Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Have a Shelter ~ Sovereign Grace Music

"Come Weary Saints".  Sometimes that's a very appropriate name for me.  Sometimes I can feel like I'm at the very end of myself.  I think that's just where I need to be, too, because when I come to the end of myself, I find God.  He bids us come & find our rest in Him.  That doesn't always mean that the burden is removed, but He gives us strength & grace to bear up under it.  Sometimes, it is removed.  This will soon be the case for Christian.  We've just found out today that he is about to enter into his eternal rest.  His sufferings are almost done.  He has glorified God in them, & I have no doubt whatsoever that he will hear what every saint longs to hear from Him whom our souls love:  "Well done, good & faithful servant."  I've been overcome with different emotions this evening for this family that I've never met.  I've deeply felt their sorrow & grief.  I pray that God will give them strength, grace, & comfort.  Christian's suffering is ending, but having to go on without him begins a new phase of suffering for them.  My heart breaks for them in their loss.  I've been there, too, in a different way.  My Papaw died from lung cancer that metastasized to his brain when I was 16, & I feel his loss to this day.  I've feared & hated cancer ever since.  But after watching people like Christian suffer well through cancer, my fear is gone.  He - & others like him - have shown me that my afflictions here on earth are indeed "light" & "momentary" through their eternal perspective.  They've been focused on the reward that is waiting for them - Jesus Christ.  And this leads me to my other emotion this evening.  I've actually felt some envy, because Christian is going to soon meet our Savior face to face.  He will soon gaze into His loving eyes, hear His soothing voice, & feel His comforting embrace.  Oh, the wonder & bliss of that moment!  I don't grieve for him, because he is losing nothing & gaining everything.  But I do pray that his family will feel God's loving presence with them, that they will know that God is good & that He will never leave them.  That He will get them through this.  And I pray that God will continue to use Christian to show the world that He is worthy of all honor, praise, & worship.  I pray that God will bring the lost to salvation through Christian's & his family's suffering.  Please pray, too.  And remember that if you're going through a storm & you're a Christian, Jesus is your shelter.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pray for Katie

I'm sure most, if not all, of you are aware of Katie Davis, the young woman who left her life in America right after high school to serve God & His people in Uganda - which included adopting 14 girls.  And she's only 20!  I've never met her, but I've gotten to know her somewhat through her blog.  Her obvious love for God is magnetic.  Well, I come to you today asking for prayers for her & her girls.  I'm not sure what's going on - the post is cryptic, I'm certain for a reason - but just go to God on their behalf, please.  He knows the situation, & He bids His saints to pray. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16)

You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2b-3)

Our Hope, Glory, & Confession

“The cross insists on our self-humiliation; it insists that we recognize how weak, how lost, how hopeless we are, which is hard for all of us to swallow. Paul says the only hope is that Jesus came that he might give us a righteousness that we would never have in or accomplish for ourselves. Paul declares that his hope is to be found in Christ, ‘not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith’ (Phil. 3:9). That is our hope. That is our glory. That is our confession. Christ’s righteousness, not my own, and if I want to add to Christ’s righteousness, then I have offended him.”

~W. Robert Godfrey, in Precious Blood: The Atoning Work of Christ ed. Richard D. Phillips, pg. 92-93.
Of First Importance

Friday, October 29, 2010

Suffer Well

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

I've been thinking about suffering a lot lately. Now, don't get all worried & run off; this is not going to be a sad post. I promise! So, sit your hiney back down & move your hand away from the mouse. I've been thinking a lot about suffering because we all have those times. Regardless of the bill of goods that the health, wealth, & prosperity teachers like to try to sell us, Scripture says that we will suffer. Some people are caught completely unaware by suffering. They are fair weather "Christians"; when the inevitable storms blow, they crumple. I'm not talking about grieving; this is normal. Even Jesus grieved over Lazarus' death right before He resurrected his lifeless body. But some become angry with God & walk away from Him because they feel that He owes them only pleasant experiences in life. Not to be too blunt, but that's a lie. There is absolutely no biblical basis for these beliefs. They should be discarded & repented of. We see myriad examples of Christians suffering in Scripture. Of course, the first to come to mind is Jesus Christ Himself. Further, not a single apostle escaped suffering. Most of them were martyred. 2 Timothy 1:8 calls us to "share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God". In his epistle, James exhorts us to "count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds". When, not if. To be a Christian is to suffer. To be a Christian who suffers well is to be a Christian who glorifies God & brings honor to His name. It's to show to the world that Christ is worthy of our suffering.

