Uncategorized

Here we go again…

Thanks so much for your prayers. It looks like Hurricane Sally has shifted way off to the east of my area. We are getting a nice breeze, but that’s about it. Please be in prayer for those on the Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida Gulf coast who will be most affected by Sally.

https://twitter.com/SteveWAFB/status/1305839675001786368

Michelle Lesley

Sally track shifts back east

Looks like Hurricane Sally is heading my direction. (I’m in Baton Rouge, if you can see it right next to “Wed. 1 AM”.)

So far, it doesn’t look extremely serious for my particular area, but there’s always the possibility of a power outage. So, if at any point this week, the blog is unexpectedly quiet, that’s probably why. I should still be able to post on social media, so if the power’s out and there’s any important news to share, that’s where I’ll update rather than here on the blog.

Your prayers are appreciated.

View original post

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Katie’s Story

Katie’s Story

Hi, my name is Katie. I am a wife to a great husband and mom to young children like many of you; loving the Lord and trying to live for His glory, and this is my story…

I became a believer in the summer before eighth grade. I had lived in the “Bible Belt” south all my life, but had not heard the full gospel until then. My family did not attend church. It was only my older sister who had started going to church, became a believer, and relentlessly kept inviting me until I at least starting going to youth group meetings. Once I finally came, I realized that the youth there were different from all the other kids I had met moving around and going to a few different public elementary schools. I was intrigued, and quickly became a regular in youth activities at the church. I started going to the Sunday morning services too. At a back to school rally, it finally all clicked for me and I fully understood the gospel and fully and completely gave my life to the Lord, asking Him alone to save me from my sin, and grant me new life in Him.

It was such a transformation! The Lord gave me a newfound desire to read His Word; to try and understand better who I was now as a believer.

It was such a transformation!

Fast forward a couple of years to about age 21. I started reading the “Christian” books for women that I was finding at LifeWay and other Christian stores. I found Beth Moore’s materials, and her style of writing and speaking was very interesting to me. She had a very likable persona when she spoke. She seemed like the coolest Christian woman ever. Always smiling and joking, telling stories with spiritual messages. Always seemed well put together. “Who would not like to be her?” I thought.

I just did not know that her Bible teaching was not exactly rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I quickly accumulated a bunch of her studies, books, and started going to some of her events. I became a regular on her blog on her ministry website too. I would check her blog everyday, comment on virtually anything her or her writing staff posted. I know, I had completely bought into her teachings. I even met her once at an event, very briefly, and she recognized who I was by my screen name on the blog. She even gave a shout out to me on her blog once.

The red flags started popping up…

I did not want to think that there was anything wrong with her teachings. That is, until the “red flags” started popping up. I came across some critiques of her on the internet on discernment blogs of various kinds. Some of them were written thoughtfully and fairly I thought, but some were just downright mean and hateful. Did they even know her or follow her teachings all that much? I didn’t think any of these critics knew her personally.

I started to see it though. She wasn’t actually dividing the Word of Truth very accurately. She would not listen to anyone either that tried to alert her or warn her. Not enough to change the theological direction she was heading in anyway. It concerned me that she seemed to be trying to bring in the Catholic Church into fellowship with Protestant denominations in her Believing God study videos. It concerned me that she seemed OK with preaching to men. I tried writing many letters to her, but the replies I received, just a few sentences from her or a pre-made letter from her writing staff did not satisfy my questions about what she was teaching or doing at her events and in her Bible studies. It really broke my heart because I think that Beth and her staff really cared a bunch for me, and I for them. I had followed the blog so closely that I felt like I “knew” Beth as a friend. As a spiritual mentor even. She seemed almost like family.

I felt like I knew Beth…She seemed almost like family.

However, after Beth appeared on Joyce Meyer’s TV show and endorsed her to her face, I knew enough to know that I couldn’t follow her blog anymore or recommend her or her teachings to anyone. I, who had actually facilitated her studies at my church, now did not want her studies at my church. I wrote to her by hand to tell her that I could not follow her or recommend her anymore, but I would at least pray for her. I had told her on her blog that I would always pray for her and her family, and I wanted to keep my promise. I truly meant that. She had been through such an awful childhood experience and I felt such sadness that she was so deceived, and was now deceiving others, not rightly teaching God’s Word. I told her I really wished it was not her who was doing and teaching these things. I still pray that one day, if it is possible, that she would repent.

