A Redeemed Mind

I found some old history papers from college. Lots of memories came back! 

The rush of reaching the page requirements and thinking of the most academic way of saying something without sounding too boring.

What I remembered most is how much I enjoyed writing those papers. Every paper was an adventure–and I never minded the research, either. 

All of that reading and digging…

I was stretched in many ways during college, ways that I often miss now that I’ve graduated.

Of course, Rhema presents it’s own challenges. My spirit man is getting a real workout! The coolest thing is seeing how my time in a more “academic” setting is helping me now that I’m in Bible school.

The mind and the spirit are powerful when used together. 

Many don’t see it this way, but it’s true. It reminds me of a quote by R.C. Sproul:

An unlearned Christian is no match for a learned skeptic. 

Christians must be able to accurately discuss what they believe with others.

Notice that I didn’t say defend because I don’t believe it’s our job to defend the Scriptures. They have stood the test of time and can defend themselves. 

For the most part, people aren’t attacking the Bible–they just want you to explain it to them.

Most Christians, however, are quite terrible at engaging in conversations about their beliefs. They don’t know the scriptures, are not well read, and are downright mean in their approach to healthy discussions about faith. 

You can be a learned Christian and not:

  • Carry around a large family Bible
  • Talk in esoteric terms
  • Go to Bible school or seminary


Christians need to know that they don’t have to check their brains at the door when they accept Christ. 

No, no! Your redeemed mind is a valuable asset in the Kingdom of God.


Confessions of an Overthinker

I’m a serious over-thinker….

It can be a problem sometimes because I’ll take a situation, slice it into a thousand different pieces, and then analyze each slice until I know how I think/feel about the subject.

This is not conducive to moments when a decision just has to be made. 

We should all be able to give an answer for what we believe–that’s biblical btw–but over-analysis paralysis keeps us from being useful to anyone.

You know the old saying “He/She is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”? 

This is what happens when someone falls victim to over-analysis paralysis.


This is why I love to read and study all of the older creeds and catechisms. It lays out what’s important to know and even gives you verses to review. 

Seems simple enough, right?

I know there are folks who don’t like all of that “older” “more traditional” church documents, but I’m not really sure why not.

A quick Google search will tell you the history of the creeds–Apostles, Nicene, Heidelberg, Athanasian–and each one was written to combat heresy and false doctrines from infiltrating the church.

The Westminster Catechism (both the original and shorter version) were written as a way to teach children and new converts the basic beliefs of Christianity. 

Good Bible doctrine and basic hermeneutics are necessary (no matter what all the hip, “relevant” people tell you).

Studying these ancient truths isn’t about learning a lot of $5 words and becoming a Bible scholar who can’t even carry on a normal conversation.

It’s about having a good, solid foundation of what and why you believe what you do.

And it keeps you from going absolutely batty from overthinking things. (Or maybe it’s just me that struggles in this area…)


Living out the story

Aren’t cliff hangers the worse? 

To be Continued…

No one wants to see this at the end of a TV episode. And don’t even get me started on movies with 50,000 parts. Or book series where the next book isn’t coming out for another 18 months. 

Just tell me what happened!

Thankfully, the Bible tells us the whole story of Jesus. 

This is also why I’m trying to take it easy on the apostles as I read through the gospel. They didn’t have the full story like I do.

Come on, Peter! 

Thomas, what’s your problem?!?

James and John, did you seriously just ask Jesus to give you the best seats in the house? 

Here’s how I look at it: When I start doing everything Jesus asks me to do–without running my mouth first–I can pick on the apostles. 

By tracing the the faithfulness of God throughout His story, I am learning how to trust Him when I don’t have the full story (which is a lot).

Marvin Yoder, my teacher for Bible Interpretation, taught us about the Principle of Application today. I loved Mr. Yoder’s thoughts on seeing ourselves doing the works of Jesus and the early church. 

As Christians, the Bible is the final authority in our lives. However, if I never apply it to my daily life, it’s still just a story.

If Jesus healed, so can I.

If Peter could stand before a crowd and know exactly what to say by the Holy Spirit, so can I.

If Paul and Silas can sing praises in jail after being beaten for their faith, so can I.

 I’ve reached the point in my faith where I’m convinced that not taking the Bible to heart, that not living out the scriptures as practical, do-able truths is the number one reason the world sees the gospel as powerless. 





Escape from Bubble Land

Okay, I want to talk about something that might or might not get me in trouble….? 

My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ (those who are not Christians, this is actually a really good time for  you to let me know what you think) we are all overthinking the “in the world, but not of the world” scripture.

Let’s take a minute to look at what Jesus actually said: 

15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world (NLT).

I am not convinced, based on what Jesus said, that we are called to live in Bubble Land. It’s just….not even biblical, okay? There’s no other way to say it. 

