June is the month for weddings, as lovers say their vows. However, today marriages are struggling with America now leading in divorce rates as well as many who don't bother to even get marriage.

Regarding the sanctity of marriage, Scripture says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." (Hebrews 13:4). This text is saying marriage is a wonderful thing to be held in high moral esteem, the physical relationship is reserved for marriage alone and those who disregard this standard God will judge. This may seem to be out of touch with current trends. Yet, there are good reasons why God makes such a strong statement about guarding the purity of marriage. 

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The first reason is that premarital sex takes the focus off of the spiritual and places it on the physical thus preventing a solid foundation for a new family. The spiritual foundation with Christ central should be first since it is eternal while the physical is only temporal. In light of this it is no surprise that marriage problems later in life often are the result to ignoring this at the start. The answer is for the couple to begin again by building a proper spiritual foundation for marriage in Christ to rest on.

A second reason Scripture emphasizes the sanctity of marriage is because premarital sex destroys the ability to be totally objective when key decision of life are being made. In essence the couple is forfeiting their choice to make an unclouded decision based on fact because of the new element of feelings. In light of this it is very easy to miss the will of God.

Thirdly, premarital sex also takes the mystique out of the wedding night. Certainly, the consummation of the marriage was designed by God to be wonderful. The Bible describes the thoughts of a couple about to be wed as they anticipate their honeymoon in Song of Solomon 7:10-13.

A fourth motive to keep a relationship pure until marriage is that this shows the most love and respect for the other person. Couples often rationalize saying, "If you love me you will give yourself to me now." Actually, the person is saying, "I need my physical needs met now." It puts the emphasis on self rather than the other person. The Bible says, "It is God's will that you...should avoid sexual immorality, that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins,.." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6b). 

A final purpose for waiting until marriage is that it helps prevent the spread of disease. No man-made device can prevent sexually transmitted disease as effective as abstinence. If both parties are committed to this there is little chance of ailments.

There is a need to renew and strengthen the sanctity of marriage as God meant it to be. For those who have failed and are reaping consequence, God is also willing to forgive the repentant and give them a new start (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). He simply asks us to turn to Christ to seek wisdom to deal with the problems from a divine perspective.  Remember God is gracious to give forgiveness and healing. 



Nancy said to our friend, "I want to show you something."  She headed to the left, not the usual way to church, and then turned to come down Wollochet Dr. toward the church. Maria gasped at  the sight. "No words could describe it," she said later. A block or two from the church there was a solid line of cars parked on both sides of Wollochet to the turn off and beyond for another block or two. A Sheriff's cruiser with blue flashing lights idled as an officer waved cars and people on to Gustafson Dr..  Many were also trudging in the dark toward our church.  Some pushed strollers while other cars in the street idled for their turn to get to parking.

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Meanwhile the same scene played out on the other end of Gustafson where more double lines of cars were parked as an officer waved walkers and drivers toward our church.  Meanwhile a host of helpers from Harbor Covenant, our neighboring church, helped direct cars into their parking lot that held about 200. They then walked across the street to enter our little village of Bethlehem to experience what it might have been like the night Christ was born of a virgin in a stinking animal shelter.  

We really didn't think we'd have much of a turn out due to the heavy rain the night and that we had not advertised in the papers and there was a Seahawks game; but we were wrong. This was our 19th Living Nativity. It has grown from a couple of hundred people to a record 5,676 people who came to walk through in the cold night air under a super moon. Many others tried to come but turned back when they saw the lines. It was like a sea of people waiting to cross the street to get in. Many waited nearly hour to park and shivered in the cold to see this event.  

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How is it that a tiny Jewish baby born 2,000 years ago can draw multiple thousands here and  around the world? It’s amazing that this baby makes the Hawks play second string. The only reasonable answer is that this is no myth. It is a real story about ancient prophecy fulfilled when God chose to reveal Himself as the Christ, the Son of God.  No other explanation works or even comes close.  God became man to come and die for our sin on the cross so those who repent can be forgiven eternally by His grace.  

One of the guests who came sent us this wonderful video he took on his phone.  Thanks, Jason, for doing that.  Click here.

Watch the Discovery Baptist Facebook page for it as well as an album of pictures coming soon that were taken this year at the Living Nativity. Your photo may be there. 

Sat. Dec. 10th 9AM help is needed to put away Nativity Structures.

Our Thanksgiving Offering for the year is open through Dec. 31 and will go to the Choose Life Center run by Holly Friesen in Odessa, Ukraine.


This week we had an unusual family reunion in Kiev with our missionary kids. Earlier in the week we worked hard doing repairs on Mike and Rachel’s home. I also preached in their church Sunday and we met with the pastor’s family.  Tuesday I spoke on resurrection evidences at the Kiev Theological Seminary chapel. 

It was a blessing to interact with young adults preparing for ministry where my son-in-law Mike Gustafson teaches.  I related God’s blessing on Discovery through expository preaching and how the Lord led us to do ministry in Ukraine in 1994 and has even led a refugee family to our home.  

The mission field is often a very busy and difficult place for missionaries. It is easy to be idealistic about missions; but that quickly fades when you arrive on the field.  A century ago going to the mission field meant leaving home for decades and having little support when you arrived in a hostile culture.

Today jet travel and technology help a lot, but it still can be difficult. The reality is that many missionaries drop out after the first term on the field. That is why it is important for there to be genuine support, prayer and interest from the family and church back home.  Even Jesus went away with His disciples to “come apart and rest awhile.” The Jerusalem church also provided that support after Paul’s first missionary journey too if you look closely at Acts 13 and 14.  

Part of our reason for visiting Ukraine this time was to provide that support.  So this week we had kind of family reunion in Kiev. Caleb’s family came from Odessa by overnight train and joined us in Kiev for just plain fun, food, talking and cousins playing with each other in the yard for a day. Then Nancy and I and Caleb’s family took an express train west to spend R & R time with them in Lviv. 

Check out the pictures and Caleb’s video to see a bit of what this was like as we made some memories.  Then consider some R & R for your family.  Let me know what you think.