One of the hardest things it seems for Christians to deal with are relationships. And the hardest relationships it seems to redeem, are family relationships gone bad.
The Scriptures are very clear. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the Big Ten – that we should honor our father and mother. But what does a person do when they become a Christian and they realize that they are supposed to love everyone, especially their parents, and yet they’ve been estranged from their parents for many years? Maybe the relationship has been toxic since childhood. Oftentimes young Christians deal with how to approach parents that were abusive and just simply abandoned them in the past. The question is, “How do you understand the mixed feelings of wanting to honor your parents according to the Scripture, because now you love God and want to please Him, and yet the difficulty of forgiving and healing deep wounds over time?”
The truth is, the command to honor your father and mother is not what a lot of people promote it to be. And that is, just allow your parents to run over you, mistreat you, abuse you, and smile and give a big “God bless you.” In this episode of Renegade’s Guide to God, we’ll help set you free from the bondage of loving parents.
One of the questions I keep getting over and over is, “What about the Mormons? For all the good that they do and the high moral teaching they hold forth, surely they are Christians.”
This question is of unique interest these days, because some of the leading candidates in the 2012 upcoming election are Mormons. So it’s interesting to see what Mormonism looks like in the light of day and the scrutiny of public disclosure.
Today we’ll take Mormonism and its teachings apart and see how they stack up against the basic essentials of Christianity. The principles that we use today can be used not just in Mormonism, but in any movement or group in assessing the reliability of whether or not what they believe and practice can be considered Christian.
One of the most important things anyone can have in their life is God’s favor. The question is, “How do you get it?”
Some people believe that you earn God’s best blessing on your life, in your business, or in your marriage. That somehow doing daily devotionals, reading the Bible, and being disciplined in your spiritual life through reformation and activity can obligate God to do good things for you.
So why is it that God seems to bless some people who don’t have daily devotions, who don’t attend church on a regular basis, and who don’t really practice the disciplines that we think good Christians should? And yet God seems to bless everything they touch. While at the same time, other good, godly businessmen and women can work really hard at attracting God’s favor and yet it seems as though their business endeavors flounder. We’ll talk about the key and the secret today on Renegade’s Guide to God.
As long as I can remember, Christian businessmen have struggled with the question, “Is what I’m doing honoring to God?” Can a true for-profit Business be a valid Christian Ministry? I say “valid” in the same way a church is a spiritual endeavor.
Sad to say, that many Christian businessmen and women don’t feel validated by their churches and even their other brothers and sisters in Christ. The question is, “Isn’t Monday through Friday a time to worship God, to serve God, and to do ministry, or is it just delegated to Sunday morning?”
Far too often in the American church, we train people to do church work (which is volunteer), and serve the ministries of the church (which is a very good and valid thing), but fail to also validate the energy, dedication, and sacrifice that these same people make to make their businesses successful. It’s time that we give a bigger view to what ministry is, and today we’ll talk about that on Renegade’s Guide to God.
I firmly believe that everyone should attend church. But not everyone should attend the same church. It truly does take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
Like anything else in life, churches have personalities, different emphasis, and styles. One size certainly doesn’t fit all.
I’ve often found that good people stay in the wrong church way too long simply because they feel guilty, ever daring to look around for a better fit. Just like in marriage, in life, or at work, fit is very important. Today on Renegade we talk about the four sure signs that you’re in the wrong church; and then the four questions you need to answer as you go out and look for a better fit. What does that fit look like? We’ll help you recognize it today.
We often hear people say, “He deserves a second chance.” But do we deserve a second chance? There’s something else going on in our lives when we do get a second chance. When we’re able to re-enter our lives in a saner, spiritual way, God is at work. And one of the principles that we misunderstand is that grace is not something we earn or deserve.
