What is it going to take to make 2018 BETTER than 2017?

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Is it going to take luck or the proper alignment of the stars, winning the lotto, coincidences, or someone else changing? No, none of those will make 2018, except maybe the last one. Things like making some personal changes, better organization or a stronger spiritual life are more likely to produce a better 2018.

In Psalm 90:12 we read, “Teach us to number our days that we may use them wisely.” Why would it be helpful to number our days? This simply reminds us that we don’t have unlimited time to accomplish the things we want to accomplish. When preparing for retirement one of the first questions asked usually deals with is, “How much time do you have left?” According to research and statistics, if you retire at 65 right now, are married, are reasonably healthy, and middle class or above, there is a 90% chance you will live to be 95 years old. Other things to obviously consider: accidents, genetics, and a nuclear war! This psalm says if we keep the idea of the limited time that we have on this earth it will help us use them wisely. This wisdom is expressed in a few other proverbs. Proverbs 13:16. “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t and even brags about it.” Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” These scriptures are talking about making plans for our future and living intentionally instead of walking through life and letting stuff just happen. Even if we can’t think of numbering 30 or more years, how about one year at a time? We are already a week or two into the New Year, we only have about 350 days left in 2018. What kind of plans are we making so that 2018 is better than 2017? What goals do we have for this year? Have we written them down?

Without goals, you will have way too many regrets as you get older. We all have mistakes we have made in the past, but we don’t want to get to the end of the race and look back to a life of regrets. Here is a list of some of the top things old people regret as they come to their end:

1. Not taking more risks, especially when it came to pursuing dreams. The number one regret that people have on their death beds is that they were never brave enough to take that risk to pursue their dreams, but settled for what others expected of them. They regretted not taking responsibility for their choices. 

  • 2. Not taking more time to enjoy and develop family and friend relationships. In almost EVERY male the common thread here was that they worked too much and spent too much time and energy pursuing their careers and as a result neglected family and friends. Here is a hint, if you are working late regularly, it will cost you! If you have unfinished work at the end of the day, go home on time and come in early the next day. The key here is balance. We all have to work but we need to know when to stop! And one more thing, when around family and friends, turn off the smartphone!

 Even though we have goals, we need to always remember that our lives are in God’s hands. Proverbs 16:9. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” As we make our goals, we need to keep our hearts open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit and submitted to His will. We may have a goal that we are pursuing and somewhere along the line, God may have something else for us to do. Remember that He sees the beginning to the end and be willing to make the changes as we go along. If you don’t want to live a life of regrets, ask God to help you ‘number your days,” so we use them wisely. Making goals that will challenge us and make us better people will help us to use our days wisely.

Pride Week?

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Pride Week???

   Driving through downtown Columbus on Monday, May 15th I noticed the streets lined with Pride week celebration banners. Pride week is not until June 11th! I guess now it is Pride month! I realize the homosexual issue has surely become a hot issue in our country and in many churches. I am glad though, that we still have the first amendment right to free speech.  I would like to take advantage of this freedom while we still have it!

 Is Homosexuality a sin?

     Yes. Anyone who reads the Bible with an open and unbiased mind would come to this conclusion. Here are just a few verses that show clearly that homosexuality is sin and needs to be repented of.

     In Genesis 19:4-11 we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are told that the men of the city attacked Lot’s house “in order to know the men who had come into their city as visitors.” The word “know” used here means to “know sexually.” It is used many times throughout the Bible, such as when Adam “knew” Eve and she conceived and bore Cain in Genesis 4:1. The Hebrew word for “know” is yada. It is used in a variety of ways, to know by familiarity as well as to have sexual relations with. Some in the homosexual community have tried to say that the men just wanted to be friends with the angels who came to visit Lot. What a strange thing that God would destroy a city in judgment for offering friendship! Also by Lot’s own response, in which he offered his daughters who were virgins, it is clear this was a sexual advance being proposed here. The word “Sodomite” came to mean sexual relations between men as a result of this story.

     In Jude 6-7 we are told that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was sexual immorality, not unfriendliness. 2 Peter 2:4, 6-8 also speaks about the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah is an example to those who would be tempted to live ungodly lives, “in filthy conduct.” The word “filthy” in the Greek means incontinent or without sexual restraint.

     In Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 we read, “You shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” Homosexual churches teach that this is a reference to “ritual” uncleanness. The word abomination in the Strong’s Concordance is “towbah.” It means to be morally disgusting! Some pastors try to excuse this away by saying that this is Old Testament law and we are under grace. At least it means that homosexuality was forbidden in the Old Testament. There are many other Old Testament verses that speak about how homosexuality is an abomination to God.  Judges 19:11, Deuteronomy 23:17, I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46 and II Kings 23:7.)