It has taken a few years now for me to separate myself from who I was and how I thought that I should relate to God to who I am now, and how to truly, biblically relate to God and His Word as a true believer. It has been a journey of sorts, having to go back to the pure truths of God’s Word. I became legitimately depressed because, come to find out, not just Beth Moore; but quite a few of the women authors who sold studies and books at Lifeway and other Christian bookstores are not rightly teaching God’s Word either. I had no idea. Naive? Yes, for sure, I think, looking back now.

But I can warn other women…

But, I can warn other women like myself. Other Christian young or older women need to be told to be Bereans. Research the teachers that you listen to! Even look into the Christian music that you listen to! You need to know God’s Word. The Bible is truth without error. Do not be ignorant of the Scriptures and proper hermeneutics- how to properly understand and interpret the Scriptures. Do not just blindly follow any so called Christian celebrity teacher that you think is interesting. Really look into what they believe and teach and see if it does square with the Bible or not. If it doesn’t match up, even if you love their personality, don’t follow them anymore.

Hopefully, my story can help you in your walk with the Lord, my sisters in Christ.

With much love, Katie.


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Contact me, or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (The Bible Project, leaving Elevation, Bible study supplements, Attend the study?…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


A friend recently recommended your website for guidance with deciphering false teachers. I am wondering what do I do with all the books that I will now be getting rid of. I can’t in my right mind donate them or sell them. Is it enough to recycle them? Should they be trashed or even burned? Thanks in advance for your time and wisdom in this question. Thank you for your site and all the research and resources you have put together. I appreciate you.

How very kind of you to say! It is my absolute pleasure to serve you, and all my readers, in Christ.

I rejoice with you that God is growing you in discernment. Your instinct not to donate or sell these materials is correct. Throwing them out (render them unreadable first) or burning them is the best thing to do. (See section 3 of this article for more – you are not alone!)

(Long time readers- I know you’ve seen me address this question several times, but it is so encouraging to me to hear from women whose eyes have been opened to biblical truth, and I figured it would be encouraging to you, too. I might address this question every time I receive it just for the encouragement factor! :0)


Have you researched The Bible Project?

I have not, but my friend Gabriel Hughes has done a bunch of research on it. The short version is that he doesn’t recommend it. Click here for the long version.


I read your article about leaving Elevation Church. I am interested in hearing more about your experience.

Thank you for asking. I’d love to help you out, but as you can see from the title of the article and other remarks before, after, and in the article, this was a guest post, written by one of my readers who wishes to remain anonymous. I didn’t write it. I’ve never been to Elevation nor laid eyes on Steven Furtick.

If you have a question for the author of the article, I would suggest leaving a comment in the comment box on that article (click “leaving Elevation church” above, and leave your comment there, or she probably won’t see it). I will leave it up to her to check the comments from time to time and reply as she feels appropriate. (Just to save fans of Furtick, Elevation, and false doctrine some time: I will not be publishing your comments.)

Or, seeing as I’ve received several comments and questions about this article, if someone would like to start a “Survivors of Elevation” sort of Facebook group, send me the link. As long as I don’t receive any reports of unbiblical shenanigans, I’ll refer any inquiries I receive to the group.


Do you know if any good resources to study 1 Corinthians? Any good books, sermons, teachings you know about? It’s for my church’s ladies Bible Study. We read from the Bible but always like an extra sound resource.

While I don’t make recommendations for what I call “canned” (book, workbook, DVD, etc.) Bible studies, if you’re already studying straight from the Bible itself it can be helpful to use some good study aids, sermons, etc. as supplements from time to time. Here’s what I’d recommend for 1 Corinthians or any other book of the Bible:

Bible Book Backgrounds: Why You Need Them and Where to Find Them (I would also recommend any of the other materials at these three sites, not just the book backgrounds.)

Study Bibles, Commentaries, Dictionaries, and Bible Study Helps (see #4)

Recordings / transcripts of any previous sermons your own pastor has preached on the passage you’re studying.

