Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Carol’s Story

Carol’s Story

My name is Carol and this is a story of how God can and does work for those who love him and seek after him. Our journey in various churches is a reflection on how immature and ignorant of God’s word my husband, Bill and I have been. We would join a church on nothing more than a feeling, then eventually would see false teachings or unfruitful behaviors, then confront the leaders, then get abused by them, then leave. This became a pattern for us. Each time thinking, “This is the right one,” then each time the same pattern as mentioned above emerged.

Each time thinking, “This is the right one,”…

As a talented guitar player, Bill would always join the worship teams. At one point we actually did find a decent church based on our feelings. However now looking back I can see a whole bunch of lukewarm error, not exactly deceptive, yet they allowed some questionable popular Bible studies in, and the teaching was more experiential than exegesis. It was a nondenominational church as were all the previous churches we had belonged to. The worship leader became a good friend and we were pretty happily going along until he and his wife decided to become missionaries in Romania.

Before they departed, Bill made them a promise that if or when they came back, he would help with the music wherever they landed. Once again, making decisions based on our feelings of devotion to a person and not on biblical foundations. So as promised when they arrived back we left our lukewarm church to help him start a worship team. It was a Baptist church much further away for us to travel to. But we made a promise and we were excited to embark on this new journey with our good friends.

After five years, we began questioning whether we should be playing Bethel music as worship. Our friend’s reply was that as long as the lyrics were okay, it was okay to play it. Then one day I heard a podcast in which a young lady had gone to Bethel and through SOZO counseling became convinced that she suffered abuse from her parents. Bethel leaders denied her parents visitations or any kind of communication with her. I was so moved by this that I asked my husband to help me do some research into Bethel and their musicians. I also wrote to Jan Markel asking her views on playing their music in church. Her response was “No church should ever allow their music”. Thus began many email exchanges between us.

The more research we did, the more convicted and convinced we became and while we kept mentioning our research to others in the church, it was always shrugged off as nothing important at all. Eventually we put all of our research into a paper entitled “Why Our Church Should Not Play Bethel Music as Worship” and we presented it to our dear friend, the worship leader. We presented facts, Scripture, resources from various pastors including John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Todd Friel, Jan Markel, and I had just discovered Michelle Lesley as well. We provided links to sermons and videos, etc…. It was all impersonal facts, and we prayed fervently over it as we wrote it, then again as we delivered it.

We prayed fervently…

Several weeks later we received an email from the pastor. He implied that we may have committed blasphemy, then told us we were very weak in our commitment to the church and that we were church hoppers looking for the perfect church, which doesn’t exist. This from a pastor who was there as long as we had been and whose church history is fairly similar to ours. I won’t even go into the ridiculous threat of committing blasphemy as there are plenty of good solid studies on it which refute his use of it. As far as our commitment, I will say that at one time during those five years, our twelve year old grand daughter’s bone cancer returned and we focused our attention on her and getting her through the painful surgeries. We still served the church to the best of our abilities during that time and after her recovery. So his response was a severe gut punch for those reasons as well as the fact that he revealed so much about himself that we had not seen before. Oh, our dear worship leader friend? We asked if he agreed with the pastor and it has been crickets from him ever since.

Heartbroken is a complete understatement, yet I think the Holy Spirit finally got through to our thick skulls. We finally came to the conclusion that we would never attend another church without a thorough vetting. So we sent an email out to multiple area churches with one question as the entry question. It was “How do you handle Bethel music as worship in your church?”

I think the Holy Spirit finally got through…

None replied. However in God’s sovereign grace he arranged for us to serve in a disaster relief program for some flood victims in a different church. During our service we met the Pastor who was new to this church. At one point during our conversations he asked if we had sent him an email about Bethel music. He had not replied to our email as it hit his inbox at a time when the flood had hit and he himself was busy with disaster relief. But he had intended on getting back to us eventually. He said he had not considered anything at all about Bethel, until that email which got him into doing some research and he became convicted by the extent of their heresies. He then asked us to help him put together a sermon about Bethel in which he would be denouncing their teachings and their music and making it very clear why it would not be played in his church anymore.

I will never forget the day he preached that sermon. In all the years and all the churches we had been in, we had never heard one like it. He mentioned the random email he had received and how it got him to question why someone would ask it? I still fight back tears when I recall how blessed we have been to finally be in a place where God’s word is revered above all else. No, there are no perfect churches, but some are grounded in the word of God and some are not. Some are willing to protect the flock from wolves in sheep’s clothing and some are the wolves. We finally found a true shepherd! We are now members of this church serving on the worship team, the media team, the youth group and eventually will be hosting a home group focused on discernment.

I still fight back tears when I recall how blessed we have been…

I wanted to share this testimony because we have gone through some very dark and depressing times, but God has been there in those times and has guided us toward him and his glory. If you are going through something similar, as long as you are on the solid rock of his word, nothing and no one can prevail against you. Keep standing on the rock of his word. He will be honored and glorified no matter how much it hurts in those dark times.

