A Vital Sermon to Hear – What is Wrong with the Visible Church Today?

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I delivered the following sermon yesterday here at Christ Reformation Church as part of our ongoing series in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the Sermon on the Mount.

You can read or listen to the sermon HERE

Do you wonder if the true church even exists anymore today? Of course we know it does, but where is it? Why is it that local churches are so commonly havens for the wicked? How is it that the righteous are cast out? Well, it turns out that the very same conditions existed in the days when Christ was here on this earth.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus identifies what a true citizen of His kingdom looks like (the Beatitudes) and then he exposes the phonies. In His day those were the Scribes and Pharisees and their crowd.

They are still with us today and in many, many cases local churches…

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Local Churches are Giving Standing Ovations to the Wicked (Part 2)

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Php 2:19-21 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. (20) For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. (21) For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

We continue now in this series of articles to expose the evil in local churches that, as in the case of one “Pastor” Andy Savage, enjoys a comfortable place among those who claim to know Christ. That claim, of course, is very dubious and highly suspect. How can Light abide darkness, or righteousness dwell with unrighteousness?

You will notice the experience of the Apostle Paul as he describes it here in his letter to the church at Philippi. He is alone. Almost all alone. This is the APOSTLE Paul! The Apostle commissioned personally by Christ. The…

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Grandma’s Best Gift

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One Day of Fungi Finds at Grandma’s

By: Susan Bea Good

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (I John 5:14/NIV)

For many years I was privileged with opportunities to fellowship with my seven grandsons.  Fungi collecting, basement-campouts, river-making in the sandbox, playing catch over the garage roof, bike riding and chalk art in the driveway, Star Wars, Rikki Tiki Tavi, U-Tube puppy videos, and shooting baskets were some of the activities I shared with my favorite boys.

When they were toddlers they listened intently to my made up stories about “Bouncy Bunny.”  The moral was always that boys should listen to and obey their parents.  This is ironic as I am presently barred from direct influence upon these grandchildren due to accusations that I questioned their parents’ authority.  One of my deepest desires of life was to be a godly influence on my grandchildren.  My current designation as the “bad” grandma would seem to have destroyed that hope.

Because we cannot absorb all He has to give in one big dose God usually unfolds His work a little at a time.  I believe He has been slow-working good through the attacks upon my grandma-status.  I’m convinced now that my present “broken” position is far more valuable than the whole one I held before.  The grandma who was “so, so, so, so fun” is now gone.  But I am sure that God is working in ways I never imagined.

I’m realizing that there is (and always was) only one effort of lasting value that I can offer my grandsons- I can pray, asking God to do good for them…and then trust Him to do so!

I am sure that God is good…and that He is working.  I’m no longer weeping over my felt-loss.  Now I’m waiting- for God to finish doing what no amount of grandma-effort could ever accomplish.  I’m embracing His will, even if it means that I never regain relationships with my grandsons in this life.  Asking for good and choosing to trust God is the best I can give.

This blogger’s purpose is to encourage faithful Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and be a part of it.  Adonai Eloheinu.

 

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Are We There Yet?

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By: Susan Bea Good

“So, if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.”  (I Peter 4:19/NLT)

Years ago one of my very young sons was an impatient traveler.  Early into every trip he would ask, “Are we there yet?”  He was never satisfied with the honest answer, instead he would offer a deal- “How about two minutes?”  His daddy and I would always agree that two minutes sounded about right, and that seemed enough to encourage our boy that the trip was almost completed.

This past year has been for me like a terrible too-long trip.  I have prayed without ceasing that the end of this journey was near.  During this time I discovered that many of my friends are also on their own too-long travels.  Some are new widows, others have had many decades of struggle that have them badly worn.

I’ve asked God repeatedly to hasten the completion of my present painful journey.  Not long ago I asked Him to convince me that He is still moving my life towards a good conclusion.  Indeed He has convinced me that He’s a gracious Father who has actually been patiently carrying me as I learn just how sufficient and complete is His power and sovereignty.

Sixty years a daughter, forty as a wife, and over three decades as a mother…the relational-pain which spreads over this time has overlapped and culminated in this past terrible year.  I can testify that in all this time God protected me.  God fought for me.  God saved me.  He never left me alone!

My newly found precious church family enlisted me to teach the children on Sunday mornings.  We are almost finished with the book of Genesis.  Joseph’s testimony of God’s faithfulness is documented in the final chapters.  When his journey of suffering was complete he made this statement to his repentant persecutors, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  This is how God works with us today!  He is faithful to carry us through the journey that seems too hard and too long to survive.  He never puts us aside or loses interest in our cause.  He is with us until the end!

Sometimes God shares a glimpse of our destination before it comes into our sights.  As with the two dreams He gave to the teen Joseph, God sometimes gives us a clearer picture of the route we are traveling.

Following Joseph’s journey has been such an encouragement to me that I have chosen to adopt his attitude for myself.  I am grateful now for the years of pain, especially this last period of intense suffering.  God has shown me that my trials were a blessing to some who watched and saw that He was faithful.  They were a blessing to me also, as God worked to convince me of His goodness.  I am hoping and praying earnestly that this time will produce a continued reward that far outweighs the difficulty invested in the journey.  I’m convinced it will!

This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to be a part of it.  Adonai Eloheinu!

 

 

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The Most Common Reason Churches Enable Abusers and Oppress Victims

A Cry For Justice

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. (Galatians 4:28-29)

When we first began this blog some five years ago, we said that one of our primary purposes in this ministry was to educate pastors, elders, church members, counselors and others about the nature and tactics of abuse. Particularly in regard to how the abuser is hiding in churches, disguised as a sheep, all the while cruelly enslaving and abusing his victim. While that purpose still stands, the fact is that very few such people have been willing to open their eyes to this evil, learn about it, and stand with victims. The most amazing and overwhelmingly encouraging response to our blog has been from abuse victims. Especially abuse victims who are…

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Out of the Boat

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By: Susan Bea Good

Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes always on the LordWith Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV)

Two thousand years ago the disciple Peter recognized Jesus from the safety of a boat. Jesus was alone and walking out on the deep water. Peter could have waited for Jesus to arrive, along with the other disciples, but instead he asked to join Him. This was risky. Peter’s bold faith resulted in him being invited out of the boat.

I too asked Jesus if I could “get out of the boat.” For decades I’ve been praying that God would save my family. I asked God to include me in His spiritual work in the hearts of my loved ones. I was willing to suffer anything if God would save my husband and children. I was ignorant of the cost, but not anymore!

(Matthew 14:26-31) “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified…(Peter said) ‘Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.’  ‘Come,’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him…”

Peter’s friends were terrified. Peter was willing to be even more terrified! Jesus welcomed that willingness and rewarded His disciple with a partnership in His glory that the others missed.

When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he walked with Him. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and focused on the danger, he began to sink.

You and I can ask to be involved in God’s work. We can ask to get out of the safety of the boat and walk with Jesus on the waters of this life. At times we may struggle to keep our eyes on the One who sustains our walk by faith. We may even feel ourselves sinking and overwhelmed with the power of the waves. Jesus promises He will never leave us alone. We can be sure that He will not let us drown in this life. He will reach out and catch us. If you ask to get out of the boat keep your eyes on Jesus!

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

look full in His wonderful face,

and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

in the light of His glory and grace.”

This blogger writes to encourage faithful Christ-followers as they participate in God’s Big Picture. Adonai Eloheinu.

“Give Me Jesus” (Gokey) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbh43MGoigw

 

 

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Standing for Righteousness

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By: Susan Bea Good

Psalm 112:6 “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.” (NIV)

This year I escaped from 39 years of abuse from a man who should have loved and cherished me. That era began as I thought I was escaping from 19 years of abuse from another who should have been my protector. The immediate result of exposing my husband was that I had to leave my church, my home, my dog, and a ministry. The ongoing result, which became excruciatingly clear on December 25, was that I’ve lost family-privileges with most of my loved ones, including seven young grandsons. This seems on the surface a very bad place to be. However, this morning, two days after Christmas, I awoke to God gently comforting me with the realization that I am actually in a very good place- standing for righteousness, not just today, but have been all my life!

It’s been suggested this year that my situation is similar to the biblical Job’s experiences with unjust suffering. However, Job did not have Scripture, or the indwelling Spirit of God to guide and comfort him during the trials God ordained. I do!

For many years, especially because I’ve had so many tumultuous ones, I’ve tried to objectively assess the year as it closes out. This year I am reviewing all of the years. Being forced to “start over,” as those who escape abuse must do, I’ve had to get a lawyer, file in the courts for a legal separation, find a place to live, purchase a vehicle, open a checking account, obtain a credit card, get a job, find a different church, make out my will, and learn who I can trust. These steps have brought me to the end of 2017 with the realization that God may be close to finishing my portion of honoring Him in this life. I do feel as though there will not be much time to suffer further, which is a great comfort. It’s also an encouragement to keep standing for righteousness for however much longer I’m here.

God has never left me without hope. He has always given me enough to survive. He has actually always given me enough to thrive, even when I was too young to understand. As an elementary age girl He gave me enough to stand alone if necessary in my school setting and at home. When left un-nurtured by parents He cultivated my soul. When abused and hated by my husband He always reminded me that I was loved and cared for by my Creator. That has been more than enough to sustain and strengthen me as a child of 8 years old until now as a 59 year old woman.

When God calls His children He does it from the beginning. He states in Scripture that His call began even before He made the foundations of this world. So, it should be no surprise when we realize that He has been preparing a specific journey through life for us. He has given each of His children a path to please Him and the strength to traverse that path to its completion.

I expect the new year to find me living outside of the physical reach of those who have chosen to harm me. Those include all who stayed “neutral,” which added terribly to my grief. I hope to stay healthy enough to continue coaching basketball, teaching Bible Club, traveling to Bolivia, sharing the Survive and Thrive workshop, and standing for righteousness until my last breath in this life.

This blog post is meant to encourage faithful Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and purpose to be a part of it. No doubt this particular one will enrage the self-righteous abusers I know. Adonai Eloheinu!

Highly recommended resources for those suffering with abuse or hoping to advise one in that situation is: “A Cry for Justice” (Facebook page and book by Pastor Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood)

Book by Barbara Roberts: “Not Under Bondage” https://notunderbondage.com

Natalie Hoffman’s very helpful site for abused women: https://flyingfreenow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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