Not the Same Jesus

If you have read my previous post about What I Believe then you know I am a Christian.

Living in Gilbert, AZ our family is surrounded by many faiths but the Mormon faith (LDS, Latter Day Saints) is very prominent here.  We have many friends, co-workers and even extended family by marriage that are Mormon.  We love and cherish them dearly.  We however do not believe in the same Jesus that they do and this comes up often whether it is socially, online or even in church sermons done at Sun Valley that have triggered discussion on the topic with our Mormon friends.  Don’t get me wrong these discussions, for the most part, have always been very civil, very polite and very courteous.  They always have ended with simple friendly agreements to disagree.  So why do I need to blog about this? Because, to me it matters.  And to my Mormon friends it matters too.  The differences matter, they do,  if they did not then there would not be an “LDS church” and a “Bible teaching church.” It is far from being just differences in style- it is fundamental differences in doctrine that separate the two. Anyone who truly believes that the differences ultimately do not matter is not giving you the full version of their faith and or they may not even know it themselves.

Mind you, I am not a Mormon religion expert and  I know there are thousands of articles proclaiming the differences between New testament Christianity and Mormonism intent on pointing out the flaws – that is not my goal.  The whole reason I feel compelled so strongly to even write this post is to just put the beliefs side by side so the differences speak for themselves.  I know my Mormon friends believe that when they evangelise to me, my husband or my sons, that it is in love because they too want “conversion” of a heart just as badly as I want it.  So this post is not to make any of my Mormon loved ones think that I want them to stop talking to me about religion–just as much as I hope they do not want me to cease in speaking to them about how Jesus has changed my life.  Nor do I want it to wedge or push anyone away from me, I just feel like we need to stop pretending that the “elephant in the room” is just not there. Why now?  Honestly there are many reasons that now feels like the right time- a recent dialogue on Facebook from Mormon friends, learning that our son’s girlfriend is being baptised into the Mormon church in a couple of weeks and most importantly I feel called to write this.

Now as my sons are beginning to grow into men who will be eventually dating and marrying it is vitally important that the distinction be clear and non-confusing. Having one son who will be a sophomore and another going into 8th grade it is very apparent the level of influence that the Mormon church has within our school system.  I am not talking about teachers, administrators or even through the local school board – I mean literally AT the schools themselves.  Especially the high schools- the Mormon church has this very, very strong influence on high school campuses here in Arizona because it is often the Mormon church who has strategically donated or significantly reduced the cost of land for schools to be built on- and then always, across the street, there is a Mormon Seminary building.  I can not think of a single public high school in the entire east valley that does not have an LDS seminary across the street (or even within the same campus) as it.  LDS students often leave campus during special release agreements so their seminary education can “complement their secular learning” (wow- if our church had that kind of pull imagine what we could do with it?– how on Earth is this so under the radar of the anti “even a sniff of religion” in school peeps?)- Droves of LDS students take their lunch breaks (one of the most social times of the school day at the seminary and there are often special events like tailgate, parties or bar-b-qs planned to invite others to. It is a huge draw for students who are unchurched, especially those without cars since it is very easily accessible and with a built-in social network that you do not want to be left out of (if all of your other friends are going over there) it is really effective.  Tyler has a strong, sincere and unwavering heart for Jesus- he also has autism.  You can see how we, as his parents, feel compelled to get on our knees regularly asking for his heart to be protected from deception or any kind- but especially, most importantly of his faith.

This post is also for Connor-(who I am pretty much talking to directly since he reads this blog regularly) Con- as you begin to navigate your teen years and start to make those friends that will really leave a lasting imprint on your youth it has been fun to watch you test out friendships.  Of course we want our sons to be surrounded by people who have similar values, those with strong pillars of character and who are genuinely decent, kind and generous people.  We want you to know that you can be friends with people who have different faiths than us- Jesus wants us to love one another. He himself socialized with sinners so it’s not wrong to be friends with or to think someone who happens to be Mormon is a nice person- they likely are very much so.  Also don’t feel like you have to  convert them either. If God wants to use you to speak truth into someones life- he will empower you to do so.  Just be friends- just know that there are many techniques that are used to be enticing (just like how SVCC does special outreach events) etc. so if you ever are feeling pressured or pulled to anything let’s talk it over.

