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February 09, 2014

Ep.800: Are Promises Made to be Broken?

21st century people, principles, promises and the Bible

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Theme Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

Promises, promises! We have all made them, heard them, kept them and maybe even broken them. Promises have always been an integral part of the fabric of any society, for they are truly the basis of trust and loyalty. When promises are kept, life is better and less lonely and when they are broken life gets to be broken as well. If they are so important, why are they so undervalued today?

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October 18, 2021

Ep.1200: Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?

Learning to identify and manage compulsive and addictive behavior

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:31]
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?

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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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July 20, 2021

VIDEO: Why Do We Study the Bible?

We study the Bible because it contains the inspired word of God!  Have you kids watch this short animated video to learn more.

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June 21, 2021

Ep.1183: Who Successfully Challenged Jesus?

Fitting the tenacity of a woman into the principled teaching of Jesus

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:11]
How did the Syrophoenician woman challenge Jesus?


[00:26:04]
Was Jesus condescending or encouraging to her?


[00:41:36]
What pattern of blessing is revealed for us in the account of this unnamed woman?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 15:25

To “challenge” Jesus and succeed is not something you hear about every day, so let’s clarify what we are talking about. Jesus was a speaker of God’s word and a doer of God’s will. Inevitably, challenging this would be a futile effort. When we say “challenge” we mean not following an expected pattern. There were a few instances in the ministry of Jesus where someone did not exactly follow Jesus’ set patterns regarding healing and they were blessed anyway. On this episode, we investigate another unnamed woman of the Bible. The Syrophoenician woman spoken of in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 was one of these people. This unnamed Gentile woman did not accept a seeming denial from Jesus when she asked for her daughter to be healed. Jesus complied with her insistence and she was blessed.  What was her secret and what can we learn?

Continue Reading

Jesus was her only hope

Jesus had ventured into the non-Jewish territory of Tyre and Sidon to rest. After he entered a house in which to find that rest, a loud and emotional woman showed up, begging and yelling to see Jesus. Her daughter was demon-possessed and she was at her wits end. She knew Jesus unexpectedly coming to her hometown was the one chance she had to rid her child of this evil experience. She wasted no time and expended all of her desperate energy to get his attention.  He just had to help!

But it wasn't the time for the Gentiles

There was a significant challenge that stood between this woman’s pleading desire and her daughter being healed. They were Gentiles. Jesus came to be the Messiah of the Jewish nation. He came to fulfill the Jewish Law and be the deliverer of the Jewish people. The woman and her daughter were not scheduled to receive the Messiah’s blessings just yet.

So, what happens next? Several things of great impact. The woman does get to talk to Jesus and he does heal her daughter, though it was not a simple path to get to that resolution. Who is the real hero in this exchange? That depends on who you talk to  We believe the woman showed heroic faith in Jesus, and he rewarded it with heroic and miraculous healing. Some say it is just the woman who was the hero because she “straightened Jesus out.” They say that Jesus showed bias against her, even racism.

Who is right? Was Jesus bigoted in his approach to her? Why would anyone even say such a thing? Check out our June 21, 2021 podcast, “Who Successfully Challenged Jesus?” for answers. We look at the entire account in its context. Then we follow this woman’s hysterical introduction and observe how she responded to Jesus with extraordinary faith and conviction. We learn why Jesus said the things he said to her. This is much more than a story of somebody being healed by Jesus. It is a practical lesson that teaches us how to take our own raw desperation before our Lord to find the answers and comfort we seek.

 

 

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March 08, 2021

Ep.1168: Could God Convict ME of Murder?

Unfolding Jesus’ challenging expansion of “You shall not murder”

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:09:36]
Did Jesus teach that speaking disrespectfully is like murder?


[00:35:22]
Did Jesus teach that judging others a way to murder them?


[00:49:16]
What steps can we take to change our thoughts, words and actions to better represent Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Exodus 20:13

The first four of the Ten Commandments all have to do with humanity’s relationship to God. These directives came first because our relationship with God should always be the driving factor in our lives. The fifth Commandment focuses on our relationship with our parents and is fashioned after the first four, with honor and respect being paramount. “You shall not murder” is the sixth Commandment.  This is the first of the Ten Commandments to focus us on our relationship with all other human beings. It is a simply stated, emphatic directive teaching us about the sacredness of human life. It sets the stage for the rest of the Commandments. But it is not as simple as it sounds.  Its importance cannot be overstated! Further, Jesus not only taught its importance, he also dramatically expanded its meaning for his disciples. We will find “You shall not murder” to be a life-governing principle in every corner of our experiences.

Continue Reading

Life under the Old Testament Law was in many ways a very black and white experience. The Ten Commandments were concise statements as to how we should act towards God, our families and everyone else. Obey the Commandments and God blesses you, break the Commandments and God is angry with you. “You shall not murder” seems like a no-brainer  We all should know this, right?  Few ever consider why God made this simple statement part of the ten most basic laws He ever gave to humanity.

