Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 30, 2013 0 comments

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I know many people who do, but unfortunately most of them don’t stick with their resolutions longer than a few weeks, if that. A study in 2007 showed that 88% of people break their New Year’s resolutions. Common resolutions are exercising more, eating healthier, improving finances, or thinking more positively - usually improving some aspect of yourself. Many resolutions aren’t necessarily measurable, which makes them hard to track and therefore to keep. I have never really made New Year’s resolutions, simply for the reason of failure - I don’t like to fail at things, and it’s highly likely that I would fail at keeping a New Year’s resolution.

The Bible is not clear on whether we should or shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions, probably because the concept was not common back then, although a few pagan religions had similar practices. We are encouraged to examine our ways, and to take a look at our lives and see where we’re at. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

But, why do we so often fail at making resolutions to change something in our lives? Often we look to our own strength to do so, rather than looking to God for help. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” While we may be able to change small habits on our own for a little while, any substantial and lasting change must come from God.

Another reason I don’t make New Year’s resolutions is because I believe that resolutions can be made any time of year, not just on January 1. The important part of a resolution is that you realize that a change needs to be made, and you start to actively make that change - whether it be by changing your habits, or by actively and daily looking to God for help on a particular issue. Change doesn’t just have to happen in January, but it should happen whenever needed.

Do you need help coming up with a New Year’s resolution for 2014? Try this on for size: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me [Paul], or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

Manger - He Was Born There, But He Didn't Stay

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 26, 2013 0 comments

Does anyone know what the number one TV show on cable has been for about the past year? It’s pretty hard to avoid the show altogether because so many people watch it, quote it, and buy its merchandise. I’m talking about the hit show on A & E called “Duck Dynasty”. In case you’ve been living under a rock and have heard nothing about it, it’s a reality show based on the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy manufacturing duck calls in Louisiana and were asked to allow cameras to follow what they do and how they live. Everyone who watches the show knows the family has Christian beliefs because they pray and talk about them openly. Yet, for some reason, the network was outraged this past week when it was discovered that the family’s father, Phil Robertson, shared his beliefs about homosexuality being a sin in a recent interview with a magazine AFTER he was asked what he believes is sinful behavior. Friends, all he did was quote Scripture, and his “comments” (which are actually the words of the Apostle Paul inspired by God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) have been labeled as “hateful”. The story has been all over the news and has incited debates on both sides of the issue. A & E removed him from the show indefinitely and have taken their stand against his views.

I didn’t bring this up to rekindle any debate about homosexuality. You can read other blogs for that discussion. What I want to focus on here is the fact that Phil Robertson did not bash anyone and did not express hate to anyone. He merely quoted words from the Bible, a book in which he puts his trust. Rather than spouting words of hate and sharing his opinions, he simply quoted the Bible and left the rest up to God. His family has since said that some of his other statements were a bit coarse, but that he stands behind the Bible in which he believes. James tells the early Christians, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (4:10). While most who disagree with Robertson’s “comments” will not view them as humble, I remind you again that he quoted Scripture in an article he knew would get national attention. I don’t know him or his heart and I’m sure he has his sins like everyone else. But it seems to me that he has exemplified humility and submission to Scripture rather than his own opinions, and is trusting God to lift him up.

The best example of humility was set almost 2,000 years ago when Jesus came into this world through a virgin woman and was born and placed in a manger, according to Luke 2:7. God could have chosen lots of different ways to enter our world, but he knew his life and ministry on earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth would be marked by humility and suffering rather than wealth, splendor, or political domination. As Katie mentioned in Monday’s post, Philippians 2:6-8 explains the humility of Jesus beginning with “making himself nothing” (i.e. born in a manger) and continuing until he allowed himself to be a suffering servant crucified for our sins, as the prophecy of Isaiah 53 declares. However, that was not the end! Jesus was born in a manger, but he did not stay there. He died on the cross, but he did not stay there. He was buried in the ground, but he did not stay there! Immediately after we are reminded of Jesus’ humility in Philippians, we read about his reward. “Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). The word “therefore” connects the words that come before it and the words that come after it. We can only deduce from this that Jesus’ exaltation was a direct reward for his obedience and humility.

The Apostle Peter wrote words almost identical to those of James, but added two key phrases. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). The key phrases are “under God’s mighty hand” and “in due time”. The question for you is whether you trust in God’s might enough to humble yourself and wait for HIM to lift you up when HE says it’s time, not when you do. Jesus lived on this earth for approximately 33 years between the manger and the cross. That’s a long time to live in humility. But make no mistake about it, Revelation 19:11-16 explains how he will return to the earth. He will be the “rider on a white horse” with “many crowns”, will have a “sharp sword out of his mouth with which to strike down the nations”, and will have “on his thigh the name ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ written”. Jesus was humbly obedient like a silent lamb in the manger and on the cross, but he will return like a conquering lion!

What trials in your life right now do you need to approach with humility? Do you trust God that he can and will lift you up when the time is right? Do you believe he can do this without you needing to defend yourself even one bit? If so, I challenge you to stand on God’s Word and his promises as Phil Robertson and many others have done. When it seems like things are dim and God is not paying attention to your plight, remember that the soldiers mocked Jesus and celebrated his death as if they had won a victory. They didn’t know that it wasn’t the end. Whatever you are going through, God knows. He wants you to trust him enough to be humble, and then patiently wait for him to lift you up.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 23, 2013 0 comments

I’m a fan of the Christian parody band ApologetiX, and they have a song from years ago called “Manger,” which is a parody of the song “Angel” by Shaggy from a number of years ago. The song starts out with the lines: “Girl, use my manger for your darling angel / Cozier than my sheep you ought to be, Mary.” There are some funny lines later in the lyrics, but essentially the song discusses how there was no room for Mary and Joseph when she was about to give birth to Jesus, so they stayed in a stable and she laid the baby Jesus in a manger.

I would guess that for most of us, “manger” isn’t a word we tend to use in our everyday lives. So what is it? A manger is a feeding trough for animals, often made of wood. It’s a pretty lowly, humble wood structure, considering that it’s probably usually covered with the food and spit of animals.

Many people back in the time Jesus was born were expecting the Savior to come in a very grandiose way - probably in a royal palace surrounded by rich possessions. But that’s the opposite of what happened. Luke 2:6-7 says, “While they [Joseph and Mary] were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Jesus was born into the most humble of beginnings. The King of the Universe came to earth as a helpless baby boy, who didn’t even have a proper bed in which to lay his head. Jesus continued this humility as He went on with His ministry as an adult. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Similarly, in Philippians 2:6-11, the apostle Paul writes this about Jesus: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

Jesus came to earth with humble beginnings so that He could be humble even unto death, which was His purpose in coming here in the first place. Jesus was born humble, lived a humble life, and died a humble death. We are called to imitate Jesus in our own lives; how are you at being humble? As humans we want the best for ourselves, but we are called to be humble as Jesus Christ was humble, from the beginning of our life until the very end.

Preparing to Make the Advance

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 20, 2013 0 comments

Preparing to Make the Advance!
Brick by Brick

This past Wednesday God, in and through His people, supplied a piece of equipment for our radio ministry that was very much needed. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Through you He supplied the finances in under 24 hours of letting you know about this need. We had a person offer up a Match Challenge for this equipment and the finances were raised in under 5 hours from the time of the Match Challenge. Praise God and thank you for the support. Because of this I have had a number of you ask me how else you can support the ministry and work of Worldview Warriors. After thinking this through a bit and praying I have decided to share with you something that we believe we are called to do but we need serious prayer and financial support to see this come to fruition.

So, what is it?

For about a year now we have been preparing to expand our radio ministry through out the nation. It seems as if God has finally brought the right people into our path to make this a reality. In order to do this though we need financial support. We already have stations in Columbus and possibly even in Arizona that might be willing to take on part or all of our weekly 2 hour radio show, Do Not Keep Silent. In order to make this a reality though we need funds. We need people that are willing to support this ministry with one time gifts and with monthly support as well. We are also open to and can have sponsors built into our program as well. If any of this interests you or you believe you are being prompted to donate to the ministry of Worldview Warriors you can do that at the YELLOW button on the bottom of the following link where it says, Donate to Worldview Warriors: We are a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization. So your end of the year gifts and any future gifts can be tax deductible if you so desire that option.

