The Questions You Asked… Part 4

The Questions You Asked… Part 4

  1. Question: “Is it true that there are spirits among us?” Answer: Yes: Angels. Both good and bad (demons). Are there actually dead people’s ghosts walking among us? No. At best, they are demonic impersonations of people who once lived. The Bible refers to people with “familiar spirits” (meaning the demon) and “mediums” who would do this. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, the Bible does talk about it (Leviticus 19:31).
  2. Question: “Exorcism?” Answer: Like, is it a real thing? Oh, yes. I know people who’ve been part of casting a demon from a woman. Horror movies don’t do justice from what eye witnesses tell me. Just know that as a follower of Christ, we are already possessed by the Holy Spirit of God (1 John 4:4). According to Matthew 7:21-23, just because a person casts out a demon from someone in the name of Jesus, doesn’t mean they have a relationship with Jesus.
  3. Question: “Why are there so many religions?” Answer: Because religion is man’s attempt to reach God. It is based on man’s attempts to please deity/deities. Because of that, there are more religious perspectives than there are people on the planet. Jesus did not come to start a religion – He came to replace religion with Himself.
  4. Question: “Why can I not always hear from God?” Answer: Because the teacher is always silent during the test. Your relationship with God is not based on how you feel. Feelings are fickle. Our faith is not in ourselves. Our faith is not even in our faith! Our faith is in the faithfulness of God to love us and guide us even when it feels as though He’s absent.
  5. Question: “What race was Jesus” Answer: Jewish. Thanks for an easy one.
  6. Question: “Where does our sin nature come from?” Answer: James 1:13-15. The real “enemy” is “in-me”. All sin can be narrowed down to one word: “selfishness.” In other words, I sin when I am more interested in what I want rather than what is right, what is good, or what God wants.
  7. Question: “Why do some people struggle with things that others do not (stealing, addictions, homosexuality…)?” Answer: Great question. I suppose the easiest answer is that we are all different. So we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What I struggle with might be no big deal to you, and vice-versa. Notably, most of us struggle over the same 2 or 3 things over and over again. Satan is not extremely creative, he’s just persistent.
  8. Question: “Who was your favorite Power Ranger?” Answer: Green Ranger! He was like this rogue ranger that the other rangers sort of ran into. His Zord was the coolest! It reminded me of Godzilla. Yes, I was a nerd as a kid too…
  9. Question: “How old is the earth?” Answer: By extrapolating the ages of the first humans recorded in the Bible to the point of a known point in time, we estimate the actual age of the earth to be as young as 6,000 years old up to approximately 10,000 years old. “What about carbon dating and stuff?!?” So what? God made a mature earth. He didn’t plant seeds and wait 200 years for it to grow into a massive Sequoia, He just created big, awesome trees. Science strongly favors a young earth concept of creation.
  10. Question: “What happens to your body during the rapture?” Answer: According to 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, we shall be changed into an immortal body like that of Jesus after He rose from the dead.
The Questions You Asked… Part 4

