When “moral failure” is redefined as “you didn’t submit to church authority”: thoughts on the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal

I’ve been trying to follow the implosion going on in the James MacDonald mega-ministry world, with one person after another from his church speaking out about his alleged arrogance, mismanagement of funds, lack of accountability, deception, foul jokes, threats and intimidation, and other alleged behavior that seems very much opposed to what he teaches and would, if true, disqualify one from being an elder of a church if not cause one to be subject to criminal charges. Continue reading “When “moral failure” is redefined as “you didn’t submit to church authority”: thoughts on the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal”

The secret to living a life that pleases God

Some time back when I guest blogged on a friend’s website, I aroused some controversy (which is no news now, but at that time it was unusual). Though the topic was whether or not church attendance is pleasing to God, the underlying question was one I had thought about, pondered, and prayed over many times and much over the past months and years:

How can I please God in my day-to-day life? Continue reading “The secret to living a life that pleases God”

Thirsty yet?

Ho! Every one that thirsts! Come to the waters . . . Drink!

New Year’s Resolution #2,019: Drink more water.

Have you ever noticed that you can systematically drink less and less water, way less than your body needs, without feeling thirsty? Counterintuitive, I know. But that thirst mechanism behind your throat sort of atrophies or something. Continue reading “Thirsty yet?”

Here’s the Joy looks back over 2018 and looks forward

As far as this blog is concerned, 2018 came in with a bang, with David and Louise Turpin: the picture perfect homeschooling family, the post that broke my blog when it garnered over 55,000 views in a day (almost 100,000 to date). Ironic thing was, of the many commenters, some of them thought I was an anti-homeschooling blogger (I was compared to Hitler, which is always a fun experience), when in reality  Continue reading “Here’s the Joy looks back over 2018 and looks forward”

Joseph wasn’t afraid of “rebellion, the sin like witchcraft”

This is the first post reflecting my ongoing study of fear in the New Testament.

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When I think of Mary’s husband Joseph being afraid, I think of this passage in Matthew 1:20-21:

Joseph had this in mind [the problem of Mary’s pregnancy and his decision to break the marriage agreement] when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins.”

It sounds like the fear Joseph was apparently struggling with there was fear of disobeying the law of God. He just wanted to do the right thing.

But the fear I’ve been pondering more lately is shown when, after Joseph found out Herod was dead, he took Mary and little Jesus back to Israel. Continue reading “Joseph wasn’t afraid of “rebellion, the sin like witchcraft””

Looking for “evidences of grace” in the life of an abuser

A friend described to me how her church did marriage counseling: the married couple had been told to come up with a list of “evidences of grace” that they saw in each other’s lives.

We were to say them out loud in front of each other and the elders meeting with us. They were, after all, constantly reminding us that Scripture called us to “believe the best” of each other, and this exercise was meant to help us do that.

I went first. Wanting them to see that I wasn’t bitter and really did love my husband, I came up with a long list of everything I could think of: Continue reading “Looking for “evidences of grace” in the life of an abuser”

At Thanksgiving, here’s one of the people I’m thankful for

Six years ago when I first began to learn about extreme abuse, when I was first introduced to dissociative identity disorder as something more than a movie plot, when I began to dip my toe into a world of darkness beyond what I had previously ever comprehended, I eventually (after months) asked the Lord—complained to the Lord, actually—“Lord, why is it you want me to learn about this awful stuff? I don’t know any of these people!”

His answer was as clear as if I had heard a voice. “You will meet them. You will know them.” Continue reading “At Thanksgiving, here’s one of the people I’m thankful for”

The vision of James MacDonald, mega-church pastor who sues bloggers’ wives

Conservative evangelical bloggers are discussing what I believe is a first: a megachurch pastor is suing not only bloggers who are publishing criticisms of him and his work, but the wives of those bloggers, as well as a news reporter who is working on a story about him but hasn’t even published it yet.

So . . . of course I’m intrigued.

The pastor is James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area and head of a church planting enterprise. Continue reading “The vision of James MacDonald, mega-church pastor who sues bloggers’ wives”

What place does “striving” have in sanctification? A response to Heath Lambert

This is Part 3 of 3. You can read Part 1 here. You can read Part 2 here.

Recap

In yesterday’s post, I quoted Heath Lambert as saying that sanctification involves striving and moral effort (trying to be good). My contention, and that of others, is that our sanctification, godliness, holiness, power over sin, and pleasing God are all taken care of in Jesus (His perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating), and we have no striving to do to accomplish it; we are only to look to Him in faith for all these things to be accomplished.

But Lambert uses several Bible verses to support his point (laid out in Part 2), so it’s important to look at them all. Here they are, with my commentary. Continue reading “What place does “striving” have in sanctification? A response to Heath Lambert”