Category Archives: Boomers

The consequences

cross

People, especially young people, think that bible teaching sermons are old-fashioned, outdated and boring, but this is really what happens when verse by verse bible teaching isn’t happening in the church.

1. It strips the authority of God over the mind of the hearer. God is silenced.

2. It strips the lordship of Christ over His church. God leads the church by speaking to the church, but when it isn’t… preached, God is silenced.

3. It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses scripture to save. The scripture also sanctifies believers (changes us).

4. It legitimizes a lack of submission to God. Instead people will submit to the pastor giving the “talk.”

5. It removes spiritual depth and transcendence from the souls of people and it cripples worship. When people don’t have spiritual depth, they are easily manipulated by shallow worship music that is more me-centered than God-centered.

6. When the preacher doesn’t preach scripture, he devalues the importance of studying the bible.

7. It robs people of their only true source of help. God’s word is an anchor when people have really tough times.

8. It creates a disconnect between sound doctrine and life.

9. It dishonors God by omitting the truths that offend and terrify sinners. It is the same as lying to people when the truth is not preached. People cannot change if they don’t understand how sinful they are.

10. It removes protection from error. Faithful shepherds know they have to protect the flock from false teaching.

11. It deceives people into thinking they’ve heard from God when what they’ve really heard is a pastor’s or author’s idea about something. The way to hear from God is to read His word and hear His word.

12. It keeps a pastor from speaking for Christ. They are supposed to stand-in for the glorious shepherd until His return.

13. It disconnects people from the legacy of the past.

14. It breeds a congregation that is weak and indifferent to the glory of God. They can’t find joy because they don’t know the nature of God.

15. It severs the pastor from the sanctifying power of the word. If he isn’t sanctified, then his congregation won’t be either.

Summary of John MacArthur’s teaching on The Consequences of Non-Expository Preaching.
Part 2

Advertisements

The divorce (from the pattern of the world)

divre

For a few weeks now, the word “rigid” has come to mind, particularly so because for the past 11 months, my husband and I have been actively searching for a new church home.

Some may say that we’ve become rigid in our older years, that our standards are too unrealistic, but our standards haven’t changed in our whole adult (Christian) life. Our former church, which we were members of for more than a decade, and many other church’s standards have changed.

In our church, the change started soon after the installation of a new pastor five years ago. Even though the new pastor was much younger than us, we kept an open mind about his ability to lead a flock because our thought was that everyone has to start somewhere, right?

That, and we were highly involved with several ministries at the church so we weren’t going to hightail it out of there on the first Sunday we felt uncomfortable. We were members, after all.

We wanted to keep our emotion about the change in pastors out of the equation and be discerning about his preaching/teaching/leading of our large congregation, but soon after he came, many of the “older” members left to find other church homes.

In the five years since the change, we have watched our once vibrant Sunday school class of 100, dwindle to a mere handful along with the complete disappearance of many other classes. In January of 2012, we decided to leave the church as well.

It’s been very much like a divorce in that we became uncomfortable because we no longer shared the same views, standards or goals as our church. We’d grown apart, and just as in many divorces, the church family was split in different directions as they sought to bring back consistency, direction and order to their lives.

The other thing we noticed after leaving was how much God was directing our new “home church” search. We’ve visited several churches looking for solid “bible” teaching. You wouldn’t think it would be hard since all preachers are called to teach/lead their flocks, but the meaning of that has taken a strange and dangerous twist.

Instead of “preaching or teaching” from the bible, many churches we’ve visited (and our former church included) have started using excerpts of one or two bible verses along with a devotional, or other material written in the last couple of centuries. The writings may or may not be those of a Christian, but are usually from someone with some wisdom. Or, they may forgo the bible altogether and just use man-inspired material for instructing the flock.

I’m not saying that devotionals or other materials are bad. What I am saying is that Romans 12 instructs believers not to conform to this world, but if preachers are teaching how we should “get along” or “how we live” in this world, and aren’t using the bible for instruction, reproof and correction as 2 Tim 3:15-16 says, aren’t they teaching us how to conform to the culture. How to fit in?

This is completely opposite what believers are instructed to do.

Something believers need to be wary about is that when a church is more concerned with finding or using material that everyone can understand, they are at risk for misleading their flock. Because God’s book — the Holy Bible — is whole. It is everything we need and should not to be added to, nor taken away from (Revelation 22: 18-19). According to 2 Corinthians 3:12-17, God removes the veil when we turn into Him so that we can understand His truth. By watering down (rewriting) the gospel, it leaves no room for the work of the Holy Spirit to give individuals understanding and clarity.