To endure persecutions from unbelievers in the form of imprisonment, torture, & rape & respond by praying for your persecutors' salvation; to face cancer - as Rachel, Matt, & Christian have - & determine that it's worth it to you to suffer & even die if Christ is glorified & people are brought to salvation; to declare, "The Lord gave & the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord", upon finding out that your bride has been killed in a car accident - this makes God look glorious! The world doesn't understand this kind of faith, & they are drawn toward its Founder & Perfecter, Jesus Christ.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:8-11)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Radical Christian Sacrifice ~ John Piper

The beauty of this message simply cannot be overstated.  It is chock full of profoundly edifying, convicting, & empowering words from God's word.  But one of our favorites is this little poem & Piper's response:

"'Must I be carried to the skies
On flow'ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas?'

NO!!!  How could you ever want such a thing?!  How could you ever . . . want . . . such a thing?!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beautifully Messy Community

I received another Ask RC in my email this morning.  In reading his answer to the question, "What is community?"*, I recalled telling Michael quite a while back that it's easier when you first become involved in a church.  At that point, you're learning everyone's names & personalities; everyone, including yourself, is on their best behavior.  But, then, relationships form.  You get to know people on a deeper, more intimate level, & things start to get messy.  You discover that - shocker! - these people are sinners.  And what's more, you rediscover that you are, too.  This is the perfect time to trash those rose-colored glasses & stand firm!  We'd like to think that a perfect church has no sinners & that everything goes smoothly with very little to no conflict.  But that's not reality.  Reality is that people get angry.  People get their feelings hurt.  People misunderstand something you've said.  People feel left out.  People are impatient.  And when reality hits us upside the head, we're tempted to judge & possibly even walk away in search of a better church filled with holier people.  Don't make that mistake.  Realize that all churches are made up of sinners.  The difference is whether those sinners are ignoring their sin & putting on a false veneer of politeness or are striving for holiness & working on forgiveness & love as a body.  Here is where you'll find true community, an honest fellowship of believers who are living life in all of its messiness & imperfection together - believers who are "work[ing] out [their] salvation with fear & trembling" & living lives that "are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved & among those who are perishing".  As R.C. says, "You can have this too.  All it takes is a willingness to allow things to get a little messy. A willingness to allow time to slow down. All it takes is a willingness to give. All you have to do is die."

*I'm actually having trouble finding this particular "Ask RC" on the site.  Hopefully, that's because he just wrote it & it's not up yet.  If you want to see the whole thing & it's not materializing on his site, let me know & I'll post it in its entirety.

Recipe of the "Week"

Chick-fil-A makes them with chicken. Sonic makes them with sausage. We make them with bacon.

Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients (per burrito):

-1 large burrito tortilla
-2 eggs
-3 pieces of bacon (we use turkey bacon)
-1/4 onion, sliced thinly
-grated cheddar cheese


-Cook the bacon & crumble into the middle of the tortilla.
-Sauté the onions.
-Scramble the eggs.
-Sprinkle cheese on top of the bacon, then add the onions & eggs.
-Fold the ends of the tortilla in & then roll it up into a burrito.

Simple, good, & you didn't have to go through a drive-through to get it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Psalms 23

I know I've been posting a lot of videos lately, but I saw this posted on GirlTalk & just had to share it.  This little girl is so precious!  She's obviously Southern.  I loooove how she says "Thy wawd & Thy staaaff"!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Evangelism & Social Justice - Not Either/Or

Michael found this on Between Two Worlds & we both loved it!  I thought it was quite fitting to share it in light of my last post's mention of how "I heart John Piper".  ;-)  I don't think anyone explains things quite like he does!