Old Testament

First, this particular Commandment has to do with the taking of another’s life outside of acts of war, protection of person and property, and as a consequence of harsh crimes. It is all about an individual taking justice into their own hands. Usually, such an assumption of power is based on hate, jealousy or rage and is not just. Second, this Commandment is making obvious to all humanity that  God created humanity in His own image. It is as though God is saying, "You are My children. I directly created you to have dominion on this earth. Human life is sacred in My eyes, so do NOT haphazardly destroy it!"

New Testament

Understanding God’s perspective helps us dramatically when we fast forward to the New Testament and observe what Jesus taught. Jesus took the “You shall not murder” Commandment and explained it to his disciples in a higher and far more challenging way. He introduced the idea of murdering someone’s character or reputation by the way we talk to them. Not only that, he talked about the accountability for such words in a very pointed way.

Why would Jesus do this? Why would he make “You shall not murder” about what goes on in our heads and with our words? Check out our March 8, 2021 podcast, “Could God Convict Me of Murder?” for more.  We dive right into Jesus’ words to find the lessons. Then we look at all the things we as Christians need to be wary of. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to take the high road in preserving the lives of others rather than damaging them! Study the rest of the Commandments with us to see how they are still valid for Christians today.

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February 22, 2021

VIDEO: How Do Christians Receive the Holy Spirit?

There are various steps involved for a Christian to receive the holy spirit. James (4:8 English Standard Version) says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Have you youngsters watch this short animated video to learn more about the holy spirit, “God’s invisible power and influence.”

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February 22, 2021

VIDEO: How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?

Paul converted Onesimus, a slave owned by his brother in Christ, to Christianity. What now! Watch this short vlog, then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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February 22, 2021

Ep.1166: How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?

The remarkable reconciliation of Onesimus the runaway slave

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:10]
How did Paul handle a runaway slave showing up at his door?


[00:27:52]
Is it appropriate to defend someone who has done wrong?


[00:46:00]
What lessons can we learn from Paul's personal letter to Philemon?


Theme Scripture: Philemon 1:1

Talking about slavery is a sensitive issue, and rightfully so. We live in an age where we recognize that ALL people have rights. We now live in a time where no group of people or any working class should ever be separated from those rights. This was not always so. Many ancient societies survived on the backs of slaves. These were often comprised of conquered peoples or those who were generationally born into servitude. Christianity had its beginnings in the context of such societies. With such inequity, how could Christianity survive and even flourish? Could slaves AND their owners both thrive under Christ?  Fortunately, the Bible gives us a powerful view of how this actually worked in those days. Let’s walk through the true story of two men on opposite ends of this spectrum and see how the Apostle Paul helped them both maintain their faithfulness to Christ and each other.

Continue Reading

Towards the end of his life, the Apostle Paul found himself a prisoner of the Roman Empire because of accusations some made that he was subverting the Empire by preaching Christianity. Being a Roman citizen gave him certain advantages, like being on house arrest. He was not able to go anywhere, but he was able to have visitors. It was during this time that a runaway slave named Onesimus came to see him. Onesimus was a slave of Philemon, who had been converted to Christianity by Paul. Although a slave owner, Philemon was an active and faithful brother in Christ and was well known for his service to others.

Paul faced problems this visit from Onesimus

  1. Roman law stated that harboring a runaway slave made you liable for any losses that runaway cost their master.
  2. The penalties for runaway slaves went as far as crucifixion, so aiding them could be interpreted as being complicit in their lawbreaking.
  3. There was the matter of just and fair treatment for Philemon. Paul would certainly not want to hurt his dear friend in any way, regardless of Roman law.

It's complicated

On top of all this, the Apostle Paul ends up converts Onesimus to Christianity! What should he do now? How do you find the path to doing the right thing for everyone involved without breaking the law? And how do you see to it that the right thing is done when you yourself are on house arrest and cannot personally follow up?

Check out our February 22, 2021 podcast, “How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?” for answers. We examine the letter that Paul wrote to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus line by line. Then we find wise, spiritually-sound and legally-compliant advice all wrapped up in rock solid compassion and reasoning. We get a powerful glimpse into the heart and mind of the Apostle Paul in a way that is not revealed in any of his other writings. Don’t miss this opportunity to see wisdom unfold that conquers social inequity, wrongdoing and the reconciling of two very different individuals!

 

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VIDEO: What Are the “Little” Foxes That Spoil the Vine?

Foxes appear to be innocent but are actually crafty, clever animals. Have you youngsters watch this short, animated video to learn more about the deeper meaning of the little foxes found in the book of Song of Solomon. Click here for a free, downloadable, 2-page children’s activity where kids can color and solve a word scramble!

 

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Ep.1143: What Does Jesus Expect From Us?

Uncovering the age-lasting meaning of The Wise and Foolish Virgins

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CHAPTERS

[00:09:57]
Who do the wise and foolish virgins of the parable represent in real life?


[00:23:12]
Lamps, oil, vessels - what does Jesus want us to learn from his story?


