No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: church

US vs. Algeria – US Wins in Dramatic Fashion


WOW! What a game! If you missed it here’s a quick recap… The US dominated play against Algeria but didn’t score the winning goal until the “added time” at the end of the 2nd half. The Yanks HAD to win to advance because England was winning their match against Slovenia… This was a nail biter for sure.

For much of the match it seemed like the US was going to be robbed of a win on a mysteriously disallowed goal, much like they were against Slovenia earlier in the tournament.  Plus, in spite of their best efforts and spectacular opportunities, goals were just not finding the net… However, during the added time Donovan perfectly placed a ball that weakly ricocheted off the Algerian goal keeper after a fabulous US counter striking run on goal. I literally jumped out of my seat!

Like the last dramatic match, this one got me thinking about spiritual stuff… Immediately after the goal was scored Matthew 20:1-16 popped into my head. This is a parable that Jesus told that demonstrates that as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to accept Him and enter the Kingdom of Heaven (by placing your faith and trust in Jesus – click HERE to learn how to do that). Like the US, it doesn’t matter how many opportunities you’ve let slip away in the past… the important thing is that you do it! However, unlike the US, who only faced elimination from a tournament, this decision is the difference between Eternal Life in Heaven and Eternal separation from God in Hell.

Now, some of you may be thinking something like… “I’ll wait until the last minute and accept Christ then, cuz I wanna have my fun now.” That is a dangerous game to play… The US didn’t know in advance how much added time there would be at the end of the match (if any)… That is why they valiantly tried to score all game long – and their desperation became more and more evident as time elapsed – they knew England’s score… they knew that they had to score as well. Additionally, they didn’t know how many scoring opportunities they would get… Similarly, none of us knows how much time we have left here on Earth… nor do we know how many opportunities we are going to have to trust in Jesus… But, like the US, we know that time is running out… God’s patience with you is not leis e fare. In fact, the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Consider this, Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” But He won’t knock forever… Won’t you open your heart to Him? If you do the party that awaits in Heaven is far greater than our mutual rejoicing over the US Soccer team’s win today (see Luke 15:7).

For more details on the US victory click HERE.

Better than the P90X


One of my personal ministry heroes has recently thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak. Robert and I have determined to take him up on the spiritual aspect of his challenge… Below is an edited down version of the G90X plan you can CLICK HERE for the full article.

Robert and I will start tomorrow and we commit to posting weekly updates on Mondays letting you know how we’re doing… We’ll also post random stuff from our G90X experience periodically both on our site and on Greg’s – Will you join us?

1. Go through the Bible in 90 Days.

I’m going to read a lot of it and listen to the rest on CD. One of the things I want to do is to journal my thoughts along the way so that I can write down key insights from the Word of God as I go through it. There is an excellent reading guide on the biblein90days  that I have downloaded to use (you can also read any One Year Bible at a rate of 4-5 of their “days” at a time). Call this the nutrition program for my soul. There’s no better than God’s Word.

2. Spend 90 minutes of concentrated prayer per week

What I mean by this is, not your typical “Good morning Lord” or “thanks for the food” quickie prayers, but concentrated, passionate and intensive worship, supplication and intercession where I spend time in PRAYer (Praising him, Requesting stuff, Admitting sins and Yielding to his Spirit.)

I am a big believer in prayer walking for the simple reason that ADD guys like me have a hard time sitting still. Walking and praying… brings solitude, worship and focus.

3. Memorize 90 Verses.

Yes, that’s right, one verse per day for 90 days. That may sound extreme but when you consider that Jewish boys in Jesus’ day had the first five books of the Bible memorized by the time they were 14. At the bottom of this blog are the verses I’ve chosen to memorize and their categories… (see Greg’s full article for his suggestion on how to do this)

4. Sin attack

I’ve identified two sins in my life (no, I’m not going to share them with you) that I’m going to attack in the next 90 days. Pray for me as I do. Scripture reminds us to search and destroy those sins that hurt our relationship with God.

