Things I Learned About Myself, When I Wasn’t In Church

33496411294_898d69b221_zPerhaps 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

10 Reasons for Biblical Literacy

The Christian church today (as it always has been) is buffeted by false doctrines. This is no surprise, since the New Testament repeatedly warned us this would happen. But when I look at the problem and try to discern the root causes I can think of a few. One of the roots I see is the astonishing level of biblical illiteracy even among those who identify as Christians.  Continue reading

Resources for New Year’s Resolutioners (and Everybody Else)

It’s that time of year when some people make resolutions. Many say they’ll give up a bad habit, or try to start a new one. But if your goals for the year are about your relationship with Jesus Christ here are some resources that might help.

If your resolution is to read the Bible (more of it or just to read it more regularly): check out this list at Challies.com of different Bible reading plans to find one that will work for you. Also, pick a reliable translation of the Bible — not an agenda-driven one or a terrible paraphrase like The Message. Continue reading

A “Balanced Diet” of Scripture

A helpful point from Jen Wilkin’s book, Women of the Word.

After explaining a particular problem of being a biblical “picky eater,” by only reading or studying certain parts of the Bible on page 44 Wilkin writes:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable. All of it. We need a balanced diet to grow to maturity — it’s time to move on to the rest of the meal.  Women need both male and female examples to point us to godliness. We can’t fully appreciate the sweetness of the New Testament without the savory of the Old Testament. We need historical narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, law, prophecy, and parables all showing us the character of God from different angles …”

Surprising stats about the Bible and society

Before I get into my post today I want to say that I love Feedly. I started using the RSS reader service about a week ago (and apparently I wasn’t alone), after we all learned about the demise of Google reader and I must say I’m using it so much more than I was using Google reader. So if you’re still looking for a replacement consider giving Feedly a try.

Thanks to Feedly I spotted new research from The Barna Group today about the Bible’s place in society. Barna set out to answer these questions:

“The interest in a cable series makes it clear the American public is certainly interested in the Bible. But what do Americans actually think about the Bible? Do they believe it to be sacred, authoritative or merely nonsense? Do they try to follow its exhortations, or do they regard the Bible as antiquated literature? Does the Bible still matter—besides television ratings—to Americans?” Continue reading