Anything John MacArthur / Grace to You has preached, taught, or written on the passage. (Use the search bar)

Anything R.C. Sproul / Ligonier has preached, taught, or written on the passage. (Use the search bar. Also note that this is a Presbyterian ministry, so if you are more in the Baptistic stream, there will be a few perspectives you don’t align with,  but it’s always helpful to hear the other side of the issue from a doctrinally sound source.)

When using these resources (except for the Bible book backgrounds), I would strongly recommend studying the passage yourself first, and then listening to someone else’s sermon, reading someone else’s article, etc. Do the work of digging in by yourself, without being influenced by anybody else’s voice.

Why? A) It’s good discipline. We need to be able to mine the Scriptures and hear God speaking to us through His word for ourselves, without someone else doing the work for us and telling us what the passage means or how it applies. B) It’s such an amazing experience to grasp what God is saying in a particular passage and then turn to other Christians – maybe even Christians who lived hundreds of years ago and thousands of miles away – to whom God revealed the exact same thing by the exact same Holy Spirit. It will help you get a bigger sense of the inspiration of Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s work through His living and active Word, God’s sovereignty, and your connection to, and fellowship with the church catholic (“little ‘c'” / universal).


Regarding the steps listed in “How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing”: If I talk to the Women’s Ministry Team and they decide to use the wrong teaching regardless, is it best to AVOID the classes or attend and be quiet? Previously, I attended and stayed quiet. I did not like that strategy, but to bow out totally feels uncomfortable as well. Just wondered whether anyone else has this issue. Pretty sure I will bow out next time.

Great question – and yes, it’s an issue for many women, unfortunately.

First, just in case you or another reader might need clarity on this part of the article (in #4a), when I say “approach [the women’s ministry leader] first before going over her head to the elders or pastor. You want to win your sister over to the truth, if possible, not simply force her to change things because a superior tells her she has to,” and “it’s usually best to approach the lower level leader, if any, before going over his head,” I don’t mean to approach only the women’s ministry leader or other lower level leader(s).

If you go to the women’s ministry leader, following the steps in the article, and she ends up saying, “Sorry, but I think you’re wrong and we’re going to do this study anyway,” you don’t stop there. You start over at step 1 with the next person up the chain of command – for example, the elder or associate pastor who handles discipleship/Bible study. You go through all the steps with him. If he gives you the same answer as the women’s ministry leader, you keep going up the chain of command until somebody listens and does what’s biblical or until you get to the top of the chain (in most cases, the pastor), whichever comes first.

If you’ve gotten all the way to the pastor and he, despite the evidence you’ve given him essentially says, “I don’t care. I’m going to allow the women’s ministry to keep using materials by false teachers,” it is then time for you (and your husband, if you’re married) to start considering whether or not you need to move your membership to another, more doctrinally sound church.

Deciding whether or not to attend the “Bible” study class is only necessary if you can’t find a more doctrinally sound church to move to, or if it’s something like, for example, you and your husband prayerfully come to the conclusion that you need to give this church six more months before you decide to leave it.

If you’re in a similar situation to one of those scenarios, I would not recommend attending the study and remaining quiet about the false doctrine being taught. This makes it appear that you either aren’t discerning enough to know there’s false doctrine in the study, or worse, that you either don’t care about the false doctrine being taught, or that you actually agree with it. I think you’ll find my article The Mailbag: Should I attend the “Bible” study to correct false doctrine? to be helpful.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Uncategorized

Here we go again…

Sally track shifts back east

Looks like Hurricane Sally is heading my direction. (I’m in Baton Rouge, if you can see it right next to “Wed. 1 AM”.)

So far, it doesn’t look extremely serious for my particular area, but there’s always the possibility of a power outage. So, if at any point this week, the blog is unexpectedly quiet, that’s probably why. I should still be able to post on social media, so if the power’s out and there’s any important news to share, that’s where I’ll update rather than here on the blog.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Christian women, Church

The 5 Church Ladies You Don’t Want to Be

Originally published September 21, 2018

It’s just as easy to fall into a ditch on the right side of the road as it is to fall into a ditch on the left side of the road.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I see how true this is in the Christian life. We can be legalistic or antinomian. Crushed by guilt over our sin, or hard-hearted about our sin. Extending too much grace to unrepentant sinners, or not extending enough grace to repentant sinners.

Abandoning the church altogether, or taking ownership of the church and using it for our own purposes.

