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#Healthyfaith Twitter Chat: Anxiety

Every Thursday night at 6:00 PST there is a chat that is facilitated on Twitter under the hashtag Healthyfaith. each week there is a topic that is talked about between whoever wants to chat and interact with others about various topics and ideas. 

As it happens I missed the chat on anxiety so I decided to write the questions and answers here so they could be read and to invite you join in next Thursday. 

Bible word ANXIOUS is confused by many. Bible says “Don’t be anxious.” Php 4:2. Why God consider anxious bad? 

At the foundation anxiety is a lack of knowledge of God Himself. When we don’t remember who God is and what he has done, we can fall into believing that God is not able to do what only He can do. 

The Hebrew and Greek Bible word ANXIOUS literally means “to worry or be uneasy.” What are some of the causes of anxiety?  
The main cause is unbelief. This is why when Jesus speaks about worry is it tied to what we believe about God. 
Sometimes we are anxious because of guilt. See Psalm 38:18. How can guilt cause anxiety? 

The idea that I have a debt to pay that I will be unable to pay ought to cause us to despair. Once again I think we see that anxiety comes from a wrong idea of God. If we think God is unable to save then we will be anxious. 

What does being anxious say about being close to our Lord? 

That we may not be as close to Him as we may think. We have wandered off and started doing things in our own strength until we find out we have no strength and freak out. Our anxiety can be sign that we need to return to our savior and trust in Him again. 

When are you most anxious? Under what kind of circumstances?  

Fortunately I don’t suffer from anxiety much but I find that when I allow times of uncertainty to have sway in my mind I can become anxious. I need to be reminded that just because I am uncertain doesn’t mean that God is out of control. 
Why was Jesus able to overcome being anxious when he was under all the pressures we have plus more?



Because unlike us He had a perfect faith and understanding of His Father. We in our sinfulness forget God. Jesus never forgot His Father. One another note Jesus said He lays His life down and can take it up again. All the pressures that come to Christ were in His control. Unlike us He had the power and authority over things whereas we don’t. 
What are some ways we can effectively help someone who often experiences anxiety?

Remind them and work with them to remember who God is and what He has done for us. We must remember that Jesus has saved us from the worst of problems, that is our sin, and is able to save in all circumstances. 

God Bless,

Luke Lemberg 

Apologetics and Culture: Superheroes

Our culture has become infatuated with all things superhero. I have been a fan for a long time and now a young me can finally roam about freely because of this shift in the culture. Why is this a fad in our time? I think it is because superheroes and their stories relate to us at a deep level. It may sound strange to say this but I think that every time people watch a superhero movie, they have a profoundly spiritual experience. Now you need to hear me out. The movies and games and comics that come out make tons of money. People are spending their hard-earned cash to see these things and I wonder why that is? What are the elements that speak to us? I figure that there are three things that people relate to.

  1. There is something that is greater than humanity.

In cultures throughout the centuries, people have written and created stories about humans who were exceptional. Some were gods, some demigods, some from another world. The legends of our time are that of superheroes. From DC to Marvel we see heroes that come from the same places that the myths of old come from. Some heroes are even those pagan myths brought into our time to help with the troubles that we are in to today. In the end, I believe, we as humans like to think that there is something out there that is greater than us. We also like to think that these things are also good. These heroes are essentially a picture of God that we want to create for ourselves. The Bible tells us that the God of the universe is far greater than us, and that goodness is His character. In the Book of James, he writes that “there is no variation or shadow of turning.”(1:17) John also points to this when he says that “God is light and in Him there is not darkness at all.”(1 John 1:5) We must understand that every superhero, no matter how regular they may appear, is exceptional and superior in some way. Some are literally super human, but some are just higher intelligence or faster or more qualified in some way. These heroes also do what they do not for themselves but for a greater cause. They save the day knowing that they will never be able to be fully and properly thanked for everything that they have done. For most people this the epitome of good. God in the same way has done everything that needs to be done to reconcile the world to Himself. He is the ultimate force, form, and source of good in the universe. Deep down everyone knows that this is the truth, but because in our hearts we hate God, we exchange the truth for a fiction, and put merely a greater human in His place.

