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August 16, 2021

Ep.1191: Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?

Biblically clarifying WHY we preach the gospel to others

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

[00:16:31]
Is it true that this is the only time anyone can come to Christ or they suffer the consequences?


[00:28:51]
What happens when missionaries fail to reach people or people just don't want to listen?


[00:45:32]
Did Jesus ask us to convert the world?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 28:19

To live a life as a disciple of Christ is to live a life of discipline and focus. We are walking in Jesus’ footsteps, and that means there are many things we need to do. After all, by his teachings and examples, Jesus wrote the book of our faith. So, what did Jesus expect from his followers regarding his gospel and a world full of unbelievers? When he ascended to heaven and gave us what is known as the Great Commission, what was he instructing? Are we responsible to get the good news of the gospel message out? Or are we responsible to get all the unbelievers in? If we are not sure of what he was instructing, how can we know if we are doing a good job?

Continue Reading

Jesus’ Great Commission to his followers contained several directives

After revealing that the restoration of Israel as a nation under God was some time in the future, he listed them:

  1. First was a reminder that God’s spirit would come upon them. This would give them power and direction to do God’s will beyond anything they ever knew.
  2. Next was the instruction to be witnesses for him, beginning in Jerusalem, through Israel, to neighboring lands and all the earth. This showed the small beginnings and the expansive nature that their witness efforts were to follow. They had to begin in Jerusalem because that is where the spirit would begin to guide them.The next directive Jesus gave tends to be somewhat misrepresented.
  3. He told them he had been given all authority, and they were to therefore, “...make disciples of  all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Many Christians look at this as a command to go out and convert the world, but that is not what it says. Jesus is telling his followers to find disciples from within all those nations in which they are preaching the gospel. There is a significant difference between these two interpretations. The first essentially says you need to convert the world, while the second says you need to preach throughout the world and convert as you go. We are saying it is NOT Christianity’s responsibility to convert the world to Christ now.

While this conclusion may seem radical, it does have wide scriptural support. Notwithstanding, it also creates many large-scale questions as well. Do people not need to hear the gospel in order to be saved? What about the teaching of an eternal hell? Check out our August 16, 2021 podcast, “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?” for more. We further examine the details of this Great Commission. We also delve into several other New Testament teachings that support the concept of not having to convert the world now. The sound biblical evidence we find directs us to a broader and inspiring understanding of the power of Jesus and the gospel. Join us for this unforgettable journey!

 

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November 01, 2021

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

Uncovering how true wisdom works and why it is so rare

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

[00:16:45]
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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October 11, 2021

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

Examining biblically questionable Christian traditions and practices

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

[00:15:27]
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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August 16, 2021

Ep.1191: Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?

Biblically clarifying WHY we preach the gospel to others

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

[00:16:31]
Is it true that this is the only time anyone can come to Christ or they suffer the consequences?


[00:28:51]
What happens when missionaries fail to reach people or people just don't want to listen?


[00:45:32]
Did Jesus ask us to convert the world?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 28:19

To live a life as a disciple of Christ is to live a life of discipline and focus. We are walking in Jesus’ footsteps, and that means there are many things we need to do. After all, by his teachings and examples, Jesus wrote the book of our faith. So, what did Jesus expect from his followers regarding his gospel and a world full of unbelievers? When he ascended to heaven and gave us what is known as the Great Commission, what was he instructing? Are we responsible to get the good news of the gospel message out? Or are we responsible to get all the unbelievers in? If we are not sure of what he was instructing, how can we know if we are doing a good job?