I Think My Wife's A Calvinist

Just a little musical humor to start your afternoon off right!  My favorite line:  "She has a tatoo that says 'I heart John Piper' in Greek".  I wish I was brave enough to do that!  ;-)  I laugh all the way through; I hope you do, too.

Believers' Assurance

“Believers are assured that everything works together for good because the God who set his covenantal love upon them, predestined them to be like his Son, called them effectually to himself, and justified them will certainly glorify them. All the sufferings and afflictions of the present era are not an obstacle to their ultimate salvation but the means by which salvation will be accomplished.”

~Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans pg. 455.
Of First Importance

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ginger & Jake

For those of you who love them.  For those of you who rarely get to see them.  For those of you who just like seeing pictures of other people's pets.  For your viewing pleasure, I present . . .

Ginger & Jake



 No comments about her ears, Mama!

 Chillin' in "his" chair

 Here's where you'll find Ginger
when I'm in the shower . . .

and here's where you'll find Jake!
(That's my pillow, by the way.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall at the Bungalow

What do I do when it's my favorite time of year?  Decorate my porch!  Flowers are a weakness of mine, so in all honesty, I go nuts during the spring, too, but that's another post.  Today, I'm going to share some pictures of our porch all decked out for Fall.  I may post some more once the swing is painted it's destined soft yellow & hung, too.

Home sweet home

Spider lillies!

 This is the best place to sit!


 I LOVE my screen door!  Especially on crisp Fall days!

I'm slightly addicted to mums. Especially bright yellow mums!

 Side view. The lantanna look so pretty next to the mums!
Good night.  Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Father Sees

I didn't even realize that I needed to hear this until the tears began rolling down my face.  Thanks, Blest Mommy, for being used by God to minister to me.

The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man. ~Psalm 33:13

"Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne and coming down from heaven to attend to the needs and to behold the woes of mankind. ... When a tear is wept by you, do not think that God does not see it, for "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him." Psalm 103:13

Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline His ear to you; your prayer can stay His hand; your faith can move His arm. Do not think that God sits on high taking no account of you. Remember that however poor and needy you are, still the Lord thinks of you. "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him." 2 Chronicles 16:9"

~Charles Spurgeon "Morning By Morning" excerpt from Sept. 28th

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A House Filled With Music

There are a lot of links in this post, but I promise they're all worth following!

We've had a house filled with music today.  I've always been incredibly impacted by music.  From as far back as I can remember, I've loved singing.  I have a vivid memory of singing "Elvira" & "Footloose" in the car.  I also sang "Smooth Operator", even though I didn't understand why she was singing about a telephone operator not having rough skin.  Now that my taste has been sanctified, I sing "Before the Cross" & "To Christ the Lord".  Music can make me soar with joy or cry with sorrow or thankfulness.  I've experienced all of this with what we've listened to today!

Right now, I'm being serenaded by the men from Together for the Gospel (T4G).  We listened to The God We Praise earlier in the car & 2 different CDs from Aaron Keyes first thing this morning as we were getting ready for the day.  I've shared two of those songs in earlier posts, one of which makes me cry each & every time with thankfulness that I'm clothed in Christ's righteousness.  Here's another that makes me cry, too, in a very good way.  Take the time to listen & weep over your sin & God's forgiveness.  It's wonderfully worshipful & cleansing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Happy Life

Looking back, it seems like a lot of my recent personal posts have been somewhat sad. I think that might give an impression that I'm a sad person or that we're only experiencing trials over here at the Bungalow, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, when talking with a beloved friend of mine day before yesterday, we spoke of all the wonderful things going on in our lives. I think it's high time I shared some of them with you! Can I get an "Amen"?! (Inside joke; I really hate that. Don't do it. Please.)

-Fall is here! That's not really a personal event in our lives, but it sure makes things awesome! The crisp mornings, sitting on the front porch with hot chocolate, the leaves just starting to change, the crows cawing, evenings gazing at the stars next to the fire pit. Good times. Totally good times.

-I'm married to Michael! The actual "event" happened almost 3 ½ years ago, but I feel a daily need to pinch myself. How is it that I ended up being the beloved of such a wonderful, godly, insanely handsome man?! Of course, we all know the answer: the grace of God. He's fabulous. I love him.

