Posts Tagged ‘berean’

Switching from a Purpose Driven church with entertainment to a bible teaching church may have a few effects, one of which initially is boredom.  This may seem unholy and wrong to admit, but it has happened.  We felt it in our house.  A dry feeling.  But like eating healthy food for once as a normal way of life rather than just once in a while, old habits are hard to break.

Exercise and eating healthy will be difficult for someone coming from terrible habits.  We want to drift back to the soda, we want to taste the sugary sweet candy.  We want to have french fries and greasy hamburgers with lots of cheese.  Why?  We’re addicted.  What do bad eating and exercise habits get us?  Diabetes, heart problems, early death.  We become fat and unable to enjoy life.

This is what happened to us at the previous church.  We enjoyed a LOT of cool programs.  Our kids were entertained.  We felt we were growing in the faith.  Yes, we did grow, but looking back, the times we did grow were when we insisted to study the bible verse by verse in small group.  There were some messages by the pastors that carried truth, so we did learn from those.  However, much was social, much was wrong teaching.  We ignored the problems for a while.  It caught up to us.  We began to see the problems.

When we opened our ears and looked around, we heard the pastors preaching things that were not biblical.  Suddenly, the candy coating didn’t feel good anymore.  We realized the illness in our faith.  We were not being fed often enough.  Yes, there was service, we were served in many ways.  But the teaching was in error just as often as it was in truth.  We allowed the error to go on when we were blind to it, but once we saw it we realized we had to escape.

We eventually landed in a church where the bible is preached verse by verse.  We started out with some initial joy, because our worries about the former church were confirmed.  Still, we missed some of the trappings.  We missed the social time, many people were new to us.  We missed the upbeat music a great deal.  Still, the true spiritual food was making us feel better because our spiritual bodies were getting the right nutrition.  Now my children recognize the former church for what it is, and they do not want to go back to the candy.  We don’t either. 

Of course, we listen and are very careful, we do not want to believe the pastor without checking things out.  It’s kind of like reading the labels.  We want to know what’s going on at the church, what they are truly about.  Is the spiritual food healthy and true?  If it is, then we will see growth and not experience the physical illness.  The hard work put in (not works for salvation mind you, but the study of God’s word and prayer, the service to the body, and the support of those who go out and preach to others…or even maybe us going out some day when we’re prepared…these things are the hard things), will result in a healthy Christian perspective.  Staying on guard is important, reading for ourselves.  After all, it’s supposed to be our faith we’re working out right?  And as time goes on, what was previously boring is actually very exciting.  Scriptural study is not some mundane thing, it’s a wonderful joy to hear and read truth.

note:  If I am saying something wrong by winging it, PLEASE let me know here.  I know these are my human thoughts, not God’s words.


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Sometimes I get responses to posts suggesting I am judging.  This morning, in my inbox, I received this response:  

“Just not lest you be judged.  I am shocked at how petty and self cetered you have become here.  My suggestion is that you pray to find ways to lift up Christ not tear down followers. You serve only evil with with wicked words.”

to this post:  https://christianlady.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/bill-hybelsbob-buford-and-twisting-scripture/

I am not judging Bill Hybels here, I am pointing out errors he is making.  The Bereans were commended for searching scriptures to see if teachers are speaking the truth, and we are specifically called to test the spirits.  The response is a misuse of the word “judge.”  I do not decide where Hybels spends eternity, and I am not saying he is unsaved…I do not know him personally and cannot judge him by his fruits on a daily basis.  But, his public fruit stinks in certain areas.  I can judge him by his fruits, meaning I look at the fruit and decide if what he is saying jibes with scripture.  If it does not I can point it out.  Not judging in terms of saying he is evil and going to hell, but judging in terms of saying he is in error in his teaching.

There are also times when we do judge the actions and can determine that someone is unsaved at this time.  Sometimes it’s very clear.  I do not again think that we are judging the person as condemned so much as looking at the fruit and knowing the tree is rotting.  There are times for pointing this out, for warning Christians of the dangers.  It’s not that we’re saying we’re better than this person or that, just that their actions show they are not following Christ.  






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One of the hardest things about figuring out that the church we attended for about 8 years was beginning to reveal emergent/missional thinking and also used Purpose Driven Life and Warren’s plans (not just as a passing fancy), has been realizing that I fell for it so easily.  If there’s so much wrong with the things leading our old church, why did I not see it?  I have been thinking about this and have come to a conclusion about myself.  Because I have many flaws as a Christian, I missed it.

