Questioning My Calling

On Wednesday January 24, 2018 I was meditating on the Word of God. For the very first time in my Christian life of 11 years I heard the audible voice of God and this is what He said “One day you will raise a church”. This was something  that freaked me out, if I am being honest, Why? Because the voice I heard sounded just like my voice, so I had to ask myself… am I going crazy?

Keith and Ragesh
Rajesh and Me

Two days later on Friday January 26th at 9:50PM God gave me my answer. That night I met with my Christian Brother Rajesh who loves God more than most men I have met. I told him I thought God had given me a message… he was very excited to hear this and told me God had also given him one. When I shared the story, he just nodded and smiled… so I asked him what message he heard from God. He said, God told him I was going to be called into Ministry.

This BLEW me away and I started talking to different Pastors I know about this matter… there were so many questions I had… where do I start? How could he use me to Pastor? I have other plans for my life, this is insane!

Flash forward to today, nearly eight months later to the day, and I have not taken ONE step forward on the path to my calling. The excuse I give myself goes like this… College is too expensive, I want to go the Grand Canyon University but by the time I finish Seminary I will have a student loan debt of nearly $50,000… and my wife and I are really trying to focus on getting and staying debt free. I don’t have the funds to pay my way through College as I go, so I am just stuck for the moment.

But as I said that is just an excuse, maybe the real truth is that I’m afraid. Maybe the calling is too great. Maybe I know the man I have been in my life and don’t want to risk leading a church and then one day possibly falling back into pornography. Maybe I feel like putting myself on a stage to give a sermon is the last thing I need to do, my pride has been a huge struggle in my life… how much more prideful could I become at the pulpit?

When I sit here writing these thoughts out I can see how the enemy has filled me with doubts and fear. We know that our God is not a God of confusion, but of clarity. Back in January God gave me that clarity, then He waited to see what I would do… and now we know: Nothing.

But that nothing, has to end here and now. So today I reached out to Grand Canyon University to request the information I need to begin the fall semester. It’s time to start taking those steps forward and allow God to correct my path as I go.

Share Your Thoughts

Should someone who is called into the Ministry be concerned about the financial cost of Bible School?

Does God call the prepared, or does He prepare the Called?

Is it normal to doubt God’s Calling?

How many confirmations would you need to follow the Call of God?

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The Scariest Words Jesus Ever Said

You know the verses, you have probably heard them your entire Christian life, but when is the last time you really meditated on the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 7: 21-23? Here are the verses…

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Understand the context of this verse. Jesus is referring to His “followers”… or at least those who claim to be followers of Jesus. This is a startling proclamation from our King that should give us pause. In our culture today, where people are taught to say a “sinner’s prayer” and they are saved… where hyper grace doctrines are being pushed at every turn… where many are seeking to live their BEST LIVES NOW…

In our culture it is almost a crime in the Christian community to speak of this truth: MANY Multitudes of “Christians” today are deceived and unknowingly on a path to Hell. You see scripture is very clear… Jesus was VERY clear…

Matthew 7:13-14  (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

According to PEW Research nearly 70.6% of Americans self identify as Christians. That means that out of 325 Million Americans, 227 Million think they are going to Heaven. Yet Jesus tells us that the path is NARROW and FEW will find it.

So where is the breakdown?

What are Christians missing in this equation of salvation? This gift freely given by God. John 3:16 famously reveals “…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ Emphasis mine.

So is that it then? All one needs to do is believe in Jesus? What does that mean to believe in Jesus? Does Satan believe in Jesus? Do the demons believe in Jesus? Is salvation then just an intellectual exercise?

I would argue that salvation has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what you have brought yourself to believe in your mind, and has everything to do with the condition of your heart. In fact, let’s go back to the Gospels, in the book of John chapter 3…

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Here Jesus clearly indicates a requirement for those who wish to live in eternal paradise with God, they MUST be born again. This goes beyond a mental exercise of simple belief and delves into a transformational relationship with the Holy Spirit of God. You must DIE to your SIN… another way of saying it… you must repent or “turn from your sin” towards God. This is not to say you become sinless or perfect when you accept Christ as your savior. But every Christian should be in the process of change, where we grow more and more Christ-like the closer we draw near to God.

If you have been a Christian for some time, and you still find yourself living the same life you always lived, you may need to examine your life closely. This is what Paul exhorted the church members of Corinth to do… “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5

Brothers and Sisters, if you said a prayer years ago, and just accepted what people in church said about your eternal destination, I would strongly encourage you to follow Paul’s advice and evaluate your relationship with Jesus. If you find yourself running joyfully into sinful behavior or with little regret when you transgress God’s law… you have a real reason for concern.

