Portes Ouvertes

Friends!

There has been so much going on, sorry to have neglected you as of late. This was a very busy past week. I will be writing blogs this week to update you on the Youth Camp and my trip to Paris!

Today, I just have to tell you about an activity/conference/event we had at the church today. It was called Portes Ouvertes here in Belgium/France (Open Doors back home) and it was part of their Coccinelle Tour 2015 where they are celebrating 60 years as an Organization and reviewing the work the Lord has done over the past 60 years and encourage and motivate a new generation of Christians to support and care for the persecuted church. A woman shared about her faith, imprisonment and exile from an Islam controlled country. I have so often heard stories about my persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide, and my heart and prayers go out to them often, but on this trip to Belgium, I have had the immense blessing to meet several brothers and sisters who have personally endured extreme persecution for their faith. Being able to talk with this women was so encouraging. And it amazed me that she was so excited to meet an American. I was like, whatever, I’m just an American – That’s nothing special! You are in the Father’s hand! Your relationship and trust in the Lord is so convicting and encouraging! Oh to be used as the Father is using you! It was such a blessing and a gift.

For me, it was also really great to have so many of the students who has come to camp be there as well. I feel like they were able to get a really great view of the blessing they have here in Belgium, as well as the call and the weight of that call. It breaks my heart that so many people think that becoming a Christian makes things easier. They is just not true. If anything, in my experience it makes things harder sometimes. You end up facing a battle not only with the world but also with yourself, and dying to self everyday is not easy. However, it is worth it. I can’t imagine trying to do all of this without God. I literally would not be alive. He is my anchor, my hope, my joy, my all. It’s been unreal the transition, but one that I would do again and again.

We, in western cultures, too often hide the difficult parts of scripture and being a Christian, and because we do this, sometimes people feel as if we pulled a “bait and switch” on them. “Isn’t God supposed to protect me?” Then why did [insert illness, struggle, pain, life] happen to me? This must be God doesn’t not care about me or does not exist.

FALSE!

This is just not true! The Bible does say that God will protect us, but I don’t think this is always referring to our physical bodies and our comfort. He protects our soul, our hope, our salvation! He certainly holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), but I believe that He can use anything that happens to us for His Glory and our sanctification.

This should be our priority, not success, health or comfort. We need to readjust our ideas of Truth.


Here are some links that you may enjoy, going back to the Coccinelle Tour! Bedtime over here!! Free day tomorrow… I am so happy! Rest, here I come!

For Information about the Coccinelle Tour 2015 go to: 60ans.portesouvertes.fr/le-coccinelle-tour/

For Information about Portes Ouvertes go to: www.portesouvertes.fr

For Information about Open Doors go to: www.opendoors.org

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Coffee Shop Acquisition

I think I have finally found my coffee shop.

I love having a coffee shop. Sablon_Fotor

Seriously! I work at a coffee shop back stateside, I love coffee ,and I love the environment that a good coffee shop can provide. Enough comfort that I can relax and enough people around that I feel like I need to be productive. Sablon3_FotorIt’s it adorable!?! My friend showed me this place a couple of weeks ago, and then the students came and I life got a little insane for a bit. After that Oklahoma Tornado left, I was able to settle back in, and I thought about this place. This is my 3rd time here this week, and it is now official, I love it. It can get a bit busy, but if you get here earlier enough, you’re good. And there are little plug-ins in super convenient places.Sablon2_Fotor There are also excellent seat right by the windows looking out to the street for days that I just want to read and enjoy a cup of coffee. Oh! And did I mention that the roast IN HOUSE! This place! I am going to miss it in a few months.

That’s really all for today. Things are going well. I went to one of the open air markets for fruits and veggies yesterday and I was very proud of my spoils from the trip.

Market Spoils_FotorAlso, I am teaching tonight at Youth so… Exciting! If it goes well, I might just post my notes from it on here tomorrow.

Shenanigans with my Students

I tried guys… I tried really hard. But the students were only here for 5 full days and we busy all week. Their schedule was packed trying to get everything in. One of them said he’s take care of the update for me… so here is his contribution for us all.

