Life and interactive Bible study


A member raises her hand to speak during the Bible study. Topics covered included social drinking, pornography and masturbation.

MATT STAMEY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.

The "Lifestyle Beyond the Four Walls" interactive Bible study at PASSAGE Family Church dealt with issues designed to make people better equipped to deal with life in the secular world.

Facts

PASSAGE FAMILY CHURCH

Pastor: Senior Pastor George Dix and Pastor Lady Michele Dix.
Location: Main Campus, 2020 NE 15th St.; East Campus, 5000 E. University Ave.
Services: Flying High worship is 8 a.m., Morning Glory worship is 9:30 a.m. at the East Campus, Enlightening School is 9:30 a.m., Sunday Morning Glory worship is 11 a.m., and Children’s Church for ages 3-12 is the first, second and fourth Sunday. On Wednesdays, prayer service is noon, intercessory prayer is 6 p.m., and PASSAGE Bible study, prayer service and Legacy & Destiny Youth Ministries for ages 3-17 is 7 p.m.
Phone: 352-336-8686.

"If you play with fire, you're probably going to get burned" was the warning Pastor George Dix, senior pastor at PASSAGE, repeatedly told parishioners last Wednesday night as he led the interactive Bible study service that focused on drinking alcohol, masturbating, online dating and pornography.

"We are dealing with these topics because we want you to know the truth," Dix said.

The service began with praise and worship and then Minister Sherrilyn Bennett of PASSAGE talked about the importance of knowing the word of God before leading close to 200 parishioners in prayer.

"There is life, strength and power in the word of God," Bennett said. "You must find the words in the scripture that apply to your condition, and when you pray, you have to have the confidence to know that it will come to pass."

Dix began by letting parishioners know that it was not his intention to promote a personal agenda or impose his personal beliefs and opinions on them.

He said his sole purpose was to "focus on the word of God."

The first subject he dealt with was social drinking. He informed parishioners that the active ingredient in beer, liquor and wine is ethanol. He also said there is no difference in the different kinds of alcohol because there is the same amount of ethanol in each serving of them all. He also asked parishioners for their input on why do people drink.

"I didn't ask you to tell me why you drink. I asked you to tell me why others drink," said Dix as he drew laughter from parishioners. The answers some parishioners gave included people drink because of stress in their lives, family influence, to relax and because it tastes good.

Dix said there is no scripture in the Bible that declares that drinking is a sin, but he did say the Bible declares that "drunkenness will keep you out of the kingdom."

He said drinking alcohol is an "avenue" that Satan uses to get into people's lives and social drinking can lead to people sinning because alcohol can distort some people's judement.

Dix also told parishioners that it is important not to condemn people who drink or anybody else, for whatever reason.

Dix then shifted gears and talked about pornography, citing staggering statistics, including one that people spend $20 billion on adult videos, $2.5 billion on Internet pornography and $7.5 billion on adult magazines annually. He also added that $3 billion is spent each year on child pornography.

He also said a survey revealed that 47 percent of Christians said they have been impacted by pornography and 65 percent of the men attending a major Christian conference said they viewed pornography regularly. Dix referred to Ephesians 5:3, and other scriptures, to illustrate what the word of God says about fornication and sexual immorality, which he said "starts in the mind."

Dix also dealt with the topic of masturbation. He said the "Bible does not specifically speak to masturbation," but it is important to "search the scripture for principles."

He said one thing is very clear: God created sex to occur in a healthy marriage environment. "Sexual stimulation was set up for a man and his wife," Dix said.

He ended the interactive Bible study by saying he does not encourage online dating and he urged parishioners to never lose faith in God.

Dix said one of the major dangers with online dating is that some people may become dependent on it more than God while in their search for a spouse.

"Sometimes, we don't realize that God can supernaturally bring us together with a husband or a wife by way of his holy spirit," he said.

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