What's the Deal with Millennials? Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 17, 2019 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Today I wanted to change gears a bit because I heard something on the radio that piqued my interest and got me thinking. After I looked into it, I found it to be generally true and a ton of people are writing about why. I'm not one to follow trends, but I've connected a few dots that I think many are missing. Or perhaps they don't want my observation to be true, so they ignore what seems to me to be fairly logical. What am I talking about? Millennials. They are a very large portion of the population around the globe. Millennials are those age 14-34 give or take, or some say those born between 1981 and 1996, or more vaguely those who reached adulthood in the early 21st century. However you slice it or wherever you feel this particular generation lands, some glaring issues are surfacing.

Millennials (aka Generation Y) are the most unreligious, undevoted, apolitical generation in our history as a nation. However, this unreligious people group is also the most medicated for anxiety disorders, the most depressed, the least happy, and the most suicidal generation we've seen, according to some. Obviously, numbers can range on these issues and it can get muddy to figure out some solid stats, but it seems like this generation is trending this way. Let's see what's up here.

There are just short of 2 billion millennials in the world, and about 75 million of them live in the US. According to Pew and Science Daily, fewer millennials consider themselves to be religious than any other previous generation. I said above that they are “undevoted” because they are also very unlikely to associate with a political party (although most vote in favor of progressive/Democrat candidates or issues) and are less likely to consider themselves to be patriotic. So, the undevoted idea comes from the fact that they have, in general, decided to not associate with any major “groups” that most other generations would affiliate with—religious affiliation, political affiliation, or love of country. Associated with this is the fact that a larger portion claim to not believe in God. They are far less likely to trust anyone, as well.

Psychology Today reports that Millennials have higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression than any other generation at the same age. The American Psychological Association found that Millennials report more stress than any previous generation. It seems striking, to me at least, that they are also less capable of dealing with it.

Generation Y has the most negative outlook on the future when compared to other age groups. About one quarter of them believe depression is normal, especially as we age. I would wager that since many if not most will be on some sort of depression or anxiety medication before they retire, this makes sense. It must just be part of the aging process to be unhappy, depressed, or otherwise mentally burdened, although for me that is a strange idea. But Millennials generally feel they've been dealt a bad hand in life. They feel everyone else has had it easier than they have it. Again, I guess this is not too surprising that they are significantly more depressed than other generations. So, why?

There are all sorts of reasons, and I think at least some of them are intertwined—one feeding off of another. Millennials are having a hard time getting married and, if they do, it's usually later in life. There are many healthy benefits of marriage. In general, you're just happier and healthier overall. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but it's the trend for sure. There are even some healthy results to having children. I bring this up because In 1980, parents would have children, on average, at age 22. For Millennials, it's 30 and nearly half of those first time mothers are not married. And the number of children being had by American families (or by American mothers, more accurately) is declining. It has been that way for decades.

So, in short, Millennials are having fewer marriages and fewer children. Our society might be in trouble. I'll not get into the amazing strength that often comes from the nuclear family, but let's just say God designed it that way for a reason. He's blessed the family unit of mom, dad, and children, but that's another topic for another day. This, I feel, is one reason Millennials are less happy and more depressed and anxious.

Another reason: technology. Screen time is high for Millennials (it's actually high, in my opinion, for most age groups but Millennials are very high). Gen Y'ers spend a half hour longer with their face in a screen than Gen X'ers, with a about 141 minutes of screen time daily! This has a two-pronged detrimental effect. Let me show you why.

Studies show that “screen time” harms us mentally. Technology overload is a leading cause of anxiety, social isolation, and stress in general. Still, we can't get enough of it and we seem to even know it's bad for us. Quartz puts it this way:

“Every year, teens are asked about their general happiness, in addition to how they spend their time. We found that teens who spent more time seeing their friends in person, exercising, playing sports, attending religious services, reading or even doing homework were happier. However, teens who spent more time on the internet, playing computer games, on social media, texting, using video chat or watching TV were less happy.”

What this means is that, generally, activities related to screens produced less happiness while activities not associated with screens were associated with more happiness. They go on in that article at Quartz to explain that if a teen spends 5 or more hours a day with his/her face in a screen, he/she is twice as likely to be unhappy when compared to teens who spend less than one hour with a screen-based activity. That's remarkable, isn't it? The take home message with this part is to spend time doing other things. Rather than live a virtual life through a screen, get out and be active, doing REAL things. Your health and happiness depend on it.

The second prong is the financial stress that technology may place on a person. The poor of our country, generally, have far more than the upper classes of most other cultures. If you make over $32,000 a year right now, you are in the top 1% of all human beings currently living. Wasting your time on social media or playing a video game is rarely profitable financially and often distracts us from actually doing work that pays the bills. Financial stress is one of the reasons Millennials say they're super stressed. That's part of the “bad hand” they've been dealt. But financial stress, or not having enough money, is relative and generally over diagnosed.

There has never been a time in the history of the world where people have had more money and stuff than right now in the United States. The poor of our country generally have far more than the upper classes of most other cultures. That's half the national average, by the way. Those living in poverty in the United States claim a higher standard than the average European, and today's Americans in the lower ends of financial security still have far more than most of our great-grandparents ever dreamed. Americans today enjoy a higher standard of living, greater economic security, longer life expectancy, less crime, and more leisure than any people group in the world's history. Yet we have a generation that is depressed or anxious about their financial health. I won't get into a psychology post here, but it seems we're comparing ourselves too much with others and not even doing a good job of that.

This is where we'll end this week. I've given some statistics and facts about the generation we commonly refer to as “Millennials.” Next week, I'm going to express what I feel are the real or most penetrating reasons for the Millennials’ trend to be the most medicated and most depressed generation in our nation's history. I thank you for reading and hope you'll stick with me.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Some Kind of Zombie

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8 comments

by Chad Koons

It was October of 1983, I was 8 years old, and zombies had forced themselves upon my brain. Just let me explain, you’ll see what I mean.

I am the youngest of 3 siblings by 5 years. This meant that while my brother and sister were old enough to escape to their friends’ houses, I was stuck having to tag along with Mom and Dad wherever they went. On one particular evening, my parents and I had taken the drive into the country for yet another boring evening at Dot’s (Dot is my mom’s cousin). As my Mom had always done upon arrival, she nestled in around the kitchen table while she and Dot commenced to laugh and solve the family’s problems between sips of coffee. My dad and Dot’s husband, Larry, would quickly flee this situation, going outside to see and/or tinker on one of Larry’s old cars. So there I was, again, left to fend for myself in Dot’s living room. This wasn’t always so bad, especially since her house had acquired something that we didn’t yet have: a VCR! She also had this wondrous cabinet full of VHS tapes, the best movies of the era: E.T., Tron, and Rocky, along with a bunch of “bootlegs” mostly consisting of action and horror movies. While I was only permitted to watch the kid-friendly tapes, that evening I was feeling naughty and decided to venture deeper into the cabinet’s forbidden fruit. It was then, on that already spooky October evening, where I had popped in one of those forbidden, grainy bootlegs and scared myself half to death. It was a movie called “Night of the Living Dead.”

