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.


ALOOF: Figuring Out Life With A God Who Hides – by Tony Kriz

If you are looking for an easy read that packs a punch, this is for you! Tony Kriz walks through his life experience of pursuing a relationship with a God who is often in the shadows. He shares some great stories where God did something miraculous but also makes it clear that these are few and far in between. He does a great job of showing how God is continually there, even when we do not see Him or feel near to Him. Tony is very honest about his personally journey while asking great questions that make the reader think. And there is nothing wrong with thinking deeply about God! A great book for anyone who wants to go deeper with God!

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.


DEFINED: Who God Says You Are – by Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick

Many in our culture are struggling with their identity. They are confused about who they really are. The Kendrick brothers present a great answer by walking through “who God says you are.” They draw on the book of Ephesians as they say “His Word teaches that you can discover, believe, and set your heart on your true identity – your identity in heaven.” The book is laid out in a daily reading style with extra scriptures and a prayer at the end of each day’s reading. Want to know who God says you are? Then this book is for you.

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.


HOPE IN THE DARK – by Craig Groeschel

Hope in the Dark: Believing God is Good When Life is Not addresses those questions we have when life is not going as well as we think it should. Craig Groeschel asks many of the questions that we have all asked from time to time, questions like: “Where are you God?” and “Why aren’t you doing something?” He draws on the book of Habakkuk where the prophet asks some of the same questions. Let me give you one quote that I thought was very helpful. He writes, “Habakkuk urges us to draw on our long-term memories of God rather than being so shortsighted that we choose to keep replaying only our immediate, distressing circumstances.” That is so good! As we take our eyes off of our present situation we can remind ourselves of God’s goodness in the past and know that that same God is still walking with us in the difficulties we face. This is a very encouraging book for anyone asking the questions about where God is in our pain.

Do You Really See Your Team?

We are quick to make judgements about people. Our first impressions can be completely wrong but we hold onto them anyway. Other times, the we may have known someone for a long time but do not realize they are not the same person they were years ago. For someone in a leadership role, there is a particular danger of viewing people one way and not realizing who they truly are and how they can be of help in our organization.

King Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, describes some of the unfortunate ways that people see others.

13 Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. 14 There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it. 15 A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him. 16 So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long. (Ecclesiastes 9: 13-16, NLT)

These people greatly benefited from the wisdom of a poor person. They appreciated the rescue but did not appreciate the person. We are like these townspeople: quick to write people off, even if they have valuable gifts and insights. We see them a certain way and do not allow that to change as we begin to get to know them and what they offer.

Because of this oversight, we – and by extension our teams and organizations – may lose out on valuable skills and insight just because we have identified a person in one way so we do not think they have anything to add.

King Solomon continues:

There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants! (Ecclesiastes 10: 5-7, NLT)

Our quick judgements can create further damage when we choose to promote or demote the wrong people. This can be due to existing relationships or the desire to honour certain people. The unfortunate result is that we listen to the advice of the wrong person when there is someone much wiser nearby.

Most of us work with teams and volunteers in some way at some point in our life. This is especially true in ministry, when programs and services rely on staff and volunteers.

Get to know these staff and volunteers. This could be through personality tests, or at a minimum, putting in the effort to get to know each person well enough to see how they can contribute best. Intentionally take time with this in order to avoid making quick assumptions or writing someone off because of one or two missteps. Often the best outcome happens when people are in roles that suit them best, and it often takes time to identify these roles and responsibilities.

As you work with your teams and notice people are in the wrong roles, be brave enough to reorganize and reassign individuals to roles where they will excel and your team will be better in the long run.

I love to get things done, but I have realized that there are times where I am better off taking time to get to know people first. As we get to know each other, I will learn where someone can serve and give their best, and we will be able to communicate better because I know them and they know me.

Good organizations will have a regular system of evaluating people. The leader does a formal review every six months or a year to continue to help the person get better. In the evaluation, the leader can also discern if this person is still a fit here or would fit better in a different role. A system of regular evaluation is good, but the personal relationships are even better. As you develop good relationships with your key people, they will be brave enough to approach you when they want to learn or grow in a certain area or if they would like to try a different role. If open communication is valued and practiced, you will be more likely to continually give the right responsibilities to the right people.