The purpose of the local church is to glorify God through worship and discipling the saints. Proper, biblical church membership is not optional for Christians. It is not to be treated as unnecessary by “Lone Ranger” Christians, nor is it to be used as a means toward our own ends. We are to be faithful, invested church members, but we’re to do so in a humble, loving, serving, “others first” way.

I’ve talked about the “left ditch” of abandoning the church:

Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

Six Ways Not to Forsake the Assembly

You Don’t Need the Internet, You Need a Pastor

Today, let’s talk about avoiding the “right ditch” of doing church the wrong way. Here are five church ladies who use the church for their own purposes- to build their own little empires, to impress others, or to make themselves feel better. Church ladies you don’t want to be, and the Scriptures they need to embrace and obey:

Part-time Paula– Paula is involved in lots of different pursuits: travel, hobbies, volunteer work, her kids’ sports/activities/clubs, social events, political events, family gatherings, civic projects…and church is just one more activity on the list. And it’s not even at the top of the list. Paula comes to church when she has time, when she feels like it, and when church doesn’t conflict with one of her other activities, but she doesn’t have any leftover time, energy, or desire to get plugged in, commit to a place of service, or fellowship with her brothers and sisters in Christ. Paula keeps just enough of a foot in the door at church to assuage any guilt she would feel for quitting altogether, or to be able to keep it on her “resume” of activities to impress others.

Paula’s Scripture: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Screechy Sheila– Sheila knows how this church ought to be run: her way. And if you step out of line – not with Scripture, but with her personal preferences and methods – she’ll let you know. Sometimes she’s loud and vehement. Sometimes she’s quiet and threatening. Sometimes she’s nicey-nice and just educates you on the “right” way to handle things. But you’d better get with the program – her program – or else. Sheila uses the church as a platform for being bossy and exercising control.

Sheila’s Scripture: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Cotton Candy– Forget the meat and potatoes of church – sound doctrine and theology, studying the Bible, serving others, and giving sacrificially – Candy is only there for the fluff. She’ll be there for every fellowship, day trip, and fun-filled women’s ministry event, but she wants her “sermons” chock-full of jokes and stories, and her “Bible” studies to be positive, encouraging, self-esteem builders. Candy uses the church as entertainment or to make herself feel good.

Candy’s Scripture: But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3a

Que Será Katie– Katie is a founding member of this church, doggone it, and she’s not going anywhere. Some Katies have been known to say to their less-favorite pastors, “I’ve been here for fifty years, and I’ll be here long after you’re gone.”. Others are more placid, unfazed by unbiblical pastors, faulty doctrine, or spiritually unhealthy practices in the church. They just go with the flow. There’s a lot to be said for a faithful church member who doesn’t cut and run at the least little problem and works hard to help the church become healthier. But that’s not why Katie sticks around. There are biblical reasons Katie should have left this church in the past, but her friends are here, her memories are here, she’s comfortable in these surroundings, and those things are more important to her than whether or not the church is operating biblically. So she stays, loving the church for sentimental reasons.

Katie’s Scripture: Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25b-27

Ulterior-Motive Ursula– Ursula has an agenda and the church seems like a convenient gathering of good-hearted people to use for reaching her goal. Maybe she needs volunteers for a community project. Or she’s trying to get out the vote for the candidate she’s campaigning for. Or she needs a client base for multi-level marketing. Or she’s trying to become the next American Idol and needs a pre-fab audience. Whatever the end game, coming to church where a crowd of people is already assembled is easier than staging a rally or phone-blitzing or setting up a free concert. Maybe Ursula is a faithful member of the church. Maybe she isn’t. But she’s using the church to further her own goals.

Ursula’s Scripture: And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:12-13

 

The purpose of the local church is not to salve our emotional wounds, or to fill a void in our lives, or to further our own agenda. The purpose of the church is to focus our attention on Christ – how He gave His life for us, forgave us, and made us His disciples. It’s where we come together to praise Him, honor Him, worship Him, serve Him, serve our brothers and sisters, and get equipped in His Word. We’ve probably all been guilty of being Paula, Sheila, Candy, Katie, or Ursula at times. I know I have. But let’s strive to be the godly women at church – and everywhere else – Christ commands us to be.