I remember being frozen in fear, it all looked so real! Zombies?! Dear God, why?! These were horrible killing machines, devoid of any mercy, incapable of intelligent thought, and bent solely upon one thing: the need for fresh, living flesh! And they could spread the disease! I knew chilling fear for maybe the first time in my life, and neither fields nor cemeteries would ever look the same after that. I even remember the drive home that night, staring out the car window into the fields surrounding us, not wanting Dad to slow down or even stop at stop signs. If zombies were real, which I thought they might be, surely they’d come out to attack us! To this day I may see a field at dusk and think about it.

Fast forward to today, and you know what? Zombies still manage a hold onto some part of my brain. When I think about my hateful relationship with zombies, I always come back to the same conclusion: zombies are a perversion and they are simply unnatural. Aside from the evil deeds they do, their unnatural perversion runs much deeper than the sum of their actions. Let’s be honest here, shouldn’t the dead stay, well… dead? That’s what gets me. Dead things coming back to wreak havoc is disturbing.

Here’s something else that is disturbing to realize: zombies exist, and they are coming to get people.

Since you are reading this blog post, I’m going to assume that you are a Christian or are at least interested in Christianity, which is why this topic is relevant for you. My dear friends, be warned. Christians are becoming zombies. Not the undead flesh eaters, but probably not the kind of zombie you’re thinking about, either. You’ve heard the saying, “Dead man walking, God speaks and we obey”? Like we’re zombies for the Lord or something? I disagree with this idea, despite that cool old song from Audio Adrenaline. No, it’s different from these; it’s when Christians resurrect the dead inside of them.

Here’s how it happens…

We begin our Christian life abundantly well. We are found by the Lord while we are in a helpless death state, wherein He comes and causes the old to be done away with; indeed He makes all things new. And these new things are of God. He then invites us to take on His mission alongside of Him. Read how the Apostle Paul says it in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

However, it’s not long until we begin to realize that this world hates us as it hated Jesus. We repeatedly experience rejection and hostility, we see the fabric of morality decay around us, and we simply do not know how to handle it. We go into shock. The world lashes out at us with wound upon wound. The devil offers us “offense,” and he awaits eagerly for us to take it.

We take offense, becoming angry, disgusted, and tired of the godlessness thriving around us. Our offense quickly spreads, reaching the old sinful nature inside of us. This old person we were before Christ is just like Frankenstein’s monster, laying there awaiting fuel for a comeback.

What happens next is straight from a horror movie. In defiance we shut down the Spirit, withhold our compassion, abandon our mission, and turn off our heart, and slowly but surely, the necrosis sets in. The old sinful nature inside of us comes roaring back to life. It comes clawing from its grave, lumbering out from its seclusion, bent on dealing damage to this world that seemingly threatens it. The zombie has risen. This righteous zombie will now weaponize the Word of God and use it without mercy.

Instead of loving and reaching the world with a message of good news and repentance, the light of the world now feels backed into a corner and leaps forward with fangs bared. We have traded love for contempt and have exchanged relationship for guerrilla warfare. I see it daily. It grieves the Holy Spirit and repels the very people whom we are called to reach. This zombie becomes its own worst enemy.

Yet there is a better way. Walk in the Spirit and you not fulfill the desires of the flesh. The lost need to see Jesus. We must put off our old self and put on the new. As we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us, and He will fill us, all in all. Our life will truly be hidden with God in Christ. The world will know us and experience the very powerful, life-changing presence of God emanating through our lives. The greater works of Jesus will become reality and love will take over. The Kingdom we long for will come.

Ephesians 4:17-24 says, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 says, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”

We know that this world is in a state of decay and that evil prevails when good men do nothing, but we must remember that we are the light of this world. Let the dead stay dead as we feed our faith, allowing nothing but Him. The last thing this world needs is a zombie invasion. Let them see Jesus in your life.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Psalm 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 14, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 'Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.'
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 'I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.'
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, 'You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.'
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
(Psalm 2)

While the book of Psalms is an Old Testament book, many of its chapters look forward to the Messiah. This is one of those, and it tells us the story of God redeeming His people. Not sure how it does that? Read on…

This psalm starts out describing the turmoil that’s happening on earth. While we don’t know the date this psalm was written, scholars think it is likely in the time of David, who was the most important king of the nation of Israel. We see that the rulers of the earth are banding together to go against the Lord, but the psalmist realizes that is irrelevant against the power of God. The first phrase of, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” expresses the irony of the kings’ efforts against God; they can conspire together all they want, but their power will be no match for God’s. They are trying to go against God, but it will not work.

Not only are the rulers trying to go against God, but they’re against His anointed one as well (verse 2). The word in Hebrew for “anointed” is “mashiach,” which is where we get the word Messiah from. The first couple verses of this psalm are quoted in Acts 4:25-26, where we see that the Greek word for “Christ” is used. We know that the Anointed One spoken of in this psalm is Jesus Christ, who HImself is God.

While the psalmist knows the rebellion of the earthly rulers is in vain, it’s still a dangerous situation to go through. We know that Jesus has saved us, but we still see the rulers of our world today trying to band together to go against God; things really aren’t all that different from the psalmist’s time. We too need to have that same confidence, knowing that anything this world does is no match for God’s power.

The psalm goes on to tell about God and how He is ruling in heaven, even with all this turmoil going on in the earth (verses 4-6). God knows that man has no power against Him; God created mankind after all. God’s reaction to the rebellion on earth is to proclaim that He is installing His King. God installed David as an earthly king over the nation of Israel, but that was only a foretelling of the real King of Kings who would rule the entire world, Jesus Christ. God already had His plan in motion before time began, and mankind has no power to thwart that.

We see the Apostle Paul quote verse 7 in Acts 13:32-33. In Biblical times, when a king was coronated, his coronation day was considered like a birthday of sorts for when he assumed that role. The language of declaring, “You are my son; today I have become your father” was often associated with crowning a new king and that new role the king would have. When Paul quoted this, he is talking about Jesus and His role as the Son of God the Father. Paul is showing that Jesus is the ultimate king. In Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross, He paid the ultimate price for us, which He could only do because of His relationship with the Father.

While a son may inherit everything that belongs to his father, Jesus inherits rule over the entire world from God the Father (verse 8). A ruler (or a father) may need to discipline his people when they go astray from what is right (verse 9), but he is still in authority over them.

The psalm concludes with the last three verses telling us about the Messiah’s rule on earth. The kings are commanded to be wise (verse 10). In their wisdom, they should realize that they are powerless against God and should stop trying to go against Him. We today would be wise to realize that Jesus is the Messiah, the one King who rules over everything no matter what. We to are commanded to “serve the Lord with fear” (verse 11) in our lives; not necessarily fear as in being afraid, but fear as in being in awe of the amazing God who rules over the entire world.

So how does this psalm tell the story of God redeeming His people? It starts out with the evil that is going on and their need for a king (a savior). God sends that savior to the people, and that savior (Jesus) does the work He needs to do in order to bring about our salvation. When we believe this and submit our faith to God, we will be blessed forever with eternal life.

The psalm ends with the sentence, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (verse 12). While taking refuge in God won’t immediately deliver us from the dangers and troubles of this world, it will give us eternal life in Him. It is only Jesus who is the one true King, and everyone else is conspiring against Him. Whose side would you want to be on?