IMG_0951Hi this is Jackson I’m not going to use any punctuation during this because I just don’t feel like it. Except for periods because they are necessary. Blog finished. 🙂 have a fabulous day, you are all beautiful… almost all of you 😉 jk all of the pretty ones.

Well… Teenagers. Gotta love em. – Isn’t he great! ❤

Sorry for the delay in updating. I had been prepping for the student team and then they were here, and now they are gone! So I have spent the past week with 9 of my wonderful students. Having them here with me has been so refreshing and relaxing. IMG_7856Here is quick run down of all that we did.

Sunday I spent the day having lunch with women from the Food Bank and it was Moroccan style so delicious and non-stop eating for about 3-4 hours. This was such an amazing time of being invited into this amazing woman’s home and getting to struggle through French and just share love with these amazing women. The students did prayer walking in the city and just tried to stay awake to kick that Jet Lag.

Monday the Students helped up with English Classes and set up a Doctors Office, Train Station and then a Restaurant. Student Team 5It was really great to see them be so open with the students in the class and bold in speaking with them. We also spent time prayer walking in the city in a heavily Muslim area and in a red-light district. This was a really great time for me because I got to really see the students hearts and one of the students and I talked for a long time about what God has been doing in her life and how He has been calling her in different ways.

Student Team 7

Tuesday the students has an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt where they ran all over town and had to find their way without help. It was interesting to see them get excited about their victories and then struggle when they got lost or frustrated. IMG_7929 I am so bad at not helping, but Dr. Willie kept me in check. It is a valuable skill for them to learn to be able to find their way through a city, ask or help and learn public transportation systems. Then that evening we did some prayer walking and had a night on the town.

Wednesday we had our Youth English Classes and the students just killed it again. That evening was probably my favorite night of the week. We had all the students get together, Belgian and American, and we played games and just hung out, but then we had a great time of sharing testimonies and of the students telling about what God was doing in their lives. The honesty with which my students from home shared with was amazing, and truly, the Belgian students too. I was just so amazed by their transparency and honesty, and by what God was doing in their lives.  IMG_0987I was also beyond excited to see my two guy students maintaining relationships this night and really reaching out a friend of theirs who is not a Christian and being intention in loving him and speaking Truth to him. I am so proud of those boys.

Thursday we took them to a Arab Market and just let them enjoy that cultural experience. Then we went to the food bank and the students got to serve and learn to struggle through language barrier and communicate regardless. I was so impressed with their willingness to jump in and go for it. Then we came back to my apartment and prepared for Next Level with the Belgian students. It was crazy doing a study of the Word in French and English,but it was great.Student Team 10 All the students were giving their input and being involved. It was wonderful.

Friday, yesterday, they flew out early. Now all I have to remember them is the memories, picture (as you can see) and this one lonely bag that was left with me. IMG_1009

I’ll stop there, but I could go on for pages and pages about these kids and how great they were and how much fun we had. I just love them. It’s kinda crazy.

Beyond what’s been going on the student team, I am just trying to figure out all the things that I am supposed to be doing and just trying spend quality time with the Lord. We always need the Lord, but for me, it is beyond apparent for me when I am here. I need Him everyday when I leave my flat to be able to be effective and intentionally. Distractions lie everywhere. I am trying to phase out my social media back some, but kick it up here in Belgium with the students here. I finished my study of 2 Timothy which was a really great place to start when I got here, and now I am moving on to Colossians.

I’ll be updating again soon, hopefully.

Praises

  • This was such an amazingly refreshing week for me with my students here. I don’t think I can even begin to thank God for them and the joy they brought to me this week.
  • I am getting more comfortable trying to speak out in French and being OK with failing.
  • I have been getting some positive responses to wanting to hang out and study the Word together so that should kicking off strongly very soon.

Request

  • That the students would not just return to normal this week as they get back into school and life. That this experience and time here will draw them closer to the Lord and that this change they way they look at their ministries at home and the impact they can have on their schools and communities.
  • I will be teaching at Youth this upcoming Friday about a sensitive situation that has come up. They sought me out specifically because of my counseling experience. Please be lifting that up.
  • Always, always…. LANGUAGE. Especially with Youth Camp coming up here in a few weeks.

