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Common Questions

Questions:

  • What kind of church are you?
  • Do you have a children’s program?
  • Why do you use contemporary style music?
  • What do you believe about tongues (or other charismatic style expressions)?
  • “What is your view of marriage and divorce?”
  • Are you a part of a denomination?
  • Why do you have small groups?
  • What is the pastor's background?
  • How can you know you'll go to heaven?
  • How can I know that God hears me when I pray?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • What about other religions?
  • What is your view of women in ministry?
  • What is your view on homosexuality?
  • What kind of church are you?

    Lighthouse Christian Fellowship is a member of the Eastern Regional Conference Churches of God with a belief that Jesus is the only way to heaven and reaching the fullness of life that God intended. Our worship includes upbeat, contemporary music, relevant messages, and the use of video or other multi-media. You won't be singled out, asked for money, or pressured in any way. We are a solidly evangelical ministry dedicated to focusing on the major issues of faith in Christ and living a life pleasing to Him.

    Do you have a children's program?

    YES!

    For infants and toddlers we provide a nursery. Kindergarten through 5th grade can be a part of our worship, and during the sermon time, we have a program called "Club Lighthouse", which is a fun program of games, crafts, and creative Bible lessons. We believe Kids matter to God, and so they matter to us.

    Why do you use contemporary style music?

    We consider ourselves a "seeker-friendly church." That term means a lot of different things to different people. The most common thing people discuss on this issue is the Sunday morning worship service. So that begs the question: "Who is Sunday morning worship for?"

    When answering the question, "Who is Sunday morning for?" the ultimate answer is: God! It is true that both "traditional" and "seeker-friendly" churches can be devoid of the presence of the God they proclaim. A common critique of many traditional style churches is that they are insular, self-oriented, insider clubs that are not growing, but are in stagnation or decline. A common critique on the other side of the fence is that many seeker-friendly churches are shallow, feel-good, market-driven approaches simply trying to feed a relentless consumerism that leaves people empty and devoid of any spiritual content. Both of these scenarios are sad, and downright sinful.

    Genuine worship, as Jesus said, is in "spirit and in truth." (John 4). Scholars and pastors may debate the details of what that means for today, but the foundational idea is that God actually hunts out and searches for people to worship him in REALITY. Worship that counts to God is worship that is REAL. It must be from the heart. It must be a God-honoring thing. It must NOT be focused on keeping ourselves comfortable with what we grew up with, NOR should it be a consumer-driven tool to merely entertain and please people. Worship is for God's glory, and for God's pleasure.

    We believe worship should be a real-deal that makes sense to both believers and also speaks to the heart of the unconvinced seeker. We think that contemporary style music speaks to the every-day population of most people in our society. We think that using a relaxed, and casual atmosphere helps disarm all of us, helping us let down our defenses and maybe letting God in on our lives. God already loves unbelievers way more than we could imagine, and He is at work wooing their hearts to Himself. Our ultimate hope is that at Sunday morning worship, people will meet and experience the living God in a real and personal way. Believers in Christ are already going to heaven, and if they are happy at their churches, great. We're not interested in recruiting any "already-convinced." On the human level, our "target audience" is the largest group on Cape Cod: Unchurched* folks; people who don't go to church and need to know the love of Christ in a personal way and in the context of a loving body of believers.

    At Lighthouse, the Sunday morning worship event is our number one Ace. It is the most common venue that the unchurched would consider in "getting a taste" of our church. We call it a "foyer" event, where guests first come to check us out (like the foyer of your house, it is the first room to enter). Sunday worship is also the focal point for our regular attendees and members to celebrate God's goodness and receive inspiration for the week. A few of the essential words that we wish to describe our worship include: CELEBRATION, CHALLENGE, COMFORT, MOTIVATION.

