Keeping Up With the Digital Joneses

Coming away from your device, do you feel better or worse? Keeping up with the digital Joneses, do you feel superior or inferior? It’s hard work, isn’t it? Pretending that everything is perfect.

Read most comment sections and you can see that our society is bending towards overt negativity. This should not surprise anyone who realizes we are nearing the end. The devil is gaining more and more territory. Take a peek at 2 Tim. 3:1-5 and see if anything sounds familiar.

The anonymity of the internet gives us all the false courage to show our true natures and they have proven to be quite snarky. I am generalizing, but you know what I mean.

What is the opposite of a rose? Dirt? I am just as guilty of viewing the world through dirt-colored glasses. Doesn’t seem very Christlike. I don’t suspect Jesus was much like that.

And it’s not the me He wants me to be.

There is only one solution: We’re all in the same sinking boat, we’re all in dire need of rescue, and there is only One with the power to save.

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” – 1 Thes. 5:9

Only through faith in Jesus will we bend away from ourselves. Repent of your sins and turn towards your Heavenly Father. Then those glasses can be rose-colored because there is hope!

The Potter & The Clay

God sent Jeremiah on a field trip to a potter’s studio where he saw an artist forming & fashioning clay as he saw fit. The end result was a beautiful, useful pot.

This simple, but powerful analogy illustrates how God shapes the lives of nations & individuals.

With total authority, God patiently & purposefully uses circumstances & people to mold us into what He desires.

He forms us into His image, we do not form Him into ours!

To be in God’s will is to be on His wheel.

When we face difficulties, often we ask, “God, why is this happening?” But we must remember to trust the hands of the Potter. His way is best, even when we can’t understand it. He knows how hot to make the kiln and how long to keep us in there. Without faith, it is impossible to please God! (Heb. 11:6)

Jeremiah 18 is a wonderful reminder that God loves to remake marred vessels. He continually sanctifies us. Without the Potter, the clay can do absolutely nothing! Yield & submit to the Potter; His ways are best.

He is in the people-molding business. God looks at that marred lump of clay and sees the potential pot yet to be formed in the future.God can use whatever He wants in order to turn you into an honorable vessel for His service; pain, relationships, promotions, & demotions.

This may seem depressing – but when you really think about it, it’s VERY HOPEFUL!

  • God doesn’t give up on you.
  • He knows what He is doing,.
  • He will create the best version of you that you will allow Him to create!
  • That is a powerful message!

It’s really a story about the Potter’s Grace!

When you see a wonderful & beautiful vase, you don’t think that the vase made itself: you marvel at the Maker!

If this blessed you, please Like & Share!

For this teaching in its entirety, IM me your email address and I would be happy to share it!


Lies from the enemy

The enemy is very good at making you think his thoughts, then making you think you thought them, and then accusing you for thinking them. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us by bringing to remembrance God’s Word to swat his lies away (John 14:26). This is the only real defense we have against the devil’s attacks:

  • I’m not forgiven.
  • I’m all alone.
  • I’m so afraid.
  • I’m worthless.
  • God is disappointed in me.
  • God is upset with me.

Do you know the Scripture to use against these lies? Do you know which sword to wield? (Eph. 6:17)

Tomorrow we will look at these fiery darts and how the Holy Spirit can help you extinguish them.

If you suffer from these sort of attacks, but you can’t make it and you would like my notes, IM me; I would be happy to send them to you.

18″ of Snow

“Imagine there are two trails. One is well-traveled. It is smooth and it has beautiful flowers along the path. The other trail is a mess. It is filled with deep ruts. It is ugly and difficult to take.

Imagine a storm comes along and drops 18 inches of snow. You can’t tell the difference between the two trails because both of them have been covered by the snow.

Just so our sins, big and small, are equally covered by God.

‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.’ – Isaiah 1:18

Your sins might still be on your mind, but they are not on His! He says ‘I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist.’ – Isaiah 44:2

Charles Spurgeon also illustrated the lengths God will go to cover our sins:

‘Man piles a mountain of sin, but God will match it, and He raises up a loftier mountain of grace; man heaps up a still larger hill of sin, but the Lord surpasses it with 10 times more grace; and so the contest continues until at last the mighty God pulls up the mountains by the roots and buries man’s sin beneath an Alp. Abundant sin is no barrier to the superabundant grace of God.’

These are the words of Erwin Lutzer and Charles Spurgeon. I felt someone needed to hear them today.

Ref: The Power of a Clear Conscience, Erwin Lutzer, 2016.

Spiritual Gifts; Let Us Use Them!

Parents love to give their kids gifts, don’t we? We also love it when they actually use them!

We are all given spiritual gifts from our Heavenly Father. We will all stand in judgement to give account of how we used our gifts at the “bema” judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10)


The person to whom much is given, much is expected, & much will be rewarded (Luke 12:48). The person who is not using their gifts for Christ  everything will be taken from him (Matt. 25:14-30).

We all have gifts from the Holy Spirit, let us use them! (Rom. 12:6)

I want to here Him say: Well done, good & faithful servant! (Matt. 25:21)

Don’t you?

God’s Very Words

God’s Very Words

“So here’s the situation: no autographs (original manuscripts) exist and the manuscripts that do exist show many differences. What do conservatives hold to be inspired? Conservatives hold the autographs to be inerrant and infallible. How can conservatives claim to have God’s very words?”[1]

Every single Christian has heard this question. In fact, every single Christian (if they are being honest), has asked this question. How can we know that what we are holding is literally the Word of God delivered to man? How close is it to the original text? These pivotal questions can be answered several ways:

  1. Through Internal Evidence (the Bible, Itself).
  2. Through External Evidence (historical documents outside of the source material).
  3. Through Faith.

Let’s just go ahead and skip the last one right off the bat, because any skeptic asking the initial question is not interested in “Faith” as an acceptable answer. We’ll also need to skip “External Evidence” seeing as it falls well outside the scope of this blog post. So, that leaves us with the Bible.

There is profound truth in the classic children’s song, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” 1 Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASB)” If you believe that what the Bible says is true, then there you have it. The Holy Spirit moved humans to record words spoke directly from God. This scripture also points to the fact that prophecy cannot come from man, but from God. There are over 300 (fulfilled) prophecies about Jesus alone. This could not be accomplished by man’s intellect, but only by men inspired by God. Continuing on in 1 Peter 1 to verse 25, we read “but the Word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the Word which was preached to you (NASB).” The pure fact of the Bible’s longevity and staying power also clearly points to its supernatural source.

Just how close is the Bible we hold today to those elusive original autographs? Well, of the over 10,000 (!)* OT manuscripts we have, Fields reports the reliability of the Old Testament text as being 90% accurate. 90%! And addressing the discrepancies, Fields writes, “Of that 10%, the vast majority of variations are matters such as spelling that have no significant affect on the meaning of the text.”[2] Come on, man. 90% is pretty close considering the Bible’s 38 different authors writing over a span of almost two millennia!

* Consider this: There are over 5,700 NT manuscripts with less than .5% variance, and the earliest dates to within 60 years of the original writing. Compare that to Homer’s The Iliad, which only has 640 manuscripts available, none of which date to within 300 years of the original writing. However, no historian is questioning the legitimacy of The Iliad, are they?

The real question is why are we holding the Bible to such insanely high standards? Are people scrutinizing other old manuscripts with the same diligence and skepticism? Or would 90% accurate be indisputable evidence?

[1] Lee M. Fields, Hebrew for the Rest of Us: Using Hebrew Tools Without Mastering Biblical Hebrew (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 43-44.

[2] Ibid., 44.


Fields, Lee M. Hebrew for the Rest of Us: Using Hebrew Tools Without Mastering Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.

Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course OTCL 505: Hebrew Language Tools.

