I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. Some people equate the filling of the Holy Spirit with a mystical religious experience. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is so vital to our Christian life! There may be several questions that remain unanswered in your mind. In a word, sin. We choose to disobey God. This can take the form of pride: wanting things our way.
Sin can take another form: fear. I would look foolish if I did that. But often He does! Our lives will be different than other people. You may find yourself committing sin and confessing it several times throughout the day. But you have ignored His leading, and now you are once again following His direction. You are learning to trust Him, which takes time. The youngest of our three children learned how to walk this past year. It took a while. Her first steps were tentative and wobbly. She fell into mud puddles, coffee tables and laundry baskets.
But she never gave up. Eventually her steps turned into stronger, confident ones. She still falls down at times and so do her parents! We never become immune to sin; sinlessness is reserved for heaven. As we grow to know God better, we will grow in seeing life from His perspective, and in some areas sin less. We will also learn to battle temptation. Has it occurred to you that your level of spiritual growth may be exactly where God wants it?
But there is a third category of Christian: the new Christian. Remember what Paul told those Corinthians? Several years earlier, Paul had led many of those Corinthian believers to Christ. But instead of following a normal growth pattern of spiritual maturity for a Christian, the believers at Corinth became carnal. We knew we would be greeted by neatly labeled rows of apple trees.
When you see the impact of sin in the life of someone else, take the opportunity to assess your own life. Repeat the prayer of King David and ask the Lord to root out all sin in your heart. Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! What the world rarely gets to see is the powerful grace that flows from a deep faith predicated on the belief that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness.
The article went on to tell the story of a man whose wife and daughter were brutally killed. When asked what he would say to the killer if given the chance, he said, "I would say, 'I forgive you. These are graphic pictures of forgiveness. Forgiveness often feels so gut wrenching that we want to run in the opposite direction. But the Bible reminds us that we can extend forgiveness because we have been forgiven of so much. The article quoted above is proof that the world is watching.
Yes, they watch when we fall short, but they also watch when we respond to sin like God has called us to. We are the billboard God wants to use to tell the world about Him. What story are you telling with your response to sin in your own life and in the lives of others? As Christians, we will continue to disappoint each other. We will sin in public and in private. Far more than any religious people.
When the government reimburses the church for the cost of our youth and social programs then they can tax what is left over. Ever heard of United Way a secular group?
Excellent piece. These are definitely the problems I have with the many of the people I know who profess their Christianity to me. I find the first one to be very annoying. I am so frustrated by people who feel the need to hit me over the head with their religion every day on Facebook. Great article, Carey! If we would engage church outsiders with the goodness of God rather than judgment, more of them would be interested in what we have to say.
I agree so much on the judgmental part. We should be all about serving and physically showing the love of Christ to our communities. A lot of good thoughts here Carey, well shared. Like you I share a concern for the overt politicization of the church — from both the right and the left of the spectrum. We tend to spot the over identification with politics when the church leans right, but we tend not to spot it when the church leans left. When your concern for ecology is more evident than your concern for evangelism you have been co-opted.
I also like what you said about social media use. Social Media is the new public square — particularly in Canada when it is too cold to sit in the actual public square 5 months out of the year! There is so much of that and there needs to be so much less. Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Why do we get that exactly wrong? Appreciate you pointing that out — we need to be reminded.
I also appreciated the point about ranking sin. Good reminder there too. Thanks for weighing in PC. Article is a good read with some practical application to biblical truth. Politics affect us all. I agree with you, Rob Adams. We are to love others, no matter what sin they are involved in. Great to have someone like you to point this thing out! Pointing put that something is a sin is NOT hating people. When will people start to understand this little truth. Love the lawyer and judge illustration.
So true. The picture of God as judge and Jesus as our Advocate is one of my favorites in the Bible. There we stand condemned, but our Attorney not only defends us, but takes our place so that we can be pardoned. Love it! Love your blog and you podcast. Thank you for being a blessing to Christian leaders.
I am sorry but you see that is this is another problem of Christians. What you need to do is look to yourself and work to keep the values of your religion. People can access the information if they are interested. It is everywhere. Because then what is your interpretation of everything and the person should have the same views as you? Let them access all religions, you do not need to recruit like the army. If they wish to follow they will. No, keep to your own walk with whatever and do not lead anyone. Let them follow whatever they wish. You want to educate then educate all religions not just one.
Unfortunately Cynthia, you are incorrect about this. And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? You are quoting something written in a time when people did not know. They can make their own decisions in this information supplied world!!. Stay in your little confined brainwashed system and let people discover what they want for themselves without condemnation, judgement, and bullying.