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Growing Pains

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 13, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

We are in the middle of January, which means the NFL Playoffs are in full swing. That may not mean anything to you, but I always enjoy the stories behind the people involved. This year, one of the “underdog” teams to make the playoffs was the Indianapolis Colts. They are led by their head coach, Frank Reich. I have been watching football long enough to remember when Frank, who has always been a bit of an underdog himself, led his Buffalo Bills to the greatest comeback victory in NFL playoff history over the Houston Oilers in 1993. Frank went to high school only a half hour from where I did, then was mainly a backup quarterback at the University of Maryland until a similar epic comeback in a game against the Miami Hurricanes, then served as a career backup in the NFL until he got his chance in that playoff game. Only a few weeks after that game, his team was blown out in the Super Bowl by the Dallas Cowboys. Frank’s career of waiting for his chance, succeeding initially, then failing on the biggest stage of all has given him a healthy perspective regarding life’s trials and what God really wants for us.

According to this article at The Gospel Coalition, Frank Reich is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ who went from football player, to president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, to interim pastor, to football coach. At every step of his journey, he has learned to trust in God to get him through the difficult times. There was a time in his life that football had become a false god to him, so he learned to accept what God was doing and re-prioritize his life when football was briefly taken away. As he learned to deal with failure the more he matured as a player and a Christian man, he accepted that followers of Jesus could see the blessing of drawing closer to God in ALL circumstances. I don’t know whether the Colts will still be alive in the playoffs by the time this post is published or not, but I do know that Frank understands that God has something for him to learn and some area of faith for him to grow either way.

This is the essence of what James wrote to the earliest Christians in James 1:2-4. He urges them to “consider it pure joy” anytime they find themselves facing hardships. That’s not our typical reaction to hardship, though. We are complainers by nature and often find ourselves questioning God on His plans rather than submitting, accepting, and choosing to have joy. But that’s exactly what joy is - a CHOICE. James makes this clear when he puts the challenge to his readers in the imperative form. He’s not saying they should maybe possibly think about giving this a try; like Nike, he’s saying, “Just DO it."

I want to point out, though, that James is not telling believers to be joyful FOR the trials, but IN them. This is a common way that this passage is misunderstood. We see these verses and think that we are supposed to in some way be thankful for the bad things that happen in our lives. That’s completely unreasonable! My wife and I have a family close to us who lost their 19-month-old daughter to a tragic accident two months ago. Who is going to be joyful about that! James gets that there are going to be things that absolutely wreck our world. We’re not talking about losing a measly football game or two; there are much bigger hardships that people faced in James’ day and still face now. Christians faced intense persecution back then and today, Christians are still being martyred all over the world.

The point on which James is urging us to stand is that nothing surprises God. He is always in control and because of that, we can choose joy no matter what is happening. There is a separation that has to take place in our minds. We must separate how it feels to experience the hardship from the joy we have in knowing that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We might even pray and ask God to take away the pain and hardship while still accepting that He is in control and knows what is best.

It’s interesting that James tells us in verse 3 that “the testing of your faith produces perseverance." Hardship for the faithful produces perseverance, but it does NOT produce faith. James is talking to those who have a foundation of faith but have a tendency to slide away from it every now and then. The New King James Version of James 1:3 translates the same word for perseverance as “patience." But it’s not the type of passive patience you need when you’re sitting in traffic or your co-workers are getting on your last nerve. Rather, it’s the type of active patience that perseveres. It’s the patience that allows you to endure pain to finish the task. A marathon runner probably feels pain or cramps long before that 26th mile but patiently accepts it, knowing it will come to an end and the reward will be great. Often, we don’t even know when the trial will end or how much longer we’ll have to endure it. So, the only way to have joy is to trust that God is at work and is using it to our ultimate benefit.

This type of attitude or view of our trials does not happen automatically. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages." I guarantee you that even Spurgeon didn’t enjoy being “slammed against the rock” at first. Who does? There may have been grumbling and complaining, which do not produce perseverance but only bitterness. When we realize that the bitterness toward God or the ones causing our hardships really only destroys ourselves, that is when we must come back to James’ exhortation to “consider it pure joy." Another way of saying this would be how the Apostle Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Once again, we are talking about something that is active and not passive. Hardships threaten to turn us against the knowledge of God and his goodness, but when we willingly choose to take those thoughts captive, we can find joy even in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances.

James tells us that, while there is no easy way to do this, the simplest path to finding joy in trials is thinking about our knowledge of the gain. He says in verse 4 that, as we persevere, we “may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." The truth is that no matter how “complete” we feel, the difficulties reveal to us the areas where we are lacking. That’s why the trials can be a blessing in disguise. Without them, we’d go on thinking that we are doing just fine and don’t need anything. Ultimately, we need the Lord every hour of every day and that is never more obvious to us than when we are suffering. As you experience hard times this week, trust that God has a purpose in it and that He will sustain you if you trust in him and patiently endure.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


An Assistant Coach

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 11, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

As God has been continually growing me in leadership style positions, I have been learning both responsibility and humility. I still have so much to learn about how to be a true leader, but God keeps putting me in positions where I can learn the task of leading, when I never really imagined doing so until the last few years. In six years as a substitute teacher, I was often put into “long term” classes where I practically played the role of the teacher instead of merely a glorified babysitter. But in all my years in the school system, nothing has done a better job for me to prepare to teach and coach than working with my head coach at our local fencing club, Salle De Long.

Two years ago, I took the coaching seminar for the sport of fencing and thrived. I learned more about how to teach in those 40 hours of training than in all of the “continuing education” and “teacher in-services” I had done prior combined. A year ago, I began to volunteer as a helper and coach at the club, and this fall I was hired as an assistant coach. I started just working with the beginning adult classes and now I have been moved on to being the Epee coach. As of writing this, I have only been working there one day a week, but my head coach is talking with me about doing two days a week for 2019.

My head coach has done a spectacular job with me. She has been excellent in pacing my growth, helping me, encouraging me, correcting me where I need it, and supporting me in other endeavors. She readily works around my current schedule and I would have a hard time finding someone better to help me become a coach in my current circumstances than what I have right now.

But my relationship with my head coach gives another clear image of a Christian leader’s relationship with Christ. As an assistant coach, I have to support, uphold, and enforce the club’s policies in all areas including dealing with new recruits, problem students, discipline, and even the agenda for the week/month. Right now, I am not at liberty to create my own lessons for teaching Epee tactics without at least clearing them through the head coach. I am to coordinate with my head coach on what topic to teach, make sure I understand what drill needs to be taught, and assist in many other areas as needed. I also evaluate my students in their performances on the given drill after some time. I still have a lot to learn, but I am having so much fun with it. I am also learning more about the sport than I ever did before. Little makes you learn a subject more than teaching it.

As a growing Christian leader, my responsibilities are not that different. My “head coach” is the Holy Spirit. As Jesus was completely submitted to his Father in every way, I need to follow that model. As his “assistant,” I am to support, uphold, and enforce the policies of the Kingdom of Heaven in all areas. That means teaching new believers the basics of the faith, dealing with discipline of those under my charge, and focusing on teaching the “agenda” of what God wants me to teach at that time. The best posts I write for Worldview Warriors are those which God has clearly guided me to write in the time he wanted them written. As I approach completing my 5th year teaching a Monday evening Bible study at my church, I often do not know what to teach for a given topic until God reveals what he wants taught. If I stray from what God wants taught, then I can run into trouble and he may pull me from my assignment if I stray too far away. Now, even in fencing, I don’t always coach the right thing to the full extent and sometimes my head coach will come in and correct me or make a small tweak to what I was doing. The same is true with God. He’ll gently give me a pointer here and there to fix what I am doing. I just need to heed his instructions, though at other times, he’ll give me a proper spanking.

