Tag Archives: Grace

The Benham Brothers – On Conviction, Commitment, and Courage

As real estate moguls, reality show stars, former pro baseball players, and authors, twins David and Jason Benham know something about accomplishing dreams and fulfilling the call of God on one’s life. Recently I had the chance to sit down with the Benham brothers to discuss how they built their real estate empire, their former show on HGTV, wisdom they gleaned from Phil Robertson, as well as their special connection to Vice President Mike Pence.

Listen to the full interview here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-lucas-miles-show/id1243573732?mt=2#episodeGuid=gid%3A%2F%2Fart19-episode-locator%2FV0%2FaJTf4Bpg971vYyKlOCmchBoEG3LlSMO0xlCmv86fYwg

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From Porn to Reborn

 

In 2006, Crissy Outlaw left the porn industry. Now, she helps other women do the same. Crissy speaks out about the harmful effects of pornography. Her story has been featured on platforms, such as, ABC’s Nightline, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, CBN, Playboy, and Christianity Today. Recently I had the chance to sit down with Crissy on my new podcast program, The Lucas Miles Show, and discuss the dangers of the porn industry, her journey out of adult entertainment, and how she found Jesus on a film set in LA. (Listen to audio interview here.)

Here are a few things I learned during the interview:

1.)  Stats suggest over 80% of women involved in porn were previously sexually abused.  (In Crissy’s experience helping minister to girls post-porn, she says it’s much higher than that.)

2.)  It’s virtually impossible to leave porn. As we discussed in depth in the interview, Crissy exited porn years ago and is still unable to remove her likeness or image from the internet.  Guarded by bulky and confusing legal agreements, website owners have refused to honor her decision to leave behind her life in adult entertainment and continue to make money off of her to this day.

3.)  Sex Trafficking is defined by involving “coercion” or forcing someone to compromise their own interests.  According to Crissy, coercion is always present in porn and provides a gateway to more insidious forms of sex trafficking.

4.)  There is hope after porn.  I was so impressed by Crissy’s journey back to Jesus, her love that motivates her to help reach other girls like her, and the way in which God’s grace has brought restoration into her life.

To listen to the full interview, or to download past episodes of The Lucas Miles Show featuring other amazing guests, such as DeVon Franklin, Kevin Sorbo, or Lauren Green, click on the image below:

Additionally, Faithwire.com recently featured a story on my podcast with Crissy Outlaw, here is the link:

The Devastating Sin Many Churches are Afraid to Talk About

 

 

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Biblical Interpretation: 5 Things To Consider When Studying God’s Word

Everyone would like to think that their understanding of the Bible is accurate, but with so many different denominations and doctrinal positions, we can’t all be right. So how can we ensure that our theological conclusions are inline with the heart of God and the truth of the Word? Here are a few tips to help keep you on the right path and prevent you from ending up in a theological ditch.

1.) Study Multiple Translations – Although the original text is infallible that doesn’t mean that the English translations always are. If you don’t speak the original languages of Greek and Hebrew, then I suggest studying the Bible in multiple English translations in order to gain a fuller understanding.  By using multiple translations, you can cross-reference these readings with one another in order to validate your conclusions and to temper your findings.  This prevents extrapolating some misguided truth from one translation that is clearly not intended in the original language nor found in other translations.  Some of my personal favorites to use are: NASB, KJV, AMP, MSG, and the HCSB.

2.) Validated by History – Although Church history certainly has its fair share of abuses and skeletons in its closest, this doesn’t mean that history doesn’t have anything to offer.  After 2000 years of Biblical study, I get a little concerned if I’m the only person to come to a specific conclusion.  Have I challenged the status quo of religion before? Certainly! But it’s important to never do this lightly. When writing my book Good God, I challenged the traditional understanding on the book of Job, James 1, and several other passages, but I wasn’t alone in my findings.  Additionally, I took over a decade before I released my findings publicly to ensure that I had uncovered every theological stone possible.  But don’t fool yourself; we all want to think that we’re right. Recently, I’ve witnessed a tendency by those holding to Christian Inclusionism and Universalism to find support for their faulty theological preferences among obscure Eastern Church Fathers, most of whom were considered heretics by their own peers while they were still alive due to their associations with Gnostic thought and other false teachings. If you search far enough into history, you’re certain to find someone who agrees with you, but this doesn’t mean that you’re right.  History alone should never be the only determination, right or wrong.  Remember, instructing people about the heart of God is a beautiful thing, but its also an awesome responsibility.  Recklessness from the pulpit by sharing poorly constructed doctrines and rushed theological conclusions is irresponsible pastoring and should be avoided whenever possible.

