One topic I want to begin writing more about is that of election and predestination. This is by far one of the most difficult theological topics in the entire Bible. And yet, it presents significant joy and spiritual growth in our understanding of God. To this end, I hope to gain a better understanding and help others do the same.
Let me start by saying I am by no means an expert on this issue. Over the last several years I have endeavored to study and learn and gain a biblical understanding of this rich theology. And while I have experienced growth in my own understanding, I have also wrestled with nagging questions.
Some might say that nagging questions are a sign that something is wrong. I would disagree. One encounter with Jesus stands out to me. A boy’s father was desperate for Jesus to cast the demon that had afflicted his son for many years. The disciples couldn’t do it. So the boy’s father begged Jesus to cast the demon out. Jesus reminded the father, “all things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23) Thee father replied, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I am reminded that it is ok to wrestle with our beliefs. At times we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is true and yet, we will still wrestle to fully understand it. And this seems to be consistent with the Bible’s teaching. (You can read that entire encounter with Jesus in Mark 9:14-29.)
I will be the first to say that the doctrine of election and predestination is one that will require much wrestling. It is not a doctrine that you will one day wake up and fully accept. It is a doctrine that will take time, prayer, study, wrestling, and conversation. And, chances are, you will need to ask God some very difficult questions along the way. That’s ok, God doesn’t mind. Continue reading
The level of biblical gymnastics needed to tell people the Bible affirms transgenderism is astonishing. This kind of heresy is not just false, it’s highly damaging.
The transgender issue doesn’t seem to be going away. No matter how many solid biological, logical, reasonable, rational, and otherwise concrete arguments are made against the idea that people are “born in the wrong body.” Somehow, there’s a tiny part of the population that really, really wants it to be true and they are doing everything they can to try and make it so.
It’s one thing to see the Boy Scouts cave to LGBT pressure to affirm transgenderism. While it’s disappointing, and an unnecessary decision that will speed up the demise of the Boy Scouts. It’s altogether different when people claiming to speak for God seek to convince others, from the Bible, to support transgenderism.
And yet, as a recent article highlights, such deceptive “bible teaching” is currently taking place.
A chaplain for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas was speaking to a women’s group at a local church. The chaplain made what she believes is a biblical argument in favor of transgenderism. The chaplain said, according to the article, that Genesis 1:27 supports transgenderism because: Continue reading
Being able to retire is not a mystery that you find out about once you get there. Retirement is a plan that you work systematically through the years. If, that is, you can get past the myths and the retirement killers.
Working in the financial services industry, I spend my days talking with people about retirement. I talk to people close to retiring, people that have just retired, and people that have been retired for years. It’s a fascinating conversation because each one is filled with many of the same concerns, myths, and mistakes.
Retirement is about having a plan and working that plan in a systematic way, as you get closer to retiring. That doesn’t mean the plan won’t change throughout your life, but it does mean you have a plan. And, the plan has to be more than “saving some cash in my 401(k) each month.”
As equally important to having a plan is avoiding some of the pitfalls and myths that seem to persist in our culture for those seeking to retire.
I came across a recent article that highlighted some ways that people can ruin their retirement and ensure that it is a stressful time of life rather than an enjoyable time. We would do well to heed this advice and avoid these retirement fails. Continue reading
I will admit that I am cautiously optimistic concerning the “pro-life” claims of President Trump. He has supported abortion in various ways throughout his lifetime and never been considered a pro-life advocate. So when he claimed, on the campaign trail, to be pro-life, I was skeptical.
But you know what they say: actions speak louder than words.
Within the first few hours of his administration, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, much to my surprised and the delight of many pro-life Americans. In case you are not familiar with this policy, it is a policy that prohibits the federal government from sending any taxpayer money to a foreign organization that performs abortions. In other words, not one penny of your hard-earned money, or mine, will be used to perform abortions overseas. Continue reading
Abortion was unilaterally legalized in America in 1973 by the Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision. Since that fateful date in American history, more than 58 million unborn children have been murdered on our soil. This is the greatest holocaust the world has known.
The video below gives a powerful picture of what it really means to be missing 58 million souls from our country.
As you watch the video, the bell tolls every time 1 million is reached. So unlike a typical clock that chimes no more than 12 times at once, this bell will toll 58 times before the video is done. You won’t forget this bell either. When you hear other bells chime you will remember this foreboding toll.
And, slowly but surely you will watch as entire states disappear from the picture of the United States. As the numbers pile up, states disappear, representing the number of lives lost. In all, 24 states disappear. Nearly half of the United States is gone by the end of this video. Let that sink in for a minute.
