September 13, 2015

Another Jesus Calling


This is a delicate subject, and I am a little nervous to write about it, as I know many people have found comfort through Sarah Young's book 'Jesus Calling.' I'm hoping you take the time to really think about what I'm sharing here and have an open mind to what Jesus is really saying to us through His Word.

I first heard of Sarah Young's popular book through Tim Challies review ... and he did not recommend it.

I also found Tim Keller's wife, Kathy strongly urging others to not read the book... HERE

This put red flags up for me and I began to think about it more deeply. Here are three options for 'Jesus Calling'

1. Sarah Young actually heard the voice of Jesus Christ (of the Bible) and wrote down what He said. (This is what she claims)

Sarah Young says here:

"I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying."

2. Sarah Young wrote down her own thoughts and claimed them to be of Jesus Christ (of the Bible).

3. A false spirit spoke to Sarah Young and she wrote down what it said to her.

I was glad to have found this book, 'Another Jesus Calling' by Warren B. Smith, as it cleared up some concerns of mine and explained what needs to be looked at more closely in Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling."

Some of my concerns about Sarah Young's book were:

1. Why would the Jesus of the Bible use so much 'new age' terminology as Sarah Young's Jesus does? Terms like: co-create, divine alchemy, Love-Light, Light-bearer, supernatural plane, living channel, paradigm shift, true self, ultimate reality, universal presence.

The truth is Jesus never used any of this terminology, it is all from the new age.

2. Would the Jesus of the Bible promote a new age book called 'God Calling,' channeled by two mystery women as Sarah Young's does? (The publishers have since removed Sarah's Young's praise for this book as well)

Sarah Young says of the new age book 'God Calling'... "My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930's by two women who practiced waiting in God's Presence, writing the messages they received as they listened."

It doesn't make any sense for Jesus to promote 'God Calling.' Warren B. Smith uses the first part of his book to explain the new age teachings within it.

3. Why did the publishers change some of the book in the past year or two?

I believe the reason for this was to remove the controversial things, so they could make more money from the book. They are a business.

Here is one example that worries me about Sarah Young's Jesus:

In Proverbs 30:5-6 it says:

"Every word of God is pure:
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."

In 'Jesus Calling' Sarah Young's Jesus says on page 233:

"My Word is a lamp to your feet. My Presence is a Light for your path."

This contradicts Psalm 119:105 which says:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path."


This verse does not say His presence is a light for your path, but rather His Word is a light to your path.

This really disturbed me. Sarah Young's Jesus seems to be lying, according to the verses in Proverbs 30:5-6 as she adds her own words.

Who is this Jesus who dictated to Sarah Young? 

That's where this book, 'Another Jesus Calling' comes in. Author Warren B. Smith was heavily involved in the new age movement many years ago before coming to the Lord and he explains the many similarities to what Sarah Young's Jesus teaches.

He breaks his book into two sections. The first section has 10 chapters on the book 'God Calling' that influenced Sarah Young. The second section is about 'Jesus Calling' and has 20 chapters. He also includes 3 appendix:

- Ten Basic Warnings About Deception
- The Gospel of the True Jesus Christ
- Ten Ways to Be More Discerning


In one chapter, he talks about the worldwide misuse of Psalm 46:10 within the Church and the new-age movement. 'Be still and know that I am God' which is also misused in 'Jesus Calling.'

This verse is not a call to meditation or contemplation. This is not a call to sit in silence, but rather as the author of 'Another Jesus Calling' states here:

...the real meaning of this verse has nothing to do with sitting in silence, practicing the presence, or any meditative practice. In reality, God is rebuking the nations of the world and telling them to 'Be still' and to know that He is God. 

It's not only a call to God's people, but also a call to His enemies...

Matthew Henry in his commentary says here of Psalm 46:10:

(1.)Let His enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that He is God, one infinitely above them, and that will certainly be too hard for them; let them rage no more, for it is all in vain: He that sits in heaven, laughs at them; and, in spite of all their impotent malice against His name and honor, He will be exalted among the heathen and not merely among His own people, He will be exalted in the earth and not merely in the church. Men will set up themselves, will have their own way and do their own will; but let them know that God will be exalted, He will have His way will do His own will, will glorify His own name, and wherein they deal proudly He will be above them, and make them know that He is so. 

