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How Do I Find a Good Church in the New Year?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2023 1:30 pm

How Do I Find a Good Church in the New Year?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 2, 2023 1:30 pm

Episode 1131 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. Is it wrong to listen to any music that isn't worship music?

2. How can I know that God is good when I'm struggling in life?

3. What should I look for when searching for a new church?

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How do I find a good church in the new year? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.

Well, Happy New Year. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We'd love to hear from you with your question. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and of course you can always email us at First up today, let's go to Sarah, who's calling in from Las Vegas, Nevada. Sarah, what's your question for Adriel?

Hello. My question today is about music. Of course the Bible doesn't say anything about not listening to anything other than worship or Christian music, so we know it's not a sin to consume secondary music that could be wholesome or not blasphemous or stumbling to us. But if music was created for the sole purpose to praise and worship God, should we then be listening to, quote-unquote, worship only? Because there are some wholesome, beautiful songs.

You know, say a man can write a beautiful song about his wife, or someone can write a song that's encouraging about life. But these things aren't bad, but it's not necessarily worship. So should we refrain from listening and singing to these things?

Hey, Sarah, thank you so much for that question. I don't think that we need to refrain from singing or listening to those songs. I'll just say, you know, there are pieces of music that aren't technically worship, if you will. They weren't written, you know, for the purpose of praising the triune God, but which still, I think, you know, through their beauty, the creativity, I think, caused me to say, man, Lord, thank you. That was wonderful. That was beautiful.

That brought a tear to my eye. So in other words, I think those beautiful things, those beautiful pieces of art that we can see, created by people made in God's image can, even if they weren't created for the express purpose of, you know, being a piece that's sung in church, they can lead us, as the people of God, to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us, His common grace gifts. Common grace being those gifts that God gives to all humanity, believer and non-believer alike. Jesus says God causes the sun to shine, the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust alike.

God feeds and nourishes the whole world. He gives them these wonderful gifts, artistic ability, all of those things are things that come from the Lord. And of course, would that we used the gifts that the Lord gave to us in a way that was pleasing to Him, so many people, you know, take these God-given gifts and they use them for things that aren't pleasing to the Lord. But I do believe that you can, as a believer in Jesus Christ, enjoy these things so long as, as you said, they're not, you know, blasphemous or leading you astray or causing you to stumble. Enjoy them to the glory of God in the same way that you would enjoy, you know, a delicious meal that was cooked for you or something like that. And say, Lord, thank you for your kindness, thank you for your goodness in this. Help me to receive all of these things as good gifts from you and to praise you for them. I think that's a wonderful place to be, a wonderful way to live as well, and so I think you can be encouraged in rejoicing in those things and listening to them, as you said, so long as it's not something that's leading you astray from the Lord or has a message that dishonors the Lord. May God bless you, Sarah, and Happy New Year. What about like really good hot fudge sundaes?

I mean, they're not technically spiritual, but I mean, what do you think? Well, for me, Bill, you know that I don't like bananas, and so if people put that on the hot fudge sundae, it really is not a cause for thanksgiving in my mind. It actually offends me. I take offense, and so, so yeah, everything, man, man, we ought to receive, you think about the many blessings and gifts that the Lord gives to us, our daily bread. Jesus taught us to pray, give us this day our daily bread. Your next meal is sourced from the Heavenly Father.

He's the one who's given it to you. I think we often take that for granted. All of the gifts that we see around us, God's created world, it's not something that we need to abstain from necessarily, right, so long as it's not something inherently sinful, something we need to abstain from or avoid. It's also something that we don't want to abuse. People can abuse things like good food and drink, and we see that in the church, and that's an issue, but it's something that we ought to enjoy to the glory of God. And may God help us to do that with all of these things, whether it's food or music, whatever it is, to glorify the Lord in and through it and to be full of joy for the many good gifts that He gives to us.

Really well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question for us about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us 24 hours a day and leave a voicemail at this number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Tom calling in from Missouri. Tom, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, guys. I really love the show, and I love hearing you guys answer people's questions.

It's just been awesome to have this as a resource here. My question is kind of twofold, I guess, per se. So I've had a lot of situations in the past couple years. I've been divorced and my son's got diagnosed with autism and kids have been sick a lot lately. I've lost jobs. Actually, I've been let go twice in the course of a year. And I'm just curious, if somebody asked me right now, hey, Tom, do you believe that God has good things for you?

I would tell them, well, no, not really. So, I mean, I grew up in the church. I got saved when I was six. I know all the scriptures. I do. And then I worry the other part of that is just that Jesus wasn't able to do any miracles or any mighty works in his hometown because they're unbelief.

So I guess I would want to know where does doubt cross into unbelief and where is it sinful and just the general difficulties of life. I just want to hear the Lord say, hey, Tom, I'm still here with you. Yeah, I see you.

So that's my question. Okay. Well, Tom, brother, man, my heart breaks for you. It sounds like you've had a very difficult last few years. And you want to hear a word of comfort from the Lord. That question that somebody asked me, does God want good for me, I'd have a hard time answering that question. We can begin to doubt the love of God when we go through difficult circumstances, sickness, pain, broken relationships, and we wonder, Lord, if you really loved me, would I be going through this?

