April 30, 2018

VIDEO: Is Mercy Compatible With Justice?

Mercy or justice? Both! Mercy and justice are not only inseparable but fully dependent upon one another. Look at God’s impartiality. It’s clean. We can see His integrity ONLY when we connect what He did in biblical times to what we know about His motives and plan. Simply stated, God’s justice is restorative. It not only provides consequences for wrong actions, but teaches the wrongdoer how to become righteous. Watch this short vlog and then listen to the full podcast of the same name.

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April 30, 2018

Ep.1019: Is Mercy Compatible with Justice?

Unlocking the power of just actions seasoned with a merciful hand

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CHAPTERS

[00:18:37]
Was mercy a last-minute solution for a plan gone wrong?


[00:37:08]
How do we personally apply justice and mercy?


[00:55:36]
Are mercy and grace the same?


[01:13:09]
How can we avoid convenience over conscience?


Theme Scripture: Hosea 12:6

MERCY or JUSTICE? We often see them as opposites. When someone does something particularly bad we want justice in its harshest and most direct form to be there waiting for them. We tend to see justice as hard but righteous punishment reserved for those who we feel deserve it. Mercy is perceived differently. Often when we think of being merciful, there is a sense of pity or compassion, because we want it applied to those who we feel deserve “a break.” The problem? Too often our thinking and actions regarding justice and mercy are based on our emotional reaction to the situation at hand. Too often we misrepresent what justice really means and how mercy really works. The good news is that God has given us all of the necessary guidelines to not only define but to live by just thinking and merciful response.

Continue Reading

Mercy or justice?  Clearly defining them begins with understanding and accepting a purely God-centered approach.  To know how these work in the hands of God will tell us how they should work in our hands.  Getting there requires us to back out of all the powerful and layered emotions we generally and carelessly attach to each attribute.  Let’s begin with God’s impartiality. It is clean.  It operates on a level far above the knee-jerk reactions that so often and so easily become embedded in our judgment.  How do we know?  We can only see His integrity when we connect what He did in Bible times to what we know about His motives and plan.  It is far too easy to drop in on any Old Testament scenario, see God’s proclamations of anger or destruction and announce to the world how unfair or dishonorable He is.  This assessment of ours is in and of itself unjust, for it does not know all the facts.  You and I don’t want to be judged without all of the facts, so why would we do that to God?

Figuring mercy out requires the same “big thinking” approach.  Observing and grasping God’s intentions and foresight will teach us a universal truth about His mercy.  God’s mercy is a result of His justice.  It is not a watering down or a reversal or a coping out of judgment.  God’s benevolence is the intended outcome of His just and honorable actions. Simply stated, His justice is restorative and therefore merciful.  It is in place to not only provide consequences for wrong actions, but to teach the wrongdoer how to become righteous.

If this is the case. then we should want our clemency and goodwill to grow out of such high standards of justice.  So, how do we do that and how do we confirm these aforementioned biblical principles of God’s character?  Check out our April 30, 2018 podcast, “Is Mercy Compatible With Justice?”  We establish the biblical evidence of God’s very first actions of restorative justice on behalf humanity.  With that in place we then go through the process of taking our own thoughts and actions relating to justice and mercy to a higher place.  God doesn't choose between mercy or justice - they work together.

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April 23, 2018

VIDEO: What Does Discipleship Cost?

One of the most amazing things about Jesus calling followers was that he often did things to turn people away. In John 6 he said following him required the eating his flesh and drinking his blood. In Luke 14 he said that to be worthy of him, you had to hate your family – all of them! Right after that difficult message, Jesus told three stories that illustrated different and important aspects of becoming a disciple. For more Scriptures and thoughts on those three stories watch this short vlog then listen to our full podcast with the same title.

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April 23, 2018

Ep.1018: What Does Discipleship Cost?

Three parables that teach us what it takes to be Jesus' followers

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:30]
We counted the costs - what's next?


[00:36:06]
We looked at the harsh realities of following Jesus - what's next?


[00:54:21]
Following Jesus is simple but not easy!


