Episode 270: Here is the final installment of the series Six Questions to Ask a Skeptic. A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into your mind when you think about is the most important thing about you.” I believe this is equally true for Jesus. So what do you think about Jesus? Tune in as I explore the possible answers to this question.
Episode 269: I have been into weight lifting since my sophomore year of high school. Since I have lifted for so long, I think I am pretty strong. I am not talking about freakishly strong like the men in the World’s Strongest Man competition who lift and carry Volkswagens, but I am strong enough to do 100 pull-ups. Of course, there is an easy way to prove this: we can just meet in the gym at the pull-up bar…
Strength is a good thing, especially in the realm of the spiritual. Note the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2.1: “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” What a fantastic charge! Be strong! But the question invariably comes up: how is one to “be strong” when it comes to grace? What does it mean to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?”
“Be strong” or “be empowered” is the same word from which we get our English word “dynamite.” Hence, Paul is pointing to the explosive power that comes from Christ. It can also read “keep on being empowered.” So we should understand that this is somewhat similar to the gym experience for the body. Just as an individual would go to the gym and lift weights to build up physical strength, so the Christian enters into the place where strength is, that is, of course, Jesus Christ. Also, I think it tells us this is not just one shot deal; just as a person goes to the gym on a regular basis, so the Christian will plug into and stay with the true power source, which is Christ, allowing Him to strengthen us with His grace.
And what is grace? Most define it as the unmerited favor of God. It is a gift from God, and a free gift at that. There is nothing we could do to earn it; we can only accept it as a gift. It is this grace which saves us (Eph 2.8). We must never take for granted the expensive gift our God has bestowed upon us and must realize that this is where we can find strength.
It must be noted that if there is such a thing as being strong in grace, there is also such a thing as being weak outside of grace. Paul severely contrasts those who deserted him (see 1.15) with Timothy. Those who deserted him were not strong in the grace of Christ, that is, they did not tap into the power source. For whatever reason, they decided to unplug and therefore became weak, detached from the true power found only in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, the charge is clear: stay focused on Christ and remain in his grace. Dig deeper into grace through personal study and prayer. Realize the love of God seen in the saving grace he gives us through Jesus. Beware that you never unplug from the power source. Allow that supreme sacrifice to strengthen you daily as you seek to do the will of God. It is only in Christ Jesus that we find the grace which empowers us to press on.
Question of the Day: What’s so amazing about grace?
Episode 268: When people suffer, typically it is not arguments or formulae they seek to explain their pain. When people suffer, they are angry, hurt, mad, upset, furious with God. “Why me?” The greatest issue with people and suffering is not intellectual but emotional. Tune in as we explore how God does not try to get Himself “off the hook” with suffering but actually puts Himself on the hook through Jesus.
Episode 267: This is the 5th question in the “Six Question to Ask a Skeptic” series of lesson. Everybody suffers at some point in their life. Whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, regardless of race or sex or religion – everyone suffers. So is there any meaning or significance to the suffering? Tune in as I explore this question and deal with the problem of evil.
Episode 265: Comedian Robin Williams took his own life last week. His frenetic style could be rather blue at times. However, I knew him from his kid-friendly movies like Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. He was brilliant, but tortured by depression. It was ultimately depression which lead to his suicide.
Depression is a serious mental condition which is not to be taken lightly. The church historically has been a haven for the mentally ill. In fact, early church writers considered conditions like depression as primarily a spiritual issue which must be handled with devotion to certain spiritual disciplines (i.e. fasting, prayers, etc.). While there may be a tendency on the part of some to scoff at this idea, we must remember that Christianity is a religion of the mind. We are to love the Lord our God with all our mind (Mark 12.30). Our minds are to be renewed so that we become transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 12.2).
Tragically, many who suffer from depression unfortunately turn to suicide and Robin Williams is a most recent example. Suicide is murder of self and murder is categorically condemned in Scripture (Genesis 9.6; Exodus 20.13; Leviticus 24.21; Deuteronomy 5.17; Luke 18.20; Romans 13.9). Murder is an affront to God because it strikes right at the crown jewel of His creation: His image in man. Suicide is smashing to pieces God’s image in one’s self.
Suicide is a sin. It is not the unforgiveable sin, but a sin nevertheless. Like all sin, it is selfish, focused on the gratification of the irrational thought (there’s the mind again) that the world would be better without me. However, doing yourself in is not doing your loved ones a favor. The grim truth is that family members and loved ones are left heartbroken and grief stricken as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and move forward without this person.
Episode 264: Question four (4) in our Six Questions to Ask a Skeptic series – why are children intuitive theists? Even skeptics admit that man seems naturally inclined to belief in God. Tune in as I explore why this is so.
Episode 263: A prominent philosopher is telling people not to believe the doctrine of the rapture which will be given prominence in an upcoming movie. Leaders of the homosexual movement are upset that the Center for Disease Control has released the figures for the number of gay American adults – a paltry 1.6%. What do these two events have in common? Whether you hold to the erroneous doctrine of the rapture or cling to the sin of homosexuality, you must be converted! Tune in as I explore this vital Bible subject.\
Question of the Day: How Can We Know Truth?
Episode 262: The demographic I am calling “skeptics” (composed of atheists, agnostics, & non-religious folks) makes up about 20% of the American population. 1 in 5 people fall under this definition. So another good question to ask our skeptical friends to open dialogue with them is – Can We Be Good Without God? Tune in as I explore this sobering question.