4. Accountability

If you choose to join me, you can come back to this blog and give me updates and I’ll do the same. Invite your friends to join us! It should be fun, challenging and somewhat painful but, as Tony Horton of P90X fame reminds us, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

By the way, let’s not be legalistic with this. G90X is just an intensive spiritual workout to jumpstart our spiritual disciplines. Remember that those who choose to do it with me are not necessarily more spiritual than those who don’t. You can do all the disciplines in the world and if you are not controlled by the Spirit and fueled through God’s power in your motives it is all wood, hay and stubble.

If you are choosing not to do it (which is totally fine) I challenge you to, at the least, amp up your spiritual disciplines. Maybe this means 9 verses instead of 90, reading through the Bible in a year rather than 90 days, etc. But, whatever you choose to do, do it in the strength that God provides and not the flesh. Some great spiritual pump up advice is found in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power….”

Why do this? For Christ and his cause, THE Cause, to know Him and to make Him known. Let’s be disciples and make them. But for us to do both effectively we must be energized, disciplined and fueled in our own souls. God has given us the Spirit of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) so that we can live and give the gospel to everyone around us out of a heart that overflows with divine power (and huge triceps may intimidate some into the kingdom as well!)

The 90 verses (and the categories they fall under).

7 Warm up verses: 1 Timothy 4:7, 8 and 1 Corinthians 9:23-27

16 Worship verses: Colossians 3:16, 17; Ephesians 5:18-20; Psalm 66:1,2, Psalm 95:6,7; 1 Chronicles 16:23-29

12 Prayer verses: Luke 5:15,16; Matthew 7:7,8; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Psalm 34:15; Psalm 66:18; James 5:16; 2 Thess 3:1

11 Dependence on God verses: Colossians 3:1-4; Galatians 2:20; John 15:1-5; Isaiah 12:2

16 Dive into Scripture verses: Psalm 119:97-104; 1 Timothy 4:13; Psalm 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

16 Sin killing verses: Romans 8:12,13; Psalm 101:1-4; Galatians 5:16-24; 2 Timothy 2:22

12 Fasting verses: Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 6:16-18

The Bible… Is it Historically Reliable?


For years and years skeptics have desperately attempted to disprove the Bible. Their attempts, however, have been just that: desperate… And when a person gets desperate they start throwing out a bunch of garbage hoping that something will stick… Some examples of what they claim:  The New Testament was written hundreds of years after the death of Jesus based on corrupted oral traditions and not by any eyewitnesses of the crucifixion/resurrection, there are Discrepancies in the text…from one book to another… On and on they go, but they are far from the truth.  They have so many outlandish claims against the Word of God there is no way anyone could cover them all in just one blog… so we won’t even attempt… However, from time to time we will try to give a high level response to some of the more common “claims” against the Bible.

A while back Robert posted our first piece on this topic. In this post he briefly mentioned verses where the biblical authors affirmed the authority of and usefulness of scripture… Granted, that piece necessarily contained a large amount of what could rightly be called circular logic (using what the Bible says to claim that the Bible is accurate) – we did that on purpose – If the Bible claims to be perfect and then is proven to be false, then you can chuck the whole thing out the window and every Christian should disavow their faith.

In fact, I will go so far as to say that if the Bible is definitively proven false, I will be the first in line to bail on Christianity – I am not willing to live or die for a lie!

Before any of you skeptics get all twitterpated thinking I’m fixing to have to eat my words, rest assured that I am 100% confident that I will never have to recant my faith in Jesus or the Bible that has told me about Him.

Let’s take a quick look at a couple of the things that have me so securely certain of the Bible.

One of the miracles Christians point to in the confirmation of the scripture is the consistency/preservation of the message of the original texts… The Bible goes far beyond being just a theological book, it is a historical document (i.e. it is a history book)… And it is absolutely the most reliable historical document in every way that historicity of ancient documents are measured.  In other words, there is better support for the accuracy of the Bible than there is for any other ancient historical document upon which modern history books rely to inform us of antiquity.

The reliability of manuscripts are evaluated by the abundance, dating and accuracy – so let’s look at how the Bible stacks up against other ancient writings and histories!

