February 2022 THE CROSS

Concerned Christians

CONCERNED CHRISTIANS EMPHASIS FOR 2022

Every year in January or February we will be addressed with ‘State of the Union’ or ‘State of the State’ accounting by our elected politicians. It is their estimation of the current condition of their government responsibility. They will also give projections of what their administration expects to accomplish. 

With this in mind, here is my “State of this Ministry.” First, I will share with you a summation of our immediate past. Second, what is the current focus of the Ministry? Third, where will God use us most effectively in the future?

  1. As 2018 was drawing to a close in December there were several significant changes in this ministry. Judy Robertson chose to retire from active involvement with the ministry. The property in Mesa, Arizona was listed and sold. The ministry operation changed. A five-member board was selected from volunteers who have worked in the ministry for many years. All ministry operations have been handled with volunteers only. The only continuing weekly meeting is the Monday night Prayer Group, open to all.
  2. Every week the ministry office receives requests for educational materials, requests for counseling assistance, and requests for educational speaking engagements. (1) Educational materials are supplied at no cost. It has been ‘paid-forward’ by our ministry supporters. A request to be a ministry supporter is sent with the materials. (2) Regarding counseling, this ministry has been blessed with several counselors. We have former Mormons and knowledgeable Christians available to help assist. Counseling is done privately when requested. (3) Requests have come from two Arizona congregations for ‘Basics in Witnessing to Mormons’. A four-week class has been prepared for these requests. One is currently being taught in Show Low, AZ. Another will begin in March in Benson, AZ.
  3. Many Mormons are becoming very inquisitive regarding accurate historical information of their beliefs. It is time to be prepared to share your Christian faith with your Mormon family and friends. Concerned Christians would like to help you with this. If you live in the Phoenix metropolitan area and have five or more friends who would attend an equipping class for four consecutive weeks, contact our office by email ([email protected]) or call the office at 480.833.2537. If you live outside of the Phoenix-area, we would like ten or more concerned friends. We do not charge or request an honorarium. Our teaching is at no cost. Ministry support is very much appreciated. You will be ‘paying-it-forward’ for someone else. We meet with classes two hours each on four consecutive weeks or as arranged. Materials will be supplied weekly.

The purpose of Concerned Christians of Arizona is equipping. We want to equip Mormons with information which will help them find biblical TRUTH. We want to equip concerned Christians to share with their Mormon family and friends. We want to help our Mormon friends to find The Jesus who we know!

Gary Keating

General Manager

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1 John 1:9 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

He bears all our burdens, he always provides us a way out of temptation and evil, and he is always willing to forgive us for all our sins. 

 He died for all our sin, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The concepts above were foreign to me as I struggled to understand the concept of Christ’s loving forgiveness, grace and mercy. At the age of eight, I was baptized by immersion into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by my father and two elders. I remember sinking under the warm water thinking, “Now all my sins are washed away, and I can sin no more if I want to go live with Heavenly Father.” The struggles that ensued with this thought during my pre-teen and teen-age years led me into a dangerous self-defeating cycle. My focus was on performance and perfection. I really wanted to accomplish everything, to do it to perfection, and I strived to do all things on my own strength. I grew up with a book in my home called the Miracle of Forgiveness. This book, written by a LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet of the Mormon church during most of my youth, encompasses the LDS theology on forgiveness and repentance. The book opens with a quote by Jesus (John 8:32) saying “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Then on pg 324, President Kimball writes to an adulterous transgressor about petitioning the Lord for final forgiveness.

  … “Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements but that forgiveness is not grated merely for the asking. There must be works—many works – and an all-out total surrender, with a great humility and “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” 

It depends upon you (emphasis added) whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on you humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.

You can see why I struggled, why I battled within myself, why I tried so hard to repent. Forgiveness as a young Mormon depended solely on me, my actions not on Christ and what he did on the Holy Cross. I had no concept of the Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all my sins, yesterday, today and tomorrow. I couldn’t fathom the truth of Christ’s unending grace and mercy that would be given to me the very moment I turned and put my faith in Him. I did not understand any assurance that I would have complete forgiveness and a new heart, and the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within me and begin to change me. I knew only that all of my repentance had to come from me, it had to be complete, or I could not receive Christ’s forgiveness.

Even as I became a teen, I wanted to stay pure from even the most normal “bad things” such as cussing and drinking coffee. I remember feeling that if I did do something “wrong” in the eyes of the LDS Church, that all my sins would return.

Doctrine & Covenants 82:7 is an LDS scripture that I remembered and carried with me “And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no morebut unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.”

I interpreted this verse to mean that if I sin, I would not have repented and all my former sins would return. It created such heaviness in me, fear, a warped view of God, and a constant ache in my soul.

As I grew up, I did continue to sin, felt unworthy, tried to repent and stop the wrongdoing, and found myself always trying to do good in order to make up for the “bad” that I had done. This cycle stayed with me throughout my marriage. As a young wife and mother, I kept trying to please and perform, I searched for appreciation and acknowledgement from the world, and eventually I was devastated when it didn’t come in the way I thought it should.

 Kristine Nelson

What does the Bible say about forgiveness and repentance.

Part 2 in March

This year the LDS are making a study of the Old Testament. They have printed a beautiful workbook.

The readings for the first week begin with Moses 1; and Abraham 3. I was unable to find them in my Bible-New or Old Testament. The workbook did however lead off with Genesis 1:1. The focus on the remainder of the workbook is the OT and of course LOTS of extra readings from other LDS materials.

I believe the Holy Spirit will use God’s word to convict people of the Sovereignty of God as they connect the dots to Jesus and the New Testament. As they realize that since the death and resurrection of Jesus they have no need of a temple or ordinances. When they realize the world has no further need of a prophet. When they realize the Word of God is complete as it was written. When they realize when Jesus said “It is finished” he meant it! PRAY!!!

Paulette



It is with excitement that we have greeted this new year. Hopefully you are meeting with The Master to begin your day. Get into a routine of daily Bible reading and study. If that is too hard try 10 minutes 3 times per day of prayer. Set an alarm if need be.
Due to surgeries and a few stubborn illnesses we had a rough January but God pulled us up by our boot straps and we are off to a late, but great start!
Please continue to pray for Concerned Christians as well as any witnessing group you are familiar.
Paulette
Witness tips from Jason BornAgain


  I always am mindful when sharing with LDS that they do not trust the Bible. Therefore, I always seek to help them begin to understand why I know that the Bible is reliable, and can be trusted. 



Witness tips from Jason BornAgain


  I always am mindful when sharing with LDS that they do not trust the Bible. Therefore, I always seek to help them begin to understand why I know that the Bible is reliable, and can be trusted. 


 While doing this, I make sure that I do not criticise them, their beliefs, or their church. I remain focused on exalting the Faithfulness of God as seen by his keeping his word throughout the ages.


 This always goes a long way in later sharing from the Bible.


  HAPPY FISHING see you next time!

 
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