The big thing the head coach emphasizes is being on the same page with me. She has had dealt with some others (and still does to some extent) who prefer to do their own things rather than submit to the formal training she is offering. So she and I constantly talk about where we are and what we are thinking because she wants me to carry on the vision that she has, and I want to make sure I am passing on the correct information and know my duties. It is easy for me to get excited and start sharing beyond where I should simply because I have the knowledge, but if I am not watchful, sometimes it is not always accurate, despite my hatred for hearing false information from being spread out.

As a Christian leader I need to do the same. I need to be on the same page as God, and the only way I can do that is that private one-on-one time with him. There are times where God wants to emphasize one point, and then later he wants to emphasize another. He will never contradict himself, but he will tell us what he wants us to learn at the given times he suggests.

I work with another assistant coach as well. There have been times where he and I have had to work without the head coach on presentations or running the club. So we have to coordinate with each other just as much as I do with the head coach. We bounce ideas off each other, support each other, and work together towards a common goal. The same should be true of all Christian leaders. We each should get together and work together towards the common goals God has laid out for us. One of the best moments I had with unity was when I was in college, the four major Christian student organizations would unite for “Holy Week” leading to Easter weekend. But once it was my turn to become the student leader of my organization, the others had changed leadership as well and they refused to cooperate with me or the others. Each wanted to do their own thing. It all fell apart and little if anything happened. That grieved me.

Coaching has been a blast for me. I want to start my own club at the school I am working at, and I am waiting for the right opportunity to approach my administration about it. Likewise, in my spiritual walk, I get frustrated when I have so much God has given me and I don’t have a venue to pour it out. That is one of the greatest pleasures I have had in working with Worldview Warriors, and Jason has been great in giving me the freedom to write what God leads me to write.

Do you have a coach or mentor in your life? Jason DeZurik wrote about having a Board of Directors to help guide you and direct you. This is the same concept. Coaches play one of the most critical roles in a young person’s life. I have had very few models to showcase to me the true athlete/coach relationship until this last year at best, so I am still learning as I go. I want to be the kind of coach and teacher that my students will always look back and see as a major influence in their lives. And I cannot be that kind of mentor unless I am a student of the best coach and teacher: Jesus Christ. Learn from him. He is the best teacher there is.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Why It's Important, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 10, 2019 1 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week I continued with my thoughts on why the creation/evolution debate is so important. It's especially important because young people are leaving the faith in alarming numbers because of the humanistic teachings of deep time, the Big Bang, and Darwinism. There's no arguing that point as multiple teams have shown this with research. The fact is, the vast majority of those who belonged to a church and fell away did so in full or in part because of the teachings of evolution, deep time, and the Big Bang. The Church as a whole, but primarily parents, are not doing what needs to be done to combat this. Christians are lazy, to be brutally honest. Many of us are satisfied with sitting back while the world (and even our children) goes to hell. We need to be active and engaged and filling ourselves with Christ and His Word rather than being disengaged. It's literally a battle for our children—for generations in fact. There are tough questions—very common ones—that we need to be able to address at least partly if not fully. Some of these questions concern topics like science, evolution, the age of the earth and/or universe, where/how life started, and why the Bible says one thing while secularists say another.

So what's the big deal? As I've described, children who were raised in church and lived in homes with godly parents are leaving the faith in very high numbers. After being poorly educated about their faith and then learning about what “science” says, these young people are torn. Some have tried to infuse some variety of the humanist origins myth into Christianity in an attempt to make Christianity more palatable for those who've accepted that “science” has proven deep time, the Big Bang, and Darwinian evolution of some form. The “fact” that science has proven any of this is nowhere near the truth, but it's a very popular myth spread predominantly by those who want to reject the Bible and the God found in it. Then, unsuspecting believers hear these sorts of things and are conflicted. They think it's correct that science can even do this—tell us about imaginary events that may or may not have happened long before any person was around to observe or even understand the conditions surrounding them. This is nowhere near the truth, either, but so many have bought into it. It's sad, really. So these folks feel torn and they don't know what to do. They feel it must be true that “science” has determined deep time and all the rest is true, so the Bible must be altered to fit this. That is terribly wrong and never works. The “science” says one thing now but will undoubtedly say something different in the future. But they look at the Bible and try to force their other view (which is nothing more than the humanist origins myth) into the text when it quite clearly was never intended to express these foreign ideas.

Let's get this straight: There is NO old earth or theistic evolutionist belief system that is based on Scripture—and I mean not a single one. They'll try to slime their way into the text, but it's a farce. They'll say nonsensical things like, “The Bible clearly teaches an old earth...” or some other blatantly false statement when there is no support for it at all. Their entire idea is based on deep time (the humanist origins myth) and they look for ways to cram that into the creation account or other places in the Bible. Understand, reader, that there is no place in the Bible that remotely indicates the earth and universe are anything but about 6000 years old, give or take. Any attempt to twist the text to say otherwise is really just dishonest, in my opinion. They'll play word games and say things like, “Well, that word doesn't HAVE to mean this,” or something like, “Even though the most common understanding of that is this, it really doesn't mean that at all in this context.” Please realize, reader, that the old earth creationist or theistic evolutionist (although the theistic evolutionist will use the Bible far less than the old earth creationist) will start with their model—that of deep time and, quite frequently the Big Bang or something like it—and then they will look at the Bible to see where they can chop it up and paste their preconceived, extra-Biblical thoughts into it.

The facts here are not on the side of deep time. Without deep time, it all falls apart for the old earth creationist or theistic evolutionist. They MUST have deep time for their stuff to work. But the Bible gives a very clear time line from the first day of creation to Noah, then to Abraham, and then to David and so on. Using the timeline, we can get a fairly good idea as to when God said, “Let there be light.” If your beliefs on origins are based on semantics and word games and chopping up verses or putting gaps in between verses or sentences in the Bible, you have to see how foolish this is. The text is exquisitely clear. Those who would have read it thousands of years ago wouldn't have any doubt when the earth and all of creation were brought into existence. There is no room at all for deep time or for evolution. And so much theology—our most foundational doctrines—rest on a natural reading of the creation account followed by a global Flood that destroyed the entire surface of the planet. Science, archaeology, linguistics, history, theology, and a host of other disciplines all confirm robustly how a natural reading of the Bible is essential for the Truth. Is it a big deal? Well, yes but also no. Let me explain.

Can one be saved if they have their beliefs on creation all wrong? Can you believe in deep time, the Big Bang, or even Darwinism and still be saved? Of course. There is no question that your salvation has literally nothing to do with these ideas. Any person who suggests Biblical creationists make this a salvation issue are either ignorant concerning what Biblical creationists (what some will call young earth creationists) say/believe or they're just trying to build a strawman to knock down for others to see. Likely, the truth is both of these are correct—most non-biblical creationists have little real knowledge on the Biblical creationist perspective and like to build false representations of our position so as to make it look foolish. It's unfortunate, really, but this is what they do because honest, open discussion generally doesn't end well for them. They will quite frequently join forces with atheists and other non-believers to assault the Bible believer and/or the Bible itself. It's disheartening to witness and it happens very frequently. There are groups on Facebook and other places on the internet where believers will mock and ridicule Biblical creationists, all the while claiming to have a love for the Bible and for humanity.

