Have You Busted Your Asherah?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, July 30, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

My Asherah... what's an Asherah? Well, I am glad you asked. And I am going to ask up front that you please read through all the details in the next couple paragraphs, in order to understand the point of this blog post. Thanks.

Asherah is technically a "who," and she was the goddess of fertility in ancient cultic worship. Cults of this sort practiced "sympathetic magic," which means the people would act out what they wanted a god or goddess to do, in hopes of convincing the mythical deity to take action. In the case of fertility goddesses like Asherah, the goal was a great harvest or multiplication of the animal herds, so the people would have ritualistic sex orgies to arouse Asherah to provide fertile fields and animals. (For more in depth knowledge about Asherah please check out this site.)

According to the Bible, we should be tearing down anything in our life that is aligned with that religion or ideology. And while we may initially think that should be easy, a brief look at how many times God had to correct and even punish Israel for Asherah worship should get our attention. Obviously, there was something attractive about worshipping this mythic deity. Maybe it was the addictive quality of the pornographic ritualistic sex? Maybe it was the feeling of some sort of power or control over the deity? Maybe it was fear mixed with a feeling of “covering all the bases to ensure a good harvest,” just in case there really were other gods out there?

Whatever the reason, in ancient Israel we see God consistently having to deal with Asherah poles being lifted up and worshipped alongside of His alter. God is clear in expressing the heart of the issue every time He corrects Israel - there is only ONE God and He is not Asherah, He is not a mate to Asherah, nor does Asherah have any power beyond what humans imagine she does.

The motivation of Israel in worshipping Asherah and other false gods was always carnal, always about self or selfish desires. Take a moment and read Micah 5. In that short chapter, there is a prophecy about Jesus being born, and how God's people will be rescued and strengthened in Him as He leads us to victory over those who would destroy the good God has intended. It goes on to say that God will bring accountability and justice for those who reject Him and reject His ways, and He will purify the nations of the weapons of war and of the ideologies/worship of false gods, because they will no longer be needed. (Asherah, of course, is one of those false religions.)

No weapon or ritual designed to satisfy selfish ambition or desires or to quench fears will ever be needed again. Why? Because God will show (and did show through Jesus) that HE is ALL that we need, the ONLY living and all powerful God, and the only one worthy of our trust.

Ok, so what? How does that apply today? Look at the political and racial tensions running rampant across our nation. Look at the sexual festival of our culture, using personal gratification to make a mockery of anything moral. Look at how legitimate biological and social challenges are being morally subverted with the ideology of “do or be what feels right to you.” Look at all the separate self-focused choices, narratives, and ideologies that have been lifted up in our culture demanding validation. And now look at how people are using "sympathetic magic" to get what they want.

There is an endless stream of personal justification for just about every immoral behavior. From business profit margins, to personal ecstasy, to political power, there are deeply emotional stories designed to influence and provoke others to experience, experiment, and validate a false narrative and with it a false god made in the likeness of human desires.

So, I ask you, when you are listening to what is happening in our culture, when you are relating to other people, when you are considering your election options for the next president of the U.S., and when you make your daily choices moment to moment - how many other ideologies have invaded your perspective? Are you mixing the stories and the false narratives into your thinking and coming up with some tepid pseudo-tolerant, pseudo-spiritual lifestyle that makes you happy and tries to make sure everyone clicks "like" on your Facebook posts? Or are you doing the hard work of breaking through to the Truth behind all the stories, laying aside selfish desire, and pursuing God's ways with all of your heart?

Laying aside our expectations and our desire for gratification is one of the hardest things we could ever do. And I think it is one reason why Asherah was such a hard lie to shake. After all, no one wants to believe that God would ever ruin our comfort and safety, or bring a drought, in order to wake us up.

I challenge you to seek out and tear down every untruth that you have allowed to become part of your life. Examine your desires and motives carefully, always lifting them up next to Jesus' example. Ask God to show you every place where you have stepped away from Him, and how you can get back in step with Him. Because we have a promise that HE Himself is the satisfaction of all of our desires, and because of that we can surrender all the selfish mechanisms and false ideologies that tempt us to take things into our own hands.

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


Prayer is Not a Process

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 29, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

When I was attending the University of Texas at El Paso, Juarez, Mexico was at the height of national attention because of the drug cartel violence. Between semesters, I would still help out my parents with facilitating mission teams into Juarez and our ministry had T-shirts that said: “Pray for Juarez.” I was wearing that shirt one day and my Computer Science advisor said that, “Studies have shown that in cases when people prayed, only 50% of the prayers got answers.” I did not want to get into an argument right there, but I knew right off that he had no clue what prayer was.

Last week, I told you how God has called me on an adventure in my prayer walk and one thing I can say about prayer (among many others) is this: prayer is not a process. Prayer is not a formula you can follow and get results like a scientific experiment. Prayer is not some kind of chant or formulaic thing we say over and over again as though it will make us feel good. Prayer is communicating with the One True God. It is accessing the Throne of Heaven. But it is so much more than that.

In this series, I am going to be pulling from a few things I have gathered over the years, a few of the comments my pastor and others have made during our Wednesday night series, and from a very neat book on the topic called Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy. In this book, the Ludys go through a study of David’s Mighty Men and how dedicated they were to their king, David, suggesting that is how we should be with our King, Jesus Christ. Allow me to give an example.

Three of David’s Mighty Men were so close to him that while they lived in the Cave of Abdullum, hiding from Saul, they heard David utter a dream to get a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, currently under Philistine control. These men traveled through mountainous terrain, fought through the garrison, got the water, and fought their way back… just for a drink of water. Read the account in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11. Here is the concept. These men so longed to be close to their king that they were willing to surrender their comfortable lifestyle and status in Israel, risk being wanted outlaws (Saul was on the throne and was after David), and not care about the cost to self. They were so close, they would hear the desires and wishes of the king. David did not order these men to go out. They overheard his desires and on their own went out to see it done.

Do we get close enough to Jesus so he could utter his wishes within our hearing and out of our love and dedication to Jesus that we would go out to see that wish done? Some may say: “God did not tell me to do that.” Others may say: “I won’t move unless God commands me to move.” There is validity to that. But think about it. What if we were so close to God that he would not even have to tell us what to do and we would follow his wishes? The other night during prayer, I told God I would stay up all night in prayer if he asked me to (I’ll go into detail about what this looks like in a few weeks). But then the next night, God suggested: “How about you tell me when you are ready to stay up all night with me?” That night, I made it to midnight and then I had to call it. In the morning, I was tired, but not due to lack of sleep (I was fighting a cold and I would have been just as tired as I would have been had I went to bed early). Do we get close enough to God to hear that from him? To where we would do whatever it would take to please him, even if God does not command it from us? Prayer is our connection with God, but it is much more than that. Countless books have been written on the topic and I’ve hardly scratched the surface in regards to reading about the prayer life of the Christian greats. I’ve got a collection of books to go through and I’ll be ordering more when some paychecks come in. If you study the greats, you will likely see that while their doctrines will vary, they all had prayer in common. There are many different aspects to prayer that likely many of us have not thought about it. I had heard of these from time to time, but I did not really think about it in my prayer life until I started prepping this series. Allow me to give you a short preview of the rest of the series (which is still subject to change).

Prayer is the engine that makes Christianity work. Should we have expectations of results when we pray? What distracts us from praying? Have you ever considered praying through the night, at the expense of sleep? How do we pray when our spiritual “tank” is on empty? Do we pray with idols in our hearts (are we praying to/for our idols)? Do we pray for specific prayers or just generic/general prayers? How often do we pray with an “out” in case God does not answer? Are we praying God’s prayers or our own? Have we considered getting a word from God before we start praying? Do we grasp the power of prayer? What is intercession? What about prayer in spiritual warfare? How can prayer be effective? Do we pray in secret, behind the scenes where we are not the ones on the stage? How often do we give prayer requests when really all we are doing is gossiping? Do we have a prayer partner?