Do you think that telling little children that if they do not behave they will go to hell is right? Scaring them to the point of having nightmares and peeing in the corner of their room because so scared is a good thing??? Strangers do not need to tell my children or anyone what to believe is right or wrong!! You know what there is a multitude of other thoughts in the world. So basically you are saying that you are not open to the Christian religion.
It is part of the religion, to have faith in Christ is to be his messenger, his follower, that others may likewise follow to the kingdom of God. Christianity has no will to control morals of those who do not believe. I wished I could quote this whole article when I shared it. Things that needed to be said. I have gotten to know some atheist colleagues of mine recently, and I have to say, this all rings true.
I have had some pretty challenging discussions with them, and I have learned a lot. I believe that sometimes God teaches us through people who are not part of our belief system. I have had my faith tested, challenged, to the point of questioning my own beliefs.
- Товарищ Д (Russian Edition).
- Desgraciadamente Philip K. Dick ha muerto (Solaris ficción) (Spanish Edition)!
- Diseases and Human Evolution!
- “We are just human”?
- Lesson Plans A Vindication of the Rights of Women!
- Your Feelings Can’t Be Trusted.
I regret none of it, because in the process, I have learned so much about myself, and also about God. I learned about the extent that God will go to to prove His love to those who are searching for him. I learned that if we ask Him, He will prove Himself in inexplicable ways. I learned that my mission here on earth is to know God fully, and intimately, and that if I am to love others, I must learn to love myself. And to know how to do that, I must ask God to show me how He sees me, and not rely on what others say to, and about me.
If God truly loves me, more than I can ever comprehend, then I am trying to prove Him wrong by not loving myself. The greatest commandment Jesus gave us was to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Is it possible to live like Jesus?
And to love my neighbour as myself. To answer your question — What else do I wish the church would do, or stop doing? I wish that Christians would be more willing to explore different interpretations of scripture. Why are we so afraid of looking at what the Bible says from a slightly different angle? Do we always have to be right?! We do ourselves such a disservice when we are so dogmatic in our way of understanding. One thing that stood out in my recent discussions with my friends who reject God, is the fact that Christians are so quick to say no, and reject challenging questions.
How is our faith to grow if we have a fixed mindset, rather than a growth mindset? How can we ever learn if we are not allowed to question what we believe? Let them ask questions! I will think about that some more. We need to explore the hard questions. Life is hard. Love is beautiful, but it is also very ugly when we allow fear to cloud it. There is no fear in love from 1 John. Fear and love are both irrational, and unreasonable.
The two cannot coexist. Perfect love drives out fear. Love each other. Love those who hurt you. I followed a link here from a pastor at a church I used to attend. I no longer believe in God. Well written article. If Christians truly want to grow the church they should take heed of what you have written. Eric…thanks for the comment. Have you tried talking to the church you ended up leaving, or another one? I really hope your faith sparks again.
I merely mentioned that for you to understand my perspective for the statement. I really wanted you to take away from this the fact that you addressed key problems with religion today. The issues with the church I attended were only a part of my change in belief. However, I will say this, with your level-headed way of thinking at least by what I can tell , you are exactly what religion needs today. So once again I give you props! Nice to see good people from opposing viewpoints having a logical discussion. Love it. And agreed, great article. At the end of the day we may not agree with what feel is true regarding religion, but that does not permit us to be disrespectful.
In fact, once a month I meet with a group of Christians who sit around, have a beer, and talk about anything that comes to mind. We never get heated with each other. Carey — Love the article and the reminders. I totally agree that we in the church stink at conflict resolution. Yes, we need to get better at resolving conflict in the church.
And I think there are principles from Matthew 18 that can inform the process. Just a thought. A pastor blocked me on Facebook in His wife did as well. I talked about wanting to sin but tried to hide those posts from him. He never even personally talked to me and knew I wanted to talk with him. They seem like they judge the people like me who struggle in life no money, no job, no healthy eating more than those that have those things like what I mentioned above.
They may not outwardly judge but their facebook friendslist gives them away or who they simply associate with. I feel its not right. All of these things are eternal and unchanged.
Why I’m a Christian (And Continue to Suck at Being One)
I am so sick of Dumbed down Common Core Christianity. Hey Carey, You say stop judging outsiders and I totally agree, but what about judging insiders. However, they have a strict membership system which requires you to agree to be accountable to the church according to Matthew If you refuse to repent you can no longer be a member.
I have limited knowledge of churches who take church discipline this seriously, so I was hoping you could speak to this. Outsiders is really off limits though! Let us not forget that long-suffering is a fruit of the spirit. Life can be hard and full of ups and downs. Performance based spirituality that seeks reward for service from God is contrary to the message of hope found in the Gospel.