Truly, Biblical creationists don't think creation or the age of the earth are a salvation issue. However, as I've stated already multiple times, these issues often result in people (generally but not always younger people) falling away from the faith. They hear the stories of abiogenesis, the Big Bang and cosmic evolution, fish growing legs, and whales growing fins and they decide the Bible must not be true. Now, if a believer has these false ideas about creation—deep time and the Big Bang etc.—this doesn't affect their salvation. It can, however, in my experience, lead one to begin to question the rest of the text. In other words, if the Bible's foundational narrative can be rewritten to mean whatever “science” has deemed it should say, people are more likely to feel it's acceptable to rewrite other portions.

This could mean that sin is overlooked or made acceptable. This could eventually mean that there are other ways to heaven even though Jesus said He is the only way. Eventually, this can mean a person is a believer because they say so, but their actions and actual beliefs have no resemblance to those of a Christ follower. This is not the slippery slope fallacy. It's reality. It happens. I've seen it and I'm sure many of you reading this have as well. There are certainly those who have maintained their faith in spite of having a weak foundation for it due to an unbiblical belief about our origins, but the fact remains many have watered down their faith so much that they have none any longer. This needs to stop. We need to either accept the Bible and all it proclaims or reject it. We cannot do both and expect to be taken seriously by either side.

The creation account is critical to the salvation message. The creation account as it's written in the book of Genesis is foundational to understanding what sin is, what the consequences for sin are, and what the payment for sin is if we want to be reconciled to God over our disobedience. The Creation, Fall, and Curse all are extremely important if we want to know why we need to be saved and what we're being saved from. All that goes out the window with old earth creation and theistic evolution ideas to one degree or another.

Stay strong, reader. Keep the faith. Study. Learn. Never lose faith in the fact that the Bible is written so we can know and understand the Truth. You don't have to tear it apart and reform it in whatever image the world says is right. The Bible stands on its own and needs no revision. Thank you, again, for reading.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.



Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 9, 2019 0 comments

by David Odegard

I started, as did you, with a moment shared between my mother and my father. All of us spring from those shared moments, whether they’re occasioned by brokenness or wholeness, violence or love. Nevertheless, they are the essential beginning of a brand-new human being. (I realize there are technical means to circumvent this normal way, but on the whole, those means hold a vanishingly small percentage of conceptions. Besides, this is a reflection not a technical manual.)

Every seed is full of information, and that information has a destiny. For example, an acorn must become an oak tree if it becomes anything at all. It cannot become something else. The destiny of the acorn is to become a mature oak tree, create acorns, and then having fulfilled its destiny, it dies. It is the same for humans.

The material supplied by my parents was rich with information and energy and when combined, produced a new entity—me. The latent energy in my newly formed zygotic self soon was expended; so, in order to bring about the destiny that was also latent in me, I had to consume energy and it has been that way ever since—matter, energy, and teleological information (DNA).

As I grew, I consumed more energy in various forms; my cells split, regrouped, and repeated the process. My body appropriated nutrients from everywhere it could absorb them in order to grow larger, become more complex, and sustain life. Like an acorn growing into an oak, I absorbed matter and energy into my body, appropriating it in order to fulfill my own latent purpose.

But what is that purpose? That question has completely absorbed 20th century philosophy. Is there “something more” to our existence than just eating and reproducing?

The bond of matter, energy, and information (DNA) in the case of humans is more than the sum of its parts. It is more than just an entity capable of consuming and appropriating energy. After all, a plant can do all of those things, and a human being is so much more than a plant. For instance, I have consciousness and the plant does not. Animals have consciousness and have a higher form of existence than plants, but a human being is more than even an animal.

For example, I am self-aware. I can grasp cognitive of concepts like algebra, history, and the future. I can do more than react to present stimuli. These separate me from even the highest animals. I have abilities in my conscious mind that an animal can never have; an animal never wonders if he has done the moral thing, for instance.

Human beings have a higher form of existence than plants or animals. I am much more than an entity that consumes energy and produces matter according to a preordained pattern of information (DNA). I am more than the sum of my parts—and, constant reader, so are you. This is the synergistic reality of the human being.

In philosophy and theology, the soul is the thing that is greater than the sum of its parts. My composite parts cannot explain who I really am. I am not just a body, an eating machine. I am not just a domino in a cosmic chain of events. I am a soul and I have a body.

Not surprisingly, this is what we find also taught in the Bible. It says that in the very beginning “God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

This remarkable act of God confirms that I truly am more than just matter, energy, and information. God imparted something additional to Adam once he was formed. It was the addition of a rational soul. No other created thing received such a soul, making you and me unique. Adam and Eve reproduced according to their kind, and so on, all the way down to me. I am a conscious, enfleshed soul and accordingly, I will never cease to exist.

Because of this reality that deep down we all know about ourselves, the naturalistic story lacks appeal. It seeks to classify us in terms of eating and reproducing mammals, saying that we are just matter and energy accidently joined for no reason or purpose.

Even though the naturalistic story lacks appeal, many have bought in to it because they have been schooled only by naturalism. The details of the creation story are characterized as a fairy tale, never mind that the naturalist story doesn’t account for very many of the details of our real lives.

The naturalistic story is less than the total story, and because many today have built their mental lives around it, they have shunted their lives. They try to cram all meaning and value into just this life—the eating and drinking and being merry. The problem is that after all the eating and drinking is done, we still feel that we are missing out on something. Is this all there is to life? If you answer “Yes,” you will eventually come to a crisis of meaning and value.

But if you believe there must be something more to life, a spiritual dimension or something, I have good news for you. We live in a thick world full of spirit, soul, and body. It is a world that is charged with spiritual beings great and small, good and evil. And over it all is a good God, a maximally perfect God, who loves His creation so much that He does the unthinkable to keep it connected to Him. But that is for another time. Blessings, constant reader.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Moving Forward

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 8, 2019 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

If you have been a supporter or follower of the ministry of Worldview Warriors in the past, I would like to thank you for all of the support and trust you have in us. I so appreciate it.

Today, I want to address a question we have received in the past from many of you about the direction of Worldview Warriors in encouraging and equipping the saints to impact this generation. Our primary focus is still 14- to 24-year-old students. As I have shared, we realize that our ministry is to parents and grandparents of these students as well.

Attempting to equip students is great, but if in the process of equipping students to impact this generation for Jesus Christ we lose their parents and grandparents in the process, then really how effective was this effort? We ask this question because God has set into place the family unit as one man and one woman to raise up their own children to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to live out God’s wonderful ways in the real world.

So, with that in mind, we are going to continue to do what we have been doing, and we also are getting into the publishing world this year. Believe it or not, not everyone is not on the internet. Though we do have a very strong online presence, we have chosen to start publishing books to hopefully expand our presence even more, to continue equipping not only students but their parents and grandparents as well.

The following are three books that are scheduled to be released on Monday, January 28, 2019.

Our first book is What The Bible Says About… by Katie Erickson. Have you ever wondered what the Bible says on a certain topic? Wonder no more! This book contains Bible passages and explanations on what the Bible says regarding more than 50 different topics! Some topics include what the Bible says about heaven, hell, addictions, miracles, authority, and more. Each topic’s discussion is laid out in a systematic manner, including some personal stories and examples from the author. Be encouraged to dig into God’s Word more as you find out what the Bible says on all these topics.