A GIANT and a child’s song: The Conversion of Augustine

A GIANT and a child’s song

The Conversion of Augustine

            I know the conversion of a theologian from the Middle Ages doesn’t seem… interesting, but stick with me here and see how elegant God can be. What I learned about Augustine’s conversion is that God relentlessly pursues His children. Augustine had a ferocious intellectual appetite. He was obviously searching for answers to life’s big questions. However, every group or “-ism” he explored could not fully satisfy his need to know. He bounced around from intellectualism to skepticism to spiritualism.[1] His extreme range went from magic to monastic.[2] In today’s speech, I believe we would say that Augustine was “in his head too much.” What I mean by that is, he seemed to lead with his mind more than his heart. He had the tendency to side with his intellect over his faith. It is a tricky juggling act and an all too common snare for many intelligent people.

However, no matter where Augustine found himself, there was someone to guide him back to God. Whether it be Ambrose or Simplicianus, God had an agent ready to point Augustine to the truth of His Word.[3] When you step back and see the whole picture, it is obvious that God had a hand at every turn.

Ultimately, it was the sing-song turn of phrase from a child that wooed him over to faith in Christ.[4] Interesting that of all the giants of intelligentsia and academia that tried to influence Augustine, it was a child and her simple rhyme that finally pierced Augustine’s heart. After all, pride and vanity are man’s greatest obstacle. As he heard the child’s refrain of “pick up and read,” he just happened to have the Bible next to him open to the letters of Paul (Romans 13:13-14).[5] What this a coincidence? Of course, as anyone who has had any experience with the Lord can attest, there are no coincidences. This was a divine appointment. One wonders if this was a person at all, or actually an angel? Regardless, Ferguson states, “It was as if the Lord had spoken directly to him.”[6] This whole scenario reminds me of another letter from Paul, the one to his church in Corinth. Paul states, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27). The year was 386, and Augustine would never be the same. This simple moment would have profound implications and send ripples of change through Augustine’s life leading to his being known as the “Architect of the Middle Ages.”[7]


[1] Everett Ferguson, Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 269.

[2] Ibid., 271.

[3] Ibid., 270.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 268.


Ferguson, Everett. Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation. 2 ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course CCHI 520: History of Christianity.


How would I hold up under Lethal Persecution?

Lethal Persecution and Theology in the Early Church

Tragically, the subject of religious persecution and martyrdom has become all too relevant for the modern Christian. As I have watched in absolute shock and horror the atrocities performed by ISIS, I have solemnly contemplated the following questions: If forced to either deny my faith or be executed, how would I react? If I denied my faith and was allowed to live, how would that affect my salvation? Would the Church ever take me back? Could it? Likewise, the periods of persecution under the yoke of Roman rule caused the early church to think about the doctrines of salvation and the church in the following ways.

There were two opposing schools of thought. Simply put, if a Christian denied their faith under persecution, either you believed they were still able to be saved or that they were forever condemned to be damned.

The first extreme believed that if a baptized believer succumbed to persecution and gave up their faith, then that person’s salvation was void. This faction was known as the “rigorists.”[1] Which (I’m certain I am not the only person who thought) sounds awfully close to rigor mortis. Rigorists would “teach the seriousness of sin and strengthen the faithful to confess during any renewal of persecution.”[2] This extreme, of course, was too unyielding allowing no room for God’s grace and mercy.

The other extreme believed if one denied their faith, but was penitent, that the apostate could be returned to full communion immediately. This faction was known as the “laxists.”[3] Which (I’m certain I am not the only person who thought) sounds awfully close to lackadaisical. Laxists would “restore the numbers of the church and strengthen the fallen in the face of further temptation.”[4] This extreme, of course, was too apathetic allowing no room for accountability and responsibility.

The obvious question is: Could the Church include Christians who denied their faith? Early Church leader, Cyprian solved the dilemma by recommending a third, less polarizing solution. He suggested a middle of the road approach that treated each instance on its own. He “made distinctions according to the gravity of the transgression.” Therefore, the Church would offer the needed steps required to re-instate Christians who had succumbed to persecution on a case by case basis. I’m sure Cyprian’s neutral proposal gave hope to those in a perilous situation and instilled strength to the weak. His solution was more compassionate and therefore, more Christlike.