Most Americans take the time to be absolutely certain of things far less important than their eternal destination, don’t make that mistake. Eternity is a very very long time.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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Do You Believe The Bible? Video Podcast

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Podcast Episode #4: Who Is The Real Jesus? And Do We Have Free Will?

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Episode 4 of our weekly podcast is now available, this week I discuss the real Jesus Christ after encountering a “Christian” who denies the resurrection… and answer the question, do we really have free will?

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Do you have a question you would like to have answered in a future podcast? Comment below. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.

Christian Foundations

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This is a collection of STFC articles and resources on Foundations of Christian Beliefs. More will be added here as they are written. You will always find a link to this article on the front page of the website.

ARTICLES:

Q&A: How Do We Know God Created Anything?

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In a recent post a visitor in the comment section posed a question, and it was a great question that I think a lot of people have asked. Now this person has never received an adequate answer from previous Pastors or Apologists and spent 25 years in ministry so I have my work cut out for me, but I love a good challenge!

Here was their question:

Where did the God of the bible begin and how do we know that He created without the ability to verify it was Him specifically or that He was there to ‘Begin’ it?”

This question goes right to the foundation of the Christian faith, and points to the bedrock that we have to build our faith upon, Holy Scripture. You see, IF Holy Scripture IS a revelation from the God that created the universe to mankind then the answer to all of the above questions lie within its pages…

Where did the God of the Bible begin…?” He didn’t begin, He always existed: Isaiah 40:28, Habakkuk 1:12, Revelation 1:8, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 22:13, Proverbs 8:23, 1 Peter 1:20, Psalm 102:26-27, Psalm 146:6, 1 Peter 5:11… and on and on and on we can go. In an article I wrote while back, I explore this topic.

How do we know that he created it without the ability to verify it?” and “How do we know he was there to begin it?” There is no scientific experiment that can be undertaken that would verify God created the universe, as this would by definition be a supernatural event. Science only deals with the natural world. To verify then, the only path is to examine the Holy Scripture that claims to be given under inspiration from God Himself.

Science however has helped support our beliefs in this area, as the Big Bang theory pretty well lines up with the record in Genesis 1:1. Now we know the secular world will never admit to a God and that’s OK, but the physical evidence that God created everything from nothing is there to be found. Science cannot rationalize a universe created from nothing. So men will speculate and put forth all sorts of theories such as the multi-verse, or the universe that created itself from nothing… huh?

Scientists often catch up long after Scripture has already revealed a truth, for example: Dark Matter/Dark Energy… is the Scientific label for what the Bible teaches in Colossians 1:17 & Hebrews 1:3. (https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy)

Then there’s the flat Earth, it wasn’t until Aristotle in 330 B.C. that the prevalent opinion shifted to a spherical Earth. Of course the prophet Isaiah wrote about this long before that…Isaiah 40:22 (written around 700-800 years Before Christ)

You also may have heard of the Adam and Eve Genes, what science has now uncovered is all men are direct descendants of ONE man and all women from ONE woman. And of course we learn that they both come from Africa (right where the Bible says)…What a shocker?! The more we learn, the more the Bible is revealed to be true. (http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/genetic-adam-and-eve-all-humans-are-descendants-one-man-and-woman-who-021536)

If we exist within a universe created by God, who created all of the matter, time, and space, then it would be beyond us to imagine what lies outside of that creation. Is that eternity? Why call it eternity or infinity when those are measures of time as we know it? We have no idea if time exists outside of our known universe or not. As humans we strive to learn and understand and a big way we do this, is to create labels for things. This makes it easier to pass on to the next humans. But at some point, perhaps a bit of humility is in order? When a scientist says the Earth is 4.54 Billion years old and the universe 14 billion, I like to ask… how do you know the Earth isn’t 8 Billion years old? How about a Trillion? How can we guess the age of a universe that we cannot even see the ends of? The more powerful our telescopes become the further and further we see… with no end in sight. (https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/5-8/features/F_How_Big_is_Our_Universe.html)

If the basis of the scientific method is to observe and repeat then how can numbers like 4 Billion and 14 Billion be tossed around as scientific fact? They are certainly taught as such in classrooms and colleges across America. We cannot observe anything from 10,000 years ago, let alone 1 Billion. We cannot repeat anything that far in the past because we can never be absolutely sure of the starting conditions.