In John 5:37-40, Jesus says if His father’s words do not abide in us then we believe not. To back up a bit to verse 24, for those who hear His truth and believe will have everlasting life.

When we put our complete faith in God, the Holy Spirit abides in us and His truths: words/passages from the bible that formerly made no sense to us, are made clear to us because the veil has been removed.

My husband and I think we may have found a church we can call home. They so far, are teaching/preaching the bible from the pulpit. It is a small congregation, with a pastor whose focus and responsibility is on caring for his flock.

You might call that rigid, but I call it obedience to Romans 12.


The best friend

In the recent passing of my father-in-law, I am struck by the depths that a real friendship can have. As my father-in-law got older and was able to do less and less, it endeared me to him even more. I was happy to spend time with him, listening to many, many stories of happier times for him. Though I lived an hour away, my father-in-law allowed me to visit him often and he loved taking car rides, going out to eat and “visiting.”

He had a bout of throat cancer a couple of years ago — he was 92 at the time — and had to drive 30 miles for radiation treatment Monday through Friday for 8 weeks. There was a Village Inn down the road from the hospital, and every Wednesday I drove there to wait for him while he got radiated and then we would go to the VI for a slice of “free” pie. The VI always had free slices of pie on Wednesdays but he’d always say, “I’ll pay this time.”

Because of him, I understand what having a “good” friend means.

A good friend teaches you how to be patient, love unconditionally, and sacrifice yourself without complaint or worry for your own interests. And, over the course of the friendship, you begin see your own weaknesses that need refining and lean more into the friendship, rather than fleeing from the shame of your immaturity (impatience), your self-centeredness (thinking of the things you could be doing instead), and your pride (feeling like you’re more important in the friendship than the one you are serving).

Just as my father-in-law was a good friend to me, Jesus is a “good” friend too. Jesus has many of the same attributes in the way that He shows us the areas where we need to change and grow. That really is true love.

Proverbs 27 17-18 says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.”

John 15:12-15 says “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

I thank God for teaching me through my father-in-law what it means “to be” and “to have” a good friend.


The truth about lies – part 5

Please don’t stone me for this blog topic, but much money has been made on discussing sin — all types. We all sin, so that isn’t up for discussion, but somehow, many people have made their life’s work and paycheck by touring the country talking to about (name any sin).

One in particular though, is a “hot” topic right now — homosexuality, or whatever acronyms that are used to describe some facet of it. No matter how we “frame” it, it is still sin. To give time, resources, and so much explanation as so many have to sin, serves only to propagate the lie that deceives us into negating the power of Christ’s death on the cross to overcome ALL sin. The lie says we (people) can save others — that we (people) shouldn’t leave any behind — that we (people) are responsible if people die damned in their sin.

We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God – Rom 3:23.

That’s exactly why He sent His son, but what I can’t understand is why we (people) spend so much time trying to understand cause and effect of sin (all kinds) when the bible says sin is the result of the fall. There are so many discussions, books, and speakers on sin, that all they do is blunt the true, wicked nature that we all have. Rom 3:10 says NONE are righteous, not even one.

The bible is sufficient for all people no matter what our struggles are. We don’t need to be told from the pulpit or in books the how’s, the why’s, the what to do’s about sin. Jer 17:9 says our hearts are desperately sick and we can’t understand it.

If we really believe that God is who He says He is and His son’s blood is the atonement for our sins, then He alone can release us from the bondage of our sin. The more we try to manage, work through, and survive our sin or help others with theirs, the more we take power away from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We don’t save people. We can’t even save ourselves – Christ alone does – Eph 2: 8-9.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, we love as Christ loved and He abides in us — I Jn 4:16, but if we feel awkward, repulsed, or judgmental in being with other sinners, that is a work we need to ask the Holy Spirit to change in us. It’s personal. We all work out our salvation with fear and trembling – Phil 2:12-13.

When the Holy Spirit dwells in us, it does the work of changing our lives – John 4:10. Can we just go back to the bible and believe that IT is sufficient for teaching, reproving, correction, and instruction for our lives.- 2 Tim 3:16.

This isn’t just my opinion, this is what the bible says.

I’m praying today that churches will go back to the bible and let our LORD, Jesus Christ, do the work of saving souls. The more time and effort we give to understanding sin, the more time and effort is taken away from sharing God’s truth to the very ones who need to hear it.