3.) In Accordance with the Person of Jesus– The book of Hebrews calls Jesus the “exact representation of God’s being”. This means, if you want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus. As we study the Word, this is an important understanding. If our conclusions about God, derived from the Word, don’t line up with the person of Jesus, then its time to reexamine our interpretation of the scriptures. Did Jesus ever make someone sick?  Give someone cancer? Steal someone’s child? Then neither does God. So when Bible teachers tell you that God will give us trials in order to teach us something, it’s time to find new teachers.  A true interpretation of scripture will never violate the real character of God.

4.) Listen to the Holy Spirit – Although the most subjective, confirmation from the Holy Spirit is easily the most important aspect of gaining revelation from the Bible. Often in my studies, God will first show me something in the Spirit, which will lead me to begin searching out a particular topic or verse. Proverbs 25:2 offers this, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Does this mean that what you hear is always right? No, but it offers at least a starting point. Sure there are some who have fallen into religious arrogance and rush to claim “God told me” to justify their slanted opinions, but this shouldn’t stop us from seeking the Holy Spirit.  On the contrary, no amount of scholarly study can ever adequately portray and understand the heart of God and the message of the Gospel without a revelation from the Holy Spirit.

5.) Check Your Motive – Perhaps one of the most important considerations in studying the Bible is our own personal motives. Are you studying a particular topic simply to justify your own desires? Does your ego “need” to find something “new” in the Word in order to feel smart? Or are you studying the Word in order to know God and to make him known, regardless of what you discover about him?

What other tips do you have to help ensure that your study of scripture stays on track?

Enjoy what you’re reading?

Make sure and pick up a copy of Lucas’ new book, Good God: The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace, and don’t forget to download the free missing chapter from the book at www.lucasmiles.org/missingchapter

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The Shack: A Story of Freedom or Force?

 

As a Christian it may be less controversial at the moment to offer an opinion about current politics, than it is to express one’s thoughts of the film, The Shack, based upon WM. Paul Young’s book of the same title.  Honestly, I, myself, have tried very hard to avoid sharing my two cents about the book or film, but after reviewing the author’s newest book, Lies We Believe About God, I figured it was time I added my voice to the theological stratosphere.

But before I do, allow me to add a few disclaimers.

I think that it’s worthwhile to acknowledge that believers often behave like the disciples in Mark 9:38. You remember the story. It’s where John informs Jesus that they saw someone else “driving out demons in your name” so they told him to stop.  Jesus rebukes them and uses the moment to reveal that the kingdom is bigger than their egos.  I think this is a lesson that the church needs to collectively relearn today.  It’s no secret that as believers, we have a tendency to shoot our own.  Every theological difference it seems provides opportunity for tearing one another down or spiritually posturing ourselves in hopes that all will see that we are really God’s favorite.

I should perhaps also mention that I know that millions of people have been impacted by The Shack, whether through the book or box office, and in sharing my perspective about the message of the film, I’m in no way desiring to negate the experience they’ve had.  I believe God speaks through a plethora of mediums, film included, and I’ve been a champion for finding God in some of the most unique places.  (I still hold that Avatar transformed how I think about eternity, and I’m also of the viewpoint that AMC’s post-apocalyptic sensation, The Walking Dead, has better theology about God than most Christian churches.)  I point these examples out to express that I’m not a religious prude and that God is able to give revelation even beyond that which may be intended by the writer or director – and The Shack is no different.

