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What is Church Membership?

My Young Adult group at church has been reading this book¬†and it got all of us thinking: what does it really mean to be a church member? Is it filling out some forms and saying your testimony before a congregation? Is it showing up on Sundays and Wednesdays (maybe) to be fed with God’s Word? Does it mean you have to serve in the nursery once in a while or teach a Sunday School class every so often? What exactly is it? And what ISN’T it?

As we studied, it became very apparent that most people, including us, come to church to get something. We come to be fed. We come to be nurtured and encouraged. We come to be served, whether that’s by those doing worship, providing childcare, or even holding doors. And we have come to expect those things. In some ways, this is appropriate. The church SHOULD be providing for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of those who come in. The congregation should leave feeling encouraged and cared for.

Are you ready for the kicker? YOU ARE THE CHURCH, PEOPLE!! You! You are the person who is called to care for the person sitting next to you during service. You are the person who should strive to encourage others and make them feel truly cared for and to ask how their spiritual life is going. YOU! It’s not up to the church leaders. We have gotten so used to saying, “Well, if the church would only do this….” that we have forgotten that WE are that “church.”

What if, instead of coming to church expecting to GET something out of the service or out of worship…we came with the mindset of…”How can I GIVE to my church today?” How can I serve my church? How can I feed my church? What does that look like in real life?

Our group has been learning a lot lately about what it means to truly love each other and how to care for the church. As I have been challenged, I would also challenge you to look at your own heart: do you go to church to get or to give? How can you better serve Christ at your church?

This might be a daily mindset struggle (it is for me sometimes!), but I think in the end our churches will reflect the character of Christ so much clearer and this verse would actually become a reality:

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in church

 

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A Great Savior

Currently I’m reading the book, “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges. I just started it and I can already recommend it. It’s about all the sins that believers tend to think of as ‘lesser’ sins. Those like gossip, anger, jealousy, unthankfulness, etc. In our minds we all know that sin is sin but if you really look at your heart you would probably agree that you have sins rated from horribly-worst to not-as-bad-as-murder.

A thought from that book really struck me this week so of course you get to hear about it. ūüôā His thought was that if we truly, deeply believed in our hearts that God has paid for all of our sins, then we don’t need to be afraid to confess them. If you really believe that Christ paid the penalty for your sins (past, present, and future ones) and that when God looks at you all he sees is Christ’s perfection, then you don’t need to be afraid to admit your sin.

What a freeing thought, right?! Sometimes I find that I don’t want to admit a sin of mine even to myself, let alone to others, but if I stopped to remember that God has already forgiven me of that sin, then I can deal with the issue and move on!

From Respectable Sins:
“To the extent that I grasp, in the depth of my being, this great truth of God’s forgiveness of my sin through Christ, I will be freed up to honestly and humbly face the particular manifestations of sin in my life. That’s why it is so helpful to affirm each day with John Newton that, ‘I am a great sinner, but I have a great Savior.‘” (pg.35, emphasis added)

I have that quote from John Newton hanging in my room and I see it every day. It reminds me that I AM FORGIVEN! Yes, I still sin and make mistakes but Christ is greater than my sin and has already forgiven me! How incredible is that?!

So don’t be afraid to admit or confess your sin to yourself, to the Lord, and even to others. Realize that if you are a believer, you are already forgiven. Your sin was nailed to the cross long ago and¬†you also can say that you are a great sinner, but you have an even greater Savior.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in books

 

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A Healthy View of Sin

So my Dad has given me and my younger sister a reading assignment and I’m really enjoying the book. It’s called “When Sinners Say I Do” by Dave Harvey. (He’s also made reading it a prerequisite for anyone wanted to marry us!) ūüôā ¬†I’m only two chapters into it but I have already learned so much! One thing I love about the book is that it applies to all of life. ¬†The lessons you can learn will aid in every relationship you have because every relationship is about bring glory to the Lord!

The chapter I read today had to do with our view of sin. I’m beginning to realize how lightly I take sin sometimes. How easy it is to brush it off and forget it. I’m learning that I need to have God’s view of sin and not buy into what the world says about it. ¬†From the book:

“Do you fear that you’ll be too hard on yourself? If so, just remember that to Paul, his ‘worst of sinners’ view was a sign of clear-eyed self-assessment and a robust awareness of the holiness of God. Remember also who we are in Christ¬†despite our sin: we are treasured children of the Father, who loved us enough to send his only Son to suffer the punishment for our sins, even those sins we have yet to commit. And remember that God is at work in you, conforming you into a genuine, from the inside out, example of Christ. A sober assessment of our sinful condition doesn’t hinder that work, it celebrates it!”