(2.) Let His own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, He is God alone, and will be exalted above the heathen; let Him alone to maintain His honor, to fulfill His own counsels and to support His own interest in the world. Though we be depressed, yet let us not be dejected, for we are sure that God will be exalted, and that may satisfy us; He will work for His great name, and then no matter what becomes of our little names. When we pray, Father, glorify thy name, we ought to exercise faith upon the answer given to that prayer when Christ Himself prayed it, I have both glorified it and I will glorify it yet again. Amen, Lord, so be it.

It is a call to 'be still' and know that He is God, in order to glorify His Great Name, not a call to open our minds and hearts to the supernatural world.

Here is Psalms 46 in context:


God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.


Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;


Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.


God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.


The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.


The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.


Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.


He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.


Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!


The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. 



The Jesus of 'Jesus Calling' twisted Psalm 46:10 in these and many other quotes:

"Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking." (pg. 200)

"Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it." (pg. 228)

"Let me control your mind." (pg. 116)

Where does Jesus say things like this in His Word? Reprogram your thinking? Drop thoughts in your mind? Control your mind?

This is scary stuff, because the Jesus of the Bible never said any of it. And yet Sarah Young is saying He said it to her.

Randy Alcorn in his book 'hand in Hand' says:

"Meaningful choice is essential for genuine love." 

I agree. God does not control our minds, but rather has given us meaningful choice to love Him genuinely.

In Luke 10:25-27 a lawyer questioned Jesus to test Him. The lawyer asked:

"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus answered with a question:

"What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"

The lawyer answered:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

Jesus replied:

"You have answered correctly, do this, and you will live."

Was Jesus trying to control this lawyers mind? Of course not! He was allowing the man to use his own mind to work out the truth so that he could choose genuinely.

God does not control our minds or reprogram our minds, but rather wants us to make a genuine choice to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others the same way.

Sarah Young's mind-controlling Jesus plainly contradicts the Jesus of the Bible.


Many Christians are being deceived into practicing 'The Presence' and this is not from the Bible, yet Sarah Young's Jesus talks about 'The Presence' over 300 times!

We are called to seek God, not practice Him or His presence.

The real Jesus said: 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matt. 7:7-8

And in the book of Revelation Jesus said:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3:20

What He is saying here is, all who come to Him asking for forgiveness in humility and repentance will be saved.

Everyone who asks, seeks and knocks on the door.

These verses are about coming to Christ and surrendering our lives, not about opening the door to the supernatural world or practicing any presence.

Here is a little test for you...

Go to a Bible app site (Blue Letter Bible) or any other, and search 'practicing the presence', or 'practice presence' you will find absolutely nothing in the Bible referring to this.

The simple truth is 'practicing the presence' was introduced into the church by a mystic Catholic monk named Brother Lawrence in the 17th century, and is a practice used by new-agers today. Why is it practiced by new-agers today? Because it is a ancient pagan practice. It was never part of the church, only introduced into it.

Don't be fooled by supposed new things man brings into the church, even by those who are sincere, but instead wholly depend on God's Word.

Warren B. Smith quotes from 'God Calling' the book Sarah Young praises and got her idea to write her own book:

"Wherever the soul is, I am. Man has rarely understood this. I am actually at the center of every man's being, but, distracted with the things of the sense-life, he finds Me not."

This is an outright lie.


This is pantheism and pantheism is... 

"the belief that the Universe (or Nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god." 

The dictionary says of pantheism:

"The doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature."

God is not at the center of every man's being. Sin has separated us from God and it's only the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can bring us into communion with Him. 
 
Pantheism is the heart of 'practicing the presence'...finding the 'god' within, because it teaches there is no true personal God.

But there is and He is Holy.  


GOD IS HOLY


R.C. Sproul in his book 'The Holiness of God' describes God's holiness here:

"When the Bible calls God holy, it means primarily that God is transcendentally separate. He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. To be holy is to be 'other' to be different in a special way."