 What does the New Testament say about homosexuality?

    In I Corinthians 6:9-11 we read, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolater, nor adulterers, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor SODOMITES.” Now if this sin of homosexuality the result of a person’s choice it would be wrong for God to judge people for it. It is clear that God punishes people for the bad choices that they freely choose. A person is a homosexual by choice not by birth.

     I Timothy 1:8-11 gives us a list of sins that are “contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Among this list are murderers, fornicators, HOMOSEXUALS, kidnappers, liars, and perjurers. Once again it is clear that these are actions that a person has a choice in. To choose to engage in homosexual behavior is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what anybody says, God’s Word says it is impossible to be a born again and practicing homosexual Christian.

     In Romans 1:26-27 we read, “For even the women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Some pastors say that if the government would let homosexuals and lesbians get married they would not “lust” for each other. But the emphasis of this passage is not on “lust” but rather on what is “against nature” and that these acts homosexual acts are “shameful.” Men lying with men and women lying with women is against nature and is shameful.

     Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. To allow homosexuals to marry is to recognize their lifestyle CHOICE as healthy and normal for family life. This is completely unsupported by any research that has ever been done. Homosexuals are not born homosexuals they are born sinners like all of us. They choose to live a homosexual lifestyle and because of their choice, they reap the consequences of their sin. Just like a person is not born an alcoholic but becomes one by their lifestyle choices and then reaps the consequences of their decision. Homosexuality is a very unhealthy lifestyle and this would never be a good environment for children to be raised in. When people say someone is ‘born’ a homosexual this is nothing but an ill-informed statement. It is totally unsupported by all REAL scientific research. There is ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC evidence that has ever been found to support this false notion that a person is born a homosexual. There has NEVER been any reputable research that has shown any indication of sexual orientation being related to genetics.  A recent study by Doctor Paul McHugh, M.D., the former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and one of the leading psychiatrists in the world, and Lawrence Mayer a full-time tenured professor for over four decades, from Johns Hopkins University, was published in the journal New Atlantis.[1] It strongly concluded that NO legitimate scientific study backs up the claim that people are born homosexual or born the wrong gender.[2]

  If a person can be born with a sexual orientation to be a homosexual why couldn’t a person be born with a sexual orientation to have sex with young teenagers since this is clearly a sexual orientation with many people? Why couldn’t a person be born with a sexual orientation to have sex with dead people, which is called necrophilia? Why couldn’t a person be born with a sexual orientation to have sex with animals, which is called bestiality? Why couldn’t a person be born with a sexual orientation to marry many wives, which is called polygamy? The list could go on and on and on. So you see this whole idea of being “born” with a sexual orientation to be homosexual is just completely wrong.

     It is completely incorrect to equate someone’s lifestyle choice with that of “unchangeable characteristics” which are protected by our Constitution. Homosexuality is a lifestyle CHOICE. It is not an “unchangeable characteristic like race, nationality, or gender.” It is illegal in this country, to discriminate against someone because of “unchangeable characteristics’ but it is NEVER illegal to discriminate because of lifestyle choices. Banks do this, businesses do this, colleges do this, and rental businesses do this. The issue is not that we cannot discriminate, the question is what criteria should we use to decide when to discriminate and when not to discriminate. That criteria should be what is in the best interest of our society. So it is right for a bank to refuse to loan money to someone who has bad credit, and it is right for a rental company to refuse to rent to someone with evictions and late payments and so on. The issue that has to be resolved is whether homosexuality is a lifestyle choice or an unchangeable characteristic. It is, in fact, a lifestyle choice. This is one reason why God calls it sin. It needs to be repented of, not condoned. It is in the best interest of our country not to allow homosexuals to marry and raise a family. Our government should not persecute homosexuals. Our government should not persecute people who are divorced. Our government should not persecute alcoholics or drug addicts or people who like to gamble. But our government should not be giving special rights to people who choose these lifestyles!!!

 So what is a Christian to do?

     A Christian should treat a homosexual just like he would treat a divorcee or someone who likes to get drunk. A Christian should treat a homosexual just like he would treat someone who is committing adultery or who likes to look at pornography or any other sinner. We should show love and grace and mercy to every human being.

     We must be careful though, that we do not condone this grievous sin against God. We need to be careful about being too quick to say that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. Especially when the sinner is so blatant with his sin that he demands public acceptance and forbids any opposition voice to be heard. As Christians, we need to preach the love and mercy of God as well as the wrath and judgment of God. It is a false balance to preach one without the other.