  • CELEBRATION is a big part of remembering what God has done for us (we often forget in our hectic, busy lives). It is where we can corporately proclaim, "Yea, God!" for His mercy, forgiveness, comfort, and provision... and just because He deserves it. We absolutely embrace the fact that there is a component of FUN. We believe this is a holy thing. It is not to belittle God, but to help open our eyes to awe and splendor of His majesty and power. To embrace, and truly delight in God is the most amazing thing in all of eternity... these times of celebration are our little tastes of the mind-blowing awesome nature of an eternity in heaven with our amazing God. It is the "Wow" that adds spice, and life to our very grey world.
  • CHALLENGE is the relevant and life-impacting truth of the Bible. At the heart of the Gospel is that all of us are guilty of disobedience to God's ways. We are unable to fix ourselves. What we are powerless to do - God did - in sending his Son Jesus to die on the cross in payment for our wrong. Forgiveness and a new start are offered as an un-earned Gift that we may either receive or reject. Each of us must come to a point in our lives where we come face-to-face with this reality. Do we want to continue in a life of sin and self-destruction, or do we want to embrace Christ as our rescue and our Savior? The challenge of the sermon, as a part of the worship, is to counteract the constant mis-information that inundates our society with the truth of God's message. We all need the regular course-corrections of God's truth as found in the Bible to help us mature, grow, and experience the maximum life that God desires. It is God's truth as found in the Bible that challenges and, ultimately, will set us free (John 8).
  • COMFORT is key for all of us, believer and unbeliever, alike. Life is hard. Things break down. Sickness and death cannot be avoided. We need the regular reminders of God's presence with us. We need to hear the love-songs of the Savior for our weary hearts. We need to feel the arms of his love wrapped around our souls. The Spirit of God, in fact, is named 'Comforter' for that reason. In the midst of the sometimes overwhelming storms of strife and pain, God wants to speak to our hearts and let us know He is our Rock, our steadfast anchor, our unchanging protection.
  • MOTIVATION is the essential ingredient that keeps us going. As the title of the book by Eugene Peterson clearly states, our lives are "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction." We easily lose steam and become discouraged. Or worse yet, we become distracted and infatuated with ourselves. We need to know it's not all about us. We need our regularly shrinking world-view to be expanded to see the Big, Big God at work in our world. There is a great, wide world out there and God put us here on purpose and for a purpose. Our lives are designed for significance. God made us to make a difference in our world. In Christ, we really can do all things. In relationship with our Savior, we ultimately WIN! We need to hear the cheer of God's word for us today: "Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith!"
  • We are seeker-friendly, because we want to be "people-friendly." We want, with all our heart, to communicate the message of Christ's love. This is what we're about at Lighthouse. And, by God's grace, we will help attract and usher thousands into the life-changing experience of a vibrant relationship with our greatest joy: Jesus Christ.

    What do you believe about tongues (or other charismatic style expressions)?

    We believe in all of the gifts listed in Scripture (including tongues, healing, etc.) However, we believe tongues is a gift given by the Spirit to those He wishes; not to everyone. Our worship services typically do not have public tongues, as we follow Paul's admonition: "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue." (1 Cor 14:4,19). Some people "raise hands" in worship, while others do not. We wish for you to worship in an atmosphere that is comfortable to you, and glorifies Christ.

    “What is your view of marriage and divorce?”

    We believe marriage is a holy covenant designed by God to be between one man and one woman for life. Scripture tells us that the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Gen. 1:18). So God formed woman for the man and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Jesus reaffirmed this perfect design of marriage when he stated, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matt 19:6). So marriage is more than a civil or ceremonial contract, it is a spiritual union and a holy covenant, performed as a public ceremony by duly authorized pastor or civil magistrate and is designed and ratified by God to be between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives. Marriage is the social foundation and cornerstone of a culture and of mankind in general. As such, it should not be entered into lightly or unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly seeking God’s blessing and confirmation. Whether one is a believer or not, God still holds all married couples accountable to keep their marriage covenant, remaining faithful, pure, and honoring to one another.

    As such, we affirm the Scripture’s teaching that divorce is a violation of that design and is to be avoided if at all possible. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel (Mal. 2:16). Divorce breaks the hearts of all parties involved, breaks a commitment that is made before God, and results in a general harm to society at large. The Scriptures do give specific instances where divorce may be allowed, specifically in the event of marital unfaithfulness of a spouse (Matt 19:9), or in the event that an unbelieving spouse wishes to leave a believing spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). For those who have been previously divorced and are re-married, it is the responsibility of the husband and wife in such cases to ask God for his forgiveness of previous sin, and then for his blessing on the current marriage, to strive to make the current marriage a good and lasting one.

    Not everyone should be married, nor is anyone deficient if he is not married, as affirmed by the apostle Paul (1 Cor 7). And for those couples who are unmarried, the Scriptures are clear that sexual union apart from marriage is sin before God (Matt 15:19; 1 Cor 6:18; 1 Thess 4:3, etc.). If a couple is considering marriage, we strongly urge Christians to NOT marry unbelievers, as they should not be unequally yoked (2 Cor 6:14). The prevalent trend of cohabitation and sleeping together before marriage is a violation of God’s will. Studies also clearly indicate that cohabitation before marriage multiplies the chances of divorce for the couple. As such, we recommend that all Christians who are living together to repent, and pursue a life of sexual purity and obedience.

    Regarding ROLES of husband and wife, the Bible clearly affirms that both men and women are created in God’s image and have equal value and dignity in God’s sight and for the work of his kingdom on earth (Gen. 1:27, 31; Acts 2:17–18; 8:12; Gal. 3:28; 1 Pet. 3:7). At the same time, the Bible indicates that husband and wife are called to different roles in marriage. God gives to the husband a responsibility for loving, humble headship (or leadership) in the marriage. Husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25), and “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:23). God has given to the wife a responsibility for joyful, intelligent submission to her husband’s headship and support of her husband’s leadership role (though never to comply if her husband tells her to sin against God). The NT says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). These distinct roles are affirmed in a number of NT passages (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3; Col. 3:18–19; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1–7). Since these responsibilities are patterned on the relationship between Christ and the church, they are not due to particular circumstances in individual cultures or societies but are applicable for all marriages, for all cultures and all time. They are a part of the “very good” creation that God established from the beginning.

    Are you a part of a denomination?

