The Heartbeat
Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens…Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken… – Hebrews 12:26,28

Consider…

1) When Donald Trump was elected president it was said of him, even as he said of himself, that he would "shake things up" in Washington. So far he has kept true to that promise.

2) Over the past week there have been a great number of earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault – 134 over the past 7 days. None of them has been "The Big One," but these shakings of the earth's crust are, believed by scientists, indicative of something very big ready to happen.

3) And just when we thought things might settle down in the world of accusations being made against our celebrities, the news came out about Charlie Rose. The media industry is being shaken to its core.

…Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Ephesians 5:20

I was recently with my sister and brother-in-law in southern Illinois. They now have a dog: a mixed-breed female with a strong pit bull ancestry. But instead of behaving in a manner characteristic of many pit bulls, their dog is the warmest, sweet-hearted animal one could ever imagine. When I commented on her pleasant demeanor they said, "We got her from the pound and, truthfully, we think she is just thankful to be alive and to be treated kindly."

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

The old saying is "When it rains, it pours." Well, this past week it poured, really poured. I am speaking about the death of friends and acquaintances. Last Sunday morning was, of course, the incredibly terrible incident at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Because it took place at a church, it impacted me more than the even deadlier concert shooting in Las Vegas, or the equally deadly killing of children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School a few years ago. But the deaths I'm referring to (and writing about) were five people that all became known to me because of my role as a pastor.

Last Sunday was a big Sunday. Not only was it the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses on the doors of the Wittenberg Chapel (an act that later came to be regarded as the "official" start of the Protestant Reformation), but it was also the 7-year anniversary of Burning Hearts Community Church's vote to begin. So a double celebration, complete with some great music and what a good day it was! It was also the morning we invited people to our homes for dessert.

Timothy, my beloved child… – 2 Timothy 1:2a

In the past few months I have been able to share with several different men regarding the profound positive impact they had on my life. One of the men (Norm Heater) was a youth pastor I had in Phoenix, Arizona; another (Dr. Stan Gundry) was a professor at Moody Bible Institute when I attended that school; my own father (Bob Winne) was yet another. These opportunities to express my appreciation were, for the most part, because of a special event in each of these men's lives. My words of sincere appreciation were not contrived or forced. They came from my heart. I can only hope they helped to encourage these (now quite old) men.

In light of next Sunday – October 29 – I want to give you a detailed rundown on that day…

1. NO Sunday School. Because of the length of the day and desire that as many as can stay through the congregational meeting, there will be no Sunday School (for any age). (Reminder: This will also be the case on Christmas Eve, December 24.)

2. Special morning service. In many ways the morning service will be like others (praise, prayer, preaching), but there will be special pre-service music, we will be singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God, we will then be singing Logan Auker's favorite songs, the sermon will focus on Martin Luther's "Stand" and we'll close out the service with something out of the ordinary. So, stay tuned!

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:13

The Bible teaches at least two kinds of baptism: water baptism and Spirit baptism. Water baptism is an act of obedience by which the believer publicly makes their declaration (in the manner prescribed in scripture) that they are married to Christ: dead to this world and alive to their Savior. Spirit baptism is that work of the Holy Spirit by which the believer is initially converted and brought into the body of Christ, and subsequently empowered with one or more spiritual gifts.

"Some have rejected these (truths) and so have shipwrecked their faith." – 1 Timothy 1:19b (NIV)

Last Sunday we briefly considered this phrase "shipwrecked" – something that was far more common upon the earth's seas in Paul's day than in our own. But regardless of how common or rare these maritime disasters have ever been, spiritually they have often taken place within the life of the church.

In my life, I have known several men who have "shipwrecked" their lives. As recently as this past week I was in the home of a man and woman whose lives have been turned upside down due to the husband's sin. Our own Bob Haehnle often has said "Sin makes smart people stupid"

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

Mark DiNunzio is part of Burning Hearts Community Church. Maybe you know him. What you may not know about him is that his wife, Sue (who also comes to Burning Hearts when she is able), was part of the Jim Grohman family of six children – a family that was heavily steeped in Roman Catholicism.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. - Romans 8:22

Many people have commented on the seemingly increasing regularity and intensity of natural disasters: hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, record snowfalls, and so forth. To top it all off, maybe you have seen the recent reports of seismic activity near Yellowstone National Park – indications of a potential volcanic eruption. In A Short History of Nearly Everything author Bill Bryson highlights what a major volcanic eruption in that area could mean for the U.S. (and the entire globe)…and it is not good. So what is going on?