We often talk about the love of God as if it’s a given, like air, sunshine, or the fact that we get thirsty. God’s favor cannot be assumed, or taken for granted. Because once we do that, we take God for granted. We begin to ignore Him and make a world on our own image and reflection rather than His. The song we learned as kids is still true. This is my Father’s world. He’s got the whole world in His hands. But everything He gives us is a gift, not earned. The question is, what is our response to a God who gives us everything that we can’t earn or deserve? Do we abuse it? Do we use it? Or do we turn it into an act of worship that not only pleases God, but transforms our own lives in the process?
Religion is about rights, rules, and obligations. Christianity is about love, grace, mercy, and a relationship.
Sad to say, there are some baaaaaad people out there. Not just dumb people, stupid people, selfish people, but bad people. And those people come to church. Sometimes it seems like more of them come to church than good people. The truth is, in every church there are people who are there to cause trouble. The health of your church and the future of its ministry depends on your ability to sanely, safely, and wisely identify these people and render them powerless.
If there is one fundamental thing the Scriptures teach us that we’re always hesitant to acknowledge, it’s that there is evil in the world. As a follower of Jesus, I want to believe the best about everybody. I want to believe that everyone has the right motive, particularly those who use the name of God, those who are attracted to churches, those who want to gather in God’s name to do good things. But there are people who are there for power. They want to control. They feel powerless and helpless in every other arena in their life, and the church affords them almost an endless opportunity to step into leadership and places of influence; hide, and then all of a sudden raise their ugly head to cause dissension, conflict, and sometimes destroy not just the unity of the church, but the church itself.
If you have never been a part of church conflict, you will be. How you deal with it depends on your long-term effectiveness for God, the gospel, and good,
Maybe you’ve been in a church service, gotten an email, or seen a conversation on Facebook that people are calling for corporate prayer.
This goes on all the time. People ask us, “Hey, would you pray about this?” “Would you pray for me?” Oftentimes we say we will, but really we’re just being polite, and we forget. So it leads us to the question, “Does praying for other people really work? Is this really important? Is it in the volume or the number of prayers that God hears and answers?”
It’s exceedingly frustrating to pray and nothing happens. It’s downright disappointing to pray over time repeatedly and see almost nothing happen as a result. It’s easy to get discouraged and quit praying. Today we’ll talk about why prayer is important, why corporate prayer is talked about in the Scriptures, and how we could pray more effectively.
Today’s topic was sent in as a question by a listener. It has to do with predestination, predetermination, and things like free will.
Without question, the Scriptures have something very definite to say about predestination. But oftentimes predestination is interpreted as fatalism, which means it doesn’t matter what we do or how we respond, everything is already set, every outcome is inevitable, and God doesn’t need, want, or use our pitiful efforts.
Rather than predestination being a dark, depressing theological burden, it was intended to be an encouragement. It’s more about God’s providence than your own personal choices. The truth is, from Scripture, predestination and choices go hand-in-hand. You’ll see how on Renegade’s Guide to God.
Remember the days when claiming to be a Christian wasn’t so difficult? I don’t mean difficult in that we’re ashamed to be Christian. It’s just that the term “Christian” means so many different things to so many different people, given the environment and the location.
So on the show today, we’re going to talk about the five things we don’t mean when we say we’re Christian. Sometimes we need to know as much about what we’re not saying so we can break the stereotypical view of what being a Christian is to so many people.
For example, to some people the word “Christian” conjures up politics, a capitalist view of the economy, and a moralism that few Christians can claim.
For others, the word “Christian” means fanatic, irrational believer, someone stuck in the past, someone unwilling to accept that science trumps faith.
One of the best things we can do as believers is to help people understand not only what we’re saying and what we’re claiming when we call ourselves Christians, but also what we’re not saying. All this today, on Renegade’s Guide to God.
Today we’ll deal with a question from a listener about, “What do you do when you’ve done all the right things, when it seems from your family, to your job, to your friends, everything is coming unglued?”
