Another great song to encourage you this week:
I’m really enjoying this new song from Jeremy Camp!
World Digital has revamped its international content and my persecution stories are now part of a roundup called “World Tour.” Here are the past few which include my reporting on false charges against Indian Christians for kidnapping and forced conversion, a trend in attacks on pastors in India, and the Russian Supreme Court‘s decision to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses (and why that will hurt Christians), and how persecution is a part of the refugee crisis.
The image only reflects the post in that the church this sermon is from is my favorite church in New York City. I discovered First Baptist Church in recent months and have been grateful to listen to Pastor Hoskinson’s preaching online as well. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately and given that today was communion Sunday when we remember the forgiveness we Christians have been shown by God, this Psalm seems like the perfect thing to share today.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed in the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through the groaning all day long.
Ford day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged by sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you will my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Perhaps this sounds like a strange admission, but there have been times in my life when I had no church home. While I believe those were legitimate absences, upon reflection, I may have learned more about the need to be part of a church when I didn’t have one than the many years I did.
When I first moved to Washington, D.C., finding a good church was a challenge. It took many visits to find and settle in a church I thought was committed to the truth. Then, after roughly a year there, God opened my eyes to some serious false teachings entrenched there. I was devastated. After trying and failing to make any headway against the teachings, I left.
It was painful and discouraging time in my life. I missed the fellowship, the community, I missed hearing the Bible taught regularly. I missed singing praise aloud to God with other people. But church visit, after church visit, I kept spotting the same problems. And it wrecked me. The discouragement got the better of me and I gave up for awhile.
I was judged by some Christians during that time, which made it even harder to want to find a church again. I want to be clear – I never gave up my faith in Jesus. I didn’t somehow lose my Christianity because I wasn’t attending church on Sundays. During my absence, I also read my Bible and listened to podcasts and sermons when possible. Thankfully, that season did not last forever, and I eventually found churches I could regularly attend again and eventually even consider my home church.
But I learned some things during that season that I think are important and sharing them could help others. Continue reading
I read Luke chapter 9 this morning where Jesus reacts to three people who claim they would “follow him” anywhere. A modern mindset would probably expect a reaction along the lines of “Great you have you, buddy!” Jesus instead lays each one of them bare and exposes where their true hearts lie — whether it is in comfort or loyalty to family or something else.
As I continued my morning routine I thought on this. It struck me that the first one in particular chafes against an American mind. Continue reading
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:7-10 NIV