Anyways- so as you can see I am very convicted for personal reasons about this post.  The momma bear in me is very present, but even more present is Jesus who I trust is guiding my thoughts, helping me to flush this all out and providing me with an incredible sense of peace about the entire topic.  I began writing this post several days ago and have taken the time to prayerfully consider what it all is that I want this post to say.  I had at first envisioned a grand comparison chart type deal but I truly feel unprepared to tackle it that way. Instead, I think I will just embed the sermon Chad Moore from Sun Valley Community Church did in 2014 that really hit on the Big Differences well  It is 39 1/2 minutes long but very well done- very cordial, kind and clear.  Chad’s sources were direct from local Mormon leaders here in AZ that met with Chad as he prepared for this series as well as direct from their own books.  The three key points touched on are:

1. Different Foundation

• LDS believes: The KJV Bible (correctly translated), Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, The Prophet

• New testament Christianity believes: The Bible

2. Different Theology

• LDS believes: “Father” is literal, no Trinity, Pre-mortal Existence

• New Testament Christianity believes: “Father” is metaphor, The Trinity, Jesus IS God

3. Different Gospel

• LDS believes: Resurrected by grace, but saved (exalted to godhead) by works, including faithfulness to church leaders, Mormon baptism, tithing, ordination, marriage, and secret temple rituals. No eternal life without Mormon membership.

• New Testament Christianity believes: Salvation is by God’s grace through Jesus, not an individual’s works.

What's the Difference? – Mormonism vs The Gospel from Sun Valley Community Church on Vimeo.

What’s the Difference?
Mormonism, Islam, New Age Spiritualism, Catholicism, Protestantism, so What's the Difference? With all the varying faiths around us, what are we to believe? What do the other religions really teach? In this series we’ll examine why we can believe the Bible, what other religions teach and how to talk to people of other faiths.

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)

 

 

 

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What I Believe

I am a Christian.

Four words that depending on who you talk to can mean very different things.

My goal with this blog post is to explain what it means to me and my family, what we believe and why we want so badly for those we love and even complete strangers  to us to also follow Christ.

If you want to know what I, Jessica Danielle Geroux believe as far as a “statement of faith” then here is my attempt that that:

I believe that the Bible is the Word of God- it is true and it is without error.

I believe in Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God and also is God and also is the Holy Sprit (three in one)  An example used in our church to help demystify that concept is to not think of it as addition as in 1+1+1 but to think of it as multiplication 1 God x 1 Son x 1 Holy Spirt= 1.  The trinity can trip a LOT of people up but it is paramount to my understanding of WHO Jesus Christ is and it sets apart my definition of Him from many others. (John 1:1, 10:30)

I beleive that Jesus was born of a Virgin (when in our 12 month calendar is not something I hang up on, but Culturally and in our modern day society we celebrate that birth at “Christmas time.”) He was conceived by the Holy Spirit

I believe that there is spiritual warfare- the devil (satan) and demons are real and they have true influence over people on Earth.

I believe in Heaven and in Hell. Hell is a real place set aside for Satan and his demons and for anyone that does not accept Jesus as their Savior. Heaven is a place that we will get to be with Jesus, God, Angels and other Believers. Eventually Heaven will be established here on Earth once Jesus has victory over satan in an epic battle.

I believe that God gave His only Son (Jesus) as a total sacrafice to atone for the Sins of those who believe.  That without that sacrafice I alone would never be able to pay the debt of my sin.  I can never be good enough, kind enough, charitable enough, honest enough, generous enough, loving enough,  or selfless enough to even come close to a fraction of anythign worthy of paying the debt for my Sin.  The ONLY thing that can pay that debt was the death of Jesus.

I believe he suffered a great deal and died and was buried.

I believe that Three days later he rose again and asended into Heaven.

I believe that while he preached on Earth His greatest message to all was LOVE God and ONE ANOTHER- that if we can not wrap our minds around anything else in the Bible because we are not scholars or historians or linguists that know Hebrew etc– that we can understand ALL of it by simply understanding His commandment to Love.

I lean very heavily into all five points of “Calvinism”

“Total Depravity”- man alone is so sinful we will never naturally choose God

“Unconditional Election”- becasue we will never alone choose God- he chooses us. Some are choosen- some are not (obviously- sicne not everyone believes in God)

“limited Atonement”- Jesus died for those who beleive in him (as opposed to “for everyone”)- His death was sufficient for all- but obviously since not everyone believes in Him- it does not pay their debt (does that make sense?)

“Irresistable Grace”- If God wants you- He gets you. That is how powerful the God I beleive in is. He uses the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those He wants and then they come freely to Him.