Question for you: (I am enjoying getting to know my readers more and more!)

What was the most life changing experience that you have ever had?

How did it change you?

Settling In with Settlers – My New Normal

The beginning part of this week has been quite nice and a definite respite from the usually routine of pure chaos that has been my life this past year. I have enjoyed having the time to think and meditate on scripture. To savor my time with the Lord, rather than just try to cram it my busy day. I know this unique time where I have the ability to enjoy a more relaxed schedule, so I will take it.

I have be settling in well and I have made multiple trips across and about town solo at this point, so I am feeling capable and comfortable in my city. I know my metro and tram stops and even how to get to H&M [Go ahead, be jealous Okies!] I have my keys, metro card and even a SIM card for my an old iPhone so I can call and text my friends here. I am finally feeling here. It’s a nice feeling.

Yesterday I was able to grab a taste of familiar when I ventured into town to one of the few Starbucks in town. I know, I know. I am in Europe, Why would I go to Starbucks! Because the coffee I had I did not like, and I know that I can get some whole bean coffee I like at Starbucks. My next coffee can be more adventurous, but I didn’t know where else to get coffee except a grocery store, so Starbucks it is.

sbuxcoffee_FotorAnd Starbucks may have been tourist move, but sipping on my Flat White and looking over and seeing this view, I decided that I did not care.

Isbuxplace_Fotor

Today was nice as well. I was able to run into town to replace a couple of pairs of jeans that I had brought with me that ripped on the flight over and the other day while I was out. Yes, you read that right, two of the three pairs of jeans I brought with me ripped before my first week in Belgium was out. Functioning with only two pairs of jeans was gonna be a struggle, but only one… just not a battled I wanted to fight today. So instead, I went to H&M and replaced by ripped jeans.

Then I came home and made dinner for a dear friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met, and befriended, while in Belgium, and it has been wonderful maintaining that friendship over the past two years. I made dinner, which was great for my portions sizes, but I forgot I was feeding a 20-something man, so I did not make enough. Crepes_Fotor I saw some apples on top of my fridge and decided that we needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store. We returned with crêpes in hand and even I was impressed with how good my crêpes were. [Note: I did not make the crêpes themselves, just the filling. Thus we went to the store to buy the crêpes, because that is what you do in Belgium! Unless you are awesome and make your own, which I am obviously not.] I am telling you DELICIOUS! I want another one right now.

Anyway, then I introduced my friend to a wonderful game. Settlers of Catan. He loved it! Which is super fun for me to be able to teach him, and having some friends to be able to play board games with.

Catan_FotorAnd if you are wondering, he won the first games, and I won the second.

I am heading to bed, a busy couple of days coming up, so I need my rest.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail for the easier way to stay updates on my time here in Belgium! It’s up there to your right on the screen, level with the title of this post.

Book Review: Honor and Shame

Hello World,

As you saw on my last post, I have a very large list of books that I want to read and I am quite happy about it. so, I thought that while I do this, I would post Book Reviews of the books that I read. Not a full on dissection, or any award winning anything, but something to help me remember the key points, share them, and promote the books that I think rock (or warn against the ones I don’t.)

So, here’s the first one.

Honor & Shame

by Roland Muller

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This book was first suggested to me by my friend V when I shared my love for Muslims and sharing truth with them. It has been a book that has been on the back burner for a while, and before I came on this trip I decided it was time to finally read it.

This writer outlines three main world-views in which people filter their beliefs and views. These are broken up amongst three main cultural divisions, guilt-based, fear-based and shame-based. The books then explains each of these world-views and provides a means of effective sharing the Gospel in a way that best connect with individuals in this culture.