As Christians are being ruthlessly executed for their faith all over the globe, let us remember that God is sovereign and that He takes care of His children. I pray that none of us are ever put in a situation where our lives are threatened. However, if we are, I pray for strength that can only come from Jesus.

[1] Everett Ferguson, Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 164.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.


Ferguson, Everett. Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation. 2 ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.


Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course CCHI 520: History of Christianity.

Digital Persecution and A Look at Early Christian Apologetics

I know  “Second Century Apologetics” seems like a pretty boring subject, but trust me, it is really just a mirror to our present day struggle with explaining and defending our faith to a society that doesn’t understand it. Give it a chance and you will see that not much has changed in 2,000 years.

Description of Christian Apologetics in the Second Century

I believe Christian Apologetics in the second century can be summed up in one word: proactive. They met the opposition head-on and without shame.[1] I fear the boldness these early pioneers displayed has been largely lost in the sea of PC-ness that saturates our modern society. Whereas in our times, it seems Christians are reactive, in the second century, they were proactive. They directly confronted detractors instead of cowering or pandering to them.

Accusations Against Christians

The accusations against Christians were somewhat of their own making. For instance, one of the charges brought against them was their aloofness.[2] They kept to themselves and were therefore seen as secretive, mysterious, and cultish. Since people fear what they do not understand, terrible misunderstandings and rumors circulated. Christians called each other, “Brothers and Sisters.” Therefore, rumors circulated that they were incestuous. The Eucharist involves “the body and blood of Christ.” Therefore, outsiders thought the Christians were literally cannibals. Another claim was that the Christians were atheists! Since the Greeks and Romans believed in many gods and Christians would not honor these gods with sacrifices or tithes, they were deemed, atheist. These all seem pretty ridiculous today, but in the second century many Christians were martyred over such trivial misunderstandings. They needed a good PR person! Or a Community Outreach Program to inform the public of their ways! Continuing to stay away from society did not help their cause.

Response of Second Century Apologists

Apologists like Justin Marty responded by trying to show how moral Christians were rather than immoral as had been suggested.[3] By lifting the veil (so to speak) of secrecy, Justin sought to inform those who were misinformed. He made the plea so often heard today, for “tolerance”[4] of Christian beliefs and values. He wrote many works defending his faith and ultimately, Justin gave his life defending it.

Apologetic Principles that Could Be Used in a Modern Context

Apologetic principles that could be used today in a modern context are ownership of our beliefs and a boldness to proclaim and defend them. As I mentioned earlier, many of the accusations brought against the early church could have been rectified through an Outreach Program of some sort. Knowledge is power and if people don’t know what you are doing and don’t understand it: they will fear it. Today, modern apologetics need to meet detractors head-on and supply information to help them understand why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe.

Digital Persecution

As I read this text, I couldn’t help but wonder what Justin would do if he were alive today. What would his Social Media look like? What would he tweet about? What Facebook posts would he make?

My guess is he would be doing about the same thing as he was in the second century. Defending his faith. Making a stand. Spreading the knowledge of the Good News.

The second century saw horrendous persecution of Christians. They gave up everything for what they believed. They were physically killed. Today, is it so different? It is such a strange time to be a Christian. We may not be physically killed (in this part of the world) for our beliefs, but we can be digitally killed. We can be digitally persecuted and bullied. We can be ostracized and labeled a hateful bigot for defending our faith.

And isn’t it ironic, how the very same people who fought for their tolerance are not very quick to dish it out to anyone else?


[1] Everett Ferguson, Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 76.

[2] Ibid., 72.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 76.


Ferguson, Everett. Church History Volume 1: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation. 2 ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Submitted to Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course CCHI 520: History of Christianity.

Short and Tweet

How to know you are in Seminary: you wake up and realize you spent all night exegeting Philippians 2:1-11 in your sleep #Jesus #Seminary