If you would like to contact us with questions, comments or suggestions please write to us at You can also call us at 419-310-1949

After 7 years of Worldview Warriors being in existence and laying a solid foundation, the Worldview Warriors Team and I believe we are finally ready to build upon that foundation, "BRICK BY BRICK". Will you please join us in this incredible journey and season of Worldview Warriors? Please seriously consider becoming a part of this adventure with your prayers and financial support. Thank you.

If you want to send in a financial gift via mail please send your gift to:

Worldview Warriors
PO BOX 681
Findlay, OH 45839

Thanks again!

Star - A Messenger of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 19, 2013 0 comments

Being the lover of patriotism that I am, one of my favorite songs ever since I was a kid has been “God Bless the U.S.A” by Lee Greenwood. The words “proud to be an American” have always encouraged that passion for the land and nation into which God decided we would be born. Unfortunately, a closer look at the lyrics reveals that God doesn’t really get the credit he deserves. While I’ll always love the song, one verse drives me crazy. He says, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life and I had to start again with just my children and my wife, I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today ‘cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away”. Seriously, how can your title be about God blessing the country when you credit your “lucky stars” for getting you here? I remember hearing that song with my dad one time and him saying, “Your lucky stars don’t have anything to do with it, man!”

It’s a phrase we hear often in sports and other areas of life as well. When someone experiences a series of circumstances that put him in a position to succeed, it is said that “the stars are aligning” for him. It’s a not-so-subtle way of denying the work of God and explaining it as something else. Some of you may even be in the crowd that likes to read their horoscopes each day. In case you didn’t know, your horoscope is “the relative position of the stars or planets at a particular moment, especially somebody’s time of birth”, or “an astrologer’s description of an individual’s personality and future” based on that position, according to Webster. I’ve always been amazed that horoscopes continue to be printed because the idea of them seems so senseless to me, but the fact that they’ve been printed and popular for so many years indicates a strong level of interest. To me, this shows that people are searching for truth about their lives yet are unwilling to seek the only One who holds the answers. I know believers who read their horoscopes and I’m not saying you are condemned for doing so. However, I challenge anyone who reads them to evaluate your reasons, and then to accept that only God knows your future and only he can reveal it to you if or when he chooses.

God loves to use his creation to send his message. The problem is that the world tends to begin to depend on creation for all answers rather than the Creator. The stars are one of the best examples of this. I’ve already talked about how so many “thank” their lucky stars, believe the stars are aligned for them, or look to the positions of the stars (horoscopes) for answers. While God would not approve of his creation being viewed in this way, the fact remains that he created the stars with a purpose. In my opinion, that purpose has been to send messages at key times. In Genesis 15, the future of the nation of God’s people was on the line. Abram had been told previously that God would make him into a great nation (Gen. 12:1-3), but he was struggling with doubt. He asked God what he would give him as his reward for following him, since he had no children and figured his servant would be his heir (Gen. 15:2-3). God responded by taking Abram outside and speaking to him. “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be” (v. 5). God used the stars as a collective messenger to Abram regarding his promise.

As Katie shared in Monday’s blog, God used the “star from the east” to send the message that the long-awaited Messiah had been born and to lead those who were searching directly to him. This is all recorded in Matthew 2. Then in Revelation 1-3, the “seven stars” held in God’s hand are referenced five different times. Specifically in Revelation 1:20, we learn the mystery that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches”. In the coming chapters, “angel” and “star” would be synonymous, with the Greek words for each being translated as “messenger”. Scholars can argue how each message was given, but all that really matters is that no matter what, God used his creation to send his message. Whether he revealed it by a star or an angel, both are created by him!

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that God will not reveal a message to you using stars. That would be dumb of me since he has obviously done it before. What I will most certainly tell you is that when he has done it in the past, those instances were considered special revelation. We learned in seminary the difference between “general” and “special” revelation from God. Sometimes God chooses to reveal the same thing to everyone (i.e. his power through a storm), and sometimes he chooses to reveal something to a specific person or group in a specific way (i.e. personal dreams). Therefore, choosing to look at the stars or any other part of God’s creation for answers just because that is the way he sent messages to someone else in the past fails to accept that God is sovereign over all of his creation.

Next time you look at the beauty of the stars, go ahead and appreciate what you see. More than anything, appreciate a God who created such beauty and uses it to send messages to his beloved people. As you think about that, think about what other “messengers” God might be using to get your attention and make sure you are hearing his message loud and clear.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 16, 2013 0 comments

If you’re in a play and you’re the star of the show, you’re the most important character. In that same sense, some might say that Jesus is the star of the Bible, since He is the most important character. But there is a physical star that is important too, because it pointed the way to Jesus.

We see back in Genesis 1:16 that God created the stars. It says, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.” When I read this verse, it almost seems like the stars were an afterthought, since they’re barely mentioned. The two verses prior to this one (Genesis 1:14-15) give more detail about the purpose for the two great lights, the sun and the moon. But that brief mention at the end of verse 16 is the only time the stars are mentioned in the creation narrative, even though modern day astronomers are still discovering the vastness of the stars of our universe. It is important, however, that God did create the stars, along with the sun and moon.

Fast forward now to the birth of Jesus, toward the end of Matthew 1. Matthew 2:1-2 then reads, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” The story continues in Matthew 2:9-11: “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

This star was important because it brought the Magi (commonly referred to as the “Wise Men”) to come and worship the baby Jesus. While some contend that this star was simply an angel or other glowing light, the word used in the original Greek text indicates that it was a real, physical star in the sky. The Magi were overjoyed when they saw this star, because they knew what it meant - the long-awaited Messiah had come to earth!

In Revelation 22:16, Jesus calls Himself the Morning Star: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” But what does that mean? Astrologically speaking, the morning star is Venus, and it rises within an hour or two of the sun. Jesus, the Morning Star, has risen from the dead, and soon He will come again to bring God’s light of redemption to the entire world for all of eternity.

The next time you see a star in the sky, remember that God created it, and He points the way to the redemption that is coming through our Morning Star of Jesus Christ.

Yahweh - A Name With Promises

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 12, 2013 0 comments

One lesson that many of us have probably learned at some point in our lives is that there is a lot of pressure in expectations. If you’ve ever promised somebody something you were relatively confident you could deliver only to find the task much more difficult, you’ve experienced great pressure. If you make a promise you know you can’t keep just to get someone to believe in you at the time, you feel the instantly overwhelming pressure of trying to do the impossible. Sometimes the expectations are from others. When parents fail to encourage and appreciate their children for what they have already done because they are constantly pushing them to do more, those children feel the pressure of the expectation that they will constantly achieve. Some of you have probably seen those talk shows where parents seem to be more wrapped up in their kids’ sports, educational goals, or beauty pageants than the kids themselves!

My guess is that some of you reading this right now are either dealing with these things or have baggage from your past where you feel like a parent or someone else put expectations on you that caused you to go through life with pressure rather than peace. In some cases, your very name may even be attached to the expectation. Your first name may have been selected by your parents because of their thoughts of what you would become, or there may be expectations attached to your last name because of a family legacy. Either way, I believe most of us would choose not to have pressure attached to our lives or our names if we could.

Last week, I wrote about the concept known as “ex nihilo”, which refers to God creating the world out of nothing. In the post, I explained that the very first truth about God that we learn in the Bible is that he was here before anything else. This is the foundation for everything else we believe, and every human being must choose to believe either that God was lying or was telling the truth. Whatever you believe about that influences how you receive and respond to God’s promises as they relate to your life. The thing about God is that he’s not trying to dodge the pressure of expectations. In fact, he desires that you trust him so much that even his name is on the line with his promises.