But although inspiration can be found in the most unique places, we should still remember that inspiration doesn’t always equal truth.  As Christians, all revelation must always pass through the lens of scripture to ensure that we don’t drift into theological half-truths that can damage our faith.  Film, books, and television can inspire, but only the Bible can offer doctrine.

With the renewed interest in the book, my concern is not that people will ascertain their beliefs about God from the film, but rather that the film will introduce people to additional teachings and materials from the writer.

The challenge for me in Young’s writings, as both a storyteller and theologian, is that they only partially uphold Biblical ideas about God’s nature, such as his goodness, grace, and mercy.  For this reason, it’s easy for the new believer to miss the subtleties of Young’s extra-biblical message, and, perhaps even for the more veteran believer, to mistakenly label Young as a modern Christian reformist who is merely kicking over sacred cows of Christian tradition.

But true reformation is always rooted in absolute truth – specifically that of scripture.  Young’s deconstructionist tendencies, mostly absent of scriptural support, prove that his intention is not only to kick over sacred cows, but also to vacate the farm all together.

Although it’s been speculated in the past that Young held to a form of Christian universalist theology (that all are saved or will be saved apart from faith), Young seems to have clarified his stance in his new book, Lies We Believe About God, which also contains a foreword from known universalist Baxter Kruger.  In the book, Young states, “Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!”  As you can see, Young leaves little question as to where he stands on the topic of universal salvation and even goes on to describe Hell by saying, “I propose the possibility that hell is not separation from Jesus but that it is the pain of resisting our salvation in Jesus while not being able to escape Him who is True Love.”

The Shack’s blurred gospel message, along with his association with Kruger, are perhaps enough to theologically villainize Young, but this isn’t the point – nor should it be.  Despite his post-Christian leanings, Young isn’t the villain.  The bigger issue is that Young’s stance reveals and represents the binary choice that religion all-too-often presents to its adherents – either God is angry and fault-finding or he’s all-inclusive and universally accepting. The first option is easy to debunk as it is rooted in judgment and legalism, but the second choice, universalism, is challenging to refute without one sounding unloving in doing so.

As I’ve pointed out before, although the universalist ideology appears to offer a loving solution to legalistic Christianity, in reality, its message is one of force.  Much like Rob Bell’s distorted gospel message in Love Wins, Young’s God rejects the biblical concept of freewill and “loves” you so much he’ll force you into the kingdom.  Personally, I believe God is better than this.

This in no way means that one cannot enjoy The Shack as a film, but it should not be used to shape our understanding of God any more than Dante’s Inferno should shape our view of Hell.  With that being said, I do agree with Young that the common religious understanding of God is quite flawed, but instead of departing from the truth of the Word and the foundations of Christian faith, as I believe he does at least in part, I have proposed a reformation of thinking that is based upon scripture and a renewed understanding of God shaped by gazing into the person of Christ.

It is for exactly this reason I wrote the book, Good God:  The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace.  Upon releasing Good God, there were those who in fact immediately labeled me a heretic, but the difference between my stance and that of Young’s, is that my presentation of God was not just based upon whimsical thinking or fantasy, rather on specific verses of scripture and teachings of Jesus.  While Good God indeed kicked over many sacred cows of traditional theology, it remained loyal to the inerrancy of the Word, the love of the Church, and Jesus’ teaching on the final judgement.

Although I hope Young recognizes how far he’s slid in his post-Christian thinking, I’m more concerned now with the masses who have been influenced (or will be) by his teaching and universalist agenda.  My hope is that people recognize that viewing the Father from each of these extreme spectrums has the tendency to expose one to error.  The only way one can truly construct a proper theology of heaven, hell, love, and judgment is by beginning with the solid and trustworthy revelation of Jesus Christ.

For those looking for an alternative to the narrowed-minded view of God offered by legalism and tradition, but who still value the foundation of scripture, the message of Christ, and the truth of the gospel, I would invite you to consider the almost too-good-to-be-true God that I present in my book, Good God.