Continue Reading

Jesus’ Great Commission to his followers contained several directives

After revealing that the restoration of Israel as a nation under God was some time in the future, he listed them:

  1. First was a reminder that God’s spirit would come upon them. This would give them power and direction to do God’s will beyond anything they ever knew.
  2. Next was the instruction to be witnesses for him, beginning in Jerusalem, through Israel, to neighboring lands and all the earth. This showed the small beginnings and the expansive nature that their witness efforts were to follow. They had to begin in Jerusalem because that is where the spirit would begin to guide them.The next directive Jesus gave tends to be somewhat misrepresented.
  3. He told them he had been given all authority, and they were to therefore, “...make disciples of  all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Many Christians look at this as a command to go out and convert the world, but that is not what it says. Jesus is telling his followers to find disciples from within all those nations in which they are preaching the gospel. There is a significant difference between these two interpretations. The first essentially says you need to convert the world, while the second says you need to preach throughout the world and convert as you go. We are saying it is NOT Christianity’s responsibility to convert the world to Christ now.

While this conclusion may seem radical, it does have wide scriptural support. Notwithstanding, it also creates many large-scale questions as well. Do people not need to hear the gospel in order to be saved? What about the teaching of an eternal hell? Check out our August 16, 2021 podcast, “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?” for more. We further examine the details of this Great Commission. We also delve into several other New Testament teachings that support the concept of not having to convert the world now. The sound biblical evidence we find directs us to a broader and inspiring understanding of the power of Jesus and the gospel. Join us for this unforgettable journey!

 

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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 28, 2021

Ep.1184: Is Christianity Being Cancelled?

Today’s cancel culture’s clashing disagreements with Christianity

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:26]
How do we encourage individuality and self-expression, but in a godly way?


[00:30:35]
How did we end up so polarized that some want to cancel others?


[00:44:53]
How do we maintain holy standards in the midst of cancel culture?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 5:44-45

The world has changed dramatically! We now live in a time where diverse opinions and beliefs are coming under fire if they conflict with what is deemed as acceptable “social narrative.” In more and more circles, traditional Christian values of God first, fidelity in marriage, morality based on absolutes and mutual respect are under attack. We face the potential of being seen as “haters” because we stand for things the world does not like. While being seen as contrary to the world’s perspective is nothing new, the potential for being cancelled is. The momentum and ferocity that our current “cancel culture” has garnered is becoming frightening. Is Christianity destined for cancellation? How should we as Christians be responding? Should we be speaking out or flying under the radar? Should we be fighting fire with fire?

Continue Reading

What is it?

According to an explanation from gotquestions.org, cancel culture is the modern social attitude that controversial speech or behavior must be punished through public shaming, silencing, boycotting, firing, bankrupting, de-platforming, etc. The result is that the offender’s influence, presence, and/or reputation is “cancelled out.”

The idea that “controversial speech or behavior” must be punished, begs for clarification. There is no law breaking implied, only a different way of viewing or responding to some issues deemed to be sensitive. Think about how Jesus spoke against the Pharisees because they had perverted the Law of God. He was right to make them uncomfortable with his words and actions. Because they were the ones in power their version of punishing him was to have him crucified. They cancelled Jesus, so they thought, but his resurrection and the establishment of Christianity proved otherwise.

Our present cancel culture has not yet resorted to murdering those whose speech or behavior is controversial.  We have resorted to damaging them in in a wide variety of ways which include financial and social ruin. What are we doing? How can we claim to be so sensitive and inclusive while being so reckless and unjust with those who see things differently?

What is the Christian's responsibility in these matters?

Are we to fight cancelling with cancelling by hitting those who would cancel back with the same self-centered and emotional reactions? Of course not. Should we just pretend that none of this is happening unless we are forced to deal with it in our own personal experience? No. Should we call it out and make a scene to garner support to stop it? Be careful.

Check out our June 28, 2021 podcast, “Is Christianity Being Cancelled?” for more. We walk through real cancel culture examples and look at what our Christian responsibility and focus should be with each.  We discuss the profoundly important question regarding whether or not Christianity itself is in danger of being cancelled. But most importantly, we ask the “what about me” questions. What should I do, how should I prepare and what should I expect? Cancel culture is real. Learn how to stand up to it as a disciple of Christ.

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June 07, 2021

Ep.1181: Is It Ever Right to Judge Your Brother?