You may have seen in Monday’s post that “Yahweh” is the name of the Lord from the Old Testament. As Katie mentioned, the root of the Hebrew word likely comes from Exodus 3:14 where God says “I Am” in response to Moses asking him what he should tell those who ask for the name of the God of their fathers. In the next verse, God says, “This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation” (v. 15). How awesome that is! When God says “forever”, he means it! Friends, that means that even today God’s name is “I Am”. Since we are not God and do not get to say those words, it would be more appropriate to say, “He Is”. Thus, the name YAHWEH is likely from the third-person form of what he named himself before Moses so many years ago. You may be asking why he gave himself that name. Well, other than the obvious statement that he was here before anything else, he was also making a promise. Some translations, instead of “I Am”, have it written as “I Will Be”. This is where context of such an important declaration comes into play.

In Exodus 3, God was first calling Moses to be the deliverer of his people from the oppression of Pharaoh and Egypt. God had already told Moses he would set his people free, so just think how Moses must have felt upon hearing the promise of “I Am” or “I Will”. Then, in Exodus 6:2-8, God reminds Moses of his name and his promise. He reminds Moses that he did not reveal his name as Yahweh to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but only as God Almighty (v. 3). He reminds Moses of the covenant he made with those fathers (v. 4), and that he has now “remembered” his covenant (v. 5). This is so cool! Rather than just expecting Moses to blindly believe him, God explained what he has done in the past, how he is keeping his promises, how Moses can know this because God chose to share his very name for the first time with him, and how that name is the essence of his promises. Once God says “I Am” or “I Will”, that about settles it! He then tells Moses to go tell the Israelites that he will bring them “out from under the yoke of the Egyptians” and that he will follow through on his promise to their fathers to bring them to their own land (vv. 6-8). In that promise, God begins AND ends with “I am the Lord”, putting his name on the line with this promise.

What promises do you need to trust God for today? Exodus 6:9 tells us that the people did not believe Moses, which really means they did not believe the Lord “because of their discouragement and cruel bondage”. Yet, God followed through on his promise anyway. Later, in Exodus 34:6-7, God makes more promises that begin with his name. He proclaims, “The Lord (Yahweh), the Lord (Yahweh), the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (parenthetical words mine). I can’t begin to tell you how much I have needed to bank on those promises lately and I’m sure I’m not the only one reading this who feels that way. God promises to set us free from what enslaves us if we’ll let him, and sometimes even when we don’t. He promises to love, show compassion and grace, and to forgive our wickedness. There will be consequences, as he says later in Exodus 34. But the consequences are temporary and we need simply to cry out to him and he will always do as he has promised. No matter what your past includes, you can trust God to rescue and forgive you, because his very name and reputation are on the line!

First Day of Class

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, December 11, 2013 0 comments
Starting in 2014 Bill Seng who has been a guest blog writer for Worldview Warriors over the past year will be joining us full time releasing a blog entry every Wednesday.

Bill is the second oldest of five brothers in his family. He hails from a competitive athletic background; he played football for seven years and wrestled for twenty years (including a year in college and four years of coaching). Despite his love for athletics, he left the field of competition to pursue ministry opportunities on the streets of Cleveland. After graduating from Cleveland State University, he pursued his love for ministry by enrolling as a student at Winebrenner Theological Seminary. He graduated with a Master’s of Divinity with a focus in Biblical Studies in 2010 and desires to use his relationship with Jesus and knowledge of the Bible to help people live their lives to the fullest.

He will be writing in story format and we are excited and pleased to release these every Wednesday morning starting on January 8, 2014.

Here is just a small taste of the first entry.

First day of class
By Bill Seng

I showed up about fifteen minutes early. I am a stickler for being on time because, as far as I know, professors appreciate students who are not only punctual, but excited about learning. Showing up early proved that I wanted to be there and I wanted to learn. Of course being the first day of class it did not make that big of a difference because everybody shows up the first day. It is only after the first few weeks that the professors start to learn about who really cares about class and who does not.

Being a single guy, of course, I made sure to get a good seat…meaning that I found the most attractive girl in the room who was not already talking to someone to sit next to during the lecture. And I must say, mission accomplished. I sat down next to an athletic young lady who just happened to make it back from practice just in time for class. After unpacking my books and everything, I introduced myself.

“Hi, my name is Ryan.”

She replied, “Isn’t this place awful?”

“Um,” I hesitated, “I suppose it isn’t too bad, but it could use some work I suppose.”

“Yeah, a little.” Not too encouraging of a reply.

“So, what’s your name?” I was desperately trying to save the conversation and my chances.

“My name’s Megan.” I’m sorry, I just got out of soccer practice and I’m a little bit cranky.

“No problem, I understand.” I said with grace in my voice and a smile on my face.

From that point on the conversation was not too bad. We became acquainted with one another and rode out the fifteen minutes before class, anticipating a boring first day lecture. Finally, our professor walked in and we all hushed. He was your typical science type, that is, for university standards. He had long grayish white hair tied back behind his hair, wrinkles in his forehead from looking into the microscope frequently, business casual clothing, bottomed out with a pair sandals to preserve an attempted neo-hippie sort of image.

“Welcome class. I am Dr. Derkins. This is Biology 101, if you are in the wrong classroom please feel free to leave whenever you feel necessary, or finally start listening.”

First ten minutes was standard: Syllabus, grading scale, expectations – you know the routine. Then he transitioned into our first lesson.

“As I said, this is Biology 101. There are many crazy ideas about what Biology is, so I don’t want any of you to be confused, otherwise you might fall behind in this class. I want to make you all aware of a group of people that, if you buy into their teachings, will greatly stunt your growth as scientists. We’ll just call them “nutty-creationists.”

More to come starting in 2014!


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 9, 2013 0 comments

Today’s word is the only word we’ve covered that’s not really a word. Yahweh is considered to be the name of God from the Hebrew Bible, but it’s really just an English interpretation of that word.

The name of God is known as the tetragrammaton, since it’s four consonants in the Hebrew language. Those consonants are yod (pronounced “yode”), he (pronounced “hey”), vav, and he. Those match up with the consonants we see in the word Yahweh, since the vav can be either a “w” or a “v.” There are usually vowels included with these consonants, but they’re different than what we see in the English-ized Yahweh.

So, why do I say that this word isn’t really a word? Well partly because Yahweh is a poor translation, but also because the Hebrew people believe that God’s name is so sacred it should never, ever be pronounced. For a long time, it was forbidden for a Jew to pronounce this word, which led to its real pronunciation being completely forgotten. The root of the tetragrammaton YHWH may come from the Hebrew verb “to be,” which has similar consonants. We could reference Exodus 3:14 here, when God says to Moses that He is “I am who I am.”

When reading in Hebrew and you come to the YHWH tetragrammaton, it is tradition to pronounce it as “Adonai,” which would mean “my Lord.” We don’t know for sure how to pronounce YHWH, and today most people continue the tradition of not attempting to pronounce it out of reverence for God. Orthodox Jews will instead say “hashem” when they come across YHWH, which means “the name” in Hebrew.

Either way, the name of God should be regarded as holy and majestic because God is holy. Even the best Hebrew scholars cannot understand and agree on the origin or pronunciation of the name of God, just as no human can fully understand God in all of His power and majesty. We must treat the name of God with the reverence it deserves. As is written in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

On a lighter note, check out this video for a fun take on YHWH. Remember to regard the name of God in high importance, however it is pronounced.

Ex Nihilo - It's No Lie

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 5, 2013 3 comments

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Liar, Liar”, starring Jim Carrey. There are many quotable lines in the movie and it is considered a comedy for good reason. However, the film also exposes a major misperception that many of us have – that lying is often harmless. Think about it. When you tell a lie, don’t you often rationalize it by telling yourself that no one will know, so no one will be hurt? I can almost guarantee that you tell yourself that your lie sounds better than the truth, because otherwise you would just speak the truth. The movie depicts a little boy who is tired of the constant heartache caused by his father making him promises that he ultimately cannot or will not keep. The viewer sees that the father continues to enjoy his life despite his lies because he is seemingly unaware of the consequences. Meanwhile, his precious son hangs on every promise he makes and trusts each one, only to be let down every time. The boy makes a birthday wish that his dad, for just one day, can’t tell a lie. The wish is granted and, because the father is a lawyer, hilarity ensues just about everywhere he goes.