God Bless!

(P.S. – Since then, we have been on Jan Markell’s podcast Understanding the Times, in a two part show entitled “Worship Wars”, she also played a clip of our new pastor’s sermon. I have started my own blog as an outreach to the lost and to those lost in deception. It’s called Berean Real.)


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!

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!

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Audrey’s Story

Audrey’s Story

A few months ago, I was scrolling on Twitter when a tweet from Michelle Lesley got my attention. She said, in her experience, false teachings enter the church through women’s ministries and worship music. I was aware of this. Many other evangelicals voiced similar concerns on doctrinal errors in women’s ministries and contemporary worship music. What stood out to me wasn’t what the tweet said, but what it didn’t.

In my experience, there is a third entrance through which false doctrines sneak into the church. It is a small door, but it was through it that I got introduced to false teachers.

This entrance is the young adult ministries.

Most churches have ministries for Christians who are in their 20’s and 30’s. I have been a member of several of them, and I noticed other young adults almost always led them. They get attracted to popular young pastors the same way women are drawn to popular female teachers. These pastors are trendy, funny, relatable, and have a substantial social media presence. They, however, are not doctrinally sound.

They, however, are not doctrinally sound…

Being a social media recluse, I only discovered these pastors through the 20’s/30’s ministry at my former church.

My first “Bible study” there was Good or God by John Bevere, and it was the first Christian book I ever read. Since I was a new Christian with little discernment, I believed everything Bevere taught. I got a few of his other books and watched several of his lessons from his preaching ministry, Messenger International. He quickly became one of my favorite teachers.

But as I learned much later, John Bevere is a questionable teacher. He teaches extra-biblical revelations — he once said God told him He was about to do new things in the church that would make Pentecost day child’s play. He teaches tongues is a supernatural language that helps us communicate with God so that the devil doesn’t understand us. And his wife, Lisa Bevere, disobeys Scriptures by teaching men and partnering with false teachers.

The next study we did was Transformed by Rick Warren.

Rick Warren is the pioneer of the seeker-sensitive movement, and he is not a trustworthy teacher. His book, The Purpose-Driven Church, has caused many churches to water down the gospel, and add worldly components in their services to keep unregenerated hearts entertained. In Transformed, Warren frequently twists Scriptures and uses dubious translations to make incorrect statements.

I just wanted to study the Bible…

After a while, I got frustrated with these types of studies and my life group. I just wanted to study the Bible. I hoped that after Transformed, we would finally dig in the Word. But the leader dashed my hopes when she announced yet another canned study from yet another popular pastor. I wanted to say something, but I was new and shy. So I kept quiet. By God’s grace, someone else in the group voiced the concerns I had about our Bible study sessions. The leader considered them, and we started studying books of the Bible.

But ironically, it gave me even more exposure to dangerous teachers.

As we discussed our weekly readings, my mates frequently mentioned pertinent quotes or sermons by their favorite pastors. That’s how I discovered names like Steven Furtick, Robert Morris, and Judah Smith. Trusting their judgment, I listened to these pastors and others associated with them. And for me, Christianity’s best and brightest were men like Craig Groeschel, Michael Todd, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Chad Veach, and John Gray. (I don’t consider all these men false teachers, but I don’t recommend them.)

After a shallow diet of Bible books studies, we eventually returned to canned studies. The next one we did was undoubtedly the worst of them all. It was Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

Joyce Meyer is a certified false teacher who teaches heresy like the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith theology. I bought her book intending to read it, but by God’s providence, my schedule changed, and I only attended three sessions. I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines I almost learned.

I still shudder when I think of the damning doctrines…

Shortly after, I moved to another state, and I have never been back to that church. It’s been almost two years since then, and I realize now there were several other issues with that church. Nevertheless, young adult ministries can still be an avenue for false teaching even in sound churches, and need close oversight.

They are tomorrow’s leaders, and they have a profound influence on today’s youths. Most of the people in my life group worked in the children’s ministry or mentored teens in the church. If these kids get exposed to false teachers at such an impressionable age, it will be difficult to break that hold later. It is evidenced by the visceral reactions of Christians online when someone critiques their favorite teachers.

I used to be one of them. Someone once called my favorite pastor a false teacher, and I passionately defended him. I am ashamed to say that I even used the p-word (“Pharisee”). But today, I no longer follow him and his like.

The Lord is faithful…

I credit this change to American Gospel: Christ Alone, that exposed counterfeit gospels and their leaders, many of whom I respected even though I didn’t follow them; Justin Peters who set me free from false teachings like extra-biblical revelations and mysticism that have been a stumbling block in my faith; Michelle Lesley, who pulled me off the path of egalitarianism, made me appreciate my role as a woman, and exposed dangerous women teaching otherwise; and What Shall I Cry Ministry that taught me the difference between expository preaching and man-centered preaching.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Holy Spirit, who provided me with these excellent resources and opened my eyes to the truth.