So much of what we do in life involves working with people. Let’s figure out how to help our teams be the best by putting the right people in the right seats where everyone can contribute their best.

Get to know your people first, then get the work done.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

9 Reasons To Quit

In my last article I gave nine reasons not to quit your present role or position. I think those are important reasons to be aware of. On the other hand, sometimes it is the perfect time to quit. My daughter, who edits my blogs for me, reminded me of the times I have quit and suggested I approach this issue from the opposite side. Great idea! So here it is. Nine reasons to quit.

1. God has clearly called you somewhere else.

I believe that God has the authority to redirect me if he so chooses. You may have experienced that in your own life. Sometimes it is clear that God is asking you to take on a new role elsewhere. One pastor suggested that every time you quit to take on a new role, look for both the push and the pull. Look at the reasons you feel like quitting and the reasons the next role seems so appealing. It may be that God is pulling you to a new opportunity elsewhere.

2. You believe you have done all you can in your current role.

Sometimes we take on roles with great excitement. It seems like such a great fit. You work hard and do a good job, but then you come to the point where you feel you have done all you can. Church planters are a good example of this. They start a church and get it to a certain size or place of stability and then hand it off to another pastor so they can start another new church.

3. You have lost the confidence of your team.

There are times, whether it is your fault or not, where you know that you have lost the confidence of your team. Your board may no longer trust you or believe that you are capable of leading into the next chapter of your church or organization, and you realize that you will no longer be able to lead in your current role. I experienced this when someone misread my actions, and I knew that no matter what I did, I would not be able to change their opinion of me. It would be hard to gain the team’s trust back. It was time to move on.

4. Outside factors indicate a need to move.

Sometimes we need to leave a position because of external factors. These factors could be related to medical care, family care needs, or education. For example, one move my wife and I decided to make was influenced in a large part by the fact that both our daughters were entering High School and a move later would be much harder to manage.

5. You are pursuing further training.

You may recognize that in order to grow in areas you are called to and to continue to be effective, you need to pursue further education or training. That may be a meaningful reason to quit.

6. Your present role is taking too much of a toll on you.

There are times when we find ourselves in a role that is wearing on us to the point that we are emotionally and physically becoming ill. We need to recognize when we are no longer able to endure the pain or difficulty of our present role.

7. When your vision and the church’s vision are too different.

I left a pastoral role at a church after only being there a short time, when I finally realized that the church’s vision was too different from mine.

This had not been clarified before taking the position. It is impossible to maintain your integrity when you have to work in a role that does not align with your own values and goals. It is better for you, and the organization you are working for, to find a better fit elsewhere.

8. You are being asked to do more than you are capable of.

Sometimes our roles change. We may have been a great fit in the beginning, but things have changed to the point where you no longer fit. It could be that you have done a great job as a pastor so your church has grown, but you recognize that it is now bigger than you are capable of leading and someone else is needed. Alternatively, you may be in a situation where your job description is changed, and you need to evaluate the situation to see if you are still in the right role or need to move on.

9. If you can’t afford the role anymore.

Sometimes, you need to make a decision to quit and find a new role because you are not being paid well enough. Some churches are small, and are limited in what they can offer as a salary. If the wage is no longer enough to meet the climbing expenses of you and your family, there may come a time when you need to resign and look for a better paying role.

If you think it is time to quit, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and then do it with confidence.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

9 Reasons To Not Quit Today

Have you heard about the “Great Resignation?” Many people are quitting their jobs. So many in the recent months that it has been given the name: the Great Resignation. While this trend mainly focuses on the private sector, it has been felt within the churches, too. There are many churches currently hiring pastors because pastors have quit and are not in a hurry to take on another pastoral position.

I would like to give you nine reasons not to quit today.

1. You have been called by God.

If you are a pastor, you have been called to this role. Do not let the frustrations of covid and the hard work of ministry make you leave your calling.

2. Your church needs you.

No matter how long you have walked with your congregation, you know them better than any other pastor. They know you better than any other pastor. They may be walking through similar frustrations in life and need someone like you to remind them that God is walking with them, just as he is with you.

