Sometimes Jesus Gets Lost In Our Service To Our Church

Flourishes03

Each of us (if we’re being obedient) has at least one avenue of ministry. And we cherish that opportunity to serve both the Lord and His church. During my years as a single woman, I enjoyed a variety of ways to serve, ranging from editing the church newsletter to writing and directing drama productions to teaching children in Sunday School.

My ability to serve is a great deal more limited now, but I well remember the busy life of ministry that dominated my younger years.

I also remember realizing at one point that my heavy involvement in ministry had Continue reading

What If There Is No Good Church Near You?

Elusive Church

In response to the article I wrote Monday, a reader from Australia commented that the only churches near her were five Hillsong churches. My heart broke for her, causing me to pray that the Lord will open up something that allows her to enjoy fellowship opportunities and to serve the body of Christ. I ask each of you to join me in praying for her.

As I read her comment, my mind went back to 2014. John and I had just Continue reading

Can A Born Again Christian Do Without Church? (I Think You Know My Answer, But Read This Post Anyway)

Come To ChurchThe short answer is no.

Blogging isn’t conducive to short answers, however, and perhaps a longer answer would be more helpful than simply quoting Hebrews 10:25 as a definitive proof text. While that verse certainly carries all the authority necessary to teach that Christians need to meet regularly with their brothers and sisters in the Lord, looking at other passages can help us develop a fuller understanding of why we need to devote ourselves to a local body of believers.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit that John and I can’t attend our church during the winter months due to health concerns. And this past Sunday, the RIDE got us there late and picked us up early, completely depriving us of fellowship opportunities. But (and mark this point) we maintain contact with various people in the congregation, keeping accountable to the pastors and elders. We continue serving the church as best we  can while we’re providentially hindered (to borrow a phrase from Michelle Lesley) from making personal appearances and/or encouraging our church family.

Resisting the temptation to get on my soapbox about Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: The Graciously Of Absolute Truth

Originally published April 12, 2017:

2th 3v5The continued exodus from Biblical Christianity doesn’t shock me as much as it used to, but it saddens me. Friends whom I once greatly respected as sterling examples of Christians, both for their doctrinal fidelity and their moral purity, have been embracing liberal theology and/or moving into blatantly sinful behavior patterns. A few, but only a very few, are honest enough to acknowledge that they aren’t following the Lord. Most, however, foolishly believe that He has led them to make these tragic choices.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

There have been far too many times I’ve looked down my sanctimonious nose at Continue reading

Praying About Twitter?

Head Stick Pics 005Arguably the biggest problem with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is the insulation from face-to-face communication. It always has been easier to say things in writing rather than speaking to someone in person; I get that. Twice, I received romantic rejections from men who wrote letters because they lacked the courage to face me. Writing puts us in control by shielding us from the reactions of others.

As a complication, social media provides a layer of anonymity. We may not have ever met that person we fight with on Twitter, and we may never meet her. So we don’t feel all that bothered if we end up Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: How Not To Subdue Pink Elephants

Originally posted November 1, 2017:

Pink Elephant

Funny how growing in the Lord and getting Biblical teaching changes the way one views things. A little over twenty years ago I left my position as correspondence counselor for an ex-gay ministry, largely because of my personal circumstances. Sure, a few things about the ministry bothered me a bit, but for the most part I believed in what they did. I accepted no criticism of them from any quarter.

To be clear, I still believe homosexuality violates God’s intent for sexuality. Those who engage in it, even if their engagement never extends beyond fantasy, stand guilty of sin. Furthermore I still believe homosexuality can, like every other sin, be forgiven and forsaken through the blood of Jesus Christ.

 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~~1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV)

Over the passage of twenty years, however, I’ve come to question the wisdom of building an entire ministry around one specific sin rather than around the Lord. When people meet together, and especially when they live together in a residential program, should we really be surprised when they fall back into the very sin that they’re seeking to escape?

A friend once counseled me, when I was single and struggling with desires for marriage, that simply telling myself not to think about marriage would invariably backfire. “It’s like trying not to think about pink elephants,” she said. “The harder you try not to think about pink elephants, the more you think about them.” She was right. Try not to think about pink elephants, and see what happens.

The answer to controlling my fantasies wasn’t in thinking about how sinful my fantasies were. Nor was it in gathering with other single women and talking about the struggles to control our desires for marriage. We thought praying together and asking the Lord for psychological insight into the root causes for our desires would eventually free us from our bondage to romantic fantasies.

We ignored a simple principle from Scripture.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.~~Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV)

Walking by the Spirit means nothing other than filling our minds with God’s Word and ordering our lives in conformity with His teaching. It does require discipline, yes, and admittedly self-denial causes emotional pain. But the more we delight in the Lord, the less we want things that offend Him. Walking by the Spirit isn’t easy,  but it is certainly simple.

The Bible never advises us to surround ourselves with people who struggle with the same sin we do. Instead, it encourages us to look to Christ with a commitment to glorify Him.  In so doing, we really do experience victory over whatever pink elephants we battle.

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The Greed Of (Even Christian) Bloggers

Blog Stats

Screen Capture of today’s blog stats

Wow, I had a lot of visits and views on yesterday’s post! Looking at the numbers today was quite a heady experience.

Until I remembered that I wrote only the introductory paragraph.

My proverbial 15 minutes of fame didn’t even belong to me. As of this post, I’ll return to my obscure little corner of the web, where a certain blogging expert will declare that I repel readers by using complex sentences in lengthy paragraphs. Ironically, the sentences in yesterday’s post were even more complex than mine. And the paragraphs were often much longer.

Anyway, I found myself sulking a bit because a guest post on my blog attracted far more attention than posts I labor over. And the very sin of sulking Continue reading