Number of ancient manuscripts: Compare the NT and the OT manuscripts in terms of their number of surviving ancient manuscripts to other ancient works… Plato has 7, 10 copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars, 643 copies of Homer’s works have survived… Comparatively, over 10,000 manuscripts of various OT books have been preserved… over 5,700 full ancient copies of the NT…  

Date of the manuscripts: The Dead Sea Scrolls (OT) have been dated from the 3rd century BC to the end of the 1st Century AD… the earliest NT manuscripts are dated at about 117 to 138 AD. These dates (especially for the NT) are VERY close to the events they have recorded – and the original texts from which these manuscripts were copied were first written between 50 A.D. and 90 A.D. at the latest. Specifically, the Gospels (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which recount the historical story of Jesus) were written within 15 to 40 years of the crucifixion.  It would be no different than a veteran of WWII writing a letter or book about his experience in the war, or of a personal friend or assistant  of Ronald Reagan writing a biography about him today…  Simply put, there is reliability because the manuscripts and the actual letters themselves were written and widely circulated within one generation of Christ – had the claims been false they would have been disproven and rejected by eyewitnesses who were still living then.

How do other ancient writings compare? Other notable documents accepted as historically reliable, in comparison to the NT, have a much wider gap between their origin and the earliest surviving manuscript (i.e. there is a 734 year gap for Tacitus; 900-1100 year gap for various copies of Josephus’ histories; 1000+ year gap for Caesar’s Gallic wars; Aristotle’s works have a 1,434 year difference between their originals and the earliest manuscripts). Again, the evidence for the accuracy of the biblical texts far exceeds that of other ancient documents which are widely accepted as accurate and reliable by scholars world-wide.

Reliability of the manuscripts: For the OT manuscripts (whose extremity of ages span over nearly 1000 years) the texts compare exactly (word for word) in 95% of the verbiage… the only changes can be accounted for as spelling errors and/or pen slips. Of all the variants between the manuscripts there were only a few changes in actual words, but absolutely no changes in meaning. For the NT there is 99.9% agreement between the various manuscripts (again, this is between the thousands of various manuscripts). By way of comparison, the Iliad and the Mahbarata each have 90-95% of agreement between their small number surviving ancient transcripts (The question of textual criticism – i.e. the so-called redactions and/or changes over time to the text will be more fully explored in a later post).

In light of the overwhelming evidence in support of the accuracy and unadulterated transmissions of the original Biblical texts, I don’t plan on abandoning or doubting the biblical record any more than I plan on rejecting the majority of information I learned in my High School and Collegiate history courses (and I had A LOT of them since my second degree was a BA in secondary ed. with an emphasis in Social Studies).

Note:  For more details on the reliability of the Biblical texts, check out Josh and Sean McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter (specifically chapter 6). For one honestly trying to find answers to their general skepticism about God another good place to look is Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God.

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


I’ve been reflecting on graduation and everything that surrounds it.  Partially because I’m a youth minister and a lot of my students are graduating… partially because I just graduated with an MAR from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Anyway, when I get all reflective and nostalgic about graduation, my ADHD mind almost immediately travels to thinking about Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” If you’ve been around any graduations recently, I’m fairly certain you’ve seen, heard or read something about this book… For those of you who aren’t familiar here’s the basic premise:

Someone poetically encourages a young person (presumably their child) who is just about to go out and take on the world… They tell them that they will be great and awesome and do amazing wonderful and spectacularly successful things… except when they don’t, cuz sometimes they won’t… and sometimes they will have to wait for things… and sometimes there will be hard decisions… on and on… It’s a really cute way to say, “Hey, life happens… but I love you and I support you, am here for you and I want you to be successful – Go forth and do your best… I’m with you every step of the way!”

When you think about it, that’s a lot like God… In fact, He said a lot of these same things in His word…

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. ~ Matthew 19:26

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. ~ Psalm 33:20

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. ~ John 15:18-19

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:5

…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10b

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:18-20

So, here’s what my crazy mind takes from Dr. Seuss and these (and other) passages from the Bible…

  1. Whatever we decide to do as an occupation, our life’s calling is to be missional… That is, we are called to share Jesus’ love and work for the Kingdom regardless of how we pay the bills.
  2. Sometimes we are going to fail…
  3. Sometimes our plans and prayers require waiting – but God’s solution is always worth the wait!
  4. Life happens… but no matter what God loves you and will be there.
  5. If you are His child, He will support you and ALWAYS have your back and help you max out your considerable potential!

So, let me encourage you to go forth… take on the world… do your best… God is with you!!! Just remember:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

Who needs a national day of prayer? I don’t.


