Churches and Truth

Churches and Truth

What to Expect?

Churches and truth should be what we expect! Yet, when churches present the truth they tend to be criticized because their ministers upset people when they preach about the sinfulness of man and the inflexible standards of the Bible. Once I had a long conversation with a fellow counselor about the value of “deeper life” conferences, in which the details of the ideal Christian life are discussed. He felt very strongly against this type of conference. He believed it did irreparable damage because after such a conference a wave of very upset people came to him. That they could not attain perfection greatly disturbed them.

People have often turned to me as a counselor because their pastor has upset them. Having listened to him preach about sin, they feel guilty and inadequate. As they relate the details of their stories, it invariably turns out that they are guilty and inadequate. They were much happier people before they began attending church, studying the Bible, and facing the truth. Therefore, could it not be reasonable to conclude that their problems were caused by what they heard and read? To remove the cause would seem to relieve the person’s anxiety. And this has long been advocated. There is widespread pressure on ministers to preach “positive” messages and to emphasize the good in man.

Positive or Negative?

Ministers are pressured to emphasize the “good” and the “positive” because talk of sin and the negative is upsetting and causes anxiety and worry. Of course, the knowledge of sin produces such results. But the immediate comfort of a person is of little value if there is, in fact, sin in the person’s life. To diagnose sin, however disturbing it may be, is a positive act.

The minister, counselor, or friend cannot determine what the diagnosis will be. I cannot determine what my client brings to me. If there is selfishness, touchiness, irritability, stubbornness, rebellion, hate, or deceit within the person it simply is there. I didn’t put it there, but it is my responsibility to point out its presence. This may be upsetting. But I have found no other way. I have never known a person to discover the sin that is causing his trouble by my dwelling on his good qualities. And I have never found a way of pointing out a man’s sin to him that makes him clap his hands with glee at the news. Jesus Christ emphasized this when He said of sinners:[Continue Reading]

What is My Problem?

What is My Problem?

What is my problem? I hear this question asked over and over by sincere people looking for solutions to difficulties in life. Most often the issue is about overcoming anxiety, stress, and frustration. Let’s first set the context by considering this passage from Proverbs:

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Prov. 3:7-8).

One of our responsibilities as Christians is to be witnesses to weary travelers who are trying to use human resources to deal with sin. The collapse of family life and the escalation of dishonesty, stealing, violence, crime, physical and sexual abuse speaks for itself. Our world needs a good dose of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Solutions

Many in our day wonder whether their problem can be solved by spending time in the solitude of some peaceful place or whether they must see their doctor for medical help. Christian’s minds are confused by the constant magazine articles, newspaper clippings, and news reports that claim a cure to the monotony of life. They wonder whether their problem is physical, emotional, or spiritual. Where do they turn when everyone is claiming to have the answer?

Am I depressed? Am I A.D.D.? Do I have a chemical imbalance? Why am I so dissatisfied with life? Can somebody help me? These are the questions that I hear every week as people consult me looking for peace.

Can the biblical counselor be so bold as to claim that the Scriptures have all the answers they are looking for? Maybe a person they counsel started with a sin problem but now has a physical problem too. Now what?

Counselors trained in other than biblical methods seem to think God is not the answer. Family members are tired of going to secular and Christian counselors and churches looking for help but coming up empty. Who really has the answer?

Oriented to Christ

Jesus has the answer but many are so disoriented to a relationship with Him that they can’t seem to find Him. For every born-again believer, He is available twenty-four hours a day yet many cannot sense His presence. How do they get back in tune with Him? IF they do, will Jesus solve their problem? Can Jesus deal with physical issues or is He just interested in your spiritual condition? If your problem is physical, what do you do next?

Maybe you do have a physical problem. If so, go see your doctor and seek help. However, you must not ignore your spiritual condition. Medical doctors have stated to me many times that up to ninety percent of the people who come for help have a problem that did not began physically. Possibly an ulcer has developed. But why? Maybe it is high blood pressure or constant headaches. Sure the problem is physical, but why did it start?[Continue Reading]

Immediate Obedience

Immediate Obedience

When I was twenty years old, Elaine and I were making preparations to attend college to pursue God’s call into the ministry. My dad was a pastor, but I had not wanted to follow his example of being a minister. I didn’t dislike what he did I just wanted him to do it instead of me! When God began to capture my attention for the ministry, I was training to be an auto mechanic. All I wanted to do was go to work five days a week and have a great family life. Finally, the Lord broke through to my heart and made it obvious that He was calling me. My answer to Him was– yes Lord, I will follow You. A friend reminded me that a call to serve is also a call to prepare for the ministry. I believed I was ready to follow.

A man in our church was friends with the president of a Southern Baptist college. He introduced me to the president with a recommendation to attend this college. Elaine and I made preparation to move and attend in August of that year. A few months before August, I was making a good salary. But, I quit my job thinking that we would move in June or July to the college campus. I started a side business just to make enough money until we moved. The problem was that I started making a considerable amount of money. My reasoning and greed took over and I began thinking that if I worked another six to nine months, I could save enough money to pay for the first two years of college. So I continued working.

I knew in my heart that God had called me to the ministry and had directed us to begin attending college that August. I decided I knew timing for events better than God. Have you ever done that before? So, I decided not to move for an August start date but rather to wait until January. The day it was too late to register for class in August God took away every avenue of making a living! I lost the ability to make the\ money I was making. So, I tried everything in the world to make a living. From that time until December the only job I could find was sweeping the floors in an auction barn for $1 an hour under minimum wage.

It didn’t take me long to say, “God, I think I know what You’re saying. You told me to obey You in August. I have delayed and said I’ll wait until January and now You’re showing me that You really meant what You said!” We struggled and couldn’t pay our bills. We couldn’t pay our rent. We had a baby, were attempting to attend college, but were we to do this now? During that time God taught me that when He tells you to do something–obey immediately! I learned that God chases those He loves and He catches them! After repenting, I couldn’t wait to begin college in January. I asked the Lord to let the time pass quickly so I could begin to follow Him.

We moved in a borrowed pick-up truck and a u-haul trailer. While driving in the snow, the truck engine blew up. We found some people that allowed us to spend the night with them. The next day we transferred our furniture over to another vehicle. The very night we arrived at college, we had no jobs and $200 cash in our pocket. Next, we received the faithfulness of our Lord.

When I repented, God began to put our family back in order. It is incredible what happened next. We wrote letters to the people and companies that we owed. Believe it or not, I wrote a letter to an electric company and said, “God has called me into the ministry and I can’t pay the bill right now. I have moved to attend college and will send you the\ money as quickly as I can if you would agree to this.” We did that to all of our creditors and to our landlord. Without one exception everyone replied that those conditions were acceptable! Only God could do that. As we followed in obedience, God restored our lives.

From that experience I learned that partial obedience is disobedience! Delayed obedience is disobedience. If you are looking for a convenient time to follow the Lord, you may never get started.

God is looking for an obedient heart. Though it is difficult to go through crisis moments, as you obey the Lord, He sustains your heart and mind

to get you through the challenges. Obeying God in a few things but not in everything is also disobedience. Remember, Christ’s disciples, “immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:20). Obedience to Christ does not necessarily make life easier, it gives you the opportunity to walk in the Spirit while facing the issues with a new resource.

***Taken from the book, “The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility” by Kerry L. Skinner. Available at www.kerryskinner.com, www.thinklifechange.com, Amazon, and Amazon Kindle.

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