Determining the what, when, how and why of appropriate judgment

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:01]
If we see someone else's faults, shouldn't we point them out to help them?


[00:30:06]
Does the Bible ever say we are supposed to judge others?


[00:45:01]
Are there positive, brotherly judgments we can make?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 7:3

We all make judgments, even when we are not thinking about it. If you are listening to this podcast, you are right now deciding whether to keep listening. If you are reading this blog, you are right now considering whether or not to continue reading. This verifies that judging is an important exercise, for it helps us determine what is worth our time and what is not. For the record, I believe you will find this podcast a worthy investment of your time, so do stay with us! Now, what about judging others? Ah, this is a little trickier. The Bible actually tells us emphatically NOT to judge others and with the same passion it tells us TO judge others. Why the seeming doublespeak? It all comes down to two things. Obviously the “what” of our judgment is important. But more importantly, we need to be aware of the “why” of our judgments.

Continue Reading

Judge not...?

While teaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously said in Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Many read this as a blanket command from Jesus to never judge others. This is not remotely close to the meaning of the instruction of Jesus.  First, we need to realize there are no less than seven different words for "judgment" in the New Testament. The meanings of these words range from merely scrutinizing a person or situation to the finality of a pronounced judgment. The New Testament uses these various words to show us different levels of judgment, as well as when to and when not to judge others.

Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7 had everything to do with the damage that comes from arbitrary judgment. This damage is common and happens when we measure someone’s character or actions by using our own feelings and bias rather than facts. To paraphrase, Jesus was saying: "Who do you think you are, going about judging others when your own faults are so painfully obvious?" He further tells us that we are liable to harsher judgment from God when we dish it out to others.

Does this mean we should never reach out to help someone when we observe their faults? Isn’t being helpful the "Christian" thing to do?  Yes, but it MUST be done in a Christian manner! This is where the challenges of appropriate judgment begin to be understood. Mutual judgment is an appropriate and valuable exercise, but it has clearly defined boundaries as well.

If - what - why

Check out our June 7, 2021 podcast, “Is It Ever Right to Judge Your Brother?” for more. We lay out the meaning of several New Testament words for "judgment." We examine the character guidelines that help us determine if we should personally be in a position to judge. We look at several biblical examples of what circumstances require us to apply Christian judgment.  Finally, we seek to understand the why of these judgments. Judgment is tricky.  There are times it needs to be done and there are many times when I should NOT be the one doing it!

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May 17, 2021

Ep.1178: Is There a Difference Between Exaggerating and Lying?

Calling out the damage of misrepresentation and exaggeration

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:09:30]
What kind of exaggeration is breaking the Commandment to not bear false witness?


[00:25:34]
How can minimization be a form of exaggeration?


[00:45:23]
What process can we use to stop unhealthy exaggeration?


Theme Scripture: Exodus 20:16

Truth matters. This is something I imagine we would all agree upon and yet we seem to rarely get to the truth. Why?  Because we bicker with and debate those who see things differently based on our different versions of the truth. Enter exaggeration. It is a tool of language to make a point, sway an opinion, build up our ego and embarrass others. Exaggeration by definition has within it seeds of truth, but they are suffocated by the fabrications built upon and around them. The ninth of the Ten Commandments is focused on not lying about others. It is about the necessity for truth on all of our interactions. When God said, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” did He also mean, “You shall not exaggerate about anything your neighbor has said or done”? Do we need to be on our guard when it comes to exaggeration?

Continue Reading

At first glance, this ninth Commandment sounds like its primary application is in a legal sense. Don’t lie about your neighbor when they could suffer unrighteous punishment because of it. While this is a necessary application of “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” it only scratches the surface. This Commandment is, in actuality, a sweeping statement about our standards of behavior in everyday life.