Like the little boy in the movie, we hang on the promises that our Father makes. If we truly trust in him, we live in such a way that his failure to follow through on his promises would destroy us. Our trust is based on faith, but our faith is partially based on what has taken place in the past and whether God has ever lied or let us down before. That is really the foundation for everything else you believe. You must determine whether you believe God is a liar or not. I say this because there is really no middle ground. God’s Word says that he created the universe “ex nihilo”, or out of nothing. It’s either true, or God is lying. It’s not like there was a possible misunderstanding that could make the two views mesh together. Because this is the very first claim that hits us square in the face when we come to the Bible, it determines everything else we believe.

If you’re looking for the direct claim that God created everything out of nothing, you won’t find it in Genesis 1:1. But if you look closely, its implication is obvious. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. I submit to you that the most important words in the sentence are not “God created”, but are actually “in the beginning God”. This means there was NOTHING before God. If there was nothing before him, what could he have used to create anything? While this defies human logic from the standpoint that we cannot create out of nothing, we must remember that God is not a man who would be subject to the laws of nature. Furthermore, the opposite view that everything must come from something else also defies human logic. A wise friend of mine from college who was very much into the science of the creation of all things would always say, “No matter how far back you go, you’ll never be able to get to the starting point of all things unless you’re willing to accept that something was here before nothing else was”. If you think about it logically, he’s right!

The direct claim that fits this post is found in Hebrews 11:3. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible”. Think about it, folks. When you walk outside and look around, do you see something that looks like order or chaos? I ask that question because a classmate of mine at seminary once said that “we have evidence of what happens in an explosion and the result is usually chaos, not perfect order”. All the scientific evidence regarding the order of the universe, our distance from the sun, etc. shows us that it had to be designed and not the result of things “just falling into place”. So the point of the author of Hebrews is that, while believing God could create out of nothing is a matter of faith, it DOES come with some logic, reason, and understanding that we get by simply looking at his creation. The writer uses that verse as the springboard for an entire chapter of stories about the faith of others because he knows it is the very foundation on which our faith in God for ANYTHING ELSE is built. Everything you see was not made with tangible materials, but “at God’s command”. You can cross-reference that with Genesis 1, where God speaks everything into existence right up until he decides to form the man out of the ground (his reasons for that are for another discussion).

The great thing about God is that he has a plan and he is sovereign over all things. While he allowed human beings to have the freedom to reject him and turn his creation upside down, he also had a plan for redemption all along. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:9-10). When God created the universe just by speaking, he knew the world was going to be full of trouble eventually and that he would create a place where those who trust in his redemptive plan through Jesus Christ would be able to dwell with him forever. A later prophecy in Isaiah reveals this. “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

The question is, as you go through your trials in this fallen world, do you believe God is telling the truth? Do you believe he can and will create a NEW earth where your sufferings will be long gone? Do you believe that resisting your temptations now, which is an act of faith, makes logical sense because of the reward that awaits you? If you don’t believe the four words “in the beginning God”, I’d venture to say it’s going to be tough to trust in anything else he says when you face trying circumstances. I encourage you to see for yourself that God does not and cannot lie, that he created the universe out of nothing, and that this act can be your basis for trusting him with anything else in your life.

Ex Nihilo

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 2, 2013 0 comments

While I am creating this blog post by writing it, I am starting with something and not creating it “ex nihilo.” Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase that literally means “out of nothing.” It is most commonly referred to when discussing how God created the universe. Naturally, this concept is hotly debated, and has been for many centuries.

The ex nihilo view of creation means there must be a Creator - a being who existed before the creation of our world, but yet absolutely nothing existed before that. The Creator didn’t create the world out of something; there was totally, absolutely nothing to start with. The Creator started with nothing and ended up with something - everything that exists today in our world.

We see evidence of creation ex nihilo in Genesis 1:2 which says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The words for “formless” and “empty” in Hebrew imply a state of complete void, where absolutely nothing existed, not any form of matter or particles or anything. We see the presence of the Spirit of God, but that’s it.

There is a logical approach of thought to the idea of ex nihilo, which goes as follows:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist.
Therefore, the universe must have a cause.
The cause in this case is the Creator, since nothing else could have caused the universe to come into existence out of absolutely nothing.

But, naturally, there are also opponents to the ex nihilo view of creation. One opposing view is that it’s impossible for us to conceive of absolute nothingness, so this view doesn’t make sense to us. My response to that would be that I don’t want to believe in a God I can understand, or He wouldn’t be the almighty God!

Another opposition is that we have no evidence that our universe originally came into being from absolutely nothing. But, I would counter that we also have no evidence that our universe came into being from something; basically, we have no physical evidence one way or the other, and either position has to be taken on faith.

One more opposition is that if God once had the power to create from absolutely nothing, God essentially retains that power. But a God of love with this capacity appears at fault for failing to prevent evil. My response to that is that God loves us enough that He allowed us the free will to turn against Him and sin, thus bringing evil into the world. If we didn’t have free will, then we could not make the choice to love or deny God, and our love to Him would be meaningless. Even though evil did come into the world through mankind’s sin, God loves us so much that He gave us a way out through His son Jesus, who died and was raised to live again! All we need to do is believe in Him, and after this life we will experience one where there is absolutely no evil.

There are many other arguments both for and against the idea of ex nihilo creation, and I would encourage you to wrestle through them on your own. What do you believe about how our world came to be? Did God create it ex nihilo, out of nothing, or did He start with something and work from there? Seek out the Truth on this subject, wherever that may lead you.

Week - Seven Gifts From God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 28, 2013 0 comments

Something that has really stood out to me this week more than it has in the past is the number of people who have either audibly spoken or posted on social networking sites their excitement that it is a “3-day week”. I am of course referring to those who work in jobs that give them both Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday. But isn’t it interesting that our calendar week is defined as seven days, yet we refer to our “week” as the days we go to work? It’s almost like the other days don’t exist, or like we think those are the days we don’t have to suffer the way we do on our work days. Our culture has conditioned us to dread going to work and to always be looking forward to the next holiday, vacation, or weekend.

While our culture has conditioned us to think this way, God has not. I’d like to remind you that work is actually a GOOD thing, according to the Bible. First and foremost, work was here before sin was. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). This was not only before there was sin, but also before there were even any direct instructions from God to the man regarding what he can and cannot do. The fact that work is something we sometimes dread is a result of the curse that came after sin a little later. God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17b). At that moment, work became something that was no longer only good, but still something we very much need. Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10b). I think it’s pretty neat that the Scriptures from so long ago pretty much describe our current view of work with astounding accuracy. We sometimes like our work, but also get worn out and dread it at times. However, we keep pushing forward because we know it is necessary to eat and pay our bills.

If you read Katie’s post from Monday or even an old one of mine from July on the word “Sabbath”, you saw that God set up a schedule of seven days for us when he created the universe in six days and then rested on the seventh. The people were told during the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 to work for six days and rest for one, then repeat. Earlier, when they completely depended on God to supply their food needs with manna from heaven in Exodus 16, they had to gather twice as much on the sixth day because God had told them there would be none to gather on the seventh day so that they could properly observe the Sabbath, which God had instituted by resting for a day after he worked for the first six. Did God need the rest? Of course not! As I argued in that July post, “resting” also means to stop or pause for reflection. God chose to take a day to appreciate all he had done, and he wants you and me to do the same. If we don’t, we lose sight of the true gift that is each and every day we’re granted.

God did not make this week three days. He did not make every other week five days. Every seven-day period you and I experience is a week, which is a collection of seven new gifts that were not guaranteed to us the day before. While this may seem like stating the obvious, we really need to discipline ourselves to take this view. Whether we are vacationing, resting, or working, the new day is a precious gift. David says in Psalm 119:16 that “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. This means none of them are by accident! Our church culture has become just like the secular culture, as we often go throughout our weeks just desperately anticipating that encouraging music, inspiring sermon, or uplifting fellowship we get every Sunday at church, only to spend the rest of the week “just getting through” it. This must change if we are to impact the lost world. We must view our jobs as blessings and approach each day as an opportunity to worship God and be thankful for what he has given us. If we can master this, the vacations, days of rest, and Sunday celebrations with the family of God will be even sweeter.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 25, 2013 2 comments

It has been said that, “Seven days without love makes one weak.” I would say along with that, “Seven days of God’s love makes the world in one week.”