 

 

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Drifting from the Truth

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Isaiah 5:20 ESV says this, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

In the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes none of the ruler’s servants nor the town’s people wanted to be seen as foolish or unfit by admitting that the Emperor was really naked. Instead, the masses fell victim to a very small minority (2 traveling salesmen with a sinister agenda to deceive the people and profit off of their fear of being wrong). Because no one would speak up, each individual eventually assumed that all were able to perceive his new clothes, except for them, so they unanimously agreed how wonderful he looked – even though none of them could see his suit.

In today’s world the same is true. There is an agenda that exists to reframe truth – politically, biologically, historically, morally, religiously, and ethically – and those behind it are banking on the masses’ unwillingness to speak out and call evil “evil”. They have gone to great lengths to publicly and brutally disparage and demean anyone who would stand up against them and state what the great majority know, but that most are afraid to say.

This week’s headlines showed just a snapshot of this rising agenda and continued distortion of the truth; an anti-Semitic, radical Islamic sympathizer being appointed deputy chair of the DNC, continued attempts at normalizing and desensitizing the public to transgenderism and other sexual distortions, as well as a convicted cannibal’s charges being dropped from murder to only manslaughter. Each of these represent just a small glimpse at how far we’ve drifted from truth as a society and the extent that morality and godliness have been stripped from our definition of truth, identity, and life.

More than ever we need the gospel.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

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Is God Rigging the Election?

“God is in control,” shouted one church-going woman recently in a conversation about politics when a man suggested that someone other than her candidate might win the election due to millions of Christians’ lack of political involvement.  But is she right?  Is God really in control?  And if this statement is true, then what does it really mean?  Is the election rigged…by God?  Are our efforts in voting, campaigning, and sharing our various political platforms meaningless and unfruitful?  Does the real outcome on November 8 belong not to the American people, nor corrupt politicians, but really to God Almighty?

If you ask many Christians, I think they may answer yes.  But is this what the Bible says?

As I mention in my book,   Good God ; The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace, the Bible never states ‘God is in control’.  Rather, the Bible portrays a world where personal responsibility matters and where humankind receives the fruit of the seeds that we plant.  But this biblical truth of personal responsibility is often eclipsed by what I refer to as “the doctrine of the extreme sovereignty of God.”  And although the idea that

HEMPSTEAD, NY - Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Republican Nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump meet for their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Monday September 26, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“God is in control” has become a normal way of viewing God, it sadly leaves people to assume that everything that happens in the world, including the outcome of elections, was either approved by God or directly caused by our heavenly Father.

The reality is that the doctrine of extreme sovereignty is birthed out of convenience.  If everything that happens is “God’s will”, then it’s easy to divert the attention off our personal shortcomings, or political apathy, and chalk up the outcome of life, and the upcoming election, to God’s master plan.  I suggest that this is exactly the line of thinking which has allowed and perpetuated the current anti-Christian culture and lack of biblical values in our society.  Christian apathy in political participation has resulted in the passage of unconstitutional laws, which have unduly and illegally separated church and State.  Christians have falsely concluded regardless if they get involved in the political process, the outcome is divinely rigged.  Whatever God wills will happen.

Because of this, corruption has thrived, values have become distorted, and all the while the church is mostly silent – after all, God is sovereign.

Or is he?

Some might be surprised to discover that the word sovereign never appears in the King James Version of the Bible.  While it is found over three hundred times in the Old Testament of the New International Version – as in “sovereign God” – it is simply used a moniker equivalent to what is translated in the King James Version as “Lord God.”  In fact, never in one instance, even in the New International Version, is “sovereign” used to describe God in the sense of “controlling everything”.

With regard to politics, some would argue that Romans 13 definitely substantiates the idea that God is responsible for “establishing all authorities”.

However, the Message bible shines some additional light on the meaning of Romans 13:1-3 which reads,

Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.

Another translation (J.B. Philips bible) provides additional insight by stating “all legitimate authority is derived from God’s authority”.

