Sunday, January 01, 2012

I Need Thee Every Hour ~ Selah

This hymn keeps coming to mind lately, because often I am forgetful of my own weakness and constant need of God's grace. I try to do things by my own power and understanding, or else I live for my own pleasure and don't remain mindful that I have been called out of this worlds darkness. I need my Good Shepherd every hour, until He comes to gather His flock and lead us to the fold. Remember this with me as we begin this new year.


Christine said...

Hi Jennie - wondering how you are doing these days? And, if you are following politics and what you think about that.

Jennie said...

Hi Christine,
I'm doing fine; we had a nice Christmas with family. I'm still doing counseling; just went today. I was lazy over Christmas so didn't do much of my homework. Being mindful of things and being in Scripture, doing devotionals like Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and the Divine Office (not so much lately) helps me to keep on track. I'm not getting angry much and my middle daughter and I are getting along much better. She was having trouble with anger as well. Things are alot quieter at home now, so I'm thankful.
I haven't been actively following politics. I used to, but now I try to keep the stress level down by not looking at much of that. I was disappointed that Cain turned out badly, since he seemed to be the kind of conservative I agree with.
I don't like Romney or Gingrich; I don't believe they're real conservatives. What about you? What do you think?

Christine said...

I think I can live with Romney quite well, because my main goal would be to get Obama out before more damage is done. He is really dividing people in an unconscionable way.

I get way too into it sometimes and then get devastated when conservatives lose, forgetting Who is really in charge here. I liked Herman Cain too, especially just as a person who was so positive and genuine and funny.

I am glad that Christmas is over, though it was very nice. Poor Jesus, I'm sure it's sad for him that the word "Christmas" prompts a cold hand of fear and dread to clutch my heart. Because I'm so unorganized and have to work so hard to get it together to do what moms do - make Christmas happen for everyone.

You may remember that the situation with my mom last summer prompted me to explore the ideas of Al Anon (for families of Alcoholics), and I find that they are helpful in many situations, not just about addiction, especially ones where we are ruminating, or feeling guilt, shame or confusion.

Jennie said...

I should check out the Al Anon ideas, too, since in some ways I have an addictive or obsessive personality. I always seem to want to have some obsession going, like, for instance, this blog for a long time. When I get on that kick, I tend to neglect my responsibilities.

I agree that it is important to get Obama out. I wish so much that we could have someone to admire and get excited about this time though. Then I remember like you that God is in control, and that we may not have a good leader until Jesus comes back :)

I have to try really hard to keep Christmas simple, and not stress about it. I do enjoy it, but it tends to get overcrowded with activities. We did pretty well this year keeping it quiet, maybe because several of us kept getting sick. My four-year-old is just recovering from 4 days of stomach flu, and now my husband has it. I hope it doesn't spread further.

I feel bad that I haven't been posting much lately. I may have said before that I just don't have the heart to discuss heavy matters, or argue about doctrine, etc. anymore. Don't know if that will last, but I've been seeing even more that all Christian churches/denominations have faults and strengths, and we need to learn from each other, and look to ourselves to see what we need to repent of.

I'm glad you keep sticking around, anyway :) I've seen some familiar locations on the 'live traffic feed' even if they aren't commenting.

Christine said...

I'm interested in knowing what happened at your church, whenever you feel like telling the story, if you do.

I wonder what things made it apparent that the pastor was tending to Calvinism, how it was recognized, and by whom. In sermons, or more than that ?

Jennie said...

Christine, I'll try to explain it briefly.
I remember that when we started going to Dogwood Baptist Church that Sam, our pastor, told Eddie and me over dinner that he had begun studying about John Calvin and Calvinism because he had always wondered if Calvin really believed what Calvinists teach today. Looking back, that was the first sign. Over the 5 years we attended Dogwood, I myself saw only a few signs at first, and only at the end saw the fruit of it. Sam didn't preach specifically about Calvinism and only rarely referred to it. If he did it was indirectly; for example, he said that we may wonder about what happens to those who never hear the gospel, such as people in remote areas; but God knows who will accept Him, so we know that they are lost if they never have the opportunity to hear and accept it. God is sovereign. Eddie and I both believe there is more to it than that; that God knows that answer to this question, but we won't know it on this side of eternity.
My husband, and some of the others, noticed gradually that our church was becoming more isolated and more focused on Bible study only, as opposed to including outreach. Sam towards the end was saying that preaching from the pulpit was the main or only way that the gospel is given, and the idea was that other forms of giving the gospel are not valid. For example, one can't get the gospel from hearing a song. This idea also caused several other churches we know of to ask the pastor to leave. The pastor then feels that he is being persecuted for standing up for the truth. The problem is that the people opposing said pastor are those who are concerned for the truth and the church. We love Sam and his family and believe he cares for the truth, but has gotten sidetracked by an extreme doctrine. Hopefully, as often happens, the person eventually swings back the other way and balances out. Sam was wanting us all to study 'the doctrines of grace' and discuss it, but most of us were not interested in becoming Calvinists; so we pretty much had no way to go but out when we saw that he thought we would eventually be 'convinced of the truth' and join him.
Towards the end several people were saying that they didn't ever feel the Holy Spirit in our services. Eddie said he agreed with this, and I have to agree too, looking back. I think that I spent many years in churches like that as a teen and young adult, and did not think it unusual. I would like to be in a place with more openness and freedom in the Spirit, without sacrificing the truth as some do. We need more loving outreach and honesty, as well as the truth of scripture. We need to be open and vulnerable to our fellow believers, as well as open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Everybody has to be involved and considered an important part of the body, not just the pastor. We're now looking for a church again, as our home church group is becoming just as comfy and isolated as Dogwood was, for different reasons.
Please pray for us as we do this. It's an uncomfortable process.

Jennie said...

As to who noticed the problem, each of the men, except for one who is a Calvinist, noticed the gradual isolation and some of the doctrinal issues. Each had talked to Sam individually, and mainly unbeknownst to each other at first, about their concerns. Some of the women noticed too, but didn't approach Sam about it. The breaking point came when the youth leader announced his family was leaving, and privately told some that it was because of the lack of outreach and 'becoming only a Bible study, not a church'. Then it all started falling apart, since many had been hanging on for the sake of their teens enjoying the youth group.