     When there is an appropriate opportunity we are to help them to “see the light” much like Jesus did when He encountered the woman at the well. He clearly loved and respected her, but He also talked with her about her lifestyle choice about sleeping with men and not being married. We don’t need to go around and point out everyone’s sin. We are to love people and serve them. But when there is a discussion about a particular lifestyle choice that is being discussed, such as homosexuality or polygamy we are called to be the voice of God. If we don’t speak the truth and help to lead people to God’s ways, we are clearly “salt that has lost its savor and is good for nothing.” Matthew 5:13.

[1] http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/preface-sexuality-and-gender

[2] http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/executive-summary-sexuality-and-gender

Praying for our community

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The Reynoldsburg Ministerial Association of churches met today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014. There were eight churches in attendance. After much discussion and prayer, the pastors of these churches are asking all of their church members to join us in prayer and fasting tomorrow, Thursday, September 18, 2014 for our community. Tomorrow is the final day that the Reynoldsburg teachers union leaders and the Reynoldsburg School Board will be meeting to try to come to an agreement between the two parties. If there is no agreement there is very likely to be a teachers strike. Please pray that God would divinely intervene and that the Reynoldsburg negation team would come to a resolution that is fair, just and equitable that will provide a quality education for our children. Please pass this along to any of your contacts. This is a time for God’s people to do what we do best, pray!

Should America attack Syria for using chemical weapons

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Once again we are faced with the moral dilemma of what is the right thing to do. It appears that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and killed 1400 innocent civilians, including 400 children. Our President feels that it is in the US interest to punish President Bashar Al-Assad for using these chemical weapons. What is the right thing to do? Should the US just stay out of Syria and let them work it out? Does the US have a moral obligation to try to prevent further use of chemical weapons? It does appear that the majority of the American population right now is against any involvement yet it appears that our Congress is leaning towards involvement. Who is right?

Whenever I am faced with these kinds of issues I have learned to try to look for some guidance from the Bible. This is called a ‘biblical’ world view. I believe we can find guidance for every issue we face in this Book. So here is what I find for guidance in God’s Word that I think might apply to this issue. In the Old Testament often times when the enemies of Israel came together to attack Israel, a civil war would break out and they would end up destroying themselves. These civil wars seemed to be God’s way of judging these enemies and saving Israel. One example of this is found in Judges, chapter 7, when Gideon the Israeli leader was fighting the Midianites. God turned the Midianites against each other and they were defeated. It has been clear for many years that Syria would like to destroy Israel if they could. They are definitely Israel’s enemies. I believe it is very possible that this civil war that is going on right now is no different than the many civil wars that are recorded in the Bible among the enemies of Israel. Because of this I believe that the US should not get involved. It is also concerning that the major armies that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government at this time are the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda both of which are enemies of Israel. It does not seem right to get involved in this civil war. It would be good if the US did offer asylum to the many refugees that are trying to flee the country but it should not get involved in this internal affair.

Are there ever times the US should get involved in a country’s internal affairs? Again it is good to look to God’s Word for guidance to help us develop a “biblical” world view. Yes, I do believe that when a country is seeking to exterminate the Jewish population, even if it is their own citizens then the US should get involved. I believe it was wrong for the free world countries in the 1940 to wait so long before they got involved in the war against Germany, while Hitler was seeking to exterminate the Jews in Germany. My basis for saying this again comes from the Bible. I believe it is very clear in the Bible that the Jewish people are a special group of people that God has chosen to work through. The Bible promises that God would bless any nation that stands with the Jewish people. In Genesis 12:3 we read, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Even though this was specifically speaking to Abraham, it is clear that this was prophetically speaking of the people who would come from Abraham and Isaac, the nation of Israel. Later in Numbers 24, it gets a little clearer. There the prophet Balaam, clearly speaking about the nation of Israel says, “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” It is in the best interest of any nation to stand with Israel rather than against it. This does not mean that we should condone everything the Israel government or people do, but in general this means we should seek to bless or help them. So if there were ever a situation in which Israel was being threatened, then I believe the US should get involved.