The Questions You Asked… Part 3

  1. Question: “Is it ok to ask out a girl who has a boyfriend?” Answer: I don’t have a Bible verse to go with this really… But here’s how I would see it: If she did say yes, and becomes your girlfriend, how much confidence do you have that she won’t leave you when the next guy asks her out? I don’t have a clear right/wrong answer on this, but most things that are “gray” are usually more black than white. Tread carefully…
  2. Question: “Since Adam and Eve were the first humans, where did their sons’ wives come from?” Answer: Don’t be too grossed out, but… their sisters. God allowed it in the beginning for the propagation of the race. Hey! Facts aren’t always fun. Just be glad that you have more options now
  3. Question: “Does God hear the prayers of unbelievers?” Answer: God hears every prayer. The real question is, does He answer? As far as I’m concerned, I’m not entirely sure, though in general, I would elan toward “no.” I answer the needs/desires of my kids, but not usually those of the neighbor’s kid… One prayer is sure that God will listen to: Faith in Christ/Repentance of sin.
  4. Question: “How can I know what my spiritual gift is?” Answer: By refusing to sit still hoping God will speak it to you in a dream or special revelation. I was not a great communicator when I surrender to full time ministry in 8th grade (You should have heard my first message… on second thought, no you shouldn’t!). When you open yourself up to letting God use you, instead of waiting for “something” to happen to you, God shows His will. Faith requires action. Your gifts will always be in the capacity of helping other people grow closer to God. And there are thousands of ways this could look for you. I made a post here on finding God’s will for your life. Hope that helps.
  5. Question: “What does it really mean to have a walk/relationship with Jesus Christ?” Answer: When you stop asking “What can I get away with?” and start asking “How  can I be like Jesus?” you’re getting close. The evidence can be found in how you treat others. I think I’ll give this more attention with it’s own blog post. Thanks for asking a great question that we all need to answer for ourselves!
  6. Question: “What does it mean when a Christian ‘accepts Christ,’ gets baptized, does most of the right stuff, but they never give or serve anywhere? Are they really saved?” Answer: “Faith without works is dead.” What you believe is evidenced by what you do. But I don’t know if anyone is saved… except for me. I don’t know people’s hearts. I can only observe their outward behavior as indicators as to whats inside. In this case, I would suggest that you expand your idea of how gracious God is with His own children. Maybe this person just hasn’t matured to that point yet. If Christ has given them new life, they’ll get there. If they are not saved, then our response is still the same: Love them to Jesus! Let Him change them! I can’t change anyone… neither can you.
  7. Question: “Did dragons/dinosaurs exist after the flood?” Answer: My thought? Yeah… they did. Maybe still do. Several “pre-historic” species (such as certain fish) were believed to long since evolved or died off that have been caught in the wild still. Job, in the Bible, refers to two creatures –Leviathon and Behemoth– that existed post-flood and sound dinosaur-esque. Some have tried to label these two creatures as a hippo/elephant and an alligator. But that just doesn’t fit. They sound like a dinosaur/dragon of some kind. And there is plenty of scientific theory to lend support as to how this may have been possible.
The Questions You Asked… Part 2

The Questions You Asked… Part 2

  1. Question: “Are there people in Heaven right now?” Answer: 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather, to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord.”
  2. Question: “Would something artificial (hearts, lungs, etc.) be considered bad?” Answer: The Bible gives us no direction on this. Some argue that “the life of the body is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) and therefore we shouldn’t have a blood transfusion. I don’t find that conclusion in this passage. As far as I am concerned, there are no guiding principles against it, and if I (or any of my family) ever needed an artificial body part in order to live a relatively functioning lifestyle, I would accept it.
  3. Question: “What is the best way to speak to people of other faiths, including atheists?” Answer: In general? Find common ground and love them to Jesus. That is a gross over-simplification, but without dealing with every specific religion individually, that’s the best advice I can give. That, and be sure of what you believe, and why you believe it. Oh and one more thing… decide not to argue with anyone. Most of the arguments we get into drive people away from Christ, and if they just want to argue with you, they’ve already chosen to blind themselves for this conversation at least.
  4. Question: “Are piercings bad?” Answer: Like tattoos, I would say it depends. Why are you getting a piercing? What are you hoping people notice about you or think about you? Can you do it for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)?
  5. Question: “What [clothing] is considered too revealing?” Answer: As Pastor Craig and I dealt with this in Elevate this past Sunday, if you’re having to ask that, it might be too revealing! Remember to ask yourself, “who am I trying to impress, and what do I want to impress them with?” If the answer is some aspect of your body, it’s probably inappropriate. Even worse, you will attract guys, but not the one’s you really want to be in a relationship with. If you’re unsure, ask someone you trust like a parent, pastor, pastors wife, etc…
  6. Question: “How far should education be allowed to go with sex-ed, ancient cultures, violence…?” Answer: Excellent question! Personally, I am adamant that this is the role of parents first and foremost. I’m comfortable with schools dealing with issues of anatomy and physiology. But sex-ed is an entirely different subject. If/when my kids are at that age and being directed to a sex-ed class in school, I will withhold them on religious grounds. Even churches need to be cautious about dealing with minors on this subject without parents’ knowledge.
  7. Question: “What if a girl says no to a date?” Answer: Ask a different girl out! Don’t get your feelings hurt. And don’t be desperate.
The Questions You Asked… Part 1