“Preserverance of the Saints” – you cannot lose your salvation

If I have to “choose” I guess I would consider myself a premillennialism believer meaning I think we are already living in the “end times” but and that there will be a Rapture— Basically how the “Left Behind Books” reads I guess but mostly because I really have never studied it all.

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As a Christian that attends church regularly, participates in Bible studies and small group discussions there is so much more that we dig into to help us with application of what the Word of God (The Bible) tells us about how to live our lives- but the above is the main stuff that matters.

Why is it important to me to write this down and share it online?  For one it is easy to share it this way. For two- my words can not be mistaken or repackaged into anything other than what they are.  For three- it may be used to bring someone close to Jesus and that is the real reward. Honestly it all boils down to what Jesus did on the cross and how understanding exactly what His death and resurrection accomplished (and for who– hint me and even you) is central to all of my “theology”

Here We Are- Send Us

Am I the only person simply beside myself that it is the end of March already?  How did this happen?  How are we now squarely in the true season of spring and already flirting with summer temps?  How is it that plans for how to recreate the kiddos during summer vacation are already underway, prime camping spots in the White Mts. are already booked for June and class schedules for NEXT school year are already registered for?  I know they say as you get older the time seems to go faster and the advice is to relish every bit of it you can.  When we take a good hard look at the time we logistically have left with two sons living under our roof, my heart races and I begin to panic about all of the experiences we still have yet to have with them. The “bucket list” so to speak, begins to look daunting.

Every year around January 1st I sit down and make a list of “intentions” (not resolutions but more thoughtful genuine goals) for different areas of our life. Parenting is one of those areas that gets a lot of pondering in the New Year.  As much parenting of teenagers advise as I can cram in- the basic foundation of all that sound sage always circles back to “being intentional.”  I have written about our “Fit Family Fun” goals for the year a few times already- those are meant to sculpt and mold our bodies and help reshape our minds about the lifestyle choices we make.  Jason and I both plugged in at Sun Valley as youth leaders in junior high and high school as a way to help shape the boys (and our own) hearts spiritually.  Along those goals we have really tried to instill charity and generosity in the boys and we have been praying about having a family perspective experience together to truly let those lessons sink in.

So coming this fall, we will get a huge check mark on a big ticket item on our Parenting Bucket List.

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In just seven months from now, we will set off to serve together in Monterrey, Mexico on a short term mission trip.  We began the process of planning by attending some informational meetings at church just before the holidays last year to get the basic info and began praying about if this was the right time for our family to embark on something like this. The trip happens to fall exactly during the boys fall break from school so it was a really good fit for us time wise. Let me be raw and honest though- the praying was filled with lots of doubt at first- “but God, that is pretty expensive”  “But God, we have a son with autism- how will we work through all of that?”  “But God, the boys passports are expiring this summer” “But, God, we do not speak Spanish, even though we are all native Arizonians.”  “But God, we already have a Disney Cruise with family booked at nearly that exact same time, who would we be disappointing if we choose this instead?” “But God, I am scared of stepping outside of my comfort zone and having my eyes truly opened to this new perspective”   The more we prayed on it the more our hearts seemed to be hearing God softly wash away all of the doubts and resolve all of the “buts” and we began to hear Him more clearly simply saying “Go.”

I plan to blog about our journey as much as I can beginning now. I hope to share with all of you about the logistical leg work, our fundraising efforts, our prayer requests and much more over the coming months.  I know as a family that will be embarking on this journey with a special needs teenager our perspective along the way may be unique and valuable to others that find themselves in similar life circumstances.  Maybe one of the ways God plans to use us on this trip is to encourage others like us that keep saying “but” to listen for their own “Go.” Maybe he plans to have someone meet His Son through a conversation with one of us, and maybe He plans to break off some of the hardening around our own hearts that we have selfishly clung to.  Who knows- but I am excited to find out what it is- whatever it will be.

We will be going with a short term Mission Team from Sun Valley Community Church in partnership with Back2Back Ministry.  Back 2 Back exists to love and care for vulnerable children, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs so that they might overcome their life  circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty.