By dating the rocks in the ever-changing crust, as well as neighbors such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.” – https://www.space.com/24854-how-old-is-earth.html

For the longest time it was believed that the speed of light was a constant unchanging measurement (186,000 miles per second according to Einstein) but recent research is challenging that belief. (https://www.livescience.com/29111-speed-of-light-not-constant.html)

This of course makes sense from a Biblical perspective. In the book of Genesis God creates a fully grown or mature universe, followed by a fully grown man in the Garden of Eden. Adam was able to see stars in the sky (Genesis 1:14-15), and use them for their intended purposes. This of course means that the speed of light was absolutely NOT the same as we measure it today.

So what about the Bible makes you believe it is a revelation from God?

Up until this point I have spent some time showing how science is not an enemy of the Bible, but on the contrary scientific evidence helps support what the Bible has been telling us for thousands of years.

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” 
― Robert JastrowGod and the Astronomers

Now I want to take some time to show strong reasons to believe the Bible is exactly what it claims to be, the inspired Word of God. The Bible is a collection of 66 Books (not one book) written by over 40 authors on 3 continents over the span of 1,500 YEARS. It is unlike any other literary creation in history and stands far above and beyond all others in number of copies discovered, number of languages translated into, number of copies distributed and sold and try as they might… skeptics have been trying to debunk and destroy the Bible for thousands of years…and have failed time and time again. In this article written a couple of weeks ago I list some amazing statistics concerning the Bible. Additionally here are three other big reasons to believe the Bible has divine origins…

1) Bible prophecy. If there was just ONE prophecy predicted in the Old Testament, fulfilled hundreds of years later, that should be enough to raise an eyebrow… but what if that number is dozens or hundreds? People who ignore Bible Prophecy are either unfamiliar or so blinded by skepticism no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise. Here are just a handful of Bible Prophecies fulfilled…

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressionshe was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 7:14 “All right then, the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’”

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”

Isaiah 53:1,3 “Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal His saving power? He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care.”

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

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Photo Credit: http://www.umcom.org/learn/5-incredible-illustrations-from-biblical-archaeology

2) Archaeology. There are literally thousands of artifacts and countless dig sites that have collaborated the historical accuracy of the Bible. This is an area of study that has widely been ignored by skeptics, and yet is one of the most compelling reasons to believe what the Bible has to say. Here are a few links on the subject matter:

Here is a compilation of other great Christian Resources from my friend Bruce at Reasoned Cases for Christ.

You might hear skeptics claim that there have been many Biblical Archaeological finds debunked, like Noah’s Ark. That is correct. All fields of science have this same built in function of self-correction. Similarly there are a ton of evolutionary findings debunked. Disproving some claims in a field of scientific study does not diminish the field, it strengthens it.

3) Jesus Christ. Many atheists will be quick to call out “circular logic” when I make the claim that the recorded life of Jesus Christ in the Bible is a testament to the reliability and divine nature of Holy Scripture. First let me start with a fact some skeptics try very hard to ignore… nearly ALL scholars in the field of historical study agree that Jesus Christ was a real historical man that lived very much as the Bible describes his life, and died as described in the Gospel accounts. They obviously will not confirm any of the miracles Jesus performed, but that is an unreasonable request of a historian to begin with.

What we do know unequivocally is that Jesus was a poor carpenter who grew up in a very small corner of the world at a time when most of the population was illiterate. In his late twenties, early thirties he set out in ministry, proclaiming to be the Son of God. He was put to death because of his claim to be equal with God and has since become the single most influential person in all of human history. So much so, that the world today marks time itself with his birth.

We also know that many of his followers feared for their own death when Jesus was arrested and hid from authorities. They even denied Jesus. But after his resurrection and appearance from the tomb, those same followers became so vigilant in their beliefs that they died very painful deaths and never denied him again.

So what do you think? Did I provide enough evidence to show that the Bible is much more than the work of man? If not, how do you explain how 66 books written by over 40 people spanning 1,500 years is so beautifully interwoven and crafted with precision? If the Holy Scriptures are a conspiracy or a fake conjured to control the masses, imagine all of the people it would take pull that off, working in tandem over countless centuries.

Now that is true faith.

 

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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Why Christians CANNOT Believe in Evolution

Evolution is perhaps the greatest of all deceptions ever concocted by the enemy to lead Billions astray from a belief in God. Sadly many Church leaders and Pastors have given into the lie of evolution and teach Christians around the world it is OK to believe in evolution and still be a Christian.