We, as Americans, tend to live in a predominantly guilt-based and view things based on a legal model that tends to focus on right vs. wrong. When applied to the Gospel, we tend to focus on our guilt before the Lord and how Christ took our judgement and declared us not guilty and we stand innocent before God. There are aspects of the Bible that speak very VERY clearly to this, Romans for example, because it was written to Rome, which pretty much ushered in the whole legal/guilt-based trend (and Greece too). But this is not true for all cultures.

The book then takes a look the other two forms, starting with fear-based. Fear-based cultures tend to be those we would see in areas that have heavy spiritualism and heavy involvement with the supernatural world. These people believe “that gods and spirits exist in the universe and they must live in peace with these unseen powers, either by living quietly, or by appeasing their powers” (p.42). This is common is jungle areas of Africa, South America, Borneo and other places where fear of the spiritual world reigns. Christian Missionaries have been pretty effective in these areas because having power in Christ is something that we understand well and is easier for us to understand fear.

Next, and for the majority of the book, Muller looks at shame-based cultures. This is much harder for western-minded individuals to understand because it defies the right vs. wrong mentality we cling to. People within shame-based cultures do not focus on the rightness, or correctness, of an action, rather they look at if the action will bring shame. Also, when shame in given, it does not simply affect the individual, but their family and their tribe. We are highly individualistic in western cultures, so this focus on the group mentality and setting a higher priority on the groups shame and honor, rather than our own happiness and comfort is beyond our sphere of knowledge. In order to understand shame-based cultures, it requires intentionality that not all westerners are willing to put forth. In shame-based cultures, shame is more than a feeling or emotion, but rather a position within society,

Muller then goes into depth about Islam and how Shame and Honor play pivotal roles in their culture. He looks at what brings shame, and what brings honor. He then address the roles of honor and shame in the Bible and how clearly the theme of God removing shame and restoring honor is within scripture (Lev 26:13 for one). Finally, He shows how each of these elements, guilt, fear and shame, are a result of the sin and that the Lord does not address just one of these aspects as he restores us to Himself, but He addresses all of them and this is how we are fully restored before the Lord, free of guilt, free of fear and free of shame, because God takes out guilt and leave us innocent, takes our fear and gives us power and removes our shame and bestows us with honor! That is the Gospel. All elements are important to understand, but some resonate with our world-view and culture better.

Muller ends the books with the following quote “The church of Jesus Christ has the message and the methods to relate to ever worldview and every culture in the world. In this book I have simply attempted to unlock the door to our understanding of guilt-, shame-, and fear-based cultures… It is now your duty, as a servant of the Lord Jesus, to open the door” (Pg 110-111).

[Note: This book does not say that any one of these cultural world-views is right or wrong, just different. When we begin to understand how people see things different, we can better love, communicate and know others.]

I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I have!

[Also, don’t worry! I will be posting an update on life things either today or tomorrow!]

All the reading!!!

I just wanted to take a quick minute to share with your ALL my books that I am planning on reading in the near future…

Be jealous.

The two titles you cannot read are Finish the Mission and The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World both by John Piper.

That’s all… I’m gonna try to sleep instead of read all night.

P.S. John Piper gives away tons of his books for free as ebooks if you are interested or want them. (www.DesiringGod.org)

Twas the Night Before Belgium…

Twas the night before Belgium

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring

Except for a Morgan.

The bags all packed

By the front door with care

With Prayers

The Jesse and her

Could make it the airport.

The snow has come quick

And mounted with ease

While Morgan whined loudly

Wishing snow to be gone.

[Hope you enjoyed that… it just came to me… Because I am a dork like that.]

ANYWHO…

It’s here.

The night before I leave.

I cannot believe that in 12 hours I will be on a plane heading for Belgium.

For three months!

This is just insanity – of the best sort.

I am so excited and honestly, these past few days, I have been absolutely blown away by the kindness, love and generosity of my friends and those in my life. Even my Middle Schoolers… they have been sending me the most encouraging text and letters. I am amazed. Simply blown away.

The Lord is so good.