One other issue that should be considered here would be, is it ever right for the US to get involved if one country attacks another country, as opposed to a civil war. For instance when Iraq invaded Kuwait, was it right for the US to declare war against Iraq. Again it is good to look to God’s Word for guidance. In this case, the US had made a treaty with Kuwait that involved the purchase of oil from Kuwait in exchange for military protection in case it was ever attacked. I am not sure whether it was wise for the US to make this treaty but the fact remains that the US did in fact have a treaty with Kuwait that promised military protection if it was ever attacked. In the Bible it is clearly taught that a person should be a person whose word can be trusted. If we give our yes, then if a challenge comes it should still be yes. There is even a story found in the Bible in the book of Joshua chapter 9 which is a good example of a country keeping its word. Joshua the leader of Israel promised people with the Gibeonites. Even though they made the peace treaty under false pretenses, they felt obligated to keep it, since they had given their word. This is a clear message about keeping our promises. Even in Psalms 15 we read a list of character traits that God approves of. In this list, verse 4, we find this trait, “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.” The Bible is clear on the importance of keeping our word. We should not give it lightly but if the US has a treaty with some country that provides trade to the US in exchange for military protection that the US is obligated to get involved in that country is ever invaded.

There are so many situations that are challenging in our world today. Rather than just come to our own conclusions it is always better to see if we can find some guidance in God’s Word. This is what is called a “biblical” world view and will keep us closer to God’s will than just making decisions on what we feel at the time or what we hear in the news. I believe that the stories of the Bible were recorded for our benefit, to help guide us in our current age. In Romans 15: 4, we read, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Also in I Corinthians 10:11 we read, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition…”

I hope this has been of some help to you. I would strongly suggest that you make every effort to let your Congressman know your thoughts on this in the next few days before they take their vote.

 

Pastor Dave DiYanni

Vineyard Community Church

www.vineyard05.com

When I Became A Saint

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           Forty years ago on a Sunday night, August 5, 1973, I was born again. I have been serving Jesus now for forty years. I want to say it has been an incredible journey!” Today I would like to spend some time telling of some of the things that God has done in my life on this journey. When I say “serving the Lord,” I mean totally sold out, on fire, 100% commitment, no holding back, serving the Lord. The people I started my Christian walk with asked a lot of me concerning my commitment to Jesus. Sometimes people we associate with, think we were always saved. I was NOT. I grew up with a loving mom and dad, eleven brothers and sisters. I had a great family life, for which I am extremely grateful. I never saw my mother and father fight. I never saw my dad drunk or smoke or swear. He was always around. My mom did not work outside the house. How could she, with 12 children? When I was 18 years old I moved out to start attending college. Things really went downhill for me. I had started rebelling as a teenager and eventually got mixed up in drugs and alcohol. After I finished my first year of college I got it in my mind to hitch hike around the country. This was the time when hippies, long haired young people, were hitchhiking all over the country. So with a friend of mine and $60, we started to hitch hike right outside our New York City, since that is where I grew up, and headed west for the summer.

          We ended up in San Francisco broke and hungry. We went to the Haight Ashbury district. This is where all the hippies used to gather. If you needed a place to stay, you went here and they helped you find someplace to sleep for the night. They were called crash pads. We were told there was only one crash pad left that still had room. It was some house run by “JESUS FREAKS.” It was called Shiloh. We stayed two nights at this Christian communal house and on the second night one of the guys who ran the place started to tell me about being born again. I really can’t remember all the words he spoke to me that night but I do remember one Bible verse he referred to, Revelation 3:20, which reads “Behold I stand at the door and knock and if anyone opens the door I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.” This was Jesus knocking on the door off people’s hearts. When the guy told me that Jesus was knocking at the door of my heart, I could almost hear the knocking. I realized for the first time in my life that if I died that night I would have a very hard time trying to convince God to let me into heaven. Wow, it totally freaked me out and I ran out of the house. I found my friend who was getting drunk and tried to tell him what was happening, he just handed me the wine and said forget it. Just then something inside snapped and I knew I needed to go inside and get saved, which I did. I remember bowing my head to pray that night; I could hear voices in my head. “You don’t want to do this, get out while you can.” Then I heard voices, “This is what you have been looking for your entire life, don’t leave here.”  I realize now it was spiritual warfare going on for the salvation of my soul! I prayed a simple prayer with that group and was saved! “Jesus please come into my life and forgive me of all of my sins.” Something happened to me that night. For the first time I understood what that hunger was that I had felt for so many years. It was a hunger for God. I realized I needed God in my life. Something happened to me that night. For the first time I understood what that hunger was that I had felt for so many years. It was a hunger for God. I realized I needed God in my life.

Shiloh was a radical Christian movement made up of Christian hippie crash pads all over the US. I was invited to stay and join up with them, so I did. I told my friend that I had been saved and was going to join them. My friend asked me if I was going to become a “Jesus freak” and I said, I guess so! I immediately began reading the Bible, in the NT and as I got to Paul’s epistles, Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Ephesians, and so on I noticed that Paul started each letter saying “To the saints at Corinth, to the saints in Ephesus…” This dramatically affected me. I realized these people were being called ‘saints.”

