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May 27, 2019

Ep.1075: Am I an Arrogant Christian?

Balancing humility and appropriate pride to combat arrogance

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:21]
What's a big reason we can become arrogant?


[00:31:03]
What about arrogance of those in power?


[00:49:14]
Why shouldn't we elevate our pastors or teachers?


[01:04:57]
What happens when we put our personal human desires first?


Theme Scripture: James 4:6

We have all seen arrogance.  Sometimes it comes across as ultimate confidence and a sense of indestructibility and we might admire it.  Sometimes it comes across as a cocky, self-absorbed perspective and we are appalled by it.  The point is, whether we are looking at someone in their self-proclaimed loftiness in a positive or a negative way, we are still seeing an ego gone awry. Having addressed what we see in others, we now need to look in the mirror.  Are we, in our blessed positions of Christian faith, arrogant because we believe that we have the truth of God’s word?  Be careful with this answer, because in some ways it might be a trick question!  Is there a difference between arrogance and confidence, personal pride and being pompous?

Continue Reading

Let's being with our fundamental question - should a Christian ever have pride?  The surprising answer is yes – and that obviously needs an explanation.  In most cases when "pride" is mentioned in the Bible, the original Hebrew or Greek words mean "arrogance," "majesty," "conceit" or "bragging."  These things bring out an image of one who is over the top all about themselves.  No Christian in their right mind would ever see this as a way to present themselves to the world around them - much less to God. So, what about pride in a job well done or satisfaction in the progression of a task or treasuring the accomplishments of another?  These things are appropriate, as they are contrary to the biblical meanings we just discussed.

The key to all of this is ego.  Is what I am elevating a direct boost to my perception of how others should laud me and my influence? Or is what I am elevating something that others can appreciate and be inspired by?  This is  harder to answer than it might seem.  If I have done a good thing in the sight of many, what are those who observe taking away from the experience?  They see me as having succeeded in a great thing.  Am I trying to fill them with awe towards me because I am so incredibly talented and accomplished?  Or am I showing them the value of hard work and discipline when faced with a daunting but important task?  These questions help us to drill down to discover the foundation of our actions.

Check out our May 27, 2019 podcast, “Am I an Arrogant Christian?” for answers.  We talk about what provokes arrogance and give several amazing biblical examples.  Each example has a remedy built into it.  We look at the absolute need for leadership and examine the potential pitfalls that can arise for both leader and followers.  We also delve into the most insidious kind of arrogant behavior.  In many ways this behavior is shocking because it is not usually anticipated.  We look at how it works, uncover the surprising ways it manifests itself and kind of people it affects.  Understanding how pride gets out of hand and how it damages all is the first step to avoiding its consequences.

 

 

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Ep.1202: Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?

Uncovering how true wisdom works and why it is so rare

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:45]
Why is integrity such an important part of wisdom?


[00:29:46]
If Solomon was so wise, why did it not end well?


[00:44:44]
What benefits are there to us seeking for wisdom?


Theme Scripture: James 1:5

It seems like wisdom has become old fashioned and obsolete. When I think of wisdom, I think of a thoughtful approach that is not driven by self-interest. I think of quiet observation that seeks to understand the people, the facts and the circumstances before weighing in with answers. When I think of wisdom, I think of my Grandma Helen. She lived a hard life and yet judged no one, always found a way to help and contribute and continually guided others towards their best and most integrity-filled path. When I think of wisdom, I think of Jesus. I think of his everyday life, his teaching, his obedience to his Father and his selflessness. When I think of wisdom, I don’t ever think of our day and our tech-driven, opinion-heavy and reaction-riddled approach. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

Continue Reading

Very different from intelligence

Intelligence implies the ability to acquire and process knowledge and to be able to take that knowledge and put it to good use. This is a wonderful characteristic to have as it provokes order and growth. While wisdom benefits from intelligence, it dives much deeper regarding the application of knowledge. It is both experience and maturity- based. Its application of what it has observed and processed can be an enormous catalyst for positive change. A good leader can be intelligent, but a great leader must be wise!

Jesus displayed a level of godly wisdom in his life and ministry that was rare to say the least. We can trace at least four distinct characteristics of being wise that Jesus displayed. The first of these is understanding. Without true understanding of a circumstance or a person, being wise barely has a chance to see the light of day. The problem here is that it’s far too easy to judge what we don’t understand, and this always produces unwise conclusions. Jesus taught us in Matthew 7 to beware of such uneducated judgment regarding our brother. The consequence for such an action would be to be judged with the same harshness we doled out. Wisdom needs understanding to flourish and understanding needs wisdom to be accurate.