In the next 4-5 months I plan to hit each of these points and in the process, God may have me condense one or two of them or he may make me expand upon them or add the list. But for me personally, I am not interested in merely talking about prayer. I want to start implementing these concepts into how I pray. I can safely promise that I will not have these mastered by the time I wrap this series up, but could I practice them? Absolutely. As I began writing this post, I started to go through this series and prayed about each one that came to mind.

So how do we pray? Many people have many different ways of prayer. Some get on their knees. Some lay down prostrate before the throne of God. Some just speak to God as though they were talking to a friend. Some pace. Some shout at God. Some pray in the car during daily commutes. At times, I have a very unique way to pray. I get a sword out and practice some of my fencing moves as though I am sparring with God or with our spiritual enemy. A couple weeks ago, I got an idea of having a “War Room” that would have medieval style weaponry, but on the focus for training for spiritual battle. In the movie War Room there is a prayer closet where the older lady would do her battles in prayer. Some pray “under the stage” where they are not the ones speaking or preaching but praying behind the scenes. Sometimes, when I am pouring out my heart to God, I will “preach” a sermon about it.

Prayer is not about fancy words or lengthy, eloquent discourses. It is not about whether you are on your knees or on your feet. It is not about face towards heaven or lying prostrate on the floor. It is not about praying first thing in the morning, noon, or night time. It is not about a memorized prayer or one you make up. It is not about praying for each of your meals. It is not a process. It is not a method. Prayer is about our relationship with God. It is about bringing God’s will into fruition on this earth. It is about seeking and establishing God’s Kingdom. It is about surrendering ourselves to his purposes. I pray that through this series, both you and I learn how to pray God’s way, for his glory and for his purposes. Next week, we will look at the engine that makes Christianity work.

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


The Goddess of Sex

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 26, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

Last year, a well-known politician was confronted by a reporter after he announced that he was going to run for the nomination for President of the United States of America. The reporter was well aware that this particular candidate was a devout evangelical Christian and thus felt it was his duty to trap this politician in his words. So the reporter immediately asked the politician the single most destructive question a conservative Christian candidate could be asked: “What do you think about same-sex marriage?” Without missing a beat, the politician replied, “Why are you people [the media] so obsessed about sex?” I’m sorry to say, it’s not just the media, it’s also our culture.

Asherah is the pagan goddess of motherhood and fertility. Fertility is a very natural idol that one would desire to worship. It is a blessing you want when you plant crops, hence the Asherah pole that would be erected as a symbol of fertilizing the crops. In olden days, people desired to have large families. But let’s be honest, the worship of fertility is really no more than a cleverly disguised practice that gives men (and some women) the excuse to experience one of the most wonderful blessings mankind has been given, but to do so outside of the boundaries God has set in place: the joy of sexual intercourse.

C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, likens sexual obsession to food obsession. He describes an auditorium full of people all watching and waiting for a gentleman carrying a covered food tray. Inside the tray is roasted chicken (or something of that sort) and every time the gentleman would lift the tray to reveal a part of the chicken, the crowd would start hooting and hollering as though they were experiencing something wonderful. Is there anything wrong with chicken? No. Is there anything wrong with eating chicken? No. But don’t you think that there is something just a little bizarre about the man who becomes an uncontainable wild animal at the mere sight of chicken? That’s a little messed up.

Likewise when it comes to sex. The opposite gender is good. Sex is good. But when people become uncontrollable wild animals at the mere exposure of a little bit of skin? That’s a little messed up. The more that we neglect God’s boundaries on sex, the more like wild animals we become and the more difficult it becomes to see a God who possesses infinitely more wisdom than ourselves.

Our culture has idolized sex. We aren’t the first culture to do so and we won’t be the last. Europe has obsessed over sex so much that its common place to see naked people and prostitutes wandering about. The Middle East has obsessed over sex so much that as soon as a woman reveals a little bit of skin, every man within a thousand-mile radius feels like he has an obligation to sexually engage her. America obsesses over sex so much that it has been a marketing gimmick that is exploited for the sake of making money. You’ve heard the slogan: “Sex sells.” Right?

Israel fell victim to sexual worship in Biblical times. God set them apart to be a holy people, but they started to mix and mingle with the locals of Canaan and before you would have known it, they were erecting perverse Asherah poles and worshipping the local goddess. Worship of sex goddesses is a normal pagan practice that typically comes complete with temples dedicated to them. Inside of these temples were prostitutes, consecrated for the sake of sexual worship as other women’s husbands came in to “pay their respects” to sexual idols.

If I have not made it clear yet, worshipping sex is not just accomplished through wooden idols, temples, and the purchasing of sexual favors. You might be worshipping a sexual idol and you don’t even know it. Excuse me for a moment while I get rated “R” for a few sentences. Do you use sexual toys to bring yourself pleasure? Do you masturbate? Do you live with a boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you exchange sexual favors on a regular basis (including oral sex, making out, or other non-literal sexual favors)? Do you put a homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or other alternative sexuality above God’s design for sex and marriage? Do you watch pornography?

Friends, I do not mention these things to guilt anyone or to come across as self-righteous or perfect. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…will inherit the kingdom of God.” Then, verse 11 reminds its readers, “And that is what some of you were.” I think that most, if not all, of us have fallen prey to sexual idolatry at some point in our lives. Maybe you have fallen prey to it today. My message to you is that God loves you, but he hates your sin because he knows it is leading you to death and separation from him.

His desire is that you repent of your sin. Do you struggle with repentance? I might suggest you confess your sin with a close friend. Satan loses his stronghold in our lives when we bring our sins to light, and you will be amazed how much easier it is to overcome temptation after you have confessed your guilt with someone else who does not condemn you. Our call is to live holy lives, free of idols. Sexuality has indeed become an idol in our country. As this politician has stated, it appears as though sex is the end-all-be-all of human existence to the snobbish elite class in this country. Don’t be like them. They aren’t happy with their lives anyway.

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


Who is the Goddess Asherah?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 25, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

We briefly interrupt our walk through the book of Judges to take a look at the goddess Asherah. Why? This goddess keeps coming up throughout the history of Israel, and you may be surprised at the fact that she is still worshipped today as well.

There are many references to Asherah and Asherah poles throughout the historical books of the Old Testament. Asherah is the name of a Canaanite goddess of sensuality and fertility. Asherah is believed to be the mother of 70 gods, of which Baal is the most well-known. The name Asherah was used to refer to both the goddess and the object of worship. Asherah’s symbol was a tree without branches and her name can also be translated as “grove,” which is why places of worship for Asherah were often a pole placed sticking out of the ground.

Asherah poles existed throughout Israel, both in the northern and southern kingdoms, when the people were straying from God and worshiping false Gods. We see a number of times in the Old Testament that God commanded Israel to tear down all of the Asherah poles and stop worshipping her. At times they did, but it seemed to always creep back into their lifestyle when they allowed themselves to worship pagan gods. They even tried to brush it off as not being a big deal, as they often tried to incorporate worship of Asherah and other false gods into worship of the one true God. They’re worshiping the true God, so what would a little false god worship alongside that hurt, right?

One key fact for us to note here, which is true both for Israel and for us, is that we have the choice of who or what to worship in our lives. We can choose the one true God, or we can choose out of any number of pagan gods. It’s always our choice. Do you choose to read your Bible, or do you choose to watch a sitcom on TV? Do you choose to pray and spend time hearing from God, or do you go see the latest movie? Do you choose to meet with a church congregation to worship God together on Sunday morning, or do you sleep in? It’s always a choice.