Many Bible teachers hammer home that in order to not be contaminated by evil influences Christians must stay away from non-believers.

Any time I hear this kind of teaching my thoughts go to: 

Wow. What about Jesus and the disciples and the early Christians who hung out with all kinds of people? 

Seriously. You can’t read the New Testament and reach the conclusion that it was the nonbelievers’ fault for a Christian’s poor behavior.

If anything, Paul (and the others) chastised the Christians for their weak faith, for not following the teachings of the Bible. It was his or her own choice!

This is why having a home base–be it a friend, your family, or a small group–is key. You can’t live a missional lifestyle and not be accountable to someone. 

Choosing to not share the gospel because you want to live in a bubble is not okay.





The Ultimate Authority

Yesterday I told you we’d talk about the right way to view the Bible.

It’s not a trump card to be used as an “In your face!” insult.

The Bible is the Word of God, the way in which God chose to communicate with man. His directives, the history of who He is, the redemption story, how to live a godly life, how the world will end (and begin anew) can be found in the progressive revelation of the narrative.

The Bible is the ultimate authority and the final say.

Whenever I talk with friends and family about my beliefs on a topic, I have to take them to the Bible. There’s nowhere else for me to go.

And, no, I’m not contradicting myself. My use of the Bible to define my beliefs using scriptures is not the same as using a trump card.

My use of the Bible as my guide makes me a Christian.  

I find it so funny that people are offended by this notion.

Yes, Christians make all decisions based on the beliefs found in ancient writings, yet here’s the crazy thing: So does everyone else.

Why, then, is it only “weird” when a Christian says, “Sorry, I don’t believe that because it goes against the Bible”?

I am aware of the rampant biblical illiteracy and the number of Christians who, in the name of culture, twist and bend scripture.

Besides the obvious, logical conclusion that Christians aren’t the only group with nominal followers in it’s camp, let’s put these things aside for a minute, okay?

I think the crux of the problem stems from what Christians profess:

Jesus is the only way, only truth, the only life.

This bothers people.

How can that be?

Isn’t that judgmental?

Isn’t that rather exclusive?

The beliefs about Jesus–who He is, what He came to do–are very clear in the Bible. If you don’t believe the truth about Him, you can’t be a Christian and you don’t believe in the totality of scripture.

So, when I say that this way of viewing the Bible is the best, I don’t say it lightly.

My commitment to the Bible as the ultimate authority means that everything (and I mean everything) is filtered through this singular lens. 





No trump card needed

There are two  ways to look at the Bible. 

The first way is when your knowledge of scripture is used as a trump card.

 In this context, the Bible changes from the ultimate source of transformative power–salvation, repentance, and grace–to a weapon used to win a game, i.e. a trump card. 

Certainly the Word of God is a weapon, but the weapon described in the scriptures is always to be used for edification, as a catalyst for change. 

Trust me. The piercing effects of scripture will tear down all strongholds and sin and any barriers that hold you back from the full freedom of a grace-filled life. 

Games of manipulation and great shows of your general awesomeness are not needed. 

Too many times, Christians get into sword fights with each other. Healthy debate is okay, discipleship is okay.  

But all out war to show off your spiritual prowess?

This needs to end. There is one body of Christ.

 It’s time to walk towards that reality instead of using the Bible as a weapon against each other. 

Quit using the Bible as a trump card. 

Quit saying, “Boo yah! In your face!” and then walking away. 

It’s not helping anyone. 

I told you there are two ways to view the Bible. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the second way, the best way. 

My good friend Hermeneutics

What if I told you that I wanted to start a Christian nudist colony? What if I told you that I had found a Scripture that said it was okay?

Mark 14:51-52

51 Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, 52 and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.

From this Scripture I could defend not only my nudist colony but also streaking as completely biblical.

My prayer is that you are not shouting amen because this whole supposition is insane…..

Yet, this how many of us talk about the Bible. We base the totality of our beliefs on a handful of verses that wouldn’t survive a light spring breeze.

Did you know that’s why Christians are encouraged to go to church? To be an active member of the body of Christ?

Here’s a link to Ephesians 4: 11-16, Hebrews 10:19-25 , and Hebrews 13:7-17.

In these passages, the Apostle Paul talks about spiritual gifts, the body of Christ, the importance of good Bible interpretation, and the role of Christian leaders.

Listen, my dear friends, there are a lot of crazy beliefs in this world. Unfortunately, the Church at large has a lot of crazy beliefs too.

Without good Bible interpretation, how can we effectively communicate the gospel message?

The rate of Biblical illiteracy is absolutely ridiculous, especially in a country where most people own 4-5 Bibles. Find a translation you like and start reading. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend the book of John.

We’re going to talk more about the importance of discipleship and such in the weeks to come.

For now, I want you to think about what you believe.

Are your beliefs truly backed up by the Word of God?