Thursday, October 27, 2011


Lately I’ve been struggling with the abundant number of Christian couples my age who are avoiding marriage and simply sharing a living space. My feeling isn’t a self-righteous “looking down” upon, rather its a burdensome, painful, frustrating, worrisome feeling in my gut. In an attempt NOT to sound condescending to my fellow generation, and those above and below our generation, I simply want to share some truths in love as to the dangers of “cohabitation.” What follows are five reasons why living together outside of marriage is simply not a wise choice for a self-pronounced follower of Jesus. This post deals with the first of those reasons.

Reason Number One:

Truthfully, this should be the primary reason two Christians not live together. Yet in our current climate of “Anything goes, grace is sufficient,” this reason usually is balked at and ignored. Nevertheless, here it goes: Living together is disobedience to the Lord. Whew, glad that’s out of the bag. Seriously, though, living together outside of marriage is opposed to God’s plan for life and marriage. Now, God gave marriage for two primary reasons: First, it is a picture of His covenantal relationship with His followers, those whom He loves. The church is called “The Bride of Christ,” for a reason. Christian marriage is to model for the world the unselfish, undeniably better alternative that is a relationship with an almighty, all-loving, and just God and creator. Second, God gave marriage to us as a gift of love. Marriage is intended to cause within us a sense of completeness of companionship. Realizing that for a very small minority celibacy is satisfying, that leaves vast droves of humans with an innate desire to “fill the void” of human loneliness. Thus, we have a chance at truly blissful, deeply satisfying matrimony. Also, it is an opportunity for holiness. Note that I did not say perfection, but holiness. Holiness is God’s desire for his followers. Marriage serves as an opportunity for two people, in love with God and each other, to encourage and equip each other for living in Christ.

All of that being said--or written I suppose--the best reason why we shouldn’t settle for living together is that it forces us to look at God and say, quite plainly I might add, “Your not enough for me. Your ways don't satisfy me. I need to satisfy “me” elsewhere.” No one intentionally says that to God, though it is a statement made by our actions.

Give it some thought, reason with me on this.

I’ll share the next reason in the near days ahead. May the Lord guide us, who know Him and love Him, to a place where we can teach, rebuke, correct, train in godliness, openly without either condemnation or toleration.

Glory to the King of kings!

Bryan Laramore

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered?: A New Sunday Night Series @ ABC

Two events in the recent past have led me to realize the need to have an "anything goes," open time of discussion about whatever topic is on our people's minds regarding faith and life.

FIRST, my wife and I were graciously invited to spend a weekend with our Senior Adults in Branson, MO at the end of this past April. The man who puts this event together each year came to me with a request, "Could we simply have an open ended time where people could ask any questions they've been wanting answered regarding God, the Bible, Christian practice, etc.?" I immediately felt like it was blessed idea! So we did, it was a hit, incredible discussion erupted, and together as God's people we sought out the Word!

SECOND, did a sermon series several months ago on this exact subject "FAQ." (even though I couldn't find the series in their sermon archives) Allow me to be clear, I'm not claiming here that is the "mouthpiece of God" in these corrupt days, and that anything they do is a must for every other church, but I will attest to this much: they boldly handle issues in their sermon series' that both teach the "whole counsel of God" and meet people where they are. So, they're worth taking a cue or two from.

If you've any questions to throw into the mix, please, for the sake of Christian growth, send them to me either by posting a response to this post or emailing me at

For the Glory of Christ,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Model For Repentance - Part One

The instruction for a follower of Christ to repent from sins is as paramount a teaching in Scripture as is "salvation by grace through faith" (2 Chron 6:38; Ps 7:12; Matt 3:2; Mk 1:15). Yet for every believer, the act of repentance is as unnatural and difficult as is fitting a round peg into a square hole. All humans are marred by the Fall of Man (Gen 3) and thus rebel against their God and Creator. This is a biblical fact and causes us realize how difficult it is for us to remove our desires for the things of the world and lusts of the flesh.

When Christ, though, ransoms a wicked heart and gives it His heart of righteousness, a believer is then called to "Repent and believe the Gospel." This has always plagued me, repentance that is. It is difficult, frustrating, guilt-ridden, and flat out hard work, or at least it seems. But I reckon it doesn't have to be. In actuality, God grants us the power for repentance. He provides the desire and foundation for repentance. Further, when we turn from evil and look to God, he makes it the joy of our heart to look on sin with disgust, just as he does.

But how?

When writing to the church at Colossae, Paul lined out for them what appears to me to be a "Model of Repentance." Now, Paul didn't label it this. Paul didn't come up with a three-point Baptist message entitled, "Four Easy Steps to the Repentance You Need" and conclude it with some emotionally driven poem or illustrative story. Rather, he simply taught what was revealed to him from Christ himself (Gal 1:12ff).