How could I be going through this? Now, the assumption there is that God demonstrates his love to us first and foremost through the temporal blessings that we receive, the fact that I'm healthy, that all of my relationships are good, I got a lot of money in the bank account or whatever. But what the Bible says is that's not primarily how God has demonstrated his love for us.

And so when we're struggling in life, I think we're called not to look at our temporal circumstances first and foremost as the indication of whether or not God loves us. We're called to look back to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ where God has spoken definitively to you, Tom. I love you. I wash away your sins. I receive you as my child.

This is sure. This is confirmed, sealed, if you will, in those promises that I exhibit before you in places like baptism and the Lord's Supper to remind you of my love, of my goodwill for you. I think of what John said in 1 John 4, verse 7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us. In other words, here's how God has manifested his love to you among us, among humanity. God sent his Son, his only Son, into the world so that we might live through him. This is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. It's this everlasting love that the apostle Paul spoke about so clearly in Romans, chapter 8, verse 31.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

This is God's heart toward you, is to give you good gifts, namely, primarily, his Son, the forgiveness of your sins, but in and through Christ, every other blessing that we do receive. Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It's God who justifies, Paul said. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died more than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Right now, Tom, Jesus is praying for his people, praying for you. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword? If you receive this as a word for yourself, Tom, who's going to separate you from the love of Jesus Christ?

Can tribulation, the things you've wrestled with for the last few years, the challenges, the sickness in your family, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, not having what you feel like you want or need, does that keep you from the love of Jesus Christ? As it is written, for your sake we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. I am sure, Paul said, that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ, at the cross, God spoke definitively to us saying, I love you, receive my love, receive my grace. That doesn't mean we're not going to experience trials and tribulations in this life. Paul says we do, famine, nakedness, persecution, danger, sword, but in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. We struggle, we have doubts, but like the man in Mark's gospel, in Mark chapter 9, we can go to the Lord and cry out saying, I believe. God, I believe.

Help my unbelief. We come to the Lord broken, imperfect, in need of his help, and when we're in that place, again, where do we flee, where do we run to confirm God's goodness to us, his love for us? It's where it was exhibited most clearly at the cross, so may God comfort you, may God bless you and strengthen you and your family, bringing healing, bringing a sense of his presence, and giving you the strength to continue to follow Jesus with all your heart, Tom.

God bless. Tom, we also have a really good core question on our website that might be helpful to you and actually to anyone who's dealing with some kind of struggle or suffering in life. It's called, How can Christianity be true if God allows evil and suffering? And you can find that core question at forward slash questions. Again, forward slash questions.

It's a free download. We'd love to get that in your hands if you're dealing with some kind of suffering in life. Well, Adriel, just a quick follow-up question for you. As far as when things are going bad, when our circumstances are really lousy, a lot of people will bring up Old Testament promises. You know, God will enlarge your territory, God will bless you with riches, God will, you know, your fields will thrive. How do we reconcile all those Old Testament promises given that we're now in the new covenant? Well, I mean, just with what you said there at the end, it's understanding where we are in the history of redemption and how the promises of God apply to us today. Sometimes people will point to these promises, these old covenant promises, I'm going to bless you with health and wealth and all these things, and they just sort of assume, well, that's a promise for me. That promise was made to, you know, the people under the Mosaic covenant as long as they obeyed the law, the Mosaic covenant.

Well, that's just mine. We're not under the Mosaic covenant as Christians in the same way that they were, certainly not. No, we are a part of the new covenant that prophesied in Jeremiah, talked about in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 8. Our sins have been washed away. God has written His law upon our hearts. He's filled us with His Holy Spirit that we might follow Him.

Now, that doesn't mean that God doesn't give us blessings, temporal blessings, but those blessings in particular in the Old Testament were a type of something even greater, namely the heavenly Jerusalem, the true Canaan, if you will, the true promised land, which in the Old Testament, it was a type of a greater heavenly reality. This is what the author of the Hebrews makes very clear, especially in Hebrews chapters 11 and following. And so it's so important for us to understand the Scriptures here. And I just don't want to minimize also, you know, as I was thinking about this brother, I don't want to minimize anyone's suffering, your loved ones suffering with sickness, broken relationships. We don't set that aside. It's not just like, well, Jesus died for you and forgives your sins, so get over it kind of thing.

No, not at all. It's that through that pain and difficulty that we face, we have the anchor that is the love of God for us in the gospel that we hold on to when it feels like everything around us is falling apart and we cry out to the Lord in the midst of our suffering. There's nothing wrong with crying out to the Lord. So many of the Psalms in Scripture are lamentations where the Psalmist is saying, God, why is everything around me falling apart?

Why does it feel like you've abandoned me? God gives us those words to pray to Him, to cry out to Him, but we have the ultimate hope that He hasn't abandoned us because we have Jesus, the gospel, where He has shown us His love. So we need to cling to that and understand it, certainly, as you bring up, Bill, in the light of redemptive history and where we are in the context of redemptive history under the New Covenant. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always email us at questions at or leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day on our voicemail system. Here's the number 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, today we want to offer you a free resource that explores six important topics that are often overlooked in the church today. Yeah, Bill, something that many people in the church struggle with is understanding what they believe. I mean, quite simply, what do we believe as Christians and why do we believe it?

