All posts tagged: confession

Are You Arming Yourself with Worthless Spitballs?

I remember being a college student and sitting in front of the TV listening to the Georgia Governor Zell Miller speak at the Republican National Convention in 2004. He was talking about how Senator Kerry, then presidential candidate, was opposed to expansion of military forces. Governor Miller said, “This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, US forces armed with what? Spitballs?” The crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Agree or disagree, I have never been able to forget, “Armed with what? Spitballs?” I think this often what we arm ourselves with when it comes to sin: spitballs. Sin is deadly, and it is not Satan who sends us to Hell, it is our sin. Sin has ended the lives of millions of people, and has led people to end their life as well. Sin has caused countless health issues, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and secluded life styles. Sin has led to division in families, and churches, business. It has started wars and psychotic mass casualties. …

Is Church More Than Entertainment for You?

Football games, movies, game nights, conferences, concerts, and other events tend to bring us together. We really like to sit back and watch, and it seems like whatever problems plagued us before take a back seat to the entertainment. Sometimes we allow the church to become this. We get up on Sunday mornings, come to a building, and watch “church” happen. We can watch the sermon like we watch Netflix. We review the service on a scale of our own personal preference. But when it’s over, our problems come flooding back and we are rarely changed. If your team wins or loses the big game, you will remember it for a few weeks. If you really enjoy a show on Netflix, you might binge-watch it, cry a few times, and even remember a few quotes—but next month you will have moved on to something else. Likewise, if you watch the church instead of being the church, don’t expect anything to change in your life. If you have been united to Christ through faith, God has …

The Gospel has the Power to Drive Out Shame

Sin is ugly. Rarely does sin have only one consequence. More often, sin has a web of consequences. In John 4, we can see a few of those consequences playing out in the life of the Samaritan woman. First, the Samaritan woman came to draw water at the sixth hour, that is, about noon (v6-7). Why would anyone come to draw water at noon? The context seems to point to the fact that no one else was there during that time, except for Jesus. It’s speculated that the Samaritan woman came to the well at this time intentionally. She wasn’t coming to the well because she knew Jesus would be there, but likely to avoid shame she would feel in the presence of other people. There’s one consequence of sin—shame. Perhaps the shame she already feels is what led her to the well—all alone—at this hour. Sin also tends to separate us from other people. Whether we withdraw from community, or the community withdraws from us, sin can be found at the heart of this division. …

Distracted by Spiritual Fat and a Host of Parasites

Florence Chadwick, according to Leadership Journal, was a brave and strong young lady. She waded into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean on a July morning in 1952, to do something no woman had ever done—swim the twenty-six mile stretch of water between Catalina Island and the California coast. She was a veteran of long-distance swimming, but that July swim in the Pacific presented come terrific challenges: sharks were trailing her and had to be driven off several times. A fog then settled on the channel. Florence swam for fifteen hours before taking her last stroke. She was tired, cold, and discouraged. And she couldn’t see the shoreline. Shortly after being dragged into the boat it was discovered that Florence was less than a mile from the shoreline. Florence failed her challenge because she lost sight of the goal. As followers of Jesus, we have a goal set before us—being made into the likeness of Jesus (see Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18). All-too-often, I get distracted and lose sight of the goal. God knows this tendency is …

Are You United in Thought and Purpose?

One of the clearest ways that the church looks separate from the world is through unity. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul says, “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” It is worth noting that Paul does not base this statement on his authority as an apostle. Instead, he appeals to them “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this short verse, Paul instructs the Corinthians to:  agree in all matters concerning the doctrines of the gospel maintain a tender love for one another not form groups as a consequence of disagreement Anyone could look around at the global church and see that we have messed this up. Evaluating my own life based on this verse, I asked myself: Am I leaving people out? Do I intentionally avoid specific or certain kinds of people? Who have I not maintained a tender …

Is Your Faith Authentic in a Season of Masks?

-written by Kyndel Pirkle For the past couple of weeks at school, we have been dressing up. From cowboys to crazy Hawaiian shirts; my personal favorite was pajama day. Halloween will be no different. I love dressing up and seeing all the different creative costumes and the face make-up that creeps me out, but can’t take my eyes away from it. Kids and adults alike will take this holiday as an opportunity to dress up as that one thing they resonate with. Halloween is fun because we get to look like someone else for the night. We get to wear clothes that would normally have people staring holes through us and make-up that distorts our faces. We put on masks that hide who we really are. This is often what we do when we put on our happy “I’m blessed” Christian face, even though we are the same sinful human on the inside. Our human nature is obsessed with covering up flaws and correcting bad behavior, but as we have read and heard, Christ is in the …

Are You Ashamed of Your Fear?

-written by Joe Bradley Recently I talked with my boss about the culture around most workplaces.  She brought up the fact that many times people operate out of shame and fear.  When a mistake happens the first reaction is to cover it up rather than trying to fix what caused it in the first place.  People are ashamed that they made a mistake and out of that shame grows fear that someone will find out about it.  One of her biggest desires for our workplace is to cultivate an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to own up to their mistakes and help to make the process better for everyone. This conversation made me take a step back and think about, not just my life at work, but my life in general.  I’m honestly afraid of my shame.  It’s something that is very hard for me to think about, much less write about.  I don’t like being wrong.  I don’t like messing up.  But more than that, I don’t like for other people to know about it. So when I …

The Habit of Confession

written by Kyndel Pirkle When I get nervous, I poop. It’s just a sick truth. Some people want to vomit, but not me; it’s always the other end. This is why I’m such an honest person, because if I don’t confess or tell the full truth it comes back to bite me in the butt (pun intended). If I sin against a brother or sister in Christ and they have no knowledge of it and will most likely never find out, why is it that my spirit tugs me toward truth? What they don’t know won’t hurt them, right? As Christians, we have an obligation toward one another. We are to hold each other accountable and share with one another in our sins (James 5:16). Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” When I stand before the Lord, I would hate for Him to say, “Kyndel, why didn’t you confess to Jesse those harsh secrets that you kept in your …

Comebacks

Comebacks are hard to make in our smash-and-grab world. There never has been much room for losers. Just ask John Mark. John Mark’s mother, Mary, was a strong follower of Jesus. There’s a good chance that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus in the upper room of her house the night before Jesus was crucified. We do know that Mary was hosting a large prayer meeting in her home praying for the release of Peter whom Herod intended to kill. It seems that John Mark was at that prayer meeting that resulted in Peter’s miraculous jailbreak at the hands of an angel of the Lord. Young John Mark was fascinated with the devotion of the followers of Jesus and the way God was working in their lives. So we shouldn’t be too surprised that he ended up going with Barnabas and Paul on a missionary trip (Acts 12:1-17, 25). But Paul was too adventurous for John Mark. Paul was heading into the wild mountains of Asia Minor—a lot more than John Mark had bargained …

Stop Living In Shame And Be Healed

Romans 3:23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) If you have been around church people for any amount of time, you know that no one really has it all together. You’ve seen the suburban supermom who drives the SUV from soccer to gymnastics only to find out later that she has been struggling with a deep depression. And you’ve heard the testimony of the man who looked like he had it all together, but his past is full of inappropriate relationships and heavy addictions. So if all of us have gone through struggles and given into dark sin, why is it that some people seem to move forward and find healing while others have the cloud of guilt hanging over their heads?  James, the brother of Jesus, said in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (NLT) If you have given your life to Jesus …