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

Pillars of Christian Character: Obedience

I’m continuing to listen to this Grace to You sermon series “The Pillars of Christian Character,” once a week, for ten weeks.

The second message is about obedience. That word sure can make our rebel hearts want to run away or start rationalizing behavior, can’t it? And yet, the Bible makes it clear that we are saved not to continue sinning, but to love the Lord and to obey him. Continue reading

Audio: If Christ Will Return, How Should We Live Until Then?

JMacArthurPreachingShould the expectation of the return of Jesus Christ cause us to live differently than we would otherwise? The answer from Scripture is yes. As Pastor John MacArthur exegetes in this two-part message “Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return.”  Part 1.  Part 2.

MacArthur says that knowing Jesus will return and grant us eternity in the new heaven “ought to impact your life” as a Christian in matters of attitude and action.

He is teaching from 2 Peter 3:11-18: Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to befound by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,  and regard thepatience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul,according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all hisletters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do alsothe rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore,beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (NASB)

 

The Word: 1 Timothy 4:7-10

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

1 Timothy 4:7-10 ESV

The Word: 2 Peter 1:1-11

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  Continue reading