I learned a long time ago that on my own, I am not well liked and I am not very likable. [I am OK with this assessment of myself – don’t worry, my self-esteem and all such things are fine, I am stating fact.] However, The Lord has been so faithful to me and has grown me into this person that people love. [Hope that doesn’t come across as prideful… oh gosh!] Seriously though, I grew up in my hometown being generally disliked and picked on, and now the Lord has been so gracious to give me favor is so many environments and so many people that love me and show me love that I cannot even begin to process it. I look at my friends sometimes and just ask they, “Why do you fools even like me?” or “I still cannot believe that you wanted to be my friend.” I really ask these questions… and I know that it must be because of the Lord being faithful, gracious and loving. There is not other reason I can even begin to accept or believe.

So unending thanks to God, my Lord, for his Faithfulness in loving me, despite how broken I am, and for giving me the privilege of my friends, my church and this call to Belgium. I don’t deserve such extravagant gifts, but He gives anyway.

So… anyway.

T-Minus 12 hours…

Until I Fly Away.

Woah!

Keep up with me on here because I will be trying to update regularly.

Absente

Man, sometimes like really catches up with us and we just get too busy! I am so sorry that I have been absent these past few days. I am trying write at least 3 times and week and really stay engaged in this blog and with you all!

So just for today, I have been absent because things are really taking off for my trip to Brussels here next month! I have about 6(ish) weeks before I leave and I am starting to get really excited, and scared. It’s going to be a great time, lots of fun, lots of struggles, lots of growth!

For those who do not know, I am traveling to Brussels Belgium this upcoming month to work and partner with a church I know there. I will be engaged in a variety of ministries there and helping the local church with their needs. For some more information about my trip you can visit the following website, and learn more about what I am doing.

www.giftforgood.com/belgium-bound

Finally, on that website you can give to help make this trip possible. I know I do not personally know many of you, and many of you may not be Christians or support what I am going there to do, but if you are willing, I would love any kind of financial support you can offer.

Your prayers are also highly coveted.

Oh, Broken Church!

There are times that I feel just angry. I don’t mean to, and I know that it’s wrong. I should be more patient, understanding, and encouraging. I just get mad though.

I should probably tell you why, haha!

I get really angry with American (or Western) Church mindsets, and how people can so easily get sucked into “Church Culture” rather than true and fruitful Faith in Christ. I can literally rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and rant and RANT on this topic for hours, as those who know me in person can attest. This past week, at my church, i was thinking about this, and getting angry about this, and stated thinking about it.

I then began writing.

I was able to get out some of my anger in the poem below, and communicate how I was feeling, and call out those who I feel need to be called out (if they read it…)

It is long. I was going to apologize of it, but truly – Sorry, not sorry! I couldn’t stop… and I think it needs to be said. So take the time to read it please. So here it is.

Plunged deep in the world

Anchored by the Truth I know

Seeking a way to love the Tares,

Finding it easier than believed.

But as time progresses, love demands more.

My heart breaks as my treasured friends flail.

Trying to find happiness, joy and purpose.

Failing and left wondering Why.

How do I console and comfort

When my respite, my solace, is not what they want to hear.

Their deepest need and the completion of their desires,

They reject as archaic, narrow and just not for them.

“The hypocrites, the judgement, the culture that skewed,

The church doesn’t want them” They think and they cry.

And they’re not wrong.

The church is uncomfortable with friends like mine.

Their lives are messy and filled with grime.

Pain beyond measure, impossible choices,

Risky situations and problems we can’t solve.

How do we act with the lost in our way?

The Pharisees, that brood of vipers,

The religious “elite”, those Whitewashed tombs,

They judge, spurn and withdrawn in disgust.

The proclaim shallow praise for their “pious natures,”

While looking down on the broken with a sneer and a stare.

Rather,

Look to our leader, our ever Faithful Big Brother.

How does Jesus engage the lost?

Does He judge, spurn and withdraw,

Or does He love, move close and embrace?

Matthew and Mark both tell the tale,

Jesus was eating, living and loving,

The worst of the sinners, the tare, the lost.

THIS is our call, oh broken church!

To be a Christian, oh “Little-Christ.”

Our Lord would embrace, love and reach to meet needs.

