Archive for July, 2017

“Spiritual Apathy: Falling Out of Love”Bible-Study

The church in the past defined this as acedia.

Acedia (/əˈsiːdiə/; also accidie or accedie /ˈæksɨdi/, from Latin acedĭa, and this from Greek ἀκηδία, “negligence”) describes a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one’s duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but arguably distinct from depression.

2 Corinthians 7:10- Worldly sorrow was seen as acedia by Thomas Aquinas, it is where you are sorrowful to the point of not caring anymore, even about one’s own life in its ultimate expression.


  • Sleepiness
  • Sickness
  • Lack of attention
  • Overall dissatisfaction with life
  • Boredom
  • General laziness
  • State of restlessness
  • Not living in the present
  • Seeing the future as overwhelming
  • Lack of caring
  • Unfeeling
  • Lacking commitment
  • Hopelessness

Kip wrote- “The word “acedia” has been lost to the modern English language and is the forgotten of the original “Seven Deadly Sins.” Though acedia is not explicitly named on the many lists of sins in the Bible) a monk named Evagrius Ponticus (345 – 399AD), one of the most gifted intellects of his day, compiled in Greek from Scripture his list of the “Eight Evil Thoughts.” In this order Ponticus included: gluttony (gastrimargia), fornication (porneia), avarice (philargyria) extreme greed, hubris (hyperephania) excessive pride, sadness – sadness at another’s good fortune (lype), wrath (orge), boasting (kenodoxia), and acedia (akedia). Acedia is listed last because Ponticus considered it “the most troublesome of all.”

A short time later, another celebrated monk John Cassian (360 – 435AD), translates Ponticus’ list into Latin but with slight variances of meanings. Cassian’s “Eight Evil Thoughts List” is: gluttony (gula), fornication (fornicatio), avarice (avaritia), pride (superbia), despair (tristitia), wrath (ira), vainglory (vaingloria), and acedia (acedia).

Then almost 200 years later, Gregorius Anicius (540 – 604AD) – the pope known as “Gregory the Great” and called by the Protestant Reformer John Calvin “the last good pope” – compiles a list of sins derived from Cassian’s list which Anicius calls “The Seven Deadlies.” In every day terms, Anicius combines pride and vainglory as well as despair and acedia, and then adds envy. Interestingly, he “changes” fornicatio (fornication) to “luxuria” – which expands the meaning from illicit sex to intense desire… lust! In Anicius’ mind, this could be lust for power, food, drink, knowledge, money, and/or fame. Therefore, in English, the very first list of “The Seven Deadly Sins” is: lust, gluttony, greed, acedia, wrath, envy and pride. Later acedia was changed to sloth. This does injustice as it is a spiritual lethargic.

Acedia is not responding to God’s love. It is a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God or love him with all your heart. When we talk about Acedia we are talking about the study of falling out of love. Many with Acedia seek to cure it by doing something new, or trying to go to the next thing but they carry it with them. That is why there are affairs, many called it the noon-day demon.

In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created.”

What is this Biblically speaking? What causes this? Do you have the symptoms?


  1. The Stages that Lead to Acedia

1 Corinthians 11:23-32

  • Many were weak, sick, and had fallen asleep. To be spiritually sick you can’t enjoy the goodness of God. (SHARE: Gym- lack the strength)
  • Before you take communion you must examine yourself. The ancient church had a conviction on this! We must pay attention to the condition of our souls.
  • When you are sick physically you can’t enjoy the goodness of life no matter what happens. You are stuffed up, usually in bed, you are contagious to others.

Proverbs 13:12- A hope deferred makes the heart sick. Have you hoped for something and it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to? We have to have our hope in God and not in the things of this world. It is no wonder the church connected the idea to “SLOTH” since when you are sick you are lethargic.

SHARE: I’ll never forget in the church I put my hope in relationships and the ministry- not God. My heart got sick. I couldn’t enjoy a baptism, I couldn’t enjoy the good news sharing, I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful weather, I couldn’t enjoy spending time with the brothers, I enjoyed sleep in my bed. I felt paralyzed.