As we come closer to Reformation Sunday (October 29) on this 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther's bold stance for truth, it seems like a most appropriate time to focus in on what the Protestant Reformation was all about. While historians may focus on the growing independence of nations and sociologists focus on how the printed page helped to bring about the end of feudalism, theologians tend to focus on the doctrinal shift that took place in the church as a result of the Reformation. Over the course of this and the next four Sundays I am going to highlight this shift (with scripture). But here is how that shift has often been capsulized or summarized. It is called the "Five Solas."

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." – 2 Corinthians 3:18

As we come into this season of especially remembering the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, I want to remind us all that reformation is an ongoing process. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are BEING transformed. It is not that we WERE transformed. Our spiritual change, brought about by the Spirit of Christ, was not and is not a once and done event.

When I was still quite young in the faith, I ran across a book that proved to be a spiritual gold mine for me. It was entitled They Found the Secret: Twenty Transformed Lives by V. Raymond Edman. I'll explain WHY it was such a gold mine in a minute. But first let me tell you about my past week…

While visiting a new family at the church, the woman told me about how, back in the 1970s, God did such a marvelous work of grace in her life. She said that though she had named Jesus as her Savior since the time she was young, it was at this later time, when she was now an adult, that she came to know and experience the Holy Spirit.

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction." – Deuteronomy 30:15

The destruction brought about by Hurricane Harvey and its relentless rain is difficult to grasp. At least 23 dead; 100,000 homes damaged, if not destroyed; tens of thousands living in shelters. One has to wonder what good could come out of all this.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…" - Hebrews 12:1a (ESV)

This September 10 marks 35 years that Ruth and I have been in the same house. Given that Americans move, on the average, once every five years, this is, we think, quite monumental! Certainly the Lord has been good to us and blessed us. We thank Him every day.

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

For the moment, let us assume that the possession and use of marijuana will be legalized in Pennsylvania. Under that scenario one could legally (or lawfully) purchase, own and use marijuana. If that time comes, what should be the Christian's attitude towards this? A number of points…

"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret." - Ephesians 5:11-12

This past week I received a phone call from a man asking me a question about Burning Hearts that I have never been asked before. He said, "Are you (meaning the church) LGBTQ friendly?" Now, how would YOU answer that question? When the call was finished I mentioned it to Ruth saying, "I've never been asked that question before." She said, "I bet it is not the last time you are asked it either."

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…" - Deuteronomy 6:6-7a

This past week was a big week for Burning Hearts Community Church for it was the week of our first endeavor at having a Vacation Bible School. This may not seem like much to many of you but for the church's Education Committee and for those involved it was a BIG undertaking. Here is my feedback on it…

One of my father's many quips is "Nothing ever stays the same." While on vacation (in the Adirondacks of New York) and upon coming home, that statement proved to be more than true. Here are some things that happened in the 10 days we were gone…

The church parking lot was repaved! In every way the church property is looking better and better.

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." - Exodus 20:8

Just as Israel was commanded to give a tenth (tithe) of all their increase, they were commanded to set aside one day in seven as a holy day, void of any and all labor. From a purely economic perspective, neither of these commands made sense as the one resulted in a giving away of 10% of one's wealth while the other prohibited laboring (for income) 14.3% of the time. Added to this is the fact that God commanded all men within ancient Israel to three times each year leave their homes and travel to Jerusalem to take part in Israel's various feasts.

"…When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" - Luke 18:8

The above statement by our Savior is rather enigmatic. It is impossible to know exactly what he meant by his question. Nevertheless, the standard approach to the verse is to state that Christ is here referring to his return – his "second coming" – and that he is rhetorically asking what faith among people he will find come that time.

Upcoming Events

Prayer Meeting
29 Jul 2020 - 07:00PM
All Church Hike
16 Aug 2020 - 01:00PM
Annual Church Picnic
30 Aug 2020 - 10:30AM
Fall Bible Study
10 Sep 2020 - 07:00PM
BraveHearts Breakfast
12 Sep 2020 - 07:00AM