We should be utterly motivated to help others and make a difference out a deep and compelling love for people and God, not out of a desire to seek a particular status or anointing. Good one, Garry. But thank God who has helped me to stand firm in the midst of their intimidation. Your comment is reasuring to me. Christ told his followers that to whom much is given much is required. About a year ago, I started attending church with my girlfriend. But nearly every Sunday I find myself almost resenting certain things that our minister says.
One day in particular, he delivered an entire sermon that was laced with subtly masogynistic comments. He was talking about in a very old-world fashion the role that a woman should strive for in a mans life. To someone already a little weary of religion, it is certainly discouraging. Thanks for sharing this Jason. Missing the implications of our words on people like you is definitely something we should all pay attention to. Hi Jason. Thank you for your honesty. I might be able to help with that. Write me on peter skov. Wow Carey! Thanks for writing this!
I can only imagine a place where people can come to belong and set free rather than a place ether you need to meet certain requirements to belong. Thanks again Carey! Much of Genesis is clearly poem and not to be taken literally. Insisting on a young earth makes it harder for others to take the rest of your case seriously. What do you believe? Do you believe it enough to teach in love, mercy, and forgiveness? Then do that. Those values and beliefs are yours and Genesis is not clearly a poem to everyone.
Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself. I encounter many people taking the literal genesis view one many bible scholars would say is not consistent with how it would have been originally received. Further, many believers act as if to believe any differently is stupid.
I agree Krys. But we can really only testify to our own experience. My experience, however, in church, in Christian Society and in secular society is that it is the non-believers who are doing the lashing. In liberal British Columbia, however, in 34 years I have never once been accosted by or even heard of anyone trying to shove a literal translation of Genesis down my throat. I know, though, if I started talking about anything related to a christian belief system while out and about in the general public, I had better have a body guard.
Discrimination as far as belief systems go is a very scary deal. Hello Krys, as a Christian I used to think this same way.. But it is very important we understand the importance of the validity and history of Genesis, as being accurate or it would totally crumble the reason for salvation and all that Christ came to do and why! Just a thought.. Wow, I found this totally inaccurate and non biblical especially historically biblical.
God puts leaders in power. Mentioned numerous times in the old testament. Our laws are to be based on the ten commandments. Also, mentioned numerous times in the OT. And even then as Jesus was fulfilling OT law and writings, He was actively changing hearts politically as were his disciples and followers. I respectfully believe that a Christian should walk the walk and talk the talk in every part of the world God gave us ….
That includes laes, politics, communitues, families and individuals.
Discernment and the ability to guard against darkness is a key attribute of one of the greatest icons of a pastor, the Shepherd. It has become such a quick way to shut down communication, to simply cry out how Christians should not judge. Ignore the poor example being set, institutionalized or breaking apart the church, or thou shalt be judgmental. That is hardly following the examples set by Jesus Christ and his Apostles. I believe to paraphrase Reggie Joiner if we are not careful, we will move our lampstand to illuminate something other than Christ.
Carey, please correct me if I am wrong. I heartily disagree with 2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few that stood against the evils of the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer was one man, who took a stand against the evil of his time, even unto death. Sadly, we have returned to those days, in our nation this time. I see nowhere in scripture where we are told to stand by and be silent as the unborn are murdered, or where homosexuals and transgendered people are dragging down a new generation of youth into their world of sexual confusion and pain. In what use to be the greatest nation on earth, a nation unique in the history of mankind, which offered people the hope of a better life, we have now created an environment where more and more are being dragged into and trapped in a life of poverty, instead of helping them to lift themselves up and out.
Yet, what do you do when you love someone? Do you stand by as they starve, or are beaten, or robbed? May God never find me only concerned for my own well being, hiding behind lovely sounding platitudes that tickle the ears of men as we play our fiddles and watch Rome burn. I will stand for freedom for my fellow man, and I will stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Each of you reading today, God has placed you here for a time such as this.
And what we must ask ourselves is this, not what would this man or this church have us do, but what would Jesus Christ have us do.
We may not like what we hear, but our discipleship has a cost. The question is, are we willing to pay the cost? We are here to love people into loving Jesus Christ, who never condemned a person for who they were, never talked about abortion, never discussed homosexuality and certainly never condemned one. Jesus is the one who welcome people as they were, forgave them and told them to sin no more.
That is our call as well and yet I will always remain a sinner. One that is always seeking forgiveness and mercy and being grateful for receiving it. Just as all of us are called to do. Please stop. His goal was in introducing the arrival of the kingdom of God, and teaching His disciples to carry on when He returned to heaven. He had to establish the teaching of the gospel during His short time on earth. And the rest was up to the disciples to write down through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and teach them everything they needed to know.