I had grown up in a good Catholic home. Even though I had never heard the gospel preached to me about the need to be born again, I grew up believing in God and knowing the basic principles of the Christian faith: Heaven, Hell, Jesus as the Son of God, the dangers of sin and that Jesus died on the cross for me. I also learned many other doctrines which were not Biblical, like praying the rosary, going to purgatory and trying to be good enough to earn my way to heaven. I had attended church every Sunday, Even if I was out of town I always made sure I found a Catholic church to attend. I actually have only missed church a couple of Sundays my entire life. I thought I was a Christian. I thought I was going to heaven after I spent some time in purgatory since I was baptized as a Catholic. Yet I knew I wasn’t fooling God. I knew I was a hypocrite. When people talk about rejecting Christianity because of all the hypocrites, I often say, “I know what you mean, I was one of them.” Yes, I attended church every Sunday, but come Monday, actually sometimes by Sunday afternoon, I was living the life of a sinner. When I started going to high school it was the sixties and drugs were everywhere. The rock bands were all singing about drugs. All of my friends were experimenting with them so eventually the peer pressure got to me and I got caught up in the drug scene. Drugs and alcohol became regular part of my life starting in my 10th grade in High School. By the time I went to college I was getting high with one drug or another every day for almost two years straight and was dealing drugs for spending money. I never denied the faith with my mouth, but as I got older, sin became more and more a powerful force in my life. I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 8th grade. I was taught that a person could never be called a saint until after they died and then they had to be canonized by the Catholic Church and approved by the Pope himself. There was a period in my life when I was in about fifth grade that I read a lot of books about saints who were martyred for their faith in Christ. Actually I read fifty of them in one year! They dramatically affected me. I often thought about what it would be like being a saint and how great these people were who dedicated their lives to serving God.

I had never read the Bible before, so as I am reading these passages about saints and seeing Paul calling all these Christians in these churches ‘saints’ it dawned on me. They were still alive when he wrote this to them. I looked up what Paul meant by calling these people saints. This was the first time I ever used a concordance. The word saint means to be set apart, separated from sin and dedicated to God. I realized that when I accepted Jesus into my life and asked Him to forgive me of all of my sins at that moment I became a saint. That is when I became Saint David! This was my first true spiritual epiphany! I was a saint and I was still alive and I could dedicate my life to serving God, which I did with all my heart.

When I joined up with the people in this house I quit college and wrote letters to all my friends and family telling them that I had found God and was going to live in San Francisco. My poor family, I kept telling them how they all needed to get saved. They thought I had flipped out and had joined some cult. They even sent my brother Henry and my sister Elizabeth to come out and visit with me. Praise God for His mercy and grace. Somehow through all the radicalness and craziness, God was able to reach them and over the years all of my family eventually got saved, even my father and mother. Several of my brothers and sisters eventually joined up with me in the Shiloh ministry.
Being a part of the Shiloh ministry was a great experience for me. We lived in a communal house, sharing everything. We worked together whenever we could get group jobs. We put all of our money in a communal pot and the pastor of the house would pay the rent, buy food and needed stuff and then send the rest up to the ministry headquarters to help pay for the Shiloh Bible school and opening other Shiloh houses around the country. At that time there were about 40 or so Shiloh houses around the country. It was part of the Jesus people movement that was sweeping across our country in the late 60’s and 70’s. I started giving bible studies after I was saved only one month. Now they were not incredibly deep studies, there were a lot of, “Wow, heavy, this is cool, dig this, etc.” But I loved to teach the Word and have been teaching and giving Bible studies ever since that time.

I lived in San Francisco for about a year working as a bike messenger, delivering packages all over downtown. Every night we would put up between 50 to 100 young people for free. We fed them for free and then gave them a place to stay. We would have a Bible study every night and I saw many young people saved. When you work with street people it was always an interesting day. It was a wild time and I saw some crazy things.

I learned many great lessons that year as I read the Bible for the very first time, so many passages of Scripture opened up to me. I remember one of the first ones to truly speak to me was in Matthew 21:44. “Whoever falls on this stone (Jesus) will be broken but whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” I felt God speak to me right then and there and say, I only had two choices and both required brokenness. Either I fall on the Rock and get broken or He would fall on me and crush me! I decided to fall on Jesus and allow Him to break me of my selfish ways. I decided at that moment that I was in for life and that I was going to go 100%, no turning back. I believe that is a decision each of us has to make at one time or another in our lives. Whether we are going to give our all to Him or are we going to hold back. I can tell you that I have not regretted that decision to fall on Him and allow Him to break me free from all the stuff that was holding me back. He truly has set me free to live the life that He created me for and He will do it for you if you let Him.

