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Posts Tagged ‘Christian life’

Before we left our former church I began to feel frozen.  I learned all this information about spiritual formation, emergent, purpose driven and the P.E.A.C.E. plan (which was presented to our congregation several times).  I began to understand all the things we did in our church that we felt good for doing were related to some author’s plans.  Every philosophy, the way we taught our children on Sunday mornings, the way we studied in small groups, the service projects we did, the way scriptures had been presented and often interpreted, were run through a filter of the strategies/plans/vision of our former church.  Our thinking on missions, service to others, finances, parenting, had all been shaped by this church.  We also had been big supporters of groups such as Focus on the Family which has since been stepping into “spiritual formation.”  I thought at first that our former church had “just changed.”  Because they have sermon notes saved online, I realized that this was not the case.  The changes have been in place at least since 2002.  We’ve only been there since 2000, but the sermons are not recorded online, so I’m not sure how much deviation there is from those first days.  At any rate, we didn’t notice issues until 2008.  That’s 7 years at least of this spiritual formation/purpose driven/seeker friendly/tip toe emergent stuff getting on us.  Rubbing this stink off has been a challenge.  It’s got to be in our thinking, in our reasons why.  So now, I am frozen.  Christians are to share the gospel, make disciples.  But how?  Even before I went to our former church, I learned the “quick and dirty” gospel.  “All have sinned” and “for God so loved the World” and “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and recieve him (because  a gift cannot be opened until recieved) and pray for forgiveness.  Say this prayer and boom, you are saved.  So now, I have to reevaluate.  I actually think my salvation wasn’t based on this, I did have an understanding that I was chosen by God and grace and mercy had nothing to do with a scripted prayer.  I’m confident in my salvation, sure of my guilt of sin, and know that I am only saved by the grace and mercy of Christ who died for me.  I really have always loved to read and dig into my bible, and loved to figure out exactly what scripture truly says and means.  This hasn’t changed, so reading my bible still gives me comfort.  Praying has been difficult for me lately though, knowing talk and teaching had been leading to possible contemplative style in our former church.  I talk to God directly, always  have.  I do not use any techniques like Lectio Divina as we hadn’t been lead through that yet.  Still, I struggle.  I have always thought that going off by myself and writing in a prayer journal is good (I would just write requests mostly in the journal, who I was praying for).  I would read scripture and summarize a bit for my own recall, then list my requests and people I’m praying for.  I also used to walk the neighborhood praying for people in the homes, for God to work in our city and eventually our nation.  I do long to be alone when praying, to be in nature, do actually find quiet to help out sometimes when I pray.  I do NOT empty my mind, believe you have to have solitude as a discipline.  But who hasn’t enjoyed praying outside in the early morning all alone while looking at something spectacular God has created?  Iwould not mistake this “feeling” for closeness to God or purity in Christian life, however, there is something nice about it.  However, I have been very cautious about what I do in prayer.   I no longer feel comfortable just praying.  I have to stop and think, “am I doing this wrong?”  Doing prayer wrong?  Yes, it’s possible to pray incorrectly, very possible.  Still, before I was just praying and not worrying about it all the time.  Same with service.  Before, I felt great helping clean up a school yard as part of a church project, or filling a box of toys for a child’s Christmas gift.  I realized that some service projects would not really be directly presenting the gospel, but it didn’t seem so bad.  Now, I wonder how much I would be part of some big agenda to “be a change agent.”  I don’t want to just sign up and have a wrong motive or give in the way God doesn’t prescribe.  So, I am frozen.  Which organizations aren’t tainted with the current emergent/new age/change the world through good works teachings?  Bell ringing for the Salvation Army?  Maybe not so good…they have some contemplative stuff on their web page.  Many old trusted places to serve or give seem to be turning contemplative.  What organizations can I have my children involved in?  We did Awana this year, and yet I saw some of their training for parents is “spiritual formation” style.  Though my kids have learned the verses, I fear eventually the teaching may grow suspect.  I have listened to the Cubbies teaching week after week, and so far have no problems with it.  Still, we’re thinking of stopping Awana.  We’d like to be involved in the church we choose to join, and are likely to find ways to teach verses without all that Awana brings (busy time).  Everywhere I go in Christian life, I feel frozen.  At least I know one thing, if I crack open my bible, I can trust scripture.  It’s the commentaries I worry about…

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We are living in very interesting times. Now, I have many children, and certainly do not like the idea of them having to pay for what has been happening in our country and suffer trying to find fellowship as hard as it’s getting now. I think that things are only going to get worse. I do believe, however, that I can prepare my children. The temptation is to shield them from the scary parts of the Bible, the scary events in life. Why would I want to tell them things that will make them nervous? I hated it when I was little, hearing about the tribulation and all of that. I actually believe I was taught in a wrong way anyway. So, I’m having to back up and just tell my children what the Bible teaches. First of all, there is no one they need to follow anywhere. Jesus will return on the clouds, and anyone who acts like he/she has special supernatural powers is NOT anyone worth following. They need only wait for Jesus and not believe anyone else trying to act like him whether calling themself Jesus or some other name. Secondly, even if they aren’t going to experience the tribulation with the mark of the beast etc, they will see persecution. It’s getting worse, and there is not going to be a place to run to like some have had in days past. America was where people ran. God may provide a hiding place if things get as bad as they can. However, if he tarries, we could, like the Jews in WW2, have to deal with great death and persecution. In fact, Christians around the world are going through it now. Our turn will come. I know this is scary for kids to hear, but it needs to be taught. I also tell them there may be and likely will be a time when they will have to stand up for their faith…and it may be that we parents have to make the hard decisions for them in the next few years. We may have to stand on our faith and say we cannot do this or that. We may also have to decide what battle to fight so as not to risk throwing our children into a bad situation. It will be difficult if things get as bad as they can, or even half as bad as they can. It’s important to share this and yet share also with confidence that God is always there and will get us through it. Victory is His even if we go to our deaths. I am sure that many parents aren’t even touching these subjects. I am also sure I’ve heard scary thoughts and worries before, but that this time it seems people are really either in complete denial of problems or they are giving strong and very grave warnings about the events just ahead. To deny there is going to be some drastic changes (and there already have been) and that we aren’t going to be in trouble as Christians right here in our brave homeland is to live in a fantasy land. Our children have to be prepared. It’s not love if they do not know how things can be, and aren’t ready for it. Thank God HE knows what is going on and is in charge, and is in control. This is a very sticky time we’re living in brothers and sisters. We should not neglect the responsibility we have to our children to make them ready.

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