The gods we worship today do not necessarily have specific names like Asherah or Baal, nor do we often have shrines set up for them. But remember that Asherah was the goddess of sensuality and fertility. If you turn on your TV, what’s the likelihood that you’ll see something sensual on it? Pretty high, I’d say. Commercials, sitcoms, and even the nightly news seem to operate on the slogan that “Sex sells.” Everyone wants to sell you their product or get you to watch their show, and they use sex to do it. Huge million-dollar industries are built on the premise of sex and sensuality. Production and usage of Internet pornography is at an all time high. Kids are being exposed to high amounts of nudity and sensuality and increasingly younger ages.

You may say that’s just today’s culture, but remember that who or what we worship is a choice for every person. We have to allow ourselves and our culture to worship false gods, and doing so is dangerous. Once that door is opened, it is very hard to close it.

Have you opened that door in your life to allow false gods in? Is the goddess Asherah still around and being worshipped today? What do you think?

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



Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 24, 2016 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Where do we as Christians draw the line when we see injustice in the world around us?

What situations are we tolerant of? We tolerate injustice in our legal system and we tolerate riots. We are tolerant when our children are treated unfairly and we teach them that “Life isn’t’ fair.” I agree that “Life isn’t fair,” but is always accepting that life isn’t fair any different than being tolerant? These are the questions I ask myself.

Let’s look at the definition of the word injustice. It means the quality or fact of being unjust, inequity, violation of the rights of others, unjust or unfair action or treatment, an unjust or unfair act, and wrong.

Biblically, how do we handle injustice? Do we act like nothing ever happened? Do we get mad? Do we worry ourselves sick? Do we confront the offender?

Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” As Christians we have interpreted the word meek to mean that we say or do nothing, we become tolerant. We have equated meekness with weakness.

The Greek word for meek is ‘praus,’ which means gentle, meek, mild, dealing with people in a kind manner, or with humility and consideration. It doesn’t mean tolerance, it means to handle situations with humility, kindness, and consideration.

It isn’t that we don’t confront issues, it means when dealing with difficult situations be kind, humble and considerate. We should not be harsh, demanding, attacking, yelling, or angry when addressing injustice.

From my personal experience I have prayed, worried, cried, and spent sleepless nights when I have observed injustice, especially when it involved one of my boys. I am learning that we aren’t always supposed to sit back quietly and accept what comes our way but after prayerful consideration, allowing emotions to cool. We can address injustice if we are humble and kind.

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


Uh, You Sure?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, July 23, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Several years ago, I was invited to be on "Ask the Pastor," a TV show where difficult questions about life and faith would be answered by a panel of pastors. The producer, Sheri, was pure energy, grace, and charm. She had a bright warm smile and encouragement for everyone. But every time I met her, she would call me a "mighty man of valor."

I was flattered at first, and then confused. She didn't know me that well, and if she did, I figured I certainly wouldn't be on the pedestal of "valor." Just because I'm a pastor doesn't mean I don't struggle with the same stuff everyone else does. I am human and I sin too. A title, or role, doesn't change how flawed I am. Every time she called me that, I had this feeling like... “Uh, you sure you got the right guy?”

Take a moment and read Judges 6:11-18. Gideon must have had a similar feeling when he was approached by an angel of the Lord. Midian's oppression of Israel was so bad, and their theft of all the crops and livestock so severe, that Gideon is trying to get the grain off the stalks of wheat in the narrow bowl of a wine press. That may not seem outrageous at first, but consider this. Treading wheat usually involved having oxen walk around on the wheat inside a fairly large area enclosed by a rock wall. The wind would blow the chaff (light bits of stalks and shells) out of the enclosure as the farmer winnowed (threw up in the air) what had been walked on by the oxen. The heavy wheat seeds/berries would fall back down in the enclosure. They would then be shoveled up and taken to the mill to be made into flour.

Wine presses, on the other hand, were usually very small enclosures of rock with a bowl shaped bottom and a rut or groove leading from the lowest point of the bowl out through a spout. Usually, women would climb in, in bare feet, and stomp the grapes to squeeze the juice out. A jug would be placed below the spout to collect the juice that would be made into wine.

  So, do you get the awkwardness of what is going on in this situation? Gideon is trying to tread wheat in a space made for squishing grapes. He definitely doesn't have oxen in there with him. He is trying to be subtle and unnoticed, but he has to be stomping (or jumping) on the wheat heads to separate the berries from the chaff. I can just see him: stomp, stomp, jump... pause... look around to see if anyone notices… stomp, stomp, stomp, jump... quick peek around again and act like he's cleaning the winepress... stomp, stomp...

It had to be comical, but it was about to get hysterical. While he is trying to do his best "ninja stomp," an angel of God appears and says, "Greetings, the Lord is with you, valiant warrior." Really? VALIANT WARRIOR? Did the angel say that with a straight face? This is a guy hiding in a winepress from the Midianites, and trying to quietly stomp out grain. Seriously?

Gideon's response almost makes me think he too was feeling patronized and got a little snarky with the angel. But his response also reveals something else going on in Gideon's heart. He seems to be a man who wants to believe God, and has believed the story of God's work with Israel in the past, yet his present situation causes him to doubt. Gideon believes that God has abandoned them because he doesn't see miracles like the ones he heard about in the past. What Gideon doesn't realize is that he is about to BE a miracle.

Are we any different than Gideon today?

We doubt God because we don't see the miracles we expect. We doubt God's plans because He may be using someone we think is the wrong person for the job. We accuse God of abandoning us, or even claim He doesn't exist, because He hasn't made our circumstances come out fair, comfortable, painless, etc.

And yet God's response is to step into our most embarrassing moments and speak the Truth of His plans into our lives. God steps into our most painful or shameful moments and speaks healing and redemption. He steps into our most overwhelming sin and rebellion, and He speaks rescue and restoration. He steps into our most impossible circumstances, and speaks hope, power, promise, and blessing.

What situation are you doubting God in? What challenges are believing that He abandoned you in? What feelings or fears do you believe are impossible to overcome? Are you willing to hear Him call you by HIS name for you?

I only recently began to understand the importance of what Sheri was doing by calling me a "mighty man of valor." I had come to know that she called all the pastors that, but she was not being generic in any way. Sheri understood the burdens pastors carry, the awkwardness of their calling and their ministries in the midst of human messiness. And like the angel that appeared to Gideon, Sheri was deliberately speaking the Truth of God's calling and strength into our frail human lives - so that we would keep trusting Him and stand firmly for the sake of those who are following after us.

Will you take some time to pause and be still. Ask God to reveal His name and His calling for you, and to show you His plans in the midst of your circumstances.

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


A Call to Adventure

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 22, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The next post is here.]

How many of you have wanted to go on adventure, especially as children? Knights fighting dragons. Searching for a holy relic. Uncovering a mystery. Most of us love a good adventure. That’s why we go to the movies to watch the superhero films and read the books about knights, magic, fantasy worlds, exploration, innovation, and more. We want something more than just the day-to-day mundane. We want an adventure.

What makes a hero in all these stories? How are the superheroes born as heroes? How are the protagonists in our stories summoned to their adventure? It starts with a villain. Someone comes and causes havoc. Luke has his Darth Vader. Batman has his Joker. Harry Potter has Voldemort. Mr. Incredible has Syndrome. In all these stories, when the villain shows up, a hero is summoned to rise up and face him.

However, so few people want to be the hero. Why? Many do not want to leave their comfortable lives. They would rather live in captivity under the villain than risk stirring him against them. After all, the villain is powerful; to cross him comes with a cost of comfort, popularity, friendships, family, hardships, challenges. So we’d rather lay low and say nothing. We remain oppressed, starved, limited. We still dislike those who rule over us, but we’d take their rule over them taking our lives. We need a hero. We need someone to rise up and face that villain.