After a year of living in San Francisco I was asked if I wanted to move to Eugene Oregon to attend the Shiloh Bible School. I said, “Yes!” It was a great Bible School. All we did was study the Bible, no Greek, no Hebrew, no other books, just the Bible. I often wonder about some so called Bible schools today. They study everything but the Bible. We studied the entire bible, from cover to cover. After Bible School I was asked if I would like to join a traveling youth evangelist team. We were going to travel around the US visiting all the Shiloh houses and help them reaching out to the youth that were traveling all over the country at that time. We had to work as a team for a few months to save up money for our travels, and then we would travel for a few months. Back then that is how we did ‘mission work.’ Sometimes I wonder about people who feel called to doing ‘mission work’ and the first thing they do is send out letters asking people to donate to them so they can go on this trip. We worked first, saved up our money and then went on our mission trips. We did this for almost three years. During that time we did a lot of work in the mountains planting trees. We would make a lot of money doing this, but it was hard work.

Roxanna was part of this team and eventually I realized how cool she was and we started dating. But in the Shiloh ministry there were rules about dating. We were not allowed to go on dates alone, we always had to have a chaperone with us, just to keep things right, since we were all living in the same house. As crazy as that sounds, I look back on it and I am grateful for this. It kept our relationship pure until we were married, for which I have been forever grateful. As part of our evangelist outreaches we would often walk the streets and stop young people and talk to them about God or just pass out tracts to people. We would also go to parks and do skits and eventually puppet show and then I actually started doing mime. We saw hundreds of young people get saved during these years. It was a great experience. Eventually Roxanna and I got married so we had to step off the team, which was only for singles. We decided to live in Eugene, Oregon and join up with a Shiloh Church which had started as a result of lots of the young people getting married and having to move out of the Shiloh houses. It was during this time that the call to being a pastor was truly confirmed in my heart.

As a young boy I had always had a desire to serve God and since I was a Catholic I thought the only way to really do that was to become a priest. I often talked to priests about this desire, but eventually I decided that the priesthood was not for me, so I gave it up. But after I got saved and became a ‘saint’ that desire was rekindled and I knew I wanted to be a pastor not a priest. That first year that Roxanna and I were married we were asked to start a home group with a couple of new converts. We were so excited for the opportunity and as we started to meet a revival broke out in that group. Within a couple of months we had about fifty people coming, most of them were new converts.

When God called me to pastor a new church

     I decided to go back to college instead of continuing to plant trees. I finished my second year of college and I was getting ready to transfer from the Community College to Oregon State University. I drove to the campus one day and parked my car and as I was walking to the administrative office I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me. He told me not to register for my third year of college and that I needed to get ready to be sent out to start a church! It was a clear impression on my heart. I stopped in my tracts, thought for a minute, then turned around and drove home. I told Roxanna what happened and we got all excited. We began wondering what was next for us. A few weeks later the pastor of the Shiloh Church we were attending asked to meet with us. When we got together he asked if we were interested in moving to Columbus Ohio. He said there were a few married couples that were part of the Shiloh houses that wanted to start a Shiloh Church, plus at that time there were two Shiloh houses in Columbus. We immediately said yes, since God had already spoken to us.

So Roxanna and I moved out to Columbus to start the church here. We were only here a few months before we received a call that the Shiloh ministry was going to close down. We were given the option to go independent or close down. The two Shiloh houses decided to close down and a number of the couples decided to move. So we were left with about 15 people, but we knew God had sent us there so we decided to stay open and affiliated with the Calvary Chapel Church association. Calvary Chapel was pastored by Chuck Smith and he had a major influence in staring the Shiloh ministry. We had always been an extension of the Calvary Chapel ministries so it just made sense to join up with them. We did not want to be independent, so in October of 1978 we incorporated as Faith Chapel.

At that time I was twenty four years old and newly married and really had no idea how to pastor a church. All I knew was street ministry and working with communal houses. So it was truly an adventure. Roxanna I decided we would give it our all for at least one year and see if God blessed our efforts. During that first year we saw a number of young people get saved. Also during that first year some of my family decided to move to Columbus to help us with the work of building a church. They were a great blessing to us, eventually my dad and mom and some more of my family moved here. At one time we had 10 of my brothers and sister living here as well as my mom and dad.

