Pushing Against “Pride”

June 14, 2023 in Uncategorized

One of the businesses I support recently sent out an email advertising their product and advocating for so-called “Pride” Month. I was deeply disappointed by their decision and wrote to them. I thought I would post the interchange we had to give others an idea how they might respond to businesses in their own sphere of influence.

Dear ——,

Greetings! I have been a happy —– customer for several years now, even participating in one of your capital campaigns to expand the reach of the business. As a customer, an investor, and a Christian pastor, I was extremely disappointed to receive a recent mailing advocating so-called Pride Month and the sexual revolution. I’m not sure if you were aware of this advertising campaign or not; I debated whether or not to address the matter; however, again, as a customer, investor, and pastor, I felt it my duty to do so.

I certainly think that we are all concerned for those suffering from sexual confusion. However, the solution to these problems is not encouraging them in their delusion or self-destructive behavior. Rather, the solution will be found in building strong and faithful families that will nurture bold, confident, courageous children who rejoice in their God-given biological identity. That is why I would encourage you to consider supporting Fidelity Month, the initiative of Dr. Robert George. This initiative is using the month of June to encourage folks to rededicate themselves to fidelity to God, family, and community. This is not primarily a political initiative but a cultural one. Regardless whether you choose to support this initiative, I would urge you to avoid pushing the Pride agenda which is destroying the lives of myriad children with its misguided counsel. If you would find it helpful, I would be happy to discuss this matter in more detail – at this point, I simply wanted to register my deep disappointment with this decision.


Pastor Stuart Bryan

Dear Stuart,

Thank you very much for your heartfelt response. We always value the feedback from our customers (and, of course, investors) and we always enjoy the opportunity to have a dialogue.

We have chosen to support our friends, family members, winemakers and co-workers who are in the LGTBQ community by supporting the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is dedicated to suicide prevention efforts in at-risk youth, particularly in the LGTBQ community. I was, indeed, aware of this promotion and was definitely part of our planning process.

This cause is extremely important to us and The Trevor Project joins the like of the Wounded Warrior Project, a child in need of a life-saving organ transplant and others as causes that we’ve publicly supported with promotional offers. We choose to support these organizations because we believe in their mission and firmly believe that what they do is the right thing.

I would be happy to have further discussions on our philosophy in selecting our charitable partners and our work going forward.



Dear —–,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate the desire to help those struggling with suicidal ideation. My concern is that the organization you have affiliated with affirms a lifestyle choice and behavior that is itself the underlying cause of the suicidal patterns. I have some close friends in ministry here in Coeur d’Alene who minister to those with substance abuse issues. But the way they help them is not by counseling them to dive deeper into drugs – the drugs are the destructive agent themselves. So, too, purporting to help those struggling with sexual confusion by convincing them to deny their God-given biological sex and the loving design of our Creator for their bodies is only going to intensify their long-term suffering. This is not loving behavior any more than providing drug-addicts with additional drugs and drug paraphernalia is loving. I hope and pray that you will reconsider. If you are interested in exploring this issue in more detail, I would encourage you to listen to the following Breakpoint commentary and explore the associated links.


Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.


Pastor Stuart Bryan

Dear Stuart,

Thank you very much for your response and feedback. I always appreciate hearing from our customers and having a dialogue, especially in the civil and respectful manner which was present in this exchange.



The Discipline of the Church

October 30, 2022 in Bible - NT - 2 Thessalonians, Discipline, Meditations, Uncategorized

2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 (NKJV)

13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Later in the service, we will have the immense privilege of welcoming several folks into membership by transfer, profession of faith, and baptism. These folks have taken our recent membership information class in which we explain the biblical basis for church membership and the obligations that such membership entails. One of those obligations is a willingness to submit to the discipline of the church. As sinners, we need the loving accountability of our brethren to direct us in righteousness and remind us of our obligation to serve the Lord throughout our lives. We need this particularly when we are being tempted to wander astray.