Let’s let the word of God and the power of the cross change people’s lives.

Trusting God in all things and if you must stone me, at least try to hit the basket. I can use the stones to shore up my path – Ps 119:105.

Sorry. Bad believer humor. I know.


The slave vs. the servant:

Do you know the difference?

I had en ephiphany this morning. Some months ago, I read the book Redemption by Mark Driscoll, which by the way, I won’t recommend reading, but will elaborate on why later on in this blog.

One of the key ideas in the book, is that we are slaves to our “idols” (distractions that keep us from full relationship with God) much like the Israelites in the book of Exodus. The book says that we need to get rid of our idols and become “slaves” to righteousness.

As a mature Christian, I understand what Mark means, but the word “slave” never set well with me because the word has a negative connotation.

Many months ago, I started reading the KJV version of the bible instead of the NIV. I understand it nowdays in a way I never could before. (Thank you Jesus for lifting the veil.) For quite some time, I’ve been matching verses in both translations to see where they differ and if the changes, change the meaning. Many times, the NIV simply takes out the “thee’s,” “thou’s,” and words ending in “eth.” I don’t have a problem with that, but I am noticing in some places where replacing a word with a similar word, changes the meaning.

I think the slave vs. servant is one of those “key” changes that could be problematic in sharing the gospel with nonbelievers.

Websters dictionary defines a slave as one who is bound in servitude as the property of a person or household. Slavery is a condition of hard work and subjection.

The definition of servant is one who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another: obedient servant.

These definitions are vastly different as one means you have no choice in the matter, the other means a willing submission, obedience to your debtor.

If you look in the bible for verses that speak to our attitude towards a relationship with God, the NIV uses the word “slave” instead of “servant,” and while it seems the difference is slight, stop to ponder what you think and what you feel about both of those words.

For example:
Romans 6:17-18 – (NIV) 17 “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
(KJV)17 “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

Colossians 3:22 – (NIV) 22 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”
(KJV) 22 “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”

Ephesians 6:5 – (NIV) 5 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”
(KJV) 5 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;”

I’m not saying the NIV is bad, but I think that it’s always a good practice to balance it against the King James to make sure that the meaning has not been lost in translation.

The relationship we have in Christ we’ve chosen in total freedom; and not under the threat of slavery.

When I think of slavery, I think of being owned by someone. It is very negative and makes me think of torture, neglect, being shackled without choice.

When I think of servant, I automatically think of choice: The freedom to choose to serve someone or something. I also think of it as a selfless act of love and gratitude.

Many people are in some sort of bondage to something (eg. TV, video games, drinking, drugs, porno, overeating, to name a few) but isn’t it really that we’ve just chosen to serve those things rather than serve God fully?

When we look at the meaning of servant over slave, we can understand that it was our willfull choice to think, live and act the way we do.

I know. It’s hard to put ourselves under the microscope, but to live as a believer, we must be brutally honest with ourselves. We choose to serve many, many things, but when we become addicted to those things, it truly becomes slavery. We are in bondage.

The good news is that God provides a way for us to be completely “free” of anything that separates us from Him. The question is, do we really, really want that?

As I said earlier, the book called Redemption by Mark Driscoll, makes a valid point in that our “idols” enslave us and keep us from relationship with God, but the book also says that it’s better to be a slave to Christ (righteousness) than a slave to an addiction.

This is where I have to step away from it. Why would people in their right mind choose slavery to one thing to slavery over another? Why would we choose to be a slave to a master we can’t see, don’t know, or understand over being a slave to a material or physical things we can touch, feel, experience?

We don’t have to be in ANY kind of slavery. God lets us willfully, freely choose Him.

If you really want to be free to serve a mighty God, the bible is the best book for that; however, in the beginning, you may need help navigating through the passages. Neil T. Anderson has written several books on Freedom in Christ. But there are two I’m thinking about specifically that do a wonderful job of helping people become free — “Victory Over the Darkness” and “Bondage Breaker.”

I encourage anyone who is reading this blog, to take a good look at your life.

What fills your time?

Many of us have to work (and no, that’s not slavery — we get to choose who we serve) but outside of that, how do we spend our “free” time? Do we fill it with kid activities (sports, dance, play dates, etc.) and/or adult activities (hobbies, movies, exercise, etc.)?

None of those are bad things, but inside your daily living, how much time is spent “serving” God? Spending time with God?

To be healthy, we need a balance. It’s different for everyone, but through prayer and bible reading, God will guide you in every part of your life.