The Questions You Asked… Part 1

  1. Question: “Why doesn’t the church spend all or nearly all of it’s money on missions (local and foreign), providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, etc.?”  Answer: We do spend all of our money on missions. That’s all we do. The church is not a country club that occasionally does benevolence. We are not even a church with a mission. We are a mission with a church. Our primary command is to make disciples. So whether it’s paying full time staff to do the work of ministry, sending a missionary overseas, or building an orphanage in the Ukraine (all of which we’ve done recently) everything about how we spend God’s money is part of making a missional impact. It’s just not all for social justice causes.
  2. Question: “Is it ok to have sex before marriage?” Answer: No. But that isn’t a good enough answer. The real question you’re probably wondering is “Why does God not want us to have sex before marriage?”  The best, shortest answer I can give is because of the safety and security that marriage provides. Sex is too good and beautiful not to be protected. Because of that, God already knew that sex outside of marriage ruins good relationships, or prolongs bad ones.
  3. Questions: “Why does God cause so many hard roads in life?” Answer: First of all, I’m not sure that God deserves all of the credit for the hard roads in your life. But at the least He’s allowed you to go through the difficult circumstances you’ve endured. We need to remember that God never gives us a test to try to fail us, but to promote us to something better. I don’t know your story, but I know that God uses everything He puts into our lives. God doesn’t even waste pain. Circle yourself with people who will encourage you through these difficulties. We’re the church. We’re in this together.
  4. Question: “If Bigfoot exists, then what is he, like the aftermath of a failed gorilla?!?” Answer: “IF” being the operating word here. And by “failed gorilla” I simply have to say no. That implies that either God failed at something He made, or that science has attempted to create life, with some resemblance of success. IF he exists, God created it, and there could be dozens of exciting explanations. None of which, regrettably, I’ll entertain at this time.
  5. Question: “Is it possible to become apostate?” Answer: Most people who use this language of “apostate” or “reprobate” in a theological sense are referring to Romans 1 where it gives a laundry list of immorality and says that God “gave them up” to an unclean mind. But if you read less than 10 verses into chapter 2 you realize that God was not talking about specific individuals, but all of us. There will one day be a collective falling away from truth and morality on a global scale. But individually, God never forsakes those who are of His family. Period.
  6. Question: “Is gay pride a sin? Or just being gay a sin?” Answer: According to Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, and Romans, homosexuality is sin. I reject the the idea that homosexuality is genetic for a variety of reasons: 1) There’s been no scientific proof. 2) Too many heterosexuals have turned homosexual. 3) Too many homosexuals have turned heterosexual. 4) I have had good friendships with many, many homosexual people. Without exception, they have all had other blatantly obvious relational issues that easily explain their orientation. Truthfully, I hurt for these people. Not because of the lack of acceptance they get, but because of how our culture has told them they are normal to feel the way they do, causing them to repress the real reasons for their orientation. Most of them have counseling issues starting with their childhood. God loves homosexuals and wants to see them come to a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. Yes, it is sin. Yes, God loves them anyway. Just like He loves me.
  7. Question: “Balaam blessed the nation of Israel 3 times when his king commanded him to curse them. So why is he seen as a bad guy in the New Testament?” Answer: If you read Numbers 22, you get the idea that Balaam continues to ask God for permission to curse Israel, which frustrates God though He told him through a variety of means (not the least of which was his donkey) not to go curse the Israelites. Many believed that Balaam intended to curse Israel, but when he opened his mouth to do so, God caused him to only say blessings.

“You Asked For It!” beginning this Saturday

Relationships. Faith. The Bible. Church. Culture. You have questions. We have answers… hopefully. Join us for 4 weeks as we deal with the things that YOU asked about. Begins at our Saturday night service this Saturday at 6 pm. But we’re not stopping there. This series is also happening at our youth service, Elevate, every Sunday at 10:45am. Hope to see you this weekend!

If you still have questions you want to ask, submit them here:

Blessings,

John