In our text today, Paul commands the Thessalonian church to implement the first stage of that public discipline, a stage we commonly refer to as Suspension from the Lord’s Supper. Paul begins with an exhortation, “brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.” In a fallen world, it is possible to grow weary. The temptations of the Evil One, combined with the allurements of the world and the sinful desires of our own hearts, often make the task of doing good challenging. So Paul warns us lest we grow weary in doing so. Persevere. Be faithful.

Paul then commands us to practice a particular good – to take seriously disobedience to God within the congregation. Paul knows that if we permit blatant sin to go unchecked, then that sin will spread. As Paul says elsewhere, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (1 Cor 5:6). So Paul writes, “if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.” Paul’s command involves two parts – first, we are to note – that is, mark, point out, or publicly identify – that person. Second, we are to refuse to keep company with him – that is, we are to suspend normal fellowship with that person, including sharing in the Lord’s Supper. Why? Note Paul’s words: “that he may be ashamed.” In other words, the purpose of the discipline is to awaken the sinner to the seriousness of his sin. As Solomon writes in Proverbs 20:30, “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.”

It is in keeping with Paul’s words here and elsewhere (cf. 1 Cor 5:4) that the elders announce the Suspension of ———— from fellowship in the Lord’s Supper. Almost two years ago —— separated from her husband. During that time the elders have striven to be patient, understanding that marital problems are complicated and that they are chiefly the responsibility of the husband to repair. During that time, her elders have repeatedly pleaded with her to submit to joint marital counseling with her husband. She has persistently refused to do so. She has hardened her heart in opposition to her husband and filed for a divorce from her husband, something that God hates (Mal 2:16). Because she has failed to give heed to our private exhortations, we are now announcing this to the church, praying that God will use this to convict and restore her to her husband and to the church.

In so announcing, we would remind you of Paul’s exhortation, “do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” Your duty is to pray for and, as occasion permits, admonish —— as a professing Christian to repent of her sinful conduct, to submit to the counsel of her elders, and to strive for reconciliation with her husband. Pray that she would desire to honor the vows that she swore to her husband “for better, for worse… till death do us part.” Her husband is still willing to fulfill those vows; pray that —— would be willing to do so as well.

Such sober moments remind all of us of our susceptibility to sin and our need for God’s grace and mercy in our individual lives and in our marriages; they remind us of our need to humble our hearts regularly and to confess our sins to the Lord, submitting to the authorities in our lives lest we bring upon ourselves God’s chastisement. So let us confess our sins to the Lord and, as you are able, let us kneel as we do so.

The Righteous & the Wicked

September 11, 2022 in Uncategorized

Proverbs 12:5–7 

5The thoughts of the righteous are right, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” But the mouth of the upright will deliver them. 7The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand. 

The Proverbs direct us in the way of wisdom and teach us what it is to imitate the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Today our passage contrasts the actions and rewards of the righteous and the wicked.

On the one hand are the actions and rewards of the wicked. Their counsels are deceitful. They endeavor to trap others and take advantage of them. They believe that a meaningful life is found in demanding from others and getting what they can for themselves at any cost. They lie, they murder, they steal, they destroy – anything to increase their share and ensure their safety, security, or advantage. But those who live this way reckon without the God who rules over all – for they shall be overthrown and destroyed. Their works and their houses shall come to an end. Though they may flourish for a time, like the grass of the field, they shall soon wither and die.

On the other hand are the actions and rewards of the righteous. The righteous are those whom God in His grace has united to Christ by faith and who walk in the power of the Spirit. They live for love of God and man. Consequently, their thoughts are right and they endeavor to deliver the innocent from harm. They believe that a meaningful life is found in sacrificing for others – for God, for their spouses, for their children, for their friends, even for strangers. They furnish rest, they speak truth, they give honor, they preserve life – anything to glorify their God and to bless their family and neighbors. They remember that there is a God who sees, who knows, and who watches over the ways of His people. Hence, their house will stand for their God is able to make it stand even when wicked men temporarily tear it down.