In order to help make this trip a reality, we are in charge of raising a total of $5,800 to cover the costs for all four member of The Geroux Crew to participate. We are trying to do this in a number of creative ways (and we will share more about those soon), but we are also looking for people to join us on this journey. If you would be willing to make a financial contribution to our trip, you can do so by visiting www.sunvalleycc.com/onlinegiving and making an online donation using a debit card, credit card, or e-check. After creating an account, and logging in, please select, “Monterrey 2015” from the “Fund” drop down menu, and then one of our names (Jason, Jessie, Tyler or Connor Geroux) from the “Sub Fund” drop down menu and we will be notified of your gift. All donations are tax deductible and documentation will be provided by the church at the end of this tax year. Any funds donated will be designated to our team, due to IRS regulations, cannot be refunded for any reason. Alternatively, you can mail a check made out to “Sun Valley Community Church” with our names in the memo space and send it to the church directly at 456 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Will you consider joining us on this journey in prayer?  There are many tasks to complete and ducks to get in a row between now and October so prayers for all of the logistics to go smoothly would be greatly appreciated.  Our special needs are not the only unique individual challenges on the team that will be traveling. Many members have their own hurdles to overcome to make this trip a reality for them and theirs as well. Prayers for health and safety are also greatly appreciated.  Even if you cannot make a financial contribution, please let us know that you are praying for us.  It would be just as valuable!

GerouxCrewMissionPostcard2015Back

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. Matthew 5:13-14 (MSG)

We know this journey, this step to be obedient to God will season our lives and we can not wait to share those flavors with all of you.  Thank you for reading this far.  Simply put- we won’t be able to do with with support.  Both financially and spiritually in the form of prayer so we thank you in adavance for walking along side us!

Much Love

J2 Tyco Geroux Crew

 

 

 

 

Murder Mystery Party!

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You are Cordially Invited to attend our Class
Reunion. For one night, we will be reliving the Good
Old Days of 1957! Attend this event to renew old
friendships and reacquaint yourself with people who have
probably changed as much as you have!

(game was purchased from http://www.dinnerandamurder.com)

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“Linda and Lenny”
"Jenny and Johnny"
“Jenny and Johnny”
"Steven and Susan"
“Steven and Susan”
"Charles and Carol"
“Charles and Carol”
"Mark and Maria"
“Mark and Maria”
"Michael and Mary"
“Michael and Mary”
"Becky"
“Becky”
the cattiness started early- we all got into character real good!!!
the cattiness started early- we all got into character real good!!!
interrogations
interrogations
scheming
scheming
gossip
gossip
weapons scavenger hunting
weapons scavenger hunting
Coniving
Conniving
threats??
threats??

 

 

blackmail??
blackmail??
MURDER
MURDER

 

 

Oscar worthy death by poison
Oscar worthy death by poison
Fun times!!
Fun times!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small group Service Project

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Our small group decided to head over to Feed My Staving Children to do some community service and “be the church” together.

It was an amazing time- hard to describe with words how great it felt to do something meaningful with our families.

hair nets CHECK
hair nets CHECK
learning WHY what we are about to do is so important
learning WHY what we are about to do is so important
Learning the different stations
Learning the different stations

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post packing rally

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For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12
Small group and families letting loose..

 

 

 

 

The Big Dunk

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Lots of family and friend’s celebrated with us on April 16th 2011 when both Tyler and Connor made the choice to get baptized

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Connor’s BIG moment!!
a new creation!!!
a new creation!!!

Thing is- with autism- you can never really totally prepare for everything— Both boys were SO very excited for their big outward proclamation that they have Jesus in their hearts- and we did everything we could to prepare Ty for “going under” complete with letting him wear goggles for the event

WAIT- I can NOT get my SHIRT wet!!!
WAIT- I can NOT get my SHIRT wet!!!

We had not prepared for the water to be so freezing cold for the services (a problem that the following year was corrected by the addition of heater to the pool after the campus pastors own daughter chickened out from the chill)- So that day- Ty never “went under”

The very first dip in Grandma and grampa’s pool later that summer we tipped him back- but he never did do anything “publicly”  That changed this summer when the youth group pastors put together a pool party baptism event- complete with letting Ty go shirtless and wear goggles.

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Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19

 

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So proud of both of my amazing Christ filled young men.

 

Camping take 2

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Our second big camping trip of the summer was really something we had been looking forward to for months!  Our small group of 7 couples and all of our kids started planning a group trip way back in February- so we had lots of time to plan and get excited!

2013 family Flag
2013 family Flag

We took up five big spots on at the beautiful Fools Hollow Lake up in the White Mountains for three days.

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we "fished for crawdads"
we “fished for crawdads”
fearlessly
fearlessly

 

we fellowshipped
we fellowshipped
we fished
we fished
and fished
and fished

 

and floated
and floated
and boated
and boated

 

 

and chillaxed
and chillaxed

 

and enjoyed God's creation
and enjoyed God’s creation