  1. Every superhero fights a supervillain.

In the universe of superheroes there are dark forces at work in the shadows. There are enemies that no ordinary man could possibly fight against and prevail. Although we may give out names like Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, and The Joker, there really IS a force that is at work in the world. In the Bible it is called sin and death. They are the great destroyers of the creation and bring about corruption, destruction and doom wherever they go. We are not able to break free of sin no matter what we do. We are not strong enough to beat death, no matter how strong we think we are. We need someone to save us from these enemies that are against us. In fact, we can take it one step further and ask ourselves, “what is the goal of most super villains?” It is to enslave humanity and bring it to its knees. The thing is  sin  already has enslaved humanity. We are slaves unable to free ourselves from its ownership. (Romans 6) The world fell into slavery and there is only one that can save us. Jesus came down to pay the ransom to buy us from that ownership of sin. That is why we are to remember that we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to Christ, which is the essence of being truly free. “While we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) Because we are unable to save ourselves for we do not possess the strength required to do such a thing, Jesus became that hero for us. Another thing is that for most super villains there is a great cost to be paid if he/she is to be beaten. Most of the time the hero of the story must do something that will cost them more than they are willing to give up, but must for the greater cause. We call this a sacrifice. Whether this is the cost of a loved one or the cost of their own life they must be willing to sacrifice something for the sake of the people that they are trying to save, or the sake of the greater cause. I think you can see where I am going, for “…in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” One thing that some heroes have to struggle with is that sometimes the villain points out something that is true. For example, humanity, in the pain and suffering that causes upon itself, may not really be worth saving. This is true, but God loves His creation in spite of how it rebels against Him every chance that it gets. God does what He does for the greatest of all causes, which is His Glory. I think we are starting to see how this relates to what all people everywhere know about God that is manifest in them, but suppress that knowledge.

  1. Good Always Wins.

We can be honest with one another, our favorite part of these stories is that no matter how hard the fight is, the good always comes out on top. The bad guy may be able to do what he wants for a while but eventually the hero will save the day. It may be an uphill battle the entire time but the hero will eventually reach the top of that hill. It is fascinating that when we look at the entire story of the Bible that we see there will be a day that God himself is going to set everything right. All the things that are wrong with the world are going to be made right. Justice will finally be served to all those that are going to receive their due. Jesus is going vanquish all evil and everything that is against Him. In fact, Paul the Apostle told the men at Mars Hill, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained.” (Acts 17:30-31a) I think that this is one of the greatest truths that all Christians can rejoice in. Knowing that God is going to set all things right allows us to endure the trials and tribulations that we face in our lives. It allows us to proclaim like Paul, “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Satan, the Flesh, and the World are one day going to be done away with and cast into the outer darkness and God Himself will reign on the earth in complete and total victory.

If you are not in Christ and reading this I hope you see that this genre has come from something that is already known by you. This is why the Bible says that humanity “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) and it is because of this truth that you are under condemnation, and it is just. We all know enough to be condemned, but Christ has died for those who are in rebellion to Him so they can be reconciled in the best way possible. God the Father has sent Jesus Christ to die in your place so you can be saved. If you repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ, He will be the greatest hero that  you can ever know.

For God’s Glory,

Luke

How Not to Preach: The Springboard

Preaching a sermon consist of two parts: Hermeneutics and Homiletics. Hermeneutics is the process of how to study the Bible, and Homiletics is the study of the best way to give the sermon. Between the two parts we come to understand how to preach and teach the bible in a way that is understandable and memorable. I want to write a couple of posts about mistakes that some preachers make when preaching that very well end with a sure twisting of scripture. A deficiency in either the hermeneutical process of a bad theory of homiletic can bring about bad twisting of scripture. Today’s error is a hermeneutical error called “The Springboard.”