It is fitting that we consider this contrast between the righteous and the wicked on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. “Terrorism is an unrighteous use of violence. While even just uses of violence use terror ( generically understood) to break the will of the opposition, terrorism involves deliberate acts of violence or threats of such violence against those innocent of wrongdoing. It intentionally targets the innocent to accentuate fear and manipulate change; in addition, it is frequently employed to advance the cause of false religions. But the Living God defends the innocent, hates those who love violence, and opposes those who labor to establish the worship of false gods. Terrorism, therefore, is unjust and its practicioners shall face the wrath and curse of Almighty God in this life and the next.”

Yet this contrast between the righteous and the wicked not only applies to Islamic terrorists, it also applies within God’s church. There have been wicked men and women in the church of God. So what type of man or woman are you? Are you thinking and plotting and doing good for your neighbors? Or are you thinking and plotting and doing harm? The Apostle Peter tells us that Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) – so do you? Are you searching for opportunities to use your gifts and abilities to bless others? Or are you using them to deceive and wound and destroy others? Or are you perhaps lazy, squandering the gifts that God has given you or using them only for yourself? For “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer” (Prov 18:9).

Reminded of this contrast between the righteous and the wicked – that the righteous man imitates Jesus who did not merely attend to His own interests but also to the interests of others – let us confess that we have often been wicked – deceiving others for our own advantage and even causing harm to others – and that we are in need of God’s forgiveness and empowering grace to live righteously. And as we confess our sin, let us kneel as we are able. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin

The Coming of the King

April 10, 2022 in Bible - OT - Zechariah, King Jesus, Meditations, Uncategorized

Zechariah 9:9-10 (NKJV)

9“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

Have you ever been taught that while Jesus came as Savior in His first advent, He is waiting until His second to arrive as King? He is waiting, so it is said, to establish His kingdom on earth. If you have heard or even, like me, embraced that kind of thinking in the past or perhaps still do, then you may have a hard time understanding Palm Sunday. For Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as our King come to establish His kingdom. As Jesus entered the city, our fathers and mothers laid branches of palm upon the ground and sang psalms in order to fulfill Zechariah’s summons, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you.”

But if Jesus entered Jerusalem as King, why, some ask, didn’t He appear very kingly? Why is He lowly and riding on a donkey? Yet such questions reveal that we often allow the world rather than Jesus to define true kingship. For Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to establish justice, to save His people, and to advance both the glory of God and the good of His people is the preeminent illustration of what it means to be a good king. What is it to be a good king? It is to be just and to bring salvation to your people; it is to be humble and lowly; it is to be a servant, to bring blessing and light to your people. And it was precisely this type of King that our Lord Jesus was and is. 

To our fallen nature this type of kingship can seem utterly ineffective. Among pagan nations, might makes right. Rex lex. The king is law. No king who comes to serve rather than to be served will be great; no king who places the good of his people ahead of his own personal interests will really be successful. Pagan nations extol those like Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar who push and prod and pursue their own glory. It is kings like that who accomplish great things.

But the prophet Zechariah extols the glory of our King’s rule. Our just and humble King will so rule as to destroy warfare from Israel and bring peace to all the nations of the earth, “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations.” On the one hand, He eliminates warfare; on the other, He brings peace. And because He is a King of Peace, God promises to extend His kingdom throughout the earth, “His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’”

So what of you leaders out there – what type of kingship have you been exercising? Whether you are a husband, a father, a mother, an employer, a foreman, a manager – what type of rule have you practiced? Have you demanded, cajoled, manipulated, and wormed your way to the top? Or have you been just, looking to bless those whom God has entrusted to your care? Are you humble, considering others’ interests more important than your own? Are you living as peacemakers showing all humility in the fear of God?

Reminded that we have been unrighteous kings and queens, demanding our own way rather than imitating our great King and willingly serving others, let us confess our sin to our Lord. And, as you are able, let us kneel together as we do so. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.