I want to point you to two such heroes in the Bible: Gideon and Moses. The angel of the Lord appeared to each of them, to Gideon in person and to Moses in a burning bush. Both of them, very interestingly, had a similar response: “NOT ME!” Gideon was the least of his father’s house. He was a nobody. He had no strength, no power. No one would listen to him. He was like, “No way!” Moses used to be the prince of Egypt. He was a top guy, but he laid his title down to be as one of his own people: a slave. Then after he murdered an Egyptian, he fled into the desert where he lived for 40 years. He was a wanted man where God was going to send him. He was like, “No way!”

Yet God continued to say: “YOU!” In The Hobbit, Bilbo refused Gandalf’s call to join the dwarves on an adventure and Gandalf continued to press Bilbo to go, without forcing him to. Eventually, he caved and joined the dwarves. Both Gideon and Moses resisted God’s call to adventure, and for good reason. Gideon and Israel were so oppressed by the Midianites that Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to hide it. Moses was being sent to the most powerful nation in the world at the time to take away their labor force. But each resisted in different ways. Gideon kept asking for confirmation, confirmation, confirmation. (I will get into that in a few weeks as our study of Judges continues with Gideon and his fleece.) But Moses, on the other hand, kept looking for excuse after excuse after excuse to not do it. With each person, God showed miracles to prove to both that he indeed was God and was indeed calling them for an adventure with him. With God at the lead, Gideon would defeat the Midianites and Moses would smite the Egyptians.

What about you? What about me? Is God calling us to an adventure? The answer is a resounding, “YES!” God wants to have a relationship with us and the walk with Jesus is an adventure. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ to be my Savior when I was seven years old. I was born again that day, and it has been a great adventure since. But the last two and a half years have been an even greater adventure. Three years ago, my church did a Wednesday night summer service series and I got to wrap it up with a fencing demonstration, preaching about the Israelite War Cry: Rak Chazak. That night, I was baptized as an adult (I had already been baptized as a child, signifying my acceptance of Christ), signifying a new calling God had for me. Later that fall, God connected me with Worldview Warriors and I got accepted to join the Cadre at the Creation Truth Foundation. That January, the new adventure began.

My walk with Christ has grown more in the last 2 ½ years than it had in the previous near 25 years. It would not have happened apart from all those years building the foundation, but I have matured more in these last 2 ½ years than I had any clue I could. It has not been without hardships. It has not been without challenges. It has not been without getting beat up and bruised. But it has been fun overall and I would not take it back for the life of me.

God has called me to another adventure in the last month. This is like a detour of my current one, and one that is absolutely necessary for me to take. One area where my life has flat out not been great is a prayer life. If I had a weakest area of my Christian walk, having that one-on-one personal time with God would be it. I have been reading the Bible all but every day for the last couple years. I am on my third straight through reading of the Bible right now. But reading the Bible and praying have not exactly gone together. This summer when my church started a study series on prayer, God put his finger on my heart and did not let up. I had to work on that area… and very likely, I need to get this in good discipline and consistency before he can take me further on this adventure. Like Gideon and Moses, I too have resisted this call to adventure, but like with Gideon and Moses, I was going either willingly or kicking and screaming.

So I have been working on what to pray about, how to pray, and what I need to do in order to pray. The other night, God put a lot of pieces together that have been in my dreams and visions and desires. I have been wondering what my calling of full time ministry with youth is to look like. The other night, God may have shown me the final destination. I may share more about this vision next week.

My challenge to you is this: will you join me in this call to adventure about prayer? Will you take your walk with God to the next level and learn how to pray as God teaches me how to pray? For the next 3-4 months, I will be doing a series on prayer: what it is, how we are to pray, and how we avoid wrong or misleading prayers. I will be learning about prayer as I write about it and seeking to put what I write into practice. I am tired of talking about prayer. I am tired of admiring the great heroes who truly walked the walk of the Christian. I no longer want to sit in the stands. I want to play in the game. Will you join me as I train and practice so when the real game begins, I could be one of God’s starters? So you too can be one of God’s starters? There can be no greater adventure than a journey with God. The battles we fight in prayer are far greater and more epic than any battle we could face in the physical. God is calling us to take an adventure. And I am going. Are you?

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


Shifting Clouds and Red Oorts

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 21, 2016 9 comments

by Steve Risner

After a short break (because life demands it on occasion), I'd like to continue on the topic of the cosmos—this awesome universe we find ourselves in and are blown away by. I mean, the universe is estimated to be about 20 quadrillion cubic light years in volume. I can't imagine a million of something and we're talking 20 million millions... uh... what? And that's just the estimated expanse that we can see! Who knows how large it actually is? No one but God alone, who built this awesome spectacle with His voice. According to Psalm 33:6, God is the star breather. Can you imagine that? A small star like our sun produces more energy than we could possibly use—like 35,000 times the amount we consume, and by “we” I mean all the people on earth that use electricity. So that's sorta big. And He breathed them from His mouth? Anytime you get to astronomical numbers, the human brain has no way to process the numbers we're talking about. A light year, a parsec, an astronomical unit—all these things are beyond our comprehension.

I say all this for a single purpose—to help you realize just how humbling a thing it is to be a human. We are a small little speck of flesh on a small little speck of dust in an ocean we call the universe that boggles the mind and, I'm sure, holds mysteries we haven't begun to imagine. Yet the God of this universe, the One who created this amazing, beautiful, gargantuan, beyond-human-comprehension place cares deeply about each one of us and wants each of us to know Him personally and intimately. That's not saying He wants us to be a part of a group or a society or “church” or organization. It means He wants to know us, period. Religion has a tendency to separate us from God. But He seeks a relationship. If your religion has left you feeling cold or doubting that the God you know created you, I would encourage you to seek a personal contact and call from Him. He's not interested in rituals and ceremony. He doesn't need mindless procedures and rights for you to come to Him. He's right here now with you if only you'd open yourself to Him. Call on His name and surrender to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Okay. Now that I've got that off my chest, let's get into this week's topics. This blog post will be similar to my last one in that it will cover a couple of topics: redshift and the Oort cloud.

What's redshift? Redshift is the shifting of light towards the red spectrum. Light travels as a wave, like sound. Different frequencies give us different colors just as different frequencies give us different tones of sound. If you've ever listened to a race car or an ambulance drive towards you and then pass you, you've heard with sound what we're talking about in terms of light. The pitch is higher and then as the source of the sound passes you the pitch changes to a lower tone. This is called the Doppler effect. The waves of sound get smashed together as the source travels towards you, making the pitch higher. As the source travels away, the waves get stretched out, producing lower sounds. This also can happen with other types of waves like light. If something is moving away from us very fast, it will produce a “redshift,” which means the light will be stretched out producing more of a red light. If the object is moving towards us, it will have a blueshift because it will shorten the wavelength towards the blue spectrum. Redshift is far more common than blueshift, but what is it a result of? Are these bodies simply moving in space? Is space expanding as many cosmologists suggest? Is it something else? There are many theories about this—some with far more acceptance than others. But acceptance is often times the result of worldview. It doesn't mean something is right, it just means it's popular.

There are several alternatives to the theory that do not necessarily correspond to the Big Bang (hence they are not popular). Stellar motion—that the celestial bodies are simply in motion is one very obvious explanation. The result of gravity on light from such enormous bodies is unknown as well. It's suggested that gravity could change the frequencies of light as it travels. There's also energy loss suggested as light travels such huge distances. This is believed to be able to alter the light's frequency. It's also been suggested perhaps light, as it travels such vast distances, slows down a little. This would result, it's alleged, in a redshift as well. I'm not suggesting that the commonly believed idea is incorrect. I am suggesting we just don't know. We really have no idea and to suggest we do means you've confused the limits of science with religious beliefs or philosophy. There are plenty of alternatives and perhaps none of the options I've mentioned is correct. Don't let someone tell you redshift supports the Big Bang and its humanist religion. It's simply not true.