First, I was not rooted in the Bible as I should have been.  There’s the concept I should have known, to be so familiar with God’s truth that when a lie comes our way, we recognize it.  I have always been lax when it comes to scripture memorization and also reading.  I should be reading daily, should be memorizing whole passages for context and not just one verse here or there.  In my selfishness, I choose not to do what would benefit me most.  Second, I was focused on life’s problems and not Christ.  This focus allowed me to be helped by church members emotionally.  I could be needy.  Being needy meant I told people of my worries so much, and they helped me through.  This is not always bad, to rely on Christians.  However, prayer is what I needed to be doing first of all.  When you are focusing on problems and worrying, you are not taking time to pay attention to the messages coming in.  Third, and this is a biggie in our lives.  I am worldly.  Yes, I said it.  I watch television and listen to secular radio often.  I read things on the internet in excess (like news, and I have a particular focus on pregnancy, babies, nurse blogs, etc.).  I just love to entertain myself with things that do nothing for me…and may actually be harmful to me.  I am somewhat conformed to the image of this world as an American in the culture.  It then means that when my church does things that are just normal for the culture but not right for the church, I don’t notice.  I’ve been desensitized.  I settled for a life less worthy of the calling to which I have been called.  Worse yet, I have exposed my kids to far more than I should have already, though we do have some restraint, it’ s no where near enough.  Finally, (though there probably is more I will learn about myself in the future that is ugly and I would not like to know), I have not been a Berean style Christian.  I went through the 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community and didn’t once ever mention to someone else how the scriptures were being used in a loose way.  I did make fun of Warren’s shirts, noted our pastors wore them to be funny.  I did feel annoyed that my small group was split for this thing, and was annoyed that we were watching dumb videos and repeating things over and over as if we couldn’t “get it” any other way.  What should have bothered me was the way Warren uses scripture.  I noticed he uses many translations and actually recall thinking that could be convenient for him.  He could easily get what he wanted out of one translation or the other…he could chop a verse in half and make it say what he wanted it to say.  I even thought about looking up the verses in context but in the end, didn’t do it.  I went right through these campaigns not really putting much thought into them.  I did write my own notes, did study and read Warren’s books and the Bible at the same time.  I just didn’t go much further.  This is because I trusted my pastors, and thought they surely had enough wisdom to warn us if there was a problem with these books.  In short, I didn’t do the homework I should have done.  I swallowed 40 Days like it was candy. 

What woke me up?  A turbulent time in our small group showed me that the church just handed teaching and leadership to people unprepared.  It also got us out of using our small group for support.  We then listened to the messages at church with a new hope, with a hope that we could get spiritually fed there.  When we didn’t get that food, I personally began to notice what actually was being said.  Speakers were saying strange things and taking verses out of context or applying meanings to them that the narratives weren’t meant for (like that Lazarus had graveclothes on and those wrappings are like our hang ups and worries in our lives…what?).  Pastors were using the same buzz words, but I didn’t know what they meant.  It made me think of my conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.  I would always have to recheck for what they meant, not what I thought they meant.  I began to research also online, and found critics of some of the same things that were happening in our church from people in churches all across the country.  When one pastor began quoting emergent church leaders profusely, and when he was saying things like “god consciousness,” and “we are little Christs,” I knew we were in big trouble.  These quotes did more than wake me up, but alarmed me.

So how will I live differently?  I have to get back to basics, which is study the Word of God, pray, repent, and humbly turn to Christ.  As a mom I need to focus on teaching my children.  I need to work on what influences I allow in our home, television, radio, and more.  I need to also pray for believers to be more careful, more watchful, more critical. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in His wonderful face…and the cares of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His mercy and grace…”

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Wow.  I have a comment on here telling me that:

“sometimes the best thing that can happen to a church trying to move beyond the evangelical-cultural understanding of “bible-based” teaching and into a more meaningful expression of what it means to live the “with-God life” as a community – is to have people like you go somewhere else and critique some other pastor from your pedestal.”

Wow.  Ouch. 

I will say that if I were just about critique this comment would be fair.  We are to respect those God has placed in leadership over us.  I absolutely do love and respect my pastors.  I grieve, grieve, grieve the fact that their focus is off the gospel lately.  They (and I would say not all ) have begun to focus more on mission rather than on the gospel, on Christ.  It’s not okay to take the foundations for granted.  I am not just being critical.  I’m not asking that we get rid of the screen at the front of the church during music time, I’m not asking for us to take communion more times a month or less, or asking for us to change every little thing.  I am asking that my pastors do not bring another gospel or a different religion into Christianity.   I do need to share my struggles and concerns with the church pastors.  I should do this in love.  I am not free of sin, free of pride.  I am no one, only Christ is supreme, and is perfect.  I have to walk humbly.  I do believe though, that in this case, I am dealing thougthfully with my church.  I have not intentionally written my pastors’ names here, not interested in tarnishing their reputations.  I also believe what I am writing can be helpful to others, so I am sharing my thoughts here.  I may sound critical, but I see that I am being like a Berean and taking what is said back to the Bible itself.  Does it match up?  Not all the time.  That is what I’m taking to task.  I thank my critic for the reminder, I need to tread boldly and carefully in love.

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