite the PCC model and material...but I still wholeheartedly endorse and support PCC!!
Aerial View of PCC Campus

So it was with a bit of shock that PCC's Seminary, Pensacola Theological Seminary (PTS), awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity to Dr. Dann Patrick [author's note: he'd received a D.D. from Midwestern in 1988]. Why was this so strange you may ask? Well, as his citation was read I'm certain that "Free Will Baptist" in one aspect or another was cited 4 or 5 times. Dr. Patrick has been instrumental in the Free Will Baptist Association for many years. In fact, Dr. Patrick has taught Pastoral Theology at the Southeastern Free Will Baptist College and has been a pivotal figure in the Carolina Association of Free Will Baptists for many years. Okay so what's so odd about being a Free Will Baptist? Well, do a little bit of research and you'll find that one of the major tenets of FWB is that they believe that if one doesn't maintain the proper amount of faith (e.g. get out of church, fall into a sin habit, backslide, etc) that one can/will lose their salvation. I don't find this in my Bible or in the teachings of Jesus! Jesus says that once we are His we are kept securely in His hand in His Father's hand and no one can pluck us out...and no, we can't get ourselves out! John 3:16's 'everlasting life' would not be very eternal if you can lose it after you have accepted it! How often did Peter have to get saved? Or what about the historical figures in the Old Testament who demonstrated a life full of ups and downs...failures from sin and victories of God. The Bible still recounts their faith as saving them! Since I thought I understood PCC's positions on salvation by grace, once-saved-always-saved, and eternal security, I was surprised to see a FWB awarded an Honorary degree of any sort from PTS.

Well, you know the easy thing would have been to ignore it or complain about it, so I did the hard thing and called PTS to talk with the Dean (Dr. Porcher), he was unavailable but I was able to talk with his secretary and I shared with her my reason for calling and that I would like to have a call back at Dr. Porcher's convenience. Well, within an hour I did receive a call back but it was from Dr. Mullenix (PCC's VP)...sadly, he had to leave a message since I was at the Low Country Baptist Fellowship monthly meeting [author's note: we meet the 2nd Monday of nearly every month...yes this has been a shameless plug!] By the time the meeting ended it was late and before I had the chance to return Dr. Mullenix's call, he called the following morning to follow up with me and chat about my concerns. Now I have never met him before though I know of him and I glad to say that I found Dr. Mullenix very likable and approachable. Dr. Mullenix didn't try to sugarcoat anything or assign blame to anyone, but he did reassure me that while the decision to award the Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Patrick was based solely on his academic endeavors and achievements and was not meant to highlight his FWB background or beliefs. Dr. Mullenix was very humble in talking with me about the differences between FWB and what PCC preaches and teaches. Most importantly I understood from our conversation that sometimes in trying to honor someones academic achievements it may not be realized that some actions may seem to endorse that other person's beliefs and this was not PCC's intent at all. Hmmm, sounds like something I alluded to in my previous post about my activities and pure intentions in joining the area clergy for National Prayer Day...what a mess we make sometimes with the purest of intentions and heart, right?!

Is it fair to charge that PCC is changing directions or doctrine? With my experience with PCC and from my conversation with Dr. Mullenix, I confidently and resoundedly say NO. While one doesn't expect mistakes like this from PCC, it does happen to all of us at one time or another. I am very grateful for Dr. Mullenix's prompt response to me and his honesty, graciousness, genuineness, and humility about the whole situation. He very plainly shared with me his personal position on the issue of salvation and eternal security and assured me that this was PCC's position as well. So I still have the PCC ensemble coming here to our church in July and will still be recommending my young people to consider PCC, but I'll be watching PCC because my oldest (James, 14 yrs old now) wants to attend there and I want to make sure that they are staying true to the Word in both preaching and practice. God bless you my friends!

When to unite


and when to separate? That is a question that I asked myself as I sat in the huge meeting hall attending the "Mayor's Prayer Breakfast" for the city of Orangeburg on Thursday...which also happened to be the National Day of Prayer. I intially thought what a great opportunity to go see the relationship between the city officials and the area clergy.
[author's note: what an interesting word...clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. The term comes from Greek κλήρος - kleros (a lot, that which is assigned by lot (allotment) or metaphorically, heritage).]
While I know my intentions were pure and more curious than self-serving, I realized quickly that by simply being in the same room our presence together lent an element of fellowship and that I condoned the whole group whether I agreed with them doctrinally or not.

Nearly every reverend...
[athur's note: Reverend another grand word. The term the Reverend or just Reverend is used as an honorary prefix to the names of many Christian clergy and ministers. The prefix is correctly called a style rather than a title or form of address. It is sometimes also used by leaders in non-Christian religions such as Buddhism. Anways let me continue...
that prayed (1-Southern Methodist, 1-Catholic, 1-Female, 1-Southern Baptist, 1-Presbyterian, 1-Church of God, 4 of other various flavors not readily identifiable) took it upon themselves to pray for and focus on unity; in fact, one prayed that he was thankful that our differences were not as big as our commonalties. Huh? As I sat there wondering why I thought this was a good know you've done stuff like that too! I couldn't help but think of some of our differences...Jesus as the Son of God; Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life; salvation by grace not by works; baptism by submersion; confession of sins through Jesus the only mediator between God and man; and more. I realized that they all talk about unity so that the idea of unity is the only thing that unifies them together. It is common understanding that not every religion sees God the same way...often overlooked is that not every so-called Christian religion sees God the same way... not counting the Moslems, Buddist, or other such religions.

Further complicating my discomfort and strengthening the urge for escape, was as the guest speaker (an area college president) spoke for nearly 30 minutes hardly mentioning God, occassionally mentioning church, and improperly using the idea of prayer to fix all the socio-injustices of the world...I realized that we should be quicker to separate and quicker to be intolerant towards the false teachers who are wolves in sheeps' clothing and slower to accept the world religions' idea of unity.

Remember my friends what Jesus said to his disciples in John 18,
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

So learn a lesson from my good intentions and my desire to "get along" and instead of wondering when to would do better trying to figure out when to take know run away and fast!