The Springboard works like this. The preacher comes up to the stage and reads out a text, as he does this he may emphasize a word that is in the text to indicate what he wants to talk about. While the word study is being set up the preacher may make some comments about the word that he wants to speak on and then, leaving the text, he lays out his idea of what we ought to be thinking about rather than what the text says regarding the word in context. An example would be like taking the section on the passion of Christ where he yells out, “I thirst!” and making the sermon about how we need to be thirsty for the word. As much as that may be a true statement, that is not why the author of that gospel put that detail in the recounting of Christ’s Passion.

Why is this a bad thing? As I said in my example, this does not always turn into straight up heresy. This is a bad thing because that is not how we are to teach and study the Bible. The springboard method causes the teacher to put into the text something that isn’t there, and then hijack the flow and meaning of the passage. To put meaning into the text is called eisegesis.  The kind of preaching that is dangerous and the cause of most false teaching that we see. It does not matter what you put in, if it was not there before you came to the text, it does not belong there. Even if what you put in is good doctrine, it is always better to teach what is there.

The form of preaching that is most effective and best to bring understanding to the people that we are teaching is called exegesis. Exegesis is the when you get the meaning out of the text and let it speak for itself. Think the difference of the two by remembering the “I” sound like the first letter of “in” and the “ex” sound like the word “exit.” This type of preaching is best because it allows the Bible to guide the flow of thought and give the context and meaning to whatever passage you have before you. A word study is not a bad thing if you allow the Bible to guide and define what is being said, and not making up or putting in our two cents that does not belong there.

I hope you keep this in mind as you go and study your bibles, and may the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Why do we do this?

All churches have a liturgy. To try to say that your particular church doesn’t have liturgy is to not understand the meaning of the word. In a simple sense, liturgy just means form or order of worship.

Now we can definitely accept that there is a spectrum of worship liturgy from highly formal to casual. Different churches have different views of what is good liturgy. Now what we need to understand is that historic liturgy comes down from the ages as it was passed down from generation to generation, but now in the last hundred years or so, liturgy have become more casual and informal. As this is the trend it is not necessarily right or wrong. Jesus said that His worshipers would do so in spirit and in truth, not in a particular form of style.

So what I want to do is to have us think about the service at the church that we go to. I want us to think about how the service goes and ask ourselves why does our church do what it does?

I want you to understand that there is no wrong answer to this, unless you say “I don’t know” or “that’s how we have always done it.” If you are reading this and you are part of the leadership, there should be a reason, even if the answer does not seem to be a good one. Now if you are not part of the leadership, you may not know and therefore ask a leader in your church. They should have a reason that the service looks the way it does and maybe it would be wise to tell them that they ought to explain those reasons to the congregation.

Historic Liturgy has been around for many years because those that first came up with the liturgy took a lot of time to make sure that everything they did gave the right message of why they were coming together on Sunday. They also took the time to explain what they were doing and why they did it like that. It was not the only style or form at the time but what stood the test of time. That is the basis of why I ask the question, why do we worship the way we do? Those that have come before us took a long time to think about why they did what they did. They had a reason for everything from order of worship to architecture of the church building.

Far too often churches just do whatever for no reason. They no longer think about what the service says about God and rather focus on what people think. I don’t want to put forward the “right liturgy” but I want to suggest that we ought to be Christ-centered and God-glorifying in our service. We have not come for our good per se but have come to sit at the foot of God’s throne and worship Him and learn from His word. Is this the message we give at church in the service?

This is what I want us to think  about: do we have the right focus or are we wandering away from the point? The only way the we wander is if we do not ground our ideas in a particular reason, that ought to be the glory of God and the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.

I want you think about how your church does what they do, no matter if you are in leadership or not, and start a conversation and figure out why we do what we do.

