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“Yes on 8,” read the sign held by the man across the street from San Diego Christian Worship Center.

Pastor Art Evans did mention Proposition 8 on Sunday, but he kept it pretty brief: “We know what the Bible says about God’s definition of marriage, as well as His view of homosexuality. We must see Proposition 8 pass in California, not only for the sake of our children and our families, but for the influence this will have on the church in the days to come.”

The statement was about political engagement, but the focus was on the church itself, and the rest of the service provided insight into this way of thinking. Evans said that voting was “very necessary...as a steward of your place in America under the lordship of Jesus Christ as the God of this nation.... Vote according to your inherent right as a child of God and an American citizen to further His plan and purpose in your generation.”

The songs at the opening were full of adoration and self-abasement: “Majesty, Majesty...Your grace has found me just as I am/ Empty-handed but alive in Your hands.” Evans’s opening prayer sounded a similar note: “We are calling for Your mercy and grace upon America.... We repent of sin.... We declare that because there is a remnant in this land that loves You.... You will turn this nation again to Your glory.... Father, we declare that America is blessed because You are our God.”

That was the principal theme: the church must be holy for the sake of America. As Evans put it, “In the midst of crisis in America, there must rise an edifice of hope, the dwelling place of God called the New Testament church.”

Evans ran down a list of images for that church: “The church is called the body of Christ. Together, we are its members, and He is the head. There is no way to exalt the head except that we build the body. We are a construction crew. The Bible says we are being built together as living stones, unto a holy habitation where God Himself comes down and dwells in our midst.... We’re an army, engaged in spiritual warfare against principalities and powers. We are ambassadors for Christ, ministers of reconciliation. Every one of us has been given gifts. Your own personal house is important, but your house is not going to be an edifice of hope for the world. I’m convinced that when you build God’s house, He’ll build your house. You need not worry...we’re a hospital. This is not simply a place of relaxation and refreshment. You are in the midst of many, many people who have been broken, who carry diseases in their spirit. This is a place of healing, of hope for the broken.”

But his biggest analogy was to trees, the result of a motorcycle trip up to redwood country. “In Isaiah 61, the Bible calls the church ‘trees of righteousness.’” The redwoods, noted Evans, had endured all manner of tribulation, in part by being interconnected. “The root systems go down only six or ten feet, and then they go out hundreds of feet.... They put colored water in one tree, and found traces in every tree in a hundred-foot radius. The one tree...was committed to everybody making it. And when one of the trees is sick, the others quarantine it. They continue to feed the tree that is sick and diseased, but they don’t take anything from it.”

That connected character was the key — the reason SDCWC offered small group sessions around the county. “We want you to be connected, cared for, and part of the community. If you are all by yourself, you are extremely vulnerable. The lions in the Serengeti don’t go for the gazelle that are in the herd. They go for the stragglers, those who are isolated. We need each other. We cannot allow the things of this world to separate us. The generation that we’re a part of needs to see the church growing in our love for one another — an edifice of hope. To see that God is still moving in the world today.”

And as with the one redwood tree, “It’s not just about us making it. There are many who are, right now, in great despair. ‘Is there any hope? Is there any promise of...peace, prosperity, virtue, morality, dignity, safety?’ Our resounding answer is ‘yes,’” said Evans, pointing to heaven. “We have Him in the midst of the church that we build together.”

What happens when we die?

“If Jesus Christ is the lord of your life and you put your faith in Him for salvation,” said Evans, “we believe that you immediately go into the presence of the Lord. If you go into eternity without salvation in Jesus Christ, you will spend eternity separated from God in eternal death.”

San Diego Christian Worship Center

9561 Ridgehaven Court, Clairemont




Denomination: nondenominational
Founded locally: 1994
Senior pastor: Art Evans
Congregation size: about 800
Staff size: 8
Sunday school enrollment: about 150
Annual budget: NA
Weekly giving: NA
Singles program: yes
Dress: some casual, but mostly semiformal to formal
Diversity: diverse
Sunday worship: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., plus 5 p.m. prayer and praise service, except for last Sunday of the month
Length of reviewed service: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Website: christianworshipcenter.org

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Comments

bartleby88 March 4, 2009 @ 10:43 a.m.

Oh my god, the institution of marriage will fall apart if the gays get to marry each other.

What a load of crap.

Too bad few people know or care about the blatant disregard Bush perpetrated on the US Constitution and ruined our credibility in the world.

But we better worry about the gays. They are ruining our country!

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coolSDdude Feb. 24, 2009 @ 3:01 p.m.

I wonder what the Agnostics think about Prop 8. I Hope they talk about it in the next sermon at the First Agnostic Church in Normal Heights.

http://sdheadliner.com/religion/normal-heights-welcomes-nations-first-agnostic-church/

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sarahsgir Dec. 22, 2009 @ 7:42 p.m.

This Paster is full of it. All he wants is money. I was with his church for a long time and because we had no money he refused to help us and didn't want us in his church any longer. He knows nothing of love. This Leader is the kind of leader a church doesn't need. Love is love and if being gay is wrong then that person has to stand accountable for it not the church. That is why church and state was separated. I am a born again christian but You cant get people to believe in god by beating them in the head with the bible. Who cares what god says in what laws we pass they took him out of the state so he have no say on who should get married and who shouldn't in this state.

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