The seven day period we call a week is significant in multiple ways in the Bible and to those who follow Christ. In Genesis 1:1-2:3, God created the entire world out of nothing in six days, and then He rested on the seventh day, thus establishing the first week. The reason we have a week that consists of seven days is based on God’s creation of the world.

Later on, in Exodus 20:8-11, God is giving the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel and He reminds them of this pattern of a week. He says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

The people of Israel were commanded by God to keep up this seven-day rhythm of life. They would work for six days then rest for one day. In today’s culture, we often feel like we have it rough having to work for five days then getting the weekend off; back then they had to work for six days in a row! The reason for this pattern, again, was God’s creation of the world. The seventh day, on which they were to rest, was made holy as the Sabbath day (click the link for more info on what Sabbath is), and the Israelites were to do no work on that day.

The other significant “week” reference in Scripture is what’s known today as Holy Week. This is the week starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter. For Jesus, this week started with Him coming into Jerusalem with people praising Him and calling Him the King. It continued with Him sharing a special meal with His disciples, then being betrayed, tortured, and killed in a violent death on a cross. Fortunately for us, the week didn’t end there! The week completed with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and His conquering of death for all who believe in Him. One could say that Holy Week is the most important week for all who follow Christ, since the events of this week are what we base our faith on.

What can happen in seven days? God can create a universe. We can work and rest to honor God. Jesus can go from being hailed as a king to being humiliated and dying back to being a victorious king. What can you accomplish for God in your next week?

Worship - Only God Is Worthy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 21, 2013 0 comments

I’m sitting here in the living room of my home watching CNN news because my roommate has it on, and I just heard something completely ridiculous that was certainly very well-meaning. They were showing footage of the damage done by the recent tornadoes in the Midwest and covering some of the stories that have come out of the destroyed towns. As the anchor talked about the positive stories of people helping each other, he shared that one couple whose home was destroyed had a picture of themselves that was found 80 miles away and posted on Facebook by the stranger who found it so that it could eventually be returned. The couple’s daughter was interviewed and said, “It’s just a testament to the greatness of humanity”. While I agree that the stranger did a great deed, isn’t the woman missing something obvious? How does one explain how something traveled that far and that fast by weather alone, or how it “just happened” to wind up in the hands of a kind stranger, or how there were enough connections between the strangers to get the picture back where it belongs? There are only two possible options: random coincidence or the will of God. I submit to you that the story is not about the “greatness of humanity”, but about the love and faithfulness of God.

If you stop and think about it, wanting to be our own God, or in other words “be worshipped and worship ourselves”, has been the problem ever since the first sin. The serpent tempted Eve by saying that she and her husband would “be like God, knowing good and evil” if they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:5). This obviously appealed to their hearts’ desires because they immediately took some of the fruit and ate it. Since that day, humans have been battling the same temptation. Pop stars do increasingly bizarre and inappropriate things to make sure they are getting more publicity than the competition, politicians will say and do just about anything to get your support and loyalty, and professional athletes on even the worst of teams immediately celebrate when they make a good play so that the attention is on them. Social media is also a stumbling block, as so many people boast about how many “friends” or “followers” they have.

We may not realize it, but when we worship ourselves or try to convince others that we are to be worshipped, our actions are on par with those of Satan. I understand that’s a hard truth for many, but it’s true nonetheless. After Jesus is baptized and just before his earthly ministry begins, he is led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. You can find the story in Matthew 4:1-11. The devil tempts Jesus in three different ways. After questioning Jesus’ authority as the Son of God with the first two temptations, he goes for the jackpot with the last one. He takes Jesus to a place where they can see all the kingdoms of the world and says, “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me” (v. 9). Satan was so desperate to be worshipped that he even deceived himself. Last time I checked, the kingdoms weren’t his to give away! Jesus knew this, so he responded by quoting the Scripture that says, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13 and Matthew 4:10).

One of the marks of a true believer in Jesus is humility. This means that we understand that we are not good apart from him. The Bible tells us “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). We know and intentionally remind ourselves that we are not worthy to be worshipped because we are mere servants of the living God, who alone is worthy. We may receive encouragement and praise from others for how we allow God’s gifts to be used in our lives, but there is a fine line between that and worship. We remind others that the gifts are from God and we are mere vessels. Two great examples from the New Testament come to mind. In Acts 10, Cornelius falls at the feet of Peter in reverence. “But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself’” (v. 26). Peter has apparently come a long way from arguing with the other disciples about who will be the greatest in heaven. Then in Revelation 22, the Apostle John writes that he “fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing (the revelation) to me” (v. 8). He then writes that the angel said to him, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (v. 9)

Peter and the angel were able to understand that they were not worthy to be worshipped. Did you catch that? Even an angel is nothing more than a fellow servant of God with all the brothers and sisters in Christ. Only God is worthy of worship. You and I live in a world where people are constantly looking for someone to worship and constantly wanting to be worshipped. Again I say, only God is worthy! Whether you are the one who has fallen into the trap of worshipping idols, which include everything other than God, or the one who revels in the false worship you receive from others, a redirection of your focus is crucial. Servants of God will come and go. We are here today and gone tomorrow. But God is worthy, he is the beginning and the end, and he must be worshipped!


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 18, 2013 0 comments

For those of us who have been in the church for many years, the word “worship” has become synonymous with the music part of a service. I have caught myself doing that as well; it’s an easy trap to fall into. We talk about “worship music” and seem to imply that the only way we worship God is by singing songs. But is that really the only way? What about people who don’t like singing, are they excluded from worshipping God?

To worship means to express reverence or adoration for a deity. For Christians, this means showing reverence or adoration toward the one true God of the Bible. How did our “Christian” culture get so twisted as to believe that only singing songs is considered worship?

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” The Greek word used here for “worship” is latreia, which means both worship and service. We are serving God as we worship Him.

Did you see in the above verse how we are to worship God? I didn’t see anywhere in there that worship is *only* singing songs on Sunday morning from a particular genre of music. It says to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.” True worship is when we sacrifice ourselves to God. (Learn more about the word “sacrifice” here.) That doesn’t mean we kill ourselves, but rather that we give up our own desires to God and do what He desires for our lives. We are to be living sacrifices who follow the living God. Our entire lives should be a witness to God’s glory and how He is working in our lives.

The band Casting Crowns has a song called “Lifesong,” and the chorus goes like this:

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

This is what worship is. Everything we say and everything we do should show our reverence and adoration for God. Yes singing songs on a Sunday morning can be a part of that, but it is truly so much more! We need to worship God with our whole lives, with everything we do and say. Our lives need to be living sacrifices to God, to show our true worship to Him.

Witness - Your Endurance of Hardship

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 14, 2013 0 comments

As I sit here and write this piece, it is Veterans’ Day 2013. While I have the day off work to honor and remember them, there are many who are actually the ones serving our country around the world that do not get this day off. Some of them are in very difficult circumstances. They might include harsh weather conditions, hostile enemies, and deplorable living quarters. The difficult circumstances often do include being separated from their loved ones. It is during these times of hardship that the character and perseverance of our service men and women are most obvious. Our government awards the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor based on how individuals respond in the most daunting of circumstances. While all veterans are to be honored and most have the same strong character as those award recipients, it is hardship that presents the opportunity for it to be shown publicly.

Also as I sit here today, a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini. You may have heard about his story. He and his family live in Boise, Idaho, where Saeed is a pastor. However, he’s been jailed for his faith in Iran for over a year since he went back to visit and share the gospel. According to the Washington Examiner, Pastor Saeed’s family confirmed he has recently been transferred to the infamous Rajai Shahr prison. About this prison, Dutch diplomat Loes Bijnen said, “Political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists, and drug addicts who don’t hesitate to attack their cell mates”. Bijnen also added, “They have nothing to lose (because) many of them are condemned to death anyway, (so) murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence”. While we pray for Pastor Saeed’s release and safe return to his family, you better believe that many are taking notice to how he responds to his hardship. Many, including Bijnen, clearly feel that putting a “political prisoner” in the same place as violent criminals is unfair and cruel. But maybe God has allowed it because there are murderers, rapists, and drug addicts who desperately need to see the example of how a follower of Jesus endures hardship.

