November 8, 2015
New Twitter and Facebook Pages
With the help of Tim Schiller, manager for Cross Encounters Ministries, we have put together brand new ministry Twitter and Facebook pages. This means we are rebuilding the ministry's social media presence from scratch. Most veterans of the social media world would say we have cut off our nose to spite our face, since this change has meant the loss of more than 12,000 ministry contacts between the two platforms. However, with my recent convictions regarding the amount of time and the manner in which I was engaging in social media, a fresh start was in order.
Our new Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/xencountersmin
Our new Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CrossEncounters
If you have not already, please visit and follow these pages. We are posting new articles, photos, and videos daily.
When Confronted by Holiness
While legalism is alive and well in Christendom, some of what American Evangelicals refer to as "legalism" might actually be a pursuit of holiness.
Mahria and I returned home last night from an eight-day trip to the Quad Cities area of Iowa. We were in Iowa as the guests of one of our supporting churches--Grace Fellowship Church of Davenport. We stayed in the home of Pastor Mike and Emily Reid.
It was a wonderful week of intimate fellowship with the GFC family, corporate worship, challenging and edifying conversations, and productive ministry on the streets of Davenport and Iowa City.
Throughout the week, Mahria and I were individually challenged by aspects of "body life" in the GFC family. I believe I recognized early in our visit what I was seeing. Mahria, however, struggled to discern what she was seeing.
During one evening of fellowship in the Reid Home, Pastor Mike asked me what I would take away from my time with the GFC family. He wasn't looking for an "attaboy" or a pat on the back. I explained to Pastor Mike that the overwhelming sense I had about the GFC family, from the elders to the newest member, was a genuine, Christ-seeking pursuit of holiness.
One of the church family members asked if I was embarrassed by what I observed. My response: "No. I'm not embarrassed by it. Embarrassment isn't the word. Ashamed is the word I'm looking for. While I like to think I live a life pursuing holiness, my time with Grace Fellowship Church has shown me that I'm nowhere near where I should be in that pursuit."
Mahria's reaction to our time with the GFC family was more intense. Mahria struggled with thoughts about Grace Fellowship Church, which included thoughts of legalism. While she was blessed each day with the fellowship she had with the women and children of the church, Mahria struggled with thoughts that something was wrong. Something just wasn't right in the church. I asked Mahria if what she thought was legalism could actually be a pursuit of holiness to a level she has never experienced. She allowed for the possibility.
For Mahria, things came to a head on Saturday night--our last night in Iowa. As we sat on the edge of our bed, through tears cried into her hands, which covered her face, Mahria confessed a besetting sin. As she wept, she confessed sin that has likely plagued her since her profession of faith in Christ more than 27 years ago--one that she may not have realized, prior to Saturday night, she allowed and coddled in her life.
I believe Mahria's confession was brought about by a week of being confronted by holiness.
Mahria is now examining herself anew. She is testing herself to see if she is in the faith. She is struggling with a lack of assurance of salvation.
As her husband, I would love to declare Mahria born-again. Everything in me wants to tell Mahria that she has no cause for concern. In my bones, I want to point Mahria back to the night she responded to the gospel. I want to point her back to the moment we were baptized together. I want to point her to the more than 27 years of love, care, and support she has given me through a career in law enforcement and more than 16 years of full-time ministry.
Oh, how easy it would be to act like an Arminian and tell Mahria all she has to do is "rededicate" her life to Jesus. But I can't. The Word of God keeps getting in the way.
I cannot and will not be Mahria's Holy Spirit.
Whether Mahria is not yet born-again or she is saved and struggling with besetting sin, my plea to Mahria is the same: "repent and believe the gospel."
I thank God for the time Mahria and I spent with the Grace Fellowship Church family, in Iowa. I thank God that both of us were confronted by holiness.
Pray for me as I minister to Mahria during this time. Pray we both pursue holiness as true disciples of Christ who have denied ourselves, taken up our crosses, and followed Him.
Here are the first two videos from our recent trip to Iowa. I will add new videos throughout the week, which can be found, here.
A Security Guard and a Baby Buggy Blasphemer
Post-Abortion Gospel at the Emma Goldman Abortuary
Desiring to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,
The Miano Family is very grateful to the Lord for the generous people He uses to prayerfully and financial support this ministry and our Family. If you would like to help us meet our monthly living and ministry expenses, you can find more information about supporting us, here.