The purpose of scripture


2 Timothy 3

This is a really meaningful chapter, especially when you view it through the lens of our current culture.

It describes how people in latter days will act (vs. 2-5), what they think of God’s power (vs. 6-8), and their folly (vs. 9).

Verse 5 is particularly interesting in that it says “…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”

I would describe many church leaders this way. In my hometown, anyhow. But further on into the passage, it talks about defending the faith and how the scriptures are intended to be used. Vs. 15-17 says “15 And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

It is a challenge to find a church that uses scripture this way. Ten years ago, my home church taught this way. I can remember leaving church on many occasions feeling convicted and having to really consider my lifestyle, my thinking, my actions.

Nowadays, if I attend that same church, I may or may not hear a snippet of scripture, but I will definitely come away with feel-good fuzzy feelings.

I don’t mean that we can’t find comfort, strength and encouragement from God’s word. We certainly can, but in our current world, God’s word is twisted, edited or ignored and it’s used primarily for our glorification.

Today, believers who speak God’s truth and live by it are called judgmental, hypocritical, and mean. Where once, God’s word was used to guide our behavior and bring about healthy change, it is instead turned against the believer who is hated and is thought to be dangerous.

To be a true believer, you don’t fit in this world (culture), you will be hated, and you may end up paying for your faith with your life but what better way to live than for the glory of the kingdom. Matthew 10:22 says “And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

I am praying mightily for and encouraging my family, friends and others, to prayerfully consider the teaching they get from their churches.

Matthew 7:13-14 says, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.”

I don’t mean if you’re in a mega-church that you’re listening to false teaching, but I am asking that you really start paying attention. Thanks to the world wide web, there is a wealth of good, solid bible teaching/instruction at your fingertips. Start researching the doctrine and theology of the church you attend and match it against scripture. It’s the only doctrine there is. Any deviation, twisting or omission of God’s word is a false teaching.

Look for other sources for biblical teaching rather than just in your hometown. If you’re like me, you may be hard-pressed to find a church who meets God’s criteria, but you can find good pastors online or in smaller churches who use the bible as their only doctrine.

According to Psalm 119:105, God’s word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

I believe God’s word.

It is our guide, the very blueprint for our lives. I don’t need any other book to tell me how to live. God’s covered it all.

I’m just kicking myself for spending SO many years reading books on parenting, living happily, getting closer to God, when relying on God and believing His word, would’ve gotten me through all of that.

Today Lord, I trust you like none other. There is NO other truth than yours. John 14:16 Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


The traitor

I’ve been mulling over the story of Achan in Joshua 7. For a bit of background, the sixth chapter of Joshua describes the battle of Jericho. God commanded that all the people (women and children included) of Jericho be killed save for Rahab and her family, and that the spoils of the city be given unto Him and that anyone who kept something for themselves would be cursed.

One of Joshua’s soldiers, Achan, took 200 shekels and a beautiful robe and hid them in his tent. God knew of this deception and asked Joshua to confront each tribe leader about the missing booty.

When asked, Achan owned up to the thievery then he and his tribe were pillaged, stoned and burned.

My first thought was that I was glad I wasn’t living during that time in history. But thinking beyond that, I am reminded that today, we serve that SAME God. The bible is full of stories of God’s vengeance He metes out quickly and suredly on those who opposed and disobeyed Him.

He is a jealous God. He commands obedience, devotion and praise. When we act outside His will (our disobedience, distractions, worship of earthly things-toys) he doesn’t strike us dead as He did Achan and his family. THANK YOU LORD!

God knows us. He knows we are incapable of being perfect like Him. We are human, therefore we sin.

But perfect, holy God still wants a relationship with us, though He cannot stand the sin. He cannot look at it, ignore it, or pretend it isn’t there.

So why do we ignore our own sin or try to pretend it isn’t there, or minimize it somehow? Just like with Achan, God knows when we’ve been deceptive. He still demands a blood payment for disobedience. In the bible, it was the traitor’s blood and his family’s.

But thanks be to Jesus who was sacrificed in our place for our sin — our disobedience. His blood was the payment for our sin.

That is a pretty weighty act when you stop to think about it.

Many people, myself included, don’t often ponder the gravity of our sin or the grace God extends us through His son’s blood. Any sin, big or small, hidden or out in the open, can be washed by Jesus’ blood. God made that sacrifice for us because He wants a relationship with us.

Today I want to understand the price of sin more fully and revel in God’s grace over me.