I’ve seen two very different views of sin in people I know:

1. The person who is flippant and disregards the seriousness of sin and

2. The person who refuses to let go of their forgiven sin and beats themselves up continually.

 

I think both views are wrong and there is a happy medium. We need to realize exactly what our sin is (rebellion against our holy God) and I think it should grieve us when we sin against our Savior. But we also need to move on once we have repented (turned away from the sin) and God has forgiven us. To doubt God’s ability to forgive is to depreciate Christ’s work on the cross.

All these concepts have been floating around in my mind for the past week or so. Prompted not only by this book but also by a Bible study I am doing. I’m excited to see what else the Lord has to teach me!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in books

 

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Book Recommendation

Thanks to a late-night babysitting engagement last night, I finally finished The Answers Book!  So now I have the happy job of writing my two-cents about it.

Over all, it was an amazing book.¬† Some of the science was a little over my head but even with that, I could still gain the point of each chapter.¬† I wasn’t even aware of some of the ridiculous arguments people make against the Bible.¬† Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the information in this book to be better informed and to better articulate and defend the accuracy of the Bible.

I loved the chapter on the dinosaurs.¬† I laughed at the chapter entitled:¬† “Could God Really Have Created Everything in Six Days.”¬† Well, duh, he IS GOD!!

Anyway, it was a great book and would benefit anyone who reads it!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in books

 

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Dreams Come True- at the Library

Random Fact: We went to the library today.¬† Everyone knows that libraries are magical places filled with wonderful things,¬†¬†aka…books.¬† And we all love books. We used to take a laundry basket to carry all of our books in until all of our baskets broke. Now we just have a regular basket.¬† It’s fun to go to the library because a couple of the librarians groan when they see us walk in.

Another Random Fact: I love David McCullough. I’ve read 1776, John Adams, Truman, and Mornings on Horseback. I like the reliability of his facts and the interesting way he presents them.

So, I told you all that in order to tell you that I found a golden treasure today at the library. They got a new book-

The illustrated edition of 1776!  It is huge and comes with replicas of original documents, letters, and maps in pockets on the inside!   It costs about $60 and I can read it for free!  I ran to Caroline to tell her the amazing news and she gave me a funny look. Obviously not a history fanatic.

 

Needless to say, my day was made.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in books

 

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Books I’m Reading

As I finished Grace Unknown, I had the wonderful privilege to pick a new book to read!  I searched for a while with some idea of what I was looking for and finally found it.

2,000 Years of Christ’s power: Renaissance and Reformation

You know you’ve got a good book in your hands when it’s dedicated to The Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals! I’ve wanted to read this book for years but one shouldn’t just jump thoughtlessly into a 600 page book without thinking and planning! I’m also starting:

The New Answers Book

because I want to learn better how to logically and scientifically defend creationism.

I like to read two books at the same time so if I don’t feel like one, I can read the other. I’m also about to finish Stepping Heavenward for the tenth time!¬†I really like that book because I sometimes struggle with the same things that the main character wrestles with. When I find a book I really like, I read it to death in order to really understand it. I’m so excited to learn from these books!

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in books

 

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Now the Irresistible Grace Post

I’m finally done reading Grace Unknown!¬† What an amazing book! It is the best and clearest book I have read on Reformed Theology.¬† The chapter on election was especially helpful.¬† I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately and how undeserved it really is.¬† Hence, I was very excited to read the chapter on irresistible grace.¬† And I was not disappointed:

 

“To say that the grace of regeneration is irresistible is simply to say that this grace, which is so¬†vital to our salvation, is sovereign. This grace is dispensed sovereignly and freely by God. It is truly grace, with no mixture of human merit of any kind. by this grace the captives are set free and the dead in sin are raised to a new life. This is the manifest work of the tender mercy of God, who stoops to rescue his children from sin and death and who, as he did in the initial work of creation, takes pieces of clay that are spiritually lifeless and breathes into them the breathe that quickens them.”

 

My favorite quote from the whole book is: “Grace that is owed is not grace.”

That really started me thinking.¬† It’s makes sense.¬† Grace is something that is undeserved but given anyway.¬† It can’t be owed if it is undeserved.¬† Grace cannot be owed. If it was owed, it would not be grace. Grace is something that God gives us willingly and freely. He certainly doesn’t have to, but he chooses to anyway.¬† We do not deserve grace and we cannot earn it. We deserve hell, and that would be the just thing to give us.

Thankfully, God is full of grace.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Calvinism

 

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