They then wrote these things down so we would have the scriptures today. The Apostle Paul spoke clearly on the issue of homosexuality, and the principles guiding our lives in other areas are discussed at great length. If you honestly seek the truth, then I would like to recommend this blog on judging according to the scriptures. Be sure to have your Bible handy as you read this blog. Always bathe the topic in prayer, and then check out what you read according to the scriptures.
I have also read all the discussion up to this point with keen interest and I admire the maturity of all participants regardless of widely divergent views.
1. Don’t feel your way into your beliefs; believe your way into your feelings.
I love your comments Carey. I just need some clarification. I know the command of Jesus is to love our enemies and those who persecute us. I get that and accept it. What do we do or say with regards to the abuses inflicted on the vulnerable in society? For example, unborn children are not only murdered now but their body parts are being sold by organizations like planned parenthood.
The elderly can now be terminated by the will of others. Muslim believers praying in public at university while Christians are scolded for the same activity. Do we not have a role to play in defence of the defenceless as Jesus proclaimed? Finally, do you purport those involved in public unrepented sin continuing in church leadership and ministry positions?
It seems to me that a leader is in more danger of censorship over proclamation of biblical truth in a non-politically correct way than he does for sinfulnbehaviour. Interested in your expanded views on these. Very well said. To those who disagree with 2 politics : it really comes down to what we want to be known for. I think that we hurt ourselves as Christians when we constantly state what we are against and critical of.
We come across as judgemental snobs. We would make so much more progress if we stood up for what we are FOR in a positive, loving way. I disagree with 2. Martin Luther King, Jr. That is the best example on my lifetime of the church getting involved in politics. The worse example is the inactivity of the church today that is surrendering our year old Christian Consensus to an anti-Christian culture. You are wrong on 2. Billy Falling, age I agree with all wholeheartedly except 2.
Respectfully, I believe 1 stupid thing that Christians can do and have been doing is be apathetic or indifferent to the culture changing around us and not recognizing that politics plays a huge role in that. This is a great article. I especially love 5. Treating single mothers and their kids as if they carry the stain of sin and must be treated while protected behind superior spirituality. Carey, thanks for the blog. I have gained some much needed insight as I follow your posts and appreciate your sincerity. As a pastor I have come to realize that over the course of several years I have grown to resent many in our church.
The most significant reason or excuse has been their apathy and unfaithful attendance, especially during the summer months. While I have been so burdened to share the Word with truth and clarity, many have responded less than enthusiastically. In this post you discuss the burden of attempting to be both lawyer and judge.
To my shame, and almost unknowingly, I have judge our congregation. He has, after all, patiently loved me. The task appointed to me is to boldly preach His Word. What others choose to do with it, or not to do, is not in my control. His Word does say that He must provide the increase……and, I faithfully trust in that! Thanks again. And may He bless you, your leadership, and His church which you have been appointed to lead.
Sin is sin because it separates us from God. In the spiritual health, yes. In the physical health, yes, in the long run, if you commit the sin for most meals. Matthew For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John Thanks for demonstrating 1. Nothing like quoting random scripture verses to straighten out a sinner. Try reading the Didache sometime. Abortion and supporting it is one of them mentioned.
Not everything taught by the Apostles made it into the Bible. It was assembled by man. More documents are kept by the Majesterium in Rome. I would add that the church should stop expecting unchurched people to come in and immediately conform to their unspoken rules, traditions, and ways. Instead, the church needs to do a better job to meet people where they are. How should the Church address sin in believers? I totally get not judging those outside the Church? But how are we to deal with those inside the Church — even in our own families.
So many young people- even those who have grown up in Church seem to have lost their moral compass. Among my 3 adult kids, only one of them has held to the moral teaching of the Bible. A friend told me that a pastor at a local non-denom. Church in our city recently addressed the cohabitation of the young people in their Church and said that it needed to addressed and stated that it was not ok. I get it that they have seen divorce rampant in our culture and their own parents, separated and divorced.
What does God want us to do? I have kept silent, but I wonder if I am giving tacit approval to their lifestyle. My kids were raised in the Church and in a believing family. I grieve for my own sin and that of my children. Whatever happened to the virtues of self denial, obedience, repentance. Can we have it both ways? I think not.
Many young people attending Church, raised in believing homes, consider themselves Christians, but do not want to observe a moral code that tells them they are wrong. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Most of them are cohabitating—a friend told me that an elder at her church is living with a woman who is not his wife and that her pastor is okay with it. Is to be silent giving tacit approval? If they claim to be members of the church: I Corinthian Do you not judge those who are inside?
I want to see the lost saved. I appreciate these reminders. Well said. Too many Christians have abdicated the opportunity to have their voice heard in the public square. It was the right thing to do. Yet today many Christians still are advising others not to get involved in politics. I do caution that waving signs and shouting across the great divide of polarized ideologies is not the way to go about it.