We enjoyed being a little church and watching God bring people in and changing people’s lives. Not only was our church family growing but so was my own family. Roxanna and I eventually had six children, who have all been such a blessing to me, and have grown up to be great people, in spite of having to grow up PK’s, pastor kids.
We rented an old farm house that used to be where the Krogers now stands on the corner of Main and Taylor. We eventually outgrew that house. Then we rented part of the Cotner’s funeral home, which was just down the road. It was a building they used to display all of their caskets and tombstones. They were not able to get all of them out before our first service, so we just put signs on them that were Bible verses like, “The dead in Christ shall rise.” “Death has lost its sting.”  “For the wages of sin is death.” It made for an interesting service. We eventually outgrew that building and bought the land here on Palmer Road and began to build the first building. It took 100 Saturdays of volunteer work to build. During that time we rented the Hannah Ashton Middle School. We finished the building in May of 1987 and had a great big celebration. We paid cash for everything as we built it, so we had no debt when we moved in.

One night we noticed some skateboarders were using our parking lot and decided to reach out to them. So we built a huge wooden half pike ramp for them to use as well as a bunch of other wooden and metal ramps. We eventually had a couple of skateboard outreaches and had hundreds of young people show up. The newspapers covered it on the front page and called ‘Holy rollin!” We did all sorts of outreaches to our community. We did free oil changes, huge summer vacation bible schools, Motorcycle Sundays, marched in parades. We started a Sunday afternoon service called the Sanctuary Service, and started having heavy metal Christian bands come in and do serious heavy metal music. God truly used those services and we saw hundreds of young people come and get saved. Several are pastors of churches today!

HellStop

The one outreach that our church became known for was HellStop. Even to this day, when I tell people where I am from they often ask, “Is that the church that used to do a Halloween outreach called HellStop?” We ran this program for ten years and we saw about 50,000 young people come through and saw literally thousands of them get saved and many of them were even baptized at night right during the program! God’s hand was all over it.

Becoming Vineyard Community Church

     In the late 80’s we were told that there was some division going on in the Calvary Chapel association of churches and a new group was splitting off called Vineyard Association of churches. It was being headed up by John Wimber and we were told to decide if we wanted to stay with the Calvary Chapel Association or join with the Vineyard Association. We were familiar with John Wimber and what God was doing in the Vineyard churches but we liked the Calvary movement, so rather than choose one or the other we decided to go independent. It was a hard time, and as I look back I wish we would have decided to join the Vineyard. We really ran our church and our services much like we do today and that was more the Vineyard style of worship. In 2005 we officially joined up with the Vineyard Association. I never did like being an independent church. There was no accountability. We did not belong to anything larger than our church and it just did not feel right. We have really been blessed being a part of the Vineyard. It is a great group of churches and it has grown all over the United States and around the world. Today there are about 600 Vineyard Churches in the US and about 700 in other countries. The local Vineyard churches around Columbus were a great help with us getting our free clinics started, and we have had some great people join up with us who were also part of the Vineyard Churches.

So Now What?

     It has been a great experience walking with God all these years. I am so grateful for His mercy and love and forgiveness. I have been so helped by reading God’s Word and listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. I felt God speaking to me towards the end of last year that He wanted me to stop watching TV completely for a period of time and to start writing books. Like many people I have always had a desire to write books, but it costs so much and it is such a major project I was discouraged from doing so. I had written one book, “God has tattoos” but it cost me thousands of dollars and was such a lot of work, I just didn’t think I could do anymore. But I kept feeling this urge from within that I needed to start writing books and sharing some of the incredible things that God has done in my life and some of the wonderful things I have learned about God, His character and His kingdom. Then I found this program on Amazon that allowed me to publish books for FREE and it was so easy I could not believe it. So since January of this year I have stopped watching TV completely and have devoted myself to writing books. This is my new adventure. If you go on the internet and go to Amazon.com and type in my name, David DiYanni (no space), you will see that I have written six books and redid the original book, God has tattoos! It was been an incredible experience. This stuff just flowed out of me. I did not realize how much time I had been wasting watching TV and how much I could do with that time. Also if you go to my home page on Facebook and scroll down and look on left side, listed all my books, if you like them that gets them out to the public.

In the Book of James 4:13-15 it says, Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” No one knows the future but “If the Lord wills.” I am going to continue writing more books as long as the Holy Spirit inspires me. Right now I am working on three more that should be ready by the end of this year. So we will see how many I can do. These are lessons and spiritual truths are important to me that I want to share with you. Lessons I have learned about child rearing, financial management, healthy living, overcoming depression and sin, understanding God’s great love for us, end time prophecies and so on, that I have learned from reading God’s Word for the past forty years. I would like to continue pastoring this church full time for another eight to ten years, somewhere around my late sixties we will need to start transitioning the church leadership to a new pastor. If the Lord wills I would like to stay on pastoring, if just part time until I am 74 at which time I will have been pastoring this church for 50 years and then maybe retire and see what the Lord has for me at that time.