Our second book is Biblical Foundations by C.A. Wolcott, known to our regular readers as Charlie. What is Christianity? What does it mean to be a Christian? How can we live out this faith in practical ways in our everyday lives? Why should we believe or follow Christianity? What makes Christianity true? Through these 60 studies, C.A. Wolcott answers these questions from various angles, giving solid reasons why we can trust the Bible, why Christianity is indeed the only true religion, and how we can live out this life beyond religious church services.

Lastly, but not least, our third book is Heroes of the Faith by Logan Ames. “I AM who I AM.” That is the name by which God identified himself to Moses when he spoke through a burning bush. Can we take part in some of the extraordinary things that God is doing in the world today just like those men and women did during their days? You better believe it! As you read about these heroes, you will find strength and hope that you too can be part of the miraculous work of God even when the odds seem insurmountable.

These three resources will be available on our website, and you can like our Worldview Warriors Publishing Facebook page for all the news on these books as well. We are excited to see where God leads in this new endeavor.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Psalm 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 7, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”
(Psalm 1)

As I start digging into the Psalms for my blog posts in 2019, what better place would there be to start than at the beginning? There are 150 psalms in the Bible. Doing a nearly 3-year series on all 150 psalms seemed pretty overwhelming, so over the course of this year I’ll be writing on about a third of them. If you have a favorite you’d like me to write on, leave a comment to let me know and I’ll see if I can include it, or it may even already be on my list.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorites because of its stark contrasts and imagery, and how it gives a great overview on how to live our lives in relationship with God.

In verse 1, we see that we are blessed when we follow God. We are warned of a three-fold danger of things that will pull us away from God: walking with the wicked, standing with sinners, and sitting with mockers. The original Hebrew more literally says “walk in the counsel of the wicked,” meaning taking their advice to do what they do. This is following the ways of the world that go against God. Standing in the way of sinners doesn’t mean standing against them but rather agreeing with them. We generally become like those we hang out with. Sitting in the company of mockers means we’re joining in with what they do.

Notice the progression in verse 1, from walking to standing to sitting. As we move from walking to sitting, it gets more difficult for us to change course. If you’re walking, it’s pretty easy to turn around and go the other way - away from sin and toward God. If you’re standing, turning around is still pretty easy, but you don’t have the same momentum you had when you’re walking. If you’re sitting, it’s much more difficult to change your direction. By that point, we’re firmly entrenched in the ways of the world and going against the blessed ways of following God.

Verse 2 starts with a strong contrasting conjunction (“but”), showing the major difference between a person fully following the world versus one who is following God. As a Christian, we should have delight in the Word of God, not the ways of this world! God’s Word should be exciting, delightful, and inspirational to us. We must move against the tide to make God’s Word our delight. We have to intentionally work on this in our lives, lest we get sucked into the world we live in. We should study the Word, pray on it, hear it preached, and have faith in it - day and night!

In the English of verse 2, we see the phrase “meditate on it.” In the Hebrew, that verb means to constantly mutter it under your breath. We should always keep God’s Word in our hearts and minds, even muttering it to ourselves so we don’t forget.

Verse 3 gives us a picture of what that looks like - being like a tree planted by streams of water. The tree reaches its roots down into the stream drawing life from the water. We were planted like that tree when we became believers in Jesus Christ, and we need the water of the Holy Spirit to keep us nourished. The tree here bears fruit - just like the fruit of the Spirit we see in Galatians 5:22-23, which the Spirit produces in our lives. It’s not the fruit of our own actions; we’ll fail if we try to do all these things in our own power. But if we’re living with God’s Word as our delight, we’ll be filled with His Spirit and the fruit will be evident.

This verse doesn’t necessarily refer to prosperity like the world sees it with material possessions, but as God sees prosperity - furthering God’s Kingdom and being obedient to what He wants us to do.

So after 3 verses of descriptions of what it looks like to live a Godly life, verses 4-5 are much more abrupt in describing the judgment of the ungodly. The tree of the Godly person is strongly rooted, whereas the chaff of the wicked is very light and will simply be blown away. The chaff is with the wheat until the wind blows, just like the righteous and wicked people are all together here on earth until the day of judgment.

In Biblical times, if you went before a judge after being accused of a crime, you had to either stand or sit. If you stood, it meant you believed you were innocent. If you did not stand, you believed you were guilty. Only the righteous can stand to declare their innocence. The wicked will not be able to stand in the day of judgment, because they know they have gone against God’s ways. You don’t want to be one of those ungodly ones who are judged, and don’t let your friends be those either! There is only bad in store for them, even if it seems they may have happiness for now in this lifetime.

In verse 6, we see in the English, “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous.” In the Hebrew, the word for “watches over” can also be translated as “knows,” and it’s the most intimate, close way of knowing someone. God doesn’t just know your name, He knows YOU! He knows everything about you - everything you’ve ever said or done, your deepest longings, and your greatest joys. If we have faith in God, then we are considered righteous and God knows us that intimately, but if we are wicked then our way leads to destruction rather than God.

How can we approach this almighty God so easily? It’s only through His Son, Jesus. It’s only because of Jesus that we can stand on the day of judgment and declare our innocence, and it’s only because of Jesus that we as sinners can approach our perfect God and not be destroyed.

Do you see the difference between the blessed man and the ungodly? The ungodly are not blessed by God; they do not have delight in God's Word, and they will not bear fruit by the Holy Spirit. The ungodly shall not stand in the day of judgment. But those of us who have faith in Jesus and who are covered by His blood, we will have blessing from God! We will stand in the day of judgment. We will study His Word and bear fruit.

Take a good look at your life this week. Where do you see yourself at in this psalm?

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 6, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As I have been contemplating what to write going into 2019 for this wonderful ministry of Worldview Warriors, I’ve sorted through several ideas that ultimately all come back to a single point: it’s as important now as it’s ever been that followers of Jesus Christ exemplify their faith in action as much as in word. That’s not to say this day and age is more crucial than any other. This just happens to be the one in which I am living, the one in which YOU are living. We can’t do anything about the ways we may have failed in the past, nor should we waste the time we have been given today to worry about tomorrow. Jesus made that point directly in Matthew 6:25-34. This tells me that each and every day provides us with an opportunity to live by the faith which we say is our guiding light in a dark world.

There is an old expression that dates back to at least the 1950s that references “where the rubber meets the road." You have probably used this phrase in telling someone that it’s time to get serious. A vehicle can appear to be built tough, designed to be fast and smooth, and have a reputation for being dependable, but appearances don’t matter once the rubber of those tires actually get going on that pavement. Where the rubber meets the road is where we find out the truth about that vehicle, and it doesn’t always drive the way it appears. The expression has been and can be used in a lot of different contexts, but for the purposes of this post, let’s just say that the “rubber” is our Christian faith and the “road” is life. God designs us, builds us, and then refines us so that we are prepared for whatever challenges that road might present, but we’re the ones operating the machine! How it works will depend largely on our willingness to trust the rubber that comes into contact with the road.

The book within the Bible that is the best representation of the rubber of faith meeting the road of life is the letter that James wrote to some of the earliest Christians. So, what better way to explore the ways that faith is put into action during life’s toughest moments than to go through the book of James? For you regular Sunday morning readers of this blog, we will go through it little by little over the next few months until we complete it and are ready to move onto something else. It’s a great letter for all Christians to read, but especially those who are looking for a fresh start or need to go back to the basics of faith. I pray it will be as impactful in your life as it has been in mine.