The Lord is faithful, and He will protect His elect.

Grace and peace to you!


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? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), 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!

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Michelle’s Story

Michelle’s* Story

Literally the other day, I was set completely free. I’m still dancing!! And, I am not the dancing type!

About a year ago, my husband and I began attending a new church. I could not put my finger on what happened during that initial service, but I remember saying to my husband, “Whatever that was, I want more of that.”

At that time, I was a Christian, but a struggling one. I had not yet come to understand what being free in Christ meant. I was struggling physically with un-diagnosable chronic physical pain. I was on a downward spiral of acute insomnia coupled with not only the physical pain, but also fear and anxiety. I read my Bible. I went to Bible studies. My friends were almost all self-professing Christians. I grew up in a churched family. No one shared with me the truth I was about to hear and understand.

No one shared the truth with me…

About 18 months ago, after exhausting all of my options for treatment, I felt even more anxious that I (keyword, I) couldn’t do anything further to fix this. It was then that God brought an amazing woman into my life to teach me what a true and vibrant personal relationship with the Living Christ was … I bombarded her with questions. What she was teaching me and what I was learning at church on Sunday lined up with each other seamlessly. I have never met this woman face-to-face, she was introduced and referred to me through long-distance friends. Come to find out, she knew the pastor of my new church years back through a family member. Through her, God confirmed the difference was this church was under the leadership of a true Christ-follower. Praise God for people who know their identity in Christ and continue referring you back to Him.

God brought an amazing woman into my life…

As I continue to study, I’m really beginning to wonder if I ever was a Christian. I mentioned that I was a Christian, but a struggling one. And I did read my Bible, and go to countless Bible Studies.

Whether or not I was I guess is not important, because now I am – I get it, oh thank you, Jesus, that I get it. I didn’t get it before. I was under the assumption that since God’s will is for everyone to be saved, then anyone who wanted to be saved and prayed the prayer was saved forever and that could not change. In fact, my uncle recently passed away and we were not close but I talked to someone about this and I was assured of “once saved always saved.”

Oh, thank You, Jesus, that I get it.

A fire has now been lit under me that screams most people I know are likely false converts and they have no idea. I’d never heard of the idea that God saves you in His timing. I thought that as soon as you prayed that prayer, boom, that was it. Your address for eternity had permanently changed. I was never convicted of sin to the point of complete repentance and I don’t recall ever being corrected on this – in fact, I only remember being assured over and over again that I was saved. I was sorry for my sin, I didn’t like my sin, I knew Jesus died for my sin. All good, but I wasn’t changed. But now, the Truth has set me free.


*This is from a reader who shares my first name. This is not my (Michelle Lesley’s) testimony.

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? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), 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!

Christian women

You’re Not Awesome…and You Know It

Originally published September 19, 2017

I am absolutely weary of some of the memes aimed at Christian women these days. You know the ones I mean, ladies- the ones with lovely pictures of flowers or an ocean or a meadow with a superimposed flowing script practically BEGGING us to believe how much worth we have to God, how awesome we are, how we need to discover the greatness within, how God gives us limitless potential and a superfantastic divine purpose, blah, blah, blah.

You know why they have to take that begging tone to try to get us to believe those things? Because they’re not true. You know it, and I know it.

You’re not awesome or great or imbued with some radical purpose or potential that will magically make your life phenomenal and give you oodles of self esteem once you discover it.

You’re a dirty, stinking, rotten, rebellious sinner. You yell at your kids. You don’t submit to your husband. You act out of selfishness. You lie. You gossip. You covet. You bow down to your idols instead of to Christ. You sin against a holy and righteous God in a thousand ways every day in thought, word, and deed. Just like I do. Let’s put on our big girl panties and just admit it. (1 John 1:8,10)

That’s why these memes and false teachers have to try so hard to convince us of how terrific we are- deep down we know we’re not. It’s a lie. And putting all our eggs in the basket of that lie of greatness sets us up for disappointment and self-loathing every time we sin.

Ladies, stop listening to this hearts and flowers, cotton candy, pump up your ego so you’ll feel better about yourself dreck, and put your faith and hope in the One who will never let you down. The One who looked at all your nasty thoughts and evil deeds and said, “I’m going to the cross for her anyway.” The One who sees all your daily faults and failures and is still willing to forgive when you repent. The One who’s faithful to you even when you’re not faithful to Him.

Stop focusing on how great you are – because you’re not – and put your focus on Christ and how great, and awesome, and superfantastic, and terrific He is. Because if you’re feeling bad about yourself, it’s not because you don’t have a high enough self esteem. It’s because you don’t have a high enough Christ esteem.

We’re not worthy. He is. Let’s get over ourselves and give Him the glory, and honor, and attention, and focus, and praise He so richly deserves.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24