[01:12:09]
The most important thing we can apply from this whole discipleship experience


Theme Scripture: Luke 14:26

It is so easy to talk about following Jesus.  After all, he came as our Savior, voluntarily sacrificed his life and opened up the way to heaven for us.  Why wouldn’t you want to align yourself with someone who wipes away your sins and can give you eternity in the process?  It’s a no brainer, right?  Um, not exactly!  Turns out, being a disciple of Jesus is hard work that requires thought, action and results.  It is a conscious decision to be different, to driven by a higher calling than you would naturally follow.  Following Jesus in a selfie world is akin to being a nerdy kid on a football team.  You have plenty to offer but those around you just don’t see your value.  Can a Christian thrive in a world that rewards evil? How do we know what to think, do and become to be sure we are truly following Jesus?  Now that’s easy!  Jesus himself told us…

Continue Reading

One of the most amazing things about Jesus calling out individuals to follow him was the fact that he often did things to turn people away.  We always think of Jesus as inviting and kind...and he absolutely was!  The other side of the issue lies in some of the things he said to large crowds who were attracted to him.  In John 6 he said following him required the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood.  In Luke 14 he said that to be worthy of being his disciple, you had to hate your family – your parents, siblings, children and spouse.  Hardly what we would expect to hear from such a caring, wise and inviting leader who was sent by God to save the world, and yet this is what we have.  Why?

It all comes down to discipleship:  What it means to be an actual follower of Jesus, how any actual follower is supposed to think and act and the all important expectations of those who would be led.  It turns out that Jesus spent a lot of teaching time on this very thing.  In Luke 14 immediately after he told everyone to hate their families – now wait – you KNOW that hating your family was not a literal statement, right?  RIGHT?  Anyway, right after that difficult message, Jesus told three stories.  These stories were all illustrations of different aspects of discipleship, beginning with the necessary thought process one should have BEFORE they commit themselves to the cause of Christ.

Check out our April 23, 2018 podcast “What Does Discipleship Cost?” and fill in the gaps.  Unfortunately most of us are not taught the relevant inside story of the costs and blessings of walking in Jesus’ footsteps.  It makes sense that if you are a Christian or are considering becoming a Christian - or even are a skeptic of Christianity - that you get your arms around what discipleship truly means. Frankly, the only way to do this is to grasp Jesus’ own words on the matter.  If you want to know about following, ask the leader!

 

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April 16, 2018

Ep.1017: Who and What Should a Christian Support?

Establishing solid Christian principles for charitable giving

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:17:43]
Is Jesus saying to NOT help the unfortunate because he will help them later?


[00:36:39]
Does the Bible give us guidance on our responsibility to protect the environment and animals?


[00:54:41]
What about charity and the brotherhood?


[01:12:40]
How can we help the less fortunate?


Theme Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:6

Christian support.  One of the hallmark characteristics of being a Christian is compassion.  Jesus was the epitome of acting in a way that helped and cared for others. We are called to walk in his footsteps.  Simple enough – or is it? In our world, there are a myriad of causes we can be kindhearted towards. These include the poor, the under-educated, the abused, the oppressed, the homeless, the disabled, the unborn. Then there is the wider scope of life – endangered species, abused and homeless animals and the environment. What about the social and political issues that rage across our media 24 hours a day, seven days a week? All of these and more can easily demand our attention, money and time! What do we do? What causes are support-worthy for a Christian? Where do we invest our time, effort and resources to be truly God-honoring followers of Jesus?

Continue Reading

The first thing to realize is that God mentioned the poor way back in the Old Testament as He was setting up the Law for the nation of Israel.  In His Law He made provisions for the average person to be aware, compassionate and responsible towards those who were having challenges. He also proclaimed that the poor would always be with them.  He did not build a poverty elimination system into the Law, but He did build a poverty management system into it.  God knew the free will of man would always leave room for bad choices.  He also knew bad things would happen to good people.  His instruction was to be generous and kind to the less fortunate, and His provisions gave those less fortunate opportunities to help themselves.

Jesus followed this philosophy as well

While he did encourage generosity towards the poor, he did not seek to eliminate poverty. What does all of this means to us? Biblical principles for Christians point to helping with - but not solving - poverty issues. This may sound harsh, but it is based on the reality of a sin-based world. For many of us this presents a true dilemma, because we are often taught it is our business to do everything we can to save the world from all evil. We want to help, fix and solve the problems of our fellow man. These are noble and appropriate desires.  How do we do that?

Check out our April 16, 2018 podcast, “Who or What Should a Christian Support?” and put the whole matter of giving, saving and preserving in perspective. We DO have responsibility towards this world. Environmental conditions SHOULD be respected. We DO have responsibility of respect towards the animal kingdom as well, and we DO have responsibility towards the less fortunate. The key to this whole thing is how we choose to express that responsibility. The New Testament gives us clear cut guidance on what parts of that expression are most important for Christians. It teaches us how Christian support should be given and how to keep all of the mess of the world in perspective!

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April 16, 2018

VIDEO: Who and What Should a Christian Support?

Jesus’ example teaches us to be compassionate, but In our world there are a myriad of causes we can support but we have limited time and dollars. What do we do? What causes should the Christian support? Where do we invest our time, effort and resources to be truly God-honoring followers of Jesus? Watch this short vlog and then listen to the full podcast of the same name!

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April 09, 2018

VIDEO: Am I a Double-Minded Christian?

We all want to be successful at whatever it is we are focusing on. How do we do it?  Be single-minded. Have your vision clear and your energy directed. It’s not easy.  We end up distracted, or we start something but don’t finish or we even rationalize our way out of triumph. How do we put habitual double-minded thinking behind us and reach forward towards true, godly achievement?  Watch this short vlog and then listen to our podcast of the same name.

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April 09, 2018

Ep.1016: Am I a Double-Minded Christian?

Discovering the pitfalls and remedies to distracted thinking

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:17:22]
How can we avoid double-mindedness?


[00:36:29]
How does double-mindedness distract us from deep fellowship?


[00:54:11]
How does double-mindedness hinder our relationships?


[01:12:10]
What else do we need to know?


Theme Scripture: James 1:7-8

We all want to be successful at whatever it is we are focusing on. Our Christian life is no exception, though the words we use to describe "success" are entirely different than with other endeavors. We want to be faithful – we want to live lives of sacrifice – we want to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. All of these things equate to the Christian version of experiencing victory in life. So, regardless of the words or the effort, how do we attain such an end? How do we “arrive”? One short phrase will get us started – be single-minded. Have your vision clear and your energy directed. It's not easy because most of us struggle with these very disciplines. It is far too easy to end up distracted and double-minded, to start something and not finish. It is far too easy rationalize our way out of triumph. Or even get confused as to what the right path is.  How do we do it? How do we put habitual double-minded thinking behind us and reach forward towards true achievement?

Continue Reading

Head - Heart

The very fact that being a single-minded achiever is rare indicates that it will take uncommon effort and extraordinary perseverance to get there. One of the big issues every human being faces is that of focus and its source. We all have two primary focus centers:  our heads – what we think – and our hearts – what we feel. Like it or not, these two centers for direction are more often than not fighting against each other. One quick example would be getting up early so you can go to the gym. Your head has verified the evidence – working out first thing in the morning is a key ingredient for better mental functionality and better physical health. Your heart however reminds you as your alarm goes off at 5:40am that you really need your sleep and it feels so good to just stay there! This brings a head versus heart dilemma of double mindedness. I know because this example is my own weekday struggle.

Joy? You're kidding.

In the first chapter of James, it says to “count it all joy when you encounter various trials.” Why would you be joyful or glad when you are having trouble? Because the joy you find is a result of bringing your head and your heart together. You create a single-minded approach when you acknowledge what you feel then take that emotion and put it behind what you know. This intentional and unifying action creates a singleness of purpose that has far more value and power than the sum of its parts. This is exactly what Jesus was able to do as he completed the unreserved sacrifice of his humanity for our sins!

Check out our April 9, 2018 podcast, “Am I a Double-Minded Christian?” and learn more. Find out what feeds the process of becoming single-minded and what breaks it down. Hear examples of how to be single-minded in all areas of life, from the private thoughts inside your head all the way to dealing with the world and its temptations. Single-mindedness is first and foremost a decision.  Don’t wait to make it!

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April 03, 2018

VIDEO: What Are the Qualities of God?

God’s character is all-encompassing, but we generally think of Him as having four main attributes that everything rests on: Justice, Love, Wisdom and Power. How do those attributes work together? How does God’s plan tell us more about who He is? Watch this short video to learn a little bit more about our amazing Creator.

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April 02, 2018

VIDEO: Condemned to Death, How Did Jesus Love His Enemies?

Loving your enemies is to want good and not harm to come to them. Jesus mapped this out for us, especially in the last days of his life before his crucifixion. Jesus not only taught us in detail how to love our enemies, he showed us in living color how to profoundly care for them. He literally “walked the walk” – all the way to Calvary. As we look back upon the death and resurrection of Jesus, we will see how he was the instruction manual for loving your enemies. How did Jesus show devotion to those who were devious and hostile, attachment to those who antagonized him and affection for those who became his adversaries? For an in depth bible study listen to our inspiring podcast of the same name.

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April 02, 2018

Ep.1015: Condemned to Death, How Did Jesus Love His Enemies?

Watching "love your enemies" unfold in Jesus' last days

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:42]
How did Jesus show devotion to those who were devious and hostile?


[00:33:57]
How did Jesus show attachment to those who antagonized him?


[00:50:34]
Did Jesus' love overcome the Roman soldiers?


[01:09:42]
Where did love of his enemies take Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Isaiah 53:3

Love your enemies. Once you dig down to the deepest meaning of this phrase it is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks ever put upon anyone. Jesus not only taught us in detail how to love our enemies, he showed us in living color how to profoundly care for them. He literally "walked the walk" – all the way to Calvary. As we look back upon the death and resurrection of Jesus, we will pause and consider his applying the principle of selfless, sacrificial love and then transforming it into a timeless reality. How did Jesus show devotion to those who were devious and hostile, attachment to those who antagonized him and affection for those who became his adversaries? Why should we love our enemies?

Continue Reading

Let's check the details

When you define loving your enemies you think about wanting what is best for them, about wishing them no harm and about acting in a way that shows these desires.  To see the power of Jesus’ example in fulfilling these qualities, we need to focus on the details of how he actually engaged those who stood against him, as well as the results of that engagement.  One of many great examples of this would be his conversations with Pilate on the day of Jesus' crucifixion.  Here was Jesus, being accused of things he simply did not do.  He stood before Pilate as an already-condemned man according to the Jewish leadership of Jerusalem.  Pilate was the one man who could have stopped the conspiracy.  He was the one authority who could have said, “No, I will not consent to the crucifixion of an entirely innocent man.”

Pilate vs. Jesus

The interchange between them is both fascinating and revealing.  Pilate questioned Jesus with several relevant inquiries.  Jesus answered him with specific kinds of answers designed to be respectful, reveal pertinent truth but not bargain or plead for his life or for justice.  Jesus told Pilate all he needed to know regarding who he was and what he stood for.  Pilate heard and then feared, for he knew the wrath of Jesus’ accusers was both blind and ferocious.  While Jesus’ life was hanging in the balance of the power of the governor’s position, Jesus reminded Pilate that he was merely a man and had his authority only because God himself allowed him to.  So, Jesus told Pilate what he needed to know and Jesus allowed Pilate to cave in to the fury of his accusers.  Jesus showed him respect, gave him truth and accepted his spineless decision.

In our April 2, 2018 podcast, “Condemned to Death, How did Jesus Love His Enemies?” we talked about the details of this account as well as several others.  What we found was a pattern of calm wisdom applied by Jesus.  At every turn he protected those around him, gave the opportunity for truth to be seen and hypocrisy to be exposed.  The telling and conversation about these stories sets your table for an inspiring look at who Jesus really is as well as a profound understanding of what it means to love your enemies. Listen in and see for yourself!

 

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