  • The sicker you get, the harder it is to serve others. The same spiritually. If you find it increasingly hard to motivate yourself to serve others you might have acedia.

2 Corinthians 5:14

  • Christ love compels us to live for Him. God’s love has a claim over us so we read our Bibles and pray. We serve our fellow man.
  • The less we feel moved by love, the more discouraged and feelings of unhappiness come. It is usually here that we become increasingly negative about our circumstances.

Philippians 2:14-18

  • Notice the command to not grumble/complain or argue. We then shine like stars, doesn’t sound like Acedia to me!
  • Paul had the idea of holding firmly to the word, and pouring oneself out is how to shine like a star. Not focusing on the negative. (Philippians 4:8-9). You have to fight this sin in your thinking! You must decide to pour yourself out!

Psalm 88:13-18

  • This brother was suffering from acedia. A refusal to enjoy God’s goodness. Darkness was his closest friend.
  • The less we feel loved, the more intense our feelings of darkness become and we distrust even those close to us.
  • We get a weird since of comfort from depression, darkness becomes a companion.
  • If this point keeps going, even the things we look to for hope such as reading the Bible and praying seem pointless and we give up on them. We believe God has given up on us and look to other sins to fulfill us.

Hebrews 12:7-11

  • I believe the ultimate cause of Acedia is bitterness in one’s soul.
  • We must recognize that we serve a sovereign God. Everything that happens either he makes happen or allows to happen.
  • Hebrews 12:14-15- You see when hardship comes YOU HAVE A CHOICE- get bitter or better! Hardship comes because what we hoped for didn’t happen, one gets down and depressed, so you get sick spiritually (acedia). This is bitterness! It is refusing to accept the discipline and goodness of God. You fight the harvest he wants to produce in your life.
  • Jesus must be enough for us even when we go through times of emptiness or feel numb.
  • Having to face something hard is not a sign of God’s disapproval with us.
  • The scars Jesus had from his crucifixion were a sign of victory not God’s displeasure.
  • Have you refused God’s goodness? Do you have a conviction it is willful?
    • Refuse to enjoy a Bible study
    • Refuse to enjoy meetings of the body (HIT: Commitment of a Disciple/ ALL CONGREG.)
    • Refuse to enjoy creation (when your bored, something spiritual is going on)
    • Refuse to enjoy material blessings
    • Refusal to accept encouragement from others
    • Refusal to enjoy prayer
    • Refuse to enjoy the relationships in the body (HIT: Over the break, still enjoying fellowship- Acts 2:42-47)
    • Refusal to enjoy sharing your faith
    • Refusal to enjoy our spouse

THE MOTIONS by Matthew West

This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break,
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (’cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I know I’m finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go)
Take me all the way (through the motions)
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions

  • What is the cure for acedia?