It's rare

There are several other characteristics of wisdom that make it such a sorely needed but rarely-observed commodity in our 21st-century world. Check out our November 1, 2021 podcast, “Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?” for more. We examine several important scriptural examples. There is breathtaking inspiration in watching someone like King David learn it through hardship - and then live it. There is also heartbreaking sadness in watching his son, King Solomon, attain lofty wisdom only to see it drain away when his priorities became distorted. The highest and most influential wisdom can only be grasped when we center it on the highest godly principles of Scripture. Join us for an enlightening conversation about the life-changing influence wisdom can have. It will be time well-invested!

 

 

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April 06, 2020

Ep.1120: What Things Troubled Jesus?

Learning from three experiences that gave Jesus anxiety

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:05]
What did Jesus' personal stress look like?


[00:30:02]
How did Satan try to derail Jesus from his mission?


[00:47:04]
Do we get upset or trust in God's providence when times get tough?


[01:00:58]
What is the antidote for our troubled soul?


Theme Scripture: John 12:27

Jesus is our hero. His example, his teachings, his works and his faithfulness are absolutely legendary. They provide a flood of inspiration for anyone who would want it. To think of Jesus as being troubled in mind seems to be completely contrary to what we think of our Savior. After all, the book of Hebrews says he was "holy, innocent, undefiled and separated from sinners." How could he have anxiety? The fact is, there were three recorded instances in his life where he was troubled. Were these experiences a show of weakness or doubt? Did Jesus have some flaw we never talk about? No and no! What these experiences do show us is the amazing fortitude, courage and godliness of the man Christ Jesus.

Continue Reading

Troubled?

What exactly does it mean when we say Jesus was "troubled"? The specific word used in the New Testament for the three experiences we discuss has an array of meanings. It can mean seriously uncomfortable, as John the Baptist's father was when he was suddenly visited by the angel foretelling John’s birth. It can mean agitated, as Herod was when he was speaking to the three wise men about their search for the newly born “king” whose star they had followed. It can also mean terrified, as the apostles were when they first saw Jesus walking on water.  The point is, being troubled is not just a feeling of emotional unrest; it refers to a deep sense of discomfort.

Throughout the four Gospels we see many differing depictions of Jesus. He was often calm and humble. Yet, he was also challenging and cryptic.  Jesus was overwhelmingly loving and compassionate.  Yet, he was also firm in speaking hard truths. He had unwavering courage, sometimes sought peace and serenity, and he also became angry, very angry. Yet, throughout his entire ministry we never saw him troubled or with anxiety - until his earthly ministry was almost complete.

Interesting timing

We all feel the pressure and anxiety when we are faced with a seriously important deadline approaching. Our minds race, our heartbeat increases and maybe our palms sweat as we strive to finish our work. We put in whatever extra time is needed, check the details and make sure everything is in order. Then we check again as we weigh our efforts against what is being required of us. Jesus was no different. Not surprisingly, his three troubling experiences were all within the last month of his earthly life.

With the deadline he was facing and the magnitude of the work he was tasked with completing, we also need to examine what and who Jesus was up against.  Satan knew Jesus had come to take the dominion of earth from him and was trying to stand in Jesus’ way. Satan would not go down without a fight. Check out our April 6, 2020 podcast, “What Things Troubled Jesus?” for more.  We lay out these three troubling experiences, find the pattern of Satan’s influence and observe the profound victory Jesus achieved. This is a rarely heard lesson for the ages!

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Ep.1112: Does the Apostle Paul Contradict Himself? (Part II): Contradiction Series

Continued examination of “self-contradicting” statements by Paul

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:13:49]
Was God or Satan stronger in Paul's ministry work?


[00:26:04]
Was Paul humble or arrogant?


[00:45:47]
Did Paul tell us to treat unbelievers rudely or kindly?


[01:01:19]
Why doesn't the Acts account match where Paul says he went?


