Episode 334: Last Friday the Supreme Court of the United States legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. This is not the first time something immoral has been legal, but it is a seismic shift for America. Tune in as I explain how something can be legal but still immoral.
Episode 330: What do you do when you’ve blown it with God? I mean, royally blown it? King David was one who know about blowing it royally with God, but he also knew the way back home. In this episode, we dive into Psalm 32 to discover what we can do when we have blown it with God.
Today in Church History: Alexander Newcomer becomes a Christian (1858)
Question of the Day: Why doesn’t God just forgive without the cross?
Episode 315: Ultimately, turning negatives into positives is centered in Christ. His death on the cross, though a very dark (negative) event in history, brought about glorious results for mankind, specifically the salvation of souls (positive). When we obey the gospel, though we are dead in our trespasses and sins (negative), we have our sins forgiven and enter into life with God (positive). So at the heart of the gospel is God turning negatives into positives. Tune in as I unpack a few more practical ways in which we can turn negatives into positives.
Today in Church History: Francis Asbury preaches his last sermon (1816)
Question of the Day: How do I stay saved/live the Christian life?
Episode 314: Many Christians want to know how to turn negatives into positives. When your boss seems only to have negative feedback for you; when your spouse only has bad things to say; when your kids are behaving badly; when a potential health crisis looms – how can we find the silver lining in any of this? In this episode, I explain how we can get off the complain train and “own it and hone it” to turn negatives into positives.
Episode 299: God atones for sin through the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus. But why? Why was the death of Jesus, the Lord of glory, necessary for atonement? Tune in as I break down a few different views of the necessity of atonement.
Episode 281: “[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:9–10, NIV84)
It is still “through the gospel” that we come to know the life and immortality of Christ today. It is still “through the gospel” that we gain access to the promise, body, and inheritance today (Ephesians 3.6). We must believe, accept, and obey “the gospel of your salvation” (1.13) to be incorporated into Christ Jesus. As Christians, we need to value the gospel. In order for the gospel to impact our lives, we must value it as revelation from God. Think of the parable Jesus told about the pearl of great price (Matthew 13.44-46). We have that which is of ultimate value. The gospel was all Paul had. The gospel is all we have. We must pay attention to, be defined by, and solve our problems with the gospel.
The gospel is not merely about getting to heaven; it is about life here and now as well as over yonder. It captures our initial conversion and our daily walk as disciples. It touches on our forgiveness and how we ought to forgive others. It speaks to God’s unfathomable love for us and how we ought to love one another. With so many implications upon life right now, it is no wonder Paul calls it “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3.8). And then we gather with the saints once or twice a week and think we’ve got it? No! We only start unwrapping the gift here; you take it home and finish the job the rest of the week.
Episode 277: Islam is a work-based system of salvation. That is, if you do enough works in this life, at the end of life maybe, just maybe, Allah will let you into his Garden. How does this differ from Christianity? Tune in as examine salvation according to Islam and contrast it with what the Bible says.
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 214: The Bible, which is God’s Word, tells us plainly how to enter a saved relationship with Christ and so become a Christian. But the journey only begins with faith and baptism. Tune in as I explore what it truly means to become a Christian.
Episode 209: Many today are perfectly happy without religion. Why should they bother with religion? In today’s episode, I explore this very good question, pointing out that ultimately man was built for religious experiences with his Creator.