Where is God when you’ve prayed, and you’ve prayed diligently and desperately over time, and no answer seems to come? Is it something you’ve done? Something you’re not doing? Is there a magic, religious formula, some way to pray, some anointing oil or kneeling position that will give you the breakthrough you seek?
One of the most trying times in the life of a believer is when God gives no evidence of either His presence or His caring in your life. The challenge is to have vision enough and faith enough to understand where you are, what you’re going through, and where it’s leading you.
It’s easy to get frustrated and walk away from faith when everything else goes wrong. But maybe there’s something to be learned, something to be gained, something God is trying to tell us that we can only learn in the times when it seems like everything is going wrong. We’ll talk about all this and more on Renegade’s Guide to God, today.
Not a week goes by when someone doesn’t say to me, “David, I’m stuck in my faith. I’m losing it. God seems far away and it just seems like I’m going to church and going through the motions, but nothing is changing in my life, at least nothing for the better.”
When you’re stuck in your faith, there are real reasons. It’s not a mystery. The things you can do, or maybe things that you’re not doing: acts of self-discipline that guarantee that you’re constantly moving forward with God, growing a stronger faith and being able to turn adversity into advantage, and pain into the kind of gain God had in mind when he allowed it to come your way.
On Renegade’s Guide to God, today, we talk about the questions you can ask yourself when you’re stuck in your relationship with God and your faith seems distant, unreal, or plastic and artificial. Let me warn you. These questions are penetrating, they’re personal, and they just may push you out of your comfort zone. And isn’t that really what you want? The courage, the faith, the confidence and the boldness to step up to the next level with God and see God not only intervene in your life, but do actual, bonafide, real-world miracles like he did in the New Testament. They’re not over and you can experience them if you do the work to get unstuck. Start growing again.
One thing you can say about Jesus, is after two thousand years, He’s as popular as ever. But also, I might argue, as misunderstood.
This is never more true than when you think about the picture that American Christianity has tended to paint of the person of Jesus. When you remember that Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love your neighbor,” sometimes that gets translated into weak, soft, doormat faith.
On the show today, we’ll be talking about what the real Jesus was like. Was He a rogue? Was He a rebel? Or was He more like a revolutionary, a renegade who pushed back and defied conventional wisdom? Remember, Jesus wasn’t crucified for being a nice guy. He was crucified for being a subversive; someone who not only challenged the authority of the Roman government, but deconstructed Judaism in the face of the Sanhedrin and all of its political power.
When we study the New Testament we get a very different view of Jesus, one that might offend a major portion of American Christianity today. We’ll find out today on the show.
Our desire to know God and lead a meaningful life is one of the most powerful forces that drives us forward. So powerful is this desire, that it is easily manipulated by religion. America is littered with the victims of small-minded, toxic religion.
On our show today we talk about how to identify small-minded religious ideas whose only motivation is to manipulate and control. We’ll contrast this with the Christian idea that we are in the world, not of the world; that we’re challenged to be stewards of our lives and to make something beautiful, attractive, and long-term of our days.
As a follower of Jesus I am challenged constantly to live up to the potential that God created in me, and gives me the chance to work out in everyday life.
Being a Christian is not making the world smaller, but drawing a circle to make the world bigger. It’s not about believing less, but believing, attempting, and achieving more.
It is possible to know God and love God, and live the life for which you were created. But you’re going to have to see religion for what it is: man’s attempt to control God and manipulate you.
One of the most common experiences that Christians have is, somewhere down the road, a bad church experience. Some of these disappointments are so deep, so painful, and so long-lasting that Christians even abandon the church and their faith altogether.
Today on Renegade we talk about why these things happen, how to understand them, and how are we to respond; not only in our own lives, but how do we respond to those who look on and justify their lack of faith and belief in Christ and His church because of all the foolishness that goes on in the name of God? Today you’ll get some practical help and insight from a guy who has committed his life to the American church for the last 39 years.
This just may be the time for you to go back and find a community of faith where you can be loved as you are, and also make a difference.