I am honored to have been able to pastor all these years. This church family has been a great group of people. I have so enjoyed being a part of your lives and I look forward to the many new people God will be bringing in and the new things He has for us as a church. I am excited about our growth of our student ministry. I am excited about the development of our free clinics and the starting of our pregnancy center. Let me just finish by saying dedicating your life to God is the only way to live. We serve an awesome God.

When is it right to discriminate; a look at the US Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals have a Constitutional right to marry

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We need to be able to cut through all the confusion in our culture today. On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court made a bad decision. They declared that refusing to allow homosexual couples the right to marry was discrimination and this kind of discrimination is unconstitutional. Now this is where you need to be sharp to cut through all of this smoke. Is it ever right to discriminate against a person? Is it ever right to discriminate against a person for bad behavioral choices they have made? There is a lot of discrimination that is allowed in our country that is totally legal. For instance, banks will discriminate when making loans. If a person has a foreclosure or a bad credit score the bank has the right to discriminate against this person and to refuse to lend them money. Why is this allowed? Because it is the result of their bad choices. It would be wrong for a bank to discriminate against a person if they were dark skinned, left handed, or Asian or Italian. Why is this allowed? Because they are born that way, these are unchangeable characteristics. When I rent homes to people I am allowed to discriminate against people who have been evicted from their previous residence or who have a record of paying late. Why is this allowed? Because it is the result of their choices. I cannot discriminate against a person if they are old, or dark skinned, or of some other nationality. Companies are allowed to discriminate when they hire. They can refuse to hire someone who does not have the correct degree or enough job experience but they cannot refuse to hire someone who is old, or just because they are a female or a male. Grad schools discriminate when deciding who to allow into their schools. They can refuse to allow someone into their program who does not have high enough grades.

So you see the issue is not that we CANNOT discriminate, the question is what criteria we use, to decide when to discriminate and when not to discriminate. That criteria should be what is in the best interest of our society. So it is right for a bank to refuse to loan money to someone who has bad credit, and it is right for a rental company to refuse to rent to someone with evictions and late payments and so on. In the US we do have a very special right that is the result of our choice and that is the right to our religious freedom. So even though a person is not born Christian, Hindu, or Moslem in the United States of America is it illegal to discriminate against a person for his religious choices.

The question that needs to be answered is, “Is homosexuality the result of ‘behavioral’ choices or it is the result of ‘unchangeable’ characteristics. There is NO real scientific debate about this at all. All unbiased scientific research has clearly leaned on the side of homosexuality being the result of ‘behavioral’ choices rather than being ‘born’ homosexual. There was one so called scientific study over twenty years ago, 1993 that claimed homosexuals had a genetic difference. This study has been rejected by all scientific research today. It has never been reproduced. It was totally flawed. It is not science at all! But yet we still have people today who think that a person is born a homosexual. This is just plain not true, never has been.

The US Supreme Court basically said that homosexuality is not the result of someone’s behavioral choice but basically that they are born this way. This is where the mistake is. Homosexuality is the result of someone’s sexual choice. If a person can be born homosexual because of sexual orientation isn’t it possible for a person to be born a child molester, or an adulterer since these are also the result of someone’s sexual orientation. Couldn’t a person be born an alcoholic? Wouldn’t it be possible to be born abusive, or to be born a kleptomaniac or a pyromaniac? Where the confusion is today, in our culture, is basically with personal responsibility. When a person makes certain choices it is all right to refuse them certain privileges for their choices, like what banks, businesses and grad schools do. This is a form of discrimination that is allowed and legal and necessary for our culture to exist. Homosexuals should not be allowed to be married. Homosexuality is not healthy. It is unnatural and it will be the ruin of our society. History clearly bears this out. Marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is a sign of brokenness and sexual identity confusion. Homosexual marriage should not be considered a Constitutional right!

We are living in some difficult times. What is so sad is that many Christians have become so dull they cannot tell what is right and what is wrong anymore. So many Christians have strayed from God’s Word as their guide post for living. It is clear in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and needs to be repented of. The reason it is sin is because it is destructive, much like drunkenness is a sin. Homosexuality is the not worst sin a person can commit but we need to clear on the teaching of God’s Word, that homosexuality is wrong!