God Repels Sin

“God is not repelled by our sin.

Our sin is repelled by God.”

Tony Kriz (Aloof)

Somewhere, many followers of Jesus have gotten the unfortunate idea that when we sin we push God away from us. In this way of thinking, because God is holy and cannot stand sin, God will not be anywhere near our sin – much less near us, the sinner.

Don’t lose sight of God while desiring to be right with God.

This thought causes us to develop a perspective of “working really hard not to sin.” That is a tiring and fruitless endeavor. We become people of the law, people of rules.

We memorize the “thou shalt not’s” and make up others. We say we want to get closer to God and yet our focus is intently on our sin. We work so hard to prevent sin that we forget why we try to avoid sin in the first place. We lose sight of God by the very effort we hoped would make us right with God.

If we find ourselves viewing life from this perspective, that’s a sign that it is time to reorient our thinking. We need to realize that God is not repelled by our sin. In fact, he came to face it head on.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

-Romans 5: 6-11 (NLT)

Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins. He willingly took all our sin on himself so that he could pay the death penalty for it for us. God arranged this in order for us to become right with him.

In his book, Aloof: Figuring out life with a God who hides, Tony Kriz adds, “We do not experience God by avoiding sin, we overcome sin by pressing into God.” We need to pay less attention to how much sin we have committed and pay more attention to the one who loves us and sent his Son to die for us, even while we were full of sin. Instead of focusing on what not to do, we need to focus on what to do to grow in relationship with God.

Trade information for relation

We need to shift our focus onto God. Press in to a relationship with Him in any and every way we can and get to know him. Bible reading is one way to get to know God. It’s important that we don’t just learn information but grow in relationship with him. Let’s listen and watch for how scripture reveals God’s heart for us. Allow scripture to be our conversation together.

As we focus on God and our relationship with him, we can read biographies and learn from Christian leaders of the past who have pursued God and how they experienced a relationship with Him.

We can read about Corrie Ten Boom forgiving her German captors. We can read of George Mueller and his complete faith in God’s provision for his hungry orphans. We can learn from those who had a relationship with God that allowed them to live boldly and confidently in the grace of God.

Trade monolog for dialogue

Rather than focusing on our sin and what we are not doing, we can shift our focus to God and what he has to say to us through regular conversations with Him. I learned how to talk to God from an early age. It started with a few memorized prayers for bedtime or before meals and graduated to imitating adults. Over time I learned how to express my needs to God with my own words, even pouring out my heart to God. But unfortunately, I was not taught how to have a conversation with God. To pursue God instead of living a life focused on “not sinning,” I need to be able to talk with him as a friend. Romans 5, above, says that through Christ we become friends of God. Friends have conversations. I needed to learn how to listen to God so that my monolog turned into a dialogue.

This does not mean I have quit sinning, but that I have quit dwelling on my sin and go quickly and regularly back to God and pursue Him. As I recognize sin – as God points it out – I confess my sin and renew my focus on God.

I encourage you to “press in” to God, dig deeper into a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, and as you focus more on Him you will be less inclined to be drawn into sin. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to both remind us of what He taught and to remind us of our sin. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you deepen your relationship with God.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


PATHWAYS TO THE KING – by Dr. Rob Reimer

Pathways to the King: Living a Life of Spiritual Renewal and Power, is another on the Spiritual life by Dr. Rob Reimer. If you want to live a live of Spiritual Renewal and Power, then this book will help you as you move toward that. He uses a number of personal examples to show that it has been quite a journey for him. You will be able to identify with him, no matter where you are at in the journey right now. He helps the reader to get a better understanding of who we are in light of our relationship with God and his Spirit at work within us. Each chapter walks through a way to open ourselves up more to the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit for personal growth and kingdom effectiveness. Learn to live with a fresh and deepening relationship with the Spirit.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


THE CHURCH REVITALIZATION CHECKLISTby Sam Rainer

The Church Revitalization Checklist: A Hopeful and Practical Guide for Leading Your Congregation to a Brighter Tomorrow is for pastors and church leaders who recognize that their church needs some renewing. Sam writes from the position of pastor and coach to pastors who are attempting to lead their churches to a brighter tomorrow.

The first line of the book is: “If God can save any person, he can save any church.” I have a sad memory of the first church I served as a youth pastor. That church no longer exists. Fortunately the building is still being used for ministry, but that church died. Many other churches are on the verge of dying unless someone can bring them new life. Sam has written a very practical book that helps walk you through the revitalization process. Pastors, I believe many of you could benefit greatly from having this resource at your side as you lead your church to a better future.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


AN HOUR ON SUNDAY – By Nancy Beach

In An Hour On Sunday: Creating Moments of Transformation and Wonder, Nancy Beach draws on her years of experience creating great worship services. She covers many aspects of how to create meaningful experiences for church congregations, focusing on the arts and artists involved in making these experiences moments of “transcendence”. She writes, “Our aim should be to create services so compelling, so meaningful, and so unexpected, that the time sails by and attenders leave with an enthusiastic desire to talk about their experience as well as the content of the service.” Her chapter on creativity is one of the best. This book is a great encouragement to do our best to create services that impact people in meaningful ways.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


LIGHT UP THE DARK – by Douglas A. Balzer

Light Up The Dark is an encouragement to restore healing and deliverance to disciple making. Doug walks through the historical decline of healing and deliverance from its prominence in the ministry of Jesus and the Early Church to its eventual relegation to history and the occasional miracle. He shows how something that was central to the ministry of Jesus has been allowed to fade into the background as if God doesn’t want to work in that way anymore. This book wakes us up to the fact that healing and deliverance should be part of making disciples and what the average disciple would practice. He is calling for a restoration of healing and deliverance to its prominent place in evangelism and discipleship in the way that Jesus and the Apostles practiced. A great read for anyone who wants to truly bring the church back to its role of bringing healing to the hurting.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


I WILL: Nine Traits Of The Outwardly Focused Christian – by Thom S. Rainer

Thom Rainer has written a great little book addressing many of the issues regarding a Christian and their relationship with their church. Each chapter addresses one aspect of a Christian and how to be outwardly focused as they are involved in their church. Chapters include topics like: I Will Serve, I Will Go, I Will Give Generously, and I Will Not Be A Church Dropout. This great little book with its short chapters would be great as curriculum for a new members class. He includes an “I Will” Commitment at the end of the book that new members could agree to.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. I hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.

