American Idolatry: Can Family Become An Idol?

In this episode I’m look at whether family can become an idol? Can something that God has ordained as the building block for society really become idolatrous. We spend some time discussing that on today’s show. I’m also experimenting with a new format to the show, so drop me a comment and let me know what you think of the new shorter format.

American Idolatry: How Identity Becomes An Idol

If you are just joining us, you’ve caught us in the middle of a series we started a few weeks back called American Idolatry, where we are looking at some of the idols that are prevalent in American culture. Now these idols can obviously be found in people groups all over the world, but the one’s I’m picking out for the show seems to be especially prevalent in American culture.

Today’s topic is the idol of identity. As we know from the book of Genesis, man was created in the image of God. We were created with a certain identity. Who we are and how we relate to God is wrapped up in our identity. Being made in God’s image has tons of implications and first and foremost it identifies us as like God, but not God. We are made to be like him, but we aren’t him. We are a copy, he is the master.

One of the problems in American culture stems from one of the things that I think makes it great, the old “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” mentality. Americans are known to be individualists. We don’t need anyone else and we can prove it. The problem with this thinking is the face that we are made in the image of a Triune God. Because God is Triune, he is in perfect community within himself. We also should be in community. We Continue reading

American Idolatry: What Does God Say About Sex?

We’ve got a great show in store for you today, first off, we are continuing our new series called American Idolatry. Today’s topic: Sex. (Click play on the player above to listen) Then in our Good News segment, we look at an article about a North Carolina county who declared itself a sanctuary for the unborn. Our Unreached People Group is the Hausa of Nigeria and in Today’s Word, we look at John 11 and the resurrection of Lazarus.

“You have made my heart beat faster, my bride. You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace. How beautiful is your love my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all kinds of spices! Your lips, my bride, drip honey…”

Song of Songs 4:9-11

Good News –

NC County Declares Itself a Sanctuary for Unborn

Unreached People Group –

Hausa of Nigeria

Today’s Word – John 11:17-44

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem,19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

 

American Idolatry: Money

So to kick off this new series on Idolatry, let’s first define the word idol. An idol is anything that you worship in the place of God. When we worship idols we are in violation of the first commandment and quite possibly the second: You shall have no other gods before me and you shall not make any idols. The first commandment covers the big picture: No other gods. An idol is something that we make into a god. Now some, like in Bible times, were actual items of worship, like a golden calf or in our time and buddha statue. Other idols could be ones that we can’t see, like the Sun God Ra, or in today’s case – Money.

You’ve heard the old saying, Money is the root of all evil right? Well, that’s not the actual saying, the real saying is the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Money, like many things, is not inherently evil by itself, it’s our love and worship of it that makes it the root of evil. People for ages have worshiped at the foot of money and yet walked away broke and lost. Others have amassed fortunes of it, only to realize that it cannot be taken with them to the grave.

Jesus himself had a lot to say about money. Jesus seemed to talk about money more than just about anything else. Out of 40 parables, he spoke on money at least 11 times. This tells us how important money was to Jesus. But why? I think Jesus spoke on it so much because he knew our hearts. He knew that this is an area for struggle for most people.

I think most people find it easier to trust God with their health than their money. People find it easier to trust that God will take them to heaven than trusting God will take care of them financially. We tend to spend most of our lives worrying about money, especially if you aren’t rich. And all of this worry is really another form of worship. We worship Continue reading

Child Abuse and Church Coverups

 In this episode we discuss a recent child abuse scandal within the church. In our good news segment, we talk about a group who raised $57k for the abused and homeless. Our Unreached People Group is the Japanese of Japan. Today’s Word comes from John 10.

LINK TO NEWS ARTICLE

LINK HERE – Published letters discussed on today’s show.

Good News –

Over 12,000 Students Raise 57K for Abused Women, Homeless

Unreached People Group –

Japanese of Japan

Today’s Word – John 10:22-42

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

No Miracle? No Problem.

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what happens when God doesn’t move…when He doesn’t perform a miracle…when he doesn’t heal someone. How do we handle that?

I know when I read the Bible my faith is built up. I see these awesome miracles being worked among Jesus and his disciples and it just gets me excited! I want to go out and pray for some sick people, I want to see something amazing happen. But I know that reality is, sometimes when you pray for someone, nothing happens. Or, nothing that we can see happens. Sometimes you just pray. And the person doesn’t get better. In fact, sometimes they die.

Some in the church would decry this type of “realistic” thinking as “stinkin’ thinkin'” or they would chastise me for my lack of faith. And I get it, we are told to have faith and to believe no matter what the outside looks like. I get it.

But today, I was struck by a small paragraph in the Bible about John the Baptist.

40“Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.” John 10:40-42

Here we read that even though John the Baptist never performed a sign, all that he said about Jesus was true. When I read this, I was struck by that testimony. And I started to pray. I am praying that even if I never see another miracle from God in my lifetime, all that I speak about Jesus would be true!

What a testimony to have! We are called to have faith and we are commanded to pray for the sick so that they can be healed, I never want to stop doing that, but more than anything, how precious would it be for Jesus to say all that you said about me was true!

I know my proclivity to sin. I know my shortcomings. I know where I fail, but oh that I might testify of Jesus with such accuracy that others would say this of me! When we testify of Jesus truthfully, others notice. And in that place, that place of honesty and truth, many will believe in Jesus.

 

Three Ways to Overcome Unbelief

In this episode we explore three ways to overcome unbelief. Our Good News segment is about a mother who changed her mind mid-abortion to save her twins. Our Unreached People Group are the Yadav of India. And Today’s Word comes to us from John 10.

Good News –

Mother Changes Mind Mid-Abortion

Unreached People Group –

Yadav of India

Today’s Word – John 10:11-21

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

How Great the Father’s Love For Us!

Today is Father’s Day. A day that we celebrate Father’s, the men who shaped our lives and loved us with unconditional love. Well, that’s what we’d like to celebrate, but reality is, most of us did not have a dad like that.

Perhaps you grew up in a home where your father was absent. He just wasn’t around. Or, perhaps your father was violent or abused you. Perhaps you grew up in a fairly normal household and your father was a mixture of good and bad. Or maybe your father drank too much. Or simply didn’t care.

No matter how you may characterize your father, it doesn’t mean your heavenly father is at all similar to your earthly father. If you are a Christian, you are told that you have been adopted into the family of God. Notice the word adopted. You are legally joined to God via adoption. This isn’t just a good idea or a nice thought, this is a legally binding transaction. You are now apart of God’s family.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1st John 3:1

We are God’s children. And what an amazing thing that is to think about! God himself is our father. And unlike our earthly fathers, He is perfect. He truly is a good father who cares for his children.

Too many times we relate to God the way we relate to our earthly fathers. We think that just because our earthly father didn’t want to spend time with us, that means our Continue reading