No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: real

The evidence that Jesus is real…The New Testament


By request we have decided to take a like at some of the overwhelming evidence for Jesus.  Not just the fact that he existed, but also that he was God in the flesh.  This can be a daunting task, so much so, a number of great books have been written on the topic.  One that is highly recommended by both KB and I is the book More than a Carpenter.  This is a great read that focuses on one man’s search to disprove that Christ existed, and ended up coming to Christ.    

To set this up…

Many atheists will say that either Christ didn’t exist (wasn’t even born), or will concede the point that He existed, but was not divine.  Most will tell you that the New Testament cannot be counted as historical evidence to support Christ.  This is a fascinating argument by atheists because the argument would undercut most, if not all historical events that were documented in antiquity.  The truth is that the historical events recorded in the Gospels, and the New Testament are the most documented events in antiquity.  Atheists choose to deny this truth…either out of ignorance or plain stubbornness.  We simply ask that atheists apply the same standards to the Bible as they would to other historical documents.

Now consider this for one moment.  The original dates of the New Testament writings were between 50 – 100 AD.  Some atheist’s will disregard the historicity of the

The New Testament...written in the same time frame as Band of Brothers.

 Gospels and Acts because they were not written at the time of Christ.  However, I would submit that this is simply a red herring.  Take for example the Events of World War II.  One of the most celebrated books about World War, Band of Brothers, was written in 1992.  Using interviews of the men, Stephen Ambrose was able to compile an excellent retelling of the events of Easy Company.  Band of Brothers chronicled the acts of the men of Easy Company.  It detailed some of their conversations, their emotions, and their actions.  I don’t believe there is anyone who would doubt that the events, or conversations documented in this book were not real.  But there is a catch.  This book was written some 40 years after the fact. 

Christ was crucified in approximately 33 AD.  If we were to apply the same time frame for Band of Brothers that would put that book being written at about 73 AD, which is smack dab in the middle of the time-frame when the New Testament was being written.  History books, in general, are written several years after the fact.  There are books being written about US Presidents… 200 years after the fact.  All are generally accepted as being historically accurate.  Remember, the New Testament was written within 20 – 70 years of the events it records.  This is the equivalence of reading a new history book about, Ronald Reagan’s Presidency (20 years), The Vietnam War (40 years), The Korea War (57 years), and World War 2 (65 years).

Keep in mind this is only a set up to future posts.  Our goal with this post was to demonstrate that the timing of the writing of the New Testament, is not that dissimilar to our current history books.

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It’s Okay… Don’t give up!!!


Today I want to put out a word of encouragement to all my friends and readers… I’ve seen some discouragement and that makes my heart heavy… DON’T GIVE UP!!!

God, Himself, encourages us to, “Not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6)

I’ve had some conversations with people who have tried to take the G90X challenge with me and/or who have committed to reading through the Bible in 2010, but have fallen behind in their goals… They were bold enough to try and start something that will help them grow in their walk with Jesus, but have not been able to completely follow through with their original goal…

And do you know what?  THAT’S OKAY!!! Seriously! We all fall short sometimes… There is nothing magic about ANY spiritual discipline in and of itself! Christianity is about a relationship with the God who created the universe, NOT about trying to work at doing better things or striving to be a good person!

Let me remind you of what Greg said in his original G90X post:

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.

Let me come at this from a different angle… Think about a person with whom you have a solid relationship… Got it? Okay… Now, how is it that you maintain that relationship? Love, right? And that Love is expressed by T-I-M-E… but that time isn’t spent in a ritualistic ridged manner is it? Relationships are fluid and we spend time with our friends and family in different ways… The same should be for our relationship with (worship of) God!! The point is to spend time with Him!!

Struggling reading so much of the Bible at one clip? That’s okay!!! Keep at it – Get back on the proverbial horse… but don’t beat yourself up over it… But realize also, that this isn’t the only way God wants us to spend time with Him… He wants us to prayHe wants us to sing to Him… He wants us to talk about Him to others… He wants us to spend time with other believers (at church AND other places)…

Do you get it? GOD wants to have a relationship with you!!!  But He wants a REAL relationship not something manufactured or fake. If you struggle with some aspect of spending time with God be sure that you are supplementing it with other ways… but don’t grow weary of trying to make the weaker aspects of your walk better… If you don’t get a hold of a friend on the phone, what do you do? You call back, right? If that doesn’t work you txt or you swing by their house or maybe you try to get a hold of one of their friends/family to tell them you’re looking for them. God is trying to get a hold of you… He’s not hard to reach…

Go spend some time with Him today in a variety of ways!!  You won’t regret it.

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.