We now move to the Oort Cloud. What's that? A fictitious place Jan Oort, an astronomer, theorized existed to solve the problem of comets. What's that, you ask? Essentially, comets get smaller and smaller all the time. Every time they pass the sun, they lose a great deal of matter. Over the billions of alleged years that the solar system has been here, those comets would have long since been dissolved into nothing. So why do we still see comets? There are something close to 3000 comets that have been tracked—2857 to be exact. That seems like a lot considering the solar system is so old. After almost 5 billion years, there really shouldn't be any left, so they say. But we have nearly 3000 that we know of. That seems like a discrepancy. So what's the answer? Easy: the solar system is only 6000 years old. Okay. That won't work with your average atheist, so here's their rescuing device: the Oort cloud. The Oort cloud is a made up place that supposedly exists beyond the outer limits of our solar system that contains trillions—yes, trillions—of icy fragments that apparently await their turn to dislodge from the group and make a few trips around the sun. I went to a page that had “facts” about the Oort cloud and it was absolutely hysterical. There wasn't a single fact in sight aside from the origin of the name. It was completely void of anything actually factual. It told us what it was and where it was and how it was formed and how much stuff is there, but I couldn't help but notice all the “it's theorized” and “it's believed” comments. In fact, not a single thing aside from the origin of the name was actually observable and scientific. There is literally no such thing as the Oort cloud. At least, if we rely on observation and scientific discovery, no such thing has even been accidentally found. No telescope has seen this place even though we can see billions of light years into the universe. The thing is, the Oort cloud isn't bad science. It's not science at all. It's a fairy tale made up to cover a huge hole in the Big Bang cosmology of humanism. The Big Bang isn't science either. This is what “scientists” teach students in school settings. This is what text books tell students is truth.

This sort of blatant abandonment of ethics and logic and science must stop. It's critical that such ideas be presented as such—ideas. These ideas, although they have no basis in reality in terms of observational facts, are fine to present to students. But let's present them as they are rather than solid science or founded at all. This is one of the most embarrassing issues for deep time proponents. This thing is hilarious to think of, but it's broadcast as a scientific fact. You can find pages called “Facts about the Oort cloud.” There are no facts. None.

The heavens declare the glory of God. God breathed the stars—bodies out in space that, at their smallest, produce more energy than we would need by 35,000 times. He's awesome. The universe is filled with proof of the living God and evidence for His greatness. Stars, comets, galaxies, nebulae—all these things are magnificent. And they demand we fall to our knees and worship the Almighty. Let's worship Him together!

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


God Can’t Be with Us, Right?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 19, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“’But sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.’” ~Judges 6:13

How can we say that the Lord is with us today? Within the past month or so, we have endured some of the worst acts of terror in American history. About a month ago, a night club was shot up by a terrorist that ended up claiming the lives of over 50 people. It was the worst act of terror since 9/11/2001. About a month later, we hardly remember the incident now that two African Americans were shot dead by police officers. In protest, a group known as Black Lives Matter walked the streets of Dallas to raise awareness to their cause. In order to prevent riots from breaking out, or from outside groups stirring up trouble with the group, police officers monitored the situation. In doing so, an angry and militant sniper shot and killed 5 police officers, one of which was serving his last shift on the force before retirement. How can you tell me that God is with us when bad things like this are happening everywhere?

Things are not always as they seem in this world. God is indeed good and God is indeed not far from us. In speaking about God’s plan for humanity, Paul revealed to the Athenians, “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out to him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). Not only is God in active pursuit of us, but he puts us in situations where we can seek him out as well.

In the story of Gideon, we see a classic case of God seeking out the one he loves and persuading him to follow his will. Gideon was hesitant at first because he did not recognize the angel of the Lord and thought that he was crazy for claiming that God was with them. When circumstances are grim, we sometimes question God’s goodness and his presence in our lives. There are three good reasons for that:

1) Original Sin: This taints everything that we do, see, and feel. Original sin is what we have inherited from Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. It affects the whole world and is the reason there is sin, death, and suffering in the world (Romans 5:12-14).

2) The Devil: He has been cast out of heaven. Although it is a time of rejoicing in heaven, it is a time of great distress on earth. He is angry that he has been defeated by Jesus and that his time is now short. As a result, he plans to deceive as many people as he can so that he can drag them down to hell after his failed final bout against God (Revelation 12:10-12).

3) Selfishness: The Apostle Paul writes, “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). When we focus on ourselves, we become our own worst enemy. Jesus’ brother James wrote, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1). When we are self-serving and always looking to secure justice for ourselves when we feel wronged, we create circumstances that pale the severity of the former circumstances. Selfishness, in terms of pride, was the Devil’s sin and his sin has condemned him to hell. In taking part with his sin, we reap hellish consequences.

No, God is here. God is with us. Sometimes he chooses to discipline us for the sake of purging our sins. Other times he chooses to discipline us to teach us how to persevere in righteousness. Gideon learned quickly that God was still with him and, in submitting to his will, Gideon did something great in the name of the Lord.

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


Judges 6:11-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 18, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’
'Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? ’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'
The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?' 'Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'
The Lord answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'
Gideon replied, 'If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.'
And the Lord said, 'I will wait until you return.'” (Judges 6:11-18)

This week, we move into the story of Gideon. You may have heard about Gideon before, but we’re not quite to the “famous” part of his story yet.

In verse 11, we see that Gideon is just a regular guy doing his job when the angels comes to him. It was unusual though, because he was threshing in a winepress. Threshing is the process that separates the actual grains of wheat from the part of the stalk that isn’t wanted, the chaff. Normally threshing would occur in a large open area, because the wind would assist in blowing away the lighter chaff, and the heavier grains of wheat would fall to the ground. Threshing in a winepress would be a lot more work, as more of it would need to be done manually.

So why was Gideon causing himself so much extra work? Go read last week’s post for the longer answer, but in short it was because the Midianites were still oppressing the Israelites. By threshing in secret, Gideon was hoping to keep his crop for food rather than having it be taken away when the Midianites would see him. We see Gideon being timid by hiding his threshing, so it is especially ironic when he is called a mighty warrior by the angel in verse 12. This is a foreshadowing of what will happen in Gideon’s future.

In verse 13, Gideon shares that he felt like the Lord had abandoned them because their present circumstances were so difficult. Is it God’s fault that the people were in such a terrible predicament? Nope - it was Israel’s fault for disobeying God. (Remember, as we saw last week, disobeying God results in being cursed by Him rather than blessed.)

God does not address Gideon’s complaint, however, and instead tells him in verse 14 to go fight for God. It’s not about Gideon’s power, but it’s about his obedience to God and willingness to trust God’s strength. Gideon is not the only person who has thought he’s too weak for the job that God is giving him; Moses acted similarly in Exodus 3, and so did Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8-9. Gideon’s reluctance in verse 15 also resembles Moses’s, but that is the point God is working on making here. God often uses the weak to accomplish His purposes. We see that echoed in the New Testament, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).

As with Moses, God reassures Gideon that He really is sending him (verse 16). Again like Moses, Gideon wants proof from God that it’s really God sending Him on this mission, and God grants him that proof (verses 17-18). Stay tuned for the rest of this story in a couple weeks.

Why does this encounter between Gideon and God matter for us today? We can be assured, like Gideon, that if God sends us on a mission, He will equip us to complete that mission. I’ve often said that if God brings me to it, God will bring me through it. Even if we’re hiding away somewhere doing our threshing in a winepress, God will find us and use us if we’re open to being obedient to Him. We need to be open to what God is leading us to, even if we feel as though we’re not capable enough to accomplish it. Hear God’s voice and obey it, and God will take care of the rest.

