The Heartbeat
When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah. - Genesis 26:34-35

The person we marry can bring either joy to our parents' hearts (think of Ruth and Naomi) or grief. In the case of Esau, his marriage to two (presumably pagan) Hittite women brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Through the years, as I have been involved with couples looking to get married, I have stressed that they are marrying each other…and not their future spouse's relatives. At the same time I have also stressed that the relationship they have with their future in-laws is not one that should be taken lightly. Friends, even close friends, tend to come and go through life. But our relatives we tend to always have with us. So while we don't actually marry the in-laws, the brother-in-laws or sister-in-laws, we need to think of them being around for a LONG TIME. So here is some practical advice…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

I had decided to write an article on love when it suddenly struck me that this coming week is Valentine's Day. Interesting coincidence.

My thinking on love was prompted by a man passing on to me a hundred-year old short book on 1 Corinthians chapter 13 entitled, "The Greatest Thing in the World." It was written by a Scottish minister and lecturer named Henry Drummond. Drummond died at age 45 and, from what I have read, pretty much all memory of him would be lost if it were not for that little book. It is a simple book written on a level that nearly any person could easily read in short order.

…Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. - Ephesians 5:18b-19

I don't know that I would ordinary have watched the Grammy Awards show last Sunday night, but because of the special interest of our son, Jonathan, in Kendrick Lamar, I watched the program. Now, I am no fan of Kendrick Lamar, rap, or hip-hop. To me it barely even qualifies as music. I think of it more as (crass) poetry with a rhythm. I don't like it, I have never liked it and I don't expect that to change. But Jonathan thinks it's great and he really likes Kendrick Lamar (a Christian). As things would be, Lamar won the Grammy for Best Rap Album.

The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity… - Psalm 53:1

A week ago I wrote an article entitled "Christian Atheism." That article made the case that what we are finding among the growing number of "new atheists" is that while they confess atheism, practically – as evidenced in their lives – we find them teaching, upholding and living by Christian principles. I believe that we should be thankful (to God!) that that is the case. We should be thankful for their inconsistent atheism. This week's article is meant to explore what might happen if these atheists actually started living in a manner consistent with their theological convictions.

The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity… - Psalm 53:1

For quite awhile now I have been thinking on what has come to be called "New Atheism." This atheism is "new" only in that it is current, growing in influence and having a number of very outspoken proponents. Also, instead of finding itself in its historically defensive position (arguing against what most people thought was quite obvious), this new atheism has become quite bold, offering a polemic instead of a mere apologetic for its beliefs.

1. "Even at this point…" During last Sunday's sermon, while making our way through a long list of Bible texts, it appeared that I had two Bible references incorrect. That "threw me for a loop." Rarely have I made that mistake but to do it twice in one sermon…well, there is no excuse. As things would be, the first reference (James 5:3) was actually the correct reference (noting that the "last days" began long ago), while the second (Revelation 7:9, noting the great success and growth of Christ's kingdom) was given as Revelation 9:9. At home, after beating myself up a bit, Ruth said, "Even at this point it shows that there are things you can learn." She was right, even at this point…even after all these years, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes. By God's grace, and with better discipline on my part, I am determined to not let that happen again. My apologies.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this. - Psalm 37:4-5

So here we are on the first Sunday of the year (on what may be the coldest Sunday morning in years!) and I would like to direct our thinking way beyond this day, this month and even this year. Let's consider instead five years from now: 2023.

Should grant Ruth and me good health, in mid-February of 2023 our hope and plan is to head to California in a pick-up truck, towing a 30' travel trailer. There, just north of San Diego, we will dip our feet in the Pacific Ocean before walking – yes, walking – east. Approximately 21 miles later that day we will meet up with our truck and trailer. An individual or couple (with us for that part of the journey) will have moved the vehicles earlier in the day and found a good resting spot for the night. The next day we will do the same again. Day and after day, week after week, month after month, until in early September, 2870 miles later, we will cross the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey and again put our feet in the water. This is our planned "Walk Across America." To some it sounds exciting; to others it sounds insane. But that is our plan…our desire.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7

Without question 2 Timothy was written near the end of Paul's life.

Indeed, the book of 2 Timothy is the final writing that we have coming from the apostle Paul. He may have written more at a later time, but if he did it has not survived. And so what we read above is, in a sense, his closing words. In them we see how he was able to look back on his missionary career and do so with some satisfaction. He had run a good spiritual race and was ending well.

Earlier this year, four Green Berets were killed in Niger by Islamist terrorists. While calling the mother of one of the Berets President Trump again made the news by making a remark that infuriated many. Speaking to the mother of Sgt. La David Johnson on the phone, just prior to her son's burial, President Trump supposedly said, "He knew what he signed up for." The comment was taken to be insensitive. President Trump later denied making the statement.

In speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible is quite bold in asserting that the second person of the Godhead was fully aware of who he was and why he was here. He knew what he had signed up for when he came to earth.

Give everyone what you owe him…if honor, then honor. - Romans 12:7

This past week one of evangelicalism's giants died: R.C. Sproul. Sproul was known as a solidly Reformed Bible teacher and Christian apologist, an author of some 90 books, and a much sought out conference speaker. I had the privilege of hearing Sproul several times in person. Those familiar with the Truth Project film series (shown here at Burning Hearts in 2016) will recall Sproul as one of the oft referenced speakers.

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD… - 2 Kings 19:14

Bible college students come to learn two big dates in Israel's history: 722 B.C. and 586 B.C. These dates mark the downfall of Israel (the northern 10 tribes) at the hands of the Assyrians and the downfall of Judah (the southern 2 tribes) when they fell to the Babylonians. What these students also come to learn, over time, is that Judah was nearly defeated by the Assyrians back at the time of the fall of Israel.

If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman BECAUSE SHE DID NOT CRY FOR HELP THOUGH SHE WAS IN THE CITY, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. – Deuteronomy 22:23-24

I had initially thought of writing an article entitled "Another One Bites the Dust" or maybe "They're Dropping Like Flies." The article would have been about the current situation wherein so many American male celebrities are being called out for their past sexual "indiscretions." The article would have, like our current church sign, been a reminder to "Be sure your sin will find you out" (from Numbers 32:23).

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.

Upcoming Events

Prayer Meeting
06 Jul 2022 - 07:00PM
All Night Game Night
08 Jul 2022 - 07:00PM
All Night Game Night
08 Jul 2022 - 07:00PM
Adult Sunday School
10 Jul 2022 - 09:00AM
Worship Service
10 Jul 2022 - 10:30AM