    We are a member of the Eastern Regional Conference Churches of God, which is an evangelical group dedicated to reaching the unchurched. The conference headquarters are in Harrisburg, PA. This affiliation provides us with support, encouragement, and accountability to help maximize our effectiveness at reaching others for Christ

    Why do you have small groups?

    We believe that growth happens best in small groups. Weekly worship is important to declare our corporate love and honor and delight in our Lord through worship. Sermons serve as points of encouragement, challenge, and admonition. But the greatest way to grow and find encouragement, nurture, and accountability is through a small group setting where you can know and be known as an individual. Our small groups may consist of spiritual growth, specific seminar series, or other groups.

    What is the pastor's background?

    Pastor Mike was not a regular church attender growing up. He found a relationship with Christ through FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) as a college football player. He has served in various church and parachurch ministries. He also runs a home inspection business. He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from East Central Oklahoma University, and has studied at Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his Masters in Divinity at Seminary of the East. He was ordained in 1996. He is currently pursuing his doctorage (D.Min.) in preaching from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His wife Annemarie was raised with a Catholic background on Cape Cod. He and Annemarie have been active in Methodist, Nazarene, Baptist, and Independent churches through the years of their faith journey.

    How can you know you'll go to heaven?

    The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16); and also: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6); and also: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9) If we put our faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and trust Him for our forgiveness, He gives us the promise of heaven, and a new life (2 Cor 5:17). It is not through good works, self-sacrifice, or "being religious". It is simply through acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross to pay for our sins. Our faith is not a mere intellectual assent to facts, it is the surrender of our lives to His will. And, it doesn't take a mountain of faith; just a mustard seed.

    How can I know that God hears me when I pray?

    Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Mat 7:7-11) God hears our prayers because He is our loving Father who desires our very best. Even when you don't feel like God hears you, take Him at His word - you can trust Him!

    Why do bad things happen to good people?

    We live in a world that is broken, since the fall of mankind from perfection at the original sin. The consequences of sin, either our own personal sins, those of others, or just being in a world gone wrong, creates havoc. God does not desire suffering, but salvation. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17). God desires to give life, and give it abundantly (John 10:10), and only He can turn evil into good (Gen 50:20).

    What about other religions?

    God loves all people of all ages, and desires that they turn to faith in Him (2 Pet 3:9). All of humanity is lost and in need of the rescue that only a perfect sacrifice could afford - Jesus Christ. It is His death and resurrection alone that provides the promise of our salvation (Acts 4:12). Jesus clearly said that, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." We acknowledge that there may be some truths in other religions, but none of them provides the ultimate cure to the problem of sin: Atonement. It is Jesus' blood alone that can pay the penalty due. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse," (Rom 1:20).

    What is your view of women in ministry?

    The Bible clearly affirms that both men and women are created in God’s image and have equal value and dignity in God’s sight and for the work of his kingdom on earth (Gen. 1:27, 31; Acts 2:17-18; 8:12; Gal 3:28; 1 Pet 3:7). While Christians may disagree on this issue, we believe the Bible clearly teaches what is referred to as a “Complementarian” view of women in ministry. The Bible indicates that men and women are called to DIFFERING ROLES within the church. The apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saying, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent,” (1 Tim 2:12). This is within the context of the local church and speaks of the role of ruling or governing functions within the church (i.e. pastors, elders) which are reserved for men only, as part of God’s design, referring back to the original creation, prior to the fall. Women may serve in many arenas of ministry, but the role of ruling, primary teaching, or headship (pastor, elder, overseer) belongs to that of men. For more information see “The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” at www.cbmw.org.

    What is your view on homosexuality?

    We believe that God loves all people, regardless of their background or lifestyle. All of mankind is sinful and in need of the forgiveness offered through Christ. However, we also believe that God is holy and cannot condone anything that violates his commands, or his character. The Bible tells us that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). God’s design of sexuality is clearly to be between one man and one woman within the context of marriage. The Bible condemns any other such deviation of that design, including sexual intercourse outside of marriage, homosexuality, prostitution, incest, and bestiality.

    The Scriptures clearly condemn all homosexual practice as sin that is unacceptable to His design (Lev 18:22; Genesis 19; Rom 1:19-20; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10). As with every other sin, the Bible’s solution to homosexuality is trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, the imputation of righteousness, and the power to change. After talking about the “sexually immoral” and “adulterers” and “men who practice homosexuality” and “thieves” and “drunkards” (1 Cor. 6:9–10), Paul tells the Corinthian Christians, “And such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11). Then he tells them, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11; cf. Rom. 6:23; Phil. 2:13; 1 John 1:9). This implies that some former homosexuals in the church at Corinth had left their previous homosexual lifestyle and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, were seeking to live lives of sexual purity, whether in celibacy or in faithful, heterosexual marriages.

    It is important that the Christian community always show love and compassion toward those engaged in homosexual conduct, and also extend friendship toward them where opportunities arise, though not in a way that signals approval of homosexual practice. We welcome all people who may struggle with this or any other sin, with the hopes that they will turn to Jesus for freedom from a life of brokenness to a life of joy and freedom. In short, we "love the sinner but hate the sin."

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