And he defines God's transcendence here:

"The word transcendence means literally 'to climb across.' It is defined as 'exceeding usual limits.' To transcend is to rise above something, to go above and beyond a certain limit. When we speak of the transcendence of God, we are talking about that sense in which God is above and beyond us. 

Transcendence describes His supreme and absolute greatness. 

The word is used to describe God's relationship to the world. He is higher than the world. He has absolute power over the world. The world has no power over Him. Transcendence describes God in His consuming majesty, His exalted loftiness. It points to the infinite distance that separates Him from every creature. He is an infinite cut above everything else."

It is also important to distinguish between 'practicing the presence' and Biblical meditation.

As I shared above 'practicing the presence' is basically pantheism, but Biblical meditation is, as Warren B. Smith says in his book:

"Biblical meditation is different. We are to meditate on - think on - His word. His precepts, His law, His attributes, His statutes, His testimonies, and His works."



There are so many other interesting things Warren B. Smith shares in his book. Things that Sarah Young's Jesus said to her that contradict Scripture. The new age similarities really upset me. I can guarantee you will not be able to put it down. I highly recommend it to those who are seeking the truth in these matters.

I'll conclude with this. Warren B. Smith says of his book:

"In this book, I have done my best to raise some of my questions and concerns. I am sure my conclusions will upset a great many people who are devoted to Jesus Calling. Obviously, what you do with these conclusions is completely up to you. but I couldn't imagine not bringing what I discovered to your attention. Hopefully, you will consider what I have presented here." 

This is how I feel as well. I hope my thoughts and concerns give you something to ponder and to pray about.

Be assured, there is nothing new in theology except that which is false. —C.H. Spurgeon


*Note: My intention here is not to discourage anyone from reading devotionals. I know there are some wonderful ones out there. Here are a few I've read that were really good:

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

We Shall See God by Randy Alcorn and Charles Spurgeon

Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

My Daily Pursuit by A.W. Tozer (This one I haven't read yet, but it's next on my list! I love Tozer) : )



Buy it HERE on Amazon 

 

33 comments:

  1. Very thought-provoking and real. Thanks for sharing this important discussion with us on Literacy Musing Mondays.

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  2. A few years ago this book was being used for a women's Bible study at my church. I signed up to go, but everytime I tried to buy that book the Holy Spirit stopped me. I just ...can't explain the level of NO I felt. Four times. Finally, I gave up. I talked to the women who were leading the study, but I didn't know what to say. I just told them I thought something was wrong.

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    1. This is a concern of mine too...Bible studies that no long study the Bible, but rather have become book clubs. I believe the Church is so confused because of this. We need to get back to the Bible.

      Thanks for sharing Sandi.

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  3. So much to think about here! I'm glad I linked up next to you at SDG.

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  4. Hi Cathy, Thank you so much for sharing all these sources with your thoughts. So often I hear people discussing Jesus Calling and they love it. I've read excerpts here and there in relation to other studies and find parts very encouraging. But Just that - encouraging. One of the biggest issues for me is that so many young women would use Jesus Calling as their only glimpse into scripture during the day, as it was quick and easy, and opening their bible was too hard and time consuming. That was my biggest issue - no devotional should ever take the place of God's Word in our lives.

    Again thanks for the sources!

    Marissa

    Reading List

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    1. I agree. I realize reading the Bible can be daunting to many, and reading someones thoughts on it can be easier, but in the end its worth the work! When the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth to us, it's an amazing thing!

      Thanks for sharing here Marissa. : )

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  5. Thanks for your thoughts and sharing today at #RaRaLinkup where we are neighbors. I always teach people that when God speaks it will always line up with His Word! This was very eye opening and I had no idea of Sarah Young's background and how her book came about. Blessings.

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    1. Glad you stopped by Debbie! I agree God will always agree with Himself! He is trustworthy. : )

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  6. Good morning. I came over on Women with Intention to find your site.

    This is a "tough" subject, and your have handled it well. There is a lot of debate over this book and several others in the "God spoke to me" camp.

    Well-known speakers like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Kay Arthur, Rick Warren, and many others also get lumped into the same discussion - accused of being too emotional and too free with their "God told me" or "God spoke to me."