Wisdom in the House of Mourning

January 30, 2022 in Bible - OT - Ecclesiastes, Meditations, Uncategorized, Wisdom

Ecclesiastes 7:1–4 (NKJV)

1 A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth; 2 Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

The last couple weeks have brought me face to face with death and given me several opportunities to go to the house of mourning. Yesterday I officiated a memorial service for Andrea Lundgren’s mom who passed away suddenly last week and this week I travel to Pennsylvania for the funeral of my friend Gregg Strawbridge who died suddenly of a heart attack at age 57.

Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes that as difficult as it is to face the death of loved ones and friends, there is a great deal of wisdom to be gained in the house of mourning. Better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting,” he writes. It is the one who takes time to consider his mortality who will grow in wisdom. So he writes that, Sorrow is better than laughter for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. As challenging as facing death is, facing it imparts to us wisdom – and Solomon offers two central pieces of wisdom in this text.

First, the house of mourning reminds us that our character is more important than our comfort. A good name is better than precious ointment,” he writes, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” It is far better to seek character than comfort, better to have endured hardship and become wise than to avoid discomfort and remain a fool. At the end of our lives, all our comforts are gone. But what remains is the testimony of our character. Consequently, Solomon tells us, the day of death [is better] than the day of one’s birth.At the beginning of our race, when we are born, it is impossible to tell what sort of person we shall be. But when the race is over, when we rest in our graves, then our lives reveal what we valued and what type of people we were.

So what of you? How will you be remembered? Have you been scrambling to get comfortable and neglecting your character? Have you been obsessed with your own cares and oblivious to the needs of others? Have you neglected the worship and service of your Creator? Have you decided to give up on your marriage oaths and divorce your spouse? Have you been consumed with bitterness and anger and frustration? Have you driven others away from you because you are so ungrateful? Then take heed: your character is far more important than your comfort.

Second, the house of mourning imparts wisdom because it reminds us that death is the end of us all. Millions of men and women have preceded us and millions more will follow; we shall all die. So why is it important to take this to heart? There is one simple reason: when we die, we will stand before our Creator and be judged for what we have done here on earth. The Apostle Paul reminds us, It is appointed unto men to die once and, after this, to face judgment(Heb 9:27). And the sober reality is this: none of us has character sufficient to face that judgment. We could spend every day in the house of mourning and never become holy enough to stand before God. Why? Because we have sinned, and our sins have separated us from God. Your sins, your character deficiencies, have separated you from God. Your greed, your lust, your anger, your covetousness, your selfishness, your bitterness, your worship of other gods – these things have separated you from your Creator and no matter how diligently you develop your character it will never be sufficient to deliver you in the day of judgment.

Your only hope, therefore, is a Savior. You need Someone to deliver you from judgment, Someone to endure the consequences of your sins so that when you die, which you certainly shall, you may be accepted by God rather than judged by Him. And now, hear the Good News: God has sent His only begotten Son to be that Savior. He has sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and to endure the punishment that we deserve in order that we might be reconciled to Him. The Bible declares that God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him(2 Cor 5:21). 

The house of mourning, therefore, is the house of wisdom. Through the death of loved ones and friends, God our Creator reminds us that character counts far more than comfort. But He also reminds us that our own character is deficient and that the only way we can face death and judgment with hope is if we place all our hope in the flawless character and sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. Reminded of these things, let us kneel and confess our sins, acknowledging our need of God’s mercy that we may have hope in the face of death. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the public confession found in your bulletin.

No Creed but Christ?

August 18, 2019 in Bible - NT - Matthew, Church Calendar, Church History, Creeds, King Jesus, Meditations, Temptation, Tradition, Uncategorized

Matthew 16:13–17 (NKJV)

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

Our culture has institutionalized the tradition of anti-traditionalism. It is not that “rebellion” is acceptable within our cultural milieu; “rebellion” has become our cultural milieu. From “Not your father’s Buick” to “Not your father’s Root Beer,” to “Just be yourself,” our culture expects each new generation to be different, unique, revolutionary. “Out with the old, in with the new,” we are told. “This is the evolutionary process.”