For His Glory,

Luke

 

Revival in Our Time

I have been thinking about what it means to have a revival and I would like to write down some of the thoughts that I have.

First, we need to think about what a revival is. For some it is a planned event and for some it is a process that can bring about a desired end and reach the most people. Revival is a need in the time that we are in but how does a revival begin? Is it possible to create revival? How could we measure whether or not a revival is actually happening?

I would define revival as an event in which the Holy Spirit moves among people to create new life in Christ among a group of people. I want to work through the different points of the definition so that we may think about revival properly and pray for it. i would also like to emphasize that this is a definintion that I have come up with and that I am going to work with.

The first point that I would like to work through is the idea that revival is a move of the Holy Spirit. We are not able to plan and create revival for the schemes of man are not able to bring to life anybody that is dead in their trespasses and sins. The Holy Spirit, however, is the agent of creation and recreation. Without Him, it is impossible for anyone that is dead in sin to be brought to life. No matter how much excitement or persuasion or manipulation you throw into any event it will not bring the lasting result that we hope for. If you think that anyone can be converted through excitement then you are believing a man-centered view of how people come to faith in Christ. Anytime that we are in a position to give the gospel to someone, we must understand that if they are not in Christ they are a rebel against God himself. Only an act of God can take the heart of stone that hates God out and replace it with a heart that beats for God.

The second point that I would like to work through is that revival is something that brings about new life. This is not any kind of life but everlasting life. People who are caught up in a frenzy generally do not last very long when the pandemonium does down. Spurgeon said that something born in excitement soon dies when the excitement dies down. This a very good observation and considering that people bring about music and testimony to bring about the circumstance that will convince someone to say a prayer or sign a card. I am not categorically against these things, but I do think that the temptation is to make those things the end goal as if that is what brings about conversion. Prayers can become forgotten and cards can be thrown away, but if someone is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the effect is eternal. I think that we need to consider that revival is not about the numbers of responses but the preaching of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit in the preaching.

The last point is that Revival is something that happens for a group of people. Now it is true that the word revival just means to bring back to life, which means that anyone that converts to Christ experiences a revival, but I want to talk about it happening on a large-scale, like the book of Acts. Although some of those revivals turned into riots, people were brought to Christ in the midst of the events that took place. All we need to do is just read the Book of Acts to see that even in the most crazy of event, the Holy Spirit was able to reach people. If you are doing evangelism on a regular basis, you know that when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that barks was hit. Sometimes a revival can happen without all of the crazyness, because the important ingredient is not people or a particular preacher but the Gospel proclaimation and the Holy Spirit. All that to say revival can break out anytime or anywhere. It doesn’t need to be some event or planned thing that takes place. There is a great need for revival to break out in a lot of churches today, so the people and go and fulfill the Great Commission to bring the gospel to everyone.

As you read this is hope that at least I have provoked thought about revival and hopefully helped to focus on what to pray for. We can pray for a big move of the Spirit but lets just focus on praying for revival to break out first in our church and then have it spill out into the community.

For God’s Glory,

Luke

Life that Gets Better and Better

And as He spoke to He no longer looked like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And fur us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

-C.S. Lewis from The Last Battle

This morning at the Men’s Study we were looking at the eternality, or infinity of God. The main point that was talked about is that God infinite nature means that heaven is not some static thing, where we reach the height our of joy and happiness, but is something that will continually increase the longer that we are in the presence of the Lord.

As we were talking this passage came to mind. It is the last paragraph in the Narnia Series when all the character are taken to be with God for the rest of eternity. Written as a kid’s book, Lewis does a great job of conveying complex ideas in a way that children can understand, which means that we should be able to grasp what Lewis is saying.

This is a great synopsis of the picture that is given to us at the end of the Book of the Revelation. Unfortunately, we tend to think of heaven as some place where things are great and the stay at that same level. Even more people think that heaven will not be a good as it was on earth. This is a silly thing to think. Heaven is the place that God is preparing for us as a way to showcase His glory for the rest of eternity. The longer that we are in this place the more that the glory of God will be revealed, which means that as the infinite God reveals more of His infinite glory, there will be more and more to see and experience as we dwell with Him.