Paul never intended this passage to be a blanket endorsement from God for all those who are in power.  He simply stated that legitimate authority comes from God.  This isn’t referring to particular candidates and specific individuals, as if every politician has been hand selected by God, but rather it’s speaking to the benefit of the rule of law, and how godly laws help protect society from an infestation of evil and those who participate in it.

Some might attempt to prove God’s hand in the political process by referencing Old Testament passages in the Bible that mention God appointing certain men to be rulers in the Old Testament, like King David, Jeroboam, or even the prophet Jeremiah.

But we have to take note that these men were in a nation that actually recognized God’s directives and leadings.  Israel, when they weren’t in rebellion, gave God a say in the governance of their nation and, as a result, God’s voice was often heard and the people affirmed his leading through their acceptance of his choice.  Today is no different, throughout the earth, God is still preparing and elevating people to lead and govern, but this doesn’t mean that every nation always accepts his choice or acknowledges his plan.  In fact, a perfect example of this would be 1 Samuel chapter 8, where Israel demands that Samuel appoint a king over the people.  In this instance, the people rejected God’s form of government for the nation, and instead forced Samuel to appoint a king for the people – a king who’s reign was full of lies and ended in corruption and rebellion against God, I might add.

God’s will for Israel was originally rejected, causing him to pivot and eventually give the people what they wanted – an earthly king.  But think of all of the pain and hardship that could have been avoided, however, if Israel had sought God’s plan for their country from the beginning.  How many lives would have been spared?  How many wars would have been avoided?  We may never know, but what we do know, is that the people played a role in the outcome of the nation.  The same is true today.

We stand at the crossroads of one of the most important elections our country has ever had.  The media wants us to believe that it is a circus and a laughingstock, yet the potential results are anything but funny.  The next president will most likely appoint three or more Supreme Court justices who will define the rule of law regarding moral and social issues like abortion, sexual identity, and religious freedom.  In addition, they will be at the forefront of perhaps one of the greatest oppositions that this country (and perhaps the world) has ever faced – radical Islamic terror.  Who stands in office matters.  Your vote matters.  Your political involvement matters.  There is no separation of church and State, because the church is filled with individual private citizens with a right to vote, speak out, and be involved.  Should we do so in love and respect?  Absolutely!  But whatever we do, let us not for one second succumb to the lie that God is in control of the outcome of this election or any election for that matter – because God doesn’t rig elections and he loves mankind enough to allow us the freedom to decide our future, our politicians, and the outcome of our nation.

What will you decide?

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The Flea and the Acrobat: A Spiritual Lesson in Stranger Things

(Spoiler Alert – Stranger Things Season 1 Details Below)

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On the Netflix hit series, Stranger Things, an over-eager middle school science professor, Mr. Clarke, explains to three of his young pupils about the nature of dimensional travel. He reveals that our current dimension is like a tight rope and mankind is like an acrobat carefully walking the line. Limited by our nature, we are only able to walk across the line in a single direction. But he reveals that a smaller creature, like a flea, might be able to walk along the line, moving freely, forward and backward, and even “upside down”, where it would then enter a sub-dimension. But that’s a flea? What about humans? Humans, according to Mr. Clarke, could only ever experience this “upside down” sub-dimension if there was some tremendous release of energy that opened a portal to this other world.

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Hmm, that’s interesting.

This morning while studying I read Ephesians 2:6 that reveals that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”. This got me thinking.

In the beginning, God created us in a world of perfection; that we know as the Garden of Eden (or the top side of the tight rope). But when we fell, a tremendous amount of energy was released, and we were forced through a portal into a lesser reality – a sub-natural existence, much like the upside down world of Stranger Things.

Sadly though, upside down begins to feel “right” after you’ve stayed that way for so long, so that now many who are still trapped in this upside down post-fall world are unaware that they aren’t right side up. I’m confident that even for the believer, as we finally enter into the full reality of eternal life, that only then will we realize how very sub-natural we actually were.