One thing I couldn’t help but notice is that more than half of all the abortions to date, 30 million, took place in the first 20 years after Roe (1973-1993). In the last 24 years, however, the number of abortions has declined (28 million). Fewer abortions in a longer amount of time is encouraging. This, along with many abortion clinics closing, signals a change in Americans’ opinion on abortion. Continue reading
In the entire Bible there is a single scene that is at once the most loving and most terrifying in all of Scripture. In fact, it’s the most painful scene in all of history. If we’re not careful, we will pass over this scene without fully considering its implications and appreciating its magnitude.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he demonstrated His obedience to the Father and His love for humanity in the most painful and terrifying way possible. Scripture records the scene for us:
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:38-39)
The time for Jesus’ death was at hand and He, now more than ever, began to feel the weight of His purpose for being born. His birth was about His death. The manger was really about the cross. And Jesus felt the weight of that horrible moment quickly approaching. But, what you may be surprised to learn is the reason Jesus was so concerned about His impending death.
Many people assume that Jesus’ prayer in the garden was because He simply didn’t want to endure the physical agony of death on the cross. Who would want to experience that? The physical pain would be so great that, it has been speculated; no ordinary physical body could have endured what Jesus experienced. It’s easy to conclude from the description given in Matthew, Mark, and John that what Jesus suffered was beyond what any physical body could have tolerated. So no one could have faulted Jesus for seeking another way besides the cross. Continue reading
When I was about 9 years old my elementary school announced that our class, a group of fourth graders, would be taking part in a sex-education course. They sent a letter home to all parents and let them know the dates of the course. This allowed parents to decide whether they wanted their kids to be in the class or not.
My parents decided that they did not want me in the course and signed a form requesting that I be excused from the class during that period.
So, every day during the sex-education class – which only lasted a week or so – I went to another room and did other work while my peers and friends took part in the course.
This is a logical step for any parent that objects to a particular course being offered by their child’s school. The right of parents to opt their child out of any non-required or non-essential course is a right that every school should respect. Parents, not the school or the government are the ultimate human authority in the life of any child. And the final decision of what a child will and will not be taught is a right that schools must respect.
What my parents did not do in response to the announcement that there would be a sex-education course in school is to tell the school how offended they were, secure the assistance of a drama-inducing social justice organization, and demand that since their child would not be taking part in the course, no child should be allowed to take part in the course. Because that, my friends would be crazy. Continue reading
Being a parent is often a mix of faith and hope. You want to believe you are doing the right thing in teaching and raising your kids but only time will tell. And when the time comes to see the results of your efforts, it will be too late to go back and redo things. So, parenting often feels like living in perpetual uncertainty and perpetual hope.
Knowing parenting can feel like this, I routinely look for resources to help me do a better job. I’m not really into the fluffy “be your kids best friend” stuff that comes from modern psychology and pop culture. I’m looking for biblically based advice that shares practical tips on how I can do a better job raising my kids.
I recently came across an article sharing the “Ten Crucial Lessons Every Father Should Teach,” from John MacArthur’s book Brave Dad. This list is not only biblically based it’s practical. Furthermore, it’s counter-cultural.
Look, the bottom line is that we live in a society that is upside down. The things that are valued in our culture go against the biblical values that we want to teach. And, in order to combat that anti-biblical teaching our kids are bombarded with in culture we must be diligent in teaching them, clearly, what the Bible says. It won’t happen by accident. And while we should expect our church to reinforce what we are teaching our kids at home, we should not expect our church to be the primary biblical teacher of our kids.
Look at how practical, and counter-cultural, these lessons we need to be teaching our kids are: Continue reading
Like me, if you have spent time in leadership at your church you have wondered, and discussed, ways to grow the church. You’ve tried to figure out what the “secret” is and how you can see church growth in your church. You’ve looked at programs, discussed strategies, and planned campaigns designed to see exponential and permanent growth. And you are still wondering: what is the key?
Personally, I’ve been concerned that the secret to church growth is having a full head of hair and a Ph.D.; because I have neither. I’ve also been concerned that the secret to quick growth is in cool glasses and skinny jeans and soy-non-fat-mocha-vegan-gluten-free-useless warm brown water. Because, if that’s it…I’m in trouble.
As it turns out, the “secret” to church may lie in something as simple as doctrine.
A new study is reporting that doctrinally conservative churches that prioritize reaching out to their community are growing.