The same is true for each and every one of you who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If you read Katie’s post on Monday, you saw that we get our English word “martyr” from the New Testament’s Greek word for “witness”. That Greek word can also mean “testimony, evidence, or reputation”. While we traditionally think of “martyr” as one who is killed, Webster’s secondary definition is “somebody who makes sacrifices or suffers greatly in order to advance a cause or principle”. My point is that even if you are never asked to sacrifice your life, you still have a very powerful witness for Christ when you endure any kind of suffering. In Hebrews 12:1, the writer encourages the early Christians, and us, to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” because “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. He is referring back to the stories of which he just reminded them in the previous chapter.

In Hebrews 11, the author takes his readers through a recap of all of the stories of faith they know from their history in which people endured hardship by trusting in God and his sovereign will. Most of these stories are ones you and I can read in the Old Testament, but there are others who are not named who were tortured, jailed, mocked, flogged, stoned, sawed in two, and put to death by the sword (vv. 35-37). While their ultimate witness was their refusal to deny the faith even up to their deaths, they also persevered through many hardships that did not kill them. You and I can witness in the same way. Did you know that we have an advantage that they did not have? “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40). While their faith was in the yet-to-come cross of Jesus, we have the advantage of knowing that God’s promise already came true!

So what is the hardship in your life that requires endurance? Pay no attention to the hardship of your neighbor, because God has a specific “race” for YOU to run. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ever help others in their quest to persevere. It means that suffering is not a contest. We don’t have to try to make it happen to a certain level so that God accepts us. Jesus tells his disciples shortly before his arrest that they WILL have trouble in this world (John 16:33). In other words, it’s impossible to follow Christ and not have trouble. For you, it may be waiting patiently for that promotion, that degree, or that spouse. It may be losing one of those three things. It may be having to deal with some form of persecution, or suffering through your parents’ divorce or some other family crisis. Remember that absolutely EVERYTHING that God gives us in this world will disappear, because “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). With that as your hope, you can absolutely endure any hardship God allows in your life. In doing so, you’ll be a witness to everyone around you.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 11, 2013 0 comments

This week’s word is witness, which appears in many different situations in the Bible. In the Greek New Testament, the word for witness is marturia, which is where we get our English word “martyr” from. A martyr is a person who is persecuted and killed for their faith.

One of my favorite passages where this word is used is what’s called the Prologue, which is John 1:1-18. In particular, check out verses 6-8:

“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”

In the Greek, the word marturia (in both its noun and verb forms) occurs 3 times in just these 3 verses. Two occurrences are where it uses the noun “witness”, and the third is where it says “to testify.” The verb form of marturia means to testify or to be a witness. John (the baptist, not the apostle) came as a witness about the light (Jesus). He isn’t the savior, but his purpose was to help point people to the savior and tell people about him.

But why is this important? You too are a witness! Often when around believers in Jesus, you may hear them talk about having or sharing their testimony. A believer’s testimony is their own personal story about how they came into a relationship with Jesus and about what He has done in their life. Every person has a testimony to share; we are all witnesses of what God has done in our own lives and the lives of others around us.

We need to share what we witness so that we, like John the baptist, can be a witness to testify concerning Jesus. We aren’t Jesus, but our purpose in life is to share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection with others that we meet. We don’t have to be martyrs to be witnesses; we can simply tell others our story and how we have seen God’s glory in our lives. We are Jesus’ witnesses here on earth, so that others might learn about Him through us and what we have witnessed.

Widow - Ignoring Her Needs is Eternally Serious

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 7, 2013 0 comments

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words”. This great quote has been attributed to church father Saint Francis of Assisi. It is oft-quoted in seminary and other Christian circles. But many of you may be wondering what he is talking about. Isn’t preaching what the pastor does when he gets up in front of the church every Sunday morning and SPEAKS? Well, actually that is just a small aspect of preaching. A pastor can preach an amazing sermon on discipline, but if he is a glutton, lazy, or addicted to something, you’re not likely to put a lot of stock in his words. If he speaks about love, fidelity, or integrity, yet has an affair or physically harms his wife, his words are pointless. To preach is simply to proclaim, and we make much louder proclamations with our actions than we do with our words. Sometimes, words might be necessary. But you can often proclaim without them!

In the early Christian churches, self-righteousness was a major problem. There were people, namely the teachers of the law, who loved to tout their knowledge and legalism yet failed to live according to what they knew or taught. They fell in love with all that their positions afforded them in the eyes of the world, and some went so far as to kill Jesus because his truth was a threat to everything they loved. Because they failed to see their error in living, Jesus spoke of them with harsh words. “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely” (Mark 12:38-40). Friends, this is the Creator and Judge of the universe stating that those who exploit the most vulnerable among us will be punished MOST severely. I’d say we better pay attention.

James, the brother of Jesus, addresses the issue of self-righteous legalism in his letter to the early Jewish Christians who had been scattered due to persecution. He tells them that you can’t just hear, know, and believe the word, because all of that is meaningless if you don’t “do what it says” (James 1:22). He explains further that “anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (vv. 23-24). If you can’t remember what you look like, you wasted your time looking in the mirror. If you don’t DO what the word says, you’ve wasted time gaining knowledge that can only puff up your reputation at best. For those who argued over what exactly it is that God wants his followers to do in response to the word they receive, James leaves no room for discussion. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (v. 27). If you want to live God’s Word, start with caring for orphans and widows.

In addition to Jesus and James, the Apostle Paul took the care of widows seriously. He devoted nearly a fifth of his first letter to young Timothy to specific instructions about how the church should care for widows (1 Tim. 5:1-16). Three different times, he references the church’s responsibility to care for widows who are “really in need” (vv. 3, 5, and 16). This qualifying phrase was used to refer to those widows who have not only lost their husbands, but also have no children or grandchildren to take care of them. It was assumed that any widow that did have relatives would be taken care of by them. Just how strongly was it assumed? Paul says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (v. 8). Wow! That is a strong warning.

The Biblical message about caring for the needs of widows is clear. We can’t afford to ignore them! For all of you young people out there, you may very well be in a position at some point to care for a widow in your family. So many today seem to just want to pass the responsibility off to others, be they family members, friends, or assisted living facilities. I urge you to heed Paul’s warning about those who don’t take care of their own family members. For all believers, I challenge you to think about how you care for orphans and widows. While the Bible’s word for “widow” is very specific for a woman whose husband has passed away, I would also encourage you to examine your heart for serving others who are vulnerable, such as children who have been abused or neglected and single mothers whose husbands or partners have simply abandoned them when they were needed most. Even if a vulnerable person is such because of her personal consequences, I don’t believe that should change how we serve her. Friends, ignoring the needs of a widow or vulnerable person among us will have eternal consequences. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be punished most severely, be like one who forgets my own face, or one who is worse than an unbeliever. It’s time for the church to BE what we say we know and believe.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 4, 2013 0 comments

I would guess that everyone reading this knows somebody who is a widow. What is a widow? Simply put, it is a woman who has lost her husband to death. Regardless of the circumstances of the husband’s death, this puts the widow in a difficult place in life. She may need to get a job, or a better job, as the sole income for the household; she may now be the only parent to their children; she has lost her emotional companion; etc.

In the book of Ruth in the Bible, we meet three widows. Naomi was living in the land of Moab when her husband died. Her two sons also died, leaving behind widows Ruth and Orpah. In the culture at that time, a widow was completely dependent on others. She would have no way to make an income, outside of prostituting herself, without the help of a man. Having no husband or sons, Naomi has nothing. She encourages her two daughters-in-law to return to their own families and remarry. Orpah does that, but Ruth continues on the journey with Naomi until they reach their new life in Bethlehem.

Naomi is very bitter at her life situation. She’s so bitter, in fact, that she asks people to call her by the name Mara, which means “bitter” in Hebrew. Ruth, however, desires to make a living for her and Naomi. She goes out to glean wheat, which was basically picking up the leftover stalks that the harvesters missed. It just so happens that God has a plan for her, and Ruth meets a man named Boaz who owns the field she’s gleaning in. Boaz redeems their family by marrying Ruth, and one of their descendants (many years later) is Jesus. I would encourage you to read the entire book of Ruth for yourself (it’s only 4 chapters), since there’s so much more to it than this brief overview.