Unfortunately, we evangelicals have imbibed much of this cultural food, routinely wolfing down the latest fad. However, because we have a residual loyalty to the Bible, we often try to cloak our anti-traditionalism in pious language. Consider, for example, the sentiment, “No creed but Christ.” “All we want to do is focus on Jesus. Away with these other teachings and traditions! Away with the creeds!”

Such a sentiment is nothing more than the anti-traditionalism of our culture cloaked in pious language. A moment’s thought reveals its utter inadequacy: No creed but Christ? What Christ do you mean? Who is this “Christ”? Is he…

  • The literal offspring of God the Father & Mary as Mormons teach?
  • The greatest of angelic beings as JWs & Arians teach?
  • Simply a great moral teacher as liberalism teaches?
  • A spirit being who only appeared to be human as Docetism taught?

To say, “No creed but Christ,” in other words, is vacuous. We must specify which Christ we mean. And this is the dynamic we see at work in our text today. Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” They respond, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  But then Jesus presses, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter confesses, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus declares, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” In other words, Peter got the answer correct.

Jesus’ interaction with the disciples reminds us that creeds, doctrinal summaries of the faith, are inescapable. It is not whether but which; not whether we have and embrace a creed but which creed we embrace – the true one or the false one? It was this insight that led our fathers to compose creeds in the history of the Church – summaries of biblical teaching that answer the question, “Who is this God we worship?” They composed creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Definition of Chalcedon, and then handled them down to us as a sacred trust. These creeds were attempts to distinguish truth from error, to combat various false teachings that tried to infiltrate the Church – Gnosticism, Arianism, Sabellianism, Docetism, and others.

So how ought we to receive these creeds? As we shall learn in our sermon today, we ought to receive them in thankfulness and then hand them on to the next generation. Rather than scorn the creeds with our arrogant mantra, “No creed but Christ,” we ought to thank God that He poured out His Spirit upon His Church and enabled our fathers to summarize faithfully the teachings of Scripture.

So what of you? Have you given thanks to God for these creedal summaries, treasured them as gifts from God, and considered how you might hand these on to the next generation? Or have you taken them for granted, mumbling through them each Sunday and largely ignoring the blood, sweat, and tears that went into their composition and transmission?

Reminded that God has been good and kind to His Church throughout history and has given us the creeds to lead and guide us in the proper understanding of His Word, let us confess that we have often taken these creeds for granted. As we confess, and as you are able, let us kneel together before the Lord. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.

Exasperate the Enemies of God

April 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

John Calvin commenting on John 9:14 – Now it was the Sabbath…

“Christ purposely chose a sabbath day, which would give cause of offence to the Jews. He had already found, in regard to the paralytic, that even this work was open to misrepresentation. Why then does He not avoid the offence, as He could easily have done, save because the malignant reaction of His enemies would magnify the power of God? The sabbath day is like a whet-stone that sharpens them to inquire more eagerly into the whole affair. And yet what good does a careful and earnest examination of the question do, but that the truth of the miracle shines more brightly? Moreover, we are taught by this example that if we want to follow Christ, we have to exasperate the enemies of the Gospel, and that those who compromise between the world and Christ, so as to condemn every kind of scandal, are utterly mad, since Christ, on the contrary, knowingly and deliberately provoked the ungodly. So we should pay heed to the rule that He lays down elsewhere, that the blind and the leaders of the blind are to be disregarded (Matt. 15.14).” 

John Calvin, The Gospel According to St. John: Part One, 1-10, Trans. by T.H.L. Parker, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) p. 245.

Pictures of our New Building

December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just a couple weeks ago we had the privilege of dedicating our new church facility to the glory and honor of God. Below are some pictures of the building. Many thanks to all who helped make this a possibility. If you’d like to make an online donation to help us complete some other improvements click here. Blessings!