THE POWER OF WRITING IT DOWN – by Allison Fallon

Allison Fallon is a writer who helps others write. Her book walks through a number of tips on how to keep writing, whether for publishing or for personal purposes. She draws a number of parallels to life and has a number of examples of how encouraging people to write about their life has actually helped them through tough times in their life. So if you like to write, anything from journaling to writing a novel, you could benefit from this book. If you are not a writer, but would like to try something new to help you deal with circumstances in your life, this might be the book for you.

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience.

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. I hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading too.


ATOMIC HABITS – by James Clear

James Clear has written a well-researched and scientifically backed book on how small habits can lead to big changes. By “Atomic” he means small, like atoms. Small changes can have great affect over time. The book breaks down how habits are formed and how new ones can be created or old ones overcome. James gives a number of examples that help to make sense of what he is teaching.

I especially like how he ties our habits to our identity. Deciding it would be good if I would run occasionally is very different than calling yourself a runner. If you are a runner, then you run. If you are trying to make a habit of running because I need to lose weight you will not have the same impetus as if you were identifying as a runner in the first place.

Want to overcome bad habits? Want to start new beneficial ones? Then this book will be a great help!!

Keep reading

Andy

Book Reviews: Andy’s 2022 Reading Experience

I will be sharing a brief review of every book I read this year. Hope you enjoy and hope it encourages you to keep reading.


BAPTIZED IN THE SPIRIT – by Randy Clark

I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons:

  1. I am growing and learning in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and this book brought some goo foundations to that learning.
  2. Randy Clark does a good job of explaining the historical understandings of different denominations and theological traditions.
  3. Randy does a great job walking through the many historical revivals where the Spirit showed up in power – with similar displays of God’s power as many are experiencing today when the Spirit shows up.

If you are looking to grow in knowledge and experience of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, this book is a great foundation to that. It helps you to see that some of the unusual experiences of recent revivals are not that unusual when compared to previous outbreaks of the Spirit. And it helps give a balanced understanding of what we might expect if we are filled or baptized with the Spirit.

This book leaves you longing for more of the Spirit – His presence and His power.

My Must-Read Books

I recently came across a book titled, 501 Must-Read Books. I have no idea how the author came up with their 501 books, but it made me think: what books would I include on a “must-read” list?

I was given a chance to consider this after moving into a new house recently. As I was setting up my office I was trying to down-size my library. There were some books that would obviously not make the list, as I had an easy time throwing them in my “donate-to-the-thrift-store” box. Others made me pause and think about whether it was a book that I might want to glance through again. Some easily made it onto my shelves because they had made an impact on my life and ministry and I did not want to part with them.

Here are twenty-eight books that have impacted me, in no specific order:

The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist, Craig Groeschel (2010)

The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times, Robert J. Morgan (2014)

Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas (1996)

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbala (1997)

A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer, by John Piper (1997)

Visioneering: God’s blueprint for developing and maintaining personal vision, by Andy Stanley (1999)

Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church, by Nelson Searcy with Jennifer Dykes Henson (2007)

Leading On Empty, by Wayne Cordeiro (2009)

And: The Gathered and Scattered Church, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (2010)

The Empowerment Pivot: How God is Redefining Our View of Normal, by Douglas A. Balzer (2020)

Divine Appointments, by Bob Jacks and Matthew R. Jacks, with Pam Mellskog (2002)

Who Moved My Pulpit? by Thom S. Rainer (2016)

Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend, by Andy Stanley (2012)

No Little Places: The Untapped Potential of the Small-Town Church, by Ron Klassen and John Koessler (1996)

How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor, by Steve R. Bierly (1988)

The Monday Morning Church: Out of the Sanctuary and Into the Streets, by Jerry Cook (2006)

Communicating for Change, by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones (2006)

The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving, by Randy Alcorn (2001)

The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective, by R, Paul Stevens (1999)

With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, by Skye Jethani (2011)

Red Moon Rising: How 24-7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation, by Pete Greig and Dave Roberts (2003)

Prayer Coach: For All Who Want to Get Off the Bench and Onto the Praying Field, by James L. Nicodem (2008)

Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills, and Heart of a Christian Coach, by Tony Stoltzfus (2005)

Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking all the Rurals, by Shannon O’Dell (2010)

Don’t Invite Them to Church: Moving From a Come and See to a Go and Be Church, by Karen Wilk (2010)

Boondock Church: Small town – Massive Potential, Tony Warriner (2019)

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip & Dan Heath (2010)

Every Man’s Battle, Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey (2000)

Those are 28 of my favorites, to name a few. Some of these have impacted me recently, others impacted me years ago, and I still remember being challenged as I read them.

If you were to create your own “must-read” books list, which books would you include?

Let me know in the comments – I’m always interested in recommencations!

Keep looking up,

Andy