The Star Wars Saga and the Bible… Yeah, I’m a nerd


My lame internet at home was down and Robert had a post ready yesterday, so no G90X update then, but here it is a day late (Sorry)!  Don’t know what G90X is? Check out the original article from Greg Stier HERE.

I sympathize with Robert in his last G90X post… Speed reading has its drawbacks, but it also has its benefits… The last time I tried to read the Bible in 90 days I failed spectacularly because I was in the throes of Seminary and I just got bogged down in wanting to study everything out! I think this is kind of where Robert is coming from in his last post – His mind is churning and new ideas keep popping up and he wants to slow down and investigate them all… I TOTALLY get that… In fact, this is extremely admirable (cf. Acts 17:11) I find myself demonstrating the same tendencies… But what ARE the benefits of reading ALL of God’s word in 90 days?

Strangely enough, the benefit of reading it all is what serious students of the Bible strive for in their study – CONTEXT… CONTEXT… CONTEXT… What I mean by this is that the Bible, taken as a whole, is essentially the story of how God has, is and will work out the problem of evil. That is, it is the story of the redemption of mankind!  We get that intellectually as we approach the Bible, but that really comes alive when we look at it as a whole! In fact it brings God’s sovereignty and what He’s done behind the scenes much more clearly into focus and actually helps us see things we perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise if we’re picking and choosing our way through the God’s word (and perhaps skipping and/or ignoring certain passages or books)…

To use an imperfect, but more modern, analogy (and yes, I know this analogy reveals the depths of just how nerdy I am): If one were only to see the original Star Wars films (episodes 4-6), then they may be convinced that the Star Wars legend is mostly about Luke Skywalker’s growing up into maturity… NOT SO!! When you look at all 6 films (plus the Clone Wars, if you’re as nerdy as me) then it becomes abundantly clear that story is actually about the rise, fall and restoration of Anakin Skywalker (a.k.a. Darth Vader)… In the same way, but probably to a lesser degree, we may have the tendency to see the Bible as just good moral stories about specific historical figures (regardless of the degree of historical reliability we ascribe to it)… Again, NOT SO! The Bible is about how God provides a solution to the tension between His love for us and His Justice and hatred toward sin.

So, let me challenge you to keep with it!! Look at the whole counsel of God within its larger framework (like Paul’s hearers in Ephesus did) … Give yourself permission to look at it from 10,000 feet – you can see a lot from up there… Next update – Gonna  talk about the effects of the G90X’s intense prayer plan.

Wait a second! Why do they get that!


Have you ever wondered…how it is…that people who will lie, cheat, steal have great lives?  By “Great” I mean from a material aspect.  They have a nice house, a nice car, never have to worry about money.  Now, this is not to say that the only people who have nice car’s, nice house’s and never have to worry about money are all liar’s cheaters, and thief’s (though all of us are some combination of that).  You get my point.  Anyway, sometimes it feels like people who hate GOD, or don’t even recognize that he is real are rewarded, while Christians sometimes are set to a life of mediocrity!  For some reason I want to say that there is a jumping point here about being prosperous etc…  Although I’ve done a lot of research on this topic over the last couple of weeks, I will avoid the prosperity gospel at this point and time.  Right now I want to focus on one specific point…. Some people who hate God, appear to have exceptional lives.

I know that all of us have had this passing thought…why?  Why do they get to have this while I work so hard to have average (the definition of success can be discussed at a later point) As it turns out… our questions are not unique in the history of the world they have been posed to God numerous times.  As a matter of fact, a little known book (to me at least) Malachi 3 deals specifically with this issue:

13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD.
      “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’ ”

 16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Let’s look at this verse by verse.

In verse 13 God is talking to the Hebrew people.  They had been complaining about why evil people prosper.  Why those who do not fear the Lord have the appearance of being blessed.  God finally responds in verse 13.  When God responds the Jews are basically saying…”we didn’t say that!”  This revealed their arrogance for sure.  So, God clearly defines for them what they have been saying in verses 14 and 15. 

Have you said those things when looking out into the world?  I am guilty of this.  When I look at places like Hollywood, pro-athletics, CEO’s or whatever… I wonder.   I think a natural fit here is to look at James 4:4; “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  This is what the Hebrews were guilty of.  The Hebrews wanted what the world had, and were wondering why God wasn’t giving it to them.