  1. The Cure for Acedia

Genesis 4:1-8

  • This is the first case of acedia in the Bible! (well maybe second if you count Adam and Eve)
  • The Holy Spirit makes a point to show that Cain was “very angry” and “downcast”. Cain was bitter and it lead to acedia.
  • Why was God displeased with Cain’s sacrifice? I believe if we look at Genesis 3:21- God taught Adam and Eve that he required a blood sacrifice, of course Hebrews 11:4 shows us that Abel offered in faith!
  • Notice v.3 “in the course of time”- You see Cain became apathetic towards God. He did not enjoy the goodness of God so he didn’t give in faith (his heart wasn’t into it anymore). There was no costly sacrifice, now a cheap one.
  • V6- if you do what is right won’t you be accepted?
  • Do the right thing! Many of us get down, bitter towards our spouse, bitter towards the church, bitter towards our roommates AND YOU ARE IN MAJOR SIN! Cain was the one in sin but he was blind by his acedia.
  • Cain was deceived that God didn’t love him anymore. Sin by nature deceives us. Acedia is deceptive.
  • You must master your sin. (SHARE: It is sad, b/c many times it is the people in excessive impurity that are the most bitter and deceived) WAKE UP! YOU’RE SPIRITUALLY SICK AND NEED TO PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD!
  • Start doing the things you know are right.
  • SHARE: I wouldn’t pray for long periods of time, no matter how much I was challenged on it, no matter how many d-times, no matter how many periods of fruitlessness, I wouldn’t. I refused to enjoy communion with God. I had to just start doing the right thing despite my feelings and motivation. Since I decided that God has turned the church around!
  • If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted?
  • Luke 10:38-42- Martha refused to enjoy the goodness of the presence of the Son of God!
  • Doing the right thing is not enough, you must engage in the right things. Mary was busy doing things that needed to and yet refused to engage in the moment enjoying Jesus.
  • Mary chose to enjoy Jesus and it wouldn’t be taken away from her.
  • Do you recognize timing? Are you aware of your surroundings? Or are you distracted?
  • SHARE: I found myself sometimes not being engaged with people talking to me
  • This is part of defeating the selfish element that fuels acedia.
  • Mark 14:32-41
  • Jesus could have given into acedia here, his guys certainly were. No longer were they fired up and consumed with zeal, but now sadness, depression, and sleepiness. Jesus felt the same way but took a different course of action, one of the Spirit!
  • He prayed and engaged with God. “The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak”. He wrestled with God- his feeling was not to go to the Cross “take this cup from me” but he prayed to surrender his heart to God- to see the goodness of God’s plan.
  • This takes an incredible amount of spiritual discipline that has to come from within.
  • When you are depressed instead of giving into the flesh and eating ice cream, sleeping, indulging in video games, DO YOU PRAY?
  • Galatians 5:16-18,22-23- doesn’t sound like acedia! Maybe you are visiting and you have never experienced God’s Holy Spirit, without it there is no hope for acedia.
  • Galatians 3:26-27- Clothing yourself with Christ happens at baptism! MANY WHO ARE STUDYING HAVE ACEDIA AND WON”T FEEL OR DEAL!!!
  • During the summerit is so easy to get into sins like sloth, gluttony, and acedia. We need to do the right thing to be accepted by God, engage in the present, and walk by the Spirit!


biblestarsOpening Ice Breaker: Share your name out loud with the group and have the first person who shares whisper something into the next persons ear. Every person that shares has to whisper what was said. Have the last person who says their name say outloud what was whispered (Telephone game).

Q: How come with so few people, it is still challenging to find out what was originally whispered? (perception, not understanding language, etc.)

Q: What could have helped us make sure what was whispered was not changed as it traveled from one person to another? (write it down and pass a paper around)

Q: What are some common myths you have heard about the Bible?

Today we are going to look at Peter’s understanding of scripture. Peter was one of the closest apostles to Jesus Christ. He writes 2 Peter some 37 years after he had walked with Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:16-18

Q: How is Peter defending the faith in this verse? (claims he was there, heard the voice of God)

Q: Is eyewitness testimony reliable? Why or why not?

Q: In what ways does our society value eyewitness testimony? (justice system)

Q: Is there a double standard when it comes to the Bible? Why would this be if so?

Q: What does it take to make up a cleverly devised story?

Q: Could the apostles and early followers of Jesus done this? Why or why not? (1 Cor. 15- over 500 witness to the resurrection, most the apostles died a martyres death- do you die for a lie?,historical evidence of Jesus, etc.)

Q: Peter claims they heard the voice of God on the Mountain of Transfiguration, how many of you would love to hear the audible voice of God? What would be your “ideal” way for God to prove himself to you?

This is still all just eyewitness testimony and telephone in a sense, but at least it is written down. Let’s see if there is something more reliable for us.

2 Peter 2:19-21

Q: What did Peter see as compeltely reliable (some translations made more certain)? (Peter saw the scripture as more reliable than the voice of God from heaven!)

Q: How would the Bible be more reliable than a voice from heaven?

Q: Peter says, “Above all”- what does he above all, want us to understand? (That scripture was authored by God using men as vessels.)

Q: Is there such thing as interpretation according to the Bible? (not private interpretation)

Q: How do we get rid of interpretation? Don’t we all interpret? (It isn’t about getting rid of interpretation, but learning to interpret the right way. God had a specific message and it isn’t going to mean something different today than it meant to the original hearers).


