church discipline

I did this.

It’s not my fault.

I did this.

Two thoughts clawed at my conscience: one accusing, the other defending. One offering hollow comfort, the other using all the logic of the world.

For the first time in my life, I called child protective services. I reported abuse. In doing so, I have ruined a person’s life, possibly until death.

And it’s child abuse, you know? This should be open and shut. This should be so easy. Child abuse is wrong. Period. It’s that easy. Children should be protected. That’s a no-brainer. I shouldn’t be feeling bad at all; I did the right thing. Right?

…right? (more…)

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Elephants in the Bible Study Room

Jesus knows how to take care of souls better than we do. Go figure; he created them. So why is it we insist on taking care of things our own way?

Bible study was more than a little interesting today. I lost my voice due to a combination of cold and being outdoors and shouting all day yesterday. So, I planned a video for Bible study. It was one that I thought should elicit a good amount of conversation. It’s a well-done video that you can find here:

 

And after the video, I asked: “What did he get right? What did he get wrong?” I expected a conversation following why we need to gather as Christians, condemning legalism, and the like. (And if you want a great response to the video, watch this:  )

 

OK, so I asked for responses. I got some of the expected basic answers: He was able to talk about the Gospel, how Jesus is the center, how we do nothing, how hypocrisy is bad… And one woman asked: “If we’re supposed to be full of grace… if we’re not supposed to judge… then how can we judge sin? Everyone sins! We shouldn’t be kicking people out of church just because they sin!” (more…)

Jesus talks to me.

Well, of course this would happen. God told me it would happen. Why would I expect anything else?

Today was the last of “Four Warnings” across four Sunday sermons in church. I generally use a pericope to make sure I don’t cherry-pick my favorite topics for sermons; what that means is that there’s a three-year cycle of lessons for Sunday mornings. I usually pick one lesson from there to preach on. The pericope for the last four weeks focused on four warnings Jesus gave to his believers. Which means, when I make it personal (which I should), the last four weeks were about four warnings Jesus gave me.

The last month has been hard. I wrote a little bit about that last Sunday; this week I experienced some fallout. That fallout is going to continue for a while, I suspect. Several people are very angry at me for standing on God’s Word.

A month ago, Jesus warned, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division” (Luke 12:51). He told me to be ready for this. You either stand with Jesus against the world, or with the world against Jesus.

I’ve found out that a lot of people are angry because of misinformation. I was forced to enact church discipline against a member who doggedly pursued sin. This member is now telling the family that it’s this person’s fault or that person’s, but of course not owning up to the real cause: That person’s own sin. This person refuses to be divided from their sin, so they’re being divided from Jesus. (more…)

Devil and the Details

Remember that time I was asked to stop listening to God’s Word in the effort to welcome visitors and hopefully make them members of the church?

This morning was a rerun. Same guy. Same issue. About the same time before church.

Now, I’m not going to say what the issue was – doesn’t matter, really. But I’m noticing a pattern, and I’ve got to say, the devil is very clever. (more…)