Categories
Theology

Roundup of Posts on Scripture Application Questions

Over the past several days, I wrote several posts about questions to ask to help with meditating on and praying Scripture. Ultimately, these questions help us to aid in heart-level application of Scripture. This is the only kind of application that will have lasting value. Now, these questions are not the only ones we should ask, but they are important ones. For quick reference, here are the links to those posts with a brief summary.

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Categories
Life

Break Time Blog

You don’t know my sister Amy. She lives in China with her husband and she likes to write. She is incredibly talented and has a mind for crafting words and phrases. She blogs at Letters from the Sky and often posts her creative writing. She’s in a writer’s club and today’s post is a short story in which each letter had to begin with next letter of the alphabet. It will make you smile and maybe think twice about how you respond to children if you are a parent. And maybe it will make you think a bit more about being a better question-asker!

Sarah, the Six-Year-Old with Six-Hundred Questions

A couple years ago, when I was only 6, I went through a phase of asking my mother question after question.

But I was not trying to be annoying and I really did want to know the answer to my question of why stars twinkle.

“‘Cause they just do,” mom would say.

“Do space ships run into stars?

Evan at school told me space ships blow up because of stars.”

Facts were very important to me at that age, and mom never gave it to me straight.

“Go ask your dad,” she said, almost every time!

“How about swallowing gum?

I feel sick because Justine gave me a piece of gum yesterday and I swallowed it and she said it would be in my stomach for 7 years.”

“Justine was only kidding.”

“Kidding!” I yelled.

“Lying is more like it.

Mom, I need answers!”

Never before have I been so desperate.

“Or maybe, mom, I just need to know why stars twinkle!”

“Probably, because you are blinking.”

Question after question, the answers never seemed to fit and I was getting frustrated.

Resting for a moment, mom caught her breath like she was getting ready to say something important, and then she said it.

“Stop… asking… questions!”

That’s when I knew my mom meant business.

Underneath all that yelling, I knew my mom wanted me to ask questions because she wanted to answer me, although she never really did.

Victory struck, though, when I asked one question that made mom leave the room.

“Where do baby’s come from?”

“Xenon; the planet Xenon,” she said quickly and walked away embarrassed.

“Yes, so there is a planet called Xenon,” I yelled to mom from the other room.

Zealous for answers about this new planet, I kept on pressing everyday, but even though I’m 8 now, I still don’t know why the stars twinkle.

Categories
Life Theology

Sermon 2: Is Jesus the Only Way to God?

Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
Series: Debated: Answering Hard Questions About Christianity
Pastor Steve Moltumyr

John 14:6; 1 John 4:1-10

  • There are three ways to deal with this most important question:
  1. You can outlaw religion  (such as China and the former Soviet Union).
  2. You can condemn religion through education.
  3. You can keep religion a private matter.
  • What we see so rampant in the world today is what we call postmodernism.  Postmodernism is the belief that everything is relative and there can be no objective reality in the universe.
  • Christianity is not unique in it’s claim to truth.  When it comes to deciphering through all the worldviews, we must sift through three important questions.
  1. Decide which religion is true.
  2. Decide that atheism is true.
  3. Decide that postmodernism is true.
  • When it comes to the first of these options, you need to answer these questions when trying to get to the bottom of whether a religion is true or not:
  1. How did life begin?
  2. What is the meaning of life?
  3. What is the moral code to live by?
  4. What is the primary spiritual need?
  5. How will life end?
  • A postmodernist will usually argue along these lines.
  1. Each person has the right to determine the meaning of what they read.  This means that if I write an email that says, “It’s cold outside,” someone can actually interpret it as, “Steve said it’s warm today!”
  2. Moral and ethical behavior is not a result of any final reality such as God.
  3. All religions are man made and none have a corner on the truth.
  4. “I can create my own faith.  My own generic religion.”  (This “religion” does not confront people with the brokenness of humanity and the need for a Savior.)
  • 1 John 4:1-10.  Jesus has “come in the flesh” (v. 2).  What has Jesus “come” from?  God.  How can Jesus be the only way to God?  He is God.  He was God in the flesh who came to give what no other so-called “deity” ever gave.
Categories
Life

The Incarnation Leads to Joy

If you had a chance to prove Jesus really lived on the earth, what evidence would you give?  A miracle?  A sign?  A revelation?  A dream?  Well, in 1 John 1:1-4, John gives us evidence that is much more concrete than that.  He writes:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us (vv. 1-2).

He doesn’t appeal to some kind of ecstatic vision or religious experience.  John is saying, “I saw Jesus with my own two eyes.  I touched him.  I talked to him.  I walked the hot desert roads of Israel with him.  I sat at the foot of his cross weeping with his mother while I watched him die.  And I saw the empty tomb before he appeared to me in the flesh.  This man is real and he is co-eternal with God the Father since eternity.  This man is God.”

John’s not playing games.  And he’s not writing this to be a fun-sucking, religious kill-joy who is ready to condemn sinners.  Instead, he writes to obtain the highest joy — the joy of having fellowship with God and his people: “We proclaim [this] also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (v. 3-4).

If Jesus had never come to Earth, complete joy and fellowship with God and others would not have been possible.  There would only have been dead religion and subjective experience.  John’s not interested in that, and neither am I.

Categories
Ministry

How to Decide When to Leave a Church

I was asked a question yesterday about when it would be okay to leave a local church to find a new church home.  Obviously, it should be on a case-by-case basis and one should be intensely seeking the Lord during the process.  I made a list of nine questions to consider and answer before leaving a church.  Perhaps you might find these helpful:

  • Is there an unrepentant immorality issue with one of the leaders?
  • Do the pastors, elders, and deacons meet the requirements that are found in 1/2 Timothy and Titus?
  • Do the pastors, elders, and congregation genuinely love Jesus and people?
  • Is the Bible taught and the gospel preached every weekend?
  • Is there a missional mindset, focus, and philosophy of: “We want to (and have a plan to) reach this community/city/state for Jesus.”
  • Am I getting fed weekly, invested in, and built up in Christ?  Does this place fuel my joy in Jesus?
  • Do I find opportunities to feed and serve others and build the kingdom here?
  • What is my heart’s motivation for leaving?  Will I leave speaking poorly of this congreation, tearing it down, or will I leave praying for them?
  • Am I just complaining for an excuse to leave or can I really and honestly do something positive to help the area(s) of concern I have?

Can you think of any others?