So…I was doing the unthinkable again…searching for “things” on Google, and came across this article.  It is clear from the article that Mr. Hankins is not a fan of religion.  He abhors (I think it is fair to say) government sponsored religion.  While we disagree on 90% of the argument (perhaps from the 3rd paragraph down) I do agree with a particular point he does make…why do we have a National Day of Prayer?  His point more specifically…and to quote “Any religious group that needs the government to sponsor its religious worship is a feckless flock.  Had I been a member of any of the participating groups, I would have been ashamed.”  Additionally he says “If a religion requires government sponsorship to give it meaning, its God must be the most impotent God ever imagined by the human mind.”  While I disagree with the imagined God part, I believe that Mr. Hankins makes a valid point, and I believe the Bible supports that point.  Why do we need a “national day of prayer”?

First lets take a look at the actual legislation that declares the National Day of Prayer… 36 U.S.C §  119 “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”    

This seems a little off to me.  There is nothing in particular that we are supposed to pray for according to the legislation.  Not to pray for our leaders, or government.  So my question…Why isn’t every day a national day of prayer for Christians?  Do we as Christians REALLY need a national day of prayer or should we be constantly praying for our nation?

 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 provides the clearest answer to these questions.

 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Pray continually.  Now, Kevin recently wrote about prayer. As a matter of fact most of the Bible verses he used for that post can be used here again.

Look at Colossians 1:3-4

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…

Have not stopped praying for you. 

Get the point?  Question:  As Christians, if we are praying continually, and have not stopped praying, why do we need ANY designation of a prayer day.  Shouldn’t we be pushing each other to make everyday a prayer day?  I would much rather prefer that, than having a single day listed as prayer day. Why not lay claim to every day of every year as a prayer day?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The National Day of Prayer is a good thing.  We should take advantage of something afforded to us.  It is a good reason for churches to come together and give focused prayer, a reason for us to be outspoken for Christ’s sacrifice for us. But do we really need this legislation to make that happen?  I guess the bigger question is, given the fact that there is a very real possibility that the National Day of Prayer is over ruled  by the Supreme Court, what do we do then?  Do we lose our reason to come together as the body of Christ for focused prayer?  Do we lose an excuse to be outspoken for Christ?

“But Robert”…some of you will say…”aren’t you worried that losing the National Day of Prayer is just another example of the attempt to remove God from everything?”  No, I am not.  Because the government…as hard as it wants to try, cannot remove God from my heart.  And removing the national day of prayer does not prevent me from praying continually, to not stop praying for others or being outspoken for Christ.  I don’t need the government to tell me it is okay to pray today…I know that already…do you?

A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

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Love your neighbor…except for that guy!


A family of disheveled, unkempt individuals was stranded by the side of a major road on a Sunday morning.  They were in obvious distress.  The mother was sitting on a ruined suitcase, hair uncombed, clothes in disarray, with a glazed look to her eyes, holding a smelly, poorly dressed, crying baby.  The father was unshaved, dressed in filthy cloths, a look of despair on his face as he tried to corral two other youngsters.  Beside them was a rundown old car that had obviously just given up. 

Down the road came a car driven by the local bishop; he was on his way to church.  And though the father of the family waved frantically, the bishop could not hold up his parishioners, so he acted as though he didn’t see them. 

Soon another car, and again the father waved furiously.  But the car was driven by the president of the Young Life Club, and he was late for a statewide meeting of Young Life presidents in a nearby city.  He, too, acted as though he did not see them and kept his eyes straight on the road ahead of him. 

The next car that came by was driven by an outspoken local atheist, who had never been to church in his life.  When he saw the family’s distress, he took them to a local motel, where he paid for a week’s lodging while the father found work.  He also paid for the father to rent a car so he could look for work and gave the mother cash for food and new clothes.

The original parable can be found in Luke 10:25 – 37. Here is how this parable was set up.  A religious expert asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Christ (knowing that he was an expert) basically said “well…what do you think needs to be done?”  The man responded with Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18;  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself”.  That answer was correct.  The expert then asked “and who is my neighbor?”…  You see this “expert” had spent a life time in creating boundaries around who his neighbor was.  While he was trying to trap Christ …Christ had set him up. 