    I'm still praying through where I stand on some of these issues. And, I'm grateful to read posts like yours.

    Thanks for your courage and honesty sharing.
    Hope you have a blessed day!
    Melanie

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    1. Glad to have got you thinking here! Personally I don't listen to things like 'God spoke to me' or 'God told me this' or 'I have a word of knowledge for you'.

      Instead I believe He speaks to me personally through His Word by His Holy Spirit. He does this all the time and it's always trustworthy and always true. I never have to question it. And it has brought me closer to Him.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Melanie. I appreciate it!

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  7. Great review and done in a gracious and caring spirit. I haven't read Jesus Calling because of evangelicals I respect {like Tim Challies} who refuted the book. I think if I read it, it would annoy me. Primarily because the New Testament is clear that what we have in the Bible is all we need and that there is no new revelation about God and Jesus:

    "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3

    and

    "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." Hebrews 1:1

    I definitely believe that the Spirit prompts, guides, convicts us when we read books other than the Bible - but those books should be based on the Bible and not claiming to have new words from God. Like Marissa said above, anything that tries to take us away from the very word of God is worrying.

    Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon is a great devotional resource :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing these verses Sarah. Especially Hebrews 1:1 "..but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son." How beautiful is that? It says so much in that one sentence!

      I've also been looking at that devotional. I love Spurgeon and will have to get a copy soon!

      Thanks for stopping by Sarah. : )

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  8. It is a sad, but not surprising, thing that this book is so popular. Thank you for taking the time to walk through the various aspects.

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    1. It breaks my heart knowing how popular 'Jesus Calling' is. We need to pray for more discernment in the Church.

      Thanks for stopping by Carolyn. : )

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  9. Your words call me to dig deep when seeking God in other's words. You gracefully shared your concerns about Sarah Young's devotionals and provided other resources to use to point us to truth. I appreciate your honesty and always love seeing you at Weekend Whispers.

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    1. Thanks Mary! It always good to hear people digging deeper to find God's truth.

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  10. Thank you so much for your thoughtful well-written post. I have written on this subject myself and have many of the same concerns. I look forward to reading Warren Smith's book. I believe we need to be so much more discerning!

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  11. Thanks, too, for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival!

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    1. Hi Donna, I'd love to read your post. I'll stop by and try to find it. Warren Smith's book is definitely eye-opening. Glad you are looking forward to reading it. : )

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  12. I agree with all of this! I know so many people who love this devotional and it is very disconcerting. I have considered addressing this on my blog as well. I think you handled the review very well. Among my biggest concerns, and why I think that it is so popular today, is that the book downplays the sufficiency of God's word. As I tell my kids all the time, God has given us His word, through which He has revealed Himself. Hearing "new" things from Him outside of His word is both unnecessary and dangerous.

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    1. I agree it downplays God's Word and up plays experience. Sarah Young's Jesus wants you to find him in 'practicing the presence ' something the Bible does not teach. This is dangerous as many sincerely want more of God but may end up with demonic influences because they don't discern the truth through God's Word by His Holy Spirit. So many have been led away from the faith through this kind of thinking and are now open and accepting of heresy and sinful behavior. Rob Bell is one example. Once a pastor then led down this 'spiritual experience road' to heresy.

      Thanks for sharing Lisa. Glad you stopped by. : )

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  13. One advantage of living overseas is that I miss out on many of these fads in the church, so I'm actually unfamiliar with this book. I did find your thoughts on it to be spoken with love and grace, so well done on that! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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  14. Thank you Cathy. I am so glad that people are speaking out about this book now. So often something just looks like a good catchy title and people immediately presume it will be a good book. May we all have the right discernment when we come face to face with anything pertaining to be of God. I have often mentioned "The Shack" and Beth Moore Studies as other things to be avoided but am greeted with unbelief that I could think that way.

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    1. I'm glad you brought up 'The Shack' another book that is leading people away from the true God and to a god of their imagination. I look at the author and see his gradual walk away and it really saddens me.

      I've done a few Beth Moore studies and found I learnt a lot. I didn't see any heresy, maybe just some of her opinions that differed from mine. She encourages others to seek God in His Word and I can't argue with that! I'm curious to why you feel you need to avoid her studies?