3. Your community needs you.

I hope you have invested in your community to the point that people know you and you know the people. They need someone like you to introduce them to Jesus. They need you to lead your congregation to continue to pour God’s love into the community. The new pastor does not have the relationships you have already built in the community.

4. The grass is not greener elsewhere.

If you were to leave your church and go to another one, you will most likely encounter people with many of the same life issues and problems. People are the same everywhere.

5. There are people watching you.

If you are a leader, you are being watched by others. They are looking to you to see how you handle the frustrations of life. You can show them how to persevere through difficult times. You can show them how to find encouragement from others.

6. Your present pain may be future gain.

It is often in the painful moments of life that our faith in God deepens and our relationship with God matures. The hard times offer us forks in the road of life. Will you choose the path to a deeper relationship with God or the path that gives you an easier life?

7. A sabbatical may be the answer.

There are times when we do need a break, a time for rest and recovery. In the same way that our body needs rest after a hard day’s work, there are times we need to have a break from the hectic pace of life. Don’t quit, but ask for a sabbatical to rejuvenate for the next part of your journey with your church.

8. Take advantage of help that is available.

Too often leaders try to lead alone. Pastors, don’t be a Lone Ranger. If you are part of a denomination, there is likely support available. There may be other pastors who are willing to walk the journey with you. Maybe you could seek out some encouragers you trust. Find a counselor who can help you find tools to manage the emotions of your ministry.

9. Spend time with God.

Even if you can’t take a sabbatical, take some time every day to pour your heart out to God. Ask him for insight and wisdom to lead well. Read the Bible and hear from God. Read about other leaders in the Bible who struggled and kept on going. Spend time in the Psalms, and Laments, and ask God to help you join in with the writers who declare that they will trust in God no matter what.

Keep looking up, and keep on going,

Andy Wiebe

P.S. Watch for next week’s article on reasons TO quit.

How to Set Plans that Work

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry,” goes the saying. I like dreaming and planning. I like looking ahead and doing strategic planning with churches. I get excited about the possibilities of what could happen if things worked out right. The problem is, many good plans do not bear the fruit we had hoped. So how can you set plans that will not fail?

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

John Steinbeck

In James 4:14-15 it says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’” 

James reminds his readers that no one knows what tomorrow brings. We can do all kinds of planning and scheming and base it all on good research, but in the end, no one knows what will really happen. There are always many unknowns that we cannot prepare for. We can do our best, and often plans work out, but not always. The only one who knows what tomorrow will bring is the Lord God.

God is not bound by time, so He knows what will happen tomorrow and the next day, and the next year. So as events happen, He is not surprised. Maybe we need to ask Him to help us make plans that match His for us.

In Jeremiah 1: 4-5, we read:

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

God told Jeremiah that He knew him before he was born, even before he was conceived. That is quite the theological issue to work through at another time, but the point is that God knows us and has plans for us. He had a plan for Jeremiah. He appointed him to be a “prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah didn’t need a career counselor or an aptitude test of some kind to help him discover what he wanted to do with his life. God told him exactly what he should be “when he grew up.”

This morning I was reading in Psalm 138 when I came across a line in verse 8: “The Lord will work out his plans for my life.” The psalmist believes that God has a plan for his life. He trusts that to be true. I felt comforted as I read that verse. My life and my plans are not dependent on my own abilities or lack thereof. If King David is right, and I believe other scriptures agree, then God has a plan for MY life, and a plan for YOUR life.

I don’t think God has every detail of your life planned out in such a way that you need to be constantly afraid that you are making the wrong decision. I don’t think God was disappointed that I chose the Mexican Bean soup at lunch instead of the Butternut Squash soup. And honestly, I don’t know if there is one specific girl for each guy or if God leaves that up to us. What I do know is that God is intimately aware of who you are and who I am. He has plans for us as one person of humanity and plans unique to each of us as an individual.

