December 30, 2018

Ep.1054: Can You Ever Get Too Comfortable?

Identifying areas of our comfort that could hinder our faith

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CHAPTERS

[00:18:15]
How do we deal with others doctrinally?


[00:36:09]
How can we learn from our weakness to respect growth?


[00:54:20]
What role should our emotions play?


[01:12:47]
What is the highest Christian comfort we can strive for?


Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:24

As another year rolls around, many of us feel like it's time to shake off the lethargy of our most recent habits and experiences and dive headlong into the "new me."  THIS time I’m gonna make those changes!  This time I’m gonna see it through!  This time I’m not going to let circumstances or feelings or habits or others distract or discourage me!  Lots of determined thinking and talk, and it turns out that it may well end up as lots of hot air.  According to several sources (business magazines and periodicals) no matter what we say or resolve, about 80 percent of us stop trying to keep our New Year’s resolutions by mid-February.  There are lots of reasons that might happen from setting the bar too high to a basic lack of commitment.  But, what if the issue is that our comfort zone is just too comfortable?  What do we do then?

Continue Reading

Consider this scenario: You are in a social setting with people who are relatively new to you, as well as people you have long known and respected and whose history is like yours.  These two groups have some tension between them.  Who does your “comfort instinct” guide you to do?  You would naturally gravitate towards those who are familiar, and who would blame you?  What if you started out in this setting with only those you didn’t know,and as you spent time with them, the other, more familiar group arrived?  This could create a subtle yet critical dilemma.  A similar circumstance did just that for the Apostle Peter in the New Testament.  What happened to Peter was common – he chose to follow the most comfortable reaction rather than engaging in the most appropriate response...and it resulted in very unchristian behavior!

The point here is simple.  If the great Apostle Peter can get drawn into such a bad choice, that tells us we are easily susceptible as well.  And Peter is not the only one.  There are several other biblical examples of decisions made and followed through that ended up in a poor state.  These decisions were about some of the most basic things, like what to believe, who to trust and being stubborn about holding a grudge.  It’s kind of scary to think that we can get into bad situations regarding those things Christian principles obviously guide us on – all because of what we feel comfortable with.

Check out our December 30, 2018 podcast, “Can You Ever get Too Comfortable?” We unfold several biblical accounts helping us see where our own comfort liabilities may be hiding.  While it is inherently uncomfortable to expose these weaknesses, it is a worthwhile revelation.  When we pinpoint what makes us feel settled with this or that we can then compare it with the reality of our Christian dedication. It calls us to something so much higher and so much better.  As we begin a new year why not embrace the challenge of having it a year that opens doors you previously may have ignored.  Seek out the comfort of walking in Jesus’ footsteps!

 

 

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December 30, 2018

VIDEO: Can You Ever Get Too Comfortable?

There are lots of biblical examples of decisions that ended up poorly. And they were about some basic things, like what to believe, who to trust and stubbornly holding a grudge. It’s scary – we can get into bad situations regarding those things that Christian principles obviously guide us on – all because of we want to feel comfortable. How can we move outside our comfort zones and is it REALLY that important to do so? Watch this short blog then listen to the full podcast with the same name.

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December 23, 2018

Ep.1053: How Do You Show Your Joy to the World?

Learning to find our joy the way those surrounding Jesus' birth did

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:59]
What provoked the joy of Joseph and Mary?


[00:36:03]
What does Simeon teach us about finding joy?


[00:53:48]
What do red marbles have to do with joy?


[01:11:58]
How do we show our joy to the world?


Theme Scripture: Psalm 32:11

We all know the often-quoted scripture that highlights Jesus’ birth: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." This announcement is stirring for many reasons, not the least of which is the comprehensiveness of its scope. It is a message to ALL people, and further, it is a message of joy to all people! With all of the wonderful lessons and characters that surround this proclamation it is easy to lose sight of the simple presence great joy. It is easy for us to confuse this with happiness, but they are not the same. What does it mean to live joyfully? How did those involved in the story of Jesus’ birth find their joy? How do you live yours?

Continue Reading

So, what is the difference between joy and happiness?  When we are happy it is an emotional response to some kind of stimulus which can be internal or external.  Everyone wants to be happy – who wouldn’t?  The big issue with happiness is, because it is based on emotion, it can sometimes vanish as quickly as it appears.  Joy, however, is much more than a feeling - it is a state of mind. It comes to us by way of realization and conviction.  Joyful people have a settled purpose or direction within, and even negative external circumstances will not necessarily derail it.

Think about the shepherds tending their flocks in the hills around Bethlehem on the night of Jesus birth.  These guys were basically invisible to the rest of society, for they spent their days and nights caring for sheep.  Yet, God saw fit to have an angel tell these shepherds of all people that the Savior was born.  And not only did God have an angel tell them, He had a multitude of angels sing the joy of Jesus’ birth!  Who else in all of Bible Scripture heard an actual chorus of angels sing to them?  Can you even imagine the lift and the joyful feelings these men would have experienced?

The Bible says they went to Bethlehem and found Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus who was peacefully lying in the manger.  The shepherds told them of the angelic message and host, and their story brought wonder to those new parents.  They then went away, praising God and telling all who would listen of these miraculous things.  Try and put yourself in the position of those simple men and imagine the joy they must have felt as their experiences told them they were part of something world-changing and much bigger than themselves.

Once we figure out that joy is life-changing, we will want to give it permanent residence in our souls.  Check out our December 23, 2018 podcast, “How do You Show Your Joy to the World?” and follow along with us as we tell the stories of the shepherds, May and Joseph, Simeon the prophet and the Wise Men and track the joy that overtook them at Jesus’ birth.  Joy is contagious – catch it!

 

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December 17, 2018

Ep.1052: Is it God’s Fault We Have Evil in This World?

Determining God’s accountability for evil, eternity and His creation

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:56]
How did the dying process play out with Adam and Eve?


[00:36:32]
What about the evil that has developed in the last 6,000 years?


[00:54:00]
Does God purposely send sin to innocent generations?


[01:12:06]
Does God create calamities? Is God at fault for evil?


Theme Scripture: Isaiah 45:7

Every Christian acknowledges the evil that permeates our world, though explaining its depth and purpose can be challenging. We always say it is a result of sin and Satan – and that’s true. The harder question most don’t ask or want to ask is whether or not God is responsible for evil. If He is the Almighty and far above all He created, then surely He must bear a generous amount of accountability for what we see around us. We believe God is powerful enough to stop it and chooses not to, so by definition He must own some blame for all that evil produces. As a Christian, (and this may be a surprise to some) I do believe that God is accountable for evil. However, if we are going down THAT road, then there are other roads of accountability justice requires we go down as well, because it would be unfair to only tell half the story!

Continue Reading

So, let’s get this straight.  I am unequivocally telling you that God IS accountable for the evil in this world – BUT – I am also saying that walking away from this message with that conclusion is utterly wrong!  Why?  Because you would be walking away with less than half the truth on the matter.  For those of us who want to condemn God, I am sure my previous statement of His accountability is exactly what you are looking for, as it verifies your own thoughts. For those of us who are looking for the whole story, this statement of accountability is merely an introduction that needs serious development.

To me, blaming God for the sorrow and death in this world is like blaming a dad for the misery of his teenage children.  The sulking and lashing out that comes from, “You never let us do anything” and “All the other dads are nice to their kids!” actually has a basis in truth!  I know this for a fact because I was that dad.  I also know that once those teenagers grew up, they not only appreciated the firm hand of guidance in their teen years, they now freely ask for input regarding the raising of their own kids.  My point is that God DOES have a plan and this present day of evil is the part that is like dealing with angry teenagers.  Don’t judge God until you see what His plan is and what His results will bring!

Check out our December 17, 2018 podcast, “Is it God’s Fault We Have Evil in This World?” to broaden these points.  We steer directly into the headwinds of the hard questions dealing with the unfairness of most people’s lives and the seeming silence of God as this world spins out of control.  We trace God’s plan, His justice and His coming mercy that involves every human life ever lived.  What we find is not only sensible, it is powerful as well.  God really does have this in hand and seeing how can change the way we see everything!

 

 

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December 10, 2018

Ep.1051: What Do the Faithful Old Testament Characters Teach Us?

The strength and tenacity of several Old Testament heroes of faith

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:52]
What can we learn from the heroism of Noah?


[00:36:11]
What about the faith of Abram?


[00:54:20]
Joseph dealt with sibling rivalry, false accusations and prison - what kept him faithful?


[01:12:32]
How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego handle extreme pressure?


Theme Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

As Christians we are always talking about faith and its indispensable role in our lives, for without it we really are not true Christians at all. We are always looking for ways to inspire our faith towards higher and more mature levels. Finding this motivation does not have to be a difficult task, as the Old Testament is full of individuals whose faith and actions were God-honoring and incredibly heroic. If we observe and study their lives we will find a treasure trove of faith-strengthening tools and examples for our practical everyday use. How much did they know of God’s plan when they were tested? What were the obstacles that they were beset with? What kinds of social pressure did they have to deal with? Were their choices along the lines of "good, better, best" or were they clear black and white decisions? What does all of this mean to us?

Continue Reading

Living now in the 21st century, it might be tempting to look back to the faith heroes of Old Testament times and see a glaring irrelevancy as we compare their experiences with our lives. After all, the greatest technology of their time was the heating and fashioning of metals, the invention of simple mechanical devices and the creation of string and wind musical instruments. What could they possibly have to offer us as we face a technology-driven world that overflows with information, virtual worlds, temptation and sensory overstimulation? The answer is a foundation. They, by their faithfulness, give us the materials on which to build a successful Christian life.

Take Deborah, the Old Testament prophet and judge in Israel before the times when they had a king. Leadership was sorely lacking, as the nation had been oppressed for many years. When it can time to fight this oppression, Deborah prophesied that God would lead them to victory. Now that’s all well and good, but they needed to have a general who would have the guts to lead them into battle. They didn’t. His response to Deborah was essentially, “I’m not going unless you go with me!” She does go and the battle is won. The lesson for us is practical and appropriate. When it comes to following godly principles, step up and step out. Be the example, even if it’s not your “job.” In the famous words of Nike, “Just do it!”

This is but one of many profound examples of grass roots practical and life-changing faith in action we can learn from Old Testament heroes. Think about the likes of Noah and Joseph. And then there are others who are not quite so famous but did some of the most astounding things. Who am I talking about? Check out our December 10, 2018 podcast, “What Do the Old Testament Faithful Teach Us?” for more. We highlight several individuals by isolating their specific challenges regarding the seeming impossibility of their tasks. We also observe the inordinate pressures they faced both publicly as well as from their peers. What we find is everything we need to build our own lives of faith!

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VIDEO: What Do the Faithful Old Testament Characters Teach Us?

Can the Old Testament faith heroes actually be relevant today? What can we learn from them? A foundation. They give us the materials on which to build a successful Christian life. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast #1051 – What Do the Faithful Old Testament Characters Teach Us?

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December 05, 2018

VIDEO: Did Jesus Ever Do Anything Wrong?

Parents and Bible class teachers, this short, animated video details the account of Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. We also learn more about Jesus’ beautiful characteristics that we should copy. Subscribe to our channel at ChristianQuestions.com/YouTube and never miss a new video!

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VIDEO: What Does it Mean to be Saved?

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December 03, 2018

Ep.1050: What Does it Mean to Be Saved?

Clarifying salvation's true biblical meaning and applications

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:24]
What are we being saved from?


[00:35:54]
How can salvation come in two different ways if it only comes through Jesus?


[00:53:36]
Is today the only time for salvation?


[01:11:45]
How does judgment work for those who are saved later?


Theme Scripture: Romans 10:13

Fundamental to all of Christianity is the foundational teaching of salvation. The problem is that the actual interpretation of salvation shifts dramatically depending upon which denomination or group you belong to. For some, it is speaking words of acceptance and offering a simple prayer. For others, it is belonging to a specific church, and for other groups it is a gift that will find you whether you seek it or not. So, what is salvation – what are we saved from and how does it work? Can everyone have it? If so, why and if not why not? Is it only offered now in this life or is there some way it can be offered after death and resurrection? Finally, if this teaching is SO important then why does it seem to be so elusive.

Continue Reading

Several scriptures, especially in the book of Romans, seem to make salvation easy. In fact, they make it so easy that it becomes complicated. Consider the following scriptural phrases and their assumed meaning: “The free gift of God is eternal life.” Okay, being saved is absolutely free. Next, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But wait, it’s not totally free – you have to call upon Jesus! Next, “Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Wait a minute!  Now you not only have to say it out loud, but you need to really believe it in your heart! Which is right…or are they all right? These are only some of the potential “qualifications” that varying denominations put on salvation. Finding the bottom line truth on the matter requires seeing beneath the surface of where we are taught to look.

Answer two basic questions:

  1.  What are we saved from? Is it a burning hell, eternal separation from God, becoming eternally evil? Are we being saved from ourselves? Or could it be we are saved from going into a death that has no possibility of resurrection? While we are convinced that this last answer is the only scriptural one, we also realize that it needs sufficient proof.
  2. Who “gets saved”? Here again there is no shortage in the variety of answers you can find among the vast Christian community. But we believe more will be saved than you may think!

Why not put this whole thing in perspective and get a sensible and sequential answer? Check out our December 3rd, 2018 podcast, “What Does it Mean to Be Saved?” for starters. We walk through this subject with the objective of finding the truth of Scripture by putting it all in context first and then pulling all of the pieces together. What we find is a clear narrative that tells the story of salvation in great detail. This find defines the magnitude of God’s plan as we uncover why it can work, how and when it does work and who it actually works for. It is all amazing!

 

Watch Our Episode Preview


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