This parable has multiple layers, because not only does it demonstrate that our “neighbor” is anyone, thus breaking the conventional thought of what a “neighbor” is, but it also exposes a hateful heart towards others.  Look at the circa 2010 parable above.  Were you offended that it was a God hating atheist who finally stopped to help the family?  Are you thinking that “surely I, or a member of my church would have stopped”?  The fact that there is discontent and issue with an atheist stopping to help others demonstrates the true nature of our hearts.  Then the question becomes do you truly love your neighbor as yourself?  Even when the neighbor is an atheist?  This, ultimately, was the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. 

The circa 2010 parable was based on a similar story found in “How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth” by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.

Failure is not an option – it happens!


One of the things I’ve tried to put into place in my life is accountability. This is a painful thing often, because it requires people telling me that I’m not doing things perfectly (I really want to think I’m close to perfect – but the sad truth of the matter is I’m not even close). Things have been going fairly good in our church – there’s a lot of positive that’s happening in the church as a whole and in the youth as well, but when stuff goes well I rejoice with one hand and brace for impact with the other.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about integrity… Satan’s attacks… persecution… fighting for the Kingdom of God and other things.

I am consistently wary of how my failings may affect my family, my ministry and other people.  A few years back (okay a lot of years back) DC Talk wrote a song that captures my personal feelings on this matter. The 2nd verse and chorus are particularly appropriate:

Father please forgive me for I cannot compose
The fear that lives within me or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you’ve carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar

Do they see the fear in my eyes?
Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise
All the doubt I’m feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

 

Here are a few things I know:

  • When someone starts making an impact for the Kingdom of God – Satan takes notice and goes after them with everything he’s got (cf. Job; Luke 22:31-32; esp. Luke 4:1-13 ).

 Hey, this is a great strategy! Take out/discredit the leadership and the followers will be easy pickings. To do this he will use lies, deception, evil people, bad circumstances… but like Robert pointed out in a previous blog Satan often focuses most on our particular weaknesses and natural dispositions to specific sins… Usually for Christian leaders the temptations that lead to epic fails are in one or more of these 3 areas (cf. 1 John 2:16): Pride (fame, influence, accolades); Money (Stealing, hording or materialism); Sexual Immorality.

 In fact, this is exactly what “Christian” means. That term started off as a derogatory term basically meaning “little Christs”… This is such a complement when we are being like Him, but the sword is double edged… it cuts both ways… when we carry His name what we do says something to people about Him – it’s not fair to Him, but it is the harsh reality of the matter.

  •  If we get things flipped around to where life is about our fame and glory we are in for a world of hurt because we will be fighting God (cf. Prov. 3:34) and Satan.

 There is no doubt that we will be persecuted – scripture is clear about that. However, we are only blessed when we are persecuted for doing right… Otherwise we’re just getting what we deserve.

  • We are all going to sin! The point is to get accountability in our lives and be daily in God’s word and controlled by the Spirit as much as possible in order to minimize the impact and depth and breadth of our inevitable failures! (cf. Ephesians 5:15-21; Galatians 5:15-26)
  • Forgiveness is available to any who seek it – but this requires humility to repent and confess when we have failed! (cf. 1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

1 Peter 5:1-11 really speaks to all of this. Let me encourage you to read it and meditate upon it, especially if you are in any sort of Christian leadership and most especially if that leadership is in any way in the public eye. Jesus took quite enough of a beating for us 2000 years ago… He certainly does not need another black eye.

One of the guys that regularly hold me accountable sent me a good reminder yesterday from Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest): “Unguarded strength is double weakness because that is where the retired sphere of the leasts saps. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.” Now that’s some old English speak that basically says, be careful about what you are strong in because it can become an area of pride and pride comes before a fall.

My friend’s take on this was:

If our strength is UNITY… be careful.

If our strength is COMMUNITY… be careful.

If our strength is TRUTH… be careful… Etc..

 Each of these (and numerous others) is a double edged sword.. since each can probably derail us too..  I must know who I am in light of HIM.

Another thing… It is important to note that the failings of humans do not really invalidate the truth of the Gospel (the claims of the Bible should be evaluated on their own merit) – however, Christians’ failings can damage the perception of the Gospel in the court of public opinion and make it more difficult sometimes for people to come to Christ.