James was one of the earthly brothers of Jesus, yet we find nowhere in the gospels where he was a committed follower. We know that Jesus had committed followers, yet it appears that his biological family was not necessarily included in that group. One of the few times we even hear mention of Jesus’ biological brothers is in Matthew 12:46-50, when they were waiting for him and trying to get his attention as he was preaching to a crowd. Based on the context of that passage, as well as the direct words of John 7:5, it’s likely that they and Jesus’ mother were trying to rein him in a bit as he taught things that offended the religious zealots. In that moment, Jesus made it clear that only those who DO the will of the Father in heaven could be Jesus’ true “family members." It’s not surprising, then, that James writes a letter that is about faith in ACTION.

In James 1:1, we see that he views himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," indicating he has come to understand that he probably should’ve paid closer attention when his brother spoke and he is now fully committed. In 1 Corinthians 15:7, Paul tells us that the resurrected Jesus appeared to James before appearing to the apostles, which means THAT James is likely also THIS James. I’m personally guessing that is probably when James went from, “My brother is a knucklehead and a rebel-rouser," to, “My brother really was God in the flesh!” I don’t know about you, but that would probably seal the deal for me. I was at a conference last year with author and pastor Andy Stanley and he made the point that “anyone who could correctly predict his own death and resurrection is someone I figure I ought to be listening to."

We also see that the letter was not sent to a congregation in one location, but to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations." This is an interesting statement because it causes many to wonder whether the book is for all believers or only those of Jewish ethnicity. I hope you’ll see as we go through it that it clearly applies to all believers. That being said, the way that James addresses the letter actually gives even more credence to it and to the entire New Testament, in my humble opinion.

We know that a good majority of the New Testament letters were written by the Apostle Paul, and in 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul himself states that Christ appeared to him last, after James and then all of the apostles. Paul is converted from Judaism at that point, and according to what the Lord’s disciple Ananias is told in Acts 9:15, Paul would be God’s “chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings." If James was converted well before Paul, and Paul was the one who mainly brought the gospel to the Gentiles, it’s reasonable to believe that James wrote his letter before Gentiles were widely accepted into the Church. This doesn’t mean that James was personally against Gentiles receiving salvation, but simply that he understood that most believers were Jews at the point that he wrote it. This also suggests that the widely-held belief amongst scholars that James was the first letter written in the New Testament is probably accurate. And in case you were wondering, “the twelve tribes” was a common way of addressing the Jewish people as a whole back then. Yet, the persecution and scattering of the very first believers, who were all Jewish, meant that there was at least some Christian presence in almost every Jewish community around the world.

While his opening address gives us some good information, I think the most important part of it is what James did NOT say. Nowhere in his letter does he identify himself as the brother of Jesus. If you or I were the brother of Jesus, we might be tempted to let others know that from time to time. We brag about our siblings’ or children’s accomplishments now, so I can’t imagine what it would be like if those accolades included BEING GOD! Yet, it’s like James understands that his sibling relationship with Jesus means nothing now that he recognizes his brother was both Lord and Messiah, and he is no more than a servant (the Greek word used is more accurately translated as “slave”) just like everyone else. He knows he is getting ready to share some hard, direct truth with the scattered followers of Jesus and he wants them to know that he’s in the same boat they are.

In 2019, WE are also in that boat. We struggle to find joy in the midst of trials, to do what the Word says, to show mercy, to tame our tongues, to get along with other brothers and sisters that seem to be against us, and to take our concerns to the Lord in prayer. These are just a few of the topics that will be addressed as we go through this wonderful letter. Whatever you are facing, know that James and the earliest Christians had their struggles too. This letter was written for YOU, so get ready to see where the rubber of faith meets the road of YOUR life!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Taking Lessons

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 4, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In the past year, God has opened a door for me to coach in the sport of fencing. Two years ago, I got my coaching credentials at a seminar. Now, as both a certified coach and referee, I am a formal coach at a local fencing club, Salle De Long. I started this sport over 20 years ago (including a 4-year layoff where I had to stop for a while due to time and finances), and while I never was the best fencer on the strip, I had a heart like few others had. But I also had a problem. I was reluctant to take individual lessons with the coaches when I had the opportunity. Looking back, I regret taking advantage of that opportunity.

Most of those 20 years of fencing was primarily through the twice-a-month tournaments. I didn’t practice on a regular basis because of financial and transportation issues. Then when I was in college and the captain of the fencing team for 5 years, I did get to practice twice a week, but I would spend most of that time just sparring with those present and doing what I knew I could do. Then in tournaments, I had good days and bad days. I have won three tournaments total in my life, but two were early on as “unrated” tournaments. Those were basically for beginners and in each one I came back from dead last in the seeding to win the whole thing. The third was a collegiate team tournament in which I had strong teammates who helped. I have never won an “open” tournament that anyone can sign up for, though in November, I came within one touch of taking gold.

As I have been assisting in coaching this past year, I have learned so much about the sport that I never really knew. I knew all the rules and all the core basics, however, what I have learned in this last year is much more than facts. I am smarter on the strip than I have ever been, despite having lost much of the endurance I used to have. Even with the endurance loss, I have found I am able to push through the “wall” longer than I ever had in the past, where I would start getting tired and my body would just shut down. Not anymore. Now, looking back, I see why my skills never did reach where they could have because I did not take the training and practice seriously, especially in regards to individual lessons.

Why am I bringing all this up? I have begun to see a connection between my fencing experiences and my spiritual walk. The relationship between a fencer and his coach gives a good, though incomplete, image of the relationship between a Christian and Christ. As a fencer, my job is to prepare for tournaments, to practice a set of skills to put on display, to be ready to face the skills of an opponent, and when it is finished to still be able to stand in the end. As a coach, my job is to prepare a fencer for those tournaments. I need to teach skills that emphasize strengths they have, tactics to compensate for weaknesses, strategies to defeat opponents’ skills, and the encouragement to press forward even when things are not going well.

On the spiritual side, my job as a Christian is to prepare myself for tasks God has for me to do. I need to practice using the skill set I have been given, be ready to face opposition the enemy throws at me, and in the end, remain standing when the battles have been won. God’s job as my “coach” is get me in position to do the jobs he wants me to do, to equip me, to train me, and when I am ready, to send me out into the battle field.

Fencing coaches use several techniques to teach their students. There are two primary methods: group lessons and individual lessons. In group lessons, all the fencers work with partners and the coach in drills on one particular skill. These are geared towards the large group as a whole. The individual lesson is perhaps the most valuable training tool for any fencer, as the coach prepares a lesson that caters to the specific needs of each fencer. I had seen these in action prior to this past year and participated in them, however, they were not part of my regular routine in practice prior to tournaments. Most of the time, I would just spar with opponents using what I learned through sparring. Even though I had the opportunities to take individual lessons with my coaches at the time, I was often reluctant to even consider them. As a result, looking back, my skills have not been where they should be for the time frame I have been in the sport.

In Christianity, there are two primary ways to grow in Christ: large/small group settings and personal quiet time with God. Attending church on Sundays, being part of a Bible study group, and fellowshipping with other believers is important and very necessary for a believer. There is much to learn from being with other believers, listening to solid sermons, teaching and receiving, and simply being in relationship with others. However, the individual lesson is when a Christian truly strengthens himself by working one-on-one with the Holy Spirit. It is that time of prayer and studying the Bible which gives the Christian his power and his strength.