So what is my point in telling you this story? If you are a widow yourself, or if you know one, God can and will still use that situation for His glory. If Ruth had taken the easy route and gone back to live with her family in Moab, she never would have met Boaz in Bethlehem and become an ancestor of Jesus, the savior of the world! God took what looked to be a miserable situation, where these three women had no men to take care of them, and used it for His glory in a mighty way. He can use your life too if you let him, regardless of your circumstances.

Vows - Made to God, Not People

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 31, 2013 0 comments

When I was growing up in my home, my parents had a little sign on the wall which said “marriage takes three”. Obviously, I didn’t understand it much as a child, but as I got older I realized that the third “person” needed to make a marriage work is God. After all, He IS the one who created marriage in the first place (see Genesis 2:24). But it was still more of just a “Christian cliché” than anything else until I began to realize why God is so necessary in a marriage. I’ve heard multiple Christian couples over the years say that they had gotten to a point where they were willing to throw away the vows they made to each other, and that the only thing that kept their marriage together was the vow they made to God. I bet you didn’t know that in the Bible, according to William Mounce, there is no word that translates to our word “vow” except the one that specifically refers to a vow made to God or another deity. So in those days, you didn’t make a vow to someone else. You could swear an oath before another person, but a vow was taken much more seriously. It makes sense when you think about it. Why vow to another person, who essentially can do very little if anything to hold you to it. We have evidence among both Christian and non-Christian couples of how seriously we take our vows with the divorce rate for both being right around 50%. By nature, we do a lot of things based on how we feel at the time, including making promises we really won’t fully understand down the road. This is why the marriage vow has to be viewed as being made to God, and not your partner. God is really the only one who can do something about it if you break your vow, and a healthy fear of Him is the best accountability there is!

Two very prominent members from the history of the Christian church were in their positions mainly because of vows made to God. Martin Luther feared for his life in 1505 when he was about four miles from his home and was caught in a horrendous storm. Terrified, he vowed to God, through calling out to a saint as was typical, that he would become a monk and serve Him only if he was spared. After his life was saved, Luther held to that vow by quitting law school and entering a monastery. God would use him to begin the Reformation of the Church. Likewise, John Wesley was used by God as a preacher and helped create the Methodist denomination. Many don’t know he was in a terrible house fire when he was a boy that destroyed his family’s home. He was the last one out and was pulled from the home just moments before it collapsed. His mother made the declaration that he was “a brand plucked from the burning”, signifying that he was not just saved from death, but “plucked” by God for a specific purpose. Wesley’s vow was in response to what God did for him.

Making vows to God out of desperation is nothing new. Take a look at 1 Samuel 1. Hannah was the wife of Elkanah, but she was not able to bear him children, so he had another wife. Even though he loved Hannah, Elkanah had children with the other wife, Peninnah, which essentially gave her bragging rights over Hannah. By the way, the fact that these people made these choices DOES NOT mean that God condoned them. The boasting, bitterness, despair, and family strife prove that the choices were not godly ones. But our God is big enough to work His purposes in the midst of our sins. Rather than bless Hannah with children as soon as she wanted them, He allowed her to become so desperate that she finally cried out to Him. “And she made a vow, saying, ‘O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head’” (1 Sam. 1:11). Do you really think that is what Hannah wanted, to finally have a child only to give him over to the Lord’s service? That would mean she can’t be in control of what happens to him pretty much from day one. How many of you parents out there willingly and happily sign up for that? The point is that, regardless of what Hannah wanted, the Lord had a plan for Samuel’s birth and his life, and He used the circumstances of Hannah’s desperation that led to a vow to carry out that plan. You can read the rest of the first chapter to see how Hannah kept the vow, and the rest of 1 Samuel to see how God used Samuel from the time he was a boy to speak truth in Israel.

It all really comes down to whether or not you truly fear God. It’s another “Christian cliché” you’ll often hear in churches, but I assure you it is definitely real. To know who God truly is and what He can do is to have a healthy fear of Him. Knowing that He can hold us to our vows and that the consequences for not doing so are in His control is a motivating factor for us to only make vows we plan on keeping. Whether it’s your marriage, your children, your calling, or something else, you MUST know that any vow that you make is really made before God. He’s the one you have to deal with should you choose not to follow it. Let that be a warning in truth and love!


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 28, 2013 0 comments

A woman wears a veil at her wedding day, which shows the virtue of her virginity, while reciting her vows. If you’ve been reading this month’s blog posts, you may have noticed that all of those “v” words are the words for this month, which all relate together.

This week’s final “v” word is vows. As in the opening sentence, we most often hear of vows at weddings. The vows are the verbal commitment that the bride and groom give to each other, to express their love and devotion for one another as husband and wife. But really, a vow is a promise, and it doesn’t have to do only with weddings.

In the book of Acts in the Bible, we read a story about a couple named Ananias and Sapphira. I encourage you to read their whole story, in Acts 4:32-5:11. We see in Acts 4:34b-35 we read that, “For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” A bit later in Acts 5:2, we read that, “With his wife’s full knowledge [Ananias] kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Ananias and Sapphira had made a vow to give the full sum of money from the sale of their land to the believers, but they broke that vow by withholding some for themselves. The direct outcome of breaking that vow was death for both of them.

Breaking a vow does not always result in death, but we are sternly warned against such things. James 5:12 says, “Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned.” The NASB version of the Bible has slightly different wording of this same verse: “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”

We are warned against making vows that we cannot keep, because vows are not meant to be broken. Breaking a vow clearly means we will face judgment for doing so. We can trust God to always keep His vows. But we are sinful human beings, and unfortunately it is more likely that we will break a vow than to keep it. But I encourage you try your best to keep your word to others in every circumstance, especially if you have made a vow before God and others.

Virgin - Identity In Christ

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 24, 2013 0 comments

“Did God REALLY say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 [CAPS mine]) Ever since that moment in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been trying to get us to question God’s Word to us. And it often works! While Eve was able to declare the serpent’s quote as incorrect, she then also misquoted God, saying that he told them they will die if they “touch” the tree in the middle of the garden when he did not. He told her husband they would die if they “eat” of it. So the enemy’s plan worked, even if his quote of God was also wrong. I can picture Eve standing there desperately trying to remember God’s words as they are questioned (by the way, she didn’t even exist when the command was given, so it was Adam’s FULL responsibility to accurately speak God’s Word to his wife – see the story for yourself in Genesis 2 and 3 if you want). Even the slightest confusion about God’s truth opened the door for Adam and Eve to be tempted, which resulted in their disobedience and sin entering the human race. So you see, friends, this trick of the enemy is nothing new. But make no mistake about it, it IS a trick of the enemy, and the only defense we have against it is to know and believe God’s Word.

Perhaps there is no greater area of our lives where the enemy tries to introduce confusion and deception than our sexuality. He does this in a variety of ways. Some people are taught from a very young age that “sex is evil”, which causes huge internal conflict when they mature and are unable to reconcile their feelings with what they’ve been taught. Look it up, folks. In that same Genesis 2, you can see that God created man and woman and gave them the gift of sex BEFORE sin entered the world. So if you’ve taught or believed that sex is wrong, please reconcile your views with the truth.

But for the majority of us, the enemy’s tactic has affected us a different way. We’ve been taught God’s truth regarding sexuality, but the enemy and our own temptations have caused us to question what he REALLY said. In other words, we look for ways to justify and believe “what our itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 3:3). I remember reading years ago that something like 62% of teenagers IN THE CHURCH admit to being sexually active by 12th grade. That was a staggering statistic at the time, but I wonder if the number has risen. As both a man who went through the time of questioning myself and one who has worked with youth and young adults for many years, I can safely say there’s been no greater battlefield for the souls of young people than sexuality. Rather than submitting to God’s truth wholeheartedly, we are tricked into seeing how far we can “push the boundary” that God has set. What if it’s love? Am I still a virgin if it’s only oral sex? If God wants me to wait, why hasn’t he provided a spouse yet? If we know we’re going to get married, what’s the point of waiting now? Is lusting without actually having sex still wrong? These are just some of the questions you may have asked or heard others ask in an effort to justify their feelings so they don’t have to continue resisting the temptation.