But according to Ephesians, we don’t need to wait until we die to enter this world. For the believer, we are there now – seated with Him! Through the power of the resurrection, a new and living portal was reopened by which all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus may pass freely from darkness into light. What an awesome truth! (And a pretty cool comparison for all of the Stranger Things geeks out there like me.)

What do you think?  Any other connections between Stranger Things and faith?

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Why America is in love with the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty.

In my book, Good God:  The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace, I tackle one of the most widely held false notions about God – his sovereignty.

For some time the church has held to this idea that God is divinely controlling all things – the bad and the good – and that our lives are the result of his choice, will, and dominion.  Although this might sound spiritual, it’s actually a form of Gnostic teaching and rooted in pagan mythology.  The Gnostics believed that “god” was both light and dark; that is that he embodied both good and evil.  In fact, they taught that the father was “dark” and the son was “light” and that the son came to save us from the father.  This is why John writes in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”  This would have been revolutionary to the Gnostic people.  John proclaimed that the God of the true gospel is all light and that there is no darkness – no confusion, nothing hidden, no ill intention.  From his biblical understanding, in Christianity, we understand that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one in the same – God in three persons.  Gnosticism taught their separate identities, much like the various deities that dwelt together on the Greek’s Mt Olympus.

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Today, this Gnostic teaching, has resurfaced in Western theology through the doctrine of extreme sovereignty.  I believe one of the reasons why sovereignty teaching (and hyper-Calvinism) is so attractive is because of its removal of personal responsibility on the life of the believer.  As Christians, many are frustrated today by the continual devaluation of personal responsibility in our society.  According to today’s world, crime is due to guns and not criminals, sexual perversion is due to nature and not sin, the list goes on and on.  So removed is the idea of personal responsibility that in several countries in Europe pedophiles actually received disability benefits.   But it’s important that we see that this loss of personal responsibility does not exist only in the world today – it’s also in the church.  Through the doctrine of sovereignty, adherents distance themselves from the power of their own decisions and behavior, by claiming things like God “has them in this season”, “is leading them through a desert time”, or “trying to teach them something”.  Cloaked in spiritual language, religious minded individuals unable to come to grip with their own depravity, cling to the idea that God is in control of the outcome of their lives, and hide from the reality that, outside of the impact of others’ freewill and the result of a fallen world, their lives are the summation of the choices they make.

This is the exact same belief system that Job was rebuked for in the last chapter of the book of Job.  Job, a man who faced massive amounts of suffering and loss, mistakenly thought that God was the source of his pain.  Job, overconfident in his own righteousness, was unable to see how his fear and pride (two of the biggest themes in the book of Job) affected his life.  He was also completely unaware of the existence of Satan.  Job saw all things (light and dark/good and evil) as existing in the Godhead and would rather blame God than himself, nature, or the enemy.  But in the end of the book, upon finally seeing God face-to-face, Job saw the error of his ways, repents and says, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’  My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

In reality, God’s goodness is displayed in the freedom to choose that he bestows upon his children.  Personal responsibility should actually empower us, not condemn us.  When we realize that God is not the cause of our pain, it frees us to draw near to him, rely on his grace, and seek his guidance in our life.  If the problems of life are God’s will for us, what hope do we have?  But if God is really “for me”, then I can stand firm, resist the enemy’s advances, and walk in victory.  This doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen, but if and when they do, I can rest in the knowledge that God is not the source of my pain.

Theology is simple, “If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s not, it’s not.”

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Cuba, Communism, and Codependency

Obama landed in Cuba this week and, as such, is the first US President to set foot in the country since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.  His trip included attending a baseball game with the Cuban president, as well as holding a live press conference alongside the Communist leader, taking turns sharing applause and grievances for life in both countries.

But contrary to Obama’s public admonition prior to leaving Cuba that our two countries should abandon the “last remnants of the Cold War”, the president’s actions in Cuba this week did not mark the end of the effects of the Cold War, but rather continued the already sliding progression of which side of the war against Communism our nation sits.