Do you push them aside or cross the road,

or, God-forbid, attack and judge.

Do you assume you know their state?

Do you know their minds, their thoughts and their pains?

The lies they believe or the Truth they can’t see?

Christ came for the sick, the lost, the sinners to the core.

How quickly we forget that’s our state for sure.

Why do we think we can elevate our plight?

That we’re not “that bad” or never took it “that far”

But save the hand of our Lord reaching down

Our state would be sure and equal to theirs.

We’re indulgent, disobedient and seeking our own.

Sin breaks us all and drags us down deep,

Beyond what we think, beyond what we know.

Our desires, our lust, removes all our reason.

Don’t fool yourself, or think you’re above it.

Your state, you sin, without Christ is damning .

Not matter our sin, it removes us from God.

Separate from God, no goodness exist.

In order to love and serve the lost,

We must realize we’re not far from that heart.

Our culture, our nature, resist this approach.

We long freshen up, cover up, and boast.

To accept and speak of our weakness is shunned,

Hide the dirt and proclaim the good.

How funny, that sounds like the very attitude

The Good Lord rebuked the Pharisees for.

Hiding the truth of our sinful heart,

Claiming the glory for good in our lives.

Not realizing how hiding our sin just makes us look fake.

Promotes the idea that we are mere hypocrites.

Step beyond ourselves and how other see,

And be truthful and honest with those in view.

Don’t show off your “power” and “holiness.”

What good is that for struggling friend?

Rather boast in your weakness, and in your failings,

To show off the Glory, Power and Love,

Of the One who brings all Good to the world.

The One who saves all broken lost sinners,

Who cry out His name, and, oh, what a sweet name!

Live your life not to proclaim your goodness,

It’s worthless, filthy rags, as dear Isaiah calls it.

But look to the Good, with a capital “G”,

That comes from beyond ourselves,

Despite ourselves,

From our Glorious King.

We cannot fix and save the lost.

But we were never supposed to,

For that is not who we are.

Our purpose, our aim, no matter our pride,

Is to point the lost, the ones by our side,

Our friends and dear ones,

To the only one who can.

Jesus the Christ, the God-Man, the Savior of All.

Comments, questions and criticisms are welcomed.

Why is Sin Bad?

[Long one… Buckle Up!]

My church is going through series on 1 John right now, and honestly, it has been amazing, very challenging, but amazing. Today’s message was encouraging, challenging and refreshing. It was a shouting “Amen” real loud kind of service.

The sermon today was based on 1 John 3:4-10

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 3:4-10 ESV

This is one of those passages most of us read and the guilt begins to sink in and sometimes Christians can begin to doubt their salvation. We begin to see the seriousness of sin and how God views it. That was the main focus of today’s message – the seriousness of sin and the importance of guarding against sin. It was so good I decided to post a recap/breakdown of some of the main points. [Clarification point – We discussed in the message the difference between sinning as failure and due to weakness and human nature vs. a practice of intentional sinning – a lifestyle marked by sin. The majority of this is directed as those individuals claiming to be Christians, but still allowing their lives to be marked by sin and regularly practicing sin.]

Sin is lawlessness!

But why is sin so bad?

Most people know that sin is bad. It’s rebellion against God’s law and His rules. But I believe it goes much deeper than that. Sin is an act of rebellion against God Himself, not just His laws (rules). It’s an outright defiance of God. It’s a rejection of his Authority and Godship.

Sin is bad for the following reasons:

1. It ignores the Sufficiency of Christ

Scripture tells us that Christ is Sufficient for all of our needs (2 Cor 12:9, Eph 1:3, Col 2:10). This means He is enough to bring up peace, joy, security, love and completion. When we seek out things in the world to meet these needs for us (relationships for love and completion, money/financial security or abundance for security, ect), we are showing in our actions that God is not enough. We dismiss and disregard Christ’s ability to be enough and satisfy us.

2. It denies the omniscience of God

Intentionally sinning and choosing to live a lifestyle of sin causes us to think that we can hide certain parts of ourselves from God. Like we can hide anything from God. That’s one of the scariest things about God, we are exposed before God because He knows all – even the stuff we do not want Him to see.