After God calls the Israelites out they respond.  God makes a distinction about who He’s talking to in verse 16 when He addresses “Those who feared God”.  God’s response in verse 17 is to those who fear God.  He says that they will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession.  I believe that here God is talking about His judgment.  At the day of judgment we will be able to see the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.  If God considers you to be treasure He will take you up, and spare you.  Those who have accepted His Son, Jesus, and only those who have accepted Him are considered God’s treasure.  In other words, The Cross becomes ours and our way onto this list of remembrance.  It is this way only…that we will be spared from judgment.  An illustration of this judgment can be found in the parable of the wedding banquet.  Here the King invites many to the banquet, but they refuse to come.  When the King’s servants are mistreated by those who refuse…the King sends his out his military to destroy them.  Such is the response in verse 18.  God has sent the invitation to many to come to Him… some will refuse (those that do not fear God).  They will perish.  Because, as Jesus said in Matthew 22:14 “Many are invited, but few are chosen”.

What we are seeing is a very personal God who has heard the cries of His people.  God reassures the Israelites (and ultimately you), that while you may have things hard, that your life may not be easy, and there is an appearance of impropriety in this world… there will be no impropriety on the day of judgment.  It is here that through God we will again be able to see the difference between the righteous, and the wicked.

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

LOST Series Finale


Sunday night was bitter sweet for me. LOST is over… Yeah, I can admit that I’ve been a huge fan of the show. My wife and I didn’t start off watching it, but got caught up in about season 3 by renting the first two seasons on DVD just before season 3 launched. This series has been one of my favorite shows of all time and the finale didn’t disappoint.

Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize about the show’s world view… but seriously, who forms their belief system over something they know to be fiction? There are, however, at least a few parallels to biblical Christianity (this is often true of great literature)… So, to put LOST to bed, so to speak, please allow me to point out just a couple of these.

First of all… the concept of the show started out simple enough, but then it got REAL complicated – REAL quick… Not everything made sense – no one could ever quite understand all the rules governing the island and those living on it – good people went bad, people with dubious pasts redeemed themselves. To the very end everybody had their own opinions as to why such and such was happening (from the tiniest detail to the over-arching purpose/meaning)… In fact, the most helpful episodes were the reruns that included the writers’ and/or directors’ commentary – but even these sometimes brought more confusion and questions than they provided answers.

Isn’t that just like real life, though? Life starts out real simple, but gets REAL complicated – REAL quick. Not everything that happens to us makes sense – Why do bad things happen to us or people we know? Why does the economy stink? Why do folks get laid off? What is the Purpose of Life? Why is the government so jacked up? The questions roll on and on… And the stronger the questions and challenges the less we know how to deal with them on our own!

Sorting it all out can be crippling! So people turn to various religions and try all sorts of theories (remember the hatch… Hugo’s unlucky numbers… Daniel’s crazy insights and ideas – including the nuke… Desmond’s idea last night). But even when they find the right place (we believe this to be the Bible) to search for reliable answers to life and morality (I mean, just how are we supposed to fight the “Smoke Monsters” in our lives – whoever he is) the waters can still be muddy because people often have a hard time understanding it or it leads to more questions!

SPOILER ALERT: Two of my favorite places in this last episode is where Jack initiated Hurley by passing him the bottle as Jacob had done for him – “Now, you’re like me”. Kate said “I know you don’t understand, Jack… But if you come with me, you will.” She touched his life profoundly and then led him to his father, who could (and did) provide the answers.

Both of these scenes demonstrate the kind of evangelism we need to have in the Church today… a passionate compassion for other people that leads them to be their best by seriously engaging in a relationship with God. In both scenes a life-altering decision was made and it was initiated by one of the characters simply asking them to make a decision. The decisions were tough but because of the love and care and friendship that had been invested between them the decision was really not all that hard… But still, one had to ask and the other had to accept. Demonstrating their decision wasn’t complicated – instead, it was so easy Hurley asked “Is that it?” It is the same for sharing and accepting God’s free gift of salvation. Through Jesus there is redemption for everyone even someone as evil as Benjamin Linus (I was glad to see them bring that character around for good through admitting his failures and apologizing). But for that to occur they must be presented the Good News that forgiveness and a new life are available though Jesus… this means that we are going to have to do a much better job of just lovingly asking our friends and family to make a decision (just like Kate and Jack did) – I’d venture to say that we will often get similar responses as the ones depicted on the show… acceptance (even if there is some reluctance at first).

That is what Robert and I are trying to do with this venue… it’s our driving force… our passion… our purpose: To connect with you and share life with you – to show you the way to the God and place (God’s Word – the Bible) where we’ve found our answers – And, we want to do this with No Shame, No Fear and No Apologizing – though we ourselves have been LOST, even though we fail… We sincerely hope you will come along with us and see where this ride takes us – It’s wilder and more awesome than anything Jack, Sawyer, Kate, John or Hurley could ever have imagined!

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

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.

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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