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


When Fear Brings Us Low

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, July 16, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

As I write this, the inflamed racial tensions in our country from recent shootings are still palpable. Some are angry and lashing out. Some are angry and reaching out. Some are teaching and reasoning to bring people together. Some are justifying and inciting and driving people apart. And some are hunkered down in safe places waiting for the storm to pass and tempers to cool. But EVERYONE seems to be longing for things to change.

The question is, are we really ready for what it will take for change? For peace? Take a moment and read Judges 6:1-10. Right away, we know what caused the problems with Midian. Because Israel rejected God's ways, God allowed Midian to dominate them. And the Midianites were ruthless in their oppression of Israel.

Midian would take all the produce from the fields of Israel and leave them with nothing - not even livestock. Verse 6 says Israel was brought very low. The Hebrew word used there for low means to be weak, poor, needy, and decreasing in number.

  When they get desperate enough to cry out to God for help, do you see what He focuses on? Look at verse 10: "I said to you, 'I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not listened to my voice [obeyed me].'"

Israel had stopped listening to God and they stopped trusting Him, which means they stopped following Him and had no confidence in His teachings or power. And when the Midianites came to bully them, they did not look to God; they responded in fear and ran to hide in caves. It was only in their most desperate moment that they cried out to God.

Why do we wait until fear has driven us to the brink of death to reach out for God?

Our nation has continued to see the results from godless living, godless choices, self-focused gratification, and a fear-based reactive mindset that is pervading every corner of our culture. We have become over-sensitized and profoundly aware of every vibration of social media, marketing, and socio-political propaganda, and we have become numb to God. The Church in America continues to shrink, and I believe it is because we have begun to hold more fear/reverence for the power of ungodly ideologies and agendas than we have for God Almighty. We have become afraid to live God's way openly and boldly, we have become afraid to speak the name of Jesus, and we have become afraid to share the reason for the hope that we have, because we fear the consequences more than we trust His power and promises.

Until we get our eyes and our lives focused back on Jesus, the killing will continue, the mistrust and violence will continue, and the rampant immorality and corruption will continue. I hear people saying how "bad" things are. But I think I am still hearing the fear taking us lower and lower. I am not certain yet if we as a nation have realized how low we are and how desperate the hour is.

It's time to cry out to God and let Him confront us on where we have departed from Him. It is time to humble ourselves, seek an audience with God, and turn away from our self-centered and evil ways. And He WILL hear, He WILL forgive, and He WILL heal our land.

Will we seek God together today, and let Him heal our land?

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


I’m Offended

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 15, 2016 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“You can’t tell me that! I’m offended by that claim! You need to be more tolerant of those who don’t agree with you!” Standard mantra today, is it not? I do not know of a single period in history when any people group of any nation of any time period that is so easily offended as Americans today. A bakery denies a customer of service because they wanted them to do something they could not agree with, and they were sued out of business because denial of the service OFFENDED the two men. A white man with mental issues shoots up a black church and the Confederate flag is banned and a TV show is cancelled. Countless terrorists shout “Allu Akbar!” as they blow up a city, shoot up a bar, shoot up a military base, and there is nothing but silence lest anyone offend any other Muslim.

Christians are told to keep their message quiet because it offends people, yet the same people have absolutely no qualms about offending the Christians. To avoid offending an extremely tiny population, a major retail store opened its bathrooms to those who do not know which gender they are, and in the process they opened themselves to extremely dangerous situations where girls can be raped easily and cannot do anything about it because the man is “transgender.” In 1944, 18-20 years olds stormed the beaches of Normandy and boldly and bravely faced death head on and took the beaches. Today, the same age group has to have “safe zones” on college campuses because they are so pathetically weak and the slightest comment could “harm” them.

But what is at the root of all this? Why has an entire generation lost every bit of spine they had, have no courage, no backbone, no strength, and have become the weakest and most pathetic generation that has ever lived (according to Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation)? Here is the real reason, but before I say what it is, do note that I am going to bring this around and apply it to you and to me. Because I am part of this generation. I am at the head (age-wise) of it.

The real reason so many of us are so easily offended is because we have sin. We have our sinful, selfish, self-serving flesh that wants to be in the position of God. That was the first lie told in Genesis 3: “And you shall be as God.” In Psalm 51, David confesses that he was born in iniquity. He was born into sin. Each and every one of us has been born into sin. Some of you may say, “You do not know my heart.” That is true; I don’t know it. But I know what the Bible says of it. In Jeremiah 17:9 it says that the heart is deceptive and wicked. We all are born with this sin. This ugly, selfish, arrogant, hateful, and so easily offended flesh.

Part of the issues is that none of these people ever grew up. They have adult bodies but inside, they are still toddlers. How can I say such things? Look at a two-year-old. Give him something he wants and he’s fine. Take it away, and watch the hatred and the anger flow. So many adults are absolutely no different than a toddler in a grown-up body. Same attitude. Gimme, gimme, gimme. And don’t you dare take it away. It’s sin. It’s self. It’s self-pleasing.

Now let’s focus more inward. How many of us have heard a sermon from a preacher that is extremely sound and Biblically rooted and reveals the glory of God, and we are offended by it? Paul Washer tells of a time where he was asked to preach a series on the attributes of God. Washer wisely cautioned that pastor that he did not know what he was asking, because if he got started on the holiness of God, the justice of God, the goodness of God, and how God must punish sin, one of the biggest donors to the church would stand up and say: “I could not worship a God like that.” How many of us get offended by what the Bible says, to the point where we conveniently avoid it?

One area I have found to be greatly offensive today is not about a moral issue but about Creation. If you want to watch sparks fly, watch a young earth creationist speak about the Bible with authority. I was in a Facebook group, which I will not name, that got me started into online apologetics. They started out pretty sound, but as time progressed, one thing I noticed was how easily they were offended when the Bible was spoken of as the chief position of authority. The origins “debate” is not what determines if you are saved or not, but it very easily illustrates and draws out where people stand. When I wrote about “A Hill Worth Dying On,” I would see people proclaim they believe the Bible but if you point out in the Bible an area where they are wrong, they get offended and defensive in an instant. These are Christians I am talking about. Defenders of the faith. The ones trying to teach others how to be Christians. I presented the Bible with authority and they were OFFENDED by that. They got aggressive, repeatedly, so I left the group.

Now, I am going to be very clear that I am not innocent of any of this. I am not going to stand here and point out everyone else’s faults as though I have it all figured out. I’m guilty too. Where have I been offended? Throughout my entire life, it has been offensive to me for any established rule to be broken and I would let anyone know if they did. If a teacher went over the bell for a few seconds, I would let her know. My worst tantrum as a kid was not because I was denied something I want, but because my babysitter put me to bed 30 minutes LATE. As an adult, I’ve written about things that have offended me. It is usually stuff that is not being done right, when it could be done right. I still get offended when I see an atheist post something about Christians that they have no clue about (when they should if they have been about for a while). I get offended even more so when I see someone proclaiming to be a Christian and then siding with the world against those who stand on the authority of Scripture. Should I get offended by that? No. The heathen truly do not know any better. They truly do not know their right hand from their left, while proclaiming to be the leading experts on anything, let alone Christian doctrine. The goats think they are sheep, but I need to learn how to let the Shepherd separate them. Mark them? Yes, but let the Shepherd do the separating.

I want to wrap up this post with this. The reason for all this offense is our sin, our desire to be right, our desire to be in charge, and our desire for things to go our way. That is sin and that sin needs to die. Paul repeatedly speaks of that through Romans – death to sin and life with Christ. I need to continue to nail my sin to that cross so it may die with Christ in his death. The only thing that should offend me is what offends God, and I need to respond to that offense as Christ responds to it. If we want to see courage return to the body of Christ, we need to be rid of our sinful self and let Christ be Christ in us. Let us stop being offended. Let us stop serving our sinful self and having to stop and feed it and soothe it everything it gets “hurt.” Instead, let us be offended when we turn to feed that sinful self and instead serve Christ, even when it hurts.