But these two worldviews are direct opposition to each other.

Now there are a large variety of definitions of evolution and I should specify what I am talking about in this article. Quite simply I believe the following statement should be held as true by all Christians… “Man was created by God from dust, and not an evolutionary process over millions of years”. If you come to me and say HEY I’m a Christian but I don’t believe that, I believe we evolved from single-cell organisms… then my reply is simple… keep reading.

Far too many Christians today have lowered the standard of the Word of God in their lives (which is to say the ultimate standard of truth). This is not surprising, as most American Christians hardly even read the Bible and fewer study it. So let me explain why… if you choose to believe in Darwinian Evolution, you will have effectively rendered the Word of God to be a literary work of fiction and nothing more.

Evolution teaches that the only way humans came to exist was through MILLIONS and MILLIONS of years of death and dying. But God teaches us something completely different in the Bible.

Romans 5:12
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned–

According to Holy Scripture, death didn’t enter the world until SIN… or more specifically Adam’s Sin. Before that, death didn’t exist… humans didn’t die. You may also be aware that, according to the Bible, Adam was created from dust… and was not evolved over Millions of years. He was created a fully grown man, fully capable of living his life on day one. You may have chosen to give up that belief under the pressure from a fallen secular society… but nearly every Christian knows what the Bible says on that issue… at least I hope.

People can say all day long, that Chimpanzees are 98% the same as Humans genetically speaking… but what a gap… what an immeasurable SPAN lies in that 2%. The truth is quite simple, if God created all things in His way, I would EXPECT very similar systems “under the hood”. You know how many Chimpanzees will be splitting Atoms or building automobiles in one million years? Zero. Or how many will be contemplating the existence of God and reading the Bible? Zero (don’t worry if mankind is still around in one million years, the Bible will be here too). Look at the last few hundred years of Human history that we can actually observe… look how far we have advanced as a species… and yet the Chimps are still the Chimps… they haven’t advanced one iota.

But Keith, we need more time, yes I know. You need millions of years, and if that doesn’t work make it billions. The whole notion is ridiculous… but if you get enough white lab coats to agree on something, you can get people to believe anything. Just remember history is littered with scientific “truths” proven wrong.

Let’s clear up a misconception

The book of Genesis is a book of History. Jesus Christ Himself often referred back to the book of Genesis, and He certainly believed it to be a true account of Creation. Now you can choose to not believe Genesis and you can even choose to not believe the words of Jesus Christ, but then I ask you… in what then do you place your faith?

Let us continue…

Why did Jesus Christ die on the cross? To pay the price for our Sins. Here is the key, He died to pay the price for ALL mankind’s sin… not just some of them, but ALL OF THEM. So now we must ask the question… where did sin come from, where did it begin? According to scripture, it entered the world when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden. This is not an allegory, it is a factual account of our beginnings, so please stop letting a fallen secular world convince you otherwise.

If you choose to believe in evolution, this is what happens: You throw the whole idea of sin entering the world when Adam disobeyed God OUT the window. This is catastrophic for two reasons:

  1. If sin DIDN’T enter the world as the Bible says, and we evolved, then Jesus died on the cross for NOTHING. No sin, no need for the blood of Jesus.
  2. And even worse… if you say you don’t believe the historical narrative revealed to us in the book of Genesis by God Himself, then you mean to say the Bible is false. You cannot logically say one part of the Bible is false, but all the good Jesus stuff near the end is true. If the Bible is false, Jesus was a fraud and we might as well toss our Bibles in the trash and go home.

Christians it’s time to go on RED ALERT!

This is a call to arms! We are living in a society where the TRUTH is being replaced with LIES at every turn and we MUST NOT roll over and accept any of it. When society says evolution is true, we have to STAND. When society says homosexuality is loving and healthy we have to STAND. When society says a man can choose to be a woman we have to STAND.

If you are a Christian, stop treating that title like a membership to a social club on Sunday. Being a Christian is a lot more than going to a Toby Mac concert and posting memes on facebook. It’s about FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST. He told us before He left, we WOULD BE HATED for His name (Matthew 10:22)?

Are you hated or do you fit right in with the rest of the world? If it’s the latter, why do think that is?

Want to read a more detailed article on Creation vs. Evolution? Follow this link to my friend Bruce Cooper’s website Reasoned Cases for Christ.

 

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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