If you’re trying to find a loophole in Scripture that allows you to be sexually active and still follow Christ, I have bad news and good news. The bad news is you won’t find it (even though that’s actually good news because God’s commands are there to protect and bless you). Scripture is actually even more restrictive than you might think. I once heard someone say “there’s no such thing as premarital sex in God’s eyes”. In our culture and even in ancient Jewish culture, marriage involves a ceremony, a certificate, and the sworn oaths of the parties. While I can’t say that comment is completely true because of the possibility of forced sexual activity, I do agree with the point. The Old Testament laws about marriage and sex in Deuteronomy practically assume that if two people are agreeing to engage in sexual activity, they’re willing to make the marriage commitment. You’ve heard people refer to it as “consummating the marriage”. You can’t have one without the other! Regarding lust, Jesus says to look at someone lustfully has the same affect on your heart as actually sleeping with them (Matthew 5:28). As far as sexual activity separate from intercourse, Song of Solomon is really the only book in the Bible that even vaguely references this and it’s all within a marital relationship. Furthermore, while marriage is not a sin, both the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 7:32-38) and the Book of Revelation (14:3-4) indicate that to not get married and remain a virgin is better than getting married because it allows one to be FULLY devoted to God.

As you can see, our culture, and many in the church, have more than crossed God’s boundaries regarding sexual intimacy. But there is great news. While the enemy loves to use your past sexual sins to make you feel like there is no benefit of changing because you can’t get your virginity back (another example of confusion and deception regarding God’s Word), God wants to show you that hope is not lost. In our culture, the bride usually wears white on her wedding day to symbolize purity. But even if she is not a virgin, I’ve always looked at it like the groom’s love for her and disregarding of her past allows her to be presented as pure. Christ does the same thing for us. Paul tells the church he wants to present “her” as a “pure virgin” to the groom, which is Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). If that were based on our own deeds, it’d be impossible. Thankfully, Christ’s sacrifice allows us to be presented as “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). This is true for all who simply believe and confess that his sacrifice on the cross is sufficient for their sins, and who walk in freedom from them based on that faith. In the end, we’re told that those who overcome, meaning those whose faith causes them to resist temptation and live in purity despite their pasts, will be “dressed in white” (Revelation 3:5). Once sin, death, and Satan have been defeated, the church will be “prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). So friends, no matter what you have done, know that trusting in Christ makes you a pure virgin in his eyes.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 21, 2013 2 comments

This week’s word is virginity, which is potentially one of those most awkward words for teenagers. Virginity can be a hot topic so to speak; are you a virgin, or have you lost your virginity, and how? In case anyone reading this is very sheltered and has no idea what I’m talking about, a virgin is a person who has not yet had sexual intercourse.

Anyone who is no longer a virgin probably has a story to tell about how they lost their virginity - though leaving out every detail is probably a good idea! For some, it may have been something they did not intend at that point in their life but it just happened. For others, it may have been an intentional decision at the time that they regretted later on. For still others, it may have been a plan for their wedding night to give the gift of their virginity only to their spouse.

You have probably heard of a woman in the Bible named Mary. She was a young girl, and still a virgin at the time, though she was betrothed (think “engaged”) to a man named Joseph. Still having her virginity, it’s impossible for her to become pregnant, right? Well, nothing is impossible with God! God chose Mary to be the woman to give birth to His Son, Jesus, into the world. We don’t know the details of how this happened, but essentially God’s Spirit impregnated Mary, while she was still a virgin. Naturally, Mary was curious about it too; in Luke 1:34-35 we see her conversation with the angel about what would happen: “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”

Why was it important that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus? To fulfill God’s plan to redeem His creation, someone who was fully God and fully human had to die for the sins of all mankind. Being born from a human woman, Jesus was fully human; but being conceived by God’s Spirit, He is fully God. If Mary had sexual intercourse with a man, then that man’s genetics would also be in the mix, which wouldn’t work for God’s plan.

Because of Mary’s virginity and her willingness to be used by God, we can receive God’s grace and be saved from our sins. While every person’s virginity is an important aspect of their life, you could say that Mary had the most important virginity of all, since it helped bring us our salvation.

Virtue - The Measure of a Man

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 17, 2013 2 comments

I’m going to tell you right up front that, because I think it is so important to do so, I’m going to focus this writing on a specific gender, as you might have guessed from the title. Of course, it will be just as important to you ladies out there because some of you are the leaders in your families, your schools, and your jobs. Even if you are not, every one of you knows a man. You may look up to one, marry one, or raise one, and your influence regarding his virtues is obvious. However, I believe that men are largely failing when it comes to the virtues God had intended for them. In my job, I see broken families every day that are mainly due to the failures of men, especially those who have manipulated, abused, and abandoned women and children. Our country experienced a “government shutdown” mainly because a group of elected officials, the large majority of whom are men, could not, and sometimes still cannot solve problems as they were elected to do. God intended for men to bless, love, and serve others, not to hurt or lead them astray.

Earlier this week, I watched a segment on ESPN that illustrated my point perfectly. The segment was about the connection between Steve Gleason, a former linebacker for the New Orleans Saints who now suffers from the disease ALS, and Eddie Vedder, lead singer for the band Pearl Jam. The disease has rendered Gleason, a husband and father to a 2-year old son, incapable of talking or moving. He is only able to communicate through a machine attached to his wheelchair. He talks about how the music of Pearl Jam has always inspired him and does so even more now in his tragic condition. In the segment, he gets a chance to interview the band first as a whole, then Vedder individually. The interview between Gleason and Vedder was particularly touching. Gleason talks about how the experts say he only has 2-5 years to live and he is making a video for his son so that when he grows up he will know what kind of a man his dad was. He asks Vedder, who did not know his dad, what he wishes he knew about his father? Vedder instantly tears up, and then says two absolutely critical things. First, he says he wishes he had gotten to know his father and to know if he loved him. Second, he says he would’ve loved to have his father there to teach him how to be a “good man”, because his dad’s absence has forced him to try to figure it out on his own. This is a grown man who is the lead singer of a popular and successful band, yet none of his success could overshadow the tragedy of not knowing his father and never learning how to be virtuous.

I may not remember much about the three years I spent in high school studying Latin, but I certainly recall that “vir” means “man”. The word “virtue” comes from the Latin “virtus” which means “strength, manliness”, according to Webster. I apologize if that offends anyone, but I didn’t create the definition. I believe that God created all of us in his own image and likeness as Genesis tells us, but that our sin has defiled what He created in us. While I believe that is true for all humans, I believe that men in particular have failed to lead as God created and commanded us to do. The story of Steve Gleason and Eddie Vedder shows me that, because of sin, virtues are now taught more than they are inherent in us. The question is what is the source of what we teach?

The answer to the question is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus. In Chapter 2, Paul tells Titus what must be taught to various groups of people in the church. Of particular interest to me is what he says about older men in verse 2, and then younger men in vv. 6-8. These verses are essentially lists of virtues, including being “temperate, self-controlled, worthy of respect, sound in faith, love, and endurance, and teaching with integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech”. The only virtue that is mentioned for both older and younger men is “self-control”, and Paul mentions it again later in the chapter when he says that the “grace of God” has taught us to resist worldly passions and to “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives” (vv. 11-12).

The source of what men are taught regarding living virtuously MUST be the grace of God. Yes, sin took away the inherent virtues God created in us. But the grace of God through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us the strength and power to resist temptations and live according to the virtues modeled by Jesus himself. Paul’s letter was to Titus, who was being put in charge of the Christians on the island of Crete. He knew how critical it would be for the growth and sustenance of the Church to have virtuous living being taught to the various groups of people BY the various groups of people. For you women, my challenge is to model virtuous living for each other and for those around you, including men. You have the ability to hold us accountable and to encourage us toward our virtues. For you men, my challenge is to step up and be who God called you to be by His grace. You are leaders, and your virtuous living or lack thereof will be passed on to others. The past is irrelevant, so make a choice today to teach, encourage, and be an example of virtuosity to the other men around you.