3. It shows Ungratefulness

Anyone who knows anything about Christ knows that He died an excruciating death. He, the God-Man, humbled himself to be born as a child – fully dependent on broken humans – and live a sinless life, only to be viciously murdered by the very people He came to save. Not only that, He rose again and defeated sin and death. Why did He do this? To set His people free from the bondage of sin – For Freedom Christ has set you Free (Gal 5:1). When we willing choose to live lives of sin and willing place ourselves back into bondage, we show our ungratefulness and, personally, I believe that we are tell Christ that we do not care about his sacrifice – we would rather do what we want. We demean the very cross and sacrifice of God when we choose to practice sin.

4. It is outside the Will of God – and it does not promote the Will of God.

God’s plan for us is sinlessness… but sin our sin separates us and removed us from the Will of God. God leads us back to his will through discipline and growth, but its a process that can be painful and difficult (I can tell you all about my own story with discipline and how sin removed us from the Will of God – It’s true and its real, and the road back is painful). Furthermore, Sin will never promote and encourage the Will of God – so we cannot justify sin as a “necessary evil” to do something for God.

5. Sin hurts other Believers

When other believers, especially younger (in age and spiritual maturity) see us in a lifestyle of unreported sin, it gives them passive approval for their own sins. This causes thoughts like, “Well if Morgan can do this, then it must be OK.” We must we careful to not lead brothers and sisters into temptation (Matt 18:5-7, 1 Cor 8:9). Furthermore, often times sin is seeking out own good/will/needs over that of others and we can hurt and discourage fellow believes and even lead them into temptation when we are not battling the sin in our lives.

6. It makes the things of God and creates them into Idols.

Sin causes us to value the created things of God over God Himself. We begin to place the focus on what we get from creation (pleasure, security, satisfaction, ect) rather than seeking out these things from the Creator, the one who created it! This is a major theme in both Hosea 2 and Jeremiah 2 – We begin to seek after things of this world and the things that “satisfy” in this world, rather than God. Jeremiah 2 says

“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

We forsake, turn our back on, the living water that is Christ, ultimately satisfying and good, and dig out cisterns (literally, holes in the ground to collect rain water to be used a reserve/back-up if the people needed it – stagnant water that is not good) to care for ourselves. We have such a habit of this as people… trying to provide for ourselves. We strive for self-reliance to a point of sin. We were created for dependence on God.

In light of there seriousness of sin, questions to ask yourself Christian!

  1. Is it your desire to escape sin?
  2. When you fall (fail), do you desire to stop it?
  3. Are you growing in your strength to resist sin?
  4. Is it important to you to repent when you sin?
  5. Are you struggling with sin?

Answering yes to these question is an indication of a Relationship with Christ. We are not called to perfect, but to gradual sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ and gaining victory over sin in our lives).

As the late Puritan John Owen said, “be killing sin or it will be killing you”.

What do we Christians do to deal with the seriousness of Sin?

  1. Ask God for greater sensitivity to sin.
  2. Read Scripture (Stories of Biblical Characters to learn from their mistakes)
  3. Develop deep godly Christian friendships.
  4. Study Biographies of Christians, and read Church History.
  5. Single out a sin for special prayer in your life.
  6. Consider the consequences of your sin.
  7. Confess sin quickly, to God and to other Believers.
  8. Celebrate victories over sin!
  9. Ask God for Grace and Help.

Last thoughts. Non-Christians who read this. Please do not be offended. I promise you, anything harsh is meant to edify and spur my brothers and sister’s in Christ on to further purity and to battle the sin in their lives. If you do not believe in God/Christ, or do not have a relationship with Him, you are living under different standards. I would love to talk with you, answer questions and simply tell you my story if you wish. You can send me an e-mail or just comment and I would love to talk with you.

[This is pulled from my notes on a message preached by Dennis Newkirk this weekend at Henderson Hills Baptist Church. I did not come up with this on my own (blah blah) and I will edit this post and put a link to the message as soon as its up.]