Theme Scripture: Galatians 6:2,5

(See Part I of this topic.) In many ways, the Apostle Paul was like a magnet.  Over the last 2,000 years, his preaching, teaching and writing have attracted countless millions to seek out what being a Christian really means.  He was a leader in every sense of the word.  He lived his faith to Jesus Christ without reservation, and Christians throughout the age have been inspired by his example.  This same Apostle Paul was also a magnet for trouble.  His ministry way back then drew incredible conflict and persecution - it even led to his death.  Today the same controversy surrounds his legacy.  While so many of us cling to his example and teaching, others are repelled by him and label him as a self-contradicting, hypocritical deceiver.  Who is right?  Was Paul a teacher of truth or contradiction?

Continue Reading

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May 27, 2019

VIDEO: Am I an Arrogant Christian?

What examples can we find in the scriptures of both arrogance and it’s remedy? What other kinds of arrogance are there for leaders as well as a more secret and insidious arrogance within ourselves?  Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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Ep.1075: Am I an Arrogant Christian?

Balancing humility and appropriate pride to combat arrogance

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:21]
What's a big reason we can become arrogant?


[00:31:03]
What about arrogance of those in power?


[00:49:14]
Why shouldn't we elevate our pastors or teachers?


[01:04:57]
What happens when we put our personal human desires first?


Theme Scripture: James 4:6

We have all seen arrogance.  Sometimes it comes across as ultimate confidence and a sense of indestructibility and we might admire it.  Sometimes it comes across as a cocky, self-absorbed perspective and we are appalled by it.  The point is, whether we are looking at someone in their self-proclaimed loftiness in a positive or a negative way, we are still seeing an ego gone awry. Having addressed what we see in others, we now need to look in the mirror.  Are we, in our blessed positions of Christian faith, arrogant because we believe that we have the truth of God’s word?  Be careful with this answer, because in some ways it might be a trick question!  Is there a difference between arrogance and confidence, personal pride and being pompous?

Continue Reading

Let's being with our fundamental question - should a Christian ever have pride?  The surprising answer is yes – and that obviously needs an explanation.  In most cases when "pride" is mentioned in the Bible, the original Hebrew or Greek words mean "arrogance," "majesty," "conceit" or "bragging."  These things bring out an image of one who is over the top all about themselves.  No Christian in their right mind would ever see this as a way to present themselves to the world around them - much less to God. So, what about pride in a job well done or satisfaction in the progression of a task or treasuring the accomplishments of another?  These things are appropriate, as they are contrary to the biblical meanings we just discussed.

The key to all of this is ego.  Is what I am elevating a direct boost to my perception of how others should laud me and my influence? Or is what I am elevating something that others can appreciate and be inspired by?  This is  harder to answer than it might seem.  If I have done a good thing in the sight of many, what are those who observe taking away from the experience?  They see me as having succeeded in a great thing.  Am I trying to fill them with awe towards me because I am so incredibly talented and accomplished?  Or am I showing them the value of hard work and discipline when faced with a daunting but important task?  These questions help us to drill down to discover the foundation of our actions.

Check out our May 27, 2019 podcast, “Am I an Arrogant Christian?” for answers.  We talk about what provokes arrogance and give several amazing biblical examples.  Each example has a remedy built into it.  We look at the absolute need for leadership and examine the potential pitfalls that can arise for both leader and followers.  We also delve into the most insidious kind of arrogant behavior.  In many ways this behavior is shocking because it is not usually anticipated.  We look at how it works, uncover the surprising ways it manifests itself and kind of people it affects.  Understanding how pride gets out of hand and how it damages all is the first step to avoiding its consequences.

 

 

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Ep.1026: Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

Life management tools for coping with the varied misdeeds of life

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:35]
How do we end up expressing revealed sin?


[00:36:15]
How do we deal with sins of action?


[00:54:04]
What's worse - sins of the mind, sins of action action or sins of emotion?


[01:12:08]
What combats personal history?


Theme Scripture: Psalms 19:12-13

Let’s start by stating the obvious. Sin is bad. To act in accordance with sin is to act in a way that is not only contrary to the will of God but is also damaging to our standing before God. It is obvious that if we want to be pleasing to God then we need to really focus on managing our misdeeds. So, how do we do that? Are some transgressions worse than others? Can we find solace in the thought that “at least my sins are not as bad as that guy over there!” What do we need to do to reign in our misdoings and to continually clarify our conscience? Should we be focusing on totally avoiding what we think are really big sins or on avoiding all of the little trespasses that never seem to quit?