God’s plan for all humans is that they would come to faith in Jesus and a relationship with God the Father through Him. God wants all people to join him in living in His kingdom here on earth. God desires for all people to join him in the afterlife, in His new kingdom. But I believe he also has plans unique to us. These plans are more like the plans of a coach for each individual player. He puts the player in goal who has been playing that position all his life and is best equipped and prepared for that role. He will probably put the fastest skater and best player on the first line, maybe even at centre. God knows each of us, after all, He created us. Like Jeremiah, God knew you and me before we were even born. He has observed us all our lives. He knows how we are equipped to handle situations we will face in life. And I believe that he has certain roles He wants us to be in.

If I want to make plans that will work out, I had better talk with God about those plans. Whatever the plans, we can talk to God about them as we make them. There is generally good value in involving others on our team in plans we make for organizations we are part of. We can benefit from the input of good friends. Yet the best input is to ask God to help you in the dreaming and planning. Ask Him to guide your thinking. Ask Him to help you get the best research and information to base your planning on. Ask Him to tell you what He wants done. After all, if God has plans for me, I will be better off doing what he has planned.

There are many different steps that experts could suggest as you desire to make plans that work, but if you believe in God, your first step needs to be to check in with Him. Sometimes it takes hard work and effort to accomplish meaningful plans. Again, God is the one who can help you persevere to the end.

You want to make plans that work? Then ask God to guide you in making your plans.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Book Reviews: Andy’s Reading Experience 2022

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.


DEEP FAITH – by Dr. Rob Reimer

Rob Reimer has written another great book regarding personal renewal and spiritual growth. In Deep Faith, he helps the reader see how they may deepen or grow their faith. Reimer does a good job of showing how this has worked in his own life and his experience with others. He says on page, “Faith is not static; it is dynamic. We can and must take an intentional path toward growing and developing our faith if we want to see the works of the Kingdom in greater measure, for the glory of the King, and for the sake of his mission to the world.” He wants to help people grow in their faith for the glory of God and for the continuing growth of the kingdom. A great read if you want to deepen your faith.

Learn From Me

I love to read. You are probably well aware of that as you see me regularly posting reviews on books I have read. I read all kinds of books. I love learning new things and being challenged to think about how I am living my life. I also love to read for entertainment and to relax.

I often go through times where I am focused on a certain topic. Recently, I have been reading on the issue of the Holy Spirit and spiritual renewal personally and for the local church. As you will see from my reviews when I find an author that writes about this, I like to read all he has written.

Over the years I have attended many seminars and pursued life-long learning. I took my first course towards my Masters of Arts in Leadership and Ministry in 1992. My last course was completed in 2018. It took me 26 years to graduate. This was due to a few reasons. I was not always able to afford the cost or time to take another course. But I also preferred learning a little at a time rather than sitting in class for 2-3 years and getting one big dump of knowledge. I love to learn.

Recently, God chastised me regarding my learning focus. I was praying and journaling when God gave me a picture. I was running a race.

There were a number of runners just in front of me but for some reason I wanted to see who it was in front of them, but I just couldn’t see past them. I asked God what this was all about. It seemed unfocused, unclear.

And then it was as if God said, “Learn from me. Don’t just learn from others on the journey, even if they are ahead of you.  Learn from me.” It was a good reminder that my focus should be on Jesus, and listening to and learning from the Holy Spirit. Not just from other people.

Matthew 11: 29 says, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (ESV)

I read my Bible just about every morning, but I have made a commitment to read more of the Bible more often. I want to learn from the Master, not just from others who have learned from the Master.

We fall into this trap quite easily. As believers, we need to regularly read the Bible and hear from God. Too many Christians are content to listen to their pastor and other preachers online or on television while not reading for themselves. Too many people of faith treat hearing from God like a mama bird feeding it’s young, eating only what has been regurgitated for them. God doesn’t want us to be satisfied with others feeding us. He wants us to chew our own food, to read the Bible ourselves and to ruminate over it. We need to personally hear God speak to us and rather than only hear the stories of others who have heard from God.

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

– Jesus

I love that you are reading this blog. Thank you! But I hope you are going to the Master and learning directly from him too. I’m glad that people show up in church to hear the sermon I prepared and preach. But I hope you are taking the time to learn from the Holy Spirit. After all, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.” (John 16: 15, NLT)

Learn from the Master, and keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe