There are many really bad reasons to leave a church. Some common but silly excuses for leaving a church are the following: somebody hurt your feelings, the church is getting too big, and you aren’t getting your way on some issue. There are some reasons one should prayerfully consider leaving a church. But how does somebody know when he should definitely leave a church?
Church membership and attendance should not be taken lightly. We enter into a family relationship when we join a church. It is the body of Christ. We should take joining and leaving a church very seriously, but sometimes circumstances leave no doubt that it’s time to go.
As a regular church attendee my entire life, and as a pastor who has been in some form of ministry leadership for over 15 years, I have some experience with church-attendance issues. I offer 5 reasons that a church member most likely should exit his place of worship and find another one.
5. Members (especially leaders) in the church are in grave sin but no one is holding them accountable.
All of us sin; that includes leaders in the church. We all mess up. We all fall short. But the Bible makes it clear that the immediate response to sin is repentance. And if we do not repent then we need discipline. So if church members are living in blatant sin, and especially if its leaders are involved (who are held to a higher standard), there needs to be quick repentance — or discipline if there isn’t.
Let me be clear: I’m not telling you to only attend perfect churches where no one sins. If you join that church then you will immediately mess it up. But the name of Jesus is destroyed by churches that refuse to deal with rampant sin. Simply read the news to hear about church after church that ignored or covered up sin and are now facing lawsuits. Church members and leaders should be quick to admit wrongdoing and quick to try to make things right.
The Bible is filled with teachings on holiness and repentance when we mess up. And the Bible takes sin in the church seriously. It’s so serious that if people refuse to repent then the worst-case scenario is to remove them from the church (1 Corinthians 5:9-12). However, if your church is refusing to deal with sin in the camp, then you must leave the camp. You cannot associate with a church that refuses to repent and seek Christ.
I am a regular guy. I have zero resemblance to the guys you see on the countless weight loss commercials currently running on television. I still have work to do to become more healthy. But I did something last year that I’ve never been able to do in a lifetime of weight struggles. I lost a significant amount of weight in a relatively short amount of time. Moreover, I did it in a healthy way, and I was able to keep it off.
How did I do it? Well, first let me tell you the basics. On January 1 of 2013 I weighed in at 283 pounds. I was significantly overweight. I was unhealthy, ate poorly, was very inactive, and took blood pressure medicine that I desperately needed. By May 1, 2013, I dropped 40 pounds, was eating much better, exercised 5-6 days a week, and was off blood pressure medicine. And most importantly, I felt great doing it. Well, what did I do? I could probably list 20 things, but I narrowed it down to five. And these are five things that I think can help anyone get healthier if they are ready for a change.
5. Make water your friend.
Have I lost you already? Is this too boring for you? Is this too simple? I don’t care. Do it! Drinking a ton of water was a key to my weight loss and I guarantee it’ll be a key to anyone else’s weight loss. Get yourself a big bottle that you don’t mind making your friend. Take it to work, drive with it, work out with it, and have it with you always. And then take sips all day, every day.
What’s the big deal about water? It has too many benefits for me to list them all, but here are a few: water suppresses your appetite, has zero bad stuff in it (drink filtered), increases metabolism, helps your body retain nutrients, is what your body is made of, helps maintain normal digestion, and energizes muscles. There are more, but those are enough reasons for any of us to start diving into some H2O.
Water is your new friend. Save money by drinking water instead of other beverages. That’ll free up some income to buy healthier foods. Drink a full glass of water before a meal and it’ll both speed up your metabolism and make you eat less. Get at least 64 ounces a day. And if you think that’s a lot, then check out your biggie cup of soda. I bet it’s at least 32 ounces. Put down the soda and pick up a big bottle of water.
You’re going to need to be well-hydrated if you are going to do number 4.
One month ago my wife and I did something that would be illegal in some parts of the world. We had our third child, and for the third time we had a girl.
It was one of the most joy-filled moments of our lives, but for millions of parents, having even a second or sometimes a first daughter is an impossibility. In China, India, and other parts of the world, girls are unwanted. They are viewed as having no value to the government and little value in society or even to their own families. The result has been widespread gendercide, the systematic and deliberate destruction of girls, typically through abortion. Sometimes through infanticide.
Some estimates say the world is missing over 200 million girls thanks to the practice of gendercide. Most of those come from China and India, where they eliminate more girls every year than America has births.
Since 1979, China has had a one-child policy, and boys are the preferred of the two choices for mostly economical reasons. The government penalizes families monetarily for having more than one child and also takes part in forced abortion and forced sterilizations if the women don’t take care of it themselves. This obviously has created an unbalanced male population, and some of the side effects have been increased child abuse and sex trafficking.
In India the government officially frowns on gendercide, yet they turn a blind eye to it. They outlawed using ultrasounds to determine gender because it led to so many abortions of girls. However, they ignore that the practice still goes on.
One study of 8000 abortions in India, for example, showed that 7999 of the aborted babies were girls.
In India, the problem is plain economics for families. Arranged marriages work in a way where the parents of the bride have to pay a large dowry to the parents of the groom. Having boys creates wealth, while having girls diminishes it. The girls who do manage to live often are born into a family that rejects them. In fact, one of the most common names for girls in this situation in India is a Hindi name that means “unwanted.”
The once ignored problem of gendercide is just starting to get attention in media, culture, and even among a few politicians. In fact, a new documentary was recently released called It’s a Girl! that looks at sex-selective abortions and infanticide of girls in depth. The movie is a heartbreaking expose, painfully declaring that the three most deadly words in the world are “it’s a girl.”
The film is sparking a growing conversation in America. The filmmaker has even screened the film to feminist and pro-choice groups in hopes of getting everyone unified against gendercide. But we should take this conversation a step further: we should be asking if the elimination of female babies in other nations can teach us about abortion right here in America.
By asking questions about the commonalities gendercide shares with abortion in America, we might all learn something. Following are five thought-provoking questions, the answers to which require pro-choice Americans to question how they can support abortion in America while being against gendercide elsewhere.
You may find the first question and quote along with it a bit disturbing.
One of the best parts of the holiday season has to be Christmas movies. There are hundreds of them and a few dozen classics among them. As a father of two, I’m always interested to see how popular films portray dads, so it makes sense to find the best papas in favorite Christmas flicks who can teach us all how to be better parents.
Let’s focus on five who would make Father Christmas proud.
5. Clark Griswold, The Do-Whatever-It-Takes Father
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the third film in a series following the hilarious Griswolds. The family patriarch is the lovable goof Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), whose greatest desire is for his family to have the perfect Christmas. How many dads can relate to a guy with Christmas cheer who can’t catch a break in trying to make the season bright? Clark’s frustrations abound as he just tries to give his family a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.” Clark forgets the saw when finding the perfect Christmas tree, he can’t figure out how to get his million lights to light up (been there), he can’t make annoying in-laws happy (won’t say I’ve been there), and he buys a huge gift for his family and then doesn’t receive his Christmas bonus to pay for it. He struggles and fails, but he keeps on fighting for that wonderful family Christmas.
Time rightfully put Clark in their top ten list of perfect movie dads. They praised him as the ultimate example of “determination.” He was always willing to go the extra mile to provide experiences his family would never forget.
Clark makes our list for doing whatever it takes to bring joy and special memories to his family for Christmas. Yes, he fails and sometimes fails miserably, but his heart is in the right place. While many men may ignore Christmas or leave it to others in the family, Clark takes the lead to bring his family the joys of the holiday. I can relate to that and so can countless other fathers. We are kids at heart and want our families to experience the wonders of the holiday season.
For Greater Glory arrived this summer only to be forgotten among the superheroes, arrow-shooting girls, and magic Mikes. The film portrayed a true story of 1926 Mexico ruled by a government deeply hostile to the Catholic Church. The Mexican president instructed federal forces to expel priests, seize church land, and even force Christians to deny their faith or face execution. The Christians were treated as criminals and told to recant their religion by saying, “Death to Christ the King, long live the federal government.”
Those who saw the film were shocked that they never learned about this unjust period of history. Many will be even more horrified to hear that a similar story is happening right now in the United States. While we have yet to see executions of the devout, we are seeing church property seizures and now the imprisonment of pastors.
In Phoenix, Arizona, this week, a pastor was thrown in jail for 60 days by the local government. His crime is hosting a weekly, private Bible study in his own home. The government argues the man has a church on his property and must therefore correct 67 zoning violations. And right at this very moment a father of six kids sits in a Phoenix prison for teaching the Bible on his own property.
Michael Salman, the imprisoned pastor, and his wife started hosting Bible studies in their home in 2002. They later moved into their current neighborhood where they were, according to the Salmans, informed by authorities that they could not host religious gatherings in their house.
They had to have a separate meeting area. The Salmans built on their own property “a 2,000-square-foot game room adjacent to their home on their 1.5-acre property.” Their plan was to use this building weekly for worship and Bible study. The Phoenix authorities have declared the building a church. They originally fined Salman $180,000 for not following church building codes and have now put him in prison for noncompliance.
The Salmans have argued that their weekly gathering is not a church. It is simply a Bible study. Authorities raided the property in 2009 (yes, you read that right: they raided the Salmans’ home property) and cited Michael Salman for the church building code violations. Salman claims that since their services are not promoted to the public — they are a private gathering of friends and family — it is not a church in the traditional sense.
It’s the dream of every pastor. This past week a sermon video went viral. Only for Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, his dream may become a nightmare. And the negative reaction has the rare feature of coming from both the Right and the Left in the worlds of politics and religion.
On May 13th, Worley responded from his pulpit to President Obama’s support of gay marriage. His words, which were filmed by the church, later appeared on the church’s website (though later taken down). Within the week an “anti-hate” group picked up the sermon and posted it on YouTube, where it’s racked up over 500,000 views.
Here is a glimpse of part of Worley’s message:
I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the Congress. Build a great big, large fence – 50 or a 100 miles long – and put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed them. And you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce. … I’m gonna preach the hell out of all of ‘em. … God have mercy. It makes me pukin’ sick.
This pastor will now forever be known for these words. And the church will be remembered for the sounds of “amen” and laughter at the pastor’s words. And those who claim Christianity and support traditional marriage are in danger of being put in the same camp as these words of hate.