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

Posted in Christian Life, Personal Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Church of Wimps

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

Posted in Christian Life, Persecution, Personal Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compassion – Pillar Number Nine

Working through the Pillars of Christian Character series from Grace to You, the next character trait Pastor MacArthur examines is compassion.

Posted in Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word: Galatians 6:7-10

“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

Posted in The Word | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sermon: Character Trait – Thankfulness

This week’s sermon from Grace to You is focused on thankfulness. This is sermon eight in the series on the “Pillars of Christian Character.” Just two more to go!

Posted in Christian Life, Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy!

Sermon number seven from the Grace to You series I’ve been working my way through, “Pillars of Christian Character,” is about joy. We know from Galatians that joy is one of the fruits of a spirit-filled and spirit-controlled life. It also may be my favorite character trait.

This sermon looks at how it should be a part of church life, the command to rejoice regardless of circumstances, what sin does to joy and other biblical passages about this essential character trait.

Posted in Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pillars of Christian Character: Forgiveness

The sixth sermon in the Grace To You series that I’ve been listening to once a week is all about forgiveness.

Speaking for myself, forgiving others can be a struggle at times. I’m glad I was reminded and chastised through this message. You can listen to it here.

Posted in Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment