October 25, 2021

Ep.1201: Can the Dead Communicate With Us?

Examining after-death communications in the light of Scripture

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:58]
Are after-death communications (ADCs) really from the dead?


[00:32:53]
Can induced after-death communications help heal trauma and grief?


[00:49:12]
How do ADCs compare to using mediums and psychics to contact the dead?


Theme Scripture: Isaiah 8:19

Our shared human experience is linked by extreme grief at the loss of a loved one. COVID-19 has unexpectedly killed millions of people around the world, often with no time opportunity for meaningful closure. When a child dies, or a loved one dies tragically or simply passes away from sickness or old age, we want to know, where are they? Are they hurting? Are they okay? Our emotional devastation can cause a desperate search for assurances that they are in a good place. The urge to communicate with the dead through a medium or psychic has been around since ancient days. But have the dead found a way to communicate directly with us? Could they be reaching out to us using common things like butterflies, coins or birds? How should we handle such a tempting yet comforting idea?

Continue Reading

Spontaneous After-Death Communication

An after-death communication (ADC) is a phenomenon that takes place when people have lost a loved one or someone they knew. They are having significant issues with that loss and claim the departed individual appears to and/or communicates with them in some way. This appearance is spontaneous and not a result of intentionally trying to communicate on the part of the grieving one. It usually happens in a dream or in that liminal state between sleep and wakefulness. The overwhelming majority of these visits bring the comforting message that the deceased one is okay. They assure the one suffering from the loss that they can move on. These ADCs are referred to by many as “gifts from heaven.”

Induced After-Death Communication

To complicate the issue, there is form of ADC called an IADC, or induced after-death communication. This type of communication only happens while undergoing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy). EMDR specifically manages very bad memories due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The results of these "visits" while undergoing EMDR therapy are strikingly similar to other ADCs. There is reassurance and peace, as well as a sense of being able to move on. Some report also feeling hugged by the deceased individual.

So, what is really happening here? Are the dead really reaching out to the living with messages of comfort? This is an enormous question and answering it requires a detailed approach. Check out our October 25, 2021 podcast, “Can the Dead Communicate with Us?” for more. We carefully represent what is being reported regarding ADCs by listening to those who have researched them. One source is a psychologist who offers EMDR therapy. Several years ago, he stumbled on the ADC experience while working with a military veteran suffering from PTSD.

We take the experiential input that so many have reported, paying close attention to the emotional factors of loss and grief. After considering  the medical observations and explanations regarding EMDR, we put it together against the backdrop of biblical reasoning. What we find is a thrilling and fascinating conclusion. Join us for this journey and discover some of the amazing gifts God has given us! We also recommend Episode 1206: Is a Near-Death Experience a Glimpse of Heaven?

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Ep.: What is the significance of communion and baptism?

Baptism is a beautiful outward sign of a wholehearted commitment.  This commitment includes the confession “I am a sinner” the recognition and acceptance that “Jesus is my personal Savior” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) and the complete dedication of our lives to God and Christ.
“I present my body—all of my life and all that I am, as a living sacrifice.”  Romans 12.1
This baptismal commitment in life is PICTURED by complete water immersion.  Being submerged under the water pictures the symbolic death of our will:  “Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death.” (Romans 6:6)  Being lifted up from beneath the water to a position of standing is a picture of being raised from death—the old sinful life, to a new standing in Christ and the new life we are now ready to live in Christ:  “in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  Romans 6:6
This “newness of life” is to be a daily “living sacrifice,” wholly delighting to use our thoughts, energies and time according to the will of God, regardless of the cost to the old nature. The instruction is to be baptized when such a commitment is made. See Matthew 28:19.  It is a very meaningful outward practice to mark this very important decision. It is part of obedience in Christ to illustrate this commitment of heart through literal baptism, and obedience always blesses our spiritual growth.
One aspect of the word “communion” is defined as the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. We are instructed by Jesus to share and exchange very intimate thoughts and appreciation when he passed the bread and the cup to his disciples and said “Do this in remembrance of me.”
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ ” Luke 22:19-20
Jesus was asking his followers to remember his sacrifice, pictured by the unleavened bread—the body—the sinless sacrifice of his life, and the cup that contained wine, a symbol of the blood—especially emphasizing the suffering of Christ. The reference to the New Covenant is made possible through his suffering and illustrates his suffering was not only for the blessing of his followers, but also to bring New Covenant blessings to all this weary world—all our human family who die in Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:21-16; Jeremiah 31:29-34; Romans 8:20-22

The Apostle Paul provides a second layer of meaning regarding the bread and the cup in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17  “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”

The word “communion” is from Strong’s Concordance Greek word #2844 and means “partnership,” “participation.”  Paul is pointing out we have a participation in both the bread and the cup—to celebrate our deep appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ will also inspire us to be faithful to these privileges in Christ to live in partnership and participation with these symbols as we fulfill our part in the body and sufferings of Christ. Romans 12:4-11; Philippians 3:8-9, 10-11

We are instructed by Jesus to remember him by partaking of the bread and the cup.  Doing this would be a matter of obedience, and a source of great spiritual strength as we continue to walk this narrow way, seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

However, unlike some Christians who participate in the symbolic cup and bread weekly or even daily, as a memorial of his death, it is appropriate to celebrate on an annual basis.  It is also to remember these are symbols and not the actual “blood” or “body” of Christ recrucified with each remembrance.

Obedience to these scriptural instructions regarding baptism when total commitment to Christ takes place, and to memorialize the sacrifice of Christ are crucial to a Christian’s growth.

To learn more about baptism listen to, “How Many Baptisms Are There?”
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Ep.1200: Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?

Learning to identify and manage compulsive and addictive behavior

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How can we recognize the difference between compulsive thoughts and addiction?


[00:32:43]
What's it like when you finally start to turn the corner to getting healthy?


[00:47:50]
How can we make overcoming an addiction a permanent change?


Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6

Life can be difficult and unpredictable. It can be full of insecurity, unexpected disappointments, and events that press and overwhelm our coping skills. All of this can bring us to places that make us want to run from our reality. We instead engage in a pseudo-reality that makes us feel better - at least for the moment. Enter the pathway to potential addictive behavior. It often begins as a subtle escape, or a convenient distraction, or a thrilling experience. Destructive addictions always end in several layers of disaster. At the top of the addiction casualty list is our character, integrity, family, friends, work associates, and often our financial standing as well. What should we look for and do to avoid or remedy the destructiveness of addiction?

Continue Reading

Party City

Nobody sets out in life with the goal of becoming some kind of addict. At least, that's what our guest Merrily said about her own life. Merrily is a dedicated Christian woman who painfully worked through her own addictions to drugs and alcohol many years ago. In telling her story, she shared how the road towards addiction looked more like a road to excitement and acceptance. Even though this road seemed to be continually headed towards “Party City,” it was littered with warnings and caution signs. The problem is, when you are traveling so fast you don’t have time to think about those signs along the way.

A perceived need or desire

Just because we are Christians we cannot relax when it comes to awareness about and protection against these kinds of things. Addictions always begin with a perceived need or desire. They are fed by compulsive behavior, which in and of itself is not always a bad thing. A compulsion can be an irresistible urge and if those urges are to righteously act in the direct service of God, then let’s go! However, we all know that such an urge is much more the exception than the rule. The bottom line is that we need to be painfully aware of the direction our compulsions are pointing us towards.

As Christians, there is much we can do to identify and destroy addictive behavior. One simple and powerful key in this fight is perspective. We need to go through each action of each day remembering who we are and what we are called to. Being a disciple of Jesus is a whole mind, whole heart and whole body commitment. Anything and everything we focus our attention on must fit within that description.

Check out our October 18, 2021 podcast, “Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?” for more. We follow Merrily’s inspirational story of being trapped by addiction, falling, bottoming out and recovery. Several scriptural principles are laid out to help us whether we are heading into trouble, in trouble or broken. We learn about the power of accountability and the transformational properties of contentment. Addiction is a serious and sometimes deadly issue. Join us for a stark look at its nature and the relief that is found in recovery!

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Ep.1199: Are My Christian Beliefs Based on Truth or Error?

Examining biblically questionable Christian traditions and practices

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:27]
What authority do our churches have over marriage?


[00:29:05]
Are our churches organized according to the Bible or tradition?


[00:43:36]
Should women be teaching in the church?


Theme Scripture: 2 Peter 3:2

When Jesus was being questioned by Pilate in John 18:37, he told him, Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.  Pilate’s answer was an important question because he asked, What is truth?  This brief interchange brings us to similar questions.  How do we know that we are people of the truth?  Do the groups we follow, be they centuries old denominations or newer Christian sects, hold to the “truth” Jesus spoke of? How much of what we are being taught is based on biblical truth versus denominational tradition, and how much is just plain opinion? And to pile on further, at the end of the day, does any of this even matter?

Continue Reading

Truth does matter. Jesus spoke of knowing the truth and the truth setting us free. As Christians, understanding where to find that truth is a subjective search. What denomination do you belong to? What belief system do you follow? Answering these questions will reveal what sources you go to in order to find truth. The challenge here should be evident. If you are a member of a major, centuries-old denomination and I follow an independent Christian group, our sources will be different.

Does tradition bring us truth?

Although the centuries-old approach has longevity on its side, its potential issues stem from that very thing. Centuries bring the comfort of tradition, and it is easy to assume that tradition is the bedrock of truth. However, if we are brave enough to examine the history of Christianity, we will see that far too many traditions have led to far too much despicable and thoroughly unchristian behavior. All done in the name of Christ.

Newer, more independent-thinking Christians also have serious issues to contend with regarding truth. The primary challenge on this end is independent thinking, ideas and interpretations can easily bend the truth of the gospel to what I prefer it to read. If we’re not careful, the throwing off tradition can become a major trap of pride and personal agenda instead of a sincere search for truth.

So, what do we do?

We go back to the beginning. We go back to the Bible and the Bible alone. Long before there were the traditions of the churches, and long before we had to opportunity and temptation to interpret the gospel to our own liking, we had the sure word of God. We had the Old Testament in place, and we had the New Testament focusing on Jesus and being lived and written by those who knew him.

Check out our October 11,2021 podcast, “Are My Christian Beliefs Based on Truth or Error?” for more. We examine the biblical record concerning the inspiration of Scripture versus the coupling of tradition and Scripture. Looking at Christian practices, we found some seem to assume more authority than the Bible allows. We also investigate women teaching in the church and how our churches are organized, all through the lens of Scripture. What we find is surprising and enlightening.

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Ep.: I don’t agree with my preacher’s conduct. Should I leave my church?

Many Christian leaders of our day fall woefully short of the examples given in the Bible.  Too often we hear of spiritual leaders who misuse the privilege through arrogance or selfishness. Then there are those tragic stories of abuse within churches by the leaders themselves or being covered up by the leaders.  On top of this many of us are completely unaware of what God’s design for Christian leadership is supposed to look like.  This design is in the Bible but is rarely followed!  

The decision to stay in or leave a church should be an individual exercise of conscience according to the Bible.  There are scriptural guidelines describing the qualifications of leaders which help to prepare our spiritual conscience to make decisions in these matters. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 gives a very good description of the principles of sound behavior needed for a church leader.  

1 Timothy 3:1:  “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.” 

Part of the responsibility of an “elder” (Acts 14:23)  is to be an overseer or one who spiritually supervises. This is about being organized. An elder oversees the operations of the congregation to keep services reverential, orderly and comfortable. Other duties are scheduling, supervising activities and tasks. It is about making it a God honoring environment.

Verses 2-5 point out the need for these spiritual leaders to have a personal life and character that is pleasing to God, which will make the position of leadership with Godly oversight possible.  He should be faithful to commitments, with balance and discipline, with a welcoming spirit, with the ability to communicate and explain scripture and scriptural principles, even tempered, taking appropriate steps to provide, to encourage, to model in the exercise of righteous leadership for his family.  

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” 1 Timothy 3:2-5

In verses 6-7, Paul states that a background of Christian experience is necessary for the development of character that will maintain humility, and that it is necessary to be “well thought of by outsiders.”

“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”  

All of these verses point to a spiritual leader with spiritual maturity in Christ and maturity in the development of the fruits of the spirit.

In summary, the whole concept of a good spiritual leader is referred to in the Bible as an “overseer” and an “elder,” one who has spiritual maturity in Christ.  He would have the spiritual maturity to feed and shepherd the flock not for money but out of love and passion for the safety and growth of the flock. (1 Peter 5:2) And so he would not misuse the power of leadership, but to be an example in Christ that warrants imitation.  (1 Peter 5:3)

 The will of God for every Christian is that we may grow into full stature in maturity in Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 – If we are being led by the spiritually immature, our own spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of others could be affected

If a sanctified conscience leads to a decision to leave a church, it would be important to find a God-led alternative. We know that gathering together for study, fellowship and worship is very important— “…not forsaking the assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:25  

To learn more about spiritual leadership listen to, “Have You Lost Faith in Your Spiritual Leaders?”

“Does My Church Leadership Have it Right?”

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October 04, 2021

Ep.1198: Am I Passionate or Complacent About Jesus?

Understanding passion’s role and complacency’s danger in Christianity

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:03]
How can we recognize the dangers of complacency?


[00:31:58]
How can our passion keep us on the path of Christian transformation?


[00:50:03]
Should we be less emotional and more firm in our calling?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 3:13

Every Christian loves Jesus and every Christian wants to be acceptable to him. None of us ever wants to take his sacrifice on our behalf for granted. We don’t want to fall into a pattern of complacency where we don’t appreciate the blessings he gives us. While these are all well-stated intentions, we need to dig in much deeper to see how to make them well-lived principles. How do we actually live our love for Jesus, and what role does passion play in that life? Where do the dangers of complacency lurk? Is all passion positive? Is feeling content really expressing a lack of appreciation for what God does for us? Fortunately, the Scriptures give us very clear answers to all of this!

Continue Reading

Are I spiritually complacent?

To be complacent is to be in a self-satisfied state with little or no awareness of deficiencies or danger. This is a really easy and appealing state of mind, as it focuses on everything being just the way we want it to be. The lack of awareness issues that come with it can be easily ignored by simply smothering them with our feelings of satisfaction. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is obviously a dangerous place to live if we are Christians. The very idea of self-satisfaction is in direct contradiction to our stated focus of following Jesus. The Pharisees reminded us of how blinding complacency can be. Of all the people in Israel, they had the best education and the best access to their Holy Scriptures regarding the coming of their Messiah. When Jesus arrived they rejected him, choosing to rely on their power and position instead of the prophecies in God’s Word. They were just too comfortable to see the error of their ways. That comfort caused them to lose God’s favor.

Can I be too passionate?

Passion is the other side of the story. Passion is a strong feeling, be it positive or negative that can drive us to action. We all have experienced our own passion. We have also seen it in others. One obvious observation that needs to be clearly stated is that all passion is not good. As a matter of fact, most of our passions tend to bring us down dark roads that often dead-end at regret. Why? Most passion is emotion-driven, and many of our emotions are self-centered and riddled with sin.

So, how are we supposed to be passionate about Jesus if passion can be just as bad as complacency? Check out our October 4, 2021 podcast, “Am I Passionate or Complacent About Jesus?” to expose the pitfalls of complacency. We break down and discuss how passion works. How can we find godly and compelling motivation to put Christ-centered passion in place? Managing the passions in our lives can be just as challenging as avoiding the complacency traps that surround us. Join us for this enlightening journey towards true discipleship and true passion for Jesus!

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