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


Tell Me Twice

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, July 12, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“But you have not obeyed my voice.” ~Judges 6:10

Mark Gungor is a pastor and a marriage/relationship specialist. He has a unique sense of humor that reaches the hearts of believers and non-believers alike. He uses illustrations of his own relationship with his wife to identify with other men in the audience. One phenomenon that he described was how men often don’t do what their wives tell them to do because they cannot remember being told to do something. This problem got so bad in Mark’s own relationship that he consulted a doctor that specializes in hearing. After finding out that he could hear most sounds that only dogs can hear (hahaha), he decided to pay close attention to his wife as she would speak to him.

Ultimately, the following example does not apply in all relationships but will serve to illustrate a lesson we should learn from Scripture. His wife came into the room where he was and she started speaking to him. She then left the room and went to the next room over and was speaking to him. She then proceeded to go all the way to the other side of the house, do the laundry, and even stuck her head in the dryer to pull out close and proceeded to talk to him all the while he sat in the same room in which he started. He made mention of this to her and she responded, “Well, you don’t listen anyway!”

In the Hebrew culture, hearing a teaching from a rabbi was something special. Rabbis were highly respected people, and when you had the privilege to hear one of them speak, you listened intently and then you did whatever it was they said to do. If you did not respond with action, you were said to have never heard what they said. If you hear what a rabbi says and take action, why would you hear the Word of the Lord and not obey, unless you did not hear?

It was not that the people of Israel did not literally hear what God said, they simply refused to either pay attention or to obey the command of God. In Judges 6, God calls them to task by reminding them what he had done for them and how they in turn refused to obey his commands. This is definitely a pattern in the book of Judges. Once again, Mark Gungor can help us out with the rest of his illustration concerning why men “don’t listen.”

He found some studies that revealed that men do not respond the way their wife wants them to the first time she asks. If she wants him to do the laundry, typically she’ll need to ask him two or three times to do it before he actually obeys. He wanted to verify this statistic, so he asked some women at his church about their husbands.

He went to the first woman,
Mark: “Do you have a hard time getting your husband to do what you ask him to do?”
Woman 1: “Pastor, you have no idea…” (she gives an example).
Mark: “How many times did you ask him to do that?”
Woman 1: “Once.”
Mark: “Why didn’t you ask him a second time?”
Woman 1: “I shouldn’t have to.”

Mark: “Do you have a hard time getting your husband to do what you ask him to do?”
Woman 2: “Pastor, you have no idea…” (she gives an example).
Mark: “How many times did you ask him to do that?”
Woman 2: “Once.”
Mark: “Why didn’t you ask him a second time?”
Woman 2: “I shouldn’t have to.”

Mark: “Do you have a hard time getting your husband to do what you ask him to do?”
Woman 3: “Pastor, you have no idea…” (she gives an example).
Mark: “How many times did you ask him to do that?”
Woman 3: “Once.”
Mark: “Why didn’t you ask him a second time?”
Woman 3: “I shouldn’t have to.”

Mark’s take away lesson from this illustration: Women, you have to ask your husband more than once!

Now, in relation to Judges, there is this pattern of God disciplining his people over and over again. He blesses them and they are blessed, they rebel and fall into sin, they get into trouble, God shows them grace and rescues them. This happens over and over. Just like men, mankind is a hard-headed creation! It takes multiple rounds of discipline and reminders to get us to obey God’s laws. We are able to display obedience quicker, but bad habits die hard. Hebrews 12 cites Proverbs and Psalms when its author wrote, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (verses 5-6).

When we get trapped in sin, we can count on God to discipline us. Often times we repent, but we then fall into the same old trap with our sin. In those cases, we can expect God to discipline us again. He is patient with us and we need to be quick to learn from his discipline and take heart in that God only disciplines us because he loves us. That is why he allowed Israel, in its sin, to suffer oppression. That is why he allows us to suffer hardship, whether we are growing in faith or overcoming sin.

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


Judges 6:1-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 11, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.’” (Judges 6:1-10)

Remember how earlier in the book of Judges we talked about the repeating pattern of sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence? Well, it’s back! After the 40 years of peace Israel experienced following their victory over Sisera’s armies, Israel again falls into the trap of not following God.

In the first part of verse 1, we see Israel sinning again. We don’t know details of that sin, but it’s enough to say that they “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” The specific sin is relatively irrelevant, since all sin is evil in God’s eyes and causes us to be separated from Him.

In the second part of verse 1, we see that Israel ended up in slavery to the Midianites because of their sin. But this wasn’t any regular slavery; we see in verses 3-5 that both the Midianites and the Amalekites had invaded Israel’s territory. They were killing Israel’s crops and livestock, hoping to cause them to perish for lack of food and animals. This judgment that Israel received from the Midianites and the Amalekites was so bad that all they could do was hide in the hills.

What did Israel do to deserve this terrible treatment? Well for one thing, they did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so they deserved a punishment for that evil. But also, this curse was predicted back in Deuteronomy 28:31: “Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them.” This entire section of Deuteronomy 28 lets Israel know what will happen if they disobey God, and there’s definitely a lot of bad stuff in there.

The pattern continues with Israel calling to God for help (supplication). We see in verse 6 that their situation got so bad that they finally decided to turn back to God. And when they did so, in verse 7, God sent them a prophet to help them out. The last time they cried out to God, He sent them Deborah and they were delivered. This time, however, God sends a prophet who doesn’t immediately deliver them but instead shows them their sinful ways.

Who is this prophet? We really don’t know, since not much description is given of him. But we do know that in verses 7-10, the prophet reminds Israel of how they have continually disobeyed God by worshiping the gods of the Amorites.

In this passage, we don’t see Israel get to the point of being delivered and having silence or peace in the nation for a period of time. For now, they need to realize that their actions have consequences.

This passage brings to mind for me something that I was taught a number of years ago. I went to Christian schools, and I’ll always remember some teachings that my high school freshman year religion teacher taught us. (Shout out to Mr. Gerlach at Lutheran High Westland!) He would often write on the board “O = B” and “D = C.” What does that mean? It’s really a shortened form of God’s natural law. If we Obey God, we’ll be Blessed (O = B). If we Disobey God, we’ll be Cursed (D = C). That’s how things worked for the Israelites back in the Old Testament, and that’s how they work for us today as well.

We do have God’s grace, especially after Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, But God’s natural law is still how the world works. O = B and D = C; if we obey God, we’ll receive His blessing on our lives, but if we disobey God we’ll likely receive a curse. Which equation do you want to live by?

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


Face to Face

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 10, 2016 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

I was thinking about when we meet Jesus face to face, he won’t ask us about what the church did or didn’t do. He won’t ask us about what the pastor said or did. He won’t ask us about the people who hurt us.

I believe we will be accountable for our own actions and He will ask us about our words, the people we helped or didn’t help, and the condition of our heart. When we meet Jesus face to face we will be accountable for our own actions, not the actions of others.

Have you been caught up in your own hurt, allowing others actions to steal your focus from Jesus and living your life for him?

When you say things like, “Well, I can’t go to that church because so-and-so is there.” Or if we slowly pull away from The Lord because one of his children has hurt us, we are allowing our hurt by others to cause a distance in our relationship with Jesus. When we allow the enemy to trip us up in this way, we aren’t hurting the other person; the person who loses is us.

I understand what it feels like to be hurt by Christians. I am not down playing your pain. What I am saying is, that person will be held accountable for their actions one day, as will you.

Give your pain to Jesus and stop dwelling on the hurt. It will free you to move on in your relationship with the Lord and release you from the bitterness and anger that can so easily consume us.

Remember, when we meet Jesus face to face we are accountable for our lives. Did we share the gospel message in our actions and words? Did we show love? Did we strive to live as Christ lived?