Slander is a part of this

As God’s Law to Israel is further explained in Leviticus, we see that slander was absolutely included as a forbidden action in this ninth Commandment. We can easily think that we are safe here. As Christians, we would never slander anyone, no matter how much we may dislike them. But let’s think further. When you slander, you speak an untruth about another person or group. Is there a difference between this and when we exaggerate as we talk about someone?

Exaggeration can be good or bad

Let’s be clear, all exaggeration is not bad. We can exaggerate as we embellish a story for the purpose of making someone laugh. Laughter is good, and as long as we are not misrepresenting someone in our humor, bring it on. We can exaggerate when we tell our spouse our love for them is as "deep as the ocean" or as "bright as the sun in the sky." Such poetic proclamations can be powerful bonding expressions, so long as we are genuine about our affection. It is when we exaggerate about someone and it misguides other’s impressions and conclusions about them that gets us into trouble. It is here that exaggerated responses can degrade into bearing false witness.

Check out our May 17, 2021 podcast, “Is There a Difference Between Exaggerating and Lying” for more. The subtleties of lying and exaggeration are examined so we can better put our speech in order based on scriptural principles. We discover a biblical account that shows how “bearing false witness” can even be insidiously accomplished without words. We discuss how minimizing can be a tool of exaggeration and bearing false witness. To exaggerate can be fun and upbuilding or it can be utterly destructive to our Christianity and to others. Join us and learn the difference!

Study the rest of the Commandments with us to see how they are still valid for Christians today.

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April 12, 2021

Ep.1173: How Do I Cope With Overwhelming Loneliness?

Discovering five practical and scriptural ways to combat loneliness

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:38]
How can we break the pattern of loneliness shutting us down?


[00:28:01]
Is being lonely a sin?


[00:45:30]
Should we measure the value of our lonely feelings against other things that are important to God?


Theme Scripture: John 16:32

No one wants to be lonely. It is a sad and painful state of being that daily grows more and more common. There is a major difference between being alone and being lonely. To be alone is to be without anyone to engage with. This can be a productive place to be when in the right frame of mind. On the other hand, we can feel isolated in a crowded room or when we are with family and friends. We can be lonely at work, at play and even at church. Perhaps we are lonesome when with our spouse or when engaged in social media. Loneliness is not dictated by outward circumstances, rather it is driven by our interpretations of our experiences and our perceptions of our environment. To be lonely is to feel unimportant. It is to be convinced we do not belong and that we in some way, are unacceptable and even unwanted. Loneliness can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to combat it!

Continue Reading

Failure?

If we are stuck in a lonely corner of our lives, the last thing we want to do is to let others know. Such an action is far too risky, as it brings on the anxiety of a further sense of rejection. We don’t want to hear, “Pull yourself together!” or "Get out there and meet someone!” While these statements may be meant as encouragement, they feel like judgment and enhance our fear of failure. Loneliness, therefore, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Feeling lonely provokes actions of loneliness and expectations of continued isolation. How do we begin to  break down this destructive pattern?

Approach #1: Prayer

We suggest five action steps for Christians. The first is prayer. Why? Prayer is a private experience. No one needs to know about it which relieves us from the ever-present sense of judgment we feel. Think about this – God ALREADY knows we are desperately lonely. He ALREADY knows how we arrived at such a state of mind. The purpose of approaching God through Jesus about our isolation is not to inform God of what is happening but to say it. The purpose is to humbly admit to our heavenly Father the extent of our misery and to place our experience into His eternally-capable hands. We begin to seek His will in coping with it.

While taking such a first step requires the courage to be honest and humble before God, its benefits can be dramatic. Understanding ourselves through the lens of God’s mercy and love can help us develop the fortitude for the next steps. Check out our April 12, 2021 podcast, “How Do I Cope With Overwhelming Loneliness?” for more. We round out the approach to and benefits of prayer.  The next four steps are introduced, seeing how steps two and three are basically private and therefore less daunting. Don’t miss this opportunity for profound and practical insight. Loneliness does not have to rule our daily life if we learn how to cope with it!