418 - What Happens When Our Prayers Go Unanswered

September 18, 2017

Some of the hardest questions in the Christian life have to do with God not answering our prayers— no matter how much we pray or how much faith we can collectively muster.  Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?  Why didn’t God do what I prayed He would do?  Why doesn’t God love me?  Because if He did, He would not have let happen what happened?  Where was God during my time of deepest need?  I prayed to God for ________ and it did not happen.

Which inevitably leads us to ask this:  Why God?  Is the problem with me?  Am I not doing enough to get my prayers answered?  Or is the problem with You?  Are You showing favorites and am I on the bottom of Your list?  What's the problem?  Help me understand this, God, because this is hurtful and doesn't make any sense.

You're Right, It Doesn't Make Much Sense

And the reason for that is our reliance on Cliff Note theology.  We grab a few Scriptures, usually out of context, and hold on to them like a life preserver vainly trying to get them to say something they don't.  Consider these:

1 John 5:14-15 - Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Did you notice something?  The key, according to this verse, is praying "according to His will."  When that happens, badda bing, badda boom, prayers get answered.  But when we ask for something not according to the will of God, all bets are off.  The answer will be, "Not today, not ever."

Matthew 18:19 - “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

First, this statement by our Lord has nothing to do with prayer, but with dealing with a sinning believer.  And even if it did give us a prescription for prayer, can two people agree for world peace and the end of all wars, and it be a guarantee from the Lord?  I think not.  Why?  Because God has already revealed to us that in the future we "will hear of wars and rumors of wars" (Matt. 24:6).  God has already spoken prophetic truth to us and won't violate His Word because of our prayers.

Do you want to know the reason God often doesn't answer our prayers?  Because the reason will change the way you look at God and prayer from this point forward.  If you want to know more, then keep listening.

The following is a study on prayer.

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413 - The Importance of Baptism

August 17, 2017

Baptism has fallen out of favor in the church today.  Many people are confused about baptism. And since there seems to be such a wide diversity of opinion about what baptism means and how important it is, many in the church have relegated it to an archaic, antiquated ritual and not much more.  And that is a grave mistake.  Why?  Because baptism is your first act of obedience as a Christian.

Many in the church who call themselves Christians have not been baptized according to the New Testament baptism.  That may include some of you who are listening to this podcast.  But think, if we are unfaithful to the first command of obedience to our Lord who saved us, it makes it much easier to disobey His other commands.  Does this describe you?

The question we ask today is why don't people get baptized?  And there are at least five reasons: ignorance, pride, indifference, rebellion, or because they are simply lost.  In this message we will look at each of these in detail.

Are you confused about baptism and why it seemed so important in New Testament times but not so much today?  If that describes you, then keep listening.

The following is a study on baptism.

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390 - Sometimes History Hurts

March 12, 2017

When we try to determine the exact day that Jesus was crucified, either Friday or Wednesday, we come face to face with an ugly fact about the history of the church.  That ugly history shows the depth of the church’s hatred for the Jews during the first and second century, much like the church’s hatred of the Jews today.  Church councils were called to try to determine a uniform date for Easter in order for it to not correspond with the Jewish Passover (the 14th of Nisan), even if they are, in reality, intrinsically tied together.

For example, the Council of Nicea (325 BC) unanimously ruled that the Easter festival should be celebrated throughout the Christian world on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox (March and September); and if the full moon should occur on a Sunday, and thereby coincide with the Passover festival, Easter should be commemorated on the following Sunday.

Why try so hard to make sure no Christian festival corresponds to its Jewish counterpart, even if by accident?  Antisemitism.  But there’s so much more to this debate.  You have the two Passovers during the passion week, the rantings of Emperor Constantine, and the excommunication of the Quartodecimans.  Sound intriguing?  Do you want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on John 19:31-37.

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372 - The Myth of Biblical Objectivity

November 13, 2016

We all assume we are totally objective when it comes to things in the Scriptures.  But nothing could be further from the truth.

We often believe, not what the Scriptures say, but what we’ve been taught they say and why - all confirmed by our experience. In essence, the main reason we, as Bible-believing Christians, do not believe in the miraculous gifts of the Spirit is simply this: We have not seen nor experienced them.  And our theological traditions support our lack of belief in them.

These are the top three reasons much of the church in the West refuses to believe in the more miraculous gifts of the Spirit.

One, we have not personally seen nor experienced New Testament quality miracles in our Christian lives.
Two, we don’t see New Testament quality miracles in the later history of the church and they are not part of our theological traditions.
Three, we are repulsed by the misuse of those who claim to possess New Testament quality gifts of the Spirit in contemporary churches and healing movements.

But none of these are based on Scripture. They are based on personal experience.  Do you want to know the truth?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Spiritual Gifts found in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28, and Ephesians 4:11.

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361 - What is Truth?

September 1, 2016
Great question: "What is truth?"  It's the question Pilate asked Jesus and the same question our culture asks of the church today.  But there's more to that question than is readily apparent.  For example:

Is there such a thing as absolute truth?
And if so, what is that truth?
How do we know that absolute truth is absolute?
What about the changing times in which we live?
Does truth change to meet the culture?
Is truth living and active?  Does it evolve?
Why is truth for yesterday truth for today?
Doesn’t each generation need their own truth?

Jesus addressed these questions in His first sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7.  Let's take a look at His answer together, shall we?

This is a study on Matthew 5:17.

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355 - Can Jesus’ Words be Taken at Face Value?

July 13, 2016
When we look at the teachings of Jesus, there are a few questions we must, at some point, ask ourselves.  Consider the following:

Can Jesus’ words be taken at face value?
Does He really mean what He says?
And do the words of Jesus apply to me today?
All of them?  Or just part of them?
And how can I tell which do and which don’t?
Or, were His statements and promises meant only for those who lived in New Testament times?
And again, how can I tell?

The answer to these questions will have a profound impact on how you understand the Sixth Beatitude.  There Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, (why) for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).

Want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:8.

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226 - The Beginning of the Book of John

February 8, 2014
John the Apostle and friend of Jesus has a unique purpose in writing his Gospel.  He states that purpose in John 20:30-31:  

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  

He has a two-fold purpose.  One, that you would believe and two, that by believing you would have eternal life in His name.  

And this is just the beginning.  Want to hear more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study of John 1:1-3.
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220 - The Faith of Noah

November 13, 2013
In the hall of faith of Hebrews 11 we see Abel standing out as our example of worship, giving to God what He desires and not what seems appropriate in our own eyes.  Next, we move to the area of intimacy with God, walking with God, day by day, moment by moment, as illustrated by the life of Enoch.  

Question:  But what comes after worship and intimacy with the Lord?

Answer:  Obedience.

And obedience is shown in the life of Noah.

Want to learn more about the faith of Noah and obedience to the Lord?  Then keep listening.  

The following is a study of Hebrews 11:7.
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206 - A Most Troubling Passage

May 6, 2013
The following from Hebrews 6 is probably one of the most hotly debated passages in the New Testament.  And I simply can't figure out why? 

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,  if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

You know, there is more here than meets the eye.  Much more.

Listen to find out what all the fuss is about.

The following is a study of Hebrews 6:4-6.
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200 - What Happened to Masculine Christianity?

April 8, 2013
Sometimes, when the tides of life turn against us, the church sounds like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz:  

"Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?" 

Answer:  Courage!

Do you have courage?  Enough courage?  Overcoming courage?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Spiritual Warfare.
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