I think that we ought to take time to consider what we think about heaven and see if it a place that our soul longs to be. If it isn’t, then we need to reconsider what we think that heaven will be.

I think Lewis hits it one the head when he mentions that this life is merely the main cover and title page and the bulk of the story is still yet to be written, where every chapter is better than the last, where ever-increasing glory and joy are found for ever.

For His Glory,

Luke

Trust Your Bible

Protestant theology has a Latin phrase “sola scriptura” as one of its fundamental pillars of baseline theology which stands for scripture alone. In fact, this phrase is part of the reason that the reformers and like-minded men wanted to translate the bible from Latin, which was the language of the church, to the language of the people. You see if everything that can be known of God was given to us by God in the shape of this book, the Bible, then no one can truly know what they should about God unless they can read his word.
Unfortunately, in modern times, we are tempted to doubt the Bible as we are told by people who hate God that His word is no good. Christian, if you doubt that the bible is what history has said it is then let us work through this crucial doctrine and get ourselves trusting the Bible.
The first question we are going to ask is what is the importance of believing that the Bible is inerrant and infallible? Now the scale of saved an unsaved I would not say that this is a salvation issue, but it is important. I reason it like this: if the Bible has errors then 1. Where is it wrong? 2. How do I know what is right? 3. Why would I put my life in the hands of anything that is untrustworthy?

  1. Where is it wrong?

This is generally the first question because it is the easiest question to answer. Not only that but generally the things that are put into question are the things that to us sound out of left field. It is easy to say that a man being swallowed by a fish sounds outrageous but the question is not how believable it is but is it true?
Jesus himself refers to that story by saying that “just as Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days so will the son of man be in the belly of the earth.”(Matt. 12:40) Jesus here is referring to an actual story that actually happened. If Jesus himself was wrong about it then we can’t trust the claims that Christ himself made. I know it sounds foolish to make that jump but it is very important to point that out. Jesus also gives credence to creation and the flood as well as other parts.

  1. How do I know what is right?

The next logical question is that of if there are parts of the Bible that are wrong how then do we know what is correct? Some try to get around the question by saying that the bible, because it is a spiritual book, is correct only in things that are spiritual. Unfortunately, if it wasn’t for parts of the bible trying to be clear that certain events happened at certain times where certain people are in charge, so that we the reader knows what happened and when it happened. We can place not only in the chronological order of the events but to place where in the entire scheme of history it was. All the spiritual truth is backed up by the historical truth. What Jesus did for us spiritually only matters because he did it historically which only matters because earlier in time it was prophesied to happen in a time in history. If Jesus did not physically and historically rise from the dead then all the spiritual things mean nothing, which is the argument in 1 Corinthians 15.

  1. Why would I put my life into the trust of something that is unreliable?

The last question we ask is why the Bible? If we cannot trust things in it then is not as strong as it says it is. The writer of Hebrews calls the word of God sharper than any two-edged sword. The psalmist calls the word of God perfect. The apostle Paul calls it profitable “that a man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” If the bible is incomplete, then we as Christians have no hope of being ready for every good work. Jesus himself that he was the vine and we the branches and without him we cannot do anything. Jesus wants us to trust in him and if he has not given us a reliable sword in which to fight then we are going into battle which we not only can’t but will not win. Jesus has overcome the world and gained victory securing for us the means by which we can be victorious. Not only that but if the bible was not reliable then Jesus is a liar when he says the heaven and earth will pass away before one little bit of the word will pass away.
In conclusion, we can trust that the bible does not have errors because it is God breathed and God cannot make mistakes so His word is also sure to not have them as well. Believe in God and believe in Christ and believe The Word.

For God’s Glory,

Luke