Continue Reading

Sin can be like a dessert buffet line

As you pass by you can’t help but notice the variety and the aromas, and it makes you just want to indulge...all the while knowing you just need to keep on walking. In Psalms 19:12-13 David asks God for cleansing from 'hidden faults" and resistance to "arrogant sins." This helps us begin to understand just how sin works. It comes at us from two very different directions.

Let’s start with the sins of arrogance, which are outward sins.  Often they are committed in the context of the worldliness that surrounds us and may go unnoticed by our peers, as they are expected worldly behavior.  Just because people may not take note doesn't mean they lose their arrogance, for all sin is ultimately committed against God and He always notices.

Next, there are the internal sins of the mind

These are the quiet sins that take place inside our heads and our hearts.  Many of these transgressions may never be seen by others, but that makes them no less insidious. As long as we give them a place to grow and flourish, we are not in accordance with godliness and will ultimately have to deal with them. Let’s face it, we trespass against God when we continually trespass against others or ourselves. Such activity - be it internal thought or external action - needs swift and corrective attention.

On top of the internal and external approaches sin gets us with, there are many ways by which we actually express sin. In other words, the further we look the worse it gets. So, what do we do? In the Psalm we referred to earlier, David taught us to refocus our thinking in several ways.  How do you do that? Check out our June 18, 2018 podcast, “Are Some Sins Worse than Others?” to help put this all together. We talk about the pitfalls of daily life, practical ways to avoid or deal with them as well as the role of forgiveness in this whole matter. Also, we talk about what may be the worst sin of all.  You might be surprised by what it is!

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Ep.980: Does Our Pride Make Us Prejudiced? (Part II)

The permeating destruction of prejudice and how to counter it

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CHAPTERS

[00:18:41]
How do we fight off prejudice?


[00:37:17]
How do we undermine its power?


[00:53:54]
How do we eliminate it?


[01:12:13]
Is it possible to have a life without prejudice?


Theme Scripture: Proverbs 16:18

Last week we began our conversation by saying that pride can be a tricky thing and prejudice can be an awful thing.  We focused our attention on the pride side of the matter and its insidious way of taking over our lives.  Now it’s time to talk about prejudice, and this is a hard conversation to have. For most of us, we can observe what we think is prejudice in others.  We see a skewed view on some group or approach and we think about how unfortunate it is and wonder why they cannot see a bigger picture.  Well, the bigger picture begins with these questions: How prejudiced am I in my view of the world and of others approach?  Am I willing and able to recognize prejudice in my own thinking, and when I see it am I willing to attack it with the same passion that I feel about the prejudice of others?  Prejudice needs attention and eradication, no matter where it’s found.  How do we do that?

Continue Reading

To even think about eradicating prejudice is monumental.  Prejudice exists and comes to be in so many different ways that it is hard to know where to start.  Think about it – we are all born into less than perfect circumstances with less than perfect parents who have had less than perfect experiences in their lives, sometimes due to their own less than perfect parents.  The point is that imperfection breeds misunderstanding in our lives about what happens to us.  This misunderstanding often breeds a mislabeling of what our experiences or other people actually mean and stand for and this leads us to a confused conclusion about it all.  The end result is personal prejudice and this prejudice not only lives in us it ends up being a conclusion that we fight to protect.  Kinda scary and kinda confusing, isn’t it?

Ok, now what?  Well, I think the best way to understand and combat prejudice is to do two things.  First we have to be willing to look inside of ourselves and honestly assess our own thinking, conclusions and positions against true and clear biblical principles of love, mercy, compassion and justice.  By making ourselves the focal point of our prejudice investigation we are automatically removing some of our fallen natural propensities to judge – to potentially misjudge others.  The second way to combat prejudice is to listen to someone who has fought this battle successfully.  This is an enormous step to take because if you find the right example it will bring shivers of inspiration to you.  We found such an example.

Our July 24, 2017 podcast, “Can Our Pride Make Us Prejudiced? Part 2” features the detailed story of a young woman who was born into, grew up and embraced the harsh and hateful belief system of the Westboro Baptist Church.  In a TED Talk, she detailed her journey from being a five-year-old on a picket line holding a hateful sign that she couldn’t even read to her decision 20 years later to completely walk away.  Her story epitomizes the power of true human compassion, and coupled with scriptural principle, it shows us how to stand up and fight against prejudice.  You need to hear this.  Everyone needs to hear this.  Please take the time and then please pass it on!

 

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