How can we defend what we believe? It's pretty sad, but when you'll have those sort of man-on-the-street interviews or polls that are taken about Christians and their understanding of the teachings of the Bible, we really, so many of us in evangelical churches, don't understand the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. And you know here at Core Christianity that that's one of the things we really want to build you up in, is the gospel and those core doctrines of the Christian faith. And so a lot of our resources have to do with equipping you to understand what the Bible teaches. And this new resource is called Six Categories You Should Know. Again, that's six categories you should know. Some of these categories are things like natural and special revelation, law and gospel, faith and works. It's important to have a foundational understanding of these doctrines that really, I think, are going to help you understand what the Bible teaches and also grow in your own relationship with the Lord.

So get ahold of Six Categories You Should Know. Download it over at for free. You know as we kick off a brand new year, this would be a great resource to get and read and maybe share with your small group at church. It's clear, it's concise, it talks about those key doctrines as we said that many Christians and unfortunately some churches desperately need to recover. So to find that go to forward slash offers and look for six categories you should know. Well, let's get to a couple voicemails that came in from some of our callers and Adriel, these are two voicemails on a very similar topic.

Here's the first one that came in from Christy who called in from Minnesota. Just wondering the best way to handle a marriage where both myself and my husband are safe, but our denominational background is quite vast. Although I've been attending his church, he's very uncomfortable in mine and both churches have a biblical foundation, but there are some differences in the worship style.

Just wondering the best way to approach that situation so neither of us are giving up. He's not willing to go to another church that we could find together. Thank you very much.

And then here's a question that came in from another one of our listeners. This is Angel in New York. Since 2013, I went to a church that was near me from 2013 to 2020. I love that church that I went to, because it has all the vibes that a Pentecostal church should, the music, the way that they preach, etc.

Well, unfortunately, since the pandemic began, I am homebound. So I just need to know, what should I do to know that I can find a local Bible-believing church that I can go to by myself? Or how should I find a local Bible-based church with somebody that is excited because of my visual impairment? Man, people struggling to find churches. Brothers and sisters, if you're in a good church, thank the Lord. Give thanks to God, because there are so many people who, maybe they don't have a good church nearby them, or maybe some sort of medical condition keeps them from being able to worship together with the people of God. Just give thanks to the Lord if you're in a good church.

And for both of these questions, Bill, my heart just breaks. Maybe just beginning with you, Angel. Homebound since the pandemic, I would say contacting churches in your area, churches that have a high view of the authority of Holy Scripture. That's the first mark of a true church. The pure preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God proclaimed. It's the Word of God that creates and sustains the church, if you will, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We're born again through that living Word. And so you want to make sure that you're contacting churches where that's the priority, the faithful preaching of the Word of God. And I would say try to get in touch with the pastor, the people, their leadership team there, talking about your situation. Maybe it's the case that there are a group of people there, deacons perhaps, who would be willing to give you a ride to church or help you get plugged into the church and care for you and visit you when you're not able to be there. There are people who are homebound, and I think it's important for the church in those situations to be reaching out to them and continuing to minister to them and encourage them in the Gospel, not to forget about them. And so, Angel, I would say, I think the first step would just be getting in touch with some of these churches nearby that are meeting, that are preaching the Word of God and saying, hey, I'm hungry for fellowship, I want the preaching of the Word, but this is my situation.

Is there any way that you can help? And I pray that some doors do open up for you, brother, to be able to do that. And, Christy, it sounds like there's some conflict in your marriage on this particular issue. I'm glad that both of your churches that you go to, you said that foundationally the focus is Scripture.

We go to solid Bible churches, but it sounds like there's a difference with regard to the style of worship, perhaps. And so it sounds to me like the two of you are going to have to come together and really, one, humility, focusing on the importance of worshiping together as a couple. And that's so important. Growing together in your faith as a husband, as wife, coming together, serving in the church together, I think that that's really important.

That needs to be the priority. That's more important than the worship styles. And so it sounds to me like your husband isn't interested in budging, like this is where he wants to go. Now, I would say if it is a true church that faithfully teaches the Word of God, maybe you don't connect with the style as much. I would say it's still more important to be there with your husband worshiping together and maybe through that, growing together under that ministry that's there and seeing if the Lord doesn't work in your heart or in both of your hearts together to find something else. But really, I would say more important than the differences of style is wanting to be together under the pure preaching of the Word of God.

Now, I don't know all of the ins and outs of your situation. I don't know specifically what church or denominational backgrounds you're a part of. So it's really hard for me to speak to this, but I would just say it's so important for us to be united in this as a family. Sometimes that takes humility and a degree of compromise and being willing to follow your husband's lead here in this and pray that his heart is softened so that at the end of the day, both of you are in a church together that you're excited about being at and growing in the Lord. God bless you and Happy New Year and may the Lord put you both in a solid church together. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-The-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 14:27:42 / 2023-01-02 14:37:22 / 10

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