Why was Jesus able to do what he did? As I’ve read the Gospels, nearly every time Jesus did a major miracle or made a decision (such as choosing his disciples), it was after he had spent at least part of the night in prayer and he would not stop praying until he received the answer he needed. What about David? While he trained for Goliath with a lion and a bear, he also spent a lot of “down time” communing with God on his harp. Many of his Psalms were written while on the run from Saul and Absalom, and they are a result of years of constantly seeking and communing with God alone. Moses had his lessons in the back side of the desert after being raised to be a leader in Egypt. It took him 80 years to be ready for God to use him. These men were able to do what they did because they spent time with their God, learning from him alone and individually.

There is one key difference between the fencer/coach to Christian/Holy Spirit relationship: on the fencing strip, the fencer is alone and it is up to him to do the job. The coach can only advise from a distance and during breaks. In Christianity, the Holy Spirit is not only directly with you the whole time, he actually is doing the real work. We are just in for the ride, being the vessel used by God for the task. But this does not excuse us from needing to practice. The muscles which move our body are akin to how we move the body of Christ. Muscles need training and work to get stronger and more solid, or the body is not capable of doing bigger tasks. The same is true with us. God cannot use us unless we are trained for the job. And if he cannot use us, he will move on to someone he can.

Take lessons from God. Train and prepare your mind and body to do what God needs to be done. Every task God gives us is for a purpose. Sometimes it is to train us for a later task or it is part of the primary task God has for us, but all of it is for the glory of God. It’s worth it. Next week, I’ll look at another aspect of fencing: my role as an assistant coach in relation to my head coach.

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Why It's Important, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 3, 2019 5 comments

by Steve Risner

Happy New Year! I’m praying 2019 is a blessed year for each of you reading this. I wanted to continue with the thoughts I had expressed a few weeks ago when I began writing about the importance of the issue of creation and evolution, and where I think some groups have gotten it wrong. We discussed how statistics show quite clearly that young people who leave the church overwhelmingly admit it is at least in part due to the teachings of evolution and deep time. This is a ploy by the devil, no doubt, and a very effective one. Getting people to doubt God's Word has been his thing since the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve, “Did God really say...?” Casting doubt on God's Word, especially the very foundation of the rest of the Bible, can quickly lead to one leaving the faith. We see that happening in mass numbers these days.

As a product of public schooling and a recipient of a secular college education (although Heidelberg University was allegedly affiliated with a church at its beginning), I know firsthand the steady saturation of humanist philosophy that we can be exposed to in such a setting. For me, because of my parents and church leaders who were good enough to educate me and prepare me for such things, it didn't really challenge me too much in terms of my faith. I realize this is not the case for everyone. But the difference is, I believe, mostly at home. If a young person's parents are not believers, the church needs to make sure that students are equipped to face the challenges we find in secular schooling. To be sure, school is not the only place we find opposition to the Bible or Christianity. We see it all over the place, literally. But a great deal of the influence comes from education. Parents need to understand at least some of the basics, and if it's over their heads or they just can't get it, they need to get their children in contact with people who do understand it and who are not afraid to express their faith in the Bible. The ministry of Worldview Warriors has several contributors who are familiar with the subject of creation and evolution. We are not afraid to discuss such things with young people, and we actively seek out opportunities to do so.

Thousands of young people leave the faith every year simply because no one explained to them the fact that the Big Bang is not scientific. The Big Bang, at best, is a historical idea—nothing more than a story made up to explain our existence apart from Genesis. Young people were not told that Darwinism not only is also a historical idea, and both it and the Big Bang rely heavily on miracles and on suspending numerous scientific observations or laws. They are exposed to strawman representations of the Bible's claims or about Biblical creationist models, and those strawman ideas make creationism look foolish. All the while, the evidence actually strongly supports the Bible and the Biblical worldview while the “scientific” stance is allowed to get a pass repeatedly on violating scientific observation and laws.

Young people will be challenged. There is no doubt. I fully support homeschooling children, but if you feel that homeschooling your children will prevent this, I have news for you: I know several homeschooled children who are not walking with the Lord at all these days. There is a lot more to it than not exposing children to the humanist philosophies that are so rampant in society. In fact, you can't prevent it completely. My children are part of the public school system. It's not an option for us, really, otherwise. And to be honest, I have confidence in my children that not only will they not be influenced by the humanistic philosophies sold at their schools or on TV or by some of their friends, but that they'll influence their teachers and fellow students in such a way that some will find the Truth simply because my children are there standing for the Truth. If parents want to homeschool your kids, that's great. However, know that no amount of sheltering will work. They must be exposed to the humanistic philosophies that are out there or they'll fall for them hook, line, and sinker when they do encounter them. It's really just a fact.

So even at home, students need to be educated in these tactics and ideas so when they're exposed to them in the world, they'll be prepared. They need to know what Dawkins and the other atheist missionaries say, so they have a response when they're confronted with them. I plan to work with my oldest son first through Mr. Dawkins’ works so he understands the ideas and sees them for their strengths and their weaknesses. If he can reason through them with me now, when he's older and confronted by someone who may have a slightly different twist on a similar humanist idea, he'll be able to formulate a response on his own rather than 1) looking like a fool to the person he's engaging and thus making a mockery of Christianity, and 2) being rocked to the foundations of his faith, forcing him to wonder if he's on the right path.

If you've seen the weaknesses of the atheist's arguments (and there are many weaknesses), it's easy to see through the smoke and mirrors of the newest dressed up version of an old idea and expose it for what it is—nonsense. Atheism is internally inconsistent and fails on numerous occasions to explain a great deal of the world we see around us. It's certainly not based on logic or on science. Science was invented by creationists, and science has repeatedly lead atheists and other non-believers to faith in Christ. This, of course, can only happen if the inquisitor is serious and honest. Unfortunately, it's extremely challenging to find atheists who will honestly look at evidence or reason through this stuff with an open mind. This, as a side note, is strong evidence in my opinion that most atheists aren’t atheists at all but they’re God deniers. They hate God and/or don't want to submit to His will, so they make up some crazy story which includes Him not existing and they fool themselves into at least superficially believing that. But that's for another blog post, how very few, if any, real atheists exist.

So, the idea here is parents and students alike need to be diligent in being prepared to give an answer. We need to likewise be studied and know how to respond if we don't know an answer (which is okay—we don't have to know everything or answer every question to be effective). If we're not aware of a response to a question, the last thing you want to do is make up something that may be totally bogus. That's a great way to push away someone open to the Truth. Simply say, “I'm not sure about that,” or “I haven't looked into that yet. I'll get back to you if that's okay.” In reality, there probably are some questions that don't have answers—we simply don't know because we can't know. That's okay, too. But we need to study and question so we can learn and be comfortable with the Word of God and know in our hearts it's the Truth of the matter (regardless of the subject). Going over films like “The Atheist Delusion” or others like that will be good. As a parent/adult, I would even recommend reading books like “The God Delusion” by Dawkins and then, if you feel you're capable, going over Dawkins' arguments with young people and exposing them for how weak and hollow they are. These same arguments will be expressed to our young people by professors, teachers, friends, acquaintances, television programs, perhaps even clergy, and a wide variety of other sources, so knowing them ahead of time is a great strategy.

Next week, I'll wrap up this rant on why the creation/evolution issue is so important and hopefully clear up some very common misconceptions about it. Thank you, sincerely, for reading. I hope, even if you disagree with some of what I've written here, that you can at least see where I'm coming from.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.