Is accountability fun?!?! NO WAY – actually it quite often stinks, stings and smarts. But at the same time it keeps us from MUCH MUCH more serious damage to ourselves, our families, our friends, and the reputation of our God.

Time to push for the drive!


By now you should be pretty familiar with the kinds of topics and style that we will be hitting here at No Apologizing.  Kevin and I hope the stories/blogs that we write are helping all of you with you day to day battles and growth.

Now we need you to help us.

We are interested in reaching as many people as possible through this blog.  YOU are the key to making this happen.  Did you realize that if you invited just 10 of your friends that the word of God could reach about 800 people in the matter of one day!?

How?

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Why Apologize?!?! No Apologizing on… Apologizing!


Have you ever heard that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? That may be true in some circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that asking for forgiveness is an easy thing to do. It can be very hard to apologize sometimes – especially when you don’t think you’re the one who’s most in the wrong!

 Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t seem to say a whole lot about apologizing, at least not on the surface! You won’t be very successful in trying to do a word search for apologize in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the concept is missing in God’s word… Let’s look at a couple of places where the Bible addresses this from a different angle.

 Jesus spoke about asking for forgiveness in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus talks about what we are to do when someone is angry with us… He says to “reconcile” with them right away. Notice in the passage that Jesus didn’t say who was at fault… He just started off saying that it was bad to be angry at someone and call them a fool… Then He said that if you remember that someone may be angry at you, go make it right! In context this tells us that we need to do what it takes to make things right with this person (including asking for forgiveness) not for our sake, but really for their sake!

 I can imagine some of you scratching your heads on that. Let me explain. Jesus said that it was dangerous for Christians to hold on to anger at someone.  He then told us to go reconcile with people who are angry at us. So, what He’s saying is to love others enough to do what you need to do in order to help remove that bad blood between you.

 One way to diffuse a situation is to admit your portion of the wrong and ask for forgiveness… Not just say “I’m sorry if I offended you”, but instead say, “I was wrong when I _______________. Will you please forgive me?” 

I know that it seems like splitting hairs, but saying “I’m sorry” usually doesn’t move the heart of the one we’ve offended, but taking responsibility by saying “I was wrong” often does.

I am convinced that this is at least partially what James 5:16 is telling us to do when it says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Taking responsibility for where we were wrong in a situation (even when the other person may have been MORE in the wrong) brings healing to a relationship… This is for the betterment of everyone involved.

What else is difficult about apologizing? It requires a HUGE amount of humility. What do we naturally want to do when someone is angry with us? Defend ourselves, of course. Especially if and when we think the other person is more in the wrong than we are… Really though, in the greater scheme of things, that doesn’t matter – The fact of the matter is that it always takes two or more people to make an argument and almost always the fault for the argument is at least partially shared. You may not have the greatest majority of the blame, but was there anything you did that contributed to the argument? Probably… So ask for forgiveness for your part without pointing out the obvious (the other person’s part) – take responsibility for taking the first step toward healing in the relationship. I think this is what God was getting at when He inspired Peter to write:

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ESV)

God’s saying that if we want to have a good life here on earth we need to do our best to live in harmony with others. We are to bless others – one way to do that is to diffuse their anger. But that’s not our natural reaction… Normally, when someone is upset with us we want to defend ourselves and fight back. But I Peter is saying that is absolutely the wrong course of action! Defending ourselves and our pride is counterproductive to what ought to be our primary concern: the greater good of all involved (including ourselves) – and that only comes through restoration! Consider the following related verses:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21, ESV)

Scripture may not speak specifically and directly about apologizing or how to apologize, but it does have a great deal to say about humility and forgiveness. Perhaps this is because forgiving is even harder!  Regardless, I think that the passages above speak to all of this.

Because there is so much to say about forgiveness, we will deal with it more extensively in another post – too much to cover here without short changing apologies. What does need to be said about forgiveness here is: “when someone asks for forgiveness, give it – period.”

What else needs to be said about forgiveness is that as difficult as it is to give, it is super hard for true forgiveness to happen without something initiating the process – 99.99999% of the time that something is a sincere apology.

So, let me challenge you today… give asking for forgiveness a shot, it may save a relationship or two.

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