-Our LA house should be on the market soon. My precious family has been working their little fannies off painting, replacing doors, & finishing floors & cabinets since the summer. Especially my brother. He's a workhorse!

-Michael's working extremely hard studying for the CCRN & a couple of sub-specialties. He hopes to take the test sometime in December, which will complete one more step on his journey to CRNA school, if that is God's will. I'm very proud of him for all of the effort he's expending & know he'll do fabulously!

-I believe we are on the precipice of a new season spiritually. I don't know that we're really ready to say much right now, but suffice it to say that we are encouraged about a few things.

-I'm re-reading a simply wonderful book entitled A Praying Life. I'll write more about it soon, but I will say now that it completely transformed my praying life almost immediately. Not too shabby!

All in all, we're a happy family! Now, I'd love to know: What are some of the wonderful things going on in your life? Seriously, leave a comment & let me know. I love hearing about happy things!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Gospel Song - Sovereign Grace Music

Sovereign Grace + John Piper = Awesome Video!

The Prodigal - Sovereign Grace Music

Indelible Grace & Sovereign Grace sing, in my opinion, some of the absolute best modern-day hymns. Biblically sound words coupled with fantastic music is what makes them so incredible. I've shared a couple of Indelible Grace songs already, & I would be remiss if I didn't also share a little Sovereign Grace. This comes from their Sons & Daughters CD. Enjoy! But, if you're anything like me, grab a tissue. (Mama, this does not exempt you from watching!)

Oh!  And by the way, moms & dads, they also have kids' CDs (here & here) that are just as fabulous!

O love that will not let me go -Indelible Grace

You know you wanted more.  I'm happy to oblige.  ;-)

And Can It Be - Indelible Grace

I love, love, love Indelible Grace & the work they do! This is a classic hymn with stunningly beautiful lyrics, & they've done yet another masterful job putting it to new music. If you haven't listened to them, you really should. They do a fabulous job introducing new generations to the classic hymns, some of which have been sadly forgotten.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Smoky Mountain Pictures

Everyone goes to the Smoky Mountains in the Fall for the foliage.  Let me tell you, last year the trees did not disappoint!  The colors were so vibrant that sometimes the air itself was golden hued.  It was breathtaking!  The pictures don't fully capture the magnificence that we experienced in person, but I hope you'll enjoy them anyways.

Smoky Mountain Pictures

Ahhh!  Bodies of water are so soothing.  Lakes, creeks, rivers, the ocean.  It's long been a desire of mine to have a house on wooded land with a stream running through it.  Ever since camping next to the Little River in the Smoky Mountains, that desire has intensified.  I've even looked at land for sale in that area.  But, I wouldn't call it an obsession - yet.

Smoky Mountain Pictures

Cades Cove is one of the most beautifully picturesque places on the planet.  I love driving around & thinking of what it was like for the people who lived here.  Isn't it amazing that God has given us such beauty to enjoy?  Imagine!  If it's this pretty here, what must heaven - where we'll experience God in all of His glory - be like?!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smoky Mountain Pictures

The crows have been cawing lately.  We used to camp up in Arkansas in the Fall when I was growing up, & the crows used to always wake me up.  So, every year when they start up, I get the itch to go camping.  Michael & I have visited the Smoky Mountains a couple of times, & it's become my favorite place on Earth.  I could totally live there!  We don't get to go this year, but we can still revel in the majesty of God's creation!  These are just some of our favorite smoky/rainy pictures.  Enjoy!

Christ's Righteousness: The Eternal Rock

This is beyond excellent.  You simply must read it!

“Christ’s righteousness is infinitely perfect, equal to the highest demands of the divine law—and therefore a firm, immovable ground of trust. We may safely venture the weight of our eternal all upon this rock. It will stand forever, without giving way under the heaviest pressure; without being broken by the most violent shock. Let thousands, let millions, with all the mountainous weight of guilt upon them, build upon this foundation, and they shall never be moved.

The firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings of Nineveh, Babylon and Persia, and all the magnificent structures of antiquity, though formed of the most durable stone, and promising immortality—are now shattered into ten thousand fragments, or lying in ruinous heaps.

But here in Christ is a foundation for immortal souls—a foundation that will remain the same to all eternity. His righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, His strength an everlasting strength, and Himself the everlasting Father. He ever lives forever to make intercession for His people, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost, to the uttermost point of duration, all who come unto God by Him.”

~Samuel Davies, “Jesus Christ, the Only Foundation”
Of First Importance

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christian Sinners?

Mark answers a question that is highly relevant to all Christians: How do I know if I sin because I'm a bad Christian or because I'm not a Christian? I've certainly struggled with this at times. Mark's answer is perfect. If you have ever wondered this, listen & take heart!

Recipe of the "Week"

I am not a fan of pot roast. There. I said it. I know that sounds un-American, but it's the truth. It's not that I hate it. As a matter of fact, if it's really stringy (I don't know any other way to describe it), then I love it. But I detest dry roast, & it seems that this tends to be the more common variety of roast. This recipe, though, makes me love roast like never before.

Crock Pot Roast


-2-5 pound pot roast
-garlic powder
-1 sweet onion, halved
-2 (10.75 oz.) cans condensed cream of mushroom or celery soup
-1 ¼ c. milk
-1 T Worcestershire sauce
-1 c. beef broth, divided
-baby carrots
-potatoes (I use gold)


-Melt some butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

-Lightly coat your roast with a mixture of flour, garlic powder, salt, & rosemary & sear it on all sides in the buttered skillet.

-Place pot roast in slow cooker with ½ sweet onion and pour cream soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce, & ½ c. beef broth over it.

-Thinly slice & caramelize the other half of your sweet onion along with the rest of your beef broth, then add to the crock pot.

-Stir the soup mixture & coat the roast with it.

-Cook on high setting for 2 hours, then turn the roast over & cook on high for 2 more hours*.

-Add more rosemary, baby carrots, & potatoes (cut in chunks of your desired size) to the roast.

-Cook on low setting for 1 hour, then turn the roast over & cook on low for 1 more hour*.

*Add water as needed for the gravy to reach the desired consistency: more water for thinner gravy, less water for thicker gravy.

The crock pot does all the work, & we get to enjoy perfectly moist & tender roast & vegetables. What could be better?!

Oh, yeah! Serving this with

Fruit Salad &

Spoon Rolls

The perfect home-cooked American meal!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Count It All Joy

I just found the following at GirlTalk & thought it was extremely relevant to my last post.  Relevant & helpful.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." ~James 1:2

"Life is full of hidden rocks, sudden violent winds of circumstances lying in wait for the believer. Every single one of them is embraced in James' word 'it'. There is no trial, no great calamity or small pressure, no overwhelming sorrow or small rub of life outside that plan of God, whereby it is a stepping stone to glory. And it is for this reason that our settled conviction must be to appraise it as all joy, not because it is joyful in itself (for 'all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant' [Heb. 12:11] when it is in full flood), but because 'later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness' (Heb. 12:11). In James' words, it is the only way forward to become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." ~Alec Motyer

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seeing the Son Through the Rain

Warning: If you aren't a pet-lover, this post will be nonsensical to you. Then again, if you're a lover of God, you might be able to apply it to your own life. If you're both, then read on.

Today is overcast. The clouds seem to be bordering between hope of the sun peeking out & letting out a drizzle or full-on deluge. Just like my mood.

Ginger's cancer is back. And the chemo doesn't seem to me to be working this time. Certainly not as well as previously. It most assuredly is not side-effect free like every other round has been. Watching her suffer last night with deep non-stop panting, trembling, & obvious discomfort was unbearable. I broke down all evening long & went to bed with tired, puffy eyes & a stopped up nose. I knew this was coming, but when the chemo's working & she's in remission, it's just easier to push that knowledge away, you know? Out of the few devastating emotional events in my life, this ranks right up there.