  • Bible is 66 books
  • Written by 40 different authors (some kings, tax collectors, poor people, etc.)
  • Written on 3 different continents
  • Written in 3 different languages (Hebrew, Greek, some Aramaic)
  • All in 1500-2000 years

This is amazing as there are no contradictions and the Bible tells one story about one God. It would be like if we all witnessd a crime, chances are when we write the police report there may be descrepancies and yet in the Bible with many authors who weren’t contemparies we don’t find those descrepancies!

2 Peter 2:1-2

Q: Why do false teachers introduce destructive heresies?

Q: What is the consequence of following false teaching?

2 Peter 3:14-18

Q: What is Peter most concerned about in some of his last words before he would be beheaded by Nero? (make sure to not fall into error or false teaching!)

Q: Can the Bible be hard to understand? (yes, even in this time people were distorting Paul’s letters to say what they wanted it to say- this leads to their destruction spiritually)

Q: What would it look like to make every effort to be found at peace with God (v14)?

It has been an amazing Bible discussion today. Consider, do you know the scriptures?

Challenge: Study the Bible with the person who brought you to make sure you understand God’s will for your life.

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“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Love is in the air at the Boston International Christian Church! Congratulations to our newest married couple Joe and Amelia Mack! Also to our engaged couples Peter Markarian and Jessica Polum and Andre Carreo and Mara Eagen! Finally, congratulations to the newest dating couples in the church Jackie Gomes and Aradhna Masih and Gianni DiFusco and Skyla Eastman. Do you feel the love?



Joe proposes to Amelia at church!


With so many new dating, engaged, and now a married couple, it could be tempting as a single to ask “when is it going to be my turn?!” Certainly, disciples of Jesus have the conviction that disciples date and marry only disciples (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Yet even in the church, we can struggle on how to spiritually go about pursuing an interest in someone we like and desire a dating relationship with. Satan can even take things further when we allow feelings of jealousy, impatience, and lust fill our hearts. The scripture above shows that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. The condition is that we delight in the LORD! God needs to be first. God must be our ultimate desire. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25). God must be our great reward (Genesis 15:1). Jesus commanded us to become like children to enter the kingdom of God. When you come into the kingdom, you must put away old worldly ways of dating and be completely humble to learn to date in a way that glorifies God. How do you begin a dating relationship in God’s kingdom? Here are a few biblical principles.

  1. Patience

“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20

Biblical love is long-suffering, willing to wait, and patient. Patience is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When someone is impatient, they are not qualified to date in God’s kingdom. Unspiritual impatience shows itself in many ways. It is not submissive to advice or input. Idolatry of dating itself or of the person is the root of impatience. The impatient brother or sister wants what they want right away. They are not at peace if someone tries to get in their way or encourages them to slow down. The question must be asked, why would someone not be willing to wait if advised to? The phrase “wait on the Lord” is used so many times in the Bible. Time allows what is in the heart to be revealed so that a proper foundation can be built. Are you willing to wait on God to make clear to you when it is time to start pursuing the brother or sister that you have an interest in dating? How does God do this?

  1. Advice and Community

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15



Jackie & Aradhna start dating in God’s kingdom!

In Biblical times when someone desired to marry, they sought the blessing of the community. Usually, a bride price was paid. In 1 Samuel 18:24-29, Saul (God’s anointed and yet evil king at this point) conspires to get David killed by sending him out to fight the Philistines. He tells David he will give him his daughter Michal if he brings back 100 Philistine foreskins. David trusted his God was bigger than men’s motives and submitted to God’s anointed leader. He came back with 200 foreskins and married Michal! David could submit to Saul’s direction (though ill-motivated) because he was submitted to God. The story of Jacob serving fourteen years under Laban who lies to him and takes advantage of him serves as another example of this principle (Genesis 29). The point is, you cannot stop God’s plans. If God desires you to be with someone it will happen, but you must remain submitted to leadership (Hebrews 13:17) and seek tons of advice. In the church, we strive to follow the biblical principle of seeking the blessing of the community. Everyone has a discipling partner as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28:20) and we should seek tons of advice when it comes to making moves in pursuing a dating relationship. This helps guard hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Can you make your own decisions without seeking and submitting to advice? Absolutely! Will God bless it? Probably not. Remember, the way of a fool seems right to him. What stops someone from getting advice? Pride, and we know pride always comes before the fall. Consider these verses if you need to gain deeper convictions on seeking advice: Proverbs 12:15, 13:10, 19:20,  and 20:18. Decide today to seek the blessing of the community by seeking advice and submitting to leadership (Ephesians 5:21).