This was perhaps best seen in the President’s response to Castro’s criticism against the lack of social services our country provides it’s people.  Castro stated that it is “inconceivable that a government does not defend and secure the right to health care, equal pay and the rights of children.”  Instead of seizing the opportunity to encourage their nation to explore individual freedoms and personal responsibility (encouraging a move toward democracy), Obama followed this up with, “In [Castro’s] view, making sure that everybody is getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age, that those things are human rights as well. I personally would not disagree with him.”

It’s easy to hear comments like this and miss the real nature of the issues.  I want us to understand what this is really all about.

It’s about determining the source of our hope.

From a faith standpoint, socialism and communism look to the nation itself to do what only God can. It’s a misplaced hope and it can never produce the utopia that we are promised. While the world is hailing the uniting of two nations, I believe we should grieve for the continued and unnecessary distance that we are placing between God and man.

In Genesis 11, Nimrod wrongly commissioned the building of the Tower of Babel to fortify the people against God (in case he would decide to send another global flood) and as a result, Nimrod led the people to depend upon himself and the strength of the tower, rather than to depend upon God to meet their needs.  This is the nature of Socialism and the Communist State; a misled reliance on the institution to try to do for the people, what only God can do.

It’s time we wake up America.  This isn’t about politics, it’s about placing our trust together as one people under God.  This is our only hope for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

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The Human Connection Part 2, Day 1

In Review:

This is a both/and series. The point is divided into two parts: how we relate to one another and on the spiritual plain – how we relate to God.

And just how does this thing called connectivity relate to God?

Part of this series is philosophical and psychological. So, why talk about it in church? Something doesn’t always have to have scripture and verse next to it to be true. Scripture encompasses all truth. But, there are principals we can’t tie to just one verse. We’re looking at the whole chasm of scripture in how we relate to one another.The example of this is when Jesus related to others and how we do so in this natural world in which we live now.

Rom. 1:20

 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse

You can look at the natural and physical world and glean spiritual understanding and truths.

There’s a connection there – to this natural world because it’s a shadow we use to point to or connect to thespiritual world.

I want to be careful to say this is not a doctrinal thesis. I’m sharing these things as I understand them and invite you to grow and learn with me.

In the first part of the series I introduced the topic or idea of the kingdom of God. This is different than thekingdom of heaven which refers to the physical rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  When Scripture refers to the kingdom of God it’s talking about this invisible realm in which we connect to God and each other.

Luke 17:20-21

 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of thekingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ becausethe kingdom of God is in your midst.

 

The kingdom of God is within you. Christ in you – where spiritual interactions transpire.  I also talked about theimportance of connecting with one another. We need to connect for relationship and synergy. If you look at thedictionary definition, it explains synergy as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements…Together we can do so much more than we can on our own. We want to be able to shape those around us in a positive way. To impact those within our personal sphere of influence as well as exponentially through the relationships we build with others.

I intertwined some exciting side notes about quantum physics as well. When we talk about quantum physics it points to the kingdom of God. Not because quantum physics is the kingdom of God, but because God has made himself known through what he has created. It shows us there’s a more true, if you will, physical realm with spiritual laws. It shows us the consistency of God.

In Grace we have a fear of anything that calls itself or is known by law. But God operates by laws.For instance:

He will never violate your will.

He won’t force himself upon you.

Those are laws by which he governs himself. That’s not legalism. Those are principals by which he operates around.

When the Bible says we’re free from the law it means we’re free from using the law as a method by which we obtain righteousness. It’s not that the law no longer has truth in it as though we can disconnect ourselves from it. It’s that it’s not the source of our righteousness.

The kingdom of God works every single time we let it.

Prov. 13:20

Walk with the wise and become wise,  for a companion of fools suffers harm

The entanglement theory is this: every time two things interact they will become connected to some degree. God’s principles and laws are consistent. It all points to the fact that we’re all connected and need each other. And how cool is it that we can be entangled in what Jesus did on the cross because he became a man and those who put their faith in him become entangled in him and we get what he deserves because he got what we deserve? That’s powerful.

 

So, what does all of this mean? We’re going to look into that in this part of the Human Connection series. We’re going to talk about making contact.

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