Even so, I'm bordering between hope of the Son peeking out & letting out a full-on deluge (drizzle isn't an option). I've seen evidence of Him, even at my lowest points yesterday:

     -Our vet staff took such great care of Ginger, not letting her be alone during & after the chemo administration;
     -My husband & mother were so supportive, loving, & concerned about both Ginger & me;
     -God heard my cries for help & took pity on me, giving me strength when I felt that I just couldn't handle this;
     -God heard my cries & took pity on Ginger, giving her comfort & peace last night intermittently through the evening & then throughout the night;
     -Ginger seems to be feeling a little better this morning, which is a gift from God as well.

Ginger's really done amazingly so far. This cancer (lymphoma), if left untreated, can kill a dog in 6 weeks. Chemo has been effective (another evidence of God's graciousness), & December 24 will be 2 years since her diagnosis. She's responded well with each treatment, just being really tired for a couple of days. Until now, her lymph nodes have retreated with steroids & chemo. Now they're not. My greatest fear is that she will suffer. Michael experienced this cancer with his dog years ago, & her suffering was traumatic. I don't want to have to put her down - here comes the rain again - but I don't want her to suffer either. We're not to that place yet, thank God, & I hope we won't get there. I think God, in His wisdom & love, has said "no" to healing her here, so my new prayer is that He will take her peacefully without suffering while I'm there to hold & love her.

I'll tell you one thing this trial makes me do. It makes me hate this world. Not in a rage sort of way, but in a longing for heaven sort of way. And it makes me want to slap Adam & Eve. And it makes me hate sin. If it weren't for the Fall, none of us would suffer. But because of the Fall, we don't reflect the image of our Maker well (to put it mildly). So, suffering is the means intended by God to refine us, to sanctify us, so that we become more like His Son. And you know, when I look at it like that, even pain like this is worth it. I want to be more like Jesus. I want my hold on the things of this world to be loosened so that my grasp on Him can't be. This is a time for strengthening my faith in God, for deepening my trust in & relationship with my Father. When I realize that He's doing just that, that He's drawing me to Himself through this suffering, I have peace. He only does what's right & good, & He will see me through this.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Love Your Church

Michael & I went to a special church service the other night. It was a "family gathering" of church members, a time for everyone to be together, to pray together, & to worship God together. The only thing missing, at least for us, was the "together" part. The fact that our church is so terribly large is compounded by our living an hour away. So, we don't know anyone; we rarely even see anyone who looks familiar. We don't feel part of the church community. The need for godly men & women in our daily lives is a regular topic of conversation around our home. Needless to say, we're feeling very isolated & alone.

It wasn't always this way, though. That's the sad thing. We were once part of a church that loves God, teaches His Word, & loves each other. Distance was an issue then, as well, but we had personal relationships with our brothers & sisters in Christ. However, we saw what we felt were some glaring oversights. Our strategy could have been to be more patient. We could have decided that even if our concerns were legitimate, we should stick it out & work through it. We could have. We should have. But we didn't.

In all honesty, we knew what we were giving up when we left. We knew that the size of our church combined with living an hour away would make community an issue. We just didn't realize how much of an issue it would be, how big of a hole it would leave in our lives. We thought the trade-off for the preaching was worth diminshed community. We were wrong.

Belonging to a church that is committed to worshipping God through the preaching & teaching of His Word, reaching the lost, & loving each other through thick & thin is what's important. I've come to realize that we most likely will not find a church that lines up perfectly with each & every one of our beliefs & preferences. But if these things are happening, that's enough.

Learn from our mistake. Love your church.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Justice Revealed & Defended

“By Jesus’ sacrifice, God reveals and defends His justice in two ways. First, Jesus’ suffering for the sins of His people means that any sins unpunished beforehand are now fully punished in Christ. God leaves no sin unpunished. Mercy and grace do not come at the expense of justice. Second, because the sins of the faithful are fully punished in Jesus, God may justly declare righteous those who have faith in Jesus. That’s what it means to be justified in God’s sight — to be declared righteous by faith in Jesus. The cross, rightly understood, is God’s own answer to any objection that He is unfair to substitute Jesus for the unrighteous.”

~Thabiti Anyabwile, The Gospel for Muslims
Of First Importance