Here's what I see in the third chapter of Colossians regarding repentance:

1. Colossians 3:1-4. If we are going to be successful in our pursuit of repentance, we must "Get a Proper Focus." Our heart and mind should be set on the one who is calling us into relationship. If we have a "glancing eye" on anything else, of course we will return to the things of the world, "just as a dog returns to his vomit" (Prov 26:11). Just as Jesus taught his disciples that if they abide in Him, He will remain in them. This involves a constant, moment-by-moment intentional focus on the Lord. It's not easy, I'll throw that in right up front, but IT'S ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO OUR FAITH WALK.

Paul assumes that if a person "has been raised with Christ" (a way of saying, "If a person is a believer"), they must set their minds on Christ; not half of their attention, rather all of it. In other words, the believer's chief concern is Christ.

The questions to ask oneself are:
"What am I doing that pleases the Lord right now, through the day, and in the future?"
"What am I not doing that I ought to be?"
"Are my prayers filled with the wonder and glory of God or are they consumed with self needs?"
"Do the words of my mouth consistently honor my Lord?"
"If called upon, at any moment, could I give a defense for the hope I have in Christ"?
"Is my life consumed with a passion for spreading the glory of God?"

And so forth and so on . . .

Listen, we've got to get past this base and perverse view of Christianity that has reeked havoc on the faith in the latter part of the 20 century and the 21st century. Namely, the idea of "once saved always saved" gives me the right to do whatever I want and expect Heaven in the end.

Don't mock it, no one admits it aloud, but the majority of Christians I see, myself included, either all the time or at one time have affirmed it in your/our lifestyle.

"Seek the things that are above; set your minds on things that are above."

If you're not to this point, worry not, the Lord is calling you to it. He'll grant you the strength and the desire to do so. What else did Christ mean when he said, "Seek and you shall find, ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened to you"?

REPENT and believe the Gospel

Grace for the Day

Monday, February 01, 2010

New Sermon Series

This past Sunday, I began a new sermon series entitled, "Purpose." We'll be taking four weeks to unravel a mission statement developed by ABC several months before Whit and I arrived here. Here's what they adopted:

We exist to
PROCLAIM the Truth of the Gospel;
MAKE DISCIPLES in our Community, Nation, and World;
WORSHIP a Glorified God through Christ!

Upon hearing this myself, I immediately had the sense that it was "right" for us! So now, it forms my own aim and goal here, as God has granted us these tasks to accomplish . . .

These essentially were the points in yesterdays message:
- We will PROCLAIM the Gospel both as individuals (via work, community functions, leisure, etc.) and as a church (preaching, worship, bible studies, fellowships, etc.)
- We will PROCLAIM the TRUTH of the Gospel, and nothing short of it. There are many "gospels," and/or variations of the gospel, but we will proclaim the biblical gospel.
- We will PROCLAIM the Gospel as Scripture teaches it: "while we were yet SINNERS, CHRIST died for us." We won't leave out the fact that without Christ we'd all suffer death and damnation. We won't leave out the bloodiness of the Cross, or the reality that by birth we're all inherently wicked, not inherently good. . . We will proclaim, instead, that with Christ, we'll endure this life and enjoy fellowship with a loving, faithful, just, holy creator.

If you'd like to, you can hear this message by clicking here or you can search "Ames Baptist Church" on iTunes . . .

Grace for the Day

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Is Ames Baptist Helping Haiti?

Yesterday, the family of Ames Baptist Church decided to step out in faith and seek the Lord as to how we will be helping Haitian churches who were wrecked as a result of the January 12 earthquake. This coming Sunday, January 31st, we'll make a decision as a church body to do two things to directly help the rebuilding process of Christian churches in Haiti:

First, we'll take a special offering which will be above and beyond our normal tithes (Ps 24:1; Matt 25:14-30; Deut 14:22-23; 2 Chron 31:4-18; 2 Cor 8:3, 9:8). This will be an opportunity for individual members to dig deep and sacrifice for the Lord for the purpose of rebuilding His kingdom work in Haiti.

Second, as a church body, we'll dig deep and take 50% of our regular tithes and sacrifice for the Lord to help the kingdom rebuilding in Haiti.

Why are we doing this?
It behooves me as a pastor at least to consider what it would be like to stand in the shoes of a pastor in Haiti who has lost everything from family, church leaders, church members, ministry efforts, ministry facilities, etc., and still know that my calling is to reach the lost and teach the Word. This concern spilled over into our Deacon leadership and from there I believe God is moving our hearts as a church body to support this effort, for His glory and His renown.

How Are We Doing This?
First, with open hearts and by faith in the power of Christ. Second, by sending our offering through Churches Helping Churches. This organization has been brought together by nationally respected pastors Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor of Mars Hill Church, and James MacDonald, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel,

"Churches Helping Churches was created to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches when disaster befalls a country, region, city, or people in the spirit of Galatians 6:10—“…let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

It is my desire to lead the ABC family to sacrificially give towards God's work in Haiti in the wake of this devastating disaster. Beloved, take this week to prayerfully consider how the Lord is leading you. This is not about making a statement for ABC, this is about standing before our Great and Glorious God passionately proclaiming, "Lord we will gladly spend and be spent for their souls" (2 Cor 12:15).

Will you help the churches of Haiti?