      Glad you stopped by Sandra. I really appreciate your thoughts and opinions when you come by and share here! : )

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  15. Cathy, I am so grateful that you have written this. I just connected with this review through your top books for 2015. I had picked up "God Calling" years ago and felt it was not right. Then a few years ago, I did the same with "Jesus Calling" and knew quickly that it was not of God. The interesting part of me is that I spent about 10 years following a new age religion so I knew what they say and how they think. I have been a follower of Christ Jesus since 1993. Reading this detail here brings me to the same thoughts...it is all about the bucks for the publisher and the author.
    Thanks for your honesty.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. Thanks for sharing Linda! It's so good to hear testimonies like yours! I've been doing a lot of research on the new age entering the church and it's so upsetting. I'm encouraged to hear of those, like you, who have come out of it and can be lights in the church. God bless! : )

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  16. Thanks for this- perhaps it will help somebody to share my story here.
    I turned my life to Jesus 2 years ago. Unfortunately, along with a Bible, I had the book God Calling. A friend then gave me Jesus Calling. Desperate to get to know Jesus, I read them all the time. They quoted scripture, so I assumed they were ok.
    I soon began listening like Ms. Young, sitting still and leaving my mind blank. Lo and behold, a spirit named Jesus introduced itself. This "Jesus" quoted scripture, said "Jesus"-y things (at least, nothing it said outright contradicted the Bible), yet something just wasn't right. But rejecting Jesus was such a frightening prospect that I followed that "Jesus" for a year. Looking back, I realize it was the grace of God that I wasnt allowed to continue following that demon.
    1 Corinth 14:33 was what clued me in (along with the gnawing feeling that something was wrong). Plus, the more I read the Bible, the more I saw how different Ms. Young's "Jesus" was from Christ Jesus of the Bible. Ms. Young's Jesus was far too flattering.
    I rejected the demon soon after, and all hell broke loose. The resulting spiritual warfare was traumatic- no need for details, but it turned very nasty and physical. Thankfully, by this point God had connected me with a group of wonderful Christians who I could lean on while God unraveled the mess I'd gotten myself into.
    Eventually, God led me to a counselor to deal with the trauma and a kind deliverance minister. My story was no surprise to him. He told me he'd met so many who had been deceived.
    It's been 7 months since then and looking back, I can't believe how deceived I was. The demon worked miracles, spoke words of knowledge, gave scripture, even faked angels and faked the Holy Spirit. But by the grace of God and His faithfulness to His promises, He didn't let me go.

    So please, please, please stick with the Bible! I know what dabbling with these "harmless" books can do. Just please go to the Bible and stay away from them! 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 12:6, Psalm 119;105, Romans 12:17, hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 40:5-6

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    1. Thank-you so much for sharing your story! I'm so thankful God delivered you from this deception. Keep sharing your story. God bless you!

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  17. Thank you for this blog. Please pray for my mom and dad who have become deeply enamored with Sarah's Jesus. My mom went to her pastor after I addressed my issues with her, and he told her he loves this book. He has said that many people are too intellectual and hung up on exegesis, and have smothered all of the spirituality from a dynamic walk with Christ.I have shown her from the scriptures how this Jesus is a counterfeit, and she says I'm being divisive. Actually it's Truth that is divisive! I choose Jesus.

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    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by and sharing.

      Concerning your parents pastors comment, I believe it is extremely important that we worship the Lord is Spirit and in Truth. And love Him with our minds and with our hearts and souls. We can't pick and choose either one. If we love the Lord, and His Holy Spirit guides us, then we have a desire to know truth through exegesis of the Scriptures. This is the only way we will be able to discern truth from a lie. This is the only way I can tell Sarah Young's Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.

      I personally have become closer to Christ through my study of the Scriptures, as I get to know Him better with the help of the Holy Spirit. This saddens me because so many pastors are leading their flocks away from the Lord by focusing on the 'spiritual experience' and ignoring or misinterpreting the Word of God.

      I will say a prayer for your parents. Again thanks for stopping by.

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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