Let’s examine our lives and remain focused on Jesus so that our lives reflect him, and when we meet him face to face we will know we gave our best.

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


Is "Normal" a Dangerous Thing? 

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, July 9, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

A disoriented person is incredibly vulnerable. We know this. And when we feel disoriented we do everything to convince ourselves we are in control, we know where we are, and some familiar landmark must just be up ahead.

Just imagine having amnesia and not being able to remember the things that help you be aware of your identity, your location, your home, or your reason for living. You would be dependent on feelings, and the input from people around you to try and figure out who you are and what to do. But you have no memory of experiences to help you know if those feelings or the people are trustworthy. You would be in need of something to orient you in regard to space, time, culture, purpose, morality, etc.

When teenagers and young adults are discovering and exploring their own thoughts and actions, there is confusion and disorientation, because they have not had the life experience to help them filter their thoughts and actions in healthy ways. If their natural process of discovery is interrupted by unhealthy ideologies or advice, it is incredibly difficult for them to discern. When they receive advice that says, "Try everything," they may not have any experiences to help them see the dangers of that philosophy.

The same is true for adults. When people forget what is good, right, or true, then there is confusion and disorientation around what is moral and what is not. We may be able to gain enough information to create a relative "normal" based on what we hear or learn, but it is insufficient. No human experience is capable of seeing from a large enough perspective to discern fully what is best in every situation.

Take a moment and read all of Proverbs 2. Notice the father giving advice to the son. Is he telling his son to look even beyond his dad's knowledge? In fact, he says that the son should discover and know God so that, "...you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways." (Proverbs 2:9-15)

In order to know what is best, we need to seek greater than human wisdom and knowledge, because our knowledge is transient. What we know, and what we choose to remember, slants our perspective and shades our ability to see clearly what is good. A strong emotional story can cause us to drift from a moral absolute into making exceptions, and then eventually considering what is immoral to be good. Our ability to set our own norms is limited. The limited human definitions of "normal" have an inherent danger of being short-sighted and biased toward comfort and immorality.

When we look to God's Word for His insight and His wisdom, we are able to see what is truly moral and immoral. Why? Because He sees it both from our perspective and from His eternal perspective. God has the insight and the timelessness to connect all the actions and reactions and see what is truly good, what is truly sinful, and what is truly evil. God's "normal" isn't dangerous to us, but is it dangerous to our selfishness and to our immoral desires.

So, you may be a teenager exploring the universe of your experiences to try and find some direction and orientation to your existence. You may be an adult adrift in the voices of our culture telling you all kinds of stories and studies and pseudo-science. Please recognize you are constantly having people and companies trying to sell you their version of "normal." You may even have religious people, or socially-minded religious people, giving you their version of God's norms.

But God's ways are unchanging, His perspective doesn't shift, and what He says is good and right and true, always is. How we live that out in each culture may look slightly different, but the core moral principle will not change and will not call something sinful or evil, good.

Whatever is good, or right, or true, or excellent, or praiseworthy, we are to think on these things, and God promises to be with us as we keep our thought oriented on Him (Philippians 4:8-9). We know what is good by learning God's Word. We live what is good by adjusting our lives to His norms. We keep what is good by sharing His love and truth with others.

Will you check your norms and make sure they are oriented toward God's? How are you helping disoriented people?

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


Do Not Doubt in the Dark

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 8, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The other day I found a sermon on YouTube by Adrian Rodgers on how to deal with situations when nothing seems to make sense and it really stood out. Rodgers speaks about Joseph in Genesis 39-42. Here is a brief summary of this young man’s life in these chapters which took place between ages 17 and 30: in a 13-year time frame, Joseph went from being the favorite of the father out of 12 boys to being betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, brought into a foreign nation, accused of a crime he did not commit, imprisoned for a few years, ignored by the one he said would be released for an additional two years, before finally being brought before Pharaoh and being made second in command to the King of Egypt. Things were not looking good for Joseph as no matter what he did, God made him prosper in all he did but his station kept getting lower and lower first. It did not make any sense and we can get a good hint of the frustration of Joseph when after he tells the cupbearer that he would be released he asks that he is mentioned to Pharaoh so he could get out of prison. How did Joseph keep it up? Why did he remain loyal to God?

Rodgers gave a suggestion: Joseph had dreams earlier in his life, in Genesis 37. He dreamed his brothers would bow before him, then the stars and nations would bow before him. These dreams were fulfilled when Joseph became the ruler of Egypt, where only Pharaoh was above him. Joseph knew these dreams were from God and perhaps they were the anchors he held onto in his times of darkness.

Rodgers gave a quote (source unknown) that resonated with me: “Do not doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light.” When in times of darkness, in times of confusion, in times on uncertainty, in times of un-clarity, do not doubt what you know for sure that God has revealed to you before you entered the dark times. There is one thing that stands out incredibly when in a dark time: a word from God. The Greek word in reference here is “rhema.” I am not talking about a passage of Scripture. That is the “logos,” word of God, a complete expression of what someone intends to say. “Rhema” is the breathed, life-giving, revealed word for a very specific situation.

God still speaks to us today. He did not suddenly stop talking with the completion of the Canon of Scripture. However, anything he says will never contradict what is in the Bible. How does he speak to us? It is not necessarily with an audible voice but with some kind of “sense” deep within us that very specifically addresses our situation. This is what Jesus was talking about when he told the Devil, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We eat a meal and it give us the energy for a short time. However, a word from God, a specific promise for us individually, will keep us going for our life. Joseph had a word that he would one day be a ruler. David had a word that he was anointed as king of Israel. Abraham had a word that he would be the father of many nations and through him all nations would be blessed. They had a promise from God and when times were troubling, they retained a solid grip on that promise and held on.

Several months ago, I wrote about “Getting Slighted.” I had been in a situation where I was doing a job but not getting the recognition of that job. I remember reading the account of Joseph not much before writing that post and God telling me that I am like him in that case. I did my job to the best of my ability, and my administration did not even bother giving me a thank-you for truly saving their hides. The school year is now over and I got a very strong impression from administration that they are not going to hire me for the job I did for all but seven weeks of the school year. I feel like Joseph did. I was being successful in my job; I was doing the best job I could do (nowhere near perfect, but the best I knew I could do with the resources I had) and no fruit is resulting from it.

I will say now what I said three months ago: this situation has been the most trying for me in how I have trusted God. I know that God has called me into full time ministry with youth, but I still do not know exactly what this is supposed to look like. I do know that he directed me towards classroom teaching six years ago, and until I have another word from him, I need to be heading that direction. Then a few weeks ago, I heard something that I do believe was from God: that I would be at this same school for one more year as a substitute and then God would open up a door.

God may require us to take a step back in order for us to launch us forward. He may be doing that with me. Could it be to humble me? Very possible. Could it be to test me? Very possible. I do not know why God would give me so much full time classroom teaching experience this year, only to pull me back and make me settle as a regular substitute. There are many times where God asks us to do things that really do not make a lot of sense to us, but when we see the entire picture, usually in hindsight, it makes absolute sense. God revealed to me in the light that I am to do ministry with youth. At this point, I see myself as a speaker and author being my primary ministry, more than I do a classroom teacher full time. But I may need the classroom experience to get the credentials and experience I need to do my primary ministry better. I have something God has given me in the light. And right now, I am in the dark, with little to no clue where I am, why I am here, or even what I am doing in my current situation. But like Joseph, I see the day coming where God is going lift me into a position where I need to be, whatever it may be.

Are you in a time of darkness or confusion? What was the last thing you know for sure God told you? Go back to that point, grab a hold of it, and do not let go. If you need to obey it, then obey it because God likely won’t give you a next step until you obey the last one he gave you. If God has revealed to you something in the light, do not doubt that when you enter a time in the dark.

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