[00:37:42]
What can we do right now to be more acceptable to God?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 25:2

Jesus did a lot of teaching in parables.  He chose this method primarily for the purpose of hiding his real meaning from the public in fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah. Occasionally, he spoke a parable meant for his disciples. The story of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is such a case. We know the story is about some of the virgins being prepared and the other virgins who were not, so is that the point? Turns out this just scratches the surface!  This parable was a story to prepare them for the coming centuries.  More than that, it was a story that Jesus used to outline what those who would be faithful to him would be like.  This parable not only describes the character of the faithful, it is a major prophecy that has reached its fulfillment in our day!

Continue Reading

Symbolism

Christians have a wide variety of interpretations relating to the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins because of some specific details. First and foremost is the symbolism regarding the virgins themselves. In wedding traditions of ancient times in Israel, these ten individuals were associated with the bride-to-be. One task was to await the arrival of the bridegroom. Because the bridegroom obviously pictures Jesus himself, one would think the bride to be would picture his faithful followers. Many Christians adhere to this assumption and interpret the parable accordingly. With the symbolism of the virgins, however, we see it very differently.

We believe this parable to be a lesson for all of Jesus’ true followers throughout the last 2,000 years of the gospel being preached. We see this as a story given to illustrate the experience of the true gospel church, not the experiences of individuals. With this in mind, looking at the symbolism of the lamps, the oil and the vessels is a whole different story. Why such an interpretation? It is an obvious conclusion once we back up and view the larger context of the parable.

Jesus' return

Jesus spoke this on the heels of his prophecy about his return. At the beginning of Matthew 24, his disciples asked him three pointed questions. One of those was when he would return. Jesus knew there would be long and difficult years before this event. He warned his followers to be accepting and alert. This was not just a message for them, it was a message for every Christian down through the age who would be begotten of God’s spirit.

Check out our September 14, 2020 podcast, “What Does Jesus Expect From Us?” for more. We put the details in place as we absorb the prophetic nature of this parable. We drill down into the details and see what Jesus is saying he expects from his followers. The lessons are plenteous and practical. Gain a sense of some of the quiet history of the true church. Hear what Jesus has always expected from his followers - both then and now - and walk away refreshed!

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VIDEO: What Does Jesus Expect From Us?

What does Jesus expect from us – a lot! Watch this short vlog and then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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Racism can’t be dealt with without wisdom. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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Ep.1133: How Should Christians Respond to Racism? (Part II)

Applying godly wisdom and intention to a destructive social issue

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

[00:17:25]
Is violence an acceptable means of social change?


[00:38:58]
What did the Apostle Peter teach us about wise dissension and debate?


[01:02:38]
How should we address those with opposing viewpoints?


[01:17:41]
What do we do now? Try to fix it or leave it to God?


Theme Scripture: Colossians 4:5-6

Racism does not happen by accident. It can be taught and exampled to young and unknowing hearts and minds. This is troubling. Even more troubling are the maladies of ignorance, prejudice and bigotry that must be present and flourishing to feed and sustain racist thinking and actions. As Christians, the mere thought of any of these things having a home in our hearts or minds should send shivers of distress and fear through our very souls. In Part I of our 2-part series on racism, we dissected ignorance, prejudice, bigotry and racism with the eyes of knowledge and the mind of understanding. Next we seek to look at them with godly wisdom and our highest godly intentions.

Continue Reading

Wisdom. It is a simple word that carries a profound meaning. To be wise is to have knowledge, to understand that knowledge and to apply it. Wisdom’s application of knowledge reflects not merely a fact based righteousness. It reflects a compassion-driven character as well. Wisdom stands above the fray and is independent from emotion. When it comes to the racial tensions of our present day, wisdom is rarely called upon. Why? Why wouldn’t we want to follow wise and thoughtful perspective?

Justifiable emotion

Thomas Sowell, an American economist and social theorist once said, “The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied.” It's hard to imagine a more emotional topic than racism. When dealing with the potential of your entire race being relegated to the trash heap of inferiority, you get emotional. When you're being unjustly accused of devaluing the essential humanity of an entire race, you get emotional. All this emotion is justifiable... but should it be actionable? Should we gather with those of like reaction and hurt?  Hide behind the walls of our frustration? Close the door of reasoned dialogue to those on the outside? No!

Enter wisdom

Wisdom has the courage to seek the thinking of others and listen. It has the tenacity to find the facts, wherever they may be hidden, and examine them in their entirety. It has the good sense to draw all this input together and conclude an integrity-based course of action. We cannot even begin to deal with racism without wisdom.

Check out our July 6, 2020 podcast, “How Should Christians Respond to Racism? (Part II)” for more. We seek the highest godly wisdom we can find in order to sort through this confusing and volatile pile of trouble. This podcast presents Ken's commentary. He is a black American man whose experiences and individual wisdom with racial profiling and prejudice provide needed insight. Observing the deep wisdom of Scripture, we study how the early Christian church dealt with serious racially-charged issues. We can learn to ease the racial tensions we face in our individual lives, but it requires working together!

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