  1. Absolute Purity

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3



Andre proposes to Mara!


The Bible teaches that we should treat our relationships as we would our own physical family, with absolute purity. If you are single in the congregation, do you in your interactions, physical touch, and in your heart, treat the opposite sex as your own physical sibling? I am very grateful to God that my first kiss and intimacy was with Chenelle (and in my life ever since I was baptized at 13 as a teen) when I was married! Maybe you can’t say that, but I want to encourage you; if you are in Christ, God sees you as a pure virgin! Chenelle’s white dress meant something since we strove for purity in our dating relationship and prior to dating. There were many shortcomings we had and times we were too close emotionally and physically but we would quickly confess and not allow it to go that far. It is complete foolishness to think you can handle being alone with the opposite sex. Paul admonished the church to make sure there is no hint of impurity. It doesn’t even have to be the act, but if it just smells or looks like it, it is a sin in God’s eyes. In the church, we encourage everyone to go on double dates. Singles should never be alone with the opposite sex to fulfill these verses. It isn’t about whether we trust each other or not, it is that we don’t trust Satan! He is a schemer and wants to take you out of the kingdom. More people fall away from God because of sexual sin. Emotional impurity can also be a huge challenge. Late night texting, flirting, talking about marriage, or spending undue amounts of time with someone does not produce a pure heart. We need to welcome correction and accountability in this area. Paul expected the church to hold each other to God’s standard of purity. Do you have absolute purity in your relationships with the opposite sex? God will only give his daughters and brothers to men or women of God he trusts.

  1. Date Often

“See to it, brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:12-13

One of the most exciting parts of our church culture is “Kingdom Dates”. The Bible tells us that we need encouragement to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and eventually unbelieving! The brothers in the church are constantly tempted with the immodesty of the world and our sexualized culture. The sisters constantly get hit on and flirted with by men in the world. As brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to encourage and protect one another. Kingdom dates are Saturday evening (or another convenient evening) where two brothers will ask two sisters on a date (or vice versa) and go out on a fun double date to encourage one another. There is nothing romantic about it or it doesn’t even mean there is a mutual romantic interest. The goal is to have an encouraging time and get to know the brothers and sisters in a pure environment. Christians need to learn to develop spiritual relationships with the opposite sex and unlearn the ways the world taught us to build relationships. Maybe you found a sister or brother that you want to start dating. Be patient, seek advice, be pure, and finally date often! That may seem strange if you like someone specifically, but love is totally selfless. Dating different brothers and sisters show you are concerned with all of God’s family being encouraged. I personally do not encourage my blessing to start dating in the church if the brother takes the same sister out that he likes every week. This shows a selfish heart which will hurt him later if things progress to marriage. If you have not wanted to go on kingdom dates with different brothers and sisters. I want to challenge you to repent and love your brothers and sisters. This also allows you to grow spiritually and see different qualities in different people to make a wise decision on who you want to date.


Gianni & Skyla started dating in the kingdom and powerfully lead our AMS ministry!

These are all just principles to delight in the LORD so that he will give you the desires of your heart. At the end of the day, you can make your own decisions and don’t need the blessing of the church to date if you take the unspiritual rout, but as the old saying goes, you will have to make your bed and sleep in it. After counseling many relationships and seeing the devastation that comes from not following these biblical principles, I encourage you to really consider the way you are going about pursuing a relationship in God’s kingdom. Talk to your discipler today and seek tons of advice and watch God give you the desire of your heart.  To God be the glory!


In Christ,

Mike Patterson